Wednesday, February 27, 2013

DIY Cloud Mobile

One of my goals as of late, has been to put more tutorials here on the ol' blog.  I'm pretty crafty by nature, and usually when I see something I like, I do a mental scan to see if it's something I can make myself.  Of course, it's also been my goal to finish the nursery before Ruby goes off to college.  Then the Youngsters issued their seasonal Pinterest challenge, and that was just enough to light a fire under my buns.

You'd think that being a Seattlite, I'd be cloud-averse, but nope.  Upon checking my Pinterest board, I noticed I had several inspiration pictures of cloud mobiles pinned already.

sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Looking at the above images, I knew that this was a project in the scope of my (and most people's ability), and as an added bonus, I had a lot of the supplies already.  I only spent about $5 to get the remainder of what I needed.  None of these images had tutorials, so why not make my own?

First, gather your supplies.

It would be wise to make a template of sorts for your clouds and drops.  I made mine out on graph paper, so I could keep things somewhat symmetrical (especially for the drops).  You'll also need felt in white and several coordinating colors, thread to match, polyester fiberfill, a 12" embroidery hoop (just the inner circle, craft paint, fishing line or clear beading string (which is what I used, since that's what I found at the craft store), a needle for hand sewing, and an eye hook or cup hook to hang it.  I also used scissors (duh), a cheap foam paint brush, some hot glue, and an air-soluble marker.

The first thing you want to do is paint your hoop.  I learned the hard way that spray paint on a hoop is NOT the way to go.  I couldn't really get it on the sides, so I switched over to white craft paint.  Sorry that part is not pictured.  I actually decided to make this tutorial after I was already finished!  I think you all know how to paint, though.

Using your templates that you made, cut out six cloud pieces and 18 drop pieces.  If you're using all different colors like I did, make sure your fronts and backs are matching.  I found it easiest to trace the clouds first (this is where I used my air-soluble marker, but you could use a pencil), but for the drops, I just held the template on there and cut around.

Once you have your pieces, it's time to start stitching.

Start on the inside of the two pieces, to hide your knot.  Make sure you're using thread that matches the color of your clouds/drops.

Side note: I had every color thread I needed except for orange.  I really didn't want to go buy orange thread for one little drop, but I had a genius moment.  I threaded up my needle with the right length of yellow thread, then ran an orange sharpie over the length of it!  It worked (and matched) perfectly!

Anyway, continue sewing around until you have about a thumbs width left of space to go. 

I found that starting my thread in that particular spot (about 1/3 of the way from the top) made it easiest to stuff.  Which is your next step.  Stuff the drops as much as you like...

Stop to take a picture of your sweet doggie when she wanders into your work area...

And stitch that bad boy the rest of the way closed.

To hide this knot, place your needle between the two layers of felt (as shown above), and pull through. Knot your thread, then point your needle down between the layers and push it out through the puffy part of the drop.  Like so:

Pull your thread all the way through, a little bit tightly, and snip your thread.  When you let go, the tail will suck back into the stuffing and your knot will be hidden!

Repeat those steps for all of the drops and the clouds.  The process is exactly the same for the clouds, only you'll want to leave a slightly larger space for stuffing.

Once you have three stuffed clouds and nine stuffed drops, it's time to put them together.  Lay out all of your pieces and decide on a color arrangement for the drops that looks good to you.  I made sure I had none of the same color per cloud, and that none of the repeating colors were in the same positions (so, like, one light pink was centered, and one was on the side). 

Now cut a length of your fishing line.  Knot one end and thread your needle.  Find the bottom center of 
a drop and separate the two layers of felt (like you did when you were about to knot your colored thread).  Insert the needle there and finagle it up through the center of the drop so that it comes out at the point in between the two layers.  Pull it all the way until the knot reaches the felt.

You can juuuuust barely see the clear knotted fishing line in the photo above.  We don't want to see it at all, so gently tug the string until the knot pops into the drop.  You don't want to pull it completely through and out, so once it pops through the bottom, stop.

Your needle should still be threaded with the fishing line, now with a drop dangling at the bottom.  Pick up a cloud.  Find the desired location of where you want your drop to hang, and make a few stitches right on top of the white ones you did when you were sewing your cloud together.  The fishing line is slippery, so pull the string only to the desired length of your drop (I made my middle drops hang a little longer and just eyeballed the side ones until they were about even with each other.

Just like you did before, you're going to hide your knot.  Stick the needle through one layer, knot, and push it up into the middle of the cloud, then out.  Pull a little bit and cut your string so that it sucks back inside.  Knot hidden!  Repeat with all of the remaining drops.

To attach the clouds to the hoop, first I did a bit of math.  I wanted them evenly spaced around my hoop, so I found the circumference (12" x 3.14 = 37.68), but then divided it by 3 (since I have 3 clouds) to get 12.56".  So, I needed to hang my clouds roughly every 12.5".  Since pi is pretty close to 3, you could just use the diameter and hang them 12" apart, but one section would obviously be a little bigger.  Have I lost you yet?  =)  Just measure around the hoop and make little marks every 12.5".

Cut a long piece of fishing line and attach it to the top of the cloud with a couple of stitches and a knot (use our now-familiar knot hiding technique).  Wrap the other end of the line around the hoop at your mark, and tie a knot.  I wrapped mine around a few times for strength and to get a length I liked.  Then, because the end was sticking out a bit, I secured everything with a dab of hot glue.

Same thing goes for the other two clouds, but I varied the length of the strings, so I had a short, medium, and long (they ended up at 5", 7.5", and 10").

Now we need to make it hang.  I cut three really long pieces of fishing line.  I just looped it under at the same spots where the clouds were attached, and tied a knot (see pic above).  Once I had my three double-strings, I grabbed them all and, evenly as I could (I held it up to check for balance), tied them all together in the middle.

I knew I needed to make some sort of loop to make it hang.  After rummaging around, I found that I only had an eye hook.  If you're using a cup hook, you can just make the loop and hang it afterward.  If you use an eye hook, like me, thread all 6 pieces of your string through the eye, then knot them all together by your first knot.  Pull very tightly to make sure the knot is secure (this string is slippery!) and trim the ends if they are really long.

Here's where I ran into a problem.  How was I going to hide the ends?  I decided to cover them up with a little heart "cloud".  I cut two identical hearts out of white felt (about 1.5" across).  I started at the top and sewed half-way around, then sandwiched the heart around my knots, tucking the ends of the string in too.  I added a little bit of poly-fill here too, for good measure, then continued stitching my way around.

Screw your hook into the ceiling, and you're done!  Stand back and admire your work.

Admire the little whimsical, hand-stitched details...

Stop and take a picture of your adorable baby's crazy bed-head...

And admire some more.

Ruby just loves it.  Whenever we're by her crib, she points or reaches out for it, and loves to stare up at it when she's laying in bed.

I should say that I don't actually let her touch it, because I don't want the screw to loosen.  Our house is rented, so I did not put in an anchor or find a stud.  The mobile is very light, so I'm confident it will not come down on it's own, and it's high enough up that Ruby can't reach it on her own.  If you're worried about safety, though, anchor yours.  Still, with the strings, it shouldn't be hanging down where baby can grab it anyway (which is true of any mobile).

If you have any questions, please leave a comment.  Like I said, I decided to make this tutorial after I completed mine, so I didn't have pictures of every step.  If anything is confusing, please let me know!

There are lots of other great crafty projects linked up already, too, so go check out what everyone else made!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Calendar Girl - Nine Months

I took these pictures almost three weeks ago!  Sigh.  One day, one day I will post these things on time!  Maybe.  

The biggest, most exciting thing to happen in Ruby's ninth month?  Teeth!  She got her first tooth just a few days into the month, and about a week and a half later, the second one popped through.  Unfortunately, along with the teeth, came the worst diaper rash ever.  Well, it might be due to teeth.  Either that or she is allergic to spinach (I hope not), but every time she's eaten spinach, she's also gotten a killer rash and a tooth.  Who knows?

Whoooooaaaa!  Look at my chompies!

Her love of food this month, was stronger than ever.  She'll even eat avocados now!  She got super interested in finger foods, which means she'll pretty much try anything.  We joke that she is part beagle, because she's a bottomless pit!  She's now doing breakfast and dinner every day.  If you don't put the food on her tray fast enough, she pounds on it with her hand, or points fervently like, "Hello!  Put the food here, now!".  Charming.  We decided to teach her the sign for "more" so that she could make her demands a little more politely, and now she "mores" constantly for everything.

Still no crawling, but still lots of "I'm kind of thinking about crawling" moments.  Many a faceplant happens on our bed.  Thankfully, she's not brave enough to try that out on the wood floor or anything.  Also, like last month, she is super interested in play and she now loves to "share" her toys.  She pretty much insists that we "eat" her blocks or rattles or whatever else she offers to us, and if you pretend to do it, she totally cracks up.  She tries to share her toys with Braidy too, which I think is just so so cute!  Also, she loves when we make stuffed animals "talk" to her with disguised voices, and really gets a kick out of me lowing my voice to sing the Thrift Shop song (which I guess would be pretty funny, as I have an unfortunately childish sounding voice).

Nursing thankfully got back to normal this month.  Maybe she just really needed to get those teeth out, or maybe it's because we're done with the swaddle (and never going back).  Whatever it is, baby girl still loooooves to nurse.  I doubt I'll ever be able to wean her.  And sleep/naps?  It's still not what it once was.  But it's getting a little better.

Her favorite past time is riding in shopping carts (especially at Trader Joe's).  She can kind of wave now, so she likes to charm the pants off of everyone in any store by waving and "talking" to them.  I counted no less than 15 people who talked to us because of her the last time we were grocery shopping.  I guess they just can't help themselves with this cuteness!

Since we had a doctor's appointment this month, we actually got to see if this little miss did any growing.  I was pretty anxious about it, after such little growth the last time, but baby girl gained three and a half pounds!  So at nine months, she was clocking in at a whopping 15lbs. 11oz.  Ok, so that's still pretty petite, but awesome for her!  She gained an inch and a half in length, putting her at 26.75", and her head got another inch bigger around too (which I could tell because some of her headbands are getting tight!).  Way to grow, girl.  I just finally packed away most of her 6 month clothes, which I feel like I just about got six months of use out of!  Looking in that bin is so weird - there's dresses from summer, a Halloween shirt, her Christmas jammies...  It's a smattering of seasons.  All of the fun clothes start at toddler sizes, though, so I am excited about her being able to start to fit into 12mo stuff (she can wear a little bit of it, depending on brand)!

Even though some days I feel like I cannot figure out what in the world she wants (I don't think she even knows), and I would do just about anything for some more sleep, I could also just about explode with love for this little girl!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Things Loved 6-9 Months

Since Ruby insists on growing up so fast, it's time for another round up of our "things loved".  Here's our 6-9 month edition.  You'll see that it's mostly toys (yay!), but that's partly because I left out all feeding/eating related items.  Those have definitely been some of our favorites, but they have their own separate list here.  We're still loving most of the stuff on our 0-3 and 3-6 month lists, and I have to say that the Jumperoo is actually finally being jumped in!

1.) Rain or Shine Kids Pouch.  This is probably MY favorite thing in this "things loved" round up.  This pouch is awesome.  It can attach to both the stroller and our Beco (and probably our car seat, I guess, but I never have).  It is waterproof on the outside, and soft and fuzzy on the inside.  There's a pocket for my hands when I use it with the carrier, and the pouchy part is adjustable to keep Ruby's feet covered and her socks contained if she kicks them off.  This is the number one thing that other moms have asked me about when we are out and about, and though it is kind of pricy ($68), it is SO worth it. Especially if you live in the drizzly Pacific Northwest!

2.)  Ikea Mula Bead Roller Coaster.  I'm not sure what it is about these bead thingies, but Ruby can't get enough.  Ours lives in her room, and entertains her while I take care of dirty diapers.  Win!  It's light, so she always pulls it into her lap for easier bead-reaching access.  Bonus?  It's super inexpensive.

3.)  Ikea Mula Shape Sorter.  Best $5 I've spent.  Ruby doesn't really "sort" the shapes, but she loves tapping them together, pretending to drink out of them, and sharing them with the dog.  They're hollow in the back, so they're very easy to pick up.  The box is great for emptying (a super favorite activity at this age), and because it is wood, it also makes a fantastic drum.  With the exception of the mailbox-looking piece, we call the shapes by their proper names (cylinder, cube, triangular prism), so maybe she'll be ahead of the game when she starts Montessori preschool!  We play with this toy every day, it is that loved.

4.)  Learning Curve Baby Teethers.  I have a family member that likes to buy gifts, but doesn't use gift receipts.  While she claims, "anything can go back!" we don't like asking her for the receipt.  As a result, a sweater that was... um... not my style? got turned into these two teething toys for Ruby.  We love them both!  The fruit are cute, and fun for shaking, not just chewing on.  The star teether is much softer than other teethers of similar style, which Ruby seems to prefer.  She has no problems chomping down on this one.

5.)  Gerber/Nuk Mesh Feeder.  I cannot find more of these anywhere, but if you do, snatch them up!  We had the Munchkin brand mesh feeders, and I could not get them clean for ANYTHING.  Nasty!  I borrowed one from a friend and ended up just buying her a new one because I couldn't clean it.  This Gerber/Nuk one I found one day while trolling Target.  It was on clearance for $2, so I threw it in the cart.  I love it because the mesh part comes completely out of the handle part.  Which means you can replace it if it gets too gross.  But it also cleans up much easier!  I always rinse immediately and pop it in the dishwasher (but if I'm not about to run the dishwasher, I keep it soaking in warm water and dish soap).  No problems.  Ruby loves frozen applesauce drops in here, and I love that it distracts her long enough for me to prepare her real meal.

6.)  Bumbo.  Some babies are meh about these chairs, but Ruby LOVED hers.  We actually started out with my niece's Prince Lionheart Bebe Pod.  It wasn't a good fit for her, so we barely used it.  Then, at a playdate, she tried out the Bumbo.  She was in love!  A friend noticed, and offered us their Bumbo, as it didn't fit her son's chunky thighs (a problem Ruby does not have).  We lent them the Bebe Pod in return (which did work better for him), but she told us to just keep the Bumbo.  I will definitely use it for future siblings!  I do think they are overpriced though, and there are an abundance of them available used.  In fact, the one we have was bought used by the other mama (she only paid $5 for it).  So definitely buy this item used (they clean up great)!

7.)  Rugby Stripe Bins.  This is how we keep all those toys contained!  I looooooove these things.  They're stylish, inexpensive, hold a ton (and we got the "small" size), and the somewhat flexible sides allow Ruby to reach in there and pull stuff out herself.  We keep one upstairs in our room, and one downstairs.

8.) Kid-O Go Car.  This thing is so so cute.  One of my students gave it to Ruby at my little class shower.  I was very fond of that student, so the car always makes me smile.  But also?  Ruby loves it.  "Beep beep" is one of her favorite sounds, so the car goes beep beep all over the place (she especially likes it if it drives on her or us).  It's design is easy for her to hold, too.  I think this toy has a lot of longevity as well, it frequently gets absconded from her at baby class.  Last week, a little boy took it and crawled all around the room with it for a long time.  It comes in other colors, but the little boys always seem drawn to her pink toys!

9.)  Fisher Price Rock a Stack.  I bought this toy for Ruby simply for the nostalgia factor.  But, she really enjoys it.  She likes to take the rings off by grabbing the bottom one and flinging.  She also loves to bang them together, hammer with the center pole thing, and also chew on it.  She doesn't stack them yet, but that just tells me that this is another toy that will last a long time.

10.)  Loveys (the link is not for the one pictured, but another one we have).  Around 8 months, we decided we felt comfortable with Ruby having a lovey in the crib. It was our hope that when she woke, they'd keep her occupied and/or comforted, and she'd fall back asleep.  Sometimes it works!  We actually keep two in there, so one of her hands can always reach one, and she only gets them when she's in the crib, so she's happy to see her "buddies" when she's in there.

11.) Munchkin Lazy Buoys Bath Toys.  Right now, these are the only bath toys Ruby has, but she loves them!  Their heads fit nicely in her mouth (haha), and she likes to try to catch the water that comes out of the holes.  When she was still bathing in her infant tub in the sink, we always had the water going (she had a clean water tub), which meant you could make awesome water spouts with the spinner part!  Now that she's in her big girl tub, she still likes spinning it around, and she LOVES it when we make seal noises at her.

12.) Vtech Blender.  This is another toy that gets daily use.  It was a hand-me-down from our niece, who loved it, and Ruby does too.  The songs are ridiculous, but for some reason, really appealing to babies!  The toy recognizes when you put a shape (or anything) in, and makes a fun sound.  There are buttons to push, and a knob to make the blender "blade" go.  I don't love that Ruby likes to stick her hand in there and move the blade part herself (I don't want her to think that's ok to do to a real blender, not that she'd ever be left alone with one), and when I googled it for a link, I found that a lot of parents have found the blocks to be a choking hazard!  Now that I think about it, they could fit through a paper towel tube, so I guess I should have known, however, Ruby has never tried to shove a whole block in her mouth before.  I also read that the sparkly stickers on the blocks (which Ruby is obsessed with) have come off in other babies mouths.  Ours are still stuck tight, even with regular washing, and the toy is at least four years old.  Ruby loves it so much, I'd still recommend it, but as with anything, use your own judgement!

So there you have it.  In other exciting gear-related news, we've put away the swing, bouncy seat, infant tub and playmat for good.  All of these were borrowed from my brother (along with a Boppy and My Brest Friend, which we haven't used for ages), which means that they get to go back to his house!  Yay!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


I have so much I want to blog about.  Time is so scarce though!  Even though I feel like I don't accomplish anything during the day, the reality is that I accomplish spending lots of time with my girl.  Which is awesome.  But I can't see the finished project of that, and well, I like finished projects!  Anyway, because I haven't taken pictures of any of the things I want to blog about, you get a random mind dump.  With random pictures.

* My house is so SO messy, and it's driving me crazy.  IF Ruby takes a nap (and that's a big IF), I always want to spend that time crafting or blogging, not cleaning my house.  Plus, cleaning usually makes noise.  But seriously, it's bad.  I did vacuum yesterday though.

*  Did Starbucks stop doing the bring in an empty coffee bag, get a free drink thing?  I never did it, but I was going to, and now I don't see that printed on the bags anymore.  Hmm...

*  I want to do a ton of decorating stuff to the house.  Except I don't have the budget for it.  And, oh yeah, we hate our rented house.

*  On the topic of decorating, are two chevron rugs in one house too much?  We have the glorious yellow one upstairs in Ruby's room right now.  I fear that my beloved Ikea Stockholm Rand rug has bit the dust.  I loooooooooooove love love that rug, but Braidy retaliated having a little "sister" in a big big way, and none of my efforts to clean it have worked well enough that I feel comfortable letting Ruby play on the living room floor.  We can't really afford to replace it with an identical one, but this Rugs USA rug has caught my eye.  Two chevron = too much?  Or ok?  And is chevron on the way out?  I like it, but I do like to keep my rugs for a long time.  

*  We call those jammies in the pic above, "jailbird jams".  I now have a sweater in identical stripes/colors, so we can be jailbirds together.

*  Ruby got her follow-up flu shot yesterday, and just like the first one, she didn't cry at all.  What is up with that?

*  Mr. G got me a massage gift certificate for V-day.  I've never had one, and I'm actually not sure how I feel about being rubbed down by a stranger.  Weird, no?

*  That picture is about a month and a half old.  And that is still the closest to crawling Ruby has gotten.  I know that all babies are on their own timeline, and some just skip straight to walking, but it doesn't seem like she's going to do that, and I kind of have anxiety and guilt about her immobility.  She's always been a horrible tummy-timer, and I feel like somehow that's my fault, and now it's making her unable to crawl.  I feel self-conscious when she's around other babies of a similar age and they are all over the place.

* I need to learn how to better use my camera.  I also probably need Photoshop, if I want to get the kind of pictures I want.  But that's not going to happen anytime soon.

* I'm having decorator paralysis about the last finishing touches for the nursery.

* I really need to lose a little bit of weight.  After Ruby was born, I lost weight quickly, but have since actually put more back ON.  Bad, I know, and it's affecting my self-esteem.  My time is SO limited, but we have the 30-Day Shred, which I think I could carve out enough time to do.  However, our TV has still not been returned by the repairman, and I don't have enough space upstairs to use that one.  Plus, there's the whole gross dog violated rug issue down there too.  I'd also like to do a couch to 5K program, but we don't have a treadmill.  I know me, and I know that I am not motivated enough to try to learn to run in the rain here in WA.  Plus, it will also be dark, since the only time I'll have to do it is after Mr. G comes home.  Sigh.

* This post has sort of become a complaining post.  That makes me sad. =(

* Ruby has begun initiating games of peekaboo with us, which makes me incredibly happy!  She'll peekaboo anything, from mesh laundry bags, to blankets or bath towels, to just grabbing my arm and holding it over her eyes.  It is SO stinking cute.

Love this kid with her whackadoodle hair.

* I've been making a batch of muffins, then freezing most of them so they don't go bad before I can eat them all.  This has led to me having a cup of tea and a muffin in the afternoons, which I love!  I guess the Brits have it right with tea time, yes?  My fave right now is this Celestial Seasonings Mandarin Orange Spice.

* I want to do more crafty tutorials on here.  Don't be surprised if you see a few in the future!  I'd also be totally open to suggestions for tutorials you want to see, I always love a good new source of inspiration.

Ok, I think that's it for now.  My mind = dumped.  Let's see what else I can get done now while Ruby naps (please take a long nap, please take a long nap).

Monday, February 18, 2013

Week in iPhone Pictures

Oh hey, I'm behind again.  So there's actually 2 weeks comin' at ya.  What can I say?  For a few glorious days, Ruby was taking awesome naps and sleeping through the night again.  Things were getting good.  Then she got a cold, and good went out the window.  We're talking no naps, up every 1-2 hours at night.  O. M. G.  So, yeah.  I'm just trying to put the pieces back together!

February 3-9

Sunday:  Ruby got a balloon at her little buddy's birthday party and was a big fan.  Monday:  "Helping" with the diaper laundry.  Shopping at Trader Joe's.  She was so tired, we unloaded a trunk full of groceries, slept through being taken out of the car and brought up to the dining room, then being brought into her room (so I could put the camera on her) and proceeded to sleep two hours in her car seat.  Whaaaa???  Tuesday:  Nine month well-baby; she looooves to check herself out!  I bashed my foot on an ottoman, and when I realized it still hurt and took a look, this is what I found.  Napping with her buddies.  Wednesday:  We checked out a toddler program for next year (I can't believe I just wrote "toddler").  Sleeping/snoring in the Joann's parking lot.  

Thursday:  I guess I these were the only two pics I took that day.  Playing at her first day of "big girl" (9-15mo) baby class, and trying to get the wipes out.  Friday:  Cutting up a stack of diaper liners while the little one plays.  Ruby checked out her soft abc book that my former students made for her.  Testing out our backdrop for 9 month photos (I should probably write that post, huh?).  Saturday:  Sleepy girl rests on mama, but still plays with toys.  I pulled this dump truck toy out of a bin of hand-me-downs from my niece and Ruby was a fan.  After making peanut butter baked oatmeal, I gave the empty pb jar to Braidy, and she was in love.  Getting some work done while my family was at the in-laws!

February 10-16

Sunday:  Daddy went to work, so we girls took a walk to Subway for lunch.  Makin' a mess.  Braidy doesn't even care anymore when her "sister" pulls her fur...  Stitching the binding on my girl's quilt.  Monday:  BabyLegs had a warehouse sale.  I wasn't going to go, but then my mom called and asked if we wanted to come visit her in the city, so...  Yeah.  Nine pairs of legwarmers, 14 pairs of socks, and 6 pairs of tights, all for about $40.  Tuesday:  She had been sitting up, maybe she'll crawl someday?  We found this hat at Fred Meyer, and took a picture of it to send to daddy.  He ordered us to buy it, so there it is on my smiley girl!

Wednesday:  Checkin' out her new quilt.  We were having a DAY, let me tell you.  She hasn't cried like that in a long time!  Thursday:  Love hurts.  Brownies for Daddy.  Hanging out with her strawberry pillow in her strawberry BabyLegs.  Friday:  We went into the city again, this time to see my dad, and he happens to live by The Land of Nod, where we picked up these paper suitcases for Ruby's room!  Playtime can get messy, but it's worth it.  Saturday:  Ahhhh, sneak peek of Ruby's DIY cloud mobile (that I was able to finish while she and Mr. G went to the in-laws again).  Big girl baths are going better - good thing because the infant tub is definitely outgrown.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Love Day!

Finished - Ruby's Name Quilt

On Saturday Mr. G took Ruby to visit his dad.  I stayed home.  It was the first time I've been alone in my house since she was born.  I've left her before, of course, but it was always for me to go do something fun, and I knew she was safe at home with her daddy.  This time was different.  Mr. G's parents do not live very close to us, and he so rarely even puts her in the car that I had to make sure he actually knew how to buckle her in the car seat.  Yikes.  Needless to say, the experience was much harder on me than it was on her.


It left me with about 3.5 hours to get. stuff. done.  The first thing I did was do some spray painting.  Can't do that with her around!  But then I got my sewing machine out, and my buns in gear.  Waaaaaaaay back in April, once I was sure we knew what we were going to name our girl, I had this big idea of making a this quilt with her name on it, and taking a picture of her on the quilt at the hospital to "reveal" her name to the world (since we didn't tell anyone the name before she was born).

That would have been pretty awesome, had I finished the quilt.  However, she came a couple of weeks early, and I ran into TONS of problems making this quilt.  The biggest problem being that there is an error in the pattern.  It calls for one yard of fabric for the backing.  So that's what I ordered.  Yeah, it wasn't enough.  And it wasn't until I did the math (adding the dimensions of the front pieces) and read the comments on the pattern that I figured it out.  But I was still short fabric.

Then, my amateurish quilting skills, plus my mediocre machine that really isn't even supposed to have a walking foot, let alone quilt (it's like, a $60 one from Walmart), led to some frustrating pulling of fabric which left me even shorter on the back.

Short story long, what should have been a simple quilt turned out not so, and I've been too frustrated with it, and too busy with my girl to do anything about it since I started it last spring.  I've been itching to finish it though, so when Mr. G gave me the gift of time...

I knew just what to do with it.

I will admit, I didn't finish it while they were away.  But I did manage to MacGyver/repair the spot with the weird pulling, finish the quilting, make the binding, machine attach it to the front, make letter templates for the name applique (I just freehanded them on graph paper, rather than download the font in the pattern), and iron on interfacing and cut out the letters before they got home.  Not too shabby.

Over the course of the last few days, I hand-stitched the binding down to the back after Ruby was in bed.  Tuesday I managed to sew down the applique, and by Wednesday morning it was all washed up and crinkly, ready to use, just in time for Valentine's Day.  Yes, I decided that this would be my V-day present to her.  Making that my goal helped motivate me to just get it finished already!

There is something soooo satisfying about finishing a quilt.

She thought it was pretty cozy too.

Here's the back.  The color looks a little off with that pink, but really, it is lovely.  See that strip of coordinating fabric?  Yeah.  That's not part of the pattern.  That was added out of necessity after the pattern left me short of fabric.  Boo.  If you look really close, you can see my MacGyver spot too.  Don't look too close. ;)

The border, backing, and applique fabric are from Heather Bailey's Pop Garden line.  The middle is Kona Cotton white, and the binding is Kona chartreuse (I'm pretty sure, anyway).  I used white Gutermann 100% cotton thread and quilted it in straight lines about 1.5" apart.  The batting is Warm & White.  

Detail shot...  With some adorable baby feet:

Oh, yeah.  This is what happens when you're too busy taking pictures of a quilt, and not paying attention to a baby:

It's all fun and games until Mommy has to clean it up.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Things Loved - Little Eaters

I'm working on my Things Loved 6-9 month edition, but while thinking about it (and while talking with a pregnant friend about my favorite baby must-haves) I decided that eating deserved it's own category.
As always, this is just my little list of what has been awesome for us.  We waited until six months to introduce solids, and skipped rice cereal/baby oatmeal.  I make all of Ruby's food, and nowadays she mostly just eats what we eat.  So I'm sure this list might be different if you go a different feeding route than we did.

1.) Tommee Tippee Explora Bibs.  These might be hands-down my favorite baby feeding item.  The #1 reason?  You can put them in the dishwasher.  Bam.  That's what I'm talking about.  Feeding a baby is MESSY.  Those laminated fabric bibs are cute, but the back side isn't laminated.  Um, yeah, food still gets down there!  And then it gets gross!  Wipe clean?  You can't wipe cotton clean.  Ew.  These bibs I just rinse down and throw in the dishwasher.  I only have two, and as Ruby's eating more, I plan to get a few more.  Love.

2.) Freezer.  This picture looks like our fridge/freezer combo, so I picked that one.  But any freezer would do.  I freeze SO much more stuff now that Ruby is eating.  Purees, of course, but also stuff like pancakes (we just defrost one in the morning and cut it up for her to eat), pasta with veggie sauce, black beans, and left over ingredients that I can still use, but won't before they go bad in the fridge.  I also buy bags of organic frozen veggies and just steam a serving for her in the microwave as we go.  She loves them as finger food, and frozen veggies still are high in nutrients, since they're flash frozen right when they are picked.

3.) Ice Cube Trays.  Do you know how hard these were to find???  Really hard!  I'd looked everywhere (besides the internet) to find some cheapy ice cube trays, and could not.  Finally, I was shopping with my mom at Target one day, and she needed some food storage containers.  Poof!  There they were, at the bottom of the shelf in that aisle.  Now you know.  I was intrigued by some fancy silicone ones, but in the end, I decided that the puree stage was short and I didn't want to spend the money on fancy stuff.  These work great.

4.) Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair.  We don't have the exact style pictured, as we got this as a hand-me-down from my niece (which was awesome).  I like this high chair a lot.  Our kitchen has bar stools with backs, so I can put it on there.  Which is pretty much where it always is, because that way Ruby can hang out with me while I'm doing stuff in the kitchen.  But I can also easily put it on a dining room chair.  It seems comfy for her, has three seat positions, and the tray is easy to use and clean.  It says the tray is dishwasher safe, but we have a full-size dishwasher and there is no way that thing can fit in there.  The seat wipes clean easily too.  The one thing I don't like, is that the sides have cotton piping.  As I mentioned above, cotton does NOT wipe clean easily, and as such, that piping part is kind of yucky.  Oh well.

5.)  Take n Toss Spoons (and Forks).  I bought these before Ruby was eating for her to "play" with/get used to.  I chose these because they were cheap.  And BPA free.  But cheap.   We don't use the forks yet, but the spoons have worked great.  We have some other Gerber silicone spoons that look awesome, but the scoop is too deep for her to easily get the food out.  These Take n Toss spoons are pretty flat, so she can easily get the food off.

6.) Nuk Learner Cup.  Ruby received a lot of sippy cups for Christmas.  They're all pretty good, but this is the one she seems to prefer the most.  I like that it doesn't leak, and it has a cap so I can throw it in my diaper bag.  It is easy for her to pick up, and easy to drink out of.

7.) Sugarbooger Sippy Cups.  We found these at this adorable baby store in the city and my dad bought them for Ruby because they were cute.  Turns out, they're actually pretty awesome, too!  I like them because the water is free-flowing, much like a real cup.  They don't have those annoying valves that no one can drink out of.  This means that they are NOT no-spill.  But they are good for practicing drinking, so we use them a lot.  Bonus: there's just two parts, a lid and a cup.  Both dishwasher safe!

8.)  Boon Saucer.  These things are great because once I put them down on her tray, Ruby cannot pick them up and turn them (and the food) into a projectile.  They've got a grippy bottom, but more importantly, rounded sides, so she can't pick it up.  We have to ration the food that's in front of her right now, or she'll stuff it all into her mouth at once (I think she's part Beagle), so they aren't essential, but I think they'll get more and more use as she gets older.

9.) Magic Bullet Blender.  I have a fancy food processer, an immersion blender, a regular blender, and the Magic Bullet.  I used the food processor once, but every single other time I've made a puree, it's been in the Magic Bullet.  One of this blender's cups would usually make an ice cube tray full of baby food.  Perfect!  Plus, it's small, dishwasher safe (you know how I love that), and we already have it.  It doesn't chop up ice very well for smoothies, but, well, Ruby doesn't eat smoothies.

So there you have it.  Overall, I pretty much love making Ruby's food.   I know there's no weird stuff in it (I'm looking at you, baby "puffs"), it is WAY cheaper than buying prepared baby food, and it is actually really easy and not time consuming.

I will say that I don't consider myself that creative in the recipe department.  Thankfully, my sister-in-law lent me two baby food recipe books that I probably should have included in my list.  I'd recommend them both!  

Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes, is the first book I cracked.  For kitchen dummies like me, it tells you how long to steam a pear for, but it also has toddler recipes that are foods I would actually eat.  Which will be great as she continues to eat more meals with us.  
I've also used Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel, which is actually not just purees as the title suggests.  There's some great stuff in there for older babies, too!  Ruby loves the pasta stars with veggie sauce.

Mostly I've learned that with food, unless it's a major allergen (like nuts), or a choking hazard (like nuts, haha), or honey, babies can pretty much eat anything.  Ruby gets down with garlicky hummus, sharp cheddar cheese, and red peppers, and loves cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices.  I'm kind of picky, but I don't want to be the reason she is someday, so the sky is the limit with flavors for her.  Which honestly, is pretty fun!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Ruby Gets Her 15 Minutes of Fame

Apparently her DIY dental exam left a lasting impression!  Check us out over on YHL's west coast book tour recap!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Week in iPhone Pictures

January 27 - February 2

Sunday:  Very hungry for caterpillars!  Nursery mobile progress.  Monday:  Poppin' tags at the thrift shop.  I paid $2.29 for gas, and Mr. G's response.  If You Give a Pig a Party.  Trying out a sweet potato fry.  Tuesday:  "Um, what?  No, I didn't take out all these toys..."  A good day for bear slippers.  Sharing a paci with the dog.

Wednesday:  Making frozen applesauce drops for the mesh feeder (I think it feels pretty good when she's teething).  We checked out story time at the library, and they have play time at the end.  I stopped at Subway on the way home, and yes, I measured my sub (it was 12.5"!).  Thursday:  Bananas and pancakes for breakfast.  Chompin' it up in baby class.  Friday:  Peepin' out the Target clearance shelf.  This is what no naps looks like.  Saturday:  Her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.  Grandpa (Mr. G's dad) had a heart attack Friday night, so we went to cheer him up at the hospital.  He's already home now, and feeling much better.