Diaper bag and baby accessories

About a year ago, when I was getting ready to have Lacey (and in serious nesting mode), I decided I wanted to make my own diaper bag.  I was inspired by Rochelle’s diaper bag that she made for her sons a few years ago, and wanted one of my own! She kindly held my hand every step of the way as we made it (It was my first big-girl sewing project)! (See tutorial links at the bottom of the post.)

I found some cute canvas at JoAnn Fabrics, and got to work.  Rochelle had the great idea of reinforcing/protecting the fabric with clear vinyl – in fact, most of the vinyl we used actually came from a couple bedding bags that Rochelle had been saving…genius!  We felt pretty good about ourselves for recycling what could otherwise have been thrown away. (Although I will say, that after nine months of use, the plastic is starting to rip a little…I’d recommend using clear vinyl that is thicker and has a little more give – the kind that you use for tablecloth liners…oooh or you could use a clear shower curtain liner… I’m brilliant!)

 I also made this cute diaper/wet wipe holder (very nice so I don’t have to bring the entire diaper bag with me for a quick diaper change):

Because I had quite a bit of fabric left over, I decided to make myself a Boppy cover to match! I’m very happy with the way it turned out, and I love having the two different fabrics – so fun!

I had fun learning how to sew a little better with these projects, and I love having high-quality (and matchy) baby accessories!

 Pattern sources:
Diaper Bag: A Mingled Yarn
Diaper Holder: Jan Andrea
Boppy Cover: Vanilla Joy(she saved it from economical baby blog, which had been removed)


30 Minute Wetbag Tutorial

I’m kind of embarrassed that this project has been complete, with pictures and everything for almost a year… I don’t know what I was waiting for!  This is a pretty simple, small wetbag that works great for mamacloth, nail polish, toiletries or cosmetics.  You could of course do this on a larger scale for cloth diapers etc. although I have not done that. (If anyone has done it, maybe you can share the dimensions in the comments section.)  In mine, I use fused plastic bags as a liner (do a google search to find tons of tutorials on how to do this safely) but you can also use clear plastic, oilcloth, vinyl, or skip the lining altogether.  These make nice gifts, and they are sturdy and functional!  You can bust one of these out in about 30 minutes or so.

Materials needed:
Sewing Machine and Notions

First cut your fabric and lining into equal sized rectangles (choose your dimensions to fit whatever purpose you have in mind- this one is about 9″x13″).  Then lay your fabric on top of your lining, right sides together.

Pin the top and bottom in place.

Sew or serge the top and bottom, leaving the side edges raw.

Turn it right side out so the seams are hidden.

Pin the zipper to the edge of the  fabric right on the seam as shown in the picture- no turning or folding necessary, since the raw edges are hidden inside.  Sew along the edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This is basically just a topstitch.

It will look like so!

Now fold up the other side and pin it to the other side of the zipper just like you did in the last step.  It might be a little easier to do this with the zipper unzipped.

Now go ahead and sew the remaining edge to the other side of the zipper.  You’ll probably need to fiddle with the zipper pull a bit- just move it when the sewing machine foot gets near it by zipping it past the foot while the needle is down.  That will keep the fabric from moving and messing up your stitching.  Then continue on to the end.  You now have a tube shape.

If you want a loop handle on the side of the wetbag, cut a piece of fabric into a rectangle about 8″x3″, and make a casing by folding it over on itself with right sides together, turn it right side out and topstitch both sides as in the picture above.  Set this aside for a minute.

Ok- back to the bag… now turn the bag-tube inside out, and pin the raw side edges together.

Take the handle you just made and place it between the two edges, right under the zipper.  So the loop will be poking back inside the bag.  Let the raw edges poke out a little so you can be sure to catch both sides when you sew it up.  The zipper should be completely unzipped.

Sew or serge up both sides.

The next part is optional, but I like it because it allows the bag to stand up on its own, and gives it a nice shape.  Starting at the top left picture above, going left to right, you’re going to pinch the corner, top to bottom, measure in from the corner about 1 inch, and mark a line perpendicular to the seam, about 2 inches long.  Sew along this line.  Repeat for the other side.

Turn your new wetback right side out!

Enjoy it from a few different angles, then go fill it up with… stuff!

Homemade Gifts (better late than never)

I know my posts have been somewhat sporadic lately- but I don’t feel too
bad because I have been busy busy busy with working on reorganizing and
redecorating my whole house!  Sound like I bit off more than I could
chew?  You’re right!  I did.  So it is still in that “worse before it
gets better” mode.  But serious progress is being made, and I’m excited
to share that soon!   Meanwhile, I will share this post that I started right after Christmas and finally finished today!  Wahoo….

February is pretty much over, and I still haven’t shared what I made for Christmas gifts.  I have to admit that while I was really pleased how things turned out, and I spent a ton of time on making gifts, I really didn’t take many pictures of what I made, so I have been kind of procrastinating this post because I felt like I didn’t have much to show.  Oh well.  I am going to show you what I do have pictures of, mainly for documentation purposes!

I crocheted star ornaments for co-workers, neighbors, and family, tutorial courtesy of Jellywares.  I liked the ones done in sparkly, thinner yarn the best.

My boys got these jammies on Christmas Eve.  I just used some of their old PJs as patterns, with Toy Story fleece I got long ago in a discount bin.

“Baby Jammies”
“Big Boy Jammies”

There wasn’t enough Toy Story Fleece left to make a pillowcase (the big boy loves to put his fleece blankets over his pillow to sleep, so I thought a fleece pillowcase might feel nice to a 3-year-old cheek), but I had some coordinating fleece, and I just appliqued cutouts of the characters onto the front of the pillowcase.

My mom strongly hinted before Christmas that she would like one of my adjustable ruffle aprons, so of course I made her one, in music note fabric that she had for years before she gave it to me.

I made her another apron, a chef- style, reversible, adjustable apron, again with fabric she gave me.

I hurried to make this Christmas apron for my mother-in-law when, just a week or two before Christmas, we were cooking in her kitchen and we tried in vain to find an apron.  Plus, I just figured every grandma needs a Christmas apron.  It just seems so… homey, and grandmotherly.

I think she liked it!

I have to show this picture partly because of my 16-year-old brother’s amused face, and partly because my cereal box gift boxes ended up being really useful!  I roughly followed this tutorial from curbly.

I made neckties for my brother Collin, my dad, and my husband using this tutorial and free pattern from Puking Pastilles.

You can’t see it well in this picture, but my son is holding a sock monkey I made from my husband’s old black dress socks (clean of course).  This picture is the moment before he stuck it in his mouth and bit it.  Yep- a sign of love.  Or something.  See my post here about sock monkeys.

Below are the hats and a scarf I crocheted for my sons.  They hated them while I was making them and trying them on their heads over and over, but I guess they forgot about it, because they seem to like them and even tolerate wearing them for long-ish periods now.  I can’t seem to find the patterns I used (very loosely, maybe even not recognizably), but I will add that if/ when I find them.

I made a couple of wetbags for nail polish, toiletries etc. for my
sisters, but I only got one semi-decent picture of one of them, which Marissa is holding below.  I used fused plastic bags for the inside, fabric remnants for the outside, and a zipper closure.  I didn’t use a pattern for these, just kinda “wung it”.

My brother-in-law Richard wanted a “cool” billed beanie, and although I was nervous about giving it to him, I think this one fit the bill.  Haha, get it?  The bill?  Ok… moving on… I used this old shrunken sweater with great texture and a plastic restaurant takeout bowl (covered in duct tape) for the bill.  I didn’t really use any pattern for it, but I studied pictures of this type of beanie, checked out the child’s visor beanie tutorial on Eenie Meenie and Moe (previously Creative Maven) and watched the Threadbanger video for inspiration.  It was trial and error the whole way, but I learned a few things… maybe I’ll share in it’s own post.

Shrunken sweater to visor beanie

I loved the simplicity and versatility of these reversible cape/ jacket/ scarf “thingies” which I made for each of my sisters… I’m sure there’s an official name, but I don’t know what it is!  Yeah, you can’t really see what it’s supposed to look like in this picture, so check out the pictures and tutorial over at liaspace.  I think they are so stylish for spring, and I am going to have to make one for myself!

Ok, for the last few pictures, I need to give a little background info.  Each year, my siblings and I (including in-laws) draw names and we make one “gift from the heart” for the person who’s name we drew.  It’s not supposed to be real costly, and we have to put thought and effort into it.  We are supposed to use our talents, and if possible the gift should speak to the talents or interests of the person we give to.

My brother Tayler started playing chess and going to chess club when he was in elementary school or middle school, and he collects unique chess sets from all over the world, so I immediately knew, as soon as I saw the tutorial for this rolled paper chess set from paper, plate, and plane that this is what I would be making him.  It took quite a while to make, but I started early, so I wasn’t stressed.  I love how it turned out with his initials in the middle!  I used my silhouette to cut the board squares and the initials, and I measured and cut all the other strips just with a ruler and my paper cutter.

My husband made this word art for my youngest sister Anna.  He asked each person in the family to come up with at least 5 words that they felt described Anna, and he arranged those words and added little drawings/ pictures using Inkscape.  He used colors that would match her room decor.  The more times people used a certain word about Anna, the larger that word was on the picture.  I love how it turned out!

Richard made this “Older brother award” plaque for my husband.  My husband tends to beat everyone at whatever game they play together, be it tennis, racquetball, ping pong, chess, boardgames, etc- in true older brother fashion.   So in honor of that, and to poke fun of it, he got an award.  Haha.

Marissa crocheted some amazing wool Norwegian house slippers for Cara, since Cara loves all things warm and cozy.  This is a really cool pattern because you just crochet alternating colors into an ‘L’ shape and sew it together a certain way before felting it in the dryer.  I believe Marissa used this tutorial from Mommy Knows.

My brother Tayler wrote a very complementary composition about my youngest brother Collin, and it was enjoyable/ hilarious to hear him read it out loud.

Collin made me a beautiful wooden box in his woodworking class.  I was really impressed with how well-made it was.  He used all sorts of techniques including laminating, turning on a lathe, and a bunch more  that I don’t remember (because really, I don’t even understand what I just said- I know he explained how you laminate pieces of wood together, but I can’t remember.  I’m just impressed).

My sister Anna reverse- stenciled a funny T-shirt and decorated a composition notebook for Richard.  She did a great job!

Cara put together a “Cupcake Decorating” binder with recipes, decorating tips, pictures, and inspiration for Marissa, who has a passion (which we all enjoy) for baking cupcakes.

I still get warm fuzzies looking at all these pictures.  I love making gifts, and I am enjoying this season of my life where that is still possible. >happy sigh<

DIY Guy Gifts : A roundup of my favorites

Let’s face it: It’s easy to come up with fabulous handmade gifts for girls and women, and there are even quite a few great handmade gift options for little boys, but thinking of things to make for the men in our lives is… not easy.  I was talking with my friend Danielle about this last week, and after thinking of the things I have already done or have bookmarked to do, and doing a little research, I have come up with a list of my favorite DIY guy gifts.

There are actually a whole bunch of ideas for handmade gifts for men out there, but I’ve found many of them lacking… I realized that I have a few “requirements” that must be met any time I consider making something as a gift for someone.  If these requirements aren’t met, there’s a high probability the gift I lovingly toil over will end up at the thrift store, or in my craft stash, never to be finished.  So to be considered by me, any and all handmade gifts must meet these three requirements: 1. Must be useful or attractive; 2. Not a knick-knack; 3. Must be realistic.  Also, big points for not having to spend big bucks. 

So with that in mind, I am ready to share my favorite DIY guy gifts and the source you can go to for the free tutorial!


The Best Men’s Tie Pattern @ Puking Pastilles
Neckwarmer Tutorial @ Skip to my Lou
Flannel Shirt Lunchbag -right here @ Home Sweet Homebodies… tutorial to come!
Emergency Car Kit @ Holidash

Sewing Honorable Mentions:
Baseball Applique Pillow @ Better Homes and Gardens
Monogrammed Neckties @ Martha Stewart
Fabric Luggage Tags @ Skip to my Lou
Great Outdoors Fishing Vest @ Sewing.org

Crochet/ Knit

Crochet Mens Slipper Pattern @ Simply Home Made
Extra Warm Men’s Scarf @ Cotton and Cloud


Spicy Terriyaki Beef Jerky @ FOODjimoto (By the way, jerky can be dried in the oven too.)
BBQ Spice Rubs @ Kojo Designs
“Dessert of the Month” or “Breakfast in Bed” Coupons -see ideas @ Spray Paint Queen


Lego Belt Buckle and Tie Tack @ Kojo Designs
Car Shirt @ The Blue Basket
iPhone App Magnets @ Infarrantly Creative
Rolled Paper Chess Set @ Paper, Plate, and Plane

Crafting Honorable Mentions:
Upcycled Bicycle Handlebar Bag @ Giver’sLog
DIY Monogram Mugs @ Design Mom

Here are two more great ideas: The first is from Charmed Goals, and she writes about “Boy Balm and Leather Food”- a beeswax & olive oil blend scented with manly essential oils that can be used for lips, dry skin, and polishing leather.  The second is from Fortuosity, and it is too late to do this year, but you could plan to do this for Christmas 2012:  “A year in the making”– this awesome wife bought a hardcover planner and filled it with pictures, mementos, recognitions, and notes all year long for her husband, and presented it to him at Christmas time.  There’s a lot of love behind a gift like that!

By the way, Kojo Designs is also doing a Gifts for Guys series this month, so head over and check out some of the other ideas they are featuring.

I hope this was helpful for those of you planning to handmake gifts for the men in your lives!  If you’ve got a great idea to add to the list, leave a link in the comments so we can all check it out!

Toasty Hands Trick-or-Treat Bag

The Toasty Hands Trick-or-Treat Bag

We never know what weather to expect on Halloween night out here in our neck of the woods.  Occasionally it’s balmy, but more often than not, blustery.  I recall more than one Halloween with inches of snow on the ground.  Of course I don’t want my cute little puppies/pumpkins/monkeys/cowboys to come back as popsicles, so I try to layer clothing on them under their costumes.  That still leaves their paws uncovered, and of course we can’t degrade the authenticity of the costume with gloves or mittens!  So what’s a puppy/pumpkin/monkey/cowboy to do?  This was the question going through my mind as I sat down to sew a trick-or-treat bag for my oldest son last week, and the Toasty Hands Trick-or-Treat Bag was born!

Since he is going to be a cowboy-on-a-horse this year, I figured it would be fitting for him to carry a saddlebag-looking treat bag.  It has a strap that he can wear around his neck or slung across his chest.  I sewed on two hand pockets that give plenty of room for wiggly fingers to stay toasty warm.  He can hold the bag open easy as can be, and if he decides he wants to take his paws out to encourage ol’ Trigger into a gallop, why, he can rest easy and just let it settle. Giddyap! (Imagine I said that in my best Roy Rogers voice.)

Seriously, though, I am really excited to use this bag! -Er, have my son use it.  It was easy to make, too.  I sewed it from scraps of tan fleece and some strips of brown felt.  I made it very simply (left the edges raw), and finished the whole thing during naptime.

The view from the front.

View from the back- the only thing I’d change next time is to not put the pockets quite so close together.

Side view with my son’s cute little arm.

There’s no tutorial or pattern because it is pretty self-explanatory, I think.  But if you have questions about dimensions or anything, leave a comment or email me, and I’ll give you whatever info I can.  Have fun Trick-or-Treating!

One last “nesting” project

I’m hoping by the time this post is published that I will have had my baby… although that may be wishful thinking since I am 39 weeks as I write this. (*Edit: Still haven’t had the baby… any time now!)  Anyway, I haven’t had tons of energy or motivation to come up with super-de-duper projects lately, and had put many of my crafty things away, including my sewing machine (what was I thinking? It is back out, don’t worry…). I guess I just needed one more crafty fling before life as I know it changes, so I pulled out some fabric I bought a year or so ago, and made another diaper bag/ diaper case. I know, it’s something I have already posted; in fact you can see my first attempts with links to the tutorials here.

I made a few changes to the diaper bag pattern this time, including making that right side pocket an elastic- topped pocket instead of velcro- topped, so sippy cups and bottles could fit in there more easily.  Also, if you use this pattern, I suggest a few other changes: add 1/2 inch to each measurement for the magnetic snap placement (this will make sewing around them much easier); also, add interfacing to the side of the back zipper pocket piece that doesn’t show for more stability.

I had extra fabric, so I made two diaper holders- one for each baby.  I used the outside fabric and the lining fabric from the diaper bag.

My changes: I added a strap to the top of each diaper case for those times when you don’t need the entire diaper bag, just a quick trip to the lounge or restroom to change a messy bum.  I think it would also look cute to make the strap shorter and wider.  I would also suggest if you are making this for an older baby (therefore needing bigger diapers) or want to be able to fit a wipes case inside, adding a couple inches to both the width and height of this pattern to accommodate that better.

One step further- I covered an ugly rubberized flannel changing pad with my extra fabric since I love matchy stuff so much…  Here is the outer (cute) side:

This is the original rubberized (ugly) side which I did not cover (see the velcro on the edges? Fuzzy side in.):

It folds into thirds and the velcro holds it shut.  I decided against adding any handles or extra stuff in favor of simplicity.  Very easy!

If you are interested in making a changing pad from scratch (not just covering one like I did here), check out this tutorial from homemade by jill.

Placemat bag

So, I’m a little bit in love with bags of all sorts. I buy bags, and I make bags. I have bags full of bags. It’s kind of an addiction. Probably not healthy. But they make me happy! Here is a bag I made a while back. Actually, I probably made at least 5 or 6 similarly designed bags, but was not smart enough to take pictures of them before I gave them away. I heard a couple years ago that you could make a cute purse out of a placemat, and I was intrigued. I’m sure there is a pattern on the web, but it didn’t occur to me to look at the time I started making them, so I just kind of winged it, with some interesting results at first. Eventually I found something that worked and looked good to me. This bag went to one of my nieces for her birthday.

PS- I just googled “placemat purses” and came up with a bunch of pictures and tutorials. So there you have it. If you want to make one, do a search! (I could post my own instructions, but why reinvent the wheel?)

Bag of Bags!

I have had a request to post pictures of some of the bags I have made as my next crafty blog post. So here they are. I will just warn you- I have kind of an obsession with bags in general, and I like to make lots of them. So there may be many more bag pictures posted in the future.
Each of these bags really are a “bag of bags”. This may sound like overkill, but I crocheted these bags out of “yarn” made of plastic shopping bags, which I cut into strips. They look a little uneven in areas because A) I didn’t really know what I was doing, and B) when I switched between different colors of bags, the thickness of my “yarn” changed, and the tension changed too. If I do any more of these bags, I will have a better idea about the width to cut the strips, and the tension I should use to get a better, more even looking bag. On the front of the white bag you will notice that I attached a pom-pom, also made out of a grocery bag, to add decoration :).

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