{DIY} Baby Ribbon Taggy Blanket

by Thao on 08.27.2012

diy ribbon taggy - blanket with ribbon tags

What the heck is a "ribbon taggy"? It’s just a blanket, or small section of a blanket that is sewn with ribbon "tags" coming out of the edges. Babies love the different colors and textures, so it’s nice to make these with minky, satin, fleece, etc. materials to stimulate touch. I made a pretty simple square one with fleece and satin.

Tools:

  • template for sizing – I used a 12" x 12" scrapbook page
  • fabric choices
  • sewing machine
  • thread in matching or contrasting color
  • different types and colors of ribbon
  • pins
  • scissors
  • measuring tape

First, I took my paper ‘template’ (yes, I am lazy and didn’t bother making it any different than a page of scrapbook paper that I had lying around) and cut out my fleece and satin in to size.

diy ribbon taggy - blanket with ribbon tags

Cut the ribbon approximately 5" in length. Depending on how many ribbon tags you want on each side, you might have more or less than what I chose to do. I put 5 per side with the 12" x 12" pieces.

diy ribbon taggy - blanket with ribbon tags

diy ribbon taggy - blanket with ribbon tags

Grab one of the fabric pieces and put it face up on your worksurface. Grab one ribbon and fold it in half. Then pin it perpendicular to the edge. Repeat this step with all of your ribbon.

diy ribbon taggy - blanket with ribbon tags

diy ribbon taggy - blanket with ribbon tags

Grab the last piece of fabric and pin it directly on top of what you just did – be sure to put it face down. Yes, your ribbon will be captured on the inside.

diy ribbon taggy - blanket with ribbon tags

Now, head to the sewing machine and sewing about 3/8" from the edge all the way around – leaving an opening on one side that is big enough for you to turn the blankie inside out. Remember to reinforce the beginning and ending stitch with some backward and forward sewing.

diy ribbon taggy - blanket with ribbon tags

Turn that baby inside out! Sew the open hole shut. I hand stitched mine closed. Here it is with the pin that held it together while I started to hand-sew it closed.

diy ribbon taggy - blanket with ribbon tags

Then, head back to the sewing machine to finish the perimeter and ensure that the tags stay intact if baby gets agressive playing with it. I sewed about 1/4" in from the edge.

Here you go – baby’s very own ribbon taggy made by mom (or dad)!

diy ribbon taggy - blanket with ribbon tags

diy ribbon taggy - blanket with ribbon tags

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{DIY} Custom Water Bottle Labels

by Thao on 08.26.2012

Why provide plain bottles of water at your event (shower, wedding, party, etc) when you can provide these cuties?

diy custom water bottle labels for party, event, showers

Tools:

  • template – I made my own in Microsoft Word Template (This template has been downloaded times.)
    • The template is a compressed .zip file. Click here for instructions to extract.
  • scissors and/or paper cutter
  • paper
  • clear packaging tape
  • bottles of water with original labels removed
  • printer

I made the graphic in photoshop first. You can use a monogram or your own image. I pasted them into the middle of a Word table (see template) and printed these in color. Maintain the row height of 1.7" so that it is smaller than your packaging tape width.

Then, start up the printer!

Cut up the labels. I used a fiskars paper cutter for ease.

diy custom water bottle labels for party, event, showers

Then, one by one, I took the packaging tape and taped over the labels, leaving tape around the perimeter so that it can stick to the bottle. Apply those babies to the naked bottles and presto!

diy custom water bottle labels for party, event, showers

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Mommy View

by Thao on 08.25.2012

As I’m sitting here (on a Saturday night), {Bruce} is moving my stomach from inside. He’s getting stronger every day! It’s pretty crazy to look down and see your stomach as a triangle in one moment and then perfectly round in the next.

Here’s a snapshot from today when he started pushing out towards the left of my belly button. I am 34 weeks and 4 days.

view of pregnant belly from mom's point of view

Donny was putting together the crib today. I was helpfully watching. It’s getting more real with every bruised rib I feel and each furnishing that goes up in the baby room.

It’s a pretty amazing feeling. One that’s hard to describe other than an alien inside me who’s fighting to bust out of there. I know Donny can’t empathize unless maybe he thinks of gas buildup, but when he sees {Bruce} move and feels the movement on the outside, he gets a sweet glimpse of motherhood.

Mommy view of the tummy is pretty cool… even if I can’t see my feet.

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Cloth or Disposable Diapers?

by Thao on 08.23.2012

Donny challenged me to prove that cloth diapering was in fact less expensive than disposable diapers by JUST looking at the cost of the diapers.

I found that on average, babies are changed 7,000 times. Let’s assume the babies are potty trained by the age of 2. That equates to about 10 diapers per day.

If we purchased 24 cloth diapers, they would cost approximately $400. The average disposable diaper costs $0.25. Some are more, some less, but let’s just stick with that number. I tabulated the numbers and got this graph:

break even point of cloth diapering and disposable diapers

By only considering the cost of the diapers themselves, you would break even at 1,600 diaper changes, or 5.5 months, meaning that would be the time it takes for the cloth diapers to start becoming less expensive than the disposable diapers.

Of course, you can factor in water and electric bills of washing cloth diapers every other day, but that wouldn’t add much more time to your break even point. Add in another kid who uses the same cloth diapers and you’ve just increased your savings by… a LOT. We also use high efficiency appliances, so at least the cost is minimized.

After I showed him the math, he was on board. I’m pretty certain the kid won’t be potty trained before 5.5 months so the cost is inevitable. We plan to do a hybrid of cloth diapering and disposables. After all, we’re still fans of convenience and sometimes, I won’t feel like doing another load of laundry or teaching the parents to cloth diaper.

You’ll have to ask me how I like cloth diapering after I get blow-out poop on my hands. I might not be a fan then.

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{DIY} Stuffed Toy: Ninja Plushie

by Thao on 08.20.2012

diy stuffed toy craft, ninja plush

You really don’t need a tutorial for this one if you sew, so let’s assume you do and I won’t. I essentially took a drawing template of a ninja, cut out two sides out of soft fuzzy black material, zig-zag sewed a face on one of the sides with button eyes, pinned the faces together, sewed the perimeter with the sewing machine, turned him inside out, and stuffed him.

diy stuffed toy craft, ninja plush


diy stuffed toy craft, ninja plush


diy stuffed toy craft, ninja plush


diy stuffed toy craft, ninja plush


diy stuffed toy craft, ninja plush


diy stuffed toy craft, ninja plush


diy stuffed toy craft, ninja plush


diy stuffed toy craft, ninja plush

Isn’t he cute? The fuzzy material was obnoxious to work with so give yourself plenty of selvage. I also used an interface, i.e. recycled dryer sheets to help reinforce the edges as I sewed, as you can see in one of the images above. I actually used it around most of the perimeter even though I only show a picture of it along the two sides.

It gets smaller than your template – obviously, due to the stuffing. So if you want a big plushie, make a big template!

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{DIY} Maternity Photography Session

by Thao on 08.15.2012

Over the weekend, we had maternity photos taken by another artist.

But as the artists of don{thao} photography, we also took some of our own. I was already dressed and made up – why not?

self portrait maternity photos

Yes, that is what happens in our home – I am in my third trimester, still craving chocolate and sugar of most kinds. Donny often finds himself looking up to see my mouth wide open, about to chomp on something sweet. I feel like I eat all day and that I am completely insatiable. It was perfectly fitting as part of our self-portrait maternity photos. Check out these and others from our client sessions at our photography site.

Here are a few others:

self portrait maternity photos

self portrait maternity photos

self portrait maternity photos

self portrait maternity photos

self portrait maternity photos

And here are some true self-portraits that were taken a little earlier in my pregnancy:

self portrait maternity photos

self portrait maternity photos

self portrait maternity photos

self portrait maternity photos

self portrait maternity photos

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{DIY} Hanging Mobile Frame

by Thao on 08.07.2012

How cute is this?

diy hanging mobile frame - bent floral wire

So you made the little felt plush ninjas or whatever it is you want to hang above your baby’s crib or changing table and now you need a frame to hang them from? Gather these items…

Tools:

  • floral wire
  • pliers – I used my jewelry-making pliers to help with the loops
  • wire cutters
  • craft thread, string, or fishing line

I took floral wire and bent them with jewelry pliers to make these two shapes. Size them however you like – I guesstimated. The floral wire is nice and easy to bend and shape in case you want to get fancy with your mobile shapes.

diy hanging mobile frame - bent floral wire
diy hanging mobile frame - bent floral wire
diy hanging mobile frame - bent floral wire
diy hanging mobile frame - bent floral wire

The ninjas were tied to the wires at the loops. I used craft thread for this, but you can use anything else. Easy Peasy! Here’s how the mobile looks! I can’t wait to hang it up make Donny hang it up in the nursery above the crib.

diy hanging mobile frame - bent floral wire

Go crazy – hang a bunch more or play around with some Calder Mobile designs. How does your mobile look?

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Our nursery theme is Big City Ninja and the only ninja mobiles I found were not cute enough for baby, so the easiest solution was making my own! You saw my army of ninjas, right?

Tools:

  • felt in your colors
  • craft thread in your colors
  • polyfill
  • scissors
  • your template for the shapes (simply cut out from paper) – I made my own freehand, or use this Microsoft Word Template (This template has been downloaded times.)
    • The template is a compressed .zip file. Click here for instructions to extract.
  • needle that can take craft thread

First, I made a paper template of the ninja outline and cut it out. There were two templates used: one for his body and the other for his eye opening. You’ll have to do this for each shape for whatever you end up making your mobile.

diy ninja plushies for hanging baby crib mobile


Pin the stencil on the felt and cut out the ninjas. Cut two bodies for each ninja.
diy ninja plushies for hanging baby crib mobile


diy ninja plushies for hanging baby crib mobile

To actually sew a ninja, I back stitched the eye opening felt piece to the body piece. (This is not a picture of the actual ninja, but an example backstitch I did for another project.)

diy ninja plushies for hanging baby crib mobile

Once the eye piece was on, I dotted the eyes on with a permanent marker. Hint: Dot the eyes before sewing it onto the body. This way, if you accidentally mark the eyes where you don’t want; you didn’t waste any time!

diy ninja plushies for hanging baby crib mobile

Take the two felt body pieces and start sewing them together using a blanket stitch. I essentially was sewing knots around the perimeter of the ninja. Here are a couple example images of the blanket stitch in action.

diy ninja plushies for hanging baby crib mobile


diy ninja plushies for hanging baby crib mobile

Leave an opening so you can stuff the little guy with polyfill and then sew him shut. If you’re using the same craft thread color to connect your ninja to the mobile frame, then don’t cut the thread once you tie him shut. Instead, run the needle with thread through to the top of his head and voila!

diy ninja plushies for hanging baby crib mobile


diy ninja plushies for hanging baby crib mobile

Repeat for more ninajs or other shapes to your heart’s content! Here’s my army of ninjas:

diy ninja plushies for hanging baby crib mobile - army of ninjas


diy ninja plushies for hanging baby crib mobile - army of ninjas

This was so easy and it incurred way less cost than purchasing a store mobile. Each color felt piece was $0.80, thanks to a JoAnn coupon. I didn’t even use the whole sheets of 8.5" x 11" felt, so they are available for other projects! The floral wire and craft string never amounted to more than $5 and there was also plenty left over for future projects too.

Now, to make the hanging mobile frame.

{Update} Thanks for the link back to this tutorial, Kafehouse.

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Army of Ninjas

by Thao on 08.01.2012

Check out my little army of ninjas!

army of diy ninja plushies

I just finished making these for the nursery as part of his mobile for our nursery themed "Big City Ninja".

They were really easy to make out of felt, batting, and craft thread. I’ll post some instruction next in case any of you are interested.

Hope you’re having a great week!

army of diy ninja plushies

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They don’t make baby blankets with ninjas on them, unfortunately, so I made my own with mitered corners and minky fabric.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

Here’s what you need to make your own!

Tools:

  • your own stencil graphic – I made my own freehand
  • scissors
  • framed fabric
  • framing fabric – sized 10" bigger all the way around the framed fabric, i.e. 10" longer on the length and 10" longer on the width
  • sewing machine
  • thread in matching or contrasting color
  • batting, if desired
  • pins
  • pencil
  • interfacing… or reuse a dryer sheet like I did!
  • buttons if you want button eyes
  • felt or other materials for your ninja

Here’s what I mean by ‘framed fabric’ and ‘framing fabric’.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

You can choose any size you want, but I had to plan for it based on the fabric with that was cut off the roll. The framing fabric is 10" bigger on both sides than the framed fabric. The batting size, if you choose to include it, is approximately 5" bigger on both sides than the framed fabric, but you don’t have to worry about cutting it out right now. That can be done later.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

First, let’s start with the little ninja.

The ninja needs eyes, otherwise, how will he see his enemies? I found two buttons that were sized for my ninja’s eyes. I drew his eye-opening and cut that out from standard white paper based on the button sizes I chose. Then, I drew a ninja freehand and cut that out too. The paper drawings became my stencils.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners


diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners


diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

Pin the stencils onto your fabric of choice. I made the Ninja body out of standard black cotton fabric and the eyes out of a skin colored felt. Poor little ninja. Cut along the stencil.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

Then, I hand sewed the eye opening to the black ninja using a simple back stitch. This wasn’t my ninja, but a backstitch example I did on another project.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

…and used a simple cross-stitch secured the button eyes.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

So now, the little ninja is ready to go. I pinned him to the corner of the framed fabric to get him ready for the sewing machine. Since my framed fabric was turquoise minky, I added extra pins to prevent stretching. I also used a dryer sheet as the backer to give the ninja more support. (I didn’t have interfacing lying around so a dryer sheet worked well for this.)

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners


diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

The sewing machine was set up with a zig-zag stitch. Test this on a scrap piece of fabric first to make sure it’s the size you want. Sew around the perimeter of the ninja, removing the pins as you go. I stayed up to the end, but didn’t stress if it shifted a little since I used matching black thread. Here’s a tip: to round a shape like the ninja, I often stopped my sewing machine with the needle THROUGH the fabric, lifted the sewing foot and physically turned the blanket. Make sure your needle is down through the fabric when you do this to hold the fabric in its place. I definitely didn’t sew this straight through, just turning everything. This helped me ensure that the fabric didn’t bunch up and gather or cause the stitch to come off the ninja. Ta-da! Here he is.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

Now, it’s time to make the actual blanket.

Lay the frame fabric and framing fabric with their right sides facing each other. Match one edge, but keep them centered and pin along the edge. Sew along here leaving your selvage size at the ends, i.e. if you want a 1/2" like I used, leave 1/2" at either end. In this picture, I pinned both opposite edges, but you can do one at a time.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

Keep sewing edge to edge for the remaining sides, but leave about a 5" opening on the last side to make sure you can fit your hand through. It was tricky making sure the fabrics were straight so use pins to help you.

You’re ready to make the clean mitered corners. Keep the blanket inside out and bring your corner together. The fabric might not be perfectly matched, but that’s OK. The two sewn edges will meet up (keep the framing fabric on the outside) and the framing fabric makes a nice sharp corner.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

Fold the point at which the framing fabric makes a perfect corner down to the edge of your ‘sew line’.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

Pencil along the triangle you just folded to the edge of the ‘sew line’. Then, sew along those markings in each corner and cut the excess away. Repeat for the remaining corners.

Turn the blanket inside-out through your opening and check out those corners!

At this point, if you’re using batting, it’s time to size it up. Lay the batting on top of your blanket and cut it to size. Be careful not to cut the blanket you just spent all that time making.

The next part is tricky. You have to stuff the batting and make sure it reaches all the edges and corners. I didn’t say this was a labor of love for nothing! Here’s my blanket with the batting stuffed. I pinned everything in place.

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

Hand sew your opening shut once the batting is pinned how you want it. You can use the machine too, but I like the stitches hidden.

Then, sew either a contrasting or matching stitch line along your framed fabric to hold the batting in place and to finish the blanket!

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

Ta-Da!

diy baby blanket with minky fabric, ninja, and mitered corners

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