Friday, June 28, 2013

Project: Toddler Drawstring Backpack

Sorry I haven't been updating the page this week.  After wrapping up the Crochet Pin-Along this week, I jumped into a couple of quick projects I needed to get done.

We've been looking at our calendar for the summer, because there are a couple of places we wanted to take the kids for day trips.  One that's been on my mind is visiting one of my favorite parks from when I was a child, StoryLand.  With our family commitments coming up (and pretty much lasting the rest of our weekends this summer) we decided we would try for this weekend.

One project that I haven't been able to complete yet is a special 'dress up' item for each of the kids to wear when we go to StoryLand (trying to cut down on souvenir purchasing).  If I am able to complete that project before we go, you will definitely see a post about it.

The second project that I am super excited I finished last night was derived directly from Pretty Prudent (Thank you, Pretty Prudent!).  I made each of the boys their own drawstring backpacks to wear when we get to the park that they can keep their own water bottle in, and any other trinkets they acquire while we are there.  The drawstring backpacks were perfectly toddler sized, and if they don't want to carry them, they will easily fit into the diaper bag or on the handles of the stroller.

This was one of the easiest to follow tutorials I've worked with!  Due to this, I did not take process pictures of my beginning and procedural steps since the blog and tutorial has everything you need to craft your own toddler drawstring backpack.

I wanted to share with you a few notes, and my completed pictures!

I used only what I had on hand - which meant some denim fabric that measured an inch smaller than the required 26", and blue single fold bias tape and a thin, green broadcloth.  With the green broadcloth, I crafted my own bias tape (seaming tape) by cutting two 44" x 2" strips.  I ironed a crease going lengthwise, then folded in the two raw edges into the fold and ironed flat.  I decided to make my two strap lengths 44" rather than 36" because my kids seem tall to me (and I was glad I did this because the straps are perfect this way).   I thought the blue bias tape I had was double fold which is why I made the green double fold, but it wasn't.  This required me to sew the two flaps down on the blue bias tape.

When I stitched the green tape together, I also stitched it in two rows (more for decoration) so it matched the blue.  (Since they are twins, I feel if I do for one, I should do for the other!  Not that they would notice but I would.).

These are the finished bags from last night:

This is the boys trying them on this morning.  I was so pleased with the fit!  I will definitely make these bags again.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Project: Market Bag Crochet Pin-along with Vickie Howell

I love Pinterest, and use the Android mobile app to easily follow throughout the day while I hang out with my kids.  I've been noticing all kinds of posts from Jo-Ann with #WIP and #JoannCPAL and snuck onto my PC to start researching what this was all about...

I am super excited to say that I have just finished an afghan I had been working on, and while joining this party a little late, I have decided to join in on this awesome idea of a crochet along with one of my favorite craft stores!

The information is found here at the Jo-Ann blog, along with all the Pinterest board information.  Check out their board here!

So for starters, I do not have this yarn in my stash and I hadn't budgeted for this since I joined spur-of-the-moment.  I did have plenty of this pretty Light Blue Lily Sugar'n Cream cotton handy so this is what I chose to use for the project.

Here's my first picture of what I accomplished during my kids' morning nap.

Pictured above is the beggining of a crocheted market bag with the crochet hook inserted in the work along with the skein of yarn being used and the printed pattern.

I have decided that when I complete the bag, I am going to do a blog giveaway for it! Stay tuned!

Update 6/22/2013:

As I kept working, I noticed all of a sudden the mesh had gotten bigger in one spot.  I counted my chains and that was right and then I realized I had Double Crochets in the previous row instead of Single Crochets.  I had to rip out the work and redo that row. 

This is the fixed bag after I ran out of my first skein of yarn.

This is a picture of the twins deciding I should not be crocheting and I should be singing the Wheels on the Bus with them instead.  Always a good excuse for a break!

The color is off in this picture because I took it at night, but this was my work at the end of Day 2.

Update 6/24/13 - Morning

Starting the handles today - the pattern wasn't clear if I should be putting handles on the three rows of Single Crochet or the single row of Single Crochet.  I had used the three rows as the "bottom" but didn't like the way it fell, so I decided to use the three rows as the top.

Beginning the handles of the Market Bag.

Update: 6/24/2013 - Evening

I finished the bag!  The handles were a lot thicker than I would have made them, so I decreased in the straps about halfway up each side.  The baby loved the bag.

The baby in the completed market bag.

She especially loved how many of her toys fit in the market bag.
The completed bag.

I loved doing the Crochet Pin-Along but didn't like the pattern.  For my first market bag, I would have enjoyed making something with a little more shape to it rather than just a big rectangle.  There's always next time!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Project: I wish I had a Laundry Room

Our home was built in the mid 1970's and we live in New England.  Instead of a fancy laundry room, we have a washer and dryer on a platform in our unfinished section of the basement.  It's dark - not super dark, but dark. Lots of creepy-crawlies live there despite my monthly frenzies with the shop vacuum.  There's a shelf that hangs above the washer and dryer that has rings of spilled laundry detergents of one kind or another, a rough folding table, and a dusty garment rack I had inherited from my best friend a few years back.

I do a lot of laundry.. Well, I should do a lot of laundry.  I end up letting it pile up before attacking it, but I really should do a load a day to keep up with the laundry demands of my family.  I began making my own laundry detergent and oxy clean a few months back and it's really paying off.  I decided now was the time to make my laundry area more friendly like a laundry room is.

Here is my very messy (simply not tidy at all), dark & dusty laundry area in the basement.  Notice the barely used shelves (mostly because they have gunk on them), the piles of things on the folding table...

Here's a close up of the shelves - I'm glad I have them but boy are they a mess! (I know, I am making this out to be a lot worse than it is).

We made a quick trip to Wal-Mart and found these awesome laundry baskets (they have great handles that don't dig into my fingers), and I grabbed some happy shelf paper (this is the one I picked).  I had some leftover indoor paint in the garage and found some white.

Step 1

Move the garment rack over to near the dryer.  I then used some multi-surface cleaner to get the dust off and clean them.  I hung unused hangers for myself, my husband, the boys and the baby all on the garment rack.  I put my awesome new laundry baskets on both the bottom and the top of the garment rack to keep them easy to access and close to where the clean laundry will need to go.  I cleared off the folding table and put things on the shelves where they belonged.  I took the old wall paper off the folding table and washed it.  Then I moved the things off the shelf (can you tell this was done over a couple of days?) and washed that.  I gave it a day to dry since I had given those shelves a good washing.  While I was at it, I used the multi-surface cleaner to wash the washer and dryer.  I also washed the top of the fluorescent light fixture so there was as little dust as possible hanging around my soon-to-be-awesome laundry area.

Step 2

I painted the shelves, the sides, the inside, the top and the bottoms of each shelf I could reach.  I also painted the sides of the folding table to brighten it up a bit.

Check out how CLEAN it looks! How nice and friendly and inviting!

Step 3

I laid out the shelf paper on the folding table.  I did this in large sheets and smoothed it down.  I also laid down shelf paper on each of the shelves so when the laundry detergents leak, they will be easy to wipe down.

What an awesome difference!

I found some absolutely adorable printables online. Two are from One Good Thing by Jillee, and this one from Better Homes & Gardens.  I printed them and used clear shelf paper to secure them to my folding table.

There you have it!  Small home upgrade - no longer is it "washer/dryer in the basement" it is officially "Laundry Area in the Basement".  Huzzah!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Project: Toddler Watch

This post contains links to items I used in the activities described.  I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.  I was not paid by these brands nor did I receive goods or payment to recommend the products, they are just the products I chose for the project.

I had mentioned in my first post that I love pretend play and watching my children in their pretend play.  This project was designed when my boys developed a fascination with my jewelry.  I don't wear much, my wedding and engagement rings, a watch, a bracelet and sometimes earrings.  My watch has a button on it that will illuminate the face in the dark, and once the boys discovered this, I couldn't get them away from my wrist; until I made them their own watches.

Pictured are two toddlers each showing off crocheted watches. The faces of the watches are white, while one watch band is green and the other is blue.

I honestly made these about three months ago, and they have been machine washed at least a dozen times.  They take them to Grammy's house, and wear them around the house and any time we go to a store.  They love having things that make them like mom and dad, so these watches are an important part of their wardrobes and pretend play.

Introducing:  Project Crocheted Toddler Watch

Craft: Crochet


  • Leftover yarn - just reach into your scrap yarn.  I use two colors, white for the "face" of the watch and another color for around the face and the band.
  • I use the H hook to give smaller, tighter stitches, but gauge is not essential to this project as you will make it to fit your child.
Magic Loop (ML)
Single Crochet (SC)
Half Double Crochet (HDC)
Double Crochet (DC)
Slip Stitch (Sl St)
Stitch (St)


With face of watch color:
Magic Loop.  (Check out this video from Crochet Geek if you need a tutorial)
Round 1:  In ML chain 2. (Does not count as DC). 12 DC in ML. Sl St to first DC to join. Fasten off. (12 DC)

Pictured is the first round of double crochet stitches which form the face of the watch.

Round 2: Join new color for around face and band.
2 SC in each DC. Join with sl st to first SC. (24 SC)

Pictured is the second round of single crochet stitches which form the face of the watch.  The first round is white double crochet, while the second is blue single crochet.

Begin working the band.

Row 1
: Ch 2. HDC in same st and in each of next 3 SC. (4 HDC)

Pictured is the completed face of the crochet watch and the first row of the beginning of the construction of the band of the watch.

Row 2: Ch 2, turn. HDC in same st and in each of next 3 HDC. (4 HDC)
Row 3 - 17: Repeat Row 2 until entire piece measures about 7" (see picture).  For me, this was 17 rows of HDC. Yours may be different depending on the yarn or gauge you use.  Fasten off, weave in ends.

Pictured is the completed face of the watch with the completed band before the watch is seamed together.

With wrong side facing, leave seven stitches on either side of the band around the face, sew open band end onto watch face in four remaining stitches.

Diagram showing the completed watch and which stitches should be skipped to sew the band to the face and complete the watch.

Pictured is the completed project - a blue and white crocheted watch for pretend play for a toddler.

There you have it!  A new watch for your tot to put on and off themselves, one that is washable if it gets dirty, and that is very durable.  Also, very easy to make a duplicate if it happens to be left at Grammy's.  Make them in all colors so your little one can coordinate with their clothing or just make one in their favorite color!

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Project: Superhero

I have all these wonderful ideas in my head that I can't wait to begin, however my real life keeps taking over.  I spend my days chasing, cleaning, changing, playing with, teaching and nurturing our three small children.  I wrangle our dog in and out of the house and making sure she doesn't get into too much trouble.  Somehow, the cooking, cleaning, and laundering gets done.  I am blessed with a life I wouldn't have any other way, even if I feel like I need more than two hands most of the time.

My children inspire me to create a lot - many times just so they have something new to play with or an accessory to get them interested in something new.  For this post, I'd like to share something we did a few months ago.

Our boys love superheros and the idea of being a superhero.  Although they've never watched Batman, they will sing "nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-Batman!" right along with us, and certainly know what he looks like.  They have a couple of action figures, and Little People Wheelies Batman characters.

During winter, we were stuck indoors a lot.  The baby wasn't old enough to dress up to take out, and we don't have a fenced in yard.  We had to occupy our days indoors trying to make the "same-old, same-old" not so monotonous.

Introducing:  Project Superhero

This project happened in four stages, and I'm apologizing in advance - I hadn't planned a blog post on this so I promise to be more accurate in my future projects.

Stage 1 was the hastily-thrown-together-so-you-can-play-with-it-right-now version.


  • Undetermined amount of bolted felt (like this).  Left over from a costume my mother and I made for my high school senior class play about 12 years earlier.  You can purchase this by the yard at a brick and mortar location.
  • Scissors
  • Length of Yarn (about 20" per mask)
Cape Directions:  All I did was cut a rectangular section of the felt measuring it against the boys to almost resemble a cape. On one end, I cut out a section for their necks and tied the remaining lengths around their necks to stay on. 
Mask Directions:  I cut an oval that would cover their eyes, and cut extremely crude eye holes and nose triangles (see picture).  On either side of the oval, I used a needle to poke a hole and draw yarn through, and tied the yarn behind their heads to secure to their faces.

The twins thought their new superhero capes and glasses were fantastic.  I cringed every time I saw the hastily cut edges and began planning Stage 2.

Stage 2 was the result of the children going to bed, and me designing much "better" glasses.

  • Cape from Stage 1
  • Additional undetermined amount of bolted felt unused from Stage 1
  • Scissors
  • Length of 1/4" braided elastic (like this)
  • Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
  • Mask Template from Spoonful 

Mask Directions:
Using the template, I cut my mask from the bolted felt.  I cut the length of elastic based on my sons' heads.  Instead of using yarn, I hot glued elastic to each of the sections of the mask above the eyes.  

The boys were psyched to have glasses they could put on themselves without asking for help.  I was glad to have adorable superheros running around my house.

Stage 3 happened a few months later.  The glasses had fallen apart repeatedly and been repaired repeatedly.  The capes were stretched out from all the knotting and unknotting.  I decided it was time to break out the sewing machine and do this the right way.

  • At least 19.5" x 25.5" of flannel print fabric.  One for cape, one for liner. (Check out, they do free shipping on orders over $35!)
  • Two craft magnets (The ones I used are these: Magnetic Buttons)
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread
  • Iron
  • Brown paper or other paper for creating your pattern
  • Bib for creating your pattern

Using a bib (that fits the child you are making the cape for), I traced half of the neckline onto the edge of the brown paper.  I then drew my cape line so that it flared outwards as I got towards the bottom of the cape.  The cape measures 18" across at the bottom (so you want the flare to end about 9" from the bottom edge of the cape) and 24" from clasp to bottom.  Check out my crude diagram below to get a visual idea of what I mean.

Folding your flannel in half, place pattern on the fold and cut one piece of each of your cape and lining.  Pin wrong sides of cape and lining together and stitch around with a 3/4" seam allowance.  Leave a small opening at the bottom so you can flip it right-side out.  When finished stitching, turn cape right side out and iron flat.  Tuck the open ends on the inside when ironing so you no longer see the opening at the bottom.  The trickiest part of the cape was getting the magnets in the collar where they needed to be.  To do this, I dropped two magnets in, and used my fingers to push them waaaaay up in the collar where they needed to be for the clasp.  I then used a running stitch and sewed right across the collar to secure the magnets in the collar.  A quick running stitch about 1/4"from the edge all the way around the cape (including stitching shut the open edge on the bottom) and your cape is complete!

Very, very excited toddlers to have nice new reversible capes that they could take on and off themselves.

superhero cape tutorial sew toddler diy

Stage 4 was the introduction of new glasses.

The glasses weren't intended to go with the superhero costumes - they were more just so the boys would stop playing with our glasses.

Leftover yarn
2 2" Plastic O Rings
Crochet Hook Size I  
Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

15 Single Crochet (SC) over one of the O rings.  Chain (Ch) 50.  SC in 2nd Ch from hook, and in each Ch back to O Ring.  15 SC in remainder of O ring.  Join to first SC with Slip Stitch (Sl St). 
Ch 1, turn.
SC in each of next two SC's.  Ch 1, turn.  Holding second O ring up to hook, work 15 SC over the O ring.   Chain (Ch) 50.  SC in 2nd Ch from hook, and in each Ch back to O Ring.  15 SC in remainder of O ring.  Join to Ch 1 with Sl St. Fasten off, weave in ends.

Much more durable "glasses" that the kids constantly wear.

I think this post was long enough.  I can't believe how long it took to write out!

I look forward to comments from you, getting to know you, and you getting to know me through future posts.  I know some of the directions here may be unclear, but I promise to do much better with additional projects!

Happy crafting!