Archive for the ‘How to make stuff’ Category

As I’ve said in the past I love learning new things. My latest learning curve has been scheduling sleep for three little kids and trying to find some peace and quiet for a bit of creativity. I’ve come to the realization that if I really want this quiet time to create I have to choose between sleep or creativity. I end up going to bed most nights no later then 12am, those are the creative nights. The nights I choose sleep I’ll usually go down about 8pm.

For those of you who wonder how I find time to be creative(I get asked quiet often) its simple. I love it!!! What you love you find the time to do. I don’t want you to think I do it all by any means. My laundry piles up, the dishes need doing and truthfully I am not a very tidy person. I do feel much better about sitting down to sew or design when the house is clean but sometimes I have to let it go. One thing I know about myself is this….When I have time to be creative it helps me feel more alive. I’m sure this makes me a better person to be around and a better mom as well.

Here is what I’ve been designing on spoonflower.

Thanks to my sweet husband my photo shop skills are much improved.


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Making a relaxing Neck Warmer

Materials you’ll need:
1. One fat quarter of cotton fabric (21inches x 18inches).
2. 18inches of 1/2 cotton rope.
3. Approximately 4 cups of rice, corn or flax.
4. Scissors
5. Sewing machine
6. Thread
7. Iron and ironing table

***It might also be nice to add a sent to your neck warmer…I’ve used lavender oil, dried lavender, citrus oil, and dried tea bags (I chose chamomile tea).


1. Cut out 1 piece of fabric measuring 21inches x 10 inches. Cut 2 pieces of fabric measuring 8 inches x 2.5inches.
2. Take the 18inch rope and cut it in half so you have two 9inch pieces.  Put these aside.
3. Take the 21 x 10inch pieces of fabric and fold it in half long ways with right sides together so it measures 21x5inches and iron it. Put this aside.
4. Take the two pieces of 8×2.5inch fabric and fold them in half long ways with the right sides together and iron them down.
5. Now sew along the long edge of the 8×2.5 inch folded fabric. Turn it right side out after you’ve sewn it and slide the rope inside of it. Do this with both pieces of fabric and rope. You’ve now made the handles.
6. Now take the main body of fabric and one of the handles you’ve made. Open the main body of fabric up and at one of the shorter ends pin the handle in place with the loop on the inside of the fabric fold. As shown in the picture.
7. Sew down the handle end and the long side of the fabric. Then turn out.
8. At the open end fold it inside about 1/4 of an inch and iron it down (this will make sewing the neck warmer closed much easier).
9. Now it should act like a bag with one open end and the other end with a handle on it. These next few steps are where you get to choose where you want the rice to sit in the neck warmer and how firm you want it.
10. I like to use pins and measure where I want to make my sewing lines. For this example, I’ve measured 5inches from the sewn bottom of the neck warmer and placed a pin off to the side.
11. Next you’ll pour about 1 cup of rice into the neck warmer body and then sew across at the 5inch mark.
12. For this specific neck warmer I’ve chosen to sew right up the middle long ways making two long sections but I chose to stop 5 inches from the other side so it will turn out even in weight.
13. Now pour about 1 cup of rice into each long tube you’ve made in the body of the neck warmer. As seen in the photo.
14. Sew across the top five inches down to seal the rice in the tubes.
15. Now pour the remaining 1cup of rice into the last section of the neck warmer.
16. Now take that last handle and insert each end into the body of the neck warmer and pin it into place as seen in the photo.
17. Be careful the rice is still loose. Sew along the edge sealing everything in and then sew over it a second time especially on the handles since they are holding all the weight of the rice.
18. Go back on the other end and sew over the handles on that end to strengthen the handles there too.
19. Toss your finished produce into the microwave for 2-3 minutes, depending on the microwave and how much rice you chose to put in and your done and warm.

Some different options:
o You can use more or less rice in each section to make it stiffer or looser.
o You can make a slip cover for it so you can wash it.  Just cut out a piece of fabric 23 x 11inches and fold in half iron it down and sew up the long end then hem each of the shorter ends. Your finished product should have two open ends for the handles to poke out of.
o You could also make more sections in the neck warmer it would just take a little more sewing.
Example:  sew down the center add a 1/8 cup of rice to each side the sew at the 2 inch mark and continue doing this till you reach the top.

These would make great gifts for the coming cold season!!!

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Our chickens are now full-grown young ladies, loving spring time in the back yard. Each day for them goes about the same. They come down from the roost with the rising of the sun eat their chicken feed and drink from the water trough and mill about in the dirt looking for bugs and weeds. About an hour goes by and they’ll get a visit from myself our the kids with some leftover table scraps(moldy bread, old lettuce, spoiled fruit) at which point they try their darndest to get loose from the coop. Id say it’s a 50% success rate for all their efforts. We then leave them to cruse the yard, we leave the coop open and they usually head back into the safety of its chicken wire after a couple of hours. They also prefer laying their eggs in the nesting boxes so that draws then back inside as well. If they don’t get loose we keep them in the coop for the day and spare out yard from the chickens poop and the possibility that they will eat my garden to the ground(its happened). We don’t hear much from the chickens on a daily basis except when one of them lays an egg. We get to hear all kinds of proud announcements. I can look out into the back yard towards the coop and see one of the ladies squawking and fluffing herself letting the world in general know how great she is at laying eggs.

Chickens eat pretty consistently all day long and love to roll around in the dirt and chase butterflies and crickets. They head up into the roost as the sun goes down, it’s actually pretty remarkable. If we leave them out all day we can be sure they are inside the coop as the sun goes down as long as we leave the door open. This was not taught to them they just started doing it once we put them outside. They live a very simple life.

Our little wanna be mama.

About a week ago I was heading out into the yard, the sun was shinning, I had just finished a yummy breakfast, had my cup of coffee in my hand, with kids running about and was en route to the coop. I had gardening on my agenda and I usually let the girls out when I plan on being outside for a while. I opened the door and only 4 out of 5 of the ladies scurried out….kinda weird. they’re usually elbowing each other out-of-the-way trying to be the first one through the door so I new something was amiss when Mary Clair didn’t even come down from the roosting area. I opened the side door and found her sitting in a nesting box all snuggled in. I figured she was laying an egg and left her alone (it seemed a bit early because the girls all like laying eggs midafternoon, and it was only 8:00am). I had also noticed a day earlier that she had plucke out or lost most of the feathers on her belly area. She has been sitting in the same darn box for this whole week. I called my dad and asked for his opinion about what I should do(he raised lots of chickens in our yard while I was a baby) and whether or not he thought she might be sick, he said he didn’t know and told me to kick her off the nesting box and check her out to see if she still ate and did the rest of her normal chicken stuff(pooping, laying eggs, wallowing in the dirt, eating bugs and weeds). I said ok and went out the next day ready to kick her out of the box and check out how she did next to the other 4 ladies. I got out there, opened the door and went to pick her up, she has always been very docile and friendly as far as chickens go, but as I reached in to get her she fluffed up and pecked me really hard!!! What ran through my mind was what the heck, I’m not gonna hurt you, why are you being so protective? Then it struck me that maybe she is brooding. I was told some breeds of chickens can become what is called “broody”. They think that their eggs are fertile and need to be kept warm. Mind you we have no rooster so the eggs these 5 ladies are laying will never hatch babies. This poor chicken thinks she is gonna be a mama. I have had to kick her out every day this past week trying to break her of the habit because I’ve been told and have read that chickens can become very nasty if they aren’t broken of the habit. Ugg….she so wants to be a mother and here I am 7 month pregnant telling her no, like I have room to talk.

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We have another bun in the oven as they say and for me number three has not gotten any easier.

I haven’t consistently posted in about 5 months mostly do to the lovely nausea and tiredness I’ve been dealing with. I really hate whiners so enough about that, it’s over and done with and I now feeling much better. We are due to have another sweet baby in August and we’ve been told its going to be a girl!!!

Some stuff I’ve learned this time around…….so far.

  1. We are what is considered a middle-income family and live in California. With insurance being as pricey as it is I chose to look into AIM(access for infants and mothers). It’s a California state-run program and there are income minimums and maximums that you have to fit within but over all I am very pleased with the program.  I was able to down load the application and fill it out and send it in without any hitch. You have up until the 30th week of pregnancy (7 1/2 months!!) to complete your paper work. I have no complaints so far. Its 1/4 of the cost then when I was working and had what I thought was great insurance for my first baby, and again 1/4 of the cost of the second baby with another insurance. They charge you 2% of your yearly income. We chose to break it into monthly payments for the 10 months that I’m pregnant (about $85.00) and we don’t have co-pays when we go see the doctor.  I put this as something I’ve learned because I have quiet a few friends who are young, married and starting family’s and had not heard about this program. It will even extend to the health coverage of your child (for $5.00-$24.00 per month) as long as  you qualify, up until that child turns 18yrs old.
  2. I’ve learned what a Doula is. I wont be in need of one (I have 3 supportive sisters and a great mom, my hubby doesn’t do well with blood and things of that nature so he’s present but more of a cheerleader at my head) but I have watched and learned with the women around me how truly important and calming a doula can be for a pregnant mama who needs good solid support during pregnancy and labor. I good friend of mine is a Doula and has her own blog where she shares other women’s stories of labor and delivery. Through her and mutual friends I have seen how she can help answer a range of questions that you might feel silly calling your doctor about, as well as supporting you through some of the toughest emotional and physically demanding moments of your life. If you’re at all unsure who is going to be your support during this stage of life I would look into finding a doula.
  3. GRACE, is huge. Having grace on my 2 toddlers that run around the house making noise and messing with the general order of things is a must. Having grace on my husband when he doesn’t always understand my emotionally charged moods is a must. Last but not least I need to have grace on myself when I don’t pull the house back into order after a day of kid chasing or get dinner on the table when I know it should be time to eat or understand my own emotionally charged moods. Life happens and without grace life can be very disappointing. A book I finished right before I became pregnant with this 3rd bundle of joy really brought parenting and grace into perspective for me, it’s a good read and I think I will be reading it at least a couple more times. I plan on going more in-depth about this book in a future post but for now, The title is “Grace-Based Parenting“, By Dr. Tim Kimmel

I am sure to add more to this list later but as of yet these are the 3 that stand out the most this time around the 10 month stretch(yes 10 months, they all lie when they say 9 months, do the math).

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I’ve chosen to learn something new!!!!

This time around I’ve decided to take my love of sewing to new levels. Creating my own fabric!!! There are tons of great designers putting beautiful work on the market for us sewing fiends to choose from…but I still have a hard time finding exactly what I want and I think that comes from having my own eye for design and something specific in mind.

My husband  who happens to bring out the creative side of a person in everyone he meets asked me if I had considered designing my own fabric, I replied with “I’d love to but I don’t think it could be cost-effective and I wouldn’t want bolts and bolts of the stuff and so on and so forth”. I am always the one who says “it probably can’t be done” and he is always the one to reply with “you don’t know until you try”. Well I’ve looked into it a bit further and found out lo and behold it can be done. After looking at some different sites I found Spoonflower to be my favorite.

Once I picked my company of choice I started looking at what kind format my image needed to be. Their list of acceptable file formats are JPG, PNG, GIF or TIF (8-bit, uncompressed), and the file must be less than 30 MB. I was also informed that my best options for designing fabric through Spoonflower would be a digital photograph or a scan of some artwork, or a design created in Photoshop or illustrator. So I started out simple I used a photo I already had and played with the colors and patterns it would make all layed out on fabric.

Here is my first effort. Not really something I’d buy or want to sew with so I moved on pretty quickly from just straight photos. Next I tried scanning some art work which I felt came out better but still not really what I was visualizing. At this point I realized my desire to design fabric was actually taking me in the direction of needing to learn some  Photoshop and Illustrator skills. I’m a very hands on learner and sitting next to someone else while they show me what different clicks of the mouse can do is not going to help me much until I can get at least a small footing of my own. So with very limited knowledge of what I am doing I’ve started playing around and here is what I’ve come up with so far. I am headed in My right direction and pretty excited. I like learning new things even though its hard and I feel like there is never enough time for it. That’s a whole other issue, I don’t want to go there today.

I’m hoping in the near future you’ll have the option of purchaseing fabric from Luluhoo on spoonflower and/or etsy.

Any questions about how to get yourself started down the path of designing your own fabric…ask away.

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Hello again,

I’ve made another pattern and the feed back from others has been nothing but positive. I’m told that the directions and pictures that go with this pattern make this a very easy project to complete.

To start with I love to sew and would much prefer to make and sew all of my own stuff versus buying something from the store. Hence the reason Ive started make patterns for things. I’ve been making wallets, purses, bags, clothing and much more for quiet some time and find that I prefer to make it up as I go.  So now Ive taken to making it up as I go and documenting the process.

So, for my latest project I’ve documented the making of a wallet.

To start with you will want to set aside about an hour and a half to complete your wallet.

The items you will need  to make this wallet are as follows:

o Scissors

o 2 fat quarters of fabric (most non stretch fabric will work)

o 7 inch zipper

o 1 medium or large button

o 1/3 yard light weight fusible interfacing

o Iron and ironing board

o 1 Coordinating spool of thread

o Ruler

o Pins

o Pattern and directions ( click on this link to purchase the direction)

Note about material preference: When making this wallet you can go many creative directions. As long as the pieces are the right size you can use pretty much any scraps you have left over from other projects. The only thing I would be careful about is using material that is too bulky for the credit card holders (the 4×4 pieces) and the button loop (8×2 inch piece).  For this pattern and the photos to follow I use high quality quilters cotton fabric. I personally like the way it turns out using this material and you can easily throw the wallet in the wash.

Lets get started!


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Lulu’s Comfy Tank/Dress

Directions on how to assemble and sew this tank dress

Things you will need to make this tank dress:

The back of the shirt dress

The back of the tank dress

o Scissors
o Paper
o Tape
o 1 yard of 44inch cotton fabric or two 1/2yard pieces out of coordinating fabrics
o 1 spool coordination thread
o 2 buttons
o Pins
o Iron and Ironing board (not necessary just makes it a nicer looking all said and done)
o Sewing machine

***The Pattern***

1. Print these directions and the pattern pieces.
2. Cut out the pattern pieces (there should be 4)
3. Tape pattern piece A1 to pattern piece A2 where indicated on the paper.
4. Tape pattern piece B1 to pattern piece B2 where indicated on the paper.
5. Lay out material on a flat surface fold in half and lay out pieces so that the front panel is along the folded edge with room for the side panels. Pin in place. Cut 2 center panels and 4 side panels. This will be enough for the outer facing material and the inner lining. (This shirt is reversible so if you pick two prints of material that you like you can reverse the shirt)
6. Now pin 1 of the side panels onto the front panel with right sides facing each other (keep in mind the prints you want to show together). Sew down the side with a 1/4inch seam allowance. Repeat with the other side panel for the lining piece to be complete. Do this step again with the 3pieces you still have and you will then have the outer piece and the lining complete.
7. Iron down all seams.
8. Lay the outer piece and lining pieces right sides together and pin them together in place.
9. Sew around the entire outer edge with a 1/4inch seam allowance leaving a 4inch opening in the bottom of the shirt/dress for turning it inside out.
10. Make small cuts along the curve of the neck and armholes but don’t cut through the seam line you just finished sewing. Trim the corners of the straps.
11. Turn the shirt/dress inside out being careful to make sure the straps are turned out fully.  Iron around the edges of the dress and fold in and iron down the opening where you turned the dress inside out.
12. Starting at the bottom edge of the dress sew all the way around the edge of the dress closing up the hole and finishing the edge.
13. Follow the directions for sewing the button holes that your sewing machine has and then hand sew coordinating buttons centered on the straps.
14. Hooray, you did it!!!

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