Boys, Birthdays, and Bow Ties

I'm back! And so is Made Monday! Even though I didn't technically go anywhere for vacation, I certainly feel refreshed and focused. Plus I got to spend time with my family and even the husband. We had 3 "Daddy Home Days" as Addy would call them. And by the way, less than 3 months remain till my husband graduates from his program! Yee! I am excited. And ready!

Anyways... now, about this Made Monday post...

I had finally gotten around to working my budget. It's not pretty. This happened to coincide with my son's 1st birthday. Needless to say, I had no money to buy him a birthday outfit. Which is okay. It's not necessary. But seriously, all he has is hand-me-downs. And deep down in this mother heart of mine I really wanted to do something special.

If you ever find yourself wanting to deck your little boy out in all manner of cuteness but have zero dollars to do this with, I have 5 words for you:

Make. Him. A. Bow. Tie.

(Or: Tell. One. Of. His. Grandmas. Also five words, and this will most likely do the trick too.)

All you need is 20-50 minutes of time (depending on your sewing skill level), scrap fabric (I used a hand-me-down shirt that was too stained to be worn as a shirt), scrap interfacing, about a foot of elastic, and thread.

Here's the instructions in pictures (I will add some written out ones with more detail after the jump.)

1. Find fabric. You will need to determine the size you want your bow tie and add a 1/2" seam allowance to the length and width measurements.

      My measurements:
  • Bow Tie: 4 1/2" x 3" (2 pieces needed)
  • Hold-Together piece: 1 1/2 x 6 (I cut this on the bias so my bow tie would have some added visual interest with a change in the direction of the print. By the way, I have no idea what this piece of fabric is technically called, so I made up a word for it: hold-together piece. I know, super sophisticated and technical, right?! Ha!)
  • Interfacing: 4 x 2 1/2 (2 pieces needed)
  • Elastic: 13"
2. Put two bow tie pieces together (right sides together) and sew with a 1/4" seam allowance the whole way around... BUT leave an inch unsewn in the middle of one of the longer sides. Sew the hold-together piece by folding in half lengthwise (wrong-side out) and sewing 5/8" from the fold.

3. Add interfacing to both sides of bow tie.

4. Turn the bow tie and the hold-together piece right-side out. Iron them nice and flat. To get the tip of the bow tie pointy, try using a pencil to push the tips out. Sew the opening in the bow tie piece closed. Turn hold together piece inside out. Iron it so that the seam is in the middle of one side.

5. Pinch bow tie in the middle (see picture).

6. Add hold together piece. Wrap once around the middle of the bow tie  and pull tight.

7. Slip a strip of elastic through the hold together piece on the back side of the bow tie.

8. Sew the hold together piece. Use the zipper foot on your sewing machine to get your seam line as close to the bow tie as possible. Trim extra fabric. Try the bow tie on your handsome model with a collared shirt on to get the elastic measurements just right. (Note: my elastic stretches to get around his head and into place on the collar, but it is NOT stretching when in place. Comfort is very important to keep in mind... especially if you want your child to actually wear it.) Sew elastic together. I added a few free hand stitches to keep the bow tie and elastic from moving.


This was SERIOUSLY easy and would require only the most basic of sewing knowledge. Definitely a great beginner project.

My handsome boy was dedicated two Sunday's ago. Immediately after church, we celebrated his first birthday with family. I may not have had a penny to use to buy him a strapping boy outfit, but I totally made it work. I think he looked adorable in his hand-me-down outfit topped off by the home-made bow tie and the grandma-bought white dress shoes.

Some pictures from the day:

 That boy right there has this momma's heart. BIG TIME! Happy birthday to my little Jedman.

Some candid shots from the day.
  • I am a big fan of baby dedications. Not the event, but the standing before God and witnesses and committing out loud to trust God with my child and to raise my child to know God. It's a powerful thing!
  • My sissy's in blue and my sister-in-law is in the picture with both my kids, aren't they beautiful?! God blessed me with two awesome sisters!
  • I also had no money for decorations, but I rigged up a happy birthday banner from 8x6 triangle pieces of leftover fabric, free-hand cut letters out of scrapbook paper and used modge podge to glue the paper to the fabric. I ripped a long strip of white fabric and zig-zag stitched the whole thing together. It's hard to tell in the bad lighting, but I think it turned out cute.
"Jed, meet Cookie Monster. Cookie Monster, Jed." Add a toy lawn mower to go places with and they are new best friends. :)
 First birthday cake.
Frosting Mustache=Best Kind of Mustache.

Have you ever had next to $0 to celebrate a milestone? How did you make it work?

We are off to Addy's very first day of swimming lessons today. Tomorrow, I have a something very personal to share with you all. I am excited about it, so do come back :)

Till Then...


Shabby-Romance Mock-Quilted Mat

This weekend, my husband was off for one day. We had a "normal" stay at home day, or, to put it as my daughter would, "Who-who! It's a hang day!" (I have no idea what a "hang day" is exactly, but I am pretty sure Saturday was it, and I can't help but melt every time she says it.) It absolutely amazed me what I was able to accomplish with my favorite support system at home. Housework, home-cooked breakfast and dinner, alone time and pages of writing in 2 hours, 1 1/2 projects, and tons of Q-time with the ones I love the most on this earth. I love days like that! I think Mike's crazy school/work schedule has given me a whole new level for gratitude for normal family days.

Who-who! It's a hang day!

Now, for Made Monday business, since I actually had time to make stuff. Yes! I got to 3 projects over the weekend. One project was a major fail (a shirt dress from scrap fabric that looked much better in my head than it did on me... no, there will NOT be pictures!), one project still needs a couple of finishing touches before I reveal it, and one is for today.


I had an idea in my head. Sometimes it's a dangerous thing. Sometimes it's an awesome thing. Sometimes it leads to disasters. Sometimes, at least half of the time, it leads to something I like. And about 10 percent of the time, it leads to something I absolutely love. This time, it led to something I like. I think I would have loved it though, if I had known what I know now. So, I shall share what I did, in hopes of giving you some inspiration to create something you love.

I wanted a place mat looking thing (I have no idea what the official word is for it) kind of like a table runner to put my cake display/pull-up-a-chair-and-stay-a-while-yummy-goodies container on top of. I wanted to put it on my dining room cabinet (an idea that falls in the 10 percent, I-love-it-and-love-it-still category).

So here's the project:

My personal supply list:
2 yds of double sided bias tape
16" square of denim
2 fabrics ripped into 1" strips, over 16" in length
2 fabrics ripped into 2" strips, over 16" in length
Sewing Machine
Rotary scissors and cutting mat (measuring tape and scissors may be sufficient)

I needed to iron some of my strips before I used them because they curled from the pulling. I cleaned up some of the super loose threads too.

I had to seam-rip and re-sew twice because the machine grabbed the pieces of my fabric. There was a couple of places that are barely noticeable that I left alone... I decided since it's shabby, imperfections were welcome. Also, my lines didn't come out perfect, but since they all weren't perfect, it looks awesomely shabby (at least that's my story).

In the end, I hated it on top of my dining cabinet--too much color on a cabinet with plenty of color of its own. So I found a new home for it on my side table in my entryway. I love the mix of the linear pattern on a table with feminine curves. I love the shabby-vintage appearance underneath the vintage looking wedding frames.
 I think it looks romantic... especially with all the love in the pictures :)
I love my mix of fabrics. It was so fun to put them together. Almost makes me want to tackle a real quilting project... almost.
Side note: Upon editing this picture, I realized my grandparents picture was broken. Thankful I found it, instead of my son (who can now just barely reach it)! It's taken care of now :)
If I could do this over again, I am not sure that I would use the bias tape. It made it looks super "quilty." Maybe I would use something like lace trim... ribbon... I am not really sure what would look best. I also would have made the shape to fit the table I ended up putting it on. I think it could be super fun in a circle or heart shape and your own mix of fabrics.

In case you are curious, I think this took something like 2 hours to make. 

Hope your Monday is Made.

DIY EASY Headband and Bubble Skirt

I get easily distracted sometimes.

For example, I set out to make my pillows one morning.  Kids were still asleep. I had a good 2 hours before they would wake.

I can and I shall be a woman who conquers great things!

I shall sew my pillows!

I started with the green pillow seen here...
I got it done quickly. I had time enough for at least one more before the kids would wake from their slumber. Then, overcome by the feeling of accomplishment on making the first pillow... I Conquered the pillow case!... I immediately begin thinking of all the ways I could use the left over green knit fabric. Skirt! Headband!

Inspiration... or maybe procrastination... (Apparently I didn't much feel like making pillows anymore) led me to create a super easy skirt and headband...

wait for it...


Creating without a pattern can be so liberating. Kind of like walking around the house without your bra on.

{Don't worry, a picture of that WILL NOT be inserted here! Ha!}

Or like riding a swing on your tummy :)

Before I proceed any further though, I do need to give credit to deliacreates. I had seen the headband during her nesting series. I put a snapshot in the back of my mind for a future auntie/if-I-ever-have-another-baby-girl project. I loved how easy they looked. Loved that they only required scrap fabric. Loved the way they can be cute and girlie without having to use pink, purple, zebra print or any other very used girl fabric (not that I am against these. I love them. Have drawers of them. Just nice to have a change of hair accessory that looks completely original). I love the way they could be super soft and gentle on a baby's precious head and custom cut to fit perfectly snug without leaving those terrible elastic indentations.

I also kept seeing on deliacreates these baby girl skirt projects out of old adult tshirts. They look comfortable. They look easy. They look unique. Also, unlike shopping at the over-priced fabric store where the price for creating your own stuff costs more than it would to just buy it, you are just reusing old shirts. Price: zero! Love when my hard work actually saves me money! (Got baby brain? Do check out the above links to check out the deliacreates nesting series. She had some seriously great projects and most were super simple.)

I had these projects in the back of my mind for baby girl projects...

But now I had a whole lot of leftover green knit fabric...

I think these projects can be made to work for my not-so-baby-anymore Addy!

I totally did this spur of the moment.

Which means...

I have no pictures of the making process.


They are SUPER EASY.

I may not be able to wonderfully and visually explain the "how-to" but it's easy!

And fortunately, Deliacreates does a good job of explaining how to do the headband. She takes beautiful pictures and she did a bunch of different headbands. A great place to get some inspiration. It's so easy that I seriously looked through the pictures, thought how easy it looked, and never even needed to look back to reread instructions when 2 weeks later I decided to make one for Addy.

The headband literally took less than 10 minutes to put together plus a little extra to hand stitch the heart. I want to make more! I need someone to make me an auntie (wink wink brother and sister...get busy! Ha!)

They are Cute and Comfy. I have a hard time getting Addy to wear anything in her hair. She hates the discomfort of headbands and the pulling of hair-ties. This she can do.

Only... This is how she would rather wear it....
That's okay, though. Free spirit soar :) You are cute no matter how you wear that head band (or if you wear it) and even cuter when you wear it your way. Love that girl!!! She makes life so much more fun. 


For the skirt:

1. Measure your kid. You will need her waist measurement and skirt length. I got a little conservative and made the skirt longer than I wanted but at least this way it'll last a growth spurt or two.

2. You will need to cut three pieces of fabric for the skirt. (For all of your pieces the "stretchiness" of the knit should be the "waist" measurements--the longest length.)
First piece: the main skirt. Cut out piece of fabric that is double your waist measurement by your skirt length measurement plus 3 1/2 inches (1/2 for seam allowance, 3 inches for bubble).
Second piece: the underside of skirt. Cut out piece of fabric that is 1 1/2 your waist measurement by your skirt length minus 3 inches.
Third piece: The waist band. Cut piece of fabric that is slightly less than waist measurement (this will depend on the stretchiness of your fabric. You want the fabric to fit snug so it will stay up without being uncomfortable. Best way to figure this out is to try it out on your muse--child. Don't forget to allow for the seam.) by 5 inches.

3. Baste first piece 1/4" from edge that corresponds to the waist measurement. Pull thread at either end to gather until it is the same length as the second piece of fabric. Pin first and second pieces of fabric wrong side out and then sew.

4. Sew the waistband (put the 2 shorter sides together and sew wrong side out).

5. Take large piece (that is now the first and second pieces sewn together). Baste either end (the ends that correspond to waist measurement) 1/4" from edge. Pull thread at either end to gather fabric until it is the same length at the waistband.

6. Take the two sides of the large piece of fabric (the main skirt) that correspond to the length and sew together wrong side out.

7. Fold the waistband in half, right side out. Fold your skirt piece in half right side out. Take the raw edges of waistband, match this up with the seams you made in step 4&6, and pin them to the basted edges of skirt. (Make sure it is pinned so that after it is sewn raw edges won't be seen on out side of skirt and so that the side of the skirt that has no visible seams will be seen). Sew together.

8. Embellish however you please... or not at all. It's done!

This may sound really complicated, especially without the pictures. But do know, common sense and a very moderate sewing skill level got me this skirt without even glancing at a pattern. Most likely, if you have done any sewing, you can do this without any instructions!
 I hope just seeing it inside out gives you an idea of how to make it.
This project took around an hour with the time it took to add the embroidery on the heart and tack it on.

I think that hand-stitched heart is just the sweetest. So easy. So simple. And something you simply cannot buy in the stores... Kind of like the love I gots for my kiddos... awe!

The pillowcase procrastination and the hour of work were so worth it when I got to see how happy it made Addy to have something handmade by momma. I could tell she was feeling the love :)

We <heart3 you!

Some tips:
1. Scrap fabric! Keep fleece scraps. Fleece is awesome because the edges don't fray. Great for adding cuteness to little-girl outfits!
2. I don't have any embroidery thread. I didn't want to go to the store to buy any either. So, I just took a vibrant colored all-purpose sewing thread. I cut 2 lengths of it. I pulled the 2 pieces through the eye and then tied the ends together so that my thread was now 4x's thicker. Then I stitched it. Could have been thicker still, but pink still stands out and I didn't have to go to store. Win!
3. I made the waistband too loose so I had to go back and fix it. But, then I realized knit stretches out as it is worn throughout the day. Poor Addy had a saggy skirt by the end of the day. I have to fix it again. So keep in mind, SNUG. Not uncomfortable. But SNUG. My mom suggested inserting elastic into the waistband. That would probably work better (but then I would have to use a seam ripper and re-sew... something this girl LOATHES. Plus I like the idea of how comfortable it is without it... Nevertheless I will suggest it for you. I may try it if there is a next time.)

I am linked up at:

Skip To My Lou

DIY Repurposed Toy Storage Bench

Anyone ever feel as though their entire life has been reduced to cleaning up toys? Some days it feels as though that's all I do.  In an attempt to make life and toy clean-up duty a little easier, I decided to organize my home and start with the living/dining area first because that's where most of the living happens in our little piece of the world.

Honest moment: Having a designated place to put things is great, but I find just having a space that I like to be in motivates me to keep it clean and tidy. Decorating is Organization Motivation... ha!

I set out to find a piece of furniture that could serve as toy storage and a bench. I could use an extra seat in my house when I have company.

I have a VERY limited budget so I hit the thrift stores (with a bestie and without both kids... a winning combination for a productive and fun day). I found a piece of end table ugliness that was the right size for storage and the right height for sitting on. It was a mere $20

I forgot to take a good "before" picture. BUT I found a picture of my cute kiddos with the table in the background before I fixed it up.

Ugly end table is in the upper right corner of the picture. You like? Ha!
I really didn't need to sand it. I did scuff it up a little with a sanding pad. I used Zinzer 1 2 3 primer available at Home Depot. A good primer keeps there from being a need to sand. If you hate sanding, ask around for a good primer to use that will stick to any surface.

I painted the cabinet the color of one of the leaves in my curtain fabric.

My curtain fabric was the inspiration for the whole room. Not quite sure why but I love this print. It has such an organic, easy feel to it. It feels modern, but it's a little bit quirky. I love the colors in it too. I think it might be me in a curtain!

After painting the cabinet, I thought I'd try scuffing it up a bit to antique it. I wasn't too crazy with the way it was turning out, so I stopped. I didn't hate it enough to go back and paint over it though. (Can you tell I got tired of projects and just wanted it to be done?!)

I made a really translucent black/brown glaze that I put over the cabinet to make it looked aged. I used a negative application, meaning I put in on and then wiped it off. I had fun with it... letting it stay heavier in the cracks and on places I thought would be more worn. Glazing was easy and a lot of fun. (However, I seriously feel under-qualified to explain it well. I don't think I could do the entire process justice. Plus, a lot of it is just based on preferences. Don't let it scare you though! Anyone can do it with a couple youtube/blog tutorials under their belt...or as in my case a very well-informed, ex-faux finisher and cabinet glazer for a father-in-law. It essentially involves making a more "clear" paint so that the underneath will still come through.)

I also replaced the hardware.

It is really deep so it fits a lot of toys. Also, my daughter loves to pull out all the toys and use it for a fort/hide-and-seek space.

I made some pillows to make the bench look inviting. I happened to have all of this fabric on hand from past projects. The white pillow was made from an old shirt and scrap fabric. You can see more about it here. For the pillow behind it, I made my own pleating down the middle for some texture, added homemade piping on either side, and then used my curtain fabric for the rest.

For the cushion I purchased a piece of high-density foam. I measured it onto some left over denim fabric I had. 

My mom gave me her left over upholstery cording from a project she did a while back and I made the casing for it out of my curtain fabric. If you want to add a professional touch to a pillow or a cushion, upholstery cording is a really easy way to do this.

Cut cording the length of all your sides and add a couple inches just to be safe. (If you do it like my cushion you will need 2 sets... one for around the top and one for around the bottom.)

Cut a 1 1/2 inch strip of desired fabric. It will need to be as long as cording. (Doesn't have to be one continuous strip of fabric. It is really easy to add length.)

No need for pins for this. (SWEET!) Get out your zipper foot, fold fabric over casing (right side out), and position so your needle hits as close to cording as possible.

The trick to a tight casing is to feed the cased cording at an angle so that the cording touches the tip of the zipper foot and remains as snug against the entire foot as possible... this is achieved by feeding it at at angle. (My mom showed me this... and it changed my life. Okay maybe not my life, but it sure was helpful! Thanks Mommy!)

 To add length, simply fold over end of another strip of another piece of fabric.

Place it over where the fabric leaves off on cording and keep right on going.

Making all that upholstery cording was SUPER easy!
Add it by placing it around the perimeter of your fabric. It can just be sewed as you are sewing the top and bottom of your cushion to the sides (sorry I forgot to take pictures of the rest of the project.) Remember to feed it at an angle so that your seam ends up tight against cording, lest you have floppy cording. Also, I pinned everything together on the foam itself so I knew it would fit nice and snug. Making the cording was easy, but I fear adding it is not. It's not really complicated, it just requires some sewing muscles. I broke 3 needles and managed to sew my finger (ouch!). It is just a bit difficult to sew through a couple layers of fabric and get the cording to cooperate around the corners. Anyone with moderate sewing abilities can do this; it just takes a little determination and muscle.

Now that the bench, cushion and its pillows are done... I say that cording was totally worth it! It looks legit. I can't imagine it looking "finished" if I had used the denim by itself.

Anyone else feel like plopping down on that bench, knees pulled up, coffee in hand, and contemplating life? The bench looks so cozy next to the fireplace!

I am considering adding velcro to the cushion and bench so the cushion stays put but decided to live with it for a while to see if it's even necessary. I forgot to mention I just added a zipper to one side so the cushion case can be washed.

Cabinet: $20
Hardware: $7
Paint: $15 (I am adding my primer cost and glaze cost to large cabinet project cost, because that was what I originally bought the stuff for, leftovers were used for bench)
Foam for cushion: $16
Zippers for cushion and pillow: $4
Everything else I had on hand: Score!
Total: $62

Not bad for a cabinet that houses my kids toys, provides an extra seat in my living room, and adds style and warmth to my home.

Hope I inspired you to go conquer your house projects. You can do it!

DIY Chic Shirt Pillow

I am not this amazing sewer. I enjoy it *sometimes.

But I like creating. I like looking at my home and saying "I made that." I like saving money. It makes me feel like the invaluable Proverbs 31 woman when the work of my own two hands adds to our home.

I wanted some pillows to warm up my space and tie everything together... but mostly just to "cute-ify" it. Pillows aren't all that practical, at least not when your couch all ready has a cushioned back, but oh, the cute girly-ness they can bring to a room. I NEED some pillows.

I got the idea for this pillow here. I saw her pillow made from an unworn shirt and thought, "That looks easy. I could so do that."

It was SO easy. And I SO did it. (In an hour... that includes the time it took to make the liner and the flowers)

I used to be a 5th/6th grade teacher at a school that required teachers to wear uniforms as well as the students, so I have an abundance of white button down shirts I will most likely never wear again. This particular shirt is white, extra-long, and subtly polka-dotted... a perfect combination to making a busty girl appear larger than she is.

Fat-shirt... it is time to destroy you! Mwah-ha-ha! 

This pillow was originally a red microfiber pillow from when I first got married and I was digging the reds and browns. My shirt fabric was too thin to hide the red so I found some white scrap fabric from some curtains and lampshade project I covered my pillow with it. I just sewed three sides together on the wrong side and then turned it right side out, stuffed my pillow in and sewed the pillow shut on the remaining side.

The last seam didn't turn out perfect... But will anyone notice it on my pillow when it done? No. So do I care? No.
I made my cuts on my shirt (mind you... only 2 cuts! Whoo-hoo for easy!)

I sewed the sides together (mind you...only 2 sides! Yep, this was REALLY EASY!)

The best part about using a button down shirt... The company who sewed the buttons and button holes on my shirt also made them for my pillow. I DIDN'T HAVE TO! Whoo-hoo! I can now take off the pillow cover to easily launder it. This is important when your pillow is white and your children are young (okay forget my kids, I make messes wherever I go!).

I added some flower embellishments. I just used some scrap felt cut into 1/2 inch strips and made them into jelly-roll type flowers and used a combination of thread and hot glue to keep them together. I free hand cut the leaves and then doubled-up my thread and stitched the vein down the middle. I used a combination of hot glue and hand-tacking to get it all to stay on the pillow case.

I love the pop of purple in my room with blues, greens and browns. I love the shabby chic-ness of the raised white polka dots. This pillow is cute, super easy, and makes me smile.

Alright, so there you have it. Super Easy DIY Pillow case. Cost: NOTHING. I had everything on hand.

So dig out your scraps, your out-dated pillows, and crucify some fat shirts!

All in the name of a warm and welcoming home, of course ;)