A Custom Felt Playmat for my Nephew

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The brainstorming process for my nephew’s 2-year-old birthday present began about 2 months ago. I had seen ideas for a “quiet book” on Pinterest. Mostly made from felt, “quiet books” are these cute flip books filled with little activities that are meant to entertain and keep your kid still and quiet. I liked the idea (especially since Josiah is quite the jet-setter), but I wanted something bigger! (He’s my only nephew to make things like this for!) That is when I had the epiphany to create an awesome, felt play mat – customized for his life.

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I started by purchasing a yard of green fleece. In my opinion, fleece holds up better over time than felt. (Felt can shed and eventually start to ball up.) Though I planned to use felt for the details, I knew fleece would be a better foundation. Plus, fleece is much softer in case my nephew every decides he wants to use the mat as a blanket.

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Cutting out the streets and the buildings took a few days. (And as you can see, I let it take over the floor of my kitchen.) I cut everything by freehand, so I did experience some trial and error. Initially, I cut the streets pretty wide, but as I cut out more and more building, I made the streets skinnier to fit everything on the mat. (Plus, I found this cute wood cars that were the perfect size for my smaller roads.)

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With everything cut out and in place, I used no-heat sewing glue to glue everything down. The glue left marks at first, but they go away as the glue dries.

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Despite everything being glued down, I wanted to secure the felt pieces in place by sewing everything down. (I am giving this to a 2 year old.) I used clear and white thread, and it took about a week to finish since I sewed everything by hand. I also used embroidery floss to add a handful of details – like a sign for the gas station and items for sale at the market.

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The back side of the fabric shows all of the work, but no one wants to see that. So I found this adorable fabric at Joann Fabric that I used as a back piece.

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I customized this mat for Josiah, picking places that he would recognize from his everyday life. And from what I’m told, Jo loves some pizza and ice cream.

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Since they live right on the ocean, I added a beach with the surf club my brother belongs too. For the zoo, I decided to leave the space blank since Josiah has so many small, plush animals he could place there.

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I totally took this gas station/car wash idea from Pinterst. I’m obsessed with the car wash. It’s my favorite element on the whole mat!

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Dad’s office on the left, and a school on the right.

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Their local grocery store is Carrefour. I tired to copy the store’s logo. Though looking back, I’m bet I subconsciously picked a green roof because I shop at Publix. And then with a little extra space, I placed a blue U.S. mail box!

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The train station was a must! And this too is an idea I found on Pinterest. I cut rick rack into piece for the railroad tracks, and then used felt to create an accompanying train station.

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Last time I went to visit my brother and sister-in-law, we walked into the same music shop everytime we walked by it, so it was also a must-have. Plus, I think the little guitar and bongos look super cute in the windows. The fire station was added because I think it’s pretty iconic.

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These three buildings represent Josiah’s apartment on the right. His grandparents’ house is in the middle. And I added a house I thought could represent their good friends, the Wallaces. (Plus, I wanted to use the silhouette of that archway somewhere on the mat since it ties in so closely to where Josiah is growing up.)

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Finally, I added a Medena, or a little market. Of course, this is a lot smaller than the ones Josiah goes too, but I thought it was a needed detail.

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I attached the back piece of fabric the same as if I was making a quilt. I used basting spray to attach the two pieces together, and then I used denim fabric cut into 2-inch wide strips to bind the edges.

Have an Adventure Embroidery Hoop

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I oftentimes find myself picking up a needle and thread when I have no plans after work. And like doodles on a notepad, designs begin to take shape. Many do not turn out – like a lot – but occasionally one will turn into a masterpiece. This is one of those times.

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I stuck with the fabric I love – felt – and I completely freehanded the world. Didn’t even look at a map. (I know, I’m shocked it turned out so well, too).

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With the world completely, I knew the phrase, “Let’s have an adventure” would be the perfect fit.

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Pack Yourself a [Felt] Lunch

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Just when I thought the felt pancakes and fried eggs were the cutest things I had made in awhile, I decided to make a felt lunch, complete with a sandwich with all the toppings, a bag of chips and a bright red apple.

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Thanks to Pinterest, I found the idea to make a bag of felt chips. After cutting out two ovals of yellow felt, I used my sewing machine to create ridges. I sewed rows of straight lines and then an additional line that outlined the whole thing. I also found an idea for tortilla chips, using off-white felt cut into triangles.

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The felt chip bag took less than 10 minutes to make. After cutting out two rectangles, I used my pinking scissors to create the zigzagged edge. Then taking one of the rectangles, I sewed the strip of light blue felt to the right side of the fabric. Next, I hand stitched the the yellow sun (again, cut out with my pinking scissors).  Finally, I put the right sides of the two rectangle pieces together and sewed along the edge (you don’t need a large seam allowance with felt). Flipped it right side out and voila!

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The felt apple was a little trickier. I found this tutorial online that I used as my guide. Basically, you need 6 pieces of red. (I just eye-balled the shape based on the tutorials’s template.) Putting rights sides together, I blanket-stitched the sections together. As you can see, this made it so you could see the red stitches. You can hide the stitches by using a sewing machine, but I think I prefer the exposed look.

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The felt sandwich is made up of several layers, each adding a pop of color.

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Starting with felt lettuce, I cut out a leaf-type shape out of green felt. Then, using my sewing machine, I stitch short lines to create veins.

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For the felt tomato, I used three pieces of felt: two round pieces of bright red felt with sections cut out and and one round piece of the dark red felt, sandwiched between the other two. I used white thread to stitch seeds, and then I hand stitched everything together. The felt onions were made with a piece of purple felt and a piece of white felt.

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I spent an hour or so trying to come up with the right meat. Using pink felt seemed strange, but then an epiphany hit. If I blanket stitch the edge with red thread, I can create felt bologna. (And yes, I did just sing the Oscar Myer’s song to help me remember how to spell bologna.) The felt cheese was much easier. I simply cut out a few holes to make it look more distinct.

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After making a version of the bread by blanket stitching two pieces of felt together, I decided that felt bread needed some dimension. It needed to seem more prominent than everything else. So I added some volume by creating a border of light brown felt and stuffing it with polyfill.

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I simply adore how colorful the sandwich turned out to be. Plus, when combined with the breakfast items already made, you have even more possibilities for the type of sandwich your child could create. BLT, anyone?

A [Felt] Breakfast of Champions

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When my sister-in-law told me that my 19-month-old nephew loved to “cook,” I figured I could chip in a few ingredients. And while Ikea has supplied him with my the basic fruits and vegetables, I thought I would provide a whole meal: felt fried eggs, felt bacon and a stack of felt pancakes.

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The easiest of the 3 items is the felt fried eggs because you really can’t go wrong. I used two pieces of the white felt (cut in any shape) and one circle of yellow felt for the yoke. Once I attached the yoke to one piece of the white felt, I blanket stitched the two pieces of white felt together (using two pieces hides the back stitch from the attaching the yoke and it adds some thickness).

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I created the felt bacon strips next. Again, using two pieces of brown felt to add thickness. I added the line of “fat” using light brown felt.

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For the felt pancakes, I cut two circles of light brown felt as well as “syrup” with dark brown felt and “butter” with yellow felt. I attached the “syrup” and “butter” to one of the circles, and then using a blanket stitch, I attached the second circle, leaving a small hole to stuff the pancakes with batting before sewing it closed.

I don’t know what what could be more adorable. Well, then there’s lunch…

Valentine’s Day Cards with Felt Hearts

As you very well know, I love Valentine’s Day – probably because it gives me an excuse to make heart-shaped pillows, eat lots of chocolate and send out hand-written notes. And though the pun-filled Valentines one can find at Target are adorable, I decided to make my own stationary this year with items I had around my apartment, and I was able to do it in 3 easy steps.

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Step 1: Cut hearts out of pink and red felt. (I used pinking scissors when cutting out mine, but the beauty of these notes is that you can do whatever you want.)

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Step 2: Attached the felt to the notecard using a needle and some thread. (It is remarkably easy to sew through card stock!)

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Step 3: Write a heart-felt note, like…

Dear friend,

To echo the words of Paul, “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19).

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love, Sarah

Vintage-Inspired Felt Heart Pillow

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I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Felt hearts are wonderful! And this pillow might be the cutest thing I have made in awhile. The vintage-patterned fabric (made up of tiny pink and red heart-shaped flowers) serves as the perfect compliment to a big, red heart!

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And to add an even sweeter touch, I used pink yarn to stitch a border of smaller hearts, attaching the felt to the fabric.

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I know I made these pillows in preparation for Valentine’s Day. But I’m already convinced I need these all year long. It’s currently on my Etsy shop, but if you want it, I would buy it fast. I might decided to keep it for myself.

Take Heart, I made you a pillow

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I decided to make a few heart-inspired gifts for you love bugs. But let’s face it, I don’t need a holiday to embrace my adoration for hearts. I’m probably going to use the pillow all-year-round.

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Felt is the best fabric for this type of project because it does not fray. I cut the hearts out using the method my elementary school teacher used to teach me about symmetry, and I simply used the first heart as a template for the rest.

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Once pinned in place, I used my sewing machine to stitch the hearts in place. If you have a embroidery foot for your machine, it would be great for this project. I just used the standard foot. Even though my lines are a little “zig zag,” I like the look. (It’s the imperfectness that makes you know it’s homemade.)

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I love a pillow with piping, but for this pillow, I felt like it needed a little ruffle. So after sewing the pillow together (right side together), I flipped the pillow (rights sides out) and ironed it. I then stitched a half-inch border, leaving the same size hole for stuffing the pillow. Next, I stuffed the pillow using a polyfill pillow stuffing, and used my sewing machine to close the hole of the inside border stitch. I used a blind stitch the close up the outside.

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It took me a little over an hour to put this pillow together. And now it’s on sale over at the Etsy shop.

As the [Felt] Leaves Fall

Despite the fact that it’s snowing in Ohio, it’s still autumn in this part of the world! And why not celebrate it with this easy-to-make garland of felt leaves.

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I apologize for not taking more step-by-step photography, but I kind of whipped these together while watching a movie one night. But the process is simple. Cut out two pieces of felt into a leaf-shape. Feel free to go online and find a template to help. I stitched the veins into one piece of the leaf with embroidery floss.

I put a layer of batting between the two layers of felt and used thread to blanket stitch the pieces together.

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I strung my leaves onto a garland, but you could also use them individually as gift tags or ornaments.

Don’t have time to make this yourself. Then feel free to buy this garland at my Etsy shop!

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My heart’s on a string

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If you have been reading this blog from the beginning, you’ll notice that I have made this garland before (See the first one and a Valentine’s Day version). After living in my house for several months, I just couldn’t get over how plain our mantel looked. I wanted to bring it to life, so naturally, I thought to make this.

IMG_1996I used felt, polyester fill and some embroidery floss. I cut out the hearts by hand and then sewn two pieces together, leaving a hole to stuff it with filling. Once it had some shape, I sewed the hole closed. With six hearts made, I took the embroidery floss and stringed the hearts together.

IMG_2022Once it was complete, I tied the garland to nails on our mantel. The project took me less than an hour to make. (I actually made it impulsively when a friend called one afternoon and told me she was running an hour late.)