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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Owl Doll Baby Toy

This was the last of my handmade gift projects this Christmas.  I had made a bunch of Pocket Activity Wraps for nieces, nephews, and kiddos of friends, but there were two baby girls that were still too young to use one.  I wanted to make something for them, too, and I knew that one was an owl fan : )

I browsed images on Google, and made sketches of some of my faves. Then I dug out scraps from a pack of quilting quarters that had been in the closet for a year, and also some white flannel, brown felt, and ric rac.

Then I got the idea to make my softie doll with jingle bells and crinkles (plastic from a pack of baby wipes!)
I made up my own pattern for this project, and cut the following:
  • Fabric #1 - two pieces for front/back of head
  • Fabric #2 - two pieces for front/back of the body and one piece for the bottom
  • Fabric #3 - two pieces for fronts of wings
  • Fabric #4 - two pieces for backs of wings
  • Fabric #5 - four pieces for fronts/backs of legs
  • Flannel - lining for wings and shapes for face and tummy applique
  • Felt - four shapes for fronts/backs of feet, two eyes and one beak
  • Crinkle - two more of the wing pattern to insert in the wings for crinkle noise.
First, I sewed the long, skinny strips of the legs (right sides together), down one side, across the short end, and back up the other long side.  I left one short end open to flip them right-side out and stuff them.

I took two of my felt foot shapes, put them together, and started zig-zagging the edges with a tight stitch.  Once I got about halfway around, I slipped one little jingle bell inside, and then continued zig-zagging the rest of the way around.  I went around the edges a few times and then switched to straight stitch and went around once more.  I wanted to make sure that bell was really secured in there!

(There are four in the pic, because I was making two dolls).
 A little jingle foot!
I appliqued felt eyes onto the white flannel face piece, putting Heat n' Bond iron-on interfacing under each (the eyes and the face piece).

Once the eyes were on, I appliqued the flannel face piece onto the head piece.

Then added the beak.

I stitched a few rows of ric rac onto the white flannel tummy piece (which, again, had interfacing on the back).
Then I appliqued the tummy onto the body front.

I sewed the backs and fronts of the body by placing right sides together (head and body pieces) and sewing along the chin line.

I had topstitched the felt feet onto the ends of the legs, going back and forth multiple times.  In hindsight, I probably should have sewn the foot pieces to the ankle of the leg before I put the legs together, but it worked out alright.

I pinned and stitched these onto the bottom of the front body piece, just to hold them in place till the whole thing was pieced together.




The wings were the most time-consuming, because it took me forever to figure out how to put all the layers together so that nothing was backwards when I turned them right-side out again!

Thankfully I had enough fabric to remake the ones that came out wrong ; )




First - put right sides together of your front and back wing pieces.
Then, put the flannel lining on the outside of one...
...flip it over, and put the crinkle fabric or baby wipe bag on the outside of the other.  **Put the dark side of the plastic up facing you, and when it's sewn and turned, that side will be facing in and not showing through your fabric.
Pin all these wing layers together and sew at 1/4" around the edge.  When you sew, leave the side where the wing will attach to the body open, so you can turn it right-side out.  This will get stitched up when the wing is added to the body.  I also went back and zig-zagged the edges.

I turned my wings out and topstitched around the edge.  *Crinkle crinkle*

Then I pinned and stitched them in place on the body front.
Then I lined up my front and back body pieces, making sure to match that seam along the chin area.

The wings and legs/feet were pinned up inside to be out of the way.
At the last minute, I decided to add a "bottom", and did this by flipping up the edge and cutting one more piece of fabric #2 to match the shape.
Then I pinned it on and started sewing at 1/4" around the perimeter, and up and over the sides/head of the doll.  I left the back of the bottom piece open for turning and stuffing.  Then hand sewed it shut afterward.
Ta-Da!  The back...
The front...I added a little felt bow on the head...
On a whim, I used the last pieces of my fabric scraps (and some ric-rac) to make a little elastic-waist skirt.  It made the perfect finish : )
I love how this turned out and plan on experimenting more with softies and dolls in the future!

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Things to Try - Christmas and Winter Wreaths

I made one Christmas wreath this year, but saw SO many other beautiful wreaths in blogland that inspired me.  I will definitely have a variety in my decor stash at some point in the future!

I love this rag and ornament wreath made with a grapevine wreath form, 
by Natalie at Johnny In a Dress

And this ribbon wreath by Stacy at She's{Kinda}Crafty
 Look at the sweet little birdies nestled in there!

This fleece wreath is must-try!  By Jessica at Bella Blvd Studio Blog.
The cardstock rosette and paper flower accents are perfect!

This yarn ball and ornament wreath by Lisa at Recaptured Charm is so cozy!

Change up your color theme and you could make a winter wreath the same way!
Like Kristy's from Life Through the Lens

Emily has a great tutorial for this unique paper wreath at WhipperBerry

This argyle yarn and felt wreath is stunning! Check out ItzFitz Etsy shop 
for even more variations of yarn wreaths.

I definitely want to make one of these wintry wreaths with wool roses,
like Ellen's at Creative Passage

One more that really caught my eye, from Parents.com crafts for kids

Oh so many wreaths, so little time ; )

Monday, December 27, 2010

Adventures in Hoody Towels

This project was born out of a chat I had with my oldest son about his challenges taking baths or showers.  The normal process of getting clean has caused hysterical fits for this child since he was an infant (in phases, better or worse).  Still, at six and a half years old, it is a battle.  We now know that this is due to a sensory disorder.

A recent challenge was the smell of the soap or shampoo.  He would be yelling and angry after a bath that he smelled "like a BABY!?", because he could still smell the shampoo that had been used to wash his hair.  We came up with a plan to purchase unscented shampoo for him (tear-free being important).  The price of organic/natural kid-friendly shampoo makes me cringe, but if it helps then I will put that 4oz bottle in my cart and pay $10 for it.

I took advantage of a calm post-bath moment one night to point out that we had come up with a plan for making the smell of the bath more comfortable for my son.  I then asked him if he could think of anything that could help for after the bath (as being toweled off has provoked screaming and punching in the past).  I was thinking to myself - maybe the towels are too soft?  Or maybe they feel too rough for him?  But no, the plan he came up with had nothing to do at all with the texture of the towel.  He wanted a black towel.  A black towel, so he could feel like a Ninja after his bath.

My crafty self jumped right on this one!  I saw this, thought it was awesome, and felt maybe I could replicate it.  So hooded towels joined my Christmas Craft List as handmade gifts for my boys.  I couldn't leave little brothers out, so I made three in all.

I looked at various tutorials and made a monkey for my two year old....it looked like a bear.
Especially when the ear placement was changed...
 So then I ripped part of it apart and added another scrap of lighter towel to the face....and changed the front of the hood to a hemmed arc instead of straight across...
He still thinks it's a bear.  And it's driving me nuts to leave it like this.  I almost cut the hood off and remade it into a puppy instead, but would have had to unwrap it and be sewing like a crazy woman on Christmas Eve.  So, I left it.

My five year old's Froggy Towel came out SO much better and I was giddy!  He loves it!


The Ninja Towel was made slightly differently.  Instead of laying the hand towel folded in half and cutting a rounded shape for the hood (like I had for the Monkey and Frog)...
I first cut the whole hand towel in half...
...and then put two corners of one long side together, and sewed the seam there that would become the top of the hood.

In hindsight - this method makes a small hood.  Would work great for infants or toddlers, but is a tad tight on an older child.  It ended up working well for this design though, especially since he wanted his long shaggy hair all buzzed off the week before Christmas ; )

Then I essentially made a sort of sleep mask out of the other half of the hand towel...making up a paper pattern, cutting two pieces, and ironing a piece of interfacing on one before I sewed them together...
Flipped right-side out, the interfacing was then inside.  The straight edge was open and would be sewn to the front of the towel hood.

I used part of my son's ninja costume from Halloween to make a pattern for the eye slit, and cut that out.

Then I zig-zagged around the opening several times.  The opening is almost too big, but can't change that now.

I pinned the "mask" to the center of the hood, right sides together, and sewed it on at 1/4".  I zig-zagged the edges of the seams to prevent fraying.  Then I top stitched on the front side.

Next came lots of improvising and tweaking - to sew the edges of the eye mask to the towel, and restitch and nip corners till the hood was curved instead of pointed.
I added a strip of printed bandanna along the base of the hood.  And cut around a few of the fire shapes to applique on the corners of the towel, with interfacing on the back.

To attach the hoods to the towels, I folded the towels in half and marked the center with a pin.  Then measured and marked 4" both right and left of center.

Bring the outer pins to the center and pin again.  Then stitch this at 1/4".

Center the back of the hood with the center of your towel and sew.  Helps to go back and forth on the ends for reinforcement.  You will have a nice pleat in the back of your towel!
It was hard to not be able to try these on my boys as I went tweaking along, especially with the face mask of the Ninja Towel.  But it turned out pretty well : )
It was tested out after a bath last night and given two thumbs up!  Now he wants a snake one, too : )

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