Monday, May 26, 2014

How to Make a Jean Quilt (My Way)

I don't know that there's a tutorial exactly like this one, but this is the method I used to make my jean quilts. If you can sew straight lines on a machine, this is the quilt for you! It takes some time...quite a bit for a big quilt, but the result is totally worth it!

1. Cut jeans/pants into squares. I prefer 7" X 7" because they end up about 6" X 6", which makes for really easy measuring. I use some of the pockets, but they are harder to sew because of the thick seams. I cut squares so a seam falls in the middle. I like how it looks. You get about 16 squares from an adult's pair of pants.

2. Design your quilt.

How big will it be? Twin: 12 X 14-15 squares, Crib: 8 X 10 squares, Queen: 15 X 16-17 squares, King: 18 X 16-17 squares (I looked up standard blanket sizes and divided by 6 inches to get the number of squares I needed.)
Colors? Vary the colors of jeans. If you have tan and black (or other colors), you can draw out a design on a piece of paper first. Or, use Excel! Here's an example for a twin quilt:

3. Arrange squares into rows and tie/rubber band them together. The more complicated your design is, the more important this is.

4. Sew rows by holding two squares right sides together. Open up. Repeat until you reach the end of the row. Repeat with all rows.

5. Pin one row on top of another, right sides together. Sew, unfold, and repeat until all rows are sewn together.

6. Lay out the quilt and trim around the edges to make an even rectangle. The rows won't match up perfectly since no squares you cut will be perfect, but that's okay. Make them even now!

7. Lay a sheet or other back right side to the floor/table. Lay the quilt on top. Trim a border, leaving a couple of inches on each side. I leave 4 so I can have the wide border shown here. You need two sheet sizes up to have one big enough, and use a flat sheet, not fitted. (For a twin, use a queen flat sheet, etc.) There will be extra fabric, so save it.

8. Tie the quilt. I do every other square. Grosgrain ribbon won't fray.

9. Fold the back of the quilt (sheet) over the front twice, pin, and sew around all edges.

10. Trim off any crazy threads, and you're done!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Grass is Always Greener...

Ever since yesterday, I keep thinking it's Friday. Too bad it isn't. I guess the last week of school is always long, even when you're a teacher (or the spouse of one).

Nothing of note really happened this week. Katie did get another tooth, which is terrible news for me. No matter what they say about nursing babies with teeth, you're always going to get bitten a few times. Oh well. Maybe she won't be like Kenny, who thought biting me was hilarious. She does love to yank my hair and try to eat my face (which amounts to a very slobbery baby kiss).

The boys have loved having warm weather. I have 16 tomato plants in my garden. Never since high school have I had so much envy of something someone else has. Our neighbors have the nicest yard with perfectly lush, green grass, cute garden boxes, and even a sprinkler system. I have ghetto boxes (which don't look half bad, but still), a weird mix of dirt that is probably full of weeds, and I have to water by hand without a nozzle, since it's broken. My plants look sad. Really sad. I don't know how many will make it. I'm really jealous that their plants are bigger to begin with and have cages and cute little greenhouse thingies to keep them warm at night. Am I insecure about my gardening skills? Yes. But, I have also spent less than $10 on putting in the garden. I just hope I get something out of it. I really really want to make salsa with fresh tomatoes!

I feel a bit down on myself, but I realize it's because I compare myself too much to other people. I still struggle to be happy with how I look, even though I'm at a pretty healthy size. I feel like I don't do enough and too much all at the same time. I'm a perfectionist, which sets me up to get mad at myself (and other people) when I just need to relax.

No matter what happens in a day, I am a success every time I follow the Spirit instead of the natural man. There's no sense in getting worked up about my mistakes. Just keep moving forward and trust in God. He knows what He's doing, even if I don't. Some days I need more help than others, and today is one of those days. I will conquer my garden-envy and one day be a very successful gardener. It just probably won't be this year, and that's okay.

A little humor since you made it through my complaining:

Thursday, May 15, 2014

New Growth

Spring has always been one of my favorite times of year. Part of that is due to how much I dislike winter. That's always been the case, even when I lived in Florida and did't have much of a winter.

My garden utterly failed last year. It didn't help that a snot-nosed kid dumped out the buckets, forcing me to start over. I was faithful at watering them every day and keeping them in the sun, but everything mysteriously died during the hot weeks of July. That experience has left me a little pessimistic about my gardening skills, even though this year is the first time I'll have a real one in a patch of ground that I own. (Now, if only I lived in a place where it actually rained!)

I should just forget about last year's failure. That was last year. Now is the time to start anew. Here's to a good harvest! I'm hoping for enough stuff to start canning. James has been awesome. He deconstructed pallets to make raised beds for the garden, and part of my Mother's Day present was to get them set up. I'm hoping the combo of dirt, manure, and potting soil will work well. We shall see!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Nawth Ca'lina

I had an amazing trip to NC! I was really worried about flying with Katie alone. I guess I'm still scarred from our last flying experience (Christmas 2012) which was truly horrible. However, everything went without a hitch. I met up with Christian, Myles, and Mara in SLC, and we all had a direct flight to Raleigh. We got in around 11 EST. Katie was a doll. Everyone loved her during the trip, and I got tons of comments on how cute she is. I have to agree. I even had a missionary moment in the airport where I got to talk to a woman about the Church a little bit. It was awesome.

Brinson and Ceci got married the next morning. It was a perfect day: 70 degrees, partly cloudy, and slightly breezy. If I could freeze that weather and have it every day, I would! The wedding left a few tears in everyone's eyes. We took a few pics afterward. The reception was also amazingly fun despite the food showing up late. There was lots of dancing, and I got to see some people I haven't seen since before I got married.

Saturday, we all hung out at the house, ate dinner at Golden Corral with my grandparents, and watched them open presents. Sunday was time to leave - way too early for everyone! The newlyweds are still on their cruise as I write this. I had a very tiring day on Sunday. James was also having a lot of pain from kidney stones, but he is okay now. (Thankfully, no ER trip was required - or surgery!)

It's been a busy week getting caught up on things. I've started a jean quilt for Katie since I realized I have enough squares! There are less than 3 weeks left of school now. I've been helping James grade a bit so he can get caught up. I can't wait for the weekend, because it's been a long week.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Heading Out

*Pretend I published this last Wednesday, and it will make a lot more sense! Our internet was down.

Well, last weekend's trip was stressful. I simply don't travel well. I try so hard to be prepared, even printing a packing list that I've kept on my computer after a certain trip where I forgot to take shirts. Yes, shirts. However, I just can't sleep the first night in a strange place, no matter what I do. (Even "not thinking about it" doesn't help.) For a one-night trip with a day where we try to get lots done, I always end up feeling awfully tired and grumpy. Plus, the packing for one day of travel is almost as time-consuming as for a week of travel.

We left Friday afternoon to go to Gretchen (my cousin's) wedding reception. I hadn't seen her in 4 years! We had a great time eating waffles, which is the coolest idea ever. Then, we headed to SLC to meet up with James's family. The rest of the story is the same as any day trip - went to bed late, couldn't sleep, kids got up early. We went to the museum, and I felt pretty good until afternoon, when it really hit me that I was exhausted. We went to Hill AFB museum, and I almost fell asleep when I was feeding Katie. The weather was a bit depressing, and I didn't pack for it. I really hate spring sometimes.

The kids have all had pink eye in the last week. Kenny and Katie have a well check today, but they will have to go on the sick side. They are all recovering from little colds. Really, no one is that miserable; they just look icky and gunky. Thankfully, the cream Grandpa called in for them works pretty fast.

I leave for NC tomorrow with Katie, and James will take the boys to Rexburg. I can't wait! I wish they could all come, but it's going to be a quick trip, just until Sunday. I've packed for Katie and me - just a backpack and diaper bag since I'm cheap. I'm leaving the rest of the packing up to James so he can see what it's like. ;)

So for now, I say goodbye to Utah and hello to North Carolina. It's time for a few days of real spring!

Behaving themselves!

I do drive sometimes. Here's proof.

James contemplating the origin of life.

cute train-themed restaurant in Heber. This train goes around the restaurant ceiling.

Best part (aside from the food): play tables for the kids!