Fanfare Baby Blanket

Hiya!  Thanks so much for all your sweet comments about Kaya’s arrival!  I really appreciate all your warm wishes and your support – it’s good to know that so many people also struggle with the transition to 2 kids and that it does get better!  Things are already feeling like they are falling into place more and more each day.

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I just made my first real sewing project for Kaya and I’m soooo excited to share it with you! Rae Hoekstra, of Made by Rae, recently released a new line of fabric called Fanfare, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on some a little early.  THIS STUFF IS AWESOME.  I know that when bloggers do reviews, it always sounds like gushing, but trust me when I say that this fabric is really amazing.  It’s adorable, suuuuuper soft and cozy, and wonderful to sew.  The fabric is brought to us by Cloud 9 Fabrics which is known to be of great quality AND it’s organic!  It makes me so happy to know that I’m wrapping up my little ones in organic fabric, especially since this fabric is so wonderful to snuggle.

After seeing the prints, I thought it’d be perfect for a project for my little newborn.  I wanted to make a baby blanket, to take full advantage of just how soft and cozy this fabric is.

FanfareBlanket4I was inspired by the triangle bunting print and decided to piece the fabric together to create a “string” of bunting.  I used the solid white flannel as the background.

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The back of the blanket is made of strips of fabric.  I just love these prints so much, I wanted to showcase them as much as possible.

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After piecing together the front and back of the blanket, I basted the mini pom pom trim to one of the layers.  I put the front and back right sides together and then added a layer of cotton batting and sewed the layers together leaving and opening to turn the blanket right side out.  I sewed the opening shut and then sewed along the inside of each of the triangles to hold all the layers in place.

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I really can’t even tell you how soft this fabric is.  The best part is that it gets even more heavenly after you wash it.  You guys have got to get your hands on some of this fabric . . .

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Oh, little baby fingers and toes!  And how Kaya loved this cozy blanket!  This fabric is perfect for little ones, but honestly, I’d wrap myself up in this fabric if I had enough!!

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Since I planned on making a small pieced blanket for Kaya, I had only gotten about a 1/4 yard of each print, but Yuki found the fabrics and immediately wanted them for herself.  She was really drawn to the pink elephant print and begged me to make her something with it, but after explaining that the little strip of fabric was not big enough to cover any part of her body, she settled for snagging every little scrap that I cut and keeping them for herself.  She started taping the scraps of fabric up around the house and made a pile with the rest – it was really hilarious!  So of course, I went and ordered more fabric and as soon as I get it I’ll be making something for her as well.  Only seems fair . . .

If you’re wondering where you can buy the fabric, Rae has made a list here.  Also be sure to check out all the other fun projects that people have been making with this awesome fabric.  There is also a Fanfare Fan Flair flickr group, so if you’re looking for more inspiration or you want to add your own Fanfare projects, definitely go check it out!

Thank you so much to Rae and Cloud 9 for the amazing fabric and letting me be a part of the Fanfare Blog Tour!  And congrats on a truly wonderful line of fabric!  One of the things I love about Rae is that she is a perfectionist.  She really really cares about putting out high quality products – I’ve seen it with her patterns and now with her fabric, she puts a lot of work into getting things JUST RIGHT.  And she’s done it again with Fanfare – this fabric will not disappoint you!

*The Fanfare fabric was generously given to me for this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.*

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Sunburst Picnic Blankets all over the world!

Hey!!  Thanks so much for all of your warm wishes and congrats regarding my little/BIG announcement 🙂  My partner and I are very excited to be welcoming baby #2 into our family in September.  I’m 21 weeks pregnant and we don’t know yet whether it’s a boy or a girl, but I’ll let you know if we find out!  I’m sure there will be lots of maternity/baby projects coming up around here – I hope you don’t mind!  And while I’ll be up to my usual stuff here on the blog, you may notice a little less posting as I shift gears just a little bit 🙂

I’m a little frustrated right now because I can’t find my camera battery charger ANYWHERE!  My camera is dead and not only can I not take new pictures, but I can’t even transfer old pics off the camera until it’s charged.  I was going to post some recently finished leftover KCW projects, but that will have to wait.

But fortunately, I have something else fun to share with you.  I’m not sure about where you live, but around here things are certainly warming up.  It’s full on SPRING!  Which means it’s time for picnics in the park for me.  Last summer I made the Sunburst Picnic Blanket tutorial and recently I’ve seen a few versions that readers have made!  Check out some of their creations . . .

This first amazing picnic blanket is by the lovely people over at Dear Stella.  They used their Clementine fabric line to create this fun and springy blanket!

This beautiful blue blanket was made by Lyra of Tictictic Sewing in France.  She used a waterproof fabric for the bottom – perfect for grassy picnics.

The next two were made by Jennifer in Germany, but instead of picnic blankets, she made these adorable twin quilts!  I LOVE the appliqued names!

I really love all the different color palettes these talented seamstresses chose!

I can’t tell you how much fun it is see what other people do with my tutorials (which reminds me, I need to update that page)!  If you ever make anything inspired by something you see here on the blog, please add it to the you & mie flickr page or feel free to contact me directly to share your creations!

Hope you’re enjoying some sunny weather too!  If not, maybe it’s time to have a picnic indoors 😉

Tutorial: Sunburst Picnic Blanket

Hello!  Thanks for “traveling” with me to Japan last week :P.  I’m still officially on summer vacation, so although I have lots of things to show you, it’s going to take me awhile to get organized and back to blogging.  So here’s another guest post I did for Delia and Kojo‘s FANTASTIC series, Color Your Summer.  This is their 2nd year doing this series, I absolutely love it, and I hope they do it every summer from now until forever.  I can’t even tell you how thrilled I was when Delia asked me to be a part of this series.  Check out all the projects from this summer in this handy round up.

The project is a foldable picnic blanket, and if you get started now, yours can still get tons of use before summer is over and throughout the fall.  And if you do make a picnic blanket inspired by this post or using this tutorial, I’d love it if you added it to the you & mie flickr pool!!

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When I think of summer, I think of picnics.  When the sun is out, I guarantee that my family will be out at the beach or park with some food and drink to soak up the beautiful weather.  It’s one of my absolute favorite activities.  So this summer I wanted to create a new picnic blanket to celebrate the start of picnic season.

In the past we’ve had a few store bought picnic blankets that we loved for their portability, but they weren’t well made and would start to rip or fall apart after a year.  I wanted to create something that was sturdy and easy to carry around, but had the look and feel of a homemade quilt.  So I made, what I call, the Sunburst Picnic Blanket.

It is a quilted blanket with a duck cloth bottom.  It folds up nicely and is secured with velcro and has a handle for easy carrying.

The design and colors just scream “summer” to me, but of course can be changed to any color(s) or quilt design.  Or if you’re not into quilting at all, you can make the picnic blanket with one piece of fabric for the top.

Here’s what you’ll need:

(My finished blanket size is approximately 55 x 59 inches so these estimates are based on that)
Duck cloth (2 yards)
– Lots of yellow fabric (I had 7 different fabrics, each about a yard)
– Batting (not too thick)
– Bias tape (about 7 yards)
– 1″ wide Velcro (about 12 inches)
– 1″ wide twill tape or other strap material (about 24 inches)
– Coordinating threads
– Denim needle (use any time you are sewing the duck cloth)

First be sure to wash, dry and iron all of your fabrics.  One reader mentioned that duck cloth shrinks even with the slightest amount of wetness, so don’t skip this step!!

Cut your duck cloth slightly larger than your desired blanket.  Then we need to make a pattern for the quilt top.

As I was deciding the best way to create the design I had in my head, I realized that it strongly resembled Kristin’s Sunshine Dress!  I LOVE this dress, so I’m thinking I was subconsciously inspired by it and lucky for me, Kristin made a tutorial for piecing together the color blocked pieces.  I basically followed her tutorial for creating the pattern pieces and cutting the fabric.  I’ll show you the basics of what I did for the quilt, but you really should check out her tutorial and one of the most gorgeous little dresses ever.

I had a piece of butcher paper the exact width of my blanket, so I used that to make my pattern.  I started by making the pattern for the top half of the quilt, but I wanted the epicenter of the rays to be off center, so I made the top ever so slightly longer than the bottom.  I picked a spot off to one side where I wanted my rays to shoot out from and I started drawing lines to the outside edge of the paper.  I made 7 rays since I had 7 different yellow fabrics.  Then I labeled them so I could piece them back together after they were cut (awesome advice from Kristin).

Then I cut the pattern pieces out and traced them onto my fabric.  Remember that if you want your finished quilt to look exactly like the pattern you drew, you’ll need to put the pattern right side up on the right side of your fabric OR flip your pattern over and trace onto the wrong side of the fabric.  When you trace your pattern onto your fabric add 1/2 an inch for seam allowance along each of the long edges.

I found it easiest to only cut out the pieces as I was ready to sew them.  So I cut out pieces 1 and 2, and sewed those together.  Then I cut piece 3 and sewed that to piece 2 and so on.  That way I didn’t mix up the pieces or get confused about which piece or which side to sew next.

When you sew the pieces together use a 1/2 inch seam allowance and always start from the point.  Try to line up all the points as carefully as possible so it looks sharp.

After you sew each piece on, press and trim extra seam allowance off.  There is going to be a lot of fabric gathering at the center point, so you’ll want to remove what you can.

When you sew all the pieces of the top half, it should look something like this.

Trim the extra fabric at the point, if you haven’t already.

For the bottom half, I simply flipped the pattern over.  By laying the top part of your quilt and the pattern pieces on top of your cut duck cloth, you can see the finished length of the quilt and trim the pattern pieces since the top part of the quilt is longer than the bottom.

Repeat the same steps to create the bottom portion of your quilt top.  When you’re done, lay the bottom part on the top part, right sides together, and making sure the all points come together exactly in one spot.  Since your top and bottom are mirror images of each other, the rays should line up.  Pin the pieces together and sew them together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Press the seam open.  There will be a lot of fabric coming together at the center point so it’ll be tough to press open, but just do your best and it’ll look fine.   Your quilt top is done!!

Layer your duck cloth, batting and quilt top and trim the sides so they are straight.

Baste the 3 layers together so they don’t shift while quilting.  I use the safety pin method.

Quilt the three layers however you’d like.  I quilted each “ray” about 1 cm on the inside of the seam creating large V shapes, using a walking foot.

Since none of the V’s reached the center of the quilt and that was where it was the thickest, I decided to freehand quilt a little star in the center.  You can’t see it from the top, but SURPRISE . . .

There it is on the bottom!

Now on to the closure flap (the piece of fabric with the handle and the velcro – I don’t know what else to call it).  First measure the width of your quilt.  Then divide that by 5.  My quilt is 55″ wide, so my closure flap is 11 inches wide.  You’ll need to cut a piece of duck cloth and coordinating fabric that is the width that you just calculated by about 11 inches.  So I had a square.

Use something circular to round 2 of the corners.  The edge with the rounded corners is going to be referred to as the bottom of the flap.

Baste or pin the two layers together so they don’t shift while completing the next few steps.

Take your twill tape and sew it onto the fabric side (not duck cloth side) along the width about 4 inches down from the top of the flap (the edge without the rounded edges).

Take another piece of twill tape and fold it under 1/2 an inch.  About 1.5 inches from the edge, pin the twill tape down.

To make sure the handle is firmly secured, sew in a square and add an X between the corners.  Go over each line several times.

Do the same thing on the other side except add an extra 1/2 inch of strap before you cut, so the handle stands up a bit.

On the duck cloth side of the flap, attach the soft side of the velcro 1/2 an inch above the edge with the rounded corners.  Trim the velcro to match the rounded corners.

Finish the edges with bias tape.

Line up the center of the flap with the center of the top edge of the quilt.  Pin them together with the handle side of the flap facing the duck cloth side of the quilt.

At this point I decided to round the 4 corners of my quilt as well (no dealing with mitered corners!!).  Finish the quilt with bias tape.

We’re almost done!  All we have to do is add the other side of the velcro to be able to close up the quilt.

First we have to fold up the quilt and here’s how:

1. Lay the quilt out flat, with the flap out at the top.

2. Fold the two sides in till the edges line up with the edges of the flap.

3. Fold the sides in again so they line up with the flap.

4. Fold it in half.

5. Fold it in half again.

6. Fold it in half one more time and pull the flap down.

Mark the placement of the velcro.

Then unfold the quilt and sew the scratchy side of the velcro according to your markings and you’re done!!

Grab some family and friends, some food, drinks, games or books and head out into the sun!

And in case you want to see how to fold up your new picnic blanket again, I made my first gif ever!

Hope you get some good picnicking in this summer and fall!  Please let me know if you have any questions or need me to clarify anything.  I love to hear from you!
By they way, what’s your favorite summer activity?

Guest Post for Color Your Summer II

Oooh, another guest post and today, it’s for Color Your Summer II, a series I LOVE and on one of my favorite blogs ever, Delia Creates. I feel very lucky to be a part of this fun series.

Today I’m sharing a foldable quilted picnic blanket that just screams, “SUMMER!”

Check out the full tutorial on Delia Creates and while you’re at it, you should take a look at all the colorful projects on both her site and at Kojo Designs.

Hope you have a colorful and sunny weekend!

Itty Bitty Doll Quilt

So while things seem to be pretty quiet here on the blog, I assure you, I’ve been very very busy.  I have 4 guest posts coming up in the month of June (FOUR!), and I’m feeling a bit stretched thin.  The good news is I’m SUPER EXCITED about all of the fun series coming up and I’m truly honored to be included in them (you can check out the buttons on the right – I’ll be adding another one soon :)).  But I do worry that I’m neglecting my own blog and personal projects too.  I hope you don’t feel neglected! 😉

So for the next few weeks, you’ll probably be getting a mix of some old projects that I never was able to share, a few new ones and guests posts here and there.  Then in July we’re off to JAPAN!!!  That’s right – Japan.  It’ll be a really short trip (one week) and with Hideko’s whole family (6 adults and 3 kids) and I’m both really excited and totally nervous (traveling with an almost 2 year old – eek!).  Anyways, I could go on and on about this, so I’ll dedicate a whole post to it some other time.

Ok, on to today’s project.  Sooooo . . . one evening at work, a co-worker leaves the building and then 2 minutes later comes back telling me that there is a doll crib out on the street that someone is dumping and that my daughter NEEDS it.  Really?  My daughter NEEDS it?  I’m quite sure my daughter NEEDS nothing – our tiny apartment is filled to the brim with toys and books and other things that no one actually needs.  And a doll crib?  Yeeeeah, I dunno about that (we tend to shy away from a lot of girly-girl things over here).  But I went to check it out anyways.

It was BIG.  But it was wooden, vintage-looking and kinda cute.  It had a drop side and came with a vinyl covered “mattress” and pillow.  I decided I would take it home and see what Yuki and Hideko thought.  I could always put it back on the street if we didn’t want to keep it.  But of course, Yuki loved it and after a good scrub down it joined all the rest of the stuff in her room.

I knew immediately that I wanted to make some bedding for it, but I didn’t want to buy any new fabric, so I put together a primary color based bedding set out of some flannel and cotton scraps.  I’m not IN LOVE with it, but it’s pretty cute and matches some of Yuki’s favorite dolls.  And since it’s so small and simple, I can always switch it up every so often if I want 🙂

I started with this flannel that I had, which is blue, red, yellow and green.  Then I went through my scraps and pulled out some coordinating cottons for the quilt.  I realized that I don’t have a ton of primary color fabrics!  My choices were limited.  But here’s what I came up with.

(I just realized that we had the pillow at the foot of the bed!  Oops!)

I made a regular ol’ pillow case and the “mattress” is covered in an envelope style cover.  I wanted to make a quilt for a  blanket, so this took a bit longer that the other pieces, but it was fun.  And it came together WAY faster than a real sized quilt – yay for instant gratification!

Now, I should just say that I am NOT a quilter.  I don’t know much about real quilting.  But I made this and so I thought I’d show you how I did it, though there may be better, more accurate or easier ways to do it.

The finished size is based on the size of the crib and is about 14×20 inches.  Based on this long and narrow shape, I decided on rows of squares – 5 x 7 (35 squares total) and each finished square is 2×2 inches.  You can decide how many rows/columns of squares you need based on the desired size and shape of your quilt.

First, I cut 35 3×3 inch squares.  I had 2 fabrics in each of the 4 colors, but you can have as many or as few different colors and fabrics as you want.  Lay them out in your desired grid.

Now I wanted the finished quilt to have a grid of colorful squares with a cream strip running between each row and column.  But I didn’t want to have to cut up a bunch of small cream strips and sew them in between each square.  So I came up with a “short cut” method that probably took just as much time. 😛

So I sewed together the columns first.  This was eventually going to be cut, so just basting them quickly with a 1/4 inch seam allowance was sufficient.  Press the seams open.

Then I cut 4 strips of cream cotton that were 1.5″ wide and as long as my columns.  I sewed the columns together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance inserting a cream strip in between each colored column.

Trim seams and press open.

Then I cut the rows apart.

And sewed them back together with a 1/4 seam allowance inserting a 1″ wide cream strip between each row.  Press.

Then I added a flannel cream colored border to each side.

I didn’t want to have to mess with quilt binding, so I just placed the quilt top and the flannel backing right sides together, added a layer of batting on top, sewed all the way around leaving an opening, trimmed the corners, turned it inside out and top stitched the entire edge.

For quilting, I just picked a few squares and sewed around the inside edge and then for some other squares I sewed around the outside of the square.  Random, I know.

But Yuki approves, so that’s all that matters!

Sleep tight!

Yuki’s Nursery: Last Day and a (sorta) tutorial

(click the button to see the whole series!)

So we made it to the last day!  I just wanted to share a couple more things and a super easy and cheap home decor idea.

First is this quilt.  My first real hand-quilted quilt ever.  Probably the last 🙂

Don’t you love how the 2010 creeps upwards?  Hah!

It was a fun project and I’m pretty proud of it, but I really don’t know if hand quilting is for me.  I love quilts though!  I think, from now on, it’s either machine quilted or knots. 🙂

This next project was a mobile I made after Yuki was born.  I realized that it would be handy to have one hanging right above her changing table to keep her distracted during diaper and clothing changes.  We had a hand-me-down mobile but it wasn’t right for our room.  So I decided to make some black and white cards and attach them to the mobile frame with fishing wire.

It was great because it still had the music and rotating mechanism, but she LOVED the black and white designs.  This was, by far, the most practical and well used item that I made.  And it was so cheap and dinky!  It was literally white pieces of cardstock that I drew on with a black marker.

She loved it for a loooong time, but eventually was able to sit up and then grab them and since they were just paper, they didn’t last long after that.  I plan on making them again when we have another baby, but I’ll probably make them with felt (or at least laminate the cards) so they are more sturdy.

This next piece is a combo of a fun find and a DIY project.  While in Portland we found this awesome gift shop and I picked up these super cute postcards.  I can’t remember how much they were, but I’m assuming pretty cheap.  They fit perfectly with the feel and theme of the room.  It’s hard to see, but they are copies of oldish dictionary pages with hand drawn and colored ADORABLE illustrations.  Birds, rabbits, a dear, a bear and a squirrel?  Yes please!

So here’s where the sorta tutorial comes in.  I wanted to show you how I painted these cheap-o frames to look vintage-y and distressed, but I didn’t have the time or any extra frames to demonstrate.  So I thought I’d just describe it, since it’s pretty simple.

Just go and pick up a 3-pack of these RAM frames from Ikea for $1.99.  They are unfinished pine and have a plastic sheet instead of glass making it totally safe for a kid’s room.

All you need is acrylic paint in the color you want the frame, and white.  Paint a few coats of your main color to make sure it’s nice and well coated.  In my case, I did about 2-3 coats of brown paint.

Once the frame is completely dry, take a dry brush and dip it very lightly in the white paint.  You can brush some of the excess paint off if you need to, because you really only need a tiny bit.  You want to lightly brush the white paint along the edges of the frame a few times all the way around.  Do it on both the outside edge and inside edge of the frame.  You can very lightly run it over the rest of the frame too.

The nice thing about this, is if you accidentally get too much white on the frame, you can always take another dry brush with a tiny bit of your base color and brush it over.  Keep going until it’s got the amount of distressing you like.

And that’s it!

Thanks so much for coming on this little tour of Yuki’s room.  For me, it was a trip down memory lane!  Though some of this stuff is still up in the room, a lot has changed, and most of it has just become part of the mess.  I don’t really appreciate it anymore.  But looking back, I remember all the love and thought that went into it AND it makes me a little excited to plan another nursery!!  Not that we’re ready for that yet . . .

And in case you want to go back and see the other days, here are the links:
Day 1: Fabric Wall Decals
Day 2: Bird Mobiles
Day 3: Punched Fabric Flowers
Day 4: Fun Finds

Anyways, have yourself a great weekend!!  I’ll see you next week for some fun green activities in honor of St. Patty’s Day 🙂