Baby boy nursery progress

 

I’m slowly making progress on the bedding set I’m making for my new baby’s room.  It won’t be needed (most likely) until late September, so I have plenty of time, but I also don’t want to leave it until the last minute.

Above is the bumper I made.  It’s fairly simple.  I used charm squares that I cut from yardage and added white to make an offset row of charms.  I wanted to keep it simple to show off the prints, and I’m very happy with the way this turned out.  I used cotton batting on either side of a thick poly batting, so this is quite thick.  I used the walking foot to quilt along the line of every charm square, and it turned out almost exactly like the bumper that came in my oldest boy’s crib set, so it should stand up in the crib and perform quite well. 

I’ve also finished the valances.  These need some ironing, but I’m not going to bother with it until I’m ready to hang them up.  I have the curtain panels mostly done, too, but I think I’m going to applique something on them, so they’re not technically finished.  These valances will be slightly gathered, and they have orange vents with ties up top every so often.

This is the crib skirt, and it matches the design on the bumper.  It’s simple as well, but I’m also very happy with how it turned out.  The fitted sheets are made out of the tree/dog/swing print, so the bedding part will go together nicely, I think.

The fitted sheets are finished as well, but there’s not much to see there, so I didn’t take a picture.  I have part of the quilt completed, too, but I want a solid to match a particular color in the prints, and I’m waiting for my brand new Kona color card to arrive before ordering.

I hated to spend $25 on a fabric swatch card, but I’ve already spent that much by buying fabric online that I think will match only to have to reorder because it didn’t.  Colors are never accurate on a computer screen, and I’m tired of playing a guessing game.  My local quilt shops don’t carry a wide range of solids, and prices are much better online anyway, so I think this color card is a good investment.  Once it arrives, I’ll be finishing the baby quilt as soon as I can order my (matching!) solid fabric.

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It’s a boy! My sewing plans for the new nursery

Although this will be our second boy, and although deep down I was hoping for a girl, the new fabrics I’ve chosen for the nursery have perked me back up.  Initially, if it was a boy, I had planned to reuse my son’s bedding and his room decorations and move my oldest little boy into the new room.

We’ve since decided against that for several reasons, but one reason is that I think it’s important for me to fix up a room for the new baby, just like I would have done if he had been a girl.  For me the creative process of decorating is a big part of the excitement of a new baby, so this gives me something to look forward to and something new to do since we won’t be doing much other shopping at all because we can reuse all my son’s clothes and paraphernalia.

At first I thought I’d use Michael Miller’s “Children at Play” fabric since I love that line and had already begun a quilt with that for my older boy but had never finished it.  However our glider is a green checked print, and the colors would totally clash.

Then I remembered I had bought some Michael Miller “Backyard Baby” fabric a few months ago.  I paid full quilt shop price at the time (which is rare for me!) because I fell in love with it when I saw it.  I had no intended purpose at the time other than as a gift for someone eventually.  I’m really excited that I get to use it for my own little boy now!

I just ordered all the extra fabric that I’ll need to do the whole room from bedding to curtains, and I only spent $60.  I’m even making the sheets.  I was honestly quite surprised at how economic this is, considering I’m using designer fabric.  We spent $120 for my older son’s bedding, and it was one of the cheaper sets from Target!  The nice thing about making the bedding is that it will be exactly how I want it to be, and he’ll be able to keep the baby quilt that I made for him.

I plan to turn the “Children at Play” quilt into a smaller car quilt for this new baby.  My other son has a Dr. Seuss car quilt, so now they’ll both have their own.  It’s also nice to have a larger blanket stored in the car in case we go to someone’s house, and I need a play mat of sorts for the baby.

Part of me feels silly and wasteful for making all new bedding when the bedding we already have is in perfectly good shape.  However, sometimes it’s okay not to be practical.  I want to have the same excitement and energy about this baby as I did with my first one, and even though he won’t understand it at all, I want him to have something of his own.  It’s all for me, of course, but I’m okay with that.  I’m being practical with clothing and gear, so I’m letting myself splurge on the quilting/sewing/decorating end. 🙂

I’ll post updates as I work on the different bedding components.  I doubt it will take me too long to finish, and since it’s a boy and not a girl, the nursery is really my only baby project.  For some reason I just don’t get much satisfaction out of sewing clothes for a boy.  Now dresses on the other hand… oh well, maybe someday.

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Wonky 9-Patch for a baby boy

I posted here previously about my first attempt at the wonky 9-patch.  It was much easier than I expected, and I’m sure I’ll be using this in the future when I need a quick quilt.

I chose this dog fabric because I have a TON of it, so I decided also to use it for the back.  I love printed backs, but usually I don’t want to use so much my precious/expensive fabric at once.  In this case, I’m trying to reduce my six yard stash, so printed back it is!

This quilt is for a friend at my church who’s having her first little boy.  While I have no idea what his room is like, I really don’t think it matters if it matches or not.  I use these type of quilts as play mats at other people’s houses, car quilts when it gets really cold, or as covers for infant carriers when going from the car into a store.  In my mind, they’re toss-around, useful blankets.

I do know that this family likes dogs– they have two, so I thought this fabric would be appropriate.  I’m giving it to her at her shower along with a couple other little gifts.  Hopefully she likes it!

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A wedding cake DISASTER

I’ve been doing wedding cakes, both at a bakery and on my own for over ten years now.  In fact, I’ve even made this particular cake three different times already. Fortunately, I’ve never had anything dreadful happen…until yesterday.

I was making this cake for my brother-in-law’s wedding in which my husband was a groomsman, and my little boy was the ring bearer.  The wedding was over an hour away from my home, and I had about an hour window in which to set up the cake before I had to take my little boy in for pictures (my husband had to be there earlier).

On the way there, the highway we were traveling on was unexpectedly closed.  Unfortunately, the detour took us on some very twisty, very bumpy country roads.  This was the result:

And a close up of the carnage:

I didn’t find out what had happened until we arrived at my sister-in-law’s house.  She was going to babysit my little boy while I went to set up the cake.  At that point, I was starting to panic.  From that far away, there was no way to make another cake or even more icing (I had brought my standard bag full of icing to fix minor issues).  My sister-in-law has a small mixer not capable of making icing, and no cake pans the right size, and all of this occurred in Indianapolis, with heavy traffic, which meant that buying supplies would take literally hours.  In short, there was no way to replace the very damaged cake.

I kept calm for the most part and tried to assess the damage.  The tier that did a face plant was salvageable, thank goodness.  The chocolate one, on the other hand, was not so lucky.  I wanted to try to find a styrofoam dummy cake and decorate it, but I didn’t have enough icing or supplies for a cake that big.  My mother-in-law was the one who came up with the solution:  put it up on pillars.  I needed more height since it was the back tower.  I’m not sure she even understood the mechanics of it all, but nonetheless, once she mentioned pillars, the somewhat obvious solution just worked itself out in my head.  I ran with the idea, and this is how it ended up:

If you didn’t know there had been a problem, you’d probably never be able to tell something went wrong.  The chocolate cake was supposed to be in the very back, and the back cake up on pillars should have been stacked directly on that chocolate cake. 

The bride doesn’t yet know (her groom does, but I swore him to secrecy at least until after the wedding), but I’m still hopeful that she won’t find out for a while.  Of all weddings for this to happen on, this was one of the most difficult.  First, I was much further away from home than I usually am.  If it had been in my city, it wouldn’t have happened in the first place because the transport time wouldn’t have been as long, and even if it had, I would have been able to bake and decorate a new one in time for the wedding.  My little boy as a ring bearer also complicated things. 

Still, everything worked out in the end, and hopefully this will be the last of my bad cake luck for a while!  To end on a good note, here are some ring bearer pictures.  He was pretty grumpy by the time we drove another hour to get to the picture site:

Although, once the snacks came out, he was a happy camper. 

Snacks make everything better, don’t they?  We were so rushed between the cake issues and pictures that neither my husband nor I ate all day long.  Around 5:00, I sent my husband out to the van for something, and he came back in licking his fingers and told me the cake was good.  He had grabbed a snack off the van floor– ick!  Talk about desperation.

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Pink and Black String Quilt

I made this quilt after joining a string block swap on flickr.  The swap pointed me to this tutorial, and somewhere along the line, I saw a picture of a similar quilt she had made with green instead of pink.  However, I love the pink and black combo for a girl, so I went with hot pink.

While I think it turned out nicely, it still doesn’t give me the WOW I was hoping for, so I doubt I’ll make another one like this.  Also, while string blocks are great for using up scraps, they do take quite a bit of time because there are so many seams in the block.  I just don’t think the end result was worth the time put in.  Still, I think it’s pretty, and it was another lesson learned.

For the back I pieced together my remaining scraps and edged it with some pink so it would stand out.  I do like the back quite well.  I’ll probably either give this as a gift or maybe try to sell it.

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A labeling marathon

Recently I decided to take some of my “spare” quilts to a friend to sell in her shop.  I had originally intended to put them on etsy, and I still might list some in the future, or list these if they don’t sell, but I thought I’d give this a try first.  It’s less computer work for me, which is always a  good thing!

Anyhow, I decided my quilts needed some labels.  I already had some printed from the label I made here, so I cut them out, framed them with some scrap fabric that matched each quilt, and sewed them on by hand.  It took me about an hour and a half, but they look quite cute, I think.

A couple of these quilts are upcoming shower gifts, so I won’t be selling all of these, but regardless, I think the labels look much more professional than my normal sharpie labels and/or signing in the quilting.

I’m considering having some woven tag/labels made.  There are several shops on etsy that sell them.  I would have to spend around $100, so I want to make sure I have the name/design exactly right.  That would buy hundreds of labels, so it’s close to a one-time investment.  For now, though, at least I have the option of printing my labels.

The only thing I don’t like about these labels– you can’t personalize them if you pre-print them.  There’s no date and no personal message to the recipient if it’s a gift.  In retrospect, I could have added a “2012,” which would have lasted the whole year.  I might do that if I print some up again.

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“Spare” baby quilts

I bought some good baby quilt fabric recently and wanted to make a couple extra baby quilts to have lying around in case I was in need of a good quick baby gift.  Most of the time I have plenty of advance warning of a baby’s birth or a baby shower, but since baby quilts are quickly becoming my signature gift, I thought it might be good to have a small backlog in case I get busy and can’t finish one sometime.

Some people might flinch at the idea of putting in the time of making a baby quilt for someone who’s less than a very close friend, but I don’t feel that way.  Quilting is a hobby that I just love, so even if the gift takes a few hours of “work,” it’s a few hours I really enjoyed.  I would do it anyway, and one house can only hold so many quilts, so naturally I turn to gifts.  Plus, I need an outlet for my fabric addiction.  I’ve accumulated WAY too much fabric, and there are always new fabrics coming out that I just know I’ll fall in love with and have to buy.

I chose this design first because I liked it, but secondly because it’s so fast and easy.  It’s made from charm squares, and you can find the tutorial here.  I cut my charms from yardage and scraps, but you can always use a charm pack instead.

This is a great design because it’s pleasing to the eye (odd numbers of stripes, etc. are always best!) and it’s something that would appeal to most young mothers who might have a more modern style.  I don’t like to make overly traditional quilts as gifts unless I know the mother well and know she would like it.  Most of my friends would prefer a cleaner, more modern look.

In this case, I made a boy quilt and a girl quilt to have on hand.  Now that I’m thinking of it, I think a gender neutral quilt might also be handy– possibly even more handy since it could be used for either gender, even if I knew what it was.  I guess I have my next project!

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