Baby Sleeper Teddy Bear

I can’t seem to stop sewing at the moment! The other day I was sifting through a box of our daughter’s newborn clothes and after “Awww-ing” repeatedly, I decided I had to make something out of my favourite newborn sleeper. Pinterest hooked me up with a blog post, pattern and tutorial so I decided to go for it- first I tried it with my second favourite sleeper of hers, just in case! This was a bit trickier than I thought it would be and I am REALLY GLAD that I followed the tutorial and used the iron-on interfacing. The jersey knit fabric would have been not pleasant to work with around all those curves! I’m glad I decided to do a trial run first because there are a few things I would change.

baby sleeper bear in progress
Front pieces joined for hand stitching nose and eye details

finished baby sleeper bear
The finished product

I think he’s pretty sweet, for a practice bear! When I’m ready for the main event, I’m going to modify the pattern slightly for the “bear front” so that the nose is a bit lower on the face and less pronounced, and make the legs point outwards more. If I do and it’s successful, I will post the new pattern as an update later. I continued to build on my sewing skills with this project by learning how to do a satin stitch with embroidery floss. Pretty basic stuff but it’s always fun to try something new!

There are so many things you can do to preserve those fleeting newborn moments- I like the idea of a quilt too- but I think this teddy will get a lot of snuggles and hopefully stand the test of time. I’m not one for keeping boxes and boxes of clothes that never see the light of day. I have more of a minimalist mentality and clutter really stresses me out, so I would rather donate the majority to someone who can use it and keep a few precious items as a keepsake.

Let me know if you try it or if you have another pattern to suggest, I struggled to find one that I liked!
-C

Making time for Me- and Sewing

This may come as a shock, but it is really hard to make time for myself now that I’m a mom. I haven’t even gone back to work yet and I can’t believe how tired I am All. The. Time. It’s probably also the weather and time change but I just have no energy lately! It’s been hard to work on some of the projects we want to tackle around the house because they aren’t really suited to “mom life,” AKA only having 10 minutes to devote to something before I have to prepare a meal, clean up, change a diaper, make animal noises, clean up, do nap time, make a snack, clean up, do bath time, do story time, do bed time, and clean up. Did I mention all the cleaning?

someecards dinner every night

Sewing, however, is something I can work on in stages. It’s also great “me time” because I can get totally absorbed in it and it’s a hobby I really enjoy that I can be truly selfish with (my husband is unlikely to ever tag along with me to FabricLand). I’ve completed a number of sewing projects since I got back into it a few years ago, but mostly just basic stuff like throw pillows and curtains (not counting my slipcover project, which involved basic techniques but was still a major undertaking). I’ve been trying to work up the courage to sew some clothing for a while, but I find it hard to motivate myself to push through the learning phase; I just want to my plan to work out perfectly and want to skip past the mistakes to get to a finished and flawless product. I know if I’m not 100% happy with the way something turns out, I’ll just never wear it and it would be a waste of time and energy. But after seeing a bunch of other people have success with the Scout Tee pattern from Grainline Studios and hearing everyone rave about it as a beginner pattern, I decided to go for it. I figured if I liked it, I could try one of the variations next.

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Split neckline variation 

Knit variation with a fuller back

dandelion drift colour block lace

Lace colour blocked variation

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Longer sleeved variation

I just went with the bog standard Scout Tee pattern as is, and I’m so glad I tried it out! I am really happy with the fit and will definitely wear it. I like it so much that I can’t wait to buy different fabric to try it with! This pattern was awesome because it was easy enough but also challenged me, I got to learn some new techniques like the neckline bias binding and using basting stitches to attach the sleeves, not to mention refresh my memory on how to actually follow a pattern. Another new skill I learned with this project was how to use a serger, so my seams look pretty darn professional and finished (if you don’t look that closely :P). Shout out to my dad for letting me borrow it! Here is my Scout Tee (you can see I worked especially hard on my model “stare off into the distance thoughtfully” pose)

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I can’t wait to try the Scout Tee with different fabric. As I mentioned, there are a ton of variations on the pattern with some great tutorials. The author (designer?) of the pattern also has a great tutorial on how to do the neckline which I couldn’t have managed without. I would definitely recommend this pattern to a beginner, or seasoned vet looking for a quick project!

Let me know what you think! If you’ve been looking for a starter sewing project, the Scout Tee is a great option.

-C

The Long-Awaited Kimono

It’s been a while, eh? Now that Baby H has finally started napping  somewhat reliably and I actually have more than 5 minutes a day where I’m not brushing my teeth, showering, shoveling food down my gullet, or catching up on sleep, I might have time to blog again! 😮 [side note- I first wrote this draft three months ago; clearly the napping has been going swimmingly. I have one of those babies that naps anywhere from 30-45 min and occasionally over an hour. I can count on one hand the number of 2 hour naps she’s had. Somewhere out there, a friend of a friend of my husband’s told him that by 6 months, he could expect that our daughter would nap for 2 hours, 3x a day and I would have time to grow a veggie garden, clean the house, and cook elaborate homemade meals with all my free time. Dude, I don’t know who you are or where you are, but I hope karma does.]

I would also like to take this time to formally apologize to every new mom I know, who I quietly judged inside my head before becoming one myself. Forgive me. The best quote I have heard on this topic is “It’s awfully hard to get on that high horse with a baby in your arms.”

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We both know it’s going to be weeks months before you finish this, so I’m just going to make myself comfy…

I’ve had a kimono project in the back of my mind ever since I saw Holly Dolly’s. When I found a cute peachy floral fabric at my #1 happy place AKA FabricLand, I knew just what to do! Actually that’s a lie, here is the original fabric that I wanted to use, but it was like $20/m so I settled on the cheaper alternative.

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I wanted something that would be light for the summer that I could nurse discreetly in. It’s not perfect by a long shot, but the last item of clothing I sewed was a pair of PJ pants back when I was oh, 10 or so? And I hated them and never wore them (sorry, Mom). I used a tutorial from Elle Apparel Blog as a rough guide, laid out my fabric, and got to it!

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Why yes, that is a baby strapped to my body while I sewed. #babywearingforthewin

One thing this project gave me was experience using the presser foot on my sewing machine. I’m super impressed with my little Janome SUV 1108. It came with a ton of accessories that I am slowly learning the different uses for. It was a fun challenge figuring out how to do a rolled hem. Shout out to the people of the sewing sub on Reddit for their tips! The fabric was super fine and hard to work with, so I used spray starch to get it to “stick” and feed better into the foot. I made sure to practice on a few test strips until I got the feel for how to feed the fabric into the foot, and took my time- unpicking was tedious and not suited to the delicate nature of the fabric, so I really had to try to get it right on the first pass. I also used these tips from Megan Nielsen and this video from The Colorful World of Sewing to help me out.

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Test strips, test strips, and more test strips

Et voila.

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Just in time for the fall [Edit… winter] and for baby to start solids, my easy breezy summery nursing-friendly kimono!

-C

Baby H’s Neutral Nursery Reveal

I’m super excited to share our finished nursery! I took advantage of the 30 cm of falling snow outside to stay in and do a little photo shoot with our new camera, which I’m still learning how to use. If you want a little refresher, check out this post for my style board and plan and this post for a progress report. I’ve been working on this room on and off for about 3 months and I’m really happy with how it looks. It kept me occupied between losing my job and waiting for baby to come, which I am grateful for! But enough of my nattering, here are some visuals.DSC_4809_DSC_4781_ DSC_4807_DSC_4778_DSC_4786_ DSC_4826_DSC_4793_DSC_4794_DSC_4797_This room featured a lot of DIY and craft projects, like the papier maché zebra head I previously posted about and the 2D cloud mobile I made, loosely based on a wooden one I saw online.DSC_4828__01
The wall art is pretty much all DIY, from the zebra head to the art prints I made with some free web graphics that I found online – I love how these turned out!DSC_4838_DSC_4843_We really tried to save money anywhere we could, like using coupons, shopping sales, and repurposing things we already had in the house (like the curtains). I really wanted some cute maternity photos to frame and to have as a keepsake but hiring a photographer was not in the budget- so we bought a new-to-us DSLR camera that was an upgrade from our 10 year old one and did our own photoshoot at a nearby park with a tripod and a timer.

DSC_4799_ DSC_4805_I may have gone a bit overboard with storage containers. It’s hard to know what we’ll need before the baby actually gets here, but I tried to give us lots of options for toys, blankets, clothes, diapers etc- all the various baskets and containers will help keep things as organized as possible!

DSC_4804_I really liked the idea of a shelf/organizer combo with hooks above the change table but couldn’t find anything I liked at a price I wanted to pay. So I made my own with an inexpensive shelf, wall hooks, and baskets. I think this will end up being really valuable storage and functional space for diaper changes!

DSC_4802_My favourite corner of the nursery is the rocker, bookshelf, and ottoman, and I’ve already been testing it out! Hard to believe that soon I will be sitting here nursing our baby, and later reading to them.  I love the little zebra stool which will function as a drink station for those midnight feeding sessions.

DSC_4819_If you’re interested in where we got everything and our budget, here is a handy little source guide with a price breakdown too! I’m pretty happy with what we ended up spending on this room.

  1. Crib – Delta “Waves”, Sears, $130 on sale
  2. Mattress – Simmons Peaceful Slumber, Sears, $75 on sale
  3. Linens – ÄLSKAD 4-piece set, IKEA, gifted
  4. Mobile –  DIY with supplies purchased from Michael’s and Fabricland, ~$10
  5. Rocking chair – POANG rocker with black leather cushion, IKEA, $219
  6. Macramé ottoman – HomeSense, $39.99
  7. Antelope accent pillow – Village International, gifted
  8. Zebra stool – Village International, gifted
  9. Book shelves – MOSSLANDA picture ledge, IKEA, $16.99/ea
  10. Floor lamp – HEKTAR floor lamp, IKEA, $79.99
  11. Wall art – DIY prints from free vector images found online in RIBBA frames from IKEA, $9.99/ea
  12. Accent stripe – Behr paint in Perfect Taupe, $18.97/quart
  13. Curtains – recycled beige and black panels previously purchased with added blackout liner, $30
  14. Curtain rod – RÄCKA rod with 3 brackets and BLÅST finials, IKEA, $19.49
  15. Toy storage unit – TROFAST storage combination, IKEA, $105
  16. Bone/enamel picture frame, Dollarama, $3
  17. Laundry hamper, HomeSense, gifted
  18. Papier maché zebra head – DIY, free!
  19. Wall lamp – RANARP lamp, IKEA, $29.99
  20. Change table/dresser – Kijiji, $80, with change pad, gifted
  21. Bamboo basket for wipes, HomeSense, $12.99
  22. Change table storage – EKBY shelf, $18.99, with SVARTSJÖN hook rack, $6.99, and NORDRANA baskets, $9.99; all IKEA
  23. Painted mason jars, Little Miss Mason, gifted

As always I’d love to hear what you think in the comments! Now we just need sweet Baby H to arrive to really pull it all together. 😉

-C

“Neutral Nursery” Progress

Today I’m sharing how the nursery is coming along. If you want a reminder of where we started, check out this post for some seriously old school wallpaper and this post for my plans.

So far we have all the furniture and the window treatments figured out, which were slapped together from a couple of old panels we had kept from our very first apartment. I was super impressed at my ingenuity of adding the black panel to the bottom of the beige ones and when I showed off my accomplishment to my husband he said “But they were already curtains anyway, right? All you did was stitch them together and change the length?” Huh. Next time he can sew. Slight segway: I will never NOT buy curtain rods from IKEA. For the price, look, and quality, they hit the sweet spot for me! The sweet spot being a ~$20 price tag, that is. The finials match the dresser knobs nicely too.

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One project that has kept me busy lately is lining the drawers of the change table. This was my first attempt and there was definitely a steep learning curve! I can post more about this if anyone is interested, basically I just used wrapping paper cut to size and Mod Podge to adhere and seal it. Now the insides of the drawers look nice and fresh! I shared this on Instagram a while back, obviously I move closer to real time in social media land than in blogging land, so you might want to check me out there @dear_diy.

lined dresser drawers

I’m not sure what to do above the change table- a shelf? Artwork? It might be nice to have the wipes and Penaten or something within arms reach so we don’t have to be opening the dresser drawers while trying to restrain a pee machine.

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(Happy to report that I have since removed the price tag from the laundry hamper- for someone with “attention to detail” I sure miss a lot of stuff. Perhaps I should remove that from my resume when I start looking for a job again?)

I really like the idea of a shelf/storage/hook combo unit like this one from Finding Silver Linings.

Driftwood-Nursery

So far the only ones I’ve found run about $50-60 at HomeSense. They also tend to have more of a “rustic” look which doesn’t really jive with the mostly modern look I have going on. I think I have hit upon a solution, I just need to convince my husband that we really do need more storage (when does anyone ever NOT need more storage?!).

Stay tuned, I’m hoping to wrap this room up in the next few weeks just in case Baby H decides to make an early appearance!

-C