Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Mysterious Magic of Swings (and other ways to skin your knee)

The magic allure of a swing...

Pushing, sitting or belly flying... It's all good :)

No where else in my experience will a mommy-centric toddler take off running away from his safety zone to take off flying!! It seems at every age, we all line up to sit on the swing at the park and kick our feet. My nearly seventy year old mother-in-law likes it, my fourteen year old nephew wants to see how high he can go and I love it too...seems universal to me!

What's your favorite way to swing on the swingset??

Thursday, August 15, 2013

No-Sew Chair Cushion Cover

I bought a beautiful outdoor dining set seven years ago at the end of August for a  steal. It's time to get new cushions but, hard as I tried, NO WHERE had the correct dimensions to fit my chairs. I do not sew and needed an alternative. A friend of mine told me about using drop clothes from Lowe's to cover them. I have twelve chairs, so I needed a reasonably priced fabric. 

I gathered my supplies:
9x12 Blue Hawk washable and reusable drop cloth $25 x 4
Fabric Fusion $11 x 2
Heat Bond $5
Pins $3
Straight edge razor, scissors and iron were already in my "tool box"

Besides sewing, I also hate measuring, so the first cut was a little off, but I figured I could use the scraps for crafts with B at some point. 

I ironed the first piece to the cushion with the heat bond. I did melt the original cushion a little, note to self, hot iron and somewhat plasticky fabric do not work well together :(  

Another note, if you don't like peeling permanent fabric glue off of your fingers for days, this may not be for you. I, on the other hand enjoy peeling things, weird, I know. Like the first good burn of the summer... Probably why I've had skin cancer three times before I was 40 years old, but that's an entirely different story for another day.

I iron the fabric as I go too so that I can get sharp sewn-like angles. This fabric is great because it has sewn edges that give the illusion of sewn seams.

Once it's ironed, I match up the "seams", apply a gooey line of Fabric Fusion as close to the edge as I can without going over and pin it. I tried pinning it the way I've seen people do when they were sewing, but that left little ridges when it dried, plus I kept sticking myself. I don't know how to sew, why would I have a thimble? Sticking the pins straight in seems to work the best. 

I used the straight edge razor to slice a tiny opening where I could pull through the Velcro pieces that are on the original cushions. I could not figure out how to make them look pretty. They still do the job they were created to do, they are behind the cushion, so I kept them. Any shag /fringe I got from opening the fabric up I just trimmed and I'm hoping it doesn't fray. Although I did see a "no fray" spray near the Fabric Fusion at Michael's, so if it does, at least I know there is something I could do about it.


I fold up the edges as if I'm wrapping a present. I use the natural "seam" on the drop cloth fabric whenever possible. But, because I cut the original fabric into thirds, I wouldn't be able to get a "pre-sewn" seam on both sides. Some people may not like that. It is completely up to you. I figured, at least one side will look sewn. If I have any persnickety guests in my backyard, I'll make sure the sides of the cushions that look sewn face their seat. Ha ha! 

The other side without the "pre-sewn" seams doesn't look too shabby, in my opinion. Some may choose to do both sides the same, just for uniformity. Either way, the cushions get covered :)

After 2 - 4 hours (I just let them dry over night because this is a nap time project for me) you can remove the pins. I used needle nose pliers because those straight pins can really be difficult to take out, especially with my stubby inept fingers and the fact that they've been pierced through permanent glue!


The final product. I scored a cute pillow at Bed, Bath & Beyond with my 20% off it came to $5.21. DONE.

What DIY projects have you been working on?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Craft Shmaft!!

Craft Shmaft! For his last birthday, a dear friend subscribed B to a monthly craft program from Green Kid Crafts. It really is a super cute idea. Each month has a theme. There are three or four instant crafts with all of the supplies you'd need to create them in individual bags. A sheet for "add-on" ideas and a teaser for the coming month for those super prepared parents who would start sharing books with their wee one on the subject in advance. I have a stack of them, largely unopened because every attempt I made to engage B in their uber cool aspirations of teaching us about marine biology or organic gardening was shunned with a VERY cold shoulder.

I'm not sure if it's just a "boy thing", or if he wasn't developmentally ready but B had NEVER been interested in gluing, painting or creating in any way what-so-ever. Until... recently, we were at a friends house for a play date and out of the blue B walked up to me and asked "are we going to do a craft, mama?" In his sweetest I want candy voice. I had to check my pulse! Was I dead?! Had I crossed over?! Then I checked B for any bleeding or head injuries, then I checked his tags to make sure he was MINE! Sure enough, he really did want to do a craft. Thankfully our friend has two boys and lots of readily available craft supply options. 

This was his creation. I helped peel the sticker backs off and we talked about letters and words and daddy, of course, but he chose everything else. It's not intricate, but it's about five more minutes than he's ever spent "crafting" before, so I'm impressed. 

I think I will try the Chinese Swallow Kite craft as our first Green Kids Craft and see how it goes. It is a cool and rainy day today in our neighborhood, so outdoor play will be limited and we will need some activities to fill our day. 

It literally has EVERYTHING I need in this little bag. B has flown kites before with his daddy on various beach and park trips, so he has the concept. We shall see, I suppose...

Do you have any craft projects that were a hit with you and your toddler?