Sherwin Williams Mega Greige Exterior House Paint

After spending last summer surrounded by paint samples, I couldn't be more happier to wake up this morning to new paint on our home.  Having a color consultant made a huge difference.  Most companies supply this service and it was a lifesaver!

Body Color: Sherwin Williams Mega Greige

Trim: SW Heron Plume

Door Color: SW Gauntlet Gray

It works perfectly with our brick color, don't you think?

Happy weekend!


Nursery Must-Have's - Fitted Crib Sheets

Crib Sheets will be one of the most used items in your nursery.  No other item gets used so often as this.  Some nights, you may be changing the crib sheet up to 3 times!  

Fitted crib sheets are a great way to bring color and style into your nursery.  You can purchase several different ones that fit into your decorating scheme to change things up for a few days.  Whether you choose restful or playful prints, one thing is very important....a proper fit.

As a mom of 3 little girls, I have learned that sheets from the big box stores are great at first, but after the first couple of washings, they shrink so much that they barely cover the mattress and often expose the side of the mattress.  Not only does that not fit in with my decorating style, but it's not safe, either! 


Crib bedding should fit well.  No loose gaps, no loose fabric.  That's why I only keep custom made fitted crib sheets.  They do cost a bit more, but will save you hours (read: years) of frustration.  

With hundreds of different fabric choices, you can find the perfect fabric(s) to match your decor and style.  Choose from organic fabric, flannel or the traditional, soft cotton.  

A mommy must-have!


Current Nursery Design Trends - Teething Crib Rail Covers

Scalloped Rail Cover

One of the biggest new trends in nursery and crib bedding design is the addition of crib rail covers.  These covers, while providing color and design to your nursery, also provide a very functional and safe environment for your little bundle of joy.

While most trends move with color and design leading the way, this particular change has been brought about by need.  Teething babies need to chew!  By protecting the rail of your crib from sharp teeth, your crib and child will thank you.

There are a few different styles of rail covers you can choose.  One of the most popular right now is the scalloped rail cover...and you can see why!  Its statement is one your friends won't soon forget.  This combination of coral, mint and gray is sure to be a winner in any household.

Ruffles won't do for your little boy?  These simple style rail covers provide just as much style and function.  Easily washable, you can add these to your nursery and know that these have been a great investment.  

Many crib bedding companies offer custom design for crib bedding.  RockyTop Design (shown here) can work with you to find the colors and fabrics that you envison for your space.  Owner and designer Jayna McCauley says that her customers already have a vision when coming to her.  She goes on to say, "...listening to my clients and helping them to find the perfect combination of fabrics is one of the most rewarding parts of my job."  RockyTop Design has been creating custom crib bedding for nearly a decade.  You can find them on Etsy as well as at www.rockytopdesign.com


Spread the Love

     Valentine's Day has evoked so much hate over the years.  I used to debate the sappy holiday on live radio in college.  I've seen anger in friends' eyes when talking about the ridiculousness of the day and how it was just another day created by a company.

You're wrong.  And here's why.  

We all need love, and who says this day has to be the center of attention for couples in love.  Can't this be about the love that we should all be showing each other every day?  Can this be a day that we try just a bit harder than the day before and day after, with a smile, make someone's day brighter?  Yes, yes it can.

There is such a focus on couples on Valentine's Day, but it doesn't have to be that way. What if...what if, we went around and helped people love themselves better for that day. Give them a glow, a confidence that someone genuinely "loves me".  No romance, just friendly, I value you, love.

So, this Valentine's Day, put down the hate, put down the self-pity (I have it, too) and instead focus on a day to love a little bit better. Gender, age...it doesn't matter.  Hug someone.  Write a note.  Spread the love.

~ Jayna


Quick Teacher Gift

It's December 17th and I need quick ideas for teacher gifts.  I enter my sewing room with open eyes.  I see scrap fabric and insult-bright.

Bam.  Hot Pads for the kitchen!

These are so easy to make that it's almost cheating.  You'll need:
  • Half Yard of Insult-Bright, which is a heat reflective batting.  Ask for it at the cut counter. It's by the interfacing, etc.
  • Scrap Fabrics.  Enough for both sides of the hot pad and binding.
Because I made homemade vanilla extract last May, I was able to package them together!  However, if you don't have happy accidents like that, you can package with your favorite store-bought cookies, etc.  

To assemble the hot pad/pot holder:

I'm using 2 cuts of pretty fabric and 2 cuts of insul-bright.  Measurements are up to you.  I double layer the batting for more protection.  I don't think you have to do this.  There is no top or bottom to this batting.

Much like a quilt, layer the fabrics in this order: 
  1. Pretty fabric right side down
  2. both layers of insult-bright
  3. pretty fabric right side up
  4. Pin in a couple of places to secure while you sew. Yes, you have to do this.
This is where I quilt the layers together.  I didn't use a free-motion quilting foot here and kept the feed-dogs up....from what I can remember.  I just sewed it all together in whatever pattern my pretty little, creative mind wanted to.  After getting it nice and quilted, trim it up in a nice square.  Add binding.  I'm not adding instructions for binding, but if you need one, this one is the best! 

Press and you're done.  Perhaps teachers can't use more hot pads, but perhaps they can.  I love handmade teacher gifts and I think (I hope) they do, too.  After all, they're protecting, teaching and loving my kids all year long.  

Happy creating!


New Website Coming Soon!

Hello, lovely blog world!  I am excited to announce that RockyTop Design finally has it's own .com

www.rockytopdesign.com has been a long road coming, but we have finally arrived.  I look forward to many new products and fabrics as we move forward.  Go RockyTop!


Teacher Gift - Vanilla Extract and Vanilla Bean Sugar

It's that time of year again...teacher gifts.  I wanted to share what I made last year....or was it the year before?  Anyway, this is a classic gift that is handmade.  An important note....the vanilla extract needs a couple of months at least to cure.  So, if you made the extract now, it would be perfect for Christmas.

Things you'll need for the extract and sugar:

  • Vanilla Beans, 40-50 ct. (more about those later)
  • Vodka or Rum.  Needs to be 70-80 proof or more.
  • Sugar (organic, Turbinado, or plain white granulated sugar will do)
  • Pretty jars for the finished project
  • Knife, cutting board and food processor
More about the ingredients:

Vanilla Beans: I usually buy my vanilla beans local, but you can order on Ebay, Amazon, etc.  To make a whole bottle of vanilla extract (we're talking a 1.75L of alcohol), you're going to want about 20 beans or more.  If you're gifting small bottles of extract, you're going to want some extra vanilla beans to put in the individual bottles.  You can order those later.  The sugar takes about 20 beans as well.  To store vanilla beans, wrap them very, very well in plastic to prevent drying. Store in a dark, cool space.

Liquor: I usually use vodka, but my bestie uses dark rum and had great results.  Just make sure that you are hitting that 70+ proof goal.  I do this with a 1.75L size, but I should have purchased more because it didn't leave any extract for me!

Sugar:  Purchase enough sugar to fill your containers.  Any kind of granulated sugar will do.  Turbinado sugar is especially delicious:)  Check your local co-op for specialty sugars.

Jars:  I have had great luck at World Market for jars.  They seem to have every shape and size that I need and they aren't expensive.   I'm sure if you look around at your favorite store.....you can find something that will work.  Heck, even canning jars for the sugar would be pretty. 

Instructions:  Wash your hands and clean your work space.

For Extract:  Get out your vanilla beans and your liquor.  All you have to do is cut the vanilla bean lengthwise from one end to the other.  I then poke around in there a bit to make sure it's split open nicely.  Add it to your liquor.  The whole bean goes in.  Repeat with all beans.  Done.  All you have to do is close up the liquor, put in your pantry and give it a shake about once a week.  Ideally, the liquor and vanilla mixture should sit for about 5 months before gifting/using.

To package prettily:  So, it's been 5 months or more and you're ready to give this gift that is now vanilla extract.  Fill your gift bottles and get out your stash vanilla beans.  Add one or two (split lengthwise) to the bottle.  A pretty ribbon or scrap fabric with a tag will finish it off nicely.  

For Sugar:  Wash your hands and put your hair back.  If you have disposable gloves, wear them...you're giving a gift, not germs.  Dump the correct amount of sugar into your food processor (assuming you have one).  Get the cutting board and cut the vanilla bean lengthwise, just as you did for the extract.  Now, with the flat part of your blade/knife and starting at one end, carefully scrape the inside contents of the vanilla bean and put into the food processor.  Make sure to clean out each bean.  Discard bean husk or add to the vanilla extract!

After you are done with all beans (15-20 beans), close up the processor and pulse the sugar until all of the vanilla has been distributed evenly and is well incorporated into the sugar.  All you have to do now is pour into the jars and finish with a ribbon and tag.  

Of course, no teach gift is complete without a heartfelt card from their student.  Teachers hold a very special place in my heart.  They work so very hard every day to make sure your child succeeds.  Here are some other fantastic teacher gift ideas:
  • Annuals or small perennials, decorated with a bow.  Make sure the plant has growing instructions included.
  • Handmade bowl covers and hot pads
  • Gift Certificate to a book store or a craft store
  • Handmade bird feeder.  This would be a great daddy project with help from the student.
  • A pretty decorative pillow with ruffles is great for a young teacher.  Keep it neutral!
  • Zippered, padded iPad cover.  I need to get that tutorial up here!
Some of these ideas require sewing skills, but try to keep in mind that any thoughtful gift is more than the teacher is expecting.  Even if it is just a card from the student, that is enough.  Your time, attention and understanding are the best gifts of all.

Happy end of the school year to all!


Product Review: Dryer Balls

While browsing one day, I came across some Laura Ashley dryer balls in Marshall's.  I was intrigued to say the least!!  The package claimed several things, one of which was very, very dear to my heart: no chemicals.  They are meant to replace dryer sheets and softeners.

I have a daughter (and myself) who has reactions to many things in her environment.  She was diagnosed young with eczema, but I came to realize that wasn't the case.  Her symptoms would come and go, sometimes very severe.  I soon realized that she had skin allergies.  Anyway....the dryer balls aren't coated with any chemicals, softeners, fragrances, etc.  They're just hard plastic balls.

So, I'm standing in Marshall's, wondering how these plastic balls are going to help me save money, energy and best of all, give me a life with a few less chemicals in it.  The package says that the balls bounce around and separate your laundry while in the dryer, making it more efficient.

I've used them for about 4 months now and I'm very pleased.  My daughter itches much less now and that makes me a happy mama.  At first I noticed a bit of static on some items, but that seems to have resolved itself.  I honestly couldn't be happier that I tried this product!

There are lots of different versions of the balls, many of which are wool.  You can even add essential oils to them if that's something you want to do.  Here is a great tutorial on the Live Simply blog that shows you step by step instructions on how to create these wonderful, colorful balls.

I know there are moms out there that are struggling with eczema or allergies in their families.  I'm here to tell you this is one step closer to your goal.

Happy Spring!


Changing Pad Cover Tutorial

A changing pad cover is a simple item to make, requiring beginner sewing skills.  This tutorial assumes you know to back stitch at the beginning to secure stitches, etc.  Here is my tutorial on how to create a changing pad cover.  I recommend you read the whole tutorial first.

Not feeling so creative?  I also make and sell custom crib bedding.

Items you'll need:

- 3/4 yard quilting cotton (44" wide)
- 1 yard or less of 5/8 wide braided elastic, white
- Thread
- Basic sewing skills, serger is a bonus!

We will start with our fabric.  When starting any project, it is wise to wash and dry your fabric so there aren't any surprises. I never use heat when washing/drying my fabrics so as to minimize shrinkage.  Press fabric with selvages together, how it came off of the bolt.  Fold the fabric with selvages together and then bring the folded side up to the selvages, lining everything up on your cutting mat to make sure we have square edges. Trim excess.  This is called squaring up your fabric.  Do this with all sewing projects!

Once you have your fabric squared up, cut your fabric to 44"x29".  The fabric should already be 44" wide, so you just need to cut to 29" to get the piece you need to make the pad cover.  From there, take all 4 corners and put them all together, lining them up perfectly.
Once all 4 corners are lined up, cut a 5"x5" square .  Unfolded, it looks like this:

Now we will make the pockets of the pad cover.  Take only one corner cut-out and fold the two "points" together, right sides together.

When you do this, you'll have the two cut edges line up.  Pin this together.  This will form your pocket.  I always serge this edge and then straight stitch for durability.  If you don't have a serger, that's okay!!  Just straight stitch that edge with about a .25" seam allowance.  You can then either zig zag the edge or some machines come with a "serge stitch".  Repeat for all 3 remaining corners.  Trim the excess threads as you go.  

Next step is to finish the edges of the fabric.  I serge around the whole perimeter of the fabric, which is now in oval shape.  Again, if you don't have a serger, simply zig zag the edge or use your machine's serge stitch to finish.  

Now it's time to add the elastic.  I use a zig zag stitch, which allows the elastic to stretch.  You'll also need to lower the stitch width, which is usually signified with a zig zag picture on your machine.  On my machine, I lower mine to 3.5.  I also stitch the elastic to the fabric, I don't create a channel where you feed the elastic around.  It's my preference.  Make sure your thread color somewhat matches your fabric color. 

With wrong side of the fabric laying up on your machine, fold over the edge only once, and only enough to get your stitching on the top side.  Place the end of your elastic so it covers the stitching on the fabric. See pictures below.  The idea is to enclose the stitched edge of the fabric under your elastic so you don't see it.  With your elastic in place, stitch and backstitch over the first half inch or so, to secure.  If you have a "needle down" feature on your machine, set that for needle down.  

You are going to gently stretch the elastic as you zig zag on top of it.  You might have to give some gentle pulling contrast on the fabric that has been sewn in back of your machine, but you don't want to pull the fabric through, you're just giving some reinforcement to it.  Fold the edge of the fabric over and stretch that elastic and stitch.  Make sure the width of your zig zag is not wider than your elastic as you want to stitch ON the elastic to secure it.  

Stretch and zig zag the elastic on all the way around the perimeter of the pad.  When you get around to the beginning of your elastic, just back stitch a few times and cut the elastic off.  Now is the time to look for threads that need trimming, etc.  That's it!!  Now you have a gorgeous, custom made changing pad cover!  Not feeling so creative?  You're in luck, I also make and sell custom crib bedding and other home decor items.  Hop on over to my shop to contact me about your custom items!

Happy Sewing!