Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Taggy Blocks!

About a year ago, I was at a gathering with some moms I know for us to work on various sewing projects. Each of us was supposed to be working on our own thing, but for some reason, I felt really uninspired. I had some different materials that I had brought with me, but I just couldn't think of anything to make. One of the moms was working on some fabric blocks for her little girl. With nothing else to do and only enough time left in our little gathering for a smaller project. I decided that I would make a block for my little one too.

I pulled out some Dallas Cowboys material that I had brought with me and cut out the squares and got to sewing. I used some ribbon that one of the moms had with her to create some tags on a few of the block edges. At first, the block came together pretty easily, but putting it all together was not entirely as simple as I anticipated. With some more "borrowed" materials, I stuffed and finished the block and even added some plastic bags for a crinkle effect. My kiddo really enjoyed the block and still does to this day. I loved the concept of the taggy block and thought I might want to make them for my boutique down the road sometime.

Apparently, "down the road" was pretty far down the road. I decided recently that I was ready to try again. I picked up some different materials for the blocks I was planning. I found some adorable nursery flannel in a jungle/safari print. I found two prints that coordinated and then picked out some super soft minky. Added ribbon would help complete the block with tags. I made up a set of three matching blocks. Two of the blocks included crinkle sounds and the third block includes a rattle.

I love the final result. Each of the blocks includes various traits for sensory development in babies and toddlers, not to mention providing a good, simple, safe toy. If I have one complaint about the blocks, it's that they are not washable aside from spot cleaning the surface. I can make the blocks without the crinkle or rattle to allow for machine washing and drying, but that would remove attributes that make them really unique. I have extra materials ready to go for additional sets of blocks which I'm really excited about. I hope I have the opportunity to get them made up soon. =)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hats Off to Breastfeeding... Or is That "On"?

Recently some friends of mine and I were participating in The Big Latch On, an event sponsored by La Leche League to promote breastfeeding awareness. The event was scheduled on August 6th the Saturday of  Breastfeeding Awareness Week which is always the first week of August which is also considered National Breastfeeding Month. After the event (an effort to collect as many moms as possible to simultaneously nurse their little ones around the world), we were chatting about the boob beanies that are available for babies. The idea of these little hats are to promote breastfeeding in a non-conventional way by normalizing the sight of a breast. Theoretically, a baby/child would wear this hat that resembles a breast while nursing. Depending on your sense of humor, you'd find it funny or amusing. To some, it might be offensive - likely, those are the people that are not a fan of nursing in public or perhaps breastfeeding in general. One mom mentioned that at one time she had one of those hats but that she had shared it with another mom and was likely not to see it again. Another mom mentioned that she wanted one. I suggested they make them (since we recently attended a crochet class led by none other than my own mom). Sadly, neither mom felt they possessed the skill to make the hat. To which I foolishly responded, "I could probably make one." Me and my big mouth...

My own crochet skill, I felt left much to be desired. I learned the craft when I was a child and would crochet clothing for my dolls. As I got older, I made a bag and several adult sized beanie hats. I used one stitch and didn't get more complicated than that. I hosted crochet classes taught by my mom twice - one about a year ago and one a few months ago. After the second class, I really was starting to understand the basics (which I wasn't patient enough to pay attention to when I was younger and not disciplined enough to practice after the class a year ago). I also became more intrigued by the items that can be made and began perusing patterns. It was actually having a project that got me to practice more and see what I could create.

I found a pattern for the boob beanie and collected my materials - cotton baby soft yarn in the appropriate colors. It certainly was an interesting experiment. While working on the hat, I ripped it out three times because I couldn't get it right. It was rather frustrating. It certainly didn't help that I wanted to change which stitch was used on part of the hat. In the end though, I finished it. I do love how it came out. I found it to be simply adorable.

The pattern labels the hat "newborn" size. It fits my 3 mo old whom I used to model the hat so people can see how it looks on a baby. I look forward to recreating the hat in various color combinations and expanding the sizes that I can make, but for now, it's only available in the one size. I can't wait to see where this takes me!