A Tractor! And Why I’ve Gotten So Behind…

Just when I had finally gotten a blog going, as I had planned for some time, I let myself get off track. Why?

Well, I have a good excuse – I got a new, full-time job. And it’s been keeping me very, very busy. But I’m still crafting (you couldn’t keep me away!), and I still plan on sharing, even if it takes me a while…

So, without further ado: the last installment of awesome children’s Christmas toys 2012!

The third stuffed toy I made was not from a drawn picture, being that the recipient (K. W. 2) of this gift is quite young, and I actually had a bit of a pattern.

Back when I was searching for a tractor afghan pattern (which I never found) for K. W. 2’s blankie, I came across this adorable pattern for a crochet stuffed tractor from Look At What I Made. I planned on making one to go along with the afghan, but ran out of time. When I started making the Christmas toys for his brothers, I remembered the toy tractor and thought I’d get back to making him one – but with a twist.

Instead of following the pattern and making it in crochet, I sewed the tractor from fleece!

The tractor pattern is made up of just a few basic shapes. Rather than crochet the shapes out of yarn, I just cut them out of fleece fabric. Exact dimensions aren’t given in the pattern, but it wasn’t too difficult to freehand cut out a piece (I think I started with the side) and cut the others to match up when sewn together. I cut the details out of felt and sewed them on all around with a satin stitch. The wheels were simply circles sewn together with a band in between. I attached them to the tractor body by hand-sewing around the yellow rims to make them poofy. Easy peasy!

It did turn out a bit bigger than I had planned, but it’s super soft and squishy – a very huggable toy. And maybe K. W. 2 can even ride it. =0)

Here it is carrying the whale. I tossed the whale up there after I had them both finished, and it reminded me of a Jeep with a surfboard on top. A tractor carrying a whale… it just makes me laugh.

Christmas Toys 2012:

The Rocket

The Whale

And the Tractor

Rocketing around the Christmas Tree

Somehow it suddenly became February! What happened?

Anyway, I’ve been so wanting to share the next installment of children’s toy Christmas goodness! I posted about the stuffed whale I made for my nephew here. Here is the toy I made for his older (turning 8 this month) brother:

It’s a rocket!

I was excited, yet intimidated, to get started on this projectile of a project. B. W. added some great detail to his drawing, which resulted in 34 windows! Luckily my awesome husband bought me an embroidery machine last year, but it still took a few days just to get the embroidering part done.

This toy is made of flannel, rather than fleece like the whale. I thought it would work better for a toy more likely to be thrown than hugged (not that it isn’t huggable :)), and that the windows and other details would show up better. I made the “fire” at the end of the rocket out of some great sequined fabric I’ve had for ages. It was great to finally find the perfect use for it.

Run, little Christmas wall-village people! Run!

Here’s the original artwork by B. W.:

And here is the rocket with the artist himself:

I was anxious to find out what he thought of my flannel and fiber rendition of his drawing. His mom tells me he thinks it’s perfect. I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Christmas Toys 2012:

The Rocket

The Whale

And the Tractor

A Whale of a Time this Christmas!

Wow! I can’t believe I haven’t posted about my favorite Christmas project for 2012 yet. It was so hard to wait until after the holidays, and here it is nearing the end of January already!

We had a whale of a good time this Christmas, and in more ways than one. A few months ago I found out about Child’s Own Studio, and thought it was just about the most adorable thing I had ever heard of. Wendy makes customized toys for kids based on their own drawings. I hadn’t really made toys before, but I so wanted to give it a try. I have a few little nephews on my husband’s side of the family, and I thought I’d try making some “stuffies” for them. I figured it would be a win-win; I’d get to try my hand at kids’ toys, and they would (hopefully) get some fun, customized Christmas presents.

Enter the whale.

K. W. (5 years old) enjoys drawing whales. His mom sent me a few of his drawings, and I just fell in love with his fantastic version of these sea creatures. I pictured them having white, fuzzy tummies (for some strange reason!), so I used furry fleece for the tummy and anti-pill fleece for the rest of the body. The eyes are felt with buttons in different sizes to be accurate to the drawing and preserve this blue beluga’s great personality.

I used purple ribbon for the stripes, and stitched on the mouth by hand. The spout was a tad difficult to figure out. I wanted it to stay soft and huggable, but also look water-like. I ended up using some chiffon left over from a dress. It’s probably not common in kids’ toys, but it did the trick!

This fuzzy fella was the first of the three toys I made, and he became quite popular around our house. I don’t know what he has been officially named, but here he earned the nickname of Wonky the Whale. He just has such a cute, goofy personality. Here’s the original drawing:

Look familiar? I sure hope so, as that was the point!

And here’s my happy nephew with his drawing and his new straight-from-the-page stuffed animal. I hope he enjoys it for years to come. Our pal Wonky also makes a great pillow!

Stay tuned for two more toys I made for my nephews, as well as my other crafting projects for Christmas 2012 gifts. I’m really behind, so I hope to post about them soon!

Christmas Toys 2012:

The Rocket

The Whale

And the Tractor

Christmas = Busy!

I have been busy, busy, busy sewing, crocheting, and otherwise crafting for Christmas! I love this time of year, and making heartfelt gifts for friends and family. But you know who often gets left out of the holiday gift-giving? Pets!

Shadow in his Christmas atire.

I made my kitty a paw-shaped stocking and always put a couple of gifts in it when I was a kid. These days I often find myself making another fun cat toy for my little buddy. I came across this post for cute (and hilarious) gingerbread men cat toys today on Dream A Little Bigger, and I just had to share. These donut toys are just adorable, too.

One Christmas we got my husband’s mother’s dog a giant peppermint-candy toy. It was so funny seeing her walk around with that big mint in her mouth! It didn’t help her doggy breath at all unfortunately, but it sure was cute and she really enjoyed playing with it.

Don’t forget your little furry buddies this Christmas – remember that the chocolate treats in your stocking are not good for your pets!

Cross Stitch Christmas ATC

I haven’t cross-stitched in a long time. I learned as a kid, and even worked on a pattern once in school. (Okay, so it was a reallllly boring class and the other students made fun of me.) Anyway, when I came across this Christmas ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap on Swap-Bot, I just had to join in. When partners were assigned and I viewed my partner’s profile, I knew just what to do – she loves Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. So I searched around for small (think 2.5″ by 3.5″ or smaller) Rudolph or reindeer cross stitch patterns and finally settled on this one:

Isn’t he cute?

I measured everything on the aida cloth I’d be using, and he would fit just perfectly. But first, I decided to try an experiment. I didn’t want just a plain white background, especially since the person I was making him for isn’t fond of white, but the only other colors I had were light pink and light blue. Pastels just didn’t fit, so I grabbed some dark blue paint and painted my fabric blue (sung to the tune of “We’re Painting the Roses Red” from Alice in Wonderland).

I was afraid the paint might cover the tiny holes in the fabric, which would have been a problem, but it glided on without a hitch. Perfect. Then I chose my colors of thread and got to work on the cross-stitching.

Somehow, despite all my measuring, he turned out a tad big for an ATC (grrr!), so I had to adjust him a bit. I secured the fabric all the way around with a glue gun to make sure it wouldn’t fray and none of the stitches at the edges would come out. I also sewed in some beads and sequins on the star for some added sparkle. I <3 sparkles.

And here he is in all his star-shining glory. I think it worked quite well for an ATC, and the method would also be great for Christmas ornaments. I’m glad I signed up for the swap and got to try cross-stitching again. I highly recommend it!

 

Flashback Friday – Christmas Doily

I’m a fan of sparkles. I don’t exactly enjoy loose glitter all over the place, but I do love a little added sparkle, especially on holiday items. Years ago I came across some sparkly holiday yarn by Red Heart. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but I must have been entranced by the sparkliness, ’cause I picked up a skein each of red, white, and green. I apparently also picked up a free project sheet, as I later found it in my crochet pattern binder and decided to put my glittery yarn to use. I made this:

It’s not quite a doily, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a centerpiece, either. The project sheet simply calls it a “table center.” A rose by any other name… Anyway, it took me a while, but I was finally able to track down an online version of the pattern for those who may wish to crochet their own. I made this as a beginner, so it’s a fairly easy pattern to follow. I wish now that I’d made all the motifs the same, rather than alternating like the example. Thoughts? I’m sure these motifs would also work for other projects, such as a pretty winter scarf. I’d love to see what you do with it!

 

A Little White Horsey (Ornament)

I started up this blog in order to keep track of all the things I create. I’ve been sewing since I was a little kid, though the first items I remember making weren’t actually “sewn.” (My mom taught me how to cut out ponchos for my dolls. My poor Ken dolls didn’t have anything to wear but red- and white-striped, sash-tied, square ponchos! Oh, the inequality of outfits!)

Anyway, though I’ve been getting better at remembering to take pictures of my crafts before I send them on their merry ways, there are still many, many handmade items that I don’t have pictures of. Maybe someday I’ll be able to post about the sweater I made for my mom, the layered skirt I sewed for my sister, the strange little nesting chicken I crocheted… But today I’m posting about an item I made just yesterday – a little horse ornament for a swap partner many miles away.

I had joined a swap for handmade ornaments, and my partner wanted either a white or gray horse, a deer, or a nativity scene. The first thing that came to mind was the little horse appliqué on the tractor afghan I made for my nephew. However, I decided to search for other, more three-dimensional characters. I found quite a few, but this little guy from Kristieskids won out (scroll to about the middle of the page for the horse pattern).

Mine turned out a bit longer and thinner, even though I was using a smaller crochet hook, but I think he’s pretty dang cute. I wasn’t sure about the colors, so I left the saddle and halter out, but I did give him some eyes made of blue seed beads. I added a silver ribbon for hanging, and sent him on his journey to the UK.This little amigurumi horse pattern could be used for several different things. He could probably be made into a deer if given some crocheted antlers. He sort of looks like a My Little Pony pony, as well – just stitch on a little emblem on his behind and give him a name!

Stocking Stuffers for Adults – A Helpful List

I have helped my parents with the stocking stuffers for my family since I was a kid. I enjoy it, whereas my mom doesn’t like shopping. I love finding fun and unique items (relatively inexpensive ones, that is) to stuff into my siblings’ stockings. But my family has changed over the years, and now most of us are adults. Gone are the simple days of dollarstore toys and tons of candy. So my stocking to-buy list has certainly changed, but it is just as possible and just as fun to fill up a good ol’ Christmas sock for an adult!

Here is a list of stocking stuffers I have used, plan on using, or think would be fun:

  • favorite snacks (from jerky to bulk chocolate-covered peanuts, to popcorn , everyone likes treats)
  • fruit (mandarin oranges are great this time of year)
  • keychains and key-toppers (adults tend to have keys – don’t let them be boring!)
  • Christmas ornaments
  • socks (dressy, work, cute, whatever!)
  • gloves, beanies, and scarves
  • ice-scrapers to keep in their cars (you can never have too many!)
  • hand-warmers
  • wallets for men
  • nail clippers
  • nail files, nail polish and other makeup items for women
  • small tools for men (screwdrivers, tape measures, Swiss Army gadgets, pocketknives, etc.)
  • duct tape (fixes darn near anything and comes in all sorts of colors now)
  • hair barrettes for women
  • small flashlights (great to keep in a car or purse/backpack/bag)
  • scented candles (mostly for women)
  • perfume or cologne
  • jewelry, cufflinks, tie tacks
  • contact or glasses cases
  • Tide pens
  • lint rollers (great for people with pets)
  • air fresheners and other small car accessories (gave my brother a dashboard hula girl once – it was a hit!)
  • good pens or pencils
  • fun notepads
  • $5 card to fast food joint
  • mugs with packs of cocoa
  • scissors (really!)
  • refrigerator magnets
  • lotion, handsoap, chapstick
  • paperback books and bookmarks
  • funny Tshirts
  • watches
  • small food containers (found some specifically for pizza this year)
  • underwear (generally best for a spouse!)
  • hobby-specific items (gloves and seed packets for gardeners; yarn and hook/needles for knitters/crocheters; thread, needles, measuring tapes for sewists; art supplies for the artsy; kitchen utensils for those who like to cook; safety goggles and nails/screws for woodworkers; fun things for gamers from ThinkGeek; sweatbands, tennis/golf/baseballs for athletes)
  • gum, mints, or breathspray (Perpetual Kid has some hilarious stuff!)
  • cards or other small games
  • shoe inserts (hey, feet can hurt after a long day!)
  • paperweights
  • laser pointers
  • USB flashdrives
  • CDs/DVDs
  • calculators
  • batteries
  • head-scratchers (sound funny, but are actually quite nice – and make a funny gift!)
  • cellphone and other device chargers
  • earphones/buds
  • fun USB-charged devices (I got my husband a USB missile launcher one year)
  • small packs of tissues (even cough drops for those with seasonal colds)
  • lap-sized fleece blankets (easy to make, too!)
  • stationary and stamps for someone to write to you (such as a college student)
  • items good for a laugh (fly-swatters, air freshener spray, feather-dusters, dryer sheets, kids’ toys)

Feel free to comment with other adult stocking stuffer ideas. I’m sure there are many, many more!

Hosting My First Swaps

I love Swap-Bot. I’ve been a member for over a year now, and I love to join crafty and ATC swaps. I’ve never hosted any swaps, however – until now.

Though I collect snowflake ornaments, and I was given an angel one every Christmas as a kid, I also love unique ornaments to hang on our tree. I make or buy an ornament for my husband every Christmas that has to do with something special or big that happened that year. We’ve got trains, tools, and even a palm tree to hang on our tree. Last year I got the hubby this ornament to remind us of our cruise to the Caribbean and swimming with the stingrays.

Thus, I’m pretty fond of unique and interesting Christmas ornaments. And I love making things specifically for a person – be it friend, family member, or swap partner. So I thought it would be fun to swap handmade, doesn’t-have-to-be-Christmas-related ornaments on Swap-Bot. I didn’t see any swaps like it (not surprised), so I decided to host one. Then it turned into two as I was asked to make an International version.

I have some watchers, though not many have signed up as of yet. I was hoping to get a lot of members to join, but it’s getting pretty close to Christmas already and people are busy. Wish I had thought of it sooner. If I host it again next year I will leave more time. No matter how many swappers join up, I know it will be a ton of fun!

Nice to Meet You: Six Favorite Things I’ve Made

I found Adventures in Dressmaking a while ago, and have really been enjoying Suzannah’s posts. She and some other awesome bloggers are hosting a Nice to Meet You! series, and I thought it would be fun to participate. The question to answer is: What are six of your favorite things you’ve made? I may be new to blogging, but I’ve certainly made some things! I’ve never really thought about which projects have been my favorites though, so it has been a lot of fun looking back (and trying to find them so I could take some pictures!).

1. Strawberry Shortcake Costume

Do you remember Strawberry Shortcake, the adorable 80s cartoon? Well, you should – ’cause I do! Strawberry was my favorite cartoon when I was a kid, so in high school I decided to sew a Halloween costume after her.

From Hurricane High School year book, 2002.

I’ve made other costumes since, but this is still my favorite. And over time I’ve added more pieces as I’ve found them, such as green- and white-striped tights and a curly wig. I even have strawberry tennis shoes with strawberry laces!

2. Sis-in-law’s Wedding Dress

When my brother got engaged I was more than happy to help his soon-to-be-wifey with her wedding dress. She chose a gorgeous ruched lace gown. The only problem was that it was strapless, and she needed one with sleeves. I thought I’d probably be sewing a little jacket for her. Not at all!

Danielle dress front 002

It took three snowed-in days of sewing, beadwork, and removing and reattaching appliqués. But it was worth it – she loved it and no one could even tell it had been altered!

3. Little Wizard

I’m quite fond of wizards. Merlin, Gandalf, Micky Mouse in Fantasia… Wizards are awesome. So when a coworker got upset about moving to MS Word 2007 and losing his little wizard assistant from the older version, I just had to make one.

Isn’t he just the cutest little wood and foam wizard ever?

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