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Turn Your Kid’s Pants into Shorts (in 3 Easy Steps)

Here’s a quick project that took me all of 15 minutes, and helps reuse something you would otherwise give/throw away, use as a rag, or lose in the bottomless black hole you call the closet (or is that just me?).

With the warm weather we’ve been having, I’ve really been wishing that my toddler had fewer long pants and more shorts. She’s going to outgrow her long pants before the weather gets cool again. Well, duh, I told myself, why not just shorten the pants?

turn kids pants into shorts

You’ll need:

1 pair of jersey cotton pants
sewing machine
thread that matches pants

I love the neon pink polka dots on these pants but they were kind of a weird shape on my girl. She has skinny legs so the pants ended up baggy around the thigh, but weirdly tapering at the ankle. So I decided that this pair would be a perfect candidate for a redo, and if it didn’t work out, oh well.


Warning: I am not a seamstress. Not even close. I’m a total amateur who has to look at the manual every time I try to thread my sewing machine. So if I can do it, you can too!

Turn the pants inside out. Fold the pants in half lengthwise and snip off the bottom portion. I just eyeballed it, but remember that you’ll lose more length after you hem the pants.

cut off pant legs

Fold up the cuffs at the bottom of the legs. You could be all fancy and zigzag stitch them, but the knit t-shirt material won’t fray, so don’t worry about it.

diy baby shorts

Besides, who’s going to be snooping in your baby’s wardrobe criticizing your hemming skills? (uh…don’t answer that question.)

Just sew around the hem with the sewing machine. Let the machine pull the fabric through to avoid stretching the fabric. Just make sure you don’t sew the leg shut. If you want to be fancy, you can sew in a double seam (just add another seam next to the first).

hemming shorts

(I forgot to take a picture while I was sewing, so I faked the above picture.)

And it’s as easy as 1…2…3!

turn kids pants into shorts

Is it perfect? Nope. I’m incapable of sewing a straight seam. Does it work and are they comfy? Oh yeah.

I tried to get a pic of my daughter modeling the shorts but she moves too fast. This is the best I could do and it’s a little blurry.


Of course, when you hem your shorts you will use a matching thread instead of white, unlike me, right?

The shorts are a little loose and flowy which is actually nice for this warm weather. They are the perfect play pants now.

Quick Update with IKEA Cushions

I’m fortunate to live close enough to an IKEA that the words “IKEA run” are in my vocabulary. Although the giant home furnishings retailer is notorious for gobbling up entire Saturday afternoons (and destroying relationships, Re: 30 Rock), I’ve perfected the art of going straight to what I need, grabbing it, and little else. This time, the baby and I were in and out in less than 45 minutes!

I had been wanting to add more color to the family room couch and I thought some cushions would let me do so quickly and affordably:

Update sofa with IKEA cushions

I ended up going with the Sanela turquoise cotton velvet pillow covers at $7 and the Fjadrar feather-stuffed inner cushions at $6.99 each. So that comes to about $14 a pillow, which is pretty reasonable, especially for velvet. And since the inner cushion can be easily removed, I can switch the cushion covers easily without having to buy a whole new cushion!

family room sofa front 2

sofa with blue cushions

I really think those blue cushions add a certain je ne sais quoi to the room, don’t you? Hee hee. They give it a more coastal and relaxed vibe and actually help the red/brown design on the cream cushions to pop more (the cream cushions are made from World Market napkins). And I love how they pick up the shades of blue in the painting on the left.

I also grabbed the Emmie Kvist long pillow:

Guest bed

I was originally going to put it on the sofa but it didn’t work. It was too big and the pattern was too dark. So I threw it on the guest bed and liked it.

guest bed front

It’s a lot of pattern but this room kind of needs it. Those walls really need some art. And I’m kind of over the orangey-red nightstands. They’re fun but they’re starting to look a bit juvenile. I’ve been considering painting them a glossy smoke gray to make them look a bit more sophisticated.

Ok! Well, that’s just a quick little update with IKEA pillows. What great deals have you found at IKEA lately?

Frugal Chinese Papercut Art



While we were in Shanghai we went to visit Tian Zi Fang, an art district located in the French Concession. The stone houses date from the 1930s and the area just feels like “Old Shanghai”, whatever that means…I wasn’t in Shanghai in the 30s, but it seems like it would be an exciting time to experience. It would be fun to “Midnight in Paris” it.


There are lots of shops selling trinkets and tourist kitsch, but there are also some great shops specializing in photography, art, designer fashion, and traditional handicrafts. We picked up several Chinese papercuts, a traditional Chinese art, to the tune of 3 for 100RMB (about $16 USD). The intricate designs are hand cut onto tissue-thin paper. Of course, the cynic in me says that they could easily have been factory-cut and who would know the difference, but I choose to believe that they are really hand-cut (hee hee).

When we got home, I removed the papercuts from their packaging and used a tiny dab with a glue stick to glue them onto a watercolor paper backing, which is a higher-quality paper than what they were packaged in. Then I framed them using IKEA FJALLSTA frames. They look great! Much better than how they were displayed in the store (grayish cheap paper backing, plastic frames). They really look like art on their own right now.

The red one above with the goldfish is going to be a Christmas gift for Chris’ grandmother. It’s pretty, unique, and frugal. My favorite kind of gift =).

This Is the Bed That Chris Made


UPDATE! Please click here for the DIY Bed Frame PLANS!

Our local IKEA has some great Saturday Shocker events, and a few weeks ago, we picked up the SULTAN king-size latex mattress for just $300, reduced from $700. I think IKEA may be discontinuing this mattress, but we were pretty happy to snatch up a king size mattress for this price.

Chris and I have found that just because a mattress is expensive, doesn’t mean it is comfortable. We tend to prefer firm foam mattresses for optimal back alignment and minimal movement transfer. Before this one, we had tried two queen memory foam mattresses. We like the memory foam, but they always tended to break down in a year or two, leaving large depressions in the foam. The latex foam mattress isn’t quite as firm at first blush, but it feels denser and you don’t sink in as far. I’m hoping it will last a little longer than the memory foam mattresses, but at $300, it’s not too bad of a risk.

Well, since we had a king-size mattress, we needed a king-size bed frame. Unfortunately, most nicer options were out of our price range, and the cheaper options (IKEA) were too cheap. So being the intrepid DIY-er that he is, Chris decided to build a bed frame for us.

The platform itself was simple — Chris just used a framing nail gun to nail a bunch of 2x4s and 2x6s together, exactly like framing a floor or wall. Then he used 2x8s to make the legs and frame. We decided to keep it simple and modern with two 2x8s butted up against each other for the legs. Chris connected them at right angles by drilling pocket screw holes using this Mini Kreg Jig Kit that we got on Amazon.

Before putting the frame together we sanded, stained and sealed the wood. We used Minwax Classic Gray for the stain, which is a beautiful weathered gray, one of Minwax’s newest colors. After it dried, we brushed polyurethane over top and let the frame off-gas in the garage for a few days. Finally, Chris brought it into the room and screwed all the wood together by using long screws (3″) drilled through the inner frame into the outer frame. He also screwed two pieces of plywood on top of the frame to form a solid base for the mattress.

If you’re planning to DIY this bed frame, remember that the structural integrity comes from the inner frame. This bed frame is probably quite a bit sturdier than it needs to be (basically it’s a floor frame) but it doesn’t creak, wiggle, or flex at all =). It will be a good thing to crouch next to in the event of an earthquake.

If you’re interested in building your own, check out the plans and dimensions!

And here it is, in all its delicious king-sized glory.

It’s not perfect. The gaps at the seams area tiny bit wider at some areas than others. But that just adds to its homemade charm, I think.

I love the weathered gray color. And we used a polyurethane with a satin finish, so it’s not too shiny.

Here’s a better look at that leg. I love how solid and rustic it feels.

It sure feels good to be up off the floor. And the clearance under the bed is just tall enough for me to fit the Dyson underneath…a nice unexpected plus…

Slowly, bit by bit, the master bedroom is starting to come together!

Pssst! If you like this, you might like the DIY Dining Table we built!

UPDATE! We built an upholstered headboard! Check it out!


Welcome Baby Brownie

It has been 2 months, but finally, we’ve surfaced from our baby-induced brain freeze and we’re hopefully ready to start posting regularly again.  Our Baby Brownie arrived on March 15th, and she is doing beautifully.  She is not only a beautiful and healthy baby girl but she is an easy baby too!  She really only cries when she is hungry, has a wet diaper, or is overtired.

Even so, the transition to parenthood hasn’t been easy!  I have always been kind of a free-spirited person and have always enjoyed spending time exploring my own interests…that’s why I moved to China after college, met Chris, and spent 3 years with him traveling the world.  It’s hard for me to stick to a structured routine and to be “tied down” to this little person who needs me for everything.  I love spending time with my baby though — she is so cute and I love her so much!  It has just been a little tough changing my entire mindset about my life.  Chris and I often tell each other, “God knew what we could handle and gave us an easy baby to start out with!”

Now that Baby Brownie has started smiling and cooing, taking care of her has become really rewarding.  I can’t wait until she starts laughing and reaching for things!  Although I also don’t want her to grow up — she is just so small and cute, and she has already grown so much.

The baby is enjoying the nursery we put together for her.  The one change we made is that we moved a small couch into her room for nursing and got rid of the rocker.  The rocker was a little too narrow to fit my nursing pillow and it’s nice to have the extra room on the couch so both Chris and I can sit there when we’re soothing the baby together.  It will also be perfect for reading a book with baby when she grows a little older.  Best of all, a family friend gave us the little couch for free.  Love hand-me-downs!  We were originally intending to have the baby in our room for the first few months, but I’m a really light sleeper and I would wake up every time she coughed or grunted.  I didn’t realize babies were such active sleepers!  After a month of no sleep, we decided to put the baby in her own room with a monitor, to save our own sanity.  She actually sleeps better in there than she does anywhere else!

We’ve also made a LOT of progress on the master bedroom.  I’ll post pics of that soon.  The week before the baby was born we were drywalling, painting, and flooring, so that my parents could stay there when they came to visit the baby.  Chris and I moved in there a couple weeks ago.  I’ll update you all on the master bedroom in my next post.

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