Wednesday, August 22, 2007

T-Shirt Blanket

Between the two of us, Chris and I had a lot of old t-shirts that we no longer wear, but just couldn't get rid of for sentimental reasons. Chris still wore some of them to bed, but because of the sentimentality attached, I knew this would eventually mean they would wear out from "threadbare" to "complete disintegration." So I decided to construct a t-shirt blanket, as I'd seen someone construct when I worked at Joann Fabrics.

My t-shirt book has been packed away in storage with some other books (so that we could "stage" our condo for showing), so I kind of just made it up. I made a square template out of cardboard. After a bit of experimenting, it seemed like a template that was 12" x 12" square was the best -- it nicely encapsulated most of the designs. If the logo on the shirt was longer, I just traced a "double" tile onto it, as in the number 12 one that you see in the photo. The next decision that I made was to just use the sports t-shirts, as we had enough of those to make one whole quilt. I reserved some of the other shirts for a future blanket.

I put the template on each shirt, traced the square with a Sharpie, and cut them out. I got two or more tiles out of some shirts, with the front and the back. Then I laid them out on a piece of fleece (though you could also use an old bedsheet) until I found a pattern that fit nicely on the fabric I had. I ended up with a blanket that was 6 squares long by 5 squares wide. I rearranged them until I was pleased with it, then I sewed each square together in rows. Then I sewed each row together. Then I just flipped the whole thing face-down on the fleece, pinned it to the fleece fabric, and cut around it.

The fleece was easy to use, because it has no nap, and no grain. So you can't cut it crooked. I also used some sleeve stripes as an embellishment on one tile. I just sewed it down before hemming the edges, because jersey knit won't unravel.

Lastly, I sewed around the edges, leaving about a foot open. Then I turned it right-side out, ironed the edges and seams, and hand-sewed the open corner. Then I machine-sewed all around it again to tack it down, and keep the top from shifting. That's it! I didn't iron the individual tile seams, or use any batting.

As you can see, there are some real gems in there. There is Kankakee stuff, gradeschool jerseys, my softball jersey from Chris' current company, fundraisers I helped arrange professionally, bike rides Chris has been on, Cubs stuff, Bluejay stuff (Chris' randomly picked childhood favorite), and others. And the whole thing is such a cool mix of Chris and I, it is like a kind of memory album for his life, my life, and our life. I also like the recycling aspect of it. It would be a great use for kids' jerseys and shirts that you just can't bear to get rid of!

And of course, it is super, super soft. Like a body-sized t-shirt!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fish Cupcakes

Ok, so these aren't the most brilliant creation, but it's time for a new post up in here. We took our kids and a couple of my son's friends to the pool today for Evan's birthday, and to go with the "water theme", Evan decided he wanted to decorate his birthday cupcakes with sea creatures. We have a fancy little candy store here where you can buy all sorts of gummy fish, starfish, seahorses, frogs, dolphins & sharks. We used smarties for "bubbles" and I cut up some sort of sour gummy string to use as seaweed. We made lily pads for the frogs out of sugar I dyed green.

I wouldn't recommend serving cupcakes with blue frosting to anyone over the age of 13 since it's kind of revolting to eat anything blue, but for a bunch of 7-year-old boys, this was as good as it gets. And my kids had a great time decorating the cupcakes, so it was win-win all around!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Craft Idea

Here's a thought... Find cassette tape in dumpster. Make animated short around cassette tape. See? Easy!