Category Archives: Tutorial

Flower and Whale Crib Sheets :: Two Stories and a Tutorial


I originally published this post in January of 2013, but found myself referencing it to make baby #3’s crib sheets. Baby #3 is another boy and will be getting sheets made from this fabric. Fun, huh? I’m pretty much loving all of Teagan White’s art right now.

I’m very visually-oriented. From my day planner to the Kitchen Aid mixer, to where I hang the picture frames–if it’s not just the right design, shade, or placement, I’ll fixate on it until it feels right.

It’s a bit compulsive, really. Or HSP. Or whatever.

Is the result of this neurosis a perfect-looking house? (Snort-laugh) No.

But as far as I have the time/energy/money, I’d rather not just tolerate, but truly enjoy the things I look at daily.

Inspirational Decor

And yet with some items in my home, it’s not just about them being pretty–I’d also like them to be meaningful.  To not just please the eye but also remind me of a truth, a fond memory, or a vision of what might yet come.

Bear with me if you think I’m getting too lofty for a post on baby sheets.

Case in point: the bedding for my kids’ rooms. I’m going to look at it every day. And every night. I’m going to launder it, sometimes multiple times a day depending on who’s potty training and who’s sick and who’s got reflux.

So, I might as well really like these darn sheets. And if they’re somehow encouraging? Even better.

Flower Sheets

For Bun, I was drawn to ones called “garden party;” they were kind of vintage-y and pretty without being too pink.


And  then as I registered for those flower sheets, I got a vision for my sweet unborn daughter. She would be like a garden. Her father and I would plant seeds of truth and words of life in her soul. We’d tend her little life and pray that all of this would cause her to flourish.

I wasn’t planning to get all spiritual over my crib sheets, but there it was. Every time I saw them, I was reminded to pray for our little Bun and for us to be the kind of parents she needed.

Whale Sheets

Then along came baby brother, whom I was sure (ok, hoped) would be another girl–only because I was grappling for some kind of consistency in my life at a time when our future was very uncertain.

But, at 20 weeks pregnant, you know what helped me get over the initial freak-out of having a little guy?

The fabric I found for his bedding.


Yes, it was just the right combo of yellow, grey, pale blue and cream, in quaint patterns of Dutch-looking windmills and whales that made me ok with–even excited about–having a boy.

Call me shallow. But there it is.

Sorry, Buckaroo. We love you dearly. And you are the perfect baby for our family.

Sorry, Buckaroo. We love you dearly. And you are the perfect baby for our family.

Not only were the colors just right, but the whales were a nice touch. I’ve always been fascinated by blue whales. Their massive size (their hearts are the size of cars, people) simply makes me stand in awe of the God who made them.

(Now I’m really tempted to go on about whales for a while, but I’ll resist and leave you with this instead. You’re welcome).

So, my daughter’s bedding prompted a vision for parenting and my son’s reminds me of the glory of creation. Pretty impressive sheets, right?


Now, let’s pick a pretty (and inspirational?) fabric and make some.

Crib Sheet Tutorial

{for a standard size crib mattress, typically about 51 5/8″ x 27 1/4″–for other size sizes, simply measure the length and width and add 16″ to both}


*2 yards of fabric
*80 inches of 1/4 inch elastic
*ruler/measuring tape

1.) Wash fabric, cut out a rectangle that’s 45″ x 68″. (If your fabric is only 44″ that’s ok).


2.) At each corner, measure 8″ squares and cut them out.


whale sheets21

3.) Next, take the two sides of one corner of the sheet and bring right sides together. Pin and sew, using about a 1/4″ seam allowance.

You’re basically making pockets that will go around the corners of the crib mattress. Do this on all four corners of the sheet.

whale sheets

4.) After sewing, serge or zig-zag stitch the seams.

5.) Then, serge (or use a sturdy zig-zag stitch) around the entire edge of the sheet. You can also iron + hem your fabric 1/4″ all the way around to keep the edges from fraying.

(I don’t have a serger and didn’t even have a great zig zag stitch at the time. But, my fabric was too narrow to hem 1/4″ around so I just made do with a simple zig zag on the rough edges. All sides have held up just fine over the course of a year).

See? Really lame zig zag. I think something was wrong with my machine. But it’s held up fine.

See? Really lame zig zag. I think something was wrong with my machine. But it’s held up fine.

6.) Iron about 1/2″ around all edges of the sheet. You’re making the casing for the elastic.

whale sheets331

7.) Sew the casing. I didn’t pin around the whole thing because it takes too long and ironing seemed to keep the fabric in place just fine.

**Remember to leave a couple inches of space to get the elastic in and out. Marking that space with two pins is helpful. Start sewing at one pin and stop at the other**

Sheet Tutorial

8.) Grab the elastic and attach a safety pin to one end. Insert into one opening in the casing and thread it around the entire sheet until it comes out of the other opening.


9.) Take the two ends of the elastic and pin. Sew a zig zag stitch over the length of the overlap.

Sheet Tutorial1

10.) Sew the opening in the casing closed.


11.) Admire your new sheet! And then go wrestle your kid’s mattress/crib bumpers until it’s securely on.

whale sheets221

Simple Party Decor :: Fabric Scrap Garland

Fabric Scrap Garland| A Simple Haven

I don’t do obvious themes at parties. Or much decor.

Call me a party minimalist, HSP (most pre-made/Disney character/super-flashy themes visually overwhelm me), or just picky, but the closest I ever come to a theme is a color scheme.

Or something made up like “a woodsy-winter theme” or “a spring-garden-tea-party-with-pinata.”

Bun’s first birthday had no apparent theme besides pink, green, and scraps of fabric. For other gatherings, my go-to decor item is mason jars filled with flowers, candles, bits of nature–and maybe trimmed with a scrap of burlap.

Apparently, scraps of fabric is my thing.

This year for Bun’s fourth birthday, Grammie was in town, so I utilized the extra hands and did more decor than usual.

While I can’t recommend making paper medallions to anyone seeking a fun and relaxing afternoon, the fabric scrap garland was easy, inexpensive, and ended up fluffy and pretty.

Scrap Fabric Garland

:: Materials ::

  • Twine
  • Scraps of different fabrics
  • Ribbon, if desired
  • Scissors
  • A favorite beverage

:: How To ::

1.) Cut/tear (I prefer cutting a little, then tearing the rest, to give a nice raw edge) the fabric into 6-8″ strips, about 1-2″ wide. You’ll want a good sized pile of each type of fabric. I used about six different prints, plus some bits of burlap and ribbon.

fabric garland2

fabric garland3

2.) Cut a piece of twine to the desired length. Mine was about 5 feet long.

3.) Knot the scraps of fabric onto the twine, alternating types of fabric as you go. Tie in some shiny or sparkly ribbon every now and then for some added texture. Be sure to leave several inches of twine free of fabric on each end so you can tie it up.

fabric garland1

4.) Sip favorite beverage. Possibly turn on a BBC show.

5.) Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the garland is complete. (This thing isn’t hard, but it can take a little while).

fabric garland.13

fabric garland.11

Do you have celebration decor go-tos?

Ode to Secondhand: Refinished Crafting Cabinet


This is the third post in a series called Ode to Secondhand, in which I regale you with the wonders of Craigslist, the online resale feast that has supplied much of our furniture (and fodder for refinishing projects).

I have a penchant for neutrals. Give me black, navy, or grey over pale pink or mint green any day. Whenever I buy new clothes (which, since my childbearing years began, is seldom), Hubs pleads for me to add some color to my wardrobe. When I shop with my mother, she does the same.

Ok, people. Here you go: I painted this cabinet turquoise. Continue reading

Ode to Secondhand: Fancy Nancy Rocking Chair


This is the second post in a series called Ode to Secondhand, in which I regale you with the wonders of Craigslist, the online resale feast that has supplied much of our furniture (and fodder for refinishing projects).

What happens when you get pregnant with #2 and baby boy suddenly needs all of big girl’s bedroom furniture? You get on Craigslist (or go to your secondhand shop of choice) and buy that 20 month old big girl another crib.

Seriously. While you may have the 1 1/2 year old that can handle a toddler bed, our daughter loved her crib (read: she’s three now and still takes a daily three hour nap in it) and we weren’t about to take it away from her. Between a cross-country move and a baby on the way, I just didn’t want to traumatize her more than necessary. Continue reading

Ode to Secondhand: Refinished Kitchen Table and Chairs


This is the first post in a series called Ode to Secondhand, in which I regale you with the wonders of Craigslist, the online resale feast that has supplied much of our furniture (and fodder for refinishing projects).

It was a glorious day when I discovered furniture shopping on Craigslist. Granted, I was living in a major metropolitan area whose inhabitants were selling anything I could ever want.

(The pickings are a bit slimmer here in Farm Town. Not that we aren’t willing to drive 2 1/2 hours to buy a hardly used double stroller).

Yes, for a young family trying to piece together furniture for our first real house, Craigslist of Dallas-Fort Worth was a veritable wonderland of bargains.  Continue reading

A Simple Spring Wreath Tutorial


In honor of the First Day of Spring, I thought we’d pause the retreat series to celebrate the occasion with a lovely spring wreath. Happy Spring and Happy Crafting.

h, springtime. Birds are chirping, buds are emerging, and if you’re where I am, sleet is encrusting the earth with a reminder that winter hasn’t quite given up her hold.

In an effort to ring in spring regardless of the temperature outside, I recently crafted a wreath to adorn my front door. Until my garden blooms with actual flowers, I will happily settle for some handmade fabric and ribbon ones, nestled in verdant-yet-faux moss and topped with a vintage button from the collection I seem to be growing–and promising myself I will actually use.

Set it all in a rustic grapevine wreath and it’s sure to bring a smile and a promise of new life whenever I open the door.

Happy Spring!

To see the tutorial, please join me over at Dinker and Giggles today!

Handmade Burp Cloth Tutorial


ne of the first presents I received when pregnant with Bun was a set of handmade burp cloths.  Their soft, feminine print heralded the upcoming birth of our first daughter and the prospect of using them with a real baby of my very own made me practically giddy.

Sweet Bun was born several months later, and with her came a diagnosis of acid reflux and the most enormous amount of spit-up.

Granted, I was a first time mom and had no reference for quantities of baby fluids. But even after birthing a second baby and observing friends’ kids, I’m pretty sure Bun was an Olympic-level spitter.

Good thing I had such beautiful burp cloths. Continue reading

All Hail the Brown Sharpie


recently let my toddler color the furniture.

Don’t worry, she just used…a brown sharpie marker.

Bless the woman from Pier One who first instructed me in the ways of masking imperfections with this miraculous little guy.

Hubs and I were making our first real, married furniture purchases and the chairs I loved (and still do, many years later–how’s that for miraculous?) had some minor flaws.

They were the only two left in the store, so the saleslady just whipped out her brown sharpie, marked on the spots, rubbed a bit, and-presto-all better! Continue reading