If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Projects because...It's a boy!

We are patiently waiting for our newest family member to join us and the wait is just a few weeks away.  Recently, my daughter, Bridgette, and I went to the western part of the state for a shower honoring the little man and his folks.  I worked on a few projects before-hand and even posted a little hint about that HERE.

I decided that I was going to take my inspiration from a fellow blogger, Suzanne, over at Just Another Hangup.  I used her ric-rack receiving blanket tutorial to guide me.  Then, with a gift card from my friend, Margaret, I went shopping!  I browsed JoAnn, Etc., Hobby Lobby, and even a local quilting store.  I found several fabrics which would make sweet, cheerful, one-of-a-kind receiving blankets and brought my haul home.
red trucks with a black dog, black gingham, and bright red rick-rack

When Bryan was just a little fellow, he loved dogs and almost every dog he met became his friend.  We lived near a busy road, so a country dog did not last long at our house.  Still, we would visit folks and he would say, "They have a nice dog, don't they?"  Eventually, we buried an underground wire for a Radio Fence after my dad forced a homeless, unwanted mutt upon us brought us what was soon to become a welcomed friend but that is a story for another day...

I drive a red truck.  I also have a rambunctious, over-sized jump-upon-whoever-enters spirited, friendly, large Schnauzer/Terrier mix black dog who really is a nice dog.  No, really he is nice.  So, I thought this fabric was just perfect to make a gift from Grand B.

Since most of our family was farm-raised right along-side dairy cows, market lambs, etc., I thought this cute E-I-E-I-O print was appropriate.  I found a nice, soft, blue plaid to serve as one side of the reversible blanket and added rick-rack in a soft blue.
Here is a closer look at the farm print:
Notice that the letters are a small windowpane check.

Bryan was on The University of Tennessee at Martin's livestock judging team and since he graduated, he has been asked to judge several livestock exhibitions.  He seems to enjoy the task, and besides, it usually brings him in contact with one of his loves - a funnel cake!

The final set of companion fabrics I put together featured an all-over print of white-tail bucks, the woods, and turkeys - another set of Bryan's loves.


The companion print I chose for this one was a soft grey flannel with hoof and turkey tracks all over it and added some soft grey rick-rack.

Besides the selection of the fabrics being something a bit less than traditional soft blues, greens, and yellows that many boys' items are made of, I also decided I wanted to personalize each blanket just a wee bit.  So, I started by folding and cutting the fabric and using the same sort of fancy template for curved corners that Suzanne's tutorial recommended.  Then, I went ahead and stitched the rick-rack onto one side of the blanket fabric.

Next, I commissioned my daughter, Bridgette, to put her new business, Goody Stuff,  into practice and embroider a couple of designs.  (Yes, again that was a shameless plug.)  She did a marvelous job and I was so pleased to offer these blankets as a gift at the shower.
The busy wildlife print got a simple grey silhouette of a buck and the family last name.  No, I couldn't just ask for a monogram because as yet, the little man doesn't have a first name.  We have all made several suggestions but something always seems to be wrong with each...

No, the initials spell out something unacceptable.  No, he will be in third grade before he can ever write his own name.  No, I worked with a student who had that name and I sure don't want the little man to grow up to be like that!  No, I went to school with that guy and he was a big goof-ball.  No, I have a customer with that name and he is a real pain...I think you get the idea.

When it was finished, I thought this blanket would be my favorite because it looks so much like fall when the little man is due to be born.  Then, I saw this one:
Somehow, Bridgette found a cute cow that looks very similar to the fabric's print and embroidered it on the 'plain' plaid side.

Again, it is so unique and personal.  Nobody will ever have one exactly like it.  Plus, it is soft, well constructed, and large enough to really swaddle a baby or to just lay out for a pallet or nap cover.  When I saw this one, I thought it would probably be my favorite one.

Then, I got the idea to incorporate an old-fashioned technique that my mother, grandmother, and a friend from college had used years and years ago.  I cross-stitched on the gingham using the little squares as a guide for my Xs.
Isn't that pop of red juxtaposed with the black fun looking?

I just loved the shape of the truck.  So, I took a photo of the print with my iPad.  Then, I enlarged the photo some.  Next, I placed that picture into the Educreations app with a graph paper overlay.  I 'instantly' had a cross-stitch pattern to follow!
Of course, it became my favorite!

Honestly, I don't see how a favorite could be determined.  Here are some close-up shots of the two embroidered designs Bridgette added:
Wildlife/buck
Smiling Cow
Bridgette also created a burp-cloth as a companion for the truck/dog blanket using her embroidery-machine talent:
Didn't it turn out sweet?

I had barely bought enough fabric for the other two blankets, so there was no left-over to make a companion burp-cloth for them.  To present them at the shower, I folded all four to best show off their personalization features and stacked them into Bryan's well-loved yellow Tonka truck.  Remember those big yellow metal things (now called vintage) that would hold half a driveway full of rocks and dirt?  Then, I wrapped some clear basket wrap around it and tied it up with a green chevron and burlap bow.  It was so cute.  No, I forgot all about getting a photo of it.  Rats!

Now we are just waiting for the little man to make his appearance and we will be cuddling soon!  Sometimes my projects turn out so wonderfully that I cannot wait to share - but this one just had to wait a little bit to keep the surprise for the shower.