Even More Baby Blankets!

Since the last baby blanket post, 3 more sets of friends have had children, which means 3 more baby blankets!

First up is Herman – his blanket traveled all the way to Norway! I didn’t take a ton of pictures, but I definitely had a lot of fun making the cat decoration. The general outline of the cat came from a printable paper mask that I found online.

 

Next is Eliza. I did some pre-planning for this blanket at her baby shower and took a picture of the painting that was used as the guestbook.

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A little bit of photoshop tracing resulted in the pattern for the whale, and the waterspout was easy to improvise.

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This was the first purple blanket I’ve had the opportunity to make, so I was excited to use one of my favorite fleece designs for the back – purple tye-dye!

I was able to deliver this one before Eliza was 3 months old, which might be a personal record.

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The third blanket I made was for Victor, brother to Diego from the last blanket post! I wasn’t sure how much the nursery had changed, so I made Victor’s blanket similar in theme and style to his brother’s, but with different colors.

Luckily, there is plenty of monkey print fleece out there to choose from. The one thing I would change if I were doing this again is to pick a darker background color for the name side – the monkey pattern shows through the yellow more than I’d like. Victor doesn’t seem to mind though!

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This is all for now, but definitely expect another post in the future – I know of 4 babies that are either newly arrived or coming soon, and even if though it feels silly to be sewing fleece when it’s 90 degrees outside, they’re getting a blanket 😛

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Desert Bus 10!

This year I donated 2 cat cubes to Desert Bus For Hope, a blue D6 that will be a giveaway (between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. November 14th) and a Desert Bus 10 cube that will be auctioned live at 2 a.m eastern on November 13. Having a craft in a live auction is literally a dream come true, so I’m really excited for that. Thanks to Stephen Schmidt Photography for taking such great photos for these.

Edit 1: The Desert Bus cube went for $1250 at auction!

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The Desert Bus cube is unlike one I’ve ever done before as most of the design is on the inside rather than the outside. It’s also a lot more intricate – getting the lettering right was tricky. I won’t go through every single step, but here are a few of the making-of pictures.

Usually I’ll print out a pattern, cut it out, trace it to interfacing, and cut it out from fabric, but the letters have such a specific look to them that I didn’t want to lose the precision from tracing multiple times. To get the letters/logo correct, I printed them directly on to the paper side of the fusible interfacing from my printer. It worked really well, but on one try the webbing got caught around a roller in my printer and it hasn’t been quite the same since, so proceed with caution.

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Letter spacing was also kind of tricky, so I used a paper pattern to match those up.

Everything laid out before putting the sides of the cube together:

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The D6 was a little easier to put together just because I didn’t have to match up any horizontal lines between sides of the cube. For the numbers,  I ended up scanning a D6 to make a pattern as I couldn’t find a font to match the Chessex die. This was the only in-progress pic I took:

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As always, I’m so hyped for Desert Bus and glad that I’ve been able to contribute for the past 3 years. It only takes one $7 donation to Child’s Play Charity to help a kid, and if these cubes can raise ~$1500 this year I’ll be on track to help 1000 kids with something as silly as cat beds, which is pretty awesome.

How to deal with 100 square feet of foam

My cat cubes are made out of foam covered in fleece, and the first one I made used a twin sized mattress topper for the foam – they’re easy to find, especially around back to school time, and relatively inexpensive. Once I had the technique down, I realized I would need a better source of foam, and luckily the internet has plenty such places. Here’s how I break down 100 square feet of foam so it fits in my house without taking up too much space.

The cost works out so that it makes the most sense to buy 5 half sheets of foam. Each sheet is 82 X 36 inches, and it comes neatly packaged in a 17 lb. box

Everything is vacuum sealed, and once you unwrap it you end up with a lot of plastic and a hissing, rapidly expanding mass. (Video is best at 2x speed)

Once the sheets are free, I lay them out and mark up where I need to cut. Each sheet is enough for 8 cube sides plus an extra strip of foam that I haven’t come up with a use for yet.

Cutting happens on a large cutting mat, and I just drag the foam towards me a few times to get through it all.

In the end, everything fits on top of my Ikea Expedit. It took a few days of after-work work to break it all down into squares, but it is so worth it to just get it done and put away.  This is the second batch of foam I’ve bought – the first time I just left the large sheets rolled up in a corner of the living room, and when company came over we would hide it in a closet or the trunk of my car 😛

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Six squares are missing here, they were turned into a Pokecube

More Baby Blankets!

I like making these for new babies, and while sometimes the babies aren’t brand new by the time I finish, it’s still a fun way to give a present that is both useful and unique.

With Silas, he was old enough by the time I started that I was able to find out his favorite animal/color combination.

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Dogs with big eyes and bright orange were the favorites

The dog pattern came from an online coloring book, which I’ve found to be one of the best places to get simple line drawings to turn into applique.  It does go through a couple of creepy looking stages though before the final thing is ready.

For the back I used Minky fabric for the first time, and while it was fine, it was harder to work with than fleece and slid around a lot while I was trying to get the two sides to match up.

 

All in all though, I was happy with the final product and Silas got his blanket just in time for his 1st birthday.

Unlike Silas, I knew Diego’s name and nursery theme before he was born, giving me a little bit of a headstart on getting his blanket together. I couldn’t think of a way to get enough color contrast for a monkey decal on the front of the blanket, so instead went for a monkey patterned back and really big letters for his name on the front.

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One problem with using a patterned fleece is that it can be hard to match up the colors – you can see that a little here with the difference between the greens, but they are on opposite sides so it isn’t super obvious.

I managed to get this one finished and sent out within 4 months, and it was a hit!

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Ikea Hack – Litter box

Our litter box used to live in the guest bathroom (the guest shower, actually) but that made it difficult for guests to actually use the shower – so we did what anyone looking to create space does and we went to Ikea.  A quick google search shows me that I’m not the first to use the Stuva this way, but here’s my take on it anyway.

Tools/materials:

STUVA Storage bench IKEA Low storage makes it easier for children to reach and organize their things.

Stuva Bench from Ikea

Cat door from Home Depot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 1″ thick plywood
  • Jigsaw
  • Optional – plastic lining in case your cats sometimes miss the litter box -_-

It’s basically as easy as installing the cat door on the box and putting a litter box inside.

We were happy to discover that the materials of the Stuva are pretty sturdy – we cut the first hole out of the drawer front and while it wasn’t solid wood, it was pretty durable and cut well with the jigsaw.

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There were a couple of modifications we made so that the door could be installed – it’s meant to be installed on something as thick as a normal household door, and the front of the drawer is fairly thin.  To fix this, we cut a rectangle out of plywood and added that to the back of the drawer front.

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The last extra step that we took was to double line the whole thing with plastic sheeting. We have one cat that isn’t great at aiming, and we didn’t want to have to disassemble the whole box to clean it. Before installing the cat door, we lined the whole box with plastic sheeting, cut a hole in it just big enough for the door, and then put the door in. This way the sheeting is held in place by the outer rim of the door, and it makes a pretty good seal. Then for good measure we put another layer in and just taped it down.  It’s not the prettiest, but it’s also a toilet box, so.

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We got the cat door thinking that it would help contain litter and maybe some odor, but so far we’ve just left it propped open for the cats – they were very hesitant to use the flap, and we didn’t want to discourage them from going inside the new box, so for now it’s just a nicely trimmed entrance.

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The bench lives in our front hallway with a taller version of the Stuva where we keep all the stuff that doesn’t fit in our kitchen cabinets.

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Lapis Lazuli (inspired) Dress

For the upcoming JoCo cruise, I wanted to make a dress that was formal but also a tribute to one of my favorite shows, Steven Universe.  This is what I came up with:

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For reference, here’s what Lapis wears:

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The pattern I used was McCall’s M7157, which was the closest I could find to a halter with a strap across the back.

Once I had the basic shape from a pattern, I added some of the color detail that Lapis has. I wanted to keep on the non-cosplay side of things, so that I wouldn’t feel too weird using the dress for normal situations, so I didn’t use triangles for the dark blue details. Instead I just went with wide stripes, which I think turned out pretty well.

When I want to make it a little more obvious where my inspiration came from, I can wear this necklace shaped like Lapis’s cracked gem, which I got from MagicalMcGuffins on Etsy. For more formal occasions, I have a similar teardrop necklace that is actually a lapis lazuli stone.

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One last detail that I didn’t get a picture of before I packed my dress – the inside of the skirt is lined in a slightly lighter blue, to give the same sort of effect as the light shining on Lapis in the shot at the top of the post. It probably won’t really show when I’m wearing it, but I thought it was a fun addition (and it made hemming a lot easier).

 

Last Minute Christmas!

Are you over 21? Can you sew in a straight line? Then good news! Liquor stores are open relatively late on Christmas Eve (9 pm around here), and you’ve still got time to buy presents! And while decorating the paper bag that your purchase comes in is one option, it is also very easy to make a little fabric bag to class things up.

You’ll need a strip of fabric about an inch or two wider than the bottle you’re making it for, and a few inches taller.

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These are mini bottles (perfect for stockings!) but it will work about the same for full size bottles too.

So take your strip of fabric, and turn down both of the ends. Sew those together, leaving the short ends open for your ribbon.

Then sew the sides of the fabric along the long edges up to the ribbon opening.

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Flip it right-side-out, put a ribbon through the tube, fill it with some booze, and no one will know that you bought your presents right before stores closed on Christmas Eve 🙂