Archive for ‘el cheapo’

April 12, 2015

It’s good to have a goal.

by Decemberbaby

Instant gratification is nice. Working hard towards a goal feels good in its own way, but there’s something fun and exciting about being able to start and finish a project in the same hour.

After installing the baby seat in our Bakfiets today, I took a look around the garage and noticed that I still had a bucket of PVC pipes and parts left over from a different project. I had intended to use it to build a bike rack for the kids, but I didn’t have enough of the right connectors for that, so I built this instead:

DIY soccer or hockey net no instructions

N has been really into street hockey lately, and R likes kicking a ball around, so I’m hoping this net will inspire some pickup games.

Want to make one yourself? It’s very, very simple. You need:

  • PVC pipe – 2 of each of the following lengths: 40 inches, 32 inches, 15 inches
  • PVC connectors – 6 elbow joints, sized to fit the above pipe
  • Netting – I used plastic netting that is sold in the garden centre, but use whatever you like. You’ll need a piece that’s at least 48″ wide and 48″ long.
  • Zip ties – these are sometimes called cable ties. Anyhow, pick up a bag of light-duty ties (should be about 50 in a bag.)
  • A pipe cutter for PVC (not expensive at all, or you can have the pipe cut for you at the store.)
  • Scissors

That’s really all you need. I feel like it’s a simple enough project that you don’t need a step-by-step tutorial, but for those spatially challenged folks among us, here’s a diagram of where everything goes:

DIY soccer or hockey netHappy building! I’m going out to play.

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April 10, 2015

Loving the iPhone

by Decemberbaby

Those of you who are still with me (yes, all five of you) might remember my dilemma over moving up from a dumbphone and iPod to an iPhone. Well, I finally took the plunge, bought a used iPhone 5, and discovered that I had nothing to fear. Well, not much.

I got a pretty small data plan which allows me to check maps and such when I’m out and about, but doesn’t do much else without WiFi. At $35 a month, it’s only $5 more expensive than my previous talk-only plan. So on that score, it’s all good.

Now, as for my fear of using it all the time and not looking up from it: Since I’ve disabled most cellular data on my phone, there’s not much I can do with my phone when I’m out with the kids. I haven’t even installed Facebook, and I won’t. Frankly, the only time I pull out my phone when I’m out with the family is to check the time or use the camera.

Ah, the camera. I used to be the kind of parent who rarely remembered to bring the camera, and thus missed out on some very sweet moments. Not anymore. My phone’s built-in camera is actually better than the digital camera I was using before, and I use it all the time. Score one for the iPhone.

The very best thing about my phone, though, is the way it helps me externalize my brain. Let’s face it: four kids aged seven and under, including a newborn who doesn’t sleep through the night. Left to my brain’s own devices I forget all kinds of things. Appointments get missed. Follow-up never happens. Tasks fall through the cracks. But with my external brain – er, I mean, iPhone – all I have to do is push a button and talk to Siri:

“Siri, remind me to check on the brownies in 35 minutes.”

“Siri, schedule Dr. E at 9:15 a.m. next Wednesday.”

“Siri, show me my overdue tasks on my to-do list.”

And Siri does!

She also phones people for me, takes dictation, and tells me how long it will take me to get to my next destination. And she remembers everything I say. I think I’m in love.

Long story short: I love my iPhone. It makes my life so much simpler, less frustrating, better documented, and just better all around. If you’re fearing the smartphone like I was, take heart: it’s just an external brain. You get to decide how to use it – and how not to.

October 28, 2014

Show Off

by Decemberbaby

It’s been a while since I showed you any of my creative work. I did some sewing last year, while I was off the blog, and have finally gotten around to uploading the photos from my camera. So, without further ado, I give you:

Gumdrops Quilt for K

K moved to a big-kid bed last year, and she needed a quilt or blanket for it. Setting a precedent for the rest of my children, I went ahead and made her a quilt to keep her warm and to mark this big step for her. She requested pink and purple, and so I gleefully dug into my scraps (I have WAY too much fabric) and found enough of them to make this:

CIMG3422

It’s a design called Gumdrops from the book Sunday Morning Quilts. The background is Kona White, the colours are scraps from previous projects, and the backing is…

CIMG3431

Well, it’s not anything quilters would recognize. You see, when we were vacationing on our island in the sun last winter, I discovered that a decent number of people on the island still sew their own clothes, sheets, and everything else. The fabric store I happened to walk into (a chain store with a presence in the nearby mall) had tons of fabrics at very low prices. They even had zippers for $1.25 U.S. each, which any seamstress up here will tell you is crazy cheap. I actually came back with a suitcase full of fabric. But I digress.

The backing is 100% cotton sheeting, which in practical terms means that it’s wide enough to make sheets for a double bed without having to make seams. K fell in love with the colours and the design and although her quilt was not on my design board yet, I agreed it would make a great quilt backing. As you can see from the photo above, both K and her stuffed cheetah agree.

CIMG3428

As you can see from the binding, once I got started using scraps I couldn’t stop. There are about 10 different fabrics that make up the binding, and I’m very pleased with how it looks.

As for quilting, I had some fun with my sewing machine’s embroidery foot and free-motion quilted the whole thing. At this point I realized that this quilt is a great design to “quilt as you go.” I’ll remember that for next time. Anyhow, I did a stippling pattern on the white background and quilted just inside the edge of each gumdrop shape for a raw-edge applique look. After repeated washings, I can tell you that the quilting has held up beautifully and the gumdrops’ edges are very attractively frayed. But I digress. Here’s the quilting from the back, which gives you a much better view:

 

CIMG3433 CIMG3434

Of course, no quilt would be complete without a label. It’s the last thing I sew on every quilt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CIMG3435

The quilt now resides on K’s big-girl bed. She takes great pride in spreading it flat in the mornings, and snuggles under it every night. A few nights ago at bedtime she hugged me and said, “‘Night, Eema. Thank you for my snuggly quilt.”

August 22, 2013

On knowing your limits.

by Decemberbaby

“I could never do that.” I hear it all the time. From friends and family commenting on my new spice pantry to random passersby admiring my cargo bike laden with three kids, people seem absolutely positive about what they can’t do. Sure, it’s good to know your limits… but I’ve come to believe that most of us don’t know our limits at all, because most of us don’t push them.

We have a concrete walkway from the street to our front porch. It’s been there for as long as the house has, and it shows. One square in particular was all cracked and uneven because of the massive tree roots that grew directly under it. It was a serious tripping hazard, and it needed to be fixed.

Our recent foray into living frugally led me to wonder how hard it could possibly be to break up about 6 square feet of concrete and pour some cement into the resulting hole. Seemed like it would be worth $200 to do it myself rather than hiring someone to do it. And so off to Home Depot I went in search of a rental jackhammer. I was thinking of something smallish, like this:

small jackhammer

Instead, what I got was this:

concrete breaker

The thing was so large it needed a wheeled stand for transport. I couldn’t even lift the thing. I got it home, installed the humungous drill bit (bruising my palm in the process,) and dragged it over to where I needed it. I pressed the button and pushed down on the handles. The bit skittered across the concrete and lodged itself in the lawn. I tried starting on an existing crack. It was better right up until the bit got stuck and I couldn’t pull the breaker out. The neighbours were stopping to watch. One came forward and offered to play with R while I solved my problem. In the end, the handyman who was working next door came out and helped me sledgehammer away some concrete so I could remove the breaker bit and start all over again.

After an hour and a half of inept fumbling, and with childcare provided by Sesame Street, I had finally, finally broken up the concrete into pieces the size of half a cinder block each. My arms were shaking as I dragged the tool back to the car and heaved it into the trunk. My hands were too weak to remove the bit, so I coiled up the power cord and hoped that I hadn’t caused any permanent damage to the machine. Or, you know, myself. We took the breaker back to Home Depot and then the kids and I celebrated my triumph over the concrete with frozen lemonade and cookies.

On a side note, I used a sledgehammer at various points along the way, and afterwards a contractor who was working a few houses down complimented me on my sledge technique. That just about made my day.

So now there’s a pile of rubble where a concrete slab used to be, and as soon as I can lift my arms again Mr. December and I will clear it out so I can pour the new concrete.

While I was wrestling with the stuck machine, the neighbours came over and started talking about all the former neighbours who tried to remove a concrete walkway by themselves. Apparently none of them succeeded, and the implication, of course, was that I would fail as well. My mother’s response when she heard about my adventure was, “why didn’t you hire someone? You shouldn’t do that kind of thing yourself!” But why not? Because most people don’t? Because I’m not a hugely muscular male? Because everyone imagined I couldn’t?

I could. I did. And I never would have known had I not tried. It’s reminiscent of how I thought I’d never be able to bike the kids all the way to school and all the way home without being red in the face and wishing my legs would just fall off already, and now I can comfortably bike 20 kilometres in a day and wish I had somewhere else to cycle off to. There’s no mystique to using a jackhammer or cycling a cargo bike or building a pantry inside a wall – the trick is to go and do it.

I don’t know what my limit is. I can bike 200 pounds of bike and kids (plus myself,) I can demolish a sidewalk, I can sew a quilt. I haven’t yet failed completely in anything I’ve tried. Practicality may win out in the end, and I may never truly know my limit, but I know that I haven’t hit it yet.

As the Jewish New Year approaches I’ve been more introspective than usual, and I wonder where my spiritual limits are. I feel like I’ve gotten spiritually lazy and started saying “I could never do that” rather than trying and then deciding whether I want to “do that.” It behooves me to be as brave spiritually as I’ve been physically, and start trying.

Which of your limits would you like to push?

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June 12, 2013

Afraid of the iPhone…

by Decemberbaby

I have a dumbphone. I use it to phone people. That’s all. The technological high point of my cellphone use was when I enabled bluetooth and linked it to our minivan’s computer. I don’t text, I don’t browse, I don’t even keep people’s numbers programmed into my phone. Dumb, right?

About a year back I bought myself an iPod touch, to see if I could use it to get more organized. Now I’ve been using it for alarms, reminders, “to do” lists and my calendar, and I like it.

So maybe I should get an iPhone, right? That’s what I’m thinking… but I’m scared.

Of what, you ask? Well, aren’t you the nosy one.

I’m scared of lifestyle inflation.

One minute I’m paying a total of $25 a month for voice calls and using an iPod touch with no data plan – its access to the internet is only through WiFi – and the next I’ll have an expensive iPhone, I’ll be paying $45 a month for a data plan, and suddenly I won’t be able to imagine life without it. I won’t survive a day out without checking email and facebook. I won’t have a conversation without looking up some trivial point of interest. And I won’t want to.

This is my nightmare.

Right now I’m very happy not being connected all the time. Sure, maybe once every 5 days I think, “hmmm, this day would work so much more smoothly if I had a smartphone right now,” but I get over it pretty quickly. Many days I leave the house without my dumbphone and, though mildly annoying, it’s not a disaster. So… why mess with a good thing?

The major upside (aside from mobile internet capability) is that I’d only have to remember one device instead of two. It seems that one is the most I can keep track of consistently, and I use my telephone so infrequently that it gets forgotten most often. Then again, if I use it so infrequently then why do I need an expensive iPhone? Why not just carry the iPod around all the time like I already do?

And so it swirls round in my head. I’ve already wasted way too much time debating this, so I’m turning it over to you, the internets. Please comment and tell me what you think. I need to hear from voices outside my head for a change.

February 11, 2013

Does this mustache make me look cheap?

by Decemberbaby

Mr. December just turned me on to a blog that I’m now devouring religiously: Mr. Money Mustache. His basic premise is that you can retire early (possibly even VERY early) by cutting your spending drastically and saving most of your income. Sure, lots of people have written about extreme cheapness as a means to financial independence, but Mr. Money Mustache does it without hampering his quality of life: he still eats meat, fresh produce, etc, still has home internet and a phone, still owns a car… he just does it a bit differently.

So, after a year of near-record spending (for us,) we’ve decided to grow a money mustache of our own. We don’t have particularly expensive tastes, but reading MMM has opened our eyes to the fact that you can almost always do the exact same thing for less money.

Take groceries, for example. When K was born (in the dead of winter) I used grocery gateway for a while. Very convenient, and very expensive. I finally started making the effort to drive to Fortino’s, which cut about $30 off my weekly grocery bill. You can imagine how self-congratulatory I was about that. Then Mr. December went on paternity leave, which left us with a seriously reduced income, and he convinced me to try No Frills (think Costco, but with smaller packages.) The exact same groceries at No Frills still added up to less than they had at Fortino’s. Our new resolution was to only do our grocery shopping at No Frills. Savings (over the original, inflated grocery gateway bill): $40 a week. That’s big.

kosher grocery flyer

But wait, there’s more! A few months ago someone clued me in to the fact that No Frills will match any advertised price from any competitor. Suddenly I found a use for the massive sheaf of grocery flyers that land on my porch every Thursday. I’ve gotten into a routine where I peruse the flyers to find products I usually buy, then enter the product name, competitor’s price, and competitor’s name into a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet and relevant flyers go into a plastic envelope with my grocery list, and I hit No Frills at 9 a.m. on Mondays, when it’s relatively empty. On an average week I save about $20 using price matching. This week I happen to have saved more like $40. Add $20 to the previously mentioned $40 drop just by shopping at No Frills, and you have a grocery bill that is a mere shadow of what it used to be. And that makes me happy.

 

Keep in mind here that I haven’t changed what I buy, just where and how I buy it. We still eat all kosher meat and dairy (for those out of the loop, Kosher generally = expensive) and buy a ton of fresh produce, even in the winter. We use real maple syrup on our French Toast and oatmeal. I even splurge and buy convenience items, like frozen garlic cubes, that are completely unnecessary but really nice to have. So our quality of life hasn’t diminished at all. We’re just doing the same thing more cheaply.

Same with clothes. I’ve been buying most of my children’s clothes (as well as their dress shoes) at a local secondhand children’s shop. The clothes are often brand-name items, very gently used, and cost me roughly a quarter of what they would cost new. I bought N’s entire fall/winter wardrobe for about $50. That and two pairs of pants I made him have him outfitted in style.

It’s taken me ages to be able to do this, but after reading Mr. Money Mustache I was determined to see if I could cut back my own clothing budget (doubtful, since I’m hardly a clothes horse.) I went to the thrift shop and looked for a skirt to wear to shul. $6 later, I now have a really cute skirt that has already earned me a few compliments. It looks completely new. I decided to try my luck again (maybe the skirt was a fluke?) and wound up finding a pair of jeans, the exact same brand and cut as the ones I usually buy at the mall, for under $10. Excitement! It’s starting to look like I can outfit myself nicely for about $200 this year (I’d say $100, but I need a cold-weather wardrobe and a warm-weather one, too, and I need to buy new stuff because most of what’s in my closet is still maternity wear.)

This is BIG NEWS, people. I’m eating the same food and wearing the same clothes, but wayyyy less money is leaving our bank account.

Mr. Money Mustache points out that there’s a difference between being frugal and being cheap. Frugal is buying the same food in a more strategic way so as to end up spending less. Cheap is buying worse-quality food or less healthy food because it costs less. Armed with MMM’s bloggy wisdom and our own grit and determination, Mr. D and I hope to save more in 2013 than we have in any other year of our marriage.  If we succeed, we’ll be well on our way to growing a money mustache of our very own.

I can only hope it's more tasteful-looking than this one.

I can only hope it’s more tasteful-looking than this one.

So… what money-saving strategies can you share with me?

January 24, 2013

We want for nothing

by Decemberbaby

For a complicated variety of reasons, my sewing room is overflowing with fabric. It’s not exactly clutter, but there’s just too much of it. In the spirit of drastically reducing clutter, and having adopted the old rhyme “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without,” I decided to sew a few pairs of pants that N desperately needed. He’s a tall, skinny boy – any pants that are long enough in the leg have to be cinched in all the way in the waist, and the resulting ballooning looks kind of silly – so I figured making his pants also carried the advantage of giving him pants that fit nicely for a change.

It was while sewing his third pair of pants that I started thinking that I should have just ordered a few pairs from Old Navy online. I reminded myself that in order to avoid shipping charges I’d have to order at least $50 worth of merchandise, most of it stuff we don’t actually need. What N needed was three pairs of pants, and now he has them. The temptation to buy a little more, or to buy something cute on impulse, is completely absent when I make my children clothing. It just takes too long to make something if we don’t have a need for it.

It occurred to me the other day that I haven’t spent time in a mall in a very long time. I don’t like malls these days: I always leave with a severe case of what I call the “wanties”: I want some new pretty t-shirts, I want new throw cushions for the couch, I want that awesome floor lamp, I want another travel mug, some costume jewellery, a more coordinated wardrobe. None of these things are things I need. None of these things are things I wanted before I went to the mall. It’s just impossible to spend time in a place dedicated to consumption and to novelty without succumbing to the shopping bug.

Grocery stores offer similar pitfalls, though not on such a grand scale. I was just saying yesterday at a Weight Watchers meeting that planning my meals and shopping only once a week reduces the number of times I have to be tempted by food that I want but don’t need (and, arguably, shouldn’t have.) Last time I went shopping I handed over a bag of pecans, a bag of Craisins, and a chocolate bar to the cashier. “I changed my mind,” I told her, “I don’t really need this stuff.” I saved myself thousands of calories (yes, thousands. No joke.) I saved myself about $15. I also saved myself from a bit more kitchen clutter. I don’t know if I’d have the strength of will to do it three times a week, though. Stores have a way of convincing us that we need things.

When K was younger she liked to tell me that she needed things: “Mummy, I need a balloon. Mummy, I need a twirly dress. Mummy, I need chocolate!” I made a point of telling her – each and every time – that there was a difference between “need” and “want.” She doesn’t confuse the two very much anymore, but I don’t know that we can say the same for most adults in our society.

Most of us have what we need: shelter, some functional clothing, food, heat, family, friends. I’d hazard a guess that we also have most of what we want: stylish clothing, gourmet food, tastefully appointed homes, cars, iPods. We should be able to say that we want for nothing. But don’t we keep on wanting and wanting?

Thankfully, with no TV and no trips to the mall, I manage to keep my list of wants to a bare minimum, and I have no trouble saying “no” to myself if necessary. The kids are fine too: their wants aren’t many, and so we’ve avoided accumulating a lot of stuff. I wouldn’t say that we want for nothing, but we definitely don’t want for very much. I can say that we need for nothing. And if we did need something, there’s a very good chance I’d make it myself. It’s the best way I know to make sure that we have as much as we need, but no more. And besides, I want to make room for some pretty new fabrics…

December 19, 2012

Tutorial time: Make your own Scooter board!

by Decemberbaby

I’m back. I won’t go into it too heavily, but the knee problems led to no biking which led to some depression, and then I got mastitis while we were in Niagara Falls for the weekend, and I’ve just been one sorry example of humanity since then. But all through it I’ve been creating things, lots of things, and I’m going to share one of them with you now.

DIY Scooter boardIt’s a scooter board.

Never heard of one? Neither had I, really. But K has been in occupational therapy to work on some issues, and our OT introduced us to scooter boards. They’re just what this one looks like: a board with four casters. You can do quite a lot with one, including strengthening abs and back muscles, improving bilateral coordination, developing motor planning skills… it’s also just a fun toy.

Now, I’m too cheap to run out and buy every piece of equipment that K uses in her sessions (although heaven knows I’d LOVE a cuddle swing,) but I’m more than happy to make anything and everything I can… especially if I already have the materials.

Do you want to make a scooter board? Keep reading…

You’ll need:

  • a piece of wood that looks big enough and comfy enough for your child to sit on (let’s say 12×12″ at  minimum)
  • four identical casters, rated high enough for your child’s weight
  • sixteen screws not longer than the thickness of your wooden board
  • an electric drill/screwdriver
  • pencil
  • some quilt batting, foam, or an old towel (optional)
  • fabric to cover the padding (optional) – this can be an old sheet, an old t-shirt, or a piece of fabric you love. It doesn’t really matter.
  • staple gun and staples (optional)
  • hammer

Step One: turn your board upside down. Place the casters on the board where you want them attached (I recommend as close to each corner as possible, so it’s harder for the board to flip over) and use the pencil to mark the holes. Pre-drill pilot holes (very small holes) – this makes the wood less likely to split when you drive in the screws. Attach each caster with the screws.

DIY scooter board step 1Once all four casters are attached, you can call it a day. That is, if your board has nice smooth edges and isn’t so smooth that your child can slide around on the top. At this point, my scooter board looked like this:

Basic DIY scooter boardIf you want a nice padded board, stick with me.

Step Two – Wrap the top of the board with the batting (or old towel, etc), making sure that there is enough to wrap to the underside of the board. Secure the batting around the edges of the board’s underside using the staple gun. Tip: if the staples don’t go in all the way, gently tap them with a hammer until they’re flat against the board.

DIY scooter board step 2

Step Three – Wrap the fabric around the board, making sure that the edges extend past the edges of the batting (padding.) fold the edges so that the raw (cut) edge of the fabric is hidden, then staple the folded part to the bottom of the board.

DIY scooter board step 3Step Four – The corners are tricky. Do your best to wrap them neatly around the casters. If you feel like getting really fancy you can remove the casters, stretch the fabric underneath them, and re-install the casters. I just did some judicious snipping and wrapping, trying to do the corners the way I would wrap a present. Glue down the corners with fast-drying glue of some kind (hot glue is a great choice, but I didn’t have any.) Failing that, use duck tape. DIY scooter board step 4

Aaaand… you’re done! For a great abs workout, sit on your scooter board and use both legs at the same time to pull yourself along. Or you can lie on your stomach and pull yourself around with your arms, noticing how dirty the baseboards are from this angle. Whatever you do with it, happy scooting!

DIY scooter board 2

DIY scooter board 3Oh, and a word of commonsense caution: store this out of the children’s reach. If they were to leave this on the floor after playing and you were to step on it in the middle of the night, you’d be pretty banged up. Just sayin’.

November 17, 2012

The pit bull eventually lets go.

by Decemberbaby

That is the difference between a pit bull and a hoarder, isn’t it?

The next step in our process towards loving our small home – and continuing to live in it as our children get bigger – is getting rid of stuff. All kinds of stuff. Our basement hallway has become the repository for so much of it that it’s kind of hard to get to the laundry machines without stepping on things. It was hard, at any rate. It’s much easier now.

Today was the third day in a row that I spent an hour purging the basement of its clutter. I got rid of things like the half-empty box of grout, a box of brand new switch plates, and extra hardware pieces from our IKEA kitchen. In theory these things could be useful in the future. Then again, these sorts of things pile up and end up obscuring the things we really do want to use again, like the infant rainsuit that I hadn’t been able to find for two years and ended up replacing with a brand new one. If you take that example and monetize it, subtracting the cost of the grout and switch plates and hardware from the cost of the rainsuit (not to mention all the time I wasted looking for said rainsuit,) the clutter didn’t save me any money or time. In fact, it cost me.

Tonight Mr. December and I culled the stuffed animal collection. We’re getting rid of more than half of our stuffies, and even the number remaining seems excessive to me. It’s physically sickening at times, how many useful things are just idling in our basement – enough to clothe a whole family and provide toys for their children – while other people go without. Why is it so easy to just keep acquiring things we don’t need?

This is cathartic for me, this purge. I’d like to get us down to the necessities that we love and use. I’ve made peace with ruthless purging, accepting that when I needed different clothing sizes for the kids we had plenty of friends willing to lend or just give us their outgrown things. We’re not living in a post-apocalyptic world, and it’s time to accept that thinking as if we might be impoverished at any moment is actually robbing us of a peaceful, relaxing, calming home.

Children definitely complicate this process. For some reason they attract stuff (most of it tiny and plastic) the way a magnet dropped in Parry Sound will attract lots of tiny little pebbles. And the stuff hides everywhere and mates and has babies, until the room that was clutter-free two weeks ago is once again littered with collections of the Brattiest Pet Shop and dinosaurs from The Land Before Time-Warner Productions. I’m left to wonder whether any of the people who speak or write about conquering clutter actually were able to live that way with small children in the house.

It’s a huge pile, and as I remove one layer of stuff another is revealed. Every trash bag that leaves this house (6 so far) and every box of donated stuff (4 and counting) makes me feel lighter, more relaxed, and less stressed. It actually inspires me to get back on the weight-loss wagon, because how better to characterize my recent gain-back of almost everything I’ve lost than to compare it with decluttering my entire basement and then going on a huge shopping spree and filling it back up?

It’s definitely time to start considering food the way I consider a potential purchase. In the meantime, though, at least I get a surge of pleasure every time I head down to the basement.

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August 10, 2012

Amazing what I can do in forty-five minutes.

by Decemberbaby

On Monday night, as I packed K’s backpack for her first day of camp, I discovered that she had no shorts and only one t-shirt. Don’t ask me how it happened – I don’t know, but I suspect it has something to do with grandparents who take our kids away fully dressed and bring them back in pajamas – but it was a tense few minutes of thinking that my daughter might have to go to camp half-naked. And so I raided my fabric stash and the clothing recycling pile and found these:

I took some striped stretchy knit fabric and a maternity t-shirt downstairs at 9:15 p.m. At 10:00 p.m. I came back upstairs with the finished product. On Tuesday morning I dressed K in it and cajoled her to pose for the camera:

It was so comfortable that she ran off right away, and all I could do was chase after her with my iPod in camera mode, hoping that a picture would turn out. I know you’ll forgive the blurriness of the photos – she literally refused to stop moving.

The awesome thing about re-using maternity shirts is that you get to use the lovely empire-line gathers. It looks like I spent lots of time gathering the fabric and sewing in the empire line, when really I just cut the tunic around that feature of my t-shirt.

The shorts were simple. I think changing the needle (I used a double needle) and threading the machine were more time-consuming than the actual sewing.

The best part? I didn’t have to go shopping… and I have at least three more maternity shirts downstairs. At forty-five minutes per outfit, K can be stylishly outfitted for the rest of camp.