Sunday, December 23, 2012

Trach Christmas Ornament

I made this for a very special nurse and friend who moved away several years ago.  She took care of Milo while he was in the hospital.  After we came home she also worked some over night shifts for us.  When she moved to California just before Christmas I made this ornament for her.

To make this I tied ribbons along the cannula, put some rhinestones around the outer part, and threaded some yarn through the cannula to which I attached some snowflake buttons.  A piece of twill trach tie placed around the base of the outer part, right against the flanges, was used to hang the ornament (it didn't hang right if tied through the holes of the flanges).  I also decorated a little clear bucket to store the ornament in.  On the back of one flange I wrote his name and the year.
I still have several trachs that I couldn't donate because the were expired or used.  Every year I intend on making myself and ornament but in the hustle and bustle it just hasn't happened yet.  Maybe I should to it in January for next year's tree!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
from my family to yours.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

{Train Bedroom~~Vintage Inspired Train Schedule}

Check out my pin for the inspiration for this project.

Frames can be expensive and since I didn't already have one the right size I started searching clearance sections of the craft stores.  I was able to find assemble your own frame sections in just the right lengths to make a frame that is 22"x28" for a very reasonable price.

I found chalkboard at Home Depot in 24"x48" sheets.  They even cut it to the size I needed.  I was going to use chalkboard paint but this option was really less expensive and time consuming than buying a board and paint.

I taped off the lines to paint with masking tape and painted them with an off white acrylic craft paint.

next time I'll try painter's tape rather than masking tape

After removing the tape I realized that the lines did not come out a clean as I had hoped.  The board has just a little texture to it and the paint ran under the tape a bit. 

I made stencils using my Cricut machine to get the right size letters.  I used a metallic gold Sharpie to add the lettering.  I tried using a cream colored pencil for the letters but I was not pleased with the results.
The top line has been cleaned up with the black sharpie.
 The other lines show how much paint leaked under the tape.
 To clean up the paint lines and around the lettering I used a black sharpie.
 Install it in the frame and it's done!

Friday, November 23, 2012

{Finally Finished It Friday~~Dragonfly Quilt}

It feels so good to finally have this one finished!  This one was started about 7 years ago.  A friend invited me to join her in a Round Robin quilt group.  Six ladies were in the group and each started their own quilt with the center block.  I chose a red, black and white color scheme and made the center block and requested that only red, white & black fabrics be used in my quilt.  Each month we mailed off the quilt we worked on to the next person who added to the quilt.  In the end we each ended up with very unique quilts.  I am very pleased with how mine turned out. I was very excited to see dragonflies made an appearance in my quilt. 
fabric of the 2nd border from the center

These pieced dragonflies had to take a lot of time to complete and they are beautiful.  I believe I received my finished quilt top in the spring or early summer of 2006. 

I debated how I wanted it quilted and it was set aside for a while. Then life got a bit complicated when my son was born with multiple medical issues and was hospitalized for 16 months.
In 2008 or 2009 (I can't remember exactly) my mom generously had it quilted for me as a Christmas gift. The lady who quilted it did a wonderful job, it is beautiful.  Again, it sat waiting to have the binding put on while I was busy with my little guy.
Finally about a year ago I got the binding partially done, the hand stitching was all that was left.
This year, in the few days after Halloween, I finally sat down while at my parents house and finished the binding.  It was very helpful to have grandparents to distract the kiddo so I could work for more than 5 minutes at a time.

I'm slowly but surely working my way through my list of unfinished projects.  How long is your list?  What have you finished recently?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

{Train Bedroom~~Rail Road Spikes}

While scouring the internet for rail road related ideas I came across a coat rack make from rail road spikes.  While the price was reasonable, the shipping was not.  Rail road spikes and the wood to hold them are heavy and expensive to ship.  I figured I could make a coat/hat/backpack rack without too much trouble.  I found an abundance of rail road spikes on ebay.  I purchased a set of 8 from a little boy who collected them from along rail road track and was selling them to finance his need for more legos.  They fit in a small priority box so shipping was reasonable.

Step 1:  I purchased a 2x6 at my local hardware store and had them cut it into 18 inch lengths.  I decided to use 4 rail road ties per board and marked the positions.  I used a 11/16 inch spade bit to drill the holes for the first board but found out that 3/4 inch spade bit works better on the second board.  I aslo drilled two 1/4 inch holes for hanging purposes.
Step 2: Sand the board to remove pencil marks and smooth the rough spots.  I used a medium grit sanding block then a quick pass with a fine grit block. 

Step 3:  Stain the board.  I used Minwax Stain in the gunstock tint that I already had on hand from another project.

Step 4:  Pound in the rail road spikes.  This took quite a bit of effort to get them nice and tight.  On my second coat rack, I learned that the holes were a bit small and my board split when I pounded the last rail road spike in.  I started over and only used 3 rail road spikes spaced further apart and drilled the holes larger (3/4 inch) to avoid splitting the board.

Step 5:  Polyurethane.  I coated the board once, sanded and coated it again.  I also covered the rail road spikes with polyurethane to make sure the rust wouldn't rub off on anything.

Here they are hanging in my son's room!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

{Train Bedroom~~Paint}

Click here for link to pin
The first order of business in transforming Milo's bedroom was to paint it.  I took my inspiration for the colors from a picture of the train that goes through the Royal Gorge.

I knew that painting the walls orange would be just too much, too stimulating for my already active kid.  I decided on a calmer version and painted the walls a medium grey and with a bright orange stripe along one wall.

 The room looks so much different all ready!

Monday, November 19, 2012

{Milo's New Room}

It's time to make over Milo's bedroom!  As his 6th birthday approaches I realize that his toddler bedroom just doesn't fit his personality or interests anymore.  Over the next few weeks I hope to share some projects I have done to transform his room from todder fish/ocean/tropical theme to a growing boy's train theme.  I have some great ideas that I have gathered from across the internet and pinned on Pinterest, here's a link to my Train Bedroom Inspiration board.  Honestly I had a bit of a hard time finding ideas for a boys's room instead of a baby/toddler room.  I decided that I wanted to use Thomas and Chuggington only sparingly in his new room so the decor can grow with him.  He still likes Thomas and Chuggington but is not as obsessed with them as he used to be.

The before pictures

Ready for Milo to come home from the hospital (March 2008)

Some of Milo's medical equipment:
 ventilator with heater on the stand
 feeding pump on back of crib
 way too many cords and tubes under the bed
Toddler bed (July 2009)
Current Pictures (October 2012)

The 3 foot tall oxygen tank was next to the dresser

Watch the transformation of Milo's room, the big reveal will be on his birthday in 10 days.

Friday, November 16, 2012

{Finally Finished It Friday: Holiday Calendar & Snowflake Blanket}

Recently I have decided that I must finish half done projects and projects that I planned on doing and haven't started yet but have all the materials for.  When I started to clean out boxes in the closet I discovered many projects that I forgot about, some that were started 8 years ago, yikes.  I decided it was time to get these done and I've made some good progress.  On Fridays I'll share of these long over-due projects with you.

Two years ago I started to make a Holiday Calendar for my son.  He was almost 4 and having a hard time with all the holiday happenings and not knowing what was coming up.  To add to the normal holidays, his birthday is the end of November.  I came up with the idea of a re-usable holiday calendar that spanned from Thanksgiving week thru New Years.

For the main part I used a duck cloth and a nice holiday print for the border.  I made sure to wash and dry the duck cloth first because it shrinks significantly.  With a little guy around I knew that there was good chance it would eventually need to be washed.  I drew my grid on the duck cloth with a water-soluble or disappearing ink marker then used a small zig-zag stitch to make the calendar squares.  I decided to use snaps to attach the number and holiday tags.  I used snaps because, at the time, I was sure my son would re-arrange them at will if I used velcro.  Snaps were also something that were difficult for him to use so I was also sneaking in a bit of occupational therapy when adding the number tag each day.  If I were to do it now that is almost 6 I would definitely use velcro.

 To make the number tags I used a stiff felt to cut squares, sewed on the snap part then added some pre-made felt shapes.  For the November numbers I used orange felt for the square and for the decorative shapes I found a package of leaves, apples, pumpkins and flowers that already had an adhesive applied to them.  For the numbers I used my Cricut machine and vinyl to make the numbers.  The December tags used red & white stiff felt for the squares.  I used an assortment of candy canes, stars, trees and ornaments for the themed decoration.  For the numbers I used number stickers.  January tags are made from light blue stiff felt and snowmen, the numbers were also stickers.

I made several "special" tags to add to the calendar so Milo would be able to see when the holidays and special events are.  These were mostly round tags with a felt shape representing the occasion.

To hang this I used Command Picture Hanging Strips.  I sewed one part onto the back of the calendar and used the adhesive to attach the other to the wall and they click together, sort of like velcro.  I LOVE this product because I live in an older house with plaster and lath walls which make nails nearly impossible to hang decorations, etc.

I am so excited this calendar is finally done in time for this holiday season and is ready to be used starting Monday.
My second project was a quick one!  I found this lovely red and light blue snowflake fleece in a box, I'm guessing from 2 or 3 years ago.  I just love this color combination.  I wanted a light blue binding with a print on it so I knew I would have to make some bias tape, which sounds hard but it really isn't.  There is a great tutorial here if you are interested in making some too.  I used a light blue print with white stars to make the bias tape.  I cut the fleece too the largest rectangle I could then rounded the corners using a dinner plate as a guide.  I find the easiest way to attach bias tape to blankets is with a zig-zag stitch.  It insures that all layers are caught the first time around.  Every time I try use a straight stitch there are parts of the bias tape on the underside that do not get caught and I have to go back and fix several areas.  The zig-zag solved that problem for me.

Have you finished any long over-due projects lately?  I'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

{Pajama Addict}

This month's pattern in the Sewing For Boys Sew-along at Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy is the Goodnight Sweetheart PJs.  To say I was excited was an understatement. I'm a pajama addict, I'll admit it.  For some reason I just love little kid pajamas.  Milo's pajama drawer is stuffed :0)  I had a great excuse for having so many pairs of pajamas for him for many years.  Milo's g-tube would leak a little at night from being rolled around on.  Every night his jammies would get dirty so he had to have a new pair every night.  Now that he isn't using it much anymore, it doesn't leak much but he still has lots of PJs.

The Goodnight Sweetheart PJs was the first pattern I made from the book when I got it about a year ago.  Using some adorable monkey flannel I dove right in making the pattern in size 2/3 without any modifications.  I learned a very important thing, wash flannel before you sew with it.  Flannel shrinks significantly.  I also realized (before washing the shirt) that I would need to add a few inches to the length of the shirt.  The pants were crazy wide as well on my skinny kid.  For my next attempt I made dinosaur flannel pajama pants to try to get a better fit.  Then I made race car pajama pants with a contrasting cuff.  For the second full set of pajamas I used some fun elephant fabric and coordinating stripes for the cuffs and facings.  In addition I added cuffs to the sleeves with a piping detail.  I added about 2 inches in length to the top as well which fit Milo much better.

This time I used 1 yard each of 2 coordinating flannels, pre-washed of course, again in size 2/3.  A brown and blue striped flannel was used for the pants with a puppy print flannel for the cuff.  I did make the cuffs differently than the pattern calls for.  I cut about 3 inches off the bottom of the pant leg and added the contrasting cuff with piping.  These cuffs can not be turned down but they are long enough he shouldn't outgrow them very fast.  I found that the cuffs on the other pants never layed right anyway and would become very wrinkled in the laundry. Milo has grown enough in the last year that the width of the original pattern fits perfectly.   For the shirt I used the puppy print with the stripes contrasting on the facing and the cuffs which were both done with the same piping detail as the pants cuff.  I did add 2 inches in lenght for proper fit.  Just for fun I added 2 puppy buttons the to shirt, one on top and one on the bottom.

I made some matching slippers to keep those toes warm on cold winter nights.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Still working on my overly ambitious list from Kids Clothes Week Challenge, I set out to make a pair of wool trousers for my son.  Then I realized that I had misplaced the knit fabric for the lining but I finally found the knit and got them finished!  I love how they turned out.  Perfect for our fall weather and Thanksgiving dinner with family.
Fabric: 100% wool in browns & cream plaid pattern; remnant from Jo-Ann's I've had for a year
Pattern: Little Heartbreaker Pants from the Sewing For Boy's Book
Construction & Modifications:  The pattern is great and the pants come together quite quickly.  I did take 2 inches out of the front and 2 inches out of the back to make them a more slim fit.  I lined them with a soft jersey knit in a cream color to add warmth and softness and so the wool wouldn't irritate my guys sensitive skin.  Lining these pants was a bit trickier than I expected. 
I layered the knit with the wool treating them as one piece then when finishing the seams I trimmed the wool to make sure it was enclosed in the knit.  I cut the waist facing pieces from the knit only which worked well.  One of the best parts of this pattern is how easy it is to make an adjustable waistband. 

The pocket lining was also knit and the pocket is made from brown corduroy.  I love the cuff detail in this pattern.  I had enough fabric that I could cut the cuffs on the bias to vary the pattern from the pant legs and I think they turned out great.  I added faux button tabs in brown corduroy on the side of the legs for a bit of extra detail.  I do like how they look but if I do it again I will make the tab wider. 
I looked through Milo's fall and winter clothes and found this lovely sweater that matches the pants perfectly.  I think he will look very smart and handsome come Thanksgiving Day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

{KCWC Days 5 & 6 ~~ Footie Pajamas}

On Days 5 & 6 I managed to sew for about 1 hour each day and finished off one pair of footie pajamas for my son.  I had hoped to make two pair but I guess it was not ment to be.

This is a pattern I drafted myself when I realized that he had grown out of all the knit footie pajamas I could find.  Due to his eczema footie pajamas work the best, year round, not to mention this kid won't sleep with a blanket covering him.  All of commercially available footie pajama patterns were just too wide so I realized I would have to make my own pattern, for the first time.  This pattern was a work in progress most of the summer with several improvements needed each time.  They are a bit big on him, nice and comfy, but so big they fall down off the ends of his feet when he walks. 

 I also made "hand covers" attached to the sleeves to help with the night time scratching, which seems to be the worst for him.  They are really just like the little mittens on newborn clothing :0)  His hands are free before bed time so he can play and read books.  At bedtime they are simply flipped over so he can not inflict damage on himself during the night.  They work great!

Hand Out, Hand Covered
Not the best picture but hopefully you get the idea.

Originally I used to knit (jersey or interlock) to make these since the weather was warmer.  I found some crazy soft microfleece and new they would make great winter pajamas.  I added a bright green zipper, rib knit collar and bias tape around the wrists.  I really like how the grey and green look together.
I hit a wall on Sunday and just couldn't make myself get to the sewing machine but after a day away I'm ready to take on one last project today, lined wool trousers...wish me luck!