Saturday, December 31, 2011

Coat Cubbies

I thought our system of having a couple hooks for coats & hats worked acceptably... Until winter hit.

Last spring, I put up two hooks outside the closet; One for the kids, one for us (and one in the closet for my purse and diaper bag).  But soon sweatshirts were replaced by light jackets, replaced by heavy jackets, and finally replaced by a layering of both the heavy and light jackets.  One hook for two sweatshirts = fine.  One hook for 4 coats, a light jacket, and an occasional purse = the picture below.

This was hook was actually under a pile of clothes when I found it.

So in the meantime we were back to the old standard of coat 'hanging'.  And since I'm already complaining, our mittens and hats storage needed some help too.  Several years ago I made some cute bins out of a few old diaper wipes boxes and scrapbooking paper.  Those worked well at first, but as we had more heads and hands to cover we found they weren't spacious enough.  There was always an avalanche when I both put them up and took them down. Finding stuff was a pain too. They were stored up higher than I could see, I always had to take at least one (usually all) of them down to get what I wanted. It always seemed like we had way too many of offseason hats and no current ones.  Plus things there was no way the kids could put their stuff away themselves.   Bleh. 

Unfortunately, it was usually all over the floor and not piled up like this.
 
So, we were back to occasionally hanging up coats when we feel like it (sometimes breaking those stupid plastic hangers), but usually just tossing our coats on the floor with other outerwear and bags.  But no longer!

After a couple days of begging, my husband approved my taking on another project.  I decided to keep it simple and only make two cubbies and to put some sort of simple shelf on the bottom of the cubbie.   I also wanted to be able to hang up the offseason clothes on one side of the closet, and as we're renting, I didn't want to invest to much into the design/materials.   I'm hoping to repurpose this wood if doesn't work in our next home.   A quick online search told me the baskets I was planning to get from Target were 10.5" wide, but I opted to give us more coat room and build it 12.5" wide and hope for the best.

Once the design was done we were off to the lumber store.  I bought (3) 12" x  8'  x 3/4" and (3) 2-packs of hooks.  The screw I had, but I'll add them to the cost as well.  It was around $53 for the lumber, hooks, and screws, which was more than I was hoping, but still within what I was willing to put out.  I came home and started working on it right away.  The usefulness to construction difficulty has got to be the highest ratio of projects I've done.



I used my inexpensive mini krieg jig and a powerful corded power drill for the pocket holes, hand saw for the cuts, and my stupid-can't-hold-a-charge-cordless-drill for setting the screws... and it still took only about 1.5- 2 hours to get to the point below, despite a one-year-old's 'help' and the stupid cordless power drill.  After adding in the a couple boards for backing and hooks, I stopped at this point to wait until I bought baskets; I wanted make sure I got the height of the shelves right (and go to bed).  That turned out to be an even better decision than I expected.


I really wanted to get the project completely finished, so despite being a bit small for the space at 10.5" x 10.5", I was planning on settling on bins I knew I could find same day and not shopping around. I was planning on picking up some of Targets standard baskets, which were on sale for $5.99 this week.  However, I got totally lucky and instead found baskets in their 'dollar store' section up front.  They were perfect!  Only $2.50 each and 12" x12"!  Just the width and depth of the space I was hoping to fill.  I went home, found the right height for the shelves and fitted those in! 


 I'm really happy with it so far.  I moved the winter hats, mittens and babylegs out of the boxes above into the black bins.  I left the summer stuff, sunglasses and some of the less frequently used winter stuff up top.  It really great to have those separated.  It actually feels like the number of hats and mittens we own has doubled just by having them all together.  Really.  I've already found it so much easier to find winter accessories and put them away when I'm done. And also very important....  My floor now can be used for it's intended purpose- walking!




Friday, December 9, 2011

Dollhouse Plans Updated

"Ugh Dad...?  Comb-over fail."

I finally got around to updating my DIY doll house furniture plans page from the scattered mess it was before.  It has a material lists, instructions for the more complicated furniture, and updated pictures.  Check it out here!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Night in the life

My friend had posted this link on facebook:


I read it, thinking, this women is not that much different than me.  I nurse a toddler,  we co-slept (now transitioning to a crib in our room) and have the bigger kids in their own room.  Coincidentally, I also typically have a picture of myself, my child, and my mei tai in my avatar. And, like her, sometimes I do have beautiful peaceful bedtimes with my kids.

However, on a regular basis my nights go more like this:

I sit down with a sleeply baby and try to look at a board book.  He alternates between trying to tear the pages out of the book and flashing me the milk sign.  Although we were only able to get to 'read' the first page, we stop. His milk sign is so cute and quite hard to resist.  I figure he must be tired,  so I get up to change him into a new diaper and pajamas.  He screams and cries the whole time.  Every time the diaper tab is almost closed, he sits up.  By the time I get him laying down, I have to readjust the diaper and it starts over.  This happens at least twice a diaper change.  Once we're done I pick him up and bring him to my room, to fight him into jammies that always seem too tight.

Picture perfect, just me, nursing my toddler in a rocking chair.  Nip.  Nope, not on my finger.  He looks and me and giggles.  I don't smile and ignore it.  Nip.  Giggles.  This time I say say no.  Nip.  Teeth sink in and he turns his head (moms, you know what I'm talking about).  I stifle my bubbling anger, calmly say no and close up my shirt.  My moment of pride that I had kept calm is immediately terminated when in one solid motion, he slaps me in the face, rips off my glasses and throws them to the ground.

I quickly get up and carelessly put him in the crib.  It only takes a couple seconds for me to realize I was acting too harshly, so I place the blanket on him with extra care.  I stay and sit on the floor next to the crib.  Slowly, I get him to lay his head on the pillow and rest.  Minutes tick by, but it wont be much longer.  He sucking his thumb and his eyes are closing.  After his eyes close for about a minute I look at the clock and congratulate myself.  Only 5 minutes.  Nice.  He must sense my thoughts, his eyes pop open and he giggles, looking as though they were never heavy in the first place.  I wait another 10 minutes.  30 minutes. After more than 50 minutes, he's finally asleep.  I leave the room.

I glance down the hall where my husband is arguing with my big kids, who are laying in bed, about another cup of water.  I think to myself, I'll come back in 5 minutes, when they've calmed down.  I go down downstairs and think about what do with the few hours I have to myself.  I decide I'll tackle some house work, and fold laundry while watching TV.  I drag the laundry baskets in, turn on the TV, and get it to the program I want.  I sit down, and let the peace sink in.  I remember I was supposed to check on my big kids, so I pause the TV and head upstairs.  I see my big kids are much calmer now, and I'm looking forward to the few quality minutes I get to spend with them everyday.  Then I hear my toddler cry.

I sigh, turn away from the big kids room, and go to rock my toddler to sleep.  I never get back to relaxing and the kids are asleep by the time I go check on them. 

Maybe tomorrow's bedtime will be better.

Monday, October 10, 2011

DIY Balance Bike Finished

I used some of this great (80 degree) October weekend to finish up two projects.  The first was the balance bike I started in the spring.  It's a bummer that I didn't get it done for use this summer, but I'm glad it's done and he still have a few months to use it before winter. 

So...  Ta da!


 Yes, I love it, and I'm glad it'd done.  It's inspired by kiddi moto's line of balance bikes.  Below are the images I  used to compile my design of the bike.  I started with a simple Skuut bike design, and worked my way towards a motorcycle. I ended up very similar design to the kiddi-moto syle bike, shown at the top left.  I tried to keep the frame (the black part) one peice, as shown below, but for several reasons it wouldn't work.  In the end, I do like my design, but I think if I were to make more and more of these, my design would start to look more like the kiddi-moto design.  Their assembly seems easier, and their design looks more a typical motorcycle.  Kudos to the designers, they did a good job. 

My Inspiration Photos

My scaled Mock-Up

 I used plywood leftover from our toy storage shelf and other projects, so I can't really estimate the cost well.   I had a hard time finding good wheels that didn't cost $20 each.  I should have headed to the recycling center/dump, but I never did hit a good time to go check it out.  Regardless, I was able to find wheels from Craigslist off an older style little bike.

First, I printed off the plans I made up in inkscape and then traced and cut those out of the plywood.  I will eventually have plans & a pdf pattern up here (or on ana-white.org) for both the motercycle and Skuut style balance bike...  ( Nag me, and maybe I'll get around to it sooner.)


 After the pieces were cut out, I assembled the front sections.  It would have been a lot easier to just stop at the skuut bike set-up.  All I'd need saw the front of the frame differently, and this would have practically been done.... but I guess I like the challenge.  This is also when I realized that it's too wide (seat area and legs were effected) to have the motercycle section on top of the 'V' shaped  frame.  Plus the frame was made too short and sat over the wheel section slightly.

Could have almost been done.  Ha.

Old 'V' frame style.  I took out the little block there and re-drilled that hole.

So I had to scrap the 'V' shaped frame and chopped those pieces down, take out the little angle block.  Then I didn't take any pictures, but was able to get to the point of having a working prototype.  There are two seat height settings.  The whole body pivots around a screw at the front and the bolt in the center of the body controls the height.  I wish I could get a few more inches on it though. I was still using the two wheels stolen from the other kids bikes and there was no formal seat, but it was good enough to have the kids test it for me. I took it out the hill with the kids in tow and they seemed to enjoy it.  However, it's construction meant two other bikes destruction so it was disassembled soon afterwards :(

Skip ahead about 2 months...  I found an older bike on craigslist, and using this site, was able to get the coaster brake off the back wheel.  However, the back wheel axle was bigger than that of my prototype bike (I've learned so much), and I need to re-drill....  unfortunately I didn't have the right size drill bit, no drill press and the holes got misaligned, and mishapen.  Bummer.  I did give the bike a nice paint job with just a couple cans of glossy spray paint and some contact paper.  Still, I needed to re-do the back supports before it could be ridden.

Looks good... but it's not.
:pout:
 Finally.  This last weekend I made new back wheel supports.  Before I drilled, I aligned the back supports and penciled lines all over both side.  From my first attempt, I knew it would be hard to find the right spot for those to attach to the main section of the bike (yes, I could have attached first, then drilled, but this seemed more likely to get a straight hole alignment).  I drilled a small pilot hole  and then the inner countersink.  Those were needed to recess the nuts around the large hub of the back wheel.  Finally, using the right size drill bit (from my kreg jig, haha), I made the holes.  I was very careful when aligning the back wheel, and got it just right!  Who-hoo!  I also added in a little seat.  I was planning on making it softer with some foam and black PUL, but I didn't come up with a good way to attach it quickly.  I have some ideas now, but I'll wait to see if he complains before I add anything else to my to-do list.

Second Test Run -Works great!

At this point we did some more test runs.  This bike is a great size for my son, who's 3 1/2.  He was able to glide around on it, and practice putting his feet up.  However, my 5 1/2 year old daughter seemed much to big for it, and struggled to make it stable.  I haven't tried it with my 1-year-old, but think the age for this bike is about 18 mo to 5 years.

The new back supports were painted black and per my son's request,  the handlebar's red.  He was right, they look cooler.  Here's the final battery of images.  After this test run, I added in a 'kickstand'.  My  son was very displeased with any changes to his new awesome bike, but I think the kickstand is one very nice accessory.




Overall, I think this project could have been a lot easier if I had the right tools to do the job.  I sort of impulsively started the project, and paid for it later.  At first I didn't have the right bolts or dowel for the handle bar.  Nor did I have any wheels.  I didn't have a drill press, or even the right drill bits.  I used the biggest bit for the handle bar holes I had, but spent at least an hour with sandpaper trying to get the hole 1/4" bigger.. and still round.  Initially, I did much of the work in a carpeted entry room, jig-sawing on a couple small bins, with a bunch of our moving stuff around me. Not the ideal work place.  After I moved I had more room to work and a better set-up, but still not the best tools and it still took me a really long time to find wheels.  Later on, I had to wait on the project to get red spray paint and the wood for the seat (and some other projects).    This project took a lot more time than I had hoped, but I think much of that was just poor planning and part of the learning process.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Isaac's Birthday & Blocks

Poor sick baby before food :(
Isaac turned 1 this September, but sadly, he came down with Roseola on his birthday.  I thought he might not be well enough to even have a celebration, but after some Tylenol and food he perked up.

See how much more alert he looks after he ate?
On the presents... We kept it really simple and only gave him 3 presents, since we have SOOOooo many toys and at 1, he doesn't really get it yet anyway.  The first was a the waterproof bib.  We have two waterproof ones already, but I one more never hurts :)  If you can't tell, it's got cute little car prints inside the 1.  I had actually originally made the embroidered part earlier it to stock in my store, but I never got around to finishing it.  Sometimes I feel more motivated to finish things when I know I won't have to take the time to list them online :(



The second present was a CamelBak water bottle. He loved stealing his older sibling's bottles, so I figured he would really enjoy having his own.  He does.  I really love the design of this type of bottle ( I have one myself)- No spills and lots of water.  I would have gotten better prints for the older kids if I had known there more available than those on the CamelBak site/Target.  There are a ton of great prints out there now.

The middle block is the robot's 'button'.

Finally,  the 3rd, and my personal favorite present.  Handmade blocks.  We already had some cheap pine blocks from Christmas Tree shop that we bought for $3, which never got played with.  After babysitting my friend's son, I discovered that blocks can be quite fun to play with if  they're a good weight and size.  I scaled my blocks to have a unit block size of 11/16" x 1 3/8  x2 3/4", which is model after the set of mini unit blocks my friend has. It's half of the standard unit block size, and much better fit for a toddler.


With a little guidance from this site, we were confident enough to try to scrap together some blocks.  We bought stock maple from Lowes ( the main width being 1 1/2" x 3/4" x 8').  With my husband's help, we used a tablesaw to trim down the sides to the right widths.  We used a fence on one side of the tablesaw and cut several test pieces with scrap wood to get the dimensions as close as we could.  It'd say our final dimensions were only about 10 thou off, which far better than I expected, but when stacked up 10 blocks high, deviations can add up quick.  Some of the edges got burned and there were several places you could see blade marks/indentations.  I think some of that was inexperience on our part, but I think a lot of that was a really dull blade on my parent's tablesaw.  I would have bought a blade myself had I known it would be that bad. I would have loved to have used a planer, which is ideal, but I didn't get the time coordinated well enough with a coworker to use his.

After the wood was the right girth we used a chopsaw to cut the blocks to the right length.  We used a stopper to keep the dimensions accurate and consistent, and like before, we used several test cuts in scrap to get the dimension as best as we could.  We did have one problem when we got to the end of a triangle section and had barely anything to hold onto.  The piece went flying across the lawn just after breaking the sawdusk catcher on my parents chopsaw.  1) We probably shouldn't have tried it, and 2) I was told it's good practace to clamp a scrap board the back of the chopsaw, chop through that and then keep it there so there's less of (no) gap for the wood to shoot through.

 I also bought a block of hard maple at a real hardwood store.  We were planning on making some 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" blocks from it, but after the first cut, we gave up.  The tablesaw/weak blade could not handle that wood and we gave up.  Maybe at my friend's shop someday....

It took about 6 hours of cutting (including set up of the tools in the driveway) and about 2 hours of sanding down the edges later at home.  I'm very happy with the outcome, and they're quite fun to play with. But, to be clear, they're definitely not up to the quality/variety my friend has, but were around $100 cheaper.  I would love to have some curves/different styled triangles someday, but those will likely have to be purchased elsewhere, unless I get my dream workshop.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wall Art

Whew.  Well that was an interesting few months.  So we finished moving and I got a full time job.    How does this relate to the blog you ask?  Well the job means I'll have less time to blog :( but moving means I have some new projects to work on :)  First off... Wall Art!

This section is mostly finished!


Time: An estimated 8 hours (very little of it actually diligent work)
Cost: $35
Would I do it again: Absolutely.

Well, since I'm hoping to live in this place for at least a year, I figure it would be worth my while to actually decorate it.  Those lovely pictures on Etsy of elaborate wall art in [photoshopped] kid's rooms were always taunting me and my bare walls.... but the price made me wary of even mentioning the idea to my husband.  So, per usual, I wanted to DIY it.  Quick googling led me to find that it's just contact paper cut out and stuck to the walls.  No problem, right?  I'll just head to... wait, where the heck do I find contact paper?

Well a few months of hunting and I discovered that if I want to be particular about colors, which I did, there really wasn't anywhere local I could buy it.  After a bit more researching, I discovered regular 'shelf liner'/contact paper was not what I wanted.  I mean, I really do want this stuff to come off cleanly when I move.  Orical 631 was the answer and it's not at all hard to find when you google it by name (or google craft vinyl).  I bought it from CraftVinyl.com, and they seemed to have a good price on them, when you include shipping.

Before I ordered the vinyl, I wanted to have some idea of what to order.  So I started making a prototype in Inkscape of what I was thinking about doing.  Below is my 'Esty' shot - the digital art mashed with a picture of the room.  (Cough, Cough, Ignore that huggies wipes bag...  we did just move, ya know!)

Photoshopped prototype of what I was thinking of doing in this room.

If you've never used Inkscape before, it's a great program for making vector graphics.  Best of all - it's free and open source!  Anyway, I used it to figure out the colors and ballpark the amount of craft vinyl I wanted to order.  Once my order arrived I decided that printing the tree piece by piece would both waste time and ink.  So first I scaled my image in inkscape using the dimensions I measured in the room.  I decided to go a little smaller just to be conservative with my vinyl.  I really didn't want to run out mid-project.  Then I mirrored my image, and converted the grid to centimeters so as to match the back of the Orical Vinyl.  I used the grid method and a bounding box scaled to the size of the sheet of vinyl to transfer the big parts of the tree to the paper backing.  When I needed to start on a new sheet, I rotated the tree in the drawing to line up with bounding box.

Most of the branches that used the grid method.
The tree with all the branches
Once I finished up the main tree branches, I didn't bother using the grid method anymore.  I just printed an outline of the tree and cut out the little branches to match the drawing as I went.  My little helper (as shown in the picture above) was great.  She did most of the pressing and pulling off the backing of the leaves and little branches.  She had a blast doing this project with me and really was beaming the whole time.  She really wanted to do some leaves the first night, so I let her put some up before all the branches were done.

 
I printed out several sized and directions of the leaves (8 different leaves total, I think) on card stock and my little helper and I traced those onto the back of the paper.  I cut them out during a movie (see what I mean about diligent work).  Once the branches were in place we put on the leaves.   I took care to try to make the leave point to the outside so that they looked like they were blowing in the wind.  I also printed out the mirrored images of the birds and squirrel (he's modeled after "Jumpy Squirrel" from Curious George) and traced those out.

The Finished Tree!
After the animals were up I decided to add a little more color to the tree and put up some dark green leaves.  It definitely made it look more professional.   I didn't need to be conservative, I had enough to do the bigger size.  The tree took 3 12"x24" brown sheets and 2" 12x24" lime green sheets.  The rest of the colors came from the 12" 12" sheets of vinyl I bought. 

My daughter is still insisting on some butterflies over her bed, and we were going to put in some flowers around her side of the room, but most of that section is finished....  but there's still a lot more room to go!  Sorry if this is all very confusing - I'm typing in hurry!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

DIY Balance Bike

Okay, well it's not done yet, but I couldn't resist posting my latest project...


We really don't need one of these, since we already have a balance bike, sort of, and we have other bikes...  but I saw a motorcycle balance bike and I thought it was awesome.  I knew my 3 year old would love it, and when he outgrows it, his brother could play with it.

I still have to sand, drill and screw this thing together, but it's a start.  I have to cut the seat supports, some inner support and the seat itself.   Real wheels might be nice too, since I just stole these from other bikes hanging around the house.   If any one wants to let me borrow their drill press or router or give me two 12" front wheels, feel free!

I'm gonna have to redesign the inner part, to make it a little easier to figure out the supports, but that'll happen a different day.  I'm too tired to think and still have to vacuum before the landlady comes over :D

Monday, March 14, 2011

Longies!!!!!

So.... Knitting.  Yeah.  Well, a picture might show this one better.


The item on the left is a scarf I knitted when I was around 8.  I didn't know there was a purl stitch, but I think it was a good attempt.  I actually totally forgot I had made this until about a week ago when my daughter dug through the 'memory box' I had in my room. The item on the right is the sample I made in highschool when I learned there was a purl stitch and that I could make stripes ( I love stripes!).  I was happy with my sample.. but it never turned into the scarf I was planning on making for myself.

So when I decided I wanted to try to make longies...  even I was skeptical that I would finish since I've never finished a project, done increases, decreases, ribbing, rounds, short rows, seed stitches...  the list goes on. So after I did very little practicing, I started on circular needles and when I got a a decent looking short row and a few rounds, I decided to keep going... despite the fact that I skipped doing the ribbing.  Don't judge, I was just happy to make progress.

I'll spare you the details for now, but here's what I learned:
  • Knitting's not that hard to learn 
  • I was casting on wrong
  • Bamboo knitting needles are worth the money
  • Double pointed circular knitting isn't as hard as it seems
  • Circular needles are awesome
  • It's quite addicting and good to do when watching a movie
Well, here's the TONS of pictures of the progress:

This side's short row turned out fair.
This side's short row wrapping needs some loving.

This is when I decided to keep going despite the fact that I didn't do the top...  I thought I'd be able to figure it out later.  My short rows need a bit of  work, that's for sure.

I got to this point and was really proud of how far I had gotten.... but when I tried it on Isaac I was a sad, they seemed way too tight.  I was pretty worried that they wouldn't fit, but I pressed on. My Kitchener stitch got a little messed up in one spot, but I was still happy with being able to do it.


I finished the leg and used the seed stitch at the bottom.  I made it an inch longer so if he grows all of a sudden it'll still fit.  I continued using a 16" circular needle for the leg despite needing a 12" needle.  It was a bit annoying.  Yes I'm totally hacking these pants together.  It was at this point that my husband told me he didn't like the colors.  :(  He could have mentioned that while I was dying the yarn... right in front of him!


I decided just before starting the ribbing to buy the Eviepants pattern.  I figured if I was planning on buying it later, then why not buy it now and see if it could help with the ribbing (and sizing issue I was having).  I'll elaborate later, but I did like the eyelets it told me how to do in the ribbing.  It took a bit a work to figure out how to join the ribbing to the pants, but what I decided was to knit an extra row on the top and then use the Kitchener stitch.  This site made it easy to understand.  You can see in the picture with Isaac that there's a dip and bulge where the cast on edge and extra row are.  After I finish stitching all of it, I unraveled all of cast on edge and last row, and it blended in nice and flat!


Everything but the drawstring and weaving in ends is finished in this picture.  Yay!  I used double pointed needles for the other leg and that worked out well. It actually fits better at the thighs than I thought it would.  He's already worn it a few times just because they was hanging around and he was cold.

ALL FINISHED!!!
So that's them!  Took me about 3 weeks, a lot of wrong knitting needles, netflix (mythbusters!!!) and peppermint tea.  It was a good experience.  I like them, but I think that next time I won't do stripes.  I realized that since I like stripes... a lot of our shirts have stripes on them, so I want a pair of solid pants next time.  I have learned an insane amount about knitting.   I love learning things.  You can see the bad short rows on the side there.  I need to do a bit of practicing before I do another pair. I also need to add in 4 stitches (96 instead of 92) so the drawstring is even next time, you can see I had to double up in the back. 

Here's the details: I used the Aubrey DoodlePants Knitting Pattern on the top half, this pattern for the leg gussets and legs, and the Eviepants Pattern for the ribbing.  Turns out I did the size right... but Isaac has unusually large hips.  Now I know.  I used Alpine Wool from Jo-Anns and dyed all the colors (except black) with kool-aid using the microwave method.  I didn't see any reviews of people using this exact yarn, but for some reason it called to me so I wanted to try... we'll see how it wears over time.  I ended up buying 4 skeins of it (all with really good coupons, so it only cost about $10 total)... And I have a lot left over (hat maybe?).  Dyeing the yarn was no problem, I enjoyed it quite a bit and the kids could help.  I really liked using clover bamboo needles.  They actually made knitting enjoyable.  When I used metal for the ribbing (that's all I could find in the store), it was SOO annoying.  I'm never buying metal knitting needles again.  Even the sound bothers me.

So... Yay!  After approximately 11,452 stitches later - I'm finished! I still have to lanolize and I *may* over-dye the yellow parts green... but we'll see.  I don't want to ruin these and I'm not sure how they'd handle the heat of being dyed again.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mario Fridge Magnets


I made these Mario Magnets for my husband.  It wasn't exactly a Christmas present, but close.  He asked for these for Christmas, but I never liked the graphics in Super Mario Bros, and didn't want to have to stare at them every time I got milk.  So we used sprite sheets we found online for Super Mario World, which we both like the graphics of. I asked Jon what he character's he liked the most and then I moved, scaled, and arranged them so they would be easy to cut.

We then printed them out on flexible magnet sheets.  I used ones we found at Michaels, which did turn out to be thinner than I liked, but these seem promising too.  Anyway, print them, and cu tthem out.  Cutting them out is time consuming, but the fun is worth it for an evenings worth of work.

Check out the fun!




 We'll have to do some fun stop-action videos with these at some point... but probably when the kids are old enough to help more than harm.



If you'd like to make your own, give your email and you can have a copy of the PNG file.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mei Tai's

I've been on a Mei Tai making spree.  First, I made one for me, while I was pregnant last summer.  The reasons I wanted a new one (old one found here) was for more head support for baby, and since I wear a mei tai about 90% of the time I'm out with my kids, I wanted it to be more attractive.   I tried some new features with it, sleeping hood, longer straps, etc.

It took me a long time to find the print I wanted.  Jo-Ann's had nothing good for me, but I did notice that I really liked the tree print on the shopping bags up front, so at least I knew there was a print style I really liked.  Then I tried a large quilt shop.   There was some cute prints, but nothing I wanted to wear around for the next 2+ years.... but I did find a  remnant I liked.   It was small, but enough for me to piece it on the front.  Here it is, Mei Tai #2:

I also made a mini  version for my daughter with the leftover fabric.


The only problem was, once Ike was born and I started using it, I found out I hated MT#2.  The straps were more supportive, but annoying to put on and off quickly (which I loved about my other one).  The hood was annoying to use, and didn't work well as a storage pocket either (which I also loved about my old one).  The biggest annoyance was the body fabric.  It was too thick and didn't have enough drape.  Bleh!  I went back to using the 'gold standard' until Isaac was old enough that I had time to sew again.

Here's my current new one (MT#3). No hood, but a 'proprietary' sleeping design (not shown), shorter straps that only wrap around once, and the same type of fabric I used last time.  The body cut and shape and strap placement are what really makes it different then my first, and fix all the problems I had with that one.  I tried to simplify for this one.  I mean, that is what I like about mei tais isn't it?  I bought the same print in a different colorway. Seriously, I love this mei tai! 
My current awesome one!  Isaac's legs are tucked in (he's around 6 weeks old).
I think he looks manly without needing to flex :)
This is the next one I made.  It's was my sister's Christmas present.  She gave me the choice of fabrics she liked and I picked the one I liked best for her.  There were two small changes I made from mine that weren't worth taking the the time to 'fix' for me, but I knew I wanted to change for other designs.  So, this is the final design.  I tested it, and yup, I love this design

My sister's mei tai.
 This was the last one a friend commissioned me to do.  I used the same pattern I did for my for my sister's and it turned out great!

So, I've officially finished developing this pattern.  I'll be drafting it on the computer soon.  I've decided to sell it instead of offer it for free (I know, :( ), but  I did put a lot of time into the design.