Thursday, May 27, 2010

Infant Play Mat Combining Functionality and Design…

One of the things that I indulge in way too frequently is watching HGTV.  I don’t love all the shows, but I think the real problem is that as the ability to buy a house is approaching, I’m completely enamored in the idea of knowing what I want to do with my someday home.  Good grief, I’ve wished for a home since I was 14 and I asked my mom why she did something a certain way and she said “You do it your way when you have your own home”.  My favorite shows have designers staging or redecorating (I love “Divine Design”!).  Jared is a HGTV addict too but he’s much more interested in Holmes on Homes and the Home Buyers shows. 

One of the common threads that I’ve found in all this TV watching is that a lot of parents let their children’s toys overtake the main rooms of their homes.  In my parent’s home toys were banned from the front room.  This is fine and dandy if you have a family room as well as a living room.  But for those of us who have less space it’s tricky.          

I came up with a wonderful solution… I designed a tummy-time play mat that uses the colors of my front-room and is a piece of art—using a bold contrasting pattern while mixing patterns and not being too garish—a visual delight.  I used a combination of cotton, velvet, valor, and faux suede to indulge the tactile sense. The leaves make crackle noises while the centers of the flowers squeak.


Now my baby can play on the floor in happiness with lots of stimulation and my room still looks organized and modern.  I’m considering opening up an on-line shop to sell these.  I would customize them to match the colors of the room that they were made for (not necessarily the nursery colors).  What do you think?  Would you pay for something like this?  Or would you rather have a pattern and make your own? I am planning to design some that are more gender-neutral/masculine as well if this idea is well-received.  If you do like it, what would you pay for something like this? 


Constructive comments would be very welcome.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Repurposing Store-Brand Box


When Vivian was born, I got a darling gift-set for her from a woman in our ward.  It came in an equally cute box.  The only problem was that it had the store name on it.



Not a problem.  I Just added this…



Now it is ready to hold her darling memorabilia!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Add a little protein to your diet with something easy and delicious…

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while as it is one of my favorites and is really healthy.  When we lived with the 93-year-old woman who’s son and DIL were on their mission, part of the deal was that we have Sunday dinner together every week and then have the same thing for Monday night and then have a weekly game of scrabble.  She made the salads which was really great because I honestly hate to chop.  It has something to do with being a klutz and needing my fingers intact to play the violin…  So anyway, she introduced us to some very interesting, some very boring and some delicious recipes in the 18 months we lived there.  This recipe is by far my favorite one that she shared (I honestly am addicted).   I changed it around a little (as I do almost everything I cook).  What I really like to do with this is double it and have it for dinner and then for lunch the next day.  For those of you on diets, this is full of protein, fiber and good oils.  Bon app├ętit. 


White Bean Tuna Salad

2-3 Servings

-1 can white beans rinsed and drained well (or you can use dried that you’ve soaked overnight and boiled for at least an hour though I usually do two).

-1 can tuna  (Preferably Italian in Olive oil)

-1 cup of parsley, fresh, chopped (or to taste I usually only do about 1/4 cup)

-1/4 cup finely diced red onion (green onions are good too and then you only need 1-2 chopped)


-3 Tbs olive oil

-2 Tbs lemon juice

-salt and pepper to taste


1. Rinse beans in colander until no foam appears.  Let drain, pat dry  with paper towels.

2. Drain oil from tuna and discard; put tuna in mixing bowl.

3. Add beans chopped parsley, onion, and gently combine.

4. In small bowl, whisk olive oil and lemon juice.  Gently mix dressing into salad.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5.  Will stay good in refrigerator for a day or two.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Make-believe Sheath or Scabbard Tutorial

So Christian has ruined a belt and two ribbons that he has tied around his waist and used as a sheath while playing prince and so I promised to make him a sheath or scabbard.  I think it turned out rather well.  I think the next time I try this I’d like to try real leather though because the nature of his play is a little rough if you know what I mean.  He loves his sheath and it’s the thing he always has on at home if he’s not asleep. :)


It wasn’t too difficult though I wish that my eyelet’s worked better…they didn’t set well into the material so they turned out to be just holes but they look pretty cool if you ask me (the holes I mean).  It gives it a rustic look.  I’ll get more heavy-duty eyelets made for belts next time.

Materials Needed:

Sword (for measuring)

1/4 yd faux-leather/decor vinyl or other sturdy material


heavy-duty needles

scrap of contrast material



1. Place sword on material and fold over.  Leave at least 2 inches on each side of the sword.

 IMG_2678  IMG_2680

2. Fold bottom portion of scabbard in half and round off with scissors.


3. Measure contrasting material to match width of scabbard and cut to be 3 inches long.IMG_2682 IMG_2683

4. Fold bottom edge of contrasting material 1/2 inch.  Press.


5. Pin Contrast over top portion of scabbard.


6. Sew in place using a decorative stitch if desired

 IMG_2691 IMG_2692

7. Cut remaining material to be 6 inches wide and 5 inches longer than waist intended for (i.e. waist was 20 inches so cut material 25”x6”).


8. Cut a piece that is 6x5 for loop.


9.  Mark belt starting 2” from edge every inch for four inches.


10. Sew in female side of snaps at markings.


11. Fold Belt in half and then overlap  (as a belt does) and mark where male side of snaps go across from female snaps.  Sew snaps at markings (no photo).

12. Should have all three pieces prepared.  Can embellish by adding eyelets, grommets, or holes. 


13. Fold over top edge of scabbard and sew in place (can use a decorative stitch if desired)

IMG_2707 IMG_2708

14.  With right sides together fold scabbard in half and sew along the side 1/2” away from edge. IMG_2709 

15. Fold belt portion in half right sides together sew 1/2” along edge. Turn over.


16.  Fold in outer edge and hand sew with a heavy duty needle about 1/8” away from edge (this is very thick). IMG_2726

17. Sew top and bottom portion to area of belt desired (depending if you want it to snap in front, the side, and if it’s for left or right handed use).


18. For loop portion, fold in half right sides together so that it measures 6x2 1/2 inches.  Sew 1/2” from edge. IMG_2728

19.  Turn out.  Sew raw edges together 1/4” from seam.


20.Turn and slide onto belt.


21. Tada!   You’ve got a great accessory for your little prince, knight or solider!  IMG_3037


I just love this little guy.  He’s so expressive and isn’t he just totally made for drama?