The Long and the Short of It

Last week I introduced you to my long-time friend, Sarah.  This week, I’ve invited Sarah to write a guest post on some DIY projects she’s been working on.  Sarah likes to do crafty things during her son’s naps, and here she’s going to tell you about one long project (as in, over several naptimes) and one short project (one naptime).  Get it?  Enjoy!

Hello Great Smitten readers! I’m Sarah and I am so happy to be guest blogging for the lovely Faith. Faith and I share many interests including a love for sweet tea, punctuation and most recently being mommies to two adorable boys.

I live in North Carolina with my high-school sweetheart husband, Steve, and our little guy, Wyatt. I am reminded on a daily basis how blessed I am to be loved by a man that still makes me swoon, loves me without makeup and graciously allows me to reenact So You Think You Can Dance with him as my partner (Hot Tamale Train!).

I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite meaningful projects that I’ve done while my little Wyatt has been sleeping. I can find something meaningful in just about anything. I’m a sucker for anything that reminds me of the love of family, marriages and children. I call these my Nap Projects. Some take several naps but my favorite are the ones I can finish in one nap.

The first project was a huge undertaking for me. It took me about 10 naps (over a few months) from start to finish. When Wyatt was born I knew I wanted to make a quilt for him. I couldn’t find fabric that I liked enough to use for such a big project so I decided to make a quilt out of my husband’s old dress shirts.  He had recently put a few of his most worn shirts in a pile to be donated so I secretly snatched them. The thought of my son snuggled up under the warmth of his daddy’s shirts was the perfect motivation for me to get started.

Since it was my first quilt there was a lot of trial and error. It is not perfect by any means, but I actually prefer it that way. I decided to put blue flannel on the back and I used embroidery floss to tie it after talking to some experienced quilters who recommended I tie it because of the likelihood that it will be used and washed a lot. I really love the look of tying and I especially love that it allowed me to keep my patch-work squares free of extra stitches.

Here’s how I did it:

After cutting my squares (6×6) and sewing them together, I made a quilt “sandwich” with my top, cotton batting and flannel backing. I used tons of curved safety pins (easier to hook and unhook) to bind the three layers together (about every 4 inches starting from the center and working out) so that it would stay in place while I tied it. Then I took a needle and threaded embroidery floss down and up through all three layers at the corners of the squares (I did every other square). I tied a square knot and snipped the ends so that they were about 3/4 of an inch long.

I left in a few pockets (I can just imagine Wyatt keeping his little treasures in there), some buttons and cuffs to give it the character of an actual shirt.

I gave the quilt to Steve and Wyatt on Father’s Day. To see my son sleeping and covered in his daddy’s shirts was almost too much for me to handle. The love of a father – one that is passionate, protective, committed and kind – is one of the greatest gifts a person can be given. My own father did not have these qualities and Steve’s father died when he was younger so covering my son in a blanket that symbolizes love, hard work, strength and integrity was a profound moment in my life.

The next project is a one nap project and is so easy Steve and Wyatt could do it (with each other’s help).

Napkin pillows!

These things are seriously simple. I found some cloth napkins at Target, stuffed them with the stuffing from an old pillow downstairs and then just fabric glued the edges together.

Done!

Now every time I go to Target, I look in the napkin section for pillow ideas. Total, these pillows came out to about $3 a piece including the glue! Since the edges are already sewn with folded seams, it looks like you sewed them together. No one will know (unless you get excited and tell them, of course).

If you want to go a step further, make a personalized pillow. I used plain linen napkins that I had from when we got married and added a print using inkjet iron-on printer transfer paper (I got mine at Target).

I saw this sweet print over on Bower Power and emailed Katie to get a pdf copy (she gives it out for free!) I made it a little larger, reversed it and then printed it onto my iron-on transfer paper. Then I just ironed it onto the napkin. So easy!

This pillow stays in Wyatt’s room and is there pressing up against my back every time I rock him. It’s been through the early days of learning how to nurse, has heard lullabies, hymns and bedtime stories and is there in the quiet hours of the night when I can’t sleep  and the only remedy is to pick up my slumbering little boy out of his crib and rock his heavy, deep-breathing body. A few stolen kisses, a deep smell of his neck and a whispered prayer of thanksgiving calms my heart – it works every time.

Thanks for asking me to share a few ideas, Faith!

Have a great week everyone!

Sarah

Author: Faith

Faith Dwight is a photographer and a writer. She is a Southern American girl living just north of London with her British husband, Simon and their two halfling sons.

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