Sewing for Sanity

I like to keep my boy’s room pretty organized – for the sake of my sanity. Everything has a home and it can all be put back together in a super human tornado speed clean.

After dreaming about it for months I managed to make a pattern & sew up some toy storage containers. My idea was that they would fit perfectly into our cubbies.

This one was a bit big so — here is round two.

With felt cars stitched on the front because that’s where the cars go!

Thanks to Marsha for the quilted lilac polka dot fabric — circa 1982?

December 4th, 2011 by zoe 5 Comments

Make a Elf Hat

This sweet little elf hat is made from upcycled wool sweaters!

It’s pretty darn simple, all you need is some scraps from an old T-shirt, and a shrunken wool sweater.

First print your pattern pieces and enlarge them using the inch guide. The hat fits toddler to youth.

After cutting your fabric match hat bottom pieces and hat bottom lining pieces with right sides facing in, pin and stitch along bottom edge with a 1/4″ inseam. Unfold the stitched hat bottom piece, match the lining and wool sections with the right sides facing in pin and stitch. Turn the hat bottom piece right side out and try on, adjust sizing now. Iron bottom edge.

Top stitch bottom edge around hat bottom.

With a 1/4″ inseam stitch hat top around the curl, leaving bottom edge open. Turn the hat top right side out.

Making sure to properly line up your seams and fabric facings pin and stitch hat top to hat bottom. Turn right side out and admire your creation. I like to add polka dots!

Pop your little elf hat on the closest cutie around!

To print pattern, click photo, save to file and print. Enlarge pattern pieces to recommended size in inches.

November 29th, 2011 by zoe 2 Comments

Grow, Regress, Grow

Parenting children is such an interesting ….(word choice? frustrating, challenging,huge) job.

There is a desire to create a “balance” in parenting that is somehow basked in an attainable golden light. Some days are angelic, while others are a complete and utter slog. Some days fly by while others are a grind that leaves you TRYING to keep your cool till bedtime.

The little ones they test, they demand, they work their magic – which somehow seems to unravel the fabric of your being till you click your heals and wonder WHY…. did I think being a parent would be FUN!!!

As parents we help them grow, rejoice in their accomplishments and then hold onto our hats when they fritter backwards. We teach, comfort, stand firm and gently nudge. Doing our best not to go stark raving mad in the process!

We must familiarize ourselves with the constant patterns of growth and it’s less popular cousin regression.

Somehow we all missed the chapter on Regression in our fantasy pre-parenting minds. Teaching them to walk, talk, tie their shoes and bring you coffee in bed seemed to take the forefront.  In reality moving forward with new skills is the easy peesy part! The hard part is holding it all together when they decide to unlearn themselves.

The hard part is teaching yourself that the true pattern is not grow grow grow but more likely GROW, REGRESS, GROW.

And on the on those rough days my special ritual is to sneak into their rooms after they have fallen asleep. I peek in on their quiet peaceful faces.   Oh they are small, oh they are learning, & oh I love them so.

Little rascals that they are!

November 27th, 2011 by zoe 3 Comments

The Great Turkey Chase


This morning we woke to a fairy land, ice bounced rays of sunshine wildly across the hills. I took a deep breath of cold morning air – thankful. Always.

And then we began cooking…. In truth, I am a bit of a Thanksgiving curmudgeon. Do we ALL really have to cook the same exact meal??

Yesterday as I ran from store to store trying to procure all the traditional ingredients of the holiday I found myself laughing at the grocery cart gridlock. I watched folks chucking frozen turkeys into their carts that would take a week to defrost! Here we cooked and cooked until the wee prep cooks took up arms.

Thanksgiving economics

7 Hours of cooking,

20 minutes of eating,

2 hours clean up!!

Next year how about we just have PIE?

November 24th, 2011 by zoe No Comments

The Colors of Fall

Walking in the big woods with our new companions – the textures and colors of fall.

November 22nd, 2011 by zoe No Comments

Make a Braided Rag Rug!

My love of old T-shirts just keeps on growing!

See this stack of old T-shirts – they are going to become a fabulous rainbow rug!

Begin by collecting a colorful pile of old t-shirts. To make a 36″ round rug you will need about 10 to 12 shirts.

Cut the shirts into lots of strips, I made mine  1 1/2″ wide and that seemed to work great. You will now braid your strips together to make one single extremely long braided rope.To begin, take three t-shirt strips and sew them together at one end. Start braiding!

I used a curtain rod clip to hook one end of my braid to a chair to provide tension while braiding. A clothes pin is also helpful for holding your braid tight. As you come to the end of your first length of strips you will need to add more length. Connect strips together to add more length – cut a small slit in the ends of all your strips. Thread new strip through the hole, loop it’s end through on its self and pull tight. 

You will now have extended your strip! It is important to stagger your strip extensions so that they are not all lumped in one spot on your braid.

Now you are ready to braid and braid and braid!

When you get tired of braiding it’s fun to coil your rope and see what kind of progress you are making.

When you have finished your braided rope it’s time to begin stitching.

Set your sewing machine for the widest zig-zag stitch,tightly coil your braid, stitch round and round. When stitching push the two braids together tightly with your hands, watch your stitches carefully to ensure they are connecting the seams.  Your hands will get tired from all the pushing, I found it was easier to set my adjustable chair higher to get better leverage while stitching. Try not to stretch your rope too much while stitching because it will cup like a bowl. But don’t fear a hot iron can correct the cupping. Every so often your bobbin will run out of thread, this is a good time to iron your rug flat. Set the iron to hot, start and the center and iron out toward the edges. Repeat on both sides.

This rug currently measures 34″ across and took me a day to make. I haven’t finished the ends off yet because I think I want to make it a bit bigger – I just found a pile of gray shirts that I am hoping will bring it closer to the size I was dreaming of. I will take another picture of it finished and in place next week. I just had to share it today because I was so excited stitching this together. I love the colors and weight of this rug. I am already dreaming of the next one!!

Maybe ocean colors?

November 14th, 2011 by zoe 34 Comments