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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How cute is this kid?
I’m happy he loves his quilt.
A dear friend of mine is organizing a summer quilt block challenge; she and others will put together the “disappearing 9 patch” squares into quilts and they will be sold for charity.
I took one look at this square and said it was outside of my ability. And frankly, the square above is far from perfect, but I am really happy I made myself try to do it. This tutorial is excellent.
Here is where my quilting is lacking: precision. I have such a hard time getting my pieces exactly the same and sewn with exactly the same seam allowance. Coincidentally, do you know what makes a beautifully crafted quilt? Precision. I’m not giving up. Later this Fall, Blair will be hosting a series of online quilting classes for folks like me — those who want to improve their skills but cannot sign up for one more in-person, drive-across-town commitment. Here is to hoping it helps strengthen my skills.
(I write this while cuddled under a new quilt my mom just sent this week. It is stunning and so far outside of my skill set. WHY can’t these sorts of skills be genetic?)
Some family friends recently opened their home to a foster baby, just a few days old. They have welcomed this child into their family fully — loving her with all their hearts. I made this baby quilt for that child, whose future custody is uncertain but may she always know she was loved. By many. By those who haven’t even met her.
Nonnie, your future is bright!
Two littles, climbing out of the hot tub on Thanksgiving afternoon, standing in the living room dripping wet with a shark and soccer cap on their heads. What could be more normal?
Nothing could be cuter. Love these two! And they loved their new caps. (Roscoe is a shark expert. He’ll have to grow into this one!)
I hope your Thanksgiving was spent with ones you love!
I love these kitchen towels. They are soft, easy to iron crisp, great to tuck into your pants when cooking or to lay across your lap as a giant napkin. One of my new favorite sewing projects is to embellish these and gift them with a jar of something canned out of the garden.
My friend Adam (and I’m sure others quietly) has long made fun of my love for the holidays. I love Thanksgiving — the prep, family time, football, food, days off of work and cooler weather. And I love Christmas, although less so since my family has scattered and now it seems to involve stressful travel. All the same, the gift planning and creating is my favorite.
I’m not entirely sure why it is so important to me to make as many of the gifts I give for the holidays as I can, but it is. I enjoy combing through patterns and recipes and plotting gifts for family and friends alike. It truly brings me joy.
So, make fun — but the Christmas knitting has begun. (How can it not? Knitting is so time intensive. You’ve got to plan!)
First up: this orange cable scarf that seriously took 15 months to complete, but is ready for Christmas this year! Yay!
I am also really enjoying the Golden Pear beanie pattern:
I first made this pattern for my friend’s new baby, Sawyer:
Yep. Looking forward to the next 10 or so weeks of knitting and wrapping and spending time with those I love most. And yes, I know I am a dork. A knitting dork. And I’m totally okay with it.
My friend Tony owns a hot sauce company and let me tell you — the stuff will haunt you. It is so hot and so delicious, if you are anything like me — you’ll want it on just about everything.
He is also a former Marine, a chef, and a giant softy. He wouldn’t want that last part on the Interwebs, but let me tell you — this man has a heart of gold. Also, he loves animals, especially his vizla puppies.
His birthday was last month and with everything else going on, I didn’t get him a gift in time. So, what do you give a man who prides himself on his culinary skills and his love of bacon?
And a custom apron:
My friend Juliann borrowed an old sewing machine a few years ago. She returned it recently when cleaning out her house for a move; along with my old trusty Singer, she gave me a box of sewing items she was no longer interested in. The basket had fabric and patterns and thread and I was delighted to take it off her hands and put it all to use.
I used her material to make my Christmas gifts this year — namely pot holders and embellished flour sack tea towels (my favorite kind.)
After making ten sets of these, I am still really, really bad at bias tape. You would think that kind of practice would produce at least one pot holder without wonky edging, and you would be wrong.
Easier, I made a few drawstring travel lingerie bags for girlfriends regularly on the road:
My intentions for handmade Christmas are always so consistently grander than what I am able to actually produce. Maybe just maybe one of these years I will start my grandiose plans in, say, January. Or — just buy gifts like a normal person.
Oh to find that balance between gifting t homemade and not overestimating abilities and budget.