Monday, February 23, 2015

Sewing: Busy Bag for Kids (Tutorial)

As a mother I often refer to myself as a "bag lady" since it seems I'm laden with them whenever we are headed out. The bigger the girls get, the bigger the bags. One giant bag (such as my faithful Oilcloth Preschool Bag) isn't even enough for swimming, or airplane rides, or church these days. For plane trips I've refined the science and each girl has a backpack she stuffs with her choices of entertainment. (You can read a bit more about this in my traveling with kids post.) bags. I thought it was time they had their own bags for their other activities too such as soccer and swimming and church.  Maybe it's silly to have a lot of different bags around, but it sure seems efficient to say "grab your swim bag and let's go" rather than having to unpack and repack a bag.

So for Valentine's Day I sewed laminated cotton Busy Bags for the girls to take to church. I have a complete tutorial for you too (which would also work well with oilcloth)! The goal here is to keep them quiet and engaged in something appropriate so they don't disturb the congregation during the family worship service, Sacrament Meeting. Of course, as they get older they'll be expected to sit and listen and sing, but in the meantime, coloring, and other quiet activities make it possible for their parents to listen!

You may wonder if this strategy means I now carry three bags, plus my own, to church. It's true there have been moments like that. But overall it's working really well! The girls love organizing their bags each Sunday morning and packing them in the car. I love that this is helping them become more independent. 

These Busy Bags have plenty of pockets inside and out so their things don't get lost in a big pile at the bottom. I gifted a few small items in the pockets of these bags for Valentine's. They each added the rest. I thought I'd show you some of what is packed for each girl in case you need ideas to keep kids quietly busy.

I designed a double pocket on the front, the smaller of which is perfect for a 4x6 photo album (affiliate link). As you know, children love to look at pictures of themselves and their families. You can also use these to create flip books (Delia has some great ideas for an I Spy Book and a Feelings Book!) My girls each have a little book of scriptures and themes we are focusing on in their children's meetings at church this year.

Among other things, Audrey carries her own set of scriptures, an oversized coloring and activity book (I love this Usborne  Doodling Book for Boys), a soccer-themed Boogie Board (brilliant invention!), crayons and a Pocket Doodles small coloring book. I clipped on some hand sanitzer, which I found ready to go with a carabiner at Jo-Ann for $1.

Scarlett's bag hauls a coloring book, stickers (one of my favorite forms of quiet entertainment--I can't help buying them in the dollar section at Jo-Ann), pink floral Boogie Board, crayons, reading book and a few fun toys we've found. I love the magnetic Silly Faces game and the similar LalaLoopsy magnetic paper dolls. Netted Squish balls are a new favorite for my girls, and thankfully, totally silent. I can't help giving them a squeeze myself! I also love these Pkolino Artist's Journals, which include a notepad and set of coloring pencils in a cute zippered case. (I should mention this is not a sponsored post--these are all products we've found and used and love. But there are affiliate links, which provide a small compensation should you purchase any of these by clicking.)

Tess's bag always includes her latest favorite small stuffed animal and a snack: a granola bar, or fruit snacks, or crackers. She likes coloring and playing with stickers too. A Sandra Boynton board book is always good for whispered reading. "Blue Hat Green Hat" is one of our favorites but we have to stifle the giggles at church.  Aaron's Thinking Putty was a stocking stuffer for each of the girls this year. They had seen some friends at church playing quietly with it. It's great, moldable stuff, which doesn't dry out and fits nicely in the smaller of the inner pockets. But beware of getting small pieces smashed into your carpet or clothing! I also like The Melting Monster's and Aliens (and similar Melting Snowman). It is pretty amazing! Of course a stack of scrap paper for coloring is great for keeping them busy too!

It was fun for me to pick out different fabrics to suit the personalities of each girl. And even more fun, when after receiving the, Scarlett told me she was glad I'd intended her bag for her because she liked it, and the small gifts inside, the best. The other girls felt the same way. Glad their mom knows something about them!

I found the laminated cottons at the Etsy shop, Laminates.  Audrey's bag uses Michael Miller Retro Cameras, Trade Blanket Smoke for Free Spirit, and Michael Miller Celery Ta-Dot, which I "laminated myself" with clear vinyl in an "8 gauge" I found at Jo-Ann. 

Scarlett's bag was sewn with Tanya Whelan's Sugar Hill Blue Falling Roses, Scattered Roses, and Tamari Garden Teja Pink, the latter which I also laminated myself.

Tess's bag includes Robert Kaufmann's Kuka Dolls and Riley Blake's Just Dreamy Dots laminated cottons, and Michael Miller Geranium Pink Ta-Dot, which I also laminated myself, and some lime green rip-stop fabric

Ready to sew a Busy Bag? click through for the tutorial.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sewing: Foxy Pink and Red Game Day Jersey Dresses for Valentine's

Since we're nearly to Valentine's I thought I'd share some lovey colored Game Day Jersey Dresses in one of my favorite combinations: pink and red. I have loved these two colors together since I was a little girl so I immediately fell for this cute Swafing "Freddi" organic knit. (This shop has it in stock.)

I found the bubblegum pink knit at Jo-Ann for a perfect match.

I decided on a Game Day Dress for Scarlett and a skirt and Game Day Tee for Tess. This skirt is the same I sewed for Scarlett in the launch post for this pattern. I think I'll turn it into an official pattern because it's so quick and easy and I love the options afforded by the panels.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Printables: Mustache Valentines (Free Download)

I've finally done it. I've given into the Mustache trend. Audrey was excited about some foam mustaches we found at Target so I created a quick printable Valentine to go with them. This is a great candy-free option for the card exchange. I was thinking of a line something like, "there's no disguising it, I want you to be my Valentine," but thanks to my Instagram friend, Mae, I landed on "I Mustache you to be my Valentine." Perfect!

This Mustache Valentine is a free printable for you. It will print two 5"x7" Valentines. The file is set up to print double-sided (be sure to flip on the long end and/or check to see the reverse is printed right-side up before you crank out a class-full).

You can use glue dots or tape to affix a purchased stick-on mustache over the mustache silhouette on the card. I found mine in the Valentine section at Target, but you can find some online (Amazon has some furry mustaches--affiliate link here). 

You can also cut your own foam mustache stickers if you have a Cricut or similar machine using this mustache .svg file and black sticky-back foam

I am laughing thinking about a class full of gradeschoolers wearing their fake 'staches. 

These would be cute with a mustache lollipop or wax candy mustache too.

Fold the Valentines in half and use some black and white Washi to tape them closed, and you're all set!

So, I really mustache ask you....

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sewing: Waldorf Doll Wardobes (Part II)

In addition to some cotton Summer Sets, every girl, or doll, needs some comfy clothes to wear so I sewed these little Waldorf dolls some knits! I started with a version of my Bateau Neck Top pattern, with a boatneck and boxy cut, which makes it possible to pull on a soft bodied doll without any closures.

I have to admit I love the possibility of matching outfits for my girls and their dolls! I used scraps from clothing I've sewn for Audrey, Scarlett and Tess, just in case they want to match.

I thought some wide-legged knit pants would be fun with these tops. These pants would work well with a woven fabric too so I plan to try that soon.

Then I made a knit set with skinny pants and altered the Bateau Neck Top to create a tunic with a curved hem. A "flower" cut from bright pink knit scraps (similar to the flowers I made here) was the perfect embellishment.

Finally these dolls have something to wear with the cardigans I knit for them!

(I talk more about these cute nesting chipboard suitcases in the first Waldorf Doll Wardrobes post.)

Pajamas are my girls' favorite thing to wear so bed clothes were in order. I should make some knit skivvies for these dolls, but first I made some nightgowns to match the Baby Doll Baskets I made last year with Dana's pattern.

I made a tiny version of my Angel Sleeve Dress pattern with a snap closure in the back and added some rickrack trim to the hem. Cute! I'll need to make some more of these dresses. (You can find a free pattern for the Doll Angel Sleeve Dress here.)

While I was playing with the Angel Sleeve Dress pattern I thought it would be fun to make something even dressier for these dolls. I thought with a wrap style modification the Angel dress could become a Goddess Dress! Pretty fancy, right?

F.O.E. (fold-over elastic) is the key to these dresses, which lends itself to all sort of fun trimming possibilities. 

I love this dress for Scarlett's doll in white ruffle knit fabric and glitter gold FOE. The dress can be tied in front or in back.

I found some great pleated fabric at Jo-Ann and paired it with polka-dot FOE for Audrey's doll. This dress has a bit of an Asian feel, don't you think?

And for Tess's doll, I used the stretch crinkle panne velvet to make a dress similar to Tess' own favorite: her Out of Africa dress from the STYLO 03 shoot.

I have a whole pile of fabric pulled together to make more doll clothes because it's so much fun! I'd like to make the patterns available too. And maybe grade them for other sizes dolls. But then there's the list of things to sew for my girls. And maybe myself. So we'll see.
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