DIY Flannel Nursing Pads

It is not the most glamorous thing in the world, but when I was expecting the baby, I made 10 flannel and fleece breast pads using this tutorial on the off chance that I liked them. I was hoping to breastfeed, but not counting on it, since I know so many awesome moms and babies who didn’t have breastfeeding work out.

DIY Flannel Breast Pads

The photo shows them after lots of washes – they hold up great!

Anyway, so I made the flannel breast pads, because I in general like to be eco-friendly and so reusable instead of disposable is generally my preference. But I got gifted a few hundred unused disposable breast pads from various friends who had finished nursing and had leftovers — so then I figured I wouldn’t even use my silly flannel ones.

But it turns out I love them! They are soo much softer than the scratchy disposable ones. I think I had about 4-5 different brands of disposable breast pads and I didn’t like any of them, especially those first few weeks. The flannel ones were a life saver. The ones with flannel on one side and fleece on the other did a particularly good job of protecting against leaks. You put the fleece side out, the flannel absorbs the milk pretty well. I have a mix of each kind. You can also make them with a super absorbent middle layer if you want to buy a special fabric, but I was just using up scraps from other projects to make these, so didn’t buy anything special. These just use the cheapest flannel fabric from Joann Fabric.

And now after some struggle (and them some more!) and then a few more struggles, we’ve actually got a pretty good breastfeeding relationship going. To celebrate, I made a bunch more breast pads using the same tutorial. If you have a serger (I recently got one and this was my first project on the serger!) they are a dream to sew and the only work is cutting out the circles. If you had an accuquilt or other die cutter, they would really be a dream! I made them for a baby shower gift I like them so much!

DIY Fabric Circles Mobile

I have so many beautiful fabrics! And a baby needs a mobile, right? I wanted to find a mobile that would showcase them. I had a lot of ideas – like making little stuffed birds, or chubby little 3-D stars, or a rainbow with raindrops hanging from it – but as the time for the baby got closer, I decided to go really simple. Glad I did, because she was born several weeks early!  I found this very attractive and yet super simple tutorial – and it was hard to find, because a million people have re-posted the photo without attaching the original link.

This project is actually no-sew – I just used Pellon Wonder Under to hold the circles together. Though I do think stitching would make it much more awesome looking, baby can’t tell the difference.

DIY Fabric Mobile

I needed mine to be shorter, because we don’t have a nursery for our baby, instead she has an Arm’s Reach bassinet that occasionally moves from room to room. So we couldn’t hang a giant glorious mobile from the ceiling. My mobile holder (I have this one, but used for much cheaper) was fairly short.

It’s nice to have it on the mobile holder, actually, because occasionally I attach it to a shelf and it’s nice amusement for when she just wants to be carried around the house to stare at things. I’m sure someday soon I’ll miss the days when holding her in front of a mobile was all it took to make her stop crying!

DIY Fabric Mobile

My ribbons hang down 17″ and 15″ inches and my circles are 3.5″ across. I have four 15″ ribbons with two circles staggered with four 17″ ribbons with 3 circles. You’ll need to cut extra length for tying the ribbons on (ughhh I forgot and had to splice on extra ribbon).

I used high contrast black and white fabrics and favorite rainbow colored fabrics with fussy cut patterns for the other side. Great way to use up some tiny scraps of out of print Tula Pink I had around!

DIY Fabric Mobile
DIY Fabric Mobile

This project suffered a bit because it was one of the last ones I did in a rush before the baby was born. I don’t like the pink and teal ribbons. But I don’t hate it, and the baby likes to look at it, and I don’t want to make a new one. So for now, it stays!

DIY Fabric Mobile

DIY Quilted Baby Play Gym

DIY Play Gym

I’m sure you’ve noticed that a lot of baby items are very unattractive and overpriced. Or if they are really cute, interesting colors, they are REALLY overpriced.

When I was thinking about what to make for baby, I checked a bunch of books out from the library to get ideas of what I could realistically make and would definitely use. I wanted to make practical, pretty things, and my favorite book along these lines was Sew Modern Baby  by Angela Yosten. I recommend this book for the creative and totally practical variety of projects – plus she uses beautiful fabric combinations I’m sure you’ll find inspiring!

I was pretty impressed by her baby play gym – it never would have occurred to me in a million years to make my own. Our playgym is in our main living area. and we are looking at it constantly, so I’m really happy I was able to make a cute one that I actually like to look at!

The great thing about this project is you can do it with any baby quilt – just add some ribbons to attach the overhead arches, and construct the arches, and you’re good to go. I decided to make her a double sided baby quilt/play mat (more pictures of that soon!) so I could have some variety in the play gym. When she outgrows the play gym arches, I can pick out the stitches of the ribbons that attach the arches to the quilt, and have the quilt for whatever we want.

This picture shows the other side of the mat – a rainbow ABC quilt – I’ll have a tutorial for this later too!

DIY Play Gym
All you need to buy (besides fabric – though I made mine from stash!) is some of these baby play links – which are great developmental toys anyway – and some sort of tubing for the overhead structure.  Anything somewhat flexible could work, but I ended up using blue PEX Water Pipe – because I found some cheap used at the Habitat Re-store. Note: If you don’t have the store cut it for you, you’ll need a pipe cutter, which are very cheap, to cut the pipe.

I deviated from the book’s suggestions for constructing the arches quite a bit, mainly because I hate turning tubes inside out (with a passion! ha!), and that was the method she recommended for making the overhead arches. She also called for using pipe insulation to pad the arches and give them extra structure, and I wanted to use quilt batting 1. because I had some scraps on hand that I wanted to use up and 2. Quilt batting seemed less toxic for the baby to chew on.

Another change I made was having the arches cross over each other, as pictured below.

Baby play gym high contrast DIY Quilt

Her arches look amazing, and you should totally check out her book for the instructions on how to make them the “right” way, but if you want to know how I made my version, read on!

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Divided Baskets

I’ve been enjoying the Divided Basket Pattern by Noodlehead. This is my third one! I am planning to mod the handles with snaps so I can hang the basket from the side of the changing table for extra storage space. We’ll see how that goes!  I got snap pliers and STAR SHAPED SNAPS for my Christmas present, so any excuse to use those.

Making a basket. #wipwednesday .... just had to check it's actually Wednesday, this week is weird.

I wanted to make it 2 inches longer, but then my brain hurt thinking about it. I figured I could just make the entire basket using the pattern faster than figuring out the math of making the basket longer.

Suffice to say, since I’ve made several of these, I really like this pattern and the handiness and sturdiness of the baskets. Though I do wish they came in a few different sizes!

It’s Wednesday, so I’m linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday, which I almost never remember.

The Littlest Baby Blanket

Scrap circles raw edge applique baby quilt

This little quilt is made from the scraps of this very big quilt.  It doesn’t really have much of a purpose, but it is so sweet and soft looking I’m sure it will find a nice use in the house.

Scrap circles raw edge applique baby quilt

I had all the circles in a pile. I just glued them down with a glue stick and then began quilting. I wanted it to have the frayed edges. This is how much it has frayed after one wash.

Scrap circles raw edge applique baby quilt

I thought about match stick quilting and also about doing a grid. But I think it has enough stitching in it for now. For the first time in many years, I didn’t do a nice double fold binding, but instead just folded over the backing and sewed it down. I didn’t square it either. If I decide someday it needs a more polished finish, I’ll do it then.

Scrap circles raw edge applique baby quilt

Woodlands Baby Quilt

Forest Woodlands Baby Quilt Hand Quilting

I’m going to do a review soon of the Aurifloss thread I am using to hand quilt this little baby quilt, but thought it might deserve a little write up of its own.  Plus I am hoping to finish it by the end of January as part of the Lovely Year of Finishes.

For the life of my I can’t remember the name of this fabric, but I love it so much! At some point I’ll track down the selvage and update accordingly, but since woodlands fabric is such a huuuuge trend right now, google can’t help me find the fabric line’s name.

I sewed this quilt together really quickly when I decided I needed a hand sewing project last month. The patchwork is totally random and the other side is a combo of scraps and some chambray cotton that found it’s way into my house after a sale.

Forest Woodlands Baby Quilt Hand Quilting

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Sampler Quilt Finish!

Sampler Quilt

This is probably one of my longest ever works in progress. I actually finished it in early December, but just now got around to taking pictures of it, and then deciding to actually blog about it.

It was part of my goal to finish by the end of 2014 as part of the Finish Along and I’m so glad to have it off the WIP shelf.

One reason it took so long is I wanted to quilt it with feathers, and I didn’t know how to do feathers! I have gotten better at free motion quilting since I pieced this top in 2012 – and better at quilting in general (I couldn’t believe some of the mistakes I left in this, I must have been in a very bad mood when finishing the top!), but I was actually kind of out of practice when I finally basted this.  It was very ripply, but most of the puckers from the sloppy piecing quilted out.

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Really Scrappy Rainbow Lonestar Finished!

Really Scrappy Lone Star Rainbow Quilt

Yay! I had wanted to finish this hateful thing glorious beast by the end of the year. In part to reach my Finish Along goal, but more because I was worried I would NEVER finish it, and frankly I was sick of having it hang in my “unfinished quilts” pile. I did NOT want to press it again, and I had already pressed it. So it had to get done! I have something of a tutorial here, if anyone is interested in my modified lone star math I had to come up with.

Really Scrappy Lone Star Rainbow Quilt

Ok, get ready for a million pictures, because I am just in love with the front and back of this thing! Plus a lot of boring process thoughts, because it was an interesting learning experience for me!

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Aragon Bag by Sew Sweetness Review

Sew Sweetness Aragon Bag by WaterPenny
At the #OHCraft Sewing Retreat in October, I won a copy of a Sew Sweetness pattern and opted for the Aragon bag so I could make a diaper bag for my tiny little roommate.  I figured I would make it the following weekend, but I just laid around and slept instead. Silly pregnancy!

Sew Sweetness Aragon Bag

However, I am finally made it! Lucky because it is on my list of items to finish this quarter for the Finish Along! Glad to have another accomplishment to cross off the list!

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