Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ikea Hack - Kura Bed Tent Makeover

I promised a lot of tutorials when I posted Big Brother's room reveal (check it out here)... and we're finally going to tackle one! So let's start with one of our favorite upgrades - our Ikea bed tent hack.

Big Brother loved having a tent, but the one from Ikea was made with a crazy blue fabric that just didn't match anything. So I grabbed some new fabric and a tape measure and got to work.

I took apart our original bed tent and copied the pieces to make our new-and-improved version. And yes, you do need to have the Ikea bed tent because we'll be using the poles and hardware from the tent and just switching out the fabric. Kind of a bummer if you don't have one already (sorry!) but if you do you're well on your way to a totally sweet and one-of-a-kind upgrade!

Here's what you need to make your new tent:
  • 5 yards quilting cotton fabric (we used red for a nice pop in the room, but a patterned fabric would be really fun too!)
  • thread
  • 1 yard 1" elastic
  • Kura bed tent poles & hardware
Start by pre-washing and drying your fabric, then cut out the following pieces:
  • 2 body pieces @ 81 x 31" 
  • 3 pole sleeves @ 67 x 2"
  • 6 elastic reinforcing tabs @ 8 x 1.75"
  • 1 top sleeve @ 53 x 2"
  • 2 pole pockets @ 5 x 3.5"
  • 6 pole pocket reinforcement @ 4 x 2.5"
  • 4 curved ends

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Stroller Friendly Diaper Bag {free pattern & tutorial}

Ok, peeps. Get ready. We're about to make the sweetest, most versatile, storage-packed diaper bag in all of time and space. And the best part? It's totally stroller friendly!

That's right. All the storage & organization you need attaches securely to the handles of a standard stroller.


With just a few snaps it converts to a convenient messenger style diaper bag. Haul those baby stuffs in style, mommas!

And back again to a hands-free stroller bag!

If you're planning any summer outings you won't want to leave home without this. It's great for anytime you'll be doing lots of walking and don't want to lug a bag around. In fact these pics are from our trip to the zoo on Big Brother's birthday! Plus with it securely snapped on the handles, the under-stroller basket is open for lunch boxes, jackets, or baby carriers.

The shoulder strap is permanently attached on one end so you can't lose it. When you're ready to wear your bag, just snap the shoulder strap on at the other end and you're ready to go.

Want to put it back on the stroller? Snap the stroller straps and tuck the shoulder strap inside the bag or into one of the back pockets. It will be there when you need it later!

The water bottle pockets on the side are perfect if you don't have cup holders on your stroller.

And did I mention tons of storage? The finished size is 16.5" wide, 11.5" tall, and 4" deep with twelve pockets! Let's take a closer look. The front flap has a zipper pocket built in.

 The flap also has a clip for when you want it to stay closed. Big Brother has decided his personal mission is to keep it clipped at all times.

There are water bottle pockets on each end (with elastic tops to keep your drinks snug).

When you lift the flap there are two smaller zipper pockets on the front.

Baby Brother not included.

On the back there are two open pockets - perfect for keeping a burp rag handy!

Under the flap there is also a zipper closure. Flaps are super convenient when you need to be in and out (and when it's hanging on the stroller!), but we all know nothing is worse than a diaper bag tipping over and spilling EVERYWHERE. One zip and you know your stuff isn't going anywhere. Problem solved.

And inside that zipper? So. Much. Room. For all the stuffs. This is a pack-it-in-the-morning-and-go-all-day kind of bag. We fit everything we needed for an entire day at the zoo!

And you can keep it all organized with a whole mess of pockets. Two open pockets on the front, another zipper pocket on the back, and two more elastic water bottle pockets on the sides. Be still my organizing heart.

This is what I had in my bag today: baby toys, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug repellant, coconut oil (great for diaper rashes!), disposable diaper bags, wallet, pen, jackets for the brothers, back-up pants & undies for big brother, full backup outfit for baby brother, three double-stuffed cloth diapers, wipes, extra socks, roll-up grocery bag, water bottle, sunglasses, and burp rags. For serious, you guys, this bag is in it to win it.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

2x4 Garden Fence

You guys are pretty up to date on the status of our garden (from starting seedlings, to a mini greenhouse, to a bunny-proof salad garden, to companion planting and doubling the size our big garden) but we still have one more big change to share. Our latest move as we wage war against the bunnies. We fenced in the big garden!

You guys know we love a good 2x4 (you can see our full 2x4 series here) and we still had several sitting in our garage just waiting to turn into a fence. We love them because they are easy to work with and pretty affordable, not to mention sturdy - they hold up houses for goodness sake!

Throw a couple rolls of chicken wire in the mix and you're on your way to garden bliss. It takes a little work to get it all together, but the process is pretty straightforward and it's totally worth to protect your future produce!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Companion Planting in the Garden

We finally got our plants in the ground a few weeks ago (our mini greenhouses really helped our little plants get strong and hardy for the transplant) and we tried something new this year to hopefully increase our yields. I started reading up on companion planting with a couple books from the library (available here and here). The gist of it is that some plant, when grown together, help each other thrive while others can actually keep each other from producing. 

There was a lot of information in those books, so I started by making a list of all the things we would be growing and making a column of thing that grew well with it and another column of things to avoid. From there, knowing I would have three garden beds to work with, I did my best to divide them into three list of compatible plants. In the first bed we planned tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, and some spinach. Those things also grow well with strawberries and asparagus, which already grow along the garage, so all these things went in the neighboring bed. In the second bed we planned broccoli, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, hyssop, and squashes (we have pumpkin, acorn, and I think zucchini but I didn't label them all and a few didn't make it this far... so we'll have some surprises!). They also grow well with chamomile which I'd love to add, maybe around the fence since it tends to spread. The third bed is just a little guy and he got stuck with all the things that didn't fit anywhere else - potatoes, beans, cantaloupe, and snake squash and tiny pumkiny things courtesy of my sister. I don't think those even are supposed to grow together... I do better next year.

Then I grabbed a handy print-out from my square foot garden book to use as a spacing reference during planting and headed out to the garden (which is now fenced in!).

But wait... did I say three beds? We also had to dig up two more. While we love our raised bed and hope to upgrade these in the future, the wood/bricks and especially the compost to fill them was not in the budget at this point. So we broke out the handy shovel and dug. And dug. And dug. Cried a little. Dug some more. Okay we didn't actually cry, but I don't think the neighbors would have judged us if we did. We added another long bed marked with flags in the pic below, and a smaller bed across the end of the garden (perfect for beans since it's right along the fence!).

We worked in small sections at a time loosening the soil, pulling up the grass (make sure you get those roots!), and shaking as much dirt off the roots and back into the bed as possible. Shaking the dirt off is important so you end up with a nice bed full of dirt instead of a big old hole.

Bye bye grass!

When it came time to actually get the plants in the ground I started by laying out all the pots to figure out the spacing and make sure everything would fit.