baby gifts

Knit Breastfeeding Poncho Tutorial

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When Mila was born I made my own traditional nursing cover, and I was also given a nice one as a gift. However, in practice, these nursing covers posed many challenges- if Mila wiggled or if it was windy the cover would move and expose me. And let’s not forget that it didn’t cover my back, so if I was wearing a top that I had to lift, then I would expose my back to everyone. And have you seen what a cotton nursing cover looks like after it has been stuffed in a diaper bag for a few weeks/months? Just a little wrinkly….

Before Teegan was born, I  ran across several different variations of nursing ponchos made out of jersey knit on Etsy and I instantly fell in love.

Nursing with Mila was never easy because I didn’t make a lot of milk (because of lupus), but I managed to breastfeed her until she was 10 months old and I found out I was pregnant with Teegan. Unfortunately, when Teegan was born, my lupus was much more active and my body was in general a lot sicker, and I didn’t make any milk AT ALL. I pumped and pumped and cried and cried, but eventually realized that it wasn’t going to happen. Teegan wouldn’t even be here if I hadn’t taken so many medications to keep my lupus controlled, and so, it wasn’t that surprising that my body was tired and just couldn’t do anymore. And then when I broke my leg I realized it might have been a blessing in surprise because my body needed the calcium to heal.

I’ve been able to gift some of my breastfeeding ponchos to friends who recently had babies. And you never know, maybe I’ll get to use one if we have a #3 someday.

Look at that precious baby!

Look at that precious baby!

So, here’s how I made my new nursing poncho:

Most jersey/knit fabric is 57-62 inches wide (as compared to your standard quilting fabric that is 44 inches wide), which makes it about 30 inches wide when folded selvedge to selvedge.  I recommend getting a lighter weight jersey, especially if you live in a warm climate, because your baby may be under this material for a considerable amount of time while nursing and we don’t want him to overheat.

1. Buy 1 yard of your favorite jersey/knit material.

2. Lay out your yard of jersey material on the floor folded right sides together, with selvedge edge to selvedge edge. The cut sides should be about 30 inches and the folded side should be 36 inches.

3. For an average/tall size woman, cut your jersey at 31 inches (if you are petite I would recommend cutting it around 29 inches, but remember you can always go shorter- you can’t go longer).

NursingCover14. On the right side mark 15 inches up from the folded edge and place a pin. Continue to pin the material together from this mark out to the selvedges.

NursingCover25. Sew a 1/2 inch seam where you have placed your pins (from the selvedge edge to your 15 inch mark). Turn the poncho right side out and you have a nursing cover that stays put!

YES, there is only one seam to sew to make this poncho! And because of the nature of jersey you don’t have to finish the other seams. This might be one of the easiest things you ever make.

HAPPY NURSING!

– Erica

 

Simple Patchwork

Most of you already know how much I loved my obstetrician. My pregnancies were not entirely smooth sailing and having an ob that was calm and confident was vital for me. I’m not sure that being a doctor is an advantage when you are a patient- in fact, I think it’s detrimental. About halfway through my pregnancy with Teegan, I found out she was expecting a little girl. This provided me the perfect opportunity to make a thank-you gift!

My first instinct is always to use pink for girls (um, Mila has a LOT of pink in her room and her wardrobe), but it just didn’t feel right. I found an adorable owl print made exclusively for JoAnn Fabrics which I used on the back (unfortunately I don’t see it available online right now).  I used a few key colors- gold, burnt red, grey and yellow and then several low volume prints. Most of these are out of print now.

Patchwork (1)I have been in love with simple patchwork quilts these days. I used to cut 5 inch squares, but this time I cut 4 inch squares, which I like better. I did simple quilting on each side of the seams. I definitely love how it turned out.

Patchwork (2)

Patchwork (3)

Patchwork (4)

Excuse the pictures…. It was a dreary day when I took them (and I’m also learning how to use my new camera).

– Erica

Baby’s First Quilts

When I first moved out to Los Angeles, I posted an inquiry on the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild (LAMQG) website looking for some girls who were interested in getting together on a weekly basis to sew. Liberty and Jenny responded quickly and it turns out they both live within a couple of miles of my house (how rare in Los Angeles)!

Very quickly these girls became close girlfriends, especially as they helped me grieve through my second miscarriage and then my diagnosis of lupus. I cannot tell you how therapeutic good friendship and sewing is for the soul!

Over this past year our lives have all gotten a bit busier (and during my periods of intense morning/evening sickness I wasn’t able to sew much), so our get togethers have been more sporadic. But our lives have been connected and hopefully we will get together a little more frequently in the future. 🙂

My friend Liberty made our baby girl this beautiful quilt.

SMTD- LAMQGI would point you to her blog, but she just decided that her blogging phase is over for now, so, you’ll just have to believe me that she is an incredibly talented, wonderful woman. She tends towards improvisation which is inspiring to me since I tend to follow patterns and specifics.

SMTD- LAMQGThe star is made from large half square triangles. There is a tutorial for a similar quilt top by In Color Order: Giant Vintage Start Quilt Tutorial. Liberty used only 2 fabrics/colors in this quilt rather than 8 different colors.

DSC02573Jenny made me this fantastic quilt. I am in love with the fabric. Especially the print peeking out from the back. She machine quilted it and also added yarn ties for texture, which I love. Jenny has an amazing eye for anything vintage. She recently renovated her sewing space which makes me incredibly jealous– you can check out her before and after pictures on instagram.

Our girl is already so blessed!

– erica

 

Baby Showers!

I have been blessed with three AMAZING baby showers!! I can hardly believe that my husband and I have only been in LA for a little over a year and a half. We already have a great community to call home here.

My first shower was thrown by one of my girlfriends at work. She started one month after I did and we bonded quickly. I actually look forward to getting to work and seeing her in the morning! We frequently bounce ideas off of each other about patients we are seeing, and the collaboration is so much fun.

She recently had a little girl who just turned 7 months old. We already have plans for their futures together. As long as we are in charge of their play dates and friends, our girls will be the best of friends!

2013-05-05 16.21.13The baby onesies are so cute! And so tiny!

2013-05-05 16.38.30She had a pink and grey chevron theme since those are the colors of baby girl’s room.

2013-05-05 16.41.35Balloons!

My mother-in-law and my sister-in-laws also had a baby shower for me. I’m not sure I ever imagined I would have a poolside baby shower, I’m so lucky!

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922699_410952342336711_322617149_nMy sister-in-law is an interior designer and helped with the decorations (that’s why it looks like my baby shower belongs in a magazine….).

484419_410952422336703_1038532931_nAnd here we are, proud mama and papa with our girl’s baby bassinet.  This bassinet has been in my husband’s family since 1945. Every baby born since then has spent their first few weeks in this bassinet. My husband, his sisters, and his nieces have all been here. The last three babies were boys, so the bassinet got a baby girl update.  Our girl will be baby #20!

My nurses had an incredible surprise baby shower for me at work. Check out these adorable little containers, they were filled with pink m&m’s.

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2013-05-24 17.57.08I can’t help but notice how “white” I am in this picture…. (thank you lupus for my consistent sun protection).

– erica

 

Sebastian

I love my latest quilt. Which makes me happy that it’s going to another one of my favorite girlfriends, Clara (and her beautiful baby boy, Sebastian).  Clara and I met at Hennepin County Medical Center– HCMC– where we did our Internal Medicine residency. I became really close with Clara when she was chief resident and I was a senior resident.

For two years, Clara and I were also the “detox docs”. One of us went to “detox” every single day of the entire year.  Minneapolis detox was a unique experience, maybe only to be rivaled by my time in “jail”.  We would have to get buzzed in by one of the staff and pass through the entryway and elevator that frequently smelled like urine and vomit. Once inside, we would sign standing orders for each person that had arrived in the previous 24 hours, and then see people with medical issues that needed to be dealt with during their brief (but usually recurring) stay.

After being chief resident, Clara went on to do a Critical Care fellowship. She is one of the most dedicated, thoughtful girls I know. She is an amazing doctor, and I would totally trust her to take care of one of my family members- although hopefully none of my family members will be in the ICU anytime soon.

 

Clara and Sebastian.

 

Jake and I were unfortunately not able to make it to Clara’s wedding in Mexico City, but we were able to make it to her Minneapolis wedding. She was stunning!

 

Clara was one of my bridesmaids.  I’m so lucky to have such wonderful friends!

 

Once and awhile we got out of the hospital….

 

And sometimes we even got dressed up!

 

And, here it is…. my equilateral triangle quilt! I made this quilt without a pattern. Normally I like to follow patterns because having to think TOO much after a full day of work is extremely painful. However, I got the vision for this quilt in my head and couldn’t get it out. I really wanted to make it asymmetrical with a large amount of white space on two sides. I also left some of the triangle spaces blank.

I used an equilateral triangle template to cut out the triangles. It was a little tedious, but sometimes I actually love tedious, repetitive stuff I can do while watching TV.

I like this quilt so much, I might even try to write up a pattern- so I can make another one! I’m thinking of pinks, yellows and oranges next time.

And this time I actually remembered to sew my label into the binding. Awesome, huh?

-erica

All Wrapped Up

It took a LONG time to finally get this quilt to Addison, but it was totally worth the wait. Look at how adorable she is! This is the first quilt that I have made where I actually got to see my quilt with the baby! (I have had to mail out all the rest.)

Addison kept making the most adorable “fish” faces. I cannot wait to see her again.

– erica

Blue Paint Tape

I started quilting parallel lines on my newest quilt. I thought I could just “eyeball” them. After several rows I realized my eyes are crooked. I saw a roll of blue painting tape on the table and realized it was very close to the width of the rows I was sewing (lucky, huh?). So I starting taping rows of the tape on my quilt and sewing next to the tape. It works great!!

If you look closely you can see my semi-straight pre-tape rows. So, please, don’t look closely 🙂

Now I’ll have to see what other widths the tape comes in (for future quilts).

– erica

Monkey Feet

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These shoes may fit until the end of this week. I guess I’ll just have to make another pair. I think he liked them. I could tell by his giant smile.

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-erica

Baby Shoes

I have been behind in sewing, and behind in blogging. This past month has been difficult for me since being diagnosed with lupus. I am adjusting to my new paradigm in life of living with a chronic disease. It’s definitely not something I expected, but I guess most people don’t expect to get sick. Time is one of the ultimate healers and I am trying to stay strong in knowing that as time passes I won’t be so scared. And I am truly thankful for AMAZING friends and family that have been spending extra time listening to me and offering encouragement and support. I am blessed.

But, on to a happier topic. Baby shoes!

My sister had her second baby a few months ago (OK, maybe more than a few months…. Elliot was born in September…), and I actually haven’t gotten him a baby gift yet. She assures me that he is little and won’t remember.

But look at these guys:

It will be totally worth the wait. I saw this Simplicity pattern (see below) at JoAnn Fabrics and I had to buy it. I immediately fell in love with the monkey shoes.

Their shoes were all brown, but I wanted to add in a little color, so I chose a blue polka dot print. I used a fusible web to fuse the wool felt to the fabric (um, WAY cool).

They have little velcro flaps to open.

Way cute, right? I hope his feet aren’t too big already.

-erica