DIY Pencil Tins: Desk Set

I recently picked up some beautiful wrapping paper at Lavish in Hayes Valley. This is the same store where I found the perfect red and white graphic paper for lining our nursery bookcase. The new paper I found is for my craft room. It’s called Hydrangeas by Kate & Birdie. This company has lots of very sweet original prints – my six year old bought himself a sheet of pirate ship paper while we were in the store. They started in Winnipeg, Canada, so even dearer to my Canadian ex-pat heart.

Kate and Birdie Hydrangeas paper

Hydrangeas (WP02) wrapping paper by Kate & Birdie. Click the picture to see their site.

The blue, green, and grey color scheme of this paper fits my craft studio perfectly! The blue is just the same as the great print on my newly upholstered Queen Anne chairs, and all the colors are found in the stenciled lampshade I made for that room.

I’m amazed what a long way this one sheet can go. For $4, I have enough paper to create several great accessories and accents for my room.  I started a clothespin wreath and moved on to these pencil tins – and I still have more projects planned!

I love reusing old items, though it’s always a fine line between clever frugality and looking like a preschool art project. I’ve definitely seen more “primitive” versions of these pencil tins, but I like to think that mine fit into the feminine, elegant, slightly funky studio I am creating.

Turn used cans into beautiful pencil tins for your office.  From Jewels at Home.

Turn used cans into beautiful pencil tins for your office.

This is a very simple and quick project that needs very little explanation. I started by using pliers to flatten any sharp edges along the inside of the can.  To cut the paper neatly, I used the quilting ruler and mat I showed in the fabric growth chart tutorial.

DIY pencil tin tutorial from Jewels at Home.

Flatten the sharp edged on your can. Cut out paper and glue with a glue stick.

I used a glue stick to affix the paper to the tin. For my kids’ tins, I also added a layer of clear contact paper to make the tins more durable.  Finally, I use tacky glue to attach bias ribbon to the top of the tin, for a polished look.  (I tried hot glue, but it cools very fast on the metal and gets lumpy.)

Beautiful pencil tins made from old cans, decorative paper, and bias tape. Tutorial from Jewels at Home.

Beautiful pencil tins made from old cans, decorative paper, and bias tape.

Craft room desk set: DIY pencil tins fit in with ceramics on a vintage tray.  From Jewels at Home.

Craft room desk set: DIY pencil tins fit in with ceramics on a vintage tray.

Craft room desk set: DIY pencil tins fit in with ceramics on a vintage tray.  From Jewels at Home.

DIY pencil tins.

While I was making these tins, I added some for the boys’ homework area.  These have a layer of clear contact paper over the scrapbook paper, since I know they will get more (ab)use.

Turn old cans into pencil tins with paper and bias ribbon.  From Jewels at Home.

Pencil tins for the boys’ homework area.

 

 

What else do I want to decorate with my beautiful Hydrangeas paper?  A pennant banner, some magnets, magazine files, and some storage boxes for the craft studio.  Hope to share those projects soon.  Meanwhile, go raid your recycling bin and make some new accessories for your own office!

“Jewels”

 

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3-D Balloon Applique

My craft projects tend to come in waves. I find a great idea and love creating variations on it. At the moment, this idea is fabric appliques for kids’ clothes. I made tie t-shirts for the boys, co-hosted a onesie decorating party for my friend Nicola, and most recently, I decorated this cute hoodie sweatshirt for our neighbor across the street, who is turning 3!

3-D balloon applique by Jewels at Home.

3-D balloon applique on a sweatshirt.

Here’s what you’ll need

  • sweatshirt or t-shirt
  • fabric
  • iron-on applique material, such as Heat ‘n Bond
  • batting
  • ribbon

Here’s how to make your own puffy applique:

Draw your shape in two sizes – one the size of the finished piece and one about 1/4″ smaller all around, as shown below.

3-D applique tutorial from Jewels at Home.

Following the instructions detailed for the  tie t-shirts and onesie decorating party, create a large shape with the fusible applique material on the back and cut the small shape out of batting.  The batting will flatten out when you iron it down, so use enough to make it a little thicker than you want your finished shape.

3-D applique tutorial from Jewels at Home.

Place your applique on the shirt, first the batting and then the fabric centered on top.  I also tucked some ribbon under the fabric, to make the string for the balloon.

3-D applique tutorial from Jewels at Home.

Place the batting on your shirt, and layer the fabric on top.

Iron and sew your applique in place according to the instructions for the  tie t-shirts and onesie decorating party.  I also sewed down the ribbons and tied a bow, which I also sewed in the center.   I left the loops of the bow and the bottom of the ribbons free.  My balloons didn’t turn out as puffy as I had envisioned, since they got flattened when they were ironed down, so I would use thicker batting next time.

3-D balloon applique by Jewels at Home

3-D balloon applique

3-D balloon applique by Jewels at Home

I’ve got a few more applique projects to finish up, and then I need to move on to something else!

“Jewels”

Fabric-covered Decorative Boxes

It’s a bit silly that I avidly study “styled” displays of decorative items, because I have three boys who consider it their role to re-style any arrangement I make. Nonetheless, I keep my eye out for great objects and projects to bring beauty into our home. And for now, these are all placed well above the reach of little hands.

Some staples of a beautifully accessorized room are framed art, vases, books, trays, and boxes… I love the look of a stack of beautiful boxes!

I was pondering how to make a set of boxes when inspiration came from the most unexpected source! Remember those three little boys I was talking about? At the start of summer, I ordered three pairs of sandals for them. After they arrived and were unpacked, I found myself with a set of three perfectly matched boxes in small, medium, and large!

With the addition of some gorgeous fabric I found for just $2.99 a yard, those plain shoe boxes became a beautiful display!

Tutorial for DIY Fabric-covered decorative boxes from Jewels at Home.

DIY fabric-covered decorative boxes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • box(es)
  • fabric – I used only 2/3 yard for all three boxes. That’s a $2 project!
  • scissors
  • glue stick – I used this on the outside, for a smooth finish
  • tacky glue or white glue – I used this to glue the inside flaps, for extra security

Here’s the step-by-step:

Tutorial for DIY fabric-covered decorative boxes.  From Jewels at Home.

Above left: Fill in any holes in the box design with scrap cardboard.

Above right: Cut out fabric to fit wrap around box, including the sides and allowing about an inch extra to wrap to the inside.

Tutorial for DIY Fabric-covered decorative boxes.  From Jewels at Home.

Above top: Use the glue stick to lightly attach the bottom of the box to the fabric. At each front corner, cut diagonally to the bottom corner and trim, as shown. Apply glue stick lightly and fold up the fabric onto the front of the box. Fold flaps from the front towards the side of the box and glue them down securely with the glue stick.

Tutorial for DIY fabric-covered decorative boxes from Jewels at Home.

When cutting the flaps at the back of the box, make sure to leave some fabric to wrap the edge of the lid.

Above bottom: Apply glue stick lightly and fold fabric over the back of the box. At each back corner, cut diagonally to the bottom corner and trim, as shown. Again, fold a flap towards the side of the box and glue it down securely with the glue stick.

Tutorial for DIY fabric-covered decorative boxes. From Jewels at Home.

Above top: For the side flaps, fold in the excess, so that a finished edge lines up with the edge of the box.

Above bottom: Apply glue stick liberally, and fold up the side flaps.

Tutorial for DIY fabric-covered decorative boxes. From Jewels at Home.

Above top: Apply glue stick lightly and attach fabric to top of box.

Above bottom: At the top corners of the lid, cut the fabric diagonally to the corners and trim. Left: Apply glue lightly to the front of the lid and then glue a flap securely towards each side. Right: fold the side flaps, so a finished edge lines up with the edge of the lid. Glue securely with glue stick.

Tutorial for DIY fabric-covered decorative boxes. From Jewels at Home.

Above left: Trim excess fabric.

Above right: Use tacky glue to secure the loose fabric to the inside of the box and lid.

And you’re done!

Tutorial for DIY fabric-covered decorative boxes. From Jewels at Home.

Tutorial for DIY fabric-covered decorative boxes from Jewels at Home.

I’m so happy that these boxes are going to add a wonderful touch of color and style to our living room. So, while my newly-crafted accessories have to stay high out of reach for a few more years, I’m tickled to know that those rambunctious boys who usually mow down all my decorating projects can be credited with inspiring this one!

What ordinary objects will you turn into the extraordinary?

Love,
“Jewels”

Decorate a Quilt Block – Party Activity

It has been a few months since I organized a bug-themed birthday party for our six year -old. At the party, he and his friends drew pictured on blank quilt blocks, and I’m finally getting around to finishing the quilt.

This was a very simple quilt but one with a lot of meaning. My friend Ari’s mother is a talented quilter, and Ari and I had helped her make quilts for the school auction, first with our older kids’ class and more recently with our younger ones. Through some type of temporary school spirit insanity, hubby ended up purchasing the first quilt, but our wallets were not up buying another quilt this year, and I wanted to find a way to make it up to our second boy. As I am sure all of you with multiple children know, our love for each of them is unique, but it does seem that the second – and in this case also middle – child tends to feel a need to fight for your attention and love. This instinct can make our dear boy act out some times, and I’m always looking for ways to remind him that he is special. This quilt was a part of that effort as well.

Before the party, I cut 7.5″x7.5″ squares of white pre-washed cotton and taped them on to cardboard for stability. I cut more than enough for the guests, and it is a good thing, because many of the kids wanted to draw more than one picture, including the birthday boy himself, who drew three! I also set out fabric markers. I like these Marvy Uchida Fabric Markers that come in many beautiful colors.

Decorate-a-quilt-block activity at a birthday or baby shower.  From Jewels at Home.

Decorate-a-quilt-block is a great activity for a birthday or baby shower.

Here is how some of the quilt blocks turned out. Each one is different and expresses the artist’s personality, but they work together.

Incorporate drawings into a memory quilt.  From Jewels at Home.

Incorporate drawings into a memory quilt.

And here is the finished quilt! As I mentioned, this is a simple quilt. I found fabrics that had animals and other prints in a range of primary colors and mixed them randomly with the drawings (and I should add that mixing “randomly” actually took ages, because I wanted to balance out the colors through the quilt).

Quilt incorporating blocks drawn at a birthday party.  From Jewels at Home.

Quilt incorporating blocks drawn at a birthday party.

By the way, here is how the amazing inspiration for this project looked. Ari’s mom designed the pattern, and each child in the class painted a leaf. It’s hanging in our older boys’ room, and I love looking at it every day.

"Family Tree" quilt for a classroom art project.

“Family Tree” quilt for a classroom art project.

Though far, far more humble from an artistic perspective, I think this smile says that the new quilt’s recipient appreciates his special keepsake.

Quilt made with blocks drawn at a birthday party.  From Jewels at Home.

Quilt made with blocks drawn at a birthday party.

To finish the quilt, I sewed a label on the back with a special message for Lucas.  You could also have party guests all sign a fabric quilt label.  That’s what we did with the class quilt for Lucas’ class – each child signed the back.  And I know first-hand how special it is to have the story of a quilt sewn on the back.  Below is a quilt that is hanging in my craft studio.  My mom made it for my birthday, and while she made many beautiful quilts, this one has particular meaning, because she made it when she was sick from chemotherapy.

A label on the back of a quilt helps tell its story.  From Jewels at Home.

A label on the back of a quilt helps tell its story.

A special quilt with its story on the back.  From Jewels at Home.

A special quilt with its story on the back. From Jewels at Home.

So, finishing this quilt definitely overdue, but hopefully, it was worth the wait, and I hope our little guy can feel how much he is loved, when he curls up under it.

“Jewels”

 

 

Onesie Decorating Party

When I first saw the idea of doing appliqué onesies at a baby shower at the Cutting Table, I immediately thought of doing this project at Nicola’s baby shower. I did have some trepidation about having to stitch around the appliqués, but thankfully my co-host Maura convinced me that it would be worthwhile, and it certainly was.

Here’s what you’ll need to do this at your party:

  • blank onesies. I was unable to find these in any color besides white in local stores, but I ended up getting a good selection between Rock Bottom T-Shirts and these Disney solid bodysuits. These MoonTree Kids Bold Colors Bodysuits are very cute as well! I got a range of sizes from newborn to 18 months, because we all know how fast babies grow!
  • fabric – I pulled a bunch from my stash, and Maura brought an adorable charm pack
  • fusible webbing – I used Heat ‘n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive
  • iron and ironing board
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • optional: stencils or objects to trace (cookie cutters are good for this), examples of appliqued onesies
Supplies for a DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Supplies for a DIY Onesie Party.

I wrote up a set of instructions with a storybook theme that you can download here: DIY Onesie Instructions from Jewels at Home. It also helped to show the first people step by step, and then they helped the next group. It all went quite smoothly, and there were just two that I needed to fix up afterward, because the Heat ‘n Bond didn’t stick. I’ll show you the “rescue” tips later in the post, but first, here are the step-by-step instructions for decorating the onesies.

DIY Onesie Tutorial

  • Choose a design and fabrics.
  • Sketch your design onto the paper side of the iron-on paper. Note: your drawing will be reversed when the design is finished, which is important for letters.
Sketch your design onto the paper side of the Heat 'n Bond.

Sketch your design onto the paper side of the Heat ‘n Bond.

  • Cut out the paper with your design with a small margin around it
  • Place the sticky side of the Heat’n Bond Lite facing the back side of the fabric and iron for just 2 seconds.
Cut out your design and iron it to the backside of the fabric.

Cut out your design and iron it to the backside of the fabric.

  • Cut out the design exactly along the lines you sketched
  • Peel off the paper backing
  • Place your design on the onesie and iron for 8-10 seconds
  • Optional: Add words or details with the fabric markers. We signed the “bums” with our names!
Sign your DIY onesie.

Sign your DIY onesie.

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Onesie decorating party. I love how each one is unique!

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Finishing the Onesies

After the party, Maura and I split up the onesies to take home and sew the edges. For the simple outlines, I used a small zig-zag stitch, which I think is the most secure. For the ones with fine details, I used a straight stitch, so I could follow the shape more neatly.

DIY Onesie Party from Jewels at Home.

Finish the onesies by sewing around the appliques with a zig-zag or straight stitch.  I used a zig-zag for the simple shapes, as I think this will be the most secure.

DIY Onesie party from Jewels at Home

Finish the onesies by stitching around the edge of the fabric. I used a straight stitch for more detailed designs like this one.

If you end up with some onesies with appliques that didn’t stick, I thought of two ways to rescue them.

  • Pictured below, place the fabric on the sticky side of the Heat’n Bond Lite. Use some glossy paper (this is from some contact paper) face down on the fabric, and iron. Cut out carefully.
  • You could also place the fabric on they sticky side of the Heat ‘n Bond, trace around the design with pencil, and cut out the paper. Then iron the fabric onto the cut-out paper.
Adding Heat 'n Bond to the fabric, after it is already cut out.

Adding Heat ‘n Bond to the fabric, after it is already cut out.

This was a lovely project – it was wonderful to see so many people try it, even those who don’t usually do craft projects, and it was fun to see how each onesie reflected a little bit of the artist’s personality.

Can’t wait to see these on the new baby!

“Jewels”

Baby Shower Scrapbook Project – Wishes for Baby

Wow, we did a lot at the recent baby shower for my friends Nicola and Victor. I wrote about the tea party and cloth diaper cake, and there’s even more to come. Since the shower had a “Storybook Tea Party” theme, it was fitting that we made our own scrapbook storybook for the new baby.

The inspiration for this scrapbook came when I was collecting ideas for the shower and came across the idea of a list of “wishes” each guest could fill out for baby. This was such a sweet idea that I knew I wanted to incorporate.

Here’s what I prepared:

  • scrapbook – I took a plain scrapbook and decorated the cover with ribbon and stickers
  • blank pages – I made some simple backgrounds by gluing patterned papers onto solid colors, so that even if people simply glued in their wishlist, it would look complete.
  • “wish lists” for guests to complete for baby
  • photos – I asked Nicola and Victor’s parents to send some baby pictures of them and collected photos of their family, their wedding, and other events
  • old storybook(s) that can be cut up for pictures – the best part of a craft project at a party is when your guests think up something creative that you had not even planned! This happened when a few of our friends took pages out of a book that were were cutting up for wooden blocks (more on that later) and cut out pictures to add to the scrapbook. I hadn’t thought of it, and it looked great!

Scrapbook and Blank Pages

Decorate a scrapbook for a baby shower.  From Jewels at Home.

Decorate a scrapbook for a baby shower.

For a scrapbook party, prepare simple backgrounds to inspire guests.  From Jewels at Home.

For a scrapbook party, prepare simple backgrounds to inspire guests.

Wish List

Did I mention that I love these baby wish lists?! You can buy them on Etsy, and there are other free printables out there, but I decided to make my own to fit with the Storybook theme. The beautiful castle graphic comes from “Lita Lita,” a teacher in Spain. This graphic and others can be found in her store on Teachers Pay Teachers, and the picture of the books is free clipart.

Storybook-themed wish list for baby.  Free printable by Jewels at Home.

Storybook-themed wish list for baby. Free printable.

Click here to download a PDF of the Storybook-themed wish list for a new baby.

Pictures and Pages

The pictures from Victor and Nicola’s childhood, wedding, and friends really made the book come together. Here’s the first page of the scrapbook that I made. I pulled it out and put it up on a recipe holder as part of the decorations for the shower.

Gather old pictures of the mom and dad to make a scrapbook at a baby shower.  Jewels at Home.

Gather old pictures of the mom and dad to make a scrapbook at a baby shower.

And here are the pages made by the shower co-host, Maura, and our family. I loved reading what my 8 year-old wrote. It’s always a treat to get a little insight into a child’s mind.

Baby shower scrapbook project.  From Jewels at Home.

Baby shower scrapbook project.  From Jewels at Home.

This scrapbook was so much fun to create at the party, and we all enjoyed reading the touching – and often funny – wishes. It was also a lovely way to include family and friends who live out-of-town and cannot attend the shower in person. I mailed a blank wishlist with each invitation, so people could return it in the mail or bring it with them. I also e-mailed electronic versions and printed extras to have on hand at the party.

And they all lived happily ever after…

“Jewels”

Fabric-covered Hairband Tutorial

Here’s a quick and easy project… And that’s a good thing for me, because after I cut my hair short recently, I realized that I couldn’t brush my teeth without my cute new style falling into my face. I literally ran next door to my craft studio and whipped up this hairband, so I could get ready for bed.

You’ll need

  • wide elastic – I used a little under 2′ of 3/4″ wide elastic.
  • fabric – just a small strip about 22″x 2.5″
  • needle and thread
  • optional but handy! Chopstick and a large safety pin

1) Cut your elastic so that it fits comfortably around your head while gently stretched with an inch overlapping

2) Cut your fabric about the same length as your unstretched elastic and 2.5″ wide

3) Fold the fabric lengthwise with right sides together.  Fold down a hem on either end and stitch with a 1/2″ seam allowance.

Fabric hairband tutorial.

Fabric hairband tutorial.

4) Turn the fabric cover right side out.  My mom taught me the trick of using a chopstick to help turn narrow things right side out.  What do people without chopsticks do??

5) Thread the elastic through the fabric cover.  My mom taught me another trick: use a large safety pin (I used a diaper pin) to help pull elastic or cording through a narrow sleeve.  It gives you something to grasp on to!

6) sew the ends of the elastic securely together with a one inch overlap.

7) sew the ends of the fabric cover closed by hand.

Sewing tricks: Use a chopstick to turn a narrow sleeve right-side out.  Use a safety pin to thread elastic or cord through a narrow sleeve.

Sewing tricks: Use a chopstick to turn a narrow sleeve right-side out. Use a safety pin to thread elastic or cord through a narrow sleeve.

Fabric hairband tutorial from Jewels at Home.

Finished fabric hairband.

Fabric hairband tutorial from Jewels at Home.

Finished fabric hairband.

I’ve got some bigger projects in upcoming posts, like the rest of the baby shower and some new cushions.  Look forward to sharing those soon!

“Jewels”

New Entry – First Impressions Count!

When we bought our house last summer, the style did not suit us at all. I give a lot of credit to hubby for seeing past the pink and frills to appreciate that this could be our home.  Now we’re updating this place bit by bit, and I’m happy to say that it feels like home! We started inside with a renovation upstairs that gave us our new master bath, laundry area, and nursery. More about the upstairs, when I finally get the rest of it cleaned up. We decided to put off a downstairs renovation, due to cost and convenience, but I did spruce up our powder room with some wallpaper and a new chair rail and vanity.

Once our upstairs bedrooms were comfortable, the next priority was painting the exterior, where the paint on the trim was peeling, and equally importantly, the house was pink!

BEFORE:

BEFORE: Pink and stuffy entry did not reflect our personality.

BEFORE: Pink and stuffy entry did not reflect our personality.  The house number sign was white plastic!

Hooray for

  • new paint
  • a new house number sign (the old one was white plastic)
  • our whimsical doggy statue
  • and some old pots and flowers

Now, our entry is casual and pretty, which is much more our style.  The dog our light-hearted take on more serious front door statuary.  I found him in a flower shop in Toronto more than a decade ago, and he reminded me of our dog, Cooper, so I gave him to Steve for his birthday one year.  Now that Cooper is no longer with us, it’s sweet to have him as our guardian angel.

I tried to hang up the house number sign, but the stucco was defeating my masonry bit and my adhesive, so I just propped it up, and I actually like it there!  There’s lots more gardening that could be done to improve our curb appeal and functionality, but for now these little touches make it feel like home when you walk up to the door.

A new house color and some flowers at the front door make this place feel like home.

A new house color and some flowers at the front door make this place feel like home.

A new house color and some flowers at the front door make this place feel like home.

20120730-230807.jpgA new house color and some flowers at the front door make this place feel like home.

I usually putter around inside the house, so I can thank this little helper for bringing me outside. He had a lot of fun digging, and I had to work hard to channel his energies into the right areas!

Welcome Home!

“Jewels”

Hairs to a Good Cause…

As some of you know, hubby Steve has been growing his hair for many months. He started off wanting to grow it out long enough to donate, and I think he still might, but he’s in that awkward in-between stage and getting a bit frustrated. So, I feel a bit bad for beating him to it by chopping off ten inches last week. It’s not something I had been planning for long, but I was recently struck by the desire for a change. I will admit to being a bit nervous, but the excitement of something new outweighed any anxiety, and in the end, it’s just hair. Speaking as someone who works with people who have cancer, I feel fortunate to have my hair and fortunate that it will grow back, so I didn’t want to get too precious about the whole thing.

Just cut your long hair?  Here's a summary of places to donate your hair for a good cause.

I walked out of the salon with a big ponytail of hair, and now I am going to figure out where to donate it. It helps that Steve did some of the legwork already. There are several organizations that take hair donations to make wigs for people in need. From my reading, it is possible with any of these groups that your hair will not be used by them for a wig, if it doesn’t meet some requirement (eg. length), in which case it could be sold and the money used towards covering their costs. This doesn’t really bother me that much. I can see how it is disappointing when you think your hair is going to a sick child or adult, and it ends up somewhere else, but I feel like if my hair can’t be used for a wig and still helps out a good cause, I’m okay with that.

In all cases, your hair should be clean and held in a ponytail or braid. It is okay to combine multiple small ponytails, and you’ll actually get more length that way. The hair should be thoroughly dry, placed in a plastic zipper bag and in padded envelope. Be sure to get the postage for your precious package calculated, so it doesn’t get lost or returned.

Locks of Love is the charity with the greatest name recognition. Here’s a summary of their organization, and there are more details on their website.

  • non-profit organization
  • wigs are given to children under age 21, most of whom have alopecia areata
  • minimum of 10 inches of hair
  • hair can be colored or permed but not bleached

Pantene Beautiful Lengths/ American Cancer Society is another program that collects hair donations to make wigs. Again there are more details on their website.

  • Pantene is a commercial company, but they donate the wigs to the American Cancer Society, which is a non-profit organization
  • wigs are given to women who have cancer
  • minimum of 8 inches of hair
  • hair cannot be chemically treated in any way

Angel Hair Foundation is another non-profit organization that give wigs to children in Oregon who have hair loss due to a variety of condition. They ask for a minimum of 12 inches of hair that can be chemically treated, as long as it is in good condition.

Wigs for Kids accepts donations of hair that is at least 12 inches long and not chemically treated. I guess their name says it all about their cause!

Childhood Leukemia Foundation takes hair donations that are 10 inches or longer and not chemically treated to make wigs for children with leukemia.

Angel Hair for Kids, a part of A Child’s Voice is a Canadian non-profit organization that donates wigs to children with a variety of illnesses throughout Canada.

It seems like there are a lot of good options, and it’s likely you won’t go wrong with any of these organizations. I am going to send my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths this time (yes! I am inspired to do this again in the future!), since I just barely have 10 inches, and I think once the straggly ends are cut off, it will be less. I know the American Cancer Society does a lot of incredible good work in a variety of areas from supporting people with cancer to research and education, so I am happy to be part of that, too.

“Jewels”

Diaper Cake Using Cloth Diapers

I had a great time co-hosting a baby shower for my friend Nicola’s baby shower last weekend, and I’m working on getting all the pictures together to share on the blog.  I started with the tea party, and I’m still wrapping up some of the activities, but here are some pictures and a short tutorial on the diaper cake!

I used cloth diapers for our youngest through a lot of his first year, but I’ve fallen off the wagon lately. It really wasn’t that difficult, and I am so glad we did it.  Cloth diapers do, however, mean a few extra loads of laundry each week, and I was losing buy-in from hubby and the toddler himself. So, despite my feelings of guilt, I have given it up. We’re slowly starting to introduce him to the potty, so hopefully our days of diapers are numbered. In any case, the timing works out well for me to pass these diapers on to Nicola and Victor.

There are many ideas out there for beautiful diaper cakes. Most of them use disposable diapers or plain cloth ones. The diapers I had were the all-in-one or pocket diaper style, and I’ll write about how to use those diapers in another post for Nicola and the rest of you who want to get started. Since these diapers are bulkier than disposables and come in a variety of colors, I had to get creative with the design and owe thanks to Ari and Monica for their artistic input.

The technique for all diaper cakes is similar. You’ll need:

  • cardboard and fabric or wrapping paper for the base
  • diapers
  • small elastic bands
  • extra large elastics – I used sewing elastic knotted into a loop
  • ribbon – wired ribbon gives extra strength
  • decorations – more ribbon, toys, diaper cream, etc.

Prepare the base

I cut a large circle out of corrugated cardboard. It’s about a foot and a half in diameter, and I didn’t have a large circle to trace, so I taped a piece of string to the center, taped a pen about 9″ out from the center, and drew around the string to make a neat circle.

I used a piece of scrap fabric to wrap the cardboard and taped it to the bottom. You could also use a cute wrapping paper.

Draw a large circle on cardboard by taping a string to the center and a pen to the perimeter.

Draw a large circle on cardboard by taping a string to the center and a pen to the perimeter.

Wrap the cardboard circle in fabric or paper and secure it on the bottom with tape.

Wrap the cardboard circle in fabric or paper and secure it on the bottom with tape.

Prepare the diapers

Start by rolling up each diaper and securing it with a small elastic

Making a diaper cake using cloth diapers by Jewels at Home

Roll up each diaper and securing it with a small elastic.

Constructing the cake

Group your first layer of diapers together inside a large elastic band. I used sewing elastic knotted into a loop. Once you have them tied together, you can rearrange them to get the look you want (this picture was taken before I arranged them).  Because there were so many different patterns, I tried to group them by color (blues on the bottom; yellows in the middle; greens on top), and I hid the diapers that stood out too much in the middle (the tiger stripe diaper, the dark blues).

Make a diaper cake using cloth diapers by Jewels at Home

Make the first layer of the cake by grouping the rolled diapers inside a large elastic band.

Put something tall in the middle of the first layer to help attach it to the next layer. I used a roll of diaper liners (these are amazing, by the way. The poop sticks to the liner, and you just dump the liner in the toilet and flush it, leaving you with a much cleaner diaper to wash).

Making a diaper cake with cloth diapers by Jewels at Home.

Put something tall in the center of the first layer to help attach the next layer.

Add your second and third layers, keeping something that projects upwards in the middle, to secure the layers to each other.

Add a second and third layer, using something like this chopstick in the middle to keep the layers steady.

Add a second and third layer, using something like this chopstick in the middle to keep the layers steady.

When each layer is done, you can tie a decorative ribbon around the diapers and remove the large elastic.  I used two layers of wired ribbon, and it made the bundles of diapers very secure.

Decorate your cake

You could add little toys, bottles, diaper cream, etc..  I just added some ribbons to the top and around the edges.  I folded pink and blue ribbons and secured them with a paperclip before stuffing them in the top.

Gather some ribbon and secure it with a paperclip for decorating your diaper cake.

Gather some ribbon and secure it with a paperclip for decorating your diaper cake.

And here it is, the finished diaper cake!

Diaper cake using cloth diapers.  From Jewels at Home.

Finished diaper cake using cloth diapers.

In retrospect, I will have to say that this is not as fast a project as it looks, mostly because I had to fiddle with the arrangements and colors to make all those different diapers work together, but it was a very cute addition to the baby shower, so definitely worth it.

I’ll try to get the information on using the diapers up on the blog soon, as well as some more baby shower projects!

“Jewels”