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I saved most of my baby food jars. It’s crazy, I know, but I feel like lots of places need them for kid’s crafts and I figured they would probably come in handy for some sort of storage. Eventually. Couple that with the fact that I didn’t buy a ton of jarred food in the first place and it’s not as bad as it might sound. But I still needed something to do with them all!

Colton has just gotten into coloring and understanding that the crayon will make a mark if he hits it against something. And, it just so happens that 6 oz. baby food jars are the perfect height for holding crayons.

A baby food jar, alas, will not hold a full pack of 25 crayons. My best guess is that it hold about 19, 18 if you want your toddler to be able to pull crayons out on their own. The “label” is chalkboard paint, of course. I might try to go free-form on the next one I make, but using painters tape made things very, very easy.

I put most of my jars in the dishwasher when we were done with them, so they’re all clean, but some jars still have less than attractive smells embedded in them. Nothing a little soak with dish detergent can’t handle!

I’m super happy with how this project turned out, but I think I’ll paint the lid in chalkboard paint too, just so I have a little more use for this once we get out of the crayon stage. But since Colton will never outgrow crayons, I can just make myself some for storing bobbins, pins, buttons and other random things.

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I sewed a pair of pants!

I’m not really sure what got into me, but I saw two tutorials for making a simple, elastic waist pair of baby pants, one with a free pattern in Colton’s current great-fitting size. Plus, seersucker fabric is only $6.99 a yard at my local fabric store, and I needed less than a yard to make these pants. Smart money in my book. Side note: I would totally recommend working with seersucker as a “first pant” project. Not only is it a nice weight, but it’s naturally supposed to be more wrinkled-looking, which helps hide any flaws you may have when you’re figuring things out.

It's really hard to photograph a pair of pants and a busy boy.

I’m happy with how they turned out, and they were much easier to sew than I anticipated. However, I had a little bunching problem when I sewed the crotch. This is fine, since pants tend to bunch in that area on babies anyway, so no one can tell.

I think I might actually prefer using this tutorial next time, even though it requires more sewing since you aren’t cutting your pants on a fold. It seems like it would be easier to control the bunching problem I had in the crotch a bit better, since I would sew that area first, rather than last. I followed that tutorial’s instructions for the waistband as well, and I love how finished it looks; there’s no hole to cut, and when I’m looking for the “back” of the pants, I can hardly tell where I had to close the seam from inserting the elastic.

Who knew sewing a pair of pants could be so much fun, and so satisfying? I’m getting excited for making more pants for the baby, PJ bottoms for me, and dare I say it…Christmas pajamas for the family!?

Remember the post I wrote months ago about the small changes I wanted to make in our bedroom? No? Well, I wrote it in March and have just now taken action!

Last week, while Hubby and Colton were out hiking (and napping!), I sewed! Thanks to a fabulous piping tutorial (found via Pinterest), I made a piped pillow with an envelope closure for our bed.

One down, one to go!

The pillow is a little less vibrant an orange than my inspiration, but I think it works, especially with the more muted blues in the room and the pattern of our quilt.

Once I got the hang of it, sewing the piping wasn’t too terribly difficult. Not that the pillow is perfect, but you can’t deny the piping makes the pillow look more finished.

I love the extra detail the braided piping brings to the pillow. Sure I had to pay a little extra for it, but I love it! Special thanks to my friend who helped me figure out how to attach my zipper foot (apparently there’s also a piping/cording foot, but my machine didn’t come with one, so zipper foot was the next best thing). Also, that tutorial is so awesome, it makes me think I can sew  one of these with a zipper…

Remember my giant yard sale lamp? The one I bought for 25 cents? Yeah, I almost forgot about it too.

Well, I finally got around to cleaning it up and getting a shade on it. Now it looks like this:

I love that shade!

The lamp is presently residing  in my never seen on the blog guest room. The lamp I had there was just a bit too tall for the low ceilings over the bed, and I think this one fits the scale of the room better and brings the light closer to the bed. Initially, I thought I’d paint the lamp a fun color, but now I’m not so sure. It’s in pretty good shape, and I kind of like the brass color. There’s not a whole lot going on in this room, and I probably won’t give it a whole lot of attention since hopefully it will soon become part of our master bath/closet, so I don’t really know what color to paint it. Thoughts?

One of the things I learned to do after having a baby was make my own appliques. Super simple, super cute, and super giftable! I knew I wanted to do something with my new-found “skill.” At first I thought I might make a silhouette pillow, but I don’t have the skills or tools to make a good silhouette, so I decided to make a hand-print applique to give to Colton’s grandparents and great-grandparents.

First, I found my favorite baby and traced his hand. I used that tracing to create my hand-print template (it required a bit of refining – babies don’t hold still very well). I used Heat n’ Bond and a black pillowcase to make my applique, then cut my cross-stitch fabric to size and ironed the applique to the center, but a bit high.

Next, I took some blue embroidery floss and sewed around the outside of the hand print. Now, I am not a great embroider, so the stitches aren’t exactly even, and I left a space between them, but I like that!

Then I used my handy blue, washable pencil to mark the center of the hand print, and used those markings to write out Colton’s name, nicely centered.

I simply followed my writing and embroidered his name. I did get a little off once in a while, but that’s why I have a washable pencil!

I popped the finished project into a frame and now have the perfect gift for family who love Colton!

I do plan to mat these, but I had this frame laying around and had to use it for one of these – nothing beats free right? I love these so much I think I’m going to make one and give it to myself to add to my family photo wall!

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Don’t forget to check out all of the awesome projects in this week’s Dare to DIY party at Kim’s! I’ve been checking out the projects this morning and I’m inspired to get my craft on!

I don’t normally decorate for Thanksgiving or fall, so this week was extra challenging for me!

First up, I decided I would make some wall art. I have some three-panel frames I’m not using, so I knew I would use one of those for the projects. I knew I wanted it to say “give thanks,” so I just used Word to type up the words,print them onto some cream resume paper I had, and attached them to the first and last panel.

I also knew I wanted to use some brown wrapping paper I had, and thought I would make a turkey with Colton’s hand for the middle panel. I didn’t like the way that turned out, so it was on to Plan B. One of our backyard trees has some beautiful red leaves, so I placed one in the middle panel, popped the glass on the frame, and was done!

I’m not sure how well the leaf will hold it’s color over time, but it’s something that will be pretty easy to change out. Really, the whole idea can be modified for different seasons (I’m thinking “Here Comes Santa Clause” for Christmas), or simply be used for family pictures.

I also made some Autumn Luminaries, an idea I stole from Martha Stewart. Now, Martha’s directions said to use a specific kind of bag, acrylic paint, and a special paint sprayer. I had none of those things, and didn’t want to buy any, so I used plain brown paper bags and some red spray paint I already had on hand.

These took literally five minutes to make. I grabbed three leaves, four bags, laid the leaves on the bag, and sprayed. By the time I finished the last one, the first one had dried! I also think they look pretty cute during the day, but when I lit them at night, the effect wasn’t really what I thought it would be, and it was hard to see the leaf shape. Maybe if I lit them at dusk? I’m not sure if this would be a problem with the acrylic paint or not, but the moral of the story is that maybe you should listen to Martha. There’s probably a reason she has a show and I don’t.

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Don’t forget to check out the DIY Challenge at Newly Woodwards for more fun projects!

One of my new favorite nap time activities (and sometimes non-nap time activity) is making homemade burp cloths. Hubby thinks its crazy I spend time making burp cloths that look “pretty,” but since I use them all the time, I’d rather them not be ugly. Plus, this way, my friends’ burp cloths don’t get mixed up with mine, since all our look different!

As with any sewing project I take on, anyone can make these! If you have basic sewing skills, you can make these.

You’ll need two kinds of fabric, I use a cotton fabric for the top, and terrycloth for the bottom, but you can use anything that’s absorbent. You’ll also need thread to match your fabrics. If you choose terrycloth for your burp cloth, please buy a towel and cut it to size – it’s a lot less expensive than buying terrycloth by the yard.

To start, wash both of your fabrics, and iron the fabric top (you don’t need to iron the terry cloth).

If you’re using a towel, first cut off the bindings. I recommend doing this outside, as this can get quite messy (I tried to get a picture of Glacier covered in green towel sheddings, but she wasn’t having it.).

Next, cut your terrycloth and other fabric to size; I use one of my purchased burp cloths as a guide.

Cut a bit bigger, since you’ll sew right sides together and loose a bit of width.

Line up your towel and top fabric. There’s no real need to pin, and you only need to iron one side of your top fabric.

Sew right sides together, being sure to leave an opening large enough to turn the burp cloth right side out. I find it helpful to repeat to myself “do not sew this closed, do not sew this closed,” when I start sewing the fourth side.

Once you’ve finished sewing, but before you turn the burp cloth right side out, trim any excess. Turn right side out, and pin your opening closed.

Sew the opening closed using a straight stitch, and continue sewing around the burp cloth, as close to the outside as possible.

You can just do this, or sew around the burp cloth again, about a half-inch away from your first line. Or you can sew two lines down the burp cloth, dividing it into thirds, as is traditional on burp cloths.

This time, I sewed two lines around the outside of the cloth, and sewed another line down the middle.

That’s it! You don’t even really have to be able to sew in a straight line to make these, and it’s really a ton of fun to have something unique for your kid. These also make great gifts. My favorite part of these is that you aren’t limited in making them a certain way. Need bigger cloths? Smaller? Round? You can make them however you want with whatever you wan.

Happy sewing!

I’ve got the itch.

I don’t know where it came from. Maybe it came on when I saw Kim’s new house and all her projects she’s got going on. Maybe I caught it when I looked at pictures of Caroline pulling down the sandwich shop ceiling in a dress. Or maybe it came on when we finished Colton’s room with no upcoming projects.

Either way, I’ve got the project itch.

Yardsaling didn’t help, looking at potential projects. Neither did spray painting my lamp. Or sewing burp cloths. No, I’ve got an itch and only a big project can scratch it.

So, I came up with some inspiration for our den.

I don’t think I’ve shown you our den, it’s not a very pretty room; mostly the dog sleeps on the ancient, hand-me-down, kind of gross sofa. And we dump a bunch of crap on the desk. But, I long for the room to be comfortable, usable, and pretty. I want it to be a room that centers around family; where Colton can pull out toys, paint pictures, and hang out with friends. Where I can work at a desk, sew, or workout. Maybe we’ll let the dog sleep there. Maybe.

So, off I went in search of inspiration pictures. After all, I’ve got to have a good jumping off point for the space!

Source.

I love the chalkboard in this space, and all the storage. And, how cool is the basketball hoop?

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I liked the playfulness and casual feeling this moodboard has. Plus, Colton has to have a cute little chair with his name on it! (Dad, did you read that? Great Christmas present right there! LL Bean has them. Your grandson needs one.)

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This one is too cute! I think the light, classic feeling this one has goes with the bookcases I already have in the space.

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I really liked the balance of neutrals and colors in this space. Plus, the space looks long and skinny like my room, so it gives me some ideas for furniture arrangements.

Source.

This image was my ultimate inspiration! The wood color will go perfectly with my bookcases, and I love the “throw everything in and call it organized” bin in the table. Oh, and check out that wallpaper – you can DRAW on it. How cool is that?

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But, I must confess, the den won’t be our next project. Right now, Colton takes up about as much space as a dresser drawer, and having another room for him to play in is not on the top of our priority list. Hopefully I’ll have some details on what we hope will be our next big project soon!

  • I thought Colton was trying to start laughing last week. He would make this deep (for a baby) “huh-huh” sound, and it was too funny! Now, he isn’t doing it anymore. Tear.
  • Inspired by my time yard crawling, I painted a lamp we got for free a while ago I never really liked. I was feeling dangerous, so I painted it bright red! I found a linen shade I fell in love with for it, but I think it’s just a tad too short. But I love the shade! Thoughts? 
  • About two weeks ago, I got some info in the mail about a local photographer who would do a free mother-baby and baby sitting that included one print. You just had to be one of the first 16 people to call and set up an appointment. So I did. This is studio photography, and I was really wanting something that was more relaxed and outdoors, but since I was still in a photographer quandary, I figured I had nothing to loose by going with this.
  • Saturday, we went to a cookout celebrating the end of softball season! The family that hosted it is the only family not in our Sunday School class, but they are wonderful! The woman, Nita, invited us in the house and said, “the rules here are that you make yourself at home.” I wish I had that “anything goes I just want to make you feel welcome and comfortable” attitude! Not to mention, she and her husband fixed some fabulous food!
  • I purchased a pattern for a jon-jon for Colton…stay tuned, this could turn into the most royal mess of a project I have ever created! Not to worry, I will be sure to blog, tangled mess of threads and all!

I’ve been getting my craft on.

Finally!

I received a sewing machine for Christmas, and just fired it at the end of July.

Yeah, I’m a little embarrassed about that, but on the upside, I’ve been making cute burp cloths!

Since we go through like toliet paper around here, I thought at least I could have cute ones. So I made these:

Isn’t that whale adorable? He’s not perfect (I had a hard time sewing around the tail and the stitches don’t line up perfectly), but I love him. Yesterday I made a sun, with little triangle rays, a “C”, and one with Colton’s monogram.

Making the appliques was a pretty simple process, thanks to Google and some Heat n’ Bond. The Heat n’ Bond is really what holds them in place – the stitching just makes them look cuter and ensures that the applique won’t come up after it’s been washed dozens of times.

In fact, the process was so simple and fun, that I decided to make some as gifts! A little girl was born just six days after Colton. Since her parents didn’t find out what they were having, we’re having a “Welcome Baby” party for them. A set of four burp cloths is part of my gift:

I especially love how the “E” turned out! Here they are all ready to be opened:

I know they aren’t perfect, but I love them and think I’ve found my new nap-time hobby. I’ve got a lot of burp cloths to prettify!

Just a 20-something girl living on the East Coast, trying to figure out life. I'm a wife and mom to two. I'm trying to rediscover my love for long walks, yoga and pilates. But not hiking. I still don't like hills. I was raised at the beach, but I don't like the beach. I like to look at it, but I don't like to swim in it, I'd prefer a pool, thanks. I'm just trying to become the best person I can be -- the woman God wants me to be. That's easier said than done!

E-mail Me!

Contact me at longbrakeliving@gmail.com - I'd love to hear from you!

Hubby is my all-time favorite guy. A perfect mix of serious, sarcastic, laid-back, handy and nerdy, he is the perfect complement to me. I love his strong work-ethic and the way he always loves and supports me through everything. Some of Hubby's favorite things include: hiking, Virginia Tech football, woodworking, and his family. When I married him in July 2007, I had no idea what an amazing journey we were headed on, and how I could come to love him so much more each day.

Our oldest, Colton, is three years old. He is equal parts sassy and hysterical. He loves all things train, car, bus, truck, and machine related. He has a penchant for made-up words and loves to be the clown of his pre-school class. Our younger son, Nathan, was born this May. He is pure joy and full of smiles! He is such a blessing and a perfect fit for our family.