#microblog mondays – awesome or terrible

Microblog_MondaysI’m not yet sure which adjective describes my plan to weight my childhood doll to be a demonstration doll for teaching babywearing. (I’m in the process of becoming a volunteer babywearing educator. The training and application are long.) And upon looking at doll thinking I might as well just replace the body since it was patched and stained from many years of love. I’ve never made a doll before. I don’t have a real patten, just tracing the old body. So? awesome or terrible this idea of mine?  



**Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too. Here to check out this weeks posts.

Blanket Shawl

or more things you can make with a yard or so of fabric.

I scored big at Old Navy the day after Christmas and bought another coat to convert to a baby-wearing coat for a friend. The coat was black and while waiting in line I saw these buffalo plaid blankets on clearance and made the comment to my mom that the pattern would be pretty for the coat “pocket.” My mom then made the excellent point that I should buy and use the blanket since at $5 I wasn’t going to get much cheaper and now I wouldn’t have to go to the fabric store.

I cut off the strip of fabric needed and made the coat but had big plans for the rest of the blanket. At home especially I tend to get cold when sitting and typing all day and have been known to wear my robe or work on the couch under blankets. This doesn’t work so well though out of the house and I thought the rest of the blanket would make a perfect shawl. I was right. In answer to a facebook friend who asked when I posted about this yesterday “does this involve wrapping a blanket around you in a shawl like fashion?” Well yes, mostly.

IMG_3084I laid the blanket on the floor then cut it to a trianglish shape. Fleece doesn’t need to be hemmed so it’s done. And warm and portable for the win!

IMG_3087Then I cut the leftover triangle into strips, sewed them together, and now my friend has a matching scarf.

The other thing I made recently with scrap fleece was this IU carrier cover. I never did post about our trip to the IU vs. Rutgers football game. But it was fun. And with a yard of fleece, some red felt, and some iron on velcro I whipped this up in under an hour.


One of my 2015 goals is more sewing.

DIY Babywearing Coat – tutorial

IMG_2748I’m really glad I decided to make this. A perfect babywearing winter option that I find stylish and WARM! After wearing the coat out all day it’s much warmer than I expected it to be.

Sewing has long been a hobby. I’ve mostly made quilts, but with my recent making of CLOTHES for Halloween, I’m finally maybe ready to admit that I am more than a novice. With winter coming there has been a lot of chatter about winter babywearing options. Simon’s first winter was pretty mild, but we would put him in a full-body pea coat in the Ergo over our coats. If it was really cold I’d wear fleece jacket backward. His second and third winter he was walking well enough that we always used the snowsuit and wore him over our coats for daycare runs.

I thought about buying a zip in or clip in coat panel for front carrying this year. I also really liked the idea of the Kow.ali carrier. I bought some fleece and made my own. It’s not perfect and I need to add pockets, but I like how it turned out. Since I do more back carries with Caleb and don’t want to carry over my coat I first thought I’d just switch to front carries for the winter. There are baby wearing coats but I don’t love the look of most of them, and didn’t really want to spend the money. I’ve seen some DIY options, but it wasn’t until last week when someone mentioned a wool coat option that I decided to jump. Old Navy had outerwear 50% last week, so I bought a hip length coat for $30. I had fleece scraps from the Kowali style vest that worked for the inserts.

I found this tutorial and this one that outlined the basic procedure. I first put Caleb on my back to determine about where his head and bum hit on me. Then I put on the coat to find those approximate spots. A medium coat fit me exactly, so I went up a size and bought a large. I think either would have worked.

I used a paint pen to mark the coat where I would cut. I made the top about 5 inches down from the neck line and made the length of the cut 23 cm. This was easy because the seam down the back of the coat was 1 cm, so I used that as a guide as I marked down the coat. I made my cut to just above the pleat in the back.

Because the lining would become detached I pinned the coat to the lining both on the coat and the panel well inside the seam allowance (about and inch) then sewed a zig zag stitch along the inside and the outside of my paint pen. Then I cut out the three sides of the panel. The waist belt was a bit tricky to stitch over, but ultimately not a problem.

zig zag stitch attaching coat and lining

zig zag stitch.

hole with panel left attached on bottom.

panel cut out.

Then I uses safety pins to attach some fleece to get an idea that I was on the right track. I cut strips 6 inches wide at the top. Instead of a curve I made more of a triangle. My inserts were about 3 inches longer than the cut.

IMG_2726I pinned the “curved” side to the panel right sides together. Then stitched with a half-inch allowance. Fleece is stretchy and slippery, so it works best to have the fleece on top.

IMG_2738 IMG_2739Were I a more patient person I would have basted before sewing to help with the slipping. (This would also have allowed me to test the size and be able to rip it out easily if I was wrong.)

see the extra tail beyond the panel.

Then I pinned the straight side to the main part of the coat right sides together. I made sure to pull the extra tail through to the inside of the coat and stitched.


tail tucked to inside of coat

To finish I cut a 1.5 inch strip and sewed it over the raw edge of the coat like you would with a quilt binding.

IMG_2751Then I took the last 4 inch scrap for the collar I sewed it (right sides together) to the top edge of the panel and the two fleece sides of the insert.

IMG_2750Then I pinned the ends into the finished edge of the coat. I hand stitched this on because I didn’t want to get the sewing machine out again. I also reinforced the bottom of the pouch insert pieces by hand.


I thought this would be for Caleb only, but it turns out it works for Simon too. And they can ride arms out if they must although that defeats the purpose in my opinion.

IMG_2749Happy babywearing!

**Update: I ended up sewing a row of snaps in the top to secure the pouch when no kid. I made one for a friend and used large buttons with elastic loops.

I will update if I get around to figuring out how to cinch the pouch closed to wear this without the baby. If your baby has sensitive skin you might want to sew fleece over the top of the coat for babywearing naps.

Simon’s Stairs Bed

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you are either tired of hearing about this bed or want the details of what we did. So here are the details and how we decided to custom build a bunk bed. If you’re only interested in pictures and video, just scroll down.

We determined we wanted to do bunk beds, aka stairs bed (according to Simon) in the early fall. The room the boys will share is about 8 x 10 and the placement of doors and windows really limit our options. There is room for a portable crib and the toddler bed if we got rid of the bookshelf and or the pinball table (not happening) but then we’d be in a pinch in a year or so when the baby needs a bigger bed. There isn’t room for two cribs. A twin bed will fit but under the window is really the only place for it without blocking the door or the closet (and at 40 inches would really cut into play space). We looked at buying bunk beds, but a bunk bed in front of a window on the 6th floor – not happening. Then I looked for a “toddler size” bunk which would use crib-size mattresses. I found nothing, the reason being general rule is that if a child is small enough for a toddler bed then they could hurt themselves it they fell. But this is city living so it’s time to get creative.

I found plans for a toddler size bunk on ana-white.com and we thought about modifying that for awhile – to raise the beds a few inches to allow for underbed storage. Then we found Ikea’s junior beds, which are crib width (27.5 inches) but a foot longer (63 inches). This seemed like the perfect solution to give Simon a few more years to grow. But Ikea didn’t have a juinor bunk. I went back to ana-white and we found a few bunk beds. After measuring the room we decided that as much as we like the idea of stairs going to the foot of the top bunk a traditional ladder style bunk made more sense.

We used these plans and modified to fit a 27.5 x 63 in mattress. We kept the height of the top bunk the same at about 46 inches to give us adults enough clearance to sit on the bottom bunk comfortably. We did raise the bottom bed from 8 to 10 inches so that our suitcases and the car seat would fit.

After some math and double checking, we went to Home Depot to buy lumber. We went with the Select Pine (the cheaper of the 2 options we had). For about $215 we bought everything we needed. We also made the decision to rent a van for a few hours rather than walk everything home in our city cart as we did for our last build. Worth every penny of that $68.

Buy List:

10 – 10′ 1×4 Boards (could have gotten away with 8 -8′ boards and 2 -10′ boards)
4 – 6′ 2×2 Boards
9 – 8′ 1×3 Boards (not including wood slats)
2″ Wood Screws (we used #8)
1 1/4″ Wood Screws (we used #8)
Wood Glue
Wood Filler
16 – 3″ Bolts with washers and nuts

We were going to have HD do the large cuts, but their table saw was down, so ALL cutting and assembly was done with a circular saw in our living room. (Some of the finishing pieces were cut on the balcony weekend 2)

Cut List (modified for 27.5 x 63 in mattress and 10 in clearance under bottom bed):

12 – 1×4 @ 26 1/2″ (End Rails)
8 – 1×3 @ 63″ (Solid Leg Pieces)
8 – 1×4 @ 68 1/2″ (Back Rails and Front Support) this gives a bit more wiggle room than needed could adjust to 68”
4 – 2×2 @ 63″ (Mattress Support) if adjusting back & front rails this cut should change by same
2 – 1 x 4 @  47” (Front Rails Top)
1 – 1×3 @ 53″ (Ladder Side)
2 – 1×3 @ 24″ (Ladder Rungs)

7 – 1×3 @ 10″ (Ladder Trim)
1 – 1×3 @ 33″ (Front Leg Trim Piece)
12 – 1×3 @ 3″ (Trim Pieces between Rails)
2 – 1×3 @ 20″ (Trim Pieces between Rails)
4 – 1×3 @ 10″ (Bottom Trim Pieces)

Then we just followed the detailed plans. The pdf for this bed doesn’t work, but we used the “printable view” to get the step by step instructions.

**notes** 1) We used two of the Sultan bed slats from Ikea at $9 each rather than cutting 1×3 slats 2) We decided not to use finishing nails, wood glue alone was sufficient 3) We were going to use metal braces for the beds, but once assembled it felt secure. 4) We determined the ladder width and front rails based on how much wood we had after a taking 26.5 off the 10” board which was necessary after a missed cut. 47” was center of the remaining wood. Meaning that the ladder rungs would be 24” I’m happy with these widths but the original plans call for a 19” ladder which would also have been fine. 5) Measure ALL spacing before cutting trim as cuts are approximate and may be slightly off the whole number once sides are assembled.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If we had a workshop/garage and could use more than one tool at time this could totally be completed in 1 – 2 days. We spent Saturday and Sunday buying and cutting all but the finish pieces then assembling the two long sides. Two evenings during the week got the head and foot assembled, a couple hours each. And one more Saturday to glue in the finish pieces, sand, and bolt the bed together.

Saturday night Simon got to spend the night in the stairs bed for the first time using his crib mattress on the bottom bunk. There were a few emotions in taking apart the crib.

Sunday we borrowed a car from friends and survived a trip to Ikea. The app is actually great because I was able to complete a shopping list that shows store inventory. We were able to pretty much avoid the main floor. We went straight to the kids bed area, determined which mattress we wanted and picked up the sheets (2 blue and 2 green) and mattress pads, and a second rug for the room. Then straight to the warehouse to pick up the mattresses. We would have been in and out in under an hour except for the madhouse that is Ikea. Rob and Simon went through checkout and took everything to the car while I waited in the spare parts line for nearly an hour to get a replacement screw for the crib (so we can sell). But after nearly an hour and no sign of me being helped anytime soon, we just left. That wait was the most irritating part. But for about $200 we are now set with the bedding, etc… and the stairs bed is assembled.

It took Simon about two trips up and down to figure out the top bunk. He already loves to play up there, but on night 1, wanted to sleep on the bottom. Then Monday he had his “quiet time” up top and Monday night decided to sleep up there. Success! We did put the crib mattress and couch cushions on the floor just in case. But unless he falls on the ladder I’m honestly more worried about him rolling off the bottom. Tuesday was bottom again and then Wednesday up top – so it looks like he’s going to pick a bed based on his mood. But he’s sleeping in it!

We may stain or paint down the line, but for now, the unfinished look will do just fine. We’ll also have to figure out a way to make the rails safe for a baby as right now a little could totally get stuck between the rails. I’m thinking a breathable bumper around three sides and a regular bed rail for the open side.

Full room reveal soon. But that is the stairs bed.


My bowl

School makes me busy and crazy but because I don’t want to let you down I am scheduling some WAY boring posts with pictures of my house. Aunt Mary and a few others still haven’t seen where we live. Rob and I cleaned a lot this weekend, so it’s as good as it’s gonna get.

Now for this post. My bowl. I painted this at Color Me Mine a paint your own pottery place a few weeks ago. Finally! I have a big serving bowl.

(see the bunny I painted on the bottom)