Showing posts with label The Twins. Show all posts

Bow Whoa Whoa

Once upon Sunday, minutes before church, we were rushing to get out the door and I had the girls dressed in the cutest of outfits that would be best topped off with a pretty little bow on their pretty little heads.  The problem?  We had no bows.  I don’t know about you but you might know this about me…I work pretty well under pressure.  Actually, that’s when a lot of my out-of-the-box ideas come loose.  So, with seconds to spare, I remembered I had some scraps of felt laying on my desk.  With a little snip here, a little snip there, a twist here, and a tuck there, we had bows. 

Lemme explain in pictures…

You’ve got a little piece of felt:


It’s rare that I can begin a project and see it through to the end in one day but this past Tuesday, I did just that.  I’ve had some thigh-high womens’ socks in my “to sew” pile for a year now and finally got around to refashioning them into…IMG_8244…boot cuffs for the littlebig girls.
(PS, grandma got the girls these boots I was all heart-eyed over and they are just as cute and deserving of that emoji in person.  So, in case you’re in the market for some toddler booties, I highly recommend these!  They’re linked towards the end of the post!)

It took me about ten minutes total to grab the socks,
cut each shaft into two equal lengths (which, by the way, leaves mama with a pair of crew cuts),
and serge the unfinished ends.
IMG_1280Don’t have a serger?  Just sew a zig-zag stitch around the ends.  No sewing machine?  Grab some matching thread and sew a quick whip stitch around the top edge.  Don’t worry about perfection.  Worn, they’re scrunched up anyway so no one will be able to critique your whipping.

When the air down here eventually dips below sweltering during the day (November, here’s looking at you), the girls will actually don them outside for longer than a two-minute photo sesh. 
IMG_8241jeans:  Carter’s clearance last year // similar
sweatshirt tunics:  Carter’s clearance last year // similar or this one would be so cute too
diy // similar
boots:  Carter’s or Kohl’s
hats:  one gifted and one a hand-me-down // similar and similar
tire swing (in case you need a swing option that can hold two tots – we paid $30 for it so watch that price):  Amazon
slightly blurry pic:  juggling the camera with a baby on the hip
*some of the links above are affiliate links
Someone was not about to be left out of picture-taking…
IMG_8246…and one eager mama was not about to decline because, just look at that face.

Eat him up.

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diy toddler boot cuffs

Just Beadiful

I’ve been wanting to up the ante in the girls’ room since they moved in way back when Sebastian took over their old room.  During a few weeks in October, I finally got my chance.

Shortly after we moved in, we took a can of creamy beige to the walls in here and it worked as a guestroom/office for several years (paint color was Drifting Dune by Valspar).  The cream walls were a perfect canvas for adding whatever color of decor I felt like and they still are.  Except this summer a friend gave us a beige rug she wasn’t using anymore and I thought the girls’ room would be the perfect new home for it except…IMG_6105…really it just created one big, beige box.

I loved the rug too much to part with it so something had to be done.  One of those things came in the form of an idea of creating a colorful accent wall behind the cribs. 

Initially, I had schemed to knock-off this Anthropologie wallpaper by stenciling something similar using some sort of watercolor technique I still had to come up with.  But then over time the room started collecting lots of colorful artwork above the girls’ dresser and I thought maybe the colorful wallpaper knock-off idea would just create too much pastel-ish color.  Is it possible to have too much color?  I don’t know but the thought of walking into a soft-palette, watercolor room read “overstimulation” to me.  Plus, the watercolor stencil would’ve probably been a lot of work and it’s not one of those designs that could easily be melded into a new decor plan in the future…the future being when the girls’ turn into real little girls and I want to turn their room into a funky modern yet girly space.

So then…I know, “get to the point already!”, I thought maybe I’d just stencil a simple pattern onto the wall that wasn’t in-your-face but wouldn't totally blend into the wall either; accentuating with subtlety.

Enter Cutting Edge Stencils and the girls’ new-and-improved, but still ever-tweaked, room:  IMG_6558

I’ve made my own stencils before but, for what I wanted on this wall, I didn’t have the skill to just whip up a diy stencil much less create something big enough to stencil it.  Good thing Cutting Edge does have that skill.  When I was set on the subtle stencil idea for this accent wall, I started perusing their site.  I had heard of them lots of times via other blogs and I knew they had some really awesome designs.  So, together with Chelsea at Checking in with Chelsea, we contacted Cutting Edge to ask if they’d sponsor a post and they said “YES”!  Honestly, I was planning on grabbing a stencil during their next sale anyway but I thought maybe we could try to collaborate with them first and so I was floored (walled?) and excited when they sent us each a Beads Allover stencil plus a Stencil Essentials kit.

But anyway, enough with the small talk.  Let’s talk about how this went up.

First, I moved everything away from the accent wall, took down the mirror, and gave the wall a quick wash with some mild soap and water.IMG_1892
I started the stenciling process by stenciling along the ceiling first.  Cutting Edge includes a top edge stencil with their allover wall stencils to make stenciling along the ceiling a breeze.  I found that using the end of the foam roller that came in the Stencil Essentials kit to stipple the paint onto the stencil worked the best for me.  The walls in the girls’ room have a fair amount of orange-peel texture to them but the foam cut the bleeding because of the texture to a minimum and allowed me to get super close to the ceiling.
I did have to wipe off the back of the stencil after every couple of rounds but having a pack of wet wipes close made it easy to do.
This might not have been as necessary with non-textured walls but since mine are, paint did tend to seep behind the stencil a tad.  Spraying the back of the stencil with spray adhesive would probably have cut down on the bleed too but I didn’t want to spray that stuff in the girls’ room and the thought of running to and fro outside and their room wasn’t appealing time-wise. 

That black strip attached to the stencil is a clip-on stencil level.  This little thing was awesome and I highly recommend grabbing one for your next stenciling project!  It’s a miniature level that attaches to the top or bottom of the stencil.  It cut out all the measuring to make sure the stencil was painted on straight.  One quick glance at the level is all you need get things nice and straight so that you can spend more time focusing on important things like painting and watching how much paint you’re getting on your roller.

Here’s what the wall looked like after I was finished stenciling along the ceiling: IMG_1895[Sorry for the poor picture!  I worked at night and you know how well poor-lighting plays with cameras…]
I don’t know if borders are out these days but I thought the Beads stencil looked cute just along the top of the wall.

Next up was…the rest of the wall.  I didn’t realize how large this stencil actually was before I took it out of the packaging.  It’s big.  Great too because a big stencil meant less work for me.

I started stenciling several inches from the corner of the wall, thinking that I’d tackle the corners last.  I wasn’t sure how the stencil would hold up with me bending it into the corners so I was a little concerned that if I did the corners first and the stencil didn’t hold up, I’d be in deep trouble.  (Spoiler alert:  not only did it hold up to the corners but there were no bends, breaks, or warping to be seen after!)

At first I just taped the sides of the stencil to the wall after making sure it was level using some painters’ tape I had on hand.  The problem was that the painters’ tape I had wasn’t really holding the stencil up.  It was painters’ tape I’ve had forever and was probably cheap.  Doh!

I didn’t have time to go out and grab more tape since I had a limited time schedule (bedtime for a couple of nights only) so I remedied the sad sticking situation with sticky tack!

I just stuck a little ball of it to the four corners of the stencil and it worked like a charm!  The stencil was going nowhere but onto the wall!  I think I’ll go for the tack over tape for any future stencil too.  It’s easy to remove and just stick to the next area; no grabbing another strip of tape or worrying about where the heck you laid the tape you need rightthisminute.
To paint the stencil, I used the foam roller on it’s handle.  Since my walls are textured, barely covering the roller with paint was KEY!  Using the paint tray below (Home Depot, I think?) made it easy for me to load up the foam roller with paint and then roll the excess off onto the platform.
I also figured out that if I went over the stencil twice, each time with very thin coat of paint, it cut out on the bleeding even more.  I did the coats one-after-the-other.  And, just like with the edge stencil, I made sure to wipe off the back of the stencil after every couple of uses.  In the end, I still didn’t have super-clean edges like I would’ve with a non-textured wall, but the edges weren’t awful either.  Perfectly imperfect.  :)

After I was done stenciling the entire middle of the wall, it was time for the corners.  Like I said above, I was a little nervous about these because I wasn’t sure if bending the stencil into the corners was going to  permanently bend the stencil or if all would be unscathed.  I was pleasantly surprised and super impressed with how the stencil handled corners though!  It came out looking as great as when it came out of its packaging!   

So, in conclusion…

The stencil itself?  So awesome.  The quality is so great and it was (and still is) seemingly indestructible.  It rounded the corners well without cracking/breaking and showed no signs of injury when I accidentally dropped it…oops.  Five stars/two thumbs up/hearty applaud to Cutting Edge for creating a high quality product and gaining a loyal customer in me.  (Master bathroom walls, I’m looking at you…)

Sticky tack worked so much better than tape for me and was a lot more efficient, especially since I was on a major time crunch to get the girls’ room back to normal.

If you are stenciling textured walls, wipe off the back of the stencil every few rounds.  Don’t be afraid to give a little stencil-love to textured walls!  It can be done!

Stippling with the end of the roller was a great way to get really close to the ceiling vs. rolling the paint on along the narrow edge stencil.

The paint tray I used with the small platform on it was great at helping get the right amount of paint onto the roller (this one* is similar to mine but I’m sure you’d probably be able to find one at a home improvement store too).

I used a white Glidden paint in satin to paint on this stencil.  It dried fairly quickly which is key in stenciling.  The faster the paint dries, the less chance it has to bleed or get smudged. 

Cutting Edge has a great list of FAQ’s on the actual stenciling process that you should definitely check out when buying a stencil.

Overall, I really don’t have anything bad to say about the whole experience.  I’m 100% sold on stencils (again) as a much, much, much cheaper wallpaper alternative and to liven up any room.

IMG_6561  IMG_6564                                            [refurbished mirror, over-sized letters are from JoAnn Fabrics]
I’ll have lots more details about all of the other projects I finished in this room in the coming weeks but for now, let’s take a little tour of the girls’ sweet space, shall we?
IMG_6565                                                        [diy play kitchen from an entertainment center]
 IMG_6566These pictures of the dresser wall came out awful for some reason (shoulda turned the lamp off?) but at least you can kinda get a glimpse of all the pastels going on there. IMG_6567 IMG_6569                                                                                  [mirror refurb]


My favorite tours though, are those that bring up what used to be.  Like how the room looked like this right after we moved in and scrambled to put it together before guests arrived with stuff we had on hand:guest office ip 
But then we made big progress into turning it into a guestroom guests would feel much more cozy in.may182012 008

And then the twins got moved, mom got busy and moved up in the photo-taking world to bring us where we are today:IMG_6560

And in case you’re wondering how in the heck I keep their room so clean, I don’t.  I just lock them out when I need to take blog pictures when the bright sun is shining in during the late-afternoon…and I call on a certain Explorer to babysit.  Once that lock is unlocked though and the cubs are let in, it’s all scatter and dump.  IMG_6591

And that’s real life.

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Make sure you check in with Chelsea to see what she did with the Beads stencil!

*affiliate link


And PS, thank you for all the love after our bitty baby announcement Friday!  I’m so blessed to have such friends in my readers!  XO! 

Fur Real

I feel like a new woman!  My head is slowly coming out of the fog that has been the last five days.  A couple of hours after this recent ‘gram, things around here went south…or should I say north.  Sebastian ejected the entire contents of his day out of his mouth on our way home from the playground (oh yes, think carseat…everywhere) and it didn’t stop there.  Oh no.  The next day and a half after that hold the record for the most vomit I’ve ever seen come out of any of my kids mouths…the record because, until now, we have somehow escaped it.  We’d never had to deal with a stomach bug plus a heaping side of vomit before the last few days.  It’s awful to see your kids suffer and not be able to take it all away.  After the vomit came the flood out the other end for all kids and I’ll just stop there because I’m experiencing some feelings of PTSD arise and I’m sure you want to know allll the details.  Right. 

Anyway, I’m just so happy to be here today and I’m overjoyed our kiddos are smiling again.  I wish the screen could exude my excitement a little more.  We had a normal night last night and a normal morning this morning so I’m calling all systems go.  I might even get dressed today knowing that the chances of my clothes wearing bodily fluid are super low.  It’s great and I’m just happy to be alive with all kids in tow!

I even got the kids dressed.


But let’s zoom in on the fur, shall we?  That’s why I’m really here today anyway.
Those vests were my miniscule link to reality the past several days.  I made them in two fifteen minute breaks while all sick kids were sleeping (two breaks because poor cries cut me short during the one shot I had to get them all done).  They only cost me about $3 each too!  So, like I do, I’m going to tell you all about how I made them and how you can make them too!

Oh, and did I mention that you can make them without sewing a single stitch?  You can!

The supplies:
-vest pattern (link to free download below)
-a piece of faux fur – I bought mine from Hancock Fabrics and it’s awesome (couldn’t find it on their website for ya – boo!).  Plush and soft and the color is just perfecto.  To make two size 2T-4T vests, I only needed a little over a half yard and since I bought the fur on sale, that meant only $6.  (I actually bought a yard though because, at the time, I wasn’t sure how much I needed but I’m glad I did because with the remainder of the fur I have, I can get at least one fur scarf for mwah and maybe two tiny ones for them!)
-staples and a staple gun for the no-sew route (I know it’s weird but read on…)
-hot glue and hot glue gun

I know I said you can make these without sewing; that’s where the staples come in.  But if you know how to sew a simple straight stitch or you’re a beginner hand-sewer, you can use a machine or needle and thread instead of the staples.  Since I know how to sew, I used my machine.

First, you’ll want to grab this free toddler vest pattern from Once Upon a Sewing Machine.  You’ll only need the front and back pages, not the hood.

Print it out and cut it out along the given lines.

On the pattern it says to add 6.5 inches to the bottom of each piece but I only added three because the vests would’ve been way too long with 6.5 more inches on my girls.  To add those inches, I just taped a piece of paper onto the bottom of each piece and cut it so that the sides lined up all the way down and so that it extended that three inches from the bottom of the pattern.IMG_2046 I also cut off the small part on the front pattern piece placed there for buttons (that middle strip that’s cut off in the picture above).  I wasn’t going to have any buttons so I didn’t need the extra fabric there.

The next thing I did was make the arm holes a little smaller.  To do this, I pulled out one of the girls jean vests and moved it so that it was laying on top of the pattern armhole with the top of the shoulder and sides of the vest lined up with the top and sides of the pattern.  Then I just traced it onto a sheet of paper I had taped under the pattern armhole and cut it out.
IMG_2047This is before I positioned the jean vest where it needed to be lined up to trace it, but you can see how much smaller the actual vest armhole was.  It’s worth noting though that my girls are fitting comfortably in 2T tops right now so if you’re making this for a child closer to 4T, you might be able to keep the armholes the size they are.  It’d be worth comparing it to a sleeveless shirt or vest you already have to make sure though.

Here’s what the pattern looked like when I was done lengthening and minimizing the armholes:IMG_2048
At this point I thought I was ready to take the fabric to the fur but when I placed the front and back pieces together (they meet at the armhole side), one was longer than the other.  I wish I could’ve said it was my measuring error but as it turns out, the front of the pattern is actually a smidge longer than the back.
IMG_2049It was an easy fix though; I just sliced that extra length off the bottom and to the fur I went.

So, you’ve got your fur.  Lay it fur-side down on a table but make sure that you lay it so that the fur is pointing in a downward direction – the nap of the fur goes down towards the bottom of what will be your vest.  Does that make sense?
IMG_2050I folded the end of the fabric over in the picture above so you could see how my fur was laying.
Next, grab both pieces of your pattern and tape them together at the armholes.  Then, along each side except for the far left side, trace around the pattern but trace a half inch out.  (Note:  I used a sharpie because a pencil didn’t show up that well but if you have a washable marker, that would be even better.)
IMG_2051No need for perfection!  Fur hides that really, really well!  :)

Along the left side of the pattern, trace right along the edge of the paper.  This line will just be a guiding line to show you where to line up the pattern for the next side.  (Note:  this line will be the only one that shows on the inside of the finished vest.  I wasn’t too worried since when it’s worn, it’s not seen at all but if you want it eliminated, make sure you do use a washable marker and it’ll come out in the wash.)

Next, flip your pattern over and line it up along that middle line you drew.
IMG_2052Make sure you literally flip the pattern over!  Don’t just slide it over!

Trace a half-inch out again along all sides.  You won’t need to trace along the now-right side again. 

This is what the back of the fur will look like when you’re done.

Now it’s time to cut along every line but that middle line.

Cutting fur is a little tricky.  If you can, use a small, pointed scissors and snip away in small increments from the back of the fur.  If you don’t have a smaller scissors, a regular-sized pair will work too but just remember those small increment cuts.  They’re crucial in not cutting off the fur so it looks like it got chopped at the $5 hair salon.

IMG_2104In cutting in small increments, you’re not really cutting fur as much as you’re just cutting the backing.

Once you have your vest cut out, it’ll be time to attach the shoulders.

I sewed them together but you can staple them if you don’t know how to sew!  I promise it’ll hold up and no one will know but you!  First though, we need to trim away some fur so that the seam isn’t so thick – it wouldn’t fit under my machine foot the way it was.

To do that, just trim off the fur along the top half-inch or so.
Then, fold the sides of your vest in, fur-side in, so that the front and back shoulders line up.  If you’re sewing, sew a straight stitch like this but stop a half-inch from each edge.  You’ll glue those unfinished ends down in a minute.
IMG_2110If you’re stapling instead of sewing, just placed a line of three or four staples horizontally along the line I sewed.  Or if you know how to hand sew, you can sew a quick line too!

Once you’re done attaching the shoulders, you can move on to the hot gluing or you can quickly cut a v-neck in the front of the vest like I did.  Starting at the top inside shoulder, I just drew a straight line a little more than half way down the front inside hem.  Then I used the same small-increment snipping to cut that little triangle off each side. IMG_2128
Last step!  Hot glue!  This part was hard to document because hot glue dries so quickly but basically I went around each edge of the vest minus the very bottom hem and glued a half-inch hem.  I worked in three or four-inch sections so that the glue wouldn’t dry faster than I could get it on.  I didn’t do the bottom hem because the fur hangs down far enough to cover the backing completely.

You can see in the picture below that the bottom part of this side is glued.  The white line shows where I placed the glue.  Once the glue was there I just folded the edge of the fur over onto itself, pressed it and held it until the glue was dry, and wala!  An easy hem!
IMG_2143 I even folded the arm holes in a half inch and did those.  I feel like hemming all the edges makes everything look a little cleaner because you can’t see any backing peeking out from anywhere.

This is what the vest looks like from the inside, all finished:

All that in about a half hour…and that was making two vests.  Uninterrupted, this is an easy breezy project that’ll have your little fashionista right in line with the runway these days.  ;)

Taking the after pictures was actually the hardest part for me.  So many acorns.  So little time.
Here’s the funny thing about this project - I bought this fur last fall thinking I’d make the vests back then and they just got shoved to the end of the project line and now, here they are.  Haha!  But, as it turns out, they would’ve look huge on the girls last year.  The timing will now allow them to be worn this year, next year, and maybe even the next year after that.  Unintentional providence that is also known as procrastination ftw.

Adios.  I have lots more procrastinating to attend to…the dishes for example.  The couch is calling my name.

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diy faux fur toddler vests