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Keeping busy on a snow day

January 23, 2016
old fashioned modern living

It’s official, we are in the midst of Snowmageddon 2016. Suffolk County is in a state of emergency due to blizzard conditions and we’re waiting to see if we actually get that 18-24″ of snow that has been predicted.

I’m not a big fan of snow. It’s pretty while it’s falling and I like to see all the trees with that frosty coating, but the rest of it I can do without. I’m grateful that we had nothing to do today. My husband is home, and we can all just relax without having to worry about trying to get anywhere in this mess. Now of course, when I say “relax”, I don’t mean sit around and do nothing. I’m 99% sure that I am constitutionally incapable of doing that. So I’m coming up with things to do to keep busy.

First off, I had a mommy fail – I realized, with the snow already coming down, that Little Miss doesn’t have a scarf or gloves. Since I had to pull out the sewing machine anyway to hem some jeans, I decided to embark on a few little projects to remedy this. Project number one is…

The Easiest DIY Toddler Circle Scarf Ever

easy diy toddler circle scarf old fashioned modern livingOkay, maybe it’s not the easiest, because I suppose you could cut a strip of fabric and tie a knot in it to make it easier, but still, it’s pretty simple. You need some fabric, scissors, pins, a sewing machine, a little velcro and the most basic knowledge of sewing – this is all cutting rectangles and sewing lines.

For an 18 month old, I cut my scarf piece 26×8″. I used fleece scraps left over from the adult sized cape I made a few months ago. You can adjust the size based on your child’s size and your desired finished size. I had fleece so I used fleece, but any fabric will do. A flannel or even jersey will work just as well, depending on the look you want. Velcro makes it easy to get on and off, and will open easily if it gets caught on anything while being worn.

The steps:

  1. Cut your fabric to your desired size (again, I did 26×8″)
  2. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise, pin and sew the long edge, leaving the two short sides open. Unpin and turn.
  3. Fold each edge in on itself so the raw edges go inside the tube. Sew and unpin.
  4. Pin a piece of velcro to each side, then sew on with a simple rectangle, sewing along each edge. Remember the two pieces go on opposite sides of the fabric tube.

 

That’s it. You could topstitch around all the edges, but I chose not to because I want this full and fluffy rather than flat. Absolutely as simple as can be, this took maybe 10 minutes.

Quick and Dirty Mittens

quick and dirty toddler mittens old fashioned modern livingWhat about those little hands? I don’t expect that Little Miss will want to spend much time out in the snow (or that we’ll want her to), but I’d like to keep her relatively covered while she’s out. Enter the quick and dirty mittens. I used more of the same scrap fleece, traced around her hand to make a pattern and then cut out 4 of the same piece a little larger than my tracing to allow for seam allowances. I also added a little extra length so they will cover to her wrists and stay on. Next up, pin 2 pieces and 2 pieces, sew carefully with a small seam allowance and turn. That’s it. I didn’t bother finishing the bottom because fleece doesn’t fray, and since it has a little stretch, I didn’t even need to put elastic. I won’t use these forever, but for a quickie spare pair, they serve the purpose!

My pattern piece measures just about 6″ (including the extra I left by the wrist), almost 4″ from the thumb across the large hand part and about 2.5″ across the wrist, resulting in a finished mitten roughly 5.75″ long and 3.75″ across and just a tad over 2″ across the wrist opening. They fit and they stay on, and that’s about all I can ask for.

From Scratch Hot Cocoa

Also on the agenda today was some from-scratch hot cocoa. I like hot cocoa, but I tend to be less than happy with the ones I buy. I don’t drink much milk, so nearly a cup of milk, even with  premium cocoa mix in it is a lot. A lot of the packaged ones are too sweet for my liking, and anyway I’m not overly fond of all the “extras” – powdered milk doesn’t go far with my dairy-free husband, and preservatives and carrageenan can go away. The only extra mama wants in her cocoa is a shot of coconut rum – though maybe not during the day (no really, try it, it’s awesome). So I made up my own hot coca recipe from scratch, with all things I keep in the house anyway and I have to say, it came pretty nice.

It has the slight bitterness of real cocoa, a pleasant sweetness from the honey, and a slight thickness from the chocolate and milk. Best of all, it’s super basic and easy to customize. Add more cocoa, add more honey, leave out the spices – whatever floats your boat works.

Ingredients:

  • Hot water (1 cup per serving)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • splash of milk or nondairy alternative
  1. While water is boiling, place cocoa powder, cinnamon and chocolate chips in a mug
  2. Pour boiling water into mug and then stir in honey, giving it a good mixing to get everything to melt and combine
  3. Add a splash of milk or your favorite nondairy alternative to thicken a little, and adjust to taste

 

That’s it. Experiment and make it your own. I like the real flavors, and knowing exactly what went into it. I don’t have to feel bad about drinking this cocoa!

That’s all here for now. We’re waiting for the snow to finish (though it may be awhile), and seeing what the rest of the day brings. How are you keeping busy today?

Accessories Crafting Tutorial

Make a double flower headband in 5 minutes

August 28, 2015
flower headband tutorial

I got on a kick before my daughter was born, making cute little headbands for her in all different colors. She’s almost 14 months now, with quite a collection of headbands. Personally, I’ve never been a headband person. Sure they’re cute on kids and maybe librarians, but it didn’t work for me.

Then recently I cut my hair. It’s not short, but it’s shorter than I’ve ever had as an adult. On a whim I pulled on an elastic headband that was sitting in my dresser drawer and thought, “hey…that’s actually kind of cute.” So I dug around in my craft supplies and found everything I need to make the easiest, quickest headband around.

I kid you not, you can make a super trendy shabby flower headband in minutes with under $5 worth of supplies. If you’re crafty and already own a glue gun, this is even easier.

flower headband tutorialSupplies for your double flower headband:

  • Hot glue gun (mini or full size) and glue sticks
  • Sharp scissors
  • A measuring tape or ruler
  • About 18″ of fold over elastic
  • 2 shabby fabric flowers
  • About 2×5″ felt

Getting your supplies: A hot glue gun and glue sticks can be found at any craft or hobby store. You can get a multi-temperature or low temperature one, and the mini glue guns only cost a few dollars. Regular sheet felt from the craft store can be used. 3″ shabby flowers will cost you approximately $.40 each, and 5/8″ fold over elastic in solid colors will likely run around the same per yard. That’s $1.20 total for your main materials here. Sunshine Supply Shoppe is a great source for your flowers and elastic, as are any number of shops on Etsy.

Step 1: If you haven’t already, measure and cut your elastic to the right size. 18″ seems to be a good standard adult size. Make sure your glue gun is plugged in so it’s ready to go when you are!

Step 2: Cut 2 felt circles 1/2-1″ smaller than your flowers. These will be invisible when worn but provide support for the flowers. Your felt can match your flowers, your hair or your elastic. Again, they won’t show. While you’re at it, carefully trim the mesh around your flower from the underside (the flowers come on a roll of mesh and are just cut apart, you’ll need to remove the extra).

Step 3: You’re going to squeeze a little glue across the center of one felt circle and glue down the two ends of your elastic like in the picture below. Make sure not to twist your elastic!

Step 4: Run some hot glue onto the felt circle over the elastic. Do a circle around the outside (not too close to the edge) and dab a little on the inside in whatever design makes you happy. Then before it starts to dry, plop your first flower on top, centering it as best you can.

Step 5: Decide if you want your second flower next to the first, or even slightly overlapping. Put some glue down the center of your second felt piece and affix it to the back of the elastic. Then same as the first, glue on your second flower. If you overlapped them a little, you may need to dab some glue between to get them to stay in place properly.

 

And that’s it. Unplug your glue gun and pull off any stray hot glue strings, and you’re ready to go!

kids headband sizesYou’re a headband making master now! Make them for yourself! Make them for your kids, friends and family! Try different size flowers, singles, multiples, different colors and patterns of elastic! Go wild! They’re cute, they’re super simple to make and they’re cheap.

This tutorial was for an adult headband, but the same principles apply to any size. Use the lengths to the right as a basic guide for sizes from newborn up.  Even though 18″ is the standard size for 18-24 months, that size easily fits on my head and is the same size as some store-bought elastic headbands I have. That picture, by the way, is some of the headbands I made for my daughter recently to give some idea of how many styles are available.

I hope you enjoyed our first tutorial! Stay crafty!