How To Make Cosmetic Bags With Zippers and Boxed Corners (Two Styles)

I made this little set of cosmetic/toiletry bags for a friend's daughter's birthday, with the thought that she could take them to college in the fall.  Or toss it in her soccer bag.  Or whatever the heck she wants.  I used a cotton laminate, so it would make a great wet bag too.  I love the red and turquoise zippers with the black and white dots.  And sewing zippers is just about the most gratifying thing I can think of at the moment.  Speaking of zippers, I'm going to show two slightly different ways to put them in, and P.S. I use a larger-than-necessary zipper and cut off the excess.  If you want to make your bag a specific size, I have included a little worksheet on how to figure the dimensions of your fabric ALLLLLL the way down at the bottom of the post.

{BabyFoodie} Beyond Purée

So your baby has mastered purées and is eyeballing your dinner plate.  Here are some ideas to take him to the next level.  You may notice I try to avoid using wheat flour because it's hard on the digestive system among other things.  I didn't give my youngest any crackers or bread until he was around one year, and I still try to minimize it.  I'm sure there are LOTS of things to add to this list but this will get the wheels turning - comments welcome!

Tender, Gluten-Free Meatballs

photo from Epicurious
These meatballs have become a regular dish at our house - usually in sandwiches but sometimes with pasta. (I use brown rice pasta, and if you're gluten free I'm sure these would be good with rice too).  They are so tender that it made the perfect first food when my son was ready to move past purées (even meat purees can have a rough texture, as moms know). I use all ground beef but you could easily use beef & pork (or chicken/turkey which may not be as tender, so definitely cook them low and slow and do not overcook). I use oats instead of flour which is healthier and enhances the moistness. If you happen to follow the link to Epicurious, there's a sauce recipe included. I've only slightly adapted the recipe by swapping out the breadcrumbs and using a little more milk, and you don't even miss the breadcrumbs. I hope you love it as much as we do!

My New Go-To Muffin Recipe (Made With Oats, No Flour)

Yay - you have just found THE BEST no-flour muffin recipe!  I must give credit where credit is due, I found this on Pinterest from Keeping Up With the Joneses (you can go there for the original recipe).  This is my adaptation which I make regularly for my one-year-old.  It is basically the same but with a sugar alternative, and less of it, and some options for the yogurt in case you don't have it.  This version is too bread-like for my older kids who expect a muffin to taste like cake, but the baby loves 'em and my husband and I like 'em too, especially with a pat of butter and maybe a little jam...

Make Your Own Chili Seasoning - Easy Chili Recipe

I love chili.  Not the canned dog food kind, though.  I like real, homemade chili.  (Is it still homemade if you use canned beans?  I think yes!)  And it's pretty healthy if you think about it - all that protein and fiber and veggies disguised in warm, spicy, tomato-y goodness.

I like to think I have mastered chili this fall. I started making my own seasoning simply because I didn't have any one day and then I made it a few more times to get it just right. I add a little cocoa powder which you could certainly omit but I have to mention that my husband who is very picky a meat-and-potatoes guy with a very good palate, unknowingly preferred it. It adds depth. But it's not all about the cocoa powder. This certainly isn't a ground-breaking chili recipe but its one you can trust.

Easy To Sew Baby Pants (Plus: How To Do Lettuce Hem Without A Serger)

These adorable pants are super easy to make! They can be for sleeping or lounging, and are really cute made with flannel or jersey/interlock knit fabric (you can use any type of fabric, really). I just made a pair for a friend who just had a baby, so I thought I would take some pictures to show what a quick and easy project it is! I'm going to show you two versions - a plain/boy's version and also a girl's version which has a ruffled elastic waistband, lettuce edge hem and a bow.   Note: the lettuce hem can only be done on stretchy fabric.

10 Awesome Wooden Baby Toys For Crunchy Mamas

I love the simplicity of wooden toys for babies.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't use cloth diapers and I have plenty of loud, plastic toys cluttering the house... but there's something about the craftsmanship and the old-timey nostalgia of handmade wooden toys.  My son has a wooden rattle with rings from this green baby shop in Grants Pass, Oregon (I'm so sorry I can't remember the name) and I was almost surprised how much he enjoyed it.  I came across some super cute toys that I "favorite-d" on Etsy, and wanted to share them because they make such nice shower gifts.

Metal Stamping Project Ideas For Beginners

I've started goofing around with metal stamping and made something my kids for Christmas.  I'm really excited about this new craft and hope to get learn a lot more about working with metal.  I'm a font nut to begin with, so I've already got my eyes on some cool alphabet punch sets (see how I'm already using the lingo?!  punch = stamp).  I got my stuff muy cheapo at Hobby Lobby - I got a plain uppercase number/letter set with a coupon for around $10.  Then I splurged and used another coupon to get a stamping block for like $4.  I just use my household hammer.  I've stamped on hardware store washers, and I also got some aluminum blanks (there's that lingo again) which stamp MUCH more easily.  I haven't tried out copper or sterling silver yet.  If/when I really delve into it, there's other accessories to buy like texture hammers, shaping blocks, punches to cut your own shapes and make holes etc.

Here is some of the metal stamped jewelry that I've been admiring, and then down below I'll show off my little starter projects!

Tutorial at Happy Hour Projects
By StampedMemoriesByMel on Etsy

Love the 3-D effect.
By DanielleJoyDesigns on Etsy

I love these sterling silver minis
By AmandaDeer on Etsy

Love the chunkiness of the copper
By Chain0 on Etsy
A cuff would be fun to make too
By KGdesignsJewelry on Etsy

Here is a look at my very first stamped washer.  My kids' names...

The other side is covered in paper with French script and coated in a glass-like resin (tutorial here):

So here is the leather bracelet I made my 13-year-old son for Christmas.  He's not a jewelry-wearing kind of guy, but he usually wears a watch and this is similar.  I have to tell you that I totally 100% stole this idea from The Silver Diva - props for the awesome design!  Not the greatest photo, I'll try to snap a better one...

I got a piece of soft black leather at Michael's for around $3, a washer from Lowe's, and heavy duty snaps (I like to get them at WalMart because they sell the package that includes the tool).  It was really simple to make, I won't go into details other than it helps to make a notch in the leather so it wraps around the washer easily.  Also, I used some sand paper on the washer to smooth it a little.  (If you would like to see the process, please comment or message me and I'll write it up - it would be a good tutorial for snaps too)!

And here's a little charm pendant I made for my daughter, the horse lover.  These are the aluminum blanks I mentioned, accompanied by a charm and a Swarovski crystal.

To darken the lettering you just color over it with a Sharpie and then wipe it clean with some nail polish remover - cool!  PS You really do need the stamping block.  Before I got one I had to go out on the concrete ground outside to get a hard enough surface.  I use the block for doing snaps as well.

I also put these pegasus charms on silver French wires - her first dangly earrings!  Not exactly a matching set (or relevant to a metal stamping post!), but she loved it nonetheless.

If you have tips about working with different metals (silver, copper, aluminum, stainless steel) I'd love to hear them!

>> UPDATE another metal stamping idea - personalized zipper pulls!  Just stamp a blank and attach it to the zipper with a jump ring.  I did this on these makeup/toiletry bags that I made:

Another project I've made, wine glass charms...

Four Ways To Make A Blanket - Great Beginner Sewing Projects!

Now that Christmas is over, I can post about some of the gifts I made without spoiling the surprise. This year I made everyone a blanket (last year it was flannel PJs). Each blanket was a little different to suit the recipient, so it's a good way for a beginner to practice some new techniques.