Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Old T-shirt = New shorts = Happy kid

A couple of my kiddos seem to be sensitive to certain textures in clothing, and I was having a hard time finding shorts that were flexible enough for her activities an soft enough that she would wear them.

In comes Daddy's old t-shirts. My husband has several t-shirts that just had a few holes that made them unatractive but they still had so much reusable material. I felt I had to try to find some use for them before I threw them away, AND they were so soft from wear and washing it seemed like the perfect combination.

I started out by folding the old shirt in half so that the sleeves matched up. Then I took a pair of her pants that fit her and I folded them so the legs matched. I lined the fold of the pants up with the two side folds of the t-shirt and traced around the pants giving a 1/4" for seam allowance.

I chose to use the bottom hem of the t-shirt as the hem of the shorts so I adjusted the length of the legs accordingly.

I cut along the line through all the layers and ended up with two pieces that looked like this. Each of these pieces will be one leg of the pants. (Note the hem I left on the right side. On another pair the hem was coming out of the shirt so I ripped it out the rest of the way and left the raw edge. Since this type of fabric does not unravel it worked well, and the recipient of those short seemed to appreciate the effect)

Next I cut out the waist band out of the remainder of the shirt. To figure out the size of strips to cut I took her waist measurement (or where she would want the pants to ride) and divided it by 2. This was the length. I wanted the band to be about 2 inches wide and doubled so the strip for her pants were 11"X4" (On other pairs I have skipped this step and used 2" or 3" wide elastic and attached it in the same fashion. My kids have been happy with both results.)

I then took each leg folded in half, right sides together and, starting at the bottom hem, surged up the leg stopping at the crotch.

I turn one leg right side out, slide this leg inside the other (so right sides are together) line up the crotch front and back and match up the seams to both legs. This makes a "U" shape. I then surge along this "U".

I pull both legs right side out and, ta-da, shorts are almost done!

Now to just add the waist band. I surge the ends of my two strips together to make a loop.

I next fold the loop in half (right sides out) and press.

I pin the bottom of the waist band to the top of the shorts (right sides together) matching the sides and center front. The band may be smaller than the shorts top, but this is okay, I just focus on matching and pining the key points.

As I surge, I stretch the waist band to the side of the shorts. There is not much difference in this pair but the stretching makes them easier to pull on and off and fit nicely.

And we are done!

Unfortunately, I cannot find a picture with my kid wearing these. I'll work on that. However, I have now made a pair for each of my kids and they have requested more. They wear them for sports (gymnastics, boxing, etc.), as pajamas, or just around the house. Now I just need to find a t-shirt big enough to make myself a pair!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My New Purse

I have a tendency to trade out purses frequently. It is the way I clean out what I have and don't need. I had found this cute pattern on Pintrest and wanted to give it a try...but with a few of my own modifications. I love it so far. It was a bit trickier than I had thought it would be, and my machine might sew a nicer stitch after some service (when we move back to the states that is near the top of my list)but I am still pleased with the final results.

Warm and fuzzy home

We decided to welcome these little warm fuzzies into our home. Why you ask? What is the point? Well, each of these little pompoms represents a and act or behavior that showed love, respect, or kindness. The point is I'm trying to encourage good character. It works like this: When any one of my kids shows a good attitude, or behavior that I want to recognize (if it is something they always do, I may not want to point it out, but if it is something I know they struggle with, I will want to show praise) I give them a fuzzy to put in the jar. We are moving in a year so we are trying to see how many jars we can fill before then. What do they get when they fill a jar? Well, they get the pride and satisfaction of a job well done. Seriously, I want them to develop good character for themselves, not for a treat. They still like receiving and depositing these soft babies, and it is a fun colorful way for me to call attention to positive behaviors. My kiddos (5, 7, 9, and 11 years old) don't seem to really need much more than that.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I Spy Clean Up Game

When possible it is always a good idea to make a task as fun as you can. When kids are involved, all the more reason. The problem is, I'm not always that fun or creative. By chance today we found a fun new way to make a quick pick-up a little more fun. Now, I warn you now, this is not an everyday thing and it won't get your house sparkly clean, but when you want a few particular items picked up or the kids to chip in with a good attitude its worth a go.
Step one: I went around the rooms I wanted picked up most. I took close up pictures of all the items the kids had left out, messes they had made but didn't pick up, or items that were just not put away properly. I tried to zoom in enough that whey could identify the item but not where it was easily.
Step two: I uploaded all the pictures on to the computer and put them on the display.
Step three: I had all the children come in and look at the pictures. The goal of the game is to find the items in the picture and put them away. I gave points but you could do it as a team effort, or time them...however works best for you. Then I deleted the pictures of the items they had found (these I saved special).
Bonus: My 4yo, who normally isn't much of a help much to his sisters' chargrin, saw one picture and said, "I know where that is. I made that mess!" Then he ran off and cleaned it all up. SCORE!
Things got picked up fairly quickly and they were eager to identify items quickly and pick them up so they could get on to another picture. All the random forgotten socks were found and put in the dirty clothes, lost shoes were found, toys, game pieces picked up, books randomly deposited in odd places....all picked up.
Some pictures were easier to identify than others, and when they realized things were not necessarily in the room they belonged they began to notice lots of things they never could "see" before.
Like I said before, this would not be something we do every day, but perhaps doing this a few times might help them learn to look for those items they have lost a little. (I can hope, right)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sun Crayons

Result will very based on your geological location. This is our results (in the Middle East). We sorted crayons into a muffin tin with paper liners. The paper was just to make it easier to remove them when they were done; the crayons do leak through the paper and so the tin will be forever crayon-y. We set the crayons in the sun on our front steps and I also set a thermometer out there too. The thermometer maxed out at 120F and could not handle the heat so it is no longer working and trashed. After an hour the wax was all melted and we brought them in to cool. Now the kids are having fun experimenting with the marbled colors and drawing fantastic pictures. We call these our Kuwaiti Sun Crayons.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fels Naptha for the Laundry

I like my home made laundry soap, but I don't always like grating the bars of Fel Naptha. Over the weekend, a friend mentioned she had heard someone put her bar in the microwave like one can Ivory soap (this make a big fluffy cloud of soap if you haven't heard). It was time for me to make some more laundry soap, so naturally I had to try it. 2.5 minutes later - Voila! Maybe not as poofy as Ivory gets, but it is fun to watch it puff, and when you let it cool completely (it gets HOT) you can easily crumble it with your hands into a nice powder for your soap. SO much easier, and SO much more fun!

Friday, March 15, 2013

No more table work...well, maybe sometimes

Options. That is one reason we chose to home school. Options. As a former public school teacher, I have a tendency toward "desks" but I have been very interested in alternative seating for students for a while. This week I had an epiphany: My kids had options and were utilizing them. I just needed to get the tables out of the way...but not too far out of the way. We are a family of book worms. Even my son who isn't a "reader" loves to curl up with a good book frequently. So, naturally I let my readers curl up to do their independent reading. Usually they choose to curl up in one of these great comfy chairs or on the couch...or in their beds...or in the get the idea. I have one child that often has a difficult time sitting still, so she has been allowed to stand while she works -as long as she can write her neatest. Before, a regular height table worked well. She could stand and the table height was just right. Then she grew and this adjustable computer table became a favorite. It is a bit tippy, so hopefully we'll find another alternative soon. She also has a tendency to find her way onto the floor. She sits, lays, curls up...whatever. My concern is whether or not she understands the work, so if she is writing neatly and showing appropriate comprehension, I say "whatever works". I also realized, she wasn't the only one. My other kiddos may not move around quite as much, but they enjoy the ability to get comfortable when getting their work done (even if that means a tutu). I even got them big clipboards they can use as lap desks. These boards are large enough to support a fully open workbook or notebook. The tables still get used, so we keep them to the sides so they can easily be utilized, but out of the way when they are not. We also have a laptop for some of their work, but it stays at the desk. The reason for this is for the protection of the laptop, and so I can oversee their computer usage. When I moved the tables out of the way and let them take full advantage of the options they had, I was delighted to see how naturally they shifted around the room to get into a comfortable but found appropriate places to do each task. I was also delighted to find that there was a lot less complaining about the work that had to be done. The didn't get things done any quicker, and there is still bouts of procrastination and day dreaming- no more than before, but no less either. They simply didn't seem as grouchy by the end of the day, and as a Mom to 4, I can say I'd move more than tables just to get that result right there.