That Spells DNA – Nerdy and Beautiful Baby Quilts

“DNA, you’re in my heart
DNA, in fact you’re in every part of my body
Each cell has a nucleus, each nucleus has chromosomes
And DNA, baby, that spells DNA”

-That Spells DNA by Jonathan Coulton

I can thank Steve, who is at the forefront of all things nerdy, for introducing me to Jonathan Coulton over a decade ago. Of course, as a genetic counselor, I have a particular soft spot for “That Spells DNA.” If you’re as nerdy as we are, and you don’t already know and love this song, you will want to check it out!

So, when we found out we were having a mini baby boom in our work family, with two babies due within two months, it wasn’t too hard for me to decide on DNA-themed baby quilts as gifts.

I found the DNA-themed fabric, Color DNA stripe by Melissa McCulloch, on Spoonflower. The fabric in the quilts is actually left over from a few Halloweens ago when our group dressed up as (if terrible puns cause you pain, skip this next part!) Gene-gnomes. The colors were a perfect jumping off point for this colorful gender-neutral patchwork of yellow, blues, greens and coral-red.

Here are some close-ups of the beautiful fabrics. I wanted to use every last scrap of the DNA fabric, so there is one patch in each of the quilts that I like to call “CRISPRed.” Can you spot one?

And here are a few more pictures of the quilts during their photo shoot, before they went off to their new homes!

All the colors and patterns together make me so happy! I am excited to meet the newest babies of our work family and give them their quilts, so they can start their genetics lessons early!

“Jewels”

Keepsake Baby Quilt – The Next Generation

I keep every little scrap of paper, fabric, or ribbon that might possibly be used again… and I know that I got this habit from my mom. When I was going through her fabric stash a few years ago, I found some fabric leftover from my baby blanket. The remnant looked surprisingly bright next to the worn and faded blanket I am familiar with, but there was no mistaking those happy tigers and vibrant flowers.

When I was pregnant with our first baby, I decided to make a new blanket out of this fabric, and now all three boys have their own quilts with a little piece of this special fabric.

I LOVE this idea. Use scraps from an old baby blanket to make special quilts for your children and grandchildren! Keepsake Baby Quilt - the Next Generation | Jewels at Home

Since the piece of fabric I found was small, I knew the blanket had to be a patchwork, so I found other scraps of yellows, greens, and whites from my mom’s stash and improvised a design to feature this special nostalgic print. I made it with just the pieced front and a solid back – no batting – so it would be lightweight and versatile.

I LOVE this idea. Use scraps from an old baby blanket to make special quilts for your children and grandchildren! Keepsake Baby Quilt - the Next Generation | Jewels at Home

A few years later, we were expecting our second child, and with the few squares I had left, I again pieced a blanket for our new baby.

I LOVE this idea. Use scraps from an old baby blanket to make special quilts for your children and grandchildren! Keepsake Baby Quilt - the Next Generation | Jewels at Home

I joked for a while that since I had used up that small piece of fabric, we couldn’t have any more kids… But as the years went by, we did want to add to our family, and I didn’t let the lack of tiger print fabric stop me!

When I planned this new baby’s blanket, I decided I had to cut into my old blanket to get the fabric. It wasn’t that hard a decision, as I hadn’t used my blanket in ages, and the tiger print was extra special in this case, since our youngest was born in the year if the tiger.

I LOVE this idea. Use scraps from an old baby blanket to make special quilts for your children and grandchildren! Keepsake Baby Quilt - the Next Generation | Jewels at Home

I love seeing how this whimsical print is now woven through all our childhoods.

I LOVE this idea. Use scraps from an old baby blanket to make special quilts for your children and grandchildren! Keepsake Baby Quilt - the Next Generation | Jewels at Home

I LOVE this idea. Use scraps from an old baby blanket to make special quilts for your children and grandchildren! Keepsake Baby Quilt - the Next Generation | Jewels at Home

I LOVE this idea. Use scraps from an old baby blanket to make special quilts for your children and grandchildren! Keepsake Baby Quilt - the Next Generation | Jewels at Home

I LOVE this idea. Use scraps from an old baby blanket to make special quilts for your children and grandchildren! Keepsake Baby Quilt - the Next Generation | Jewels at Home

The boys’ special blankets have been useful and treasured over the years, and I love how they are all connected but each unique… Just like the boys themselves!

And I still have enough of that baby blanket left over to make something for my grandkids some day. You can bet I am going to keep it!

“Jewels”

Fleece-backed Baby Quilt

With two of my friends at work expecting babies, I realize I’ve crossed a strange line. Our family is complete, and while little J is just 3 years old, there is a part of me that feels a bit like a doting grandma, looking back on those long-gone days of pregnancy and first-time motherhood.

In any case, I wanted to make something special for my friend Kate’s baby boy, so I put together this patchwork of whimsical prints and backed it with warm fleece fabric.

Fleece-backed baby quilt with modern, whimsical design | Jewels at Home

Fleece-backed baby quilt with modern, whimsical design | Jewels at Home

Fleece-backed baby quilt with modern, whimsical design | Jewels at Home

Fleece-backed baby quilt with modern, whimsical design | Jewels at Home

Fleece-backed baby quilt with modern, whimsical design | Jewels at Home

 

Congrats, Kate and Rob.  You have a lot of fun ahead!  And try to get some sleep and date nights in…

 

“Jewels”

Decorate a Quilt Block – Party Activity

It has been a few months since I organized a bug-themed birthday party for our six year -old. At the party, he and his friends drew pictured on blank quilt blocks, and I’m finally getting around to finishing the quilt.

This was a very simple quilt but one with a lot of meaning. My friend Ari’s mother is a talented quilter, and Ari and I had helped her make quilts for the school auction, first with our older kids’ class and more recently with our younger ones. Through some type of temporary school spirit insanity, hubby ended up purchasing the first quilt, but our wallets were not up buying another quilt this year, and I wanted to find a way to make it up to our second boy. As I am sure all of you with multiple children know, our love for each of them is unique, but it does seem that the second – and in this case also middle – child tends to feel a need to fight for your attention and love. This instinct can make our dear boy act out some times, and I’m always looking for ways to remind him that he is special. This quilt was a part of that effort as well.

Before the party, I cut 7.5″x7.5″ squares of white pre-washed cotton and taped them on to cardboard for stability. I cut more than enough for the guests, and it is a good thing, because many of the kids wanted to draw more than one picture, including the birthday boy himself, who drew three! I also set out fabric markers. I like these Marvy Uchida Fabric Markers that come in many beautiful colors.

Decorate-a-quilt-block activity at a birthday or baby shower.  From Jewels at Home.

Decorate-a-quilt-block is a great activity for a birthday or baby shower.

Here is how some of the quilt blocks turned out. Each one is different and expresses the artist’s personality, but they work together.

Incorporate drawings into a memory quilt.  From Jewels at Home.

Incorporate drawings into a memory quilt.

And here is the finished quilt! As I mentioned, this is a simple quilt. I found fabrics that had animals and other prints in a range of primary colors and mixed them randomly with the drawings (and I should add that mixing “randomly” actually took ages, because I wanted to balance out the colors through the quilt).

Quilt incorporating blocks drawn at a birthday party.  From Jewels at Home.

Quilt incorporating blocks drawn at a birthday party.

By the way, here is how the amazing inspiration for this project looked. Ari’s mom designed the pattern, and each child in the class painted a leaf. It’s hanging in our older boys’ room, and I love looking at it every day.

"Family Tree" quilt for a classroom art project.

“Family Tree” quilt for a classroom art project.

Though far, far more humble from an artistic perspective, I think this smile says that the new quilt’s recipient appreciates his special keepsake.

Quilt made with blocks drawn at a birthday party.  From Jewels at Home.

Quilt made with blocks drawn at a birthday party.

To finish the quilt, I sewed a label on the back with a special message for Lucas.  You could also have party guests all sign a fabric quilt label.  That’s what we did with the class quilt for Lucas’ class – each child signed the back.  And I know first-hand how special it is to have the story of a quilt sewn on the back.  Below is a quilt that is hanging in my craft studio.  My mom made it for my birthday, and while she made many beautiful quilts, this one has particular meaning, because she made it when she was sick from chemotherapy.

A label on the back of a quilt helps tell its story.  From Jewels at Home.

A label on the back of a quilt helps tell its story.

A special quilt with its story on the back.  From Jewels at Home.

A special quilt with its story on the back. From Jewels at Home.

So, finishing this quilt definitely overdue, but hopefully, it was worth the wait, and I hope our little guy can feel how much he is loved, when he curls up under it.

“Jewels”