Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tutorial: Draft Stopper + Noise Muffler=Sleep Sweeter

I love this thing. It helps me keep my sanity. 

Having two young children has taught me something: two babies awake at 2 am and howling for the attention of just one person is really not fun. The scenario is that the infant cries for milk and the toddler hears him and awakens...screaming. I decided to make a little something to keep this scenario from repeating itself every three hours until the end of time... (read that again but with a slightly frantic tone of voice). 

Don't get me wrong, there are tons of GREAT things about having two very young babies (one 2 years and one 7 weeks, to be precise), but sleep deprivation is not on my list. I'm one of those people who can't remember words when I'm short on sleep. Like last night I was trying to tell a story and couldn't remember the word...wait what was it again?...oh, yeah...werewolf. 

So I made this thing and it was really easy. It has multiple purposes--it stops drafts, blocks out noise (both while looking a little more chic and a little easier to manage than a towel stuffed under the door) and helps us all sleep a little sweeter. 

You need:
heavy-weight fusible fleece
home decor weight cotton 
   -2 rectangles
   -width= 9 inches+door thickness 
   -length=width of the doorway plus one inch
sewing machine with a sharp heavy-duty needle, thread, iron, yardstick, disappearing marker
5 lbs of rice

1) Cut out your pattern pieces. Two rectangles of home decor weight cotton using the specifications above, then back each piece with fusible fleece (leave about 1/2 inch of fabric 'unfleeced' on one short end to make it easier to stitch closed at the end.). The fleece helps make the stopper feel more sturdy, reinforcing the fabric, and it also takes up some space so you don't need quite as much rice to fill it. 

2) Pin fabric right sides together, with 1/2" seam allowance,  sew along both long sides and one short side. Turn right sides out through the open end. Now you should have something that looks like the photo below (without the two lines of stitches in the middle, that's the next step). 

3) Using the yardstick and disappearing marker, measure in 4 inches from each side seam and draw a straight line (the distance between the two lines should be approximately the thickness of your door). Using matching thread, sew along each marked line-stopping about 3/4 inch from the open end. Then you should have this:

Closed end:

Open end from top:

Leave some room so you can turn the raw edges under:

4) Sorry, I didn't photograph this next step because my hands were full of thousands of grains of rice. You could use a funnel, but I took my chances and it worked out ok. Fill each side of the stopper with rice, be sure to leave enough space for folding under and for your machine foot and don't fill the "under-the-door" part.

5) Now tuck the raw edges in, pin, and stitch across the opening--forward and back stitching securely. Trim any loose threads and slide it under the door!

I love mine! The best part is that it slides with the door, no adjusting or slipping on towels (that happened more than once in my house). They really do help block noise, I tested it. This thing is for real!

Comment if you make one and love it or if you have suggestions to make it better!

(The cute red chevron fabric came from Hobby Lobby). 

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Beware, this is a picture heavy post with all kinds of fall updates! I'm trying to get ya'll filled in with details from my 5 week absence. We are enjoying Baby V, figuring out a new normal and feeling incredibly blessed!

I haven't experienced fall since 2010. In New Orleans, we enjoyed summer and spring-like weather all year long, but I have to say...I missed cool, crisp mornings and that wet, earthy smell you only get once the leaves are lying in piles on the ground. I love all the typical fall activities. Right after V was born, I took P to the apple orchard with some friends. We ate apple cider doughnuts, fed animals, drank cider slushies, slid down a slide on burlap sacks and sat on pumpkins. It was thrilling :). 

I've also had grand ideas of taking pictures of my two boys with some beautiful, fall foliage in the background. I picked a gorgeous, warm day and we tried...I took 30 pictures...this is the "good" one. 

We did get a few belly laughs out of the deal...

The leaves were beautiful at the lake this year, here's P with Papa catching his first fish. His favorite part was pushing the release button and plopping the fish back in the water then reeling it in just to start all over. 

Another iconic (at least in my childhood memory) fall thing we missed last year were woolly worms, P calls them "Squirmies" and collects them in his bike basket. 

And Halloween! Love it, just love it!

P wanted to be a monkey (an "Ooh-Ah-Ah" in his language), I picked up a costume from Old Navy. It was super warm which was perfect for the drizzly, 35 degree, trick-or-treating. V was a pumpkin. Can you get any cuter really? I made this costume and I'm going to be posting a tutorial...which I realize no one will use until next year. Maybe you want a little, baby pumpkin for Thanksgiving though? The hat is certainly fall appropriate by itself.

My Mom and I did some practice trick-or-treating with P before the big night. He went up to a bedroom door, knocked, held out his pumpkin bucket, said "Candy" and then "Thank you!"

Yes, we tried to teach him to say "trick-or-treat" but he's a very literal child. Example: most of the folks handing out candy stood outside on their porches, P walked right past them to knock on the door before backtracking to pick up a treat. I wish I had it on video.

V accompanied us, he stayed snug as a bug in his carseat, wearing his PUMPKIN HAT!!

Can't express to you how much I love this hat, it was very easy! (Tutorial to come) Please make one for Thanksgiving.

On a pumpkin sidenote, you must go to Trader Joe's and buy the Pumpkin Butter ASAP. 


"Sooner than as soon as possible." (Gilmore Girls reference for all of you GG fans). 

It is awesome, especially when you toast an english muffin, slather it with butter then add a thin layer of Pumpkin Butter. I like it so much I feel like it should have a nickname...Pum Butt (nope)...PB (already been done)...oh well.