Sunday, December 27

Easiest Adjustable Apron Tutorial

When my sister got married I promised to make her an apron.

Update: I looove this one I made for my mom with the same pattern. I like to wrap around my waist and tie in the front for a cuter fit. 

Every new wife needs a good apron, right? Unfortunately I always like to make things harder for myself and make up my own pattern. I want it to look just how I want it to look and I don't want to spend time looking through tutorials for one that is perfect. My first attempt totally flopped, so I put off trying again... for... two years. *shame* Sorry, Sister. But I finally got into a nesting flurry a few weeks ago and finished one!

The finished apron gives you full coverage when you're cooking. No more splatters around around a too-narrow bodice (I cook messy, okay? Don't judge.). Plus the generous size will work for most cooks. It also boasts a handy pocket and a hanging loop for when it's not in use. But most importantly, it has my #1 most desired feature in an apron: an adjustable strap. Not one you have to tie or slide through rings (you won't spend more time adjusting your apron than you spend actually cooking the food), all you have to do is pull the ties to make the neck loop shorter. And you guys... all this convenience is still pretty easy to make! This is all you need:
  • 1.75 yards main fabric (you can get more for a longer apron or less for a shorter apron)
  • 1 yard strap/pocket fabric
  • thread

Let's start by cutting your main fabric. Cut a piece 29 1/2 x 42" for the main body. Fold the piece in half length wise and lay it with the fold facing you (see drawing below). On the left edge measure up from the bottom 5 3/4" and make a mark. On the top edge measure in 13.5" from the top left corner and make a mark. Draw a curve connecting the two marks and cut along the curved line. This is your main apron body. If you want to make your apron a little more feminine, you can curve the bottom corners of the apron.

Sunday, December 13

Free Printable Christmas Gift Tags

We've almost finished our Christmas shopping and we were about to start wrapping the pile of presents stuffed in our closet when I realized... we didn't have any gift tags! Now, I've been known to do the old Sharpie on the Wrapping Paper technique, but we had such pretty paper this year that I really wanted some nice tags to go with it. Which left me three options: take three children to the store to buy some, send husband to pick some out on his own, or print some at home. I chose door #3.

There are several printables available on pinterest, but in my search for the perfect tags I was a little bit picky and couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. So I decided to make my own printable tags!

You can print either a color version in a classic red & green scheme (my fave) or an all black version that looks great on brown craft paper.

Tuesday, December 8

Easiest Fleece Bunny Tutorial - Sewing with Kids

A few weeks ago I was picking up some fabric for another project and as we passed the fleece Big Brother said "Oh! Can I get some of this fuzzy blue?" I told him I didn't think we needed any and we should keep moving. But then he said "But I need to make something for our baby!" How can I say no to that? Answer = I can't. So each of the brothers picked out a fleece (both picked blue) and I started brainstorming what we could make with just a quarter of a yard.

Well, it turned out my pregnant brain couldn't come up with anything. Fortunately my sister came to the rescue and sent me a picture of some adorable little fleece bunnies. Whew. These guys were so fast and so easy, and I was even sewing them with a two-year-old and a four-year-old! They are a perfect project to get started sewing with your kids. They get to try hand sewing, machine sewing, stuffing, and even drawing their own pattern. Plus this project is fast enough that mom doesn't get burnt out with all the "help."

Here's what you need to make your own fleece bunny:
  • 1/4 yard of fleece
  • scraps of quilting cotton for the ears (if you're buying some 1/8 yard is more than enough!)
  • buttons for eyes
  • embroidery floss for the nose & mouth
  • stuffing
  • thread

Start by drawing a pattern for your bunny (or you can just cut your bunny out free-style). My four year old drew our bunny pattern. He made it like the picture we saw with the top rounded and the bottom more square, but really you can do whatever bunny shape you like! I drew the ears. Just remember that you need to add extra space for seam allowances, so draw everything a little bigger than you want it to be. Our first bunny's ears were cut with the pattern and turned out a little skinny so we cut the second pair bigger. I remember my mom having my sister and I draw patterns to make our own rag dolls when we were little (I still have that doll!) so I really wanted that to be a part of this project too.

Saturday, December 5

DIY Necklace Roundup

I love to give hand made gifts. In fact one Christmas (pre-kids, for the record) I decided to do all handmade gifts for my family. Without going into too much detail, let's just say many tears were shed that Christmas Eve as I tried to catch up with the lofty goal I set for myself. Never again, friends. So while I still love giving handmade goodies, I now know to go with smaller, simpler projects (usually paired with a purchased item). These necklaces have been some of my favorite gifts to give because they are budget friendly, you can personalize them to make them extra-special, and best of all they are so easy and fast to put together. These are the kinds of DIY gifts you won't have to cry over on Christmas Eve!

Essential Oil Diffusing Necklace
Essential oils are very popular right now, so you probably know at least a couple people who would love a diffusing necklace! These are so many options - you can use any color and the bead shapes are unlimited! You could pair it with a bottle of their favorite oil for a complete gift. See the tutorial here.

Stamped Washer Necklaces
These necklaces can be personalized so many ways. Besides choosing the kind of cord or chain, you can make them say anything you want! Choose part of a favorite quote, and inspirational word, or a name. We love making these with the names of a spouse or children. We've also made stamped keychains for the guys on our Christmas list. Get the stamped necklace tutorial here.

Bird's Nest Necklaces
These are my hands-down favorite. They are great for anyone, but I especially love giving these to moms. I customize each necklace with one egg for each of their children. You can pick mom's favorite color for the eggs, or use a different color for boys and girls. This necklace is cute enough to get lots of compliments, plus it has great sentimental value. The one on the left in the picture is the one I made for myself and I wear it every week! (I still need to add a third egg to it for the littlest brother.) See the tutorial here.

So get to it friends! Give those handmade gifts without shedding a Christmas tear.

What are your favorite easy handmade gifts?

Saturday, November 28

DIY Wood Transfer Chrismtas Photos

We spent last weekend putting up our Christmas decorations (I know... it was before Thanksgiving) and added a couple new decorations that proved to be instant favorites! These wood transfer Christmas photos will be so fun to pull out year after to year to see how much our boys have grown, and to remember how tiny they used to be.

For this project we merged a couple ideas that we've spotted in the past. It all started with an idea I saw a few years ago. A family printed a beautiful family Christmas photo on a large canvas and kept it with their decorations to hang up every Christmas. It was outside in the snow with a Christmas tree so it really felt like it fit at Christmas time. Now that we've got a little family of our own I've thought about doing this for a while... but always got hung up at the price of a canvas print. Yikes.

Enter the hero of the story... pinterest! You've probably seen by now that wood transfer photos are very popular. I've had them showing up in my feed for months. But it wasn't until a couple weeks ago that I finally put two and two together and realized I could do wood transfer Christmas photos for a fraction of the cost!

We're so happy with how they turned out! And I'm so excited to be able to look back at their sweet tiny faces year after year. Although... we do have three boys now so we'll probably make another set again next year! Want to make your own? It's easy!

What you need:
  • photo printed with a laser jet printer
  • Mod Podge or Mod Podge photo transfer medium (If you use regular Mod Podge, any part of the picture that printed white will be transparent when you transfer the phot and show the wood color and grain. If you want the white parts to actually be white when you transfer the photo, you need to use the photo transfer medium instead. That's what we used because we wanted the snowflakes to be white.)
  • wood
  • paint brush
Since we wanted pictures that were specifically for Christmas time, our first step was to take some cute, Christmassy Photos. We spent the afternoon at a park with a few Christmas themed props and came away with a few really cute shots! We used our little car and tractor and decked them out with a Christmas tree (actually the top section of our tree!) and a few wrapped presents. We put the boys in plaid shirts and matching ear-flap hats (I made them using this free pattern). 

But it still didn't feel quite like Christmas... so I photoshopped in a little snow. 

That's better.

Wednesday, November 25

Last Minute Gifts - Same Day Canvas & an Easy DIY Bunting

Christmas is right around the corner, and there's nothing worse than being caught without a gift at the last minute. But no need to worry this year!

This year you can get beautiful, personal gifts for your friends & family right up until Christmas! Walmart Photo has you covered with several photo gifts available for free Same Day Pick-Up! Yep, you can order in-store or online and pick it up the same day. There are lots of gifts to choose from, including my personal favorite - canvas prints!

We gave it a try when we were looking for a last-minute gift for my sister. A Same-Day canvas print of my niece fit the bill perfectly.

I knew she would love the picture, but I wanted to add an extra special personal touch. I didn't have a lot of time, but I knew I could pull off a sweet, simple felt bunting. This bunting is so easy to personalize. You can make it say anything - a name, a favorite nickname (I went with "sweet girl" because that's what my sister calls her), or even a word like "family" to pair with a family photo.

Want to make a bunting to go with your own canvas? It's fast and easy! Start by cutting out some triangle pennants - one for each letter. I cut one the size I wanted, and used it as a template to cut out the rest so they would all match.

Next I cut squares for the letters. This is the easiest way to make sure your letters all turn out the same size if you're not using a pattern. I cut a square to fit on the pennant (see the pic below) and then used it a a template to cut out enough squares of the same size.

Then I cut a letter out of each square. I just cut it freehand without any kind of pattern. To make sure they all match, just try to use as much of the square as you can. So, for example, my "s" touched the top, bottom, and both sides of it's square.

Center a letter on each pennant and sew around the edges to attach it. You can also make this project no-sew and hot glue the letters on instead.

Once all the letters are attached, use a hot glue gun to glue a ribbon or string to the back of the pennants.

That's it! You can tape the ends of the string to the back of the canvas so it's ready to hang.

Or you can can wrap them up in a little bundle and tuck it into the back of the canvas before you wrap it.

Then whoever receives your gift can have fun hanging the bunting themselves!

This 16x20 canvas is on Rollback for only $34.96 through 1/5/16 (normally $39.96) so it won't break the bank. It's one of the best deals I've seen for a canvas this size! You can also choose an 11x14 canvas for Same Day Pick-Up (it's on Rollback for $24.96). is also running a Cyber Week deal that if you order online and pick up in store, 11x14 is $22.47 and 16x20 is $29.97, good through 12/7.

You can order in-store with their quick and easy Mobile Image Transfer or by connecting with a cable at the kiosk, or you can order online at Then pick up at up to 3,500 locations later that day. You can see all the Same Day gift options here. They also carry many other photo gift products that are available for shipping, and Walmart Photo is offering free shipping on all cards and gifts through 12/30/15!

For more info about Walmart Photo you can visit them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+. Last minute gifts have never been easier!

Be sure to visit Walmart Photo's brand page on where you can read other bloggers' posts.

Saturday, November 21

DIY Newborn Photos - Take Two

We've been moving slower than ever the last two weeks... since we welcomed baby boy #3! He's cute as could be and the big brothers are smitten. Most of our time has been spent rocking a baby or trying to keep up with the big boys in the minutes in between, but we did manage to get all three boys corralled (and not crying) long enough to attempt some newborn photos last week.

We did the same thing two years ago when boy #2 was born, and managed to get some good shots again this time. We shared more details and tips in that post (you can read it here) so I'm just going to give you a quick refresher course and share some of our favorite pics from the shoot.

I'll start by saying... we are no photographers. And I know that a good photographer is worth every penny. But I also know that no matter how good the pictures are, we can't always afford to invest our money that way. And I've found that with a few simple tricks, we can get decent pictures basically for free. So our pictures may not be up to professional level, but we've saved literally hundreds of dollars over the years by taking our own photos! And that's a balance we're pretty happy with.

Here's a summary of our favorite tips & tricks, and don't forget you can read more details here.

Good Lighting - Use natural, indirect daylight for the best results without spending a penny on lighting.

Sunday, November 1

Babywearing & Maternity Jacket Insert Tutorial

We're about to have our first cold-weather baby. Like any day now. So I've been nesting like crazy trying to get things ready around here. One of the things on my to-do list was finding an affordable baby-wearing jacket... which it turns out is no easy task! Prices started at $45 for a jacket insert and went as much as $300 for a full babywearing jacket. Yikes. So I decided the best option was to make my own. Not only did I end up with a babywearing jacket that is both easy and affordable, it also doubles as a maternity insert to keep pregnant bellies warm!

You can make an insert to work with any jacket or coat you already own, and it's reversible so you can put the wider end at the bottom for maternity use, then flip it over for more space at the top when you have a little bundle to wear. The wider end has an elastic cinch cord to help you get a good fit at any stage.

You really only need a few things to make your own babywearing jacket insert. I already had the thread and a jacket, and I spent about $15 on everything else. The fleece was on sale, so most of the cost was the zippers. If you use coupons for those you'll save quite a bit! Here's everything you nee:
  • jacket or coat
  • 1/2 yard of fleece that matches your jacket (if you want a wider insert you'll need a little more)
  • two matching 20" separating zippers (measure your jacket to see if you need a different size)
  • 1 cord stop
  • elastic cord
  • thread

Sunday, October 4

So Blue Dresser Makeover

A few weeks ago we asked for help deciding on a finish for our latest furniture makeover project... and we're happy to report it's finished! The winning vote was for navy blue paint and, guys, it turned out so. pretty.

*flashback* We started with this $10 find:

The finish was pretty rough so we started by sanding it all down. We used a coarse sandpaper first and then went over it again once more with a fine paper. The dresser is built really well, but it had a wood veneer so we had to be careful not to sand too deep and go all the way through the thin veneer.

You can really see how rough it was in the next pic. The part on the left is sanded.