Saturday, 5 December 2009

Tea Towel Apron Tutorial

A few people requested a tutorial for the tea towel aprons I made, so I'm going to give it a try.  Note: I made the girls' aprons shorter than the boy's apron because the boy is older/bigger.  He is 4 years old, and the girls are 2 years old.  The aprons will probably fit them for a couple of years.

Step 1:
Buy a tea towel.  I got mine at Walmart, I think, for about $6. Wash your tea towel to get out the sizing or whatever else the factory puts on it.  I recommend washing it in hot water to shrink it as much as possible too.  If you're worried about colour-fastness, you can add salt to the load instead of soap.  That will help the colour not to bleed in the future, according to my seamstress-mother.

Step 2:
Cut up the tea towel.  I first cut about an inch-and-a-half off each long side of the towel for the waist ties, then I cut out the main body of the apron.  I decided on the angle I wanted, and guessed for the length.  Next I cut the neck strap from the remaining material, just straight across the hemmed bit so that I would only have to hem one side.  To help you visualise, here are my cutting diagrams (pieces are to scale.  Sorry for the wonky pocket.  I couldn`t get it to look right).

Step 3:
Press and hem. I turned the fabric about 1/4 inch, ironed it, then folded another 1/4 inch and ironed again. Then I sewed the hems with my machine. I recommend pressing and sewing one hem at a time. For the apron I did the straight sides first, then the angled sides, then the top. The bottom is already hemmed, of course. Then hem the raw sides of the waist ties and the straps, and somehow finish the ends so they don`t fray. For the neck strap, I did a zigzag stitch across the end a few times. For the waist ties, I zigzaged only the end that would be sewed to the apron, and hemmed the other end.

Step 4:
Sew on the waist ties where the angled side meets the straight side. I just stitched back and forth several times in two spots (Once where the hem stitching was so it doesn`t show as much, and once very close to the edge). Trim all your threads.

Step 5:
Attach fastener for the neck strap.  I used a fastener instead of just making it to pull over the child`s head, because kids have big heads and if the strap was big enough to pull over, the apron wouldn`t keep them as clean because the front would hang too low.  I really like how it looks having the fastener on only one side, though if you wanted you could add one to the other side to make it symmetrical.  For the boy`s apron, I used snaps.  Just follow the directions on the package.  For the girls` aprons, I used buttons.  I won`t go into how to use a buttonhole foot on the sewing machine, because I don`t really know how to myself.  It was just trial and error to get the right size.  So practice on scrap first!

So that`s the basic apron.  Pockets, monogramming, and ruffles are all optional.

For the pocket on the boy's apron:
Cut out the desired shape (you can use matching fabric or contrasting).  Hem the top of the pocket.  Monogram if you wish.  I used black embroidery floss (the whole thickness).  For the boy's apron I didn't use a pattern or template.  After the monogramming is done, fold the unfinished sides under 1/4 inch, and pin onto the apron.  Then topstitch around the bottom and sides of the pocket.  I did two lines of stitching.  One at about 1/4 inch, and the other right next to the edge of the pocket.

For the larger ruffle on the girl's apron:
Cut the pieces as indicated on the diagram, and sew the two strips together at one end.  Press the seam flat and top stitch each side of the seam so that there is very little bulk at the seam.  If you have a serger, you could probably just serge the seam, but that would end up a little bulkier.  In any case, the edges need to be taken care of somehow so they don't fray.  This needs to be a sturdy apron!  I didn't know how best to do the pleated ruffle, but I'll tell you how I did it.  If you know of an easier or faster way, go for it!
First I sewed the long strip of ruffle to the apron at each end, using a vertical stitch.  Then I sewed the centre of the ruffle to the centre of the apron.  Next I matched the centre of each hanging half of the ruffle with the centre of that half of the apron, which left me with four loops.  Then I did it again with the centre of each of those loops.  Eventually, when I got the ruffles to be the size I wanted them to be, I had a strip of fabric attached to the apron at 17 points.  Then I just started at one end of the apron and sewed over all 16 loops to make pleats.  I didn't even iron them.

For the small red ruffles:
Cut strips of fabric about 1.5 inches wide.  Fold them in half lengthwise (wrong side out) and sew with about 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Turn right side out to make long skinny tubes, and press flat with the seam at one edge.  Fold the end under, place on the apron where you want the ruffle to start, and get it started by sewing 2-3 stitches in from the end.  Now here comes the tedious part: With the sewing needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and shove a pleat of fabric under it.  Lower the presser foot and stitch 3-4 stitches (my stitch length was set to medium-long).  Lift the presser foot again, shove another pleat of fabric under, lower the foot and stitch.  Repeat until you get to either the end of your pleating fabric or the end of your apron.  If you need to start another strip before you're done, fold the end over and place it on top of the end of the old strip, then continue as usual.  Did that make sense at all?  I wasn't trying to make perfectly even pleats.

For the girls' monograms:
I tried to do the G freehand like I did the boy's J, but it wasn't working out.  So I found a font I liked in Microsoft word (Curlz), made it the right size (300pt), and printed out the letters I needed, and cut them apart.  Then I taped the paper to the apron, put the apron in an embroidery hoop, and backstitched the outline of the letters through both fabric and paper.  When I was done, I used my needle to perforate between the stitches, and ripped the paper out.

And that's about it.  If you have any questions please let me know.  If I left something out and you're confused, feel free to ask.  So there is my first tutorial.  I think I'm too wordy and too apt to just wing it with my projects to do many tutorials.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

My $2 Dollar Store Wreath

This is the wreath on my front door.  Even though I got it 50% off at Michaels, I was still miffed to have to pay for something that I could have made for almost free if I still lived in my last house.  There are no pinecones in our new neighbourhood.  But I still really like it.  I think it could be a bit larger for this door though.  (sorry for the poor quality, sideways picture.  I'm too lazy to rotate the picture...that would mean saving it on my computer instead of taking it straight from the memory card of my camera.  If I had to do that, I'd never post!)

I wanted a wreath for my back door too, but I didn't want to buy one.  I recently came across the site, and then today I happened to be walking past Dollarama, so I stopped in.  Despite some drama with cranky/hungry/tired kids, I found a few things.  I bought two garlands, and I knew I could do something with them for the back door.

I wrapped each garland around a grapevine wreath that I've used for several things before.  Here it is with only one garland (please excuse the pine needles on the rug...Christmas trees are messier than two-year-olds!):

One garland looks nice, but I added the second:

Much better.

I added a strip of my favourite red fabric, tied in a bow, and hung it on the inside of the window in the back door.  (again, poor quality sideways pictures.  the window was fogging up too.  sorry!)

I love how it looks against my red and white curtain.  I really like the fact that this wreath looks nice from both sides because the garland is wrapped around it.  It's ideal for windows.  If I had more grapevine wreaths, I'd make one for all four of my living room windows too.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Tea Towel Aprons for Kids

Update: I have posted a tutorial for these aprons.

I was sorting my fabric a few weeks ago when I came across some pieces that I thought would look great in my friend's kitchen.  She likes to bake, so I decided to make some aprons for her kids.

This is what I started with:

And these are the results:

I did embroidered the kids' initials on each.  Juliana is modeling her own, and the one for my friend's son.  The one for her daughter is the same as Juli's.  I didn't want to leave the babies out either, so I made bibs for Nico and J's youngest.  Nico's bib isn't actually finished yet.

I was going to do a tutorial for the aprons, but I always feel kind of silly explaining stuff that is intuitive to me, but I don't want to go the other way and not explain important steps.  Basically, I just cut the long edges off to form the waist ties and hemmed the cut side, then cut the big section to the size and shape I wanted and hemmed it too.  I used the cut-off fabric to make the pocket on the boy's apron, the neck straps, and the ruffle on the bottom of the girls' aprons.  I have a great dark red fabric that I used for the little ruffles.  I wish I had more of that fabric, it's my favourite right now.  I have about a metre left.

And of course I had to have fun wrapping this just-because-gift.

They all came over today and we had fun baking with the kids.  Some of the resulting gingerbread cookies may not be completely edible, but all three of the kids had fun and I think the moms did too.  Unfortunately, the babies were a little fussy.

PS: I apologise for the sideways pictures.  Blogger really needs to add the option to rotate pictures to their so-called new and improved posting thingy.


Friday, 20 November 2009

My Favourite Sewing Blog

I wanted to introduce you all to my favourite sewing blog. It's basically the only sewing blog that I read on a regular basis.

At Grosgrain, you can find so many different projects designed by the author, Kathleen, and best of all, giveaways! I actually haven't yet entered any of her giveaways yet, because to enter I'd have to create a link, and I don't often post giveaways here.

But since I love this blog so much, I thought I would share it...and in the process I can enter some lovely giveaways.

The most recent one is this adorable 30-minute child's dress. I could make that!

I also love this guest giveaway from the Brass Hussy. Look at that gorgeous squirel necklace!

The dresses that she designs are gorgeous, like this green one she designed for a contest. Unfortunately, the only one likely to fit me is the pretty and flirty maternity dress. Why am I entering a contest for a maternity dress? I'm glad that I'm done with being pregnant for now! But I do have some pregnant friends, and it is a lovely dress.

Lets see, what else is there? How about a collection of patterns for little girls' dresses? I love the one with the bubble skirt.

If you think I'm being overly enthusiastic about this blog, you should head over there to check it out for yourself. Even if you're not into sewing, I'm sure you won't be able to help liking her fun and creative photo shoots. I wonder if it is cheating to do all the links in one post? In any case, I'm sure you will be reading more Grosgrain giveaway posts here in the future. I just can't resist anymore!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Marriage Counselling from a Two-Year-Old

Juliana: "Do you like my daddy, mommy?"
Me: "Yes, I do like your daddy."
Juliana: "Are you happy mommy?"
Me: "Yes, I am very very happy."

Friday, 13 November 2009

1, 2, 3, 4, Painting Numbers on the Door

I can't paint my walls right now. Even though paint is "cheap" compared to other home improvements, it's still not cheap enough.

So I did something I've been wanting to do since we moved in. I painted numbers on our upstairs doors. Number 1 is our bedroom, 2 is the bathroom, 3 is Nicholas' room, and 4 is Juliana's room. Kevin says it looks like a hotel, and I love the fact that it does! I may paint something on the linen closet door...maybe "5", "linens", or "staff only". The font I used is Victorian LET in Microsoft Word and the scribble-on-the-back method of transfering the numbers to the doors. Freehand numbers look too much like freehand numbers when I try it. I like to use some kind of template. I used black acrylic craft paint. A side benefit of my new numbers is that it is helping my two-year-old recognise numbers! She points and says "That's a Free! That's a Four!"

Now it's back to rearranging the furniture.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Attempted Mistreatment - Miserable or Magnificent?

This is my kitchen window.  It was desperately in need of some fabric.  In keeping with my theme of using what I have and not spending money (the fence this summer took it all!), I looked through my fabric stash, and found a few things.  The middle fabric is a white/tan ticking stripe that I got for 99 cents, and the white fabrics on the sides are two pieces I got for very little also  I don't know what to call them...some kind of thickly-woven damask pattern.  I didn't want to cut any fabric, since after I paint the walls, I will probably do something else with the windows.

Yes, I know the table isn't centred under the light fixture.  We move our furniture around a lot and decided to see how it would work to have the table right by the window.

I love the difference the fabric makes, but I'm not so sure about the final result.  It NEEDS something.  Some colour maybe?  In the form of fringe, tassel, or I don't know what.  I know that for the side windows, long panels would be better, but I don't currently have any long pieces of fabric except for the one across the top.

I would welcome any tips or advice!  Despite being the daughter of a seamstress, when it comes to home deorating, I'm pretty hopeless with fabrics.  They scare me!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Using What I Have - Toddler Princess Costume

Since September, I've been trying to do way less shopping and make use of what I have. For Juliana's halloween costume this year, I wanted to do a princess dress, because she loves everything with a princess on it, and I needed an excuse to make an Italian Rennaisance dress! So here is my thrifty halloween costume for a toddler. I used one and a half (or so) blue velvet curtain panels that we inherited from the previous owners of the house, gold drapery fabric that was 50% off at a discount fabric store, ivory jersey-knit fabric that I already had, skinny black satin ribbon, and a faux pearl necklace from a thrift store. Total cost: around $9.00. Total time: I have no idea. It wasn't difficult, but it was detailed, especially the sleeves.
The costume consists of an underdress in the gold fabric, with ivory sleeves, a sleeveless overdress in blue velvet, and gauntlet-style sleeves that are tied on with ribbon.
I admit that it is a bit elaborate for a two-year-old, but it was so much fun to make! Now I want t pearl-trimmed dress! I used the gold dress that Drew Barrymore wore in the movie Ever After for inspiration.
We went to a costume party at a friend's house so all four of us were dressed up, but I forgot to take a picture of all of us. KD was a hockey mascot, Nico was a reindeer, and I was something vaguely Hawiian (vintage orange/pink dress, big hair with flowers in it, and dramatic tropical makeup.)
So, how about trying to repurpose something you already have instead of buying something new. Now I just need to figure out what to do with the remaining 1.5 blue velvet curtain panels...and one purple one.
I'm linking this post to Kimba's DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The View From My Sofa

While my mantle still says autumn, the weather says winter. Boo! We went from +30 degrees celsius to -10 degrees within two weeks. I miss my favourite season. Wondering what to do with all those scribbled-on bits of construction paper that are your toddler's masterpieces? This is what I did with four of them: (I left the green and purple ones displayed on the fridge). I needed something to replace my "Summertime" banner. My little boy is grouchy today (he's getting a cold, and possibly a tummy ache), so he's having a little mommy-cuddle-time. This picture was taken five minutes ago. Now he's fast asleep.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

On Writing (and possibly some other stuff)

I'm not talking about Stephen King's writing book, though it is a good one. I just want to talk about my own writing...cause it's my blog and I can do that.
(Note: This is where I would begin a sentence with the word "anyway", but I am trying not to use that particular crutch any more.)
This past weekend, I attended a writing conference, at the encouragement of my grandmother and her friend. I am so glad I went! I have never gone to any writing-related events because I always felt that because I am not published, or even close to finishing a first draft of anything, I wasn't good enough. But I was bluntly honest with everyone I met about the fact that I haven't written anything for several years, and--surprise!--no one judged me or excluded me! Everyone was willing to talk to me and gush over Nicholas. And I even won a door prize for the first time I can remember.
The speakers at the conference were Kathleen Gibson, author of West Nile Diary, and Bonnie Grove, author of Talking to the Dead. I needed to hear what they spoke about, particularly about writing as a Christian.
I also took two fiction workshops led by Bonnie Grove. In the first, I learned something that none of my college writing/editing/critical reading courses have been able to teach me. I have always worried that my characters are shallow, and now I think I understand how to fix it. It's all about "subtext." the afternoon workshop was about word choice, and while I was already familiar with the concepts, I now find myself hesitating every time I start to type an adverb. It was after this class that I decided to eliminate the word-crutch "anyway" from my spoken and written vocabulary. I realised that I use the word as a lazy substitute for transitions and original thought.
I haven't actually written much since I decided to try it again, but I am slowly getting my brain used to thinking creatively again. During the conference, I jotted down the solutions to some plotting problems in my current work-in-progress that have been stumping me for the past 5 years. Before I continue on that, I absolutely need to come up with an outline so that doesn't happen again. I can't write a story if I don't know where it is going!
In family news, Nicholas is growing like a weed. He's nearly 12 pounds now, and he even slept 6 straight hours on Friday night! I suspect Juliana is having a growth spurt too. She has been enormously clumsy for the past week or so. Yesterday she fell out of her booster seat onto the floor. Today alone, she:
  1. tripped while running, and fell flat on her tummy
  2. tripped while walking, and fell into a puddle
  3. bumped her head by standing up under a table
  4. ran full-speed into a wall (forgot to stop turning, I think), ending up with two slightly black eyes and a green bruise across the bridge of her nose.

Now, I am rather clumsy myself, but Juli's antics today were rather excessive! Come to think of it, maybe I should get her eyesight checked, just in case. Boy, I hope she doesn't need glasses! KD and I both want to get laser eye surgery.

PS: Why does blogger remove my extra lines between paragraphs? They don't think I'm smart enough to know how I want my post to look?

PPS: OK, now my formatting is totally messed up! I give up! I do apologise for the mess! Next post I'll try to figure out what the problem is. But now it's time for bed.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Pouring out my Heart: Simplicity and Priorities (Warning: Lots of text and few pictures)

Hi Friends. I've been doing some thinking since Nicholas's birth.
For the first few days, I was terrified about how I would handle two kids by myself while KD is at work. In the evenings I would get lonely and depressed and cry because of all the impending changes, with some family drama added to it. I was sad because Juliana is no longer my baby, and I worried about finances and raising a boy, and all that kind of stuff.
Thankfully, after about four or five days, my hormones started to rebalance, and I stopped getting so emotional. I make a point to spend some one-on-one time with Juli. KD went back to work this past Tuesday, and we've been handling things pretty well. Well, except the housework, but that's nothing new.
But this is what I've been thinking about: I need to simplify my life. I'm not a busy person, but I can easily get my priorities messed up. Which has been the case in varying degrees for the past five years.
My first focus needs to be relationships. With God, my husband, my children, and my family and friends. I need to cut out the things that compete with these relationships. Like time spent on the computer, craft/decorating stuff, shopping, etc. I need to take care of my family first, then if there is time and money, I can do other stuff. Sounds like something I should have been working on since I our wedding seven years ago...but it's never too late to start, right?
My second focus needs to be housekeeping. Looking after our home is my responsibility, and should be my pleasure. A clean, safe, organised home shows my family and guests that I value their comfort. I am happier when my house is clean, and I know KD is. Juli and Nick are too young to notice, but they soon will. I didn't have a great housekeeping role-model while I was growing up--I had a single mom too busy keeping food on the table to care for our house--but I need to be a better one for my kids. I'm not saying I have to be perfect (I gave up being Martha years ago), but I need to be responsible.
My third focus will be the hardest to get back into. I have never mentioned on this blog my childhood passion, and my subsequent failure to do anything about it. So, here it is: When I was eight years old I decided that I wanted to be a writer. Of books. I didn't really know anything about short stories at the time...which is a pity because I probably would have been more successful had I started with shorter pieces. I had hundreds of ideas through the years. My favourite passtime in my lonely childhood was to create characters and come up with book ideas. Most of the titles went like this: Somebody and the Something Something. You know how it goes. I wanted to write books that I wanted to read. I keep all my ideas in a 3-inch thick binder. I would write a chapter or two, then get sidetracked by a new and better idea.
My desire to be a writer remained strong as I grew up, and through highschool, where I discovered that there was such a thing as short-stories. It was in my grade 10 english class that I actually wrote a poem that I still think was pretty good. Then I managed to finish a short story, in response to a comment from my teacher saying that "no one would want to read a story about a bench". So I wrote one and she said it's the first time a bench had made her cry.
I got married at age 19, and still I wanted to be a writer. I couldn't go to college right away, because KD was still in school, but the plan was that once he was done, I would have my turn. I kept writing, and got up to 11,000 words in one children's/teen's book. But then I ran in to a plot snag and got scared. I'm still scared of writing. I'm afraid that I can't come up with a decent plot, and that my characters lack depth, and that I can't really write anyway. So I eventually decided to change my focus and become an editor. The degree I'm working toward is for professional writing and editing, and I have so far loved my grammar and editing classes.
I still want to be an editor, and once I get my life a little bit more organised, I want to pursue freelance jobs. I have already edited (for pay) two science fiction novels, but haven't heard whether she has published them or not. And part two of this goal is to get back into writing. I can't let fear keep me failing in this. Writing has always been a strong passion in my life, and it is a shame that I have let it go for so long due to fear.
So to make room in my life for writing and editing, I won't be doing so many craft or decorating projects, and I probably won't be posting here very often. Or maybe I will just change the focus of this blog and post some of my writing instead. We'll see.
I don't know what my life is going to look like, but wish me luck with it all!
PS: Now that you know I'm an editor as well as a grammar-nerd, please don't pick my posts to pieces! They're all only first drafts!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Baby is Here

Our little boy Nicholas arrived at 5;50 PM August 18. He's 8lbs, and 21 inches. His hair is fuzzy golden brown, and his eyes are currently the typical grey-blue. Once they started the oxytocin drip, we had hours of waiting around until the doctor broke my water. Then the pain started. But it was short lived. One hour and 15 minutes later I started pushing, then out he came 5 minutes after that! It's an almost embarrassingly short labour story.

Friday, 14 August 2009


Today my pretty gift bags are featured at The DIY Show Off! That blog is full of beautiful, inspiring projects that make me wish I wasn't such a procrastinator. Thanks Roeshel! Find more gift wrapping posts here.
On Wednesday, we had a "surprise" baby shower at KD's work. JK and I showed up at 11:30 to find a table full of amazing potluck food, games and gifts ready for us, along with 20 or so of KD's coworkers. After the party, we went up to see KD's cubicle, and his inspiring 6th-floor view of the next building. And then people just started giving JK things...just because she's cute! This is what she looked like when she was done:
She's adorable, I know, but I'm starting to worry about people always wanting to give her things. I'm raising a mooch! On Monday this week, she got a free cookie at the grocery store, and on Tuesday she got a free colouring sheet. With all the stuff she got on Wednesday, I really hope she's good for a while!
As for baby news, I'm slowly working on decorating his bedroom, now that JK is sleeping in her big-girl-bed. We're trying not to spend money right now, so I have to use only what I already have. It has been fun figuring out ways to decorate!
But I'm going to have to speed things up now, because I'm going to be induced on Tuesday. So instead of having two more weeks left, I have four days before this baby comes home! My doctor is worried about extra blood vessels rupturing because I had such a low-lying placenta.
Oh, and I did finally wash my floor! I guess revealing my faults to the internet (and specifically to various friends and family who read this blog) is great motivation!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Grandma's Souvenir Spoons

I came across a pretty project today that gave me an idea. Along with my Grandma's china, I also inherited her collection of souvenir spoons. I'm not really interested in souvenir spoons (especially the modern ones), but I wanted to display some of Grandma's vintage-ish spoons. The pretty display of ironstone started me thinking about my spoons. This is what I started with: my painted/crackled rosewood tray, and a sandwich bag full of Grandma's spoons. And, 10 minutes after reading the post, I was hanging this back on the wall: I used hot glue to attach about half of the spoons. I didn't want to overdo it with the spoons. I tried to pick spoons that had some significance. For example, the spoon below is actually just tiny spoon from the cutlery set my family used while growing up. I don't know how it ended up in Grandma's collection. And this spoon has a cross-stitched medallion of my grandma's initial. Her name, Kirstine, is JK's middle name.I think I rather like the effect!
Oh, and since today is Monday, you can see other before and afters at Susan's Met Monday post at Between Naps on the Porch.
I am honoured to receive an award from Katrina at My Mommy Life. It is the Honest Scrap award! I'm not sure exactly what it signifies, other than that someone likes me. But that's ok! Thanks Katrina for the award! I'm supposed to share 10 things about myself:
  1. I really, really missed my daughter this weekend when she was away with the grandparents.
  2. It is mine and KD's seventh anniversary today. People keep warning us about the seven-year-itch.
  3. It also would have been my parents' 30th anniversary, and is my grandparents' 53rd anniversary. We like to reuse dates, apparently.
  4. I don't like Braxton Hicks contractions.
  5. I skipped the first stage of labour in my last pregnancy...didn't feel a thing.
  6. I have an overactive imagination. It makes me a little paranoid sometimes!
  7. Or maybe I just watch too many crime shows like Law and Order, and CSI.
  8. I really, really need to wash the floor. Any volunteers? (Kidding!)
  9. I always have to fight my naturally lazy tendencies. It's getting difficult these days, when I have 25 pounds of extra excuse attached to me.
  10. I need to go take a nap right now.
I hope you enjoyed my list of random facts! I want to pass this award on to everyone who takes the time to comment on my posts. This whole thing wouldn't be half as interesting without comments!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

DIY Day - Painted Doll's Cradle

This week, I want to show off JK's doll cradle. I bought it back in May at Goodwill, and finally painted it. This is how it started out: It was cute as it was, with the handmade look, and knotty pine...would have matched the baby boy's room perfectly! But JK's room is blue and white, so this is what I did to it: Those tiny flowers are the only motif I know how to paint. I'm impressed with how my stripes turned out. They look exactly imperfectly perfect. They are a little darker than I had planned, so I may wash some diluted white paint over them. I still need to put some kind of sealer on it. I was going to try the minwax poly that people have recommended, but we're trying not to spend any extra money right now until the fence is done. So I'll have to use the spray craft soon as I find it. And I want to sew a little mattress for the cradle. JK loves rocking her babies. Or rather, she loves telling me to rock her babies and sing while she dances around the room. Once her bedroom is painted and decorated, it will look so sweet in there. See more DIY posts at Kimba's DIY party.