Sunday, June 24, 2012

4 months

I missed it by a couple weeks but this little girl is 4 months old.
4 months!
And I'm so in love with her.
Not that I didn't love my other children when they were babies too. But the timing with Clara is a little different. 

Lucy was the first child and I'm sure I was anxious for her to sit up, crawl, walk, know, do stuff.  I kinda wanted her to get out of that "baby" stage.  Then when I had Owen (cough) 21 months later life was pretty crazy for a while....and Owen was a more needy I didn't enjoy that first year like I could have.  Granted, now I LOVE that my kids are 21 months apart.   I see the benefits since they are perfect playmates and honestly best friends.  I just smile watching them play.

But now with Clara....the other two kids are older (4 and 6) and I'm really just enjoying her. 
She is an absolute dream and such a sweetheart.  She drools everywhere (not so dreamy), sleeps 11 hours at night, smiles and smiles, and just chills in her carseat when we're driving. 
I can not get enough of those chubby cheeks!  I've never had a baby with so many rolls and I'm lovin it.  She's smothered in kisses all day long from me and Lucy. 
What I love most about her right now....
Those gummy smiles and coos,
 that her feet still fold in together, like she's clapping,
and that she can finally fit her little H&M sweater dress!
Don't grow out of it little lady.   
Here's the 4 month comparison:
We're blessed to have such a happy girl.

Friday, June 22, 2012

TUTORIAL: Neon-Painted, BOXED-Out Totes

Time for the second installment in our TOTE bag tutorials. 
First we talked about the Basic Pocket Tote.  And some of you asked, "if I sew a pocket to the inside of the bag, will the stitching show up on the outside?"  Yes.  But typically, the stitches aren't very noticeable.  Just check out many of your store-bought bags!  So keep on sewing.

And let's try a new twist....
Le'ts Box-out the bottom of the bag so it sits, lays, and fills up nicely.  Then let's bank on the 80's craze and paint our fabrics NEON!....and metallic sparkly.  So many options.

 Let's get started.
First, paint the fabric.
• I used heavier twill cotton fabrics in white and off-white colors.  They show off the neon colors well.
• cut two 16x16 squares
• measure 3 inches from the bottom and place a mark in the side seam. Then measure 2 inches up from there and mark.  Continue marking every 2 inches so you have 2 inch wide stripes.  You should end up with 3 stripes and about 3 inches left at the top
• then tape off the 2-inch stripes with masking tape.
• Grab Neon and Metallic paints.  My favorite fabric paint brand is Tulip, matte finish. But you can also use inexpensive acrylic paints.   Use the acrylic just as-is...or if you plan to wash the bag at some point (and to soften up the paint), add a fabric painting medium (discussed more HERE---and in the comments).
• Use a sponge brush to paint the stripes.  Allow the paint to dry.  Then enjoy the best part....peeling off the tape!
• Always lay a cloth over the top of your painted fabric and iron for a minute or so to "heat-set" your paint. This ensures that the paint won't dissolve when washed (read the instructions on your paint bottle for more info)
• Look!  You've made cool fabric!  
• Follow the instructions on the Basic Pocket Tote for sewing your bag.

When you've sewn the sides and bottom together....BOX out the bottom of the bag!
This is a great way to add dimension to your Tote.  It helps the bag stand up better, when filled with stuff. And it just looks more polished and professional.
Here's what you do....
• When your bag seams are sewn, take the bottom seam and the side seam and squeeze them both together, so you create a right triangle.
* It's very important that the two seams are laying directly on top of each other, or else your boxed-out corners will not be even on both sides.  Take your time to be precise with this step.
• Iron the triangle corner so that everything is perfectly flat.  
• Measure 1 1/2 inches down from the tip of the triangle (or 1 inch...or 2 just depends how deep you want the bag to be) and draw a straight line across the fabric.
• Do this for both corners of the bag.
• Sew on top of the marked line and've created a box bottom!
• Trim the excess fabric in the corners (or leave it as-is.  Doesn't matter).
• Turn the bag right side out and finish it off. 

 And ask your daughter to take photos of you "using" your bag.
Then smile when she asks if she can model one of the bags, and tries to sit in the same positions as you. 
I love you Luce.
(and thank you Owen or taking this picture of her):
 Enjoy your new Boxed-out TOTE!

Monday, June 18, 2012

time to gram

or should I say "time to IG"?
or hello insta?
I don't know the lingo.
But I do know that I'm loving Instagram.
And yes, I'm 2 years late to the party.  Better late than never?

You see, I was flipping through really old pics on my phone the other day and could not understand why I took this random picture of the Old Navy manequins.  Odd.
Then I looked closer and saw my little blond boy posing next to them and remembered.....ah, yes!  We were leaving the store and I looked back to find him here:
He's kind of creepy-perfect up there.
And I decided I needed a medium to share dumb stuff like this.
But, (cough cough) I didn't really understand what Instagram was until a week ago.  Doi.

I thought it was just a clever way to put filters on your iPhone pics.
But what?
In an instant you can share your photos in a social media feed?
And check out photos from your friends?
And now, all those pics that have been piling up on my phone have an outlet?

I'm on Instagram.
Come find me!

Two ways to follow my feed:
@danawillard on Instagram
@danawillard on Twitter

I'm just getting started but here's a taste...
And if anyone's curious what that pile of black mess must come over to find out.  It will surprise and disgust you at the same time.  I still have a hard time looking at it....and taking my eyes off of it.

See ya in an insta!
(I promise I'll get cooler at this)

TUTORIAL: Fridge Magnet Cups

I honestly don't know why these aren't mass produced in stores.
Maybe they are?
I just don't know about them?
But if my friend Katherine could bank on the idea, she'd totally be rich.

She was tired of her girls asking for a drink of water every two seconds and pulling new cups out of the cupboard. So she thought...why not make cups that stick on the fridge?  They can grab a cup, get their own water, then stick it back in the same spot.

Then she told me about it.  And I asked if I could share the project with you guys, since our kitchen definitely needed FMCs (fridge magnet cups. too much? okay).
Here's what you do:
A few notes and pointers:
• Always take precaution when using magnets around kids. I've seen too many stories on the news about kids swallowing magnets....which is why I went with these larger ones. 
• If you're worried about kids prying the magnets off, you might try Super Glue instead of hot glue.  BUT, I did a test and tried to pry off one of the dried magnets (okay, I was really trying to fix a misplaced magnet. It's true)....and it was really hard to get off.  I had to use a butter knife and applied a lot of pressure to pop that thing off.  So I'm not worried about that at all.
• Katherine glued her magnets to the bottom of the cups.  She used tiny magnets and sealed them completely in hot glue so the kids can't pick at them at all.  Do whatever works for you.
• I found that two magnets work better on these cups since the sides are angled.
• Allow about 10 minutes for the glue to dry/cool completely before sticking them on the fridge.
• I've only hand-washed the magnet cups but I assume you could run them through the dishwasher. 

And that's it!
 Our kitchen feels complete.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Shirts

When it comes to kids clothes, I'm kind of a "one or the other" sewer.  Either I sew a shirt and buy the shorts...or sew a skirt and buy the shirt....or buy a onesie and paint on top.  Okay that's not sewing.  But you know what I's nice to maximize creative time by purchasing some things and throwing one handmade item in the mix (similar to our discussion here)

So I pulled thrifted T-shirts from my stash on Saturday and made Owen new summer shirts.
I used the 90 minute shirt tutorial and created my own pattern. 

But since I haven't used that pattern in over a year it needed some tweaking.  
 It worked!
 Actually, the neck on the first shirt was a little wide (but I sort of like the boat neck).
So I redrew the pattern neckline and shoulders to make it smaller.  Little improvements.
I wonder if he's too old for an envelope Tee.  Maybe it's too little boy for him?  I mean, look how much he's grown in the last 2 1/2 years!
 I guess if he still likes riding this itty bitty bike though, the 90 minute shirt works.  
Owen does have a real bike in the garage but he really loves this thing!   He can zoom around so fast.
So there you go. 

$5 shorts from Target.
$2 shirts from me.