Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Lights

Well, the Little Stone Cape is officially decorated for Christmas!  

Last night I broke out the Christmas jammies and snapped away while the littles enjoyed the tree with all the lights off in the house.

This will be our Christmas card this year.  Oh, I spoiled it.  lol.

The Mister spent about an hour wrapping our tree in twinkle lights on Saturday.

It looks great, right?

Sunday we brought out our tree and decorated it.  This is our fifth Christmas with this tree and we think next year is time for a real one again.  This guy seems a little small in our new house.

My three year old helped Daddy put on the star.

Don't you just love the way a lit tree fills the room with a nearly magical glow?

I think they like it too.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Finished Advent Calendar

Well, I've been hard at work in the spare moments I have throughout the day.  It helped that my husband took a five day weekend for Thanksgiving.  Just yesterday morning I finished the last bit and with two days until December to boot.
So here it is!

24 little ornaments, 24 little pockets, 24 little buttons, one big tree, and a lot blanket stitches.  I'm very happy with it.

And as a nod to the calendar my grandma made my brothers and me when we were little, I embroidered "Merry Christmas" with my boys' names at the top. 

Even with all that hand work, it was the buttons that really killed me.  I hate sewing buttons.      

Here are the last few ornaments I made.

I think the boys are going to really love this for years to come.  Do you have any special traditions that help get your family ready for Christmas?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We Are Thankful

With Thanksgiving just two days away I thought I'd write about how we are instilling thankfulness in the hearts of our sons.  Even though they are very young, the Sweetheart is 3.5 and the Adventurer is 2, we feel there are always ways to teach children to be thankful.  Thank you is not just something you say when someone hands you a cookie.  And thankfulness is not just something to reflect on one day a year.  But both of these are starting points for talking to very young children about how blessed they are.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Advent Calendar

It was snowing this week outside the Little Stone Cape.  Now I'm in the mood for a craft post about Christmas. So I'll just sit here with my hot chocolate tell you about my first Christmas craft of the season. :)

When I was a little girl my Grandma made an Advent  calendar for my brothers and me.  It was a big felt Christmas tree covered in pieces of Velcro stitched to a white fabric backdrop.  20 pockets (for days 5-25 of December) were sewn to the  bottom holding 20 machine stitched ornaments backed with Velcro.  The ornaments were made from fabric that was printed with little toys and Christmas ornaments.  My grandma cut out 20 of the little pictures, made little batting filled squares using red thread and a zig zag stitch, and sewed them to the velcro pieces.  She sewed binding made from the same fabric around the edges of the hanging.  For a finishing touch she wrote out "Merry Christmas" with my brothers' and my names in green and red marker on the white fabric next to the tree.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Digger Costume Part 2

Halloween Costume Series #7

How to Make a Digger (Excavator) Costume Part 2

I have finished my 2 year old Adventurer's digger costume and it's turned out so well!  You can read all about its construction in my part 1 post.  The whole thing took around 4 hours not including the time it took to research and make the design or the paint dry time.  Allow yourself about 2 days to complete this project if you can only work on it intermittently like me.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Digger Costume Part 1

Halloween Costume Series #6

How to Make a Toddler Digger (Excavator) Costume

Finally I've gotten to the last costume in my series!  My little Adventurer's Digger Costume.  My sweet little Adventurer is 25 months old and is in LOVE with construction work, big equipment, and tools.  We really don't push any stereotypical boy toys or activities, but we let our sons discover this stuff all on their own.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Child's Pirate Vest

Halloween Costume Series #5

Child's Pirate Vest (and sash)

If you're just joining us, I've been blogging for the past week about my homemade Halloween costumes.  This year, my 3 year old is going to be a pirate and I finished his costume just this morning!  It's so cute!!  And guess what?  It didn't cost me a dime because I was able to find everything I needed in my fabric stash (and scrap pile in the case of today's pieces)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Child's Pirate Boots

Halloween Costume Series #4

Pirate "Boots"

They say the shoes make the outfit, so I couldn't do a pirate costume without making the boots, right?  

If you have been following this series, you will know that I have been making my 3 year old Sweetheart his halloween costume and I've dedicated myself to not spending any money on the project, because I actually have everything I need in my fabric stash.  These cute boots are no exception.  I bought the black vinyl probably around 5 years ago from the remnants bin of the fabric store intending to make a bag or something with it.  All this time it's been sitting in a box rolled up with the price label still on it.  But now at least part of it will be little boots. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Child's Pirate Pants

Halloween Costume Series #3

DIY Child's Pirate Pants

As I wrote in my last post, my three year old is going to be a pirate for Halloween, and I'm making his entire costume from scraps from my own stash without spending a dime!

These are short pants that hit my little pirate just below the knee.  They have an elastic waist and elastic casing at the cuff.  I made them from a scrap of striped denim.  I bought this fabric about 12 or 13 years ago to make a maxi skirt from a pair of jeans.  Remember that look?  Oh, they were so cool at the time....  Anyway, who'da thunk all these years later the remnants of that project would make my own son's pirate pants?  
Oh, and I forgot to mention in my pirate shirt post that the white muslin I used was leftover from the newborn kimono I made to take my little Sweetheart home from the birth center three and a half years ago. Aww. (FYI, don't bring your newborn home in a long kimono, it gets in the way of the carseat buckles. lol)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Easy Peasy One Piece Child's Pirate Shirt

Halloween Costume Series #2

Easy Peasy One Piece Child's Pirate Shirt

My three year old has a thing for pirates so it was no surprise to me when I asked him what he wanted to be for halloween and he told be he wanted to be a pirate.  This got me pretty excited because I kind of love period costumes.  Of course I also don't have tons of time to spend on something really elaborate, or tons of money for that matter.  After thinking about it and how it would look, and almost buying the needed fabric, it occurred to me that I just might have everything I need in my own fabric stash.  What do you know? After a careful and thoughtful search through my stash, I was able to find ALL the fabric I needed for every part of his costume!  You can't beat FREE; unless you pair it with EASY... which is just what I did. :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

DIY Toddler Truck Costume

Halloween Costume Tutorial Series, #1

DIY Toddler Truck Costume

Last year when my then two year old Sweetheart was really into cars and trucks, I searched the internet for costume ideas and from my searches I combined several images (which I no longer have, as it was way before my blogging days) to come up with a plan to make my little boy a Land Rover costume out of a diaper box I had on hand.  I chose the Land Rover Series 1, because my younger son was going as a lion, and I thought it would be cute if the older one would be "on safari" in his Land Rover.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

DIY Kids' Halloween Costume Series!

Happy Fall!  Don't you just love the brisk morning air and the changing leaves this time of year?  I do.

And now that it's October I am ready to focus my attention on some fun crafting that I wait for all year. Now I'm not a "big fan" of halloween like some people.  I don't do scary at all, and I don't throw a big party or decorate my house, but I do love LOVE to make costumes for my boys and me (my husband usually refuses to dress up *insert sad trombone sound here*).  This year the Sweetheart (3) wants to be a pirate and the Adventurer (2) wants to be a digger.  

I am so excited to make these costumes and I'm just as excited to share my progress here with all the steps that go into it as a tutorial!  How cool it that? 

In the series I'll be sharing how to make the truck costume my Sweetheart wore last year, then a four part tutorial his pirate costume (boots, pants, shirt, and vest), and then my little Adventurer's digger costume (part 1 and part 2).

I hope that you enjoy these tutorials and that they inspire you to get crafty with me!

How do you like them?  What are your kids going to be this year?

An Unscheduled Demo

Just when I thought we were almost done with the dining room, an unscheduled demolition occurred.  

Let me back up.  Over Labor Day weekend we, like many Americans, "celebrated" by taking advantage of an appliance sale.  We measured and remeasured the spaces for our new gas range and new refrigerator.  Then we picked out the appliances that fit the spaces and bought them, taking advantage of the free home delivery and old appliance removal.  A week and a half later, our new kitchen appliances were delivered.  

With a catch.  

You see, we measured and re-measured the space the appliances would end up in... but we failed to even consider the doorways and how wide they needed to be to get the appliances into those spaces.  The very nice delivery guy walked right into my house, measured the kitchen doorway and basically told me there was no way the fridge was getting into my kitchen.  

Did I mention my house was built in 1939?  Now days all the doorways are a standard 30 inches (says my delivery guy).  In '39, people prefered to squeeze into spaces.  Apparently.  This doorway (and at least one other in the house) was 28 inches.  We needed another inch at least to squeeze the fridge in.  The range was no problem, it went right in.  

The delivery guy told me I'd have to return the fridge.  There would be no charge for the delivery and we'd get all our money back, but we needed to pick out something else.  In a flash I remembered walking and walking with my husband down the appliance isles of two different stores and there were only two I liked that fit into the required dimensions in the kitchen, one was out of stock, and one was on the truck parking in front of my house.

I stood there for a moment, eyes bugged out, staring at the delivery guy.  He was looking back at me sympathetically.  In a second flash I made my decision.  We were going to widen the doorway or take out the wall eventually, why not now?  Then the guy could just leave the fridge and we could do a bit of demo and get it into the kitchen later.

The delivery guy suggested I call my husband, which I was just about to tell him I should do - not because he said so....  I talked my idea over with my husband and he agreed.  Why bother looking for a replacement when the one we really want is right here and all we need to do is move up a project we were already planning?  So they took the old fridge and plugged in the new one in the dining room.  

I wasn't expecting my husband to jump on the demo as soon as we were done with dinner that night, but I was so happy that he did.  He removed the molding and then had to cut out the door jam, and right there we gained about two inches.  Enough room to get the fridge though.  It was tight, but it slid right through with the doors open.

my husband cutting off the door jam while the new fridge looks on from the dinning room

And now the dining room, that almost finished room just about ready for it's big reveal, looks once again like a bomb has gone off in it.  

But in happier news the kitchen has finally made its first step in its own redo.  I haven't shown any pictures of the kitchen yet so I thought I would now.

Our kitchen appears to have been last updated in the 1980s or perhaps the early 1990s.  It has very nice custom oak cabinets, laminate stone look tile floors, a plastic drop ceiling with a center yellow florescent light fixture, and "decorative" clear-ish tiles around it with odd red stripes and ugly butterflies.  It looks like they should be lights too, but they aren't.  They are just kind of randomly clear-ish and up there doing their own little thing.  Whatever that is. 

our "lovely" kitchen just after moving in 
plastic drop ceiling


It's update plan includes painting the lower cabinets gray, the uppers white, white subway tiling back splash, removing the drop ceiling, adding crown molding to the tops of the cabinets, getting new butcher block countertops, and doing something - we don't know what yet -  with the floors.  Oh, and there is this lovely '80s trash compactor.  We don't create enough waste to really need trash compacting.  And how hard is it, really, to take the trash out when it gets full?  "Oh geez, I'm so tired I can't take out the trash tonight.  It's a good thing I spent $200 on this weird appliance that's super loud, takes up valuable real-estate in my kitchen, and squishes my trash a little smaller so I can take it out tomorrow instead," said nobody since about 1992.  So we will be saying "see ya" to the compactor and filling the space with a moveable kitchen island.  The idea (like all my ideas these days, it seems) came from Pinterest.  Here is the inspiration for the island.

Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Living Room Sneak Peak

I've been dying to share our progress in the living room for some time now, and I really wanted to wait until it was all done and have a grand reveal.  I'm just too antsy to wait anymore since we are so close but we still have more projects to complete.

So here are some more peaks!

The living room

Last you saw, the living room had that weird valance thing taken down and was getting a coat of paint.


Since then, the carpets have come up, the pictures hung, and the curtains sewn and hung.

And here's where we are today...

Still to come, a valance on the front window, a carpet on the floor, books in the bookshelf (lol), a DIY upholstered bench made, and a few more accessories acquired or made.

Hope you enjoyed the sneak peak.  Next up, the dining room BIG REVEAL!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

More Unseen Updates

Two more updates to the Cape were made early this week.  Monday, workers from the gas company came and got us hooked up to the natural gas line.  At the same time more workers from the HVAC company came and dismantled our old oil fueled boiler and replaced it with a new gas fueled one.  Then the next day more workers came and pumped our oil tank dry, then dismantled and carted it off.  I cannot tell you how relieved I am to be rid of the oil tank.  It was so smelly.  Within days the oil smell was gone from our house.  We never were sure where the smell was coming from.  The oil company said there were no spills, the home inspector said there were no leaks.  Who knows?  But it's gone now! 

Our front yard was dug up a bit and isn't looking it's finest, but the now bare patches were seeded and little grass sprouts showed their wee heads just this morning.  In a few weeks hopefully the yard will be back to normal.  

Now onto future changes!  Soon we'll plumb the gas into the kitchen and instal a new gas range which will be the first of many kitchen updates.  And the living room updating continues this week as we'll finish painting.  Hopefully we'll have art up on the walls and the carpets ripped out soon after that.  I'll be posting our progress as we go.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

DIY Toddler Pajama Pants Pattern

As warmer weather began to approach and we headed further and further into spring, I, like most moms, began to think about summer clothes for my kids  and in particular warm weather PJs.  Both my boys have been happily sleeping in fleece footie pajamas for the past 5 or 6 months but they'll be too warm during the summer months.  I wanted a light weight pajama that will keep the boys warm (they're both big time covers-kicker-offers) but not too warm.  

I went shopping - like any girl would who's hubby has declared he'll watch the kids while she takes some time for herself.  Is it terrible that I chose to spend this time in a children's clothing outlet?  Probably.  But I ended up not buying anything anyway because even at on sale outlet store prices, just buying two sets of pjs for my two guys (four total) was going to put me back somewhere in the ball park of $40.  

I scowled at the super cute over priced pjs and declared - possibly out loud - that I could make them for much less money.  And I left that store and headed right over to the fabric store.  I bought two yards of flannel in two prints (so four yard all together), a package of elastic, and a five pack bag of undershirts (these I actually bought at Target).  With the flannel on sale that week, I ended up spending about $26 on everything.  That's close to half the price of the on sale outlet store price - AND I was able to make four pairs of pants and two pairs of shorts!  If only undershirts came in a 6 pack....    

Now in general, it isn't always cost effective to make your own clothes. Particularly adult clothes.  But kid clothes are small, they're usually made with less expensive materials and when you make your own pattern you can save about $10 (or more) just on that.  So every now and again I make clothes for my kids.  For me, it's not just the money saved, I also enjoy sewing and I like making things for my boys to have.  So if you are like me, keep reading.  If you aren't like me and can't imagine why I'd waste my time when I could have gone to a thrift store or pinned tea towels on them instead, then you can also keep reading if only to scoff at my folly. ;)

So, on to the pattern!  I had my first pants making experience making longies for my boys as babies (using this very cool pattern and blog Katrina's Sew Quick Soaker Pattern).  If you are unaware, longies (or shorties) are fleece or wool pants that go over cloth diapers, instead of plastic pants or a PUL cover.  I found out then that pants are super easy to make with just one pattern piece, and I've been sewing them up ever since.  

And now you can make them too using a pair of your child's well fitting pants as a guide in only 3 steps*.  Because it doesn't have side seams, this style is particularly suited to pajama bottoms as less seams means greater comfort.

*making the pattern, sewing the pants, adding the elastic.  I didn't say short steps. Though the actual sewing should only take you 20 minutes or so.

What you will need:

  • a yard of comfy fabric (I used flannel) - you may have enough left over for a pair of shorts as well
  • underwear elastic or any wide and soft elastic.  Make sure it feels comfortable against your skin as it won't be incased.
  • paper to make the pattern on (I used a roll of craft paper I bought for the boys, other ideas are butcher paper, tissue paper, wrapping paper, computer paper taped together... you get it)
  • sewing machine and thread
  • optional: a very inexpensive yard of fabric (i.e. muslin) or extra fabric you have from a previous project to practice on - so you don't ruin your cute comfy fabric in case you got a measurement wrong. 

Step One: Making the Pattern

Now, you may be thinking, "Making a pattern?  I can barely sew two scraps together, what am I going to be in for?"  Don't worry about it.  This isn't hard, it's just a matter of tracing!

Revised November 2012 

a) First lay out your paper on your work space.  I did it right on the floor, cause I'm super fancy like that.  Then lay out your kid's pants flat on the paper.

b) Pull the waist band taut and mark that distance on the paper.  Make the left side of the band an inch higher than the right side and then draw a line connecting the two sides (which will be the front and back) of the pants.

c) Now fold the pants in half lengthwise with the front seam (wear the zipper would be on a pair of jeans) facing out.  Line up the front seam with the right side of your waist band mark and trace the curve of than seam from the band to the crotch.  Then continue tracing down the length of the leg to the cuff.

d) Refold the pants with the butt seam facing out and trace the curve from the left side of the waist band down.  Do you see how the back of the pants have a longer seam than the front?  That is why I had you made the left side of the waist band higher.  Trace down the length of the leg to the cuff on this side as well. 

e) measure the leg lines (crotch to cuff) and make sure they are the same length so they will match up when you sew them.  When all is even draw the line that connects the front and back of the leg.

f) Now it's time for the seam allowances and hems.  Add about 1 1/4 inches to the bottom (do not continue to taper), 1/4 inch to the sides, and a 1/2 inch to the top.  This new silhouette is the one you will cut out.  Now would also be a good time to double check your measurements and make sure you have followed the directions just right.

i) You have a completed pattern.  Congratulations!  Go ahead and cut it out.

Step Two: Making the Pants Body

What?!  This is only step two?  Sorry.  Feel free to take a break.  I did.  If you did this while your kids were awake I commend you.  They were probably crawling on your back making your lines all wonky.  I feel your pain.  

a) Wash and dry your fabric.  This will shrink it which is important considering if you don't pre-shrink, all your hard work will turn into oddly wide baby pants after the first wash.  Your toddler doesn't want to wear oddly wide baby pants.  Just throwing it out there.

b) If you need to, iron the fabric.  Fold it in half length-wise (like it was on the bolt in the store), and pin your pattern to the fabric.  I just cut around the pattern at this point but other people like to trace it with a pin, remove the pattern, and then cut it out.  Whatever works for you.

c) We'll start sewing at the bottom with the cuffs.  Fold the bottom of each leg 1/4 inch down and iron.  Fold another 1 inch down on each leg and iron again.  Pin the cuff in place.  Stitch across the cuff as close to the top edge as you can (or about 1/8th of an inch from the top edge).  If you measured correctly your two pant legs will still be the same length.  If not, they're probably close enough.  I mean, they're pajama bottoms.  Your kid's not going to school in them.  Maybe.  I'm not judging.

d) With right sides together (that is, inside out), pin along the sides from the waist to the crotch in both the front and the back.  

e) Sew from the waist to the crotch on both sides leaving a 1/4 in. seam allowance.  If your fabric is a woven fabric like mine, finish the edges so they don't fray.  I used a zig-zag stitch as I didn't feel like getting my serger out.  If your fabric is knit like a jersey or a fleece, don't worry about finishing the edges, they won't fray.  

f) Now comes the cool part where you turn what looks like a super oversized flannel holster into what very much resembles a pair of pants!  Turn the pants so that the front and back seams are laying against each other and each pant leg is folded in half length-wise.  See?  I told you it was cool!  I know you are tempted to turn it right side out and envision how it will look when you are done.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.  You're back?  Good.  Now turn it wrong side out again and pin the legs starting at the crotch and moving out to the cuffs.  If you have done all your measuring and cutting right, then the two sides will meet up perfectly.  If they don't and you don't think you can "make it work" then take out the cuff with a seam ripper and adjust the length of the longer side.  Note all your changes on your paper pattern so you don't repeat your mistakes in the future.  Re-sew the cuff, and re-pin the leg.

g) Starting at the bottom of one leg sew one long straight stitch through the crotch and down the other leg.  Yay! I'm pretty sure that's the last time I have to say crotch.  How about one last time for good measure?  Crotch.  Ok. I'm done.  Now finish the edge of this seam.

Step Three: Sew on the Elastic

Dang, girl, these are some long steps.  Yeah.  But it makes sense to me to break it down this way.  I figure anytime I'd likely see if my house has been ruined by my monkeys take a break, is a good time add a step.  Plus if I said, "In only 21 steps!" Would you have gotten this far?  Honestly?

a) With pants still inside out (yeah, I know you turned them again) fold under a 1/2 inch all around the top and iron it down.

b) Return to your child's pants - the ones you used to make the pattern.  Lay them flat and measure the waist band.  Don't stretch them this time, just lay them flat.  Double that measurement and use it to measure your elastic.  Add a half inch for seam allowance.  

c) Sew the ends of the elastic together with 1/4 inch seam allowance

d) Pin the seam of the band to the back seam of the pants with the seams together.  Remember, you know it's the back because the rise is about an inch higher in the back.  The top of the elastic should be covering the folded over fabric to about 1/8th of an inch from the top.  Fold the band in half with the pinned seam on one end.  Make a crease on the other end with your fingers and pin the creased mark to the front seam.  Find the halfway marks between the front and back seams of the pants by locating the natural fold at the side when the front and back seams are lined up.  Find the halfway marks of the band the same way, crease them so you can see them and pin them to the half way points on the pants.  The picture should help give you a clue as to what I mean by that.  You may choose to add more pins, but I found it easiest to pin in just these four spots.

e) Begin sewing the band to the pants on the back seam at the top of the band as close to the edge as you can.  After you secure your stitch with a few back stitches, pull out the first pin if you haven't already.  Find the next pin and pull the fabric and band at that pin so the elastic is taut, and sew along the top edge of the band to the pin.  Pull the pin out, find the next one and continue on the same way until you have gone around the waist.  You may have to adjust the tension of your thread to keep it from puckering as the elastic is relaxed, so keep an eye on that as well.  You are so close to being done!  Now, do exactly what you did at the top of the elastic at the bottom also starting in the back.  If your elastic band is particularly wide, you may want to add another row (or two) of stitches in the middle.  I chose a slightly narrow elastic (3/4 inch) so two rows was fine for me.

Hey, you did it!  Pull your tot down from the chandelier and pop these suckers on them!

Here are a few blurry action shots of my boys in their new PJs.  I embellished the plain undershirts I bought to match their pajama bottoms.  Now they are ready for summer sleeping - if I could just get them to sleep when the sun is still up.  That's another blog.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Paint Colors

With the obtrusive light fixture in the living room finally removed I'm getting excited about painting in the near future.  After the paint is up, the carpets are going away, and then the decorating begins!  I've been waiting to start in on this room since the day we bought the house.  It will be so nice to finally start!

Here are the paint colors I've picked out 

Sherwin-Williams Useful Gray (SW7050)
The above will be on all the walls in the living room.

Sherwin-Williams Analytical Gray and Nuance 
These two colors are the same colors I used in the dining room, and I've also used them as an accent wall of sorts in the living room in the stairwell going on up into the upstairs hall.  You might remember my inspiration room from my last post.  Instead of going with blue, I chose gray because I'm totally in love with it right now.  I think it plays nicely with the bright blues and greens I will add to the living room, and it already looks great with the yellows in the dining room... but more on that another day. ;)