7QT #8: better blogging

28 February 2014

28 February 2014

Let's be honest, I'm terrible at blogging. So this week I've rounded up 7 awesome blog posts from Jen's week of heroic writing that you should read. Here we go!

Baby Names Linkup 
at Team Whitaker

Because David and I haven't made any final decisions on baby names, I've been poring over these wonderful baby name stories all week. If you need some inspiration or just want to waste hours looking at lots of cute babies, go here immediately and waste yer dayz away.

Thoughts on Becoming a Working Mom
at Savor His Goodness

Although I know I'm not going to be a "full" working mom (I'll be working from home, 40 hours a week but at home), I appreciate reading anyone and everyone's opinions and advice for working with a baby. I'm nervous (duh, new mom) so if you've got any other links for me, you should let me know in the comments below.

Favorite Baby Gear: Heavy Lifters
at Camp Patton

Let's be honest, I can't make a list of favorite posts without including one of Grace's. She's my fave. This list is a great resource for new mamas like me. I'm so wishy washy about picking things out, especially big ticket items, so thank you for coming to my rescue Grace!!

Big Purse Dump
at Catholic All Year

I'm cheating a little bit because I participated in this link-up but if you're crazy like me, and love looking into peoples' lives, and therefore purses, check out this awesome linkup hosted by Kendra. Click through for all your purse-creepin' needs.

Does Being a Mom to a Bunch of Kids Make Me a Bad Friend?
at fountains of home

Christy kills it again in her posting (honestly, when doesn't she?). She asks the question I've been worrying about since I got pregnant. I mean, I've got awhile til I catch up to her number (5 is awesome!) but I've got the same worries with even one baby coming. Will I have enough time to keep up my friendships? I'm praying so! Thanks for making me not feel so alone, Christy!

Dirty Little Content Secrets
at Call Her Happy

I'm always digging on Pinterest for post-inspiration, especially in this crazy week of posting (yikes 7 ideas in 7 days) so Jenna's post was perfect timing. If you need a reference for lots of places to find writing inspiration, Jenna's your girl.

The lazy nerd's guide to weight loss
at Conversion Diary

Can't include a list of blog posts without giving credit to our inspiration queen this past week. Jen's post about weight loss tips was super helpful when all this week I've been feeling motivated to start working out after this baby comes! Check it out for her easy-to-follow tips.

 For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

and of course, 7 posts in 7 days!!

Pregnancy workouts

27 February 2014

27 February 2014
I am terrible at working out during pregnancy. Please take that advice and run with it as you read the rest of this post. If I even slightly pretended to be good at working out during pregnancy, David would come home from work and laugh in my face until I deleted this post.

So I'm not even gonna go there. I'm writing this mostly as a [hopefully] helpful resource for me during pregnancy #2, whenever that ends up being, because it took me long enough to get motivated to find pregnancy workouts that I want to skip that part next time. Blog post, voila! 

So, in no particular order, here's what I've been doing to try to keep my body from all falling to mush during these precious 9 months.

1. Taking walks
I couldn't find a picture of it, but does anyone else love the part on the Office where Pam & Angela are pregnant at the same time, and Angela veils her criticism of Pam's caffeine intake as "concern" for another pregnant woman in the office on their walk together? Love it. 

Even though that has nothing to do with really anything, I included it to prove that yes, you are supposed to take walks during pregnancy, and I've actually very much enjoyed it. It's been bitterly cold here recently, when I was hoping it would start to warm up so I could go back to my walks, but every day that it's warm enough and David gets home at a reasonable hour (aka before sunset) I make him take a walk with me. It's not a stressful workout but it's supposed to be just the right amount for pregnant ladies like moi.

2. Katy Appleton pregnancy yoga
I am poor. Okay, well not poor, but not loaded enough to sign up for a prenatal yoga class, which I would love to do someday. So instead I hop onto YouTube and combine Katy Appleton's 10 minute videos into something resembling a full yoga workout. Below I've linked her first one, and there are 5 in the series.

She's an adorable pregnant lady, she's got a great accent, and her yoga is perfectly suited to pregnant bodies. I really like her, even as someone who isn't that into yoga in general. (I've done the P90x yoga quite a few times, but that's my limited exposure.)

3. P90x
Okay, so this is more of a warning to my future pregnant self than a suggestion of what you should do while pregnant. I was about 40 days into P90X when I took the pregnancy test, and found out that the reason I was feeling nauseous every day after my workout wasn't my extreme hardcore-ness but rather the little one upsetting my stomach. 

I'm planning on doing P90x after having the baby (and a green light from my doc) to get back into shape, but if I continue to do it after the 90 days when we might be having another kid, I'm going to take special note of what makes me nauseous. And maybe take a pregnancy test a little bit earlier. :)

4. (Light) Weight training
In high school I was straight-up terrified of lifting weights, thinking that if I even so much as did some arm curls my arms would bulk up and I'd never be able to lose it. Boy, was I wrong. My favorite part of P90x was all the weight training, in all different forms, and how much I could see the effects on my body.

While pregnant, I haven't done as much lifting, because you really are supposed to avoid straining yourself too much. I've recently started adding some very light weights back into my workouts, however, and I've found that as long as I keep my weights light (like, max 5-8 lbs) and my reps not too crazy, I'm not feeling any sort of intense strain. 

5. Denise Austen pregnancy cardio
So yes, this video is cheesy. And doesn't feel much like a workout. And she kind of talks down to you the entire time like, oh goodness you're pregnant, you're basically a china doll so don't you dare even think to kick like you mean it. Buuuut I will admit that I liked doing this video as something to mix up my workouts. 

It's sort of cheesy zumba mixed with a lot of encouragement. For 20 minutes it's bearable, plus, once again it's free on YouTube so I shouldn't be asking for too much.

Future Hannah, there you go! Links all included and everything. You are so welcome.

All you out there in blog-land, what do you do (during pregnancy or not) to stay in shape? I love hearing different routines and trying new things from recommendations!

P.S. Still linking up with Jen for 7 posts in 7 days!

Bucket list {as of 2014}

26 February 2014

26 February 2014
I've been a bucket-list type of girl for as long as I can remember.

When I was a pre-teen, I started a list in my oh-so-secret diary. I gradually moved to a list on my cell phone (when I finally got one of those), and then a written out list on the back of my closet door. It's still hanging there at my parent's house, slowly shriveling with age.

I thought in this modern, digital age -- why don't I have one written down somewhere that I can access as long as the internet is a thing? So here it is: my (current) bucket list. 

1. Have a baby
It seems silly to put something I'm currently doing as the first item on my bucket list, but it's always been at the top of my bucket lists. I was (and still am) scared of the burden that is infertility, but thank God I have not had to deal with that yet. I can't imagine going through struggles with infertility or miscarriage, so I am incredibly thankful I've been blessed with this baby. So long as everything goes well for the rest of the pregnancy, check this one off the list!

2. Go to Rome
Ever since I was little, I've wanted to visit Rome and see the epicenter of the Catholic Church. Lots of my beautiful wonderful friends, including Caitlin, went to Rome over spring break during college, and everything they told me just increased my desire to go. Beautiful countryside, lots of wine, and the Pope? What more could you want?

3. See the Northern Lights {aka Aurora Borealis}
One of my favorite activities is stargazing -- David and I spent hours stargazing when we were dating. Pregnancy doesn't really avail itself to long periods of time on your back (besides the fact that it's freeeezing cold out) so we haven't in awhile, but that hasn't decreased my love of stars and sky things.

When it comes to star and sky things, what could I want more than seeing that right there? Supposedly you can see it really far north in Nebraska on a good night, but I wanna go to Canada and see it for real.

4. Watch a drive-in movie
There's this adorable little place in the middle of nowhere, Nebraska that shows drive-in movies. And I have always wanted to go there. David and I have at different points tried to plan going there, as a surprise for the other, but it never turned out. Someday, we are gonna make it there. I promise you, readers, we are going to.

5. Swim in every "ocean" in the world
I don't know how you really qualify this one, because lots of oceans run into each other, and I want to include things qualified as "Seas" (who decides these things?) and "Big Lakes" including the Mediterranean & all the Great Lakes, but I want to swim in as many different bodies of water as possible before I die. So far I've done the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and Lake Erie. (Like I said..."oceans.") I've got a lot to go.

6. Publish a novel
Okay, I know it's a ridiculous dream, and lots of people that dream of writing a novel never get around to it. I've started a few, and even given the drafts to people to read, but never actually finished one. But someday -- some day -- I am going to write the Great American Novel. And I'm going to be marginally famous for it.

Eventually, I am going to cross each and every one of these off the list. Just you wait, internets. I'll make sure I blog about each one of them too so you don't feel left out.

Still linking up with Jen for 7 posts in 7 days!

the BIG purse dump

25 February 2014

25 February 2014
Because I'm a certified creeper/someone who really loves looking into things people own (it's weird, whatever) I am joining Kendra at Catholic All Year for her linkup: the BIG purse dump

Onto the goodies of my (not so big) purse.

Here's what my purse looks like:

Clearance at Target (obviously), but sadly the clasp fell off on the front, so it doesn't shut anymore. I definitely expected to find the clasp in there somewhere, because I've been carrying it around for weeks, hoping I could find a way to reattach it, buuuut I guess it's gone. Oh well.

Onto the details:

1. Receipts: including Union Bank deposits, Victoria's Secret, Super Saver, Target, & Raising Cane's. The newest one? a month old. To the trash they all went.

2. Money Essentials: wallet, checkbook, two lone $1 bills, and two half-used gift cards. Look promising, don't they? Except there is only one Shell gas station in the entire city of Lincoln, so I've had that gas card for about 3 years, and the Starbucks card has about $4.00 on it. 

3. Photos: one of the funniest categories, and definitely things I was not expecting. From top left, clockwise: a photo of a boy I used to babysit, Venerable Solanus Casey 3rd class relic, a senior photo of my brother making a serious face, and a picture of David and me from soon after we started dating.

4. Business cards, etc: including an expired "coupon" for GAP Cardmembers, two appointment cards for my last and next prenatal visits at the doctor, a ticket stub for Gimme Shelter, and a business card and coupon for a haircut.

5. Keys: a relative given, although if I would have been guessing I would not have said they were in my purse but instead in our catch-all dish by the front door. I love my little heart-shaped keychain -- I bought it in Quebec on a business trip and it's been with me ever since. And my plastic keychain says "Seeking God in all things," which I added on for Lent last year and never took off. 

6. Uber-fashionable sunglasses: I get compliments on these all the time, even though I bought them for $3.98 at Target on clearance. I guess I just make them look that good? [Also if you look closely you can see my reflection in them. Whoops.]

7. Twin Peaks soundtrack: by far the strangest/most out of place thing in here. I borrowed it from my parents the other day because David and I are quickly working our way through the 2 seasons of the weirdest show I've ever seen. We're slightly obsessed with it, and the music is so...unique that I wanted to borrow the CD. Anyone else seen Twin Peaks??

8. Gum + matches: gum is understandable, but I'm not sure why I thought I needed to carry around a book of matches from our wedding (best wedding favors ever!) in my purse. I don't smoke...I'm not an arsonist...and I don't think I've ever thought "wow I really wish I had some matches right now" when I'm out and about.

9. Lip stuff: Mentha Lip Shine and a free Mary Kay lipstick from my Influenster VoxBox account. I'm an avid Burts Bees minty chapstick kinda girl, but I'm unsure of the location of 3 of my tubes...so my purse doesn't have one right now.

10. 5 pens: I have really specific pen likes. The two on the far left are my all-time favorites, followed closely by the rest, including the BEST ballpoint pen (far right) from my favorite restaurant in Lincoln, Lazlo's.

11. Idea notebook: this is the place I keep all my "inspired" lists and longer lists that are bound to get lost if they're just on loose pieces of paper in my purse. The one I pictured is from my embroidery/quilting trip to Hobby Lobby at the beginning of the year...as well as a random sticky note with my name signed on it? Not sure why/how that's in there, but whatever.

There you go! Now to the official categories:
  • It's my favorite thing in here: probably the old picture of David and me. I bought him a set of wallet prints for his car/wallet pretty soon after they were taken, but I always forget that I have one. It's a good memory.
  • Wow, I really have a lot of these: old receipts. Why do I bother keeping all of them for so long? It's useless because most of that stuff you can't return anyway (i.e. groceries), but I have this wired compulsion not to throw receipts away.
  • I've been looking for those: the old, mostly-empty gift cards. Usually they're inside my wallet, so I have no idea how they got out -- but now I'm going to have a party now I've found 'em!
  • Huh. THAT shouldn't be in there: really, the Twin Peaks soundtrack shouldn't be in my purse...but also matches. I have no need for matches in my purse. 
and for fun, my own category:
  • I definitely thought these would be in here: the clasp for my purse, at least a couple rosaries (I'm a little freaking out because where are they all if they're not in my purse???), bobby pins and hairties (what am I gonna do in an emergency hair tie situation?), feminine hygiene products (I mean, not necessary when pregnant but I always want to be prepared to help a friend out), Burts Bees chapstick (I need to find those other ones somewhere...), and more change (I have a total of about $0.12, mostly in pennies, which isn't helpful for plugging meters).
Thanks for the fun post idea Kendra! Go to her blog to see lots more purses & what's in them!

P.S. Still going strong on day 2 for Jen's 7 posts in 7 days challenge! I haven't failed yet!

Deep thoughts for a Monday morning

24 February 2014

24 February 2014
Does anyone else sort of dread Sunday afternoons and evenings as they watch Monday creep closer and closer? 

David has always been a hater of Sunday afternoons, where as I used to love them -- Mass, relaxation, usually an afternoon nap, less social obligations than Saturdays and Fridays, but still the weekend. Perfection, no? Yet marriage brings with it all sorts of things I didn't realize, which includes changing opinions on days of the week.

Keep that nugget of matrimonial wisdom tucked away for later. You'll need it.

So yes, now, thanks to my wonderfully influential husband, I am no longer a fan of Sunday afternoons and evenings. I've tried tricking myself into believing it's still Saturday...didn't work. I've tried distracting myself with something fun/unusual to do...which works for awhile but then afterwards, I'm more dreading Mondays than ever.

Now don't misunderstand me -- I have a great job, that I really do enjoy doing. Plus, I work from home, so in reality my daily routine isn't too different, Sunday vs. Monday. But I just dread the general idea of Monday mornings. It's probably some leftover feelings from college, not wanting to start another long week of school/work/homework, over again.

this isn't David but kinda looks like him, actually

ANYWAY. That was a long intro to tell you that I dislike Mondays but that today, I was super excited to get up and out of bed! And it was weird, let me tell you. [I will readily admit that like, 68% of that motivation came from the realization that the 7 Posts in 7 Days was starting! yay! don't judge.]

Even with a headache, and another wimpy coating of snow on the ground outside, I was genuinely excited to get out of bed, go brush my teeth, and get to work. 

This got me thinking about the role that my attitude and outlook plays in my day-to-day life. Usually I would qualify myself as a generally positive person. I am optimistic most of the time and I don't like counting all the things that could go wrong in a certain situation, because it just depresses me.

Pregnancy has somewhat altered that. More than any other period in my life, I've been constantly worrying, obsessing over decisions, procrastinating important tasks, and generally been nervous about this BIG change that is happening to our little family in a few short months. I know hormones has something to do with this, but it's been more than that.

I am 100% excited for this baby to get here, don't get me wrong. But I've been so bogged down in the details that I haven't been taking the time to genuinely appreciate how blessed I am to be able to have this child, and how much I know I'm going to love being a mother.

27 weeks & a manly Forever 21 sweater

Yesterday during a sweet afternoon nap, David felt the little guy/girl kick pretty hard [she/he doesn't like it when I lay on my right side...silly thing!] and his face just lit up with the most pure joy I'd seen on anyone in a long time. And it took me by surprise...how sad is that? I was honestly ashamed of myself for not taking more time to feel that same joy. Because I definitely have it, but for some stupid reason I've been pushing it down and placing other emotions in higher rank. Dumb.

So now I'm making an effort to take time every day to think about, pray for, and actually enjoy this pregnancy. Because I don't want to waste it!

Positive Monday morning thoughts your way --

Linking up with Jen for 7 posts in 7 days!

7QT #7: Maternity clothes

21 February 2014

21 February 2014

Because apparently I'm on a "style" blogging streak (see yesterday's post) (excuse me while I laugh at myself calling this style blogging...hahaha) I thought I'd compile a list of my favorite places and pieces of maternity clothes so far. 

Since it's my first time buying and researching all this stuff, I might be of help to someone? Maybe? Who knows.
Linking up with Jen as per always!

My top maternity item so far? This $20 baseball tee from Old Navy. I have a Gap credit card, so I get $10 coupons all the time, so I scored this for $10 (a pretty hefty feat, for new maternity tops, anyway). I love love love this shirt. I have always loved baseball tees, and this is super soft, hasn't worn out, and has a flattering neckline that doesn't get too crazy low.

2nd wardrobe staple? These 1969 demi-panel jeans from the Gap. 

I didn't think I'd like the mini panel when I first tried them on, but turns out it was just the ones I tried on in Target. These are perfect -- stretchy enough that they've accompanied me from halfway through my first trimester til now, and don't show any signs of slowing down. 

Plus, I've always loved Gap's jeans, especially their 1969 line, and these don't disappoint.
Currently they're on sale for $30! (only a few sizes left, though, unfortunately)

This dress from Motherhood Maternity.
(side note: does anyone else find that name stupidly repetitive? no? just me? okay then)

I was panicking trying to find a dress for a wedding back in January, because I'd finally outgrown my loose-fitting dress that had sufficed through the winter. It was hiking up wayyyy too much for polite company. 
Walked into the store, saw this on the sale rack, and fell in love. It's super comfortable (probably the most comfortable dress I've ever worn), stretchy, not too long or short, and the back has a nice little modest cutout that makes it a little fancier than normal. 

For some reason it comes with this weird string-belt which made no sense to me, but I wore it without one and it was fine.

These full-panel gray skinny jeans from Liz Lange Maternity at Target.

I was skeptical when I took this into the dressing room and bought them mostly because I was desperate for pants at the time, but they are the BEST. They don't stretch out too quickly, they're super comfy, and they are juuuuust dressy enough to wear as pants to Mass. 

They're on clearance ($13.98!) online with only a few sizes left, but I see them on the clearance rack every time I stop in Target, and I almost pick up a second pair every time.

 I'm currently wearing this Bumpstart shirt from Motherhood Maternity, and I looooove them. 

I'm still not sure what "Bumpstart" means -- all I can think of is jumpstarting a car -- but these basic tees are stretchy and hold their shape really well. Plus they come in packs of 2, and usually they're on some sort of sale from what I can tell. 

Technically this one's cheating because I don't own this dress (yet!) but isn't this 3/4 sleeve dress from Pink Blush Maternity just adorable? I mean, all their stuff is great but this is to die for.

I have another wedding to go to after Easter, and I'm eyeing this one as the next addition to my closet. 

These non-maternity leggings from the Gap have been lifesavers for me since day 1. They're hands-down the best leggings I've found out there -- stretchy, but not too constricting; easily wearable for 3, 4, 5 days in a row; long enough to stick into socks under your heels (I love doing that); and just all-around awesome.

For such a fantastic pair they do run sort of pricey (around $60 normally). But they're worth the investment. I bought my pair before I knew I was pregnant, and they still fit me now, when I'm just now entering my 3rd trimester. And they look just as good as they did when I bought them. I highly recommend them, pregnant or not.

Happy mama shopping -- and as always, for more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Cures for spring fever: "style" blogging

20 February 2014

20 February 2014
I really, really wish it was spring.

We've had some freakish weather here today -- let me walk you through it quick.
  • 1:00 - 7:00 a.m.: really cold, enough to stop my annoying pregnancy-induced sweat that usually happens every night
  • 8:00 a.m.: warms up a bit, enough to restart that pregnancy sweating (oh the wonderful joys of motherhood...right?)
  • 8:30 a.m.:  starts raining, sleeting, or snowing -- some weird combination of the 3, really, with the biggest, wet-est flakes I've seen in a long time
  • 12:30 p.m.: slush gradually dies down, producing more water than solids now, so outside it sounds like rain but it looks like snow in the sky
  • 2:30 p.m: every bird in our neighborhood starts singing, as the sun comes out and the wind starts up. the snow has started to disappear and reform into water, but the grass is still white
  • 3:00 p.m.: the wind/sun combo has dried the sidewalks and the white has disappeared from the grass, making me doubt it ever even really snowed this morning
It was a confusing 14 hours, to say the least. 
With such drastic-ness happening outside, I decided to waste some time on the internet dreaming of what my wardrobe will be when I don't have to prepare for 4 seasons in one day. 

Enter Polyvore in all its goodness. 

Here's my post-pregnancy, spring-inspired outfit hopefuls. No, I'm not gonna drop that much moola on these specific items -- but I'm hoping the good ole Target or Gap will have some decent knock-offs.

post-pregnancy style

Cotton tank top

Madewell jeans

Miz Mooz oxford shoes flat

Madewell leather purse

Wrap watch
$125 - kikisboutique.com

Circle scarf

French Connection skinny belt

Isn't that Madewell bag to die for? I've been drooling over their leather goods for what seems like an eternity. If an anonymous person wanted to make my dreams come true and get that baby for me...I would not protest, even though I might be confused.

Five faves || positivity

19 February 2014

19 February 2014
hosted by Christy at fountains of home this week...so, really, favoUrites, right?

1 || morning motivation

I saw this on Pinterest last night as I was scrolling for bathroom ideas before bed, and it really hit me. I've been stressed about work deadlines lately, and in response to that stress doing a lot of unhelpful procrastination. I decided to take today by this mantra: I got up, showered right away (super unusual for me, working from home), and went right to work.

It's amazing how much better I feel about the outcome of today with just those little changes -- even if everything else totally stinks, I'll count today as a win.

2 || summery thoughts

It's been actually warm here, warm enough for me to open the windows in my office and enjoy the breeze that is worth the paper shuffling I had to do to make sure nothing got lost. This candle from Target (which I found dinged and on super clearance) is adding to my urgent desire for winter to be done and summer to come.

3 || taro by alt-J

I know the song is kinda old news, but the hook in the chorus is amazing. You should listen to it here (I haven't checked out the music video so here's a song-only version on Youtube).

also, isn't their album art lovely?

4 || painting plans

Painting/priming of the baby's room starts tonight, finally! 

I'm also trying to pick a color for the ceiling of the bathroom -- how similar do you think those two colors are? I'm a little scared to pick something bold like painting the ceiling a color and leaving the walls blank, but #adventure, right?

5 || baby kicks

I know I post a lot about the little one but I am sincerely enjoying the workout baby G seems to be getting this morning. It's unusual for him/her to be up and about this early in the day, so I'm loving the little distractions every so often.

Can't wait to hold those little feet in my hands.

Check out the rest of the favoUrites over at fountains of home this week!

Chevron Baby Quilt Tutorial

18 February 2014

18 February 2014
So I finally finished the baby quilt I've been working on for the last month! Mad props to David for all the help he gave me -- I'm so excited to share this with y'all, and also with my future self when I forget how I did this and I have another child that I need to make a quilt for.

Step 1: Plan Yer Quilt

for a much better tutorial, click HERE
I looked to the internet-mother of all things creative, Pinterest, to decide that I wanted to do a chevron quilt. I wanted to make sure it was gender neutral, baby-like but not too baby-ish, and a crib size (rather than a bigger size for the babe to "grow into"). I found awesome tutorials such as this one and set out making my plan.

My plan looked like this:

Because I am terrible with math, angles, and pretty much anything that involves numbers, David was a big help here. We decided that we wanted the finished quilt to be about 54" x 36" (more on that later), with each stripe being 2.5" wide and at a 30° angle. (We tried 45°, but it was too drastic when laid out next to each other.)

There was obviously no way I was going to measure that every time, so I used my handy trash-paper Victoria's Secret magazine and made a template.

I took a picture of the non-scandalous side. You're welcome.
Step 2: Buy Fabric

Then I bought fabrics: 1/2 yard in each color that I wanted (4 colors total) and about 2 yards white/cream combo. I had way more color than I needed, and had to go back to the store to get more white, so those are approximations.

I also bought a roll of quilt batting, specifically sized for baby quilts, and some cheap muslin for the back (3 yards, I think, which was plenty).

Step 3: Cut, Cut, Cut...til your hands fall off

Then I used my rotary cutter and self-healing board (which I highly highly recommend if you're new to quilting -- they are both life and time-savers BIG time), along with a self-erasing fabric pen to cut piece after piece. It was exhausting.

A big thing to remember: if you're cutting fabric that has a printed pattern on only one side, half of your pieces need to be angled one way, and the other half the other way. If you're doing white or something that's the same, just cut 'em all the same and switch them around when you get to sewing.

Eventually, I had all my stacks (vertical rows, really) set out the way I wanted.

Maybe if you have a great memory, you don't really need to do this step, but I am forgetful so I just stacked them exactly the way I wanted them so once I started sewing I didn't have to worry about it.

Step 5: Sew "squares" together

To make sure you don't have weird, non-matchy ends, David figured out that you have to space your pieces like the pic shows above, with a tiny triangle overlapping on each end. Don't ask me the mathematical reasoning behind that, because my brain can't even comprehend it, let alone tell someone else how it works.

NOW IRON YOUR SEAMS DOWN (from the back side). I'd always read that this was important to do, but never had the time/energy to do so. After doing it with this quilt, I will always 100% recommend it. It was super helpful for getting the fabric to lay flat, and especially since I machine-quilted in the ditch. Very very important.

Step 6: Sew vertical lines together

Here's a completely unhelpful photo of David doing this step. Things to remember here: how much did you allow for seams in your plans? We had 1/2" allowed on each side in our pattern, and ended up sewing the hems a little short so the quilt ended up wider than planned. Whoops.

Step 7: Approximate how big the gappy triangles are at the end and cut & sew those, too

I told you, David helped a LOT during this project
Step 8: Lay out your backing, batting, and quilted top in the correct order

I had a mental dilemma here, because the batting I bought was self-adhesive -- in other words, you can iron it onto your layers and it'll stick enough to be quilted without pins or anything. Buuuut I wasn't planning on doing a bias-tape quilt (which is more advanced than my sewing experience) so I went the lazy/easy way and just pinned them as if it was normal batting.

Step 9: Sew 3 sides of your quilt together, after pinning in place

I purposefully left my backing bigger for this step, just in case I messed up, and cut it after I had sewn all three of the seams I wanted (two long sides and one short side is the easy way to do it). 

You can't tell very well in this photo but I used quilting safety pins, which are bent in the middle so they're easy to insert and take out without messing up the placement of your fabrics.

Try and sew as straight as possible on this step, because these are going to be the sides of your quilt finished -- and you can tell pretty easily if it's a janky hem.

Step 10: Turn it right side out and admire your almost-finished quilt!

At this point, I decided to iron the whole thing, in hopes that the batting would sort of fuse together and make it less wrinkly. It worked really well! I will definitely try this sort of batting again, especially in a bigger quilt, because I didn't have to pin hardly anything to get it to stay together. It was awesomesauce.

Step 11: Sandwich and sew your open edge

There's no real formula to doing this, besides picking your shortest point and working in a straight line from there, pinning profusely as you go, sticking the unfinished sides inside your quilt, obviously.

I never worry too much about the line being a little bit wibbly, because in my opinion a home-sewn quilt should look home-sewn, but if you are you can always measure and pin and re-pin to your heart's content until it's perfect. 

Then take the pins out one at a time and sew it together very carefully! 

Step 12: Sew a "border" around your whole quilt

This will give your quilt a nice, finished look, as well as keep all your edges looking the same. I sewed in about half an inch, but you can make it as wide or as skinny as you like.

Step 13: Quilt!!!

Some people do this by hand, or with fancy sewing machine attachments, but I'm poor and have no time to hand-quilt an entire quilt. So, I quilted "in the ditch" (which means everywhere there was already a seam on my quilt) using my normal settings on my cheap-o sewing machine. 

To avoid puckering, I pulled each side of the fabric taut as I let my machine go. It's not a perfect method, but as long as your fabrics aren't too thick, it should work relatively well.

Here's a picture of the back about halfway through:

Even though I used a machine, it still has that nice hand-made, puffy, quilted aspect that is so easy to love.

Step 14: Admire your finished quilt!

Excuse my terrible photos because we don't have a clothesline to pin it up on and all I've got is an iPhone. But you can see what it looks like!

Also, the left side isn't that crooked -- it just looks goofy because my arms aren't long enough to hold all the sides straight all the way down.

But there you go! Hope you enjoyed my terrible tutorial.
Happy sewing --

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