The Fanciest Tent I Ever Made (Do You Know Where this is Going?)

Posted by on Aug 14, 2011 in children's toys, craft, motherhood, sewing | 3 comments

Remember the fabulous twirly skirt I made that my daughter loved for thirty seconds and then discarded in favour of a princess gown? It turns out I haven’t learned my lesson.

This weekend I made my daughter a small hula hoop tent. All you do is hem the end of a bed sheet and thread it with some rope. Then, tie it up and spread the fabric over a hula hoop that has been strung from the ceiling with some more rope. Easy peasy. I added a strand of fancy jewels that I knew my daughter would love, but other than that I left it as simple as I could. The full instructions are found in the book Cool Spaces for Kids, which has so many more clever ideas – such a great resource. I’ve been wanting to make this tent for awhile, and since I had a couple of hours to myself on Friday, I thought it would be a a great quick and crafty project.

I love that the tent can be taken down easily and doesn’t take up too much room. I do wish I had used a bigger sheet so it would spread out more at the bottom, but I was just using what I had on hand.

As for my spirited daughter, she seems to be okay with it. She cried for awhile because I had the audacity to move the glider from one side of her room to the other, but I was sort of expecting that. She doesn’t deal with change well – I mean, this is the girl that cries when I hang up a picture in my house because everything is suddenly *so* different. But it did make me wonder why I even bother.

Why do we do things if our children don’t appreciate them? Why did I spend an evening making this tent, or a week making her a skirt, or even an hour each night making supper that often gets one or two bites and then goes cold? I’m not really sure. I guess when you’re madly in love with your kids you just love to see them smile. Maybe that’s why we all spend hours making goofy faces at our babies, or spend countless days at the park, pushing our kids on the swings. They may not seem to appreciate any of it, but just the possibility of catching a look of joy on their faces is all the motivation we need.

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The Fanciest Skirt I Ever Made (and She Doesn’t Want to Wear It)

Posted by on Jul 26, 2011 in craft, girly-girl, motherhood, sewing | 0 comments

A couple weeks ago I found a whole bunch of wonderful fabric on sale at Fabricland, and I pretty much bought it all. I mean, who can resist a great ladybug print or some wacky birds? It all begged to be made into a fantastic twirly skirt for my sweet girl.

It took me a full week to make the skirt. Looking back, that doesn’t really seem too long, but to me it felt like forever. I was doing bits and pieces during my baby’s 10 minute catnaps, and I was sure it would never be done. But last night I was able to finish with a flourish and I proudly handed the skirt to my daughter. Who refused to wear it. “Maybe tomorrow”, she said.

Seriously, why do I even bother?

So this morning I hopefully handed her the skirt, and after a bit of a fuss, I was able to coax (bribe) her to wear it, and I even got to take some pictures. :)

Twirly skirts of course are good for all sorts of activities. Making pained faces while mama takes a picture, playing with the doll house, twirly around for the amusement of your baby sister, even riding a bike.

As soon as we got home, though, the skirt came off. It appears that no degree of twirliness can compete with a good princess gown.

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Embracing Imperfection

Posted by on Jul 12, 2011 in craft, home life, living peacefully, motherhood, sewing | 0 comments

When my older daughter was little I wanted to get her a kid sized table that she could use for arts and crafts and meals and tea parties and all those other fun things that kids do. Because she was still learning how to walk, and with memories of a bad fall still fresh in mind, I decided to buy the plastic table and chairs from Ikea. I figured that if she fell on it, the plastic would be more forgiving than wood.

And I’ve regretted that decision ever since. I hate that table and chair set (apologies to everyone else who has it, which is pretty much everyone I know). I’m not a fan of plastic to begin with, and for the last three years they’ve been the sore thumb sticking out in my kitchen or living room. I mean, you can’t really miss bright green and red.

There was another set at Ikea that I liked a lot more – just plain wood. Simple. Cute. And guess what? This week it all went on sale – 100 bucks off! Score!

My mother tried to talk me out of it at first – after all, I really don’t need a table and chairs for the girls when I have a perfectly good adequate one already. Besides, bringing in new furniture is definitely not helping me in my quest to declutter my home. Lucky for me I ignored my inner voice of reason and bought the new set anyway. After all, I’ll probably have a children’s table and chairs on my main floor for at least another three years, so it might as well be one that I like.

When I set it up in our living room however, I was kind of bummed at how bland the space suddenly looked. At least the plastic set brought some colour into the room. So I quickly decided that the only logical solution was to sew up some seat cushions to bring a splash of colour.

Enter silly obsessive perfectionism.

When I do anything, I want it to be perfect. I haven’t finished a million projects because they aren’t up to my ridiculous standards. Knitting projects are the worst – I’m sure every project that I finish has been restarted five or six times because I can’t stand mistakes.

But you know what? I’ve come to realize that it’s silly to be obsessed with perfection. When things look perfect, nobody even knows that you made them yourself. Its the little flaws that give things character, and I’m actually big on character. And its not like my daughter is ever going to notice one way or the other. So I decided to ditch the obsessive perfectionism and embrace a zen-like state of craft-induced bliss. At least until I get through this next batch of projects.

So, when I couldn’t find fabric in the exact shade of daffodil yellow I wanted with large pink flowers, I took a deep cleansing breath and instead took the bright pink fabric that I knew my daughter would love. I brought it home and I made two seat cushions. The stitching isn’t perfect and the straps on one cushion are a quarter inch wider than on the other. But unless you’re as anal as I am (or you read my blog), you’d never know.

And I love the way they look. I’m coming to realize that if I aim for 85% instead of that perfect 100, I can get a lot more done. And in the end, I enjoy the process so much more.

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My Homemade Binder Cozy

Posted by on Jun 27, 2011 in craft, home life, motherhood, sewing | 3 comments

This week I had the rare chance to pull out my sewing machine. It was great – the house was relatively clean, my older daughter was in bed, and my baby was sleeping soundly wrapped on my back. I made a sweet little cover for my small ‘mommy docket’ binder with some scrap fabric that I love.

Ahhhh… instant gratification…

Organized Simplicity

Recently I’ve been reading through Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider from This book helps you make your life more organized by simplifying it, and it makes your life more simplified by being organized.  I suck at both, so this book has been truly helpful for me.

To keep life reasonably sane, Tsh uses a planner filled with docket sheets, which can be downloaded from her website. Each night she fills out the next day’s sheet, which includes space for:

  • a to-do list
  • the top three Most Important Things (MITs) <- any more is too demanding
  • a rough schedule for the day
  • an inspirational thought
  • dinner and notes regarding its preparation
  • a chart to keep a tally of how many glasses of water have been drank <- I’ve doubled my water consumption just so I can cross out the little droplets
  • a spot for an exercise plan
  • blog ideas
  • general notes

I decided to give it a shot, and I soon found that I LOVE this system. Suddenly, I am so much less stressed!

Planning My Days

Normally when I go through my day, I’m trying to remember what needs to be done as I go. So I might have a spare half hour before my 3 year old Berry’s school lets out and decide to run to the bank. At the bank, I remember that I need to stop at the deli, but now I probably won’t have time to do that until after I’ve picked up my daughter. Then I have to drag both my girls into the deli and deal with a meltdown because I won’t buy Berry a Kinder Egg, which are kept just low enough so that she can reach them. The whole day goes on like this, and while I may get all my tasks done, I feel drained by the end of the afternoon. And that’s usually when Berry will remind me that I promised we’d go to the park. Ugh.

By filling out a docket sheet the night before, I can plan out how my day will go. I’ll see that I have a spare half hour and schedule a trip to the deli while Berry is in school, choosing instead to take her to the bank with me. Then I’ll pick the bank that has a play area to entertain her and is also close to a park that we like.

Either way, I do the same amount of things, but I feel so much less frazzled. Instead of trying to quickly figure out our next task on the run, I can happily check items one by one off my list.

My Personal Mommy Docket

I wanted a smaller sheet to carry around in my bag, so I made my own template inspired by Tsh’s pocket docket and put them in my new snappy binder.

Planning my days in advance makes them go more smoothly. Instead of trying to fit in what I can, I now spend some time picturing how I want the day to go. For example, I want to spend more time each day playing with my three year old, so I created a space for a Play Date, which could be anything – a trip to a park, a hike, a library visit, even hanging out at Ikea for awhile. When I choose an activity the night before and make it part of the plan for the day, it becomes far easier to do.

I also realized as I made the binder cozy that I absolutely love to create things but I rarely have the time or energy. The night I made it, I felt so satisfied. Now I set aside time each day to craft, and it gets written right into my schedule.

The best part of planning out my days is that I get to be intentional about how I’ll spend my time, and as I go through and cross things off my list, I know that my time has been spent well.

How about you? How do you make sure you have time for the things you enjoy?

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WIP – Some Fancy-Schmancy Longies

Posted by on Jun 15, 2011 in craft, knitting | 1 comment

Almost done my first pair of longies using the Budgie Bloomer pattern from Ralvery! I still need to do a tie to tighten up the waist, but apart from being a touch long, they fit nicely! Testing them out right now – we’ll see how well they absorb. :D

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Prefolds to Contours: My Quick Cloth Diaper Hack

Posted by on Feb 23, 2011 in sewing | 3 comments

With my first baby, I used prefold diapers for the first little while. They are certainly easy to use — just fold one in three, lay it flat on a diaper cover, and stick it on the baby.  I like prefolds because they are inexpensive and so handy — spill some coffee? Grab a prefold. Baby spitting up? Grab a prefold. Cat spitting up? Um, better grab a paper towel, that’s just icky.

But I didn’t love the three inches of bulk that the diaper added to my babies bottom, which made fitting into pants more difficult. I also found the car seat harder to secure tightly with so much fabric on the bottom. So this time around, I wasn’t totally sure if I wanted to do prefolds.

Well, there is no way I’m buying more diapers, so as a compromise, I turned some of my prefolds into contoured diapers by using my serger to trim the diapers in the middle. I suppose I could have made them into fitteds instead, but adding elastic would have involved much more time and energy then I care to use at this point.

Unfortunately, the diapers are now less absorbent because I’ve eliminated a bunch of the layers of cotton that would normally be in the middle, but I’m thinking of making up some doublers from other prefolds. I’m not concerned though — these are diapers for around the house, and they are more than adequate. And I think they’ll fit into knitted wool covers a lot better too.

I thought I’d put up some pictures for anyone else considering it. You can see how they gap out at the legs a bit, but it doesn’t matter as long as a good diaper cover is on top. I made about 10 up in total. I’ll use them for awhile and let you know how they work out.

Prefolds Cloth Diapers Contoured Diapers Contoured Diaper with Snappi Contoured Diaper with a Cover

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