Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I just linked up my weighted blanket tutorial to Sew Much Ado's We Did It! Wednesday. This is the first time I've linked up to something like this! I wish I had more time to sew so that I could link up more.

Monday, April 25, 2011


My weighted blanket tutorial was featured on ohdeedoh today! How fun. :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is risen!

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beet juice frosting anyone?

Sweet Pickles will have his 3rd birthday in 9 days. He has requested a fire engine birthday cake. I'm going to attempt this one.

The only speed bump? How the heck am I going to make a red fire engine without using typical red food coloring? Dill Pickles and red dyes do not get along. I asked for suggestions the other day on Facebook and I received quite a few. Yesterday at the store I picked up pomegranate juice, strawberry juice, and beet juice. Let the frosting coloring and taste testing begin!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I came across an interesting blog today. It's called 100 Days of Real Food. We already try not to eat a lot of processed foods and of course food allergies keep us from eating many processed foods. I wonder if I can convince Daddy Pickles to give this a try. But does that mean I'll have to give up my Diet Pepsi? *gasp* I think that is one thing that I may not be able to live without!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Weighted Blanket Tutorial

Finally! The long awaited weighted blanket tutorial.

Here are the materials needed for making your blanket. How much fabric and how many pounds of poly pellets depend on the size of your finished blanket. For this blanket I used:
2 1/2 yards of cotton fabric (top of blanket)
2 1/2 yards of muslin (inner fabric)
2 1/2 yards of flannel (back of blanket)
8 pounds of poly pellets

Wash your fabric in hot water and dry in the dryer. Iron fabric after drying.

Figure out the size of the pockets that will hold your poly pellets. This blanket was for a twin sized bed, so my final measurements were 40"x72". I like to have 2" around the edge of the blanket for seam allowances and ease of sewing. This left the available area for the pockets at 36"x68". Each pocket will end up being 6"x6" except for the top and bottom rows. These pockets will be 6"x7". I am not great with math so here is the fantabulous way I use to figure out each blanket.
Draw your grid on the muslin.
Lay the top fabric right side down and then lay your muslin on top with your grid facing up. Smooth out the two fabrics and pin, pin, pin!
Sew across the bottom of your blanket and then sew the up the columns. I like to start from the bottom and sew my way to the top to help prevent puckers.
Calculate the weight of poly pellets required in each pocket. This blanket weighed 8 pounds. I have a digital scale that measures in ounces and grams. I usually measure in grams because the math is a lot easier! Eight pounds is 3,636 grams. Divide by 66 pockets and you come up with 55 grams of poly pellets per pocket.
Measure 55 grams of poly pellets and pour them into the first column. Do this 5 more times until all of your columns are full.
Sew across the row closing your poly pellets into the pocket. Be sure to push all the poly pellets away from your sewing foot and needle. It is not fun when your needle hits a poly pellet. Continue weighing, filling and sewing across the rows until you reach the top of the blanket.
Lay your flannel right side up and place the blanket top side down onto your flannel. Be sure to smooth out the flannel as your lay the top down. This will prevent puckers and wrinkles.
Pin around the edges of the blanket leaving about 9" open on the bottom. This will allow you to right side out the blanket after sewing. Sew around the entire blanket and don't forget to leave the opening!
Right side out the blanket paying special attention to the corners. Sometimes I use the back of a spoon to poke them out.
Pin or iron around the outer edge of the blanket.
Sew around the edge of the blanket making sure you close the opening at the bottom of the blanket.
Viola! Your weighted blanket is complete! Snuggle up and sleep well!
Feel free to e-mail me with any questions. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible!

Disclaimer: I am not an OT nor do I play one in the bloggy world. The standard formula for a weighted blanket is 10% of body weight plus 1 pound. Always check with your OT to determine the proper weight for your blanket.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I'll take some oatmeal with a side of bacon please

Kids with autism and sensory issues thrive with structure and visual cues. Here are some visuals that we have around our house to help Dill Pickles. Of course Sweet Pickles benefits from them as well.
Dill has a bit of an obsession with bowling and golfing of any kind. Wii Sports has both and Dill would play all day if we let him. The boys are given 3 Wii cards a day. (Their real names are hidden under the moustaches.) They are clipped to our family bulletin board in the kitchen. When one of them want to play Wii, they must give me a Wii card. I set the timer for 20 minutes and when the timer goes ding the Wii is shut off. When all 3 cards are gone, Wii is done for the day. It took a few days for them to get used to the new routine. There was lots of crying and pleading for more time, but not any more. Now the boys fight over who gets to turn the Wii and TV off!
Breakfast used to be another struggle in the Pickles house. Dill likes to eat the same thing over and over for breakfast. Sometimes we run out. *GASP* What kind of mom runs out of something? :) In effort to get Dill to vary his menu a bit and avoid meltdowns when a preferred food is not available, I came up with this breakfast menu. I bought a cheap picture frame from Dollar Tree. Then in the Boardmaker program I made pictures of every possible thing Dill could have for breakfast. We have cereal, oatmeal, toast, breakfast bars, yogurt, pancakes, waffles, sausage, bacon, monkey milk and juice. I laminated the pictures and then put Velcro on the back. There is a long strip of Velcro on top of the plexiglass in the frame. I realize most people don't have access to Boardmaker. You can use clip art, Google some images or even take your own pictures. After dinner I present Dill with his breakfast options for the next day. He chooses what he wants and places the pictures on his menu. Sweet Pickles does the same. This has made breakfast a zillion times easier in the morning.

Monkey milk? I know you want to know what that's all about. Long ago when we were trying to transition Dill from Alimentum formula to rice milk, Dill wanted nothing to do with the rice milk. Out of desperation I bought Zoo Pals disposable cups. My mother-in-law had Zoo Pals paper plates and Dill loved them. He liked the monkey the most, so we put his milk in the monkey cup and called it monkey milk. Dill drank it like it was going out of style. Eventually it got kinda pricey so I found a create your own sippy cup. Daddy Pickles drew the same monkey on Dill's cup and then there was a permanent monkey milk cup. Two and a half years later the name still sticks. Whatever works, right?

Have you done anything creative to get your son or daughter to try something new?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I can't be the only mom in the world who gets excited about decorating their child's bedroom. It was time for Dill Pickles to move out of the crib and down the hall to his big boy bedroom. Of course I had the perfect bedroom planned out in my head. I searched in catalogs, stores, blogs and on-line to find the best themed bedroom for our little Dill. Finally- perfection found in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog. I was able to find this set gently used on Craigslist. Excellent! It even came with a matching area rug. Daddy Pickles and I put together Dill's new furniture and washed his new blanket and sheets. I was so excited to see what Dill Pickles would think of his bedroom. He liked it I guess. Well, as much as a 17 month old can tell you they liked it.

Dill stayed in his crib for a while, but within a few months he was climbing out. Not just once or twice, but CONSTANTLY. We quickly converted the crib to a toddler bed and it worked for a while. Getting Dill Pickles to fall asleep was a big problem. Huge. Finally I resorted to rocking him to sleep. I had an infant and I was exhausted. I did what I needed to to to get him to sleep.

Then one night I thought I heard furniture moving. Seriously? Who is moving furniture? Daddy Pickles was at work and there was no way that Sweet Pickles was moving furniture. I opened the door to Dill's bedroom and found his crib, which was not on wheels, pushed all the way across his bedroom. For a while I had suspected that Dill had some issues, but everyone told me that he was just being a boy. Or as a special education teacher I had too much knowledge and I was making myself think that I was seeing things wrong with my child but really, he was fine.

One day I said forget it all. There is something wrong with my kid and I am taking him for an evaluation. Dill Pickles and I went for a 15 minute screening at a private therapy clinic and within minutes of meeting him they assured me that I was not making things up and yes, there was more to it than just being a boy. Dill Pickles most definitely had major sensory issues.

So what does all of this have to do with the really cute Pottery Barn Kids toddler set I got on Craigslist for a steal? Have you ever seen a weighted blanket for sale in the PBK catalog? Me neither. The ones in therapy catalogs cost an arm and a leg and are usually made for institutional use at a school or therapy clinic. Know of any catalogs that sell a weighted blanket made out of fireman material? Didn't think so. I wanted what was best for my son, but I didn't want a blah blanket for his bedroom. He was going to be using it every night to sleep and I was going to see it every time I walked past his bedroom. What was I to do?

I called my mom. Isn't that what everyone does when they need help? My mom and I sat down and thought and tinkered. We drew and we calculated and here is the results of our labors.

Here it is- the very first weighted blanket I ever sewed. Well, with my mom's help of course. It doesn't match the rest his bedroom exactly, but at least it's not institutional blue or some other boring color. Since sewing this one nearly two years ago I have sewn countless others for friends, friends of their friends and for my son's teacher and classmates. I love sewing and I love sewing things that really help someone out. I've just finished sewing another weighted blanket for my friend's daughter. Want to sew your very own weighted blanket personalized for your child? A tutorial is coming soon. I promise. It's my first tut ever so I want to make sure I get everything right.