Saturday, December 17, 2011

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Have an old turtle neck or sweater that you just don't like anymore? Or, one that just never fit right? I sure do! Matter of fact, this sweater fit into that second category. It was a bit too broad in the shoulders and left me feeling like a line backer. I think I may have worn it a handful of times but, I could not manage to get it OUT of my closet! The fabric was just too nice to part with it. So, I decided to upcycle it into a Christmas dress for my Stink Bug!

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

I started by finding a dress, which already fits my Sting Bug, and laying it over top of the sweater to use as a pattern. Now, some people might prefer to trace the dress onto paper to then use as a pattern but, not me! I had one nap time to make this dress as well as one for Thanksgiving. (You can check out the other dress here.)

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Using the body of the dress as a guide, I cut up the sides of the sweater. I wanted to use the turtle neck part of the sweater (it was a tight fitting on me) for the Stink Bug as well. You can see it really was a very general outline. It looks a little funky on the right side but trust me, it all came out fine once I sewed it! You'll see!

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

I also decided to salvage the sleeves, using the cuff's to my advantage. Be sure to cut at an angle so that you don't have bunching under the arms of the sleeves.

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

With the dress inside out sew up the sides of the dress, being sure to leave room to add the sleeves. Once the sides are sewn, add the sleeves. You can check out how to add the sleeves on my other dress tutorial here.

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Try your dress on your little one, and make any changes accordingly! (The Stink Bug was trying her dress on over the clothes that she was wearing that day. The dress looks a bit bulky because of this.) You can bunch the turtle neck up if you like that look, or you can fold it over. (It is folded in the next picture.) If your turtle neck is way to big for your tot then, fold it like a cowl neck!

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Here she is standing up in her dress so you can get an idea of what the whole length of the sweater looks like. You can very easily hem the dress shorter, or just take the length into account when you trance the dress initially. I really like the length of the dress for the winter, and it does not trip the Stink Bug up!

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

I bet you can make one in a nap time too! If you do, I would LOVE to see what you come up with!

Check out another toddler sweater dress that I sewed here!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa are you for REAL?

santa are you for real

Santa. Father Christmas. Mr. Claus. No matter what you decide to call him, you have to make the decision of what role he will play in your childs life.

This time last year I was beginning to explore who Santa would be in the Stink Bugs life. This is an excerpt from that blog:

"As for telling the Stink Bug who Santa is, that is where I am torn. On one hand I want her to experience the whole "Santa" mysticism but, I also want her to understand that we are really celebrating the biblical Christmas story first and foremost.

Awhile back, I picked up a book at a library sale called "Santa are you for Real?" I dug it out the other day and it really helped to lead me in the "Santa" direction that I think I want to go. Here is a brief description of the book from

"In this book children will discover that there really was a Saint Nicholas. Through colorful illustrations and a heartwarming story, children and parents will learn who the real Saint Nick was, when he lived, and why he gave gifts. Most importantly, you'll see how the original Saint Nick set an example for us today by keeping Christ at the heart of Christmas. Written by Harold Myra, President of Christianity Today, Inc., this trustworthy story is accompanied with fun, whimsical illustrations."

The book is heavy on the idea of giving during the holidays, with Jesus' gift to us being the model for our giving. I like that idea. The part of the book that I think I like best is that last page. It concludes with one of the children staring out of the window on Christmas eve, wondering if she just saw Santa in the moonlight. I like this idea because the book never really squashed the idea of Santa. It still leaves the parents to say, "I don't know about Santa, what do you think?" You can leave the mystery as just that, a mystery. Letting your child try to figure it out for them self. I think this is the direction I will go with Juliet. I have a feeling that this book will become an important part of our Christmas traditions."

What Christmas traditions do you remember?
Which traditions do you celebrate with your child/children?
How do you blend the idea of Santa with Christianity?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas in the Making: Slippers

Here is another Christmas gift in the making!

Keep an eye out for these on the Stink Bugs feet in her upcoming tot school pictures! Just a little trial run of a Christmas gift that I sewed for her. Good thing she wont remember having seen them come Christmas. Or, if she does, she really wont mind! ;-)

Are you making anything for your little one for Christmas? I would love to hear what you have been up to!

Yogurt Cheese

I know that I don't typically post on food types of things but, I just couldn't help but to share this yummyness! This is DEFINITELY a toddler friendly snack and it spreads easily on crackers, or just about anything!

Yogurt Cheese

yogurt cheese

Are you a yogurt fan? Have you made something like this before? If you haven't then you should try it! The possible flavor additions are limitless! Sweet or savory!

You can check out how to make it here. It is REALLY easy!

Tot School: 16 Months

Tot School

~16 Months~

This week the Stink Bug turned 16 months old! Boy the time sure is flying by! I can't believe how fast babies grow up!

In tot school this week we worked with a very versatile (and free) activity. I saved the cups from laundry detergent containers, and painted the inside of each cup with some paint. One for each color of the rainbow. I have left out a few more that I made (purple, pink, white, etc.) for simplicity's sake this week. Really, you could use just about any small, clear container for this.

I have the cups turned upside down so that you can see the colors more easily as well as for the first activity we worked on.

The first activity that we worked on was talking about the different colors in each cup. Yes, this is MANY colors to introduce to your child all at once. By all means, I did not expect her to remember, or learn, her colors from this activity. This was more about exposure for us. I also took five craft pom-poms, one that corresponded to each of the cups, and showed her those as well. As I talked, I would places a pom-pom on (or in) each of the cups.

She had a blast putting the pom-poms in and out of the cups.

The Stink Bug also enjoyed stacking the cups. (Never putting down the pom-pom's!)

Another activity that we used the cups for was working on sorting two colors. When you work on this activity, be sure to use highly contrasting colors so that your little one can easily distinguish between them. Blue and purple can be very close in color and could make the activity too difficult. Shades of the same color are also difficult for tot's. I happened to pick red and yellow (blue and yellow would be the best now that I have thought about it) to work with. I gave her pom-pom's that matched and helped show her how to sort them.

The Stink Bugs grandma was over on this particular day. (Yes, that is grandma helping out in the background. Sorry, for the not flattering picture grandma!) I held one cup, and grandma held the other cup while the Stink Bug sorted the pom-pom's back and forth between us. This was VERY difficult for her but, with lots of cheering on, she thought it was a fun game to run between us! I will definitely repeat this activity again in a few months.

Have any ideas of how we could use these fun cups next week? I would love to hear what your creative mind can come up with!?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ash Tree Meadow Holiday Discount

20% off Ash Tree Meadow Prints!

Ash Tree Meadow would like to send out a little bit of love for the Holidays! 20% off your purchase! Just type in HOLIDAY2011 when asked for a coupon code during checkout if you purchase something from the shop, and Etsy will discount your order by 20%! Hopefully, you can find someone who would love an Ash Tree Meadow print as a gift this Holiday season. Of course, you could just give yourself a little gift too! ;-)

Check it out on the left sidebar or here!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tot School: 15.5 Months

Tot School

~15.5 Months~

This week, in tot school, we worked quite a bit with our magnet board and a set of picture/object magnets.

We have been exploring and talking about the shape of a circle as well this week. You can see some circle objects peeking out behind her arm in this picture. The Stink Bug gets a kick out of digging through the entire container and pulling out the objects that are circles. Some times she will stick them on the board, other times she will stack them all in one hand and walk around the room with them, putting them in interesting places.

We have also been working with some picture/word flash cards. These cards have a picture on one side, and the word on the other. We mostly have been working with her identifying the picture, and signing or saying what it is. I will also show her the word but, I do not expect her to recognize the words.

This week we brought out a fun preschool game to play with; although, we have been making up our own toddler games with it. The game is made up of various farm animals, which can be separated into half's, and haystacks to hide them under.

Here is a close up of what they look like. We have had lots of fun, opening and closing the halves, and putting them in the container, one in each haystack. We also play "the nut shell game" where I ask the Stink Bug to figure out which haystack the animal is hiding under. Lots of fun to watch her "try" to follow the moving haystack. We are definitely working on some object permanence and tracking skills with that game!

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress 2

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress 2

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I needed a new semi-casual dress for my Stink Bug to wear for our family get together. I really didn't want to go out and buy anything new so, I started digging around in my closet for some old sweaters that I was no longer wearing. I tend to have a pile of those hanging around.

This particular sweater no longer fit me well but, was in good shape. To get the main body pieces of the dress, I laid another dress (which currently fits my daughter) on top of my sweater. I cut around it, making sure to leave enough room for seam allowances. I only cut out the body sections here.

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

After that, I eye balled, and cut the length that I wanted her sleeves to be. Once again, being sure to leave enough room for seam allowances. I wanted to use the "curl" of the cuff so, I cut from the bottom of the sleeve. Less sewing for me! YAY!

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

With the body of the dress inside out, and the sleeve RIGHT side out, I tucked the sleeve in and pinned it. If you are unsure of whether or not your sleeve has the correct side out, pin it and turn the whole dress right side out. You will quickly see if you have it done correctly. Better safe, than have to spend your time seam ripping, and fixing! Go head and sew the sleeves as well as the sides of the dress.

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Next, I eye balled how much of the neck of the sweater I wanted to use, and cut it. I wanted the neck to be somewhat large on the Stink Bug. (She has a larger head and HATES to have things pulled over it!) I thought it would add to the over all look as well. You may not like this look, by all means, change away!

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Here is the neck, over the body of the dress.

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

I wanted to give the neckline a little bit more room, and shape so I cut out the front of the neckline a little bit deeper than the back.

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Turn the dress inside out, if it isn't already, and the neck piece right side out. Pin together, just as you did with the sleeves. Check as before. Sew all the way around the neck once you have checked!

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Turn your dress right side out and check your work!

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Add some embellishments if you like. I used some of the left over sleeve fabric to add a little star. I zig-zag stitched around the edges to sew it onto the front of the dress.

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

Here is the cute owner of the dress, my Stink Bug! I made sure to leave her lots of room to wear it through the rest of the winter! I paired it with some cute leggings, and she was ready for Thanksgiving.

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

My model was ready to be finished, and did not want her picture taken ANYMORE! Unfortunately, this sad picture was the only one that I got of her standing up. I am sorry Stink Bug!

Upcycled Sweater Toddler Dress

For you busy moms who are thinking, "Who has the time?!" I completed the dress, as well as one for Christmas, in one nap time. (Check out the other dress .) Which for my Stink Bug, was right at an hour. I even took pictures! I am sure you can do it in a nap time too!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Signing Saturday

Here is a little clip of some of our signing fun from this past Saturday! The Stink Bug is 15.5 months old!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Toddler Christmas List

christmas gifts

(image source)

Not sure what to get your little one for Christmas this year? I thought I would share what our Stink Bug has on her list! She is currently 15 months old but, I have quite a few gifts on her list that I know she will need to "grow into" this year. Much can change in the development of a toddler in just a few short months. I find that it is better to have toys that she can grow into, rather than toys she will quickly grow out of.

I have tried to include information on where you can buy some of these, as well as approximately how much they cost! I hope this helps you make your little one's Christmas list! Oh and for those of you who are curious, this is THE list that we gave to asking relatives (grandparents, etc.) so, clearly your little one might not need bows or leggings! :-)

Here is a little snippet...

You can download her whole list for free here!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Signing Saturday

I thought I would start a fun new segment to my blog called Signing Saturday! I hope you enjoy getting to meet my Stink Bug! We were having a good time signing during lunch, not the best signing, but still fun all the same! Enjoy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tot School: 15 Months

Tot School

~15 Months~

Our first activity this week was a tot tray activity. We worked on sponging up water. The Stink Bug has had a recent fascination with using paper towels to wipe EVERYTHING! She gets a kick out of wiping her baby doll's faces too so, I figured, why not give it a try! I modeled how to do it once, by sprinkling some water on the tray and then wiping it up with the sponge. She really took off after that!

She got so into the water sprinkling that she enthusiastically shook it ALL over the tray, as well as herself.

The wiping she was a bit more careful with but, really wasn't into getting every drop wiped up. She really wanted to get the wiping over with so she could get back to the sprinkling!

We also worked on putting small objects into an ice cube tray again this week. This time we used "puffed" treats.

You can see how that went over...

She was of course more interested in using leaves!

We also worked on this AWESOME latches board. At first, I wasn't sure that she would be able to master the latches without assistance but, she has been fascinated by it, and by the end of the week mastered opening each one.

There are a few that she has a difficult time closing but, I think that is mostly because once the latch is unlatched, and the little door or window is opened, the activity is "finished" to her. I don't think that she really sees the point in latching it back each time. I will definitely keep this activity out for awhile for her to explore, and will bring it out again when we talk about numbers and colors. (Each door has a different latch as well as a color, number, and corresponding number of animals inside.)

Last but not least, we have been working a lot on shape sorting/puzzle type toys this week. We have a few toys that she used to practice this but, this is the only picture that I took. (This particular toy has a triangle, circle, and square.) This week she was able to do circles, without any issues, as well as stars and some squares. I believe that these shapes seem to be a little bit easier for her right now because they don't require her to turn her wrist quite as far to figure out how the shape fits into the hole. Triangles are a bit much for her at the moment.

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