Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pinterest Challenge: Aden and Anais Swaddlers

I'm working on a few baby gifts this week. It corresponded perfectly with the Pinterest challenge going on over at Young House Love. I've had some "Pinspirations" in mind.

The Wiegands

I've been drooling over this bold, black and white baby blanket above. It looks like a knit, but I chose woven cotton gauze for my project. Like Aden and Anais swaddling blankets (TUTORIAL HERE).

I also have been loving all the triangle/tribal type prints that are popping up.

See Kate Sew

The Wiegands

Here are my Pinterest inspired, hand stamped, swaddling blankets.

They're cotton gauze, a little stretchy and beautifully breathable...happy baby!  For gifts you can roll them up and tie with cute ribbon and a little tag. I love that the colors and patterns are a bit nontraditional for babies, I get tired of dinosaurs and animals.

For my blankets, I decided to go with potato stamping so that I could have complete freedom on size and shape...not to mention it's cheap.

I cut the potatoes in half then scratch the shape into them with a blunt pencil (if it's something more complicated) then carefully cut around it with a knife. You have to dry it off with paper towels every so often because water leeches out of the potato and can give you some bleeding if you're not careful. They will last a few days if you wrap them up with plastic, and they work best if you stick with a single color per stamp. You could start out stamping with your lightest color, wipe off as much paint as you can, then go darker at the end--dark to light makes a bit of a mess. 

For the color gradient on the black trees blanket, I applied paint to the stamp with a foam brush then stamped three times before reapplying paint. I always use tulip, soft, matte fabric paint and stamped it in a completely random pattern, I like it! 

The other blanket is all triangles of different sizes and colors.

I'm in love with this one.

Hope these gifts will be enjoyed! Visit THIS POST for a complete, step by step tutorial on making knock off Aden and Anais Swaddlers. 


Funny story ...I picked up a 99 cent foam stamp from hobby lobby...here it is:

Hmm, devil face? Perfect for a baby blanket right? 

Heel no! It totally looked like an owl before stamping. I blotted out the scary mouth feathers and it took some of the frightening out of this little blanket. 

I just want to know who is in charge of checking to make sure stamps don't inadvertently look like devil faces. I think Hobby Lobby in particular would be horrified by this.

(owls to the left, devils to the right... hands in the air! sorry, that sounded so much like a line dance that I couldn't resist...)

Monday, February 25, 2013


Do you remember being a senior in high school? Or maybe a college student and having all these wild dreams? I don't know about you but a lot of mine had something to do with success...fame and fortune...American Idol...

Then the semesters start flying by and you finish college with a degree that's a little more practical than maybe what you had in mind. 

Your life includes somebody else now and you have new plans together, a few years later and maybe a chubby baby. 

The days keep flying by and you can't even remember that person who wanted those things you thought you wanted--things that didn't involve potty training or sewing stuffed robots. Life is so much richer and more full than you imagined it would be. There are hard days of course, but those are the ones that make grace all the more obvious by contrast.  

A pastor said yesterday, "The greatest gift Jesus can give you is to tear away all the dreams you have for yourself...then He overwhelms you with His grace." You are left standing with empty hands so that He can fill them, not your inflated ego or talent or career or money or carefully laid plans...because a life with Him at the center is the only one that can fill...and not just sometimes. 

His dreams for you are always best. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

DIY Magnet Boards

So, I am working on and improving P's big boy room one small project at a time. I've got a couple of projects on my list (I'll share a to do list in the next few days). One of the things I can cross off are magnet boards for one of the bare walls. I checked them out on Land of Nod ($24.95 for a 15 x 15 inch square). I wanted something a little bigger and didn't want to shell out $50 for two. The description said it was made of painted stainless steel so I figured I could make something similar. Off to Lowe's I went and bingo!! A whole shelf of steel pieces in different sizes and thicknesses (intended for welding)! Be careful when you are fiddling through these because they are a little sharp and they're not stainless so there is sort of a black layer. Also take a magnet with you, half of the panels in the same area are actually aluminum...not magnetic.

I came home with two panels, 12 x 18 inches at $4.00 each. Not bad! Add the $4-$8 for spray primer and paint and that's it!

steel panels (choose the thin panels so that you can pierce them with a nail or drill )
sharp, sturdy nails (medium thickness for making holes)
small nails or screws for hanging
spray primer, spray paint (satin or gloss)
work bench, indestructible table, scrap wood, etc... to support the metal as you hammer/drill

1) I used our sturdy patio table to make holes, the cutouts perfectly supported the metal as I pierced holes. I can't guarantee that this won't break or bend your table so do this at your own risk. Several pieces of scrap wood or something like that could also work, anything that keeps the metal from bending. 

2) Use a heavy duty nail to make a hole, pull it out, flip the metal panel over and you'll see some nasty sharp edges. Place it on a smooth, supportive surface (like a piece of wood) and hammer flat. 

3) In a well ventilated area, spray a thin coat of primer on the back of the panels, allow to dry. Spray primer on the front, then follow with thin, even coats in a color of your choice (three coats of gloss for me) drying well between layers. 

4) I let my magnet boards dry about 24 hours then popped them on the wall using small nails. It's working really well so far and have been a hit with the boy. He has already added some beautiful crayon drawings :) and a Valentine from a friend.

I don't anticipate damage to the wall. The primer on the back should keep the black residue from transferring to the wall. The nail holes are so flat that I don't think they will be a problem, but I'll have to patch the screw or nail holes if I take them off so it shouldn't be tough to fix any scratches at the same time. 

I'd love to see if you make these yourself! Leave comments!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Robot Softie: A Mini-Tutorial

My boy has been all about the robots lately. Curious George, Sesame Street and Duck Tales (brings back memories, doesn't it, you children of the 80's and 90's?) all have episodes involving robots. So fun and so much room for imagination!

My baby kept asking for a red robot, several days in a row that was all he could talk about...so...I bought some felt and fabric paint and started sewing...because, well, I had laundry to do and I'd rather sew...

You Need: 
1/2 yd of felt (one main color and small pieces for the details, I bought a few of those little 25 cent sheets in different colors)
fabric puff paint (various colors, I got one glow in the dark as well and that turned out so cute!)
pipe cleaners
buttons, trim, etc...
fabric glue

To Make: 

1) This robot is made up of one large rectangle (two large rectangles for the front and back, two long rectangles for the sides and two small rectangles for the ends), one square (head, 6 sides all equal), two arms and two legs (just long, narrow rectangles folded in half, stitched and stuffed)
-the sizing is completely up to you, mine is pretty large
-see this tutorial on making blocks for tips on stitching yours together

2) Cut out your pattern pieces, mark which ones will be front, back, face, ears, etc... and add your details. The sky is the limit. I did a lot with paint, felt and a few buttons, but you could add dials, moving parts, etc... I added a velcro flap on the back of the robot and painted what looked like a battery and other electronic type things underneath. You can tell I am very informed about mechanical husbandry and such.
-go crazy with the fun stuff then let it all dry 6-8 hours or overnight

3) Sew up the head cube (I cut a hole where the neck would be to turn right sides out and fill with stuffing, I knew it would be covered up.) Turn right sides out, stuff with polyfill, sew the opening closed and set aside.

4) Sew up the arms and legs, turn right sides out, stuff with polyfill and pin in the appropriate places to the front rectangle of your robot's body.

5) Sew up the robot's body. (again, I cut a hole at the neck--shorter than the size of the head--to turn and stuff). Turn right sides out, stuff with polyfill, sew opening closed. Using fabric glue, glue head to neck and pin the head to the body so that it dries firmly attached. I wedged my robot between my sewing machine and a stack of books for a few hours. You can go ahead and glue on your mouth at this point. It helps cover up the joint between the robot's head and body as well as looking pretty darn cute.

I used pipe cleaners for the antennae, but I think next time I'll sew something. They've become a sort of handle that P uses to carry him around and it's taking its toll. A fun and easy project! I'd love to see some different versions if you make them!