Monday, January 18, 2010

Some exciting news!!

I just sold my very first Mei Tai carrier!!  AND it was to a girl in the UK.  AND she is a writer and travel journalist who just happens to be taking an extended trip with her husband and almost 3 year old daughter to Thailand.  She wants the Mei Tai to use when her daughter doesn't want to walk.  AND if it works out well she will be writing about it in her travel column when she gets home.  Seriously...How cool is that?!?  I am giddy!!!

This is the fabric she chose.  Isn't it beautiful?  If I were still wearing my kids, I would definitely make another one for myself out of this fabric.  Now I better get moving so I can ship it to her in time for her trip!

In case you are wondering what a Mei Tai carrier is, or how to use one, you can look here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How to make a pillow case--tutorial

My 3 year old loves pillow cases.  When she was a baby she never got attached to a blanket or a bear or anything which wasn't a big deal most of the time, but certainly would have been nice when nothing I did comforted her.  When she was 16 months old we moved her from the crib to a toddler bed (early I know, but we had another baby when she was 17 months old and we needed the crib).  Almost instantly I noticed that as soon as we laid her down she would slide her little hand inside the pillow case and rub it against her cheek.  Within about a week she started taking the pillow case off the pillow to snuggle with it while she slept.  It took me about 2 months to convince her to leave the case on her pillow and to snuggle with another one.  From that time on, pillow cases are her comfort.  She drags them all around the house.  The only problem is that I have no pillow cases in my linen closet because she has them in her bed and several other places in the house.  Whenever I go and collect them to put in the wash and put away she has a meltdown because I am taking her security away.

I decided that if she got some special pillow cases for Christmas that were just for her, then she might (please, please, please) let me have all of the others back.  So I set to work.  They turned out great and I thought you might want to know how to make them.  I got the fabric from the $1.50 per yard bin at Walmart.  I bought 2 yards and it made 2 pillow cases.  And, I'm happy to report that she loves them and has let me have most of the other pillow cases back.  :)

1.  Find a pillow case you already have and flip it inside out.
2.  Take your fabric (cute isn't it) and fold it inside out (so that the pattern sides are facing each other.)  Then lay your pillow case on top of it.  Make sure to leave an extra 4-5 inches at the top for the seam.
3.  Cut your fabric using the pillow case as a guide.  Don't forget to leave 1/2 an inch for your seams.
4.  Next you need to sew the top.  Start by folding an inch down and ironing it.  Once you have done that, fold 3-4 inches down (depending on how much you left when you cut it) and iron it again.  Once you have done that, you need to sew it.  I sewed it about 1/4 of an inch from the fold.
5.  Now, if you just want a plain pillow case, fold it so that right sides are facing each other and sew down the sides and across the bottom.  Viola!  You have a pillow case.  However, if you want to make it a little more fancy, then do not sew down the sides and across the bottom and keep reading.

6.  Decide what you want for a trim.  I thought trimming it with some ribbon would look nice.  I only had light pink and a lightish purple.  I think dark pink would have been much better, but I didn't have any (don't worry, I have taken care of that problem...whew!).
I thought purple looked better, so I chose purple.  Then I had a great idea.  Wouldn't a stripe of white look really good down the center of the purple?  Of course it would!
I tried to sew the white ribbon to the purple ribbon by just laying one on top of the other and sewing down the middle.  Guess what?  It didn't work.  The white ribbon was all over the place.  So I had to figure out a better way to do it.

7.  The solution?  Iron-on seam tape.  It is beautiful stuff and I use it regularly.  I used lite because that is what I had on hand, but you have to go back and sew it down to make sure it doens't come undone in the wash.  They make a heavy duty kind that is washable, which would have worked wonderfully for this project, but I didn't have any.
My white ribbon was 3/8 in. wide and the Heat and Bond is 5/8 in wide, so I just cut the Heat and Bond down the middle length wise and it fit perfectly onto my ribbon.
8.  All you do is lay it on the ribbon with the paper side facing up and iron it on (follow the directions on the package).  Once it is ironed on, peel the paper backing off and lay it onto the other ribbon and iron them together.
9.  At this point, you can just lay the ribbon onto the pillow case and sew right down the middle of the white ribbon.  It will sew the white ribbon to the purple ribbon and sew them both to the pillow case.
I am kind of a perfectionist, so I didn't do it that way.  Instead I sewed down the very edge of each side of the white ribbon (so you couldn't see any stitches) and then I used more Heat and Bond and "glued" the purple ribbon to the pillow case.  Then I sewed down the very edge of both sides of the purple ribbon.  Totally overkill, but it looks the way I wanted it to, so I am happy with it.

10. Once you have your ribbon on, all you have to do is sew down the sides and across the bottom.  Flip it right side out and you are done!

Happy sewing!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One heck of a story...

I had planned to jump back in with both feet once we came back from our trip, but things didn't go as we planned.  I just have to take a second, share our adventures, and then I can jump into life (and blogging) again.  So, sit back and relax and join us on a little stroll through the events of the last few days...

As you all know, we were out of town last week.  We were visiting my husband's family and we had a wonderful visit.  We stayed with my brother-in-law and his family.  4 adults and 8 kids in a townhome for a week.  It could have been a recipe for disaster, but it was just the opposite.  The entire week was great. There was no family weirdness or fighting cousins.  It was relaxing and uneventful and wonderful.  We had originally planned on coming back home on Saturday, but then my husband's other brother told us that they were planning on blessing their baby in church that Sunday, so of course we decided to postpone our trip home for a day.

We spent the week in Virginia, and the blessing was in Pennsylvania, so we woke up early on Sunday morning, loaded the kiddos and all of our gear into the car and left for PA.  After the blessing, we ate lunch with the family, and then piled back into the car for the 9-10 hour drive back home.  We left PA at around 1 pm, so we knew we were going to be getting home late, but it wasn't going to be too bad.  Hopefully the kids would sleep in the car, and everyone would get enough rest once we were home to get back to work and school without any major issues on Monday.

For a few hours all was well.  Then it started snowing.  The further west we went, the worse the snow got.  My husband was driving about 45 mph on the highway and had been for a while.  He needed a break and it was dinner time, so we decided to stop at Burger King.  (Normally we bring food in a cooler so we don't have to spend any extra money...especially on a Sunday...but we didn't this time).  My husband turned into what we thought was the entrance to BK but then we realized that it was one more entrance down.  We had to drive a little bit up the road until we found a parking lot to turn around in.  As he was turning around, the car slipped on some ice and slid into the curb.  No big deal right?  WRONG!  It broke our rim and the air in the tire immediately started whooshing out.  In less than a minute, it was completely flat.   Luckily it was in a well lit parking lot, so we were able to see while we tried to swap the flat tire for the spare.

We have a Suburban and the spare tire is mounted underneath the car.  My husband is a burly guy who has changed many tires and can fix pretty much anything.  He is no stranger to DIY projects and can figure almost anything out.  We weren't worried in the slightest that we would be able to change the tire, go get some dinner, and get back on the road fairly quickly.  WRONG!!  We messed with that spare tire for over 2 hours and couldn't get it to release from under the car.

We finally gave up and called road-side assistance.  They sent a guy who worked on it for over an hour and finally gave up.  So we called road-side assistance again and asked them to send someone else.  At this point, it was 9:30 pm and the kids were starving.  We bundled them up and walked to the Burger King so we could eat before the lobby closed at 10 pm.  The other guy wasn't going to be able to come for another hour, so we had time.

We got to the BK and ordered our food.  We only had 30 minutes, so we were trying to hurry the kids but the manager said we could stay until we finished.  Then he later asked if we were stranded.  We told him what happened and he offered to let us stay until they shut down the drive through at midnight.  He found coloring pages and crayons for the kids and gave us some extra food--for free--and let the kids run around.  He also looked up the numbers to the dealerships in the area just in case we would need them the next day.  His name is Jim and he was my hero when I really needed one.

The second guy that came to get the spare tire down worked on it for over an hour and was still not able to do it.  He finally gave up as well.  By this time is was almost midnight and we needed to figure out what we were going to do because the BK was getting ready to close.  We could walk to the nearest hotel about 1/2 a mile away in 20 degree weather (not including the wind chill) in the middle of a snow storm with 4 kids ages 2-6 years old and stay the night or we could walk to the parking lot just up the street and sleep in the car.  Either way, we had to wait until morning to have the car towed to a dealership to get it fixed.  We opted to stay the night in the car.

My husband folded the seats in the middle down and layed out the pillows and blankets we had from our trip.  The three oldest kids just slept there and they were fine.  I slept on the back bench and my husband slept on the front bench by the steering wheel with the baby laying on his chest.  Luckily we had just filled up with gas, so we had enough to leave the car running to keep us warm.  The kids were amazing and it was a pretty uneventful night for them.  My husband and I didn't sleep very well, but atleast we were all warm and safe.

We called the tow truck at about 8 am and then bundled everyone up and headed back to the Burger King for breakfast.  I ordered our food and asked the lady if we could stay while the car was getting worked on.  She said we could, so we sat down and ate our food.  Just as we were finishing up, another worker brought out kid's meal toys for each of my kids--free.  About 1/2 an hour later another worker (who was sent to go buy salt for the sidewalks) showed up with salt and coloring books and crayons for my kids--free.  She said if my kids couldn't be happy in a BK, then they were doing something wrong.  I just about cried as I thanked them for what seemed like the hundredth time.

At about 10:30 am the car was fixed and my husband came to pick us up.  By 11 we were on the road again.  We only had about 4 more hours to go and we were really looking forward to being back at home.  We hit another snow storm, so it was slow going, but we finally made it home at 6:00 pm.  I fed the kids cereal for dinner, pushed everyone through the shower, and put everyone to bed by 7:30.  All three big kids slept until 7:45 this morning and the baby slept until 10:45.  Hopefully we will be back to our normal routine by tomorrow.

So, the moral of this story?  Don't know.  All I can say is that even though it was NOT fun, through the whole experience my husband and I were very away of how much worse it could have been and how blessed we were to be happy, healthy, safe and warm.  I will also pledge unfailing allegiance to Burger King...especially the one in Brookville, PA.  :)