DIY In-Cabinet Dish Drainer for kitchen islands

How many of you with a kitchen island sink hate that ugly dish rack sitting on your counter? I for one, loathe it. My kitchen is a very busy one. I get enough dishes to load an entire dishwasher and then some. Like every other Indian household, I have lots of pans, pots and plates in metals like cast iron, copper and silver that require hand washing.

So, when we moved into our new home a couple of years ago, the one thing that didn’t seem to fit in well was that the kitchen sink was in the island. I love a kitchen island and I love a big kitchen sink. What I hate is when they both come together a.k.a a kitchen island with a sink!!!!! And the only reason for that is that big ugly drying rack that sits right next to the sink, on the counter with dishes hanging off it through the day. I would rather have that in some obscure/not so visible corner.

Honestly, a drying rack is an absolute necessity in my house. I’ve seen people make do without one, but uh-uh, not me! Me and that drying rack, we share a love-hate relationship. I cant live WITH it, I cant live WITHOUT it!!! Share that feeling?

If you’re reading further, you get me, don’t you? Worry not, dear friend, I have a solution for you! This solution will work for everyone who has a shelf to spare right next to the sink (preferably).

Lo and behold! Presenting my hidden In-Cabinet Dish Drainer. Check it out! This is how the answer looks! It’s just your regular cabinet with a few embellishments to suit your dish drying needs.

The most important thing that you need to do to convert your cabinet into a drying rack would be to ensure minimum or no moisture build up anywhere inside of your cabinet.

First and foremost, you would find a door that can provide ventilation to air dry your dishes. This was the most tricky part in the renovation. The rest is a breeze, I can assure you. (If your cabinet is hidden from sight, you could choose to keep it door free 😀 and it would work just great. Just saying!)

To change your regular cabinet door to a mesh door, you might need a handyman if you are’t very savvy with DIY. While there are many kinds of meshes available in home improvement stores which are made from galvanized metals and are available as sheets that can be easily cut with a metal cutter, the one I have used is high quality industrial strength rust free stainless steel mesh (only because at that point, I had access to a good carpenter). No worries, if you don’t, there are many tutorials online on how to add mesh door to your cabinets, using the galvanized metal sheets you can buy from any home improvement store.

After we ordered the mesh online, my carpenter had to flatten it which he said was the most difficult part of the job. Thats because the original sheet comes rolled. (this is not chicken wire mesh, mind you, this is very good quality steel). Once he straightened it, he just had to cut it to size and place it on wrong side of the door frame and add beading along the sides to secure it with tiny nails and glue.

Another place to avoid moisture build up would be the insides of your cabinets. We painted the insides with water proof outdoor paint in a dark color that matches the floor, just so the dishes inside don’t stand out.

For the shelves, we ordered steel pull out drawers and attached them to the cabinet. These can easily hold 40-50 lbs, so I don’t have to worry about leaving my heavy cast iron pans in there.

Also, for additional protection, I lined the shelves with fabric drying mats which I throw into the wash once every week. I alternate between two sets of drying mats that I bought specifically for this purpose.

I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and have no complaints so far. My rack is big enough to hold my counter top dish drying rack, so i just placed on the shelf. Dump all those dishes inside, shut the door and poof, see it all vanish, until you need them next morning, all dry and ready to use!

The best thing about this is, the solution is stylish as well as flexible. Let’s say you put your house up for sale and the new owner isn’t a big of hand washing and would rather use the cabinet space, this can still be utilized as your regular every day cabinet ( a contemporary one at that :)).

And not to forget, the icing on the cake, a shiny clean counter top! TA_DA 🙂

FAQs and Links

  • Stainless steel Mesh is from www.McNicols.com. They have an extensive collection.
  • If you prefer to use perforated sheets instead, you could places like Home Depot for radiator covers. They come in varied designs. These are made of aluminum though. To prevent rusting, you could probably spray paint them with water paint on the inside.
  • Good quality Stainless steel draws can be found on Amazon/Wayfair easily. I dont exactly remember the brand I used, but Its working great. According to the labels, each drawer can handle 20-30 lbs of weight.

Some good tips on updating cabinets with wire mesh inserts can be found in these links *https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/ideas-for-the-kitchen-cabinet-door-inserts/ *https://www.addicted2decorating.com/how-to-add-wire-mesh-grille-inserts-to-cabinet-doors-the-easy-and-inexpensive-way.html

Until next time, Happy Making!

Picture books for your Mini-Makers

This list is going to focus on books that inspires creativity and expression in your mini-makers. As you can guess, this subject is very dear to me and I have really enjoyed reading each of these books to my children. So, stay with me as I review 7 amazing books for our little makers!

“THE MOST MAGNIFICENT THING” by Ashley Spires. This book is about a little girl who loves to make things. With her dog by her side, she’s always tinkering away. This book takes you through her journey as she tries to bring her vision to light, but fails again and again. With each failure, her frustration grows and slowly turns to anger until she finally explodes. Her silent friend nudges her to take a walk and as she relaxes, her brain starts to see things differently and she finally succeeds in what she set out to do. In the end, though it’s not perfect, she is perfectly happy with her achievement. Its a great story about friendship, about taking a breather when you need it and most of all, never calling it quits! 🎥 Video review on Instagram

“CRAFTY CHLOE” by Kelly Di Pucchio and illustrations are by Heather Ross. This is about a little girl who’s USP is crafting. This is a person that’s not so great at sports, dance or even video games, but crafting is her thing! She loves to cut and glue, shred and sew and she is amazing at that. When her best friend Emma’s birthday approaches and a snobby friend picks up the last of Emma’s favorite doll, Chloe challenges her that she would MAKE Emma an amazing gift. As she attempts to make her friend something special, she has her moments of low confidence, but with encouragement from the family, she manages to come up with something really spectacular. Read the book to find out how she manages to surprise Emma and also how a little kindness helps her make a new friend along the way…. 🎥 Video review on Instagram

“ISH” by Peter H Reynolds of “The Dot” fame. This is a book about a little boy Ramon, who loves to draw. Once, while he’s attempting to draw a vase, he gets mocked at by his older brother who thinks it doesn’t look anything like a vase. After this incident, Ramon isn’t able to get any drawing right! Everything he attempts, seems to fail. He almost gives up until one day with his little sister’s help he realizes that his vase does look “Vase-ISH”.  As he starts thinking “Ish”ly his ideas begin to flow more freely. He doesn’t care if they aren’t perfect anymore as long as they are “..Ish” and he has a wonderful life living Ishfully ever after ☺️. 🎥 Video review on Instagram

“Gus’s Garage” by Leo Timmers. Gus is extremely relatable to me because I am a lot like him :). His garage is full odds and ends. Yes, he hoards things, but he also finds innovative ways to use them :).  Every time a friend comes to him with a problem, he picks bits and bobs from his workshop and finds fun solutions.  My personal fav is the part where he makes a steam powered engine with some cookware and a trombone for a friend who wouldn’t his car to go faster) There’s rhyme and adorable pictures in the book and lots of great things to spot and guess which keeps little minds amused and happy. Hope it inspires a few of our little readers to think out of the box, just like Gus 🙂🎥 Video review on Instagram

“If I built a school” by Chris van Duesen. Our main character, Jack is a boy with a world of imagination – and he lets it run wild. In this book he tells his teacher how his school would look like if he designed it. As you enter the school, you are welcomed by an entire bunch of animals. You zoom into the classroom through a system of sophisticated tubes. There are hover desks that glide around. Characters just pop out of the books in the library. The gym has skydiving and wind tunnels. A robot chef can dish out any meal you like. The playground looks like an amusement park. In the science lab you can grow all kinds of genetically modified creatures. No questions asked! How can we forget the school bus? – This one can go underwater and even rocket to mars!!! And that is how Jack’s school is gonna look like. 🎥 Video review on Instagram

“This is my dollhouse” by Giselle Potter . As the title suggests, this book is about a girl and her most loved dollhouse that she builds out of cardboard all by herself. She’s made it very custom and colorful by adding cool features like a a paper cup elevator that takes the dolls up and down the floors, noodles that’s made of yarn, a tv with changing scenes and it even has a rooftop pool. In fact, the rug in her dollhouse is a small piece of carpet from the living room she hopes no one notices is missing 🙂 Once she goes to her friend Sophie’s house for a playdate and Sophie happens to have the perfect dollhouse she bought from the store. It has everything readymade which is great fun in the beginning but get boring quickly since there isn’t any room for creativity.  But guess what never gets boring – her handmade doll house. There are so many cool ideas in the book that my daughter and I have used to design a dollhouse of our own.  The story teaches kids that you don’t need fancy toys to have fun and how with some imagination, every day objects can come to life! 🎥 Video review on Instagram

“What do you do with an idea?”, Kobi Yamada. A little boy has an idea. At first he isn’t sure it is  a good one, though he knows he loves it. As he nurtures it, it grows. Everyone calls it silly. He almost gave up on it, but then it was HIS idea, he couldn’t just throw it away. He needed to protect it and as nurtured it, it grew and grew until it finally bore wings and flew.  The idea of giving such an abstract idea, a pictorial representation is genius. As with a lot of picture books, this one isn’t just for kids, but for each of us that struggle with pursuing our dreams. 🎥 Video review on Instagram


List (Always growing!) of some more amazing books on the same topic:

  • Rosie Revere, engineer by Andrea Beaty
  • Iggy Peck, Architectby Andrea Beaty
  • The Dot by Peter H Reynolds
  • Beautiful OOPs by Barney Statlzberg

The 2 ingredient (NO CHURN) Ice-cream

Hello Spring!!! The weather warms up and all my kids can think about is ice-cream. We are big ice-cream loaders, come summer 😊 We eat them every chance we get! What else are summers for? 🤪

Growing up, I have fond memories of my mother making rose flavored kulfis (Indian style traditional icecreams made with toned milk) we would binge for us all summer! As soon as we would finish one batch, another would be waiting for us, ready to devoured 😋

Anything we eat frequently, I like to figure out a recipe to make at home. I came across this method of making ice-cream on a recipe forum I am a member of. Best thing is, you don’t need an ice cream maker, and you get to try all the wonderful flavors you love.

Living abroad, I really miss the local Indian ice-cream flavors like mango, paan, rose, pineapple and chikkoo to name a few. These are such wonderful flavors we rarely get in other parts of the world. With this method, once you make the base, all you need to do is add the flavoring on top, give it a quick mix and freeze. Thats it! (I have a few flavors that i frequently make listed in the recipe box).

This is how it goes:

  • Whip heavy whipping cream until you get stiff peaks. It is advised you chill the bowl for a few hours before you begin, so the entire mixture remains cool. (If using electric whip, be careful to keep an eye on it. You don’t want to whip too much. Though all you’ll end up with is yummy butter, thats not what we are going for, are we? 😅)
  • Slowly mix in condensed milk ( check for sweetness, add as much as your sweet tooth desires)
  • Add in any flavoring you like (See recipe card for the ones I like best). Gently swirl it in. (Featured in the pic below is my personal favorite – paan flavor – My betel leaves weren’t the most fresh. It usually turns out a fresh green if you use good quality leaves)
  • Transfer to a container and freeze!

Ingredients:
* Heavy whipping cream (small 16oz)
* Condensed milk (1/2 can)
* Flavorings: :
Rose – Gulkand (Rose Jam), Rose syrup. Optionally add toffee or roasted and chopped nuts.
Paan -Grind together betel Leaves, gulkand, roasted fennel seeds (I use sugar coated ones used as mukhwas). Optional topping – finely chopped nuts and dates
Mango – Mango puree with chopped ripe mangoes (if available)
Chikoo – I buy frozen chikoos from the Indian grocery stores, pulse them and get mix them in.
Chocolate – Just mix in some good quality cocoa butter and add choco chips and marshmallow bits on top.
Recipe:
1. Whip heavy whipping cream until you get stiff peaks.
2. Slowly mix in condensed milk ( Check for sweetness, add as much as your sweet tooth desires)
3. Add in any flavoring you like. Gently swirl it in.
4. Transfer to a container and freeze!

Until next time, Happy Cooking!

Upcycled Cardboard Storage boxes

Wondering what to do with all the boxes you end up with from shopping online? Use them to create long lasting and decorative storage. The good quality ones last for a good decade!

Good thing is, you can custom make these to fit your cabinets (which you all know come in all shapes and sizes) . If it fits my need, I usually collect similar size boxes for 1-2 months and then decorate them all in one go. I have used quite a few milk/coconut water boxes from Costco for the pantry and a lot of the bigger diaper boxes for laundry room storage and continue to do so as my needs change, sometimes without the headache of decorating it too much, as most of them behind closed cabinet doors 😬.

Being only about a little more that 5ft tall, I’ve always had trouble reaching the upper cabinets in kitchens and other areas like the pantry and utility rooms. For such places, I make handles in the bottom half for all these boxes that are in the higher shelves, which makes it convenient for me to pull them out.

I have covered them with everything starting from adhesive shelf liners to scrapbooking paper to fabric. Everything works great! It all depends on your need and supplies at hand. I love using contact paper. You find them in very pleasing designs and colors for extremely low price in dollar stores. Since they already have adhesive on one side, you just need to cut them out into correct sizes, peel and stick making the job way easier.

Duct tape is the one thing I would say is a must for this. I know, I know that I use duct tape a lot in my projects 😅😅. I just find them so utilitarian, I end up using them quite frequently. These duct tapes are so strong, they keep the corners and the top of the boxes from fraying, while giving a nice contrast in color.

Supplies needed:
* Contact paper/fabric/scrapbooking paper
* Good quality Duct tape – in decorative designs and colors if you like
* Scissors
* Mod podge or other glue ( if using scrapbooking paper)

Find video instructions below!

I”ve used these boxes for everything from toys to laundry essentials to pantry supplies. These can last you really long. I have some for more than 7 yrs now! Hope you try them too!

If you’ve stuck with so far, go on and read how I make storage drawers with cardboard 🙂

Until next time, Happy Making!

Alphabet Dosa/Shapes Dosa

I wrote this post quite a while ago. Somehow didn’t get to post it. I was reminded of it while making gingerbread girl shaped dosas for my daughter today, so here it is, the long lost post 🙂

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Most of you…naah, All of you will agree that keeping toddlers interested in food is one of the toughest things you’ve ever done. Today, I bring for you all not a recipe, but a cooking trick that has worked very well with my toddler who I would consider is a very picky eater.

Being from south India, my fridge always has a batch of dosa/idli batter thats ready to use. Dosa is my to-go meal whenever i am in a hurry or out of ideas. In fact, most days  a variant of dosa/idli is what we eat for breakfast. Luckily, my toddler has taken a liking to dosa, but keeping her interested in it is/has always been a challenge. Every few months I have to come up with ideas to spruce up the everyday dosa. I’ve always seen my sister dish out these custom shaped dosas for my niece and nephew. Before I had my kids, I once remember my BIL challenging me to make the number 8 and failing miserably at it, though now I have become sort of an expert in it.  It’s funny what all your kids make you do.

When she was learning her letters, I would make her her favorite letters. We would play little games as she ate them. For e.g. She would start with a ‘D’, eat the vertical line first, then hold it up and say “Now tell me, what did I make?” My job would be to guess the letter it now resembles. 

Now that she knows all her alphabets, we’ve moved on to spelling names. Needless to say that we’ve also have upgraded our game. As she eats letters from the name, I read out the word from the remaining letters which invariably ends up sounding funny and manages to get her giggling every time. 

At various points in time, I’ve tried different variations – Numbers, shapes, little things like tree, house etc, each of these have been fairly successful.  Right now, she is obsessed with a happy face and wants it on everything, including her dosa.

The trick to drawing these are simple. You don’t require any fancy gadget. Just use a medium sized spoon to pour the batter and a sharp, preferably metal spatula to turn/pick up the dosa. After some practice, you’ll be able to draw almost anything your little one demands. As you can see, I figured, drawing them laterally inverted helps brown the right side better.   Notes:

  • If using a spoon is too much hassle, try a ketchup squeeze bottle.
  • You could try this with pretty much all batters – pancake, crepes work well too.
  • Your shapes don’t have to be perfect – it is easy to make kids happy. With practice you’ll keep getting better and learn new tricks to draw better.

Until next time, Happy Cooking!

Book Reviews – KIDS

If there’s one cause that I’d like to advocate – its reading to your children.  It’s never too early to start reading to the little ones. Even babies as young as 3-4 months old observe, laugh and learn. 

Sometimes, the most difficult thing is finding books that appeal to you. There’s so much out there!! Through this journey of motherhood, I’ve come across some amazing books that have been my kids’ favorites and I feel the need to give back to the amazing community which has helped me pick great reads.

When I started working on the idea first, I was wondering if I should do a book reading instead. Though story times are super cool, it only comes second to you cuddling with your child and reading to them. Kids love the sound of your voice and your warm hugs. That’s the experience I’d like to encourage, so here I am sharing some of my favorite reads that I hope you can share with your loved ones. Hope this’ll help you pick out some fun books for your little ones.  I am also a big fan of hand me downs or book libraries. 

Disclaimer: This is not a paid promotion. These are just my honest opinions and reviews. These are books I personally recommend – a suggestion from one parent/caretaker to another! I am going to try to avoid the well known/popular series. You already know where to find them.

The link to the youtube playlist is here. Find individual video reviews below.

AGES 3-5 This book “Wacky Wednesday” is my favorite of all the Dr Suess books. It is illustrated by George Booth. A little boy wakes up one Wednesday morning to find an odd shoe on the wall next to his bed. As he steps out he find more wacky things. The number of wacky things keep going up with every page – sometimes there are bananas and apples on the same tree, sometimes its a turtle on a tree, another time it’s his teacher in roller skates. Spotting each one now becomes a fun challenge for the little ones. This crazy day ends when every wacky thing is accounted for and the next day everything is back to normal. 🎥 on Instagram


AGES 4-8 This book is about a dinosaur who behaves like a thesaurus. For each word, his brothers use, he uses 3. When his brothers say – “big”, he says – ”gigantic”, “goliath”, “gargantuan” :). One day he comes in contact with an allosaurus who is actually an allothesaurus and just like him likes to use fancy words to describe things.  He’s found a friend finally, or so he thinks until allothesaurus reveals how she got her powers! 🙂  🎥 on Instagram


AGES 4-8 The book starts with the main character in the book – Henry eating a page accidentally. Henry then falls so much in love with books that he pretty much eats every book he comes across. Eating these incredible books make him super smart. The problem starts when one day he feel he’s eaten too much and now all the information inside starts getting jumbled up. He decides to take a break from eating and ends up reading a book instead and realizes that he enjoys it as much as taking a bite of the book. This book has fantastic illustrations, a fun storyline and a surprise ending that make the kids giggle everytime. 🎥 on Instagram


AGES 3-5 This is a fun interactive book with lots of squeals and giggles. The main character, Ben is playing with his cat when the cat suddenly disappears behind a page. Anyone who comes to rescue also vanishes behind the page. The only way to get everyone out  is to make the book sneeze and the easiest way to do that is to tickle the book. The more you tickle the more people you rescue….  🎥 on Instagram


AGES 3-5 The book is out of control – by Richard Byrne is ONE book that you will be asked to read loads of times by your toddler. Ben and his friend Bella are trying to explore the controls on its remote when things start to go haywire. First its Bella poor dog, then it’s Ben and then Bella! Someone is either spinning or hanging up side down. The book is uncontrollable – just like the title suggests.  By the time the book ends, there’s only one button left to explore and guess and what its called….  🎥 on Instagram


AGES 3-5 This is a fun fun bedtime story book. I know the book is a hit when my son wants me to read it for him every night. This book is interactive, yet by the time it ends, the message is clear that well, bed time is unavoidable :).  The more you blink, the closer you get to bed time. You turn a page every time you blink. Every page has tips to keep you from blinking. There’s a cute little owl trying to help you through the challenge 🙂 In the end, after trying everything, the owl figures the only way to avoid blinking is to close the eyes..and slowly assures you that its ok to fall asleep because morning is coming in the “blink of an eye”. This is a very happy yet very calming bed time story book.  🎥 on Instagram


AGES 4-8  This book is a kids guide on how to use breath to control one’s emotions and handle situations. What I personally like about this book is that it’s not just another yoga book, but one with simple and effective ideas that can be put to use right away. The author first gives some trivia about what breathing is all about and then explains how they can use to help solve some of their problems.  The examples she picks are so apt that kids instantly appreciate it. She gives very relatable names to each technique – dandelion breath, rainbow breath and balloon breath – to name a few.  Not only is this is a great read for all kids to understand how they can independently manage their emotions, this could be especially helpful for the little worriers that we have in our midst who tend to be more anxious than the rest. The illustrations are so adorable as well. The colors and the expressions n every page are exceptional. The book wouldn’t be the same without these drawings. 🎥 on Instagram


AGES 4-8  Some books aren’t just meant for 3 yr olds! They are meant for all of us. There’s so much depth in that tiny board book, you’d be surprised. This is a story about a monkey called Jim Panzee who wakes up grumpy for no good reason. He initially fails to accept that he is in a bad mood. His friends recognize it and try to cheer him up. He puts on a face for them, but is still sad on the inside. After a while, he finally acknowledges his feelings, and that’s when he starts to feel better on his own. The fact that his friend is right beside him through all this certainly helps. This is a book about understanding that sometimes it’s ok to feel a certain way (even if without rhyme or reason). It a book about friendship without judgement, about being and letting be.  The illustrations are phenomenal. Every animals expression, the camaraderie that exists between them is depicted quite beautifully!  Read this book, even if you don’t have little children at home.  . 🎥 on Instagram


GRADES PRESCHOOL-K Today’s book is called “TEN PIGS – AN EPIC BATH ADVENTURE” by Derek Anderson. PIG tries to take a peaceful bath, only to be interrupted by good meaning friends :). Your kids will love counting up and down with the narrator as PIG’s bathtub gets crowded with friends and their toys. To sum it up – this book has it all – Laughter, rhyme and great illustrations. 🎥 on Instagram


GRADES PRE K – 3 Today’s book is called “THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES”, authored by B.J. Novak. Yes, it has ZERO pictures and yet a big HIT with little readers!!!! This book will make the kids stand up and laugh out loud each time they read it, and also the every time they recall it from a previous reading :). It’s one of the best books for reading out aloud. In fact, it’s a lovely book for older siblings to read to the younger ones.  Did you know B.J. Novak is the actor portraying “Ryan” from the popular American sitcom “The Office”? How’s that for some fun trivia? 🙂 There’s a really funny book reading video by the author on YouTube. Check it out if this review intrigues you. 🎥 on Instagram


GRADES K – 2 Today’s book is called “PEANUT BUTTER AND CUPCAKE” and its by Terry Border. Me an and my kids are a big fan of Terry border. His books are a total visual delight and the stories are so relatable, every kid is bound to get lured by it. In this book, you follow Peanut butter as he tries to make friends in his new neighborhood. Repetition and rhythm are usually very popular with little children and this book has plenty of both. The author has many other fun books to his name “Milk goes to school”, “Happy Birthday cupcake”, “Peanut Butter’s tasty opposites” to name a few.🎥 on Instagram


GRADES K – 2 Today’s book is called “MAY I HAVE A WORD?” . It’s written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Andy Rash. The magnetic alphabets on the refrigerator want to make words when K accuses C of stealing his sound. C doesn’t accept the blame too easily and cribs about K getting to keep the cooler words anyway. The bickering ends in a battle and C and K refuse to work with each other. Oops! That means the world is out of LUCK — Unless the others letters coax their two friends into making up………This is such a smart book. It introduces so many letter sounds, letter combinations to preschool/early elementary kids. Must read! 🎥 on Instagram


GRADES PRESCHOOL- K Today’s book is “PRESS HERE” by Herve Tullet. With the most simplistic illustrations, the author takes you on a fun activity ride with no other accessories except the book you hold in your hands.  The colorful dots on the pages move and rearrange as you press, slide and blow on them. Its one of the smartest books I’ve come across.While I was working on the review, it was amusing to see my 7yr old try the book and and enjoy the activities. You probably never outgrow some books 😄. 🎥 on Instagram


GRADES PRESCHOOL-K Today’s book is called “FOLLOW ME AROUND THE WORLD”. It is by Priddy Books and has a couple of authors and Illustrators. In this one you follow a Fox as he takes you from one continent to another. As you move through a maze on every page, you get to visit many relevant landmarks and spot animals on the way. Activity based books are always popular with kids. In this book, there are so many details in each page that you can create your games as you go. There are many more books in the series – same concept, different setting. Give them a try! 🎥 on Instagram


Hope to release more in the coming months! Watch the space….

Sewing a Pillowcase

Making pillowcases is one of the easiest sewing projects. This is a great starter project for kids who are beginning to work on the sewing machine. As always, you can make it as basic or as fancy as you like.

These are my go-to gifts for the little kids I know :). A little bit of personalization and the kids are over the moon. I let them choose the fabric and even their preferences with design. It has been a super hit with kids of all ages and a refreshing challenge for me bringing their vision on fabric 🙂

I already have a post on how to add easy custom applique to your projects. Hop on over here to learn.

Today I bring to you the tutorial for a basic pillowcase – with a flap to hide the pillow. I hate to see the pillows popping out of their cover every time they get tossed around, so these are only kind of pillowcases I prefer to make. Once you learn this, with slight variations, you can many different kind of pillow/cushion covers.

I made these monogrammed cases for 2 cute little sisters ages 4 and 7. The younger one picked a donut fabric for one side and daisy on the other. I never would’ve thought the two designs went together, but after the covers were done, I couldn’t agree more. I was sewing them when the little one was visiting. She couldn’t wait for me to finish taking pics for the blog. She was so excited, she wanted to carry her pillow case along with the pillow. I had to convince her to give me back my pillow. LOL!

Here’s a video tutorial for you to try.

Note:

  • Always prewash and press your fabric before you begin. For beginner projects, I would always recommend 100% cotton fabric.
  • You can always make this with one single fabric, all you will need is one single piece of fabric. Just add the length measurements of fabric1&fabric2.
  • PDF of the measurement calculations are here

Until next time, Happy Making!

TRASH BAG SPIDER – WITH BENDABLE KNEES

Here’s a quick Halloween Decor Idea. Make human sized spiders with realistic legs using TRASH bags.

I’ve had these or a couple of years and its been a talk of the neighborhood. Every time someone passes by the yard, they don’t walk by without a second look and a smile on the face. I even helped set one up for my neighbor’s kids last halloween. It’s totally something you can involve the kids in.

The sprinkler tends to leave spots on it though nothing shows from a distance. It withstands the water and also stays grounded even with heavy fall winds, which is very common in the area, this time of the year.

Nothing leaves the house without getting stress tested. LOL! 🤣

Here’s a quick video! Hope you try it too!

Until next time, Happy Making!

DIY Pete the Cat costume (Zerowaste – almost)

Halloween is a super exciting event for any crafts lover. Whether or not my children approve of it, I like to dress up too for halloween for their school parades and parties (Gonna do it until they grow old enough to shoo me away from these get togethers). For now, they are excited about mommy dressing up in quirky costumes – I’ve been a pirate, a witch, a hawaaiian princess, a clown and then most recently, Pete the cat.

I am always putting these together in the nth hour, so end up having to work quickly with whatever is available in the house. Thats how this costume came into being. One of my dear friend is a preschool teacher and was planning a Pete the Cat costume when the shipping got delayed. I offered to help and started working on putting something together. Then, my friend got hold of an alternate costume and shifted gears, but since I’d already started the work, i decided to finish it and ended up donning my creation 🙂

I wore to my son’s preschool class parade and the kids (and teacher’s too) had a ball looking at their favorite character walking alongside them.

Here’s a quick DIY Pete the Cat costume.

SUPPLIES YOU’LL NEED:
* Sun glasses (Oval shaped preferable)
* Headband (for the ears)
* Duct tape – in yellow, white and blue (Other rainbow colors – for buttons, optional)
* Scissors
* Parchment paper (to make a duct tape sticker sheet)

Measure your glasses and make a sticker sheet the approximate size of the sunglasses. Learn the fun hack here (I have a fun trick to cut out duct tape in your desirable shape)

Cut out the eyes. I would suggest you fold the sheet into two and cut out both eyes together, so they’ll be the same size.

Cut out a “U” on top for Pete’s dreamy eyes.

Then make small semi circles for the eyeballs. Leave a decent amount of black (Thats the only part you’ll be able to see through 😛 while you transform into Pete.

Stick it on carefully to your glasses and there you go!

For Pete’s blue ears, make 2 duct tape loops around the headband. and cut them into a triangle shape. If you feel they droop, You could add a piece of paper/cardboard between the two sides.

The only thing left now is the little white triangle 🔽 that makes his mouth. You could make that with face paint or another small piece of duct tape. Now, draw whiskers and you’re good to go. I used my 7 year old’s barbie styling head as my muse 😁

Here’s a pic during the dress up from last halloween!

More dress up ideas

  • You could also dress in a blue/yellow shirt and make big colorful duct tape buttons to stick in the front.
  • Get a print out of you kid’s favorite book cover or a fun quote and tape his to the backside of his/her shirt!

p.s. : Though these are cute for photo ops and wearing indoors, Be careful not to venture around on the streets with those glasses on. They are fun, but since they limit visibility. Be cautious of where and how you wear them!

Until next time, Happy making!

DUCT TAPE cutting HACK – using parchment paper!!!

I use duct tape for a LOTTTT of my projects. Though duct tape is available in craft stores as sheets as well, I prefer to use up my stash of readily available tapes to make it in any shape I want, based on the need. I’ve used it for Thor’s armor and captain America’s shield, Thor Cape and Armor, Pete the Cat, Tiger and many such projects I am yet to blog about.

If there’s one thing people crafters hate most about working with duct tape, it has to be the fact that it sticks to your everything it comes in contact with – to the scissors and then to your hands. The only way you could kind of get through to cutting them in different shapes is probably by using a craft knife and even that doesn’t help you much or save you any time or effort. Here’s a little known but super cool trick on how to get those sticky tapes to listen to you. Trust me, it’ll get rid of your fear of duct tapes.

For that you’ll need to use parchment paper and that I would assume is readily available in most kitchens. To cut out duct tapes in desired shapes, all you need to do is to make something thats an equivalent of a sticker sheet with the duct tape and parchment paper.

Check out this video to see how! For those who like to read instead, read on!

Steps on how to use parchment paper to work with Duct tape:

Just tape the duct tape on the parchment, making sure there’s a small overlap (for strength) Now, draw your desired shape, cut it out, peel it just like you would a sticker and go on to finish your projects. You can basically make your duct tape shapes as big or as small as you’d like.

Cut out a piece of parchment paper of desired size.

Just tape the duct tape on the parchment, making sure there’s a small overlap (for strength)

Draw desired shapes and cut them out.

Peel it off the parchment paper like you would do with any sticker!

There you go!

Happy Making!