Friday, February 27, 2009

make a cuddly creepy from RevoluzZza

image from RevoluzZza

I was hoping to finish a wee little shirt from my beautiful Girls Style Book to post about today, but it is rainy and gloomy and not a good day to take nice pictures. Also, I'm not finished. So that's for next week.

Instead, here is a simple tutorial I ran across in my recent flickr trolling, a lil' stuffed Monster Ninni softie from Berlin soft toy maven, RevoluzZza (I've been a long time admirer of Revoluzza, check out all the softies she makes, they're entirely delightful).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


image from lmnop

image from small magazine

Misc. Item 1
For those of you who don't already know, lmop and also small magazine have released recent issues. I always love paging through those. I see some favorite etsy sellers on small's 'Spring Dreams' spread! Also Living Creatively is always worth a troll-through.

image from

Misc. Item 2
I recently saw a really great movie you may have never heard of. Penelope, starring Christina Ricci. Quirky. Loved it. Also Michael and I saw Coraline, and I was truly wowed by all the crazy handcraft and amazing stop-motion animation (the garden scene!). I think the story is pretty dark though, not for little'uns. And of course the dedicated homemaker is revealed to be Evil Demon Lady. That agenda is becoming a bit frayed at the edges, methinks.

Misc. Item 3
If you are looking to blow ten minutes or so, you can participate in this meme that Allsorts posted about recently and it is quite amusing. Google the term 'unfortunately, _____' with your first name substituted for the blank and see what amusing and/or perplexing statements appear. And share it with me, if you like!

A couple of my results:

"Unfortunately Larissa was at the centre of another embarrassing episode for Cipriani, as it was later revealed after their liaison, she was actually born a man."

"Unfortunately, Larissa was observed at superior conjunction in the first set and inferior conjunction in the second set." (which becomes a bit clearer when you find out that Larissa referred to here is actually one of Neptune's moons).

Misc. Item 4
I am reading yet another Terry Pratchett fictional work of genius, Making Money. I recently finished the previous book, Going Postal. How can you not love a character who has a name like Moist Von Lipwig?

Misc. Item 5
I'm becoming a Great Aunt in about 8 mos. (Erin! eeeee!) I guess I should start the search now for a somber high-necked dress, a lap dog named Tricky Woo and a fussy tea set.

Misc. Item 6
And lastly, an observation about my two daughters that may or may not have future meaning. Four year old's request for breakfast this morning: "Bowl of cheewios, pwease."

Six year old wanders in. Her request for breakfast: "I'd like some chocolate milk. In the red cup. You know that soft bread I had yesterday? No, that soft bread? (pointing) This stuff. Ok. I want this bread toasted with butter on it and also with honey. And I want it made so it's like a sandwich. And also I would like some scrambled eggs." Then as an afterthought, "Please."

(Guess which one takes after me?)

Monday, February 23, 2009

pencil and pad wraps

Here are the pencil and pad wraps I made for my girls for Valentines. I thought they'd be real handy for a quiet activity during church sermons or for when we are on the go and their creative muse strikes. I got the handy free pattern from Skip To My Lou, thanks very much! There are a lot of cool things on her site besides, so check it out.

I love how the pencils facing sideways prevent them from falling out when it is closed. I used a button and loop instead of a snap, since I didn't have any snaps on hand, and some other pretty minor adjustments. The fronts on mine look a bit lumpy because of the pencils, so probably I didn't use the right weight of interfacing.

Hmm...(brain making chooka chooka sounds) could also be made with bias tape binding around the edges (with some pattern adjusting), so you wouldn't have to turn it and you could use some really mongo stiff interfacing and it would have more of a booky feel. I also briefly considered switching the pencils to the right side so the lumpy would be on the back, but that wouldn't function as well for my right-handed girls.

Anyhoo, I'm very pleased with the results, my girls love them, and I was finally able to repurpose some placemats I had bought from C&B a while back. So, Win Win Win, as he would say.

Monday, February 16, 2009

finally. sheesh.

image via Viola & Pearl

(this is posted while I'm technology-less in California via the (tiny stars sparkling here) magic of blog scheduling)

My bosom friend, Robyn, who is mentioned in about 90% of my posts has finally started her own blog. Yay! Go visit to say hi, and perhaps tell her to post some of her bomb-diggety craft and sewing projects. She has about a million.

Ok, no more posts til I get back. See yas!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

love you bookmark

Need a last minute Valentine gift? Well, I did. So I made these bookmarks today, and thought I'd share it with you in case you are the same kind of unrepentant procrastinator I am. That's why I'm posting this on Thursday instead of Friday, to give you more lead time. What you'll need: 1) the printable PDF of the template, get it here 2) letter-sized cardstock 3) fabric scrap 4) craft knife 5) short length of thinnish ribbon 6) .25 inch hole punch 7) spray adhesive 8) bone folder Here we go. Print the template on cardstock and cut out the rectangular fabric template. I cut mine out window style, so I can place it just so on the fabric. Use it to trace and cut out a rectangle of your fabric scrap.
Now cut out one of the bookmark templates (of which there are two on the page) using a craft knife and ruler. Cut straight lines only, as shown, leave the curvy bits for later. You'll see.
(Wow. I didn't realize how grubby my craft knife looks until now. I've had it since freshman year at college, so like 22 years. I understand they come with cushy handles now. Notice especially the petrified band of masking tape. That was to keep my fingers from slipping. In COLLEGE.)
Score it down the middle using the BACK of your craft knife (not the sharp edge), only light pressure required. Or you can use your fancy bone folder. Now cut out the heart with your craft knife. Wow, that sounds violent. Craft knife newbies, do not be fainthearted (ha), you can do this! Don't attempt to go all the way round in one direction, do it in parts and approach the corners from opposite sides for smoother results. The heart is not symmetrical, so if you are a little off, big schmeal. Do yourself a favor and use a new blade. If you use a dull blade, you will not be happy with the results and you may give yourself a hand cramp, especially if you are doing more than one. Now fold the bookmark with the black lines on the outside, not the inside. Press the fold with your fancy bone folder. Or, as in my case, with your cheap plastic folder from Wal-Mart. This is now folded the opposite way from how it will end up, but you'll want to use the curved lines on the corners as a cutting reference right now. Cut through both layers to make the rounded corners, making sure to keep it tightly pressed together while you cut. Now punch the hole through both layers where marked. Now fold it the opposite way with all the black on the inside, and run your bone folder down the fold. Open it back up and lay it on a large sheet of protective cardboard or paper, black lines facing up, and spray the entire surface with spray adhesive. Lay your fabric on the dashed rectangle and smooth it out, being careful not to get glue on your fingers. Carefully fold over the front and press together firmly, using your bone folder to rub along the edges and make sure everything is sticking together. Lastly, fold your ribbon in half, feed the free ends through the back of the hole, and then pull the ends through the loop you created on the opposite side. Tighten, then trim the ribbon ends, dotting them with FrayCheck if needed. If desired, write a love message under the heart. Ta-da. Inexpensive and handmade Valentine gift that everyone (who reads) can use. Y'all all have a blissful Valentine's, filled with love. I'm going to be gone for a whole week, but I'll see you again, Lord willing, on Monday the 23rd.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

tooth pillow tutorial, revisited

This basic tooth pillow pattern includes a loop to hang from the bedpost, doorknob or night table drawer knob, so the Tooth Fairy doesn't have to do that hazardous groping under the beneficiary's pillow. This is pure gold. Pure GOLD, people. It also has a built-in pocket in the mouth for receiving teeth and coins.

So I finished my oldest's tooth pillow (Ballerina Fairy, photo above) and I thought I'd repost the basic pattern with a better tutorial to go with it, because I made a couple of adjustments to it. The basic pattern does not include the crown, wings or skirt. You could make those parts pretty easily on your own if you like. (If you would like to see other tooth pillows I've made for both boys and girls for inspiration, you can view this flickr set.)

The basic free pattern now includes the cheek and teeth shapes. (I'm also developing a retail version of the pattern that includes lots of accessories and a better way to sew the mouth pocket. Stay tuned for that.)

So here we go! For a basic girl or boy tooth pillow you'll need:
  • My pattern printed twice on 8.5 x 11 card stock
  • Felt for tooth body, inside pocket, cheeks, little teeth, plus (optional) any accessories you add in addition to the basic stuff, like the crown and tutu.
  • About 11 inches of ribbon for the hanging loop
  • Buttons for eyes (or safety eyes, or felt eyes, etc...)
  • Fabritac or other fabric glue
  • Matching thread, embroidery floss, etc...
  • Disappearing marker to trace and make markings
  • Poly stuffing
1) You've downloaded the new and improved pattern and printed it out twice at actual size (no scaling) on letter sized card stock, right? Alrighty. Cut out the teeth and cheek shapes if you want to use them. Cut out the large tooth body piece from one sheet and the pocket piece from the other sheet. Also punch small holes in the main pattern piece to mark the ribbon placement, the mouth slit, the top corners of the pocket placement and the eyes. I use a 1/8 inch hole punch and it works great.

2) Trace and cut out the tooth pattern twice on felt. The pattern is now symmetrical so you don't have to worry about flipping it. Mark a vertical slit on the back piece and on the other piece mark all the placement holes you punched in step one.

3) Trace and cut out a felt pocket piece (in my case, I chose light pink*). Trace and cut out the small teeth shape and two cheeks if you are going to use them. If you are using the teeth shape, go ahead and glue it to the center top of the pocket piece. Set the cheek shapes aside.

*Note: If your tooth is a light color felt, avoid choosing dark colors for the pocket piece -- it may show through and give your tooth five o'clock shadow. Not good, especially if you are a girl tooth pillow.

4) In matching thread, machine sew around the mouth line and also the line on the back piece before you cut them. It will look like a box of stitches around each one. It's to stabilize the felt and keep it from stretching out of shape. Use an Xacto knife and a ruler to cut the slits, being sure not to come too close to the stitching.

5) Add dots of fabric glue around the edges of the right side of the pocket piece to keep it in place for sewing. Place it on the wrong side of the front piece behind the mouth using your marked dots for placement. Be sure the teeth are centered and showing through the mouth slit. With thread or floss that matches the outside of your tooth, hand sew with a hidden whip stitch all the way around the pocket. Be careful not to go through to the other side and use small enough stitches so that you won't lose any of your kid's teeth through a gap.

6) Add button eyes, safety eyes, embroidered eyes, felt eyes, whatever suits your stash or your fancy. Buttons can be a choking hazard for kiddos under three, so keep that in mind if your tooth pillow is for a very young kid. I know you know that. Has to be said. Also hand sew the cheeks on at this stage, and add whatever else you like in the way of facial features: freckles, mustache, eyebrows. Go crazy.

7) Add the ribbon. Loop it in half and glue it to the edge of the front piece. Pin the loop out of the way of the stitches.

8) Sandwich both pieces together right sides facing, pin, and machine sew all the way around with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. After sewing be sure to trim and clip all the seam allowances so that when it is turned the curves are nice and smooth. Turn it right side out through the slit in the back.

9) Tada! Now all you have to do is stuff it and hand sew the slit in the back closed. Scroll below to see some finished teeth and the back sewn closed.

At this stage you can also add more accessories if you'd like to customize your tooth.

The mouth pocket you created is where the lost tooth goes. Then you hang the pillow on the bedpost, drawer handle, doorknob, etc...And then the Tooth Fairy magically comes during the night to replace the tooth in the pocket with some coins or a rolled up dollar bill. At our house the Tooth Fairy sometimes forgets to visit (can you believe that slacker?), so now we always hang the pillow outside the child's door on the knob, as a visual reminder. For the Tooth Fairy.

And that is how you make a basic hanging tooth pillow. Love to see the ones that you make in my flickr group:

Below are more photos of the one I made for my two with a crown, felt tutu and sparkly pipe cleaner wings added on the back (girly overload), so you can see there are many possibilities. I've made a few improvements to the pattern since I made mine.

What's really weird is at the time I was making it, I found out my good friend Jessica's daughter requested her own tooth pillow Ballerina Fairy at the same time, so our kids must've been channeling from some snaggle-toothed girly collective unconscious. Weirder still, when I found that out by chance, Jessica and I had both already made one unsatisfactory version and were each working on Ballerina Fairy Tooth Pillow 2.0.

Which is creepy. In a good way.

Monday, February 9, 2009

felt storage

I have a prodigious collection of felt now, all in 9 x 12 and 12 x 18 inch pieces. And no good way to store it. Right now it is piled in a laundry basket on the floor.

Ideally, it would be easy to pluck out any piece I'd like without bringing on an avalanche, and be sorted by color. I thought about maybe getting some of those shoe storage thingies from Lowes or places like it. Anyone got a great idea on how to store/organize felt?

Friday, February 6, 2009


I have a couple of new things to play with. First is this scratch 'n dent secretary we bought on clearance months ago, way back last May for pete's sake. The wall it needs to go on was occupied by my husband's piano that no one uses (I know, it is a little sad to have an unused piano). So the secretary has been languishing in our garage and I've been trying not to hit it with the family truckster for months while we tried to sell the piano.

So now the piano is gone (thank you Craigslist) and this thing is finally sitting in the house. It has a lot of potential, and I am wondering what I'm going to fill it with, exactly. It looks so neutral and a little blah right now. I can really see some colorful things on the shelf, or maybe even some experimental glass painting or fabric blinds for the doors in case I need to hide uglies.

There are some problems, for instance it is missing some hardware. Some that is easy to replace like magnetic door closures, some not so easy, like this lock cover. Anyone know of a specialty hardware place that has stuff like this, hopefully on the cheap? Ace and Home Depot, not so much.

The other toy that I am so torqued about is this, from my sweet hubby. I've never had a Wacom tablet and I am really excited to try it out. Do you like yours?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

what I'm up to

Here's part of the pile currently residing on my desk. My oldest daughter lost her second tooth, so now is the time to make her a tooth pillow. I got a reprieve last time because she wanted to save her tooth and show it to her grandma that lives in Alabama, and somewhere along the way the tiny thing was lost. But now it is crunch time.

I made one tooth pillow and now I'm making another with a different twist to it. Per request it must be a ballerina fairy. In the doing I've discovered some aesthetic things I want to change about the pattern I did for this a while back, like the mouth is too wide in my opinion.

The other thing is making two soft wraps for colored pencils and a drawing pad. This project was a Christmas gift for my girls that never got made, so now I'm doing my best to have it ready for Valentines. My oldest unfortunately discovered the pencils and pads left out by mistake and keeps saying pointedly "I wonder who that is for, Mama? Is it for me?" sigh. I don't want to tell a lie, so I keep just ignoring her and making noncommittal noises.

I've seen the crayon rolls out there and love them, and adore the one in the book Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts, but I wanted to include a pad of paper, so now I'm making it up as I go along. Have you seen a pattern that accommodates a 6x9 inch pad of paper as well as pencils?

At least I get to use part of the 9 miles of bias tape I made a few months ago for them. I have a couple placemats I bought from Crate & Barrel's outlet site a while ago that I meant to convert to summery pillows or maybe a purse. I'm thinking they go pretty well with the bias tape for the drawing wraps. Orrrrrrr maybe not, as I stare at the photo above. Perhaps a bit busy. Maybe I'll still have 9 miles of bias tape after all.

(Postscript: About ten minutes after this post went live I received an e-mail from my friend ScrappinBethie with this link to EXACTLY the kind of wrap tutorial I need from Skip To My Lou. I musta pushed the easy button for that one.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

it's a girl multicard

I designed this card a while back for a baby shower and several have asked if it would be available to buy. So now it is!

It is in the form of a multicard, which means it has three functions:

1) A congratulatory card with a blank inside
OR adhere one of two add-ons to the inside and you have:
2) A shower invitation
3) A birth announcement

Above is color option 2 with a shower invitation add-on ready to glue in.

Above is color option 1 with the announcement add-on in place.
There's room for a picture of the newborn on the inside cover.

Here are some closeups of the cards. The huge 'mmmcrafts 2009' is of course not on the PDF. I just noticed these jpgs look a little fuzzy, but click on them to see it bigger. The actual files are very crisp.
Option 1:

Here is option 2:

If you can print a PDF and wield an X-Acto knife, then this multicard is right up your alley. The finished card measures 4.25 x 5.5, and fits in standard invitation envelopes.

Visit my shop to buy.