Helping Babies Sleep

I LOVE essential oils, because they work! When nothing else works, the oils work. Simple as that. And my kids love oils, because they know they work. They know that oils make boo-boos feel better, upset tummies stop hurting and get them over colds faster. Usually I apply oils topically but today I decided to try a little aromatherapy as a solution to a new issue we’ve been having. For several nights now Daniel has been waking up with nightmares that monsters and shadows are chasing him in his room. Today he even had the same nightmare during nap time. So I decided to chase away those monsters with a combination of aromatherapy and mom psychology. We made Monster Spray! and while we were at it we made a sachet for baby sister to sleep with too!

It’s easy, Here’s how we did it.

First you need a couple things.

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For both projects:

For Monster Spray:

For the Sachet:

  • Small organza draw string bags (I got 8 at the dollar store for $1)
  • cotton balls
  • Optional: Stuffed animal -This one was given to me with a little zipper pocket in it’s back or you can open a hole in the back of your kids favorite stuffed animal and sew it back up after putting the sachet in.

Monster Spray

Add water to your spray bottle:

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Add a few drops of lavender oil to the bottle:

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Put cap on and decorate with monster stickers. Or in this case dinosaur stickers since we didn’t have monster stickers:

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And most importantly. Spray on the pillow before bed and (if your child is old enough) place the bottle somewhere they can use it incase of monster nightmares, like with a favorite stuffed animal:

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Lavender sachet

For the sachet for little sister we attempted a video of our little guys creating it.

 

Here are the basic instructions:

  1. Stuff the organza bags with cotton balls (These could also be made with rice, or dried lavender flowers but I wanted something that was going to be safe if the bag accidentally got opened)
  2. Add a few drops of lavender oil.
  3. Close the bag up and insert in the back of a stuffed animal if using.

Miss Abigail approves (And her whole room smells great!)

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These little sachets are great for placing in drawers or closets to make them smell great, too. And if you want to make a pretty gift for a friend use dried lavender flowers in the bag instead of the cotton balls.

 

 

 

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No-Bake Cookies and a Visit to the Fire Station

Daniel, like all boys, is fascinated by fire trucks and there is a fire station just 1.5 miles from our house.  We frequently see the firemen in our development and they always let Daniel see the trucks and give him a plastic fireman’s hat. We wanted to do something to thank them for their service but it had to be something Daniel could actually participate in. Standing in line at the grocery store last night I got a brainstorm. Why not make no-bake cookies? I hadn’t made no bake cookies since I was too little for my mom to trust me with the oven but now they are perfect for me to do with Daniel.

I settled on two no-bake cookies. There is some prep that requires a stove but once that is done little ones can help with the rolling, stirring , pouring, cutting, etc.

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Cathedral Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (60z) chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 3 cups pastel miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup nuts
  • 1 cup flaked coconut

Directions

  1. In a heavy saucepan, melt chocolate and coconut oil over low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir a small amount into the egg, then return all to pan. Cook and stir over low heat for 2 minutes. Pour into a bowl; let cool for 15 minutes. Gently stir in marshmallows and nuts. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough in half. On a sheet of waxed paper, shape half the dough into a log. Place coconut on another sheet of waxed paper. Gently roll log over coconut to coat sides. Wrap up tightly, twisting ends to seal. Repeat with other half of the dough.
  3. Freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Remove waxed paper. Cut into 1/4-in. slices. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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No Bake Chocolate Cookie Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Directions

  1. Melt chocolate chips; stir until smooth.
  2. In separate bowl combine the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla wafers, walnuts, orange juice and honey. Add the chocolate and blend well.
  3. Shape into 1-in. balls; (if you have trouble getting the balls to hold together add a few more tablespoons of orange juice.) roll in additional confectioners’ sugar, colored sugars, jimmies or peppermint sugar. Store in an airtight container.

This recipe makes a ton of cookies but that is good when your little helper wants to eat as many as he rolls in the sugars. 🙂

I supplemented the no-bake cookies with some oatmeal cookies and fudge I made after Daniel was in bed and we had a nice little tray to take to the fire station.

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The firemen were so nice and gracious to show Daniel around the fire station.

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They turned the lights on the truck which was fascinating!

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They showed him their gear inside the truck.

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And they let him sit in the truck!

Thank you Delray Beach Fire Rescue for a wonderful time! And thank you to all of our service men and women for your service to our country and communities.

Edible Finger Paint and an Adorable Christmas Card

I’ve made these finger paints a couple times with the kids and it is great fun. They can paint away and I don’t worry about how many times the little finger go in their mouth because it is completely safe!

The first time was for Father’s Day. This time I was really smart and stripped the kids down to their diapers, spead a plastic table cloth outside and put the paints and construction paper out for them. When they were done clean up was simple, I just hosed them off! (which they thought was great fun by the way)

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I’m looking at this at Christmas thinking “they look cold” but this picture was actually take in June in Florida so the temp was probably in the 80’s or 90’s this day and babies in nothing but diapers were perfectly warm enough. 🙂

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I started out with a cup for each color of paint but that seemed to hard for them to access so eventually I just dumped the cups into different sections of a disposable tray for them.

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This made it much easier for them to access the colors they wanted and actually made less of a mess since before they were about to dump the cup of paint on themselves or each other.

Here is how I made the paints.

To a saucepan add:

2 Tablespoons of sugar

1/3 cup of flour

1 teaspoon salt

Mix with 2 cups of water and whisk until smooth. Turn on the heat and stir continually until the mixture thickens. Make sure you whisk the whole time otherwise you end up with little flour lumps in the finger paints.

Pour into your plastic cups. (You’ll need one cup for every color of paint you’d like to make.) Mix in a couple drops of food coloring and stir until completely dissolved. Let cool completely before allowing kids to start painting.

I recently mixed up another batch of paints to make footprint Christmas cards. Sorry no pictures of this process, it took two adults just to hold the baby, dip his foot in paint then press it on the Christmas card! It was a bit of work and only 7 cards were produced but it was adorable.

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Limited edition, once in a lifetime Christmas Card. This busy mom only had the time and the ability to make seven cards so if you receive one count yourself lucky. And if you are a busy mom don’t feel that you have to “do it all” or feel guilty about what you didn’t get a chance to do this Christmas. Just enjoy the season with your family!

 

 

Headbands

One of Daniel’s best buddies has gorgeous curly hair that she won’t keep a hair-clip in but her mom told me that she like headbands. I decided to see if I could come up with a few cute headbands that I could make for her. The first one was a simple puffy pink bow. Daniel called her name as soon as he saw it and couldn’t wait to give it to her.

Here is how I made it.

First I cut six 4″ lengths of ribbon from eight different colors of ribbon.

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Then I folded the ribbon in half and threaded it onto my needle.

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I kept repeating the pattern until I used all the ribbon.

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Then pull everything tight and knotted the thread several times.

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Fluff out the ribbons.

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Then I started working on the band. I used babyville’s yellow fold over elastic that I had measured to the length of her head.  I folded over one end slightly to eleminate rough edges and matched the two ends togther.

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Then I sewed the ends together.

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I put hot glue on the unfinesd ends of the puppy ribbon ball.

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Then quickly press it into the seam area of the head band.

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Beautiful headband for a beautiful girl!

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Thanksgiving Turkeys

I just made these adorable pine-cone turkeys for Thanksgiving place settings with my son. They double as a favor for grandparents to make the size of his hands this year.

Start by tracing his hand on three different colors of paper. Make sure you have one hand print in each color for each place setting you need (I needed 6 place settings so I  did six hand prints in each color).

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Once you have all the prints traced cut them out.

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Then draw oval shaped faces on another color paper and cut them out.

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Once everything is cut out start assembling the turkeys. Draw or glue eyes and a small “beak” on the faces and hot glue it to the narrow end of the pinecone. Take one hand print in each color and fan them to create a “tail”. Hot glue this to the wide end of the pine cone.

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An adorable family of pinecone turkeys! Finish them off by writing your guests names on the tails.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

DIY Cat Hooded Towel

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been making my own hooded towel.  I wanted to try a cat but  search as I might I could not find a pattern for a cat hooded towel so I decided to try to design my own.  It was kind of fun to try my own creative skills on this one. Here is how I did it. (sorry for the coloring difference in some of the pictures, I worked on this project over several days/nights  and sometimes I had the florescent lamp on and other times I had natural lighting from the window.)

 

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I started by sketching  out my face pieces. Pointy ears, a heart nose & an oval mouth with “jowls”.

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Here are all the pieces cut out.  The first mouth I did flopped miserably so I came up with a new method.

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I pinned the pattern with the “jowls” along the fold & cut the sides and top but not the bottom.

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Then I outlined the bottom and used that as the sew line instead of cutting along it.

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I sewed the nose on with a satin stitch and sewed whiskers on in black with a satin stitch.

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Then I sewed the sides and top, just leaving a small opening along the top to turn it right side out.

 

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Turn right side out through the opening at the top.

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Finished mouth, don’t worry about the opening in the top. We will close that off when we attach it to the hood.

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Match up the ear pieces.

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Sew them together, you will have to gather the outer part to make it match up with the smaller inner part.

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Turn the ears right side out.

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All the face pieces ready to be sewn to the hood

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Fold and pin up the edge four inches.

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Sew the edge down.

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Fold the top third of the towel under. Line up the mouth with the seam and lay out the other pieces, eyes right above the mouth & ears over to the side and slightly above the eyes.

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Sew the top of the mouth down with a satin stitch.

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Sew around each eye useing a satin stitch.

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Make a small slit where the ears are to be placed and poke them through.

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Useing a zigzag on the inside of the hood sew the ears in place making sure to fully catch all the edges.

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Cat face! Ready to be turned into a hood.

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Sew the cut edges of your towel together.

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Sew a zigzag along the top of the cat hood and trim off the excess.

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Take your bath towel and make a small pleat in the center. ( these pleat folds are about one inch on each side)

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Line up the seam of the hood with the center of your pleat and pin in place.

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Pin & sew hood to bath towel.

 

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And there you have it, a cat hooded towel all ready to snuggle a little kitty lover.

DIY Hooded Towels

When Daniel was a baby he had a little ducky hooded towel that someone had given us as part of a bah time gift set. It was adorable, and he loved it, until he out grew it at 3 months old. Yeah, it was a pretty small towel & he was a really LONG baby.  So I looked around to try to find another hooded towel for him. Unfortunately I found a great quantity of expensive products of cheap fabric and craftsmanship. I wanted something soft, cuddly, absorbent and cute that would be large enough for him to use now and continue to grow into. Apparently I could not have all of those things, at least not for less than $20 and even then it was questionable. So I started searching around for how to make one myself.

I found the coolest website with lots of ideas and good instructions for how to make hooded towels called Crazy Little Projects. And since she was making them for little ones under a year up to 7 years I was pretty sure the size would be fine for him to grow into.  I made him this cute little lamb hooded towel when I found a sale on towels for $1-$3 each (depending on size).

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For the life of me I can’t get him to sit still for pictures so my posing him so you could see the whole lamb head/face was pointless. I took another picture of it without the model so you can see it better.

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It is still hard to get the full effect but it is super cute. I know I took pictures of each step as I made it but I cannot find them, even though I have searched all three of my photo backup systems! I basically followed all of Amber’s instructions in her Lamb Hooded Towel Tutorial. (And she has a more cooperative model for photos.) And the this towel only cost me about $3-$4 in supplies! Also the towels I uses are supper soft & cuddly and have held up to hundreds of washings. They are really an amazing quality for such a cheap deal. I found towels usually go on sale in January and again in August (back-to-school) so I try to stock up at those times.

This was a fun project but shortly after I completed it life got really busy and I didn’t have a whole lot of time to work on sewing projects so I didn’t make any more for a while. With another baby on the way I knew we would soon be needing some additional towels so I decided to make another one. Once again I checked Amber’s site for some inspiration. She had a tutorial for a monkey hooded towel but when I looked at it I wasn’t sure Daniel would recognize it as a monkey. He is going through a phase where he loves monkeys but they all have a specific look to them that I wanted to copy.

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I started out following Amber’s instructions to cut a hand towel in half and pin the seam edge up 4 inches and sew it down.

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Then I free hand drew eyes similar to the kind that are on his other monkeys.

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Cut them out of scraps of white toweling and black toweling and pinned them to the towel right above the seam I had made.

My hubby helped draw the patterns for the next few pieces and he forgot to take pictures but here is what they looked like after he cut them out.

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The mouth piece, I lightly drew a half smile on it similar to the smile on his monkey. Then I satin stitched along this outline.

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Sewed the cut edge of the mouth, leaving a small opening near the top.

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Turn it right side out through that hole.

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I pinned it under the eyes and sewed it across the top with a satin stitch.

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The ears are dark brown on the back & light brown on the front, again to try to match the monkey he already has and recognizes. Make tiny slits above the eyes and poke the ears through & sew them down. I use 2 rows of zigzag stitching to make sure they hold and will stand up to hundreds of washings.

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Sew the cut edges of the towel together.

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Sew another zigzag seam across the top & cut off the excess fabric. (this keeps you from having a pointy headed monkey)

Once again I forgot to take a photo of this next step but Amber has one here.

Make a small pleat  in the center of your full size bath towel and line it up with the seam on the hood you just made. Sew the two towels together.

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Enjoy with your little monkey!

 

Now that I have successfully completed two hooded towels from Amber’s site, one following her directions exactly and another branching out a bit on my own I am working on a new design all my own for a friend. Hopefully it will turn out good and I’ll be able to share another cute hooded towel with you when I finish it.

 

 

 

 

Making a Crib Sheet

With little boy number two’s arrival just around the corner I am trying as hard as I can to make sure that everything is ready. In one week I reorganized our storage rack, went through all of the filling and paperwork for the first half of the year. Cleaned off the dresser that accumulates all the “clutter” from the rest of the house when someone doesn’t know where to put an item away (or is just too lazy) Reorganized  the master closet, and the nursery closet, Washed and organized all the baby clothes and diapers according to size, emptied the guest shower that had been being used as a storage closet (have to have that available when Grandma comes! 🙂 ) cleaned out & reorganized our utility closet and cleaned up and organized our sewing project area. Wow, just typing that makes me tired!

With the sewing area cleaned up and organized I was able to focus on some of the other projects I’ve been wanting to tackle. One of those projects was to make several crib sheets. I made due with only one crib sheet until Daniel was 3 months old when his grandma gave me a second one. I remember having to take off the sheet after a nap and rush to wash & dry it again before it was time for the next nap and then repeating it all again after the next nap because inevitable he would scoot just a few inches off the sheet saver and throw up on the clean sheet.  Very frustrating few months.   Even with two sheets I still sometimes am washing sheets several times each week. I really don’t want to continue that way and with two babies in cribs I know I can’t make due with only two sheets. So I thought I’d try to make some.

The average crib sheet I’ve found costs between $10-$15. Through Freecycle I was able to obtain a large collection of fabric for free and several patterns were great for baby boys.  I found some basic instructions online at The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking. The only thing I needed was fold-over elastic. I found on online supplier that was selling it at $0.20 per yard and ordered a bolt of 25 yards. However, when it arrived it wasn’t fold-over elastic but a standard one inch elastic. After multiple communication with the supplier, trying to get them to take back the wrong item and send me the correct one, they finally point blank told me that I wasn’t going to get the correct item from them so just go away. I decided to come up with a way to make the elastic I had work.

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I started out following Kelly’s basic instructions to lay the fabric out place my crib mattress on it and use that as my guide for measurements. After the first sheet, however, I came up with a better solution.

 

A crib mattress is (at least mine is) 27 inches wide and 51 inches long. The sheet needs an additional 9 inches on all sides. So you need fabric cut to 45-inches wide by 69-inches long. My fabric was already 45-inches wide so I only needed to cut the length. Then measure 9-inches in from each side and the bottom to create a 9-inch square in each corner of the fabric. This was much simpler and more accurate than trying to use the mattress as a physical guide.

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Match up the two lines you just drew for the squares in the corner and sew along that line.

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Cut off the extra bit of fabric after you’ve sewn that corner and zigzag the cut edge to prevent fraying. Repeat on all four corners.

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Next stretch out your elastic and match it up to the edge of the fabric and pin it. My hubby came up with this ingenious idea to use two clamps. He clamped one edge of the elastic and the fabric to the edge of my work table and then stretched it out the length of the table and clamped the other edge, them we were able to easily pin the stretched out elastic to the fabric. Continue pinning in sections until you have gone all the way around the sheet.

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Pull the elastic and fabric straight and tight as you sew all the way around the edge.

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To finish fold your elastic over so it is hidden in the fabric. Pin the edges again and sew a “hem” around the edge of the sheet.

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Voila! A easy, super cheap crib sheet, all ready for baby!

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Daniel declared these sheets “Pree” (pretty) “Nice”, and “Goo” (Good). I love when Mom scores a rave review.

 

Pacifier Leashes

I love the MAM pacifiers, and my little one loves them too. For the first 9 months of his life he refused to take anything else and still prefers them to any other pacifier. However, we have a problem, he keeps losing them! Initially I bought 2 MAM pacifier leashes to try to keep them on but the leashes are not of the same quality that the pacifiers are.

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They use this cheap little clip with a sliding bar that doesn’t hold. Within minutes of attaching the pacifier leash it comes undone. We tried a universal leash but it had a metal clasp which rusted. As soon as I saw my little one sucking on a rusted metal clasp that went in the trash.

My aunt told me recently about someone she saw who was making their own pacifier leashes and selling them. Ironically she called to tell me about it at the same time I was searching for a solution to losing pacifiers. I wasn’t quite convinced that #1. I could find plastic clasps that would hold & #2. That making them would be cost effective. However, I decided to take a look. It took some searching but I finally found all of the necessary items on Amazon.

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These are the silicone rings, I got a pack of 10 for $9. I could have gotten clear and saved a bit more but since we have two boys I decided to spend the few extra pennies for the cuteness factor and got baby blue ones. Cost per ring: $0.90

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I found these plastic KAM clips with a locking mechanism and they hold one MUCH better than the MAM ones, I think nearly as good a the metal clasps do.  Again these are available in every color under the sun and different colors are slightly different costs but all pretty close to the same price.  This color was $8 for 15 clips. Cost per clip: $0.53

Final item needed grosgrain ribbon. I recently purchased a lot of 125 yards of ribbon, every color under the sun for $22. It worked out to $0.17 per yard, good deal. For each leash I needed only about 8 inches of ribbon. Cost of ribbon per leash: $0.04

At my local store a MAM pacifier leash runs about $6. Each leash I made cost me only $1.47. Since I actually reused the silicon rings from the two leashes I already had and just replaced the clips the ten leashes I made cost me a total of $12.90 vs. the $60 the same number of MAM leashes would have cost.                                  Total savings: $47.10

They are so simple to make! Here’s how I did it.

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Original MAM pacifier with leash. This is what I am trying to improve on.

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Cut 8 inches of grosgrain ribbon. This ribbon is 7/8″ wide my clips & rings had 1″ opening so this wa the perfect width.

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Feed the ribbon through the ring and fold over about 1-1.25 inches of fabric. Sew this down with a zigzag stitch. You may want to go over it twice for security.

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Feed the opposite end of your ribbon through the clip and fold over the same 1-1.25 inches of seam allowance. Sew down with a zigzag stitch. Trim your loose threads and you are done!

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Doesn’t the new one look so much nicer than the original!

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My hubby suggested that since we have 0-6 month size pacifiers and 6+ month I do them is separate colors. Good idea and the rings fit both sizes great. This was another flaw I had with the MAM rings, they only fit the 6+ size not the 0-6.

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Twenty minutes later my pacifier jar is loaded with 10 new pacifiers on leashes.

 

 

Sippy Cup Leash

Ever since we started putting Daniel in his highchair I have had the problem of bottles and sippy cups going overboard. And then crying for them again a few minutes later. I finally got tired of being the sippy cup retriever and decided to make a sippy leash. I hope this will also help with baby #2 and bottles. I have gone from having 12 bottles to only having 4 that aren’t broken from being thrown over the side of the highchair.

So I looked through my odds and ends box of things I’ve salvaged from worn out items to reuse and discovered a blue plastic ring and a strip of self sticking Velcro. Add a roll of grosgrain ribbon I had bought in bulk for another project and I was in business.

 

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I started with a 14 inch strip of ribbon. (Check that this will fit around your largest sippy cup with room to overlap)

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I cut a second strip about 30 inches long.

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Loop your shorter ribbon through the D ring and fold it back on itself with the end of the longer ribbon between the two pieces (Hopefully this picture illustrates better than I can describe!)

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Sew a square around the two pieces doubling over to secure the ends.

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fold the opposite end of your longest ribbon over a few inches to make a loop and sew a double seam to secure.

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Sew a 6 inch strip of self sticking Velcro to the opposite end of the shorter ribbon using a zigzag stitch.

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Your sippy cup leash is ready for use!

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Thread the D ring end through the loop to attach to highchair arm and wrap the shorter end around the sippy cup, through the D ring & fold the Velcro over itself.

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Sippy cup leash in use!

 

I also found these work great in the car. I attach the leash to the headrest of the seat in front of his carseat & then attach his sippy cup. Now when the sippy cup is dropped I don’t have to listen to crying because he can’t get it back until the next stop. It is right in front of him to reach out for. The length I cut these works perfectly for the car, and reaches the floor from his highchair.