Nesting Series: DIY Car Seat Canopy Tutorial

Have you been following my Nesting Series?!?! If not, make sure you check it out... especially if you or someone you know is expecting a little bundle of joy!! 

Today's addition is something that I wish I knew had even existed with my other two kids when they were infants... the car seat canopy! 

I can't even count the number of times one of these would have come in handy. At the store, at church, at the zoo, and just about anywhere else! Instead, I would drape a light weight blanket over the top of my baby's car seat and end up chasing it around as it flapped in the wind and blew off. 

Well, I won't have to worry about that this time around! 

This project may seem a little scary to tackle, but honestly... if you can cut and sew in a straight line, you are set!

The great thing about a car seat canopy is that it's removable and washable. PLUS you can fold up the front of it to take baby in or out -- or when baby is awake -- and since it attaches to the car seat itself, it won't blow or fall off!! 

I decided to create mine so that it could also be used as a blanket/play mat. I used button holes and toy rings as a way to attach mine to the car seat.

Those velcro straps that seem standard on most car seat canopies could irritate baby's skin when used as a blanket or play mat. With the button holes, it is completely safe and soft!! PLUS, you can keep the rings in the button holes and attach your baby's favorite toy or two to the blanket. Great for tummy time!! 

Interested in making your own!? 

• 1 yd cotton fabric

• 1 yd coordinating cuddle fabric {or cotton}- I chose a flat minky with a star embossed pattern, but you can really choose any kind of fabric you want

• essentials {sewing machine, thread, scissors, rotary cutter, mat and ruler, pins, iron, ironing board ...}

• a small cereal bowl

** This pattern uses a 1/4" inseam unless otherwise stated. 

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Be sure to wash, dry, and iron your fabric before beginning. This way it doesn't shrink when you wash it the first time. 

Step 1:
Cut your fabric. 
Using your rotary cutter and ruler, cut a 35"x41" rectangle out of both your cotton and your minky fabric {or whatever cuddle fabric you chose -- I will refer to this fabric as the minky}. 

Sorry there's no picture, but I figure we can all handle cutting a rectangle without pics! ♥

Step 2:
Round your corners. 
Using your rotary cutter, mat and cereal bowl trim the four corners of both of your fabrics so that they are rounded. 

If you don't have a rotary cutter you can trace your bowl with a disappearing ink fabric pen or a pencil and cut it with your scissors. 

Step 3:
Pin your rectangles together. 
Place right sides of the rectangles together and pin all the way around. 
Be sure to line up your rounded corners. If you are using a minky or other stretching fabric, be sure to use LOTS of pins. Otherwise your fabric will stretch as you sew and it won't be as perfect as you would like it. 

Leave a 4" opening in your pinning so that you can turn your fabric right side out. As always, I like to double pin both sides of my opening so I can easily find where to start and stop sewing. 

Step 4:
Using your sewing machine, sew a straight stitch all the way around your pinned edge -- leaving the 4" opening. I choose a 2.5-3mm stitch length so that my fabric is nice and secure. 

Under normal circumstances I absolutely recommend placing your fabric with the minky side down on your machine to sew. However, you'll notice mine is on top in this picture. My feeder feet were acting up {now that I took my machine apart and cleaned it up it works just fine} and my fabric was getting stuck, so I turned it over so that the smoother cotton fabric would more easily glide through my machine. 

Placing the minky on the bottom as you sew helps it not to stretch while sewing. So, unless your machine is having issues like mine was, PLEASE PUT YOUR MINKY ON THE BOTTOM!! 

Step 5:
Trim the rounded corners.
Why!?! If you don't trim around the corners of your canopy when you turn it right side out the corners won't lay flat. So, if you want nice round flat corners, trim the fabric! 

The first way is to use your sewing scissors and cut notches out of the rounded part of your corner. You don't need to trim where your fabric is straight. 

The second way is to use pinking shears to trim your corners. This is the easier way to do it, but you have to own pinking shears. 

Repeat your chosen method on all four corners. Then turn your fabric right side out making sure to flatten out your rounded corners. 

Step 6:
Iron and pin.
Follow the recommended iron settings for your minky or cuddle fabric. I ALWAYS iron on the cotton side so that I don't apply any direct heat to the minky. 

When you get to your 4" opening, turn both fabrics under and line them up. Iron, then pin them together in place. 

Step 7:
Top stitch. 
This step not only closes the 4" opening that you left, but it also helps to keep your two layers of fabric together. 

I use about a 1/8" inseam for this step. I want my initial top stitch to be close to the edge -- especially where I am closing the opening in my fabric. 

Once I finish my first top stitch all the way around, I sew a second stitch. Both for looks and give it a little more form and stability. My second stitch is about 1/2" from the first. 

Once you are finished top stitching, iron the edge of your canopy all the way around. 

Step 8:
Create your button holes.
Just about every sewing machine these days comes with a button hole foot attachment -- even my cheapo Singer that I bought for about $100 a couple years ago came with one. 
If you have never used a button hole foot before I strongly suggest you practice first! {on a scrap piece of fabric of course}

To determine where to place your button holes, drape your canopy over your car seat. Most car seats are about the same, but you will want to be sure that your canopy fits exactly where you want it to. 

I used my disappearing ink fabric pen to place dots where I wanted my button holes to begin. Two on each side -- because I need 2 button holes on each side. 

Then I used my pen and a ruler to measure another dot that was about 2" from the original dot. Since I wanted my original dot to be the outside edge of my button hole, I made my mark and drew my lines towards the center of my canopy. Why draw the lines!?!? So that I had a straight line to follow while making my button holes.

Then using my button hole foot attachment I created my button holes. Then used a seam ripper to open them up. You'll notice that my button holes are smaller than the lines I drew. I wanted my lines long enough that I had a straight line to follow... and since it is disappearing ink, it will fade away and you'll never know. 

{I could still use some more practice with my button hole making, but these turned out just fine!}

Step 9:
Insert your rings and put your new canopy to good use! 

There are so many different kinds of baby toy rings out there. I'm sure you probably already have some in your playroom! 

{Weird angle!?! I know.. but I wanted you to see how it looks from the top!}

... and no, I haven't cut all of the tags and instructions off of our new car seat yet. But I'm loving the brown, pink, and cream combo!! 

I added my little tag to the top, and now all I need is the baby!!! 

Mingle Monday: 7.16.2012

Welcome back for another round of Mingle Monday!!! I've been trying to follow back everyone from the last couple of weeks, but if I've missed you, just leave me a comment so I can stop by when I get a chance! 

Watch out on Tuesday for a new Nesting Series Tutorial and learn how to make your own car seat canopy for about $15. 

Until then, let's mingle!! 

Visit as many blogs on the link list as you would like. Make sure you leave a comment and tell them you are stopping by from Mingle Monday!

Please link family friendly blogs ONLY!! I would hate to have to delete anyone from the blog hop. 

Become a follower here on my blog so that you can take advantage of any and all freebies that I offer {usually once a week}.

Keeping a 3 Year Old Busy ... while teaching them some valuable skills!!

Do you have a toddler in your home? Well, then you know that sometimes it just isn't easy to keep them out of trouble!! 

Well, if you are looking for a simple, cheap, and fun way to entertain your toddler for 20-30 minutes, this is a great way to do it! PLUS... it's educational... always an added bonus!! 

Here's what you need:
• paper - scratch, scrapbook, colored, construction, lined {doesn't matter}
• safety scissors - you know, the ones that are kind of dull on the ends

... and that's all! 

** DO NOT leave your child alone... obviously... even though that are safety scissors they can still do some damage!! 

Look at that concentration!  

My little guy is usually bouncing off the walls, BUT he sat still... at our kitchen table... and cut small pieces out of his paper for a good 20-30 minutes! 

{This one looks like he's going to cut his finger, but I PROMISE it's the camera angle... I always intervened when it looked close!}

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What is the BEST PART of this whole activity... it's educational!! Yes, not only is this great as a break for mommy, BUT it's really awesome for your toddlers development too!! 

Here's how/why:

• They are learning how to hold and manipulate the scissors.

• They learn about how to use the scissors SAFELY

• You can discuss the different shapes they cut -- either during or after their cutting spree! 

• Have them sort the cut pieces by size or shape.

• Count the number of pieces that were cut. 

• Count the corners or sides of a couple of the pieces that were cut. 

• For older ones {preschoolers or pre-k} give them a sheet of lined of notebook paper and have them practice cutting on the lines. This helps them with their control of the scissors -- a great skill to have in Kindergarten!

• Use the cut pieces to create a mosaic on some construction paper -- this is a great idea if you use different colored papers for the cutting. 


• Let them scribble or draw a picture on a plain piece of paper, them cut it all up and glue pieces together to create a mosaic. The more colorful the picture the better! 

• Teaches your child to stay on task. Toddlers {at least mine} are easily distracted. By focusing on ONE activity they learn to lengthen their attention span.

• They will love to do it again, and again, and again! It's not one of those activities that they do one time and get bored with. 

• Teaches them to clean up after making a mess. Little ones will need some help and encouragement with this, but learning that when we make messes we need to clean them up is a life long skill! Plus, kids love to use brooms and dust pans. It's a great way to start training them for household chores.

Guess what?!?!

It's official... I am... 

Yes, my feet and hands are swelling -- but only slightly. 

Yes, I feel as big as a whale.

Yes, I hurt in every way, shape and form.

Yes, I have been having some nasty Braxton Hicks -- gotta love them! 

Yes, I am emotional, cranky, irritated, and SWEATY -- I am not a hot weather person {especially when pregnant!}

Yes, I have many sleepless nights, and weird dreams when I am fortunate enough to get some shut eye. 

Yes, I am really hoping for a baby this week! 

Yes, I am DONE being pregnant! 

Mingle Monday - 7.9.2012

Welcome back! Make sure you scroll down and check out the latest posts!! You won't want to miss them!!!

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Visit as many blogs on the link list as you would like. Make sure you leave a comment and tell them you are stopping by from Mingle Monday!

Please link family friendly blogs ONLY!! I would hate to have to delete anyone from the blog hop. 

Become a follower here on my blog so that you can take advantage of any and all freebies that I offer {usually once a week}.

Grocery List Printable

Since I first posted my grocery list printable, it has had more than 600 downloads! WOW... I didn't realize that so many people would be so interested in the way I organize my grocery shopping! 

I still love my list, but it has become a little outdated for me. I like to change my style once in a while so I figured I would update the look of my grocery list as well as make a couple changes. 

Here's the version I use now:

All of the headings are the same. So, what is the difference!??! Well, obviously the color scheme changed. I have found the a brighter colored paper makes me feel better about going shopping {not that I feel that bad about going, but sometimes it just gets to be a chore}. With a fun new list that is bright and cheery, I LOVE writing and bringing my list with me! 

I also changed the heading from "Grocery List" to "My Shopping List". Why!?! Well, I now use this printable not just for the grocery store, but for Costo, Target, and anywhere else I go shopping. That's why I also added the extra space next to the title for me to write the name of the store this list is for. Pretty smart, huh?! Now I can keep multiple lists running and when I am ready to go to the store, I just grab the list that I need! 

Want to update the way you use your shopping list too!??! 

Download my new list here

Happy shopping!! 

July Subway Art Printable - Happy 4th!!!

Happy 4th of July!!! I know most of you are out enjoying BBQ's, fireworks, and parties... but hopefully you'll take a minute or two to check your favorite blogs!! ♥

I created a fun printable for you guys this week. Use it as part of your July decor, or print it, frame it, and give it away!! 

I created this fun freebie using some of my favorite July and summer words! 

If you are looking for a fun last minute 4th of July table decoration, I have the subway art available in both 8x10" and 5x7". Click on the size you would like to download it.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July!! 

4th of July Cupcake Topper Printable

Did you miss my 4th of July cupcake toppers last year?!?! Here's your second chance to download a FREE file to create your own fun toppers for your 4th of July BBQ this year!! Or use them as favor tags, or table decorations! 

{Download here}

Each cupcake topper is made for a 2.5" circle or scallop punch. If you don't have one, you can absolutely cut the circle by hand, or leave them square! 

If you need instructions for how to easily assemble cupcake toppers, check out my tutorial here

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!!! 

Mingle Monday - 7.1.2012

Welcome to another Mingle Monday and the beginning of a new month! Can you believe it's July already!??! I can't!! 

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Visit as many blogs on the link list as you would like. Make sure you leave a comment and tell them you are stopping by from Mingle Monday!

Please link family friendly blogs ONLY!! I would hate to have to delete anyone from the blog hop. 

Become a follower here on my blog so that you can take advantage of any and all freebies that I offer {usually once a week}.