One Year Sew-iversary

One year!

It was one year ago today that I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine.  I was most intimidated by threading it.  When I first sat down with it, I pulled all of the thread out, pulled up a video on YouTube and re-threaded it.  Whew!  Step one done.  I used a piece of scrap material and and sewed a few straight lines to get a feel for the machine.  Then I set out to make a cute little triangle pouch I found online.  I followed a tutorial on YouTube and it was much easier and way more satisfying than I could imagine.  I was hooked!

Here is a look at {most of} my sewing projects from the last year.

My first time running fabric through the machine

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Very first project…a triangle zipper pouch

Practicing quilting

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First fidget quilt, for my grandmother

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Trying my hand at a half-square triangle quilt block

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Wall quilt, made for my grandmother…but it now hangs on my wall

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Cricut covers for my mom and myself

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Cricut cover for a friend.

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Guard equipment bag (I also made another one but don’t have a picture)

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Bag made from a thrift store mumu

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Another tote bag made from thrift store clothes

Set of five placemats

Scrappy Monster

Pin Cushion

Quilt for my king sized bed (still unfinished)

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My first baby blanket, for my cousins new baby

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Tetris blanket for my dad

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Not quite ready to share this one yet 😉

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One cat block, I made this just to see if I could lol

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Fidget quilt, for someone to gift to their elderly mother

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Weighted blanket

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Another set of placemats, better suited for fall

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One matching curtain panel (this has since become scrap fabric – although I really should make some curtains)

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Wine glass coaster

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Drawstring bag (vinyl done by my mom)

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My Dollar Tree quilting gloves 🙂

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An evening “wine down” at my sewing machine

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My first t-shirt quilt

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Another t-shirt quilt

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Chapstick holders

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Practice memory bear, made from a shirt and scrap fabric

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Girafficorn

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Pencil pouch

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Cosmetic bag

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Cut pieces for one block

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Completed block for memory quilt

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The first blocks for a memory quilt, made from my grandparents’ clothes

If you’ve made it all the way to the end…thank you for looking.

And thank you to my family and friends for the continued support and encouragement in all that I do!

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10 years of Christmases

This was our tenth year celebrating Christmas as a family, plus that first year we didn’t realize our lives were forever changing.

2007

2007 – We met just a month before his work Christmas party.  We had gone on only two dates at this point…..one being a family date to Chuck E. Cheese 🙂

2008 fam

2008 – work Christmas party

2008

2008

2009

2009

2010

2010 – Our first year as an official family

2011-1

2011 – Part 1

2011-2

2011 – Part 2

2012

2012

2013

2013

2014

2014 – We got hitched in Vegas this year ❤

2015

2015

2016

2016

2017

2017

If complicated were a tradition 

Because I like to complicate Christmas 😂, I don’t put names on the gifts.

One year, we number-coded the gifts. One year we put a letter initial on each gift but tricked the kids…we actually switched them so that for instance all of them that had an S for Shane were actually for Hannah.

What can I say….it makes for a fun time when they JUST KNOW what’s in that box they think is theirs…and then we hand it to someone else ! 😂😂😂

This year, I went with winter/Christmas-themed vinyl stickers as tags. I randomly chose a snowflake, a reindeer and holly and assigned them each their own icon.

The day before Christmas Eve, I decided to find ornaments to coincide with the icons. I snuck them onto the tree, one kid noticed immediately and another shortly after.

The game plan was to hang each kids’ corresponding ornament from their stocking before they woke. Since the ornaments were an afterthought, I didn’t find a holly ornament. So a cactus stood in its place.

This actually worked out perfectly and I may do it again next year, with better planning.

A T-Shirt Quilt or Two!

Been there…done that…got the shirt!

There are many memories to be preserved from our younger years.  From sports teams, academic and service clubs, to performing arts and commemorative events.

The t-shirt quilt was one of the first projects that caught my eye and turned me on to the thought of learning to sew.  My own kids are still collecting shirts but I was happy to make a quilt for a couple of friends whose kids have graduated.

I did a lot of research.  The first quilt took me probably way longer than it should have because I was trying to make sure I was doing things correctly…and of course, I still made mistakes along the way.  The second quilt didn’t take me as long to construct but it was a bit bigger and the quilting process took me longer (because wrestling a large quilt whilst sewing on the floor can be hard…and then being unhappy with the quilting and ripping it all out and redoing it tends to add to production time as well).

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This quilt is made from 16 different shirts.

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Flocked heat transfer vinyl was used to add her name to the back of the quilt.

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This quilt is made from 22 different shirts.

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She loved it ❤

I have found with my quilting, I tend to want to get hung up on the mistakes I make.  I don’t know why it’s so hard to see past those imperfections and appreciate the whole piece for what it is.  It’s a struggle but it is something I am working on.

With each project I work on, I learn more than just the skills it takes to complete the project.  I learn a little more about patience.  I test my problem-solving skills and push myself to see how many times I can complete the same task in an attempt to get it just right, all while keeping my cool.

I have recently learned that sometimes life takes you sideways but there’s still so much beauty around us and so much to be thankful for….we can’t get fixated on our mistakes….even when it was the mistakes that took us sideways.  😉

I hope the two young ladies that received these quilts were surprised by them and will stay wrapped up in warmth by the memories for years to come.

Merry Christmas, to all!

To the Moon and Back

I am not quite sure what it is about weighted blankets but the calming and relaxing affect is amazing.  Studies show they are beneficial for sleep disorders, ADHD, restless leg syndrome, anxiety and autism, to name a few. I have seen these around…mostly on Pinterest and was intrigued.  So when a sweet friend asked me to make one for her son, I gladly accepted the challenge.

I wanted to share the process of making this blanket, tutorial style.  But let me preface this by saying that I am still a brand-new baby sewer.  I was not following a set of instructions, but rather, random instructions I found online and on YouTube (which, there aren’t enough for this style of blanket, by the way).  My measurements, formulas and methods are probably not conventional or an exact science but merely what was working for me.  Well…now that I come to think of it, that describes most of my life…not just the construction of this blanket lol.  Ok…now on to the tutorial.

I was asked to make either a throw or twin sized blanket.  According to research, the blanket should be 10% of the recipient’s body weight, plus a pound or two.  This blanket is for a little boy who is 46 pounds, so I rounded up to 50.  I was shooting for between 6-7 pounds, since it would be a larger blanket.

I started by cutting the fabric out around 43″ by 76″.  With right sides facing, I sewed three edges together, with a quarter inch seam (and again with a half inch seam, for good measure).

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Then I flipped it right side out.  I knew I wanted 3″ squares.  So I sewed three inch columns that I could fill with the beads that would give the blanket weight.  These beads are called Poly Pellets.  They are non-toxic and machine washable!  I picked these up at Joanne’s.

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Whoever said you don’t need math after high school clearly wasn’t a crafter lol.  Since I knew I wanted 3″ squares, that meant I would have fourteen columns and 25 rows.  This equals 350 pockets to fill with these beads!

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I borrowed my dad’s scale and it only used whole numbers.  So even though I estimated 7.77 grams per pocket, I had to guess where that was on the scale…somewhere heavier than 7 grams but lighter than 8 grams.  Since I had 14 columns, I used 14 bathroom cups to divide up that rows amount of beads.  Then I could easily pour the beads into each column, the cups acting as a funnel.

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After I emptied all 14 cups of beads into the columns, I laid the blanket on the floor and raked the beads to the bottom of the blanket.  They were pretty stubborn and got stuck all along the inside of the blanket.  Using my ruler to rake the beads into their pocket was helpful.

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Since I didn’t have a proper marking utensil meant for sewing so that I could mark straight sewing lines, I used this doohickey that came with my machine to sew in a straight (ish) line.  After looking at my sewing machine manual, I see that it is called a quilting guide.  And after looking at my sewing lines, I see that it (ie, me) doesn’t work so well.

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Even though this isn’t that heavy of a blanket, lifting and pulling it for a few days definitely left my arms feeling sore a few times.  After hours of Netflix marathons of Criminal Minds and a string of thriller action movies and what seemed like a never-ending series of measuring, pouring, raking and sewing…it is complete!

The finishing measurements are 42″ x 75″ and it weighs 6 pounds 15 ounces.

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I had my friend write a message to her young son and added it to his blanket using vinyl, as well, so that her words could be with him always.

As with most projects, there are things I love about it, they are things I dislike, things I hope the new owners will overlook and most of all, a sense of pride for lessons learned and challenges tackled.

 

 

Throwback Throw

One of the best joys of creating is gifting.

Of course my family will be the ones to reap the benefits of what I sew (see what I did there…lol).

Recently my dad mentioned that someone made my grandmother a quilt and he’d like one also.  So naturally, I’d have to make one, right?!?

The hardest part of (most) any project for me, is starting.  There are so many decisions to be made.  Patterns and fabrics, oh my!  There are so many to choose from.

My dad has always been a gamer, of sorts.  I do not remember him playing it but I know we had an Atari when I was really young.  And I can remember him teaching me how to play The Oregon Trail on our Texas Instruments computer.  Then when I was around the age of 7 or so, my parents bought me a Nintendo.  I played Super Mario Bros. at my friends’ houses and was so excited to play at home.  Such fun!

When I was trying to decide which quilt I would make for him, my first thought was something neutral, maybe with beige and blues.  I would make a traditional quilt with a Missouri star, maybe.  But then I saw something like this on Pinterest and knew this was the one I had to make for him.

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Tetris!

This was a fun quilt to make.  There are definitely things I would change about it if I could go back.  I learned a few things.  And remembered some a little too late.  Like the measurements of the binding.  But hopefully he won’t look too closely at (or he’ll just overlook) those parts.  And hopefully he won’t try to fold it nice and neat because it simply won’t as it isn’t square like it should be.

A day or so after I finished quilting, but before I completed the binding, my mom called. She asked if I wanted to put a patch of my grandfather’s shirt on the quilt.  He’s been gone five years now and she thought it would be a nice, sentimental touch.  I agree.  And sure.  I have finished piecing and quilting at this point but no reason not to find a way to add it in.

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I will preface this by saying that I am a pretty sentimental person.

I took a square above the left pocket, the one that rested just on his heart and added it to the corner of the quilt that would sit closest to my dads heart.  I sewed the folded square into the binding of the quilt.

All in all, I am pleased with it.  My dad was also.  I love how fun and nostalgic it is.  And I can’t wait to make another 80’s video game inspired quilt!!