Baby Gift Idea: Crib Art

Awhile back, my mom made another gift for our littlest, William.  It is a bumper of sorts to put in his crib.  But it wasn’t made for the reasons bumpers are usually made, it’s like a piece of soft art for him to look at while he’s stuck in his crib.  She thought it would be a fun way to introduce some animals to him.

I thought I’d show it to you since the idea of it wouldn’t be hard to recreate.

animal bumper artFor the purposes of taking pictures I hung the bumper on the outside of the crib but normally it would hang on the inside.  Although, it could actually be used on the outside as well for the child to look at while they crawl around the room and learn to pull up on things.  This would be especially good if there was already a bumper being used in the crib.

My mom used different background fabrics for each animal but if you wanted to keep it simple you could use just one long piece of fabric cut the width of the crib.  Sandwich some batting in the middle of two pieces of fabric and you’d have your background.

As you can see the animals are basic silhouette shapes and then just sewn on with pretty stitches from a sewing machine.  You could do this by googling animal silhouette images.  Then just print out the shape and use it for a pattern.  Another idea would be to use fabric that has images on it that you like.  You could cut out those images and then sew them on.

Some of the animals also have a few details that are embroidered on.  See the pictures below of the butterfly and the cat.

To attach it to the crib there is ribbon sewn into the seam of each end to tie around the rungs.  I would recommend putting  in at least one more in the middle as well if not a couple to keep it from drooping.

You can really do as little or as much as you want with a project like this.  Even a beginner could have fun playing with the machine to see what they can do. Part of the charm of a handmade item is seeing the little imperfections and signs that it was made with love.

animal bumper art bird squirrel butterfly fish cat

Gift Idea: American Girl Doll Sleeping Bag

american girl doll sleeping bag tutorial

We have friends who have twin girls who recently turned 9.  I have seen the girls a few times with American Girl dolls and for their birthday they asked to go camping.  So, I thought, why not make the dolls sleeping bags of their own so that the next time the family goes camping the dolls can get in on the fun too?

I did a quick search online to see what else had been done before and to find out the dimensions needed for 18″ dolls.  I came across a few sites but used this one as my main resource.  I followed the dimensions but didn’t follow the directions completely.  Although, maybe I should have since mine ended up being a bit bulky at the bottom corners.

american girl doll sleeping bag tutorial

Basically, I cut out my two rectangles, sewed around the edge with right sides together.  (I used fleece for the inside and cotton for the outside.)  I turned it right side out and then folded it in half so that the fleece was on the outside.  To sew the open hole closed (that I used to turn the bag right side out) and turn the long rectangle into a sleeping bag all in one motion, I just tucked in the fabric at the hole and then sewed along the edge of the bag from about half way down and then across the bottom.

Then I just turned what now looks like a sleeping bag right side out so the cotton fabric was on the outside and it was finished.  I think the version I linked to is probably less bulky the way they did it but if I read the directions correctly it seemed you would see the raw edges of the seams on the inside of the bag which I didn’t want.

To help visualize what I just wrote here are some very basic drawings.  Hope they make it a little clearer.

sleeping bag tutorial step 1

sleeping bag tutorial step 2sleeping bag tutorial step 3

For the pillows I cut two rectangles of fleece 5″ x 6.5″.  And you just sew around the edges with the fabric right sides together.  Clip the corners, turn right side out, stuff, and then do a ladder stitch to close the opening.

I am pretty terrible about putting off sewing things until the day before they are given (even though I may have planned it and gotten the supplies well in advance) so this was a great project for that since you can’t get much easier than sewing some rectangles together.  The hardest part for me was finding some fabric in my stash that was big enough and I thought might fit their personalities.  The twins are very, very identical in their looks and general preferences but their dolls are not so I decided to give them different looking sleeping bags.

sleeping bag for 18 inch doll

To spruce up the look of the bags with a practical way of keeping all the pieces in place when not in use, I also sewed a piece of elastic in a loop (to figure out the size needed I just put the elastic around the rolled bag and pillow with a little bit of overlap) with a pretty flower on it.  If I had had my thinking cap on I would have sewn the elastic into the bottom seam of the bag like a real sleeping bag (like I showed in the instructions above) so that the elastic would always be attached and not get lost, but I didn’t think about it until I had finished the first one and I didn’t want the bags to be different in that way.

I cut out a flower and leaf from felt and made yellow yarn pom-pom and hand sewed them onto the elastic to hide where the two elastic ends met.

american girl doll sleeping bag diyI thought they turned out very cute and I loved the extra detail of the flower on the elastic.  It really made it look extra special.  I didn’t have a doll to try them on so I hope they fit, but hopefully they were fine.

This is a great sewing project for beginner sewers.  Please feel free to ask for any clarification if my instructions weren’t clear.

Does your household have any American Girl dolls in it, or other 18 inch dolls?  Have you made anything for them?  What are some other ideas that are cute and easy to help accessorize them?  My daughter is a bit young for them but I’m sure there will come a point when she’ll be into them.

 

New Print and New Size

I finally finished the latest print I’ve been working on!

I love having tangible ways to share love with others.  It is wonderful to be able to tell those you love most how you feel with words and hugs but if you can’t see them everyday to do that, a beautiful picture can be a great reminder of how you feel.  This would make a great Mother’s Day gift.  Or it could be hung on the wall of your nursery.  It’s been hanging up at my house for the last week so I could take pictures of it and I’m really loving it.  The colors are so happy but also soothing at the same time if that is possible.  It may have to find a permanent home here or be given to someone who needs a little extra love.  You can find the print here in my shop.

I have other big news.  I am finally offering 11″x14″ sized prints!  I can make any print in the shop that size.  Just purchase this listing and let me know which one you want.  I am very excited to finally be able to offer this.  When I got my own printer last year I got a large format one so I could sell larger prints.  I had put it off because of the extra expenses that come with offering another size, but no longer!  I have two 11″x14″ prints over my kids’ twin beds and the size is nice and substantial, especially framed with a mat.  You can see the size in the picture below.  I leave a white border on my prints to make it easier to attach it to a mat.

11x14 size

I plan on offering an even larger size soon, so be on the look out!  And if you just can’t wait, feel free to contact me about details.

It’s Good to be 35

Well, it happened.  I turned the big three five.  And of course life feels no different than when I was 34.  But I thought I’d pass on some goodness to you guys to help celebrate.  So, for a week you can purchase all the prints in my shop for 35% off using the code below!

birthday code

Picture Source

I’m going to temporarily take the ornaments and the bulk sales listings out of the shop so that people don’t try and use the code for those.  But they’ll return when this sale is over.

This has been a week of sick kiddos but it looks like they are on the mend.  I took my little one to the doctor to confirm Roseola which thankfully is no longer contagious.  Hopefully he’ll be back to himself soon.  And after listening to my daughter’s cough the Dr. thinks she might have had RSV which apparently has been going around.  So as you can guess I haven’t really left the house in a while.  But I have gotten lots of great snuggle time in, so that’s been nice.

Okay, enough about that.  Please pass the word on about the sale!  Valentine’s Day is coming fast and a sweet print might be just the thing to show someone how you feel!

P.S.  For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, I post sales there that aren’t  mentioned anywhere else!  So, it’s a smart idea to “like” my page.

Going to Space

Well, I was just about to sit down and write a post about how I was one of three people selected to travel to outer space!  I was so excited and was looking forward to this amazing opportunity, and then I woke up and discovered it was just a dream.  I know,  what  a bummer!  I wish I could have slept a little longer to get to experience it, but maybe next time.

In the meantime I have two new prints in the shop that I haven’t shared on here yet.  The first one I just realized is coincidently spacey.  Maybe it’s a sign!  You can find my “I Love You to the Moon and Back” print right here in my shop.

I Love You to the Moon and Back art print from The Nesting Spot

The next print is new to my shop today, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Faux Bois has been a trend for awhile now and it is sweet to stumble across someone’s love declared on the trunk of a tree (although I always feel a bit sad for the scarred tree). But if you get my print then there won’t be any tree scarring happening…ok, well, the paper is from a tree. Sorry.
But let’s get back to declaring our love! You can keep the print as is or I can personalize it for you. It’d make a great gift for the love in your life or even to hang on the wall of your wee one’s nursery.

You + Me = Forever, Faux Bois Print from The Nesting Spot

By the way, I have 6 prints in my shop now that help you share your love with others. Come take a look. It’s not too early to be thinking of Valentine’s Day. It’ll be here before we know it!  And don’t forget there are discounts for buying more than one print!

Baby Gift Idea: Stuffed Animal

I’m surrounded by people having babies right now and that is a great thing!

handmade stuffed rabbit from The Nesting Spot

My cousin recently had a beautiful little girl and so I wanted to send her a handmade gift. I had been told that the nursery has lavender and light green in it so I decided to make a little rabbit using those colors. I cheated a little and used my pattern from The Black Apple Doll and just changed it up a bit. (You can see my previous posts about the dolls I’ve made here and here.)  All that was needed was to make an ear pattern. I have also found that when using this doll pattern that I like to add a seam allowance to the arms and legs so that they aren’t too skinny. I embroidered the eyes and nose on so that there wouldn’t be any choking hazards. Safety eyes would have also been a really cute option though. I also added a cute little wool felt peter pan collar.  An added bonus is that it is machine washable if done on delicate and laid out to dry so it is very practical as well as cute.handmade stuffed rabbit from The Nesting Spot

I had a lot of fun making it and am happy that there is a little piece of Texas over in her Arizona nursery now.

handmade stuffed rabbit from The Nesting Spot

This type of project is great because it uses very little fabric and comes together fairly quickly. I used fleece for the bunny fur and all of the materials were ones I already had on hand.  So, not only is it fast but economical.  But of course even though I didn’t spend an arm and a leg on it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth much.  On the contrary, it is a one of a kind gift that will hopefully see many years of love.

Baby Gift Idea: Baby Quilt

05 11 13_9153

Here’s another peak at a fabulous handmade gift given to one of my babies.  This time it is from my lovely mom.  She is oh so talented and decided to take on the challenge of making baby #3 a little quilt without knowing the gender.  The results are really great.

05 11 13_9151

She ended up making it a very personal theme by having the quilt represent our two etsy shops….The Nesting Spot and Starlit Gardens.  She did this using two of her favorite things batiks and applique.  The batiks represent the stars and then at the bottom corner is a little bird with a little nest.  You’ll notice the three eggs for the my three babies.

04 16 13_8081

04 16 13_8083

My mom loves to play with lots of color and patterns.  She is so bold and it really works with this blanket.  I know this is a gift we will always treasure.

There are so many types of blankets and quilts in the world and thanks to the internet and craft blogs there are tons of tutorials to teach you exactly how to make them.  The next time you have someone close to you having a baby, consider making them a keepsake that is beautiful and useful.

Baby Gift Idea: Hand-Dyed & Embroidered Swaddle Blanket

baby-blanket-1

This is something I should have written about years ago, but I wasn’t writing the blog yet when I got this gift so I’ll use that as my lame excuse as to why I am just now getting to it!

When Audrey was born I received a very special package in the mail from one of my good college friends, Brandy. She is so very talented and can do any craft she puts her mind too. At one time she had opened a shop on Etsy but life with 3 girls, work, and school took precedence. Such a shame too because her knitted items are beautiful. Anyway, I was so thrilled when I opened the box to reveal two beautiful hand made blankets. They are probably sewn from a muslin cotton that she hand-dyed (the bottom right photo above shows the beautiful color variations in the cloth). One is purple and the other is pink. On the corner of the pink one is the most precious little bird that has been hand embroidered. It was done with variegated floss so that the image has a subtle variation in its colors. Audrey’s room had a sort of garden/bird theme to it when she was born so it was just perfect. She was also born in March in Texas which means HOT months were ahead so these light weight swaddle type blankets were awesome. I loved that she had made them just for my little girl.

baby-blanket-2

The blankets alone were so thoughtful that they were a perfect gift unto themselves.

But just for fun I thought I’d pair it with some other items to show other gift ideas as well. Handmade gifts are always extra special and are the ones that become family heirlooms, but if you aren’t the crafty type that doesn’t mean you can’t give handmade. This little bunny below is from the etsy shop, Yarnigans.   I just love her hand knitted items. One day when I learn to knit; maybe once the kids are grown and I have more time, I would love to buy her patterns for making these adorable animals.  This little mermaid is just so perfectbaby-gift-1
But I digress, I found a little basket which of course could be used by the recipient afterwards for holding toys, diapers, etc. I rolled up the two blankets and tied a ribbon around them making sure that the pretty bird was showing. I added a few board books because who doesn’t love a good book? And last placed the bunny on top. You could put a pretty bow on the basket and give it as is.

baby-gift-2

And if you wanted extra credit you could give some personalized art for the new little one. How about a print like this to add to the mix since it matches the bunny? You could even have a bunny embroidered on the blanket if you wanted them all to match.
bunny pink

And of course you could customize these things to match any nursery. I have lots of animals to choose from in my shop. If you don’t see an animal available that you’d love to have then let’s talk. I’d love to be able to help you!

Have you hand-dyed a blanket before?  Have you ever ventured into doing embroidery?  You can do a lot with knowing just one or two different stitches.  With the tutorials online it is so easy to learn.

Quilted Baby Boy Blanket and Week 39 Update

Before I forget….we’re almost out of time but I made a poll over to the right in the sidebar if you want to guess the gender of the baby.  The poll will stay open until we know the answer.  Now, on to the regularly programmed material.

Here is the quilted blanket I made in case baby turns out to be a boy.  In a previous post I mentioned that I lovingly think of it as my mullet blanket.  It is all serious in the middle and a bit of fun on the outside.  See for yourself!

The fabric is part of the Riley Blake Designs “Seaside” by October Afternoon.  I got 2 yards of each of the stripes and plaid.  There are other color variations out there too with the same design.  I was trying to decide what bias tape to buy…I still haven’t gotten to the point of making my own yet.  I was looking at all the ones that matched and they all seemed to just blend in so much and it seemed boring.  Then I saw this neon orange and it was so fun.  I was unsure if it would work but I thought I’d take a risk.  I definitely could have chosen a safer option but I’m happy that the blanket has a a bit of fun to it since babies shouldn’t be serious.  For the quilting I just decided to follow lines on the plaid side.  It made it easy to have lines to follow.  I figured any type of quilting pattern that was more fun wouldn’t go with the straightness of the stripes and plaid.  Below are my two blankets waiting to find out which one will be used!  The girl blanket is here if you want to see it.

Speaking of the baby that all this work is for I went to the Dr. on Monday again and there was no real change to my body.  BOO!  But thankfully baby is really low and I’m basically just waiting on my body to get with the program.  The Dr. was actually able to get a couple good shots of baby which surprised me since baby’s been so low and we haven’t seen the face in a while.  I will enjoy when we stop seeing sonograms of the face and get to see the real thing.  Hopefully the big lips are just because there isn’t a lot of space inside of me.

Here is a picture we took of me before church on Sunday to show my 39 week self.  (my due date is this Thursday!!!)

Here is a shot of what I normally look like.  CAN’T. WAIT. TO. HAVE. CLOTHES. THAT. FIT!  Sheesh.

Gauze Swaddle Blankets DIY

 

I was given an aden + anais swaddle blanket when my daughter was born and really loved the lightweight material.  The makers call it muslin but I have learned that is what it is sometimes called outside the US.  Here, it seems to be called cotton gauze.  It makes a great blanket for hot places like TX so you can wrap your baby up but not overheat them.  Audrey loves the blanket still and likes to sleep with it a lot.  Thankfully, she isn’t a kid who is attached to only one object that she can’t be without, but she really does love her gauzy blanket.

I have been wanting to make some for a long time and even considered making some long ago for my shop…part of the problem was finding the “muslin”….I never could.  Thankfully, once I discovered its other name it was easy to find at most fabric stores.  I got 3 yards at Jo-Ann’s with a coupon.  They usually only have it in white and cream though so I knew I wanted to try my hand at giving it some more flair.

I had seen Dana’s tutorial on MADE for making one which was helpful.  I decided to just use my serger for the edges though so there was no extra bulk from folding over the edges to hem it.  Since I was going to be making two blankets I decided to try my hand at two different techniques.  The first one I had seen in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine back in the February 2001 issue.  (Yes, I still have the page torn out from then in a notebook with other diy ideas…this was WAY before Pinterest.)   I was pretty excited to try it out.  The picture in the magazine showed a curtain they had made by making swirls with mustard on the fabric.  They gave the step by step on how to do it.  So, I went out and bought some mustard and got to work.  It was easy to do (except that my hand hurt for DAYS from squeezing that mustard bottle).  It took me about 20-25 minutes to put swirls all over my blanket.  The directions did say it worked best on silk and wool but I hoped it will still come out ok.  I let it sit for 30 minutes and then washed it off with the sink sprayer like it said to do, except that instead of the mustard just washing off….it dyed the whole thing yellow.  I was so dissappointed.  What was the point of killing my hand with swirls to just dye the thing yellow?  I could have stuck it in a bath of RIT dye if I wanted to do that…and my house wouldn’t have smelled like a hot dog vendor.  Here are a couple pictures of the process.  I am so glad I took photos since it is all I have left of my lovely work.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, to set the mustard, the instructions were to do the heat and chemical ways.  First I immersed the fabric in warm water and vinegar to do the chemical version.  Then I put the fabric in a big zip loc bag and microwaved it for 5 minutes on 50% power (watching to make sure it didn’t scorch).  I line-dried it and then pressed with an iron.  The instructions said that just drying it in a clothes dryer don’t get hot enough to set the dye.

The other method I was going to use was to make a potato stamp and hand stamp an image all over the white background.  I looked online and found this beautiful blanket and then the next day Mer Mag had these.  It was so funny to me that she and I were both wanting to make these blankets for our upccoming babies at the same time.

I really liked how the feather looked on the first blanket so I used the same feather that I had used for my diaper clutch.  I just cut my sweet potato in half, traced the feather on it with a pencil and then carefully cut away at the edges of it.  When I poured the paint I had bought onto the plate I was a bit shocked.  It looked PINK!  From the bottle it looked almost like a happy red orange color and the name of it was crimson red, so I knew that either way it should be gender neutral…but pink, not so much.  I was hoping that it was just the bad kitchen lighting giving it that glow and that also when it dried it would look more red.  So, this was after I had just had my first mess up with the mustard…not a good DIY night.  But I persevered and I really loved the turnout.  And it is a lot more red now that it is dry.  Here’s a picture of the stamp.  See how pink it is?!  (Oh, and that little stick at the end of the feather is a toothpick I used to hold the end on because it broke a bit as I was cutting the feather.  It worked perfectly.)

Here’s the end result…

Because the stamping worked out so well the first time I decided to stamp a design on the yellow blanket with the other half of the potato.  Actually, I did try to make a really cool geometric print first using a piece of cardboard for the stamp but it was looking awful so I stopped partway into that and went back to the potato and made a little star.  I made most of it a teal type color and then added 5 gray stars just to mix things up a bit.  After the paint dried I just cut off the side of the blanket that went wrong and so now instead of a bigger square blanket I now have a rectangular one…but at least it can still be used as a lightweight cover up and my fabric isn’t going to waste.  That poor blanket really tryed its hardest not to be created.

Here is the final product…

After all the painting was finished I serged the edges, which is really fast, and now I have two blankets.  Both had their (sometimes multiple) oops moments but overall I am happy with them.  It seems lately all the projects I have done have had some sort of  “oh, great!” moment in the middle of the project.  Nothing ever seems to come easily.  At least if it is worth while.  I guess that’s kind of like this baby that is almost ready to come.

I went to the Dr. yesterday and got encouraging news that things are starting to get going.  It is the farthest along  I have ever been at this point in a pregnancy and although it could still not mean much, it is comforting to know that at least if I am induced I have gotten a good head start.