30 January 2010

My grandma is a knitting factory

Yesterday the baby got a very special box from Great Grandma Katy. My Grandma Katy is a knitter and as far as I can tell, has been knitting since she was born – she's super fast! Our baby girl is the proud new owner of three adorable hats, a hooded sweater, and a blanket.

My sister and I were always decked out in Grandma Katy sweaters so it's really special that our baby will have a one from Grandma Katy too.

28 January 2010

Quilts are for cuddling

This blog is in response to the many questions I've received (both as comments to the last post and in real life) regarding why on earth I would hang a quilt on a wall – I assume, as opposed to using it in the crib.

First I must mention that I'm a very firm believer that quilts are for cuddling. That's why all the quilts I've ever made are completely machine washable, and plenty large enough for cuddling (except for this one).

But ... baby quilts are a whole different story. From what I've read, babies should not sleep with blankets, pillows, crib bumpers, or quilts due to an increased risk of SIDS (due to suffocation). As the paranoid first-timer that I am, I'm definitely going to follow the "no blanket in the crib" recommendation. So using it in the crib is out.

I could use the quilt as a play mat ... but I already made one of those. And since I've been a quilter for about 14 years, we have plenty of other quilts in the house to use for play mats.

I hope to take the quilt off the wall and let our baby use it when she gets a bit older (and can use the quilt as a quilt). But until then, I think it makes for some nice wall art.

24 January 2010

Finally up

The nursery quilt is finally quilted. And I got the binding sewn on. And it's washed and crinkly.


I secured it to the wall (just used a few small nails).

Not that that isn't exciting enough, but after I got the quilt up, I could (finally) get the flag pennant garland up.

I love it.

If I could fit in the crib, I think I'd sleep in it.

Hmmm ... now what can I make?


P.S. Go Vikings!

23 January 2010

Custom cradle sheets

When I was born, my great grandpa made me this cradle. Aside from how beautiful it is, it holds so many special memories. Thanks to my parents for taking such good care of it all these years, so that our baby will also be able to use it.

It's completely original, which is super cool. The downside is that it's impossible to buy a mattress or sheets for it. Good thing I know a thing or two about sewing.

The "mattress" is two-inch thick, dense foam (from the fabric store). I covered the foam with a lightweight white vinyl table cloth for easy clean up.

Then come the sheets.

I combined a few online tutorials for making custom fitted sheets. For the fabric, I used old sheets that we no longer used - they are amazingly soft! I made two in white and two in dark pink/red.

I've heard that it's a good idea to place a giant burp rag-like layer under the sheet to contain any mess. I made two of these by layering one layer of batting between two sheets. For as unglamorous as these are, they sure are cute (and very soft).

21 January 2010

Knotted baby caps

These knotted baby hats have got to be one of the fastest things to sew - the only downside is that they require cotton knit fabric, which is very different from my stash of quilt fabric (cotton knit fabric has a stretch that quilt fabric does not have). The stretch makes the caps more comfy and snug on the baby's noggin.

I had a hard time finding a pattern or tutorial for these, so I'm trying to make my own. Of course, I'll share it when it's done :)

My favorite cap (so far) is this one with pig-tail double knots.

They can also be tied together. Neat.

It'd be quite helpful if I had a real baby head to try these on.


On another note, if you like sloppy joe sandwiches, I have delicious recipe from my grandma to share.

Bed skirt for the crib

I made a bed skirt! In looking for crib bedding I didn't find a bed skirt I liked, so I set out to make one. Have you ever shopped for a crib skirt? Besides being very "loud" prints, they don't even touch the floor – what's the point in a bed skirt that doesn't touch the floor?!

Thanks to this tutorial from stardustshoes, I made my own bed skirt. The stardust blog is a great resource for tutorials - I got the baby booties tutorial there too.

I had to make a few modifications to make it work with a crib (especially one that has it's longest side against a wall, but it was quite easy. If you tackle this project - remember to measure twice and cut once!

18 January 2010

Little Miss Swaddle

Do you remember these books? From what I can tell, most people from my generation (and the generation before - GenX) will remember them.

Corey had a set of the Little Man, Little Miss books when he was young. His mom passed them down to us for our baby. We've been reading them to the baby every-so-often and have found them to be very funny and cute. So far my favorite is Little Miss Sunshine ... but we have many more to go, so that could change.

Anyway, I was shopping at Joann's Fabric Store yesterday and found a brand new cart of fabric fresh from the back room. The bolts were still wrapped in plastic! I spotted the "Mr. Men" and "Little Miss" character fabric and knew I had to have some. Besides, there is something very cool about getting the first cut. Maybe it's a fabric nerd thing?

I'm not normally a character fabric type of gal, but these were just too special to pass up. Joanns had both the pink/girl and blue/boy versions, in flannel, and cotton sheeting. I decided a pink flannel swaddling blanket would be a good project.

I've done a fair amount of research on swaddling and have found that bigger is better (at least 30 inches, square) and thick blankets don't seem to work as well (the baby can get too warm). So I decided on a single-layer 40-inch (approx.) swaddler.


Here's a mini tutorial for this swaddling blanket:
- I wanted a square blanket, without any waste, so I got a piece of fabric cut that matched the width of the fabric. In this case, the fabric was 42 inches wide, so I got 42 inches of fabric cut (roughly 1 and 1/8 yards).
- Cut off the selvage ends.
- Iron all four sides under 1/4 inch.
- Iron under another 1/4 inch, hiding the raw seams, be sure to iron the corners well.
- Sew 1/8 inch from folded edge, around all four sides.
- Wash (with baby-safe detergent) and enjoy.

If you haven't worked with flannel before, they wash up well, so be prepared for an increase in fluffiness and softness (and a bit of shrinking).

17 January 2010

Booties for the baby

Aren't these the cutest little shoes?!

I made these with fabric scraps! Wow! I love baby projects.

The shoes have a faux sherpa/faux suede sole (the fabric is called bonded fleece). So the baby's foot rests on the fuzzy sherpa and the suede adds some extra padding to the sole (I covered the suede in purple fabric but you could leave it showing for a bit of traction). They are fully lined and washable.

The shoes are 0-6-month size, so they "should" fit for quite a while.

I will definitely make more! Check out the gallery of booties on Flickr.

Note about bonded fleece fabric: It's very hard to find. The pattern recommends getting it at Joann's - but I was told that they discontinued it a few years ago. The name is rather deceiving, so don't bother asking for it at the craft store. Look for faux sherpa (fuzzy white) on one side, with faux suede on the other side. After searching every large chain fabric store in town, I finally found it at a local store. If you are interested in buying some of mine, leave me a comment and let me know. It sure "makes" the shoes.

15 January 2010

Ready to quilt!


Last night I finished the top of the nursery quilt. I was debating adding a border, but once I hung it on the wall, I decided it was great as-is. I absolutely love this quilt – and not just because it's for the baby!

It coordinates really well with the playmat and the flag garland and ... (I've got more projects in the works).

Time to get quilting ...

10 January 2010

The crib quilt


This quilt has been a work in progress for longer than I care to mention (ahem ... I fist blogged about it last April). Luckily it now has more significance than I even intended – it will be our baby's first quilt! It will hang above the crib.

All the blocks are done, now I am working on sewing on the white sashing. The finished quilt will be somewhere between 40x40 and 50x50 inches, depending on if I decide to do for a border, or not.

I love how the red/pink blocks remind me of the Strawberry Shortcake (the doll, not the food), and the orange/yellow blocks make me think of baby chickens, and the green/aqua squares ...

I have high hopes for some major progress this week, so stay tuned.

08 January 2010

Dresser and chair makeover

We were very fortunate that we received a few family hand-me-down heirloom pieces for the baby's nursery.

The biggest project was a dresser that originally belonged to Corey's Great Grandmother and was handed-down to Corey's dad, and to Corey and his siblings. It was a simple, nine-drawer dresser, stained with a light finish.

My mom and I lightly sanded the surface to remove the shiny texture and prepare for painting. If you've ever sanded furniture, you know it is not an "indoor activity" so we took our project to the garage. Because it was so chilly, we huddled around a propane heater. Surprisingly, we were toasty warm even though we could see our breath.

My mom helped with the painting, I supervised. Here it is after a few coats of white.

Finished and in the nursery! We spray-painted the knobs green (the knob that was missing in the photo has been found).

This little chair belonged to Corey. As you can see, it was in need of some TLC.

My dad came to the rescue with putty, sand paper, and spray paint. I absolutely love our "new" little chair.

Thanks to my parents for all their help and to Corey's parents for the great nursery furniture! I think there is something very special about using family furniture that is already rich in memories and love, and we're very fortunate that we have the chance to cary on the tradition.

03 January 2010

Fabric flag pennant garland

This fabric flag pennant banner will hang high above the baby's crib ... kind of like a mobile. I made the banner the "fast easy" way – with top-stitching and store-bought bias tape. It's also a great way to use up some scraps. Want to make one? I'll show you how!

For those wondering about safety – the banner will be very well secured in many spots, so even if one hook should fail, it will not fall on the baby.

I made my own flag template with an 8.5x11-inch piece of paper (shown above). Cut it out on the solid lines.

Cut two from each of your selected fabrics (one for the front and one for the back). I used my rotary cutter, which really made the process fast.

Using my template, you'll need roughly four pairs of flags per yard of banner.

Sew (topstitch) each pair of flags together, right sides facing out. Sew 1/4 inch from edge, on the two longest sides (see dashed lines on template).

Pin and sew the flags about two inches apart, to the binding/bias tape. I left about 10 inches of bias tape on each end of my banner, for easier hanging.

That's it! Easy, hunh?!

I think it'd be fun to make these for birthdays or holidays - words like "Thanksgiving" or "Happy Birthday" could be appliqued to the flags too. Or red and green flags, with "Merry Christmas" ... Oh the possibilities!

Happy sewing