No Sewing – Iron-on Tigger Onesie

My husband said, “Our grandson will not go hungry or naked!”  Yep, as long as he has grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins, his parents won’t have to worry about clothes or food!

Like books, we can’t stop finding cute little clothes that he could use, and like books, there are a lot of ways to find them!  I found free iron-on designs available online, and found a cute Disney Tigger design I thought would be great for our grandson, since he loves to bounce!

Tigger Onesie

Tigger Onesie

I found the design online for free, and then found great transfer printer paper that goes right into your paper tray and prints out the design.  I followed the steps given on the paper I bought and created a great little shirt.  This process was easier than I thought it would be!

Steps for Iron-on Tigger Onesie

Step 1 – Search online for sites with free (really free) designs for iron-on.  You could use a regular design, but remember that when it prints out, the design ironed on will show up reversed.  For example, if you use written words, then would have to be reversed or the writing will iron on backwards. I found this Tigger design (for our bouncer!) on a Disney website search for free iron-on.

Disney website - free Tigger and Mickey ears iron-on design

Disney website – free Tigger and Mickey ears iron-on design

2 – I bought a pack of iron-on transfer paper made especially for regular printers. Follow the directions for how to load the paper so the design prints on the right side. The directions are included in the package and some are printed on the backing paper of each sheet.

Iron-on Transfer Paper

Iron-on Transfer Paper

Following directions, trimming the edges from the actual Tigger design

Following directions, trimming the edges from the actual Tigger design

Step 3 – I followed the directions in my iron-on transfer paper package, and trimmed all the white outer edges from the actual Tigger design.

Tigger trimmed and ready!

Tigger trimmed and ready!

Step 4 – The directions said to set the iron temperature to hot/cotton setting, and to be safe, I set it a little lower to make sure my hot iron did not burn or melt anything!  I made sure the iron had time to heat, and directions said to pre-iron the shirt so it would already be hot and ready to accept the design. I turned the design upside down to place it in the middle of the shirt.

Design face down on the onesie

Design face down on the onesie

Step 5 – Follow directions on the package for how long to iron and press down the design. Most directions will suggest several seconds of pressing the iron down on each part of the design, making sure not to wiggle too quickly so the design will not move.

Iron and hold on each edge of the design according to directions

Iron and hold on each edge of the design according to directions

Step 6 – Iron for recommended time, then let design and shirt cool for recommended time.  My directions suggested letting the shirt alone for a few minutes, then moving it to a cooler spot away from the ironing cool even quicker.

Cooling for suggested time

Cooling for suggested time

Step 7 – After design and shirt have completely cooled, start to carefully peel the backing off, making sure that the design is staying on the shirt. There are suggestions for re-ironing if the design did not fully transfer.  I had no problem with my Tigger design, but I’m sure it happens. I was super-cautious and peeled very slowly to make sure!

Peeled backing and Tigger is ready for bouncing!

Peeled backing and Tigger is ready for bouncing!

Final tips:  My directions suggested washing, and if washing, I would suggest you turn the shirt wrong side out, to protect the design.  I would follow directions for washing the first time, which might suggest to let air dry and then iron lightly (still turned wrong side out or with a cotton ironing cloth to protect the design). I used a clean pillowcase to lay on Tigger, and ironed at a medium heat to continue “setting the design adhesive”.

So easy and so cute!  This design was free and transfer paper was on sale, and I found a plain onesie at the craft store (or at Walmart!).  Happy Ironing!  And Happy New Year!










Baby’s First Christmas Onesie Ornament – Special Memories Ornaments

Over the years, I remember my mother talking about their first Christmas tree. They were in a little apartment, had been married for just a few months, and didn’t have a lot to spend on their first little tree. She always remembered that, and from the time we were little, they gave us and our children special ornaments to remember each Christmas.

Yarn Santa made by my father when he was a little boy in the 1940's

Yarn Santa made by my father when he was a little boy in the 1940’s

Santa ornament our grandparents used to hang on their tree

Santa ornament our grandparents used to hang on their tree

They have been married over 57 years now, and they have their own collection of special ornaments they have received from their children and grandchildren. There are still ornaments on their tree with pictures of our kids when they were only a few years old.  We have so many ornaments now as parents and now grandparents, that we don’t have enough room to hang them all – but we try!

Wooden nativity found on a family vacation many years ago

Wooden nativity found on a family vacation many years ago

In our 32 years together, we have given each other special ornaments based on special interests and memories. When we travel on vacations, we find an ornament to hang on our tree. My husband loves to fish, so there are lots of fish on our tree!

Memory of a much loved family cat

Memory of a much loved family cat

Hubby loves fishing and Dr. Who, Dalek Ornament!

Hubby loves fishing and Dr. Who – Dalek Ornament!

Ornament from our grandparents' tree and a painted ornament our daughter made.

Ornament from our grandparents’ tree and a painted ornament our daughter made 20 years ago!

For our grandson’s first Christmas, his grandpa and I were overwhelmed with all the wonderful ideas and ways we could celebrate his first!  Ideas exploded on Pinterest, Google+, and all over the internet on blogs and other websites for homemade ornaments and handprints and footprints! It was hard deciding what to try!

One of my friends has been sharing adorable felt craft ideas from her book, so I was interested in something I could embroider and personalize. Through the Pinterest boards, I found a onesie pattern that was similar to a porcelain ornament I had seen.  I liked the idea of personalizing the design. The original idea came from Crystal Joyner of “Edge of Clarity”  on Etsy.  She had a great idea and pattern which I just tweaked a little for our little grandson. Check out her other products and ideas!

Baby’s First Christmas Onesie Ornament

Step 1: I used white felt to cut out two pieces of the onesie shirt shape.

Step 2: I centered and embroidered my grandson’s name and birthday at the lower end of the shirt in blue thread.

Step 3: I embroidered a light string in green thread at the top of the shirt.

Green string of lights

Green string of lights

Step 4: I spaced out “Christmas light bulbs” enough to embroider the letters of his name. I used primary colors to make multicolored “lights”.

2 felt shirts with embroidered string of lights

2 felt shirts with embroidered string of lights


Step 5: I embroidered the light bulbs in alternating colors, and then used opposite colors to embroider the letters of his name in the bulbs.

Alternating colors of light bulbs, then add the letters of baby's name

Alternating colors of light bulbs, then add the letters of baby’s name

Step 6: I cut out patches of cloth from my old flannel maternity shirt I had made when pregnant with my own children. I used 3 small pieces of that cloth to stuff and shape the ornament after the embroidery was done.

Step 7: I used a blanket stitch in blue thread to stitch the edges of the shirt together.

Stuffed ornament ready for blanket stitching, pinned together

Stuffed ornament ready for blanket stitching, pinned together

Step 8: I added a little red thread to the “collar” area of the shirt to use as a hanging thread to hang on the tree.

For a little girl, you could use pink or purple thread around the edges, or pick out any colors that are appropriate for your little baby!


Now it was ready to give to his parents to hang on their first tree as a family!

Sports Towels – Fishing or Bowling

The bowling towel I made for my husband was a combination of several ideas.  He loves to fish and bowls weekly on a league.  He uses a towel for keeping the bowling ball clean, and fishermen need towels or rags to clean all kinds of messes!  I chose to make the bowling towel.

Wanting to make a personalized towel for him, I could have sewn a cross-stitch aida cloth into a towel, but I chose to go with a premade towel I found at a JoAnn’s Craft store.

In our area, we have a choice of some well-stocked crafts supply stores, both chain franchises and independents.  I have checked out most of them, depending on the project I’m working on.  Sometimes I browse online or in the store to get ideas for a gift I’d like to make.  Most stores and online suppliers also offer some type of in-store or online classes.

Links to Crafts in My Area:

  • A. C. Moore                   
  • Hancock Fabrics            
  • JoAnn’s Crafts                
  • Michael’s                        
  • Carolina Foam and Fabric Outlet (Buncombe County, NC)
  • Discount stores, such as Walmart, Target and Kmart sometimes have a craft supply section with a few items
  • Search online for other local craft stores

Searching online, you can find even more.  In most stores, for example, they don’t stock all the possible cross-stitch supplies and kits that are available. They don’t have that kind of space.  Check online for catalog suppliers and independent craft kits and supplies.

Kits are a wonderful way to start out, since the cloth, design directions and thread are already assembled for you in the kit.  It’s a great time-saver if you find the kit you need.

Links to Online Craft Suppliers I have found:

  •    –   supplies and online classes, lots of quilting
  •  –    wonderful cross stitch and needlework kits
  •  –  I had no idea they had great kits for surprisingly                                      good prices
  • The Stitchery! –  —  huge list and variety of kits and                                                                 supplies

For more ideas for cross-stitching, quilting and other crafts, don’t forget your local library for books you can check out for free!   See my post on Nurturing the Love of Reading in Children from 7-1-13 for library links.

Grandpa’s Bowling Towel

  1. I used a premade cross-stitch towel I purchased.
  2. I found an old bowling cross-stitch design to place on the left end of the towel’s aida cross-stitch insert.  I centered the design on the aida cloth.
  3. I chose my own colors, making the bowling ball the same color as the one “Grandpa” uses.
Left side - Green bowling ball, Right side - Year

Left side – Green bowling ball, Right side – Year

  1. In an old craft magazine, I found a lettering chart that was a perfect size already for the “grandpa” letters I needed.
  2. I used 4 basic colors red, green, blue, purple, for the letters.
  3. Then, with my need to make everything even and symetrical, I had to find a design to bookend the letters on the right side of the towel.  After over-thinking a little, I realized I could use the year his first grandchild was born!  2013 fit perfectly in the space, and I centered the numbers at an angle to complete the blank space.
Cross-stitched Letters in Bold Colors

Cross-stitched Letters in Bold Colors

So even though I don’t consider myself artistic, I was able to create something unique as a gift.  All you need is the desire to create  —   and some great craft stores  —  and some online searches  —  and maybe some leftover materials to spark a new idea!




Recycle and Upcycle Old Clothes

You love that old t-shirt or that old skirt. You don’t wear it anymore, or it is beyond patching.  So recycle it like we do boxes and jars!

Old T-shirts are a popular item to re-create!  We have lots of old t-shirts from concerts, from vacations, and even from restaurants, that don’t fit now or are past their prime.  They cost too much to waste, so my first project was turning 2 shirts into a pillowcase.  I simply cut out the center design from the front and back, and measured to make sure they fit the bed pillow or throw pillow.  2 t-shirts make a standard or large bed pillowcase, and 1 t-shirt is perfect for a standard throw pillow.

You can choose similar colors,  2 concerts, or 2 vacation spots to put together.  For my first pillowcase, I chose 2 concert shirts that had different shades of blue.  I used simple straight seams, keeping the seams as close to square as possible.  Tip:  T-shirt material is stretchy, so you need to stitch slowly through the machine, so it doesn’t get stretched too far out of the square shape. Guide the material gently, but don’t pull tightly.

Bed Pillowcase 

Approximate measures for a standard pillowcase – 20″ wide x 30-32″ long

  1. Cut 4 t-shirt squares (front and back of 2 shirts).  Leave plenty of usable space around the designs to allow  for seams.
  2. Lay out and measure pillow length, then pin seams and sew right sides together.  Front and back of one shirt will be side by side now.
  3. Do same for the other shirt and you should now have 2 rectangles.
  4. Re-measure to make sure you still have the length and width you need for the pillow.
  5. Pin one end (short side) of the rectangles together (right sides together), and stitch the closed end of your pillowcase.
  6. Pin each of the long sides together and stitch the sides of your pillowcase.
  7. Turn right side out and make sure all seams are complete.  Then turn wrong side out again to stitch a reinforcing seam 1/4″ away from original seam. Trim excess cloth.
  8. Complete your pillowcase by turning under 1/2″ hem and stitch.  Then turn under once more 1-2 inches depending on your pillow length to make a final top-stitch hem.  You can make this a narrow (1-2″) or wide (5-6″) hem depending on how much material is left and your preference.

Standard Throw Pillow

Approximate square size – 12-18″

  1. Directions are similar to the bed pillow, but you just need one t-shirt (front and back)
  2. There are 2 options – Cut 2 squares and simply stitch 3 side seams and stuff, finishing with a hand stitch or topstitching the open side.  Or, you can leave the t-shirt in one piece and stitch the desired square before cutting the cloth.
  3. For one of my pillows, I measured the length of the square sides, then turned the light blue shirt wrong side out and stitched down the 2 sides.  I then hand-stitched the top collar sides together, leaving the collar on.  I placed my pillow inside the shirt, measured to make sure I knew how much excess cloth to trim, and then stitched the bottom to fit the pillow. The remaining short sleeves were still in good shape, so I hand-stitched them and the collar to the outside, visible next to the design. I used a larger visible stitch with darker blue thread.
Front of t-shirt pillow

Front of t-shirt pillow

Top of pillow, handstitched collar

Top of pillow, hand stitched collar

Back view of top, with sleeves hand stitched

Back view of top, with sleeves hand stitched

4.  Reinforce the strength of the seams by stitching that extra seam 1/4″ from      the main seam.

These pillows and pillowcases are easy to wash and very soft and comfortable!  My next idea may take a lot longer to complete. If I ever have the time, I will be using a few more t-shirts to make a quilt.  Very ambitious for me, and I will probably do it in stages!

Starting Simple Craft Ideas

When I was young and trying different crafts, my mother taught me basic sewing and embroidery techniques, which I loved! It was a great feeling to create something, even if it already had a pattern. Over time, I took “home ec” classes and learned a few more sewing skills.

My journey through working and motherhood left little time to practice these skills, but I saved ideas and pictures in a folder for “one day”. So – “one day” is finally here. With grown children, my time is a little more flexible and I can make some time for my ideas.

If you don’t  have time to create something huge, start small!  You can search on the internet now or through old-fashioned craft books and magazines for really simple ways to start.

Ways to Start Crafting:

  • Use a folder or 3-ring binder to save ideas you find in magazines. I tear out the pages with ideas for crafts or decorations and recycle the rest of the magazine.
  • When you have leftover pieces of cloth from sewing, save it to use later for quilting or other craft projects.
  • If you have a great outfit, shirt, dress, with material that you love, but the outfit has outlived its best, you can save the material to re-cycle into a new item. There are lots of blogs and sites that have great ideas for turning old t-shirts into dresses or children’s clothes. I turned 4 old t-shirts into pillow cases (more details to come).
Pin Cushion (from a bridesmaid's dress)

Pin Cushion (from a bridesmaid’s dress)


  • I love shopping in craft and cloth stores! Look for ideas and patterns that you can use as they are, or you can adapt for your use. I have used 2 or 3 different cross-stitch patterns to create individualized items for my husband and grandson. (more later)!
  • Sometimes you may know what style or pattern you want, and other times you may just see a great material and then have to find the perfect use or pattern for it!
  • For small projects, you can use remnants and cloth you already have on hand. After making nursing covers for my daughter when she was expecting, I used the leftover cloth to make an owl pillow and a cover for a door latch.
Leftover material saved in containers

Leftover material saved in containers

  • To save time and money, we can search online for sewing patterns, cross-stitch patterns, cloth and supplies. Craft stores cannot hold all that is out there, but you can search online and then save the searches in a folder on your desktop. Make a wishlist or idea folder.
  • When searching online for cross-stitch patterns, start with “free pattern cross-stitch” and you may find one you can print out for free.
  • Patterns you find online can be free, have a range of costs, but always be wary and check out a site if you are not familiar with it before ordering.
  • Above all, don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and materials. I never felt I was “creative”, but you and I can create and adapt!

Father’s Day Gifts

Father’s Day, the 3rd Sunday in June, this year on June 16th, is a special day to celebrate and thank Daddy!  Daddy may be new to the job, or an old pro, but he’s always watching out for his children, even when they are grown and parents themselves.

A father may get a fishing pole or a watch, but those little handprints and footprints are lifelong treasures.

In addition to some of the ideas I shared for Mother’s Day Gifts, here are some more designed for Dads.

  1. Again, using non-toxic washable child’s paint, apply with a brush, sponge, or your hand, to their hand or foot, one at a time.
  2. Clean one hand before switching to the other!  It’s easier to keep track of one messy hand!
  3. Make poster, framed page, scrapbook page, or fold to make a card.
  4. Search for ideas online if you want to make shapes or designs. These might include:
  • heart shape with footprints, with or without a photo in the center
  • handprints on left and right with a poem or note or photo in the middle
  • There are great poems out there already, create your own, or simply identify the occasion, name and date;

Father’s Day 2013
With Love
Child’s Name
created on June 18, 2013

  • you could add a photo of the child actually making the prints!

5.  For Dads who have a favorite sport or hobby, prints could recreate  some symbol, such as:

  • Basketball – orange paint, put several hands in a circle shape
  • Fishing – use footprints to make “green” fish, add eyes or fins with black marker
  • Hunting – deer head from footprint and antlers from handprints
  • Baseball – two little sides of baby fists together to create the round ball

Great for:  New Fathers (1st Father’s Day)
                 Fathers of any age
                 Grandpas and Great-Grandpas

See:   More Ideas for Mother’s Day Gifts


Mother’s Day Gifts

Mother’s Day is approaching fast, on May 12th, the second Sunday in May. Whether it is the first Mother’s Day, or the 80th, our children are always our babies. Our cards and gifts are reminders for Moms about how much they are loved and appreciated.

Easy and inexpensive gifts are usually the most memorable, especially those little handprints and footprints for us to keep!

Some ideas:

  1. Using non-toxic (most are now, but check to make sure) washable child’s paint, brush or sponge paint onto your little one’s hand or foot. If they are too sensitive to the brush or sponge, just rub it on with your hand! Do one at a time to make it easier to clean up. Gently apply to your paper or item.
  2. Prints can be applied to a piece of poster board, heavier construction paper or card-stock.
  3. Paper can be folded to make a card, or left open to make a poster, or put in a frame to hang on the wall.
  4. Browse popular search engines to find ideas if you want to make a design with the prints, or add a poem or note. Some possibilities are:
  • butterflies out of footprints, adding antennae with black marker
  • flowers with handprints, adding stems with green or black marker
  • tree, with footprint trunk, handprint branches, fingerprint leaves or apples
  • heart shape from hands or feet
  • try different colors for each print for special effects, maybe using favorite colors or color scheme of home
  • for young babies, apply paint to the side of their fist, gently press to create adorable baby rosebuds
  • apply prints to containers like flowerpots, adding a coat of sealant, then planting a flower

Great for:   New Mothers (1st Mother’s Day)
                  Mothers of any age
                  Grandmas and Great-Grandmas

See:   More ideas for Father’s Day Gifts