Yes, Heather is out of town so what better way to burn time after the kids have gone to sleep than complete a gift for my good friends’ new twins. So I went searching on the web aka Pinterest to look for some ideas and found fabric letters with magnets in them for the refrigerator. My inner voice said, “how hard can that be?”, clearly forgetting I can barely sew. After reading the description, I decided to modify it to meet my sewing abilities by increasing the size of the letters and since this was for two new babies, I didn’t think magnets were a good idea, so I didn’t include them in my project. So lets get going!


Difficulty: Let’s say you’ll learn to sew curves.

52 pieces of 5×5 scrap pieces of fabric

1 piece of 16×12 pice of fabric

1 bag of cotton batting


So the first thing I did was google “letter template” to find letters the appropriate size. I chose 4″ letters. In hindsight, I’d use 5″ and definitely pick and choose on the shape of the letters. Look at the “G” above, looks okay but when you translate that to fabric there is not enough room for the needed space in the middle opening for both the thread and 1/8 inch cut around when making the letter. Just keep that in mind when choosing letters. Back to the project. Print out the letters on heavy stock paper, that way you can use them more than once. Cut Out.


Next cut out 5×5 pieces of fabric. I did this three ways. First, I went to the fabric store and found packets of sixteen 5×5 pieces in eight patterns for $2.50. Mostly dots and stripes. Second, I found 16×16 pieces of fabric for $1 so I bought a bunch of those. Third, I scrounged around the house and found random pieces of fabric and cut them down. I suggest doing all the cutting prior to starting the project.


Lay out the cotton batting and cut 5″ strips. Then cut the strip into 10″ pieces. Fold the 10′ piece in half for a 5×5 piece of double thick batting.


Break into your kids coloring box and get a light colored washable marker and trace the letters onto the piece of fabric. I’m sure there are other ways of doing this but I figured I’d soak them in warm water when I was finished to get the fabric ready for kids mouths and the maker would (hopefully) wash away. I used a yellow marker for most fabrics and black for the really dark fabrics.


At this point you can decide on the fabric pattern. I used the same pattern on both front and back of the letter. I will use different patterns on the front and back of the numbers so to distinguish them from the letters. It’s totally up to you.

Lay the bottom piece of fabric pattern down then the 5×5 double batting then the fabric with the letter on it pattern up and sew your little heart out. I used a straight stitch. If your lucky, you’ll end up with this:


A pretty straight line “H” that will be easy to cut out. If you can’t sew curves, you’ll probably end up with something like this:


Damn thats ugly! but I’m pretty sure a 2 year old could give a dirty diaper about the “U” plus the good news is that you get to cut around the letter so you can at least get the optical illusion of the correct shape! Try staying about 1/8″ away from the thread.


BOOM! Two or so hours later you have this! You really start to appreciate how many letters there are in the alphabet during this project! I did NOT use fabric glue because little kids will have these in their mouths and I didn’t know the toxicity of the glue. If I was making this for bigger kids, I would probably use fabric glue to seal edges.


Now grab that 16×12 piece of fabric, fold down the top 1 1/2 inches  and sew about an inch down. Use a Z stitch. This will be for the tie off rope to go, so you should have an empty pocket at the top. Then fold in two with pattern facing inwards and sew 1/2″ from the side and bottom to form a bag. Mine is a little different because my piece of fabric was bigger.


Turn right side out and find some extra fabric for string. I found some red felt, cut a strip, tape to pencil and thread through.


and you have a bag


Stuff letter in bag, give thumbs up to utterly bored Boston terrier staring out you. Congrats, you’ve again impressed yourself, and embarrassed your friends, with your unbelievable crafty-ness!


DIY Hockey Stick Handling Trainer

Well I had about 15 minutes of spare time so i decided to do something productive. As you all know my son and his friends love to play hockey. They play on ice, in hallways, driveways, patios, hotel lobbies, between real hockey games, at friends houses during “play dates” (aka parents having drinks together), on skate, roller blade, knees, barefoot or wherever there is enough room to for a ball/puck and a stick. So in an effort to minimize wall, my shins and other kid damage, it’s important for them to have stick control! So, I looked on line and viewed a few different training devices, all costing $60 and up for basically a raised stick that a puck can go under. Then I was over at Chris’ house on a “play date” and he had made one for his son. Mine is slightly different as to height and securing the pucks but I’ll go over the differences and you can choose to suit your needs. For this project you will need:

15 minutes;

1 old hockey stick;

12 old pucks;

2 3/4 inch screws (12 to be exact); and

4 washers.

and you’ll have this.

Hockey Stick Handling Trainer

and save yourself from buying this


The first thing you need to do is go to the hockey rink and ask the guy who drives the Zamboni if they have any broken sticks and old pucks, and within a minute you’ll probably have more than a few. It doesn’t matter if the sticks are wood, composite or combo.


You’ll need an adult stick for the length. I cut it down to 51″ to accommodate 4 lifts on 16″ centers and it was near where the stick started to taper. (Future Project *** you can take two sticks and cut them into 16″ sections with rounded ends to the device move into different configurations. That’s for another day though.)

Remember a hockey puck is 3″ wide and 1″ in height. The best way to do this is to cut the stick then measure an 1 1/2″ in and draw a line with a paint pen. From that line measure the stick. If you are using a construction tape measure, you’ll notice at 16″, 32″, 48″ etc. in red. Makes it real easy to mark it out. Drill a small guide hole.

Hockey Stick Handling Trainer

Put that to the side and lets talk about the height. I went with a height of 3 inches for two reasons. First, I wanted it high enough to accommodate a training ball (aka street ball). Secondly, it was perfect for the 2 3/4″ screws which allow me to have a smooth puck bottom while being secure. (Chris went with the 2″ height but only uses a puck).

Hockey Stick Handling Trainer

For my first set, I pre-drilled the holes which turns out to be of absolutely no use. If it makes you feel better, knock yourself out and pre-drill the holes. Line them up and put in two screws centered up. The rubber will allow a natural counter sink.

IMG_2496_2 IMG_2495_2

Once you have all 4 lifts finished align them under the lines on the stick (make sure the screws in the pucks are under the stick to avoid them loosening. Put a washer down, use the finger on each side to make sure it’s somewhat centered, and screw down. **Be careful not to over tighten if using a composite stick.


Get hockey stick out with kids and play!


Can’t decide on a team pillow case, well . . . .

So my beautiful wife has to work late, the boys are in bed, and she refuses to let me watch the next episode of Game of Thrones (which she claims not to like), so let’s make a pillow case! Now there are a couple different ways to make a pillow case but I wanted one with two different teams and an offset team cuff! So I did a hack job on some instructions to suit my project and here it is.

IMG_7807 Ava side pillow case

What you need:

1. About a 1.25 yards of fabric, on sale for $6 a yard (I got a yard of each team as I have more than one project planned); and

2. about an hour. (If I could sew probably 20 minutes). I used a loose “Z” stitch for the whole project.

Let’s get started:

First, I started by cutting two 9 in x 23 in strip (one from each team fabric) for the cuff. Make sure you have the fabric is the right direction for the cuff. As you can see in the main picture, the print on the cuff is vertical to the main print. You can make it either way to suit your pattern. In my case, for the offset teams, I cut the two 9×23 strips and sewed them together by putting the print sides facing each other as below. I used the factory edge to make it easier. Pin it and then look at it before sewing!!!

IMG_7786 IMG_7787

As you can see, I was a smidgen off on my line, no big deal!

IMG_7789 IMG_7790

It really helps to iron out the seams after sewing (not necessary but sure does make it easier). Now you should have a 9x45ish strip. as you can see, I can’t cut a straight line despite my ruler and piece of chalk but again, no worries. It gets folded over anyway!

Second, lets now cut the main pillow case out. You have a couple of choices. Break out the ruler and do some really dandy measuring on fabric that moves a lot or find a pillow case in the linen closet , lay it on top of the fabric, put your strait edge about 1 1/2 inches wider than the pillow case and cut. I did a hybrid of the two. I used the existing pillow case to get a rough idea and then added hem room of 1 1/2 inches with my straight ruler. Your piece should be approximately 23×30.

IMG_7791 IMG_7793

As you can see, i cut one panel from each team! By now you should be feeling kinda proud because you’re half way home! Feel free to talk a little smack to your spouse about now.

Third, align the two main panels with the print side facing each other. Pin and sew down the 30 inch side. When you are finished you should have a 45×30 piece. Please check your pattern direction.


Once again, iron out the seams.

Fourth, we need to attach the cuff across the top. Now this time, use your ruler! I did it the hard way that ended up making a double stitch, no harm no foul as the saying goes. Lay the cuff face down on the top of the main panels as seen below.


Then pin in place. Fold cuff back on itself so you have a 4 inch cuff and re-pin. Make sure the team seams line up on the sewn parts. On the unfinished parts you will have excess material tat will be cut away.Your seam should end up on the inside and not leaving a visible seam on the main panel.



Now we are looking good! Our cuff is attached to our two panels and the teams are aligned on the cuff and panel! Lets close this baby up!

Fifth, fold over so print is facing print. Iron that seam! Now go get out your old pillow case again to get a rough idea on the size and length. Remember to add room for the hem. It should end up being approximately 21 x 27.


Chalk your lines an sew sew sew! Make sure to go back and re-enforce areas where you are going to trim off your closing stitch, if it happens to be in the excess area. I always re-do all the corners to be safe. Thread is cheap.

Sixth, Cut off the excess.


And you end up with this:

IMG_7804 IMG_7805 Ava side pillow case IMG_7807

Pat yourself on the back, job well done!

Hockey Jersey Backpack

I will preface this by saying if i can do it, you can do it. I’ve literally have used my sewing machine less than 8 times. Yes, I made some mistakes but I WAS making it up as I went along. So lets get started. What to do with the ever growing number of hockey jerseys in my sons closet. Well I made a sporting event cushion (version 2, soon to be out) and now onto the full backpack. I started thinking I would make a simple string backpack  (coming soon) but my overzealousness got the best of me so here we go. (sorry black makes it hard to see so double click on picture to enlarge).

TIME: 1 to 2 hours

Cost: $8


3 yards nylon

1.5 yards rope cord

1 two pack of buckles

1 Jersey

1. Find a jersey (hockey, baseball, football, etc.).


2. I haphazardly took a pair of scissors to it. I would suggest either cutting just on the backside of the seam down the sides of the jersey and on the sleeve side of the seam on the sleeves, instead of my approach.


3. Next you need to create the back panel, I used the Einstein brothers as the back panel. They key here is to lay it on top of the front of the jersey and reduce its size to allow the front of the jersey to act as the bottom and sides of the backpack. Pin it to the appropriate size and sew. Use the stitching of the jersey shoulder area to give you perspective of size. Make sure you measure from center of jersey out as the sides will vary otherwise.

Back PanelBack panel view 2

I purchased 3 yards of Nylon ($5), 1.5 yards of rope cord ($1) and a pack of backpack clasps (whatever they’re called)($2.50). Cut the nylon into two 1.5 yard pieces, take a lighter and burn the ends to keep from unraveling, then sew the clasps onto them. As I mentioned, I’m sewing challenged at best  but I tried to make a square for strength. Mark sleeves to ensure they are the same size and cut.


How to make the arms into shoulder pads. I laid the nylon down the center(make sure the clasp is facing the correct way) folded both sides to the middle then folded both sides to the middle again. Pinned it, removed the nylon, attempted to turn inside out with no luck, so I sewed the edges together. YES, if would be easier to a seam down the middle but that ruins the front look and you can’t get the nylon back in. Next slide the nylon back in the center leaving about 2 to 3 inches sticking out. Sew strap on end by clasp using two or three lines. Sew about 3 inches from top with one line to hold in place.


BINGO, you’ve got some nice padded shoulder straps.

Now how to attach them. On the back panel, go to center of panel by top seam and mark it. them measure 4.5 inches each way. That will be the center of the 1.25 inch sewn square. The square should be about 3 to 4 inches apart. (warning, I actually made the cuts then did the sewing which was a total pain). Once finished make an inch cut in center of square. I’m sure if you can make a button hole with sewing machine, it would work to, Personally i have no idea how to do that though there is a setting for it). Not to high because you are going to need the neckline to make the mouth of backpack.


Slide strap threw new hole and pin. Pull strap far enough thru to bunch enough sleeve fabric to sew around square later. Please note in my photo I made my squares to far out. the should be closer. Then angle the strap to the outside of the back panel and pin.


Sew 3 or 4 lines across the strap: one on top, one on bottom 1 or 2 in middle.

Okay here comes the hardest part. With both sides inside out, align the neck on the front and back panel. PIN IT! across the horizontal seam by the straps. Bring the bottom of the front up to the bottom of the back panel. Remember this will be forming the “U” shape of the bottom of the backpack. Double sew two lines across the bottom (make sure you pull up the excess “U” to avoid sewing it shut). There is no way to explain in writing how to make the corners, but try and make little triangles, pin it and turn it rightist out to confirm it works before sewing. It took me two or three times to get it right.  Once you figure it out, then sew sides up, again making sure to avoid sewing the excess on the sides. Should end up looking like this. Note only one side done here.


Once done turn right side out. The straps will not be sewn at this point. Here you get a choice to hand sew or use machine. I personally used the machine on top then hand sewed the underside. Use the additional fabric from the sleeve and sew it around the square to make a seal.


Turn back inside out and fold over neck line. I used the “V” of the neck line in the front as a guid. I want my tie string to use it as the cord holder so make sure you give about an inch. Pin it and sew around. take 1.5 yards of rope cord and tape to pencil and thread through newly created gap.






Happy hockey player


Things we do for kids?

Lets talk projects! I am writing this post to share some of the projects I have done for my kids. I hope to give detailed descriptions to help other moms and dads put smiles on the their kids faces. I mainly do these projects to annoy my friends who think I’m crazy to have taken up sewing at 45. Here are a few of my previous projects. If you like to know how they were done just post a comment and I’ll detail them out for you. Hope you all enjoy them.Birthday Capes Chalk Driveway Super hero photo booth Washer yard game  Tick Tack Toe log Basement Hockey Rink  Sporting event cushionPersonalized shieldsHockey Gear standHockey Gear Stand