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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

nursing cover {tutorial}



There are a lot of "baby things" out there for new moms to buy. Heck, wander through Babies'R'Us just once and you'll get overwhelmed. 
And me being the crafty {read: cheap} almost new mom that I am, I easily found several things that I could make for a fraction of the cost...

And here's one! 
Nursing covers just like this one sell for about $40. Instead I paid $5 in materials and about 45 minutes of my time. Plus I got to pick out my own fabric, which was an added bonus because I thought all the store bought covers were kind of ugly.


Materials:

 - 3/4 yard of fabric
 - 12 inches of boning *
 - 2 D-rings {usually in the sewing accessories section}
 - sewing machine/thread
 - scissors

*I didn't have any boning on hand, so I used some piping. Works just as well.




Note: Every time I do a post that requires sewing with a machine, I feel like I should keep reiterating that I really know almost nothing about what I'm doing. I'm 100% self taught on my machine and I really only know how to thread the needle and bobbin and how to sew a simple stitch in forward and reverse. That's it. All those other buttons make my head hurt.

And yes, this post is picture/instruction heavy. But that's just because I'm obnoxious and meticulous. 
{you probably already knew that}
Don't let the details scare you!



First up, trim any selvage off your fabric.



From the same edge, trim off a 3" strip. This is the material we'll use for the straps so feel free to set the rest of the material aside while we sew those first.




Fold the strip of fabric in half {lengthwise and right side in}. Pin it and sew the edges together with a 1/4" seam.




 Center your hem and then iron your strip so the seam edges are open.
{this will help it look the best and lie the flattest}




Now cut a 9" piece off of your strip.
Take the longer piece and trim one edge diagonally. 
You should end up with this:




 Sew the diagonal end closed with a 1/4" seam.




Now turn both of the straps right side out.
{this takes a few minutes - I also had to reiron them flat afterwards. Make sure those seams are still centered.}




 Grab your shorter 9" strap. Slip two D-rings onto it and fold your fabric in half. Sew a seam under the D-rings to keep them in place.




Now high-five yourself because the straps are done!
Grab your larger piece of fabric to make the body of the nursing cover. You should have a rectangle with two shorter edges {the sides} and two longer edges {the top and bottom}.

First up, we want to hem the two side and bottom edges.

To do this I lay it right side down, fold about 1/2" over and iron that down...



Then I fold it over again and iron that down. Pin it too.
{I don't always pin this part because I'm a maverick (read: actually I'm just lazy)}



 
Now you can sew the seam without any edges being exposed.




 Do the same with the bottom edge and other side.




 Next we move on to the top edge, which is where the straps get attached. 
First, do your 1/2" fold and iron down, then fold again and iron down - just like the other three sides.



 Now, find the center of your top edge and the center of your boning. Line those up.

 


 Slide the boning under the last fold you ironed. Pin it to keep in place.




Your two straps are going to slide in on either side of your boning. Place your shorter strap {with the D-rings} on the left and your longer strap on the right. Slide the open edges in under the fold right next to the boning. Pin in place.



 


 Make sure with your long strap that the hem is facing down.
Here's what you should have:





Now sew that top hem closed! That will make boning should be secure and your straps attached!
 Lastly, we just need to fold/sew our straps so they face the proper way.

Fold your strap up so it lays over that top hem you just closed. Pin in place.




Flip your cover right side up and sew a small rectangle to hold your strap in place.
Technically you can do this from the back, but I like to do this from the front so I can make it look a little better.




And you're done!! When worn the boning/piping should create an opening so you can look down at your little one while they're nursing. Straps are completely adjustable for comfort.

Sorry, this is ridiculously hard to model. Especially when you have a 9 month pregnant belly instead of an actual kiddo. But you get the gist...




And let's face it, firetrucks and dinosaurs are cute for Jake, but Mommy wanted a nice looking cover to use. This still has "boy" colors, but with a definite feminine flare. 

Here's another print I used:


Customizing everything is just another perk if DIY!

I've made several of these for myself and even one for a friend of mine. Kelly is due with her little boy within days of Jake and I. We have the same OB, went to the same newborn classes and have been comparing first time mom notes for awhile now. So it was no brainer that I should toss one of these and some burp cloths in with her shower gift.




One step closer to being ready for our fellas to get here!

Monday, February 27, 2012

36 Weeks



The countdown is on. Officially. I'm actually thinking of putting together one of those little paper chains that you make in kindergarten to count down the days until Christmas or whatnot. 
{Ok, I jest... -ish}

In short, my general thoughts...
"Holy crap!"
But I guess that alone wouldn't make for a very informative post.


So, the latest developments in my massively pregnant world...

 - Jake has the hiccups all. the. time. It was really cute at first. And now, well, it's still cute. But I certainly don't think I'll miss feeling like I have turrets all the time. 

 - I'm running out of clothes. Thank the heavens that I'm at home most of the time now so no one judges me when I'm wearing J.B.'s t-shirts and my giant sweatpants. {I know, it sounds super attractive.}

 - WHY don't I own stock in Babies-R-US? WHY? So much money spent there lately. I think the employees are starting to call me by name. It used to be that way at Hobby Lobby. Ha, just another one of those life changes I suppose.

 - Jake is still wiggling all over the place and in a breech position lots of times. Not cool, kiddo, not cool.

 - I don't really sleep anymore. And if one more person tells me that this is "practice for when the little guy gets here" I'll punch them. I swear I will, I'm cranky. I need sleep.

 Is this post sounding negative? I don't mean it! Life really is good. I'm so excited! 
And I'm loving being at home now to nest and cook and craft. It's like a mini vacay! And gosh, I'm getting things done...
The car seat is installed.
The stroller is put together.
The hospital bag is packed. 
The pack and play is set up.
The baby clothes are washed.
The changing table is stocked with diapers and wipes.
The pediatrician is picked out.
The pre-registration papers are at the hospital.
The diaper bag is packed with burp cloths and onesies and other baby necessities.

I'd say we're about ready for this little fella'. 
{Is my type-A personality overwhelming you right now? Sorry.}


So now its time to just sit back and wait for D-Day. 
If ya'll need anything I'll be here, swollen feet propped up, making my paper countdown chain.


Friday, February 24, 2012

A Reading List

In January I told you guys about the books that I read last year
It was incredibly popular post - shoulda known you'd be such a happy nerdy bunch!

So I got to thinking... keeping some sort of yearly book list on the blog might be a great idea. Seems like a good way to keep up with everything I read and also get some feedback from you guys about what's great.

I also just joined my first-ever-legit-actually-meeting-up-with-fun-people-once-a-month-and-gab book club {woot!}. Those books will totally make the list as the group reads them.

 So if you're a reader, let your cursor wander over to the right to the Books of 2012 button. It'll show you what's sitting on my nightstand.
Go on, you know you want to...



_______________________________________________________________


Other book related news... 





I have a friend from college who contacted me recently to let me know he wrote a book. 
First, let's stop there.

He wrote a book.

That is completely mind bogglingly awesome to me. Once my brain stopped mentally high fiving him, I concentrated on the conversation at hand. He wanted me to read it. 

Well, duh. You wrote a freaking book, dude. Of course I'll read it.

And I did. 

And I was mad.

I wasn't mad because it sucked. It didn't. 
I wasn't mad because it was fantastic and I was jealous {though it's pretty good and I am}.

I was mad because I started it one late night before bed. And I could not. stop. reading. it. I'm a sucker for suspense. And I couldn't predict where it was going. So I kept reading. Until I finished it at midnight. Then I was mad at Tyler for doing that to me. A little warning on the inside cover would be nice.

"Hey, make sure you have time for the whole thing in one sitting. You might be up all night. You can't stop reading until the end. And we all know how cranky you are when you're short on sleep. Sorry about that.  - Sincerely, Tyler"

I really don't think that's too much to ask...

Ok, in all seriousness - the book is obviously good. Tyler's writing style is unique but easy to follow. The main character is original yet very identifiable. And the twisted plot still held my attention even after I'd read the last page.

I liked the honesty of the characters. They felt raw. It was messy at times - as life is. It's a book about desperate times, and it made me question what I would do in their shoes. How desperate, how messy I might get. 

And for those of you that are slackers, this book isn't a long one. It was about 90 pages on my iPad Kindle app.

In fact, if I had to offer up some criticism, I would like for it to have been longer. I wanted to know more about several of the main characters. How did they become this way? Why do they think like that? I wanted more development, more history.


Here's a great description:
 
When God commanded Abraham to carry Isaac up the mountain, the boy was told by his father to gather sticks to build an altar. With each piece he gathered he unknowingly contributed to his own sacrifice. But before the blade would fall an angel of God would appear. The entire parable hinged on Abraham's faith in God's plan and his determination to carry it out with his own hands.
 
Charles is an average man. He has a loving family and is solid in his own beliefs. But his faith is soon tested with the loss of his son and Charles becomes a man driven by the need for answers. He needs to know what happened to his child and is prepared to do anything to find out. As simple actions by multiple individuals begin to unfold, a tragedy is formed and Charles is caught in the middle. Throughout it all he knows he is not alone. He knows God is with him. As Charles begins to see signs of what he believes to be the truth behind his son's disappearance, he's unsure if these come from God or if they are just coincidences. Is it his vengeance that propels him or is he just doing God's plan? His faith will either see him through this catastrophe or cause him to lose all he has left.



So here I am - officially recommending it to you. 

Buy it, download it, print it - whatever suits your fancy. Because its totally worth it.

And because I also just found out that Tyler and his wife are expecting kiddo #2 so he has a lot of diapers to buy... 

Tyler, congrats on the book and the baby on the way! 
Feel free to continue conquering the world!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Baby Shower

A few weeks ago these lovely girls

threw the sweetest shower for Baby Jake.



The invites...
I love them. So stinkin' cute. 
From TinyPrints. {ya'll saw that coming, right?}

Everything was "rain shower" themed, which ended up being completely perfect because it actually poured rain all day that Saturday.




I received "advice" from everyone on how to be a great mom. 
 Some of the advice was great.



Other advice? Not so helpful. 

 
{I'll give you one guess as to whose loving husband filled this out, haha}


Onesies were decorated for Baby Jake...




And his gigantic stack of presents were opened.
{followed by the obligatory baby shower talk - "aww!" and "how cute!!" - everything is so adorable!}


Our friends and family are already seriously spoiling our little man.


 

It was the perfect afternoon. 
I'm so excited for Baby Jake to get here and meet all of the fantastic people that already love him!

Especially these three...




And just going to show how great minds think a like, 
here are the hostess gifts I put together for them.




Yup, rain boots and umbrellas. Rain shower themed. 
Scary how we think alike, right?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars



Yes. These are just as delicious as they look. Seriously.
And don't be fooled about how long the ingredient list is, they really are pretty simple.

And everyone loooooves them!


Ingredients:

Crust
 - 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs {one sleeve}
 - 5 tablespoons of butter {melted}
2/3 cup of mini chocolate chips


Cookie Dough
 - 5 tablespoons of butter
 - 1/3 cup of brown sugar
 - 3 tablespoons of sugar
 - 1/8 teaspoon of salt
 - 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
 - 3/4 cup of flour
 - 1 cup of mini chocolate chips


Cheesecake Filling
 - 10 ounces of cream cheese
 - 1/4 cup of sugar
 - 1 egg
 - 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Also have some extra chocolate on hand to drizzle over the top!



Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 
Line your 9x13 pan with tin foil {make sure to extend it over the edges of the dish}. Then add cooking spray on top of the tin foil.




For the crust, combine your graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter. Then stir in the chocolate chips.




Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan and partially up the sides. Bake for six minutes.




Next up is the cookie dough. 
Mix the butter, brown sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth.
Slowly add in the flour {I always make a mess with the powdery stuff!}




Stir in the chocolate chips.


 


And finally,  time for the cheesecake filling...
 Mix the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.




Pour the cheesecake filling into the baked crust. 




Then spread the cookie dough over the top of the filling.




Bake for 30 minutes. Then drizzle with melted chocolate.
To do this, I like to pour the melted chocolate into a small ziploc bag and then trim the corner off.




The biggest issue with this dessert?
 How do you serve them? They can be eaten hot, cold or room temperature {our favorite}.




So stinking good!!!




Thursday, February 16, 2012

gathered linen wreath {tutorial}

It was inevitable. I couldn't justify my winter berry wreath after Valentine's Day had passed.

Last week I showed you guys some of the inspiration I had, but truth be told, I really just wanted to hang up my wreath from last spring. I loved it so! But that weird funk that had grown on the linen fabric made it a no-go.

So I did the next best thing... made a new wreath from similar materials.





Materials:

 - wreath form
 - linen fabric {about 2 yards}
 - hot glue gun/glue sticks
 - decorative accents

Tip: Wash your linen first. It gives it a nice crinkled look.


First, tear your linen fabric into 3-4 inch strips.



Wrap your wreath form. Adhere the ends with hot glue.




Next grab a strip of linen and start bunching and gluing. 
There's no right or wrong way to do this. Just scrunch the fabric around and glue. You may have to play with the fabric a little to get it to look the way you like. 






Keep going until the front and sides of the wreath are covered.




Now add your accents!
I glued on some funky green moss and a sweet bird's nest.




I've had several people ask how I hang my wreaths.
I don't always use the same trick. But here's a common one:

A strip of ribbon on the back of the wreath, held in with sewing or floral pins.




Now hang and enjoy!!






Maybe if we keep pretending its spring time, Mother Nature will cooperate with some happy sunshine!