Friday, October 30, 2015

Sports Jersery T-Shirt Quilt

I started this quilt over two years ago, and FINALLY finished it for the recipient.  Now I get to share it with you!

I made this quilt for a young man who played sports throughout high school and college.  He wanted to remember those years, but didn't feel the need to keep wearing shirts and jerseys from high school and college.  He delivered more than 30 shirts to me, and I got to work!

I started by washing and drying all the shirts.  All of my quilts are designed to be machine washable, so I wanted to make sure anything that might happen to the shirts would happen before I started the quilt.  One of the jerseys was ruined in the wash - the lettering fell off!  The rest came out just fine.

Next, I cut the shirts into 12.5" squares (to make 12" finished squares).  Two of the shirts has a somewhat larger design, so I made a double-sized block that combined a larger design with a smaller one.  I layered the thinnest jerseys over t-shirt knit recycled from the plain backs of other shirts.

I laid everything out in my living room, and arranged and rearranged until I liked how the colors were distributed.  Then I got to sewing!  Large 12" blocks generally come together easily, but because all the fabrics were different - some silky, some thick, and all with different amount of stretch - I did a LOT of pinning to make sure they would come together nicely.  I don't know many quilters who work with high-performance athletic materials!

I chose royal purple minkie for the backing, and a thick batting.  This quilt is designed for ultimate comfort!

To quilt the layers together, I sewed a 2" plus sign in each of the corners.  This allows the quilt to be able to stretch, but still keeps everything from moving around during washing.

I bound the quilt with black jersey knit.  This step took me over a might be time to learn machine binding.  Toddlers don't help the process either :)

I really love how this quilt came out.  It's fun, super comfortable and snuggly, and a great way to hold onto fond memories (without wearing your old jerseys in public).

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My "the dress is blue and black" Halloween costume #thedress

Back in February, a photo of a cocktail dress caused an uproar on the internet, with hundreds of millions of people arguing whether it was white and gold or blue and black.  This article does a good job of describing the whole event.

In any case, I immediately knew I wanted this to be my Halloween costume.  Initially, I envisioned making a dress half in white and gold, and half in blue and black, but I had trouble finding lace in both colors, and it seemed like a lot of work for a one-time Halloween costume.

Instead, I decided to buy an inexpensive dress and go from there.  I ordered six gently-used royal blue dresses from ThredUp.  When they arrived, three didn't fit right and one was actually purple, but one was pretty darn close!  My Mom made a matching jacket for it, so it could be as similar to the original dress as possible.

What do you think of my version of the dress?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What to Put on a Baby Registry

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you click on the links.  That said, this is the list I would (and did) give my best friend!

I am officially in that time of life where my friends are starting to add to their families!  I often get asked what all you need for a baby, and instead of trying to recreate my list every time, I am posting it here, not just for my real-life friends, but for all my e-friends and those that love them and want to help them out!  

This list started from recommendations I got from two different multi-kid families, and has been tweaked and added to with my experience.  This isn’t just a registry list, but also a shopping list for new families.  There are definitely some things on here I wouldn’t put on a registry (looking at you, breast pads)!

I am aware of five popular places to register: Babies R Us, Target, Amazon, Diapers, and Buy Buy Baby.  There are pros and cons to all of them, but overall their prices and selections are fairly equal.  We experienced issues with Target not removing purchased items from the registry, and ended up with several identical bath towels, etc., which was kind of awkward at the shower and resulted in exchanging many items.  I found returns via Amazon to be cumbersome.  I didn’t use Buy Buy Baby but I have friends who like them.  Babies R Us has probably been my favorite for registry stuff.  I've found Diapers to be a good combination of fast shipping, low prices, and easy returns.

Keep in mind that not everything has to be new!  We were fortunate to know some families who had moved past the infant stage, and passed along tons of clothing and baby items.  A lot of stuff doesn’t get used for more than a few months, and gets very little wear.  Ask friends if you can borrow or trade items, or look on Craigslist, neighborhood lists, thrift stores, or ask other parents at day care.  The bassinet we used has now been used by five babies!

I'm not quite done tweaking this list, but I want to get it up on the web because I have a few pregnant friends I want to go ahead and share it with.  Let me know if links don't work or if you have questions!  I'll try to add links to Babies R Us and Amazon as I have time.

  1. Feeding
    1. Bottles: Don’t get more than one or two before baby, because you may go through many styles trying to find one they like.
    2. Nuk Sippy Cups (3) (Target, Amazon): The soft sippy spout was great when transitioning from nipples.  Nuk makes nipples and pumps that are interchangeable with these bottles, which is a nice feature!
    3. Snap-On Bibs (12+) (Target, Amazon): Velcro bibs scratch baby’s neck and ruin clothes in the washing machine.  You’ll want plenty, because babies are messy!
    4. High Chair (Target): If you can get away with using only a booster seat, don’t get one!  They take up a lot of space.
    5. Bumbo Seat (Target, Amazon): Use this before baby can sit in a booster seat.  We didn’t use it for long, but we really liked it for those few months.  This is a great item to borrow.
    6. Fisher Price Booster Seat (Target, Amazon): Baby can eat dinner with the family, it takes up minimal space, and it’s easy to clean.
    7. Gerber Graduates Spoons (TargetAmazon): These have spoon rests built in
    8. Munchkin Snack Catcher (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Wrangle the puffs!
    9. Hooter Hider Nursing Cover (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): There are tutorials for making them, but the store-bought one features a plastic strip that keeps the fabric away from your body, allowing you to see the baby.
    10. Lasinoh Milk Storage Bags (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): These hold more, leak less, and were preferred by Dad and Day Care, who had to use them more than I did
    11. Ice Cube Trays: Make and freeze single-serve baby food.  20-30 seconds in the microwave and you’re ready for dinner.
    12. Lasinoh Nursing Pads (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): These are the thinnest, most comfortable, yet absorbent ones I found.
    13. Boon “Grass” Bottle Drying Rack (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Great for drying all those tiny parts.  And wine glasses.  Don't forget to get a "twig" or "flower" to go with it!
    14. Boppy Nursing Pillow (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Give you arms a break!  I used this every nursing session for a year.  Get one that matches your living room or nursery so it blends in a little.
    15. Extra Boppy Cover (DIY, Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): The first one invariably gets spit up on, and you'll appreciate having a second!
    16. Nursing bras: I love the sizing chart and options at Breakout Bras.  My Motherhood bras were terrible.  I like this sleep bra from Target.
    17. Bissell Cordless Vacuum (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Yeah, I know you already have a Dyson, but using it requires hauling it out, plugging it in, etc. etc.  This is quick and easy and you’ll love it.  Optional if you have a dog who eats crumbs!
    18. Kitchenaid Blender/Food Processor (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Great for making baby food...or margaritas
  2. Room
    1. Crib: We went with an inexpensive, yet cute, one.  I didn't mind as much when our little beaver chewed it up.  Speaking of which, when once they can stand up, consider using teething guards to protect their teeth and the crib.
    2. Lullaby Earth Super Lightweight Crib Mattress - (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): This mattress only weighs 6 lbs., making it super easy for changing sheets.  Plus it's a healthier option.
    3. Blackout Shades for Nursery Windows: Darker room = better naps
    4. Dresser: Make sure the drawers slide easily!  Cute dressers lose their appeal if they aren’t 100% functional.  We have the IKEA Hemnes, but changed out the knobs for cuter ones.
    5. Huggable Hangers (30+) (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): These are so cute that I enjoy putting away her laundry and admiring her tiny clothes.  Bonus points if they match the nursery :)
  3. Clothes - think about how old they will be at different seasons, how often you do laundry, and ultimately how well the baby can play and be comfortable.  I was fortunate to get a ton of hand-me-downs, but I also like Baby Gap, Old Navy, H&M, Target, Carter's, thrift shops, and ThredUp (online consignment).
    1. Sweaters
    2. Onesies (skip shirts the first year - babies are so much easier to hold when they are wearing onesies!)
    3. Pants (footed pants are awesome in winter months because you get to skip the hassle of socks)
    4. Dresses
    5. Zippered Footie Pajamas: Snaps are doubly annoying at 3am, go with zippers!
    6. Hats (2)
    7. Sunglasses
    8. Swimsuit: Make sure it’s the right size for summer months
    9. Socks
    10. Shoes: Optional for the whole first year, but they are super cute!!!
    11. Bows/headbands
    12. Laundry Detergent for Clothes - Method Free + Clear (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): I wash all our clothes together, and this is gentle enough for our baby
    13. Laundry Detergent for Cloth Diaper and Wipes - Rockin’ Green (Amazon)
    14. Dawn Original Dish Soap (Target): You’ll be amazed how well this works when directly applied to food stains
    15. Oxyclean (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): I soak clothes overnight in oxyclean and minimal water to remove baby poop, food, and other stains.  If it doesn’t work, try soaking longer!
  4. Bedding and blankets
    1. Sheets (2) (DIY, Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Tip - layer mattress pads and sheets so if they get soiled in the middle of the night, all you have to do is peel off the top sheet and pad, and you’ll have fresh ones ready to go!
    2. Mattress Pads (2) (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
    3. Teething guard (2) (DIY, Babies R Us, Amazon)
    4. Blankets (2)
    5. Aden + Anais Receiving blankets (2) (DIY, Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): These are larger and are super soft!
    6. Swaddles (2) (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Use these before they can roll over
    7. Sleep sacks (2) (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Use these once they can roll over.  There are microfleece ones for cold weather and lighter weight ones for warmer months.
    8. Pack n Play Sheet (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
    9. Waterproof Pack n Play Sheet (Buy Buy Baby): The mattresses stain so easily!
    10. Changing Pad Covers (2) (DIY, Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
  5. Bath
    1. Towels (2+) (DIY, Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Get the thick kind!  I find that all the store-bought options are kind of small, so my Mom made us 36" ones!  Maybe one day I'll manage to get a post up about making them.
    2. Wash Cloths (6)
    3. 4 Moms Infant Bath Tub (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Mack-Daddy baby tub, and we loved using it
    4. Munchkin Bath Toys (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Great for baths or nomming on
    5. Bath Thermometer (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): I used this when pregnant, too!
    6. Honest Kids Shampoo (Costco, Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): One bottle lasts a whole year!  Plus your baby smells like a dreamsicle :)
  6. Babyproofing
    1. Outlet covers (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon) - We also replaced all of our outlets with newer, safer ones
    2. Baby gates (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon) - These were really customizable for our weird stairs, and I like that they attach directly to the wall instead of using spring-action.
    3. Motorola Video Baby Monitor (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Our house is small enough that we don’t use it for sound, but we like to be able to look in on her to see what she’s up to.  You can add extra cameras as your family grows
    4. Furniture attachy thing (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
      e. Blind cord wraps (Target): Yes, our baby managed to SWALLOW the blind cords!
      f. Corner Bumpers (Target): Great if you don't want to replace your coffee table 
      g. Soft coffee table
  7. Diapering and care
    1. Hate diaper pails: Gross, noisy, expensive, and they don’t work.  We used gallon ziplocs instead.
    2. Earth’s Best Diapers (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon, Great for kids with sensitive skin and environmentally-conscious parents
    3. Up & Up Diapers (Target): Bargain-priced diaper with wetness indicator.  We loved these but baby’s skin was too sensitive for them
    4. Disposable wipes
    5. Grovia Cloth Wipes (18) (Amazon): These work so much better than disposable wipes!  I use one cloth wipe on jobs that take at least 5 disposables.  We put used wipes in a ziploc and wash them when the stash gets low (every other day the first months, every week now that she’s older and in day care)
    6. Desitin Maximum Strength Diaper Cream (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): It works.
    7. Changing Pad (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
    8. Babyganics Sunscreen (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
    9. Infant Tylenol (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
    10. Baby Care Kit (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
    11. Thermometer
  8. Travel
    1. Britax Travel System (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Whichever one you pick out, try it out in the store first to make sure you like how the stroller rolls and fold, and that it's lightweight enough for you to put it in your car.
    2. Extra base (Babies R Us, Amazon)
    3. Bike trailer: We are currently shopping for one of these.  I can’t wait to take Savannah on bike rides!
    4. Graco Pack n play (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): We didn’t need the changing station and only used the bassinet for a few months, so consider these features optional.  Now that Savannah is older, we use this when we travel or when we’ll be at someone’s house during naptime.
    5. Diaper bag: Get a roomy one that offers lots of organization options.  I really love my Kate Spade bag I found on Ebay!
    6. Eddie Bauer Padded Seat Protector (Target): Protects your seats from wear and tear due to the car seat and passenger within.
    7. Car seat arm rest (Babies R Us, Amazon)
    8. Baby carrier - we didn’t like any we tried, but other parents seem to love them!
  9. Toys
    1. Wubbanub
    2. Activity Toy - Infantino Go Gaga Giraffe (Target)
    3. Ring Stacker (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
    4. Balls (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
    5. Slide (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): This was the favorite toy around 12 months!
    6. Jumperoo (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
    7. Play Gym (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Get one that folds up easily!
    8. Stuffed Animals: Baby slept so much better once she had something soft to snuggle
    9. Books: We really love Brown Bear and Doggies these days
    10. Sophie (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
    11. Walker (Target)
    12. Oball (Target
    13. Play quilt
  10. Parenting Books
    1. What to Expect the First Year (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Being pregnant was easy compared to figuring out the first year!
    2. Wonder Weeks (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon): Really cool explanations of mental growth spurts
    3. How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
  11. Memories
    1. Baby’s First Year book (Babies R Us, Target, Amazon)
    2. Carbonite: The annual fee is worth it for me to know I won't lose all my photos and videos theft or a damaged hard drive.
    3. Camera: Please don't only use your phone for capturing memories!
    4. Video Camera: You forget their voice, their clumsy movements, the way they pronounced words.  Get it on video, even the everyday stuff.
    5. Digital Photo Frame (excellent Grandma gift): Just email photos and they magically appear on Grandma's frame.  You won't have time for printing and shipping photos.