Men’s BBQ Apron

I don’t know about you, but my husband has been working the grill all summer. I’m almost to the point that I’m sick of barbeque foods…mmm, maybe not yet. It’s dinner time right now.

Anyway, Hunter mentioned once that he would love an apron that had little “tool belt” loops on it so he could hang his tongs on it. I thought it was a realistic project, so I began designing my own pattern.

I bought a yard of black broadcloth from JoAnn’s, a cotton/polyester blend. I wanted it to be durable. The only thing I’ve noticed about the fabric is it attracts dust and fluffs when you wash it. Other than that, it’s great.

I’m kicking myself now because I wish I had documented the whole process. It really was fairly simple. I always start by sketching up what I want it to look like. Because I wanted this to be a surprise for father’s day, I didn’t want him to have to try it on throughout the process, so I made my best estimates on the width and the height by hanging one of his polos on a hanger.

Here’s the finished product.

This is some of my best sewing. I was really proud of how well made it is. It fits him just right. Doesn’t he look great?

The loops work like a charm. Very cool, and very functional.

Happy grilling!

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Paper Roll Flowers

How many crafts have you made from toilet paper rolls?

Have you ever tried this?

Such a cute banner made from such a common household item.

Just flatten the roll and measure and cut every 1/4 inch.

Glue them together.

And paint!

If I did it again, I might try spray paint. I originally went with this old acrylic paint I had because I wanted to try making two-tone flowers, like this:

I had but I ended up painting over it. I liked the solid color better.

Of course you can get the kids involved.

Once your flowers are dry, thread a string through the petals and hang them up for a party.

I was curious to see what other crafts are done with toilet paper rolls. Sure enough, I’m not as original as I think I am. These people have come up with the same idea. These flowers are more full, which I think looks cute.

These reminded me of the good ol’ days of elementary school.

These were especially awesome. Something to aspire to.

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Easy Robot Costume

This wasn’t my first robot costume. Recognize this guy?

I wonder if you could recognize him without his rusty skin

This next robot is more of a classic.

And it couldn’t be simpler to make.

I used an empty diaper box

Be sure to turn it inside out and tape it shut again.

Trim off the bottom flaps and save them for later.

Cut out holes for the head and arms, and try it on for size.

Spray paint the body

While you wait for the paint to dry, get creative with your control deck. This is the fun part. You really can’t go wrong.

I just cut some simple shapes from the scraps I’d cut off earlier.

And made some colorful graphics in adobe illustrator.

Simple as that.

You can accessorize your robot costume with a NASA astronaut helmet…or any kind of helmet. We added the red eyes, which we cut out of red vinyl.

I love easy projects.

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Car Curtains

Finally, it’s summer. I’m no longer freezing and the sun comes up early and goes down late. Only problem is the sun has fooled the boys into thinking they can stay up later than their usual bedtime.

Naps can be especially difficult when the sun is beating through the window.

No problem. Get some opaque, dark colored fabric and make curtains. It’s a simple enough project, even for beginners. You can get as creative as you want with it. The result: the kids will be soothed into sleep by the darkness…then you can get some rest, too.

Check these out.

I hand-stitched these on to make my curtains more interesting. This is the part that took the longest.

Have fun! It really is worth it!

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Have you seen the size of these new jumbo marshmallows? Look at it compared to the size of a graham cracker. It’s a monster!

I just had to buy them so that we could try toasting them to perfection…

…Whoops! Course, I tried toasting it on the grill.

Didn’t work nearly as well as waiting patiently by the campfire. Here are some of the normal large ones that we toasted at our last family reunion.

What do you think? Look good?

I don’t prefer the typical Hershey’s milk chocolate, so I’ve been using symphony milk chocolate with toffee bits.

I recently learned about this speed method, if you’re kids are interested in these cookies.

So, what are you waiting for?

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Easy Fishing Poles

We visited an old family friend last weekend and went camping at Joe’s Valley Reservoir in Utah. It was a long drive, but worth it. We camped about 10 minutes away from the reservoir and then just drove in for fishing in the morning.

My kids love camping, and we couldn’t have had better company or a better location. Our campsite was only a 10 minute drive from this reservoir. Notice there’s only one other person there. I loved that it wasn’t a crowded camping/fishing experience.

Andre kept asking me for a fishing pole, but we couldn’t afford to buy one for each of us, so I made made one out of the dried up reeds I found around our campground.

Advantages to making your own:

You won’t have to worry about when it breaks
You can make it small enough for your toddlers to handle
It’s free!

Interested in making one for yourself?

Simply strip the bark off the sticks so your kid won’t get slivers.

Cut a small groove close to the end of the stick to tie your fishing line around. If you can spare a weight for your line, it will make the kids feel like they’re really fishing.

That’s all there is to it. Now watch as the kids have fun trying to catch something.

…Or as they try to till the ground like Andre did.

Happy fishing!

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Boy’s Room Vinyl Designs

One of the fun parts of having boys is you get to decorate their rooms with cars and trains and boyish things. I designed these a while ago and thought it would be fun to post them here.

You can buy these in a variety of colors at

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Dishtowel Apron

Considering all the cooking and dish washing I do–and considering all the laundry I don’t like to do–I try to use an apron to preserve the life of my clothes. Here’s an easy apron that any beginning sewer can make.

Choose a fairly large decorative dish towel, and a ribbon to match or contrast well with your fabric. Here’s what I chose:

Mark the center point along the short edge of your dish towel. Put a pin there, then create little pleats and pin them in place.

Iron the pleats and sew as close to the edge of the pleat as possible. Sew only an inch or two down the pleat.

Sew ribbon along the top, using enough to loop around your head. Measure equal lengths of ribbon to sew to the sides so you can tie the ribbon around your waist.

Hurray for easy projects!

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Carseat Cover Updated

A few years ago, a good friend taught me that you don’t always need a pattern to sew cool stuff. She told me she’d take old shirts apart and use the pieces for creating new patterns–I’ve tried this, by the way, and it works wonderfully.

Well, the first time I put this principle to the test, I thought I’d try updating the cover on my son’s old infant car seat. I was motivated to try because the car seat was a hand-me-down, and the fabric was an old plaid which had become faded and stained over the years.

I wish I had taken photos back then of the process, but here’s what I did:

1. Rip the old stitches out, keeping track of what pieces connect to each other

2. Trace the pieces on the new fabric

3. Sew the pieces back together.

I used the old batting because it was still intact and not stained somehow.

Here’s the final product. Cute fabric, don’t you think? I thought it worked well for either a boy or girl.

The most difficult part was the canopy.

I think I screwed up a few times, but with all my sewing projects, it seems I have to make mistakes before I can learn.

Well, he liked it anyway.

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Marshmallow Straw

Here’s a really simple treat that will make the kids feel extra special.

Marshmallow Straw Skewers! Put them in your favorite flavor of hot chocolate–or as my kids insist on saying– “warm chocolate”–they don’t like it too hot.

Look how easy this is. This is all you need:

Poke the straw through the marshmallows (this can get a little sticky, but it softens up eventually)…

…and Voila!


And then, of course, the best part for last!

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