Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Burp Cloth Tutorial

I am right at the age where most of my friends are having babies on a regular basis.  Having two kidlets of my own (and another one on the way), I have discovered that something all moms (first time and 3rd time) need, is burp clothes.  In my experience you can never have enough.  Babies are a little handful of cute cuddles and not so cute liquids.  Thus my weekend project of cute burp clothes began.

Whoever said that little boy things can't be just as adorable as little girls things was sadly mistaken.  (Okay, Okay maybe that person was me so I stand corrected.)  This project inspired cuteness no matter what the gender.  I made these burp clothes for my friend who is having her baby in a couple weeks and it is a little boy.  Her nursery colors are white, grey, and green. I wanted to make her something that was cute, practical, and homemade.

Here is the finished present:

I decided on 3 personalized burp cloths and a cute taggie blanket.  Click here for a tutorial on how to make the taggie and keep on reading for the burp cloth tutorial.  I have also put in pictures for a closer look at the 3 individual designs.

*Note: I made 2 that have a curve to them around your neck when laying on your shoulder and one that is just a straight rectangle.  This is all about personal preference and I thought I would give my friend a variety.

About a yard of fabric of your choice
Sewing machine
Old towel (optional)

Step One:  Measure about 20 inches for the straight side of the burp cloth and a slight curve for the other side and cut.  I free handed it because the curve doesn't have to be exact.  Then use the first one as your pattern to cut out the other side.  Here is where you can be creative and pair whatever fabric designs and colors you wish.  Now I used an old towel to go in the middle of the burp cloth because I wanted to make it a little thicker and more absorbent.  This is optional.
Remember*  When cutting the other side make sure you measure with the right sides together otherwise when lining them up in the next step, they might be uneven.

Step Two:
I added a little bit of embellishment to this cloth and this step is also optional.  I thought it made it very personalized and would LOVE if I got something like this.  I cut out the letter of her newborn's first name and pinned and then top stitched it to the right side of the accent fabric.  You could make a heart or some cute circles too.

Step Three:
Line all three layers up and pin.  VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you put the two right sides together of the fabric you want on the outside of the cloth.  Then place the towel cut out on the bottom. (See pic below)  If these are placed wrong, when you turn it right side out after stitching, that yucky towel will be on the outside and your cute cloth will be sandwiched in the middle.

Step Four:  Now using your sewing machine stitch around the outside of the entire cloth leaving a small opening to turn it right side out.  Once your have stitched around the edges make sure to trim the corners and cut little triangles around the curves.  This will help it to lay flat and reduce the bulk.

Step Five:
Using the small opening turn your cloth right side out.

Step Six:
Time to close up that small opening.  (You can see the three layers in the picture.)  Here there are two options.  HINT:  Best practice is to iron the cloth to give that small opening a crease to stitch on but I opted out of that step here.
Option One: This is the option I choose.  Using a ladder stitch I hand stitched the opening closed with a needle and thread.
Option Two: Fold the opening under and top stitch around the entire burp cloth closing the opening.

Finished Products!!!

Have a cute burp cloth design you have made?  Please share below, I would love to see them!

Monday, March 10, 2014


So today is the first official day of spring break.  YIPPEEE!!  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my day job but it exciting to think about having free time at home. 

I tend to be one of those people who over schedule and over plan my holidays.  This time I was forced to keep it open because Mr. Morning Sunshine had foot surgery.  The whole experience has been really humbling and eye opening.  

Sometimes I feel as if I am the only one helping out and doing things around the house....  This time I really am the only one because he can't walk and I realize how much my husband truly does contribute to our household.  I am very blessed to have him in my life.

While I have been super busy keeping up with the kids, the house, my husband, the dog, etc. I have found a few moments here and there to sneak away to my craft room and work on some projects.  I have made some adorable burp clothes for a good friend of mine and will put the tutorial in my next post.  I also made a trip to Joann's and got the fabric for the master bedroom curtains.  (Remember the bedroom I am slowly trying to refurbish?)

So on that note, here are a few quotes that I saw while browsing Pinterest that popped out at me.  


Remember to take time for yourself and love the people around you.  Happy Spring!!  :)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

First Sewing Project

Over the last few months I have been much more active on the sewing machine.  It is a joy that I didn't even realize I had.  Now, I am not an official sewing pro for sure... I'm more of a wing it as I go type of gal.  As I have been experimenting and trying new projects my daughter (9 yrs old) has been right by my side each step of the way asking how she can help and if I can teach her what I'm doing.

This past weekend I decided it was time to step back and let her complete her own sewing project. Good news is that she and I both survived with smiles on our faces.  She made an adorable little pillow out of some of our scrap fabric.  This was a great intro project and she is so proud (as she should be!)

Here is the How To Step by Step:

Supplies needed:
Fabric that can be cut into 15x15 for one side
Fabric that can be used in 5x5 squares for the other side
Sewing Machine

Step One: Measure and cut fabric.  You will need one square that is 15x15 and 9 squares that measure a little wider than 5x5.  

Step Two:
Lay the nine pieces right side up in rows.  You can make whatever design pattern you choose with the nine squares. We decided to alternate squares and create a checkered pattern, but feel free to use your creativity here.  You will first sew each of these little pieces together, one row at a time. Take the top right corner square and lay it on top of the top middle square right sides together.  It should look like this:

Stitch the edge of these two pieces together. 

Keep in mind, this was her very fist stitch on the sewing machine by herself.  She is super proud!!  

Step 3:  From here take the two pieces that are now attached and lay it right sides together with the 3rd piece on the top row.  Pin it and stitch together.  
*Make sure you stitch to the fabric edge that will be the middle piece.*  

Repeat this process for the other two rows.  When you have stitched them this is what you should have:

We then ironed the seams in opposite directions in order to help reduce the bulk when we attached the rows together.  

Step 4:  Now, just like we did with the squares, take the top row and lay it right sides together with the middle row, pin the edges, and stitch them together along one edge.  

Repeat this attaching the new stitched piece with the bottom row.  Remember to stitch and pin to the piece you want to be the middle.  This is what it should look like when you have completed this step:

Step 5:  You now have both sides of the pillow and are ready to stitch them together.  Keep it up you are almost there!!!  Lay right sides together, pin and stitch.  Remember to leave an opening as you stitch so you can turn it right side out and stuff the pillow.

Now as you can see in the picture one side has shrunken massively in this process.  (all of our seam allowances weren't exactly even)  Like I mentioned earlier this was my littles very first time to do ALL of these steps on her own.  I'm not gonna stress about the fact that the fabrics were a little off.  We trimmed the other side down and our problem was solved.

Step 6:
Now once it is stitched together, you will turn the pillowcase with right sides out and stuff.

Hand stitch the opening together and TA-DA, there you have a little pillow handmade in 6 easy steps.  Trust me if my nine year old can do it.... and I can have the patience to be there along side her the entire time teaching, you and your little can for sure give it a shot.  :)

Have a great starter sewing project or experience?  Let me know!  I would love to post it and share.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

10 Tips for a Successful Bookclub

Last summer I was having a girls weekend with some of my besties from college.  Unfortunately we no longer all live in the same city but we still try to get together once a year to catch up (and keep our sanity!)...

Anyway, on the trip we were having the discussion about how hard it is to find time for our personal hobbies and interests, when one of my friends mentioned one of her new favorite things to do was a book club she had been invited to.  This got my attention and got the gears in my brain spinning.

A little background:  I have developed several interests as of late (since my Mr. Morning Sunshine strongly suggest I find a hobby).  While at the time that convo didn't go so well, I must say now that 'suggestion' has helped me grow and explore things that I probably wouldn't have investigated otherwise. (like this blog, book club, sewing, reading, DIY projects, etc.)

After exploring and trying new things I realized one thing I really LOVE is reading.  With the inspirational words of my friend, who was my age, not frumpy, had kids, and was in a book club, I started to pursue the beginnings of a club.  I spoke with a variety of friends and everyone seemed interested but no one was willing to take the plunge and officially start it.  So, I volunteered and now we have been going strong for about 6 months with several books under our belt.  We are even going to celebrate our success, by watching Divergent together on opening night.

After some self reflection and looking back at the success and failures or this project I decided to put them into a list. Here they are:

1. Pick a book that will get members hooked the very first month. In the beginning you have to be the decisive one and pick a book to get the momentum going.  I would recommend checking with your local bookstore like Barnes and Noble or Hastings to see what is popular and catching.  Amazon is always a great source too for current best sellers in any category you want.

2.  Be willing to be the host.  A lot of people will say they want to join but not too many want it at there house every week... This is an area my book club is still working on.  There are some great benefits to having it weekly at my place such as I don't need a sitter because my kids are in bed, I can have a glass of wine or two and not worry about getting too sleepy to go home, and what I love the most now that I am preggo, everyone else brings food.  My family gets to munch on and enjoy book club leftovers the next day and there have been some really yummy treats.  Ideally though we will get to a point of rotating through the members houses.....  Like I said, I am still learning.

3.  Have an open mind about who will attend.  The people who took me up on my invite were not who I would have originally had in mind for a book club combo.  It has been really nice to have a variety of women from different circles come together.  I have also had friends bring unexpected guests and it has made those months much more dynamic.  Be welcoming to everyone (almost.... more in number 4)

4.  Be clear on the fact it is for adults only.  This is an area that I goofed on.  I didn't explicitly say no kids and now I don't feel right in uninviting the munchkin that tags along each week.  I know this one sounds harsh but trust me from first hand experience, you don't want to spend your evening babysitting and/or having to monitor all conversations due to little ears in the room.  It is even worse is if you spend your evening not being able to hear or finish a complete sentence because your friend is chasing their little one around, who is already cranky because it is past their bedtime. The purpose of a book club is for YOU not for your littles.  It's ok to have something that they don't attend.

5.  Meet on a consistent day of each month This one is pretty self explanatory.  Just like everything else in life, once there is a routine set, more people will be likely to attend each month.  It will already be on their calendar and they will be expecting it.  A helpful hint would be to put an automatic reminder in your evite invitation.  (ex: First Friday of the month)

6. Request everyone to bring suggestions of books to read for the next time.  If you don't remind everyone to bring suggestions for next time, half of the meeting will be spent on Amazon looking at the upcoming bestsellers.  There is nothing wrong with that but it can easily be done at home and that way you can fully engage with your friends while they are there.  Also it gives everyone time to process what they genuinely want to be reading about.  Keep an ongoing list of books to choose from so there is never a lull in exciting books to read.

7.  Listen to everyone's book suggestions.  Even though it is important for there to be a leader to begin with who picks the book, don't dominate that role.  Rotate book styles to meet everyone's likes and needs.  This is about community, not about giving everyone HW.  You will lose members if they feel unheard, or like it is just another chore on their list of busy to do's.

8.  Have everyone contribute to the refreshments.  This should not be a one man show.  Just like you need to rotate book ideas, give ownership to your members.  Again this one I learned the hard way, but make sure you communicate as a group about what everyone is bringing.  The first few meetings I was providing food for everyone.  Not only was that a little pricey but also exhausting.  So then we all decided we would bring an appetizer... that was a failure as well.  The first time everyone brought food, 2 people brought the exact same thing. (and everyone liked one more than the other... AWKWARD) I would suggest to set a theme such as Mexican, Italian, Picnic etc. and have each person as they respond claim a dish to bring.

9.  Don't ONLY talk about the book.  Yes, this is a book club, but it is also a time for you to connect with friends.  It isn't essential to have specific guiding discussion questions. The first time it might be nice to have them as a back-up in case the conversation isn't flowing, but from my experience we just gave opinions on likes, dislikes, how we thought it would end vs. what happened etc.  I have found that it is the most fun when we let the conversation flow naturally.  It will get off topic but then will probably loop back around.  That is exactly what this club is for.  Community.

10.  Relax and Have Fun.  Don't over-think it.  Just enjoy the company of your friends and the exposure to new reads.

If you are stuck and need some ideas here are some of my Top Read suggestions.
*Note: Not all of these would be great for a book club.

Have any more hints or tricks that worked great for you and your club?  I would love to hear them!

Happy Reading and Remember:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Grocery Store Entertainment

Just got home from the grocery store with the kidlets and this is how I feel.....

Don't get me wrong, It's not like I don't try to make it as seamless as possible.   I do all the tips and tricks that I've heard and read about such as:

  • Eat right before you go
  • Go first thing in the morning
  • Write your list in the order that the store is organized

But honestly there are times, even those things don't suffice.

So, as I was shopping, and keeping the kids distracted from all the yummy goodness the grocery stores are filled with, I noticed that my 9 year old got really into the trip.  (much more than usual)  She started playing a 'game' with where to find the things on our list.  It took a little longer to get through the store because she wanted to do it on her own, but what a fabulous learning tool!  It was totally worth it.

(My son on the other hand was busy eating the grapes... So much so that when we tried to pay for them he screamed so loud the manager let us have them for free.  Bonus!)

But anyway, this got me thinking what a great way to keep the older sibling entertained, engaged, and learning during our trip.  I decided to put together a little grocery store clue scavenger hunt so next time we go, she can be working on her 'list' while I am collecting our necessities.

Find the activity here:  Grocery Store Clues

Now remember this list is for older siblings, but you could easily modify it for a younger age by putting pictures of items they have to circle or the item itself and a checkbox when you pass it in the store.  My daughter loves mysteries and the clues help add a little adventure to her grocery trip.

Once the list is printed out give him/her a clipboard and a fun color pen and let them get busy.

And, if all else fails try to get dad to watch them and make a quick trip on your own!  :)

Have something that makes your trips easier?  Please let me know!

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Top Reads

I live with a family of bookworms (myself included).  This is awesome, aside from the fact we no longer have space on our bookshelves for all of our books.  Due to space limitations we have all gone electronic and are now collecting our libraries on our devices.  In some ways I love this (because I HATE clutter) but on the other hand there is just some nice about reading an actual book.  What is your preference?

To create a balance we do still take trips to the local library plus, this helps with the money side of it too... Reading as a hobby can get expensive!

Anyway long story short, a friend inspired me and last August I started a book club.  It has been such an awesome experience because I have read several things I would never have picked on my own, but have enjoyed them thoroughly.  This got me thinking... What are my personal favorites?

SO....., I decided to put together a list of some of my own personal favorite books to read.  This list of books is a combo of ones that truly make you think about life, are pure brain candy, and one or two suspense.

My Movers and Shakers
(in no particular order)

Redeeming Love

Life Expectancy

The Total Money Makeover

The Proverbs 31 project

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back

The Husbands Secret

Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mom

A Stolen Life

Me Before You

The Girl with the Pearl Earring

Honestly there are about a million more I could add but these were the few that popped into my head immediately.

As I mentioned earlier my whole family loves to read.

Here is my daughter's current reads (4th grade)

  • The Fablehaven Series
  • The Aragon Series
  • The Percy Jackson Series
  • The Hunger Games
  • The Beautiful Creatures Series

(Can you tell she gets sucked into series?)

Here is my son's current favorite bedtime reads (22 months)

  • Sung as a Bug
  • Farm Animals
  • The very hungry Caterpillar
  • The Kissing Hand
  • Where's Spot
  • Big Green Monster

(He LOVES animals!)

Have a personal favorite that has really touched you?... Please share!  My list of TO READ is ongoing and I love hearing a new perspective.  Also I'm always looking for good books to share and read with my kids.  That's the daytime teacher side of me.  :)

Happy Reading and Remember:

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