Emma’s cloth doll

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My oldest daughter Emma just finished sewing her first doll. She had expressed an interest in learning to sew and I’m not a very advanced seamstress so we checked out some sewing books from the library. The book Emma found the most helpful was “Made By Me” by Jane Bull. It’s full of sewing, embroidery and knitting projects for girls that are easy to make. Each project is shown step-by-step with detailed pictures and easy to understand instructions. Emma chose the to make the doll from the book.

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She is so proud of her new “friend.” Emma told me not to tell the doll that it IS a doll because she doesn’t want her to know she’s not real!

Pillowcase Dress

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My husband has an old pillowcase from his childhood that charmed me with it’s vintage flair and mix of bright colors. It was needing a little mending so I had thrown it in the to-be-mended-whenever-I-feel-like-it pile and forgotten about it. It was soon to become something new!

I’m usually not much into sewing but I guess the hot weather today drove me down to my mother’s sewing machine in the cool basement. I ended up converting that old pillowcase into a cute dress for my eldest daughter.

There are lots of tutorials online on how to make a pillowcase dress but here’s a couple I found helpful. I like tutorials with lots of pictures!

Jen Leheny: Pillowcase Dress Instructions

If I had a little girl she’d wear pillowcase dresses

How to make a baby wrap

image When my latest daughter was born I knew I wanted to have a comfortable baby carrier. In the past I had used a sling (that I made) and it wasn’t at all comfortable. It made my arm feel like it was going to go out of joint! I would have such an upper back ache after using it. Some people use them though and love them so I’m not sure what went wrong with mine.

After looking into it I thought the “Moby Wrap” looked like a good choice. With this wrap the baby’s weight is distributed evenly across your back and waist so it’s very ergonomic and comfortable. Instead of buying the name-brand wrap I ended up making my own. It ended up being SUPER simple and much cheaper. It look about 10 minutes and NO sewing! It’s just one long strip of fabric that you wrap around you. I made mine with a cotton/spandex knit blend (95% cotton, 5% spandex). This allows it to breath and yet be flexible. It’s great too because the edges roll up a bit on themselves and don’t fray so you don’t have to sew them. As the baby gets much heavier you can make it with a thicker, stiffer fabric for more support. Here are the dimensions if you are interested in making one:

16 ft long (5.5 yards) - You can make it longer if you’re heavier.
Cut fabric 21” wide at widest - I folded it in half, and it’s at 21” width for 70” before tapering it down (so 140” unfolded)
4” at the very narrowest end

This made two wraps (for half the price of one commercial wrap) so I was able to give one away to a friend.

I absolutely LOVED using this wrap! It was so comfy! It was great being able to cover my daughter’s head with the fabric when she needed shade or needed to sleep. Plus, I could pull the fabric over her legs to help keep her warm when it was cold out. It may look tricky to wear this wrap but it’s actually quite easy! The only thing about it is that it’s a very long piece of fabric so parts of it will sit on the floor or ground as you’re putting it on. This didn’t bother me though. You can check out the ‘Moby Wrap’ website for instructions on how to put on the wrap.

2009 Calendar

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Add to 2009 Resolutions…

...Don’t procrastinate.

Today I FINALLY got a 2009 calendar up on the fridge. Up until this point I’ve had to remember everything in my head which is just asking for trouble! Perhaps you are also like me and have yet to get a calendar. Maybe you’re just holding out until the calendars go on sale, like I had considered doing. Or maybe this year your grandmother didn’t end up sending you one of the many free calendars that she got in the mail. Whatever the reason, it’s never to late to put up a unique and fun calendar.

I found a printable calendar including a tutorial on how to make it at knick knacks & ric rac. The calendar covers half a sheet of paper so it’s not very large. It’s a good size for me because we don’t have a very hectic schedule but if you keep a lot on your calendar then you’ll need to print some calendars about the size of a whole piece of paper.

While I like the idea of using pictures, I decided to do use drawings made by Emma instead. There’s just something genius about children’s artwork. If you have young children, grandchildren or if you know any children, get them to draw a picture for you. Children seem to generate a LOT of artwork and this will give you a way to use some of it. You can have the child draw one picture to use all year-round or have them draw a new picture each month. Emma has a set of oil pastels that she is allowed to use to make “extra-special” pictures. The combination of lighter pastels and black paper gives a nice chalkboard look.

Saving Christmas Cards

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One of my favorite things about Christmas is catching up on the lives of my friends and seeing pictures of their families. After Christmas is over though, I just hate to have to recycle or throw away all those special cards, newsletters, and pictures.
So here’s what I do: 
I enjoy scrapbooking, so each year we take a family picture and I feature that as the very last page in the scrapbook. Then I take my favorite Christmas cards, newsletters and photos and place them behind the last scrapbook page (in the page protector. I also include our own newsletter. That way later when I’m looking through the scrapbook I can get out the old newsletters and reminisce about past years. It’s fun to see how people have aged.
If saving complete cards takes up too much room, you can just take off the fronts of them and save the messages inside. But don’t feel like you’re wasting the fronts of the cards, they can be made into gift tags for next year’s presents!
Note that I don’t save ALL the cards, only those that are very special to me. Handmade cards are my absolute favorite since I know how much time and effort go into them.
If you’re not into scrapbooking you could just have an album set aside for Christmas and each year put the cards in a page protector sleeve.

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