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Archive for the ‘baby’ Category

I wrote this blog post back in April, when I made the quilt.  The quilt has traveled halfway around the world to my friend, and I have been waiting until she received it to post about it here!

When I heard that a very dear friend of mine was expecting a baby, I knew I wanted to make her something special.  I’m not exactly sure where I first heard about double gauze quilts, but this was the idea that came to mind.  Immediately after making this one, I added a double gauze quilt to my sew-for-myself list!!  (Spoiler alert– next week, I’ll post about my own quilt!!)

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The background

I did a bit of research and found that there was a very useful post on the Imagine Gnats blog about what double gauze actually is, its various applications–and most importantly, sources for the fabric!  Further perusal led me to Rachael’s post on her simple double gauze quilt, which I absolutely loved.  I decided that I wanted to make a quilt with a similar design and attempt to coordinate the quilt colors with a furniture item that my friend was receiving for her baby.

The fabric

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After checking out several online sources (I couldn’t locate any nearby shops that carried it), I decided to shop at Imagine Gnats for my double gauze.  This was my very first time ordering fabric online, and I was getting a bit overwhelmed trying to put together a set of coordinating fabrics based on website photos.  However, when I emailed Rachael, she responded within 15 minutes(!!!) with very helpful clarifications and advice.  I am so grateful!  When I got billed, she even refunded me (without me even saying anything!) for  a relevant coupon code that I hadn’t been aware of until after I had placed my order.

Fabrics: Nordic double gauze: Zinc Lozenges; Nordic double gauze: carbon triangles; Kobayashi double gauze solid kelly green; Kobayashi double gauze solid light green; Kobayashi double gauze solid light grey (for back)

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The construction

I cut strips of fabric straight across from selvedge to selvedge and pieced them together to create an approximately 60″ x 42″ quilt top.  I got the idea from THIS beautiful double gauze quilt to topstitch each of the piecing seams.

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I used flannel for the “batting,” and discovered that my craft room table is almost perfectly sized to lay out a quilt sandwich for this size quilt!  Yay!  I used painter’s tape to secure the bottom layer (a 2-yd piece of solid grey double gauze) to the table, and then it was nice and flat and “un-shifty” to lay on the next two layers.

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I pinned with straight pins, even though it was a bit prickly during quilting!

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The quilting is simply straight lines about 1/2″ on either side of each piecing seam.  For additional security, I added a line of stitching in each of the large grey pattered sections, too– purposely placed off-center.

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I used the scraps of quilt fabric to make a pieced binding (I really like the look of a scrappy binding…).

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I also used my embroidery attachment to create a dedication tag to sew into the binding.

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One thing I have neglected to mention was that I had a bit of a looming deadline for this gift!  This might be the fastest quilt I’ve ever (and will ever??) make.  I’d wanted to start it earlier, but with this-that-and-the-other going on in my life, I was delayed.  I ordered my fabric on a Saturday night and received it on Thursday.  On Thursday afternoon, I cut it out and started piecing. Friday naptime saw more piecing and topstitching of the piecing seams.  On Saturday, I made the quilt sandwich, pinned it, quilted it, made the dedication tag and binding, and machined the binding onto the front.  I spent every free moment on Sunday and Monday hand-stitching the binding so that I could mail it on Tuesday!  Special thanks to my friend B who stopped by at very last-minute notice to take photos of me holding the quilt so that I could have some of its entirety!!

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Denim bibs

Right before our family went to Disney World, I decided that my 1.5-year old son really needed some nicer-looking bibs.  I also wanted him to have something nice and new for the trip (even though they are nothing compared to the princess dresses…).   I’d made some denim bibs (the lighter ones, on the left in the photo below) for him last summer, so I quickly whipped up some more.

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I used worn-out jeans from Husband, cutting out the bib fronts from the parts of the legs where there weren’t holes or weakened fabric.

The bibs are backed with other scrap fabric from my stash; most of them are actually backed with jersey knit because I thought it would be comfy.  I found some heavy-duty snaps that you hammer in place (sew-on snaps just didn’t hold up to everyday wear-and-tear!)

I decorated a few of them: two have machine embroidery:

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And this last one has a quick fabric applique to cover some paint splotches (Husband had worn the old jeans to do some painting around the house!)

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So, just as I started stitching my quilt blocks into rows, I ran out of white thread. While it was quite a bummer and dented my momentum, it gave me a bit of an excuse to work on a couple of other things that had been simmering in my brain, but that I’d been putting off because I wanted to devote my crafting time to finishing this quilt.

One of them was this baby dinosaur taggie toy for B.

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The project popped up on my Pinterest feed as a “recommended pin.” Generally I really dislike these pins, since they tend to dominate my feed and dilute what I have chosen to follow. I try to seriously limit the time I spend on the site (I already have so many things I want to do…) and so I try to ignore all the tempting pins on the home feed, but this little dino was so cute, I couldn’t resist. Husband has a soft spot for dinosaurs, and I have s soft spot for my husband and son. 🙂 As soon as I saw the link, I’d mentally chosen fabric!

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To fit the fabric scraps, I had to reduce the size of the pattern to 90%. And since B seems to love tags but more ambivalent toward loops, I finally tried the candle technique to “seal” the cut edge of the ribbons along the dinosaur’s spine.  The whole thing took me less than an hour.

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It was immensely gratifying to see that B immediately liked his dinosaur.  He made approving growly noises and proceeded to explore the ribbons and have a taste of the dinosaur’s head.  I think the dinosaur ended up being the perfect size for him to hold (and bash).

The other thing I made during this particular overlapping nap time were two small, loosely stuffed pillows. I’m calling them door pillows.

door pillows for the kids' rooms

 

At night, we like to have our kids’ doors partly open so that we can hear them better, and also because my daughter likes to have the light from the hall spill into her room until she falls asleep. But we don’t want the doors wide open, either. The way the doors are hung on their hinges means that, left on their own, they will swing wide unless latched. Until recently we have been employing an inelegant solution: propping the doors open on bunched up scraps of cloth–ugly and sort of embarrassing, really. These pillows are low enough loft that the doors still swing over them if pushed (say, as a bleary parent responds to a cry in the night), but there is just enough friction to keep the doors from swinging on their own.  I didn’t weight them, so they are not tripping hazards (see above, about bleary blundering in the dark).  I’m so pleased to finally have such a simple solution that looks intentional.

door pillows for the kids' rooms

door pillows for the kids' rooms

door pillows for the kids' rooms

After working on a long-term project like the quilt, I felt so successful to have completed a couple of projects in about an hour of overlapping nap time!

 

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When we decided on the name we would give our son, of course, I started thinking about making a monogram to hang on his wall!

Monogram for our little boy!

While it is inspired in style by an alphabet illustration in THIS book, I made my own version of the letter “B.”   I’ve used foam adhesive to make the letter itself more dimensional, and it is adhered to the background paper using foam adhesive as well.

Monogram for our little boy!

Monogram for our little boy!

The monogram is hanging on our boy’s wall in a small collage of frames above his changing table.

P.S.  I will be taking a “maternity leave” from the blog for the month of July

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Introducing our baby boy!

It is with absolutely great joy that I introduce our beloved son, Becker!

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He was born just after 3:30 am on June 24.  We are completely smitten with this cuddly, snuggly little gentleman– who is always hungry, and already so very curious to see the world around him!

 

I will be taking a “maternity leave” from the blog for the month of July, after one more post that I prepared before his birth that will auto-post tomorrow. 

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Here’s a special guest post by Husband!  Back when we were brainstorming ideas for our boy’s room and settling on a nautical theme, he dreamed up this idea for a mobile.  He envisioned it, designed it, sourced all the materials, and built it all himself.  I think it’s pretty awesome, and such a special gift for our little boy!  Since this is his project, I’ve asked him to write a bit about it.  

~ ~ ~

ship mobile made for our baby boy by Joel!

Wife and I both like mobiles a lot, and we’ve made several together in the past, including one made of fabric birds perched on sticks that hangs over our daughter’s bed.  So when we wanted decorations for our boy’s room I immediately started thinking of how to make a mobile for him.  Since we wanted a nautical theme, boats came to mind, but I didn’t want just a collection of boats hanging by strings.  I really like fully rigged tall ships, and as a kid I also really liked reading books with ‘exploded’ views of vehicles, castles, etc., where I could see all the components of the object hovering around the center.  Somehow those two things came together in my mind, and I came up with the idea of a mobile that was a single tall ship with the sails floating freely around the hull.

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It took me awhile to work out the geometries to make the vision in my head work, but I finally settled on using stiff brass rods to support the sails, which lets them all spin around the center of the ship, while keeping them from spinning around their own axes, which would cause them to tangle with each other.  The other advantage of the brass rods is that they give the impression of the fore- and mizzen- (aft) masts.  Also, brass just seems to go with a nautical theme.

ship mobile made for our baby boy by Joel!

I tried using actual canvas fabric treated with mod podge for the sails, but that was still too floppy to work, so finally I settled on stiff white cardstock that I fastened to the brass rods with a glue gun.  I tried to find a model ship hull that would work, but couldn’t locate anything suitable, and so in the end I carved it out of a single block of balsa wood and painted it with acrylic paint.  I also had an idea for awhile of finding some little seagull figurines and placing them on rods above the ship so that they could be ‘flying’ around the top, but I was unable to find any that I liked.

ship mobile made for our baby boy by Joel!

The final ship has three ‘masts’.  The mainmast is a single rod with four sails that are free to rotate together.  The foremast and mizzenmast each have three sails that can spin around the center of the ship, and each sail is paired with one from the opposite mast.  From a balance perspective, it would have been easier to pair bottom sail (course sail) with bottom sail, middle sail (topsail) with  middle sail, and top sail (topgallant) with top sail.  Unfortunately, the rods I had weren’t long enough to span that distance and still give the scale that I wanted, and so I had to pair the bottom sails with the top sails.  This meant I had to add some counterweights, which I made out of beads wrapped in wire that I had braided to look like chain.  The hull of the ship is free to rotate and to tip up and down, which gives the impression of being on waves when it is moving.

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This is the last of the sewing projects for the baby’s room!  We purchased Lenda curtains from Ikea (I absolutely love these curtains… We also have them in our living room) and I appliqued horizontal navy blue stripes onto them.

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Husband was an amazing help with this.  He measured and pinned, since I couldn’t get down the floor to do it myself!

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I love how these curtains look!  You know, our baby’s room is the first room in our upstairs to actually have curtains! (And yes, this totally makes me want to put curtains in all the other rooms… It’s going to happen!)

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When setting up my daughter’s nursery, I re-covered a small pillow with a patchwork-style envelope cover.  I had absolutely no idea how much I would use this pillow!  It became critical back support for every minute I sat in my (awesome) rocking chair.  Two-and-a-half years later, I’m still using it every time I sit in that chair.  So of course, I made another one for our boy’s room.

front

front

I made it in exactly the same way as the first pillow, again using scraps from the crib skirt, boppy cover, and other coordinating/complimentary scraps from my scrap bin.  The only difference is that this time my mama-brain caused me to make some critical addition errors (I couldn’t find my old notes from making the first one), and so there are a couple of seams on the sides that didn’t really have to be there if I’d been thinking clearly! 😉

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back

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A while ago, this cute sailboat pillow was featured on Sew, Mama, Sew!, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make one for my little boy.  His nursery is going to have a bit of a nautical theme, so it’s perfect!  This project was SUPER easy!  I skimmed the tutorial, made my own pattern, and had the entire thing sewn in less than an hour.  And it was entirely free!  I used some scraps from the crib skirt, boppy cover, and a couple others form my scrap bin.

sailboat taggie pillow for our little boy

sailboat taggie pillow for our little boy

I added more ribbon taggies (scraps from my ribbon bin) than originally shown, because I liked the idea of the boat having lots of cheery, celebratory signal flags!

sailboat taggie pillow for our little boy

In the tutorial, the author gave an idea to insert a little bell, so my daughter helped me poke one into the stuffing 🙂

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I hope my little boy has lots of fun with this little taggie pillow!

 

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So, the last time I made a crib skirt, I was 8+ months pregnant.  And I told myself that if I was to make another one, that I shouldn’t wait until I was 8+ months pregnant!  It was hard work crawling all over the floor to get those ruffles evenly spaced.  Well, you can guess where this is going…  This crib skirt got made when I was 8+ months pregnant with my boy, haha.  Thankfully, once I got the measurements calculated, it was much simpler to put this one together, and there was zero floor-crawling!

 box pleat crib skirt for the baby's room

This crib skirt is three-sided (the first one was four-sided), since we know how the crib will be placed in the room, and the plan is for us to be in this same house for the foreseeable future.  The “skirtless” side is one of the long sides, so I added some ties to the muslin base that goes under the mattress to ensure that the weight of the “skirted” side doesn’t constantly pull it out from under the mattress.  The ties attach to the spring frame of the mattress along the edge.

 box pleat crib skirt for the baby's room

Again, I made the skirt “tear-away”– the top layer is the right length for the lowest setting of the mattress, and the bottom layer is simply basted on to make it long enough for the highest setting.  When we lower the mattress, I’ll just take out the basting to shorten the skirt. This ensures that the gap between the bottom of the frame and the floor is always covered.  (Storage space!!)

P.S. I had a hard time getting photos that accurately show the color of the crib skirt… It’s a nice rich-but-bright navy blue, somewhere in between what the two photos show!

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