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Tummy Time Mat

12/31/2011

Long before Lucas was born, I had an idea to make a “tummy time mat” made with many different swatches of black and white fabric.  I had heard the high contrast of black and white images is stimulating to the developing vision of infants.  So over the summer, I put the pedal to the metal… on my sewing machine.  And, slightly out of character for me, I actually got it done before he was born.

Remember when I showed you my first purchase of fabric for this project?  Some of those AMH solids became the brightly colored rectangles separating the swatches of black and white fabric.  I filled in the gaps with some Robert Kaufman Kona cotton solids ordered on a trial and error basis.  Unfortunately, my project budget didn’t allow much room for error, so some of them are in the wrong color family.

The black and white fabrics came from JoAnn Fabrics, Whipstitch Fabrics, Pink Castle Fabrics, Form and Fabric, and Pink Chalk Fabrics (their “shop by color” option was helpful).  They include mostly Alexander Henry, Robert Kaufman, and Timeless Treasures designs.

The light colors all reminded me of sorbet, and the deeper hues reminded me of gemstones.  I laid the pieces out to play around with where I wanted each one.  I decided to go from dark in one corner fading to light in the opposite.  I also wanted all of the color stripes to fade from dark to light.  As Lucas gets older, I have this idea of using it to teach him about complimentary colors (each color stripe intersects with it’s complimentary), tints, symmetry, and other geeky art things.

If you want to create a similar quilt, here are the facts:

  • I used 16 different black and white fabrics.  I wanted a variety, so I thought of these categories as I was choosing- geometric/organic, large print/small print, mostly black/mostly white/overall grey, dots/stripes/plaid or gingham/damask/floral/animal print.  I cut them into 10.5 inch squares allowing for a half inch seam allowance.
  • I used 24 different solid colored rectangles (4 of each color- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple).  I cut them into 10.5 inch by 4 inch rectangles (again, including a half inch seam allowance).
  • I used 9 white squares where each of the color stripes intersect.  I considered using black or grey for a different overall look.  I cut them into 4 inch squares.
  • I used a black single fold satin blanket binding along the edges.  Again, white or grey would give it a different look.
  • With the total overall size being about 4 feet, I had to choose a backing from a 54″ bolt (the more common 44/45″ would be too small).  I chose a bright yellow minky.
  • I sandwiched a thin quilt batting (padding for the baby’s tummy) in between the front and back.  Then I stitched in the ditch along the edges of the color stripes.

 

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Halloween Pictures

11/4/2011

Lucas and Blake Halloween Costumes

Here are Lucas and Lindsay with our neighbor Melissa and her son Blake who is two weeks older than Lucas. Lindsay helped Melissa make Blake’s gingerbread outfit. Both of these guys look so cute in their costumes.

Lucas the Gnome

We went to a neighborhood Halloween party last weekend, and Lucas wore his costume. Most people thought he was an elf or even Santa Claus. The ladies at the party were super excited to see him.

Lucas Pumpkin Outfit

Here’s an outfit that was a gift from Grandma Lois. Lucas seemed to enjoy the little pumpkin hat.

Our Pumpkins

Here are the pumpkins we carved this year. Lindsay was still finishing hers half-way through the trick-or-treating evening, but it looks really cool. Mine is a reference to the film The Red Balloon which I remember from my childhood. We had nearly 100 trick-or-treaters come by our place!

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A Preview and a Review

08/4/2011

The Project Preview:  The two bags of grey fabric I picked out in New York the day Scott indulged me and followed me around (or led me to?) four fabric and trim shops.  The fabric from Mood recently became a maternity skirt using a pattern from Anna Maria Horner’s latest book Handmade Beginnings (post on that to come).  The fabric from B & J Fabrics along with some solid yellow cotton will become some storage cubes for the nursery from Anna Maria Horner’s first book Seams to Me.  And the fabric in the center photo is… Anna Maria Horner fabric (can you tell I love AMH?).  Aren’t those colors gorgeous?!  I ordered it from her website and was so excited to get that little package in the mail.  They are part of a larger project for a baby “tummy-time quilt” that I dreamt up long ago.

The New York Fabric Store Review:  I have been wanting to review the fabric stores we visited in New York in case you ever go and want to visit some.  Before we went I did my research and found this to be a helpful website.

Mood~ We went here first, and I knew it would be overwhelming.  I had seen it on my favorite reality show Project Runway.  I had a specific project to buy for so I didn’t even wander upstairs.  I stayed mostly in the aisles of cotton and knits. They have an amazing selection.  Any fabric you could possibly want they probably have it, but the set-up is a bit hard to manage… roll on top of roll on top of roll.  How do you get that one on the bottom out?  The staff is more than willing to help, but I felt bad asking them to pull out multiple rolls just so I could look or feel.  Also, I apparently didn’t know the proper way to ask for a half yard or a third of a yard (the guy cutting my fabric told me to call it a ‘mid’ or ‘mini’ or something like that).

B & J Fabrics~ I went here for the quilting cottons, though they have much more than that.  This seems to be a very organized store, and I loved the set-up of the cottons.  They have a large swatch of each print hanging from a clip hanger so you can easily browse through them like clothing.  I think you can also cut a corner off of these large swatches if you need to take it with you.  I like that because then the fabric on the bolt doesn’t have a corner missing.  When you find one you want, a staff member will pull the corresponding bolt and cut what you need.  And it’s okay to say “half yard” here.

Paron Fabrics~ This store is much smaller than the previous two, as is the selection.  It is mostly garment type of fabrics.  I didn’t spend much time here since that was not what I was looking for at that point, but I read (and got the feeling) that good deals are often found here.

M & J Trimming~ Ribbons, cords, flowers, feathers, buttons, buckles, crystals, and more!  This place has all of the above in every color and style.  I didn’t end up buying anything because I didn’t have anything specific I needed, but if I did, I would have found it here.  It was fun to experience, and I only wish it were just a drive away for those moments when I find myself in need of an antique brass lion head buckle.  The walls (literally) of ribbons, buttons, and trim can be seen here along with some photos from Mood and B & J Fabrics (just look at Day 3, the first 8 photos).

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Sweet Shoe Rack

07/29/2011

The landing area leading to our garage is a pretty small space, and it tends to accumulate a heaping layer of footwear. Aside from being a significant tripping hazard, the shoe pile causes the door to be mostly blocked, so getting to/from our cars requires us to suck in our stomachs and slide through the door sideways just before we drop whatever we happened to be carrying down the garage stairs.

I wanted to fix the problem with something unique and hopefully aesthetically pleasing. We may have landed on a solution with this shoe rack installation. The coat rack seen in the pictures will be moved.

Shoe Rack

I knew we’d have to go vertical since anything on the landing itself would compromise the path of the door. Also, I figured triangles would be a good option because 1) they take up a very small amount of space 2) when you’re standing very close to the rack, your view of the shoes isn’t obstructed by the ledges since part of the shoe hangs off the side 3) they look a bit more dynamic and sculptural than rectangles in my opinion.

Shoe Rack

Clearly the project is not finished. We’ll need to paint them and then I expect cut some carpet squares for the tops of the ledges. The original plan was to have 11 ledges, but because of a mental math error on my part, I made a wrong cut leaving me with 10. Then, one of the triangles split when I was sanding it leaving me with 9. I’ve since cleaned out the flush-mount hardware stock at every Ace Hardware within 20 miles of our house which left me with 8 mounts. That’s where we stand now.

I have a sinking feeling the ledges will remain in their unfinished glory for some time. We’ll see… I’ll post more pictures if/when we finish it.

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