Posts filed under ‘sewing’

fitbit flex band tutorial

i love my fitbit! i’ve had it for almost a year, and it consistently motivates and propels me toward a healthier lifestyle.  the love died a little bit recently when my device malfunctioned, but the company was great and sent out a replacement for me with minimal frustration. relationship restored!   

derek, my lovable and problem-solving husband, decided to try to tinker with the old fitbit device, and wear it for a few days.  i always use the large wristband and wear the device on my ankle.  derek needed my large wristband, so i was forced to go back to wearing my fitbit on my wrist.  i love my fitbit– i hate the bracelet.  

so because i needed another ankle band, and because i needed it NOW, and because i didn’t want to spend money on it…  i made one.  and now you can too! here’s a very basic tutorial.  it’s an easy project, but requires some experience with online tutorials, because i wasn’t overy photo-happy with all of the steps.  

first:  cut your fabric.  the short side of the rectangle is 2.75 inches, and the long side is your ankle (or wrist) measurement, plus 1.5 inches.  

next, serge all of the edges (if you don’t have a serger, then do whatever you usually do to stop edges from fraying), and iron the rectangle.  at this point, i fold the rectangle into thirds and press again.

with the fabric folded, choose a spot about 1/3 of the way across your strip, and sew a straight line perpendicular to the fold. then measure 1 5/8 from that seam, and sew a parallel line.  you’ve now made the pocket for the fitbit device.

   you can stop at this point, add snaps and be done. that’s what i did with my impulsive prototype.  to make it more finished however, topstitch the edges closed (tucking under the serged ends when you get to them.  

don’t topstitch over the pocket! give it one last iron, then attach your snaps. 

insert your tracker between the folds of the pocket, and wear your new stylish fitbit band with pride.  then make one for your husband, and another one for yourself, and maybe a few more for your friends.   these bands are so much more comfortable than the hard plastic ones, and a great way to use up some scrap fabric.   i hope that you make one for yourself.  if you do, please comment and let me know how it went!


June 13, 2015 at 12:34 1 comment

4:30 has to be good for something 

good morning, friends. i’m really tired. i woke up at 4:30, which is more of a bed time for me, than a get-up-and-go time.  since i’m lying in the dark with a gigantic box of tissue, and a myriad of reasons that my body won’t sleep, i’ll use the time to post a quick update or two.

let’s go!

update #1: anne’s birthday party.

cousins  in tutus

i rented a hall, and schemed with anne’s ballet teacher, and together we threw anne a ballerina party with all of her friends.

despite my being super-prepared for this party,  it was still chaos. i love chaos.

the guests arrived and ate, made their own tutus, had their ballerina hair done, and did their own makeup.  then they got to work with miss maggy (anne’s ballet instructor) to learn, practice, rehearse, and finally perform a ballet for their parents. the girls all worked so hard, and miss maggy was a wizard with them. I also loved that entire families came to see the performance!

behind the scenes (and often the camera), my sister bernadette was a whirling dirvish of activity. we’ve started this tradition of helping each other out with our daughters’ birthday parties, and i really really really could not have pulled off the party without her!

did i mention there was also a blizzard that day?

okay, on to the next:

update #2: anne’s birthday gift.


her birthday gift from us this year, was an elsa dress, and tickets to see disney on ice.

we took the train into the city with a group of girls and their moms, and had dinner together, before walking to the arena for the main event.

when anne first received her elsa dress, she was ecstatic because she had been asking for one since first seeing frozen.  plus she absolutely loves anything handmade. she looks past all of my sewing mistakes and genuinely believes that i can make anything. it’s simultaneously endearing and terrifying.  when I told her about the rest of her gift (train, dinner, show), she was apathetic about the whole thing.

the day after the show, however, she was so thankful for her gift, and declared it “the best birthday present ever!”  shout out to my friend rachel for being the most organized person in the world, and arranging the tickets & dinner!

i’m wordy before the sun is up! and also, so done. i’ll hopefully do another update before we leave for belgium (if you follow me on instagram or have noticed the theme in the sidebar– you’ve been counting down with me!).

going to try to nap now! i know this is totally morning for most of you, but it’s really not morning for me!

March 26, 2015 at 06:54 Leave a comment

twenty fourteen

i’m actually in shock that we are on this end of the holiday season already!  it’s been an amazing blur of parties and gift wrapping and visiting with friends.  for two months leading up to christmas, my fingers were busy with knitting, crochet, and sewing, as is common for this time of year.  each year gets a bit busier, and this year i unfortunately had to turn down work because there just wasn’t enough time for it all (shown here are most of the items, i didn’t have time to photograph some of them before they were packaged and gone!)

our family worked really hard to keep christmas about Jesus this year, and shifting the focus back onto Him.  we did more acts of kindness, and gave more gifts that didn’t require wrapping.  it was the very best christmas season that i’ve ever experienced, and i’m hoping to duplicate it for many more years to come.

2013 was a big year of changes for me.  i got older, i cut my hair (multiple times), i pierced my nose, i dropped 20lbs, and i had my braces removed.  i learned to control my illness with diet, and am so so thankful for that victory.  i also got cats; two of them.   i learned (through trial & error) to be a better mom, and to be a confident homeschooler.  i quit yelling at my kids, then fell off the wagon, then humbly scrambled back onto it again.

looking ahead, there are things in 2014 that i want to do differently, and things that i want to stay the same.  always, always, always– cherish the time i have with my kids and other loved ones.

my “new years resolution”, is to get back into my 30 day schedule of self-improvement.  i have a few lined up, and i love it when you guys join me in them!

  • january: clean house every night before bed.  the handmade gifts and christmas schedule left me running and dropping a lot, and i’m just ready to snap at the state of my home!  i came across this today, and it totally seems achievable.  so i’ll try for a month and even if i fail half of the days, i’ll still be ahead.
  • daily in february/march/etc, (in no particular order):  practice french, spend 30 minutes with God, delete & clean up my photos.  i dunno, i’m kind of dry on ideas.  i usually have several “healthy eating month” or “30 day shred month” ideas, but my kids are at the gym 4 times a week with programs, so i’m working out during those times too.  and my “special needs belly” forces me to eat healthily every single day, so they’re kind of unnecessary regulars that i can’t fall back on anymore.  any suggestions?

most of all, i want 2014 to be awesome!  in what will feel like 3 months, we’ll be back here again wondering where another year disappeared to, and i want to be able to have nothing but great things to reflect upon.  i’m so ready to work towards that!

thanks for sticking around and reading my musings.  i hope that each one of you have a great 2014, full of God’s blessings and your recognition of them.  happy new year!


January 1, 2014 at 22:15 Leave a comment

tutorial: pants to manly satchel

there are other pants-to-bag tutorials online, but as far as i know, this technique is an original.  i’m not up for preamble tonight, so let’s just get to the good stuff!

beforeisha word about pant choice: look for straight legs!  also pants made out of thinner fabrics. we eventually sew through several layers at a time with this technique, so avoid the denim!  pockets aren’t essential, but they’re free “oopf” for your finished project, and are referenced many times in this tutorial.

step one:  cut above the pocket.  make sure that you leave plenty of room above the pocket, because as you’ll see in the next step, we need to have room to sew up there.

inside out isntime to flip the leg!  turn the pant leg inside out, but not all the way (top left).  then you’re going to take the hem of the pants, and fold it over, enclosing the cut raw edge inside.  did that make sense?  try it– it’s not as confusing as it sounds!  then sew the top fold down (so you’re sewing around the very bottom of the hem of the pants, just above the top of the pocket).

at this point you have a tube, with the right sides of the fabric (camo, in this case) on the inside and outside of the tube.

turn the tube inside out!  the pocket is now on the inside of the tube.  go ahead and sew up the bottom so i can stop calling this bag a tube!

sew the bottom

boxing the bottom!  so fun to say, so fun to do.  use these pictures for reference:

box the bottomtop left: cut out a square on both bottom corners.  mine is about 1.5 x 1.5.  to save measuring on the second corner, use the waste square and trace it.
top right: open up that square!
bottom left: and pinch it against the bottom.
bottom right: sew up that corner!

at this point i like to give everything a nice crisp ironing.  the new seams relax, and the box-bottom is more defined.  ps: YOU’RE DONE THE HARD STUFF!


beltthe strap!  i actually don’t have a lot of pictures here, but it’s not difficult!  cut off the buckle, and sew the belt ends into the inside of the bag.  BAG!  YOU MADE A BAG! official!

finished bagyou can customize this bag with any pants, and any belt.  elliot uses his to hold his bible, shares, and club book.  it’s way manly!

if you use this tutorial or have any questions, please let me know! i’d love to see the finished product.  also, i don’t need two of these bags.  i made the first one for elliot, and the second one to show you how it was done.  the second bag is for sale for $10- just msg me if you want it!

update: the bag sold possibly less than a minute after i posted this.  sorry!

April 7, 2013 at 21:32 Leave a comment

dorky flyer, but come anyway!

my sisters and mom and myself are in a craft show tomorrow!  it’s our first, and we’re starting out small, but if you’re in the grimsby area on saturday then please stop by!  here’s the flyer that they’ve asked us to circulate.  i planned on taking some pictures of my wares, but i’ve been too busy making them!  here’s the dorky flyer!  hope to see you there!

March 30, 2012 at 22:05 Leave a comment

the astrid transformation

do you remember before christmas, when i made the declaration that i was going to go from this: 

to this?

well i didn’t get it done in time for christmas (shocker!), but i did finish it up by 5pm on the evening of anne’s birthday.  here she is!

i didn’t have a ton of time for photos since she was stuffed inside a prettily wrapped box, about 4 seconds after the last stitch was sewn, but here’s what i’ve got, and a bit of a source guide for anyone who wants to make their own:

groovy girl thora came with pink hair on her head, which i cut out as close to the root as possible.  i bought some patons astra yarn in a yellowish colour because it had the sheen and twist of the original hair.  it’s not a perfect match but meh– highlights.  i used a massive darning needle to replace the pink hairs, and added in a couple lines of hair to the top of the head for astrid’s centre part.  the ‘do was simple: choppy bangs and a chunky braid down the back.
the headband and shoulder guards were made the same way– leather strips dotted with metallic puff paint.

 the sweater was just a knit tube turned tank top when i got to the armpits.  i scoured the internet until i found Stroll fingering weight yarn at in the “tree fort” colourway.  i sewed the shirt onto astrid, thus declaring this a toy with no removable clothing.
the arms are covered in a lightweight hemp, which i sewed in place as i wrapped it.

i was hoping to find skull and thorn buttons on the internet, but can you believe that they don’t exist?! i know, i was shocked too.  so i bought some white and metallic silver fimo at micheal’s, and got sculpting.  i pressed 4mm jump rings into the backs of each skull & thorn before baking, to make them something that i could sew onto astrid.  i just used a thin sharpie for the skull details.
skirt:  i bought a strip of leather, and cut slits into it (which i rounded off to size).  to sew on all of my new buttons, i had to first punch holes for my needle to go through.  a push pin and a cork board were great helps in this step.
underskirt: you can’t really see it in any of my pictures, but before i sewed on the leather skirt, i sewed a rectangle of dark brown felt onto astrid.  after i’d sewn the leather skirt on, i went between each of the rounded leather strips and cut the points into the felt (like the picture from the movie, above).
legs: i painted groovy girls legs blue with a sharpie paint pen.  i also coloured her underwear with a brown sharpie because thora came with sunny yellow ones and i’m all about the details.
boots:  i tried to just colour over thora’s yellow boots with both a sharpie marker and paint pen, but the glitter kept showing through and it wasn’t going to work.  so then i tried to make boots out of leather and that nearly killed me.  eventually i made them out of the same dark brown felt as the underskirt.  they were definitely the hardest part of the project- can you believe that i’ve never made boots before?  haha.  the fur on the tops was also a bit of a challenge until derek found a toy beaver at value village.  it died well, bravely and without a struggle.  elliot was completely horrified at the death of a stuffed animal, but he loved the creation process too much to make a big deal out of it.

so i think that’s it!


from this:

to this:

to recap, you’ll need:

  • sharpie paint pen in blue
  • sharpie markers in dark brown and a thin-tipped one in black
  • fimo, white and metallic silver
  • 4mm jump rings
  • leather in two colours: reddish-brown and gray
  • grayish-brown fur  (from an old toy or if you can find it at a craft store– i couldn’t!)
  • dark brown felt
  • metallic silver puff paint
  • yellow yarn
  • lightweight hemp
  • stubbornness, time, and attention to details.
  • a beautiful and enthusiastic six-year-old who will love and adore the transformation:

February 11, 2012 at 08:54 1 comment

the christmas project parade

i’ve been super-busy since the beginning of november with knitting, crochet, woodwork, and sewing gifts for my family.  i’ve already shown you the hats and kirby plushes that i made for some friends to give to their loved ones as gifts, but i had to keep all of my gifts secret until they were unwrapped on christmas morning.  here’s the lineup:

  1. derek’s birthday hat.  his birthday is at the beginning of december so it qualifies as christmas knitting for me!  this is the hardest piece of intarsia that i’ve ever done, and at one point i had 15 bobbins hanging from my needle at one time!  it was a very time-consuming project, but i consider my time to be part of the gift.   he loves it :)
  2. mommy’s christmas gift this year was a thread spool organizer.  don’t you find parents so difficult to buy for?  i feel like they already have everything they want or need, so i have to get creative at christmas and birthdays.  i found the tutorial here and knew that this was the gift for my über-crafty mama.
  3. remember the beach robes that i made for my kids?  i loved the robes so much that i decided every little niece/nephew needed one as well.  i also decided that white bias tape was boring, so i made my own from some fat quarters which turned out to be the perfect amount for each robe.  the towels that i bought from ikea had hanging loops sewn onto the bottoms of them, so i re-used them at the nape of the neck to make the beach robe easy to hang.  i love this pattern and it’s a great pattern for beginners because EVERY step is photographed!  find it here.
  4. the older nieces and nephews got boring stuff like gift cards, but one of my sisters requested a knit sweater for her daughter’s doll.  time was rapidly running out at this point so i finished the project at the sister sleepover (post coming soon, promise!) and quickly snapped a photo before passing it on.  pattern link here.
  5. with the lebrun christmas out of the way i was able to focus on other gifts that wouldn’t be given away until christmas day.  i thought i wouldn’t have time for this guy, but i’m glad that derek requested that i make an effort because he really wanted his brother to have it.   it was quite well-received, so i’m thankful that i made time for him.  it’s sack boy from little big planet (a video game for playstation), in case you have no idea what you’re looking at!  here’s the pattern
  6. and finally, when i was all done and christmas was just two days away, i looked at all that i had done for other people and felt horrible.  i felt horrible because my kids had seen me working for several weeks and had been told “i can’t, i’m too busy” too many times, and i had nothing for them.  they had several store-bought gifts waiting for them, but as i said earlier about derek’s hat:  my time is a huge part of the gift.  so i picked up some yarn and needles and cast on for the bat plushes that had been catching their eyes for several months.  they’re a quick knit and i love all of the mochimochiland patterns (i’ve made so many!)
    not a stellar photograph, but you can see some great pictures if you click here to get the pattern.

i’m pretty sure that’s all of them!  everyone liked everything that they got and even though it was busy, i was happy to give handmade gifts to the people i love. i received some pretty awesome homemade gifts myself this christmas, and they are among my favourites because i appreciate the sacrifice of time that it takes!  i think that my absolute favourite gift this season was from my mama who used her precious time to type out recipes that were staples around our home while i was growing up.  some of the recipes even go back as far as my great-grandparents, and it is a total treasure.

how did everyone else do over the holidays?  which gifts were you excited to give or receive?


December 28, 2011 at 22:43 Leave a comment

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