Designing A Birth Announcement

For my first baby, I made my own birth announcements out of paper and stamps before the baby was born.  I left spots for the photos and a page for printing all the baby info later.  These were cute, and while I really liked them, I decided to make it easier this year and go digital.  I’ve been learning a lot about Photoshop recently, and while I love working with that, nothing beats the ease of use that I have from Stampin’ Up’s My Digital Studio.

I bought it when it first came out, and recently I upgraded to MDS 2, which has even more options and is still extremely user friendly.  Because I also wanted the professional card stock look that you get from places like Shutterfly, I decided to try out SU’s printing services, whose prices dropped recently by almost 50%.  Each announcement was $1.45 and came with an envelope (they are 5×7 in size).  While I think that’s a great price, I still only bought about 10 for family.  For the others, I printed a 4×6 photo.  Both options worked well and took much less time than making a paper/stamp version, and I was still very happy with the result.

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The SU ones also came with a printed back side, but I also decided to order some photo printed backs, glued the two photos back to back, and then even my 4×6 ones were double sided.  I didn’t know how these would turn out, but I actually loved them!  Although SU has the nice cardstock feel, the photo paper still gives crisper images, so honestly it’s a tie for me.  The 4×6 photos are so much cheaper, so I’ll probably use those in the future for birthday invitations that I make.  I love how these turned out, and it only took me one evening to design everything.

Baby Blankets & Burp Cloth Sets

My cousin is having a baby girl in January, and I decided to do something different than my standard baby quilt for the gift.  I made these in the week or two just before my own baby was born, and it was getting rather painful to sit at my sewing machine, so I also wanted something that involved more work by hand, and these were a great fit.   For my cousin’s gift, I used two pieces of coordinating flannel (I’ve had this on my shelf for a long time, so it was nice to use it up and make room for more quilting fabric!).  I cut them into squares, sewed them back to back, turned them right side out, and topstitched around the outer edge—talk about fast work on the machine!  I did the same for the burp cloths, except I used a terry cloth for one side instead of the second piece of flannel.

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After That, I sewed a blanket stitch, going in every half inch, and then added a crocheted edge to that.  The crochet work was also very quick.  I used a size 3 thread, so it’s nice and chunky.  The pattern for the edge can be found here, and since it’s so easy, it’s a great starting pattern for beginners.  Aside from making for fast work, I also like using bigger thread because it lays much flatter after washing.  I’ve used size 10 thread in the past for blanket edgings, and unless you press it after washing (which I never do), it ends up all curly and wrinkled.  The chunkier thread doesn’t need any ironing to look good right out of the washer, so it’s quite spit-up friendly!

Because my baby came late, I needed more hand work, so I made two more sets with different fabrics.  This time I used a minky fabric I had bought a while ago on red tag clearance at Joann’s.  On the front I used a coordinating quilting cotton I purchased at the same time.  the colors are perfect for a little girl—soft and pretty, and I love how the blanket weight turned out.  In fact, I liked it so much that I’m making another minky/cotton blanket for my own little boy, except in a different print of course.  I’ll probably also use a more manly pattern for the crocheted edge—if such a one exists.

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I am going to put at least one of these sets on Etsy in the near future.  One of my long term goals this year has been to finally open an Etsy shop, so this is headed for the pile.  For that reason, I stitched on some labels on the burp cloths as well as the blanket.

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October Bee Blocks

Because I had a baby in October, my bee blocks got pushed a little late.  I got the first one done before the baby because she was really on the ball about posting her pattern, but I the other two were a little later about posting their requests, so I didn’t finish those until the first of November.  Honestly, I’m quite proud of myself for getting them finished even that quickly!

We Bee Learning

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This is a big block, finishing at 18 inches.  She asked for all green fabrics with white sashing strips.  It’s a really nice block pattern for an easy and fast quilt.  I might use this for a larger quilt sometime.  It’s also good for showing off larger prints that you don’t want to cut up into tiny pieces.  This is going into a quilt for a college-age guy who loves the color green.  I think it’s nice and manly.

Stash Bee

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These don’t look like much on their own, but the hostess is making a bookshelf quilt, so they’re supposed to be books on a shelf, and she’ll turn them all sorts of different ways.  Some ladies made fancy blocks with teacups, clocks, etc. appliqued on to show other things sitting on bookshelves.  Because I was in a time crunch with the baby, I took the easy way out and just made the books. 

99 Bee

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This is a variation on a geese block from the 99 book.  I like the text fabric she sent as well as the color combinations.  My month is January (the last month of this bee), and while I have yet to choose a block, I’m planning to go with a gray background.  I didn’t jump on the gray bandwagon from the beginning, but the more I see it, the more I like it.  In fact, I’m working on my first gray quilt at the moment.  It’s a baby quilt, and since it’s so small, I hope to be posting about it soon.

Homemade Halloween Costumes

This year I “made” my boys’ Halloween costumes.  When I was little, my mom always sewed elaborate new costumes for me every year.  I have great memories of going to Joann Fabrics and choosing my pattern and fabric for my costume that year.  I had planned to do the same with my kids, but to be honest, it’s more expensive to make a costume (at least to buy a pattern and new fabric) than it is to buy one.  I compared prices on making a sheep costume (99 cent pattern and fabric with a 50% off coupon) and found that making the sheep would be $2 more expensive than buying one from Old Navy and $6 more expensive than buying the duck costume from a used children’s store.  Last year, I went with the duck.

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This year, I knew I’d have my two year old as well as a brand new baby.  I saw a picture on Pinterest a while back where the older boy was a football player, and the baby was the football.  It was so cute, and since I just happened to have kids the right ages, that’s what I went with.  I borrowed a jersey from a friend and put a temporary hem in some athletic pants my little boy already had.  For the baby, I found an all brown clearance outfit, so I turned the shirt around backward (it had dogs on the front) and sewed white ribbon on for football laces.  In the Pinterest picture, the baby was wearing a brown onesie, but I thought that might be a bit cold for Indiana weather, and it was very cold this Halloween, so I made the right choice.

The best part is, all of this was free except for $2 for the brown outfit, and all of the hems/embellishments were temporary, so all the clothes can be worn again—yea!  So here they are…

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It isn’t the best picture in the world, but it was way too cold for the baby to take one outside.  Oh, and the black stuff under Damon’s eyes is eyeliner!  I didn’t know where to buy the real thing, but eyeliner worked just as well, and I already had that on hand, too!

The baby stayed wrapped up for the entire trick or treating process, but Damon had fun.  It was his first year to really trick or treat, and he had a blast.

Halloween Treats

This is a little late, but I wanted  to post about the treat bags I made for our adoptive college students at church.  I found these Halloween buckets at Goodwill a while back and bought one for each student.  I then filled them with some homemade goodies, a few little random things, and some zipper pouches I made a couple of months ago.

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I found the monogram patches at Old Navy for around 50 cents, and I found matching keychains on clearance as well.   They just happened to have the right monograms for our students, so I picked them up.  They also matched this crazy fabric I had on my shelf that I had been wondering what I would ever use it for.  Although bright, I think they turned out pretty cute.

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The inside of the pouches have a pocket.  They would work well as a cosmetic bag, but they’re just a simple design.  I also put one of my tags inside.  This is a new thing for me, but I really like the way it makes hand sewn items look.  It makes them looked finished and adds a little extra spark.  I made them on my inkjet printer following this method.  They turned out well, but I still think I’m going to spring for some woven labels on etsy one of these days.  This is a nice way to try out different designs, though.

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I also made these cute little Halloween cards.  I have to say, I know they’re just a trend, but I love the owls!

Where have I been all month? and two crafty baby gifts

My last post was October 3, 2012, and three days later, I had this little guy:

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We named him Bennett Joseph, and he was 7 lbs. 15 oz. and 21 inches long.  This is the bedding that I made for him, which I have yet to post, but it will come one of these days.  His nursery still has many finishing touches left, but at least we have a place to change him, store his clothes, and his crib is set up, too.  Hopefully he’ll be using that in another couple of months.

I haven’t had much time for sewing lately, but I’ve worked in spurts here and there, so I’ll have some new stuff to post soon.  It’s good for me to do at least a little sewing/crafting.  It makes me feel more like myself again, which is always a good thing.  Still, most of the time sleep wins out, so I’ve been going to bed much earlier than normal, and late nights when my first is in bed were my prime sewing hours.

Today when I looked out on my front porch, I found a box from my best friend who blogs over at Super Sweet Life.   This is what I found inside:

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Each onesie has a number corresponding to how many months old the baby is.  I saw these on Pinterest a while back and loved them, but I never found the time to make them—talk about a perfect gift!  It’s great timing, too, because Bennett is one month and three days old today, but I hadn’t yet gotten around to taking his one month picture yet.  So, I made time today.

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I can’t believe it has already been a month.  To be honest, I love this time of a baby’s life—he’s still tiny and sweet, but I’ve healed from the birth, and he’s settled into a bit of a routine.   Of course, when I start getting a full night’s sleep again, that will probably become my favorite time!

And here he is with a super cute bear that another good friend made for me:

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She used scraps that I gave her from his bedding and made a bear.  I’ve always loved her bears, so I was really excited that she made one for me, too.  My plan is to take a monthly picture with the bear to show how much he’s growing.  She did that with her kids, and I think it’s a really cute idea.

So, big thank yous to both of my friends!  I absolutely love both gifts!