Monday, September 28, 2015

Upcycled Garden Playmat

A few months ago, I turned some old clothes into a garden playmat for my sons.  I always make sure that when I am using old clothes, they are not wrinkle-free or no-iron clothes, as those have a PFOA coating.  You can click here to find out what Teflon and other PFOAs are associated with and how to avoid exposure to them.

I started with this cotton shirt and these cotton shirt scraps:

I cut horizontally below the word "Aspen" and then cut vertically along the two seams so I had a rectangle.

I then took my striped scraps and twisted them up to look like roses.

And I sewed the roses onto the mat.

I then cut out the pocket of an old pair of jeans, making sure I got the tan pocket part inside of the jeans as well.  I like putting pockets in my playmats for easy storage of the felt animals I make that go with each mat.

I sewed the pocket lake onto the corner of my mat and then added a few more wadded-up flowers and some trees using more cotton scraps:

And my playmat was done!

Tune in next week to see the swans and rabbit I made for the playmat.
You can see other playmats I've made by clicking below:

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Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Homemade Skunk Costume for Halloween

This year, my boys decided they would like to be skunks for Halloween.
So I started with what I always use as bases for our homemade children's costumes: Jumping Bean hoodies from Kohl's.
I bought two black Jumping Bean hoodies from the Toddler Girls' section.

I then turned to my felt supply.
I cut a white stripe out that would be long enough to go down the length of the entire hood and a little bit down the back.  The tail is going to curve up so it will cover most of the back, so I saved myself some cutting and sewing and just sewed the white stripe on the head, where it would show.

I know skunks have two lines going down their backs but in the interest of time and due to a shortage of white felt, I just went with one stripe.

I sewed the white stripe to the hood using a blanket stitch at the tip of the hood and a running stitch down the sides of the felt.

Next it was time for the ears.
Using some black and pink scraps, I cut the following shapes out.  (You only need to make one pair of ears if you are making one costume).

When pinched, the ears will look like this:

I attached the pink to the black with a running stitch.

Then I pinched it and sewed it closed with a blanket stitch.

Finally, I attached the ears to the hood with a blanket stitch.

And lastly, it was time for the tail.  I cut a pair of black shapes out for the tail, making sure it was long enough to start from the back bottom of the hoodie and go up to the hood.  
It is going to curve, so it won't actually go over the hood of the outfit.

I cut out a white stripe the length of the tail for the side you will see.

And then I cut out a smaller white strip for the other side of the tail, because you only see the part of it that is curling back.

I sewed the white stripes onto the two pieces of the tail with a sewing machine.

And then I sewed the pair of tails together on all sides but the bottom, leaving it open for stuffing.
I used brown packaging paper to stuff the tail, putting more into the bottom half because that needed to stick straight up, and less in the tip of the tail because I needed to bend it to give the tail it's curl.

I then sewed the bottom of the tail to the bottom back side of the sweatshirt with a blanket stitch.  I blanket stitched the sides going up the sweatshirt, up to where I needed the tail to curve.  The top half of the tail is not sewn to the sweatshirt.  I just bent it and using a blanket stitch, sewed the curve in place.

And with that, the skunk costume was done!

Here are some of the costumes I have made for my kids over the years with links to their tutorials.  The pig costume was the only one not made out of a Jumping Bean hoodie.

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Help Get Triclosan Out of Our Schools and Homes

Soaps without Triclosan and Phthalates

With kids back in classes for the new school year, I thought it would be the perfect time to revisit my post on Triclosan, found in many of the antibacterial soaps and wipes used in our schools.

Click here to read it.

And if you feel strongly about the issue like I do, urge your children's teachers, schools, daycares, and school districts to stop exposing our children to unnecessary toxins and get rid of soaps and wipes with Triclosan.

You can also email and tweet the makers of products containing toxic antibacterial agents.  If enough people speak up, change can happen.  Check out how many companies removed Triclosan from their products thanks to the work of Beyond Pesticides.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Flame-Retardant-Free Pajamas

I always make sure my children's pajamas are cotton and free of flame retardants.  To ensure that, I always look for the bright yellow label stating that the pajamas should be worn snug-fitting as they are not-flame retardant.

But the other day, when I purchased some cotton Carters' pajamas, I noticed that although it had the yellow label, and the shirt had the "Wear snug-fitting, not flame-retardant" label printed on it, the pants were coated with flame-retardant.

The shirt does not have flame retardants on it

But the pants do have flame retardants on them!
I quickly returned the pajamas and checked all our other Carters' sets.  Luckily they were all completely flame-retardant-free, from top to bottom.  But I now know that Carters mixes tops and bottoms that are flame-retardant and not, so in the future I will make sure that each piece of the pajama set, the pants and shorts and tops, has the snug-fitting label printed directly on them.

For my earlier post on what flame retardants are linked to, click here.

And for my post on the Naturepedic pillow, mattress and more non-toxic sleep supplies, click here and here.

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