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Saturday, November 10

Crayon Sushi Roll Tutorial

* This tutorial has appeared in HomeGrown Parenting In the North

Throw away all of those ratty boxes and keep these art sticks neat and organized. Great for throwing in your purse, in the car or tucked away in your art box at home. Easy to make and a creative birthday favor!




What you Need

  • 2 x 0.5 meter of coordinating fabrics
  • 0.5 meter of flannel (or Pellon fusible fleece)
  • 1 coordinating hair elastic
  • 1 button
  • Needle and thread
  • Disappearing ink fabric marker
  • 15 crayons

Cutting the fabric

1. Cut out all 4 pieces of fabric: 
  • 2 pieces for “Outside” and “inside” – 5 x 16 1/2 
  • 1 piece for “Pocket” – 6 x 16 1/2 
  • 1 piece for “Lining” – 5 x 16 1/2 
2. Fold “Pocket” fabric in half length-wise and iron flat.
3. Lay out “Lining” and place “Inside” on top with wrong side down.
Note: If using fusible, iron by following instructions of package.
4. Add “Pocket” on top of the sandwich, lining up all bottom edges.
5. Pin at the both ends.
6. Mark the mid-point of the pocket with a fabric marker.
7. Use a straight edge and mark the middle line.

8. Draw a line at every inch, working from the middle out.

9. Straight-Stitch your drawn lines only on the “Pocket”. Don’t stitch the edges yet. Make sure to backstitch for durability!
10. Clip any loose threads.

11. Stitch down elastic on the right edge of the crayon roll, between the “Pocket” and “Inside” fabric panel. Make sure to stitch over the elastic several times to ensure its placement.

12. Lay the panels right sides together and pin in place.
Note: Make sure to tuck the elastic inside both panels as to not accidentally stitch it to the outside of the crayon roll.

13. Stitch with a ¼ inch seam, starting at the end without the elastic and leaving a 3 inch opening to allow to turn the roll right side out.
14. Clip your corners.

15. Turn right side out and poke out corners. 
16. Press all the edges flat and tuck in the edges of the opening.
Note: if your marker pen locks in with an iron, wet the pen marks first to allow them to disappear before you iron.

17. Hand stitch the hole closed.  
18. Topstitch at ¼ inch seam for a clean, finished look.

19. Add crayons into pockets.

20. Roll your project closed and gently stretch the elastic to where a button should be placed. Mark the area to allow for button placement.
21. Firmly attach a button.

22. You’re done!

November Blogshare and Tidbits

I was looking for a current list of Christmas parades around Ottawa, Ontario (found it!) but accidentally found a FANTASTIC blog written by a local mom called Postcards from the Mothership.

Great layout, beautiful pictures and interesting to boot! Swing on by and give her a test drive. You won't be disappointed!

Today we're off to the CHEO dreamhome to visit where hopefully one day I'll live. I adore Orleans, but give me a free home and I'll move to Manotick. :) We're also doing some much needed yard work and the kiddo's been begging us to put up Christmas decorations - so gingerbread house and Christmas lights in 4 degree (Celsius) weather.

What's next on the docket? As you know, I've been CRAZY BUSY for the last 2 years. Let's break that down shall we?
  • Surplussed from my Government Job, demoted and therefore still searching for work
  • Working on my website to help brand myself: (shameless plug:
  • Working on volunteer design projects to help update my portfolio and pull away from the VERY governmental look of my work.
  • Took on an EBook and now I'm illustrating a children's book to push my boundaries.
  • Wrote sewing tutorials for a magazine in a northern Ontario green parenting magazine.
  • Bibmababy really took off for a while, and I was having difficulty keeping up. Brought another mom on board to help stock the store (shameless plug:
  • Decided to not make one,... but TWO full size quilts for my sister and mother.. but not without getting sidetracked by numerous crib-sized quilts for friends. I have a hard time staying focussed.
Because of the fact that my life is just scattered for the last few years, this blog hasn't been very consistent. I'm still trying to find a point to all of it considering it started at a a hub for family members to catch up on how we were doing with our little Kate. After I started sharing diaper reviews and tutorials, let's just say it took off in a different direction. I'm hoping that in the new year I'll finally know what the point of this whole blog is - otherwise I may just shut her down. It's been a rollercoaster of emotions... and I'm ready for a steady pace of life.

Until then - you'll have to bear with me. :)

Friday, October 12

Blogshare October

So here I am... with my monthly post about how I never post anymore. What can I say... life gets in the way. I'm here to share an AWESOME DYI that I found while looking for wool online.  

is an amazing blog FULL of great resources. My favourite today, her DYI felt ACORNS! Follow the link below to make these cute cute cute acorns.


ALL Images in this post are from House of Many Hues

Sunday, September 2

Ottawa Tourism for Kids

I've lived in Ottawa for almost 10 years now. Never in my entire time in Ottawa have I truly experienced the Ottawa zest as a tourist. I did drag my parents along the Rideau canal, showed them the parliament - I used to literally have a view of the Parliament from my cubicle at work, so I guess it lost it's charm rather quickly. I viewed most of Ottawa for what is was at the time of my life - early twenties and ready to party. I've been on the booze cruise, I've done the camping with friends and white water rafting, the trips to all the local ski-hills for zip-lining. Now that I have a kid, we are limited as to what we can do to keep our little one busy during the summer months. I have come across a few interesting things to keep her interested. I doubt we'll be able to do all these by the time the summer ends, but I wanted to keep a list of what I've found so that one day, I can say that I've had the luck of doing all of these with K.
There's obviously all of our local playgrounds, splash pads, beaches, the Gatineau park, Mer Bleu marshes, taking a ride on any of our ferries, the local farmer's market and craft fairs scattered throughout the city, the bike paths or simply walking through the market which will drum up  a lot of questions from K... lucky for us, these are part of our daily adventures.

Have I missed anything that you feel should be part of my must-do's?  Comment below!

Friday, July 13

2011 Tutorial Round-up : Upcycled Sweater Mittens (December 2011)

(dated December 2011)
written by Pamela Pilon of Bibmababy Online
Appeared in Home Grown, Parenting in the North Magazine (ISSUE 6)

Back in December, I released a tutorial for a  easy peasy mittens made from a felted upcycled sweater. 

What does upcycled mean exactly? It simply means recycling to make something even better. Don't throw out that ugly sweater! Throw it in the wash on hot and shrink it to make fun mittens!


Approximately 1 hour without counting the felting time, but I'm mastered it to be done within 30 minutes.


Do what Mom told you NEVER to do. Throw that sweater in the washing machine with your towels on a hot cycle, using only half of the recommended amount of soap. Then throw it into the dryer for a few hot cycles.  To avoid fiber migration from the sweater to your towels (or even possibly clogging up your drain), throw your sweater into a pillowcase and tie a knot at the top. This should catch most of the flyaway fibers. If done right, your sweater will shrink to about a third of it’s size. 

  • Paper and pencil or marker
  • 1 wool sweater (minimum 80% wool, 100% merino works best)
  •  Scissors 
  • Sewing machine, needle and coordinating thread


    1.     Place your hand on a piece of paper, with your fingers slightly apart. Using a pencil or marker, trace a mitten shape round your hand.
    2.     Retrace a second line about 1 inch away from your hand line trace. This second line is your sewing line. 
    3.     Now trace a third line ¼ inch away from your second line. This third line is your cutting line.
    4.     Draw a line at your wrist bone, to mark how far from this point you’d like for your mittens to sit.  
    *You can also affix at elastic at this point, but I found the stretch in my felted sweater was enough for me.
    5.     Draw the length of the mitten at about 3.5 inches past the wrist bone.


    6.     Lay your sweater flat onto the table. Use the pattern you created to cut out a total of four mitten pieces. When using a felted sweater, there is no need to worry about fabric direction.
    7.     If you decide to use an elastic, with a fabric marker, mark the elastic placement line on the wrong side of each cut-out.

    * Unless otherwise noted, all seams are a ¼ inch allowance.

    8.     Match two of the hand cutouts with right sides together, and stitch the outer edge using a ½ inch seam allowance. If you decide to use elastic, end this stitch 2 inches above the wrist bone when you will be sewing the elastic.
    9.     Repeat for the second mitten.
    10. Open both mittens flat, and finger-press the seam open.

    OPTION: Embellishments
    Use ribbon and/or faux fur and stitch at the seam edge.

    OPTION: Elastic wrist
    On the wrong side of the mitten, measure the width of wrist bone line you drew with the fabric marker. Subtract 1 inch and cut 2 of this length of elastic. Stitch the elastic in place at the seam allowance. Stretch the elastic across the wrist bone line and hold the elastic in place while you zig-zag stitch the elastic. Stitch the end of the elastic in place with a straight stitch.


    13.  Fold each mitten in half, with right sides together. Stitch through all layers around each mitten’s edge. Clip out the seam allowances of all curves. Turn over the mittens and enjoy!  

    Note: Mittens didn’t turn out? You can also use them at a cutlery and napkin holder for your Christmas table setting!

    You can find all these tutorials and other great articles in Homegrown, Parenting in the North (FACEBOOK, WEB, ISSUE).

    Saturday, June 9

    Pattern Review: The Spin Around Dress

    My take on the Spin-Around Dress.

    Top to Bottom: Unknown print, Michael Miller Gerberalicious,
    Kona Solid Black
    Last week, I received a link to this super duper cute dress pattern in my email from one of the hundreds of blogs that I am subscribed to. I fell in love with it, and knew exactly what I was going to use in terms of fabric. When my daughter was a wee baby, my mom purchased a metre of Michael Miller's Gerberalicious in Red print.

    Spin-Around Dress comes in 2T only.
    The FREE tutorial is available for print here: .

    I was so excited to get my hands dirty. After about 10 minutes of reading and then re-reading the pattern. I didn't find it so user-friendly; especially for a beginner.

    First things first, WASH and DRY your fabrics to pre-shrink them before cutting your pieces. This will avoid your dress shrinking in the wash. Next step.. IRON!!!  It ensures a proper cut-out.

    Once you've prepped your fabric, print out the pattern and piece them together. Don't be surprised if it doesn't exactly go as planned. I was bothered that after I followed the instructions,... I realized that the alignment is slightly off.
    Ensure that the print options are at scaling: none.

    I suggest to use your better judgement to find exactly where the lines should meet up rather than just thinking you can butt the pages side-by-side. You can tell a bit by the picture below that there was about a 1/4 inch gap between 2 of the pieces of paper. I was afraid that I might have been the one to not have read the instructions properly, but end result shows that I did the right thing by placing were the paper SHOULD be, and not butting them together.

    I cut out all the pieces required by the instructions. I found however, that the instructions for the sash was rather vague. Since I am experienced,  I just winged it.  Be sure you pay very close attention as to the direction of the fabric when you are cutting. When you cut the front and back pieces, ensure that you're not cutting a back piece in the same direction twice.

    Ensure your pieces are ironed before cutting.
    This will make your entire project easier to handle.
    When you get to the point of having the sew your top pieces together. Sit and think. Think long and hard. I don't know if I was tired, but I got VERY frustrated at one point because whatever I'd sew.. I'd soon realize I had sewn a piece that would prevent me from folding the top inside out to be able to have a clean finish before I was ready to top-stitch.  At this point, the seam ripper came in real handy... several times.. to the point I wanted to throw the whole thing out the window.

    Sit Back. Relax. Breathe. Continue.

    The next thing that I would suggest at this point, is plug in the iron, and get ready to take your time and iron flat. I promise you, it will make your life a million times easier if you take the 5 minutes to iron your pieces flat before you top-stitch the collar. The next part doesn't come as easy...

    Sew the neck hole, Topstitch then focus on the armholes.
    Trying to top-stitch the neck afterward will frustrate you.
    I got confused a lot with where I should be sewing. The armholes are sewn to themselves... and NOT to the facing fabric. .. So... Red sewn to red,... black sewn to black. That was one big mistake. I blame it on being tired and lack of instruction.

    This is where I starting losing all hope in the project. I took a minute to reread the instructions, swore a few times and then decided to scrap it and use my better judgement.

    Enter my serger...

    I serged the bottom to prep it for the trim.
    You can also just achieve this by
    creating a zig-zag stitch.
    Anytime I'm sick and tired of having to over think a pattern, I finish the seams with a serger. If you don't own a serger, I highly recommend you get your hands on one... You can get a decent Singer (that's what I did!) for about $250. Word to the wise, replace the thread with a higher grade cotton thread. Otherwise you'll hate your serger when you realize it takes 10 minutes to thread... and the thread keeps snapping.

    Moving along... 

    I serged the top of the dress to the bottom part by sliding the skirt over the top, waists touching print side touching. I then topstitched the serged part down for a clean look.

    I was pretty happy with the outcome of serging these pieces together. I tried it out on my mannequin, added the sash, and realized I HATED the length. It felt outdated, and I was aiming for more of a cocktail dress type of feel.

    So I took the dress back to the drawing board. I measured a line about 4 inches higher than the original hem line.

    Brilliant! I was closer to my goal!

    I shortened the bottom by 4 inches.
    My last hurdle was trying to hem the dress without it looking half-finished. I tinkered around with making a 2-inch hemline in black, but it looked too heavy like it was fighting with the sash. I sat and thought about it for a while... then I realized I had about 5 metres of bias tape sitting in front of me.


    If you've never had the pleasure of using double-wide bias tape... I present you with this youtube tutorial ...

    See video at the end of this review.
    After much thought, I used an
    Extra-Wide Double Bias Tape.
    All in all - the instructions to this tutorial needs some work, however, it is a good resource to have a printed pattern available for cutouts. My suggestion is this. Use common-sense.

    Another great bias-tape tutorial can be found on another favourite web site of mine, Smashed Peas and Carrots.

    Thursday, March 1

    2011 Tutorial Round-up: Tooth Fairy Pillow (November 2011)

    (dated November 2011)
    written by Pamela Pilon of Bibmababy Online
    Appeared in Home Grown, Parenting in the North Magazine (ISSUE 5)

    Back in November, I released a tutorial for a Tooth Fairy Pillow, an ideal presentation to swap teeth for cash. You could also alter this pattern to make a Soother Fairy Pillow. Just a little imagination is needed. * Click on the images for a larger view.


    Approximately 1 hour


    • Printer to print out the Pillow Pattern Pattern available HERE
    • ½ meter for tooth (quilter’s cotton)
    • 5 inches x 5 inches for pocket (quilter’s cotton)
    • 5 inches of bias tape
    • Batting
    • Fabric pencil
    • Ruler
    • Rotary cutter and mat or scissors
    • Sewing machine, needle and coordinating thread


    • Exterior Print -Cut 2 of the pillow patterns
    • Pocket
      - Cut 1 pocket
      - Cut 1 strip of bias tape, the same width as the pocket


    * Unless otherwise noted, all seams are a ¼ inch allowance.

    1. Sew the bias tape to the long edge of the pocket square. Backstitch at both ends.
    2. Cut excess tape.

    3. Fold the short sides under by ½ inch. Press.

    4. Fold the bottom of the Pocket Square under by ½ inch. Press.

    5. Using one of your tooth cutouts, print-side facing up, place your pocket square in the center of the tooth. Pin in place.
    6. Stitch the pocket beginning at the top left corner, going down the edges at inch, and come across the bottom and then finally up the right side. Leave the top unstitched and remember to back stitch at the beginning and the end.

    1. With print sides together, pin in place.
    2. Stitch the raw edges together, leaving a gap open (as noted on the pattern) to allow to turn the pillow inside out and backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitch.


    1. Turn the pillow right side out through the gap you left in step 7.
    2. Using batting, stuff the pillow by tearing small pieces of batting and stuffing into the roots of the tooth first. Packing it in tightly.


    1. Pin the hole closed and stitch using a needle and some thread.

    Note: You can also alter this design by folding over a ribbon to create a loop and stitch the raw ends into the hole using your sewing machine and top stitching it closed.

    You can find all these tutorials and other great articles in Homegrown, Parenting in the North (FACEBOOK, WEB, ISSUE).

    Thursday, January 26

    2011 Tutorial Round-up: Toddler Bag (October 2011)

    (dated October 2011)
    written by Pamela Pilon of Bibmababy Online (ETSY, FACEBOOK)
    Appeared in Home Grown, Parenting in the North Magazine (ISSUE 4)

    Back in October, I released a tutorial for a Toddler Size Trick or Treat Bag, perfect for Halloween treats! Why not look at this bag from a different angle,... choose a different fabric and you've easily got yourself a great lunch bag, something to replace your purse, a wet bag for your pool swimwear, oh even just a toy bag to carry your child's favourite things to daycare!


    Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes


    • ½ meter for outside (quilter’s cotton)
    • ½ meter for lining (quilter’s cotton)
    • ¼ meter Fusible Fleece
    • Fabric pencil
    • Ruler
    • Rotary cutter and mat or scissors
    • Sewing machine and coordinating thread


    • Exterior Print - Cut 2 rectangles 12 inches x 15 inches
    • Lining - Cut 2 rectangles, 12 inches x 15 inches
    • Straps - Cut 2 rectangles, 5 inches x 17 inches of print or lining
    • - Cut 4 strips, 1 inch by 16.5 inches of fusible fleece


    * Unless otherwise noted, all seams are a ¼ inch allowance.

    1. Sew around the sides and bottom of the exterior print. Backstitch at both ends. (Note: Zigzag stitch both seam flaps if you want durability.)

    2. Press side seams open.


    3. Measure 2 inches by 2 inches on the bottom corners of your bag. Mark a dot at the point where the measurements intersect. Do this on both sides of the bottom of the bag. This should leave you with 4 dots.

    4. Put your hand in the bag at the corner and pinch the side and bottom seams together.

    5. Line up your side and bottom seam into a triangle.

    6. Pin at 2 inches from the corner.

    7. Stitch a straight line. Backstitch at both ends.

    8. Trim the excess.

    9. Repeat this process on the other corner of the bag.


    10. Repeat Steps 1-2 with ONE EXCEPTION. When sewing around the sides, leave a 5 inch opening at the bottom to allow you to turn your bag inside out after sewing the bag and lining together.

    11. Repeat the Box Corners (Steps 3-9) for the Lining.


    12. Turn the lining inside out and stuff into your print bag.
    (The print bag should still be wrong side out.)
    The right sides of the fabrics should be facing each other.

    13. Match the side seams and edges together.
    Pin and sew with a ½ inch seam allowance around the entire top of the bag.

    14. Turn the bag right side out through the 5 inch gap you left at the bottom of the lining.

    15. Topstitch the hole closed.

    16. Insert the Lining back into the back, iron the bag mouth and topstitch ½ inch from the edge.


    17. Take your 5 inch x 17 inch pieces and iron ¼ inch edge on both ends.

    18. Fold the strap in half lengthwise.
    Iron flat to create a crease in the middle.

    19. Open the strap, and fold each raw side to meet at the middle crease. Iron Flat.

    20. Open the fold and place 2 strips of the fusible fleece, placing one on each side of the crease.

    21. Refold at the crease, hiding the strips of Fusible Fleece.

    22. Iron as per instructions on your package of Fusible Fleece.

    23. Refold at the crease to hide raw edges and sew on all sides at 1/8 inch.

    24. Repeat steps 17-23 to make another strap.

    25. Attach one end of each strap to the bag at 2 inches from each side and 2 inches down (this will meet cleanly with the box corners).
    Choose which directions the handles will be facing at the point.

    26. Sew the strap onto the bag using a box pattern and then sewing an “X” in the middle of the box for strength.

    27. Do the same for all 4 sides.

    You can find all these tutorials and other great articles in Homegrown, Parenting in the North (FACEBOOK, WEB, ISSUE).