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Easy Peasy Handmade Valentine

Valentines Day is coming up fast, and with 3 kids in school I needed an idea that was thoughtful, fun, and EASY. They each have approximately 25 kids in their class, so that means about 75 valentines.

We are part of a wonderful school community that encourages zero waste, no sugary foods and no licensed characters. I had some red felt left over from our family halloween costumes some years back (we were a family of garden gnomes, SO cute) So I set off to come up with something that would fit with those values.

What we ended up with was this cute little heart necklace that is easy enough for the kids to help with!

And then of course, you have your toddler model it for you in front of the only south facing window, which coincidentally is next to a bed.... perfect for jumping.

I hope that you have an amazing LOVE day, celebrating all the people in your life that you love; family, friends, neighbors, anyone. This day isn't just about lovers, it's about sharing love with everyone around us.

Baby Skater

The Babe was in need of a Sunday dress that fit (she is growing like a weed)

I drafted a quick and easy skater -style dress.... By the way, does anyone know why it is called a Skater Dress? I have no idea. 

Anyway, it fit perfectly, and despite not having my serger for this project (it was being serviced) I was adequately satisfied with the way it turned out.

On a side note, does anyone know why baby dresses are sized to barely cover their diapers? 

I don't know that either.

Handmade Holidays 2015

So, I'm going to tell you a super sad story about how my 3 year old broke my camera lens....

My 3 year old broke my camera lens. 

The End

But on Instagram I promised pictures of Greg's handmade christmas gift, so you get glorious iPhone pictures for now. 

He made me HOT PADS! Yes, seriously. This finance/big picture/MBA man sat down at my sewing machine and spent 3 hours making 1 hot pad, and then decided to make a 2nd one... that one only took an hour and a half. ;)

And guess how many times he asked for my help? 

About 100. 

It was adorable.

And he made "bias tape".... which I put in quotations because it wasn't cut on the bias, which actually makes it even more awesome.

What makes handmade gifts so special is the time and thought that goes into each one. My girls helped Greg pick out the fabrics, and Greg stepped out of his comfort zone to make these imperfectly perfect pot holders. And I honestly couldn't love them more! BEST GIFT EVER. 

Once a bride, always a bridesmaid

This is my lovely friend Chailyn. This beautiful woman just had a baby, and when I mean just... I mean her beautiful baby boy is only 2 weeks old. When she mentioned that she needed a dress for a wedding in 2 weeks that was post-baby-body friendly I thought... We all need something like that. I am in that same boat.... only I had my baby some months ago.... Ahem.. 

Anyway, she is in the wedding party and was told to choose a dress that was metallic. Gold or silver. She needed something that would be forgiving and comfortable, but dressy enough to fit in. She's also moving this next weekend, so this project needed to be a quick one. An easy trip to the fabric store and a couple of fittings later we had this:

I took Chailyn unawares this morning when I went over to her house for her final fitting. I knew finding a time in this new moms busy schedule to do a photo shoot would be challenging. Thanksgiving is this week and she is moving two days later... she's got a lot going on. So I took my camera and caught her without makeup and without her hair done. Sorry Chailyn. :)

Next week I'll be back discussing some post-baby-body friendly looks, and my favorite handmade items that i currently wear all the time!

3 Reasons to make Rice Bags with a free pattern

I have a dozen or so rice bags in my house at any given time. I have big ones, and small ones, and everything in between. And I don't just use them in the winter. I also don't just use them hot... 

I use my rice bags as ice packs. They are environmentally friendly, I never have to worry about the chemicals that are in store bought ice packs. They live in my freezer and the rice gets very very cold, but never so cold that it will burn the skin. It is perfect for kids, and i love that I don't have to wrap it in a towel before i place it on my skin.  Just note that you can't take a rice bag straight from the freezer and stick it in the microwave for a minute and expect it to be hot. Keep some separately in the pantry for that.

Secret tip: "mom! I need a bandaid!" I hear that at least once a day. Even when there is no blood, or skin penetration, a bandaid works magic and they all of a sudden feel better! But I don't want to waste a box of bandaids every month just to make my kids feel better. Try offering a rice bag in lieu of a bandaid. It works wonders on my kids. "Do you need a rice bag?" "yes"(said with a pouty face, and maybe an effortful tear) and BOOM, after a minute their wound has miraculously healed! Or doesn't keep them down.

I have tiny little rice bags that we use as hand warmers. They are great to throw in the kids pockets before they head to school on frigid winter mornings.  

Winter in Colorado lasts a long time, and my feet get cold so easily. I use rice bags as heating up in the microwave and take to bed with me on extra cold nights, sticking them down by my feet. My kids love them too, and sometimes its just the thing to get a squirmy little one to settle in and stay tucked in bed. They also work great as heating pads if you strain a muscle or your back aches. Ooh, and sometimes my son puts one in his lunch bag to help keep a burrito warm. So many uses.

I have included a tutorial, and for those who really want to be precise, but not measure, I have included a pattern, for the sizes that I use most often. Of course you can make them any size you like.

These make great stocking stuffers. My kids love them. 

What do you use rice bags for? Leave your ideas in the comments.

I forgot to show this part when I made the first one. I either have to find something to support the rice (like the storage box from my sewing machine) or I have to hold it with my left hand, as I feed the fabric with my right hand. I tend not to pin anything, but you may want to pin this part, as the weight of the rice can shift your fabric as you are sewing. I hold it pretty firm all along the edge so bits of rice don't slip into my seam. Don't worry, sewing over the piece of rice won't break your needle.

Ta Da!