Wednesday
Mar302011

Simple baby quilt

A few months ago, a friend of mine had a baby—her third. Little baby S will no doubt inherit clothes, toys, and baby blankets from her older sister and brother, but I thought she (and her mother) might appreciate something made especially for her. For inspiration, I turned to the "super quick + easy baby quilt" in Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson of PurlSoho.

I chose the two cotton fabrics above with dots in two sizes. (Not that I needed another reason to use dots, since I love them already, but Baby S's mom and I both have Polish roots and have compared notes on dancing the polka at family functions. So, the presence of the polka dot was somehow imperative!) The double dose of dots keeps it simple and minimal while the palette keeps it soft—and with just a touch of pink, it is just girly enough. 

The construction was pretty straight-forward. I cut the two fabrics and a layer of cotton (and washable!) batting to the same size and then stacked them as the pattern directed from bottom to top: front fabric, right side up; back fabric, wrong side up; then the batting. Once pinned, I stitched around the edge leaving a 6-inch opening, trimmed the corners, inverted the blanket through the opening, and then blind stitched the opening closed.

Then instead of using ties or lines of stitches to quilt the layers, the pattern calls for an oval satin stitch evenly spaced—in my case, about six inches apart. I used a coral thread slightly darker than the orange in the larger dot fabric.

Thanks to O's well-loved "honey bear", the quilt has passed the coziness test. 

May little S stay warm under this blanket when the days are cold and snooze in the shade on this blanket when the days are warm. 

Wednesday
Mar302011

Early spring colors (color suite no. 2)

Slowly emerging from the cold and snowy winter, we are starting to see the first real signs of spring here in New England. The pastels in this suite symbolize the color transition from the icy winter to bright spring: the pale yellow and sage-y green of the dormant grass, the lavender of the young crocuses, the clear aqua skies, and the hope for the soft pink and peachy orange hues of the coming tulips and lilies.

I have been collecting these fabrics as a potential palette for O's room. At almost four, O is not a baby anymore, but not quite a big girl yet either. I think this palette could be a nice transition for her. Although the colors are still in the soft, one might say, baby hues, the patterns are more grown-up.

The initial inspiration for this palette was this vintage small floral cotton I found on Etsy:

I love the creamy yellow background, the small orange flowers with the light green and almost aqua leaves, and the grid of small dots to offset the floral sprays. Sweet vintage find. Add a bit of lavender and a touch of pink and you have a pretty sweet little girl's color suite.

Monday
Feb282011

Circle collage wall art

After we made the collage valentines earlier this month, I was reminded of a collage I made for O's room a while ago with the same tissue paper circles. Circles always seem happy to me and lend themselves very well to almost any child's art application. 

My dad has become a woodworker in his retirement and when I heard that he had been experimenting with bamboo plywood, I was very excited. I had been experimenting with some collages on birch plywood, but bamboo plywood is not only a more sustainable product, but also a much denser material, and if cut correctly, tends to splinter less, creating a more polished, smooth finish with minimal sanding. He was very nice to send me a square piece, even pre-drilled for hanging.

I collaged the circles onto the surface with a methyl cellulose solution (on hand from my book-binding days in grad school). I like how the grain of the bamboo is visible through the tissue paper dots, and the edge grain acts as a natural frame for the collage.

Instead of hanging it on the wall, you could also lean it on a bookshelf. And of course, the color possibilities are endless and can be customized to match your decor. Our collage helped a green wall and an orange rug make a bit more sense together!

Monday
Feb142011

Collage heart valentines 2011

This year (as opposed to last year), I thought it would be nice to make more traditional paper valentines. Most traditional valentines start out as paper hearts and then are embellished. We decided to switch things around a bit and first embellish the paper.

We started by cutting circles out of tissue paper left over from the tree collage project. We also added some pinks and blues.

Then we got gluing.

We put the collages aside to dry and turned to our cards.

My husband (and fellow designer) has a collection of perforators and we thought using one of them would be a fun way for the kids to "write" a message on our blank cards.

First, they dialed the wheel to the first letter of our word, L, and punched. 

L...O...V...E

There are a few broken parts in the matrix of this punch which make a few of the pins always punch. But I think these mistakes add some whimsy to the love, don't you?

Once the collages were dry, I traced some hearts on the back of the paper and cut them out. Then the kids helped me glue them onto the pre-punched cards, blue cards for Q, and pink ones for O.


I was looking at the pretty hearts and had an idea.

This is nice....

But wouldn't this be better? A bit goofy, a bit silly, but somehow perfect for preschool and kindergarten valentines, wouldn't you say?

So the kids got gluing, again.

Q then wrote the names of his classmates at the top of the cards and then signed his name at the bottom. (I removed his full name for privacy.)

I like how there is double love here.

And for O's cards, I punched a small heart at the bottom and then wrote her name below.

Maybe next year she will be able to sign her own name:)

Wishing you a Valentine's Day filled with crazy love!

Wednesday
Feb092011

Lavender heart valentines 2010

Last year, I was feeling very ambitious and decided to sew valentines for the kids and teachers at Q's preschool and for a few other neighborhood friends. Even though I knew I would do most of the construction sewing, I wanted to make sure that Q could contribute in some way. 

I thought letting him go crazy with sewing straight lines and with different color threads that I changed for him would be a perfect way for him to help. I used two layers of lavender cotton cut into squares and let him sew them together. I decided to use a solid color fabric instead of a print, because I thought a print might compete too much with the decorative stitching.

By rotating the fabric with each new line and by guiding Q a little to aim the stitches through the center of the fabric, we ended up with a nice criss-cross effect.

After finishing the stack of heart tops, I cut out squares of darker purple fabric for the heart bottoms.

With right sides facing I pinned the layers together, traced a heart with my fabric pen, pinned a ribbon loop to one of the round parts of the heart, stitched on the line (securing the ribbon) and left a small opening to invert the heart. Then I trimmed the heart, pulled the loop through the opening (which helped with the inversion) and ironed the seams.

I know... I should have taken more pictures as I went. But this project was pre-blog last year, so I only semi-documented the process— perhaps I can recreate the project at some future date and better document each step...yes?

Then Q and I put the lavender into the empty hearts through the side opening with the help of an improvised paper funnel. The final step was to stitch around the edge of the heart again, thus reinforcing the ribbon and more importantly closing the opening. We used yet another color thread for this part. The tricky part about this step was constantly pushing the stuffed lavender bits about so they were not in the way.

Finally we attached a simple card with a preschool-appropriate rhyme:

Roses are red, violets are blue, this heart is purple and smells good too!

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