Little Boy Bowtie Tutorial

So way back at Easter I promised that I’d show you how I made Ascher’s super easy bowtie, but then I tossed it, candy and strawberry smeared, into the washer and it kind of fell apart.  Downside of too easy, whoops.  I was mulling over how to fix it or create something better for my tutorial, and I kept mulling and the idea just fell out of my head and I totally forgot about it.  Then about 6 weeks ago kind reader Mary told me that she was eagerly waiting for the tutorial(sorry Mary!) so I got back to thinking about it and figured out something more durable.  After all, a bow tie for a two year old definitely needs to be washable.

So, finally, I present to you the bowtie tutorial.


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A couple of today’s best things.

I took the babies to the playground so Ascher could play a bit.  It’s so much fun that he’s actually big enough now to start trying some stuff!  He’s pretty cautious, and I don’t think he likes heights much, but he had fun on the swings and throwing his ball up the slide and watching some kids playing football nearby.  On our way there we found a pretty nice living room chair free on the sidewalk.

We headed home from the park and I was trying to think, with Ascher in the stroller and Wilona riding on me, how I was going to get that chair home too.  But, Ben was getting out of the car just as we got home, so I told him about the chair and he ran down to look at it and hauled it back on his shoulder, which was not quite what I was picturing.  I thought the car might make the job easier!

It needs a slipcover or a full recovering for some roughed up fabric on it, but I think either could be a fun sewing challenge.  I’ve been thinking I’d like a chair this shape(kind a modern armchair?) for a while to try putting some fun fabric on, as an accent chair, but have been reluctant even pay thrift store prices for a project that might not turn out right.  This, for the grand price of free should be a good fit.


Made some yummy pumpkin almond maple streusel muffins.  Dessert is the only real thing to call them, but I hear muffins are always good for you, as opposed to cupcakes.  So.  Goooood.


I was washing dishes and Wilona was playing with a toy caterpillar in her bouncy seat nearby and Ascher was pottering around playing with any and every thing available to him.  He got up close to her, like he does to pat her and play and he started to put his knee up into the bouncy too.  I don’t really like him to try to be in there at the same time as her – too heavy, too tippy, too much squishing the baby – so I started to tell him no and realized she was laughing, laughing, laughing at him as he was getting closer and bouncing her.  He stopped and looked at her again and was tickled to realize she was laughing at him, so for a minute they just sat there and laughed and smiled and talked at each other.  I went for the camera, but as soon as I got it turned to video Ascher got up and walked away(of course!), so you’ll just have to imagine.  :)  I love how much they enjoy each other sometimes!



Oh, and I didn’t get on the computer at all today until 8pm.  It was a happy day, and I think that really helped.  But, I knew that already.



Recovering a Worn-Out Glider Chair and Ottoman

Once upon a time there was a young glider chair that looked something like this.  One year for Mother’s Day it was taken home by the father of seven children.  The mother was delighted and the chair got lots of use by all the people in the house.  The mother rocked the little ones, the big ones curled up with books and stowed things in the side pockets and the little and medium ones gleefully spun the chair in circles at every opportunity.  Occasionally fingers got pinched, but overall it was a good chair.

Now time passed and the family grew so that there were 12 people in the house.  The chair began to look a bit tired and worn.  People still enjoyed it, but it wasn’t quite nice enough to be downstairs in the main room anymore so it was sent upstairs.  One day the oldest daughter got married and the mother decided the big family was done with the chair and it was time to pass it on.  The daughter eyed the chair and accepted it with a sewing project in mind.  How hard could it be to make a slip-cover?   *End of silly story-telling voice.*

I happened to have a large, purple, corduroy curtain on hand and figured that for an experimental sewing project it would work quite well.  I pinned the fabric around the chair inside out and repeatedly pulled it on and off as I sewed to test the fit.  I made the armrest and ottoman covers separately and was pretty pleased with the end result for several years.

Chair4 Then when I was expecting Ascher I decided that the chair needed a cover that was more babyish and fun.  I cruised around the fabric store, but didn’t find anything quite right for a price that I could stomach.  Then on a whim I went through the bedding section of Walmart and found a bright sheet that was only $5 for a twin size sheet.  I bought three and took them home.  I wasn’t ready yet to start sewing, so I tucked the sheet around the chair to see how it might look.  I was pleased with the look, but it stayed only that far done for months.  Eventually Ascher was born and I certainly wasn’t ready to do any sewing then, so I pulled off the sheet and put the purple cover back on.

When we found out about baby #2 I figured it was time to get serious and cover that chair!

Then I used a couple leftover pieces to make some fun throw pillows. 


I guess this doesn’t look like leftover pieces, but the backs of the pillows are the striped fabric. :)


They can be used on the window seat in the baby room or used for extra support in the glider.

My little helper inspecting the final product.  The curtain is another one of the same sheets.

My little helper inspecting the final product. The curtain is another one of the same sheets.

It’s really nice to have this project finally checked off my list and I’m extremely pleased with how it all turned out!

Here's how it turned out!

Here’s how it turned out!

No-Sew Fabric Flowers Tutorial

Usually I hate the tutorials that claim to be easy or no-sew and then require some obscure bonding agent to actually accomplish, but I think this is different.  All you need is a hot glue gun(mine was just a couple bucks at Walmart) and it seriously does make the project simpler.  I’ve made the same flowers by sewing and it works, but it’s a lot faster with the glue gun.

FabFlowers01These flowers are really easy and give you a lot of impact for whatever you want them for.  I attached the pink flower above to a baby size headband for one of those fun, giant flower/little baby headbands.  I’ll sew the blue flower to a hair clip for a less over-the-top look.  Ben suggested that you could paint a tree or flower stems on a wall and then attach the big flowers for some 3D wall art.  Whatever you decide to do with them, they’re definitely fun to play with.  Here’s how I made them.

Hopefully this all makes sense to you.  Let me know if you need any more clarification and I’ll see if I can help.  I’d love a pin if you found the tutorial useful.  Thanks for reading!  :)

Recovering Ugly Throw Pillows

I was rummaging through my fabric box the other day, hoping for some project inspiration to leap out at me and I found this.

Imagine that there are two of these in this picture.

If you can’t see past the ugliness to what it is, it’s one of the two throw pillows that came with our used couch.  We slip-covered the couch, but there was no making the pillows work, so they got tossed in my sewing heap to languish wait for something useful to happen.  The zippers were salvageable, so I ripped that out of one of the covers.


The pillow forms, while flat and probably pretty gross under a microscope, were not something I wanted to think about replacing right at this moment so I put them both into a bed pillow case and called it good.

I then installed the salvaged zipper into my fabric and closed the remaining sides.  If you don’t know how to install a zipper I suggest you find a tutorial elsewhere, because mine are barely passable at the moment.  I need more practice, but I tend to avoid projects that involve them, which doesn’t really help the situation, whaddya know.

This was a leftover piece of fabric from making a purse for a sister last Christmas. If I’d had a girl I was planning on making some little clothing item, but that didn’t happen, so a pillow cover it is!

And here is the finished product!

The pillow is about 20″ by 20″, so nice and big.

It’s a good fix for the ugly things that were taking up space in my sewing room for so long, and a lovely pop of color in my living room.  And, I still have another zipper if I find more fabric that wants to be a pillow!  Altogether it was a nice quick, refreshing project!  Just what the month called for!  :)

Where did last week go?

Yes, I know, it’s been a week since I posted.  Oi.  I had a cold Sunday through Tuesday, but the only real explanation I have for my absence Wednesday through Friday is that it took me that long to get the house back in working order after neglecting it for three days.  It’s a weak and lousy excuse, but that’s what I’ve got, so work with me here, ‘kay?  I could also blame him….

I find the giant drool hanger here somewhat funny. My apologies if you don’t.  ;)

but he’s too cute, soooo, yeah.

I still did manage to get some fun and useful stuff done!

I’m on a sourdough kick at the moment.  I’m addicted to the bubbles and the good yeasty smell and the fact that my sourdough is starting to be respectably flavorful.  For a while as a teenager I was making sourdough pancakes for my family every couple days.  Our big family required big batches of pancakes, which gave me lots of opportunity to tweak and perfect my recipe, and frequent use makes better starter, so I thought my pancakes turned out really yummy.  Maybe my siblings were sick of them by the time I got out of that habit, but I don’t remember, and I was certainly having fun with it.  Since then I’ve used my own starter intermittently, but not often enough to make it really good.  This week though, I think it really came together.  I started with sourdough chocolate chip banana pancakes and moved on to sourdough soft pretzels.

Then I was inspired by Mom’s post about making donuts and had to improv a batch of sourdough apple cinnamon fritters.  No recipe at the moment, but they were good enough that I’ll probably have to make them again, and I’ll write it down then.  :)


Beyond sourdough I did some sewing and decorating.

Ben bought me a dozen little decorative gourds, so I washed those and spread them around the house to further my fall decor.



I sewed a bib for Ascher, loosely based on this pattern.


I sewed the diaper changing mat I’ve been meaning to make for the last five months.  Hopefully this will make cleaning up those random explosive diapers a bit easier.  o.O

The animal/alphabet fabric is a plastic backed cloth diaper fabric.

I also grabbed about $8 worth of super cheap fall flower picks from Walmart.  I broke them down and Ben helped me tuck them into a nice empty wreath I’d found at the thrift store.  My front door is now properly dressed until December!

Such a happy thing to greet you coming home!

These little things were enough to make me feel like I did manage to do something for our Focus and Refresh project.  We’ll see what the next week holds!

Baby Bathtime Apron Tutorial

We had dinner guests yesterday, so I spent most of the day alternating baby care with cleaning up the main areas of the house and fixing dinner.  I got to dig potatoes and carrots for part of dinner, which was a fun and unusual activity, besides being useful and out in the beautiful fresh day. We had a lovely, refreshing evening spent with our company, so I’m definitely calling the day a success.

Aren’t these nice?

Today I did my exercise, got the kitchen cleaned up from last night’s festivities and went to Pinterest for some project inspiration.  I spotted a baby bathtime apron, designed to make it easier to get a slippery little one out of the tub and into a towel.  I’ve found it difficult to do that sometimes, especially if trying to keep my shirt relatively dry, so this looked perfect.  I’m sure there are other tutorials out there, but this looked simple enough that I just winged it.  Here’s what I did.  The pictures are numbered, so start at 1!

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Now go give your baby a bath!

I like how the fabric up top makes it prettier than feeling like I’m just draping a towel around my neck.


This post is part of our 31 Days to Focus and Refresh blog project.  Go here to add a post of your own or to see what it’s about and what we’ve all been up to!


5-2-14 I got a great note and picture from a reader showing her bath apron off!


I used your tutorial on your blog to create this baby bath apron, which I plan to give to (name) at her baby shower. The towel was so long and (name) isn’t very tall. So I folded up the bottom to make two pouches, as well as a babyhood. I’m hoping it will be really functional. Thanks for your instruction! 

Thanks so much for sharing your pictures!  I’d love to add more if anyone else would like to share!  :)