Archive for the 'For the Kids' Category

Why make toys for your kids?

There are so many reasons to buy handmade toys. From quality craftsmanship, to supporting small business, to not supporting mega-toymakers and buying lead-ridden toys (see Save Handmade). But when you make a toy for your child you are doing something even greater than anything that I mentioned above.

When you make a toy for your child, or better yet, when you make a toy with you child you are teaching them the fine art of making wealth out of what you already have. You are opening up your children’s eyes to the possibilities of all they can make and do by themselves. When your child tells you that she wants to dress up as a fairy or a bow hunter, and you dig into your fabric stash and find the fabric to sew up a simple costume you are teaching your child ingenuity. As opposed the consumerism you’d be teaching them if you just went to the store and bought a fairy costume or bow and arrow.

Do I make all of my children’s toys? Of course not. And when there are so many other things that need to be done in a day it’s not feasible to try. With all of my children’s variety of interests it’s not possible to keep up. We own handmade, homemade, and store bought dress-up clothes. We own handmade, homemade, and store bought puzzles.

But if Elise says she wants to do a puzzle of a lion and we don’t have a lion puzzle there are 3 options:

  1. Say, “We don’t have a lion puzzle, Honey. Sorry.”
  2. Go buy a lion puzzle the next time we’re at the store.
  3. Print out a picture of a lion, color it together, glue it to cardboard and cut it into a puzzle. If you really want to get cool about it you can cover it with Mod Modge and it will last forever.

All of those options are the right option at times, but if you do take the time to choose option 3, you will soon find your children asking you if you can make them a robot or dragon. You might even find them cutting a robot, or a dragon, or a doll, or a car out of a magazine or scraps of paper and making their own toys. You will have a family that does more with less, saves money but spends time, and learns to use what they have to get what they need and want.

Banana Popsicles

I’ve been getting leg cramps from muscle fatigue. Training for a marathon will do that to you. I’ve also been trying to cut back on ice cream and other sugars, so I decided to try this– potassium for the leg cramps, frozen sweetness to satisfy cravings.

It is so simple! I melted semisweet chocolate chips in the microwave with a little water added, and let Olivia stir it and dip in the the halved bananas. I didn’t have any Popsicle sticks, so I used double pointed knitting needles. That was a stupid idea. Don’t do that. You’ll spend the entire snack-time worrying about your children’s eyes and necks.

They are so good, too. I really felt satisfied. Frozen banana is truly a worthy substitute for ice cream.

Amateur lap quilt

I wanted to use up some of the scraps that I had from the Easter dresses sans pinafores. It wasn’t cheap fabric and I really liked it, I don’t want it to go to waste. I also had just about 12 inches squared of this awesome floral that my step mom bought for Olivia that has become all manner of little gifts, but nothing lasting. The proper resting place for beloved scraps is in a quilt.

I only had enough fabric for a lap quilt, which is good because I don’t know how to quilt. If I had tried anything larger the scraps would be in a bunch in the back of the closet, like the $70 monstrosity that I have been “working on” for 4 years. That horrid things calls to me at night and says, “you are not a Quilter. See, if you were you’d be sleeping under me not that hand-me-down comforter.”

It was really fun to work on a quilt, being a Non-quilter, because I am in the phase where I am just happy to have it be done. It was a throw back to the first thing I sewed by myself (which was obviously so ugly I can’t remember what it was), ok, maybe it’s a throw back to one of the first things I sewed. It was a bride’s maid dress. I wore it proudly, though the sewing was awful.

The binding in’t done yet. And I noticed some mistakes AFTER I quilted it, of course. But this is going to hang on the wall in the girls’ room. Liv saw it and said, “Thanks, Mom! It’s beautiful!”

Easter, Oh it’s so early this year!

It is a Lenten discipline, sewing your children’s Easter outfits. I am reminded to repent of my sinful procrastination, my worry, my disorganization. Easter will come and go and I will reflect on the Resurrection of our Lord and how He has liberated me from Death, but also from unreasonable expectations. Like making 2 dresses, and pinafores, with no pattern.

Not just making 2 dresses and pinafores with no pattern, but also making sling after sling for my Etsy shop. This is not a complaint mind you. Since I am more than excited to have the business. It just seems that everything must happen at the same time if it is going to happen at all.

If I can get the sewing done tonight (I mean this afternoon, darn this post isn’t even over and I’m procrastinating again!) I will then begin the Easter baking. What’s that? Easter baking? Oh that’s right, I’m so overwhelmed that I thought this year would be a good year to give up on the commercial Easter baskets and bake chocolate muffins and other yummy things for our Easter basket this year. Because I’m not only repentant, I’m delusional.

Capes Are Fast

Capes are not only fast to make– cut fabric in half, tie to child– they make the wearer fast as well.

This was a true bargain.  One yard of dance material from the remnant pile at the local big box fabric store. I cut in half and the girls were occupied for at least an hour, running around and watching each other sparkle.

They are also see through enough for Elise to enjoy walking around the house with it over her head. I wish I had thought to take a picture of that!

Gotta toss some of my stash

No, I’m not throwing away my scraps (I did some of that last week to get ready for the interview and photographer). I have a large bin of scraps that I always hope to do something with. Of course nothing ever does get done with them.

So I found a pattern for fabric balls and got to work. The fabrics I used were all 100% cotton, though different weights. The raspberry was a hideous skirt from the thrift store. I paired it with a tiny floral, some Amy Butler, and some upholstery weight cotton damask print. The yellow floral is from a trip to Vermont (ask Rob about the Uhaul experience) and is paired with some white and polka dot fabric I cut from a duck curtain. Elise carried the curtain around the room chanting, “Duh-Kee, Duh-Kee! Kah Kah Kah!!!” while I sewed.

We then played a girly version of Basketball. Elise in particular likes the throw, but it was Olivia who was all about these balls. I don’t think that she knew balls could be so pretty. Olivia said, “I get these purple balls because I am three. Elise is one, so she can have one yellow ball.” Good logic, but not really fair. It took a lot of work to convince her that allowing everyone to play with ALL of the balls is much more fun.

The Cobbler’s children

In all my recent excitement with filling my etsy store to the brim with goodies I have neglected my wonderful children and my evil plot to shape their fashion tastes with an overflow of Mom-made clothing. Olivia used to walk up to children at the library or park and say, “That’s a nice dress. Did your Mommy make it?” She hasn’t said that in a while. I wonder if it is because I’ve stopped making them new dresses on a weekly basis…

Well, today I finished a dress for Elise that has been cut out for two weeks. I found a super vintage corduroy remnant for fifty cents and it needed to become a jumper. It was going to be my standard button strapped a-line jumper, but I figured fifty cents is a good investment towards learning to make raglan sleeves.

Keep in mind I’m pattern-a-phobic. At best I’ve looked at the basic construction of a raglan sleeve from a sewing dictionary I got from the library and kept for a month.

I think I did alright. OK, that’s false modesty. I think this dress rocks! It’s really a 24 month size, so she’ll have to grow into it. But OH DEAR is it darling. The bias trim and pocket are a vintage cotton hanky I found for cheap-o a while back and was just waiting for the right project. I have not been disappointed.


Creating unique fashion from fortunate thrift store discoveries. And otherwise making our house a home, on the cheap.

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