Valient Viewers of Braver Homes and Gardens

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Stashbusting: Pillowcases

In the name of marital harmony, one of my first projects while on maternity leave was to go through my fabric stash and thin some stuff out.

I came across this piece of fabric and immediately thought "this would've made good pillowcases" and threw it on the giveaway pile.  Then I thought, "Well why give this away when pillowcases are so easy?"

I decided to use the salvage edge for the open end of the pillowcase to avoid having to sew a raw edge on that side and save some time.  

Pillowcases are so easy - no pattern needed!  I just folded the fabric onto itself and laid a pillowcase from my stash on top of the fabric.  I left three inches extra on the selvage side to turn inside for the hem and another 5/8" on the unfolded edge for the side seam.  Then I cut around the pillow case like so:

I sewed the two raw edges.  Then I turned the selvage edge up those three inches, pinned it and stitched it into place. 

As luck would have it, I had just enough fabric for two pillowcases.  There was only about 9" of waste left.  Whoo hoo!

On the upside, I now have two new pillowcases.  
And the whole project went from start to finish in about 20 minutes.
On the downside, we don't have white or purple bedsheets to match these and our bedroom is blue and grey.  But with a newborn and a 12 month old, I don't really care what I lay my head down on these days.  I'm just grateful when those two let me actually sleep!

This project was a great way to do some stashbusting.   And a nice diversion from my next project, a dress I'm working on for date night with the husband.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Baby's Here!

Well Internet, I'm back to my blog!  Time sure slips by when you're trying to get through everyday live when you're pregnant with an almost-toddler!

But he's finally here!

The Deuce was born mid-May - another boy!

And yes, this long-limbed rascal DID kick the heck out of me for nine months but it was worth it.  At one month old, he's already chubbing up & taking an interest in the craziness around him.  

And big brother has been amazingly great.  No jealousy (probably because The Deuce can't play with any of his toys yet!).  He just pets baby's hair, he loves pulling baby's socks off and, once in a while, will press his nose, but not too hard.  Yet....

With The Deuce being a month old, I finally have a bit of a handle on his schedule so I can get back to some projects - FINALLY.  

Welcome to the world, Deuce!  Now, take good naps so your Mama can do some sewing!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Cover for Your Boppy

When I was pregnant with the Sprout, my sister gave me her old Boppy.  This pillow made it through her three babies and my little Sprout.  I love this pillow and it's still in great shape!  But I decided that it really needed some freshening up before baby number 2 comes along.  The recover was very easy to do and took less than an hour!

(In my posts, I assume readers have basic machine sewing skills.  But if I'm clear as mud, please post a comment or email me - I'm happy to answer questions!) 

Supplies needed:  One yard of cotton fabric, 45" wide AND 3/8 yard contrast fabric 
OR  1-1/4 yard cotton fabric, 45" wide
One 22-24" zipper that matches your fabric.
Sewing machine & matching thread

The cover has a zipper so I just unzipped it and used a seam ripper to remove the zipper in order to reuse on the next cover.  

I had "owls" as my baby shower theme and my mother-in-law spied this piece of fabric.  She bought a yard, ended up not having a use for it, and gave it to me.  The one-yard piece was just the right amount to recover the boppy!  

Using the seam ripper, also rip out the band at the inner curve of the boppy.  

I laid the old boppy fabric on top of the new and used it as my pattern to cut out the top and bottom.

And this is the part where I got in the sewing groove and forgot to take pictures so I'm going to do my best to describe what I did.  Put your new top and bottom right sides together.  Using your old cover as a guideline, mark where the zipper went with pins and baste shut between your pins.  Sew the new zipper in following the manufacturer's directions.  

Remove the basting.   

Use the old band piece as a pattern to cut out the new band piece (you only need one).  Make sure you cut it on the bias/diagonal as shown otherwise the fabric won't stretch into the curve the way you'll need it to.  

Use the fold lines from the old band to help create the folds on the ends of the new band and pin it, right sides together, to the new top and bottom.  Sew it into place.  I used only a 1/2" seam for this part.

Pin the remainder of the top and bottom together and stitch the rest of the boppy closed.  Work the zipper to open it and flip it all right sides out.  Put your new cover on and admire your handy work!.

Now, if you used your pillow on your own baby, reminisce.

Here's the Sprout at 1 month old in the old Boppy:

Sniff, sniff!  NOW here he is at 8 months in the new Boppy, keeping it warm for his new sibling on the way:

My gosh, they do not stay little!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Word for 2014

Egads!  My last post was September!  Well, that's what happens with a little Sprout undertow.  He's getting so big, and nearly 8 months old!

I've read so many great posts from bloggers who have chosen a word or phrase as their motto for 2014.  The Conductor and I did this last year and really liked it.  We found that it was so much more realistic to choose a mindset rather than a (typically) unattainable goal.  Last year mine was "Organize" and I did a ton of organizing and developing good routines for our household.   The Conductor's was "Waste Not Want Not" and with that in mind, and with me organizing much more, we were able to make better use of space and better use of our resources.  

This year, his word is "Learning" because he wants to make an effort to learn new skills, especially ones that will allow us to be more self-sufficient.  

Here he is teaching himself computer programming.  Wow!

My mantra for 2014 is "Plan Ahead".  Working full time with an 8-month old at home seriously limits my time and energy and I've found myself slacking off on the chores, cooking healthy meals, and my hobbies just from lack of planning.  And I've wasted so much precious free time just from having no plan, or from not having supplies on hand or a schedule set.  

And I need to get into the habit of planning ahead because my time and energy will be even MORE limited before too long...

Yep.  I am expecting AGAIN.  Number 2 is actually due on the Sprout's 1st Birthday in May!  Couldn't've planned that better if I tried!  

Talk about needing to plan ahead!  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Harley Fest 2013

Labor Day weekend my hometown of Milwaukee hosted the 110th Harley Davidson reunion.  The whole city was flooded with Harley riders that come from all over the world  for the reunion.  Here's just a few  pictures  of what our streets looked like:
Our Downtown

Semi-related thought:  I once dated a guy that worked for Harley Davidson.  He took me for my first ride on a motorcycle.  I've never said so many Hail Mary's in a row in my whole life.

Anyway:  Our plan for Labor Day was to go to the Milwaukee Art Museum.  My family doesn't ride, but we still have our hometown pride and we did our best to instill it in the Sprout.  Look at this Bruiser:

Yea.  I put (wash off) tattoos on my little belly shover.  What kind of biker doesn't have a few tats?  (That and we saw a tattoo exhibit while at the museum).  

There's no straight pipes on his wheels.  And if you're wondering how many horses his ride has, well that depends on how tired mommy and daddy are:

 Cutest Fat Boy ever!  Seriously - look at the pudge on those thighs!

And don't be fooled.  You're never too much of a tough guy that you can't wear a pink bib and get a little snuggle from your Oma.    

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Airplane Hat

For Labor Day weekend I made another little hat for the Sprout.  He wears a lot of baby blue and brown and I happened to find a cute airplane print for a hat.

This is another hat using McCall's 6575.

Another super easy pattern to follow.  I did this one in about an hour, including two interruptions by the Sprout for feeding and cuddling.  I don't believe the directions call for using buckram in the brim, but I wanted it stiffer so I stuck a piece in.  I also added the chin strap which was not part of the original pattern.

It's also a bit too big for infants, but I just added a strip of elastic to the back so he'll be able to wear this for a good long time.

He looks cute, if a little bit sleepy - he was napping in his Moby and I took this picture right after he woke up.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cake in Mug

Last night the Conductor and I wanted some dessert but all we had were store bought cookies and candy.  Not very exciting.  I persuaded him to revive a pregnancy favorite.  I didn't blog at all while I was pregnant with the Sprout.  But there was a period of about a week where we had the following conversation:

Him:  Do you want anything from the kitchen?

Me:  Yes.  A piece of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

Him:  Do we *have* any chocolate cake?

Me:  No.

Him:  (Rolls eyes at my crazy pregnancy logic).

My Mother-in-law had loaded us up with Christmas treats and before we could finish those, the Girl Scout cookies came.  Seeing as how we were already overloaded with goodies, I didn't want to buy a cake and with the pregnancy fatigue I wasn't about to bake one.  So we just repeated the futile conversation over and over until one night when the Conductor remembered and NPR interview he heard with a man who had written a microwave cookbook.

One of the recipes was for individual cakes in a mug where you mix the ingredients right in the cup then bake in the microwave.  They are all over the internet but here's an example.  Here's the finished product:

It makes a pretty large portion so two people could even split it.  We topped ours with some nummy Sanders fudge sauce (made in the Conductor's home state of Michigan) and some raspberry sauce that I made with berries from our yard.  (Just a saucepan full of berries and a handful of sugar cooked down to liquid).

It was delicious!  Now that we've had it a few times, some tips:

Stir the ingredients with a fork to blend better.  Don't add more batter than called for (I tried making individual cakes with a box mix and poured in WAY too much and it overflowed,  making a mess).  Keep the cook time to 2 minutes.  Anything more and the cake will get dry.

Great for a pregnancy craving...or a chocolate craving...when you don't want an entire cake sitting around.