Mario Bros.

As with most of my previous projects, I saw a picture of a completed quilt and thought to myself, “I can do that!”  I started this project shortly after completing my dads Tetris quilt.  I printed a picture, counted out the squares and did some sewing math (see kids, you really DO need math!) and planned it out.  I cut all 864 squares before starting to sew, which is unusual for me because I typically get too impatient to get to the fun stuff and cut as needed.  But given the large number of squares needed, I wanted to make sure I was organized.

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This kind of sewing is peaceful to me.  I don’t have to think much about what I am doing…just sew in a straight line.  I was likely binge-watching something on Netflix, sitting quietly in my own thoughts, or gabbing with my girls about the latest high school goings on.

I finished the top.  I quilted it.  And then it sat on the back of my couch, folded, for nearly a year!

Finally, recently I found the lost fabric I was going to use for the binding and got to work to complete it.

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This was a challenging and fun quilt to work on.  And I just love the finished product!  It takes me back to the 80’s, when playing Nintendo was one of my family’s favorite past-times.

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.

 

 

Kid, you’ll move mountains!

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Often times, I think of a project long before I have the means, way or need to make it. But these ideas stick with me, sometimes they just roll around in my head for a while and sometimes they get lost in one of my notebooks.

But not this one.

My (not-so-little) little cousin and his wife were expecting their first baby, a boy.  For the baby shower, they asked for books instead of cards, with messages inside for the baby.  I thought this was the sweetest idea.

I couldn’t make it to the shower because my family and I were camping.  Don’t be fooled by the goofy faces, my kids were having a blast.  It was the perfect weekend with family and friends.  We played games, visited and ate lots of food!

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Even though I couldn’t be there for the baby shower, I still wanted to do something special.  What if I made a little blanket he could lay on while he played?  Or one he could snuggle with while all of these new books are read to him?

I bought the focal fabric weeks before but put it away for fear of messing it up.  One day, I finally decided that this was one gift I needed to make and now.

And not a moment too soon.  Baby Parker arrived just two days after I completed this quilt.  I hope he will enjoy this for years to come.

Congratulations to the new mom and dad on your perfect baby boy!

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