January 7, 2012

Small but Mighty– Hogwarts Uniform Part 1



I just completed a craft swap with the very talented tapestrymlp, as she is known on Craftster. It was called Invite Your Partner Fall Ball or IYP19 Fall Ball.

I was flattered because I have seen her some of her work, which I admire and I was itching for a challenging project.

When I found out she has a daughter who has an American Girl Doll and loves Harry Potter, I knew this was the project for me.

I used almost entirely recycled materials as this is a passion of mine. I have been a recycler since before it became “the thing”. I use mostly recycled materials for the felt food on my Etsy shop.

I have included the directions for the hand knit scarf as it was definitely a labor of love.

I used the pointy tipped turkey skewers because the finished scarf seemed to be more to scale. I sanded the heck out of the points but they were still pretty sharp. Next year’s turkey will probably be upset with me as I will have to jab him pretty harshly to get the skewers through his skin.

You may want to use sock needles as these will be easier on the tips of your fingers but make sure you do a test so your scarf doesn’t come out too large.

I used Coats & Clark Red Heart Classic Crochet Thread. I found mine at WalMart but it’s a standard thread available all over. The colors I used were:

     Burgundy Color 0492

     Goldenrod Color 0421

Coats and Clark Crochet Thread 421 Goldenrod

[Images of Thread Courtesy of RedHeart]


Hogwarts Doll Scarf Instructions:


9 stitches = 1 inch and 10 rows = 1 inch

  • With burgundy thread cast on 18 stitches.
  • K 1 row P 1 row (stockinet) for 15 rows.
  • Attach goldenrod  P 1 row, K 1 row, P 1 row K 1 row.
  • With burgundy P 1 row K 1 row  - repeat 1 and 2 one more time to make the striping pattern.
  • Continue with burgundy in stockinet stitch for another 15 rows then repeat the above striping pattern.
  • Go back to burgundy and continue in stockinet stitch for 10”.
  • Repeat the striping pattern at the end of the scarf, making sure you have the 15 rows of burgundy stockinet at the end and cast off. 
  • If desired, add fringes at the bottom out of the burgundy.

When you are finished working in all your threads from the various color changes (I worked them into the body of the scarf with a sewing needle), you will need to steam the heck out of the scarf with a wet pressing cloth. I actually added a wee bit of starch as it still wanted to curl on me. I found that pinning it to the ironing board also helped keep it’s shape and don’t move it until it is completely dry.

I heard that the little girl is so pleased she hasn’t taken the outfit off her doll yet.

I’d love to hear your comments and any suggestions you may have.


October 14, 2011

Autumn Apple Pizza Party

Tonight was Apple Pizza night at our house. This is a tradition I started with my daughter’s when they were in pre-school. Now I am doing it with my youngest Grand children, one of which is in Kindergarten and the other will be in pre-school next year.

I can’t take credit for the recipe as it was given to me by my oldest daughter’s pre-school teacher after our trip to the Apple Farm. I really wanted to go and pick the apples this year but circumstances in my recent job situation kept this from happening. Heck there is always next year!

What makes it so much fun is that the kids can participate in the making and the eating.

The recipe is super easy and I made a couple of improvements that simplify it even more.


Here’s all you’ll need:

  • 3  baking apples your choice
  • 2  Tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2  heaping Tablespoons cinnamon sugar
  • 1  7.5 oz. can of Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuit mix
  • Mild shredded cheddar cheese

Pre heat your oven to 450 degrees.

I used three Gala apples peeled, cored and sliced sliver thin. Place them in a microwave safe bowl, add butter and cinnamon sugar. Microwave for about 2 minutes or until apples are tender but not too mushy. Set this aside while you prepare the “crust”.

Gently stretch the dough in your hands until it is about 4 inches in diameter then place on an ungreased cookie sheet. You will need to stretch it a bit more leaving a rim around the edge.  Don’t be too upset if the shapes resemble aliens or amoebas the first time around.  We invited a friend to help us and his turned out looking like a pirate skull (we made him eat his own LOL).


Pierce the bottoms with a fork about a half a dozen times then place in the oven near the top and cook for 5 minutes. Next place apples on top of partially baked crusts making sure they are not too juicy. Then top off with the cheddar cheese and finish baking for another 5 minutes.


Don’t be surprised if your family decides they cannot wait until fall to eat this treat. I used to have some of these ready when the kids got home from school as a special treat.


I’d love to hear how your family enjoys these treats and if you have any additions or changes of your own.


September 26, 2011

Felt Play Food - Pumpkin Pie -

It’s official! Autumn is here and it just happens to be one of my favorite seasons. The air smells amazing,filled with so many different layers of aromas. I love the scent of burning leaves and the way it smells after a rain and how the wet leaves have that earthy smell.
The only autumn perfume I’m not too thrilled with is the dead skunk odor. Have you ever noticed how many more dead skunks there are in the fall?  I should look this up on National Geographic or something.  Do you think there is some kind of secret skunk ritual in the fall? Maybe it is some kind of rite of passage that only skunks are aware of like the skunks that make it across 6 lanes of rush hour traffic get the girl skunk or something. If anyone has an answer to this phenomenon I’d be really interested in knowing.
Anyway I digress. Just for fun I thought I would share my favorite pumpkin pie recipe – well it’s sort of a recipe - it’s actually felt play food for children or it can be a decorative piece for grown-ups.
These little pie slices are high in fiber and 100% fat free. I whipped up a bunch of these for a craft fair that my daughter and I participated in and I had a LOT of fun making them.
I chose wool felt for the pumpkin part because I wanted the color to be as accurate as possible. We have a local craft store called Erica’s and she has an amazing selection of all wool felt. You will find in future projects that I often use the wool because of the amazing colors that are available.
I found the “crust”  and the “filling” at JoAnn Fabrics as well as the “whipped cream”. These are felt made from recycled plastic bottles. I love using environmentally friendly or repurposed materials whenever possible.
Get your *FREE* pattern here.
If anyone makes this I would love to see pictures of your version of this yummy fall treat!!

September 22, 2011

Pumpkin Scarecrow Soft Doll

This will be a quick one as I am headed off to work. I was going through some older photos and had completely forgotten about this soft doll I created one Fall.

If anyone is interested I would be happy to post the pattern I made for him or perhaps I can make up a kit. Just let me know.


When the weather turns chilly I think of Autumn colors and Halloween being just around the corner. My family and I have some outings planned and I will be sharing photos and recipes VERY soon.


August 18, 2011

Adventures in Bookbinding–Tips and Techniques


I have always wanted to make a hand bound book but never quite gotten around to it until now. My daughter has made several and I loved the way they turned out. I may have even been slightly jealous but I’m not telling her that.

One of the reasons I love craft swaps so much is because they give me a reason to try new things and push me in new directions. God knows I could use a little pushing from time to time. This book was created for a craft swap (I love the way I use my friends as guinea pigs).

The idea for the book cover came right away. The original plan was for black leather but my leather stash just wasn’t “speaking to me” so I headed off to the JoAnn’s Fabrics.

xprd1601772_zI found this awesome brown faux leather fabric that looks just like the distressed leather of an old Aviator’s jacket. I squealed out loud. I think I scared my daughter half to death and I got some strange looks from some of the other patrons in the aisle next to me. The final trim pieces (the closure/strap and the vertical accent piece on the front cover) were made of brown leather scraps.

There were so many decisions to make that I was almost overwhelmed, but by using more than one resource, it was possible to pull it all together. My poor daughter got roped into this project since she is my resident “expert”. We still struggled a bit and, I will say, this is not a project for the weak of heart. 

The basic book design was inspired by a book-making kit, made by a company called Lineco, that my daughter had purchased at United Arts and Education. Of course I can never do anything the easy way, so I immediately changed the size, the paper type and glue.

It was necessary to experiment on various papers with water colors, colored pencils, felt tipped pens and an assortment of markers to see what might “bleed” through. Based on these results, a winner was chosen in some 100% cotton rag off a roll of paper I have had in my studio --- FOR. EV. VUR.

(see the clip below for random fun)

FOR. EV. VUR. (from the movie “The Sandlot”)

I wanted a deckled edge. So, after carefully measuring the size of my pages and laying tape guidelines on my work table, I grabbed my metal ruler and went for it. R-R-R-R-R-I-I-I-I-P-P-P-P!

Quite a bit of time was “wasted” on trying to decide how I wanted the spine to look. Holy cow, you can’t believe how many spine choices there are!!

I finally found just what I wanted for the spine in a book I already owned but had overlooked due to the (very generic and misleading) title.


(image via Amazon)

Entitled, simply, Scrapbooking, this book is filled with amazing content that is less about the modern definition of scrapbooking and more about the actual creation of the book itself.

Here is an excerpt from the book, from the two pages I used for both the inspiration and instructions on this cool ribbon addition.


So the next step is to add some ribbon on the binding….Ok, sounds easy enough….right? After all, I have a stash of ribbon that would make most anybody pea-green with envy. But do you think I had the RIGHT ribbon?

--- oh no of course not---

IMG_0009So….off to Hancock Fabrics, where I found the most awesome ribbon that looks like linen. It’s made by Offray and sold by the spool for only $2.49. It measures 1 1/2 “ by 3 yds. and the color is called San Marino Oatmeal. I also checked out the clearance section and found Baroque 100% crochet cotton that I used to sew the signatures together. This is made by DMC Art 159 and the color is Ecru.







** TIP: If you coat the thread with beeswax, it won’t tangle onto itself and it pulls through the signatures REALLY well.

The final decision was what to use for the end papers? I chose a paper called “Crackle” from Paper Pizazz.

--30000--7232_product_291120834_thumb_large   IMG_0008

It is acid-free, lignin-free and gave me the EXACT look I was going for.

I hope this post inspires you to try bookbinding. It was so much fun! I plan on making a bunch more. If you happen to be on my Christmas list stop reading here or you may spoil the surprise!


August 11, 2011

Dressed Up Micro Fiber Dish Mat

This is just a quickie tonight. I wanted to share a fun and practical project I created based on a tutorial I found on Sewplicity.
I am not a real quilter (it just seems overwhelming to me) but this looked like it would be something I could handle. I tweaked it a little and am very pleased with the results.
I changed the base of this dish mat from a towel (as was shown in the tutorial) to a microfiber mat because I love the way it soaks everything up.
I used fabrics I had and decided to angle everything. Then used double wide bias tape to give it a nice finished look.
Now when I have my glassware draining I don’t feel the kitchen looks so messy. I think it looks so much better than the blah microfiber mat I had been using.
dish mat 1dish mat 2
I just entered her her “O’Tinsel Contest” contest in the hopes of winning. What do you think? 
The contest ends August 12th – I’ll let you know how I did. Keep your fingers crossed – I’ll keep you posted.

July 27, 2011

Introducing Art by Wulf

Up to now I have only shared things that I have made but I thought this was too good not to show off.  I just completed a personal swap with my new Canadian friend Wulf who I met on Craftster.
I have been admiring Wulf’s work from a distance and when I asked him if he wanted to do a personal swap and he agreed I was so happy. I had no idea what he was making for me but many of his pieces are steampunk or Vintage inspired so I was confident it would be amazing. I was so right about that!
I posted some pictures on Craftster already but I always feel I should limit the number of photos shared on that forum. This project was so awesome I felt it deserved a bit more coverage.