Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Felt Soft Toys

  • Felt in various colours. Two pieces per toy
  • Polyester or cotton batting (for stuffing)
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Optional: ribbon scraps

Yesterday was Family day in Ontario, so I had the day off. I had a rare weekend where I didn't have much going on. Friday night I was browsing the craft section of Chapters with my friend and came across alot of books about making your own soft toys. Since I had a lot of extra felt left over from previous projects, I decided I would make some. I don't have a sewing machine so I hand sewed all the toys. If you are making toys for children I really recommend using a sewing machine for the body of the toys, and make sure any elements are firmly sewed on. You don't want your toy to unravel!

I didn't use a pattern, I drew the shapes freehand. If you like, you make a pattern from a piece of scrap paper first before cutting out the felt shapes. There are plenty of craft books with patterns, and I'm sure you can find some online.

Green One Eyed Monster:

This guy is a rip-off of Mike from Monsters Inc. The body is 6 inch circle. I used my circle cutter to trace the shape, but you could use a dinner plate. The eye is traced from a drinking glass, and the pupil is traced from a shot glass. The mouth is a scrap of ribbon. Use sharp scissors to cut the pieces, you'll get cleaner edges.

I stitched the eye and mouth on first before sewing the body together. I sewed up each hand and foot, stuffed them and then stitched up the body. Make sure to leave an opening when you sew the body, so you can stuff the toy. If you like, use the end of a pencil to stuff the fingers and toes. If you happen to have a stuffing tool, obviously you can use that. Use pins to hold it together if you find it hard to hold it all in place.

The finished toy is about 15 inches from finger tip to finger tip, and 9.5 inches from the head to toe. Because I sewed the feet on separately, he can sit up.

Pac-Man Monster:

Hopefully you recognize this monster from Pac-Man, the retro video game. The colour is a bit off in the picture, it's made from light pink felt. Again-the eyes are traced from a drinking glass, and the pupils from a shot glass. Again, I sewed the eyes on first, then stitched up the body. This guy is easier to sew up than the green monster, so you can practice your technique first before starting the more complicated projects. The finished toy measures about 8.5 inches square (ish). I didn't stuff it too much, so it's nice and soft like a pillow.


This owl is about half the size of the other toys. I used a single sheet of dark brown felt and scraps of the other colours. First I cut out all the shapes, sewed up the feet and wings. Then I stitched on all the face details before sewing up and stuffing the body. This one took the longest time. The owl is about 8 inches from toe to ear, and the wing span is about 7 inches.

In retrospect, I should have spaced the feet further apart, they overlap a little bit. I'm sure I am the only one who notices.

I really like crafting from felt. It's inexpensive, likely made from recycled bottles. It has great colour and doesn't fray. It take the decorative stitching well. For just a few dollars I made all these toys!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweet Pea Banner and Garland

This project is super adaptable and actually really easy. The same method can be used for any garland in any colour, for any season or holiday.

  • card stock (2-3 colours)
  • string of some kind ( I used embroidery floss)
  • letters-can be stickers, scrapbooking or cut out your own
  • gluestick
  • sewing needle
  • circle cutter-not necessary but highly recommended

To make the banner-first figure out how many letters you need to spell your word. I used 8, and added 3 extra as spacers. I decided on 2 3/4 inch circles-big enough to see clearly but not so big to use up too much card stock.
I used the teal green colour for the background colour, and the kelly green for the letters and the accents. As you can see from the picture, I cut out 8 circles from the teal cardstock, and 3 circles from the kelly cardstock.
I drew the letters freehand-they are about 2 inches high on the kelly and cut them out with scissors. Feel free to use a template, stickers or die cuts if you are not comfortable drawing freehand.
Glue the letters to the circles. I find a glue stick is best. Liquid glue tends to wrinkle the paper when it dries.
To attach the circles together, I punched a hole with a sewing needle on each of the circle, making sure the holes lined up in a row, then I strung the circles onto the embroidery floss.

For the garland, I used 1 1/4 inch circles in three colours: the same teal and kelly green, and added a third colour-a sage green. I also punched a hole in each side of the circle and strung with embroidery floss. The hardest part of both these items is cutting out the circles. If you have a circle cutter, it is much faster and easier. The nice part of these garland is that they fold up nicely into a stack which is easy to transport and store and doesn't tangle.

Felt Sweet Pea Name Tags/Magnets

  • Green felt (made from recycled bottles)
  • Pompoms
  • Embroidery floss and needle
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Craft magnets

To make the peas-I folded a sheet of bright green felt, and cut a crescent moon shape retaining the folded edge. I did this to save myself time sewing. I made 26 peas total, I only used one sheet of felt for the whole project. Once I had all the shapes cut out from the felt, I stitched up the sides and a little bit along the top. This forms a sort of basket shape. I hot glued 2 or 3 pom poms into each. I flipped them over and hot glued a small piece of magnet to the back-so the guests could take them home and use them as a fridge magnet.

This project started as a party favour, but at the last minute was transformed into both a favour and name tags for the guests. Shortly before the baby shower, one of the guests mentioned to me she really didn't know most of the people attending and that she was really bad with names. So rather than buy paper name tags that would be thrown out at the end of the party I added names to the peas I already made.

I typed up all the names of the guests, printed them out and cut them into little rectangles. I attached the names to the felt with a small piece of double sided tape. I made sure the tape came off cleanly. As a final touch, I added a safety pin. Guests wore them at the party, it was a cute way to add to the sweet pea theme.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sweet Pea Mobile

  • card stock in your choice of colours ( 3 colours look best)
  • fishing line or clear jewelry thread
  • fishing weights or beads
  • something circular for the top

The first project I started was a mobile. The inspiration came from Ohdeedoh. I saw this mobile on their site:


The article is really about the plexiglass top, but I loved the three tones and the circles. Because if you think about it, peas really are circles, aren't they? So, circles became the starting point. I repeated the circle theme in the other decorations, including the polka dot balloons.

I really recommend getting a circle cutter, if you want to try to make a mobile like this. It will save oodles of time and painstakingly cutting out circle after circle. I got one a Michael's, I had a 40% off coupon. Bonus! Circle cutters look something like this:

Martha Stewart Circle Cutter

I didn't get this exact one, but they all basically work the same. One tip I discovered, it is helpful to tape the edges of the paper down to the cutting matt, otherwise the paper may slip and you won't get a perfect circle. I picked up 3 colours of card stock: kelly green, teal green and sage green. Card stock was on sale 5 sheets for $2 so I had more than enough paper for this project. I did a few tests on a scrap piece of paper first, and I decided 1 1/4 inch circles was the perfect diameter. I cut out lots and lots of each colour, I don't know how many exactly but I do know I used 48 circles in total. There are 6 strands and each strand has eight circles. For the top, I used a needle working circle. It was 89 cents, and it already had perfectly spaced holes. It made the whole thing alot easier.

Using a sewing needle and fishing line, I poked holes in the top and bottom of each circle and strung eight onto each strand. Don't worry if it's not perfectly even, you can adjust the spacing after. Once I had all the strands I needed, I tied them to the plastic circle top and balanced the whole thing out. I had trouble getting the strands to hang straight so I added some fishing weights to the end of each, and that solved it. They look like beads, but they aren't.

Once you are happy with the way it hangs, adjust the spacing between the circles and trim any excess fishing line. That's it! This project is very inexpensive, but it is a time commitment. I estimate I spent about $4 on this project, but I spent 3-4 hours working on it. But, considering mobiles are super expensive to buy, it makes sense to make one. There are so many options, that it is easy to personalize this project to your taste and colour scheme.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sweet Pea Baby Shower

Date: Saturday, February 12, 2011
Location: Mom to Be's House, Toronto, On
Guests: 20
Budget: low
Special considerations: vegetarian, vegan, nut free and as eco-friendly as possible.

  • veggies and hummus
  • crackers and cheese platter
  • guacamole and whole wheat tortilla chips
  • vegetarian quiche
  • endamame
  • vanilla and raspberry cupcakes with vanilla butter cream icing (not vegan)

Games and Activities:

Guess the baby food flavour: To play this game, all you need are a few jars of baby food in different flavours that look the same, some spoons, pencils and paper. For example, we had sweet potato, corn, peach, and apple/strawberry. I took the labels off the jars, but taped them to the bottom so I could tell them apart and numbered the lids 1 through 4. All of them are orange, and it's really hard to tell which is which. Guests tasted each jar and tried to guess what flavour they were. People had a really hard time with the peach and the apple/strawberry. The winner missed the apple/strawberry but got the rest.

Guess the nursery rhyme: For this game, read out one line from a common nursery rhyme, such as "hickory dickory dock" and have the guests guest the title of the rhyme. It's harder than you think.

How well do we know mommy? For this game, guests had to select characteristics the baby would have, for example hair colour or eye colour, but the trick was to guess what Mom-to-be would answer herself. The guest who had the most answers that matched Mom-to-be's form won. I played this game, and I actually won! Kind of funny really.

What was one thing your mom did for you, that really helped you blossom?
This is sort of an advice question-guests wrote down their answers for Mom-to-be to read later. Collect them all and paste into a memory or guestbook.

Finger print tree guestbook: for this activity I painted a tree with watercolour on paper. I painted the design free hand, but if you google you can find lots of tree images you can copy and print out. The image I designed is small, about 9 by 11 inches. For alot of people, I would recommend a much larger design with lots of branches.

I found some "washable" ink at the craft store. The package claims it washes off easily, but we found out the hard way it stained a bit. Have the guests dip a finger or thumb into the ink and stamp their fingerprint onto the branches of the tree so it appears to be leaves. Sign your name near your print. It looks really cool with alot of prints.

For some reason-not everyone did one. Either they forgot or didn't want a green finger all day. I suggested Mom-to-be keep the supplies and have her family member and visitors add their prints to add to the design. Then frame and hang in the baby's room as artwork.


When I started sourcing the decorations for this party, I had a really hard time finding baby shower things in green. Everything is pink, blue, or yellow. When I started planning, it was unknown if baby was male or female, but shortly after Mom-to-be told me baby was a boy. So I was able to add some blue in with the greens. Since I couldn't find what I wanted in stores, I made a mobile, a sweet pea banner, a garland and felt pea name tags. The details of each project will be posted separately shortly. I did buy a balloon bouquet from party packagers, and it just so happened Mom-to-be was invited to a baby shower the very next day, so she was able to re-use the balloons. I was lucky in that the location was already so lovely and well decorated that I didn't really have to add much. Lots of amazing artwork and a neural colour scheme. The greens really popped and looked great.

Details for the projects to come!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valentine's Day Bingo

Image: http://karenswhimsy.com

I decided we need a little cheering up around the office this month. I wanted to play a game-something easy, cheap, fast and fun. I decided to organize Valentine's Day themed bingo. I found a site that already had the templates for the cards, and a call list. Here is the link. There are 8 unique cards, and I printed a few of each. I am hoping to sell about 25-30 ( but hopefully more).

Easy for me, all I had to do was print out the cards onto card stock. I couldn't find red or pink card stock anywhere in the usual stores. I didn't want to invest too much time or money and I had some cream coloured stock on hand, so I used that. Two cards print out per page. I cut them apart with a paper cutter.

I decided to sell the cards for $2, and donate the proceeds to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. To make it a bit more challenging, I shaded a pattern onto each card that (sort of) forms a heart shape, rather than the traditional straight line pattern.

How it works: I am selling the bingo cards this week. Starting February 7th, I will email out the call words to those who purchased a card. They circle the shaded words, and the first one to collect all their words sends me an email with the subject line bingo. This way it is easy for me to track who was first. I have a small prize for the winner. I just starting selling the cards, and am getting a good response so far. Most people have purchased more than one.

Of course, you can use the cards to have a traditional bingo game if you happen to be hosting or going to a Valentine's Day event.