Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ruffle Stripes Baby Blankie Tutorial

Ruffle Stripe Baby Blankie
A co-worker of mine just had a new baby, so I wanted to make a blanket for her. One that would be super cute, just like her baby, and that she could save as a keepsake for years to come. The baby blankies, or security blankets, are the best because they can be packed and taken along for car rides, and become doll blankets when the little girls get older.

I found a wonderful tutorial over at 2 Little Hooligans that I really wanted to try. I loved the elegant nature of the ruffles and gathers, and the fun appeal. So, on a rainy Southern Louisiana day... I made sweet baby Meredith her new blankie.

Ruffle Stripes Baby Blanket
Materials needed:
- Eight 3" x 30" inch strips of coordinating fabric. (I used two different fabrics, so four strips of each)
- One 5" x 140" strip for outer ruffle. (I chose a completely different fabric to accent the other two)
- One approximately 21" x 24" (I recommend not cutting until the end, as the ruffles may cause it to be bigger or smaller)
Choose coordinating fabrics
Start by cutting the fabric that will become the eight strips in the blanket to 3" x 30". You can piece smaller pieces together to get the right size, just as long as the are the correct width and length.
Cut fabric into 3" x 30" pieces
Now, you are going to ruffle each of these by sewing down the middle. From 2 Little Hooligans' blog, I learned a little trick. To get the machine to ruffle the fabric for you, just set the tension setting and stitch length setting to the highest that they will go. On my machine it happens to be 9 for tension and 4 for stitch length. **Be sure to lock stitch the pieces as you ruffle them, this will keep the ruffle intact as you piece them together (I learned this the hard way). Continue with all eight pieces.
Ruffle fabric with machine
Next you will want to iron and flattern all eight pieces. This will help keep the ruffles and to help in the sewing process.
Iron fabric for easier sewing
Now we need to sew the pieces together. Lay the eight pieces out in the desired pattern (if you have more than two fabrics). Then pin right sides together for the two pieces that will be next to each other in the blanket. I started from the center out, so that I could make sure that they remained even. Continue with the other three pairs. Change the tension and stitch length on your sewing machine back to normal and sew the 4 pairs together.
Sew two pieces together
Once all 4 pairs are sewn together, open them up and re-iron flat. Now you will want to lay the pieces back down to recheck the pattern. Pin the pairs to the one next to them again, and sew the rest of the pieces together. Reopen and iron again. Your blankie should look like this now:
Layout fabric and iron
At this point, you can rip out the center stitches if you like, shown above, or leave them in. After I ripped the stitches out, I wish I would have left them. The ruffles lost some of their "ruffliness" and flattened out some. The edges around the outside will be a little uneven from sewing, so you will need to take a straight-edge and square them up a bit.
Square up the edges
Once the blanket is all squared, grab a glass from your kitchen to draw a rounded edge on the four corners.
Round the edges
Now, grab your 5" x 150" inch piece. This can also be smaller pieced sewn together in order to get the length that you need. Put the settings on your machine back into the ruffling setting. Place the wrong sides together and sew the long piece with a 1/4" edge. Again, make sure that you lockstitch so that the ruffles do not come undone as you work later.
Ruffle the edge fabric
Once the piece is all sewn, you are going to pin it to the right side of the striped fabric from earlier. I started from the center of my piece and worked about a quarter of the way around and then worked the other side and alternated all of the way around. Be sure to pin the corners down so that you do not risk them getting in the way later. 
Pin ruffle along edges
When you get to the end, trim the excess and overlap the edges folding each edge in and then sewing together to get a clean seam. See below:
Fold over edges into each other to form clean seam.
Now, lay the finished piece on top of the minky fabric with right sides together. Flatten out any bumps and creases, and try to get the minky as square as possible. Pin the minky to the striped piece. Be sure to use enough pins to keep the minky from shifting.
Pin the striped piece to the minky fabric.
Trim off excess fabric around the sides. Sew with a 1/2" seam and leave a 2 inch opening to turn the blanket right side out.
Trim excess fabric around edge.
Once done, remove pins and turn the blanket right side out and flatten out any bunches of fabric and iron one last time. Pin closed the opening and sew a top stitch twice around the outside to hold the pieces in place. Trim any excess stray threads.
Top stitch around edges.
Congratulations! You now have a super soft and cuddly blankie to give the special new one in your life!
Ruffle Stripe Baby Blankie

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Our Menagerie

For my birthday, Jeff had no ideas what to get me. When we went to the Saltwater Fish store for water for our tank, I found the coolest thing ever. We welcome Spike, a Spiney Sea Urchin, and Oranges, a Mandarin Goby. I realized that I have never shared pictures of our awesome pets. So, this post is for that. Most of the pictures I have pulled from the internet, since the fish are so small and in water, I can't get good pics. The picture of Shadow is real. :)

This is our tank.

This is Spike, he is a Spiney
Sea Urchin.

This is
Oranges, he is a Mandarin

This is Benny, he is
a Goby Blenny.

This is Canary, he is a Damsel.

This is Lazer, he is also a Damsel.

These are Fishie and Nemo, they
are Percula Clownfish.

This is Shadow, he is our 8 month old Catahoula puppy.

Our tank also has many small starfish, crabs and snails. And we also
have Tortimore, a Snapping Turtle. I can't find a good pic of him, and
he won't let me take one now.

I hope you have enjoyed the brief introduction to our menagerie.

And I just had to share this one, my big boy and little boy on the couch.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Swap Bot Code Breaker

I realize that this blog has once again fallen by the wayside. I really need to make it a priority.

I have been doing a lot of mail swaps through One in particular that I am doing right now, is "I Spy Postcard". We need to write our partners a postcard in a code of our choice. Well, since we can't also put our key on our postcard, I have decided to post it here.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Taking My Life Back

Sorry, I have been away for awhile. Life got a little hectic. I had two huge orders come through at work, so I was working weekends to get them out in time. And then I ended up getting a bad cold, which has in turn now developed into a sinus infection. The real kicker is our employer gets insurance this Friday, yeah, I got sick one week prior :( Oh, well. Luckily, the meds were the $4 generics. But still the doctor visit costed me $45 than it would have with a co-pay.

Well, this whole ordeal has made me realize that I want to be healthier. I hate missing out on things. I have been toying with this idea for sometime, but Saturday morning, I decided I am doing it this time.

My main vice is Mountain Dew soda. I can easily drink 4-5 cans in an 8 hour stretch at work or a 2-liter a day on the weekends. Yeah, it is that bad. I can even down a 20oz bottle right before bed and I won't even be fazed. J and I have tried to give up soda many different times, but we always fail. I think because we try to go cold turkey. I have decided that I can have a soda, just not Mountain Dew and it has to be diet. I know diet still isn't exactly good for me, but it is a start and I have to start somewhere. Saturday, I finished off the 20oz of Mountain Dew I purchased on my way to work, and then drank water the rest of the day. Sunday, I nursed one 20oz of Sprite Zero all day. Today, I had one 20oz of Sprite at work, and water the rest. Tonight, I had 8oz of Diet Cherry Dr Pepper and water the rest. This is a huge accomplishment for me.

J is doing the C25K running program, and is currently on week 4. I have never been a runner, and am terribly out of shape. So, I have decided to ease myself into it. I walk J's running route, 3 miles. Saturday, we did it once. Sunday, we did it once, and I immediately wanted to go back out, I was pumped. We waited until about sunset then did it again. Today, I woke up and wanted to go walk, but I am by no means a morning person. So, all day, all I could think about was taking a walk tonight. As soon as we got home from work, we walked the 3 mile route. Then tonight, I walked to my mom's house (only a couple blocks), but I jogged home. I good indicator of how out of shape I am, the block or so jog winded me.

J and I both decided that we needed goals to push ourselves. So, we decided that we will run the Zombie Bash 5k in October. Last year we walked it in just under an hour, yeah, not so great. But we set a goal, and I want to achieve it. :)

I have two great ladies that are my inspirations, let's call them the Xtreme Xtine's :) Both have awesomely inspiring stories with their struggles and achievements. First, is a co-worker and friend from my church, DubyaWife and second, is a fantastic girl I went to high school with I love reading both of their inspirational stories of acceptance and taking back their lives. :)

So, here is to a new me. I want you all to keep me accountable. I want to be a good example to my children and to my family. I had to give up way to many things in life for being overweight and out of shape. I was a ballerina (I was, I could dance on pointe) and played soccer. I dropped out of dance, because I realized that there is no such thing as a fat ballerina, and my junior year in high school I was cut from the soccer team, because I was so out of shape and slow. This devastated me, soccer was my life. But, it didn't devastate me enough to make a change.

I have decided now to make this change. And the rest of my life starts now (and I could quote many Three Days Grace songs here :P)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 Maiden Monarch Contest

I love I stalk their website for new embroidery machine designs, and have accumulated probably about a hundred. The problem is...I don't have an embroidery machine for my personal use. I use a Brother PR-600 at work, but not one at home.

Recently UrbanThread had a coloring contest for their 3rd birthday. They provided the Maiden Monarch design for free, and told us to color her however our little heart desired. We were allowed three different attempts, and above are my three submissions. The last one is by far my favorite. The winner gets $100 to spend on their site. This could honestly get me in trouble. I just bought over $50 worth in their Memorial Day 50% off sale. I can't wait to use my designs.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Pen Pals!

J and I have been contemplating starting a forum where people from around the globe can gather on the interwebs to send snail mail letters to each other, like old school penpals from our grade school days. We have talked about it for years, but we just couldn't nail down the specifics on how to make the whole thing work.

Tonight I stumbled across a website that takes our idea to a whole new level. While we were looking for a more traditional penpal type swap, goes so much further. Someone in the community creates a theme for a swap, and the couple that runs the site issues you your swap partners. The themes are awesome, and I love the creativity involved. As a newbie to the community, I am limited to what swaps I can join until I get good feedback (Flakers, as they are called, and definately frowned upon).

You are only allowed to be involved in five different swaps at one time, so that you are not overwhelmed. I signed up for my first five very quickly, and I can't wait to send my first letter/package. My first five swap themes are:

1-Sticker sheet. Send a brand new sticker sheet of any kind to your partner.
2-Weekly wrap. Send a postcard telling your partner your likes and dislikes from the week.
3-Souvenir Magnet. Send a tourist magnet to your partner (doesn't have to be local to you).
4-Penpal Swap. Send your partner a letter about you and foster a letter writing penpal relationship.
5-Big Fat Stuffed Envelope. Fill a 4x9 envelope to just about bursting with interesting things.

I can't wait to get started.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

This year for Mother's Day, I told my husband, J, that I didn't want any gifts and not even cards. I wanted to go to the beach. I love the fact that we live 2 hours away from Gulfport/Biloxi. J let me sleep in a little bit this morning, and then we hit the road. We found the perfect spot and set up camp. I sat and read, and enjoyed the warm sand on my feet and the splashing waves. M played in the water and had an absolute ball. J got so sunburnt, I think he is going to have trouble sleeping for a few days. I was definately sad to go home, but this was by far the BEST Mother's Day ever. I can't wait to go back again.