The Next Project: Baby Changing Pad w/Bumpers

We are welcoming our first grandchild this summer. I think some of my urge to work in the craft room is spurred by that. When my kids were little I made everything I could. Living on a budget with all those kids in the house, well it was the trade-off for me to be able to be home with them. When you do this, you learn to be creative, make something out of nothing, or simply what you have on hand. So this wonderful cultural swing to handmade and re-purposing is right up my alley. The next thing on my list was a baby changing pad to put on the dresser in the baby’s room. As I did with the drop cloth curtains, I ran around the internet looking for ideas. This time I kept striking out, which seemed very odd. So I thought I would post what I did for the next person who might want one like it.

I had a list of specific things:

  • The overall width couldn’t exceed the dresser measurement of 21”. I didn’t want it right at the edge either, so my goal was 18”-20”.

    My original bumper pad from the early 80’s

    My original bumper pad from the early 80’s

  • I wanted removable bumpers on the sides. But not too big. I had one when the kids were little with bigger bumpers that were stuffed (see picture, yes I do still have it!). I loved it, and used it to lay the baby on the couch when they were very little. But it would take up too much real estate on the top of the dresser.
  • There needed to be some waterproofing. But I didn’t want plain plastic as messes would just pool on it.
  • I had a piece of the theme material we found in Florida that was 29.5”. I also needed a complimentary fabric on the back.

Here is what I did:
I took a piece of 1” foam and cut it 12” wide X 26.5” long. I opted for water-resistant curtain lining material to cover the foam. It really does repel liquid well._MG_8045-lr_x

I cut the curtain lining 26”X28”, folded it in half length-wised, and serged it down the side. Laid it with the seam in the middle of the back, and serged the top. Inserted the foam, and serged the bottom. I didn’t care for how the bottom looked, but fortunately it won’t show._MG_8046-lr_x

I then cut two pieces of fabric 30”X30” (one theme fabric, and one complimentary). With right sides together I measured 8” in on both sides of the bottom. I used a ½” seam allowance, sewing from that point on all sides, leaving a 13” opening at the bottom (I hope that makes sense). I pressed it flat making sure to press down the ½” across the opening, then sewed each side down so it wouldn’t fray._MG_8052-lr_x

At this point I inserted the pad to make sure it would fit, and confirm the 8” allowance for the bumpers._MG_8048-lr_x

Using a swimming noodle for the bumper was also what dictated the length. It was about 55” long and 7.25” around. So I cut it in half giving me two pieces just over 27.5”.Flip the fabrics over and fold in each side 4”, and sew through all thicknesses close to the edge._MG_8049-lr_x

Apply Velcro (I used iron-on) to the inside of the top flap, and the outside of the bottom. I did cut the bottom Velcro at an angle on the ends so you wouldn’t see it. Insert pad and bumpers, and there you have it!_MG_8053-lr_x

It did turn out a little skinnier than I had anticipated at 18″. But I am just starting to get back into the groove of doing this sort of thing again. Hopefully my son and daughter-in-law will get good use out of it <3_MG_8054-lr_x

One set of drop cloth curtains, coming up!

*Warning: I’m sure you know the joke about the person wanting to pay a bill, goes in search for the checkbook, and ends up being side-tracked by all sorts of different things. Well this is my life. Enjoy!

That was the plan, to make drop cloth curtains . . . On my visit to Arizona in March I spent a few days with my little sister. She has lived in the same house for over 20 years, and I noticed she still had no curtains on her living room window. Now this is probably a family trait, because I have the same problem in my own house. But, in talking to Sis I learned that she wanted curtains made out of drop cloths, and sewing isn’t really her forte, but it is mine. So after she went to work I quickly measured the window. My plan was to get them made in time for her birthday, a month away.

working on delmarTo continue this story, I must back up a bit. The wild child moved into our rental house not long ago. She and Hubby worked very hard to remodel the bathroom, put down new flooring, and all the other things that needed to be done. The youngest and I went over and painted the living room as well. But now that the wild child had moved out, it left 2 rooms in the house to re-purpose. Her ‘studio’, which at one time was her brother’s room, is now the ‘server room’, with all Hubby’s networking computers. Her bedroom was the smaller bedroom upstairs, but with a wonderful closet. So this room was to become my ‘craft room’.

The plan was simple. Once the wild child moved out we would empty the master bedroom closet into her old room, so Hubby could finish it. Now that is another story in itself. In 2011 (just before my mother moved in for 7 months recuperating from an illness) he took down the wall between our 2 small closets and the living room, and moved it 3’, giving us a wonderful walk-in closet. But as my mother was staying with us, he finished it off enough to be usable, but didn’t complete it. You can imagine how much stuff is in that closet now, so getting it empty to finish has not been on the list of priorities. But with an empty bedroom across the hall, it was a perfect time. Well, maybe not.

_MG_7254-lr_xIf you have been reading my blog for any time you will know that we tend to take on a lot of projects. I have an endless to-do list; the prospect of ever finishing it is impossible.

When I returned home from Arizona I set off to the hardware store to purchase drop cloths. I had it all figured out that I could make Sis’ curtains with two 9_MG_7256-lr_x’x6’ drop cloths. But in order to get started on them, I had to do a few things first. I was working on the youngest’ prom dress, had to get that done.
So Hubby moved the sewing cabinet out of my office, and the sewing table (which had been living in the garage for years) into the craft room, and I set up both machines. He also purchased me a dress form, which was a wonderful help. While I worked to get the prom dress done, he built me shelves in the closet. With the dress done, I needed to get the closet painted before things started to move in, and onto the shelves. Got that done. Then I needed a surface to cut, and hit Sam’s club for a folding table. Now I can start on cutting out the curtains.

_MG_7257-lr_xNow keep in mind, I am making this up as I go along. After many years of making curtains for all the different houses I have lived in, let alone for others, I thought I knew what I was doing. Do you have any idea how heavy drop cloths can get? They tend to get heavier the more you work on them, strange thing.

Anyway, back to my story. I consulted my niece as to whether I should use tabs, or just sew a pocket in the top. We went with tabs. This is when you explain to your young children how math is something you really will use in life. _MG_7258-lr_xA lot of math! I also consulted the internet on different ways to make these curtains. All figured out, and one curtain made. Unfortunately, it had a run in it, so I gave it to the wild child as we could cut it in half for her side window. Which of course means that now I need to make her drop cloth curtains for her main living room window. It also meant that I had to get more drop cloth, and tab material.

Back to the store I went, to the same aisle, to the same shelf, and box. I pulled out 2, checked out, and went home. I also went back to get more tab material, well they didn’t have enough only one spool. So I had to go with the next size width up, oh geez, more math!!!

In my research it was suggested you wash the drop cloths, remove them from the drier damp, and iron them dry to eliminate the wrinkles. Not a good idea. This is determined on the thickness of the drop cloth. If you get thin, lightweight ones, it is probably ok. But the ones I purchased; well they took forever. In fact, I gave up. After trying to iron one for an hour, my knees getting chafed by the damp cloth, and still nowhere near dry, I threw it back in the dryer. Came out nice and wrinkle-free, go figure.

I laid the drop cloth out on the table. Well I attempted to. For some reason it was so much harder. It seemed heavier, bigger even. Yes, bigger. I look at the packaging it was 9’x12’ not 9’x6’ (please refer back to the first line of the previous paragraph). All new math again!!

_MG_7266-lr_xBut then . . . my daughter-in-law’s baby shower. A baby blanket to finish. Two quilling projects to complete, a storage box to make out of the fabric we found in Florida, and fruit/veggie trays to make. I set the curtains aside and focused on the shower preparations. That was last Saturday.


_MG_7260-lr_x_MG_7439-lr_xOn Sunday I finally finished one curtain, and Monday the other. Tuesday I went to box them up. At this point I just had to laugh as I couldn’t find a box to fit them in. They were bigger than the previous ones as I went ahead and used the 9’ width. So they wouldn’t fit in the standard shipping box. I hunted the house, found a box, and cut it down to fit. Then with a great sense of accomplishment I headed off to ship it. Happy Birthday Sis! A little late, only 3 weeks 🙂_MG_7441-lr_x

On Wednesday I did a senior portrait photo shoot. Saturday I do an event shoot. Today I sit here typing this to post after she receives the box. Yes, she has no idea what is coming. I am feeling a bit lost. The three major projects on my list are done. The prom dress, the curtains, and the shower. Oh, there is so much more to do. But I am just not sure where to go from here, which project to attack next. As I sit here I realize what the next step needs to be, get organized.  So for the next few days I am going to work on getting the craft room set up, and find a place to empty the closet contents to. Did I mention that Hubby is also making us a new bed? A king-size (from a queen) out of barn wood. The bedroom needs painting, and rearranged to accommodate it. You know, his to-do list is as bad, if not worse, than mine. Oh yes, I need to finish the drop cloth curtains for the wild child 😛 Yes, this is my life, and I love it <3

Life Gets in The Way

_MG_7231-lr-x-2Yesterday I went to scout places to shoot some portraits. Shooting portraits is not really something I do; I like more candid work. But it is for the daughter of a friend, so I make an exception. Besides, it is practice and every day I use my camera the better I get.

It was overcast, and in fact I ended up leaving because it started to rain. But it is nice to see the flowers start to bloom. I went to a local park, and there were people working to clean up the park of the winter debris and planting. I did take some shots of flowers, just because.

_MG_7232-lr-x-2Before I went to the park I met up with some old friends for lunch. We haven’t been able to see much of each other as our lives have all gone different directions. We say we need to do it more often, but somehow life just gets in the way.

Life tends to do that . . . get in the way. I was talking with Hubby’s mom the other day about how all the kids are so busy with their lives it is hard to get them all together. She basically said, welcome to my world, and she was so right. I remember the times she tried to set up regular dinners. It worked for a while, but then petered out. I did the same, trying to schedule a monthly brunch. But the kids schedules just never seem to match up. Now my own mother is 90 years old. She has to have dental work done that requires going to an office out of the Senior Citizens transportation area. So over the last few weeks the youngest and I have been taking her on Monday’s. She told me this past Monday that even though going to the dentist is a bit of a pain, the fact that she gets to spend time with us is worth it. What goes around, comes around. Just like that song by Harry Chapin, “Cats in the Cradle”. A father watches his son grow, too busy to stop. But when he is old, and his son grown, and doesn’t have time to stop, he understands. His son had grown to be just like him.

We are expecting our first grandchild in July. Yes, years go by, children are born, they grow, and have children of their own. Life is busy, life gets in the way, but it is our life. I am so very fortunate to not have to work outside my home. I am here. When they need me they call, and I am here. When they have some free time to meet for lunch, I am here. When they have good news, or bad, I am here. I make things, I fix things, I help. Life gets in the way, that is true. But I am here, and they aren’t that far away.

_MG_7221-lr-x-2We all know we need to stop and smell the roses. We all know that time goes by so fast. The youngest just finished her first year in college. Was it so long ago she was a little baby. We have our memories, we share a history, we share roots. They spread out, as do the children. But they will give us back the gift of a grandchild. We can watch them grow, just as we did before. This time with time to give. We aren’t rushing around working, running a house, running the kids around, trying to stay sane. We are grandparents, that most special person in any child’s life. Here just to love and be loved. Something I am very much looking forward to.

My son with my Nana, 1987

My son with my Nana, 1987