I pimped my car…

It’s probably not a very “christmasy” thing to talk about but I promised in a previous post so here it is. When we were planning our big trip to France this year I was thinking about how to get our car even more comfortable for a long road-trip and I figured out a couple of things.
First I renewed the cardboard arm-support thing that I made two years ago because it was a bit worn out. Taped extra support onto the top (it was also a bit lower than the perfect size, so I definitely had to make it slightly higher) and sewed a new cover. It also has a small pocket on the side for my cell-phone because I drop it sometimes and can’t find it for hours… The old cover was actually in excellent condition but I didn’t have more of that fabric and I wanted to match it with the new add-ons. DSC_0724

Then I burned a new CD which we do every year before starting a long road trip. I know: nowadays burning a CD is very old-fashioned but this works in our ten-years old car and we are fine with it. For all the CDs we collected over the years I sewed a very practical and also great-looking CD holder. I followed this tutorial for that.  This CD holder turned out very well and we love it! Easy to reach the CDs without opening the glove compartment and putting the whole family in danger. I can only recommend it!

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My other favorite thing is the trash-bag which hangs over the transmission handle. I found somewhere a tip how to make a bag water-tight from the insidewhich makes the trashbag washable. You have to melt a few layers of plastic bags together by covering them with a thin paper and ironing them until they melt.

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Then just use this plastic-sheet as a fabric. I have used this car-trash-bag since summer almost every day when I pick up my son from the kindergarten and it is so amazing I couldn’t live without anymore!

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Beside these things I also made a bigger bag to hang over the front seat and keep food in it for the long road trip but it wasn’t as successful as I hoped. It turned out a bit too big and without a cooler system it is just not  practical enough. At least not for food. But if you have a child on board who still wears diapers, then I would recommend to make something like this to keep diapers, wipes and extra cloths in it for an easy reach. We were always looking for the diaper bag when we stopped to change the baby, somehow it always hid somewhere… Or maybe use the bag for toys, raincoats etc.

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Baby car-seat blanket with tutorial

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We are expecting our next baby and he is going to be born (hopefuly not before) January. My three-year-old son was born in September which means we still have lots of warm winter-clothes for the little one but slightly in a different size, meaning bigger. So I am collecting warm babyclothing in newborn-size now. Also, our daily life-style is different now: I have to get into the car and pick up my older son from the kindergarten every single day at the same time. This got me thinking: how am I going to manage this with a newborn? It is something that many parent can manage, so I will, too. But to make it just a little bit easier, I figured out to create a couple things, like this car-seat baby blanket. It will be useful because the temperature in the house, in the car and in the kindergarten will never be really cold but on the street it might be. Yes, we used regular blankets with my first son but we also lost a couple of them. And we mostly used the stroller anyway, not the car seat…

To make this blanket, I needed a warm but not too thick fabric, so I choose the combination of fleece and cotton. I bought a 130x170cm big fleece blanket. I could have bought it as fabric, but I just didn’t have time to head to the fabric store. This way was easier for me and it only costed 3€. The other two fabric were already on hand at home.

Then I was searching online for DIY ideas but I couldn’t find anything that I liked. Or if I found something interesting, then it had no tutorial. So I came up with my own idea, made it, it turned out exactly how I wanted and now I am sharing the tutorial with you.

What you will need for one blanket:

– fleece ca. 130x150cm

– a cotton fabric of your choice for the inner side ca. 130x120cm

– an other cotton fabric for the bag-part ca. 50x50cm

I drew a “sample” or “plan” for myself and it looked something like this:

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I decided to make the rounded top but if you want to make a hoody, then make the square-kind top and at the end attache three pair of magnetic buttons.

First I took out the cover from our baby seat (maxi cosi) and layed on top of my fleece. I traced the edges and the holes with a pencil to get some idea how big this thing should be.

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In the car seat there are two sets of holes for the seat belt. Mark them both and the one down in the middle, as well!

DSC_0328Then comes the tricky part: I  just drew the whole shape following my “plan”. I folded it in half, so both sides will be the same, and then cut it out.

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Note: I could have made the bottom a bit wilder… next time.

Then I layed the leftover fabric underneath and cut around the bottom. Don’t have to cut farther then 5 cm from the corners. (Shown on the next picture)

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Then I took off the blanket and folded the leftover-halfcut fabric into half. Marked wher the top should be and then cut it.

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Now I had the two pieces I needed.

DSC_0333As the next step, I cut out the same shape from the baige cotton fabric, and the smaller fabric with the elephant pattern. I just simply layed the fleece pieces onto the cotton fabrics and cut around them.

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When I was finished with the cutting, I layed the two smaller parts onto each other, facing the right sides and then sewed just the top together. Then I turned it inside out and sewed it along the edge again.

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After that I was making a fabric-sandwich: put the cotton fabric wrong side down, then the smaller pieces facing the pattern up, then the fleece facing your markings down.

Babaules-takaro1Pin all four layers together and sew. Don’t forget to leave a gap somewhere to turn the whole thing inside out later.

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Then I made an other seam around the edge from where the bag on the bottom starts to the other end of it. I forgot to take a picture of this step but hopefuly you understand what I am trying to say. The important thing is to close the gap once the blanket is turned inside out. The good news is that your blanket is basically done. The last thing to do is to make those button-holes that you marked at the beginning. But before you do that, make sure to check if your markings are at the right place. Mine were not! I put back the car-seat together and put the blanket on top, just as we would use it. Then took a look at the seatbelt and made new markings.

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Then I rememberd, that there is somewhere a newborn addition/extension to the car seat. I was able to find it and tried the blanket out with it. I noticed that I had to make a third marking for the seatbelt-hole because it had a completely different size now. Don’t forget to do this!

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Finally I sewed the button holes for the seatbelts but only after careful measuring! And voila! The blanket was done! I am so happy with the result!

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My model was the huge teddy-bear once again. It is much bigger then a newborn (about 70-80cm) but I think you get the idea how the blanket works and looks in use.

 

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For me it was very important to have a cotton fabric inside of the blanket because my older son’s skin is sensitive to anything that is not cotton, so I had to make sure, that the little one has also cotton touching his skin, if possible. Just in case, you know.

I made some other great projects for the car that I will present in the next post. Not much baby-related but very practical things if you use your car a lot.

And at the end I still had lot of left-over fabric. My evening-project was to make a hat(again, with cotton on the inside) and a scarf for my older son. We call it the “elf-hat” and he loves it! (And as a bonus for me, I don’t have to pay an other 8-10€ for a new set of hat and scarf!)

DSC_0358What do you think of this project? I am very happy with the price. I gave only 3€ out, but with the cotton fabrics the hole blanket costs no more than 6-10€. If you buy something like this in a store or even online, you will at least have to pay 15-20€, if not more… But probably more. This sewing project took me about three hours which is not bad, I think. But my favorite  thing about this project, that I made it especialy  for our son, and that is priceless.

 

UPDATE: The blanket has been in use for six weeks now and it is really great. Here is a picture with our son (and no more teddy bear):
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Busy like a bee

This time a didn’t create anything special or new, I just played a little bit with old projects like the envelope clutch or the car seat organizer. I can’t make the same thing over and over. No, it’s simply impossible for me. I have to at least use a different fabric or if needed, make the project better and better.

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I must admit that I still have difficulties with the envelope clutch but it is getting closer to perfection each time I make one.

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Which one is your favorite?

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I think my favorites are these two. I used some scarp-fabric for the outside, batting and a beautiful blue fabric for the inside. They are soft and very colorful for the summer days!Varras+Blog61 Varras+Blog62

With two more car seat organizers behind me I think I found the best solution for the cup holder which you can check out on the picture below. It’s the one on the left side with the elephants.

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Car Seat Organizer 2.0

As I mentioned in the previous post, I will work on more car seat organizer in the near future because I would like to sell them on the up-coming craft fair in Aachen. While working on the second piece, I realized that something important was missing from the first car-seat organizer: a cup-holder! I added one to the next organizer which wasn’t easy, so I will have to come up with an other design for the cup-holder. This one works perfectly but it took a bit longer time to make it and I can not afford this luxury. Check out the picture of the first and second car seat organizers!

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Which one do you like better?

And here is one picture of the second organizer with more details:

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I even added pencil-holders and made the upper hole better looking by hand-stitching it. I think it functions much better then the first one, but let the kids decide!

Craft Fair in Aachen

A couple of weeks ago I was accepted to a local craft fair which will take place in Aachen on the 14th of June. I was really happy and now that we got back home from Hungary, I can focus on the work and the products I will bring to that craft fair. In this spirit I made twelve more luggage tags and two small, but really soft and cozy baby blankets.

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Is anyone interested in a tutorial on the luggage tags? They are a little bit complicated but it’s a great project and worth making them because they are very fun gift ideas for people that love travelling.

IMGP0160Unfortunately I couldn’t take better pictures of this owl-themed blanket. Sorry. It is made using fleece and cotton fabrics. Very easy project and looks fun!

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Finally a car-themed blanket, my favorite. It is really soft and small-sized, so it fits perfectly to the trolley or into the car-seat.

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I also decided to make more car-seat organizer for the bigger kids. Especially in the summer-time, when families are traveling more, it’s a very useful thing to have in the car. So, probably you will see more of those in the near future but I have also new ideas! Let’s get back to work!

 

Car seat organizer for the kids

IMGP0029In two weeks we are heading to Hungary again: a two day long road trip with our kid. It’s a lot of work in terms of preparation. Not just getting the car ready (which seems to be also my responsibility since I use the car on a daily basis) but also to get creative again and collect lots of fun activities for our two-and-a-half-years old son. Not long ago I published a post on travel activities for toddlers and I will share my new ideas and how did they work out after our trip. Until then here is something else: a car seat organizer for bigger kids. Especially for those who can sit up a bit and reach for stuff around them.

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I made this organizer for my son, but unfortunately his seat-belt does not allow him to reach so far ahead just yet. He must wait and grow a bit more before he can use this otherwise pretty cool organizer.

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It is cool because the kids can bring along more toys, book etc; there is more storage in the car, it also keeps your seat cleaner. You can take off the organizer any time and throw it in the washing machine and it also looks very nice and beautiful.

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I made a pattern for this organizer after measuring our seat in our Opel Astra. I guess more or less it would fit in any car and I promise to make more and upload them to the web-shop as soon as I can. Until then let me know what do you think of this project and how would you use it? Or would you change anything on it?

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