September 23, 2014

men's shirt into boy pants

When he last came to visit us, my dad left behind a shirt. (He didn't forget it, just decided not to take it back) The shirt became immediately part of my refashion stash, waiting its turn for a second chance. 
 I used the comfy pants pattern in "Sewing for boys" book (same as in the blue pants ) to make this new pair of pants for Victor. Easy to sew and my little guy seems very comfortable in them - what else to ask for? 
 The shirt pocket, which I decided to place in front of the pants and not the back, proved to be a great hit for my little rock collector. The rocks he finds and decides to keep vary in size from pretty small to rather big and they all fit in. Besides, when you have a little brother, you want to make sure he doesn't lay hands on your belongings and what better place to keep them than a nice big pocket?

August 6, 2014

old jeans skirt reinvented

When I got tired of my old jeans skirt I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. The inspiration came from this bohemian jeans skirt found on etsy. 
Belles Roses bohemian jean skirt Renaissance Denim Couture long flowy boho gypsy faerie Made to Order
Though I felt very much tempted by the floor length I also wanted a knee skirt. With just a bit more than a yard of fabric I managed to transformed my old skirt into this neat skirt.

Curious about what I used to make the blue pattern at the bottom of the skirt? If you read this blog it means that you also like sewing and that you handle it quite often: thread spool.

July 15, 2014

The blue elephant shirt aka dr Seuss shirt

Our first mini-vacation as a family of four was a weekend spent at a goat farm. I was nervous about the sleeping arrangements, which proved indeed to be a bit of a problem, as the boys only wanted to sleep with me (so I ended up sleeping with both of them while Dan had the other bed to himself. Not fair!) and they kept each other up until late at night, but apart from that, we had a great time enjoying the calm and quiet country side and the playful goats. Victor couldn't get enough of feeding the goats and had a hard time leaving. We promised him we'd see more goats at the ZOO so the minute we pulled the car into the garage he asked to go to the ZOO.

We did go to the ZOO, though not that very day, and he was excited to see the animals (and the mountain goat) but not as much as pushing around his stroller. I'm not sure what it is about pushing around toys or strollers or anything that can roll but it tops any other activity. He showed an interest in the seal but didn't even glance at the zebra or elephant. Had the elephant been blue (like the ones on his new shirt) he might have stood a chance of being noticed.

 Once I was done sewing this shirt, I hung it in Victor's closet, among his other clothes. He noticed it right away and wanted to wear it the same day. -what better compliment! :)

July 1, 2014

Toddler activity: felt numbers

These felt numbers were of great help to Victor a few months back, when he started showing interest in counting. It was a 2-in-1 challenge: identifying numbers and colors.

They are pretty large and stuffed, different from the felt letters.

Victor's counting went thru different stages: English counting was a favorite at the beginning (though he would always pronounce 7 in Romanian) but now he can easily switch from one language to another while counting and he even amazed me one day when I heard him say: "uno dos tres cuatro" (he learns Spanish at daycare).

I rotate the toys and although I try to do it on a regular basis, that's the last thing on my mind, so Victor hasn't played with the numbers in a very long time. I wonder if he would still show an interest in them.
If not, they will get their second chance once Eric is old enough.

April 30, 2014

Toddler activity : felt letters

My 2-year old son is into colors, numbers and letters and we look for any opportunity to help him develop his new recognition abilities. We try to make it fun through games, foam letters and numbers for bath time and felt letters and numbers made by myself.
Growing up in a bilingual environment can be challenging for a little guy. We speak Romanian at home but he's equally exposed to English through all the books we read to him, visits at the library and our international friends.  
There are things, like the alphabet, that we prefer to teach him in English so it won't get too confusing. The Romanian alphabet has the same letters as the English one but some are pronounced differently.
This is how it originally looked like but as his little brother kept pulling the letters down I decided to place them out of the baby's reach.
 Both the board and letters are made from felt as felt sticks to felt. As for how to attach the board to the wall, I used Command Strips but you can also try pins. (I wanted not to damage the wall in any way)
I haven't put out all the letters yet, just the ones that Victor can identify so far. (enough to be able to spell his name)

April 19, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt Bag and Tee

We went egg hunting today for the first time ever. We don't have this tradition in Romania, where Dan and I grew up, so we haven't experienced it as kids but, hey, we get to live it now through our boys. It was such a nice day to be outside and spend time with friends while our children were tracing down the eggs and bunnies. It wasn't a typical egg hunt, we had to look for numbered wooden eggs and bunnies and get a prize after finding them all. 

The nature center where the egg hunt took place put together several kid activities and had also a small petting zoo. Victor got to touch a snake and frog (yuck!) and pet a few rabbits (his favorites).

I wanted to buy Victor an egg hunt bag , many nice bags to choose from if you have a girl...but not so many for boys...So I decided to make one myself.
I also made a tee to go with the bag. I used the same pattern as for raglan tee but went for a long sleeve version this time.
Happy Easter!

April 4, 2014

Toddler activity: color painting on snow

It may be spring where you live but here, in Minnesota, we're still covered in snow. Today is April 4th and we're expecting up to 10" by noon. Spring has shown its signs for the last couple of weeks and got everybody excited but now: boom! The only one who doesn't mind it is my son as I introduced him to color painting on snow.

When my oldest  woke up from his nap last Saturday these three bottles were waiting for him to play with. I had filled them up  with water and food colors: red, blue and green. 

Painting on snow got my toddler sucked into immediately and I must say it was fun even for me. Our neighbor's kid also joined us and Victor didn't mind at all. (He's at that age when if someone else toys with his stuff a tantrum may be on its way).

Trying to stay positive: more snow means more canvas for our art. (though I would gladly give it up for chalk drawing)

March 12, 2014

sewing for boys

Sewing for boys never crossed my mind when I started this hobby of mine. It's true that at the time I didn't have my two little trouble makers. Nevertheless  I have selfishly sewn almost exclusively for myself until the beginning of this year when I made PJs for my hubby . Next on the list: boy clothes. 

If you feel intimidated by sewing for boys, like I was, I would recommend getting this book: 

The book contains 24 projects for beginners to advanced. Most patterns are for sizes 2 through 7 but there are some for 0-18 months as well.

I started with these comfy pants:

Buying pants for my tall and thin Victor is usually a challenge. The 2T's are a good waist fit but too short while the 3T's are loose but the right length. Adjustable pants do the trick. Making some myself seemed like another good solution.

I made the pants in size 2-3 but longer as in size 4-5 so Victor can wear them for a long while.

Next project: short sleeve raglan tee

The instructions are for a seam-on-the-outside, raw-edged tee but I prefer a finished look. 

This book makes sewing for boys seem so easy and I will definitely try some other patterns.

February 1, 2014

Sisal rope covered storage box

Toys. Lots of toys. The older kids grow, the more toys they own. Big and small. Noisy or not.
We have two little boys (8 and 27 months) and our place is already packed with toys! Some we buy but most we receive from family and friends. After all toys are the go-to gift when it comes to Christmas and birthdays. 

They invade our world (There was one time when Victor pulled his rocking horse to our master bathroom as it rocked better on tile than on the carpet in his own room) and we fight back, we do our best to keep the situation under control: rotate the toys, buy more storage furniture, get more baskets. In the end it's just an illusion as there are still as many toys as before but tucked away in several places.

I made this basket to store some of the the baby's stuff: bibs, a change of clothes (to have at hand ) and toys. Can you tell it's made from a diaper box? Lined with fabric and covered in rope it looks stylish enough to make it the the family room.

 You can use this fancy looking box for any sort of storage:

or you can even let your kid have some fun playing with it :

If you're looking for creative ideas on how to use sisal rope, please take a look at these wonderful 10 projects. Some even have tutorials (just click on the numbers to go to the original posts).

1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9.  10.


January 18, 2014

DIY World Map Shirt - with tutorial

When my hubby was genuinely impressed with the Urban Outfitter inspired t-shirt and asked for a similar one I knew right away what to make for him: a world map shirt. He likes globes and maps and part of his office decoration consist of a world map and a nice 6 (and counting) globe collection.

His t-shirt was part of my handmade Xmas present series but didn't include it in my previous post as I wanted to put together a little tutorial for this one. 

All you need to create your own world map tee is: freezer paper, craft knife  and puffy fabric paint.

Start by printing out a world map photo on regular print paper. I wanted my image to be big enough to cover the whole front size of the tee and if you want the same you'll have to tile your photo using two sheets.
 I'm not sure if the image can be printed directly on freezer paper - I'll have to give it a try next time!

Place the freezer paper on top of your printed image (shiny side of the freezer paper down) and trace the image onto your freezer paper.  Keep it as simple (only the continents) or as detailed (continents and islands) as you wish. It helps if you staple the two sheets together.

Place the freezer paper on cardboard  and cut the image using a craft knife but don't take the pieces out! Iron the entire freezer paper sheet onto your tee (shiny side of the freezer paper down) and afterwards  peel off the paper leaving on the t-shirt all the pieces you've previously cut .

This way you make sure all the continents and islands are in place and at the right distance from one another.

If you plan on a simplified version of the world,  you can also choose to cut out the continents and iron them one by one onto the shirt.

Trace a fine line along your stencil using puffy fabric pain. Don't draw your line too close to the stencil but leave a small break between the two.

I did half of the painting and let it dry before starting on the other half.


Once the paint is dry you can peel the freezer paper off and enjoy your elaborate work.

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