Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle: Spiders and "The Cat in the Hat" Toddler Flat Bed Sheets

- From Queen Size bed sheet to 4 Toddler Flat Bed Sheets -

As I was ready to get rid of a pair of sheet for our bed (the color was faded), I had the idea to reuse the sheet for Lucas's toddler bed. Our little guy will be using his toddler bed for 1 or 2 years at the most and it will time to transition again to a twin size bed. I did not want to spend money on sheets for such a short period of time. With 1 queen size bed sheet, I made 4 toddler flat bed sheets.


Material: 1 queen size bed sheet (black), left over pieces of fabric, Steam and Seam paper for applique, threads  of different colors, pencil, a template of your choice (the hat of The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss), and left over ribbon.

Sheet Brief Descriptions:

Black Bias Binding
I divided the queen size sheet bed in 4 equal pieces.

Sheet #1 and #2: Black on Black

I did a hem on the necessary sides of the sheet using some orange and black threads. The sheets have some interest on the front with a black bias binding. So, I did not add anything more.

The Cat in the Hat

Sheet #3: The Cat in the Hat

To add some interest on the front of the sheet, I did an applique (almost) in the middle top part of the sheet. I picked the hat of The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss to go with the posters, ceramic characters and mobile in Lucas's bedroom.

Sheet #4: Spiders

I added a piece of fabric on the top of the sheet to have a large bias binding with a ribbon (that I already had about 2" wide) and sewed on top.

Spiders - Flat Bed Sheet
Spiders - Flat Bed Sheet

Happy Earth Month,

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle: Carboard Play Kitchen Set for kids


Back in December, I made a kitchen set for Lucas as part of his presents from Santa. 4 months later, it is still alive and Lucas has been enjoying it! It keeps him busy in the kitchen when we are preparing a meal, especially dinner, and he likes to pretend making coffee, and muffins, being a chef like Caillou and fixing it to name a few of his kitchen scenarios.

My goal for this project was not to spend a lot of money because I cannot justify spending over at least $70 for this kind of toys/furniture when you can make it yourself using what you have around the house and a lot of imagination. The total cost was around $35.

A Special Delivery from Santa: A Kitchen Set

Overall Dimensions: 40"L x 18.25"W x 29"H

Time: Several months to collect materials and several days to put the different parts of the kitchen together.

Material from Recycling: Boxes of different sizes (shipping boxes like the one you get from Amazon, diapers, food, furniture), leads of different sizes (nut containers, gallon of milk and vitamins), a medium size round container, piece of fabric, number stickers, velcro (from the tag of a free fabric sample ), shoe lases, hot glue gun, screws with nuts, and laminate

Purchased Material and Accessories: White and black contact papers, faucet, hot pads, hooks, apron (from Michaels), empty containers of spices and dishes set (Learning Resources Pretend & Play Kitchen Set by Learning Resources). About the faucet, we had someone who gave us one but had to get rid of it because it was smelling and got a new one. Habitat for Humanities and Dollar Tree are 2 placed to find extra things for few dollars.

I will go over each part of the kitchen set to give you some details about the material, dimensions and description. As you make your own kitchen set be aware of the pieces (small or big, sharp or round) that you will be using. It is made for toddlers so keep in mind that it needs to be safe and sturdy at all time and keep an eye on your little ones as they play with their kitchen set.


  • The Microwave

Material: Small box, white and black contact papers, shoe lase, hot glue gun, velcro, and a laminated template  for the key pad

Dimensions: 10.75"L x 5"W x 7"H


- Cut 3/4 of the front of the box (top, side and bottom),
- Cover the front and back with vinyl paper,
- Cut 1 rectangle with the white vinyl paper for the "window",
- Make 2 holes on the side of the door (around 1" away from the edge) and place the shoe lase to make a "handle".

Key pad
- Laminate a key pad template which must be a little wider than the 1/4 of the box, hot glue it on the small area of the right side of the box.
- Place the sticky part of 2 pieces of vecro on the key pad on the top and bottom (soft side on the door).

  • The Stove 

Left Side View of the Kitchen Set

Front View of the Stove and Oven
Material: 1 Shipping delivery box (from Amazon), 1 small rectangular box, white and black contact papers, 1 shoe lase, velcro, and Stickers with numbers (1-5), 5 milk/vitamins lead, 5 screws with nuts, hot glue gun, and 4 big containers' leads (from nuts).

Dimensions: 19"L x 14.5"W x 12.5"H



- Cover the top and sides of the box.
- Cut a white square using the vinyl paper to fit 3/a of the top with 1" margin for the edge.
- Hot glue the big leads on the white square with the same distance apart.
- Cut 4 circle using the white vinyl and stick them on the top of the containers to represent the "burners". The circles were 1/4" smaller than the containers to see a red rim.

View of the Oven and Inside

The knobs*
- Make 5 holes around 2" apart as shown on the picture (4 + 1).
- Secure them with screws with nuts.
- Place a sticker with numbers (1 to 5).

Inside of the Oven
- Cut the front of the box from the side to have a door opening from the top. You could cut the door directly from the edge of the box instead of leaving a margin like I did. I did it this way thinking that the frame will facilitate the closing of the door without adding anything, by pushing the top edge of the door a bit inside the oven. It was not that efficient in the long run.
=> Make the following changes to close the door:  *Do this before you do the knobs
- Hot glue a rectangular piece of cardboard that you can fit all the way behind the knobs and wider by 1.5".
- Cover the front piece where the knobs are as a whole with vinyl paper.
- In the middle of this extra piece of cardboard stick a large piece of velcro and do the same on the door and make sure it is aligned.
- Hot glue a small rectangular box to fit inside the oven to place rack or muffin pan on it.

=> The oven is wide enough that it can fit a muffin holder.

Door of the Oven
- Cover the entire front of the door with one color (black here)
- Cut and lay a rectangular piece of vinyl in the middle of the door (white in this case) to represent the "glass" of the oven.
- With a punch holder make 2 holes about 1" from the top and 2" from the sides.
- Pass a shoe lase from 1 hole to the other and till it to represent the "door handle".

  • Sink Area: 
Material: 2 diaper boxes (from Target), 1 round and deep Tupperware, 1 small faucet, 1 shoe lase, vinyl contact paper (black and white) and 1 piece of fabric.

Dimensions: 18"L x 14.5"W x 14.25"H


Sink block

- Cut the small flaps of each side of both boxes.
- Push the longest ones inside their own boxes and hot glue them.
- Cover the inside with vinyl paper (white) to reinforce long flaps, protect the inside, and facilitate the pulling and pushing of extra small boxes for storage.

Sink Top

Ready to Wash Dishes
=> (1) The faucet and Tupperware are placed on the right side to leave room for the left side for a strainer or just some extra room. (2) Make sure to try how everything fits because you start cutting.

- Make the necessary hole to place and secure your faucet close to the edge of the box.
- Cut a hole a bit smaller than the circumference of the bowl that you have for your "sink". It should a tilled fit. You might have to make some extra cut until it fells right. Try to leave at least 1" between you faucet and "sink".

Curtain (Use a piece of fabric that you already have or combine few pieces together)

- Make 1 hole on each side of the top box with a punch holder about 1" from the edge
- Take the dimensions of the front of the 2 boxes.
- Make a hem of 1/2" around and leave an inside opening to pass a shoe lase on the top.
- Pass the shoe lase in the right side of the box and make a strong knot, then inside the top opening of the curtain, and go around the top left side and inside the hole on the left side and till it very strongly.

  • The Back Base with Clock
Left Side
Right Side

Material: 1 rectangular box (from Target), Vinyl contact paper, hot glue gun, and screws with nuts. A clock template that you can find online with a brass fastener.

Dimensions: 40"L x 3.75"W x 29"H


- Cover the entire box with contact paper with the exception of the sides.
- Place each piece that you made on the front of the base, hot glue then screw and secure it with some extra hot glue on the top of the screw. Place the screw in a hidden spot inside the boxes.
- Laminate the clock and place it where you like and secure it with the brass fastener.
=> When all the "pieces of furniture and appliances" are secured, close the sides by hot gluing the flaps and cover with contact paper.

The clock is next to the microwave.

  • The Accessories

Personalized Apron

Material: 1 Apron for kids, tracing paper, and fabric paint.


- Wash the apron.
- Using your computer, chose the font name and size that you like for your apron, type the child's name and print.
- Trace the name over tracing paper on both sides with a pencil.
- Put the tracing paper on the apron where you would like to see the name and trace over the letters very hard using a pencil.
- Write over the letters with fabric paint.
- Let it try on a flat surface for a day.


Material: 2 magnetic hooks, a pair of scissors and hot glue gun


- Find a place that you would like to hook.
- Cut them if needed to fit the area that they will be.
- Hot glue the back, place and push to the decided location.

  • What does the kitchen set looks like today?

After 4 Months
More Props

The kitchen set is still standing in our kitchen and has been used pretty much everyday. The only part that did not survive well is the oven door. It does not closed anymore. So, please follow the tips that I have provided above to help you. Underneath the sink area, I added a several boxes for storage. On the top left side box you have: food (in the box), egg carton with Easter plastic eggs inside, and a container of long spaghetti (1/4" white Felt). On the bottom (from left to right) you have dishes and spatulas. For the item in the boxes, glue a picture of what it is inside to help your child to facilitate the location of the toys and to clean up as well (I have done done it yet as you can see).

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle: High Chair Cover

A Nice New Cover

Sewing Project: A New Cover for a High Chair 

A friend of mine loaned us a high chair several months after Lucas was born when we started solid food. Lucas was 4 months at the time and used it for over a year. Then, it was time to switch to a booster seat to eat at the table with mom and dad. We made the transition from high chair to booster seat last summer.

As a "Thank You", I decided to make another seat cover. The high chair was around 12 years old. My friend used it for her daughter and was going to pass it to one of her niece who just had a baby girl. The original cover of the high chair, which was in plastic, was ripped at several spots in the seat and was particularly damage around the in-between leg area. The plastic had gotten hard over the years. I did not think to take picture of the original cover to have a "Before" and "After". I was really pleased with the result. It was not has hard as a thought of a project and my friend liked the cover a lot!


Before you start - Are you thinking to add new features to your new cover? Double check your high chair design

If you want to make some improvement to the cover that you are making make sure that it will fit with the configuration and different functions and options that your high chair offers. I was planing to add a pocket on the back of the chair to add some storage. I could not because the high chair had a recliner options. I also thought about extending the side of the cover (around the front arm resting area) to have it coming down to add pockets as well. It was not possible. On the outside of the side were the locking ecumenism for the table top.


- 1 to 2 yards of material (small white hearts on red - that I already had)
- Tack thread or regular thread
- Pencil fabric

Template and Steps:

1. I laid down the fabric on the wrong side, placed the cover over it and traced around it. Then I cut 1 inch away from the line I traced and cut it all the way around.

2. Cut your fabric up to the line you traced marking the correct dimension of the high chair. The snips with your pair of scissors should be done every inch or so and even closer around the curvy areas.

Preparing the Hem
View on the sewed Curve

3. I pinned the bottom of the cover and realized really fast that it was too many pins. It was not safe, time consuming, not easy to handle to see  to see if it fits high chair and have it going through the sewing machine.

Too Many Pins

To finish the rest of the cover, I switched for a different option. The best way to shape the fabric along the blue line, defining the correct shape of the high chair cover, and sew the hem was: tacking. It was actually way easier and faster this way to build the hem, sew and try it on the high chair.

Tacking the Hem of the Cover

4. Dealing with Details: Back Cover (a) and Opening for Belt (b). 
(a) To add a longer back cover, I first laid down the new cover on the high chair, which was not tack yet, and placed over the back of the high chair an extra piece of fabric (around 1/4 of a yard) to decide of the length considering the handle on the back of the chair. Then, I roughly pinned the extra piece of fabric with the new cover and cut the extra fabric (of the back) following the curvy shape of the top of the high chair. Finally, I placed the right side of both back and front cover against each other and tacked it together to sew it.
Back View

(b) For the belt opening, I placed the cover in the high chair and made a hole with a small pair of scissors to have it fit at the correct place. I treated the belt hole area as a button hole to have it nice and define on the new cover. It took me sometime to have it done because of the width of the hole.

A Nice and Define Belt Opening

  5. When you are done with the cover try it on the high chair to set if it fits to your taste and make the necessary changes.

Hope it will help you in your new project.
Happy Sewing,  :-)