Baby Crib Shoes Sewing Pattern

I’ve been so busy working on new products for my Etsy shop that it took me awhile to get this finished, but I am so excited it’s finally done. The baby shoe pattern is here!

Baby Crib Shoes Pattern | Baby Sewing Pattern | Baby Girl Sewing Projects | Baby Bow Sewing Projects | Baby Sewing Projects | Baby DIY | Baby Shoes Pattern | Sew Jersey Mama
I always got a lot of custom requests for these adorable baby shoes, but as Riley got too old for them, I stopped making them for my shop. So instead, I present to you the sewing pattern to make your own baby shoes.

Baby Crib Shoes Pattern | Baby Sewing Pattern | Baby Girl Sewing Projects | Baby Bow Sewing Projects | Baby Sewing Projects | Baby DIY | Baby Shoes Pattern | Sew Jersey Mama

I have perfected this pattern and the sizes over time, and many people who have bought pairs from me swear by them being the only shoes that will stay on their baby’s feet. I loved putting these on Riley when she was crawling and starting to walk. They weren’t bulky, perfect for foot development, but kept her feet warm and protected. I barely had to worry about her shoes falling off either.

Baby Crib Shoes Pattern | Baby Sewing Pattern | Baby Girl Sewing Projects | Baby Bow Sewing Projects | Baby Sewing Projects | Baby DIY | Baby Shoes Pattern | Sew Jersey Mama

This project does require to gather up a variety of materials, so I’d suggest planning to make a few pairs at once, either in one size, or the next sizes up so you’re ready when they grow out of them.

Baby Crib Shoes Pattern | Baby Sewing Pattern | Baby Girl Sewing Projects | Baby Bow Sewing Projects | Baby Sewing Projects | Baby DIY | Baby Shoes Pattern | Sew Jersey Mama

There are so many possibilities with the style of these shoes. Go for a nice basic soft denim or solid for something that will match a lot of outfits, or make them in a fun seasonal print.

You can purchase the pattern here for just $4.99. It includes sizes from 0-24 months, supplies list, pictures, step by step instructions, and the pattern pieces.

My favorite place to get fabrics is fabric.com and one of my favorite designer brands, Dear Stella, has a lot to offer on the site.

Something like this trendy neutral print by Dear Stella would work perfectly for these shoes. 
Dear Stella Intermix Positive Ash Fabric

Happy sewing! Would love to see what you make!

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Have You Thought About Starting an Etsy?

Do you like making your own things or making unique gifts for others?

Are you stuck at an unfulfilling day job, just itching to use your creative side as your source of income?

Lastly, have you thought about opening up an Etsy shop but don’t know where to begin?

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I opened my Etsy shop years ago, basically on a whim, because I had the time (this was pre-child). I made a cute little elephant after following a sewing pattern I found on Pinterest. Once I shared it on Facebook, people were suggesting I open an Etsy shop. I definitely had doubt. “Who would buy this? It’s so far from perfect. Not sure this is worth my time.” But, I took the plunge anyway, and opened shop. It’s a distant memory now, but I’m sure I made a few tweaks to the elephant pattern, came up with another item to sell, took some photos, and opened my Etsy.

Of course, I did some of the tedious tasks first. I was actually living in Germany through the U.S military, so I had a few hoops to jump through to register my ‘at home business’ through post. Came up with a name and put together a logo and I had to use German shipping, so I figured that out. But that’s about it.

And now I know there is so much more that needs to be considered before opening an Etsy shop if you want to have success from the beginning. There’s actually so much to prepare ahead of time, I’m developing an e-course that will help people like you set up an Etsy shop correctly from the beginning. It’s going to be a very in-depth, step by step guide with info that even Etsy glosses over. Not only is it important to figure out what to sell (I’ll go into detail later), but if you are serious about your Etsy shop being a business you need to consider things like taxes and registration. (I know it’s scary, that’s what the e-course is for!) If you’re interested in finding out more about this course click here to sign up for updates on the release.

 

So first things first, you need to figure out what you’re selling on Etsy. I’m going to tell you that this step could be a long process but I do think it’s the most important and should be heavily considered first, even before you come up with a name for your business and branding. This is not to say that it might change as you go later on, mine did, but it will definitely drive your focus.

For example, you don’t want to name your shop first and go with something like “Pretty Bows Boutique”, create all the branding for this, and then later decide to sell mostly dresses. Obviously that won’t work too well.

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So how do you figure out what to sell? Well for me, I was sewing and I started out by creating stuffies or little plush animals and monsters. So I looked on Etsy to see what was already available. To search on Etsy, I used many different keywords and searches to see the range of products that were out there. For example, for my stuffed elephant I would look up “stuffed animal elephant” “baby stuffed animal elephant” “elephant plushie” “elephant pillow” “elephant nursery decor”. etc. This gave me the widest range of what was already out there. My goal was to make something that seemed like there was a market for, but not identical to what was already available. So the fact that were a lot of results for these searches was actually a good thing. Yes, they were competition, but it also meant that enough people were selling it, which means people were buying it. Otherwise they would have stopped making them.

It was also important for me to make mine different or unique. Not only did I create my own original pattern for the stuffed animal, I used fabrics that I knew weren’t being seen already on Etsy because I was buying them in Germany and the Netherlands. Obviously we can’t all do that, and neither can I anymore, but you can strategize by using unique materials, fabrics, etc that are still appealing and on trend. I was determined to push my consumers to go for the more unique, original product, vs the 8millionth version of a grey chevron elephant. I still used appealing prints and fabrics, but they stood out due to their uniqueness.

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After you’ve determined your first product, it’s time to come up with a few other items. So to continue with the elephant example, I decided to make a few of these in different fabrics, but I also knew I needed something else. So I decided to stick with the plush category, and create monster stuffies to add to my shop. My overall focus at the time was plush creatures for babies and young children. I did the same kind of research for these that I did for the elephants.

This research also helps you set prices by the way!

 

Of course it’s fine to expand later, but I think setting yourself an umbrella category to stick to in the beginning is important. It keeps your shop focused while you master your first items. In the beginning you’ll probably still be refining your craft, and other things about your shop, so don’t bother expanding what you’re offering too much. Over time, my product line changed as I continued to research what others were selling, and what was selling well. In addition, what I enjoyed making changed, but overall I kept my original focus of my business geared towards babies, children, and a minor focus on dogs.

 

So along with researching on Etsy, it’s important to actually design and make your items (that is, if you’re making physical items). I had to figure out the logistics of making these items, including finding the best supplies, finishing them the best way possible, etc. It was important to me that the items I was selling were good quality. At the same time, your goal is to make money, so you have to be mindful of what you pay in supplies. If you’re setting a price point of $12 per stuffed animal, don’t make them with $24 a yard fabric. If you do want to buy the expensive materials, your price point will need to come up, and your product has to be made with great care. As a general rule of thumb I like it when one sale of one item covers the cost of materials, even though those same materials can be used to make 2 or 3 more of the item. If I buy a yard of fabric for $8, use a bit of poly-fil stuffing, thread, then if I sell one elephant for $15 I know for a fact I’ve made a profit, and will make even more if I make a second or third with the remaining materials.

 

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Some other things to consider when deciding what to make:

  • You actually enjoy making the item, because your goal is to sell many of them.
  • You can buy the materials again when you run out. Okay, so sometimes I do this, and actually working to do this more, but I also love hunting rare finds of fabric that I buy in small quantities. So you definitely want some items you can make over and over, but I do think it’s okay to make some in small quantities, especially if you’re not sure it will be popular. But overall the items I make can be remade, even if its with different fabrics.
  • Can you ship this easily? For example, a 20 lb rock sculpture is going to prove difficult to ship and might be best for in person sales ;)I hope I gave you some food for thought if you’re on the fence about opening an Etsy. If you think you’re ready to take the plunge, here are 40 free listings to get you started. There really is so much else to learn but some people like to just jump in! However, as a reminder, I’m working on an e-course that will walk you through all the steps to start off the right way. If you’d like an update about it’s release, please sign up here!

In the meantime, I will be writing more blog posts with Etsy hints and information, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter to be notified when new posts are added. Sign up here!.

If you’re wondering what stuffed elephant I am talking about, you can actually get the original pattern and make your own right over here. Thank you!

 

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My Top 5 Online Fabric Stores for Jersey Knits

I thought I would share a quick round up of some of my favorite places online to browse and shop for jersey knits! Jersey knits are perfect for baby and children’s clothing. They’re stretchy like a soft legging material, which make them perfect for active littles. I like to make sure I’m buying a good quality fabric, so look for a bit of weight, and designer brands. The jersey should be at least 95% cotton, and the rest spandex or lycra. Interlock knits work too but sometimes they don’t have as much bounce-back or stretch. Look for high quality brands.  Some of the things I make with jersey knits are the cuff t-shirt (free pattern) and this cute dress.

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  1. First and foremost, is fabric.com. I talk about them a lot, but really they are my go to source for fabric, including jersey knits. Shipping is quick and inexpensive. They have a large selection of jersey knits. I try to stick with the name brands as the quality is usually higher. Some of my favorite brands I find on fabric.com for knits are Cloud 9’s interlock knit, Kaufman, Cotton + Steel, Art Gallery and Michael Miller.
  2. Love Fabric Ireland Etsy shop. I chose this one because they have a good selection of one of my favorite jersey knit fabric brands, Little Darling, I used to buy in the Netherlands. Their shipping to the states is very reasonable as well. The Netherlands is, hands down, been the best place to find kids fabrics that I know of, and I miss being closer to the source!
  3. Lucky Shop 0028 Etsy Shop. Okay, so this is one I haven’t ordered from yet….but, I am really loving what they have in jersey knits. If I weren’t on a fabric buying freeze, I would be eating some of this up. I have so much of it saved in my favorites right now.  It has good reviews, and it has unique prints!

  4.  Wunderland Der Stoffe on DaWanda. Here’s another oddball! So I spent some time in Germany, and didn’t know about this website till I was in the states trying to hunt down that Dutch fabric I was talking about. That’s when I stumbled across DeWanda. It’s sort of like European Etsy. I found this fabric shop, and she has a huge assortment of some really fun kid prints jersey fabric. My customers and myself have always loved the prints and quality of the fabrics she carries. It is slightly difficult to checkout and pay with her. You’re best bet is to message her and say you’ll be ordering from the U.S and she will work it out with you through paypal. Of course there are other sellers on the platform as well, browse around! (pro tip: use google chrome to have the text automatically translated to English)
  5. Last is Spoonflower. Here you can get any print you find in their database printed on a variety of different types of fabric, including jersey knit. The type of fabric I recommend is “cotton spandex jersey”. They do have organic cotton interlock, but it doesn’t have much stretch. It is a bit pricey but there are so many good designs to choose from.

Happy fabric shopping!

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If you’re thinking about opening an Etsy shop I highly recommend you read my blog post here for some food for thought. This post will help you figure out what products to sell, and there are more posts to come soon, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter.

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Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial

If you’re looking for a cute way to carry around your cumbersome yoga mat to your next class, or even to coffee afterwards, why not make your own carrying bag?  I have an easy and quick tutorial to make a bag that can be completely personalized to your taste.

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What you’ll need:

1 – Outer Fabric (canvas or something with a decent weight but flexible) : 28 (width) in by 20 (height) in (*Note, if your mat is wider than a basic mat, you may want to make the height taller) If you choose a fabric that is not too stiff, use interfacing to add weight and stiffness.

1 – Liner Fabric (Quilting cotton or similar weight) : 28 (width) in by 20 (height) in (*Note, if your mat is wider than a basic mat, you may want to make the height taller)

1 – 32 x 4 inch piece of fabric for strap

1 – 6 in. diameter circle for bottom in outer fabric

Material for pocket – 2 piece 8×10 inches and 1 piece 8 x 6.5 inches

Snaps or velcro for pocket

1 – Piece of cord at least 32 inches long for drawstring.

I love getting fabric from fabric.com. They have lots of canvas and cotton prints to choose from. I debated making this bag in this awesome canvas by cotton and steel, but I’m saving it for a tote bag instead.

Cotton + Steel Rifle Paper Co. Les Fleurs Canvas Rosa Floral Natural Fabric

You will need a sewing machine, and if you have it, a serger will help as well! You can check out my recommendations here at my resources page.

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

Once you have your pieces cut, we will start by making the pocket. First put the 2 larger pieces right sides together, stitch all the way around but leave a 2 inch opening. Trim the seam allowance, then turn the piece right side out. Also, pin the smaller piece in half lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch around but leave an opening to turn it around. Once turned around, top stitch it on the two short sides, and one long side. If you are using a velcro closure, stitch the velcro pieces to the pocket pieces before attaching to the main bag piece. 

 

Find the center of your large piece of outer fabric by folding it in half lengthwise wrong sides in. Keep it folded in half. Also fold the main pocket piece in half, and line it up with the fold of the main piece. Position the pocket about half way down the piece. Place one pin through the pocket and the one layer of the main piece, then open it up, and pin the rest of the pocket down.

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

 

Top stitch around the three sides of the pocket, leaving the top open. Be sure to back stitch at the ends. Then position the flap piece so it overlaps the top. Stitch along the top.

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

If you are using snaps, use the tool to poke the hole through both the pocket and the flap piece, then use the snap pliers to attach the snap.

Now sew the outer and liner fabric together. You will actually sew these wrong sides together. Pin them together, and stitch all the way around with a 3/8 seam allowance.

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

Then we will prepare the strap. Fold the strap lengthwise in half and stitch all the way down with a 3/8 seam allowance, making sure to reverse stitch at each end. Use a pushing stick (chop stick) or knitting needle to turn it around. Press, and top stitch.

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

On one of the shorter ends of the large fabric piece, we will zig-zag stitch or serge all the way across. Then, on either end, fold and tuck a flap a few inches long. Pin it down, and straight stitch it down. Do this on both ends. Then fold over the top hem about 1 inch to the wrong side, and top stitch it about 1/8 in, leaving an opening for your cord.

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

We will now pin the strap to the bag. Find the long side of your large piece of fabric. Pin one end right below the opening we created with the flap, and the other end of the strap will be about 5-6 inches from the bottom. This can be adjusted depending on how you want to carry the bag. For more horizontal, put the straps closer to the center. For carrying it more vertical, spread it out. Use a small seam allowance, and stitch 2-3 times for durability.

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

Almost done! Now fold the large piece of fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together and stitch up the long side. Now we will add the bottom. With the bag still inside out, you will carefully pin the circle, right side in, to the bottom of the bag. You will need many pins. Make sure it is evenly spread out, make adjustments. Now stitch around the circle. You may want to stitch twice for durability. Trim the seam.

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

Turn the bag right side out! Almost done! Use a safety pin on one end of the cord to pull it through the opening we created. Once it’s through, tie the ends, and you are all done!

I love how this came out! My good friend is enjoying this bag out in California! Be sure to save this to Pinterest for later!!

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

Free Yoga Mat Bag Tutorial | Easy Yoga Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | Yoga Mat Bag | Free Tutorial | Sew Jersey Mama

 

If you’re thinking about opening an Etsy shop I highly recommend you read my blog post here for some food for thought. This post will help you figure out what products to sell, and there are more posts to come soon, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter.

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How to Tackle Meal Planning While Staying on Budget with the Dinner Daily

So, I want to share a little secret with you. I am barely a “Pinterest mom” when it comes to meals (and other things).   I’m more of a hot mess, busy all the time, scour the freezer for last minute dinner plans kind of mom. Or rather, I was, until I discovered a fix for this problem.


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My normal routine was to rush out of work a few minutes before the rest of the office, just to beat the crowd, to go pick up Riley, rush home, and then search the freezer for something I can heat up fast for the “hangry” toddler and myself to eat. This works terribly, by the way. Not only did dinner suck most nights, it took too long, and my grocery shopping trips were also a disaster.

I absolutely do not enjoy spending hours on Pinterest looking for recipes, trying to figure out if I had enough ingredients already to make it worth it, and then remember to make the list for what I needed ahead of time so I’m not trying to hunt down the recipe on my phone in the grocery store with an impatient toddler.

And that’s where The Dinner Daily comes along. I’ve tried meal delivery services where they send you the ingredients, and it just didn’t work out for me. It’s not ideal for me to have that box sitting on my front step all day since we’re gone long hours. The Dinner Daily has been the best solution for me to have great meals planned for the week. Also, those delivery box services are expensive, and this is not!

So here’s how it works. You sign up with The Dinner Daily for as little as $4 a month. You tell them your preferences like family size, food preferences (meats, allergies, gluten free, etc), and store preference. Then they will send you a meal plan for the week based on the deals at your preferred store (which can be changed as well as your other preferences). The menus are sent out based on a schedule depending on the store, and it also provides you a shopping list which you can edit if you already have some of the items.  You can also swap out meals if there’s something you don’t like.

I know this is not the prettiest food ever, but it was tasty!

This makes meal planning and grocery shopping so stupidly easy. I usually end up with a range of dishes with 30-60 minute prep times, and occasionally a crock pot dish or two. I add a few items to my shopping list like milk, or snacks, and then head off to the store. I was seriously shocked when I came out of the market with meat and other items for 5 full meals, extra items for my family like snacks and milk, and I was under $100. That is insane!

Usually I spend way too much, buy stuff I don’t end up using that goes bad, and have no plan for the week ahead of me.

I’m not kidding when I say this has been a game changer for me. It’s so affordable, it’s a no-brainer. I know I’ll be saving money so I don’t stress about the $1.50 a week or something it comes out too.

It only takes me about 10 minutes to go over the menu, swap anything out that I want and print the list. I have enjoyed cooking new dishes I would have never thought of before and my family has been enjoying.

If you’re skeptical but want to test this out, The Dinner Daily offers a two week free trial. You will be hooked, but who doesn’t like free things?!

Here’s to stress free meal planning and sticking to the budget! Enjoy!

Holiday Outfits for Toddlers 2018!

It’s already that time of year! We’re a few days into November, and the rush begins. I’ve shared a holiday gift list already, which you can check out here -> 10+ Non-Toy Gifts for Toddlers, but now it’s time to focus on what to wear!

It does seem silly to make such a fuss, but there’s something about wearing festive and cozy clothes this time of year that just feels necessary. Fall and winter fashions and styles are the only thing I actually like about this time of year. You might remember I really despise this cold weather, but wearing sherpa lined boots and cozy plaid makes things a little bit better!

So where to get the cute clothes for your little one? I know I make Riley a few pieces here and there but I can’t resist some of the outfits at Crazy8. They always have good deals going, and some super cute clothes. I’ve rounded up a few highlights from their Holiday collection to share with you.

Here are some of the toddler outfits, but they have similar ones in girls’ sizes too. There’s tons more but I thought these were especially cute for holiday parties. I love the aztec print because it is super unique and it works for any of the holidays coming up! The star sweater and skirt look super cozy!

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Can’t forget the boys! Adorable choices! Did I mention that the holiday collection is 50% off right now? Go check it out now!

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If you’re looking to make your little one’s clothes this holiday season, take a look at my post for girls dresses  or a free t-shirt pattern.

Thank you! Happy Shopping!!!

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Penguin Stuffie Sewing Pattern

Winter is on it’s way! And what better way to prepare than make this adorable penguin? Okay, so I kind of actually don’t like winter. I do, and I don’t. I like the decor, actually a lot. But the miserably cold weather and slushy snow, I could definitely live without. The decor definitely cheers me up and makes it all worth it. I developed this pattern for a penguin a few years ago for a special request. I made one for myself as well, and thought it was time to share!Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Pattern | Sewing Tutorial | Penguin Sewing Pattern

I would say this project is intermediate or advanced beginner level. It’s not hard, per say, but there are a few tricky spots when attaching the head. I have made my penguins with regular quilting cotton, but I’m pretty certain this would be adorable in minky or fleece. Working with minky will definitely make this a bit more challenging though because it tends to be slippery. I love getting my fabric at fabric.com because of all the choices and great prices.

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Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Pattern | Sewing Tutorial | Penguin Sewing Pattern

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(By the way her adorable socks are available on amazon here.)

The great thing about this penguin is that there are no small parts so it is definitely safe for babies and kids, just make sure your seams are strong. You can also use this as decor if you are making it with fancier fabrics.

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Pattern | Sewing Tutorial | Penguin Sewing Pattern

Sew Jersey Mama | Sewing Pattern | Sewing Tutorial | Penguin Sewing Pattern

The sewing pattern and tutorial for Penny the Penguin are available for just $2.99 in my shop right here. It’s an instant download PDF. All you need to do is print it (making sure not to scale it), and cut out the pattern pieces and get going! Click the photo to go right to the pattern!

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I hope you enjoy!

Please check out my elephant stuffie pattern here !

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10+ Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Toddlers

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably drowning in kids toys by the time your little one reaches toddlerhood. Every once in awhile we do a purge of the living room and toy buckets to get rid of or put aside things for a possible future sibling, but somehow the toys still multiply. While we’ll probably end up with a few new toys to foster development, it would be great to lessen the load with some non-toy gifts that Riley will still be able to enjoy or just be super useful.

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I’ve rounded up 10+ perfect non-toy gift ideas for toddlers. This is a great list to refer to for Christmas or birthdays. Be sure to share with your family and friends!

1. A personalized story book by I See Me

These books are absolutely adorable and perfect for a toddler or young kiddo. There are so many to choose from so you can be sure to find something your little one likes. They will feel extra special since it features their name. Another great thing they offer are books for special occasions and they offer gift sets.

 



2.Dress Up Costumes

 Little Adventures make-believe costumes and toys will help spark your toddler’s imagination. First and foremost I love the fact that many of these are princesses, princes, superheroes and more that are un-branded. While most kids have favorite characters from movies or tv shows, I think it’s incredibly important to balance that with items not associated with pre-determined characters and story-lines to foster imagination. Little Adventures offers an affordable and expansive line of costumes your little one will love dressing up in for hours of imaginative play.

 

3.  Fun Food Cutter

Make your toddler’s food fun and appealing with FunBites. There’s a few differently shaped cutting tools to choose from, including Paw Patrol theme. They are easy and quick to use and will allow you to quickly make your toddler’s meals a little bit more fun and enticing.

4. Craft Activity Boxes

Get a subscription or individual boxes full of crafts and activities about science and arts by Green Kids Crafts. The boxes are available for ages 2-10 and their focus is STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) through learning, discovery and fun. In addition, the company strives to be sustainable through the use of recycled materials, compostable packaging, and avoiding certain materials. A craft box that also fosters learning is a great gift for a little one or even older kid as something you can do with your kids to have fun and learn about important relevant subjects.

5. Labels!

Okay so this one might not be all that exciting for your little one to unwrap, but these are seriously useful especially if your toddler or kiddo goes to daycare or school. Mabel’s Labels offers so many different kinds of labels that will make your life easier. They offer so many cute designs in ‘dishwasher safe, microwave safe and waterproof’ labels as well as iron-on labels and much more. They also have medical alert and allergy related items as well! They have some other handy products as well. Be sure to take a look. Like I said, labels might not be super exciting to your kiddo, but at least labels with cute rainbows or robots will make it more fun for them!

6. Explorer Kits

Another subscription box option that is a little different than the last. Little Passports offers monthly activity boxes related to travel and discovery. Boxes are available in different age ranges starting at 3 and go to about 9+. In the first month you’ll get your little suitcase and tag, stickers and other activities, and the months after that you will get different activities, learning materials, souvenirs, letters and more depending on the age group. The kit will teach your little one about places around the world and around the USA. It is so important for children to learn about the world, and this is a fun way to do it. The best part about Little Passports is that it is so reasonably priced starting as low as $12.95 a month.


7. Mini Guitars

Okay, so this is still a “thing” that will take up space, but not a toy. I’m way too excited that I stumbled upon this not to share. It’s a very special little guitar made by a company called Loog just for little kids with little hands. As someone with a musical background, and passion for bands from the past, like The Beatles, I think this is the coolest little guitar I could ever get Riley. The company offers both acoustic and electric guitars that are made with just 3 strings. They are similar in size to a Ukulele but are tuned and designed like a guitar which makes it easier to transition to a regular sized guitar later on. These guitars are absolutely adorable and the craftsmanship is clear, yet very reasonably priced. To go along with the guitar is a specially designed app and flashcards to help your kid learn chords and songs. I strongly believe music and creating music are so important for children, and this is such a special way to introduce it to them.

Non Toy Gift List | Toddler Gifts | Parenting | Gift Ideas

8. Cooking with your Kids!

Another cool subscription I stumbled across, Kidstir, sends a monthly kit that encourages your kiddo to help in the kitchen. There’s no age group listed, but it seems starting around 3 would be appropriate, but we are going to try one month with Riley (2) because she likes helping mama. In the box they send you two fun cooking tools for your kiddo, recipe cards, educational pages, and activities and games. Each month has a different focus so you won’t get bored with this subscription. It’s a great hands on activity while spending some quality family time together.

9. An incredibly charming sleeping bag

The Land of Nod by Crate and Barrel has some of the most charming well-made kid stuff around. Of course it comes at a price, but quality items are certainly worth a splurge now and then. These adorable sleeping bags caught my eye. How great for a little one to snuggle up in at home during a movie night, or roll up and bring to Grandma’s for a sleepover. If you’re getting ready to transition your toddler to a big bed, be sure to check out their adorable bedroom sets and bedding.

Non Toy Gift List | Toddler Gifts | Parenting | Gift Ideas

 

10. Mess free and fun placemats

Has your toddler become a picky eater? These cute placemats by EZPZ will make meal time fun again and easy to clean up for you. These special silicone placemats are made to suction to the table, and have the sectioned plate, or bowl built right into it (read: toddler can not throw plate on the ground). They come in a bunch of different colors and sizes, in happy faces and even care bears. The mini mat is great to throw in the diaper bag for restaurants and much more eco friendly than throw-away stick on placemats. They are offering free shipping but look out for deals which they frequently post!

 

11. Creative Play Kits, Dress Up, and an Interactive Bear

I couldn’t really pick just one item from this fabulous company I stumbled upon. Seedling has many unique, genuine creative play kits that would be perfect for your little ones. Their “toy” kits are making it to the non-toy list because these require your little one to be creative and crafty. In the 2-4 range there are some adorable adventure cape kits, as well as a few playtime kits. Their bear, Parker, is pretty awesome too. Okay, so this is sort of a toy, but stay with me. He’s interactive through accessories and an app. So he is more than just another stuffed animal. Your little one (about 3+) will take care of Parker with the doctor accessories, through the app his world comes to life with magical details, and there are games and puzzles to do with him promoting STEM. The prices of these kits are super reasonable too and they’re about to have a stocking stuffer sale! Take a look.  They have other kits and activities for ages about 2-8+ and shipping is free for orders $50 and more.

Seedling holiday banners - stocking stuffers
Make sure to pin this to save it for later!

Non-Toy Gift Guide | Gift Guide Kids | Toddler Gift Ideas | Holiday Gift Ideas | Christmas Gifts | Toddlers | Kids | Birthday Gift Ideas

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Car Trash Bag Sewing Tutorial

As a busy mom who is always on the go, my car can get pretty messy real quick. We can all relate to cheerios and goldfish all over the place, but then there’s the occasional water bottle, apple sauce packet, gas station receipt, etc. You get the idea, and I’m sure you can definitely relate. I don’t think of myself as a messy person, but there’s only so much I can carry into the house, holding the child at the end of the day, so the water bottles etc sort of get left behind.

It was about time that I solve this problem. Since I’m a creative, and visual person, I decided to make my very own car trash bag! I love it!!! I found this adorable retro mod upholstery fabric at a local fabric warehouse and lined it with this cute floral print I have been dying to make myself something with. It has been a serious game changer in the car. I throw any trash in there right away, and when its full, I just take the bag and toss it, and put a new bag in.

While I got my fabric locally, I still highly recommend checking out fabric.com. It is a great resource with all types of fabric at unbeatable prices.

 

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

So here’s how you can make one yourself!

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

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What you’ll need:

-1 11 x 18 1/4 inch piece of fabric for the outside (I highly recommend thicker decorator fabric or something like a canvas or cotton duck)
-1 11×18 1/4 inch piece of fabric for the inside (A cotton woven works great)
-2 6 inch in diamater circles (1 from the outside fabric, and 1 from the inside)
– Material for the strap. I prefer to use 1 inch twill tape for any sort of strap, but you can also make a strap with your fabric. **The length will depend on a few things… I added a snap feature so I don’t have to worry about the lenght of the strap to get it over certain things in the car. If you don’t want to use snaps, you may want to measure what you’ll be hanging it over so you can get it on. For example, if you’re hanging over the headrest the strap will need to be large enough to fit over, vs. hanging over the shifter.**
-Optional Snaps. I use KAM snaps, but if you’re ordering from fabric.com, you can pick up babyville snaps here. You’ll want to get the pliers kit as well. It’s a bit of an investment but these will come in handy as you realize snaps are awesome! If not, a sturdy velcro will work for this or a button.

Pellon 70 firm stabilizer for liner to wrap plastic bag around. I would get about 1 yard. This can be purchased at fabric.com here.

After all the materials are prepared, you will start by sewing the seams for the inside and outside tubes. With right sides in, sew the seam with 3/8th inch seam allowance. You will be stitching the shorter ends of the fabric. Do for both the inside and outside piece. Iron the seams flat.

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

The next step is a little bit tricky. With the right side of the outside fabric still in, pin the outside circle piece to the bottom of the tube (also with the right side facing in). Pin it the same way for the inside fabric. Carefully and slowly stitch around the circle.

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

If you are using twill tape, another strong ribbon-like strap, or any strap with a snap, fold over the end of the longer piece twice, and stitch to make a nice finished end. The shorter piece will be folded over in half. You can stitch along the edges to help keep it in place.

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

You will then pin the straps to the outer tube (with right sides still facing in). Pin each piece (or each end) about a half an inch from the seam. Make sure it is sticking out from the top a little to ensure its not too close to the seam.

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

Now you will insert the inside tube with right sides facing out (right sides of the inner and outer pieces should be facing each other). Line up the seams, and pin together. Stitch around the circle, leaving a 2-3 inch gap (do reverse stitch at either end) to turn it right side out.DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

Turn the bag right side out, and push out the seams. Carefully iron around the top seam, pin down if needed, and top stitch to close the whole and keep the seam in place. If you are not adding a snap to your strap, you are almost finished. Skip ahead to find information about a plastic bag liner insert.

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

Now you will add the snaps to the strap. Make sure the snaps are facing the right way so they line up with either end of the strap.

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

**To make the liner insert to hold a plastic bag, use Pellon 70 Cut a piece about 9X16 (check the height of your finished bag and cut the liner about 1-2 inches lower. You may need to make adjustments to the circle), and sew the seam. Turn the tube around and insert into the trash bag. Now you can slide your plastic bags over the tube instead of covering the beautiful car trash bag you just made.

 

Make sure to pin this for later!

DIY Car Trash Bag Tutorial | Sewing Tutorial | DIY Project | Car Trash Bag | Easy Sewing Project

 

If you liked this project, you may like my Plastic Bag Holder easy sewing project. Store all the plastic bags nicely and organized that you get from the market you can use to line this trash bin!

If you’re thinking about opening an Etsy shop I highly recommend you read my blog post here for some food for thought. This post will help you figure out what products to sell, and there are more posts to come soon, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter.

Toddler Halloween Costume DIY : 60s Hippie Flower Child

After debating a few ideas for Riley’s Halloween costume this year, I decided on a late 60s hippie flower child Woodstock concert-goer vibe.  I don’t have a solid reason why, but it seemed like a perfectly cute concept and I love anything vintage! I had a few other ideas – Madeline (which she can still do when she’s a little older) and a funny one – dress her as a pickle, but they seemed like a bit more work. I had to rush to pull a costume together because our campground was celebrating Halloween early before they close up for the season.

I love what I came up with and this is easy for anyone to put together!

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Sewing | DIY Halloween Costume | Halloween Costume | Toddler Outfit | Toddler Costume | Hippie Costume

 

So here’s how to put this together yourself! For the main outfit I made a boho style tunic, found a pair of flare jeans at Crazy8, and added some fringe from Joann’s Fabric Store to it. I found the pattern to make the top here on Etsy: Tunic Pattern. It’s not the easiest sewing pattern but you will be super proud when you finished. I normally refer to fabric.com, but this print is no longer available there but I found some Etsy. It’s the perfect 60s ‘vintage bed sheet’ print!  (Sewing tutorial and template for the vintage camper pillow are coming soon!)

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Sewing | DIY Halloween Costume | Halloween Costume | Toddler Outfit | Toddler Costume | Hippie Costume

 

But don’t despair, if you don’t want to make the top, Osh Kosh’s Genuine Kids line for Target has tons of boho styles available right now and will work more than perfectly for this outfit. Check out some of the cute options below.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Sewing | DIY Halloween Costume | Halloween Costume | Toddler Outfit | Toddler Costume | Hippie Costume

For the accessories I got a boho headband from Icing which was on clearance and I picked up the peace sign necklace and cute aviator sunglasses (which she refused to wear) from Claire’s. The sandals Riley is wearing are from Target this past summer, but they still have a few on sale including these with fringe!


Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Sewing | DIY Halloween Costume | Halloween Costume | Toddler Outfit | Toddler Costume | Hippie Costume

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Sewing | DIY Halloween Costume | Halloween Costume | Toddler Outfit | Toddler Costume | Hippie Costume

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Sewing | DIY Halloween Costume | Halloween Costume | Toddler Outfit | Toddler Costume | Hippie Costume

The look could be complete there or if you have a natural-looking mini guitar or ukulele around, it would be the perfect extra finishing touch. The ukulele Riley’s holding was super reasonably priced from Amazon, and sounds great. She loved playing with it and I’m hoping to get her into guitar lessons eventually so this will be a nice stepping stone instrument for her.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Sewing | DIY Halloween Costume | Halloween Costume | Toddler Outfit | Toddler Costume | Hippie Costume

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Sewing | DIY Halloween Costume | Halloween Costume | Toddler Outfit | Toddler Costume | Hippie Costume

I loved how this all came together and couldn’t resist posting a few more shots. If you’re wondering about the camera, that is my Fuji Instax Mini 90. I love it!! Riley finds it pretty cool too.

Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Sewing | DIY Halloween Costume | Halloween Costume | Toddler Outfit | Toddler Costume | Hippie Costume Sew Jersey Mama | DIY Sewing | DIY Halloween Costume | Halloween Costume | Toddler Outfit | Toddler Costume | Hippie Costume

 

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