Friday, September 27, 2013

Drawstring Swim Bag

A few weeks ago my kids started swimming lessons again after taking the summer off. My son is now of the age where he can get himself showered and ready on his own before and after lessons. My husband would say he was old enough a long time ago, but this mama has a hard time handing control over to someone else. Anyway, he needed his own bag for towels, toiletries and clothes after the cheap nylon bag given to him as a free participation prize for a race he was in ripped out after two uses. So, I got to work designing a bag that would suit his needs.
First, it needed to be bigger since the last one was busting at the seams so I made this one 15" x 19" which will fit everything he needs and isn't overwhelming his body. The exterior is constructed of a heavy weight cotton duck on the bottom and a patterned cotton duck on top that my son chose.
The inside of the bag is fully lined with nylon which is nice for resisting water coming from wet towels and his swim suit.
There is a nice, big pocket on the front for toiletries, which is also fully lined with nylon.
One of the best little features is the addition of the D-ring on the exterior so he can hook his goggles to the bag with a biner clip. No more digging to the bottom of the bag or asking, "Mom, where are my goggles?" What would they do without us?

I'm looking forward to a nice weekend. I've been sick the past week so there is a lot to catch up on, but I'm still hoping to squeeze in a few small sewing and decorating projects.

Happy Friday!
P.S. I've linked up to Amanda Jean for Finish It Up Friday.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Infinity Scarf Tutorial

The temperatures are getting a bit cooler here in the Midwest. Time to pull out the fall clothes, and what better accessory is there to keep your neck warm and your outfit looking stylish than an infinity scarf?  What I like most about them is how versatile they are. They are suitable for many ages and you can make these scarves in a variety of different fabrics. Use  cotton, gauze or a rayon/knit blend for summer or a cozy flannel or minky fabric for winter. Plus, you can wear them for casual days or to dress up an outfit. You really can't have enough of these. Today, I am going to show you how to make one for yourself or as a gift for a friend.


  • 1/2 yard of fabric that is about 60" wide from selvage to selvage. I used a knit, cotton/rayon blend polka dot fabric. 
  • Matching cotton or polyester blend thread.
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors or rotary cutter, acrylic ruler and cutting mat
  • Pinking sheers


Use a 1/2" seam allowance when sewing unless otherwise noted.

STEP 1:  Fold the fabric lengthwise with wrong sides of the fabric facing each other. Match up the edges and trim the short ends to straighten.
STEP 2:  Pin across the top every inch or so, leaving a 4-5" section in the middle unpinned. This will be for your opening.
STEP 3:  Sew along the entire edge except in marked open area. Back stitch at the beginning and end of the opening to secure the stitches. Remove the pins as you stitch. 
STEP 4:  Using a pinking sheers, cut about 1/4" off the raw edge along the entire length of the fabric where you sewed, except where the opening is. You will need extra fabric  at the opening to turn your edges over easily at the end.
STEP 5:  Insert your hand and arm into one end of the scarf until it comes out the other side. 
STEP 6:  Grab the edge of the fabric and pull it through the rest of the scarf and meet the edges and seams of the short ends. Right sides of the fabric will be facing each other.
STEP 7:  Pin along the entire edge, while maintaining the tube/circle. Don't pin all four layers together.
STEP 8:  Sew around the opening, back stitching at the beginning and end to secure the stitches. You may need to remove the accessory box/extension table from your sewing machine to fit fabric under the needle.
STEP 9:  Using your pinking sheers, again trim about 1/4" of fabric from the edge you just sewed. 

STEP 10:  Insert your hand into the center opening and pull the all the fabric through the hole so the right side of the fabric is now on the outside. 

STEP 11:  Fold the edges from the opening in and secure the opening with pins.
STEP 12:  Sew closed the opening about 1/8" or less from the edge. Back stitch at the beginning and end. You're done!

Your scarf should be long enough to wrap around your neck twice.
I'd love for you to share with me the scarf or scarves you make using this tutorial. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

*For personal use only.

Friday, September 13, 2013

DIY Decorative Dry Erase Board Tutorial

On Wednesday, I showed you a glimpsed into my office/sewing room and the wall I reorganized to help keep stray papers at bay and to display my daily tasks. I replaced the polka dot white board with a bigger dry erase board that I created myself with minimal supplies. Today, I want to show you how fast, inexpensive and easy it is to make your own.


  • A picture frame - I used a white, Ribba frame from Ikea.
  • Decorative paper or gift wrap big enough to fit your frame - I used a sheet of the gift wrap that my sister-in-law gave to me from Paper Source. The one I chose is called Golden Cherry Blossom, but they have a lot of other beautiful papers to choose from.
  • Dry erase marker - I've tested the ink from the Expo brand on the Ribba frame glass and it wipes away easily even after time.
  • Pencil
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Tools to hang your frame
NOTE:  You'll want to test your dry erase marker on the frame glass. Results between brands may vary. Choose decorative paper that is not overly busy or dark otherwise you won't be able to read what you wrote.


STEP 1:  Disassemble the frame, taking the back off and the paper out.
STEP 2:  Clean the glass on the inside and let dry.

STEP 3:  Lay the provided white mat on top of your decorative paper or gift wrap. If your frame doesn't come with a mat, you can use the glass instead. Line up the mat with two of the sides of paper.

STEP 4:  Trace around the two sides of the mat that are not lined up with the edge of the paper. Trim your paper to size.
STEP 5:  Insert the paper face down into the frame on top of the glass.
STEP 6:  Reassemble your frame. I kept the mat that came with the frame because I might need it again if I want to change out the paper, but attached it to the very back. I attempted to put the mat directly behind the paper, but I could see the mat from the front side, which I didn't want.

STEP 7:  Clean the front glass and hang the frame according to the manufacturer's instructions.

That's it! So easy and so pretty.
I am excited to have such a large area to write everything. I definitely have the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality so this will be good for me. The other items on the wall are also from Ikea, which include this magnet board and this magazine rack. So far, they are working well for me.

Make one of your own and let me know how it works for you.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What I've Been Up To Lately

My last post was the reveal of the master bedroom makeover. It was a good time to call it quits on the home improvement projects for the summer. School was soon to be starting and I was was not feeling good about the state of everything else at home. Sure, my bedroom now looked great, but in order to get that done the rest of my house suffered. I've mentioned before, I can't function in clutter and chaos, so my quest to get our house, my family and myself in order was underway. So, what have I been up to? Besides lots of cleaning, school shopping, getting the kids signed up for activities and filling out lots of paperwork, I've been trying to organize almost every aspect of our lives.

I've been creating schedules for the kids and myself, as well as attempting to meal plan. I made these handy sheets to documents meals and happenings for the week. I hang them on the refrigerator so that all four of us stay on task and stay informed. My son is at the age where he wants to know everything going on. Instead of repeating myself, he can just go look at the sheets. He's been so good about sticking to the schedule and making sure his sister does too.
I am amazed at how much stray paper, receipts, kids drawings, etc. I still have laying around the house even though I think of myself as a purger. Needless to say, there has been a lot of labeling going on around here. 
My office/sewing room is ridiculous right now. I have so much random stuff laying around, my head starts spinning. I had been meaning to create a better system for organizing my daily tasks. I was using a small magnetic dry erase board (tutorial here) to write down my tasks and random thoughts, but it was clear that it was displaying my kids' artwork more than anything else.
I finally made the change to this. Now I have separation between writing, displaying and organizing. More on that later.
And then there is the guest bedroom, where I store my fabric. One of the things that happens when I am either putting away fabric, searching for fabric or organizing it, is that I start combining prints for possible quilts. I had so many piles on the guest bed, it was crazy. I didn't want to be scrambling to clean up that room on short notice, so I decided to put my many piles in storage bins. Here, I have fabric pulls for at least 15 quilts. Some are for gifts, some are for me, and some are to sell. Yikes! I need to get to work.
But as much as I try to keep things cleaned up and organized, AND still try and get work done, there is always a new mess, a new project, something that has to take a back seat while I take care of more important things. I put it all aside to help my daughter with her artwork, to watch my kids at swim lessons, to listen to how their school day was.
I am no where near where I would love to be when it comes to getting everything organized. I know I am not going to achieve perfection, but better than where I'm at now would be good. I am torn as to what to do next. I know I will be more productive in the long run if I continue to tackle some of these long overdue organizing projects, but I miss quilting really badly. Those storage bins with all that fabric? Yeah, that's what I want to be doing right now - making quilts. I also have several home improvement projects that I didn't get to this summer -- lots of painting that I'd like to get done before winter is here.  That is just the beginning of the never-ending task list. What to do, what to do...? I'll let you know when I figure it out.