Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ruched Duvet Cover DIY


In New Zealand everyone uses duvets and duvet covers. I move here and use the word "duvet" (doo-vay in case you were wondering) and my husband looks at me like I'm speaking a foreign language (Maybe it is a foreign word. Is it French? Ok, so maybe he had a point). So since I'm all "when in Rome" I was doing the Roman thing and buying comforter sets. See the (s) at the end of 'set'. Yup, multiple. Here's the problem, we actually sleep in our bed. Kids get in our bed. Dogs jump on the bed. Cats hide from dogs on the bed. It is possible that I eat in the bed (get over it husband). Over time that thing gets naaaah-sty! So I proceed to try and stuff it in my washing machine and wash it. And my washing machine proceeds to eat it. And being cheap, I put it back on the bed thread bare and still kinda gross. Yes, we are disgusting nasty people.

Thus I decided that I was going to buy a duvet cover. I fell in love with this one...


Its gorgeous. Its from Pottery Barn. It's $179 for just the cover. Ouch, So being cheap  crafty like I am I decided to DIY one. I mean, how hard could it be, right? (FYI: My friend later told me there are some awesome tutorials out there on how to do this. Me being me I just winged it. Tutorials are for wimps. ;) )

I got to work right away (ie. before my husband got home and tried to talk me out of it) and here is my version:


It's no Pottery Barn but I'm pretty stoked with it. Want to make one? Well, I'll do my best to talk you through it.

Supplies:
1. Three flat white sheets. You can get these on sale from Walmart for around $10. They're 200 count and pretty nice and soft yet sturdy enough to stand up to wear and tear from being on the bed.
2. Thread
3. Scissors
4. Sewing machine
5. Twill tape or ribbon

Step 1 

Clean your floors. Seriously. You are going to have loooooots of fabric and it's going to be all over your floors and its white. Need I say more?

Open your sheets. I should tell you to wash them first but I didn't. Do as I say not as I do.



These are the ones I purchased. I used two queen size sheets for our queen bed.

Step 2

Cut off the top finished edge off of one sheet (leave the top edge of the other sheet) and the bottom finished edge of the other sheet.

Snip, snip!
Step 3 

Sew the raw bottom edge of one sheet to the raw top edge of the other sheet. You'll now have a reeeeeally long piece of white fabric (see why I told you to clean your floors!)  Now here's why I didn't wash my sheet. When you unfold it there are all these lovely straight lines running down the entire length. I used these lines as guidelines for where I was going to gather. If you were a good little seamstress then you're going to need to get the old iron out and press your creases as guidelines.

Step 4

Decide how far apart you want your gathers. In hindsight I would not have done as many gathers as I did. You'll definitely want one on each edge about 1/2" from the edge. Then at least 2 in the middle of the sheet.

To gather set your machine on a its longest, biggest stitch and sew all the way down it. DO NOT back stitch at either end and leave long threads for gathering. If lots of fabric jammed into a machine scares you, I suggest you look away...

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Step 4

 Lay out your duvet and cut your backing sheet to fit. Make sure you leave some seam allowance.


Step 5

Take your twill tape or ribbon and lay it the length of your duvet to measure how long it needs to be.

Step 6

Gather, gather and gather some more. Don't worry about the correct length just yet. You'll adjust it later.


Step 7

Place your cut twill tape or ribbon onto of each gather and adjust your gathers to fit. This is not an exact science and the gathers are very forgiving so don't obsess too much over it. Use like a gazillion pins on each row of gathering. Don't skip this step (and don't blame me if you do!) Now sew down the length of each piece of twill tape close to one of the edges. When you get to the end, turn around and come back up the other side. Do this for each row of gather except the two outer edges.

Step 8 

Sew your duvet top to the bottom rights sides together.Use pins. Pins are your friends. Don't sew along the entire top (the one with the finished edge). I sew about 8" in on each side. Turn it right side out and squeal a little because it's almost done!

Step 9

For the closures for the top I used snaps but your can use buttons or ties. Whatever floats your boat.

Step 10 

Stuff it and throw it on your bed. Toss yourself on top and snuggle. :)


Not too shabby, huh? One thing I did to my cover was add snaps to the inside corners of the cover and to the four corners of the duvet. This helps keep the duvet in place. Don't worry if your don't have a snap press. When I was growing up I remember my Mum using safety pin so you could do that instead.

So my biggest fear in making this (aside from the ruffling - ahhhhh) was the fact that it's white. But let me tell you, white is your friend. White you can work with. White you can bleach. Colors or patterns you cannot bleach. I am all about the white. Also, it hasn't gotten dirty at all. Perhaps we just aren't as nasty as we used to be, I don't know. And another plus, it gets dirty? You whip that sucker off the bed and toss it in the laundry. And because it's not bulky your washer shouldn't eat it.

You should definitely make one. Don't be scared of the ruffles. It took me about a day of on and off work (the small people were making demands on my time!). You can totally do it!

-C

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pregnancy Questionaire: Week 19


Did I mention I am knocked up? Yup, kid number 3. Life is about to get reeeeally interesting. Tomorrow we are having our big ultrasound and we're taking the kids. It's funny, having two other kids, especially one who is older (6 years) makes this pregnancy a lot less about just me and the baby and more about all of us. The princesses are fascinated by what is going on. They don't really get it but I get some really interesting questions and comments ("whoa mummy, that dress makes you look HUGE!" - said in a positive way that only a 6 year old can say). 
The weeks are passing so quickly, too quickly. Next week I will be half baked. Crazy. But then the months can't pass soon enough seeing as every time I leave the house BP is convinced that I am headed to the hospital to have the baby. Oh and the touching. I'm not a toucher in the first place so having two small people want to hug, kids, stroke and shake the baby fifteen thousand times a day is about to drive me nuts. Nuts.  It's going to be a long 5 months. 
So, a quick lowdown of what's going on...
How far along? 19 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 10lbs. Whoops but it is what it is. :)
Maternity clothes? Yeah buddy! Since like 6 weeks! This time around I found some pants with stretchy panels in the side. Where have these been all my life?!?They look like normal jeans on the front and back but the sides have elastic. These pants are the BOMB! Check 'em out at Old Navy here. I swear, they should make all pants this way. I plan to wear them long after I'm pregnant. I will call them my "Going Out to Dinner Pants." The kids will see them and yell, "Golden Corral here we come!"
Stretch marks? Just the previous ones.
Sleep: Only at 4pm in the afternoon. Grrrr....
Best moment this week: Ultrasound tomorrow! Woop! Woop!
Have you told family and friends: Yup. Told family first then made the big Facebook announcement at 16 weeks.
Movement: I'm at that 'was that a taco or a baby' stage.
Food cravings: Carbs. Chicken burgers from Burger King. Gross I know. Oh and the other day I bought Ramen noodles that I've not cooked yet because I changed my mind when I got home.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Salad. Gag. But why oh why can't I want salad food. Pregnancy plus carbs does not bode well for my waistline!
Exercise: Zumba 3-4 times a week. Makes me feel good about my ever expanding body. 
Have you started to show yet: Yes. I think I started showing as soon as I took the test. My abdominal muscles waved the white flag early. Traitors.
Gender prediction: I'm not sure don't have a gut feeling. But if I had to pick one I'd say girl. But then I was sure LP was going to be a boy. 
Pregnancy Symptoms: Tired. So tired. Some might say I'm a tad moody (ok, so the husband would say I'm incredibly moody but I think maybe he's gotten a little sensitive. Or maybe I am moody). Baby gut. 
What I Miss: Cold lunch meat. Weird because I'm 'meh' about it when I'm not pregnant but when I'm pregnant I crave it so badly. 
What I'm Excited About: Teeny clothes. I love teeny tiny things. :)
Here's to 19 weeks and 21 more! (Excuse the camera bathroom shots!)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Organizing the Things: Book Edition


Books. They breed. Late at night while you sleep they are busy multiplying and before you know it your house looks like this:


We have a lot of books. They're given for birthdays, picked up at yard sales, and then at random people will drop boxes of books on my doorstep. I don't always know who these gifts are from and in these situations I can't help but wonder if they know the mixed blessing they are bestowing on us hence the anonymity. Don't get me wrong, we love books and a box of new to us books causes great excitement amongst the small people. However, do you find that your kids can't just look at one book? My kids have to look at 5 or 6 at a time and then they "forget" where they're supposed to go when they're done with them. Also, because we have so many I find that a lot of books just do not get read. They tend to just get lost on the shelf slotted in to be read later but often never to be seen again.

To combat this problem (books that don't get read are just sad) I turned this (FYI: This is about 1/8th of the books I had to sort. They didn't all fit on my 10 ft long dining table):


Into this:



Ahhh...that's better. And yes, it has for the most part solved the book mess problem. We've had it like this for around 8 months and  miraculously, the books get put back in the correct folder and if they don't its easier for the princesses to put them back where they belong.

The boxes are from IKEA but I bought them off of Amazon.


The labels I printed from HERE. They're cute and free. It could also be cute and useful to have a picture for each book category.

So if you're looking for a quick and easy way to organize your books I highly recommend these boxes or you could do the flowing out the door technique like in the first picture. ;)

-C

Sunday, August 17, 2014

School Days


Tomorrow marks the second week of school for Big P. Were you wondering how I fared dropping my precious flower off? Did I cry? Did she? Did the hours drag by until I could see her sweet face? Well, after an excited nights sleep ("GO TO SLEEP" x 4000) we walked her to her classroom, she sat down at her chair and that was it. She didn't even say good-bye. Seriously. No lingering hugs. No slight hesitation. Barely a glance people. Ungrateful little punk. 

And me? How did I feel? Well, this was a little unexpected but the following pretty much sums it up...


Those other people? They're the other Mums and Dads. Of the 1st graders.  

I'll admit, for two seconds I felt this...



But then, as the door shut behind us...



And when we fled exited the building...



But it wasn't until we were leaving the school parking lot that this emotion hit me...


I know, I am a terrible, terrible person.

But let me be serious for a second, here's the moral of the story: When it's right, it's right. I was ready. She was ready. Her school is awesome. Her teacher is awesome. When it's right, it's right. 

-C

PS: And if you were wondering what I'm up to while Big P is at school, here ya go...


Afternoon naps yo. Don't judge.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Letter To My Daughter's Kindergarten Teacher


Here is a copy of a letter I composed in my head and in my heart to my daughter's (the BP) kindergarten teacher the other night. This is an exciting time for us and maybe, ok definitely, a bit of a rough time for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for this new chapter in her life and as crazy as she drives me some days, she has been my right hand for the last 6 years and I'm going to miss her. A lot. So I wrote this. Maybe you think I'm a helicopter parent. Maybe you think I'm overprotective. I don't really care what anyone thinks. This child is one of the most precious people in my life and when she's six I will do everything I can for her. You might have noticed I've used her real name. Writing 'The BP' just sounded silly. Anyway, here it is...

******************

Dear Ava's Kindergarten Teacher,

I cannot begin to tell you how excited Ava and I are that we get to begin her formal education experience with you. I have had two opportunities to observe you in the classroom and I can see that you teach with such a great love for your students and a passion for watching them learn.  It’s going to be a great year. I understand that you will have a classroom full of beautiful children just like mine but I need you to know that Ava is one of the most important people in my life. She is my first and it is she who always introduces me to these new things such as ‘kindergarten.’ It’s not always easy on a mum. The space that has been filled by her for the last six years suddenly being vacant will take time to get used to. I want you to know that I understand that as beautiful and wonderful as each of the children in your classroom are, you will have days that your patience is tested. Everyone has bad days. But I also want you to know that what you do, day in and day out is important. I am handing over one of the most precious things in my life to you because I know without a doubt that you are going to help to mold her into one awesome human being. And you might never ever really see the fruits of your labor. One day she will be gone from your classroom and we, her parents, will be the ones witnessing what the years of love, sweat and tears have resulted in. I want you to know that I will remember you. That I will remember where it started. 

There are a few things I need you to know before we start this year together. First, you and I, we’re a team. I have your back and what you say goes. This means that if she gets out of line in your classroom then I need to know about it. I want to help make your life easier but I can't do that if I don't know that there is a problem. I'm not going to one of those "helicopter" hovering parents but I will always be a phone call or email away. This also applies to when she might be struggling to grasp something in the classroom. Let me know how I can help and we'll work on it together. 

Next, if you need something, I'm your (wo)man. Need snacks for a party? Done. Chaperone for a field trip? I'm there. 35 toilet rolls? I will make it happen. I know teacher's funds and resources can be limited and you have a lot on your plate already, so use me. Use me to hunt down craft supplies. Use me when you need help to replace something in your classroom. Use me when you just need an extra set of hands. I'm going to be involved as much as I possibly can because this that we're doing this year, you and I, this is really important to me and I will make it a priority. So call me. I have ways of making things happen (just ask the husband). So challenge me with something and you might be surprised.

Regarding this school year, it is more important to me that Ava grows in character than what level she is reading at. Don't get me wrong, I want her to learn but more than that I want her to learn to love learning. I'm relying on you to nurture that. I hope to see glitter and paint. I hope to hear songs and rhymes. I want her to come home and tell me stories about the new characters that she met in a book that day. I want her to play. I want her to be encouraged to be herself. I want her to learn compassion and kindness. I want her to try new things, to be courageous. I want her creativity and imagination encouraged and nurtured. If we can do that, then we have succeeded this year. 

Thank you in advance for all that you are going to do this year. For the late evenings you will spend planning and cutting and looking for ways to make this one amazing year. You will do a phenomenal job and we can't wait to experience it with you.

Ava's Mum.

****************************
So what do you think? Anyone else having a little one starting kindergarten this year? Are you like me, one minute elated at the idea of having one less kid following you around all day and the next minute wanting to cry because you'll miss them terribly? 
Leave me your thoughts or comments. I'd love to hear them.

C

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Why I Decided to Red-Shirt My Child


Yesterday I did my first ever shop for school supplies. Be still my heart. Cry. My Big Princess turned 6 in June and is starting kindergarten. Yup, you read right, six and starting kindergarten. Something I didn't write about last year was my struggle over whether to send her to school or not. You see in our state you can start your child at 5 or 6.

Let me tell you I agonized over this decision. One day I was sending her, the next day not. This went on for months. I drove the husband nuts. I read blogs and early childhood research papers. I talked to her pediatrician. I talked to other mums. I talked to kindergarten teachers. I talked to the lady at the checkout at Walmart (seriously). Everyone had a different opinion. Everyone for the most part supported their opinion intelligently. I evaluated the pros and cons and at the end of the day I decided to not send her and have her home for one more year. Once we made this decision I then very carefully in my head began to rehearse the rational behind my decision. It involved statistics, case studies, a well rehearsed speech on the direction education has taken over recent years. I was ready to justify why I was not going to send my child to school that year. But then I realized, no discussion was necessary and not because people don't expect a reason behind the decision but because we don't owe one to anyone.

How often do we feel like we need to give the rational behind a certain decision. Why we co-sleep (or don't). Why we bottle feed (or don't). Why we rear-face our kid until they're like 12 (ok so maybe not that old). Now I believe in sharing information with one another for the sake of education if the other person is interested but not for the sake of explaining ourselves to others.

Here is my response to when someone asked if Ava was starting kindergarten last year:

"We are keeping her home this year."

Full-stop. Period. Shut up. Now.

And you know what, I never had one person ask me "why". Turns out that when you act like you owe an explanation to no one, no one expects an explanation.

So next time someone asks you if you're doing something...

"Are you breastfeeding?" 
"Are you sending her to pre-school?"
"Are you really going to let her eat that?"

Here are your answers...
"Yes (or no)."
"Yes (or no)."
"Yes."

Then put your hand over your mouth and don't let the justification slip out. Resist the urge to Google a blog that supports your answer and post it on your Facebook (I'm talking to myself here -PassiveAggressiveBook). Instead just sit and be content and confident in the fact that you are making the best decision for your child with the knowledge you have. And that, that makes you an awesome mum.

-C

PS: If you're struggling with whether or not to send you kid to school at 5 or wait and really want to know why I made the decision not to send her, shoot me a message at onelittlekiwi@yahoo.com.

PPS: FWIW, she is super stoked about starting kindergarten this year. August cannot get here soon enough!