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How-To: Make a TuTu

One of my best friends emailed with a request last week to see if I could make a baby tutu for her 7 month old. She had found a couple that she really liked but they all were over $50. She wanted one in a girly color and one in Virginia Tech colors for the baby girl to look good for Saturday football.

I said of course immediately and then did a lot of research on tutu making. There seems to be (at least according to the very reliable source of You Tube) many different methods of making a tutu. You can make a longer, flowier tutu or more of a classic poufy tutu. There were sew and non-sew versions but after hours of intense research I liked the results of this tutorial. I went and bought my tulle, messed up a couple of times and then took pics of the second time since I had figured it out.

Without further ado- the tutu tutorial (all for under $10)


Sewing machine
Ribbon (I used 2 inch)
Rotary Cutter (or scissors)


1) Cut the tulle into pieces. The bigger the pieces, the farther the tulle will stick out on the tutu. I cut the tulle into squares so I could quickly put it together without deciding which way was up. The pink tutu had 6 inch squares and the maroon and orange tutu used 5 inch squares.

If you can, find rolls of tulle in the color you want. They make cutting the tulle move a little more quickly. Usually you can find the rolls of tulle in the wedding sections of craft stores. With the roll of tulle just roll out a section and cut your squares like this-
If you want to make your tutu in non-pastel colors you will need to buy it by the yard and then cut it into strips. Here the fastest method I found for this- first cut it in long strips.
Then line up the cut strips and cut multiple squares (I did three at a time so I could use my short ruler)

After you are finished cutting you get this-

How much tulle do you need? I way overestimated and bought too much. I made the tutus about 20 inches long in order to fit Baby J's waist. The pink tutu used about 3/4 a roll of tulle. For the orange one I cut a yard and a half each of orange and of maroon but I had tons left over. I probably could have cut just a yard of each color.

2. Start knotting! You could use anything string like for this step. The thicker the string the less pouffy your end tutu will be. I decided to use thin elastic in order to give it a little bit of stretch for an active baby.

Take the elastic, fold it in half and tie a knot in the end.

Attach the elastic to something stable, like a chair leg, a table or a cabinet handle. I worked on the tutu while I was lounging in front of the TV on the couch, so I attached mine to the zipper of Derek's laptop bag.
Make the first part of a square knot with the elastic.

Stick a square of tulle in between the first knot and the loose first half of the square knot.
Pull the two pieces of elastic tight to capture the tulle. Have about 1/2-1/4 inch sticking up at the top. Then make the second half of the square knot and tighten it (basically the same thing over again but without sticking in another piece of tulle).
Continue this process adding more and more tulle. For this tutu I did two pieces of maroon and then two pieces of orange.

After you get going this is how it will start to look-

This is this the part I royally screwed up the first time. I obviously forgot all my knot knowledge that I learned as a girl scout and made the wrong type....which was incredibly frustrating because it took forever and it looked funny. So be smarter than I was and if you don't know how to make a square it and save yourself some heartache.

3. Start sewing! Pin the ribbon to the top of one side of the tutu.

Sew on the ribbon. I used a stretch stitch. When you are sewing be careful that pieces of tulle are not getting brought into the foot. This is what the "nice" side looked like-
And the unfinished side-
4. Fold the ribbon over and re-pin to cover all the tulle loose ends.
Sew another stretch stitch to secure the folded ribbon.

That's it! Now you have a classic pouffy tutu for under 10 bucks. I can't wait to see it on Baby J!


Black or White?

I am on a mission to 100% complete the kitchen. Those pesky cabinets that are waiting on their glass fronts are almost on their last coat of paint and poly....a year later. Derek has been assigned the task of finding the best price on glass. The bar stools have also been decided on.

still no doors....

Next up-the drapes. This has been a difficult project from the beginning. The pink mini blinds were trashed the first week we moved in and the windows have been bare ever since. While I am sure the neighbors love the view of the kitchen, I think it is time to put up some window treatments.
Ahhhh the memories

I decided I wanted long panels in between each window (7 total) but on one long rod. The first issue was finding hardware to fit such a long window. Add two corners to that and this task took us awhile. We finally found wooden rods at Lowe's that we can cut as well as extend with screws and bonus-they have corner pieces.

a pic with almost all the windows

Now that we were successful in getting the hardware...onto the drapes! Remember how my goal was to get them done before summer to block the light and heat that bakes the kitchen during that season? Yeah, obviously my new goal is winter to block the drafty cold.

In my defense I started them. Remember again the two bolts of fabric sitting in the (old) craft room?

I spent an afternoon measuring, remeasuring and cutting all the black and lining fabric. I laid it all flat and was all ready to start sewing. Then I noticed something odd.....the black fabric was actually two different colors. After I stopped hyperventilating, I decided that maybe I was just being too picky and Derek would look at it and tell me that I was being stupid.

I was wrong. He agreed that the colors were very different and that hanging next to each other, they would look funny. We couldn't return the fabric because we bought it over a year ago and from a discount place that does not guarantee things like that.

I was so mad that I was going to spend more money on more fabric, that I just left it sitting there and did not think about it for a couple of months. Well now that I have cooled down and the drafts in the kitchen are there on cold nights. So I am ready to think about it again.

Now that I have to buy new fabric, I am second guessing black as a color choice. The first time I picked it the conversation went something like this-

J: do you like this for the kitchen....not sure about black, but it is heavy and only $6 a yard?
D: that's expensive...
J: actually for home decor fabric of this weight that is incredibly cheap
D: do they have enough?
J: there is two bolts..
D: get it then
J: don't want to think about it? It's a big decision....
D: we are here, it is here and I don't want to have to come back again

The pluses of black is it is a dramatic color and I like how it balances the black cabinets on the other side of the kitchen. The minuses is that it will fade in the sunny windows and will show white dog fur.

Here is a "sample" (a piece of cotton that I bought to sew a dress from)

Disclaimer to make sure you do not think that I have lost my mind: a) the actual drapes will be lined b) they will go all the way to the floor and c) there will be a panel in between each window.

But what about white? (this sample is actually a sheet)
The pluses of white is that is airy in the kitchen. The minuses is that it will show dirt and dirty fingerprints when we have kids and it is a little more "beachy" than the rest of the kitchen.

Here are the two together for comparison-

If I could, I would take a wide angle shot with the cabinets on the other side but my camera does not have that capability. (believe me I tried and Derek was shooting me looks while he was cooking-for some reason he did not want to make this blog post). This is the best I have showing some cabinets and some windows. (note the white appliances will be gone as soon as we can afford new stainless).
Every person that has walked in the house over past week has been forced to go into the kitchen and give me their opinions. The results have been mixed. Personally I am leaning towards the black and of course Derek is leaning towards the white. Hence why they are still hanging there.

I also thought about other colors or prints. Gray is between the two but I don't have anything that long in that color to hang there. Also I don't want to do a loud or busy print because I want the backsplash to be the focal point.

Since I need 24 yards to make all the panels and since I have already spent money on fabric once, price is also a huge component of the decision.

Decisions decisions.

Now that I am in a better place about the old fabric I am starting to come up with creative ways to use it. Craft rooms drapes? Basement panels? Curtains for a stage that we could make for our future children? Dog beds?


Makeover Time

In case you have not dropped by the blog in past couple of days, I wanted to announce that we have gone through a makeover. Yeah! If you have dropped by, you have seen the work in progress and you should look again at the somewhat finished product.

Thanks to Ellie at Rainy Day Templates, I was able to update the look of the blog very inexpensively and then use my own limited knowledge of html to add in some other pieces that she so kindly set up for me. In the coming weeks I am going to update some before/after posts with more detail and add some more links at the top, but for now I am loving the new design and am hoping that it makes navigation very easy.

So come out from behind your readers, take a peek and let me know what you think of the new look!


Basement Inspiration

We are slowly running out of rooms in our house to start a new project on (we have plenty to still complete since I am the queen of 90% but that is another story).

The basement is part of the final frontier and Derek thinks that since it is "man land" that he gets to make all design and purchasing decisions. Our basement is finished thankfully but right now it is pretty boring with tan walls and old carpet. We only use it currently for the exercise room and as overflow for the guest bedroom. It is one of the few rooms that does not have honey oak trim and I believe Derek is thinking about painting all of it black. Glad he is going to learn how to paint trim because I am pretty sick of it.

Anyway, our basement has two tiny windows so it does not get much light and I want to be able to use the space as a kid area when we have children. So designing this space (on a small budget of course) is going to be tricky.

For a little inspiration I turned to my all time favorite designer-Candice Olsen. I love everything she does and one of the things she does best is basements in my opinion. So here is what I love in case Derek happens to read this when he is thinking about what he wants to do down there:).

Nothing like purple couches to say "man land"

(all photos courtesy of HGTV)

Paint Colors

One of the most frequent emails I get is "What paint color did you use for ___?". I have talked about my love for the paint deck before and paint colors gone wrong, but I did not have a list of my colors all in one place. So I thought it might be helpful if I put all the paint color info in a handy reference. Of course the colors will probably look different on you monitor (I know they do on mine) than in natural light so make sure you get paint chips and samples before you slap it on the wall. All the colors are from Sherwin Williams. Enjoy!

Dining Room
Uncertain Gray (walls)

Foggy Day (ceiling)

dining room

Family Room
Svelte Sage

family room
Powder Room

Upstairs Full Bath

Sleepy Blue


Sea Salt


Craft Room
Tupelo Tree
Sassy Green
Exercise Room
(We actually used Behr oops paint...this is the closest on the Sherwin Williams deck)


Master Bedroom

IMG_0781Entry Foyer
Basket Beige
(this was painted by previous owners....again the closest on the SW paint deck)

Guest Room
Accessible Beige

This room is also partially completed....hopefully pics soon!

Laundry Room
Foggy Day

laundry room

And by popular are the colors I used for trim-

High HidingWhite (Ace Cabinet and Trim Paint)

Cannonball (by ACE in Ace Cabinet and Trim Paint)-

SW Black Bean color matched into Ace Cabinet and Trim-