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Fun with Toddlers: Snow Play

24 Feb
Elijah loved playing with snow in the bath tub.

Elijah loved playing with snow in the bath tub.

 

We have had some strange weather the past couple of weeks.  It feels like Spring is about to come and then it snows again.  We’ve been trying to embrace the crazy weather the past couple of months while we wait expectantly for Spring to come.  It snowed a couple of weeks ago but it was just too cold to play outside even all bundled up in snow pants.

Absolutely captivated.

Absolutely captivated.

Brandon was kind enough to go outside and bring it a couple buckets of snow.  We dumped all of the snow into our bath tub.  I found some of Eli’s bath toys and a few kitchen utensils for him to play with.  🙂  He had a ball and played in there for a long time.

February 2012 002-copy_edited-1

 

We are anticipating more snow this week so we might just do this again before Spring comes.  It was the perfect activity for a very active little boy on a cold Winter’s Day.

He was being a stinker and wouldn't look at me.

He was being a stinker and wouldn’t look at me.

We also made Snow Cream together later that evening.  (We didn’t use the snow that was in the bath tub.)  🙂

Elijah’s New Robe: Take Two on Simplicity 3584

17 Jan
Elijah was so pleased with his new robe.

Elijah was so pleased with his new robe.

My little boy has been busy growing taller and taller.  All of a sudden none of his clothes fit including his flannel bath robe I made last year.  Time to break out the sewing machine and get to work!  Not really sure if I would call it work or not since Elijah is just about my favorite person to sew for.  😉

I made my own loops and added them to the robe.

I made my own loops and added them to the robe.

I used Simplicity 3584 and made a straight size 3 with no alterations.  I considered adding a 3″ hem that could be let down like I did last year but I figured that by the time Elijah was that much taller he would really need a bigger size.  I used an adorable blue farmyard print for the outside and the same farmyard print in green for the inside.  The flannel fabric has to be some of my favorite I have ever seen for a little boy!  I made almost the same changes to the pattern that I made last year.  I lined the entire robe by cutting out all of the pattern pieces again (except the pocket) out of the inside fabric.  Then I laid the lining pieces wrong sides together against the outside fabric.

I sewed the belt onto the back of the robe at the center back.

I sewed the belt onto the back of the robe at the center back.

The pattern called for the belt and loops to be made out of bias tape.  Unless you are really a beginner when it comes to sewing I would advise against this.  I really think that would look tacky.   To make the ties I cut 2 pieces of fabric 3X30″.  I sewed the two pieces together to make one large strip.  Sew a tube, inside it out and press.  (If you follow my notes and make the ties you will only need 1 package of bias tape.)  I also skipped using bias tape to finish the sleeves.  I also made Loops which measured 2 1/4 X 3/4 when finished.  Unlike the instructions I sewed them on very last and placed them right along the finished side seam.

If you are looking for a baby bath robe up to size 18-24 months I would recommend Simplicity 3711.)

Sweet boy & another sweet memory for this mama.

Sweet boy & another sweet memory for this mama.

I made lots of changes to this pattern but was very pleased with the final result.  Sewing robes for Elijah might just be a lasting tradition in our home.  🙂  I have a feeling I will be sewing another one next winter.

 

Elijah’s Dinosaur Costume: McCall’s 6185 or MP249 Review

4 Nov

Eli love love loved his costume!

 

I’m not sure what I was thinking when I decided to sew Elijah a dinosaur costume.  I definitely WASN’T thinking about the 80 steps involved!  I ended up skipping a few but there were 70 steps to this project no joke!  This was my first attempt at sewing a costume and I think I probably should have settled for a superhero cape and mask like my friend Erin made.

Eli had an absolute blast dressing up and having fun at our church’s Trunk or Treat.

 

I won’t lie.  This project was LONG.  Just cutting out all of the pieces took 2 1/2 hours!  I should have known then this project would take forever.  😉  I seriously considered giving up and scrapping this project but I persevered.  Elijah was giddy with excitement over the prospect of his costume.  He would sit and watch me sew for what seemed like forever.  Periodically he would come into the sewing room and ask if he could try it on.  😉  It did take all of my free time for 3 days straight but I finished it.  The face below made it all worth it!

The face that made all of the long sewing hours worth it!

I sewed view B in a size 3.  The measurements on the envelope are not helpful at all.  My son is 37″ tall and this costume was really big on him.  (He wears size 3t ready-made clothing.) As far as the actual sewing goes I did make a few slight changes.  I did not line the hood.  I don’t know why in the world you would want to line it.  This saved nearly 10 steps.  Hooray! 🙂

The seam allowance varies from 3/8 to 5/8 so be careful to sew accordingly.  I had a really hard time adding elastic in step 22 to the wrists so I omitted it for the time being.  The hands seemed to stay on well despite this.  I do wish that the tail was removable as it is pretty heavy. (I don’t know if I would make this for a young toddler as it may be difficult to walk in.)  I also followed the applique instructions to a T but the eyes and nose kept coming off so I ended up hot gluing them to the costume.

I don’t know if I would say this was a fun project-it was really long and awkward to sew at times with that big old tail!  The result was very nice.  Eli has really enjoyed wearing it around the house and has perfected a very loud ROAR!!!

 

McCall 6237 Review: Elijah’s First Hoodie

14 Oct

Eli had a great time at the zoo with cousin Anna while sporting his new hoodie.

With fall officially here I thought it was fitting to sew Eli his very first hoodie.  I dug through my pattern stash and found McCalls 6237.  It includes a little girl’s dress, cargo pants, and hoodie.  I sewed Eli a size 2 but added 1″ to the sleeves and bottom.  The pattern gave only 2 measurements breast and waist which I found incredibly unhelpful.  Here are my son’s measurements: breast 21, waist 10, weight 30 pounds, and height 37″.  It really was a guess on which size to make.  🙂

Side view. I’m really glad I added the 1″ to the bottom.

I used a soft anti-pill fleece fabric that I had in my stash.  (I promise I”m making a nice dent in it so I can go shopping on Black Friday.)  😉  I used 1 yard just as the pattern suggested and an 80/12 Ball Point needle.  I’m still not very good at using the right needle but I think this was a good choice.

You will be able to see the wrong side of the fabric along the inside of the hoodie so keep that in mind.

The actual sewing was pretty straight forward.  This pattern is great!  If you make it and plan on adding a size tag or cute made by mom label be sure to sew it after step 10.  I didn’t and mine ended up fairly crooked!  I also skipped the topstitching in step 12 and used a Welt Seam on step 11.  I was excited to try a Welt Seam again since I had just learned in September how to do one.  It turned out to be  a bad idea because the seam looks a little off.  Note to self: don’t add a Welt Seam unless the pattern calls for one!

Elijah getting ready to ride the train. Perhaps his favorite attraction at the zoo!

Overall this project turned out pretty nice.  I was excited about it and would highly recommend the pattern.  Unfortunately it is now out of print but you may be able to find a cheap one on Ebay.  (It is pretty hard to find a pattern for a toddler hoodie so it might be worth a little hunting.)  The hoodie was a little bit snug around the neck but perhaps Eli just has a big head.  If I end up making another one I may try to widen the neck opening.  He was so tickled with his hoodie especially since it has pockets!  🙂

Simplicity 2461 Review: Toddler Dress

30 Sep

A fun print for a little country girl I know.

Yesterday one of Eli’s friends from church had a birthday.  Of course I wanted to make something.  I originally thought I would sew up a crayon roll or art smock.  After browsing through my pattern stash I came across a darling little dress pattern Simplicity 2461.  It’s a toddler dress pattern size 1/2-4.  (I originally purchased it to make a dress for my cousin but then decided on the art smock.)

I did have a little trouble with the zipper. 🙂

This pattern was fairly straight forward.  I had a little trouble with the zipper and had to rip it out the first time and re-sew it.  The back of the bodice didn’t line up the first time.  I don’t know that this is the pattern’s fault probably just my somewhat inexperience with zippers.  I still haven’t sewn that many probably only around ten or so.  I do think the dress would look better with an invisible zipper but I didn’t have one of those on hand.  Blue would also look better than yellow but I like to use what I have on hand.  (I live far away from a fabric store and Walmart’s selection is pathetic.)

I had never sewn on hook and eyes before so I might have done that incorrectly.  There were no instructions as to how to sew on the hook and eyes so my placement might be off.  I’m not sure I like the idea of the hook and eye on a toddler dress since toddlers are awfully squirmy.  😉

Back View

I used my serger to finish all of the seams which was especially important since I squeezed this entire dress onto a yard of fabric.  (It called for more than a yard but that was all that I had.)

I added rick-rack along the hem stitching. I love the added pop it brings! This pattern includes a large 2.5″ hem.

I added the rick rack along the bottom.  I think it would look super cute with rick-rack on the collar as well.  Piping would also look really sweet along the front bodice but I didn’t think of that until after it was sewn.

I had never sewn a Peter-Pan collar before and I don’t think mine lined up exactly.  I did find it annoying that the collar is supposed to be sewn at 3/8″ instead of 5/8″ but this is not listed in the pattern only on the tissue pattern.  I”m not sure if it is correct or not but I sewed steps 8-15 at 3/8″.

Hoping the little girl loves her animal dress.

I didn’t take any measurements of the little girl I was making this for I just knew she was petite and wore an 18 month size.  I debated for a long time trying to figure out if the 1/2 or the size 1 corresponded to that size.  I ended up making a size 1.  I don’t know why they don’t just tell you what ready to wear sizes they correspond to.  Overall this is a sweet pattern and I love the finished product.  I just hope it fits!  🙂

Family Date Day: Big Bone Lick State Park

28 Sep

I don’t know about you but my family and I love to go on what we call family dates.  Special adventures with just our little family.  😉  This past weekend we were blessed to go on a much-needed family date to Big Bone Lick State Park in Union, KY.  We started off our date with a trip to Steak-n-Shake.  Brandon had a great time playing the coupon game (trying to get the most bang for his buck) while there.   Yum!

After a great lunch we headed to Big Bone Lick State Park.  It seemed like a fairly small state park but we had a lovely time.  We visited the “museum” and walked around the outside exhibits.  The best part was definitely the hiking.  🙂

There are only about 4 miles of hiking trails at the park but that was perfect for us.  For the most part the hiking was relatively easy except for a few hills when Brandon had Eli on his back.  😉

I think at this point Eli was saying come on mom stop trying to take pictures let’s hike!

We let Eli walk for the first part of the hike and he surprised us by walking almost a mile!  Must be a future hiker.  😉

Still just as smitten with each other.

Probably Eli’s favorite part.

They had bison there.  How cool is that?  I thought it was a little crazy that you could get that close to them with just a little fence between you and the bison.

Eli loves riding in the pack.

In case you are wondering we have an L.L. Bean backpack and absolutely love it!  It has pockets on the back to hold 2 water bottles and a pouch on the bottom to store a change of clothes, diapers, and snacks.  We also have a rain cover for the top if I feel really adventurous.

Thankful for our camelbak (and that Brandon wore Eli for our hike).

We all had an absolute blast on our family date!  I am so thankful we were able to get away for a wonderful afternoon.  🙂

Frugal Things I Did Last Week

27 Sep

The hat I made for Eli last week using a free tutorial and free fabric.

 

Brandon, Eli & I went hiking at Big Bone Lick State Park which was free (minus the gas).  We stayed a couple of hours and had a lovely time.  They even have a bison herd there.

I used THIS tutorial from Melly Sews to make a Gatsby (Newsboy) hat for Elijah using scrap material my mom had given me.  I used a scrap piece of plastic canvas instead of buckram to line the bill.  It turned out way too big for some reason but I’m still glad I made it.  The only cost involved was the minimal cost of thread.  🙂  The hat turned out a little bit big (I don’t know why) but I may add a tuck in the back.

I purchased 3 Kwik Sew patterns when they were on sale for under $5 each.  These patterns are wonderful with excellent instructions.  I also paid $4 to have them shipped which is still cheaper than my driving to a fabric store to buy them.

Visited a thrift store and 2 consignment stores this past week trying to find Eli fall/winter clothes.  I succeeded in purchasing 1 pair of pants, some new underwear, 3 shirts, and a darling pair of boots.  I also purchased 2 baskets with liners to use for organization and something for Christmas for Brandon.  (I’m not saying what it is because he does read the blog.  I just don’t know how closely he reads it.)  😉

I made Cloud Dough with Eli using the rest of a bottle of baby oil we already had.  See my post here for the recipe.    😉

I made homemade Basil Pesto from basil from our garden for the first time.  I served it over top of Bow Tie pasta.  At Brandon’s request I also made homemade marinara sauce for dipping from our garden tomatoes.

I ordered a Christmas present (nightgown) shipped for less than $2.

I washed several plastic baggies to re-use.  Not only is this frugal it is great for the environment.  I do not however re-use any bag that has had raw meat stored in it.

I made homemade cleaner (orange vinegar).  I infused orange peels for 2-3 weeks in vinegar and then removed the orange peels.  So far I”m about 50/50 on whether I will make another batch of this.  I personally don’t care at all for the smell of vinegar (although it is crazy frugal) but the orange scent does help a lot.  Next time I may increase the ratio or orange peels to vinegar.

What sort of frugal activities have you done this week?