Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - DIY nursing cover tutorial (simple to follow)

I want to share with you a great simple tutorial for making a nursing cover that can't be pulled off, and gives you a view of baby while nursing.  This is a great beginners project because it is easy and .  I made a few of these when I had my 2nd child (have 4 now :))and I don't know what I would have done with out them.  I have since made them for most of my mom friends for shower presents.  They are one of the MOST used gifts you could give. I LOVE mine and aside from using it to nurse have used it for a car seat cover, shade for my stroller and many other things in a pinch.  I love that I can look in and see my sweet baby while nursing and still be discreet at the same time.  Buying them from the name brand company costs about $35, but making them is as cheap as a little over a yard of fabric and a few supplies.
So lets get started! You will need about 1.25 yards of fabric, coordinating thread, a piece of 14" boning, 2 
D-rings (for the adjustable neck strap), and a small 8" square of terry cloth fabric (or a piece cut from a towel, or flannel).
First use your cutting tools to cut a 24" by 34" rectangle.  Cut two straps for your cover 2 3/4" by 24 1/2" and one more 2 3/4" by 5 1/2".  Now cut your boning to 14"'s.  And cut your terry cloth, towel or flannel into an 8" square.
We will start with the main body of the cover. Fold and iron 5/8 " from the lower edge and the two sides of your rectangle.  Be sure to note which end must be up if your fabrics pattern has a definite top.  Fold and iron 5/8" again as pictured below.    
On the top side fold over 6/8" making it slightly larger than the bottom and 2 sides.  This is created slightly larger to encompass the boning.
Now that you have created the casing for the boning place it in the direct center of the casing with it curved away from you (see photo below) and pin it in place.  
Now we will create the little terry cloth pocket used for clean up or storage.  You simply fold the square into a triangle and slip it into the area that will create the side and bottom hem on the right side as pictured below.
 The main piece of the cover should now be pinned and ready to hem on all 4 sides.
 In order to ensure that the boning stays in place stitch vertically along the sides of the boning to hold it in place in the center of the upper edge of the cover (not pictured).  Now that the boning is secured, hem the entire rectangle taking special care around the boning in the upper edge and make sure to catch both sides of the terry cloth pocket.

 Now that the main body of the cover is done all we have left are the straps.  So fold your straps in half wrong side out and press and pin.

 On the longer strap sew all along the 3 open sides leaving a two inch opening in the middle of the upper edge of the tube.
Notice the 2 inch gap in the middle is not sewn shut.
 Turn the tube right side out using a paint brush or chopstick (see photo below).
 Iron it right side out with the edges turned under where the gap was left.  Top stitch around the entire strap being careful to catch the raw edges turned under.  You should not even be able to see where the gap was.

To make the smaller strap, sew around the two open sides leaving the top open to turn it right side out.  Now turn it right side out and fold in the top raw edges before pressing and top stitching all the way around.

 Now we are getting close! We attach the long strap first to the left hand side (if I were wearing it) from behind as pictured.  I like to sew a box with an x in the center to give it extra strength.

 For the other strap we slide the two D-rings on it, fold it in half and attach it from behind with the same stitching pattern used on the other strap (see photo above). Now we secure the D-rings by stitching a line as close as we can under the rings as shown below.
 YOU DID IT!! To use it you just thread the strap through the D-rings like you would a belt (the long strap goes through the front of the D-rings and back out again under the second one) and that is it!  You are all done! 

Hope you enjoyed this project!  Please link back if you make one and please do not copy the whole tutorial onto your blog.  You may however feature this project by copying one of the photos and creating a link back to the whole tutorial here.  Thanks!  I would love to see your photos of the finished product!

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Monday, May 30, 2011

DIY all natural cleaning products (these really work! )

I love saving money and all natural products so I wanted to share some great DIY all natural cleaning products you can make at home.  You will save money and keep those nasty chemicals out of your house.  All you need are a few basic household supplies and you probably already have most of them in your cupboards.  These are super easy to make so you can get started today.  At the end is my favorite recipe for cleaning fruits and veggies from pesticides.  Enjoy!
I just reused this spray bottle.
All purpose cleansers:
2 TBLS distilled white vinegar
1 tea White Borax (available at grocery stores in laundry aisle) 
16oz HOT filtered water
 1/4 cup liquid soap.
 Mix vinegar and borax in a clean 16oz spray bottle. Fill with water and shake until the borax has dissolved. Add the liquid soap, shake to mix again. USE: Simply spray and wipe.

1/4 cup white vinegar
20 drops tea tree oil
1 tsp dish washing soap
hot water
Mix all the above in a spray bottle.  I just reused my simple green spray bottle.  Exercise caution when reusing other cleanser bottles.  

Dish washing liquid:
1/4 cup soap flakes
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup glycerin
1/2 teaspoon lemon essential oil

 In bowl combine soap flakes and water and stir until the soap is dissolved. Cool to luke warm.
Stir in the glycerin and the essential oil, leave to cool. As it cools it will form a loose gel. Stir with a fork and break up the gel and then pour into a narrow-necked bottle. An old shampoo bottle or left over dish washing soap bottle make excellent containers.To use, squirt 3 teaspoonfuls into hot running water.

Automatic dish washing soap:
1/2 cup liquid Castile soap
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 drops tea tree extract (or oil)
1/4 cup white vinegar
Baking Soda

Mix together all ingredients except the Baking soda. Store in squeeze bottle. Use 1 Tbsp. in the first cycle and 1 Tbsp. in the automatic soap dispenser for standard size dishwasher. Sprinkle a handful of baking soda over dirty dishes and in the bottom of your dishwasher to absorb odors and boost cleaning power at the start.


Mix 1/2 cup of borax powder with 1 gallon of hot water. Add a few drops of fragrant essential oil such as thyme, rosemary, or lavender. Store the mixture in a labeled spray bottle.

Kitchen Cleanser: 
 Baking Soda 
Lemon essential oil. 
Fill a plastic flip top or stainless steel shaker (like the kind you use for powdered sugar) halfway with baking soda. Add 15 to 20 drops of essential oil. Stir, add more baking soda until it reaches the top of the shaker. Secure the lid and shake to mix.  Just sprinkle on counters or in sinks sparingly, then wipe with a damp cloth or cellulose sponge. Rinse well. 

 Floor Cleanser:
 2 Cups Distilled White Vinegar
2 Cups Filtered Water
(optional) essential oil of your choice like lemon, or tea tree or lavender 
Fill a clean 16oz. squirt bottle with vinegar and water. Add 15 – 20 drops essential oil and mix.  Squirt on the floor and wipe with a clean rag or mop. This cleaner is suitable for finished wood, ceramic tile and vinyl.

Tub & Tile Cleaner :
 1 2/3 cups baking soda
 1/2 cup liquid soap,
1/2 cup filtered water 
 2 TBLS. distilled white vinegar
 Mix baking soda and liquid soap in a bowl. Dilute with water and add the vinegar. Mix with a fork until any lumps are gone and the mixture has a pourable consistency (you may need to add more water). Pour into a clean 16 oz squeeze container like a shampoo bottle.  Shake well before using; keep the lid tightly closed to prevent mixture from drying out.  Squirt on tub, tile, sink or toilet bowl an scrub. Rinse well. If any baking soda residue remains, rinse with a mix of vinegar and water and next time use a little less baking soda.

Furniture Polish: 
1 cup lemons juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water
Mix lemon juice with olive oil and water.  Apply sparingly to furniture using a soft cloth. Let sit for a couple of minutes, then buff.

Glass Cleaner: 
 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
 1/2 cup liquid soap,
2 cups filtered water
essential oil (optional)
Mix soap and water in a clean 16oz spray bottle. Add vinegar and essential oil. Shake well.  Spray on windows and either squeegee off or wipe with a newsprint, coffee filter or microfiber cloth. Once you have cleaned your windows a couple of times, omit the soap (which removes the waxy residue left behind by conventional cleaner) and switch to 1/2 cup vinegar mixed with 2 cups of water.

Alternately use a good microfiber cloth that is slightly damp on mirrors or windows and NO CLEANSER then dry with microfiber cloth.  This is what I do and it works great for everyday use.

Fruit and vegetable wash:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup baking soda

Pour the water, lemon juice, and baking soda into a spray bottle. Be careful, the lemon juice and baking soda will foam up. To use, spray on vegetables, and let sit for 5 minutes. Rinse the vegetables under cold, running water using a scrub brush.

To hide scratches in wood rub the meat of a walnut into the scratch till you don't see it anymore.

Use a slice of bread to wipe marks off wallpaper.

Copper pans and ceramic baking dishes can be scoured with salt.  


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Baby bird inspired baby shower

I hosted this baby bird inspired bird shower and it was a lot of fun!  The baby birdy cup cakes were a big hit and so were the egg filled nest cookies.

The nest cookies were created by frosting the sugar cookies in  a tan color of frosting and topping with toasted coconut.  Then I added frosting to the back sides of 3 chocolate colored almonds to get them to stick and placed them in the center.  You can of course use jelly beans or Jordan almonds as well.
The cupcakes were simply frosted then topped with toasted coconut around the edges with an open circle in the middle for the birds to be piped into.  To create the 3 hungry birds in the center simply pipe 3 round or oblong bird bodies in blue frosting in the center of the cupcake.  Then add yellow frosting pulled up at the end to create a beak.  For eyes you can use frosting or dark colored candies or sprinkles.  

 I also printed out some favor or cup cake tags at World Label.  I added a few bird cages in the decor through out the room and I downloaded the cute "chirp" sign from  city cradle design here. The "mama bird" signs on the table are from hostess blog, and she had many other signs and printables available there as well for bird themed baby showers.  It was a fun affordable theme that carried beautifully into the shower. 

I am guest posting today at HomeSpun threads!

I am excited to be guest posting over at homespun threads today! She has an awesome Summer Soire going with a different craft by different bloggers  every day! I saw homemade moon sand, sidewalk chalk, ice cream cakes and all manner of fun summer related crafts! I first found her blog looking for sewing patters and she has a bunch of them.  She has since made ALL of her patterns available FREE!  So head over to 
My homespun threads and check it out! Thanks!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

DIY Silly Putty Tutorial - Something fun for your Saturday

Here is a little something fun for you to do with the kids today!

I want to share a simple, fun tutorial on how to make silly putty.  It is cheap and easy and makes a great gift for birthdays or any other occasion.   You can mix up any color you choose, add glitter, or tuck a tiny toy inside when gift giving.  It bounces, self levels and is hours of fun.
Heres what we will need  to get started...
1 cup Elmers school glue (this type of glue works the best)
1/2 cup liquid starch
optional- food coloring and or glitter

The first step is to simply put 1/2 cup liquid starch into the bowl.
 Now add the glue.  Be sure to keep the ratio exactly 1 cup glue to 1/2 cup starch as it can get too sticky.  This 1 cup looks a little too full.  

 Now mix it all together.  This stage takes awhile.
 Just keep mixing and eventually it will come together.
Now is when you add the food coloring and or glitter.
 Once it is together enough to handle knead it by hand.  If it feels too sticky just add a little more starch.  
 And that is it!  You now have two big batches of silly putty!  We made one blue and one purple.

My kids are still playing with it days later! 
You will want to store it in jars or plastic containers with lids as it sticks to plastic bags.  You can also store it in smaller batches in left over Easter eggs.

Hope you enjoyed this!  
Come back for more.  I try to post pretty close to every day.  If you make this let me know how it goes.  I love comments!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Freebie Friday - Free pattern with tutorial for these super cute mini bloomers!

Who couldn't use a cute pair of bloomers like these.  These look great for sleep wear especially with summer fast approaching! You will only need a yard of fabric some elastic and ribbon.  Thank you Colette Patterns for generously making this available to us!

Love to hear how yours come out.  


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursdays 6 ingredients or less -Pan-Roasted Chicken with Shallots

Yum here is what I found for Thursdays 6 ingredients or less recipe from my heart healthy online.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Shallots

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Shallots
Makes: 4 servings
Start to Finish: 20 minutes


  • 8  shallots or 1 large onion
  • 4  mediumskinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1 to 1 1/4 pounds total)
  •   Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1  tablespoonolive oil
  • 1  mediumzucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/4  cupsnipped fresh parsley


Peel shallots; halve small shallots and quarter large shallots. If using onion, cut into thin wedges (should have 1 cup shallots or onion wedges); set aside. Sprinkle chicken lightly with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Add chicken; cook for 2 minutes.
Turn chicken. Add shallots to skillet.Cook for 8 to 10 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink (170°F), stirring shallots frequently and turning chicken, if necessary, to brown evenly. If necessary, add additional oil to prevent sticking. Reduce heat to medium low if chicken or shallots brown too quickly.  Transfer chicken and shallots to a serving platter. Cover to keep warm. Add zucchini to skillet. Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add to platter with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.

re-purpose an old armoire or stand alone cabinet into bar, baby closet, garden shed etc...

Here are some great ideas on how you can re-purpose an armoire or stand alone cabinet.  maybe even a chest of drawers with out the drawers (that would require a little work to gut it and line with fabric and add shutters for doors or leave open).   I love these ideas!  Hope you find some inspiration for your old pieces.
drinks bar open
To see more about this armoire turned bar from better homes and gardens click here.

laundry room open
Laundry room in a cabinet by BHG click here.
Check out this armoire for baby's room from Martha Stewart.

garden armoire open
Click here to see more on this storage cabinet turned garden shed from BHG.

Feel inspired? Then go create something!  A few other good ideas I have seen in the past are an office in an armoire, a linen closet, an accessory closet for shoes, belts, etc...  The possibilities are endless.  I would love to hear what you have come up with!  I am still working on my sewing space in an armiore but hubby has to do a few large projects like hang the tv on the wall, take out a swamp cooler and relocate it, patch the whole, etc.. before we can get it upstairs to work on.  He is busy so I am patiently waiting.