Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hooded Towel

When I was little, I used to have a hooded towel (and so did most of my brothers). My oldest son got one from one of the baby showers I had for him. I wanted towels for my girls as they each grew too big for the baby towels. 

My mom made one for my first daughter, but then I had two more, so it was time to figure it out. I mean, it's just some towels sewn together - how hard can it be?

Turns out, it's not hard.

 And it's an easy present to make that doesn't cost much, but will get years of use.

My mom lines the hood, but I prefer it unlined. 
(If they grab it wrong the hood separates from the lining, making it look like 2 hoods sewn shut at the confusing, especially for my kids. But it does hide the seam in the hood.) 
You can do it either way - but you have to figure out lined on your own b/c I'm not showing it today. :)

You'll need:
1 bath towel
1 hand towel
thread (to match towel)
ribbon, rickrack, or other decoration to cover a seam (at least as long as the longest side of the bath towel)

Because I have an embroidery machine, might as well make use of it!
I do that first.

 (When embroidering on terrycloth, use water soluble stabilizer on TOP of where you're going to embroider. or else your stitches will get lost in the loops of the towel fabric and it won't look as crisp. I don't bother with any other stabilizer. The towel's got enough stiffness as it is - try cramming it in a hoop.)

You'll want to trim the stabilizer as close as you can to the design and then put the towel through the washer/dryer (which hopefully you did before you started this project also).
If you leave the stabilizer all on there, it turns into a sticky globby mess that just can't all wash off and you will do more work trying to get it off than if you just trimmed it to begin with!

Now, let's start cutting/sewing.

Then, I cut my hand towel down smaller (it will be your hood). 

First fold it in half (hamburger style).
then, trim off some from the side and some from the open end (opposite the fold).

The amount depends on how big a head you're going to put in this towel.

(You only need the top right piece. The others are shown so you can see how much I cut off.)

I found a guide once that suggested how much to cut off of each side. It used the band (the lines going across the hand towel that I cut along) - and told how much of the band to cut off depending on baby, toddler, child. And suggested 4" off the side.

I cut closer to 5 1/2" off the side since this is for a 1 year old and because even my 6 year olds still have head space left in their towels (which I cut at 4"). I think the 10 year old finally fills up his hood. 

You only need about 1/2" for seams.

Now, toss those other two pieces (or save them for something else).
If you can tell which is the front/back, fold it right sides together.

Stitch along the side (left cut side shown in picture above)
If you have a serger, use that. Otherwise, do a straight and a zig zag stitch.

 Now, open out your hood so the seam is going vertical and facing the table and lay it on top of  one of the long edges of the bath towel, overlapping about a 1/2" (more or less - doesn't matter)

The hood and bath towel should both be wrong sides facing the table.
The hood should be ON TOP of the bath towel.
The center seam of the hood should be aligned with the center of the bath towel - 
The hood seam should be perpendicular to the long side of the bath towel (perpendicular means it makes a T).


Sew hood onto bath towel, keeping the overlap amount constant.
I sew along the bottom edge of the hood.

Then I flip it over and sew along the top edge of the bath towel (so there are two *mostly* parallel seams keeping the hood attached to the towel).

See? Now you just need to cover the rough edge of the hood

I sewed rick rack onto this one, but I have also used grosgrain ribbon. You could even used a strip of fabric with the two long raw edges turned under.
Be sure to turn under the ends of whatever trim you use so they don't fray at the edges of the towel (or wrap it around to the other side of the towel at each end and sew in place.)

 *This is obviously not being modeled by the 1 year old I made it for, but I had to take a picture before I gave it to him at the party. Clearly, it will grow with him. :)

Last note - if you don't like the point at the top of the hood, you can (from the inside or wrong side), flatten the point into a triangle and sew across the base. (If you've ever boxed the corners of a bag - same concept.) Then either leave the triangle or zig zag/serge along the seam and trim off the triangle.) I kind of like the point...but just giving options.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Playroom redo

I promised I would show the before/after playroom re-do, but I haven't gotten around to it. (I was hoping to just copy the post from our family blog without the added work of re-posting here, but I couldn't figure that out.)

So, finally, here it is -

 I did clean up before I took those pictures - the flash hides all the marks on the walls and the stains on the carpet - and about half the toys were put into the storage unit (we were on the market for these pictures).
I really think it looks better, even with more stuff in the room, being decorated and coordinated!
What do you think....?


 no more smudged rub marks and 'murals' - just nice scrub-able paint and a place for art...the only problem is keeping the art to a reasonable amount!

I am going to add another shelf at table height to hold the drawers/crayons that stay low...and that dora table - that might get redone soon - who needs dora? :)

What? You don't keep a plastic doll crib in your office? Well, we don't either anymore - now there's a horse there! Yeah, it's not perfect, but it's as close as it's going to get for now.

 The messiest toys are in the closet (too bad the door is a pocket door and difficult to shut - otherwise, I'd just shut it every day so I don't have to look at the mess until the weekly major closet cleaning).

My attempt at panoramas for the two longest walls:
(Please disregard the inconsistencies in moulding, etc :) it's not the room - it's the photographer!

Monday, June 10, 2013

summer chart 2013

And so our summer vacation begins (school ended last week around here)...

Last year I made a calendar for June and July out of posterboards. Each day was labelled with an activity (handwritten) on a little piece of cardstock - with a hand drawn picture to match. (Some were rough...working on my art skills here!) :)

First, we had a countdown to summer chain - each day was labelled with the date and what was going on that day. They took turns cutting them off.

 off to the side of the calendar were posted these: (I think the drive in movie got added on the 27th later - I'd have to go back and check my calendar?)

But by July I was getting tired and the house was getting awful....
By August, I was DONE. 
They still asked every day, "What's the activity for today?" 
The activity is getting ready for school later this month!

I really liked the idea of a daily activity, but when the weather was too hot or we were tired or the house needed cleaning or errands needed to be run or I felt obligated to show up at the gym I was still paying for (well, I still am this year, but I don't care this summer)....the 'daily activity' sometimes got pushed to the next day and it would stress me until we completed it.
.     .     .        

Long story short - 
This year, I knew I needed to plan the fun but also list our 'normal life' along side it with room for more organization and planning. 

We'll see at the end of summer if this is over planning and what parts I want to keep for next summer! (Every summer I try something new - I had a few rejected ideas this year I may try next year.)

This year's summer chart:

I started with posterboard and cut three bright SUMMER IS HERE kind of colors to make it about 24x36 
(I relocated this later - which was a pain, but don't let the pictures confuse you.)

I stapled it right to the wall. (They're easy to take out and the holes are tiny that they leave.)
I covered the "seams" with ribbon and the border - the ribbon got glued down since the posterboards are temporary, unlike the wall. :)

I decided to use frames for two of my charts so I could write/erase as needed.

I did hang them "through" the poster, but when I relocated it, I also just hot glued them in place. (They're from the dollar was worth the $2 not to have them move all summer.)

And my months are smaller, but labelled with a weekly THEME rather than daily activities and the details of the week will be determined the week of.

That way if I'm busy or something comes up, I can alter the activities around that. If I have more time than we thought, I'll add something in.

I have activities in mind (some pinned on Pinterest, some in my head, some the kids have requested)...I just listed them on notecards under the heading for each week so I can remember my ideas when we get there.

And then, I added that to the board under the calendars so I don't lose them!

A closer look at my stuff....just in case anyone wants to use it too.

 I doubt this one will help anyone as it's got my kid's name on it, but the general idea might help someone...or you can just laugh at my over scheduling (which already failed on the first day as shopping for our 2-week grocery run took well past 11 am.) Ah, the joys of grocery shopping with 5 kids at multiple stores. :)
 It's not a super strict schedule, but more of an outline...and if we get behind, then something will have to be dropped...something fun.
"Choose a room sticks" means all the common areas will be on jumbo popsicle sticks and they randomly choose one and that is the room they have to straighten before Dad gets home from work. The 3 year old will get automatically assigned the hallway/foyer because it's the only one she's capable of doing without step by step instructions.
 Here's hoping this altered summer chore plan will work out better than last year's. :)
Chore sticks are jumbo popsicle sticks on the chore chart (pockets for each child) and labelled with specific chores that need to be done each week - like "vacuum girls room" or "organize dress up" or "clean playroom floor"...some are gender specific - like only the girls will have to vacuum their room - most are generic.
And just to make this even more longer :)

My themes this year:

One with Nature
(cub scout camp, nature crafts, whittling, pool time)

Head over Heals
(cartwheels and other acrobatics, hair flips/twists/braids, etc)

(photography basic lessons with my point-and-shoot)

Freedom Fun
(anything 4th of July related, red/white/blue - food, incl making homemade pvc weapons, outdoor movie)

Just beachy
(trip to visit my the beach)

Please pass the peas
(lessons in the kitchen on basics like homemade bread without machines, etiquette, making aprons, finishing in a dinner party to have a game about the Word of Wisdom - our law of health - and practice good manners...this passes off a requirement in my kids' booklets to earn their Faith in God award at church)

a stitch in time
(quilting, family history field trip)

Game on!
(classic indoor/outdoor games - marbles, checkers, hopskotch, cards, etc)

A day in the life of a kid
(good old kid stuff - learning to blow bubble gum, sleepovers, water fun, etc...last fling)

Reliving the memories
(scrapbooking, journals, video, maybe even a game of charades based on things we did...etc.)

Not all of those ideas will happen I'm sure and I may think of more...but that's why I didn't ink them on cardstock on use permanent scrapbook tape this year for my calendar! :)

Friday, June 7, 2013

random end of the (school) year tip

Before you toss the threadbare bottomed bookbags - cut off all the (still usable) hardware - it's like "free" hardware for future craft/sewing projects if you've already gotten full use out of the bookbag it came on.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


"Today, "bunting" is a term for any festive decorations made of fabric, or of plasticpaper or even cardboard in imitation of fabric. Typical forms of bunting are strings of colorful triangular flags and lengths of fabric in the colors of national flags gathered and draped into swags or pleated into fan shapes."   source: wikipedia

Did you know that these type things were called a "bunting"? 
I didn't until I volunteered to make the bunting for our talent show (fundraiser/auction social) at church this past month.

freezer paper cut (by hand/knife thing) ironed onto fabric triangles (table covered with wax paper)

painted black fabric paint, then glitter fabric paint

freezer paper peeled off when paint was dry

sewed triangle back to letter-front along bottom edges, flipped, and pressed

inserted top of triangles into double fold wide bias tape (black) - 1 package

I pinned it before I sewed it in to be sure it would all fit along the 3 yards that came in the package

Didn't it turn out well?