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February 22, 2017

How to Make Felt Hand Puppets!

I love making puppets with/for the kids.  This isn't my first "puppet rodeo".
Last year the kids are I made some simple felt puppets, made from their hands, using their own designs.

But sometimes you just want your puppet to be able to open it's mouth.  A puppet that can actually talk is So cool!

I did some looking around the internet and came across this awesome pattern found on Martha Stewart.  

It works awesome.  But to be honest the instructions were a little confusing.  I think if there were pictures involved it would really add some clarity. 

After a bit of struggle sewing this dog puppet, picking my sewing out three or four times, I thought I'd try again.  But this time I'd take notes and some pictures to possibly help future puppet sewers, like yourself.

Materials Needed:
1. Go to Martha's site and print off the pattern. (there is a video, but it's not helpful).
2. Felt or old sweaters to cut up
3. Typical sewing notions 

STEP ONE: Following the pattern, cut everything out. 
I recommend not cutting the eye piece out for the dog, but instead adding your eye detail on top.
 If you're making something other than a dog, try being creative and add other details to make your cute puppet.

STEP TWO: Sew all the pieces of the face and any other details in place through one layer.
I zig-zag stitched most things rather quickly.
Yes, I was too lazy to change threads, so Black it was! 

STEP THREE:  Fold the front face piece in half (right sides facing) and
 stitch along the bottom cut-out piece to make your face stand out. 

STEP FOUR: Place ear pieces together, right sides facing and stitch around the sides, leaving the bottom open.  Fold right side out and press down.
For any harsh angels, be sure to clip your corners.

STEP FIVE:Place the ears on top of the face, right sides facing, and sew along the edge, with an edge stitch.

STEP SIX: Place the face piece over the back piece with right sides facing (ears in between). 
 Sew along the top curve.

Place the front piece on top, with right sides facing, and only stitch along one side, bottom to top (where the curve meets).  Leave the other side open.

STEP SEVEN:  With right sides together place the upper mouth piece on top of the lower mouth piece.  
Stitch along the top, inside curve.

Open the "mouth" and place the second bottom mouth piece on top of the inside bottom mouth piece with right sides facing. Stitch together along the outside curve. 

STEP EIGHT: Turn the second bottom mouthpiece right side out to form a pocket.


This part can be a little confusing, so I've tried to take it real slow and add lots of details.  You're now attaching your mouth onto the puppet.

STEP NINE:  Place the mouth inside the puppet, lining up the face piece of the mouth to the bottom of the front piece.  Make sure right sides are facing and pin the top of the mouth to the face.  Stitch the mouth and face in place.

Pin the bottom of the mouth to the puppet front, lining up the curves and stitch the mouth in place along the curve.

One that's done, clip around the curves to add ease to the felt so it will turn properly.

STEP TEN: Sew the other side seam to finish the puppet.
Check to make sure everything is attached!

STEP ELEVEN:  Turn your puppet right side out. 
 Depending on what you're making, you might be done here. 

STEP TWELVE: If you're adding a tail. Cut out two tails, stitch down the sides, leaving the bottom open.  Turn right side out and stuff with cotton.

STEP THIRTEEN: Cut a small snip in the back of your puppet, big enough to fit the tail.  Place the tail inside the hole and stitch in place. 


Ha, that wasn't too bad!  And aren't they cute?!

Talking puppets!  Can't be beat. 

"Hey, Mr. Dog. How are you doing today?"
"Oh, I'm fine, but I'm feeling hungry."
"Oh, yeah?  Well, you can't eat me!"

And lastly, I'm trying to learn to use Illustrator. So I thought I'd think up some other idea to make puppets out of, with this basic design:
A bow-tie wearing Bear.

A blue bunny:

 A girl!  
I tried to decide if this design would work for a person puppet. 
 I decided, Yes, it does!
Have fun creating your own!

February 15, 2017

How to Make a Simple Photo/Wood Plaque

Each year for Valentine's day I make my husband some sort of photo gift of the kids and myself for his office.  Some years I've been more simple sending him a collaged picture.  One time I had the kids paint some triangles to add to a mat for a frame. One year I made "super hero cards". Some years I've painted a hand and put a picture with it.  Last year I think I just took a photo and put it in a frame.

This year I wanted to try something new.  I bounced around a couple of ideas using photos and canvases or construction paper...finally I settled on photos on wood!

This was one of those rare super simple projects that was very fast, yet turned out so cute!

1. A piece of wood, mine was about 12 1/2 inches long.  The wood I used was left-over from another project, so it was already stained and sanded.
2. One frame hanger
3. Two photos with the words "We" and "You!" added on.
4. Mod Podge
5. Red paint

STEP ONE:  Measure your wood and nail in the frame hanger.

STEP TWO: Print off pictures with "We" and "You!" printed on them.
Gather supplies.

STEP THREE: Mod Podge the back of each photo and center them on the wood.  
Use one thin layer.

STEP FOUR: Paint on a red heart.  I did two layers so make it nice and thick.  Let the project dry about an hour.

STEP FIVE:  Once your heart is dry, add mod podge across the entire project.  
I added two thin layers.  Let project dry with about 10 minutes between coats.

All done!  Hang it on your wall!

This project was so cute and so fast.  

My husband loved it.  When he got it he promptly hung it in his office at work and took a picture to show me.

Hope you all had a Happy Valentine's day!

February 3, 2017

Christmas PJs!

Every year we give our kids Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve.  It's such a fun little tradition that we all look forward to every year.  I go back and forth each year whether to sew the PJs or buy them.  This year I asked the kids which they would prefer-- of course they said they wanted me to sew them.

In an effort to simplify I decided to do one fabric for all of the kids.  I could barely squeeze these five PJs out of the four yards, but I did it, with a little creative cutting!

For the big kids I sewed up one of my all-time favorite (free) patterns, the Oliver + S's Sunny Day Shorts-- extended to pants length.  For baby I sewed up the Lullaby Layette pants in size 12 months.  They each fit perfectly!

I was going to applique something cute on the shirts, but in typical Christmas season sewing fashion--- I ran out of time.  But they loved the PJs and were non-the wiser.

The kids really love matching!  And this minky fabric is so soft, the kids love it!

Merry Christmas Eve, little sweeties!!

February 2, 2017

Another Building Block Dress

I feel like the unofficial spokesman for Oliver + S.  These lovely sewing patterns seems to take the majority of my blog posts as late.  But what can I say...I love their patterns and it is becoming almost all I sew now days.

So, this little girl went and turned one year older and wiser, too.  It's hard to believe!

Wasn't it just yesterday I had sewn her this dress and this dress for her birthday?

This year I decided for her birthday dress I would start with the building block dress and then take elements of the fairy tale dress that I liked...mix them all together and make...this dress!

I did a biased face neckline, long cap sleeves, I put it darts (a little too long-- I wish I would have made them shorter), I did three box pleats in the front for the skirt, made some gold piping and added this lovely gold bias-tape to the hem of the skirt.  The dress is also fully lined with an invisible zipper in the back.

It turned out pretty darn cute.

Here she is with sister.  I did not sew sister's dress...but I totally could with the building block dress pattern.  

Happy Birthday, my dear, sweet, feisty girl.  We love you!!