Slipcover for Ikea Poang Kid Chair

October 21, 2015

This isn’t a tutorial because I followed this one from Just the Bee’s Knees almost exactly, so go over there and follow her fantastic directions.  I skipped the piping and used indoor/outdoor fabric b/c I love using that with little ones around.  Things wipe off SO easily.  It’s like magic.

These slipcovers were super duper easy.  (I made two.)  It was another one of my maternity leave projects that I completed shortly after I gave birth and ended up using it for Z’s monthly photo.  I love looking at her progression from not being able to support her head to climbing in and out of the chair like a big girl.  (I loved it so much that I’m cautiously posting photos of her online!)


monthly photos

Quick Update and Backpacks

October 1, 2015

Are you wondering where I went? Did you think I stopped doing fun projects and started going to sleep earlier?  Well, I’m happy to report that I have continued adding and checking off things on my project to do list, but have been terrible about blogging about them.  I’ll be posting about them soon … hopefully!  In the meantime, I made a lot of backpacks during my blog hiatus – 5 to be exact!  I made a few for birthday presents and then new ones for my twins that are bigger than the ones I made before.  I even figured out how to add pockets!

bunny backpacklining 2 duck backpack lining








lion backpacklion backpack




















DIY pillowcases

May 31, 2015

My kids’ pillows always end up out of their pillowcases by morning, so I decided to make them some fun envelope style pillowcases.  Fleece was also on sale at Joann’s for 60% off, which helped motivate me to get my sewing machine back out after a long hiatus.

(Please excuse the terrible photo quality and angles.  It was nighttime and I only had my cell phone camera, but you get the idea!)

From this cute fabric


to these cute pillows that won’t fall out by morning.


Note: There’s another way to make envelope pillows where the fold is on the inside, but I prefer the look of this way.  Plus, my kids are less likely to stuff random things inside when the envelope is the way I describe below.

Step 1: Measure your pillow and cut your fabric

Each pillowcase takes 1 yard of fabric.  I discovered there wasn’t really a standard size pillow, so I measured the ones that my kids currently use, which used to be on our bed and are a different size than our new ones.  Weird, right?  Any way, the ones on their bed are about 17.5″ x 26″.

After washing, the fleece I bought was about 40″ wide and 35″ long.  I folded this in half hot dog style (yes, I used to teach middle school) and cut 2″ off the selvedge edges so the fabric was 36″ wide.  Then I trimmed the bottom of the fabric so it was 34″ long.

Now, cut 7.5″ on the folded seam and cut out that rectangle, so one side is 26.5″ long.

Step 2: Hem

On the shorter side, cut 1/2″ on the half seam line and hem this.  On the longer side, fold over 1/2″ and then another 1/2″ so that the cut edge doesn’t show.  Hem this.  At this point, the shorter side is 26″ long and the other side is 33″ long.  One of the great things about fleece is that it doesn’t fray, so you don’t have to worry about serging or zig zag stitching the raw edges.  I do like the look of a finished edge on the part of the envelope that will show.

step 2

Step 3: Fold and Sew

Fold the long side up so both sides are even.  You should have a rectangle that is 36″ x 26″.

step 3a

Then fold this in half right sides together so you have a rectangle that is 18″ x 26″.  Now you’re going to sew a 1/2″ hem around 3 sides (not the side with the envelope opening).  Yes, you do have to hem the side that was folded because this keeps in the envelope in.  Your pillowcase is now 17″ x 25.5″, which is a tiny bit smaller than the pillow so it fills out nicely.

step 3b

Step 4: Flip and Stuff

Flip your pillowcase rightside out and put the pillow in.  Ta da!

finished pillow

DIY Toddler Backpacks

June 16, 2014

I made backpacks for C&R!  It was the first thing I ever made with a pattern and it was shockingly easy.  Patterns are great!  I used this Made by Rae pattern and followed the directions almost exactly.

Since she sells her patterns, I won’t do a step by step here, but it really was very simple (other than the brief sewing machine torture I endured and wrote about here).



(And here are two not great photos of the lining – I couldn’t figure out how to photograph them unscrunchy.  Sorry!)

20140616_211629  20140616_211648

Two tips:

1. If you’re doing an applique, do it before you assemble the backpack.  I didn’t do that because I didn’t think about it beforehand and it was a pain in the butt.

2. When/if you sew the lining, measure your actual zipper area – don’t just follow the pattern.  For whatever reason, mine turned out a bit shorter than in the pattern, so I had to add a couple pieces of fabric after the fact to the lining to cover up the zipper area.  It’s barely noticeable, but save yourself the hassle.

Next time

I would add pockets with elastic on each side and also at least one on the inside.  I don’t think it would be hard to do, I just forgot to do it and didn’t want to disassemble the backpacks just to add the pockets.  Instead, I’m going to make a few small pouches for snacks, art supplies, etc for our upcoming trip.  I’ll post about those soon.


Even though I’d make some changes, I think these turned out pretty great for a first attempt and my boys seem to love them, especially R!



Pouf Update – Baffle Box Cushion

May 2, 2014

I’m a Craigslist junkie.  I seriously might have some kind of diagnosable FOMA related, deal finding, need-to-upgrade disorder.  Someone was giving away a huge amount of down feathers and I couldn’t resist getting them to stuff my poufs with.  I originally used blankets and pillows and they were fine, but would get a bit lumpy and needed to be rearranged from time to time.

I was concerned the down would shift too much if I just sewed one big stuffing cushion, so I thought I would either need to sew multiple small cushions or figure out how to sew baffles.  I decided to do that latter because small cushions might shift just like one big cushion.

Disclaimer: I am NO expert.  I didn’t even know what baffles were when I first got the feathers.  I have no idea if this is how you sew them since I couldn’t find any clear directions online, but I thought this post might be helpful to other DIYers trying to wing it.  The general idea is to do the same thing you do to make the pouf with two additional vertical pieces to create baffles to keep the feathers in place.  I changed the order that I attached the pieces so that I’d have less fabric in the way while I sewed, but I think there are lots of different ways you can do this.  My one big tip is to make sure you’re sewing the right seams together.  I made a couple mistakes born out of overenthusiasm and had to rely on my trusty seam ripper to make it right.

I used Roc-lon Feather-Guard Ticking, which is specifically meant to keep your feathers from poking out through your fabric.  Since my poufs are 26″x26″x10″, I decided to make the stuffing cushion 25.5″x25.5″x9.5″.  (Please note: After I was done I realized I should have make the inner cushion slightly bigger than the outside.  Sigh!)

I tried to take during pictures, but I couldn’t because I needed multiple arms to hold it in a way to show anything helpful and I’m not an octopus.  Sorry!  I did try to break down what I did in detail so you could follow along and I’m happy to answer questions.  Also, here’s a drawing that might be helpful to visualize what you’re trying to do:


Step 1: Cut fabric pieces

For each cushion, cut (includes 1/2″ seam allowance)

  • 2 – 26.5″x26.5″ – top and bottom
  • 4 – 26.5″x10.5″– rectangular sides (Since the fabric I was using was 44″ wide, I cut 4 pieces to minimize waste.  If you are using wider fabric or making smaller poufs, you can cut 2 longer pieces.  That’s what I did for the poufs.)
  • 2 – 26.5″x10.5″ – baffles that are sewn parallel to the sides and perpendicular to the top/bottom

A, B = top/bottom

C, D = sides

E, F – baffles

Step 2: Sew baffles (E, F) to top (A) and bottom (B)

Since your top and bottom are 26.5″ wide, you want to sew your baffles 9″ from each side.  Measure and use a sewing marker (ink disappears) to mark where this is.  Iron a 1/2″ seam on your baffles and pin them to the lines you drew on the top.  Sew these.  Do the same thing to sew the baffles to the bottom.

Step 3: Sew sides of sides (C, D)

Iron your seams so that your side is 25.5″ plus the 1/2″ seams.  Mark 9″ from each side on two of the sides and draw a line with a sewing marker like you did in step 2.  You should have drawn 4 lines total.  Pin and sew the four sides together so you have a continuous loop.  Make sure that you alternate the ones with the lines and the ones without.

Step 4: Sew baffles (E, F) to sides (C, D)

Sew the short sides of your baffles to the 4 lines you drew in steps 3.

Step 5: Sew sides (C, D) to top (A)

Sew the sides to the top.  When you get to the end of each side, just leave your needle in, turn your fabric and keep sewing.  There’s no need to do each side separately.

Step 6: Sew sides (C, D) to 3 sides of bottom (B)

Sew 3 sides of the bottom to the sides (C, D) leaving open one side where you can see into the baffles.

baffle box

Step 7: Stuff and sew 4th side to bottom (B)

Feathers are hard to work with.  They stick to everything and they fly everywhere.  If you can do this outside, do.  I did this out of the trunk of my car and it looked like I had slaughtered a chicken.  Fill the 3 baffles with feathers to your desired firmness and then sew the last side shut, keeping the feathers in as best you can.  You can also fill one at a time and sew each section closed before stuffing the next, which is what I did, though I’m not sure it actually made a difference in reducing the number of feathers flying around.  It did help in that it’s harder to sew when more baffles are full and in the way, but you can do it!

baffle box

Step 9: Stuff, fluff, and admire

Put your inner cushion inside your pouf, zip it up, fluff it up, and admire your work!  (and vacuum up  the stray feathers!)

stuffed pouf

As noted earlier, I realized after stuffing that I should have made the inner cushion slightly bigger than the cover so that it would be full.  Oh well.  I used a couple small down blankets to fill the space, so it doesn’t look that weird (and certainly not as lumpy as it was when it was filled with blankets and pillows), but it was a bit of a buzzkill.



DIY $14 Kid’s Picnic Table

April 21, 2014

Since the weather’s getting nice, I wanted to make my kid’s a little table for sitting outside.  I prefer wood to plastic and kind of like this Ikea Reso table, but it looks a little thin to me.  So, I decided to make a more traditional picnic table using Ikea Sultan Lade bed slats.

table 3

I got inspiration and guidance from the following sites:

If I was just using lumber, the Ana White instructions are probably all you need, but since I was trying to hack the bed slats I already had, I used those sites for guidance and sort of winged it so that it would be the right size for my kids.  (Sometimes I think I should rename this blog “DIY By the Seat of Your Pants” of “Hoping for the Best DIY”.)

Step 1: Remove straps and staples

Remove the fabric straps and staples from the bed slats so you’re left with just the wood.  I used my handy tack remover tool that I bought for reupholstering a chair (I owe you a post on that) to loosen the staples and a pair of needlenose pliers to pull them out.  The staples will leave a slight mark in the wood, but you can put that side down when you’re assembling your table or use wood filler if it really bothers you.

Step 2: Table top

I decided to make this table slightly bigger than the table my boys use inside because I want it to last for a while.  This meant that I had to buy an extra piece of lumber to cut two support pieces for the bench (more on that in Step 4) that are a bit longer than the slats, which are 30″ long.  If you want to stick to standard kid sized furniture, you can make it all with just the bed slats.

I cut 4 slats 19 1/2″ long.  (Confession: I have a fear of large power tools, so whenever I say that I cut something, I mean, I kindly asked my partner to cut and he obliged.)  (Also, big thanks to my personal tool library C&J who kindly lend me their power tools whenever I ask.)  I cut 45 degree triangles off the ends of 2 of these.  These are used to support the top and attach the legs.  I screwed each of these supports together in an L shape.

I laid 5 pieces face down, spaced 1/2″ apart (It would be good to use something like shims or cardboard to keep the spacing even, which, of course, I didn’t do) on the floor.  Each slat is 3 1/2″ wide, so the top is 19 1/2″ wide and 30″ long.  I measured 2″ in from each side, placed the supports on the table top, and screwed them to the table top.



Step 3: Legs

I wanted the table to be 25″ off the ground, so I held a slat up to the table top at an angle that would make the top about 25″ and then marked that angle with a pencil.  I’m sure there’s a more mathematical way to do this, but I figured I had extra slats, so why not try winging it first?  I cut the same angle off the other side so the leg would be flat on the ground.  I did the same on another slat, held them up to table top to see if it worked, and it did!  Can you believe it?  I cut two more for the other side.

I screwed these on from the inside to hide the screw holes.  I used a level to make sure the table top was parallel to the ground because nothing is worse than food sliding off a table!

Step 3

Step 4: Benches

To make the benches, I cut 1 slat into 4 – 7 1/2″ long pieces to attach the slats for the benches.  I screwed them 2 3/4″ in from the end to the two slats making up the bench.  They should be even with the equivalent pieces supporting the table top.


I figured where the seats start should be about even with the end of the table.  Actually, I think for little kids, it would be even better to have them slightly under the table so they’re more likely to drop food on the table instead of on their lap, but I thought that might look weird and I couldn’t do that because of where my legs ended up (you could plan ahead, aka not “wing it”, to avoid this if you wanted the seats to go under).

So, the seats ended up about 1/4″ from the table edge, so the supports for the benches would need to be 7 1/2″ + 7  1/2″ + 19 1/2″ + 1/4″ + 1/4″ = 35″ wide.  So I cut my 1″ x 4″ x 6′ Select Pine Lumber in two 35″ pieces and cut 45 degree triangles off each end.

I screwed, from the inside, the seat supports in place 12″ off the ground, so the seats will be 12 3/4″ off the ground.  I used a level to make sure they were parallel to the ground.  Better to be safe than having crooked benches and sliding kids!

Step 4a

Then I screwed the benches into the seat support.  I had to screw these from the outside, but the screws are slightly hidden by the bench overhang.


Step 4c

I also added an additional support beam between the two bench supports.

2014-04-16 20.36.26

Here’s a picture of the table upside down so you can see all the places I screwed.2014-04-16 20.38.42

Step 5: Paint

At first, I was going to stain the table, but couldn’t resist using a fun color instead, so I used Benjamin Moore Arborcoat solid in Meridian Blue (761).  You can get Arborcoat in any BM color.  I use Zinsser Cover Stain primer that can be used for interior or exterior because I had it.  If I didn’t have any, I would have taken my chances and just used the BM Arborcoat because it says it’s self-priming on most surfaces.  It took 2 coats of Arborcoat and then I applied two thin coats of Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane that we happened to have from when we built and painted our vegetable box.  A nice benefit of painting vs staining is that I painted over the screws, so they blend in more than if I had stained.

table 2

Looks pretty good, right?  The wood is definitely not super high quality, so I’m hoping that the spar urethane will help the table withstand some kid beatings, but I’ll do an update if it turns out Ikea bed slats are not up to the task!  Next job: building a deck (or more accurately, getting a deck built!)


  • Full size Ikea Sultan Lade bed slats – $0 (free on Craiglist, but $30 if you buy them new)
  • 1 – 1″ x 4″ x 6′ Select Pine Lumber – $6.50
  • 1 1/4″ exterior screws – $7.50 for a box with enough screws to make many more tables!
  • Benjamin Moore Arborcoat sample can – $0 (I had a coupon, but usually $5)

Total: $14


DIY Big Square Pouf

April 3, 2014

I was looking for something to cozy up C&R’s reading nook.  There’s a lovely plush, shag carpet, but we moved the couch that separated this area from the “active zone” (slide, basketball hoop, general mayhem) and I felt like it needed some type of barrier.

play room

I decided to make a few large throw pillow type things to create a “border”.  (Also, I have a teepee in the works and that will need some cozying up inside too.)pouf

Decisions, Decisions

Poufs are all the rage lately.  Round ones, rectangular ones, hexagonal ones.  Ones for kids, ones for adults.  They stack easily, which seems useful when you need to have more open space.  Very importantly, they seemed pretty easy to make, especially now that I am less intimidated by my sewing machine and buoyed by my glider makeover makeover success.

BeanSack Polka Dot Green Bean Bag ChairI ruled out beanbag chair fairly quickly because even though I love the classic, big beanbag chair for lounging, it seemed like too much for my purpose.  Also, because it’s round, you have to sew multiple non-rectangular panels together and I was kind of over that post-glider makeover makeover.

TurquoiseI thought about just making really big pillows like this one from Fatboy.  They seem kind of like beanbag chairs, but easier to make.  I decided they looked too sloppy and had the potential to become weapons (humongous pillow + out of control pillow fight = sad momma).

Poufs It Is

So, it’s pretty obvious that I decided to make poufs.  Most of the ones I saw online were pretty small, like just for sitting on, but I decided to make bigger ones so they could be for sitting, laying, and climbing between the tranquil reading nook and the mayhem filled “active zone”.  (Ha ha ha.  I crack myself up sometimes pretending like C&R actually distinguish between these zones!)

I decided to make 2 poufs that are 26″ x 26″ x 10″.

I originally was going to make the tops/bottoms a solid color because I didn’t like how the patterns would be mismatched if I didn’t, but it would have required extra fabric, so I decided to get over the mismatching and embrace a little chaos 😛

I used Premier Prints fabric.  The zig zag pouf is called Zoom Zoom and is in the color Summerland/Natural.  The geometric pattern is Magna in Lemon/Natural.  I purposely picked two fabrics that would go well with each other.  I like Premier Prints 7 oz cotton duck.  It’s thick enough for something like a pouf, but not hard to sew.

Materials (per pouf)

  • 1 1/2 yards fabric (54″ wide), washed/dried to avoid shrinking later
  • 22″ zipper
  • Thread (I like Coats Outdoor, but you could probably use other thread as long as it could sew threw thicker cotton.)
  • Stuffing (I used extra pillows and blankets we had.  You could also cut up old tshirts, sheets, etc into strips or buy foam.  It took a LOT to fill these large poufs, so if you’re buying stuffing, you might not want to make them this big.)

Step 1: Cut fabric pieces

For each pouf, cut (measurements including a 1/2″ seam allowance)

  • 2 – 53″x11″ – rectangular sides (52″x10″ without seam allowance)
  • 2 – 27″x27″ – top and bottom (26″x26″ without seam allowance)

If you are going to pattern match, when you are cutting, you need to pay attention to the pieces that will be lined up.  An alternative is to cut larger pieces and then trim later once you’ve matched.  Another alternative is to try to embrace random chaos in your patterns – I know, easier said than done.

A, B = top/bottom

C, D = sides

Step 2: Sew sides of sides (C, D)

Iron your seams so that your side is 26″ plus the seams.  Where you iron your seam should depend on how your pattern looks.  When you sew C and D together, they should look continuous.  Pin and sew the two sides of your sides together.DSC_0797_22014-04-03 14.50.09



I like to always iron and pin my seams.  Well, more accurately, when I iron and pin my seams, things turn out much better.  Sometimes I pretend I don’t need to do this and it doesn’t always turn out well.  I also like to use a sewing marker (ink disappears) to mark where the seam will end so I don’t oversew it and know when to turn my fabric.

2014-04-03 14.57.02

As you sew, remove the pins when you get close to them.


Step 3: Sew sides (C, D) to top (A)

Next, you’re going to sew the sides to the top.  This is slightly confusing to explain because each of your side pieces (C, D) is actually two sides, so I will refer to them as half sides and C and D as sides.  Start with the half of your long side that you want to pattern match and continue to do all 4 sides.  When you get to the end of each side, just leave your needle in, turn your fabric and keep sewing.  There’s no need to do each side separately.


Step 4: Sew sides (C, D) to bottom (B) and sew zipper in

Repeat step 3 except leave the last half side open for the zipper.  Pin the zipper in place.  I keep it closed so I make sure that each side is lined up.  Then I unzip it to sew each side of the zipper to the fabric.

2014-04-03 19.59.13

2014-04-03 20.03.27

Since each side is 26″ and the zipper is 22″, you’ll need to sew 2″ on each end.  So sew 2″, then sew one side of the zipper.



Then, sew the other 2″ and sew the other side of the zipper.

Flip that pouf right side out and admire your work!



Step 5: Stuff

Stuff your pouf!  If I wasn’t using easily removable stuffing (like bean bag pellets or anything very small), I would have sewn an inner pouf with cheap material so the cover would be easy to take off and wash.

Since I was using blankets and pillows to stuff my poufs, they aren’t perfectly rectangular, but I’m okay with that.  If you’re not, you just need to be less haphazard about how you stuff whatever you’re stuffing.

All done!  Now grab a book, lay on your pouf, and relax.  Oh, I mean, show your kids what you made for them 😛




2014-04-03 21.31.41


  • $10-$12 – Material
  • $1.50 – Zipper
  • $2 – Thread

Total: About $15/pouf.