Sewing for Baby Boy: Pacifier Clip, Pacifier Storage Bag, Door Latch Silencer

01/15/2015

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Pacifier Strap & Clip

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I bought these mitten clasps last summer when we had little Firefly but I never got around to making him a pacifier strap before he left. This was very simple to make. I cut a strip of cotton fabric, folded it in half with right sides together, pressed open a seam allowance on one end, sewed the sides together and cut off the scrap close to my seam. The only difficult part was turning the little thing right side out. Once I did that, I pressed it flat with an iron. I sewed a small piece of elastic into the open end, closing it off. I folded and pressed the other end of the strap and sewed in around the mitten clasp.

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Since it was such a pain to turn the strap right side out, I decided to make a second one using ribbon left over from the suspenders of his coming home outfit. This one was even faster but I think it would have been better with wider ribbon.

Pacifier Storage Bag (inspired by this)

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I could have made a simply bag but I happened to have this cotton pouch saved from a recent purchase of a queen sheet set. It’s a bit bigger than needed for pacifiers and paci clips but that’s fine. All I did was make two equal lengths of brown ribbon and sewed it onto each side of the bag. Pacifiers will be easy to locate at rest times and when baby boy is bigger, he can reach into the bag himself if he needs one at night time.

Door Latch Silencer / Soft Close Cover (inspired by this)

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I used hair elastics like the inspiration link above but I found them very difficult to sew through. Next time I think I’ll just use elastic.

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Baby Inspired DIY

06/24/2014

I’ve been storing an olive green sheet for years, planning to sew it into a baby sling. Slings are great for a tiny newborn, which we’ve never had until now. In fact, Firefly is too small for our Infantino baby carrier or Moby wrap (or the ErgoBaby carrier I’m drooling over!). I found this sling tutorial via Pinterest and whipped up a sling for Firefly one Saturday afternoon. It’s perfect for him and I love the color.

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While I had the sewing machine pulled out, I decided to sew some baby tube socks and mittens for the little guy using upcycled old socks. His little hands and feet are so small that baby mittens and socks dangle off of him. I used this trusty tutorial from Made By Joel, the same one I used 3 years ago for baby Alianna.

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I love these ones made from a pair of Jason’s socks that got holes in the bottom. Baby business man socks. I’m tempted to pull socks out of Jason’s sock drawer to makes some more…

I spent another afternoon nap time sewing Firefly some baby pants from shirt sleeves. (Just like these upcycled pants like these I made for Ali.) They’re fairly easy and free if you have some old sweaters, sweatshirts or long-sleeve shirts you don’t need anymore. Jason had a striped hoodie that shrank in the wash—so much that it didn’t even fit me. I’ve been hanging onto it for such a time as this. I made Firefly some pants with room to grow since they’re really too warm for summer in Nashville. I also made him some lightweight pants from two gray long-sleeve t-shirts that I was no longer wearing. Since the pants turned out pretty well and I still had a lot of shirt leftover, I made him a hat and a pair of simple tube socks. The socks are perfect for his tiny feet but I’m guessing they’ll only fit for a couple weeks until his legs get more chubby. I’m glad I didn’t have to spend a penny on them.

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Bubbles

04/22/2013

homemade bubble solution - myMCMlife.com

Have you ever made your own bubble solution? It’s cheap, very easy and makes awesome bubbles! I’ve seen a lot of pins on Pinterest with homemade bubble recipes but this is the one I tried. I cut the recipe in half and used Dawn dish soap and light corn syrup. I found it to be too thick so I added more water.

With one breath and a simple little 1″ bubble wand, I can make 20-40 bubbles! Ali is thrilled. We’ll never be wasting our money on the “miracle” watery bubble solution at the store again. I’m hoping to try this out with a bigger bubble wand soon. Even with my little wand, I can get a bubble about 4″ in diameter.

Usually we do bubbles outside but sometimes if Ali is well behaved in the tub (in other words, not soaking me with splashing…) I’ll reward her with bubbles in the tub.

homemade bubble solution - myMCMlife.com

Dog photo bomb! (By the way, Ali is not crying in the background, she’s gasping/laughing because of the bubbles popping around her face. No children were harmed in the making of these photos. 😉 However… Warning: it’s soapy and it will sting the eyes. She tends to get it on her hands from exuberant bubble decimation and then sometimes rubs her eyes.)

homemade bubble solution - myMCMlife.com


DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition)

04/16/2013

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Almost 2 years ago, Jason and I built a modern horizontal plank wood fence at our previous house to enclose our back garden. We used the same technique to build this fence and gate to make the fourth “wall” of our courtyard. There were two major differences. 1. We only had a 12′ spanse to build. 2. We had concrete walls on both sides.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

There was only 1 post hole to dig. Hooray! Jason used our trusty old post hole digger. (Jason and that post hole digger have made holes for 2 fences prior to this!) We were only making our fence 4-4.5′ tall so we used a 6′ 4×4 pressure-treated post. The post hole should be 2′ deep.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

After making sure it was level, we added a few braces to keep it in place before adding the dry concrete mix and water into the post hole. Jason also added a little concrete mix and water under the post.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Next we attached two 2x4s to the side of the house. The bottom piece was going into the concrete block foundation of the house.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Drilling screws into concrete is not easy! We used these pretty blue concrete screws.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Jason pre-drilled the holes for the screws. He opted to drill into the mortar to make it a little bit easier.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Once that was secure, Jason added a second, longer 2×4 along the house. This one should have been easier because it was only going through wood (the hardibacker siding, the corner beam in our garage and the shorter 2×4 below. We borrowed this powerful hammer drill from a friend (necessary for drilling into concrete) and it was so powerful it stripped our drill bits and one of the outdoor screw heads. It seems like there is always something that goes awry on a project like this. Thankfully, he was finally able to get it secured to the house with a combination of this drill, every star drill bit we own and our wimpy Ryobi drill. The screw that was stripped was cut off with a hack saw.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Another 2×4 was attached to the concrete block wall of the courtyard. Everything went smoothly with this one so I didn’t have time to take any photos.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

I don’t know if it’s the correct carpentry term but we call the horizontal boards planks (as opposed to pickets on a vertical fence) and to differentiate between posts and planks. Adding the planks went every quickly since we’ve done this part many times before. We started at the bottom, putting the plank as close to the ground as possible and leveling it.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

We used 8′ untreated 1x4s. (Our last fence we used 1×3 ferring strips.) They’re cheap…around $1.20 a piece at Lowes. (Side note: in our experience Lowes has much better quality wood than Home Depot.) Jason used a nail gun to put four nails into each plank at the 4×4 post end and 3 nails into each plank at the 2×4 end. We work together doing this part and it moves rhythmically:

I position the plank into place.
Jason places the spacer between the planks.
Jason fires the nails into place.
I position the spacer at the other end of the plank.
Jason fires the nails into place.
Jason removes the spacer.
(Repeat.)
15x in this instance.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Anything sturdy and square can be used as a spacer. Since it was a fairly common question about our last fence project, I made a point of taking a picture. We used a plastic grout sample that was left at our house after construction. We have a bunch of them and it was quite convenient to have two so we could leave one at each end of the fence. They provided a gap of about 1/4″. It’s hard to see in the picture below because it’s brown…

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

We added another vertical 2×4 on the back side of the fence to keep the planks straighter. This 2×4 post is pressure treated but we didn’t put it into the ground. It’s only helping to keep the planks straight, not supporting the weight of the fence.We used the spacer again to make sure the gap between the planks was consistant. They’re often slightly bowed so we pushed and pulled to get them as straight as possible before nailing. Where the gap was too small, we used a pry bar to move the planks apart enough to fit the spacer.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Let’s step back and admire our work for a second. Ahh…

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Because we used 8′ planks, we made sure the space between the posts was slightly less than 8′. (If you’re building a fence with more than two posts, check out what we did here…I even have diagrams.)

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

We wanted the planks to be flush with the 4×4 post and we made a chalk line where they needed to be cut.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Jason used his circular saw for this. It’s a bit awkward, especially close to the ground. There may be a better way but this works for us.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

I always insist on the safety glasses. I like how Jason tucks his pencil into his hat.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

I didn’t do a very good job documenting the gate building process. (We started this project after Ali went down for her nap around 1pm on a Saturday and at this point 3 hours later, she was awake so she could “help” us.) We built a frame out of 2x4s just a bit (maybe 1″ both way) smaller than the opening for the gate. The extra 2x4s down the middle and diagonally (that I didn’t photograph here) help the gate stay square. We attached planks in the same way as the fence – starting first with the outside ends, using the spacer, and then the middle post, also using the spacer, using a pry bar as needed.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

Once it was hung, I took a picture of the back side so you can see the two diagonal pieces of 2×4 we added. I’m sure there is a simple way to calculate those angles and cut them but we had a heck of a time and ended up just experimenting until we got some angles that worked. It was pretty amusing! Jason hung the gate with three hinges while I was inside with Ali so I didn’t get a picture of that process. How he did that himself, I have no idea!

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

He quickly stained the fence using deck stainer and sealer while Ali and I were having a snack. Just before dark, it was finished. Time to go out for dinner!

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

A couple days later, I took some finished pictures.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

A hook and eye (attached to the house) hold the gate open.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

A hinge door stopper (the same kind we used inside) keeps the gate from hitting the side of the house.

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

DIY: Modern Wood Fence and Gate (Courtyard Edition) - myMCMlife.com

I love how the fence and gate make our courtyard feel so cozy and private. We can sit out here with the toddler and the dog and not have to worry about either wandering out toward the street. This is quickly becoming one of our favorite spots for lunch alfresco, afternoon tea, blowing bubbles for Ali, and evening chats. It’s going to be even more wonderful once the landscaping matures.

All of my posts related to “modern wood fence”

Modern Wood Fence —Finished! (at our previous house)

Enclosed Courtyard (intro to this post, including some before pictures.)


Before & After: Bookshelf

04/11/2013

From ugly, cheap bookshelf to cute, cheap bookshelf!

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While on the hunt for a dresser for the next kids’ room, I came across this little piece of junk bookshelf. It’s pressboard with a wood patterned laminate and it was dirty and wobbly. BUT… it was only $6.99 and I couldn’t resist! I’m on the lookout for bookshelves for the kids bedrooms, the den, my office…basically, I could use a lot of bookshelves in a lot of places.

My dear husband is the perfectionist when it comes to home projects. When I was in elementary school my mom bought me a poster of a kitten covered in paint that said “I’m not messy; I’m creative!” That pretty much sums up the way I do projects, which Jason can surely confirm. He also calls me the Swedish Chef as he’s cleaning up after me in the kitchen. All that to say, I painted the heck out of this thing. I was experimenting as I went. First I tried gray primer spray paint but it ran out. Then I tried flat black spray paint. (I’m a horrible spray painter, by the way.) That ran out too so I changed tactics and went with white ceiling paint for primer because we have a 5-gallon bucket of it in the garage. That worked. Then I painted it with the same quart of Glidden wall paint that I’ve used for the little nightstand dresser in Ali’s room and the recently purchased dresser. I figure maybe one day they’ll all end up in the same room. It took me 3 coats to cover this thing! Even after all my “primer” coats.

Before painting, I had added a few screws into the sides to try to stabilize it. They helped but I realized that it originally had a panel on the back, which would have helped the corners stay square. I came up with the idea of adding a piece of stained plywood to the back. We had the stain on hand. I used a rag to rub it onto the face and the edges of the plywood. When it was fairly dry (OK, not really…I was impatient…) I tacked it onto the back of the shelves with finishing nails. I really love how it turned out with the Granny Apple green and the American Walnut (color) wood. Oh, and the only thing I had to purchase was the plywood, which was around $10 and I had cut to size (from a 2’x4′ sheet) at the store. So this whole deal cost about $17.

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For now, it’s residing in the den. I needed a spot to put the DVD player so this room could start feeling more like a den and less like a playroom. I was also excited to have a spot to set up some of the awesome Barbie furniture my Granny made me. I could only fit about 1/4 of it on the shelf but that’s fine for now.

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Ali immediately said “House!” when she saw it and she’s pretty excited about these two mutilated “Darbies” from my childhood.

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The blonde has a broken neck and Ali is quite concerned about her head popping off. She brings it to me every time and says, “Oh no, Mama!” They’re both naked, missing one limb (from a dog attack) and have butchered haircuts. Based on how rough Ali plays with them, though, I think I’ll wait a year or two before buying her any new Darbies.

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Mission Accomplished: It’s a Dresser

03/18/2013

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My big goal for this weekend was to find a dresser for the bedroom our future foster kids will stay in. Eventually, I’d like to add a beautiful vintage dresser but for now we just needed any dresser. I found this specimen for $22.99 at a thrift store in our neighborhood. I spent about 3 hours repairing, sanding and painting it. I spent another $12 on handles and hardware. It’s not big but it will work for now. I painted it the same color green as the little 2 drawer nightstand I painted a couple years ago for our first kids’ room that’s now in Ali’s room. Eventually they may end up in the same room. So here’s my wonky little weekend DIY project, before:

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And after:

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I need to call our case worker to double-check but I believe all of our requirements to reopen our home as foster parents are now met. BIG SIGH!

Related posts:

Preparing for Foster Kids: Bedroom Tour (the 1st time)

New Home Tour: Nursery (Alianna’s Room)

Room to Grow: Making a Bedroom for Foster Kids (the 2nd time)


Simple Card Table Play House DIY

11/07/2012

I’ve seen some really creative and intricate play tents and teepees on Pinterest and other blogs. I was inspired but looking for a simpler alternative. My solution was a light blue twin flat sheet from a discount home store for $4 and a pack of fabric markers for $5. For less than $10 and in the time period of two Saturday afternoon naps for my toddler, I came up with this:

Here’s what I did:

1. I laid the sheet over the folding table and it covered the top and three sides.

2. I pinned the sides together and sewed seams up the corners of the sides and cut off the excess. (I”m no stranger to the sewing machine but this is pretty simple stitching.)

3. I used the excess (two squarish pieces) to make overlapping door flaps for the remaining side. The only unfinished edges were on those door flaps, which I pressed and sewed to make neat seams. That isn’t necessary but I figured I’d keep it somewhat crisp looking.

4. I added two velcro pads to hold each door flap open using hot glue.

That’s as far as I got during the first nap time. In a few spare minutes on a different day, I sketched out what I wanted to draw on each side of the house.

5. Once it was sewn, I ironed it.

6. I drew my design on the fabric, using the table as a drawing surface and a yard stick to make straight lines. I realized the design would show through on the inside of the house but I don’t mind. Potted plants work inside or outside.

7. I tumbled the fabric in the dryer to heat-set according to the fabric marker directions.

DONE!

The appeal of using a card table and a sheet as a play house is that it’s compact to store. At our last house our folding card table lived under our bed. The rest of the play house folds up into a 6″ x 10″ x 1″ cube.