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Tutorials — Page 2


Summertime Game Nights

July 10, 2012

One of my favorite childhood memories is the endless Saturday game nights we enjoyed as a family. My dad traveled a lot when I was a child, and although he was the world’s best dad, and he never missed a night without a bedtime phone call (he worked most of his time in Asia, so that was truly a major effort), it was hard having him gone so much. Our Saturday mornings always began with a doughnut, and ended with a board game.

I am not sure how many games of Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, and Trivial Pursuit (Star Wars edition) my parents endured, but we all loved those long, lingering nights of play. When I think back now, I am not sure if I enjoyed it more on the dark nights of Winter, or the outdoor fun of Summer.

As Joel and I had children, games became a major focus of our family as well. Our downstairs hall closet is dedicated to the boy’s game collection, and there always seems to be a game of chess, checkers or backgammon being played on our floors. The addition of Landon has brought about a few challenges for Jacob and Elwood, as they struggle to keep him from grabbing their pieces, but I suspect that one day soon he will be welcomed into their daily play as well.

In these warm months of Summer, we find ourselves away from home and on the trails most days. During camping trips or long breaks on a hike, the boys would love to play a quiet game with one another. It was in that spirit that I created this portable backgammon game in the Summer of 2010 for Rhythm of the Home. To be honest, when my husband first saw this, he commented that it seemed like a lot of work for just a game, but it has gotten a ton of use in the past two years, and it is played almost every where we travel.

Portable games are a fun way to keep kids occupied, and continue the fun of playing no matter where you might be.


1/2 Yard of heavy felt for top of board
1/2 yard of coordinating felt or flannel for bottom of board
1/4 yard of flannel for board pieces
1/4 yard of coordinating flannel for board pieces
Fusible interfacing
1/2 yard of quilt batting

Begin by cutting one piece of top fabric, and one piece of bottom fabric 18×22″. Cut two pieces of interfacing, and one piece of quilt batting to the same dimensions.

Create a triangular template for your backgammon points, and cut 12 of one color, and 12 of another. The template should be 1″ wide on the top, and 7″ long.

Cut two pieces of ribbon 10″ for your ties, and one piece of the same ribbon 18″ for the center of your board.

Place your 18″ piece of ribbon along the center line of you backgammon board and pin in place. Layout your points, lining up the tops of each with the edge of the fabric.

Using a zig zag stitch, stitch around the two sides of the ribbon, and three sides of each of the points. Press.

Following the maunfacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the top and bottom fabric pieces. Place the game board top and the bottom fabric right sides together. Place the quilt batting on top of those two pieces, and pin in place.

Sandwich your ribbon ties between the top and bottom fabric pieces, and pin in place.

Beginning in the middle of one side, with a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew around the entire piece, leaving a three inch opening.

Trim your corners, being careful not to cut your stitches, and turn right side out. Press.

Fold down the edges of your opening, and use a blind hem to close.

Roll your board up, tie, and enjoy game night anywhere.

And of course, try as hard as you can to keep all your pieces away from sneaky little brothers.

Joining in of Keep Calm and Craft On today. Hope you will join us as well.

Portable Backgammon Board PDF



A Simple Changing Pad

July 9, 2012

If your babe is anything like mine, diaper changing is a real good time. Landon is one of those kiddos who is always on the go, and he does not like to stop for anything. Those 2.2 minutes where he is forced to be pampered, loved, and made dry once again seem to be a forever battle of wits, patience, and a good set of legs to catch the little bugger.

There is nothing like hearing his laughter as I make my attempt to catch him, and quite the scene (no matter where we seem to be), once I do.

Before Landon came along, I prepared for his arrival with a few simple handmade goodies. Booties, hats, and diaper changing pads sat waiting for him in those last few weeks of pregnancy. The diaper changing pads were a first for me, and I have to say a real blessing. Simple, easy to wash, and light weight to carry has made them a staple in every bag that I take.

As time has gone on, I have made one simple change to the original pad: the addition of pockets. I am one of those mamas who is always in serious need of extra organization, and I try to carry as little as possible with me when we go out. The pad can hold wipes, 2-3 diapers, and a small tube of calendula cream. It folds up into a small square and fits easily into my purse or diaper bag, the bottom of the umbrella stroller, and even the day pack of my Ergo.

Diaper Changing Pad with Pockets


Back fabric (fat quarter)
Front Fabric (fat quarter)
Pocket Fabric (1/3 fat quarter)
Twill tape, ribbon, or bias tape
Batting of your choice (I use either fleece or an all natural cotton batting. The cotton batting gives a very fluffy feel, while the fleece provides a thinner and perhaps easier to fold batting.)

Begin my cutting your front, back and batting into 17 x 22″ pieces. Cut your pocket into an 8 x 22″ piece.

Turn the top, long side of your pocket down by 1/4″, then again by 1/4″ and press. Top stitch all the way across

Pin your pocket to the right side of your front fabric, lining up the bottom edge of the pocket with the bottom edge of the front fabric. Find the center most point of the pocket, and place a pin above as your starting mark. using an air erase fabric marker, draw a line from at the center point from top to bottom to create two pockets, and stitch.

Measure your ties (ribbon, bias or twill tape) into two 8″ long strips. Sandwich your fabrics together by placing the front fabric (with pocket) right side up and the back fabric right side down. Place your ties into the center of the left half of your fabric, between the front and back pieces. Place your bunting on top, and then pin all three layers together. Beginning half way down one side, using a 1/2″ seam, sew around your pad, leaving a 3″ wide opening to turn. Cut your corners, and turn right side out.

You can choose to either sew your opening closed with an invisible seam, or top stitch around the entire pad (this is my preferred method)

Fill your pad with your wipes and diapers.

Fold in half lengthwise from right to left (the ties should be on the bottom half)

Fold the bottom upwards about 3/4 of the length. Take the ties and wrap them around the back of the pad and tie.

Put the pads into your car, stroller, purse or anywhere that you might need them. They also make great baby shower gifts. Wash in warm or cold water and dry on low or out in the sunshine.

While having a little one is always a joy, keeping the house smelling clean and free of bacteria can sometimes be a challenge with all the diaper changing. A few times a week we simmer a pot of lemon, dried peppermint and sweet orange essential oil to keep everything smelling fresh and clean. This is a blend we used long before we had children, but that works wonders on a daily basis now that we do.

To keep our counters clean and fresh, and free of germs and bacteria, we use a combination of distilled water, thyme essential oil and tea tree essential oil daily. This is a must in all of our rooms during the germ filled winter months, but we discovered it can be a powerful cleaner for every day use year round as well.

A little fabric and a few simple ingredients and diaper changing can be transformed into a bit more pleasant of a task.

Diaper Changing Pad with Pockets PDF