Sunday, August 30, 2015

Quilt #27: Packer-Viking Quilt

Following my post on my nephew's Bears quilt, here is the quilt I made for his dad and mom, my brother and sister-in-law. Like any good Minnesotan, my brother is a Viking fan. Twenty years ago, he did the unthinkable: he married a Packer fan.

So, how do you make a quilt that both a Viking fan and a Packer fan will love? Split it in half and use the colors that the teams share. I landed on a herringbone pattern inspired by this quilt by Michael Ann Made. 

Here's the pattern I made in PowerPoint. Someday I will take the plunge and get the Electronic Quilter software, but for now PowerPoint works for me.

The blocks weren't hard to make, just lots and lots of half square triangles...before I learned out to make eight at a time. Gah! I could have saved so.much.time. 

I put soft white minky on the back. For the binding I used some Mardi Gras chevron stripe fabric. I love it and can't wait to use it in another project.

I love the herringbone pattern and adore that one of my favorite photos of D was taken this quilt. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Quilt #18: Da Bears Quilt

Confession: I am insanely behind in posting my finished quilts. Since I am currently working on quilt #50, and I have only posted pictures about 15 of them. So, I am going to try to catch up. The only way I can figure out how to do it (and still give myself time to actual quilt in the next decade!) is to do shorter posts on each.

Today I'm going to write about quilt #18: Da Bears quilt because one of my favorite quilter bloggers, Val's Quilting Studio is hosting a link up of sports quilts and it made me realize that I've never posted this one! (Here you go, Val!) I made this quilt for my nephew who is a Bears fan. His daddy, my brother, is rightfully a Viking fan. He married a Packers fan. To keep the peace, my nephew opted for the Bears. Because I am a wonderful auntie and I love my nephew so, I made him a Bears quilt.

I didn't have pattern in mind when I bought the Bears fabric. The pattern doesn't work well with triangles so I needed to come up with one that used only squares and rectangles pieces. I actually played around with several blocks before I came up with one that worked.

For the back I used brown minky and white applique to mimic a football. 

I learn something new (or a few somethings new) with every quilt I make. With this quilt--which I finished in February of 2014!--it was my first time using masking tape to make quilting lines. I use this trick all the time now!

Most importantly, my lovely assistant infused lots of love into the quilt. 

I had enough fabric left over to make a pillowcase. 

Finally, a nice triptych of the front, back, and label. 

Linked to:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Space-Themed Growth Chart Ruler

When we were building our house three years ago, I nabbed a board that I thought would make a great portable growth chart. I was inspired by all the amazing DIY growth chart rulers on the newly-launched Pinterest, and I loved the idea of having something that could move with us (or our son) if we ever have to move. (This is not something we are planning to do, but living with a brain injury means not taking life for granted). Anyway, I set aside the board with a mental note to complete the project once we were settled into our new house.

A few weeks ago, I was in Amish country with my son and we saw this arrow-shaped growth chart ruler.

The arrow reminded me of a rocket...and the project I had planned. When we got home, I found the the board and saw that it had a big crack in it. Bummer. So much for sentimentality. 

 I headed off to Lowe's where I found a 1x8x72" board for under $10.

I'm not much for woodworking, but I did my best to sand the wood before applying primer. 

For the main color, I used Rust-Oleum Metallic spray paint in Cobalt Blue. It really does look like the sparkling deep space. 

I added a few spritzes of some other spray paints I had on hand to give the appearance of galaxies. I used silver glitter, a light blue glitter, and purple paint. 

Both my son and I were very happy with how the color turned out. 

The next day, after the paint dried, I used my sewing ruler and a glow-in-the-dark pen. I started at 6" at the bottom, up to 6'6" at the top.

For the numbers, I used the NASA font for the numbers. I finally tried cutting vinyl with my Silhouette Cameo. (This makes me laugh because cutting vinyl was the reason I bought my Cameo three years ago!). The silver vinyl was part of my starter kit!

The vinyl was very easy to place on the wood, and easy to adjust when the placement wasn't quite right. I see myself doing more with vinyl in the future!

At this point, my ruler looked more or less like all the other rulers out there. Since I was using a space theme, I had to include a rocket somehow. I found a lightweight painted wood rocket at Hobby Lobby.

I placed magnet tape along the center of the ruler to provide a path for the rocket as it measures our son's height. (I should mention that while I love the idea of this magnet tape, it's not super strong. Also, I did have to reinforce the magnet's adhesive on both ends with Weldbond, which has never failed me.

I attached 3 round magnets I had on hand to the back of the rocket to keep it flat as it moves up and down the magnet strip. 

For the sides, I used the same trick as I did on my craft table: duct tape! My son picked out a glittery blue tape, or as he called it, "galaxy tape." (Here you can see the rocket with one magnet. It was a little wobbly when little hands played with it. With three magnets, that is no longer a problem).

I added a few glow-in-the dark stars.

The inch marks don't glow as I had hoped, but the stars do.

Then I had to take a break for a few days to dig through all my son's medical papers to find his measurements each year. That was a good excuse to get everything organized. It had been about four years since I had actually put his papers in his binder!

I used a fine-tipped silver Sharpie to write his height as recorded at his annual well child exams. I was thinking that I would also add his height at the start and end of school, but I think that would have been too crowded, especially as he gets older and doesn't grow as quickly.

We used our stash of Command Strips to hang up the ruler. 
We placed 8 sets of strips to the back to make sure they were strong enough. Our baseboards are 5-1/2" high, so we measured the 6" mark for the bottom and carefully attached it. 

I love that the ruler is across the hall from his growing up gallery. It will be fun to see how he grows and changes his looks over the years. I just hope it doesn't pass too quickly!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

DIY Fidget Bracelet with Built in Marble Maze

Please note! This tutorial is for personal use only!
I've started seeing these sold on other sites. If you are seller, feel free to draw inspiration, but please make your own variation. Thank you!

Like many 6-year-olds, our son has a hard time staying still at times. His kindergarten teacher suggested that we look for a fidget for him. A fidget is a small object that keeps little fingers busy while the child pays attention and looks at their teacher (or adult). Fidgets can also be used by kids and adults with ADHD, sensory processing disorders or anxiety. 

D is about to start first grade so I've wanted to see if I could make a fidget for him. We've talked about the  rules for fidgets. 

1. A fidget cannot distract you from paying attention. This means that while your hands may be on the fidget, your eyes need to be on your teacher.

2. A fidget cannot distract others from paying attention. This means that while a fidget may be seen (because our son's class does not use desks), he should not draw attention to it. His teacher may ask him to put it away at any time without complaint.

As I thought about what kind of fidget might work for our son's needs and personality, I knew I wanted something he wouldn't easily lose, didn't make any noise, was soft, and gave his busy brain something to do. My solution: a fidget bracelet with built-in marble maze.

This is a really easy sewing project, and a good way to use up scraps. Plus, it only took about 20 minutes to make. 

You'll need:
  • Two pieces of fabric. They can be two of the same or two different fabrics. In this example I used one piece of glow-in-the-dark cotton fabric and one piece of minky.
  • Velcro. I love the adhesive velcro but I found that it gummed up my needle when making my first fidget. Since the bracelet is small, I used regular velcro instead. 
  • Small bead or marble. Anything small and round will work. My bead is about 1/4" long. 
  • Standard sewing supplies. 

First, measure your child's wrist and add 3.5 inches to account for the seam allowance and overlap for the velcro. My six-year-old's wrist is 5", so I cut my two strips of fabric 8.5" long and 2.25" wide. The width is totally arbitrary, but you'll want it wide enough for the marble to have room to navigate. 

Next, place fabric right sides together and sew a 1/4" seam around the edge, leaving about an inch open for turning the fabric right sides out. Be careful with the minky because it will stretch. If you don't have a good walking foot, you'll want to pin your pieces so the minky doesn't slide. 

Clip each corner to avoid bulk when you turn the fidget right side out. Be careful not to cut too close to the seam as this will create a hole in the corner. 

Carefully pull the fabric through the hole so that both right sides are showing. I use a chopstick to make the corners sharp. 

Iron the edges so the fidget lays flat. Then use your ruler and marking pencil to draw lines starting 1" from the left edge and every .75" moving to the right. Be sure to leave an inch on the right side. The lines should only go about 3/4" through the widget, alternating from the top and bottom, to create the simple maze.

Use the marks to sew lines. I suggest starting in the middle and sewing downward, then flipping the fidget around and sewing down on the other side. That way the seams will be reinforced when you sew the fidget closed.

When you clip the threads you'll be able to see the maze. I used a contrasting thread color on this one, but on another fidget, I used a matching thread color. 

Now insert the bead or marble through the hole and slide it away from the edge. 

Sew 1/8" seam around the edge, taking special care to make sure that your seam closes up the open part. 

Finally, cut velcro the width of your fidget. Sew one piece on one side and the other piece on the flip side, opposite side. I highly suggest testing placement before sewing the pieces on!

And you are done!

You can play around with fabric. The one below has minky on one side and flannel on the other. I filled it with rice for a weighted fidget rather that a more tactile maze fidget. 

Here is my son testing out his favorite fidget while my husband read to him. 

Please note! This tutorial is for personal use only!
I've started seeing these sold on other sites. If you are seller, feel free to draw inspiration, but please make your own variation. Thank you!

I came up with another design. This version has two lines of number beads. They can be moved back and forth, or used to work out math problems. 

Update 2: I've had a lot of requests from my non-sewing friends that I offer these fidgets for sale. So...I'm dipping my toe into the waters of online selling. You can see what I have available on our Facebook page.

Update 3: Our son wants to tell you about fidgets.

Linked to:
Carolyn's Homework Craft-o-MaticCreations by KaraCreative MusterDIY DreamerDIY Show Off * Girl Creative  * Home Stories A to ZHope StudiosThe Idea Room * Just Us Four *  Lady Bug BlessingsModern Pilgrim New NostalgiaNibbles by Nic * Nifty Thrifty Things * Practically FunctionalSew Can Do * Sugar Bee Crafts * Tater Tots and JelloMy Uncommon Slice of Suburbia * Val's Quilting Studio * A Vision to Remember

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