Category Archives: Crafts

Finished for Friday: Olive’s quilt

OK, in truth, I finished this one last Friday.  But you have to spread these things out. 🙂  This one is for this week’s installment of Finished for Friday, hosted by Lit and Laundry!

This quilt is for my sweet little niece, Olive. My very first niece, as a matter of fact!  Anyways, I think all babies should have something homemade.  Especially the babies in your own family.

It’s an incredibly simple pattern, but I love how clean and neat it looks.  Everything lined up and straight.  Organized.  Purposeful.  I have found I really don’t prefer the quilts that claim to be “scrappy” or random.  The ones where the instruction says something like “put the pieces together in a way that looks good.”  It drives me nuts.  I can spend forever looking at it, thinking there’s too much pink over on this side, or too much yellow over there.  It just isn’t enjoyable to me.  I prefer instructions that say to put A next to B next to C.  I have fun picking the fabrics and all of that, but I really want the pattern to just tell me what to do.

The other thing that this made me remember: I love sewing the binding onto quilts. For those non-sewers, that’s the very small outermost border (yellow, in the case of this quilt).  It’s the very last step, and the only bit (in my world) that is in any way done by hand.  Hand-sewing the whole thing would take me forever and I’d lose interest. I’m a machine quilter, all the way. But that last bit of the binding has to be done by hand.  And while it can be tedious, I love the way it really finishes the whole thing.  Both in the sense of being “done,” and also in the sense of pulling it together and making it look complete.  The small, even stitches, the smooth enclosure of the outer raw edges of the fabric, the neat corners.  It’s really satisfying in a total OCD kind of way.

Lest you think I’m a fussy neatnik, though, I also love the way the quilt looks after you send it through the washer and dryer.  Immediately after quilting, it can still look very smooth and neat and almost too nice to use.  But once it’s done and you wash and dry it, it takes on that slightly more wrinkly, textured, friendly look.  And that’s what makes it feel more like a cozy blanket you’d use, instead of something fancy you’d fold neatly on a shelf.

Anyways, this one is Olive’s Christmas present, and I hope all six months of her likes it and keeps it for years to come.

8 Comments

Filed under Crafts

Finished for Friday: Rag quilts

My insanely crafty friend over at Lit and Laundry is hosting a new feature: Finished for Friday!  Time for lots of show-and-tell for what we’ve made this week.  Wohoo! Head on over and check out the other links, and submit your own!

The blocks have been sewn into rows and the seams pressed open.

The blocks have been sewn into rows and the seams pressed open.

Early last week, I talked about turning the old receiving blankets into quilts.  I thank everyone for their suggestions, and started by making two small lovey-sized blankets with no batting.  The two layers of flannel, alone, were plenty cozy.  They’re each made from 6″ squares, five across and five down (well, 10 and 10 if you figure it’s two layers).

I can see why people get spring-loaded scissors for cutting all of the seams. It really hurts your hand with a regular pair of scissors!

I can see why people get spring-loaded scissors for cutting all of the seams. It really hurts your hand with a regular pair of scissors!

I have to say, making my first rag quilts was pretty fun!  It seems to take every rule of quilting and turn it upside down.  Make your seams invisible? Nah, make them the big feature.  Precise quarter-inch seam allowance?  Instead, let’s do something like five-eighths!  Wrong sides together, sew and make it all visible!  It makes you feel like such a rebel from the usual precision and constraints of “normal” quilting.  OK, maybe “rebel” is a bit strong.  It’s just fabric, after all.  But still, it was fun.

Both quilts, assembled and snipped and ready for the washing machine.

Both quilts, assembled and snipped and ready for the washing machine.

Close-up after one run through the washer and dryer. They're starting to fray nicely!

Close-up after one run through the washer and dryer. They're starting to fray nicely!

Beware, when washing these babies. The first time, they will completely clog the washer’s lint trap.  Be ready to replace it, or your next regular load of laundry will have water spraying all over the basement. Trust me.

Have they become an instant hit with the kids? Nah.  Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.  Maybe they’ll be good for playing with dolls at some point. Who knows.  They’re cute, and I’m happy.  Oh, and I have so much cut fabric leftover that I clearly will have to make a bigger quilt for myself… Maybe a more traditional one, but a cozy flannel nonetheless.

21 Comments

Filed under Crafts

Transformation

First, thanks to all for your comments on the whole foot surgery business.  I do think I’ll go ahead and try to have it done next month, and figure out the childcare situation as best I can.  Hrm… maybe I should ask for a TV for our bedroom for my birthday.  You know, if I’m going to be “resting” and all.

On a completely unrelated note, I continue to be in the crafting groove.  I even (speaking of early birthday presents) got a spanking new sewing machine.  Wohoo!  I’m all but finished with the quilt for my niece, and have another one ready for sandwiching as soon as I decide what I’m actually going to do with it.  I was itching to work on something else, so I pulled out fabric I had cut and started for a quilt ages ago (probably over two years ago).  Turns out, the combination of fabrics I picked back then was ugly as sin.  So I saved the big pieces for my scrap stash, and just plain ditched the rest.  Alas.

And then, lightbulb!  I remembered a project I thought of a few months ago.  Taking up much-needed storage space is a stack of the kids’ old recieving blankets.  Well-loved, frequently-washed flannel with somehow nary a prune-juice-spit-up stain on them (thank you, Oxi-Clean).  A little too ratty to pass on to someone else, but too full of newborn memories (to think, we used to be able to swaddle them in those blankets!) to throw in the trash.  Out comes the ruler and the rotary cutter, and the dozen or so blankets are rapidly becoming stacks of six-inch squares, destined to become rag quilts.

My only debate right now is what kind of blanket I’m aiming to make.  Do I want the warm, snuggly kind that you curl up under on a chilly night?  Or do I want a smaller, lighter one that can be dragged around and slept with as a comfort item?  It’s a difference not only in size but also in construction.  A heavier, warmer blanket would have batting in between the layers for warmth and weight.  A little lovey blanket could just be two layers of flannel with nothing in between.

And, while they’re starting to learn new words and signs, I can’t exactly ask my kids which they’d prefer. Maybe a little lovey blanket, since they already have their other quilts…  Crafty moms of older kids, any thoughts?

7 Comments

Filed under Crafts, Reminiscing, Stuff, stuff, and more stuff

What a throwback

Sometimes I’m not sure which era I live in.  In some ways, I totally feel the whole modern woman thing.  And in some ways, I think part of me lives in the 1950s.  What have I been doing in between watching the Olympics in the evening?

Working on another new quilt, this time for my niece…

… and baking chocolate chip cookies.

I’m all about multitasking, people.

7 Comments

Filed under Cooking, Crafts, Just me

No rest for the weary

I remember, back when I was employed and had vacation days, that the week immediately before you took time off was a bit crazier as you prepped for being away.  Being a SAHM, it turns out, is no different.

I’m racing against time and my various to-do lists before the kids and I leave for Chicago on Wednesday morning.  First, there’s the quilts.  I thought it was a ridiculous goal when I set it last week, but I just might do it: finish all of the machine-sewn parts of all three quilts before I leave!

Daniel's quilt is done.

Daniel's quilt is done.

My brother's quilt is done.

My brother's quilt is done.

Rebecca's is pinned and ready for quilting.

Rebecca's is pinned and ready for quilting.

But lest I get too cocky, there are about a hundred other things competing for the less-than-48-hours before my flight.  First, there’s the gift basket that the HDYDI moms decided to contribute to the NOMOTC Convention’s silent auction.  Nearly forgot all about it, had to run to Babies R Us for the 2nd time this weekend (and Barnes & Noble, and iParty, and Staples) to get it all together.

Bid on me, I'm for a good cause!

Bid on me, I'm for a good cause!

The first trip to BRU was for more gates, to block off the stairs.  The kids aren’t thrilled about that one.

Oh, and did I mention that I have to PACK?!  For a week-and-a-half trip with two babies?  To three different locations?  Some without cribs or high chairs?  Oh my lord… I feel faint.  Gotta go… 🙂

5 Comments

Filed under Crafts, Secret society of twin moms, Stuff, stuff, and more stuff, Travel

Quilt Progress

As I mentioned yesterday, one goal I have before I leave for Chicago is to have all of the sewing-machine-required stages finished for the three quilts I need to finish.  The quilt tops themselves have been done for, no joke, a year.  Just sitting, waiting to be put together into a finished quilt.  Despite a glitch yesterday when I ran out of thread with only a very small amount of Daniel’s quilt left, and not having the fabric that I thought I did for the binding, I’ve been sewing like a madwoman.  Every time the kids nap, and when they go to bed at night, I sit in my (rather warm) dining room with my sewing machine, rotary cutter, pins, and iron.  Whether or not I succeed in doing all of this by Tuesday depends largely on how long it takes me to do the quilting for my brother’s.  But I’d love to be able to bring all three quilts with me to Chicago, with thread and needle, and finish that last hand-sewn part of the binding while I’m there.

I feel like I’m running a damn quilting marathon.  Is there someone to hand me a gatorade along the way?

As of the end of the Friday morning nap, here’s where I stand:

Daniel’s Frog Quilt (very nearly done!)

  1. Piece backing
  2. Pin-baste backing/batting/top sandwich
  3. Quilt
  4. Make binding
  5. Attach binding

Rebecca’s Rainbow/Noah’s Ark Quilt (saving for last)

  1. Cut and piece backing
  2. Pin-baste sandwich
  3. Quilt
  4. Make binding
  5. Attach binding

Brother’s Lucky Star Wedding Quilt (more urgent, because I want to be able to give it to my brother when I’m in Chicago)

  1. Cut and piece outside border strips
  2. Attach outside border
  3. Cut and piece backing
  4. Pin-baste sandwich
  5. Quilt
  6. Make binding
  7. Attach binding

3 Comments

Filed under Crafts, Family, Travel

Scatterbrain

I’m a little out of it this week.  I think I just have a few too many things on my to-do list, and am feeling pulled in a bunch of different directions.  Tuesday night was our twin club’s monthly COPE meeting, and we had a blast at the Zimmer Zoo.  Lots of people came (including the lovely Mommy, Esq), even if the reporter from NPR didn’t pan out (long story).  But I didn’t get home until after 10:30, and I feel like I’m still paying the price, a day and a half later.  Yesterday included the city digging a big ditch in front of my driveway (with no warning!) at 6:45am, cleaning people who never seem to come at the same time twice, weird naps, and a dentist appointment… for which I had to wake the kids up from one of their weird naps. Even yoga last night wasn’t as mind-clearing as I had hoped.

The biggest thing, though, is that I’m leaving for Chicago early next Wednesday, and the to-do list just seems to go on and on.  A list of what to pack, a list of what I want my dad to get from the grocery store before we arrive. Trying to think of what we’ll need for all aspects of our trip: the first few days at my dad’s house, then a 6-hour drive with my brother and sister-in-law up to my mom’s place in northern Wisconsin for a few days, a 6-hour drive back, another few days at my dad’s house, then a 2-hour drive to central Illinois for my dad’s annual family reunion.  Yeesh.  Oh, and while we’re at the reunion… my kids turn a year old!!

Plus, I finally commandeered my little-used dining room and have set up my sewing machine and ironing board, and am determined to finish these damn quilts.  My “shoot for the moon, land in the stars” goal is to have all three of them (both kids, plus my brother and SIL’s wedding quilt that is way overdue) actually sandwiched and quilted before I leave, in the hopes that I can just bring them and finish the binding while I’m in Chicago.  I know, laugh all you want, but it’s a noble (if far-fetched) goal.

Still, though, I’m making progress.  Daniel’s quilt is assembled and about half-quilted (that’s the backing that I had to piece together on the sewing machine, there), I have a contractor coming by at noon to talk to me about rebuilding our mudroom and back stairs (husband of a woman in my twin club), and I even have contacted an attorney so we can do our wills (see, Marci, I told you it was on my list!).

In the meantime, I haven’t managed to cook a real dinner since we got back from NYC, and I’m so low on diapers that it’s possible my kids will be in swim diapers when we finally go to the store later this morning to re-stock.

And, just for one final bit of weirdness to this totally scattered post… my kids woke up (and woke me up) at the ungodly hour of 5:35 this morning.  Maintaining my rule of not getting them out of bed before 6am, I did still get up and make their bottles so they’d be ready, since waking up that early does not bode well for happy, patient babies.  Would you believe that, at about two minutes to six, they went back to sleep.  And that I then went and all but woke them up at 7?!  I mean, I appreciate the hour and a half to myself and all, but could I not have spent that time sleeping?  Crazy.

9 Comments

Filed under Crafts, Secret society of twin moms