Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weighted Blanket, Part II

Okay, I worked on this blanket all day yesterday and still did not get the binding on! But other than that I am done, so we will call it successful. 

The first thing I did after having finished the quilt top was smooth out the back I chose on the floor or other large surface.

Now it is time to add the batting. Here is the batting I chose. I also chose to use two layers of batting so that it wouldn't "feel" like there were 6 pounds of beads in there, but this also makes for an even hotter blanket, so I don't know if I will do that for my second blanket or not. 

Spreading the batting out over the backing is the next step. It is very hard because you match the corners up and then you have to try and keep the backing from wrinkling up under the backing. It can be very annoying. 

You then lay your top out over the other two layers (much easier) and pin it down everywhere. You sew three of the four sides, then sew lines up quilt on the seams vertically so that you have 10 long lines going up where your squares were.

Next you measure out your beads. I had 6 pounds or 96 ounces and I had 130 squares in my quilt. This means I need to divide 96 ounces by 130. This gave me about .74 ounces per square. I have a kitchen scale and I just alternated between .7 and .8 ounces in my squares since it doesn't go that precise, using a cup to pour in. I also shoved a broom handle down the holes so it would open them up a bit more.

Once you have beads in all 13 holes you shake them down to the bottom and I would like to suggest using straight pins to try to keep the beads where they belong. You need to sew a line along the entire row, horizontally, where your squares ended on your quilt top. The beads will try to move up on you and I will be honest. I broke 6 sewing machine needles making this quilt, and also my floor is covered in stray ones that kept flying out. It was frustrating.

After you have sewed the horizontal line, pull the pins out, and then repeat filling the next 13 squares, and sewing the horizontal lines, until the entire quilt is full of beads. This will take much longer then you might imagine. I think the pins holding the beads in place will help though. I didn't think to do that until my last row. So much for brain power. The last step is the binding, which I have not done yet because the beads were secure enough and Alex couldn't wait to sleep with his. On the bright side, he took no melatonin last night and was asleep in less than 10 minutes for the first time in several months! 

Even his sister thought it was comfy!! 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weighted Blanket...Step 1

Today I finished the first step(s) in making the weighted blanket for Alex.
These instructions are for a blanket where the final product will be 40X52 and the weight of the blanket will be 6 pounds.

Today I cut out 130 4 1/2 X 4 1/2 squares and sewed them together, lining up the seams with straight pins. The final product is 10 squares X 13 squares big. The entire process took 3 - 4 hours.

I chose Batman material for the front since Alex is fixated with Batman, and I have chosen to use a solid piece of fabric for the back that is a very soft flannel since he also only likes "soft" blankets. Hopefully I will have time to work on it some more tomorrow.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valentine's Day!!!

Between a sale on Tim Holtz dies and texture folders at the Scrapbook Page, and a DVR full of about 3 weeks of shows I had yet to watch, I decided to have a craft night. The result? Awesome Valentine's for my friends and family...
Heart paper from Target - 8 pages/ $1 in the dollar section up front. The glasses sticker came from a Tunes & Seasons 12X12 sheet of stickers at The Scrapbook Page.
Heart paper from Target - 8 pages/ $1 in the dollar section up front. The typewriter sticker came from a Tunes & Seasons 12X12 sheet of stickers at The Scrapbook Page.
The gears texture folder and the dressform and thread spool die cuts are all from the Tim Holtz collection. They are currently buy one get one 1/2 off at the Scrapbook Page in Shawnee Mission. I used a sander to make the white part show through on the gears.
The gears texture folder and clock texture folder were actually in the same package. The clock die cut and bird with cage die cut are also part of the Tim Holtz line. I actually just bought that clock die cut this week because I wanted it to go with my clock textures. This is the heart paper from Target flipped backwards, this picture doesn't show it very well but I sanded the textures so that the red of the heart paper would show through.
This puzzle die cut is actually one of the first die cuts I ever bought for my sizzix! I got it at Jo Anns the week that I got my Sizzix, and I love it. It looks super cute on paper, like in this example, or to cut pictures!
Another type of eyeglasses from the Tunes & Seasons stickers on heart paper. (It has mustache stickers on that sheet, also!)
This sticker comes from a paper packet called "All About Boys." In edition to paper it has one 12X12 sheet of cardboard punch outs and one 12X12 sheet of stickers. You can find this packet at most craft stores, I got mine at Target. This one will be Alex's card, in case you couldn't tell.
This is Isabella's card. The Hello Kitty sticker actually comes from a Christmas Hello Kitty sticker set that Target had in their $1 section at Christmas time. Target has started having a lot of paper, ribbons, and stickers in their dollar section when you first walk into the store, so it is a great place to find scrapbooking supplies if you don't have a lot of money. Also, keep in mind that all stores - Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, Michaels, Archiver's, and the Scrapbook Page (which has the selection of Archiver's but is privately owned so is cheaper and has a train table for the kids!) almost always have coupons. I never, ever buy scrapbooking stuff unless it is on sale, super cheap off of Amazon, or I am using a 40% off or higher coupon. Otherwise, it is just ridiculous. Last week Hobby Lobby had a bunch of their scrapbooking paper for only $.17 a piece, so I bought a ton then. Otherwise, it can get horribly expensive, and quickly! Here are the dies I currently own. Trust me, there are way more on my Amazon wishlist! I have one whole wish list just for Sizzix dies *sigh* A girl can dream of cutting up paper, can't she?

Friday, January 27, 2012

How I Saved A Fortune at Target!

First of all, I would like to start off this post by apologizing to the people who were stuck behind me in line at Target. That had to suck. I had no idea that they would have so much trouble scanning all of those coupons one at a time. Also, I didn't know that they would only have one cashier on duty or that she would have to manually enter the coupons that wouldn't work. But I have a right to savings, and so do you. If you had a bunch of coupons, I would understand. You would just rather spend that money on makeup, just like me, right? Right. So, see that picture up there? That is my lovely Target haul. Before coupons it rang up at $90.67. The shirts I didn't have coupons for, but I put them up there because they were a steal, on clearance for only $2 a piece. After my coupons My total was down to only $69.62!! Then you add the redcard giving you 5% off and the total goes down to $66.14. We are talking $24.53 in savings! I am one happy little coupon girl! My favorite thing is that if you have a Target coupon you can stack it with a manufacturers coupon for double savings. I got so many awesome things! Feel free to wonder at my shopping savvy now.... And since my taste in makeup is unfortunately much more high-end then my taste in everything else, here is what I will be buying with all of the money I saved... That is right. One eyeliner. It is an awesome eyeliner though! Now you know why I need to use coupons so badly. If you have a similar makeup problem, try subscribing to some of the awesome blogs where I find my deals. My favorites are: Living Rich With Coupons and .Penny Pinchin Mom I follow them on Facebook so I can stay current on all of the savings around town!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

It Has Begun!

Today I got the stuff to start making Alex's weighted blanket. I used some coupons and ended up spending about $25 on the supplies, I bought the Polly Pellets and Batman fabric, the rest of the fabric is actually leftovers I got out of my storage box in the garage. We are only going to the therapist this week and then we are taking three weeks off so hopefully that gives me some time to get him a weighted blanket and weighted vest made and see how it helps Alex out.
Also, the therapist is recommending we buy a cuddle swing for our home. She tried it with Alex in the office, and it seemed to help some. Before she tried it he was running into walls and stuff, and he calmed down afterwards. Have any of you tried any of these things or do you know someone who has? Any suggestions/advice? We are only a couple of months into our life with Asperger's, so it is all pretty new to us. Here are the swings I am talking about. One is the actual one from his therapist and the other is a similar product from IKEA that is much cheaper, but a bunch of the comments say that it works well for children with autism and sensory needs.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yay! I love Stealing (erhm...shopping!)

First of all, I get to share a picture of what I got my friend Shasta for her birthday. I really liked this item, but had to not talk about it until she got it. Luckily, that was yesterday! So yay!
I got her these super cute Robot salt and pepper shakers from Thinkgeek.com but to give her credit, she had added them to her Amazon wishlist so I already knew what sorts of awesomeness she was into. 
I went to a website much like this one Coupons
and found a coupon code for $5 off of a $30 purchase at Think Geek. The salt and pepper shakers were only $25 so I decided to get something else that was $5. After looking around and not finding much I needed I finally settled on this awesome Zombie Wrapping Paper. Since it was technically free, it was well worth the (nothing) it cost me to get the fun reaction of Shasta seeing her birthday present wrapped in it.
And speaking of things that cost nothing, as of today I am finished with all of my birthday shopping for my nieces and nephews for the rest of the year. I bought my last gift at Toys R Us. It was on clearance for $9.99 and I had $10 in cash back rewards coupons left (I have already used the rest for some of my other nieces gifts) so I got this game for nothing - they just put it in a bag for me - that is fun times!
I also got my drink at Chipotle free because they didn't hear me ask for it.That was an awesome dollar I saved. :D  So technically, you could just mumble when you ask for your drink in order to save money, but that is immoral. If the idea sounded awesome to you and not at all sketchy, please consult your nearest religious authority and ask for guidance. Or your mom. Something.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

A year of Absence

 I don't even know where to start. It has been a long year without posting. I originally started this blog to talk about the adventures our family had in homeschooling. The  joys of our life, the crafts, fun, games, cooking, and general love our family gets to share. We still have all of those elements. There are still crafts, cooking, love, and even education at home, but I enrolled my children in public school at the beginning of this school year. I am in college full time, they are in activities, and most of the time I feel like I am lucky if I am even treading water, because some days the temptation to just give in, stop moving, and let the water rush over my head is tempting.

My whole life was centered around the fact that I homeschooled, and when we decided not to do it we also moved to a better school district 20 minutes away. I haven't seen any of my former homeschool mama friends in a social way since I made that decision. It has been a long, year. A year where I feel that I have no friends, that no one cares what happens.

Two months ago my son Alex, who is 4 and a half started seeing a behavioral therapist for problems he is having in school. They say they are 99% sure he will receive an Asperger's diagnosis. I spend my days making visual calenders, putting headphones on, asking for eye contact, and googling ways to create my own weighted blankets. I do this with a smile and an air of excitement as though I were preparing for a new baby and not a long road of difficulty with a son who has needs that I often cannot even understand let alone satisfy.

Today I woke up and I felt alone. I have made a couple of new friends, but since all of my relationships are new I feel there is no one I can bother on a day like today. I spent an hour in the shower. I trudged through homework, laundry, dishes. I told myself at least a hundred times today that laying down and pulling a blanket over my head is not an option. It is just one of those days, I will survive, I will soldier on. Tomorrow will be better. 

So now I guess this is a blog about motherhood and being human. Love, cooking, crafts, and the joys and sorrows that come in all forms no matter where your kid goes to school. Nothing ever prepares us for all of the twists and turns we are going to face, and some days all we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. Today is one of those days.