Embroidered Treasure Map

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My nephew Josiah is just the coolest kid because he has the most amazing imagination. When he was like three or four years old, I really wanted to create a podcast where it would be just me and him talking about stuff. At the time, you could bring up any topic and he would have an opinion about it—despite knowing nothing about it. His imagination would just run wild.

One day the idea came to me—I would ask Josiah to draw a treasure map on a square piece of canvas fabric, and in the weeks that followed, I would embroider over the lines, making his map a permanent, one-of-kind piece.

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Together we sat down at my parents’ dining room table. I started by drawing the treasure chest, and I let Josiah take it from there. Though I didn’t want to be too influential in his drawing—as I wanted it to truly capture Josiah’s imagination at the time—I did encourage him to change colors every once in a while. (Selfishly I had envisioned this being a colorful piece.)

After he finished drawing, I had him identify everything, which turned out to be the cutest part of the whole thing.

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When I started this project, I thought the embroidery aspect would only take me a few weeks. Well, despite my best intensions, it ended up taking me several months.

One thing I decided early on is I wouldn’t care about being consistent with the embroidery floss. I easily could have stock piled the same color of blue embroidery floss to use throughout the project, but I decided I didn’t want to buy anything for this. Instead, I just used the collection of thread I already had.

I think this choice added to the overall adorableness of the map.

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I also didn’t fret too much about my stitching. For the most part, I kept the stitches short, and I didn’t worry about completely covering all of Josiah’s drawing. I was okay if a few ink marks peeked through.

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To finish it, I cut a piece of blue fabric as the back piece, and I used the quilting technique of binding to create a solid edge. While I created this piece for Josiah to play with—thinking he would roll it up, carry it around and use it in his pretend play—I also think it would be an adorable idea to frame the piece and use it as decoration in your house.

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Cookie Monster ‘Trunk or Treat’

Earlier this year, my mom accepted a position as a director of children’s ministries at a church near their house. With Halloween approaching, she began planning her first-ever Trunk or Treat event. And since Mom was in charge—and Dad and I are people who don’t like to be outdone—we brought our A-game by creating a monster-sized idea.

We used his truck to create a larger-than-life Cookie Monster display. (And I’ll go ahead and spoil the ending for you, we took home the top prize!)

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I love creating projects with my Dad because he always brings out the power tools. We started the display by creating the wood frame. His truck bed had two notches along the top that could fit the legs of our frame, helping it stand up. (I’m not sure what the technical name or use of these notches are. Sorry, I’m not a car person.)
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Once the frame was complete, we wrapped it with cheap blue fabric we found at Walmart. (The key to creating Cookie Monster is all about finding the right color blue.) We ended up letting the blue fabric hang low to cover up more of the truck.

Note: I love the picture below because it shows how exacting my dad is. We couldn’t just cut out a circle. We had to use an Xacto knife.

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I used black fabric (the same cheap fabric as the blue) to cut out a mouth, and we used poster boards to create the eyes. We decided to not attached the eyes until we actually got to the event because we thought there was a high risk they could be damaged in the drive to the church. But I attached the black fabric mouth with spray fabric adhesive.

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With the display complete, the next step was to create the corresponding game. In the church’s storage room, my dad found a wooden bean bag toss board. He brought it home and covered it with blue felt. I create a similar black mouth out of fabric, and we created another pair of the eyes.

Finally, I made felt cookies as the bags kids would toss into Cookie Monster’s mouth. At the local Walmart, we found 1-pound bags of beans, and I stuffed the felt cookies with the bags as-is. (Aka I didn’t open the plastic, keeping it as the container for the beans.)

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IMG_8368.JPGLike I said at the top of the blog post, there was a contest for the best display at the Truck or Treat. We won!

Felt Christmas Stockings

It’s been a year and a half since I logged into this WordPress site, and this great hiatus is not because I’ve stopped crafting. Goodness, no. But instead, I let this project that once brought me tremendous joy sail away with other seasonal life interests. I could blame the busyness of work or that I’m now taking graduate classes at night. But in truth, I think the joy that led me to create this blog began to fade a year and a half ago, making a fun side hobby feel more like work.

Well, as some people say, never throw anything away because its bound to come back in style.

Over the Christmas break, I was inspired to read through the countless blog posts I have here. Of course, it’s a little embarrassing to see how many spelling and grammatical errors exist (and I’m sure there are a few in this post too), but the walk down memory lane was fun. At the same time, I was creating felt stocking for my parents, using patterns/kits by Bucilla.

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Christmas was a little different this year for my family. My mother was recently diagnosed with cancer, and two weeks before Christmas, she underwent a very intensive surgery that caused an extended hospital stay. My parents live in Georgia; I live in Alabama. So for several weeks, I made the trip back and forth.

As I’ve said on this blog before, my mother has the best advice, and her crème de la crème is this: Know what makes you happy, so when times turn sad, you have tools you can use to lift yourself up.

My greatest tool is crafting and sewing… and a whole of prayer. I can’t remember when the idea came to me, but I know this project of creating felt stockings was one of the greatest blessings during this difficult time.

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Not only did the kits throughly entertain me during a time where there was a lot of sitting around, but they able gave me a focused line of thought on something positive and beautiful.

I finished my dad’s stocking before the surgery, and I worked on my mom’s throughout her recovery in the hospital. Once it was finished, I was able to hang it on her wall, adding a bit of Christmas decoration to her small hospital room.

And I will note: the kits were amazing portable. I utilized small jars to organize the beads and sequins, using a magnet on the underside of the lids to store the sewing needles. I was able to contain everything I needed in a single freezer zip lock bag, so no matter where I was—siting at my craft table, the floor of a waiting room, the chair in the hospital room, etc.—I was able to work on it.

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Mom ended up leaving the hospital on Christmas afternoon, and in the following days, we opened presents and tried our best to celebrate a normal holiday season. The new stockings for Mom and Dad hung on the mantle with the felt stockings Mom made for me and my brothers when we were born.

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I’ve been writing a lot about this season I just experienced, mainly in Word documents that one day may see the light of day. In doing so, I felt the joy that I once had for this blog rising back up with in. So here I am, back for reading pleasure. The good news is, I have a lot of content from the past year and a half that I can share with you. I hope you enjoy.

Woodland [Felt] Creature Mobile

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Felt and woodland creatures are a pretty adorable combo! I created this sweet baby mobile for friend preparing a nursery for her son. The theme: animals.

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I’m pretty proud of this project because I created the animals without templates. It took me a couple tries to get the right look, especially for the raccoon, but that’s why we sketch things out.

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Once I was happy with the sketches, I used them as a template to cut out the felt. Working with a front and back piece for each animal, I added details, sewed the pieces (right sides) together and used fiberfill to make them slightly plush.

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To create the mobile, I initially thought I would use an embroidery hoop for the structure. But then I found this piece of wood at JoAnn Fabrics, and I thought it really added to the “woodland” theme.

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I forgot the technical name of the hooks I used, but they screwed into the wood board really easily. I used twine to hang the animals. I even added a few felt leaves as an final  touch.

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Let’s Embroider a Logo

Gift are best personalized.

My friends at my previous job – Oxmoor House – reached out to me and asked if I could create a patch for a gift they were working on for a coworker who was moving on to new job. Of course, you can’t say no to a friend. So I got to work on the patch while they hired someone on Etsy to make this knitted iPad case.

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I’ve never tried to copy a font before (most of what I do is free hand), so this was an interesting challenge. Luckily, I figured it out in about 15 minutes. I could have done a better job stitching the patch to the case, but oh well, the imperfection adds to the homemade charm.

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Stages of the [Felt] Moon

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Oftentimes, when an idea pops into my head, I question its originality. People say there’s no such things as an original idea anymore… right?

After finishing this project, I have seen so many references to the moon phases in others’ craft projects and art pieces. Original… maybe. But the truth is, we all influence each other.

To be fair, I have always had a love of space (as several posts on this blog can prove.)

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After the idea came to me, it only took 30 minutes to complete this simple project. I had circle of wood that I mounted the felt to with Mod Podge, and I used tape to attached the circles on the string. (My 8th grade science teacher should be proud that I remembered the moon phases without having to reference the Internet.)

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Travel-Inspired Embroidery Baby Announcement 

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I am oftentimes asked to create something based on a piece of inspiration a person has found. In the case of this project, a friend had seen a swatch of fabric with a pattern made out of travel tags representing cities all of the world.

This friend, Rachel, is a great traveler, and as the birth of her second child approached, she asked me to make a embroidery baby announcement based on the fabric swatch.

Let me tell you, this project was fun!

I asked Rachel to pick four cities she wanted me to represent, and she was kind to let me design the rest. I decided to keep it simple. I used airport codes, but for cities with more vague codes like OSL, I thought it was best to include the name of the city.

I worked to complete the eight tags in the months leading up to her due date, and then finally, once little Elliott was born, I stitched in his name and info. I also did a zig zag stitch to overlock the edges to avoid unraveling before Rachel could get the piece framed.