Wednesday, April 29, 2015

1000 hours update

Wow, winter in Canada with three little ones makes it hard to get outside. Even with our trip to Cuba, we only accumulated 136 hours outside during the first three months of the year. Then something wonderful happened. Spring arrived! This month, not including today, we have spent 107 hours and 15 minutes outside. Not too bad considering that we spent the better part of our rainy week last week inside. I can't wait for camping season, spending entire weekends outside. How about your family? Are you meeting your screen free/ outdoor time goals for the year? If your struggling, why not brainstorm at dinner with your family and come up with ideas on how to spend more time outside this year. Here are a few questions to get you started:

What activities do we do inside that we could do outside instead?

How much time are the members of your family spending on the computer or watching TV? Is it more than the amount of time spent outside? What could be done to restore the balance?

What are your favourite outdoor activities to do together as a family?

What is something that you enjoyed doing outdoors as a child that you would like to pass on to your children?

After you are done brainstorming, try to come up with a plan and figure out a way to stick to it. Sticker charts work great for kids. Place special events like outdoor festivals and camping trips on the calendar with countdowns to important activities. Delegate tasks to every family member when planning and preparing for outings. Oldest to youngest, everyone is more likely to have fun if they played a part in making a successful outing happen. Don't sweat it if the magic isn't always there, it takes awhile to find a system that works for each family.

This is all a great idea in theory you say, but in real life, it's hard getting the kids  out the door. I know. I really do, I live it everyday. One great suggestion I've heard is to have a few pre packed bags in your closet, ready for different destinations, beach, park, forest, picnic... And to have pre made snacks in your fridge, freezer and pantry, ready to grab and go, as soon as your hear "Mommy, what do birds eat?" Let's go find out sweetie...

Monday, April 20, 2015

Heart Pocket Top

Just a simple peasant top. This was a very easy project, you can find tutorials all over the internet. Most of the extra details (the lace and ruffles) are actually because I made it a tad short.

She requested heart pockets, aren't they cute? A little droopy though, because I just cut them out of an old t-shirt. I really should have lined them or something.

I'm not in love with the lace, it's not quite the same colour as the white pockets and ruffle. Should I take it off you think?

I'm always a fan of elastic necklines on kids clothes, so easy to get on!

This was actually a request from Sophie. She picked the fabric, the pattern and the pockets. She then of course refused to wear it because it's pink. Hey Jess, does Katie want a new top? I'm just going to start sewing for your lovely, agreeable child instead :P

What do you think? Should I attempt it in another colour for Sophie?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Magical Shorts Transformation!

I recently got a great deal on a secondhand clothing lot in Sophie's next size. She ruled out all of the dresses and skirts, but I pulled a few things out of the "no" pile and turned them into shorts! (Thrifty Mama win!)

This was a denim overall dress. It turned out really cute, I think! It was decidedly blah and dated before. I think the new shape redeems it.

I used the same method as this romper to turn it into shorts. (Basically cut a rectangle, sew and gather the bottom with elastic.)

This one was kind of tricky of me. It still looks like a skirt! My way of sneaking something a bit dressy into her wardrobe without her noticing...

This one was even easier. Just one cut up the middle and sewn. 15 minute project. So satisfying!

I was afraid she was on to me for a minute. "That's a skirt shorts." She said. I told her that the difference between a skirt and shorts was whether people could see your underwear when you do a handstand. I was looking out for her and made them shorts. ;)

Monday, April 13, 2015

The "We Want it in Grownup Sizes" Top

Seriously, that was both Jess and I's reaction to this top. There may be some copycat pattern drafting in the future :)

Like my contrast top stitching on the hem? I'm quite proud of myself!

This pattern is out of Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids, a Japanese pattern book that has been translated into English. I want to start by gushing about this book for a bit, I'm so in love with it! (Thank you little brother + girlfriend for the birthday books, and for the fabric gift card so I could make things right away!) It has a good mix of patterns and difficulties as well as great designs for both boys and girls. (Good boy patterns are hard to find!) It fits sizes 2-8 and in all seriousness I want to make every single thing in this book. :)

This top has such pretty, simple details like the tie in front and gathering in the front and back. The colour blocking is completely optional. In the book the entire top, including ties, is made from the same material. I wanted to make something from the polka-dot fabric that Sophie had chosen but it just didn't look quite right in  my head. I think the green really brought it to life and the contrasting bias tape I used (cheated) for the tie really brings it together.

There are some less than perfect bits, but it's not like my kids sit around nicely displaying my perfect sewing to it's best advantage in real life. Quite frankly if they consent to put what I make  on at all I'm happy these days! (This one hasn't been graced with a wear yet by the way. I still have high hopes for it in the future though!)

I even love the back! Seriously, I'm going to have to own my own version of this some day *sigh*

What about you? Would you wear one?

Friday, April 10, 2015


Woof! Woof! Could you tell they were dogs?

Sophie and I had some fun doing origami during Deacon's nap the other day :)
We just looked up some simple videos on Youtube and gave it a go! The ones below are bears, like the little faces she drew?

This is supposedly a bookmark. Sophie was showing my contribution to her DNA and couldn't figure out why she would need such a thing. Books are for devouring in one sitting of course. (Also note that all of the bunnies needed green faces on this one?)

I've actually had this stack of origami paper sitting around since her second birthday. I was planning to use it for invitations that never happened. (You'd thing I had a 2 year old at the time or something.) It was so cute that I couldn't bear to get rid of it even though I wasn't sure what I would ever use it for. It actually narrowly missed being KonMari'd out the door!

Clearly it was awaiting the fateful day when an online purchase would come with a thank-you note taped to the back of an origami Hello Kitty, which would then delight my daughter into wanting to try it too. :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Chocolate Pillowcase Top

I've been all about the instant gratification lately. 
(Insert chocolate joke here.)

So, this is just exactly like a pillowcase dress, but shortened to top length. Because the anti-dress phase is going strong. I got a meter of this fabric when it was on sale for $3. I think it was released around the same time as the donut print I used here, so it's been sitting in my stash at least a year.

It was a super quick and easy sew, there are tons of tutorials out there if you look. I used a ribbon from my stash for the ties but you can also make one out of your material if you want a different look.

This was so quick in fact that I had time to make a matching one for Eeyore. Please note that my life has gotten to the point where a stiffed Donkey is my best clothes model ;)

Sort of early for tank tops yet, but I swear the snow melted for at least a day last week! How about you, are you dreaming of sunshine in your sewing yet?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Plant a row Grow a row

I can't begin to describe how excited I for spring, but I'll try. Our seeds are in, our gardens are planned, and by the time this post is published, many of our plants will have been started indoors already. The wood for most of our garden boxes is in the garage, waiting to be used and made into our square foot garden beds once the snow has melted. The first weekend of March was spent at couple garden shows and making the cards below for our kids to send to their friends along with some springtime love, aka seeds to sow and well wishes for the new season.

Katie did the light pink and DJ did the dark pink ones. Painted with forks <3 I don't usually do structured crafts, but they didn't complain because they got to paint with forks.
At the smaller garden show, called 'Seedy Saturday' which was held at the small town community hall in Utopia Ontario, not only did we pick up more seeds, but tons of information on upcoming events in the area. One table was advertising growing food for the food bank, which of course makes us want to build a few more boxes. I think it will be a great project for our whole family to partake in. If you have extra space at your house, why not join in? Go to and check it out! Now! Soak up some sun this summer while making memories with your family and helping those in need.