Monday, July 30, 2012

blankets 101

We have a LOT of baby blankets around here. A lot of them homemade, and each one with its own special significance.

The first sewing project I ever did was a tiny little blanket for my baby boy (I mean really tiny, it was about the size of two tablecloths put together, perhaps because the material I used was suuuper expensive). My friend Jill helped me, and she was the first person to introduce me to actual sewing on my own. Oh how scared I was!

and that's when I learned that even to a first-time sewer, making blankets is really easy!

I get a lot of comments from people like, "I wish I could be crafty and sew." But the thing is, you don't need to be crafty to know how to sew. You don't even need to know how to measure. A lot of times I don't measure my fabric when I make pillows and blankets and burp rags, etc. And if you don't happen to own a sewing machine, get a friend who does and collaborate to make this easy project! Make it a girls day. (I so need more of those...)

I still have my own baby blanket. I laid it in Charlotte's pack n play to sleep on at night. It's light cotton material and doesn't make her hot at night.

Don't you just love the randomness? clowns, horses, bunnies and bears. haha!

Ever since C was born she has been in love with this blanket, made by her auntie Layla. She can't go to sleep without being swaddled in it. I'm not even kidding. I have tried to swaddle her in other blankets but she just squirms and tries to wriggle out.

But I don't want to take it away, because its special to us. Not only was it made by her aunt, but the fabric itself is from my grandmother's stash. My grandmother that passed away some years ago. It's a wonderful sentiment to know that my baby is wrapped tight in something that her own great-grandmother hand picked and kept for so long. We love this blanket.

Sadly, C is getting too chunky to be comfortably swaddled in this blanket. The time has come to make her a bigger swaddler. (She will always be snuggling up to the first one, though, I'm sure!)

Truth be told I've actually never made a blanket for C. Among all those other little crafts that kept me so busy while awaiting her arrival, I didn't make one single blanket. Go figure. I guess it's long overdue!

For those of you that just had babies, are expecting, or would like to make a great baby shower gift, here are my tips on the perfect swaddle blanket:

*must be square. The one we currently have is 1 yd x 1yd.
*made from lightweight fabric, such as cotton. You don't want that babe to get too warm when they're all wrapped up. I like to do one side cotton and one flannel- its thin enough yet so very soft.
*One word... pre-wash!  Always pre-wash your fabric. If you don't, then when you wash your blanket it will come out billowy and slightly distorted. Especially if you use two different kinds of fabric like me.
*buy a print that you just love! That makes it much more fun :]

Don't know how to swaddle? Here's my step-by-step routine that I have to do about a dozen times a day with miss Charlotte.

Lay blanket flat. Fold one corner over so that it's about as long as the length of your baby.

Place baby on the folded corner, making sure that the edge of the fabric meets their shoulder line. 
 Take one side and wrap over baby's chest. Tuck it in nice & tight. she always gets cranky when I start tucking.

Repeat on the other side. Keep it very tight.

 It should look something like this.

Then take the bottom and fold up to baby's chest, tucking the excess around baby's side. I like to make a point with the bottom corner.

and there you have it. That's how I swaddle though I'm sure other techniques work just as good.

Now to make your own swaddle blanket!
*I realize this is a beginner level project, but I wanted this to be for those that are new to sewing. Shoot, I'm still a beginner sewer!

First, get yo fabric!
And if you do buy flannel, buy about a 1/2  to 1/4 yd extra, because it shrinks terribly in the dryer.

ps- this fabric is from Joanns. They have a groovy collection of designer prints, and yes they are more expensive but that's what those coupons are for, ladies :) You can get Joanns coupons through the mail AND through text as you enter the store.

Wash, dry, and iron fabric.
Lay them out flat on the floor. It's up to you how big you want it. I made this one just a little bigger since C is growing.

Put right sides together and measure your length and width to make sure they match. I like to trim off any excess fabric with my rotary cutters, just so its all nice and even.

Pin along the edges.
Sew 1/4 inch seam along all 4 edges, leaving a hand's width open. If you have decorative stitching I suggest doing a small zigzag, which will hold it together better.

Snip the corners. This makes them pointy! (be careful not to cut the thread)

Turn right sides out and check the stitching to make sure its even and that there are no open spots. Loop stitch the opening by hand, making sure the raw edges are turned IN.

See? It's that easy! Now you have a blanket!

If you guys like this tutorial, let me know. I don't usually do them and I will be happy to do more if anyone cares to read them :D (and if you have a request about how to make something, let me know that too! It doesn't have to be sewing related, and if it is, I probably got it from this blog.)

Happy sewing!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


 I haven't  been able to take my eyes off of   this little one.

She is just pure fun all around! So much personality and spunk.

We started her on solids the other day. She's been having brown rice cereal for a few months and I decided it was finally time. BIG MOMENT!

We gave her sweet potatoes, and from her lack of expression I'd say she liked it. and was probably thinking, "geez, it's about stinkin time, yall." She showed more enthusiasm in the proceeding feedings :]


I've gone NUTS about BERRIES. I already mentioned this in my last post...but I don't think I'll ever get over how easily accessible they are in this state. We got blackberries this time. They're in all the ditches around here but we went to our ever favorite u-pick farm instead. I like supporting local farmers when I can, especially the ones who treat their customers so well. The farmers we meet here are always friendly, and they don't care at all that my 2 year old is stomping through their strawberries or gobbling a bushel of blueberries while we pick. In fact they welcome it. How nice is that?!

The blackberries are harder to pick, and we got some good size scratches to prove it. At one point I even had to pull a thorn out of my foot.

But in the end we got soooo many juicy, tart blackberries- and it only cost $3!

There was a garden for the pickers to enjoy, so we let Talmage run around and get all his toddler jitters out.

Charlotte sat in the back seat of the stroller for the first time (my girl is growing up...sigh). She actually was really quiet and observant the whole time. Just smelling the flowers I guess!


Jonathan has been applying for jobs like crazy and we're anxious to find out where the Lord is taking us next. He only has 4 more days  left of his internship! His coworkers are sad to see him go and are throwing him a little party on his last day (it's in a bar, so I will be staying home with the chillins). I couldn't be more proud of how hard he has worked and the relationships he's established. It's no secret that my husband is kind of quiet and shy, so this has been a HUGE milestone for him. Plus I'm way impressed that he has spent his days with criminally insane patients then come home to me, his nearly mental wife. Amazing. I couldn't do it.

It's also really stressful- not knowing where we'll be moving to in so short a time. We haven't packed a thing, we have no money to move, and we've gotten comfortable here in Oregon. So moving seems like a pretty radical thing to do right now. But we have no choice...he needs to work  somewhere.

So. that's our life right now. INSANE.

but good...always good.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

berries, 9 year olds, and hair cuts

Just some thoughts today.

*I have a new favorite thing to do. Picking berries. Since living in Oregon we've picked strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. They taste better than any I've ever bought from the store and they are so stinking cheap to pick (We go to a local u-pick farm. To call it a farm doesn't do it justice. more like vineyard. It is beautiful!)

When we move (to wherever, whenever..) I will really miss berry picking. I don't think it gets any better than this!
This weekend was blueberry pickin time. I love just letting Talmage free while he scampers down the rows and eats his little heart out.

We made blueberry waffles this morning with our bounty. They were DELICIOUS. 

Then this afternoon, we were sitting in our living room and Jonathan steps ouside the sliding door for a minute. He comes back with a handful of plump blackberries- which he picked across the street. Amazing!

* Church. Church is good. I mean really good. Since being called to the Primary I have loved being at church so much more. That might sound bad... but I didn't know anyone in Relief Society and was having a hard time with it. The kids in our class are so welcoming and hilarious and sweet in their own way...I always feel like I am right where I belong. Jonathan makes a great Primary teacher, too. It's funny to watch him crack jokes with the kids and get annoyed with them. I get annoyed, especially. Kids are great, but they are also smartie-pants. Sometimes I can't even stand it, so I take a moment to breathe, and then put up with it for a little while longer.

I have met the best women in Primary. They are all seriously my best friends in the ward.They are so full of life and humor and optimism. They kidnapped me once to take me berry-picking (which I couldn't have been happier about) and we had such a grand time chasing our children around, some of us wearing babies and wishing we had five more hands.

My visiting teaching companion is amazing, too. She has 2 beautiful children who love Talmage & Charlotte and she is always there to talk to me, prodding me on to speak about the things I'd rather avoid saying. She's kind of like my counselor in a way. The woman even sent me a postcard from her vacation last week and I was thrilled! I love her and I hope we can always keep in touch.

On the topic of church, here are the kiddos all dressed up this morning. They always match a little, I can't help it :)

and Charlotte finally fits into the jumperoo. Wahoo! I love that thing. It's the best invention ever.

*"I can do hard things."

I recently discovered this amazing blog and read every single post because it is just that good. This one in particular got to me.

I think that everyone has their own level of what is hard for them. For me, its anything NEW. I hate change. I hate the thought of moving again. But I CAN DO HARD THINGS. That small yet empowering reassurance is all I need. 

But sometimes, doing hard things on a smaller level makes me feel even more empowered. Like, for instance, cutting hair.

I cut my own hair a few times when I was a teenager and it never turned out that great. I never figured I would be cutting my son's and husband's hair someday. But I learned, and I did it! It was hard, and terrifying. And I didn't completely screw it up. So yay for me!

Talmage's short hair- cut with clippers.

Jonathan's faux-hawk hair- cut with scissors.

I'm trying to learn new and hard things as often as I can. I also made my first baby girl dress, which was frustrating and time-consuming (however simple it looks). But in the end, I was so happy with myself!

I hope everyone tries something new this week, however hard it may be, and loves themselves all the more for trying. Even if it turns out awful (like my first 2 versions of ^this^ dress)-- who cares? We learn by trial and error.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


the simplest things make me happy.

Here a few things that made me happy this weekend.

1. Elastic. the stuff is amazing! I've started using it to make headbands for Charlotte and have since fallen in love (by the way, for any other mommas that use it for the same purpose, buy the kind for lingerie. it's softer AND prettier).

This weekend I used it to make ties for our little man. He always wears bow ties and I thought it was time to switch things up. I used this tutorial and they came out so so cute.

 The robot one is my favorite :]

I posed Talmage in front of church this morning to show off his tie. Notice the short hair. Yes I cut it. Yes it is shorter than what I intended. But... I still think he looks pretty darn stud-ly.

Also, Jonathan had the idea to make some elastic sheet grippers for our bed. It took me 5 minutes to put together and now our sheet doesn't move everywhere when we are in bed. See, elastic really is so great!!

2. Being self sufficient.

I finally made it to a Relief Society activity this last week and it forever changed my life. It was all about frugal living. One thing they taught us was how to make some common household items. One day I will make them all but for now I just tried the baby wipes and Febreze. I was especially excited about the wipes because they cost us a fortune.

The wipes are sooo soft and they smell like baby oil. I will never buy wipes again. (Can I get a hallelujah?)

The Febreze goes on fabric and the carpet before vacumming, loosening up the dirt and getting rid of fleas and mites. We've actually had fleas in this apartment so I will be using this spray all the time. Plus it smells so much better than the kind I have from the store.

3. This fabric-

and what I did with it.

A brand new comforter for Talmage's bed! Yay! I can't wait to make the matching pillowcase :) I'm thinking dark blue with a felt alligator appliqued to the front.

4. Target's dollar section. I found this awesome box!

I use it to store all of C's bows and headbands. Which, by the way, also make me happy and I can't seem to stop making them. They say girls can't have too many bows but um...I don't's getting close to too many.

5. And lastly, Charlotte's smile. It's getting wider every day and now she cracks up at us, too. I love it. I love HER. She is an awesome baby.