Taggie blanket

Okay. I know this has been done like a thousand times but, they all have unnecessary steps like topstitching and turning it inside out and close up the opening, blah blah.
Why not just start with something that already has finished edges, is made of cotton so it’s hypoallergenic, is pre-cut and it’s something you probably have if it’s your baby you’re making it for? What is this mysterious thing? Wait for it… a washcloth. That’s it. It comes in a rainbow of colors you have more than you need from your baby shower.
Start by pinning loops and straight pieces of ribbons to the back of a washcloth.

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Then sew them all on in one shot by sewing around the edge.

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Then pin another washcloth on top and sew around the edge again.

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Now your done. Wow! That was easy!

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Birthday Cake

Somehow home made cake tastes better than the pre-made cakes from the grocery store, even when you use a boxed cake mix. For this reason I make our kids’ birthday cakes. I usually rent a cake pan from bulk barn for $2 a day which is a great price. But if they don’t have your daughter’s favourite princess you have to resort to other methods.
I saw this technique on pinterest(again with the pinterest) but can’t find it now so I’m sorry for not giving you credit whoever came up with this. So if you want to make a cake like this:

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Follow these steps…first print off a coloring page of whatever character you’d like. The less details, the better. Then tape it to something flat like a smooth cutting board or a picture frame glass.

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Then tape a piece of parchment paper to the picture. You tape it so it doesn’t shift around when you trace it.

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Then with black icing, trace all the lines. Tip: use chocolate icing to make black because it doesn’t work really well with white. It just gets a weird purplish grey and uses a ton of icing coloring. That’s right, icing coloring. NOT food coloring! It thins the icing too much and you don’t get the vibrant colors as with the icing coloring. It’s a gel and comes in tiny little jars. Use a Wilton #2 or smaller tip for tracing.

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Now color it in with icing. Fill it in once and then go over the top once more. The layer of icing should be between half a centimeter to a centimeter thick. If it’s too thin it won’t come off the paper very well (I speak from experience here).

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I also iced a rectangle shape around the picture. It’s a more finished look and any oddly shaped edges are a bit more difficult to get off the paper. TIP! if you want a number on it somewhere write it in reverse or put it on when the cake is  done! (Again, experience). Now put it in the freezer overnight or till it’s hard and bake your cake while you wait. Then put a thin layer of icing on the cake just so the picture has something to stick to.

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Take the picture out of the freezer and remove it from the board. Then flip it onto the cake and carefully peel off the paper. Do this as quickly as possible because the icing warms up and it won’t come off the paper then.

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Notice how she’s looking the other way? Any numbers or letters will be backward unless you wrote them in reverse or print the picture out with the mirror image setting. Now ice the rest of the cake. I used a Wilton #1M for the chocolate stars and a #18 star for the pink.

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Add a number and some candles and a birthday girl and you’re done!

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Peg Board

Sure, you can buy one of these but, once again, it’s cheaper to make your own. All you need is a .75 inch thick piece of MDF(particle board) 18 inches wide and 4ft long.
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A big sheet of MDF is 4x8ft and costs between $11 and $15. Most places will cut it up for you for free. And you can make something else out of the leftovers. We put up shelves in our basement with this stuff and I had some pieces left and this was one of them. Buy some 5/8 inch and 3/8 inch dowels.I got 4 of each but I didn’t have enough. I should have gotten 1more 5/8 and 2 more 3/8. I saw some at Dollarama after I bought mine at the hardware store. Three dollars for a container of various widths and there’s enough in there to finish the board. Figure out the spacing for whatever you’re going to use it for and mark where to drill the holes. I’m using it for thread and ribbons so I have 3 rows of holes 3inches apart and 3 rows 2inches apart.
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Drill out the holes holding the drill as level as possible. You don’t want your pegs pointing every which way. Some of mine were a bit crooked. Make sure you use a drill bit that’s exactly the same width as the dowels.
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Cut the dowels to the length you need. I made the thicker dowels 5.5 inches long and the thinner ones 4 inches long. Remember the board is .75 inch thick so once you stick them in the holes they’ll be that much shorter. Tap them in with a hammer.
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Do this GENTLY!  Or you’ll get this…
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It broke off level with the board. If that happens just drill it out again. Once all the pegs are in place, get someone to help you mount it onto the wall. Make sure it’s attached to the studs cause it’s pretty heavy.
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Load it up and then you’re done. I didn’t think I had this much thread. I thought I’d have room for some of my scrapbooking things but I might have to make another one.

Portable High Chair

I always needed one of these with my kids when they were small. Not everyone you visit has a high chair and those that do use it for their own child. And some restaurants only have a few and if it’s a busy evening they might be taken. So quite often I ended up tying my kids to a chair with a kitchen towel, daddy’s belt, or my nursing wrap. Cause let’s face it, if you hold them in your lap you’re going to get food dumped on you and we always have a change of clothes for the baby but not ourselves. So we end up looking like the slob.
I found this tutorial on pinterest( yeah I finally figured out how to post a link without typing the entire URL) and I made some small changes to the measurements and didn’t use quilted fabric cause I wanted to save space in my diaper bag. Here goes…
Cut 1 piece of 2 different fabrics or 2 of the same fabric in these measurements; 6×36  18×10  4.25×3
These are inches. It should look like this
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Now with right sides together sew the smallest rectangles together on the long sides
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and turn right side out and sew a reinforcement stitch close to the edge. Now mark the middle of the other pieces and use the smallest rectangle as a guide to mark where it will go.
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Sew the other 2 rectangles together all the way around except between the marks. You can round or cut across the corners to give it a softer appearance.
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Cut the corners and turn right side out.
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Stick the smallest rectangle into the space you left and sew in place. I sewed 2 seams to reinforce it and sewed reinforcement stitch all around.
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You can see the dark thread. That’s what I mean by reinforcement stitch. Once the pieces are together sew 2 strips of Velcro 6 inches long onto the longest piece.
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Make sure the hook pieces are sewed on one side and the loops on the other.
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Now weave it through the slats of the chair
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Insert child and pull up the seat piece and then close the belt part.
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Ok this is my 3year-old so it’s almost too small for him but it’s for baby #3 that I made it. Also if the child is smaller you just fold down the seat piece.
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It folds up nicely so you can tuck it beside the change pad in your diaper bag.
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There you go! High chair problems solved. And if you want him a little higher just sit him on top of some sears catalogues or a box. Also if the restaurant only has those booster seats that don’t strap to the chair, this will help keep them in place.
Disclaimer: never leave child unattended. Always keep a close eye on them cause the Velcro may give way if they decide to lunge out of the chair.

Frilly Fleece Scarf

I got some fleece scraps from a friend who makes the no-sew tied fleece blankets. She gave them to me cause she didn’t know what to make out of them, but neither did I. My daughter has been begging for a scarf this winter and my son thinks he has to have whatever she has. So I went to my fabric stash and found the scraps that have been sitting there since last year. Rachel has mild eczema so polyester can make an outbreak worse but she promised to take it off if she was itchy. If your child has eczema I don’t recommend using fleece. Get cotton jersey or something. But I didn’t have any on hand so I just went with it.
Cut 2 strips of fabric 4 to 5 inches wide and about 4 feet long.
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Lay them on top of each other with right sides facing out. If you’re using scraps cut squares or rectangles and sew them together like this.
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Then sew down the middle 3 times like this.
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Cut the fringes about 1cm wide on both sides.
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Be careful not to cut through the seams.   Fluff it up and it’s ready to wear!
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By the way,  hot pink and zebra stripes are very ‘fashionable’ to a 4 year-old girl.

Quilt from Receiving Blankets

I made my daughter a blanket out of her receiving blankets when she outgrew her baby blankets. Partly because it’s cheap and partly to make sure it was made of cotton. And maybe a little because the baby blankets have sentimental value.
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Now it was my son’s turn for a new blanket. It was long overdue. He’s still in the crib converted to a toddler bed but the crib sized blankets are a bit small and a twin blanket is too big. So I went right in the middle. I recycled his receiving blankets, too. I didn’t want to  do squares cause it seemed like there was a lot of waste so I did strips.
First cut the blankets in strips and lay them out on the floor to figure out a pattern.
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Then sew the short ends together first and the sew the long strips together.
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Flip it over and lay quilt batting on top.
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Trim the batting so it’s 2 inches bigger on all sides. Recycle a flat sheet and lay that on top. Carefully flip it right side up and straighten out one end and pin it in place. Make sure the sheet is a couple inches bigger all around because this will be the edge of the quilt. On the straightened and pinned end, put something heavy to keep it from shifting. I just used stuff from the pantry.
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Carefully pin and straighten from one end to the other. Roll it up and move the weights as you go. Pull the bottom sheet straight every few inches. The weights help with keeping it from just all pulling towards you.
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Take your time. The more even it is the better the end result. Unroll it and trim the edges even. I wanted a wide edge and you could always trim more off for a smaller edge.
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Fold it over…
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And fold it again and pin in place.
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Do this all around and at the corners fold it like this…
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Sorry that’s upside down. And then like this…
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And then this…
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What a perfect corner! Ok so you may have to play with it a bit but it works. When it’s all pinned sew along the edge.
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Then you can be done like it is but I would suggest sewing across some of the seams just to tack the batting in place. If you don’t it might shift around after multiple washes. And here it is!
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You can see I sewed along the short seams. That’s why it looks ‘dented’ in some places. Just one more piece of advice, because it spends a lot of time on the floor, do it in an area the kids don’t frequent. Otherwise you’ll here stuff like, “I don’t like this blanket. It’s pokey on my feet!” Just saying;-)

Maternity Pants DIY

I have a hard time spending money on something I will only use for a few months. Maternity clothes are the best example of this. Overpriced and you only use them a little while. So, once again, Pinterest became my friend. I typed in ‘ diy maternity’ and almost all the tutorials led to the same site. Diy maternity.com . That’s where I found this tutorial;  http://diymaternity.com/pants-skirts/diy-maternity-pants-2
Here’s mine;
Find an old pair of pants that you’re willing to part with. I had a pair of jeans with a broken zipper. Put them on and mark with a piece of chalk where you think it would be comfortable for them to ride under your baby bump.
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Cut along this line. Remove the zipper and sew the zipper area closed. I have a low riding belly so mine dip way down in the front. Remember to cut a little lower than where you marked because the elastic band adds 2.5 inches.
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Cut a piece of elastic big enough to go around the top.
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Sew the ends of the elastic together.
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Cut out a piece of stretchy fabric to cover the elastic.
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I laid the elastic down on a folded over piece of stretchy fabric and put the leftover elastic next to it. Then I cut around it leaving about 3/4 extra fabric all around.
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Sew the short ends together and serge it if you have a serger.
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Fold the edge down to make a narrow loop.
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Stick the elastic loop inside and sew it shut. Don’t sew on the elastic,  just close it up around it.
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Now put this over the pants and pin it in place before you sew. You might not match it up properly if you don’t. Sew all around.
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Fold the elastic band up and voila! Maternity Pants!
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Don’t mind my awesome selfies!
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30 weeks today!
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