Monday, January 27, 2014

FLUFF Twins!

These were sooooo much fun to make!!!

I've had these little sweeties cut out and waiting patiently to be finished since back when I shared my complete Pattern Review for this darling pattern, Ellie the Baby Elephant from Ruby Jean's Closet. This pattern was generously donated by Ruby Jean's Closet in support of our FLUFF Project. You can find it in her shop here

Baby Brother...
 ...and Baby Sister!
Both were made from soft, pastel flannels and I used felt eyes so they would be safe for tiny ones. These are a FLUFF Project donation and will be tucked into one of the bags we donate this Quarter as part of our Sew To Share project, providing filled  personal care bags for children in foster care. 


Monday, January 20, 2014

Pattern Review: Hooded Scarf by Whimsy Couture

I'm very thankful to Whimsy Couture for providing this pattern for me to sew for DCS this month!

I shared with you all the need for some kind of hooded towel or blanket needed for some children being treated for lice when they come into foster care. It's very cold here right now, and if their hair hasn't had a chance to fully dry, that means having to go out with a wet head....not so good. When I started looking about for patterns and ideas for what to sew that would be practical yet something the kids wouldn't mind wearing, I found the Whimsy Couture pattern. When I shared with Denise what I was working on, she did not hesitate a single moment to send over the pattern for me to use. She has always been so very generous and supportive of my efforts, and I am so very grateful!

Isn't this adorable!?!?!?!
This is the Hooded Scarf pattern from Whimsy Couture
And it's what I used to make a bundle of 15 Hooded Scarves for the children. 

Knowing that a little absorbency might help, I made mine of fleece lined with flannel. They were very quick and easy to make too!

The pattern provides variations for different styles and accents, along with step-by-step pictures for the entire sewing process. It also covers sizes from Baby to Adult, so you get all you need to sew for the whole family in 1 pattern!

And I think it sews up as perfectly for boys as it does for girls!

Sewing Experience Level: The pattern is listed as an intermediate level pattern, but I think a confident Beginner would do fine with it too. The directions are very clear. 
Size Range: Infant - Adult
Special Techniques: Fleece ruffles.
Pattern Format: PDF
Materials Used: Fleece outer, flannel inner.
Personal Notes: I think this would be the perfect thing for the kids to wear after swimming during the cold months too. May just have to stitch up a few more for my crew now! :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

TUTORIAL - Reusable Absorbent Underpads - Bed pads

I make these Reusable & Absorbent Underpads for a little friend of mine occasionally, and thought it might be a project others could use as well, so today I'm sharing a tutorial.

These pads are very easy to sew and while I mostly make them for medical purposes, they can be used for a variety of things. Some ways to use them are changing pads, for learning to sleep in big kid undies, for incontinence, for home birth and postpartum/menstrual....many possibilities.
Supplies Needed:
1 yard PUL or other waterproof fabric
1 yard cotton batting for absorbency
1 yard flannel
1 package bias tape or at least 3 yards of fold-over elastic for binding (this will be enough for a finished pad that measures approximately 24x36, so you may need to adjust based on the size of the pad you are sewing.)

Layer your fabrics with the batting sandwiched between your flannel and PUL. The flannel is going to be the fabric upright, so a print specific to your project might be fun. I typically sew for kids, so I like to use lots of playful and colorful prints. 
Pin your layer and stitch with a 1/4"-1/2" seam all along the outer edge. I like to cut my PUL a bit larger in case there is any shifting during sewing. 

Once layers are stitched together, trim neatly all around the edge to about a 1/4".

I think it is easier to apply bias tape and fold-over elastic to rounded corners, so I like to round the corners of my pads with any round object, and trim. 

Now you are ready to apply either your bias tape or fold-over elastic to finish the edges. 

I often like to sew my trim with one of my machine's zig zag stitches. This allows you to catch the underside of the trim more easily. 

There you have it! So much softer, cuter and more personal than disposables. Before you know it, you'll have a nice bundle of these so there are plenty to use between wash days. 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A reminder of WHY....

In case you didn't see the post shared on the Hopeful Threads facebook page earlier this week, this is an excellent post over at The Forgotten Initiative blog that shares a perfect and beautiful post of how receiving a bag filled with personal care items encouraged a child that recently came into foster care. 

YOU can make a difference this quarter!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Keep Up to Date!

Just a quick reminder.....
If you are on facebook, be sure and "like" the Hopeful Threads page HERE so you can keep up to date with all that's going on. I can easily and frequently share links to free sewing tutorials and patterns, inspirational posts and informational updates about our current project. 

You can of course find links to all our other social media outlets like twitter, pinterest and bloglovin' in the sidebar. You are invited to follow in as many ways as you like. :)
As always, you can email me if you have any questions as well. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Remember the FLUFF!

This is the first FLUFF find for 2014!
These adorable little Koala bears were clearance priced for $1 each + an additional discount that day + a coupon I had and they ended up only being 75 cents each! :) They are so cute, and if the recipient isn't a fan of the star named on the t-shirt, the shirt is removable. 

Remember, the FLUFF Project is currently the 1 and only ongoing Project at Hopeful Thread. The goal is to provide stuffed toys for children in foster care as a comfort and encouragement to them during a possibly difficult time. You can learn more HERE and we welcome all participation and support!

Additionally, my hope is that I will have enough stuffed toys on hand by the end of the 1st Quarter Project to include one with each donation bag too, since they are all going to children in foster care. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

IMMEDIATE NEED! For our friends during this extreme cold...

Friends, I wanted to share with you all an immediate need for our friends on and around the Pine Ridge Reservation. You will remember the Reservation and the organization, Sew For Kids, that regularly sews and gathers supplies to support the families of Pine Ridge if you have been around here a while. 

With the extreme temperatures currently being experienced across much of the US, there is an even greater need for support. Particularly in the form of propane tanks and firewood to help families heat their homes and prepare their meals. The efforts to provide these items for families in need are currently being organized through the non-profit organization Hearts of the Sacred Spirit. 

Every little bit helps. Please consider how you can help our friends to stay warm this particularly harsh winter. As I sit in my well heated home, with warm water and electricity available, I am reminded how fortunate I am and how it isn't the case for all. We can help!

Sew For Kids regularly accepts the donation of sewn items like blankets, hats, gloves and more to be delivered to the families of Pine Ridge. 
Learn more about Sew For Kids on their website HERE or follow along on facebook HERE.

Read about Pine Ridge Reservation and find out how to easily make a donation at Hearts of the Sacred Spirit HERE. 

May you feel the blessing of your gifts always.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Shopping Suggestions for 1st Quarter Project....LOTS of FUN DEALS!!!!

Today I wanted to share some shopping suggestions. Some ways that our family is able to give more by purchasing quality items at reduced prices. These are pretty simple ideas, but some of the shops might be new for you to consider. Expect to find things in unexpected places and you'll be surprised at the way things seem to turn up! 

Here are some of my most recent finds and where I found them...
This package of shower gel bottles was on clearance at Toys R Us of all places for $3.98, with an extra 20% off + a coupon that day. These are large bottles, so I can break the package apart and have enough to include 1 in 7 different bags, for a whopping 42 cents each!!!
I also found these crayon packs for 98 cents each + the same discounts listed above, making each pack when broken up about 9 cents each. :) Not only a great price, but they are character packs that I know the kids will love. These were originally party favors.....a great place to look for packaged items at great prices!

Children's Place is one of those stores I have been clearance shopping for near 15 years! They have great quality and absolutely adorable items for both boys and girls. We stopped by the outlet while doing a little shopping this past week, and found these extra cushy socks normally priced $4.95 each for only 98 cents each!

Finding these great deals at Books A Million was a very pleasant surprise! And they had quiet a variety of discounted items, and offer additional discounts on different days, plus, if you are a member of their "book club" you also get email coupons and bonus discounts on every purchase! I now scour the aisles for the big red circle stickers! :)

 As seasons begin to switch over, remember to take a peek at the clearance sections in your favorite stores. I found all of these items at Target for a total of about $10! The pink and blue sets at the top of really nice fleece jammie sets, and the onsies alone were nearly $10 by themselves at original price.

This one is ENTIRELY thanks to my girls! :) 
One of their favorite girly girl trinket shops is Claire's. Not only do they have regular sales, but they also have something called 10 for $10. All of the items pictured below were only $1 each!!! They have all kinds of fun accessories, brushes, combs, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, nail polish, and even those darling little toiletry bags....all for $1, and much better quality than a dollar store too.

Once again....expect the unexpected. Ran into Kroger for some butter and milk and just happened across these Hanes 6 pk. socks marked down to only $1.99 a package! Snagged all they had left! :)

When it comes to fabric, I also say watch for sales/clearance and coupons! I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS check the remnant bins too! That fun Hot Wheels remnant pictured was nearly a 2 yard cut making it less than $4 a yard for a name brand print. I also found some great canvas fabric at the Hancock's while holiday traveling for only $2.97 a yard that will make some of the sweetest tote bags! Fun stuff the kids will love! I'm getting more and more excited about this Quarter's Project!!! :)

While dollar store shopping can be great for certain items like toiletries, searching out sales and deals based specifically on the projects I'm working on allows our family to give more while staying within our budget. It also allows us to offer much better quality donations over all too. Plus, we have fun with the treasure hunt! :)

Again....if you know of great places to shop for donation items, Please Share! 
Find suggestions for THINGS WE CAN SEW on this post here.
Get the 1st Quarter Project details here and find out how you can join in our fun sewing and sharing efforts!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Sewing Suggestions with Tutorial Links for the 1st Quarter Project!

Ok, let's get this party started!!!! :)
I figured it might help if I included links to a variety of sewing tutorials that I have come across that could be used for our 1st Quarter Project. Please don't feel limited to these in any way, if you have a pattern or tutorial that you prefer, run with it! This is just a spring board to help us all get started. Oh, and if you do have a great pattern and/or tutorial, Please Share! :) We might love it too!

This list will provide links to a variety of FREE Sewing Tutorials for the following items....

Tote Bags and/or Diaper Bags: LOTS of options on my "Pouches, Purses & Bags" pin board here.

This Cargo Duffle from Robert Kaufman is a perfect option for the older teens, especially BOYS!

Pillowcases: There are more pillowcase tutorials than I could count on THIS BOARD that Melissa & I created for a project back in September 2012.
You can also find MANY Pillowcase tutorials from the 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge HERE.

Cosmetic/Toiletry Bags & Pouches: Again, there are a bunch of these on my "Pouches, Purses & Bags" board here, but I just LOVE this Overnight Bag from The Purl Bee found HERE.

Or there is an adorable and easy to sew Hooded Fleece Poncho at Blessings Overflowing HERE.

Other Useful Items:
Links to a variety of tutorials for Bibs, Burpcloths and load of other handmade baby items can be found on my "Baby Sewing" board here

Links to a variety of tutorials for Headbands/Hair Wraps/Hats can be found on my "Head Gear" board here. 

Again, if you know of others, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email
Thanks for sewing along this Quarter!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 - 1st Quarter Project Announcement

As many of you know, our family is personally connected with our local foster care community. A need that is continually been brought to our attention is that of Hygiene Products for children as they enter foster custody. As I have mentioned before when we have sewn for the foster care community, it isn't uncommon for children to come into care with little to no personal belongings. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but the NEED remains the same. The children range in age from newborn - 18 years old. By providing Personal Care Bags for the children, they instantly have something in hand that belongs to them, while at the same time, it will help lighten the instant preparations of their new caregivers.  

For our 2014 - 1st Quarter Project, we are going to focus on how we can meet this need. I'm going to break down the details below with Suggestions of different items that can be sewn or purchased in support of our 1st Quarter Project. I'm trying to simplify and help guide our sewing/gathering with these suggestions, but please do not feel limited by them in any way. 
The need is Hygiene/Personal Care Bags filled with Age Appropriate items. 
Have fun filling them with things you, your children or grandchildren might like, and I'm sure they will find their way to a child who can use every single item included! As always, please don't hesitate to email me with any questions and I will personally reply as soon as I can. Here we go....

Tote Bags and/or Diaper Bags
Laundry Bags
Cosmetic/Toiletry Bags & Pouches

**Additionally, I have had a specific request for Hooded Towels/Blankets since some children are having to be treated for head lice immediately upon coming into care, and may be transported with hair still wet. Having their heads covered is especially important during the cold months we are in. Find a link to several different DIY versions here.

Many of these items may also easily be sewn for those interested in doing so. Focus here on what is age appropriate for the age range you are packing the bag for.

Newborn-Toddler Bag: Wipes, diapers, diaper cream, baby soap/shampoo, bibs, burpcloths, pacifiers, bottles/sippy cups, snacks, formula, small age appropriate toy/activity/book. 

5-12 years Child's/Junior's Bag: Soap, Shampoo/Conditioner, Tootbrush/Paste, Brush/Comb, Hair Accessories like pony tail holders, styling products, etc. , deodorant, lotion, underwear, socks, small age appropriate toy/activity/book.

13-18 years Teen's Bag: Soap, Shampoo/Conditioner, Tootbrush/Paste, Brush/Comb, Hair Accessories like pony tail holders, styling products, etc. , deodorant, lotion, perfume/cologne, underwear, socks, shaving supplies, menstrual supplies, journal.

The need is immediate, so you can send your items as soon as they are ready, and I will make periodic deliveries throughout the Quarter as I have a box full.
The 1st Quarter Project will run active from January 1, 2014 - March 31, 2014. Seeing as how this is most definitely an on-going need, I will gladly continue to deliver any bags anyone wishes to send on-going for this need as well. 

When your item(s) are ready to be mailed, you can ship them to me at the following business address to insure the packages are never left unattended. **Please notify me upon shipping your package whenever possible so I can be watching for it. As always, I will post either on your photo in our Flickr group album or facebook when packages are received. 

Kristy Smith
c/o Echelon Florist
1260 Rocky Hill Road
Knoxville, TN 37919

I will be sharing samples of the bags I put together along the way to provide ideas and welcome any you may have as well! I've created a 2014/1st Quarter Project Flickr Album where you can add pictures of your project donations, which can further serve as ideas and inspiration for others interested in participating. 

Additionally, if you come across any new patterns/tutorials or special sales on items that might be useful for our project, Please Share! I will do the same, and already have pinned many, many sewing tutorials perfect for this project on my Pinterest Boards HERE.

Let's make an impact on this precious community of children and their caregivers this quarter!
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