Jackson’s Baby Quilt

Jackson's Baby Quilt | Blanca Pate

Jumping back into writing on the blog after being away for so long is a hard thing to do. A lot has happened since the last time I wrote a post in this space. We welcomed our baby Jackson last November, who, a few days after being born, was diagnosed with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD). He’s had two surgeries since then, and our family made the decision to move to San Antonio to be closer to his team of cardiologists. I’ve written about the experience extensively at another blog (Our Baby Jackson Bedingfield), in case you’re interested in reading. Jackson is doing much better these days, thank God. He continues to amaze us (and his doctors) by the speed at which he’s growing and progressing. He truly is a blessing, and our little miracle baby. <3

Jackson's Baby Quilt | Blanca Pate

So, today I want to jump right in and tell you about Jackson’s baby quilt. (It’s been over a month since we’ve taken these pictures, and I can’t believe how much he’s already changed!!).

Jackson's Baby Quilt | Blanca Pate

Pattern: Flock of Triangles from Denyse Schmidt Quilts

Fabrics: Kona Cotton solids (Cloud, Delft, Navy, Indigo, Windsor, Cadet, and Snow), Kaufman Oxford Yarn Dyes in blue (although I don’t see this color available anymore), Kaufman Essex Denim, Carolina Gingham (1/8″ royal and 1″ navy), and Liberty of London Katie & Millie print in Blue. For the back I used Kona Tangerine.

Jackson's Baby Quilt | Blanca Pate

There is a long story to share about this quilt! Needless to say I think I put a lot of pressure on the whole project, and I wanted it to be just PERFECT. I had actually been collecting some special fabrics for a baby quilt for several years, but unfortunately I hadn’t quite settled on which pattern I wanted to use. I went back and forth with the design for several weeks. I wanted it to be traditional but not TOO traditional that it didn’t seem fresh and current. I really love Rita from Red Pepper Quilts. She has such a fresh, modern take on traditional quilt patterns, so I decided to go with her 16-patch Be Squared quilt pattern. Unfortunately, I didn’t consider the fabrics I’d been collecting, which were all dark grays, blues, and neutral creams. I had planned on adding a punch of orange or pink, depending on whether the baby would end up a boy or girl. So I got started on this very tedious pattern, only to realize four months later that the quilt started to look like a giant checkerboard. This has absolutely nothing to do with the quilt pattern, but rather my failure to think about the color palette I had chosen to use in the pattern. It made me a little dizzy each time I walked into the sewing room, and I thought – if it’s this hard on my eyes, how is it going to look to the teeny tiny baby? (Side note: I still have the quilt blocks saved from this quilt, and plan to soften it up by finishing with some soft gray sashing, which I think will really help break up the design).

So in September, I made a change of plans and picked a new palette of some of my favorite Kona blues. I ended up settling on several Kona solids, including Cloud, Delft, Navy, Indigo, Windsor, Cadet, and Snow. I also wanted to include some prints in the mix, so I added in two ginghams, an oxford stripe, and a Liberty floral (I couldn’t help myself with the floral). ;) I ended up going with the Flock of Triangles pattern from Denyse Schmidt‘s first book, Denyse Schmidt Quilts. This was my first sewing book, ever, and the orange triangle quilt was one of my favorites from the book, so it only makes sense that I chose the pattern. I knew the bold triangles against a white backdrop would be such a fun, simple pattern for this baby to grow up with.

Jackson's Baby Quilt | Blanca PateSo, I had finally set on a pattern and a set of colors, but then made the mistake of getting right to cutting before testing out even one of the quilt blocks. Before thinking twice, I had cut out all the triangles according to the pattern instructions (plus a few extra, since I hadn’t yet decided on a ratio of solids to prints). After sewing my first two triangles together, I didn’t really like how I had to eyeball the seam allowances in order for the triangles to match perfectly (take a look at my very technical drawing, above). I realized then I could have used two sets of half square triangles to make the same triangle block, but since I had already cut out all the big triangles I would have to do some re-work. I ended up cutting all the big triangles in two, and started sewing together two half-square triangles for the block, but every single straight edge was cut on the bias, so piecing the entire quilt was a lot more complicated than it should have been. Oh, well. Lesson learned. Plus I got a lot of practice sewing on the bias. ;)

Most of the quilt top was done before Jackson was born, and I finished it up pretty quickly once we had moved and were settled in our new house in San Antonio. I had originally planned on another backing – a beautiful red and white checkered print from Denyse Schmidt’s Greenfield Hill line. But in the end I decided to go with a punchy orange (Kona Tangerine) to match Jackson’s favorite toy, a little lion rattle (which, of course, made an appearance in the photos). I’m glad I was able to wait and decide on the color, because I feel like taking inspiration from Jackson’s toy makes the whole thing that much more special. :)

I knew from the beginning I wanted to quilt it myself, so I settled on a pretty basic straight-line quilting, about 1/4″ from each seam. The quilting went a lot quicker than I had anticipated (it was my first big quilt project to quilt, even though I’ve done some smaller pillows and bags in the past). I did have a little trouble with the spray baste I used (it was my first time to use spray baste, and after some trouble it gave me with skipped stitches, it will probably be the last). For the binding I referred to Rita’s tutorial on her website, Red Pepper Quilts, which was super easy to follow.

Jackson's Baby Quilt | Blanca Pate

I, of course, added a label to the back of the quilt. I think it’s very important to document quilts with the maker’s initials, recipient’s initials (if applicable), and the city and year in which it was made. In the past, I’ve always embroidered my labels, but I figured being a baby quilt and all, that this one will go through the wash a lot, so I wanted something a bit more sturdy than hand-embroidery. I had seen some tutorials online for quilt labels made on Spoonflower, so I tried one out and really like how easy it was!! I’ve always drafted my quilt labels on PowerPoint or Word as a template, so I kept things simple and did the same here. I didn’t worry too much about the frills – I just like to make sure the quilt is documented. And then I couldn’t help but add a little heart in there, too. :)

20150607-2015Jun_untitled_069-245Jackson's Baby Quilt | Blanca Pate

(We took these pictures right before nap time – can you tell? This boy is full of expressions!).

In the end, I’m really, really happy with how it turned out! The quilt is not perfect, to say the least, but I love watching Jackson use it and play with it every day. He’s started to play peek-a-boo a lot lately, and loves to hide behind his quilt to play. It just melts my heart!

I’m hoping Jackson enjoys his quilt over the years, and more than anything I hope he knows how much love I put into making it for him. :)

Welcome Baby Jackson

Welcome Baby Jackson

Just a quick update on our precious baby boy…

On November 18, 2014, Jose and I welcomed Jackson Bedingfield Serrentino into the world. He was born at 8:05am and weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces – he appeared to be a very happy and healthy little boy! Jackson stole our hearts the minute we laid eyes on him. We are so grateful to be blessed with this beautiful child.

Last Wednesday evening, Jackson was sent to the Odessa NICU because he was not able to breathe regularly on his own. By Thursday evening, the doctors discovered that Jackson has a serious heart condition, and we were immediately airlifted to the Methodist Hospital in San Antonio to prepare for surgery. This morning, Jackson will undergo heart surgery to correct a coarctation of the aorta. This is a condition in which the aorta vessel leading up to his lungs has been pinched, blocking a steady flow of blood to his lungs. I have started a blog this weekend to explain the diagnosis, and also to share news about the surgery and his recovery (ourbabyjacksonbedingfield.wordpress.com). I’ll also be posting updates on this blog as the week progresses. Please keep our family and especially this sweet baby boy in your prayers this week!

xo, Amanda

Our Nine Month Journey

Our Nine Month Journey

 I haven’t been the best at documenting my whole pregnancy on the blog here, so I thought I’d take some time this week to do a little recap of the journey we’ve taken these last nine months. :)

(March) Jose and I had just returned to Midland from our trip to Denton, where I took my accounting final at UNT. It was a tough class and I was just exhausted by the end of it, but I wondered why it was taking me so long to catch up on my sleep from the trip! I soon found out it was because I was expecting a baby!!! This child was something we had been hoping for and been looking forward to for a long time, but nothing prepares you for the moment you find out you’re actually going to be a parent. We were beyong estatic, and wondered how we were going to keep the news to ourselves for so long.

(April) Jose and I stayed busy by keeping up with our running schedule together. We had been training all spring to run our first 5k together on April 11th. I’m so glad we kept up with this exercise routine – it kept me from thinking too much about all the changes and uncomfort I was starting to go through at this time! Our 10 week appointment with the OB doctor was on April 29th, when we saw our precious baby via ultrasound for the first time. It was the most magical moment for us both, we were just in awe watching him wiggle and dance on the screen. I still hadn’t experienced any morning sickness at this point, but was grateful that my spring semester was a condensed one. I don’t know how I would have kept up with both work and school while still feeling so sleepy all the time!

(May) We FINALLY broke the good news to our families! Jose was able to tell his family in person, and I was on the phone with him via FaceTime when he did so. I will never forget the look on his sisters’ faces when we told them the news!! At the end of the month, we took a short but sweet trip to Atlanta for my cousins graduation celebration. I knew it’d be the only time I would spend with my family before the baby was born, so we jumped at the chance to be with everyone together all at once.

(June) School started back for me, and I was a little nervous about how I would balance work and school while also being pregnant. Luckily for me, I got my energy back at this point, and my class was a nice distraction from the anticipation we had of finding out whether the baby was going to be a boy or girl (we wouldn’t find out until July!). Jose and I kept up our running, and were training for our next 5k race on July 4th. While the weather was starting to get hot, it was still not as bad as some past summers we’ve spent here in Texas. I was especially grateful for the milder temperatures this year!!

(July) The weather eventually started to warm up to normal temperatures at the beginning of this month – July 4th weekend was a hot one! We ran our 5k early on that July 4th morning, but at a pretty relaxed pace. I knew at that point my growing belly was starting to slow me down. The next Friday, we had our appointment to find out if it was a boy or girl. For some reason, both Jose and I were convinced that it was going to be a little girl, so when we found out it was a boy, we were both just beside ourselves from the surprise! We came home that day and immediately started thinking up names (we had had a girl’s name picked out and ready, but still hadn’t quite settled on a boy’s name at that point).

(August) My least favorite month of the year in Texas, only because of the excruciating heat. I survived, but had already switched from running to walking very early in the mornings with the dogs. I was hoping to keep up with running throughout my pregnancy, but the heat was too much to bear and I didn’t want to make myself sick by pushing through with exercise. I was a little disappointed, but began enjoying my long daily walks with the puppies.

(September) As mentioned before, September was a pretty busy month for us. We had three baby showers, and went on a short trip at the end of the month to Houston, New Braunfels, and Dallas (for a baby shower, wedding, and to take some maternity photos – which I’ll share here soon!). My Mom made the trip out to Houston, which was so special – I didn’t know if I’d be able to see her again before the baby was born. Our trip was a long one, though, and I wondered if I’d be able to keep up with my energy levels throughout the weekend. I think just the excitement of seeing all our friends and family is what kept me going, but by the time we returned to Midland I was exhausted! I think I slept 10 hours for 3 days straight when we returned. :)

(October) My last month at work ended up being one of the busiest! I was working on a special project for the office, while also training the person who’d be taking over once I was gone. On top of that, Jose and I still hadn’t finished the nursery at home, and we kept busy at home putting together all the baby gear we had gotten as gifts the month before. Also, by this time, I started feeling very pregnant, and just the normal everyday routine was starting to wear me out. I was counting down the days until I was done with work! My last official day was Halloween (October 31st) – and saying goodbye to everyone was a little bittersweet. I had come to really like working with several of the ladies in my office, and would miss the day-to-day routine of getting up and going to the office each day. I also knew that the change meant this baby was on his way SOON!

(November) These past two weeks, I’ve had a long laundry list of things I wanted to do at home before the baby arrives. Turns out, being nine months pregnant, it was a bit silly to think I’d be a productivity machine at home (this nesting instinct is serious business!!). We are having lots of company come to visit these next two months, and I wanted the house to be ready for all our guests. But with the baby arriving in just a couple of days, I’ve come to accept that what’s done is done, and anything left will just have to wait until after the New Year. Also, I haven’t been sleeping too well at all this past week, and have had sort of a loss in appetite these past days, but each night I go to bed I just think about how we’re one day closer to meeting this sweet baby, and that the pregnancy stage is finally coming to an end!!

These past nine months have really been an adventure for Jose and me. I’ve had my good days and bad days, but all-in-all, I have to say that my pregnancy was completely different than what I expected it to be (in a good way). I was very lucky that I didn’t experience any morning sickness or even much discomfort, until the very end here. But more importantly, we’re just happy that this baby appears to be healthy and well, and ready to make his appearance soon. On Tuesday morning, we’ll check-in to the hospital for a scheduled C-section. We’ve waited so long to meet this sweet baby, that I cannot believe it’s all going to happen in just a few short days!!! By this time next week, we plan to be home and figuring out what it means to be a family of five (puppies included!). :)

I’m sure I’ll be posting lots of photos on my Instagram account, if you want to follow along there. I’d also like to share more about the baby and motherhood here on the blog, if for no other reason than to keep me accountable for documenting this little one as he grows up (from what I hear, it all happens in the blink of an eye!).

xo, Amanda