Saturday, November 4, 2017

Small Animal Couch DIY

One thing all small critters seem to enjoy is a soft squishy place to snuggle up.
My family is planning to adopt a trio of rats next month if all goes as planned.
Nice thing is I allready have experience using fleece with our guinea pig, and with cloth diapers, so the plan is lots of fleece and absorbency underneath.

One thing rats like is busy cluttered cages. so I've been making many things to stuff our cage with in preparation.
Today I made a cute little couch for the cage top. It may not last long but at least it will be something fun while it does last!
You will need:
  • fleece
  • Scissors
  • pins
  • a sewing machine
  • ribbon
  • stuffing or fabric scraps to stuff with
  • paper (to draw the pattern on)
  • ruler or yardstick
  • pen to write with
  • Lighter

 Draw your pattern on your paper.  I measured in CM as I found it a bit easier to get the measurements I wanted. 

:Lay your pattern on your fleece, pin and cut out. 
Cut two peices out. I have solid blue and striped blue. 

Cut 4 pieces of  gross grain ribbon about 5 inches in length(I tie tiny bows, if you want these can be longer). melt ends with a lighter. In an effort to not set myself on fire I didn't photograph that part of the steps. 
Lay the ribbon in the top corner of the piece, between the layers on fabric. 

Repeat at the top corners, and other back corners. Leave a small tail of ribbon peaking out of each corner.

All corners pinned ready to sew! 

use your sewing machine on a straight stitch at medium length. Make sure to use a woven, universal, or heavy duty needle to sew fleece properly.

Sew around your project edges at about 1/2 inch seam allowance. 

When you get to a corner You need to stop with your needle DOWN, and lift the presser foot, then turn your project. Before continuing. Leave a small opening unsewn for turning...

You can see where I started and stopped at the bottom slightly off center. 

Next a little pro sewing tip. Clip your seam allowance all the way around at about 1/2-2/3 in increments. Snip the fleece almost to the sewn lines. Do not cut THROUGH the sewn lines. 

Pro tip 2. Clip your corners that do NOT have the ribbon tails like so. This makes them easier to turn and get a nice point. 

Pro tip 3. Clip into your corner that dip. Just to the sewn line. Not through it. 

Not sure if you can tell in this photo but finished clipping my curves, corners, and seam allowance.

Turn right side out. 

Stuff just the arms and back with stuffing, leave the center un-stuffed for the moment. 

Sew across the back and sides trapping the stuffing in those arms and back. 

Finished sewing it will look like this. 

Tie your ends off close to your project then snip. No tails of thread for fur babies to choke on or get caught on toes!
Next stuff the center. (I apparently forgot to photograph this.

Tuck your raw edges in and using a hidden or ladder stitch close this opening up. 

Once that opening is closed tie your ribbons together into bows. This bring the couch back and arms up. To wash untie so it dries faster! 

Place in your cage. My ""Pillows" are scraps roughly 4 x 3 inches. I didn't bother to turn them right side out and left the edges raw. If you make yours slightly bigger you could snip around your seam allowance and make them fringed!
Make sure to tie off your tails and snip close to the project! 

To prevent redecorating, use a safety pin to fasten to your cage!

All done! 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Dolman Shirts Head to Head part 1

I've been loosing inches, and dropping sizes while eating on THM. As a result almost none of the clothing I sewed up last year is going to fit me properly this fall/winter.
While going through my patterns to decide what to make I realized I own 8 different dolman style top patterns. EIGHT. That's quite a few.

I'd really only sewn up 2, and thought in light of my clothing needs it would be a good opportunity to sew up a shirt form each pattern and compare patterns, fit, and such for the internet.

I'm going to be sewing up 7 of those patterns, some of which are free by joining facebook groups in order to get codes for thier shops. And I'm going to break this into two posts.

SOme of these were turned from long into shortsleeves by myself. I will denote this in the description. None of these patterns were given to me for this post. This is purely my opinions and based on my experiences.

I tried to use fabrics that had similar drape and thickness in hand. This was mostly successful. though a few will need to be remade in other fabrics to see if I REALLY like the fit as they turned out a bit differently than I thought they would due to fabric choices.

I took the most unflattering angles so you can see exactly how each top fits, A straight from the front, side view, arms straight out(to compare the "wings", and then a nicer photo.

So without further ado Dolman Shirts HEAD to HEAD pt 1.

First up is the HALA SLIM DOLMAN 

  • This pattern has layers and no trim pages. Which makes assembly pretty fast.
  • Measurements for cuffs and band are on the pattern. 
  • I used a sweater knit from my stash that I've had so long I have no idea the fabric content. But I think it's a cotton spandex blend.
  • I made this in a size 6 which was not graded. It's a bit snug in the belly. If I wanted a FABULOUS fit, I'd really need to do a full tummy adjustement or size up in the tummy and hips. I have a long torso, but my waist is really high. Just for refrence. This might have changed fit some if the fabric had a touch more drape or stretch.
  • The directions were clear and simple lots of tips for altering the pattern to have deeper "wings" or more slim ones, alter the neckline, etc. directions are photos and text based. 
  • I used my own neck band calculations for the neckline as I don't find that following the Suggested measurements results well for me.
  • I made the long sleeved version and cut to the longest length then added cuffs. as I typically do with any pattern as I get cold otherwise.


  • This is a OS pattern so it is very loose and straight. It fits up to a 43.5 inch bust and 45 inch hip. as such there are no layers. This pattern will need trimmed to assemble. 
  •  I used a very drapey sweater knit for this one. It's practically see through and heavier than I thought. I want to make this one up in another fabric and see how I feel about it then.
  • Directions are line drawings and simple like any dolman construction. It's a bit trickier to add the sleeves and sew the side since I used a serger and due to the angles on the body and sleeve.
  • I used my own neckband calculations on this one as sweater knit drapes and stretches so much more differently than other fabrics with lots of spandex in them. 
  • This pattern has both a  long and short sleeved option. I used the long sleeved but did not add a cuff. I may go back and add one later as the sleeves are a bit shorter than I like. 

George and Ginger I Heart U

  • This is another free pattern in the george and Ginger facebook group. It's intended to be a pajama set and comes with a shorties pattern as well. It has no layers, And no trim pages, but is very well marked so that I had no trouble marking and tracing my size with ease. Even though I use a black and white printer. 
  • I used a rib knit from joanns for this one. It's drapey and comfy and will be perfect when fall weather finally hits. 
  • directions are clear line drawings and there are photos of finished garments as well. It's another with simple construction so I honestly just glanced over them. Once you've sewn a few dolmans you don't usually need directions for them. 
  • I used my own neckband calculations. and cut it the opposite direction of the stretch for an interesting detail. 
This pattern only comes in short sleeves. I drafted a new sleeve using the long sleeve part of the sweet tee from patterns for pirates, grading from the wrist to the width I needed to match the width of the sleeve opening.

Patterns for Pirates Sweet Tee

  • This pattern is NOT free. I made a size M with Large sleeves as her patterns tend to be snug fitting in the sleeves and I don't care for that. It's got layers, and no trim pages. 
  • I used a cotton lycra for the front of this top as well as the sleeves and cuffs/neckband. and a Jersey for the back. I had this one all ready cut out in this fabric and sitting waiting to be sewn up so I didn't move to another material. 
  • directions are step by step photos and text. So very easy to follow even for a beginner. I made almost only this pattern last summer and basically lived in it so I was all ready very familiar with the process though. 
  • I used my own neckband calculations. 
  • I sewed up the long sleeves version, cut to the longest length and then added cuffs again. 

Patterns for Pirates Pumpkin Spice Dolman

  • This pattern is NOT free. I made a size small, with Medium sleeves. I could have sized up a bit but this pattern tends to run large so I made a smaller size. In hindsight due to my material I wish I had sized up.  This has layers and No trim pages. 
  • I used an unknown fiber content sweater knit I got in a remnant bin from a warehouse sale for this one. I THINK it's a poly blend baby terry. but not sure. It's very hot for being so thin. 
  • Directions are step by step photos and text. Super easy for beginners to follow. 
  • I used my own neckband calculations. 
  • I sewed the long sleeved version of this pattern. Cut to longest length with cuffs added to that. 

In conclusion.....

I think my favorite after seeing photos is the sweet tee. With the grainline hemlock coming in second. I hope to sew up another of both of these and compare to my favorite of the next batch. The plan will be to sew all of those in the same fabric content to get the best comparison.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments and I will answer as well as update the post with the information! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fuel Pull Drinkable Yogurt THM FP

I've enjoyed eating the Trim Healthy Mama way for about 4 months now. I'm not a food blogger, and I'm more of a follower than a leader when it comes to cooking. But sometimes you read the I ingredients on something and think "I could make this!" And you just have to try.
Many of us in the Facebook group enjoy 000 yogurts while on this plan. It's a great grab and go snack, side or meal depending on how you eat it. I was o e of those many, until I realized I'm allergic to stevia! Now my fast and easy breakfast option. Is gone! As a busy mom on the go this is unacceptable.
So armed with some Ingredients I set to work. And I was successful! The best part is, you only need a few ingredients, and 3 measuring devices. Though once you've made this enough you could totally eyeball it and use no measuring stuff and then it's no mess at all to clean up.
It's a fuel pull, and taste is totally customize-able to what you like.

First Measure out a cup of fat free greek yogurt. Pour into your jar.
Next you need 3 tsp of swerve. (this is also a tablespoon but I never have those clean so use tsp instead.) Add that to your jar as well.  
next 1/2-3/4 cup of almond milk. depending on how runny you like your drinkable yogurt. 

Next I added lemon extract. 1 tsp of that. I also like raspberry extract so I've done both. 
Next add a lid and shake WELL! 
This is what it looks like, runny yogurt. 

Drink right away and enjoy, or store in the fridge for a busy morning. If using on another day shake well again before drinking!

print recipe

Drinkable Yogurt THM FP
I love drinkable yogurt, but with a stevia allergy I had to get creative. This recipe uses no special ingredients, and doesn't even get mixing bowls dirty!
  • 1 cup 0% fat greek yogurt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Unsweetened Almond milk
  • 3 tsp Swerve or Eryrithritol sweetener
  • 1 tsp Raspberry or Lemon Extract (or both)
Put all ingredients into an 8oz mason jelly jar.shake WELL!drink or store in fridge till ready to drink,* if refrigerating shake well before drinking,.Note: To make sweeter add more swerve or even stevia if not allergic. For different flavors you can try different extracts, or even fresh squeezed juice in small amounts.
I personally do not ingest essential oils or recommend it, but if you do that could change the flavor as well.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 serving

Friday, May 19, 2017

Favorite Toys for our 2 year old daughter

I wrote this post over 4 years ago but apparently never published it. So here it is! Late like I always am in Real Life...

As Sweetness just turned 2 It's time for me to make another Blog post about our favorite toys/non toys. Sweetness is really enjoying Playing pretend a lot, and is potty training as well. Both of which make toys and books so much more fun and interesting than before.  So Without further ado...

Favorite Toys:

1.) Shopping cart- We have the metal Mellisa and Doug one and it gets played with daily. Her stuffed toys, babies, and random objects go for rides and get pushed around. When my little Sibs are over they love to make a "train" between the cart and the next toy and run laps around the kitchen table. If she could convince the cat I'm sure Ju-Ju would get pushed around too! lol 

2.) Stroller- Sweetness got an inexpensive doll stroller for christmas from her Grammy. I've made a new sling seat for it becasue she liked to sit in it and scoot it around and as such she wore it out. It also get's played with almost every day. And also get's pretty much everything to ride in it.

3.) The cat's teaser toy- We have one with a wire string and a furry "mouse" on the end of a wand. It was purchased at Petsmart and Her favorite thing is to daily run up and down the hallway with it and the cat following.

4.) Balls- small, big, soft, squishy, or bouncy. It doesn't matter. She loves them.

5.) Green Toys Build-a-Bouquet Floral Arrangement Playset- This was another Christmas gift and she loves it! I hate picking it up so the new rule is she has to clean it up before we get something else out. It's made from recycled plastic and is very easy to build and take apart since the piece just nest. Great for building flower towers then knocking down. 

6.) Lionel- Well he's actually the Cloud B Gentle Giraffe sound machine thing in travel size, but we call him Lionel. He's traveled with us to New york, NC, California, Georgia and all kinds of other random playdates and such. He is awesome. Getting a little matted and I have had to repair a hole in the neck once all ready. but we love him and need him every.single.night.

7.) Cloub B Turtle- She's just recently liked this. But it also must be on every.night.

8.) Pepper- She got Pepper For christmas. Our kitty who looked very much like her ran away and that kitty was also named pepper and Sweetness's buddy. I think that may have had something to do with the attachment. But nonetheless, I bought a second since pepper got carted around so much I was afraid she would get lost. Now we have Pepper and "Other Pepper".

9.) Baby doll- Doesn't matter what kind. She has 3. all different kinds. They all get mothered, carried around, taken to the potty, put to bed, and fed.

10.) A Phone/like object- Can be a toy or real if she can swipe it. Also random objects that are shaped like phones. Calculators, t.v. remotes, etc.

11.) Bead Maze- This is mostly used while sitting on the potty but she does that daily so it counts.

I've also included our few favorite books at the moment.

1.) Curious George and the Puppies- Got this a khols along with a stuffed George and I've read it at least twice a day.
But not the hippopatomus
Potty training books

Baby Signing Time
It's Potty Time

Sunday, April 16, 2017

THM My Journey Begins, The Guide pt 1

I Started a new eating plan in the beginning of January and Have been waiting to post till I could really talk about it.

It's called Trim Healthy Mama and is taking the internet by storm. It's faith based and real food based. And honestly I love it!

There's a bit of a learning curve and I have a few friends who want to join me on the adventure so I thought I'd share the tips and Tricks, as well as favorite products, that helped me get started and moving on it.

Some background, I come from the SAD(standard american diet) but had slowly been transitioning to more real foods over the years since having Sweetness. We've had some seasons in life where I was back on that pretty much entirely and the mom guilt has set it. I Always wanted to be the mom who makes all her kids lunches from scratch and puts together healthy snacks, packs lunches instead of fast food, and doesn't really touch processed foods unless really necessary. And with this plan I can be that mom!

I received the books for Christmas. My thoughts were this is overwhelming and I can't do it! But I found this handy cheat from pinterest that helped me get my feet wet:
This page has a downloadable "quick start" guide which tells you what chapters to read to get started along with some handy tips.

Next since I mostly shop at aldi i perused some pins on what to buy there:

The main things I buy where on there with just a few additions like stevia and nut milks. Which brings me to this list:
Which for those of us on a tight budget was super helpful.

So then I implimented the plan like this:

  • first few days I printed the lists of S and E meals and taped them to my fridge.
  • First week I ate as normal but compared my meals to my lists to see which category they belonged in. This helped me figure out how to redo my meals so they worked in the THM world.
  • I did a week of S meals only for my first week "on plan", as recommended on many pages and facebook groups. I found these printable lists super helpful to keep on my fridge and refer back to over and over:

  • The next week I decided to stick with my real plan of breakfast, lunch, and snacks/desserts. And went forward. I found several yummy things between the cookbook, pinterest and the HUGE group on facebook.

Armed with my list and a few recipes I wanted to try I went forward. I shopped. And I meal planned.
My first meal plan wasn't fancy but I knew if I wanted to make this work I'd need lots of sweets the first few weeks or I would feel deprived. This eating plan is sugar free, high protein, and low carb. It's so yummy. But let me tell you the no sugar thing wasn't easy.  So I wasn't afraid to experiment and try new things. As well as throw many a failed attempt away or pour down the drain! lol

I discovered I love Good Girl "Moonshine" which isn't moonshine at all but has a bite to it which I liked. And there are many variation recipes on pinterest. Remember REAL GGMS will have ginger and apple Cider vinegar though!

  • I spent a LOT of time in the kitchen the first month. I stayed up late a lot after all else in the home went to bed and prepped ahead and baked. I finally got into a rhythm as my first month came to an end.

The one thing I kept reading over and over again was to make the plan work for you. So I decided since I am blessed with a husband who loves to cook, And eat out to fellowship with friends and family, That my "make it work" would be to do the plan for all my snacks/desserts, and breakfast and lunch. If we ate out I'd get what was on plan or close to it. If he cooked I'd eat what was on plan and not stress about the rest.

The scale didn't move the first month AT ALL. In fact when I did weight myself I had gained 2 lbs! I was frustrated to say the least. But I remembered to measure myself and when I did I was shocked! I'd dropped 2 inches in my bust, and hips, and 1.5 inches in my stomach at the widest part! The next month the scale finally moved and I'd lost 4 lbs. This may not seem worth it to some but let me tell you this is NOT meant to be a fast weight loss diet. It is meant to be slow and safe for your body, and easy to maintain once you finally get to goal weight. For those of us with less to loose this takes longer. So 4 lbs in 2 months is wonderful! And even more so for not being 100% on plan.

First when you have a sweet craving, make a GGMS or peanut whip. I don't know why those two thing helped so much but they did.

I didn't buy much extra stuff. I splurged on a few flour alternatives, (almond and coconut) and bought nut milk(cashew and almond as I wasn't sure which I'd prefer. Cashew is my favorite).stevia in packets from aldi,and a few dairy products like 1% cottage cheese, Fat free greek yogurt, 000 oiko's drinkable yogurt was on sale so I grabbed a few of those and lots of cheese!

And with that I went on my way! I'll make another post with my favorite recipe links soon. and part two of this info. My hubby has gone on plan with me too and that has changed up a few things. as have my kids eating habits and such because I don't buy a lot of the junk I used to anymore.

I've also saved my menu's and such so if anyone is interested in that I'll gladly post those too. Till next time!