DIY Door Draft Stopper {Easy Sewing Project}

As I quietly creep through the house to the coffee maker, I catch a chill as soon as my feet hit the hardwood floor in our entryway. It sends a shiver through me and I make a quick detour to look at the thermostat. It’s holding strong and steady where it was set, but it’s winter and the cold air still finds its way in through the tiniest cracks. A draft stopper, or a draft snake as we called it growing up, is a quick and easy fix for stopping cold air from coming in through door cracks. Using a Door Draft Stopper or a Draft Snake is a great way to lower your heating bill and make sure your home is energy efficient. It just so happens that a door draft stopper is also a very easy DIY sewing project. With some scrap fabric and fifteen minutes, you can stop drafts in your house, too.

DIY Door Draft Stopper or Draft Snake to keep the chilly air from sneaking in the door cracks and helping your heating bill

DIY Door Draft Stopper/Draft Snake Tutorial

Sewing Level: Beginner
Time: 15 minutes
Cost: $0-$10

Materials:

Fabric (mine was from my stash)
Thread
Sewing machine
Measuring Tape
Rice
Twill Tape (optional)

 

How to Make a DIY Door Draft Stopper/Draft Snake

  1. Measure your door and add a few inches. Cut Fabric. I found a piece of fabric in my stash that was perfect, so I didn’t even cut the length.
    Use scrap fabric to make a DIY Door Draft Stopper
  2. Fold in half lengthwise (hotdog fold). Pin the long edge and one short end closed.
    sewing scrap fabric into a DIY Draft Stopper
  3. Sew one short end. Lift your presser foot, turn, and sew all the way down the long side. Clip corners, being careful not to cut the seam.
  4. Turn the tube inside out. Use a pencil to gently help you poke the corners out if you need to.
    turning scrap fabric tube inside out for DIY Draft Snake
  5. Fill 3/4  of the way with rice. My husband helped me with this part.
    DIY Draft Stopper made from rice and scrap fabric
  6. Fold the rough edges on the open end of the tube inside about an inch.
  7. Optional: If you want to add a handle loop for easy storage when not in use, cut a piece of twill tape. Insert it in the opening to form a loop. Pin in place.
    Sew a loop at one end of your DIY Door Draft Stopper for easy storage
  8. Sew shut. Reinforce the opening with more than one stitch. (I scooted my sewing machine all the over to the edge of the table and asked my husband to hold the rice tube while I sewed the opening shut.)
    sewing end of the rice tube for a DIY draft snake

Note: I store mine hanging on a hook in my laundry room when not in use.

I’ve made draft stoppers for all of our exterior doors in our house, especially the door between the garage and our new basement homeschool room. They keep the cold air out and the warm air in. I’d say that’s a pretty fantastic frugal winter sewing project that will keep you warm.

DIY Door Draft Stopper or draft snake

Want more DIY Projects? Buy the Ultimate DIY Bundle and get busy!

DIY Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer {Beginner Sewing Project}

In my quest for pantry organization, I have a love/hate relationship with plastic grocery bags. On one hand, we reuse them for easy disposal of stinky diapers, mini trash can liners, and more. On the other hand, they seem to multiply faster than rabbits. Even with the use of reusable canvas shopping bags, we STILL end up with a lot of plastic grocery bags that need to be recycled or reused. That’s where my kids come in—one of their chores is to put the plastic grocery bags into the grocery bag holder. It works well for us and even the 3-year-old can do it. The problem is, our plastic bag holder has seen better days. I’ve had it for at least 15 years and it is falling apart. It was literally holding on by a thread and wasn’t really doing its job anymore. The plastic bags were overflowing and falling out, which led to even more clutter. It was time for a new Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer to contain the plastic shopping bag clutter.

 

Use a tea towel to sew a Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer. This beginner sewing project is an easy way to organize plastic shopping bags and cut down on pantry clutter!

Making a Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer is an easy sewing project. If you can sew a straight line, you can tackle this—it’s a perfect beginner sewing project. By using a tea towel instead of fabric, I eliminated the need to finish seams and save some time. Or, if you want to use some fabric, it is a great fabric stash busting project. This sewing project took me less than 15 minutes from start to finish and made a big impact in my pantry organization efforts. Ready to get started on your own? Let’s sew!

 DIY Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer Sewing Tutorial

Sewing Level: Beginner
Time: 15 minutes
Cost: Less than $5 (I had everything on hand, so this was FREE for me)

*affiliate links are included in this post

sewing materials for an easy to sew plastic grocery bag holder

Materials:

Tea Towel (mine is from the Dollar Tree!)
Sewing Machine
Thread
Skinny Elastic (mine was 1/4 inch)
Safety Pin
Twill Tape (you can buy this in a package or in at the cutting table. You’ll only need about 8 1/2 inches, so you could ask them to cut some to be extra frugal)

How to Sew a Plastic Grocery Bag Organizer

 

  1. Fold the tea towel in half, bringing the two long sides together to make a long, skinny rectangle. (Or as I tell my kids, a hot dog fold.)
    a folded tea towel can be sewn into a plastic grocery bag holder. Easy DIY project for a beginning sewer.
  2. Pin along the long side (or if you are a sewing rebel like me you could totally skip this step)
    pin your tea towel plastic grocery bag holder before sewing to make a straight line
  3. Sew a straight line on the long side. (FYI: the top corner was really thick, so I moved over a little and used the seam from the towel as my sewing foot guide.)
    with only a few straight seams, you can make a DIY plastic Grocery Bag Holder  to organize all those extra plastic bags from shopping trips
  4. Trim if you need to to remove bulk along the seam. Make sure not to cut over your sewing line.
  5. Fold the top and bottom of the tube down. Iron and pin in place. I eyeballed this part using my elastic as my guide. 1 inch was plenty for me.
    sew a plastic grocery bag organizer from a tea towel
  6. Stretch your tube on the sewing machine ( I removed part of my machine so I would have more control.) If yours won’t fit around your sewing machine arm, push the bulk out of the way.
    removable sewing arm on a sewing machine
  7. Sew around the tube, leaving a 1-2 inch gap from your starting point and ending point.
    grocery bag holder top seam
  8. Lay your tube flat. Cut two pieces of elastic about the length of the short side of your tube. (I totally eyeballed this.) Using a safety pin on the end of the elastic, thread the elastic through the hole, working it through the mini tube. If this is your first time making an elastic seam like this, make sure to hold onto the other end of your elastic, or pin the loose end close to the opening. This will ensure you won’t pull the elastic all the way through. If you mess up and the elastic pulls through, just do it again.
    safety pin on elastic
    easy to make plastic shopping bag organizer
    making an elastic seam
  9. Pull elastic through and overlap the ends to make the elastic like a continuous circle. Sew.
    elastic seam for plastic shopping bag organizer
    sewing elastic seam
  10. Place the tube on the sewing machine again. Sew the 1-2 inch gap closed on the top and bottom seam.
  11. Turn the tube inside out.
    elastic seam
  12. Trim any loose strings you might have hanging.
  13. Measure the twill tape. I measured about 8 1/2 inches. Once again, you can eyeball this. Trust me.
    use twill tape to make a loop for the DIY plastic bag holder
  14. To make a loop, I folded the twill tape in half, then moved one end down a 1/2 inch. After that, I folded the longer edge over to make sure my edges were clean and didn’t fray. If you didn’t want to do this, you could put some Fray Check on the raw edges.
    twill tape
    twill tape 2
  15. Stretch one of the elastic ends over the sewing machine again and sew the twill tape loop onto the plastic grocery bag organizer. Since my kids will be tugging on it frequently, I reinforced my stitching on the loop a few times.
    sewing a loop on the plastic shopping bag organizer

And that’s it! Hang it up in your pantry or laundry room to organize all those pesky plastic grocery bags that are cluttering up your space.

 

Make a plastic grocery bag organizer made out of tea towels. Perfect for beginner sewing project.

How to Take a Shower When Home Alone With a Baby

Most of us who stay home with the kids would hate to admit how often we are still in our pajamas in the afternoon…ahem. While I think “pajama days” are definitely one of the perks of being a stay at home mom, I’ve come to realize that I get more done on the days I shower before noon. Not to mention, I feel better. There’s something psychological that happens to me when I stay in my jammies too often. The funk sets in.

Before Asher came, it was easy. I’d turn on PBS for a few minutes and Jonah was occupied long enough for me to shower and get ready. Once Asher came, things got a little more tricky in the shower department. At first, big brother was NOT to be trusted. Jonah’s jealousy was so thick you could slice it. The boys needed a chaperone at all times. I learned my lesson one day when I left the room for a nanosecond and returned to a screaming baby and guilty preschooler. While much better, I’m still not confident in leaving them alone together for very long. Asher has also hit the stage where he notices if you leave him. And by “notices” I mean he cries.

So, what’s a mommy to do when a shower is needed, but you’re alone with a baby that needs to see you? You improvise. And somewhere between the “lightbulb moment” and the successful shower you realize that your all-time favorite tip for a new mommy was born.

How to Take a Shower When Home Alone With a Baby:

Stick the baby in something that will keep them safe and occupied. I currently use the bouncy seat.

Using a Binder Clip, clip the decorative shower curtain up so that you will be able to see the baby.

It should look something like this…

Hurry, break the record for the fastest shower ever before the baby starts crying! FYI: Shaving is out of the question.

Linking up with We Are That Family’s Works for Me Wednesday!

Organizing Children’s Books

books1

I have an insane amount of children’s books. I think most former teachers do. Until recently, they were boxed up because we really didn’t have the room for them. When I was looking for a specific book to use with Jonah, I would have to go digging and end up frustrated. It just wasn’t working for me, especially as I planned out “Mommy’s Official Preschool” and worked to transition us into a more structured learning time. Plus, the kid LOVES books and it was past time to rotate our book basket.

So, thanks to Ikea and their great prices, my books finally came out of hiding! This organization project was no small feat. I knew that it would drive me crazy if they weren’t organized into categories. In my Kindergarten classroom, that was the way they were organized, and my brain still works that way when I try to find a book. So, I purchased several sets of the Ikea Flyt Magazine Holders and put each of the categories in a separate holder.

book organization

So I sorted…

and sorted…

and sorted some more.

My books that had been hiding in the basement thanked me for letting them come out to play.

I found two tall bookcases at a consignment sale for a great deal and it was a match made in heaven!

The Summer Park Tour

Playground 1
We are blessed to live in an area that has tons of great parks. The problem is that we tend to frequent the same park because it is conveniently located near our home. Therefore, we hardly ever take advantage of the other parks available to us….which is a shame, because we REALLY have some awesome parks in Chattanooga! The past two years we’ve tried something that got us out and enjoying the other parks. I thought I’d share it with you in case you were needing something to get you out of the same rut I was in…or maybe you’d  just like to try something fun!

Introducing… The Summer Park Tour!

The Goal: Enjoy as many great parks as you can and rejuvenate your play time!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Make a list of all the parks in your area.
  2. Grab your calendar and choose atleast one day per week that could be “Park & Picnic” Day.
  3. Then, plug in the list of parks on the days marked “Park & Picnic” Days. (If you run out of parks, repeat your favorites!)
  4. Send out the calendar of “Park & Picnic” Days with the locations to your friends in hopes that they might join you at the park (It makes it easier if the kids have someone to play with and I always love having a little mommy talk!)
  5. On “Park & Picnic” Days, pack a picnic lunch, plenty of water and any other supplies you might need for the day (sunscreen, hats, sand toys, etc.)
  6. Head over to the designated park and play to your hearts content! Hopefully, a friend or two will join you, but if not, you’ll still have lots of fun!

The best thing about “The Summer Park Tour” is that it’s completely FREE!

http://happybrownhouse.com

Jonah & Aunt Rachel in the Coolidge Park fountain

Live in the Chattanooga area? Here’s a list of great parks to enjoy:

  • Coolidge Park (bathing suits to play in the fountains)
  • The “Pumpkin Patch” Park on Signal Mountain (well shaded!)
  • Red Bank Park (take sand toys)
  • Soddy Daisy “Scramble Alley” wooden park
  • Vandergriff Park in Hixson
  • Riverpark/Riverwalk
  • Chester Frost Park (bathing suits for the lake)
  • Warner Park
  • “Helicopter Park” in Soddy Daisy (walking track)
  • “Cherokee Passage” by the Aquarium (bathing suits!)
  • Imagination Station Playground (Collegedale/Ooltewah area)
  • Riverview Park ( on/near Benton Ave.)
  • and many more!!!! (Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the list)

So tell me, would “The Summer Park Tour” work for you in your area?

Photo Credit: Insipidlife

Painted Flower Pots

I’ve got a new post up at Pennies and Blessings sharing how we brightened up our porch and someone’s day with painted flower pots. Be sure to take a look at how we did this on a tight budget!

My adorable little artist…

Frugal Friday: How I got $40 worth of books for FREE

FREE. It’s my favorite 4-letter word. Do you like it as much as I do?

Last night I placed an order on Amazon.com for $40 worth of books and didn’t have to pay for them. FREE. See, I said that word again.

Want to know my secret, too?

Swagbucks, baby.

Think about how often you search for something on the internet. What if you got “paid” for searching?

When you use Swagbucks, you can earn “bucks” or virtual dollars in your account. When you earn enough Swagbucks, you can trade in your “bucks” for prizes. My favorite prize is the $5 Amazon Gift Card for 450 Swagbucks.

You’re going to search the internet, why not earn prizes for it?

Ways To Earn More Swagbucks:

  • Download the Toolbar so you can search easily. Atleast once a day I earn a swagbuck just for having the toolbar downloaded.
  • Make Swagbucks your “Home Page” so you won’t forget to search.
  • Use Swagbucks to “search” for your favorite websites. No joke, my husband used the Swagbucks toolbar to search for Google this morning. He earned 10 Swagbucks. Instead of using a “Favorites” List in your browser to go to certain websites you frequently use, search for Facebook, Etsy, Happy Brown House, etc.
  • Redeem SwagCodes. If you follow Swagbucks on Facebook or Twitter, there are often codes you can enter to snag bucks.
  • Read the Swagbucks Newsletter. Even if you just scan through it really quickly, you might find a code for reading the newsletter.
  • Answer a Daily Poll Question.
  • Recycle an old phone through them and earn bucks.
  • Invite your friends and earn bucks.

Note: You won’t win Swagbucks for every search you do, but the more often you use Swagbucks, the better your chances of winning. Fridays are “Mega Swagbucks Days” and you can earn higher denominations.

Yeah, yeah. But does it really work?

Yes. You really do earn the prizes. I wouldn’t continue using it or tell you about it if it didn’t. I saved up my Amazon Gift Cards for a special book order I wanted to make, and have talked to others that used Swagbucks for their Christmas shopping!

Just think about the possibilities…Mommy & Me Activity Materials, Homeschool materials, Books, Electronics….for free.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and get searching!

Wondering what books I got for free?

(If you’re reading in Google Reader or through an email subscription, you’ll have to click through to see the widget. Sorry!)

Disclosure: This post includes my referral affiliate link. I will earn Swagbucks if you sign up under my link. Thanks in advance for using my referral link!