No-Sew Fleece Blanket; a Toy-Free Birthday Gift

IMG_0300.jpg

In the month of March this year, my kids were invited to five birthday parties. FIVE! Three of them were all in one weekend! In April they were invited to three. Two birthdays in July and then two again in August. Birthday kids varied in ages, from three all the way up to age nine. Some were close friends, some were school acquaintances. We didn’t have a ton to spend on these multiple birthday gifts and I have been striving to have less toys in our kids’ lives, so I somewhat vowed to myself not to buy toys as birthday gifts… which is a lot easier said than done, especially for younger kids.

Instead I decided to to make fleece blankets for the first month of birthdays and from then on, we were hooked. Depending on the age of the kid, we usually bought one and a half yards of no-pill fleece in two colors or patterns. The top layer is always a favorite character or some genre they’re into at the moment (Star Wars, Paw Patrol, Minecraft, or just unicorns, puppies, or a favorite sports team). There are LOADS of choices in fleece patterns. A quick text to a mom or dad helps us choose too. For the bottom layer, we chose a solid color that compliments the pattern. For the birthday kids who were turning nine, we got two full yards so they could have a slightly bigger blanket. With coupons, the fabric ends up costing between $20 and $30 per blanket. I’m sure if I planned ahead better, I could get an even better deal.

IMG_2023.jpg

For three of the birthdays, the pre-cut, no-sew fleece blanket kits that you can find at craft and fabric stores happened to be on sale for 40% or 50% off, so a few times we opted for those. They ended up being $15-$20 with sales or a coupon.

JoAnn’s is my first choice for fabric when it’s time to make a blanket. I choose not to shop at Hobby Lobby and we don’t have many other fabric stores where we live. Plus, JoAnn’s often has great deals through sales or coupons.

IMG_8237.jpg

Materials Needed:

  • 2 pieces of no-pill, polyester fleece, size is up to you. I like 1.5 to 2 yards for a great kid-sized throw. For an adult, I may opt for 3 yards.

  • 1 pair of very sharp scissors (I recommend having a pair ONLY for fabric. I have like 3, but you do you)

Step 1: Choose your fabric.

Step 2: Lay them out, stacked on top of each other and trim any edges so they’re the same size. If one or both of the fabrics are patterned, make sure the RIGHT sides are facing out.

Step 3: Cut a 4 inch square from all four corners. You can cut a piece of cardboard to use as a guide if you want, but I have always just eyeballed it based on the knowledge that my fabric scissors blades are about five inches long.

Step 4: Cut a 4 inch fringe along the sides, through both layers of fabric, all the way around the blanket. They should be about 1 inch wide and 4 inches long. Use your corner cuts as a guide. If you would prefer to use a ruler to make sure your cuts are precise, that’s totally up to you.

Step 5: There are lots of different ways to tie the ends. I usually take the stacked fringe pieces and tie a square knot, tying the two layers of fabric together. You can do a balloon knot like done here or once I did a braid-like tie like this (although I cut the fringe longer than they did). This video on YouTube shows four different ways you can tie off the fringe depending on what look you want. The choice is yours.

IMG_6518.jpg

Most importantly, my kids really love giving a gift that they helped make. Of course, now we need to think of something new to give if we’re invited to the same kids’ birthdays next year!

IMG_7201.jpg

Aubrey's 7th Birthday

When Jamie was planning her daughter’s 7th birthday party, she wanted a Wonder Woman theme, but Jamie wasn’t in love with the designs she was seeing at her local party store. She and I chatted about custom options, but I don’t have a license to use logos and artwork from Wonder Woman, so we created this Wonder Woman-inspired birthday invitation with a comic book vibe and I really love how it turned out!

IMG_2848.jpg
IMG_2846.jpg
IMG_2845.jpg

Happy happy birthday Aubrey!

Smith's 3rd Birthday

Smith turned three this spring and his mommy, Jessica threw him a dinosaur-themed party for the big day. We went with lime green, yellow, and shades of blue for his custom birthday items. Jessica was gracious enough to send me a few photos from his party too, check it out!

Custom invitation:

IMG_2849.jpg

I love the wording!

IMG_2851.jpg
IMG_2853.jpg

Cupcake toppers:

IMG_2257.jpg

Penant Banner:

IMG_2228.jpg

Thank you card:

IMG_2854.jpg

It looks like your party was a blast, happy birthday Smittysaurus!

Katie's 7th Birthday

Katie's mom, Angie and I brainstormed some theme ideas for her 7th birthday party. Katie wasn't really set on a specific theme so it was up to us. Katie loves a group of books titled Groovy Joe, so we decided on a disco dance party. While I couldn't actually use images of Groovy Joe himself, I did use a pretty groovy pink disco ball and we had fun with the graphics. 

IMG_9256.jpg
Address and rsvp info changed to protect privacy.

Address and rsvp info changed to protect privacy.

Of course, AFTER these were printed, we realized we should have called Angie "DJ Spin Master Ang" or something equally hilarious. 

IMG_9246.jpg

As a fun party favor, Angie made these VIP passes for all of Katie's guests to wear. I LOVE how they turned out.

IMG_9251.jpg

I may or may not have been wearing this VIP pass around my house the other day. 

Happy, happy birthday Katie! I hope you disco dance party was a blast!! XOXO!

Alice's 1st Birthday

I was thrilled when Jen asked me to create an invitation for Alice's first birthday, everyone calls her Allie Mae. She was having an Alice in Wonderland themed party and it was so much fun to work on graphics for her big day.

Here's the invitation:

IMG_7337.jpg
IMG_7343.jpg
IMG_7341.jpg

At the party, Jen set up plain donuts and lots of glazes and toppings so everyone could decorate their own. It was SO much fun, my boys had a blast decorating their own. 

IMG_6126.JPG
IMG_0769.JPG
IMG_9718.JPG
IMG_2299.JPG
IMG_7788.JPG

Jen made Mad Hatter hats for eveyrone with plastic headbands and paper cups. They turned out SO fun!

IMG_7811.JPG

It was such a fun party, thanks you so much for inviting us Jen, and happy birthday Allie Mae!

IMG_7809.JPG