Monday, October 24, 2011

heavy blankie

a while ago i heard about a thing called a weighted blanket. a friend had asked if i had one for brooke. i didn't even know what it was, but it sounded interesting, so i did a little research. apparently, weighted blankets are good for people with lots of kinds of issues, including autism, restless leg syndrome, ADHD, insomnia & many other things. a lot of special ed classrooms use them or other weighted things (like lap pads, vests, or shoulder drapes) to help kids calm the heck down when they're agitated. it's supposed to create pressure on the body that helps relieve tension and release serotonin, causing happy or calm feelings.

i've never seen anything like this in a store, so i couldn't look at one, but when i mentioned it to brooke, she immediately wanted one. for a few months i've been thinking about what this would look like and how i might make one to use during school or any stressful time.

this weekend i finally broke out my sewing machine that's been packed away, brand new and untouched for 7 years. it took a bit of work & stamina and a liberal dose of mom-wisdom, but i got my machine running. for a few hours anyway.

i decided to use dry popcorn kernels for the filling because it's smooth, cheap and won't rot if it gets wet. i bought 2 cheap baby blankets made out of flannel and sewed them together; then we figured out that the best way to make this thing was to do it with little individual pockets to keep the popcorn from falling all down into one side. we used another thin fabric & created 36 little bags and filled them with a half cup of popcorn each. then i chucked one into each space & sewed it all into place.

it took me two days and some help from my mom and her fabulous, fancy sewing machine since mine crapped out on me before i even got to the hard part. but the end result is fantastic. it weighs eight pounds and is pretty heavy for brooke to even lift or carry, but she LOVES it! she named it oatmeal.  she's had it on her in bed each night since i finished it as well as on her lap during school and other times when she's just reading, drawing, or computing.


it doesn't hold heat in, so it's better than covering up with several heavy blankets and it can be used all year round. i'm fairly proud of the way it turned out. plus i only spent $12 to make it as opposed to the $80 or more that it would have cost to purchase. but most of all, i'm happy to have been able to give brooke something that can help her maintain her calm when she really wants to freak the freak out.


i didn't take any pics during the assembly process, but i took a few pictures today. just look at that beautiful stitching!


30 comments:

  1. That turned out so cool!!!! I so think I want one of these!!!!

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  2. This looks like a fantastic idea. I'm going to ask about it at work (this may give you a clue about what it is I do now that I'm out of the Navy).

    But, since I can hardly ever leave a comment without "cracking wise"....
    This may be something the mob wants to look into. After all, the price of cement for "concrete overshoes" (please note my clever use of two near-synonyms in one sentence) is going through the roof.

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  3. OH my goodness, why didn't you tell me? oh, I guess you just did, sorta! ...I must make one, but it looks kinda hard to make, for me at least. It looks so perfect. I wonder what kels would think. I am so glad it works for Brooke!

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  4. You rock as a mom chickalet. Always thinking about Brooke and what will make her happy!!!

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  5. wild - I don't think I'd ever get out of bed with one.

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  6. That sounds wonderful. I need to make one, for myself!

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  7. You did a good job.
    I just saw some ad a week or so ago for a weighted wrap for a dog to calm them down. Kiddo used to have a weighted bracelet for her arm. It was supposed to help with her muscle movements when she wrote.

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  8. I thought that it was really another quirky thing that my son kept heavy blankets on his bed year round. Then I read a book written by a kid with Aspergers that said that it was something that he did as well. That made the (DUH) siren go off in my head. My son at 19 still has at least 4 blankets on his legs while he is in bed many of them doubled over. I wish that I had thought to make something similar to yours when he was younger!! That is SO cool. Tell Brooke that she picked an awesome name!

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  9. So glad you posted this. It's awesome :) I really didn't know what a weighted blanket was. I wonder if my son would like one...

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  10. When I was going through withdrawal a few months back I was recommended stuff like this. I refused it but it seems like a great idea now, you're a great mother. Nice post as usual :)

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  11. Very cool! You should be really proud of yourself for making that, I could never do anything like that. I hope she likes it!

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  12. Wow, color me impressed!!!! I would've googled til the cows come home, without even thinking about making it on my own. Not only are you very creative but super talented, as well!

    The smile on your daughter's face says it all!!!

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  13. That is outstanding. I'd pay you to make me a big giant one. :)

    Jo
    http://bumbumgerms.blogspot.com/

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  14. That is such a wierd concept. I think I would like to read more about it.

    I loved heavy blankets...always have. Hope it works. It is cute to boot.

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  15. here's a website that provides a lot of good information about weighted products. http://www.weightedblanket.net/faq.htm it's actually a site where you can buy their products, but it's very informational as well if you check out the different buttons. they also make the blankets in adult sizes & weights. you're supposed to make it aprox 10% of your body weight.

    if any of you feel up to the challenge & want to make one of your own, comment & i'll be glad to give you the specs for how i did it. i'd be happy to help you save some time figuring it out.

    it's way too heavy for me to ever want to make them for other people. it gave me a big neck & backache from having to hold it up to prevent it from pulling on the sewing machine. it wasn't fun doing that part, but i think worth it in the long run. i may make another one that's bigger, like twin bed size eventually, but not any time soon.

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  16. wow! That turned out awesome! You're a rockstar!

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  17. Have you received a Mom Award yet, because if you haven't, you should.

    Surely there are Motherhood Awards?

    I'd not heard of this, the weighted blanket, but it makes great sense to me (and you know I was a swaddler myself!)

    Pearl

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  18. when Jack was in nursery school, they had a weighted vest that he could wear if he felt really wigged out, but he didn't like it much, so they had a weighted toy snake he could put on his lap. If only these things were accessible to kids with these needs. At night I try to put a couple of "grandma" blankets on Jack when he's in bed in the hopes that the weight makes him feel relaxed. These are blankets made by my grandmother--crocheted--and they're fairly heavy on their own.

    Jack also likes a good squish if he's feeling really stressed. I used to play a game with him, whereby he'd sit on my lap and I'd wrap my arms around his knees and squish his legs into his body. Then I'd say "he's a ball!" while he's being squished, let his legs out and say; "he's a boy"..then "now he's a ball!" etc.

    I love how your blankie turned out. And the popcorn truly won't rot when it gets wet???

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  19. What a lovely thing for you to make for your daughter! I heard somewhere that the pressure on their bodies helps to calm them, and that blanket is just perfect, especially if they can't handle touch all the time. (My son was that way, wish I'd had a blanket like yours.)

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  20. Yes, keep in mind to use it periodically or for specific amounts of time so that it retains its effectiveness. There are also weighted vests and weighted things called "lap buddies." You can find more products for sensory input on Occupational Therapy websites online!

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  21. Popcorn kernels...absolutely genius!

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  22. Awesome, woman! I'm going to tell my friend about this, whose daughter has autism. Also? I kind of want this for myself. Looks comforting.

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  23. Very impressive. I bet there is a market for those blankets... ;)

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  24. It looks fantastic Sherilin! I'm so impressed.

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  25. That is Brilliant. I am so glad you were able to put one together, and save all that money.
    Plus, it allowed you to personalize it.
    I had never heard of such a thing. But it makes sense to me.
    Your daughter will love it. (and so will you I imagine, if it helps calm her when she needs it)

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  26. Great idea!

    The blanket looks fantastic.

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  27. Really cool -- I'll have to pass this along to a few friends who would definitely appreciate the blanket. Your Brooke looks so happy. :)

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