Monday, March 26, 2012

Idaho is too far away.

As I may have mentioned once before, my baby cousin has moved overseas to study (because she's a genius and stuff).

From the time Brat was 3 months old, my cousinl, I'll call her J (because that's what her name starts with), was her babysitter almost 1 a week for years.

Brat never showed any good reaction to J for most of those years. Just seeing J come in the door caused Brat to shout things like "No." and "I hate you." and "You're Makka Pakka!" (that one never made much sense to me).

Now that J is overseas though, Brat is asking us all the time, "Why isn't J coming over? Why can't she see J? Why can't they play barbies?" etc.

We've explained to Brat several times about the ocean, about time zones, countries, land mass and so on. She always LOOKS like she understands, and implies understanding ("So that's why Auntie C only comes once a year").

Tonight, Brat was at it again. Bugging my husband to call J and ask J to come over. D explained (again) that J is in England. Then he explained that England is close to Scotland (where Auntie C is). Then he said it's close to where all the old castles are, and the princesses lived there. And that you have to take a plane, for 12 hours to get there. That it's further than gramma and grampa (which Brat recognizes as being "plane-far" away). Still she was adamant. She wanted to see J.

So D told her, "It's further than Noisy- Boise Idaho" (I once threatened to send her to Idaho because she was so noisy). She accepted THAT without a qualm. In her mind, the furthest anyone can get from anything, or anyplace, is Idaho. It might as well be the moon for my spacial-ly challenged 5 year old.

Brat misses you J. We all miss you.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ribbon Blankets!!!

Ribbon blankets!!!

I freakin' love ribbon blankets. I got one from a friend for Brat when she was two. She used to rub the softest ribbon around on her cheeks and pretend to be putting 'makeup' on. So, for years, Brat called it her 'makeup blanket'. Besides the point.

The point is that small children, and babies love them. And they're remarkably easy to make- albeit they are time consuming to pin. If you don't have a sewing machine, stop here. I tried once to find the energy to sew an entire blanket by hand and almost killed everyone in a three block radius.

So, step one (and by far the best part) : Go shopping!!! Buy ribbon. Lots, and lots of ribbon. In different colours, patterns, widths, textures and thicknesses (? is that the right word? I don't know, if I was talking about carpets, I'd say 'pile' or 'nap'). Buy different, complementing, opposite or accenting flanelettes, or fleeces (fleece is SUPER WARM- almost uncomfortably warm for most kids).

Step 2: Decide what size you'd like to make your blanket. Most people make baby blankets the size of a postage stamp- but what will you do if your baby loves it so much and won't let it go as a small child? Or even grade schooler? Ha. Brat's is a twin size, and the one I made tonight for Monster is a twin. But to each their own. Keep in mind that the larger you make it, the longer it takes to pin together. And it takes a LONG time to pin together (I recommend making sure you have a ton of shows PVR'd when you decide to put it together.)

Step 3: Cut your ribbon into 2.5" pieces. Lots of pieces. More than you think you need. Way, way more. Like a billion.

Step 4: Lay your first piece of cut to size fabric pattern side UP on the floor (or table if it's a smaller piece of cloth), and the second piece of sized fabric pattern side DOWN atop the first, lining up the sides, corners etc and smooth it flat. Pin the corners (just to maintain shape). Now the 'fun' bit.

Step 5: Fold a piece of ribbon in half, and lay between the fabric sheets (try to make sure you don't have too much ribbon projecting towards the centre of the blanket, or you'll have ungainly ribbon loops (not bad, but not as attractive as smaller, more compact loops). Pin the ribbon in place. I'll try to make a diagram of what I mean.

                         Edge of the blanket
|             ||              ||                         ||              ||            ||               ||                                  |
|             ||              ||                         ||              ||            ||               ||                                  |
|             ||_______||                         ||_______||            ||________||                                 |

                           Middle of the blanket

Where : ^ is the cut sides of the ribbon and the ______ is the looped end of the ribbon. And obviously the ======= is the flanelette pieces, and the ribbon must be pinned in between them. Now, place the ribbons every inch, or inch and a half along the rim of the entire blanket. Then you can sew. You will be sewing it inside out, and then turning it right side in.

I will say, the bigger the blanket you are trying to make, the larger the whole you must leave to turn the blanket right side out at the end. If you are making a twin sized blanket, depending on the thickness of the fleece, or flannel leave at least a foot sized hole UNPINNED AND UNSEWN. You will fill it in with ribbon and sew that at the end.

Step 6: Sew along the edge, done. Trim the bits of fabric and ribbon with a sharp pair of scissors to keep your blanket from being too bulky in the corners and edges when it's turned.

Step 7: Turn the blanket right side out.

Step 8: Turn the open edges in, press flat and pin ribbon loops between, but this time, with the loop facing outwards, same as the rest of the loops (which should also be facing out by now). You can try to stitch them from the interior but I wouldn't bother much. I just sew again around the edge, as close as I safely can to the very edge. It gives a nice finish, and secondly it reinforces the interior stitching and helps keep the ribbon from fraying. This will hold your blanket beautifully in place.

Good work. Enjoy your new ribbon blanket.