Monday, December 21, 2009


I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about this post.  The fact that I'm typing this up means that it all came to fruition in a wonderful way.

I have two little boys, aged 3 1/2 and 1 1/2.  They are avid readers (or being read-to-ers, I suppose) and one of their very favourite books is "Jumpy Jack and Googily" by Meg Rosoff.

I don't want to go on a big gush-fest about Meg Rosoff and her books, but let me just say that when people ask the "who would you most like to have dinner with in the whole, wide world?" question, she is my answer.
I love all her books but as you can imagine, the picture books are a big deal in our house at this stage of the game.

With this in mind, I emarked on a crazy project of making Googily for my boys for Christmas.  I went into this never having made a soft toy before and just winging it. (Googily is the blue monster... so you know).
I would love to make Jumpy Jack too, at some point, but the construction of a snail is a bit daunting to me.

I worked quite a while on Googily and all his parts.  He turned out looking very much like his 2-D self:

My absolute favourite part is his hat, which is attached with a hidden magnet.  I would have gone crazy for that little hat when I was 3! 

The really, really, REALLY great part about making, and finishing, him, (in addition to actually giving him to my kids on Christmas morning) is that this gave me an excuse to write Ms. Rosoff.

I couldn't find a direct email, so I wrote her literary agent and crossed my fingers.  Amazingly she received my note quickly and had written back within the day.  Sigh!  I knew she would be just that cool.  She loved the doll and wants to see pictures of the unveiling on Christmas morn! 

I am so happy with this whole process.  I am pleased that my hard work turned out looking so much like the real Googily and that I got to exchange emails with his creator.  I'm smiling just thinking about it.

Now, I sure hope my boys like him!  I'm sure they will. 

Thanks for reading my tale of Googily-joy. 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Others excellence

Since I'm on crafting hiatus until I can dig out from the move, here are a few of my favourite tutorials I've found in the last while.  Do you read one pretty thing?  That has to be one of my favourite websites.  The hosts scours all the crafty world and posts the best things up daily.  I get so much inspiration from that site.  She even posted one of my creations once off the one pretty thing flickr group! 

Anyway, thanks to that site, and many others, I have bookmarks coming out of my virtual ears.  I have lists of things to make to keep me busy for years.

Here are a few, high on the list:

This felt circle pillow from Presser Foot is so cute and is something I think people would actually want on their couch.

Or how about these cute pouches from Noodlehead.  While you're there check out the camera case too.

Oooh!  I love these pompom flowers from domestifluff so much!

And I love this car litter bin from violet thistle on the craftster board.  I could use about 10 of these... just for my car.

There you go.  Nothing from me, but some great stuff from others.  Can I assume that all your crafting is wrapping up (ha ha) at this stage too?  Or are you crafting up to the last minute?

Friday, December 18, 2009


I might just be a fussy, picky crafter, but I find most craft books to be aimed at a target audience far from me.  Far, far away.  I picked one up from the library yesterday and it showed a tutorial on making a poofy valance.  Seriously.  (If you happen to have a poofy valance, that's all good... Just not my thing.)

But!  In my pile of fresh library books were these two gems:

Simple gifts to Stitch, by Jocelyn Worrall

Stitched in Time, by Alicia Paulson

Ah!  Finally! You open a project book and say yes to that project and yes to that project, and YAY!  I'm going to make a few things out of each as soon as we get past the holiday fervour and back into everyday life again.  Plus, maybe I'll get some fabric on sale after Christmas!

Just returned to our regular home in Ottawa after 4 months in Montana.  Having only re-discovered my sewing passion while we were there, I'm now going through my fabric stash here with renewed eyes.  It's making me eager to start new things, but I'm going to force myself to hold off and get settled and sorted here first.  (SO much less fun!)

That's all for today.  I have an exciting craft update to come soon, but I have to wait for one piece to fall into place before it's reveal.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Argh Matey! Nautical pillows

Here are some pillows I made for my nautical obsessed little sister.  I used this amazing technique I found from Urka on Craftster.  It really opens up a whole world of crafting possibilities!

I love the Odyssea fabric, for Moda.  It's such a fun, aquatic theme.

I almost hate to give away that method, because it shows how easy it is!  Have fun with it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

How did I live?

How did I craft before I knew about Heat 'n Bond?  Seriously...  I just learned about this stuff.  Applique = scary no more!

Here's a little onesie I whipped up for my new nephew Jack.

My stitching leaves something to be desired, but I'm getting better. 

The possibilities are endless!  Look at this faux applique idea from Roots and Wings.  I can't wait to try something like that.

For now I must face the reality of leaving in 2 days to move back home.  Packing up the house, while looking after the 2 wee ones, doesn't leave any time for new crafts.  Canada, here we come!   So long mountains!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A little purse for a little girl

made this purse for my 6 year old niece.  It's slightly scary, because 6 year olds are not like they used to be... they are waaaay cooler.  (Or, at least, cooler than me). 
This purse is decidedly girly and young-ish, so hopefully she won't see it, roll her eyes and ask where her Fendi is.

I didn't use a pattern, just cut a shape out of flannel and a lining from a thrifted man's shirt, and went from there. 

Now, what to put in it?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My easy toddler mittens

I hesitate to even call this a tutorial, because it's such basic info., but in case it helps out just one person, here goes:

If you're anything like me you have kids (me = 2 boys, 3 1/2 and 1 1/2) or know someone with kids. If you're like me you live in the northern part of the world where winter is a chilly, snowy reality. Also, if you're like me your children lose mittens like crazy. Or lose just one of the mitts.

Winter is enough of a pain without spending time searching for mittens. My solution was to make a bunch, all the same, so that we're never short.

You don't need much fabric for this; I've found fleece remnants and even made some out of this great thrifted felt I found at Goodwill for a steal!

Here is how I go about it:

Step #1:

Make a template. I used some cereal box cardboard and an existing mitt. (The only one left of the pair... imagine that!)

Here are my template measurements, to give you an idea:

6 1/4" cuff to top
3" across the finger area
2 1/2" wrist width
3 1/4" cuff width
2" approx. thumb length

This size fits my 3 1/2 year old and my 1 1/2 year old.

You can see the template's shape in the first photo.

Step #2: Use template to trace shape onto fleece as many times as you want. Make sure, if using one piece of fabric that you're leaving enough to fold over for the other side.

Step #3: Fold fabric over and pin in place. Fleece sticks to itself pretty well, so I just use one pin.

Step #4: Sew the mitten up, starting at the cuff and sewing all the way around. Make sure to backstitch a couple time at the start, as that part of the mitt will get pulled on a bit.

Don't sew up the bottom!

Step #5: Now you should have a bunch of sewn up, soon-to-be mitts.

Step #6: Cut out the mitts. I cut quite close to the stitches so that there aren't bulky seams when it's turned inside out. It's really important to snip the space between the thumb and finger area, or it will pucker when turned inside out. Just don't cut the stitches. I also snip the corners at the bottom just a little so they won't hang out.

Step #7: Turn right side out. You may need to use a poker (pencil, chopstick, etc) to get the thumb turned out. Don't use anything too sharp or you'll rip the seam and have to turn the whole thing inside out again to fix it!

The end! Again, if you're anything like me, you'll make a big stack to keep or give away. They are super quick to make. I made this bunch in 30 minutes from start to finish. (That was with taking picture too!).
These mittens are reversible and interchangeable. Yay! If you lose a lefty, just flip a righty over. They are going to win any awards for cuteness, but serviceable? Yes indeed.

You can see from the photos that I don't even bother hemming the bottoms, because fleece don't fray and can be cut cleanly. By all means, if you are more patient and have more time than me, hem away! Also, it goes without saying that these could be decorated with ribbon, trim, applique, etc. I would do that in the early steps, because they are sewn together, because there's no getting a hand into these babies once they're sewn up.

Here's the bunch that I first made. They've been in constant service for a few weeks now. I'm sure I've lost a few along the way, but with 12 mitts, I should be good for a while.

Here are a couple pair I made out of thrifted felt. They don't have the stretch of fleece, so you have to factor that into the sizing, but they are nice and warm.

That's the tute. Hope it helps at least one of you survive the Mitten Madness a little easier.

Winter has arrived full-force here in our temporary home of Montana, and back in our real home, Ottawa. Might as well accept that we have 4 months of mitts ahead of us.

Reusable Lunch bag, with beaver

When I asked my sister what her boyfriend would like for Christmas she was amazingly vague. She said "he likes shirts like Dad would wear" and "he likes the outdoors". Not much to go on, for sure.

I looked through my fabrics and found a thrifted man's shirt that fit the bill. But what to do with it?

Well, everyone needs to eat, right? So using the great tute from The Purl Bee I made him a lunch bag.

Here it is:

The B3 = Brian's Beaver Bag.

I used Heat 'n Bond to secure the brown fabric. One suggestion would be to remember to do the work on the front panel (be it applique, embroidery, etc) before you start to assemble the bag. That way, you won't see the stitches on the inside when you're done. (Of course, this only applies if you use a lining, which I did).

I'd love to see any bags you guys come up with.

So busy here. We're packing up, having been away from home for the last 4 months, and we're heading back home in 6 days. Must stop sewing and start preparing.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Following this great tute from Floralshowers, I took a boring $1 man's t-shirt from Goodwill and turned it into this:

Cheap! Easy! Quick!
Try it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lil' Stuffie

This is my first stuffed toy effort ever! I think he's pretty charming and he's destined for my new 3 day old nephew.

I didn't use a pattern, just traced an outline and started sewing. I'm new to embroidery too, so the face was the first time I've applied felt.

He makes me laugh! His name is Berkie, because that's what my brother and his wife called their son when he was in utero.

Presenting! Berkie!

I'm all inspired to make more! I guess I'll start with toys for my own neglected kids. ha ha.

I'm back and I've been busy!

I've been a bad, bad craft blogger lately. My excuse? Too busy making stuff. I finally have some pictures of a few of the things I've been working on. Leave it to say that having no t.v. creates ample evening time to create. Once the boys are in bed, I've been putting in an extra shift.

I'm really proud of some of my creations. I haven't really spent any time over the last few years crafting. Having boys, back to back, eliminated that possibility. But, now that they are older and going to bed (and actually sleeping) I find myself in a position where I have both the energy and desire to start up again.

First up is a quilt that I made for a friend's baby. They are actually friends of my husband, who I have never met, but it was this friend's mom who lent me the sewing machine I've used while in Montana, so I thought I'd make a present for lil' Molly, who's only a few days old now.

I used Moda's Authentic fabric, which I think is one of my favourite collections ever. It's certainly non-traditional for a baby quilt, but I love it and think it suits the baby of writers just perfectly.

All packed up and ready to go! I'm quite sad to say goodbye to this little blankie!
More project pics to come. Promise.