4 entries from the month of: February 2018

Weighted Blanket Sewing Tutorial

February 28th

Weighted blankets for the kids

A few weeks back, a girlfriend posted about an Instagram contest to win a homemade weighted blanket. I’d had my eye on a weighted blanket after hearing from another girlfriend how much better she was sleeping. There is a good bit of research to show the weight helps with anxiety and promotes more restful sleep.

I’d never thought of sewing one myself. I did a bit of poking around on the Interwebs and found a simple sewing tutorial. I reviewed the weighted pellets on Amazon and bought 50 pounds. I’d use a vintage sheet and some denim, to add to the weight, to sew three blankets for me and the kids. The weight worked out perfectly. My stepson and I would each have a 20 pound blanket (they recommend about a pound per person, although friends mentioned slightly heavier was also comfortable) and my stepdaughter would get the remaining. She is a sprite, and I’m pretty sure does not weigh 100 pounds, if she ever will.

Weighted blankets for the kids

What I didn’t consider was how difficult it would be to sew these blankets once you start adding the pellets. First, the pellets move. You are sewing the pockets around them as you go and it was tricky to keep them all where they were supposed to be. And second, the blanket of course becomes heavier and harder to maneuver the farther along you go.

Weighted blankets for the kids

The end results were not perfectly sewn, but they worked. With fabric and the pellets, I spent $180 for the three blankets. Considering one sells for $130-$200, it was a deal. And the kids are happy! I will report back if I find the extra weight helps with sleep.

~K

Posted in
CAOK, Domestic Art, handmade
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Counting Coup — Book Launch

February 13th

At 11:30 am, Saturday, March 17th at Dobson Ranch Library in Mesa, “Counting Coup” will be out in the world.

Basket Baby signing

Dobson Ranch Library is my childhood library. I spent most of my elementary school summers on the bean bags, collecting stickers from the summer reading program. I remember finding an entire shelf of Sue Grafton’s mysteries, and meticulously reading them in alphabetic order. There was the arduous conversation I had with a saintly librarian about “War and Peace,” after I’d hauled it home on my Huffy only to find out it was way, way too complicated. Why hadn’t she warned me. (She had.) And what did it all mean anyway? (She tried her best to explain.)

And it was the place where I spent hours on the floor in the children’s section on my belly, resting on my elbows, trying to learn sign language out of a book full of diagrams. (That didn’t go so well either.) It was also the place where I felt my curiosities celebrated and encouraged at every turn.

signing

“Counting Coup” is my third book.

Happily consumed with her academic career, Professor Avery Wainwright never planned on becoming sole guardian of her octogenarian Aunt Birdie. Forced to move Birdie—and her failing memory—into her tiny apartment, Avery’s precariously balanced life loses its footing.

Unearthed in the chaos is a stack of sixty-year-old letters. Written in 1951, the letters tell of a year Avery’s grandmother, Alma Jean, spent teaching in the Indian school system, in the high desert town of Winslow, Arizona. The letters are addressed to Birdie, who was teaching at the Phoenix Indian School. The ghostly yet familiar voices in the letters tell of a dark time in her grandmother’s life, a time no one has ever spoken of.

Torn between caring for the old woman who cannot remember, and her very different memories of a grandmother no longer alive to explain, Avery searches for answers. But the scandal and loss she finds, the revelations about abuses, atrocities, and cover-ups at the Indian schools, threaten far more than she’s bargained for.

I’ll have books available for sale, a reading, and will talk shop about writing and publishing.

I hope to see you there!

~K

Posted in
Novel, Writing
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Sweethearts

February 6th

Valentines Sewing

My cousin died unexpectedly two years ago. He was just shy of his 37th birthday. He’d lived a hard, brief life, and most of us still struggle to say his name today with crying. One of his great joys were his children. He had two young daughters with a beautiful woman.

Valentines Sewing

The girls and their mama live on the east coast, close to her family. I haven’t seen them in more than six years, and they have grown in leaps and bounds. I keep up with them through their mom and her generosity; she doesn’t have to share the details of their childhoods with me, but she chooses to. I know it is hard for her to talk about their father, but she does. She send me his poems on occasion when she runs across them in the house.

Valentines Sewing

I don’t have a large family. My cousin’s death left a hole. Maintaining a relationship with his daughters is important to me, in part because my Aunt Karen did so from afar with me. My dad’s much younger siblings lived on the east coast and on occasion would come to Arizona for Mexican food and a dip in the pool. My Aunt Karen made a point of writing me long letters on yellow legal pad paper, even when she was in college on a basketball scholarship and I’m sure had other things she’d rather be doing.

Today, I consider her a friend and someone I admire greatly. She, nor her mother — my grandmother Astra — let the distance be a barrier for having a relationship.

Valentines Sewing

I added some cactus fabric to these valentine pouches for the girls because I want them to always know there are many who love them in Arizona.

Family is often not easy. We don’t chose the branches of our genetic trees, but we can look beyond the political and religious differences and be loving. I’ve got a good example of how to do that.

~K

Posted in
handmade
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The February Garden

February 5th

February in the garden

February in the garden

February in the garden

February in the garden

February in the garden

February in the garden

We are enjoying this beautiful, temperate spring weather. Everything is blooming and happy. Even the avocado tree is sprouting new leaves and growing. The acacia trees, with their yellow pom poms of pollen are making the entire neighborhood smell heavenly.

Our raised bed garden, fondly referred to as the “dong garden” because of its vulgar shape, is not thriving. We need to pull everything out, turn the soil, add amendments and replant. I have to remind myself it took years for the garden in Tempe to take off. While this is year 3 in this garden space, it still isn’t quite right.

Gardening is a hobby for those who need help with patience. With a few free hours next weekend, we’ll have new tomato and squash transplants in the ground, and hopefully a booming garden come summer.

What are you planting?

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Domestic Art, Flora and Fauna
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