Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sewing Project: Children's Beach Robe

As the needle goes up and down and the beautiful fabric feeds through the machine, frustrations about temper tantrums fade away as something is created from nothing.  Learning to sew (one of my summer goals) has been so fun!  All of my creations thus far have been for our home, so I decided it was time to make something for Mr. Cheeks.  

There is an amazing blog called MADE, where Dana creates awesome projects, many of which are for children and many are repurposed things.  Many of Dana's ideas are for BOYS which are sometimes hard to find in crafty blogland.  

I started her Beach Robe Pattern and in just a few evenings I was done and SO PROUD! 

The materials are simply a beach towel (I found mine at Target for $4.00), and some bias tape.  

This was my first time sewing with a pattern, and it was a great first project.  I learned new skills like how to put in sleeves and sewing around curves.  And Voila!  The finished project:

The adorable tie helps keep Mr. Cheeks looking stylish.

Even a hood for extra coziness!

I'd love to know any other ideas you have for simple kids clothing projects or patterns!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

5 Great Resources For Moms of Toddlers!

Being at home with Mr. Cheeks over the summer has been....interesting.  We are in week three now, and things are running much more smoothly.  Key word: running.  Little man doesn't. stop.  

Because play dough only lasts so long, and rainy days happen, I have been scouring the bloggy world for some great activities for toddlers.  Of course, my fellow bloggers have not let me down.  Hope this helps all of you teacher moms who are new to being a SSAHM (Summer SAHM!), and those of you pros just looking to mix things up a little.



This former educator has fantastic ideas on encouraging authentic learning at a young age.  A few of my favorites are the videos, alphabet photography, and the playful learning spaces.  


Next is a fabulous blog called Let's Explore: Simple Ways to Create, Discover, and Play!
Each month Amy has free Monthly Ways To Play Downloads that are great for a few new activities.  Check out her adorable alphabet crayon idea and Count the House (great for those of you with an older child in the mix!)


One of my absolute favorites (and probably most of yours, too!) is Simple Kids.  This both of the previous bloggers are contributors on this site, and it is FULL of amazing resources.  


There is a great post this week on My Life Scoop recommending 10 great apps for happy toddlers.  I already use several of them, and was excited to find some new ideas.  Apps are one of my life lines when Mr. Cheeks has to be patient and I need a quick activity to keep him calm.  


And finally, if there is one thing you CAN count on from day to day, its that your little one will have to eat.  Click on over to Weelicious, the one stop resource for cuisine a la munchkin.  Weelicious is full recipes and videos and is well organized (making meal planning very simple!).  

What are some of your favorite ideas or resources?

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

One Stitch at a Time

My sister will tell you that I am someone that is interested in EVERYTHING!  Breadth. Not. Depth.

I guess the creative side of me is just entranced by all of the cool stuff out there, and I want to do it ALL.

Enter the latest hobby.  Sewing.

My Mother's Day gift was a class here:

Whipstitch Fabrics

As I journey through crafty blog-land, sewing is the one skill that pulls at my every crafty bone, and although I've tried to conquer it alone, success has eluded me.   

Enter Deborah, and the wonderful staff of a sewing boutique in Atlanta called Whipstich.  I entered tenatively, lugging my Brother through the front door.  The lovely girl casually says, you can set up in the back.  "Ok, thanks" I find myself eeking out (internally thinking I have NO IDEA how to set up!).  Surrounded by beautiful fabrics and listening to a woman choose yards in which to make her children's clothes, to say I was intimidated was an understatement.

Pish. Posh.  This class was awesome.  Within the first hour, I was laughing and learning, interacting with other women my age.  The mechanics of that scary machine were no longer scary, and by the end of the first night, I was sewing!

Each night we finished a useful project - napkins (click here for a free tutorial on these!), a picnic placement, an adorable tote bag, and these:

Awesome!  These piped pillows look adorable in our house, and made me feel like I could make ANYTHING.  Learning how to sew is such a liberating feeling, and I am already snipping and pressing my next project.  Stay tuned....

Oh, and if you are not in the Atlanta area, but want a fabulous introduction to sewing, check out Deborah's book, Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Adventures in Beantown!

Travel.  Get Out of Dodge.  Escape.  Explore.

  I find traveling to be such an adventure but also such an escape.  There is something so liberating about wandering the streets of a completely unfamiliar place, peering around each corner to uncover a new surprise.

I went to Boston, which was a new city for me, and absolutely loved it!  Rich in History, great food, and unique neighborhoods, it made the perfect setting for a weekend getaway.

My mom and sister were my travel companions, an annual tradition that started in the Big Apple last year and will hopefully continue for years to come.  Our time was spent wandering in and out of each little neighborhood, snapping photos and marveling at the age of the buildings, churches, and monuments.   

In the North End, we discovered Italian food that was worth every minute of the long wait (spent mostly debating which bakery was better - Mikes Pastries or Modern Pastry - we chose Mike's!).

The next morning, my feet didn't hit the streets until almost 10:00 am.  One word - vacation.  The shops on Newberry Street played host to the first half of our day, complete with a celebrity sighting!

Cape Cod served as the finale for our weekend, and the scenery was literally something out of a movie.  We devoured lobster at this culinary gem, all the while watching a taping for the Food Network!  Fishing boats drifted in and out and the peaceful Atlantic waves lapped at the shore.  I. Didn't. Want. To. Leave.

But alas, we journeyed home, recounting our tales, and already planning our next adventure.