Thursday, April 30, 2015

Upcycling: My Jeans into Kid Pull-Up Jeans

These were my old jeans, and I didn't want to throw them away because the fabric was so deliciously stretchy and I love how jeans have contrast stitching.  This pair in particular was worn in and cozy, and I decided to cut them into pull-on jeans for my older son.  

To make them, I cut them to height using a pair of sweats that fit him as my pattern.  I added an extra inch for the waistband.  Then I curved them in, left the width as it was, and stitched up the center seam.  

I originally just turned the waistband, wanting to use the stretch of the fabric to hold the pants up.  They immediately fell down (yes, even though I measured them).

So I cut that off and added a 2" piece with elastic inside.  The rise is a bit short in back.  Next time I will leave closer to 3" to play with as I do the sizing and fitting around the waist.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Little Heartbreaker Pants as Shorts (again)

This time around, I made three pairs of Little Heartbreaker Pants from Sewing for Boys as Shorts.

Previously, I made one pair here and four pairs here.  

As you may recall, the last time I made them I had an issue with the back bunching up and causing the hem to not be straight all the way around.  I was able to catch that before stitching the middle seam this time, and adjust accordingly.  To fix it, I had to match up the shorts and cut out the excess fabric BEFORE sewing the middle leg seams.  I changed the angle and it worked out great.

Another adjustment I made this time was to skip the adjustable elastic inside the back casing.  My older son complains that the snap rubs into him and doesn't like wearing them.  So I did everything the same, except stitched a piece of elastic at both ends of the casing instead if snapping one at the same location.

Now we are ready for summer!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Upcycling: Bobby's Bathers as Shorts from Dad's Old Polo

Here is Dad in one of his favorite polo shirts!

Halloween 2011
Alas, the shirt got old.  So I made it into a pair of shorts.

I used Sewing for Boys' Bobby's Bathers pattern but modified the pockets and the waistband.  I added a second pocket to the front (and moved them more to the front from the side), and another to the back.

I also got to skip the hemming because I arranged the pattern pieces to use the existing polo shirt hem.

To make the waistband, I took similar fabric and made a casing with elastic.

I love these shorts!  They make us all think of Daddy every time they are on, plus they are roomy and allow for plenty of movement.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

DIY Kids' Work Bench - Woodworking

We needed a workbench for the kids that was at their height and sturdy and actually made for working.  Check out this article on the power of the woodworking bench for little kids.

We actually put this bench together a few years ago out of some scraps of pressure treated wood on top and on the sides but then last summer added the cross supports on the bottom (front and back) and painted it.  The cross supports make the legs much more sturdy.

The kids use this bench for hammering nails into and drilling screws in and out of. They spend countless hours hammering in and pulling out, and drilling in and drilling out.

 The bench usually also has a clamp-on vice at one end so the kids can make things with other pieces of wood.  That cooler, surprisingly, gets a lot of action by the kids so it has stayed there as well.

Here is a good large DIY workbench tutorial from Ana White you can make smaller if you'd like something more specific.  Her stuff is great.

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Simple Twenty Minute Tote with Exterior Pocket Tutorial

These are so quick, and they are quicker still if you choose not to include the exterior pocket.

First, choose a piece of fabric to fold in half as the main body fabric and cut it to square it up (actually it is a rectangle, but you need to make the corners square).  Then choose a pocket size and fabric, and cut the pocket and the straps.  The straps will be about 14" by 2".  Check your length by imagining holding the bag.

Press the edges of the pocket under on all four sides.  Stitch the top hem.  Pin it to one side of your main tote piece.  Stitch it around the three unsewn sides.

Now fold up your bag and stitch the two sides together.  Press the top hem under and stitch it.

To make the straps, which are 1" wide,  press them inwards with the edges hidden inside.  Then  stitch up and down both sides.  Next, pin and attach the straps to the bag using a box stitch in four places. Make sure the attachments across from each other are actually directly across from each other.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Kids' Woodworking: A Tugboat

This tugboat was made entirely by my son, who was just six at the time.  

It is made of three layers of scrap wood.  The bottom two are thin flooring pieces, and the top is a dowel (like the end of a broom).

To make the bottom piece, he first measured the length of the bottom piece and sawed it across.  He likes using the junior hacksaw on the wood which is snug in the clamp-on vice at an outdoor table/ workbench his height.  Then he measured three inches down and made a dot, and made a dot in the center of one side.  He used a ruler to draw a line from each side dot to the center dot.  He then sawed these across.

To make the middle piece, he sawed after measuring the length.

The dowel was done the same way.

They are all wood glued together.

This took probably 1-2 hours.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Broken Femur

I did yesterday's post about the wheelchair bag without actually first discussing the broken leg.  So~ here it is:

 My older son had a skiing accident in January, and has made a really amazing recovery so far.  It has required one surgery so far, and there will be another in a year to remove the plate that was placed inside.

He was in the wheelchair for 5.5 weeks, and walked with a limp for about 2 to 3 weeks after that, and is now jumping and running.

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

DIY Wheelchair Bag Tutorial

We needed to use a wheelchair for my son's broken leg this winter.  When it arrived, the first thing we noticed was the lack of carrying space, especially since we have recently used strollers, which have copious storage for the parent and child, plus extra underneath.

We pretty much immediately set to work making a wheelchair bag for the handles.  My son chose some heavy canvas-weight Ikea fabric I had (stripes and a coordinating pattern).            
To make the bag, we measured against the wheelchair for the width, then folded it in half and stitched the edges together.  You could make it any height you want.  Ours went less than halfway down the back of the chair.  

Then we stitched a hem around the top after pressing it
To make the straps, which are 1" wide, I held up the bag to the back of the wheelchair and decided on the length.  Then I cut them 2" wide and pressed them inwards with edges hidden.  Then I stitched up and down both sides.  These are attached to the bag using a box stitch in four places.

This ended up being just the right size to stash his water bottle, a tablet, and headphones.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Helping Induce Sleep in Kids with an Epsom Salt & Lavender Bath (Shhhh....)

Just doing the dishes, Mom...

One of the many uses of Epsom Salt is to relax the body and increase magnesium, which helps induce sleep.  Another sleep-inducer is lavender essential oil, and a few drops in the bath does the trick.

But how to get the kids to take a salt bath to help them sleep?

We have found that NOT TELLING THEM WHY seems to do the trick.  They constantly love to bring toys into the bath, and playing with salt in the bath is as good a toy as any.  I often will give them a measuring cup filled with epsom salt and let them practice dissolving it and playing with it for the duration of their bath.

As for the lavender oil, we just drop it in (or let them do it).

Maybe this helps them fall asleep earlier... It's such a challenge to adjust to the days getting longer and falling asleep when it's light out!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Magical Kids' Garden with a Yellow Brick Road

We have been so happy with this area of the front garden.  The yellow brick road we made leads to a little playhouse where the neighborhood kids (and mine) spend a lot of time playing.  The grown-ups have a bench right there.  The floor is wood chips, and I have eaten many a delicious wood chip pizza and drank many a wood chip coffee.

We have talked about our front yard transformation before, but I wanted you to see it a few years later.  This area was grass when we moved in, with some big non-fruiting mulberries, and red lava rocks.  The first thing we did was to get rid of the trees and lava rocks, and sheet mulch the area. We got the wood chips from a local tree service and spread them ourselves. 

To make the yellow brick road, we painted one side of bricks in yellow, then varnished them.  Then we laid them in.  The play house was easy to put together, and I have since water sealed it.  We leave a set of kids' pots and pans out there, and they cook with wood chips and rocks.  The mail box is our old mail box cut down in height and dug in.  

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