Friday, November 18, 2011

Fun with Kids! Turkey Handprint Placemats

I've always loved the turkey handprints that my kids have made in preschool. You know, where the teacher puts brown paint on the palm and thumb and a different color on each finger and than carefully presses the little hand down to make a turkey - SO cute! I thought it might be fun to have the kids color their own turkey handprints and then make them into placemats for Thanksgiving.

Here's the paper version Zeke made in preschool this year. We just love our preschool!

The boys had a great time with this. Here's how we did it. First I traced their hand onto a piece of brown fabric using a fabric marker.

 Then they used fabric markers to design and color their turkeys.

I took the finished turkeys and ironed a piece of fusible web (wonder-under) on the back. Then I cut out the turkey just around the outside of the tracing line. If you wanted to make these with your kids, you could just buy a plain placemat and fuse on the turkey at this point. I had some fabric that I thought would be fun to use, so I made my own. For the front I sewed two contrasting pieces of fabric (2 3/4" by 12") to a middle piece (10 1/2" by 12") using a 1/4 seam allowance. I peeled the paper off the back of the turkey and fused it to the placemat.

Next I cut a piece of fabric for the back and a piece of flannel for padding (15" by 12" each.) I found this flannel in the clearance bin at the fabric store, and I'm so glad I snatched it up. It's been great for using as a thin batting in bags, purses, etc. I layered the fabrics (right sides together, then the flannel on top) and sewed through all three thicknesses (using a 1/2 seam allowance) leaving an opening in the bottom for turning.

After clipping the corners, I turned and pressed the placemat. I stiched down either side of each seam and then edgestiched around the entire placemat.

Then I did a tight zigzag stitch around the whole turkey to make sure it stays on there! I added some legs so it wouldn't look like it was floating in mid-air. :)

I used varigated thread in fall colors for the front and in the bobbin I put some varigated thread I had that just happed to match the backing fabric (which is from a sheet!)

The boys finished up by writing their names and "O give thanks unto the Lord" on the front.

All ready for Thanksgiving dinner! Zoe made a handprint turkey, too, and I'm hoping to have something else to show you on Monday, but we've got company coming, so we'll see if that happens. If not, Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wee Wonderfuls Wednesday! Eddie doll PLUS Wes the Baby Giraffe

Since I did two posts on Evelyn (&Elvis) Inchworm, I'm going to get back on my schedule of 24 dolls in 24 weeks (from Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love) by showing you two projects today. The first one is the Eddie Doll.

I made this for my grandnephew's second birthday back in September. Doesn't grandnephew make me sound old?! It's funny, because he is actually four months older than my little girl! This was such a fun doll to make - a BOY doll for a change. (My grandnephew has named it BOY, by the way.) His pants are made from my boys' too small cords, and his shirt is made from a little T-shirt Zeke used to wear. But my favorite part about him is his fun fur hair.

When you shake his hair it stands straight up, like a little Rod Stewart. :) The other project is for a little grandnephew or grandniece due to arrive sometime in December. Wes, the Baby Giraffe stands about 10 inches tall, and has a neck that's just right for a baby's grasp.

I found this soft green and brown houndstooth flannel that I thought was quite appropriate for a giraffe, and would work for either a boy or a girl. The eyes and nose are embroidered and the horns and tail are braided yarn sewn on extra tightly to withstand little baby tugs.

Those green leaves are now orange and brown! How can it be that Thanksgiving is almost here?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Make It New Monday! Treasured Heirlooms

Recently while at my mother-in-law's house I came across this wonderful quilt buried in a chest that was hidden in a closet. I asked her if she knew where it came from. It was her mother's, she said, and would I like to have it? Um, YES!

There are so many things I love about this quilt. All the beautiful fabrics, some of which look very much like the reproduction fabric that I have been stashing. The fact that it was made by my husband's grandmother. And the story behind the quilt. My husband's grandfather was a fruit farmer. His grandma worked in her garden all summer, and in the winter she would sew. Apron after apron she would create for the church bazaar. This quilt was made from her scraps. Can you imagine how many aprons she must have made? Look at all these different designs and patterns! I love the dogs playing baseball.

The quilt's new home is in Zoe's room. Out for everyone to admire. And next to the quilt hangs another heirloom, this one made by my own grandmother.

I've had this sweet needlework of a little girl praying for as long as I can remember. I never had a place to hang it - until my little girl was born. All those intricate little stitches - this was a work of love from my grandma to my sister and me.

These may not be worth a lot of money, but they are priceless. Through them I feel a connection with our grandmothers - a love for creating "treasures" with our hands, a love for family, a love for the Lord.

Future heirloom creator!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Fun with Kids! Pumpkin Pie Playdough

Autumn is my favorite time of year - the changing colors of the leaves, the cool night air and the beginning of the baking season! My friend Kara posted a wonderful recipe on her blog Living Bread from Heaven for Spiced Pumpkin Bread (it's delicious!) that inspired me to make Pumpkin Pie Playdough with the kids.

The recipe for this playdough is super simple to make. It uses ingredients you probably already have on hand and it makes a soft, fragrant, all natural (and non-toxic) playdough that the kids love to play with. It will keep for quite a while in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Pie Playdough

1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
2 Tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cups flour

Stir water, salt, cream of tartar and spices together in a medium-sized saucepan. Kids love helping with this part.

Then place the pan on the stove on medium heat. When the mixture starts to get warm, add the oil. Then add the flour and stir continuously until the dough is no longer sticky and your fingers leave an imprint when you press the dough. This happens pretty quickly, so you want to stir it well.

Take the dough out of the pan and place it on a heat-proof surface. Knead it until it is soft and pliable (be careful, it's hot!) When it has cooled down a bit, the kids can help knead, too.

Now it's ready! This dough is great for making shapes with cookie cutters...

Or rolling with the rolling pin...

Or making a playdough pumpkin pie!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wee Wonderfuls Wednesday! Evelyn Inchworm PLUS a Pocket Pillowcase

O.K., so I actually already made this one - but Elvis Inchworm was so different from the adorable Evelyn Inchworm in Hillary Lang's book Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love. And I wanted something to go along with the Pocket Pillowcase that I made for my niece's birthday (photo later in this post.) So here is Ellie Bookworm (renamed in honor of my niece.)

Ellie is about 4 inches long, and made from an upcycled felted wool sweater - part of the stash that I talked about in my Sweet Felted Bird post. This is the softest merino wool fabric - I'm so sad it's almost gone! Enough for maybe one more small project. This pattern is so fun to sew up! It's almost magical how it comes together- the straight gusset is coaxed along the curves to make the inchworm shape.

The body is made up of just three pieces, and it comes together pretty quickly.

Two little white buttons make up the eyes and she has felt glasses - to help her read the book I sent along in the Pocket Pillow!

I adapted a pattern for a pillowcase with french seams from the blog Film in the Fridge. I wanted to use french seams so there wouldn't be any raw edges showing on the inside of the pillowcase. My niece loves to read in bed at night, so I thought it would be fun to make her a pillowcase with a pocket where she can store her current book. I tucked in the book The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, a very fun read that my 11 yr. old Teddy (and his father) loved.

Here's the front, with her name in ric rac on the cuff.

Off they go, finally - my niece's birthday was only two months ago! Oh, well - as my understanding sister says, it just extends the birthday celebration. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wee Wonderfuls Wednesday! Little Miss Storybook

When I first opened the book, Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love, this was the first doll that caught my eye and made me say, "I have to make this!" The sweet Little Miss Storybook.

Here she is in the book, with golden ribbon hair. I love the ribbon hair idea. It is so toddler-friendly and it keeps her hairdo in place!

I was envisioning a Little Red Riding Hood when I made this, so I used some brown ribbon that I thought would make lovely hair, with long pigtails for Zoe to play with.

How fortunate, then, that the instructions for Little Miss Storybook come with a pattern for Little Red's cape!

And a cute little apron with an appliqued *little* bad wolf and fir trees.

This gal is the adventuresome type!

But she's still sweet as can be.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Make It New Monday! Princess Costume for Zoe

I was so excited this year to make a princess costume for Zoe for Halloween!

We have always used hand-me-downs or things we find around the house for the boys' costumes, but I really wanted a girly-girl outfit for little Z.  Well, we were given a size 7-8 princess costume, and I found this fabric in the 50% off section of the fabric store, so I thought I'd try making something out of the two.

First I took off the puffy sleeves. Then I took in the inset, the sides and the armholes to make it smaller. The long part of the sleeves just happened to be the right length for Z, so I just reattached them to the bodice.

I measured Z from waist to ankles and made a skirt from the discount fabric. Then I took part of the old costume's skirt and sewed it onto the front of the new skirt to make an inset that matched the bodice.

I attatched the gathered skirt to the bodice, added velcro in the back to close it, and it was finished! (It didn't come together quite that quickly, but I'll spare you the details.)

Of course every princess needs a tiara. I made this one out of felt, a striped cotton print, and some gold fabric that I had in my stash. I used a patch from the old costume as a jewel on front.

I put a strip of velcro on the back to make it adjustable and easy to get on and off. I could make up a tutorial for the crown if anyone is interested.

Of course after all that, Zoe is equally at home in the Spidey outfit. :)