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.
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.
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.
I promised my friend Sue two years ago when she visited that I’d sew her an Amy Butler Sun and Surf halter.
And, two years later — it is done. (This project was so easy. I just dragged my feet getting started and I am so happy it is done because it was easy! And now I’ll make more.)
Do you have tips and tricks to keep yourself from procrastinating? I’d love to hear them.
This pillow is spring on one side, and Valentine’s on the other. And, I’m done making pillows for a while. Time to find a new project to tackle!
My long-time blogging friend Jen recently switched jobs and homes. She is an avid reader and I’d long had my eye on this pattern. I thought it was the perfect time to try a book pillow. I asked Jen for a couple of her favorite authors and embroidered their names on the books. (I tried my hardest to copy the fonts, which is really tricky.)
I’m really happy with how this came out.
Here we are, again — the first day of Lent and therefore the first day of Calculated Acts of Kindness (CAOK.) The idea behind the campaign is simple: during the next 46 days, complete random kind acts. They can be simple (dragging your neighbor’s trash can back up off the curb) or more complicated (donating time and supplies to a local shelter.) One year, Finny picked up left-behind/lazy-owner dog poops on walks with her dog.
If you decide to participate, please tag your posts on social media with #caok16. It will be fun to highlight your creative ways of making the world a bit kinder. Join the Flickr group here.
To be clear: this is not a secretive method of evangelizing. You do not need to be of a specific faith to participate. Instead, it is a time of the year when I find spiritual peace by intentionally spreading kindness (and encourage others to participate.)
For ideas, check out a few of the previous year’s photo sets or posts here:
I will continue to post ideas during Lent. Thank you for participating!
Ash Wednesday is when Christians are metaphorically reminded how brief this life is. We are made of dust and will one day return to dust. And while it may look silly to have the black mark of ash on your forehead today, this time of year is what it is all about. Sure, Christmas gets the lights and the presents and the hype — but Jesus’ 40 days the desert leading to Easter defines our faith. (As does the Easter story.)
40 days is both exceedingly long if you make lent about what you are “sacrificing” or a quick few weeks if you consider adding a new attitude. Calculated Acts of Kindness (CAOK) is a campaign I’ve led for the last few years to encourage others to use these 40 days as a time to give to others. Do it in huge, self-congratulatory ways. Do it anonymously. I don’t care. But make the next few weeks brighter for those around you. Practice kindness and love by picking up litter, donating to the food bank, complimenting the cranky admin assistant.
I’m doing it too. I promise.
If you want ideas — I’ve placed a few here, including some great quotes. And I’ll be posting a daily idea on twitter, and when possible to match — on instagram.
There is no need to be of a specific faith, or have faith, to participate. If there is one thing all humans should be able to agree upon, it is that we could use some additional kindness in our world.
P.S. I’d love to hear how you participate!
Kindness is a bunny boomerang — send a bit out in the world, and watch it come back in droves. A good friend is spending some time in Europe with her family. She offered months ago to let me stay in their home, near the southern California coast, while they were away. As such, I spent the weekend with my sweetheart and a couple little ones playing in the sand, soaking up foggy mornings and bright, windy afternoons. Watching the lifeguards run through the shallows. Shooing away pesky birds from our pile of chips and crackers, crumbling in the salty air.
We cooked. We played countless hands of Apples to Apples. We ate carne asada burritos and marveled at how everything tastes better when eaten outside. We slept with the windows open, dreaming for far too many hours, lounging as the sun came up. We watched Rio 2 and giggled at the dancing birds. We spent a few days doing nothing other than loving each other and our surroundings. It was wonderful!
We could have done some of this from a hotel, but the comfort of a home made the trip luxurious. A kindness I won’t soon forget.
They are in progress. All 20-plus of them. I love this sort of piece work, but it is time intensive. I’m also newly assigned to a big project at work (yay!) and am preparing for a long weekend on the beach (double yay!) So, I haven’t forgotten y’all. Hang in there with me.
I am giving this project an hour a day — to keep it fun, and something I’m looking forward to. Also this week:
More summer baby gifts for the trio of girls born this spring.
Birthday cookies for a barista; she and her colleagues were very pleased to be receiving baked goods for a change.
St. Pat’s scarf for a fellow scarf lover.
Encouragement gift for a friend who has made a commitment to get back to the gym. Always easier when you have a dedicated gym makeup bag.
And since I had the sewing machine out, (woo! she’s back from the shop!) a couple other toiletry bags stuffed with goodies for friends.
Calculated Acts of Kindness continues. See more ideas here.