Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I've been pretty quiet... And a little intimidated.

I feel like for the past 9 months or so, that I've been really quiet and reserved. I've had so many things I've wanted to blog about, or share, and even started blogging about, but I just haven't been able to hit publish! I don't know why. Well, I do. For some reason I've felt rather intimidated to open up and share things that are such an intense part of who I am. Which seems odd considering the things I have shared on my blog. Maybe it was just being pregnant that did it, but I think I'm ready to start opening up again, and kick this intimidation out the door.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Sew-Along: Polaroid Sleeping Bag: Making the Polaroid

This post is part of the Polaroid Sleeping Bag Sew-Along. You can find the main post and supplies list, along with links to all available posts in the series, HERE.

Are you ready to get started??

Today I'll share the complete process for making the inner polaroid section of each block (The I-spy print + white sashing). My blocks are larger than the standard polaroid blocks you may have seen. If you would like to make smaller polaroid blocks, I suggest checking out Karen's post over at CapitolaQuilter.

I actually suggest that you check out Karen's post no matter what, because she has some great tips that I wish I had remembered before I had started my blocks. I'll reference her suggestions throughout this post, but I'm not going to show you how to do them.

For a quick run through, here is how we will create one polaroid block:

Take one charm square (4 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches) (A)
Sew to the top: 1 inch by 4 1/2 inch white strip (B).
Sew to each side: 1 inch by 5 inch white strip (C).
Sew to the bottom: 2 1/2 inch by 5 1/2 inch white strip (D).

*After you attach each section, press seams towards the white fabric.*

And you have one center of a polaroid block!

Super simple!

Cutting Fabric:
All instructions are for creating 50 polaroid blocks, which is how many you'll need to make one sleeping bag.

I-Spy Charms:

What you'll need:

(A) 50 - I-spy charms, each 4 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches.

By I-spy, I am referring to prints that have fun, playful designs or images that will make it fun for a child to look at and pick out the different items in the print. That's the reason I chose this block for my sleeping bags! When we are out camping and the kids can't sleep, they can stay up looking at all the different pictures on their bags.

I had a huge stack of I-spy charms (5 inches by 5 inches) from some Flickr swaps I participated in a few years ago. I simply cut those down to size, and then cut out squares from my stash for the rest of the prints.

Karen has a great idea for making a viewfinder window to get just the right fussy cut. If you want to do that, cut out a square that is 4 1/2 inches by 4 1/2 inches, and then cut out a 4 inch square from the middle. The border of the window needs to be 1/4 inch on all sides for an accurate fussy cut.

Set your charms aside.

White Sashing:

You will need 1 yard of white fabric.

Before you begin, read through the entire tutorial. Also check Karen's post in case you decide to use her method for attaching the sashing, which I think is really great!

You will need:


- (B) 50 - 1 inch by 4 1/2 inch strips
How To:Cut: 6 - 1 inch by WOF (at least 41 inches long) strips.
Subcut each WOF strip into: 9 - 1 inch by 4 1/2 inch strips.


- (C) 100 - 1 inch by 5 inch strips (2 strips per block)
How To:Cut: 13  - 1 inch by WOF strips.
Subcut each WOF strip into: 8 - 1 inch by 5 inch strips.

- (D) 50 - 2 1/2 by 5 1/2 inch strips
How To:Cut: 3 - 5 1/2 inch by WOF strips.
Subcut each WOF strip into: 16 - 2 1/2 inch by 5 1/2 inch strips 
*You will need 2 additional 2 1/2 by 5 1/2 strips, which I recommend simply cutting out of a corner of your fabric than cutting an entire extra strip of fabric that might end up going to waste.
*If you have a usable 42 1/2 inches per strip, then you can get 17 pieces from each WOF strip - eliminating the need for cutting two more extra pieces.

Assemble Blocks:

1. Attach ONE white 1x4 1/2 inch strip to the TOP of ONE charm square. Repeat for all 50 charms.

** If you want to do this using Karen's method, do NOT subcut the WOF strips. Instead, sew 9 (A) charms to the WOF strips - make sure you sew the strips to the TOP of the charms. Be sure to sew the charms close together or the strips might not fit 9 charms. Then trim at exactly 4.5 inches.**

2. Attach ONE white 1x 5 inch strips to each SIDE of your (AB) block.

**Again, you can use Karen's method to attach strips to each SIDE of the now (AB) charm piece. Attach one side, trim and then attach the second side. You should be able to sew 8 charms per strip. Make sure to sew them close together so you don't run out of room on the strip. Trim to 5 inches. **

3. Attach ONE 2 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch strip to the BOTTOM of each (ABCC) block.

** If you want to use Karen's method for the last piece, you'll need to cut your strips 2 1/2 inches by WOF. You should be able to sew 7 charms per strip, which means you'll need to cut just over 7 strips. Attach strips to each BOTTOM of the now (ABCC) block. **


These really are straight forward. And if you are making 50, it can be a bit monotonous. Here are a few things I recommend doing to make it easier and faster.
  • Cut out ALL your fabric first. 
  • Chain piece!!
  • If you do chain piece, here is my quick and easy method for cutting apart all of the blocks:
:: Fold your charms accordion style, so they are folded on top of each other, not around each other.
:: Go through each side and trim the little strings. It's SO fast and then your blocks are already stacked nicely together. :)

And that's it for the first step! I'm still working on sewing all my white strips to the charms. I'm maybe a fourth of the way done. If you have any questions, let me know!! :)

If you are sewing along, be sure to link up your pictures! :)

    An InLinkz Link-up



Meet My Little Ela!

Hi again! I can't believe how time has flown by!! If you haven't seen on Instagram (sorry neglected little blog... Instagram gets all my attention) we have a new little addition to our family!

Eleanor "Ela" Joyce was born 2 weeks ago!

She is the sweetest little thing!! And I'm so happy that she fits right with our little clan. :)

She has CHUNKY round cheeks! 1 day old.

Everyone meeting her for the first time! And of course making themselves at home in the hospital bed which is QUEEN size! Have you seen a queen size bed in the recovery room before?? It was AWESOME! I slept so good! :) And the food was delicious!

As soon as we got home, these two got down to business. Isn't this what being a dad is all about?! Naps are the best with Dad! ;)

Going out for the first time! (Dr's appointment) She's such a doll! And I love the sweet gifts we've received from friends! Cutest moccs from Katey! And this sweet swaddling blanket from Emily - check out Little Unicorn if you haven't heard of them before. They have GREAT stuff!

1 week old!
Things to remember: She gets the hiccups everyday. Has the cutest sneeze. She keeps me up all night long! But she's super cute and never cries (except when she's hungry and we don't feed her right away). Her sister loves to hold her for the longest time, is always singing to her and playing with her! Tommy likes to say "hi" to her and point out that she has a nose and eyes; helps me change her diaper - brings me the diaper and wipes; and is kind of good at putting her binky in her mouth. :) Hunter likes to hold her and forces her to wrap her little fingers around his finger , and really wants her to look right at him. Jackson likes to hold her a little, and for the midst part only interacts a little, but he likes her. She smiled when Dad tickled her, and seems annoyed at his poky beard when he gives her kisses. :) We sure love her and are so lucky to have her in our family!!

Grandma came and stayed with us for the first week. It was the BEST!!! We were all sad to see her go. What a blessing! She really made the transition to 5 kids a breeze! And I'm happy to say that this second week on my own, went WAY better than I had expected. It wasn't without it's bumps and bruises, but we made it. :)

Our first family photo with all of us! :D
I am so in love with all of these little people! (and the big guy too, of course! Now more than ever!!)

2 weeks old!
It seems like she was just born yesterday!! We all love her more than ever!! Things to remember: Tommy is my little helper. He gets me diapers and wipes, and puts her binky in her mouth (and calls her binky "pee-pee" which is quite humorous). Mabel loves to sing to her and comes to her rescue if she ever starts crying, and tells her, "don't. even. think about it!!!" Jackson runs to her when she starts making noises. And Hunter randomly pops in and talks to her for a bit. Building good relationships already!! She sleeps pretty good, waking up anywhere from 2 to 4 times during the night, which I'll take. She cries before she poops. and smiled at Tommy today!! She's starting to look around more when she's awake. She LOVES being in the solly wrap, and I love it too! My favorite baby carrier! I wish I had it 5 babies ago. :) This week went a lot better than expected on my own. Though the kids have been extremely emotional!!  but I think we're starting to get to a good place. Oh, and LOVING this cute name blanket from @sewsara!! #sewsaranameblanket

Morning photo shoot. Photographers: Tommy took the top pictures. Mabel took the bottom pictures. We were cropped in all of them, but at least Ela wasn't.

She is so adorable!!! I want to snuggle her forever!!

I really cannot believe how fast the last two weeks have flown by! Especially this week, I feel like I wake up, have breakfast, look at the clock and it's already noon! Then I blink and it's already 4 pm and almost time for the Mr. to come home from work. It's actually been pretty nice, and I have LOVED spending the days just holding her. I'm trying to enjoy this newborn stage as much as possible before she grows. (Newborns are my favorite!!)

We love you Ela!!