Super Easy Nursing Cover

Since I had a boy first, I was really wanting to go all “girly” when my daughter was born.  So I picked out this cute diaper bag and one of my friends gave it to me as a shower gift.  I really wanted a matching nursing cover to go with it but I couldn’t find one anywhere.  I saw matching material at Hobby Lobby and decided to make my own.  I was in a hurry so I made up the pattern as I went.  Also, I knew I wanted an over-sized cover because the one I used with Mason kept slipping down and causing issues.  So this is what I developed:

The bag:

The matching finished cover.  It is reversible and has a matching neck strap:

Because I wanted an over-sized cover, I bought 1.5 yards of each fabric, but you don’t have to use that much.  Even 1 yard would make a decent sized cover.  You will also need a strip of each fabric that is at least 2 inches wide and approximately 21 inches long for the strap.  One warning to the wise, since this cover is double sided, be sure to buy thin breathable material or otherwise the baby will get way too hot while nursing under it.

The first thing you have to do is to make sure the pieces of fabric are square.  You can do this by using the “pull string method” which is done by choosing a loose string at the edge of the fabric and pulling it to make a line.  Then cut the material along the line.  Or you can just simply try to measure it and determine by the pattern if it is straight.  It’s not like this is a couture gown you are going to wear at a red carpet event.

Here is an example of the pull-string method. I had already made this cover before I started my blog, so the fabrics I use in the examples will be different.

After you have two pieces of square fabric in the size you want them to be, place them together with the right sides facing together (inside out).  Both pieces should be exactly the same size.

Cut one of the pieces of fabric 2.5 inches sorter around three sides.  (Left, Right and Bottom sides).

Pin the Left and Right sides of the smaller fabric to the sides of the larger fabric.  There will be a gap in the middle, this is expected.

Sew the Left and Right sides at 3/4 seam allowance.  Sew it from the top of the cover towards the bottom, but leave 1 inch of clearance at the bottom of the smaller fabric, do NOT sew all the way to the bottom of the small fabric.

Stretch the bottom of the small fabric to the bottom of the large fabric and pin it.  When you pin it, there should be about 2 inches of the larger fabric left over on each side (sort of like little cow ears).

Sew the bottom seam with 3/4 in allowance from one end of the short fabric to the other.

Now turn the cover right side out.

Then fold the Left side bottom corner like this:

Fold the edge clean and straight and hand sew it with a hidden stitch where indicated:

Then do the same thing with the Right side bottom.  Then iron the whole cover so the edges are crisp and both layers are flat with no gaps.  Next, pin the top for sewing.  Leave a fist sized gap to one side or in the middle.

Sew the top at a 3/4 seam allowance except where you left a gap.  You will need this to turn the cover right side out.  Once you have it sewn, turn it right side out. You may want to iron it out again to make finishing up easier.  Hand sew the top section you left open with a hidden stitch.

The strap snaps onto the nursing cover in my version and is removable.  You can choose to sew it into the top seam if you want.  I wanted it to be removable so I used snaps.  Before I sewed the strap, I really played around with it to determine the fit best for me.  I highly suggest you make the strap and pin it to the cover and try it on and play around with it before you make permanent stitches so you can make sure it fits you comfortably and has the right size gap in the front so you can peer down to check the baby if necessary.

To make the strap you need 1 strip of each of the fabrics in 2″ wide by 22″ long.  Place the fabrics right sides together and sew it along three sides (left, bottom and right).  Leave the last short side open and use it to turn the fabric right side out.  You will hand stitch the last side using a hidden stitch.

For the cape’s strap to align the opposite fabric as your cover (so it will look cool), you need to sew the snap’s base on the cover’s matching fabric to the strap’s matching fabric as shown:

If done in that fashion, the fabrics will be opposite when you snap them together.

I hope you like my nursing cover and let me know if you try it and have any questions or issues.

Dried Flower Suncatcher

Over a year ago, I found this idea on the internet and now the page is gone, so I can’t give credits.  Sorry!  Anyway, if you search for kid’s craft suncatcher, there are a variety of options on how to do this craft.  The original idea used felt, laminate sheets and flowers.

I did this project as a playdate for my mommy’s group.  The felt was a cute idea and we cut them into shapes based on what was on the felt, but to be honest, using thick paper would have been easy.  It was hard to glue the felt together.  We ended up using a glue gun which worked well.

Steps:

  1. Gather various pieces of leaves and flowers from your yard in a variety of colors and shapes.
  2. Lay one sheet of laminate in front of each child and have them select the flowers they want to use.  They should place them in the middle of the paper.
  3. Lay another sheet of laminate over the first sheet and the flowers and seal them.
  4. Place two pieces of felt together with the pattern facing each other and cut it into the shape you desire.  Cut a hole in the middle for the flowers to show through.  Flip the felt pieces around.
  5. Glue them together with one felt piece on the bottom, the laminate sheets in the middle and the second felt piece on top.

Reunion Scrapbook

Last year was my 20th high school reunion.  (Yeah, I’m THAT old.) Sigh.

I had this idea for the reunion that seemed pretty popular.  I created a questionnaire we passed out at the reunion to all of the alumni.  They completed the questionnaire and returned it to me with a current family photo.  I then created a “scrapbook page” of sorts which included their answers, their family photo, and a scanned photo from our school yearbook.  I completed one page for everyone who wanted to participate (luckily our school was small) and printed out a finished copy for everyone.  It was very fun and we all learned a lot about each other.

Front Cover:

My page:

Here is the questionnaire for those who want to use one for their school or association reunion:

High School Reunion Scrapbook

And here is the blank page.  It has our mascot on it that was scanned from our yearbook, so you can replace that with your own mascot.

Mini Gingerbread Houses

As a family tradition, Marc and I made our own gingerbread house every year and decorated it together.  When Mason turned 2, the realization hit me that he could probably do this with us.  Duh! So starting that year I began a yearly playdate for the mommies group for all the kids to come over to make gingerbread houses together.  But the normal full size houses would be too much work for me to do, so I shrunk my design and made mini-houses.  I made one for each of the kids to decorate on their own.  It’s been a big hit (and a lot of work) every year!  Everything you need to know is below: the instructions, recipes and free templates.  Here are the instructions:

Using the gingerbread recipe below, mix the gingerbread, roll it out and cut the pattern pieces as indicated. (Since I do this every year, I laminated my template pieces so they can be wiped off and re-used.)  Bake the pieces per the instructions and allow to cool.  The picture below is for several houses, so don’t panic.  I do them in bulk!  The normal batch size below makes 1 regular house or 2-3 mini-houses depending on how thin you roll the dough.

After they are cooled, I make one batch of the royal icing per the instructions and assemble the houses and allow them to dry and harden overnight.  When the kids arrive the next day to decorate them, I make 2-3 batches of the icing and put a small portion in a paper cup for each of them to use with a plastic knife.  They each bring their own decorations and use the additional icing to add them onto the house.

Mason making his house:

Here is a photo gallery of several of the kid’s decorated houses over the last two years.

Here are the recipes!

Gingerbread
1 stick of butter at room temp
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Molasses
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Ginger
1 Tablespoon Ground Clove (I don’t like clove, so I leave this out.)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Cups Flour
2 Tablespoons Water
Preheat the oven to 375.  Mix all the dough ingredients except the flour and water until creamy.  Add the flour 1 cup at a time and mix it in a standing mixer or by hand until all the flour is incorporated. Add the water and mix it well.  Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thick.  Cut the required pieces (2 front, 2 side, 2 roof, 2 small chimney pieces and 1 each of the remaining two chimney pieces). Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes but watch them closely so the small pieces do not burn.  This recipe makes 2 small houses or 1 regular size house.

Royal Icing
3 3/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Large Egg Whites
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Mix the ingredients together with a hand mixer, adding 1 cup of sugar at a time until all the sugar is used and the mixture is very shiny (mix for about 6 minutes after all sugar is added).  Once the icing is ready, you must work fast to use it because it hardens over time.  If you need to keep it for a bit of time, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator but it does not last long.

I got the cutout pattern from:
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_a_gingerbread_house/
I do not use their recipe because I had my own, but I used their pattern.  For the mini-houses, I used my scanner to reduce the size by 50%.  Attached are the patterns for full size and for mini houses.  You can click on the photos and save to your computer or use the easy download buttons below.

Regular sized Gingerbread House Pattern Downloads (3):

Below is the mini version of the pattern, note that the printed dimensions on the pieces are no longer accurate because it was reduced by using a copy machine.

Mini Gingerbread House Pattern

Mini Gingerbread House Pattern

Mini Gingerbread House Download:

Thanksgiving Place Cards

I saw the idea for place cards for Thanksgiving last year on the internet but now I can’t find the same one to link it and give credit.  I did find several sites with the same general idea and very similar items to mine.  I wanted to do this as a playdate with my mommy’s group so I found the materials and put them into individual zip-lock bags for the kids to assemble.  It takes a lot of materials and was a little labor intensive to organize as a group, but it worked.

Thanksgiving Place Cards

These are wooden and required these materials for each turkey:

 

  1. 1 round circle (body)
  2. 2 small oval pieces (feet)
  3. 1 large oval piece (head)
  4. 3 Popsicle sticks, each cut in half (feathers)
  5. 2 eyes
  6. orange felt, one piece cut in a triangle (beak) and one in a teardrop (beard)
  7. superglue (you can use other types of wood glue but I wanted to make sure they really lasted)  I wouldn’t recommend letting the kids use it though
  8. acrylic paint (I used Burnt Umber, Marigold, Country Red and Lemonade)
  9. paint marker (for the name, I used gold)

Piece together as shown and let them dry!  The trickiest part is putting on the feet and holding it until it dries so it will stand up.