Friday, January 14, 2011

Homemade Blocks

I made these two blocks originally when Jonas was only a few months old and couldn’t even crawl, yet. My grandma Janzen had had handmade blocks at her house, and I always liked them. I figured, that blocks would also be a good sewing project, since they could be made quickly and Jonas could start playing with them asap.

At the time I made my first block, Jonas could only hold it between his hands and feet and giggle. Now at 15 months, he’s gone from just being able to hold a block in his hands, to throwing one easily across the room. They’ve definitely gotten a lot of play time and soon, I’m sure, he’ll start stacking them, just like I did with grandma’s blocks (I've since made more than two).

If you would like a good baby project and haven’t sewn in a while, or just have a lot of scraps lying around, then this is a good project for you. Here’s the how to:

1. Start by collecting scraps of materials with different textures. I used a lot of furry material on mine, mixed with bright patterned material. Then cut out equal sized squares. My squares were about 8 x 8 inches originally.

2. Lay the squares down on a table and arrange them the way that you would like to have your block look. That’s four squares down with one square on each side at the same point, just like a cross. On one block, I sewed Jonas’s name on a black velvet square at the center of the cross before I sewed the pieces together.

3. Now take your cross and making sure all of the pieces are upside down, start pining the sides of the cross together so that they are ready to go through your machine. Then sew all five of these sides.

4. Now the sewing will get a tiny bit more difficult, but not much, since as you sew the other sides together, your square will slowly take shape. Make sure to leave about 2 inches open on the last side of your last square so that you can turn your square inside out.

5. Now stuff your square with batting or foam. You can add an egg full of rice or a bell in the middle, if you want your block to make a sound when it is rolled. I have even put a crushed plastic bottle in the middle of one, since the plastic makes a neat sound. You will just need to make sure that you have enough batting all around your inner noise-maker.

6. One more tip. You can stuff your blocks really tight or leave them loose. Jonas loved the block where I added the least batting, since he could get the best grip on the corner and really squeeze it tight between his fingers. A neat tight square may look nicer, but it may not get as played with as a soft one.

7. Finally, sew up the two inches left on the one side and your block is finished. Congrats! Now your child has a toy that they can play with for a long time that is original and won’t break like a plastic one. My grandma’s blocks are still in use and hopefully, my blocks will also be enjoyed just as long.

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