Felt Daily Activity Schedule

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This visual activity schedule for kids was a custom order for a friend of a friend, and looking back over these images, I realize that the person who purchased this got quite the deal. (Aka I charged way too little… which is the story of my business life.)

I am beyond proud of this project. I love how it’s colorful. I love that it’s made out a felt. And I love that I took the extra time to make this banner sturdy—with the hopes that it not only survive one child but could possibly be passed down for the use of a second or a third.

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The idea was provided by the customer. Her son thrived under a routine, and she found that their days progressed better when he understood, to a point, what to expect. She provided the individual prompts—signs for lunch, playtime, bedtime, snack, etc. We made sure there were enough signs to make it through the hours of the days, plus extras… because obviously, you need some variation within the week.

She asked for the day to start at 7 and end at 7, and then I came up with the rest from there. The trick was trying to figure out how to visualize 13 hours on a banner without making it enormous. Though the problem quickly resolved itself when I realized I would need to create some sort of pocket to store the little signs. I created two columns with seven panels each.

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Before finishing the banner—using quilting techniques like binding—I attached magnet snaps to the banner along with the signs. Since felt is a soft fabric, I worried that the act of pulling the signs off the banner each day would quickly wear on the fabric, so I made sure each magnet had a backing of thick cardboard.

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I designed the banner so it could be hung on the wall and easily used by a child. Plus, I just wanted it to look good. Knowing it was for a boy, I used lots of blues and greens. But you could easily use different color palettes, like purple and blue, yellow and navy, pink and more pink!

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All of the signs were hand sewn, but I did use a sewing machine for the banner.

… Yeah, I definitely should have sold this for four times the price I charged. Oh well.

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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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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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A Black (Copy) Cat Quilt

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Over the 4th of July, my family lost our black cat, Bosley. He might have been a stubborn, little cat, but we sure did love him. Awhile ago, with the help of Pinterest, I stumbled upon mermag.blogspot.com and this fantastic pattern for a black cat quilt. This fall, I decided to make it for my mother’s birthday. I figured that a quilt would help keep her warm this winter since Bosley would not be by her side. The final result was fantastic, and thanks to Merrilee’s pattern, it was quick and easy to make!

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The black cat blocks require 6 pieces.

(Top) Large white rectangle = 9 x 3 inches, 84 pieces
(Left) Medium white rectangle = 3 x 5.25 inches, 84 pieces
(Middle) Black square = 4 x 4 inches, 42 pieces
(Right) Small white rectangle = 2 x 4 inches, 42 pieces
(Bottom) White triangle = 2 x 2 inches, 84 pieces
(Bottom) Black triangle = 2 x 2 inches, 84 pieces

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Mermag’s blog post has a wonderful step-by-step visual guide for sewing the blocks together. You start with the ears and work to create the sweet little face.

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I made 42 blocks in total, and sewed them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. The quilt was 6 blocks wide and 7 blocks tall.

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I did run out of the white fabric mid-way through. I was using scrap fabric that was this cool, stiff, linen texture, and I struggled to find a matching fabric at the store. So I bought the closest match I could find, and I purposefully spaced the blocks that used the new fabric so the change looked intentional. I think the difference is quite noticeable in the picture below, but with the finished quilt, you really only notice the change if I pointed it out.

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I wanted to keep the quite light and bright, so I selected a simple pattern for the back piece, and I binded the quilt with a  yellow cotton fabric (my mom’s favorite color).

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Excuse the wrinkles. The quilt got a little squished when I wrapped it up. But wrinkles aside, I love, love, love this pattern, and I was so happy to give this to my mother for her birthday.

Fabric “Fishing” Set for Pretend Play

Let’s talk about how cute this is for a second.

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One of my favorite memories from my childhood was going to the Fernbank Museum in Atlanta. My mom must have loved that place because it seemed like we went all the time (to my joy). Though the dinosaur in the lobby was cool, I adored this children’s exhibit dedicated to nature (I mean, it had a tree right in the middle of the room!)  And though my memories are vague in the details, I distinctly remember “fishing” in the room’s pretend pond. I could have played there all day, everyday.

This memory came to mind when I was trying to come up with a gift for my 3-year-old nephew, and it couldn’t be more perfect. He loved fishing when he was at my parents’ house earlier this year, and I can see it providing hours of endless playtime.

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Another pro: I can use scrap fabric. I made my own template by free-handing the fish shape on card stock and cutting it out. I didn’t take the time to make sure the template was perfectly symmetrical, but it all worked out in the end.

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After using the template to cut out the fabric, I sewed on two eyes, one on each piece.  Then keeping right sides together, I sewed the two pieces of fabric together with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, stopping short to leave a hole for stuffing.

IMG_0625Once complete, I flipped the fabric right-sides out, and used polyfil to stuff the fish. Now the keys to “fishing” are the magnets. I found mine at Hobby Lobby, including these magnet hooks. I added a little stuffing to the fish’s “nose” before adding the round magnet. Using the hook magnet, I made sure the right side was facing out for the two to attract. (If the magnets repel each other, just flip the round magnet to the other side.

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With the magnet in place, I finished stuffing the fish and used a whipstitch to close the hole. I then repeated this process with three more fish. I didn’t create a fishing pole. My mom is actually delivering this gift for me, and I knew a pole would not fit in her suitcase. But I found this cool idea online. But let’s face, poles can turn into swords, and all you really need is a piece of string.

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Embroidered Hand Print Pillow

This project came out of a great collaboration. A friend named Amy recently connected with me on Facebook, asking if I had any ideas for a gift I could make for her mother. She wanted the gift to somehow involve her son and niece (her mother’s two grandchildren). I spent the morning brainstorming, and after a little back and forth on Facebook, we came up with the idea of embroidering the children’s handprints on a pillow.

I am so obsessed with this finished product.

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The first step required a lot of Amy since she had to trace her son’s hands. Apparently, he kept trying to grab the paper. Her sister did the same with her daughter. The traces weren’t technically perfect, but I loved the authenticity of them. It liked that it looked like we traced their hands directly onto the fabric.

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Amy and her sister sent me pictures of the kids’  hand prints on a 8.5 x 11 pieces of paper. Knowing the size of the paper, I tried my best to print the hand prints to scale. I cut them out, and traced them onto the fabric with a yellow pen. (It probably would have been better to use a pen with disappearing ink, but I didn’t have one at the time.) I then used black thread and embroidered on top of the yellow line.

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Since their hand prints were so tiny, I embroidered a few details to help fill in the space, like their names and the year. With everything stitched, I turned the two pieces of fabric in to a pillow.

I love when a customer order turns into a collaboration like this, with both sides bringing ideas to the table. Amy’s mother loved the pillow. But who wouldn’t love such an incredibly thoughtful gift!

Lettuce Turnip the Beet

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A friend recently gave me a card beautifully illustrated with a head of lettuce. It read, “Lettuce always be friends.” I laughed at this for an embarrassing amount of time. It then led to a Google search for “vegetable puns,” and my world was opened to the plethora of puns the world has to offer!

I then made this banner. My thought is that it can help decorate my display the next time Love of Felt goes to market. Who knows, I may even put it up for sale.

Modern Plus Pattern Baby Quilt

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Dear reader, I specifically told you in my last blog post to remind me not to start a new quilt. You dropped the ball. I recently made a baby quilt. Okay, okay, so this has more to do with my lack of self control than your accountability. My little niece was born in January, and I had been itching to meet her, so to help temper my longing heart, I started cutting out squares of fabric.

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Ninety squares to be exact. For baby quilts, I base the dimensions on a standard yard of fabric – 36 x 44 inches. So I cut 5-inch squares out of two different fabrics: a navy solid and a light blue print. (Totals = 39 navy squares and 51 light blue squares)

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This quilt is a great pattern for beginners because you’re working with squares and straight lines.

After cutting the 5-inch squares, arrange the pattern on a flat surface (in my case, it’s the floor). Begin sewing the squares together a row at a time (always right sides together). I used a 0.5-inch seam allowance with the basic walking foot on my sewing machine. Then sew each row together. Stop periodically to iron the seams, and after sewing on the last row, iron the entire piece.

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It is important to take the time to iron the seams. For this quilt I used the quilting technique called “stitch-the-ditch” (I explain further down), and you need your seams to lay flat for this technique to work. Before moving on to the next step, also take the time to cut off the loose thread from the seams.

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Now that you have created the front piece of your quilt, the next step is to layer the three pieces together and start quilting. I found an adorable floral print for the back piece. It’s a standard yard (36 x 44 inches).

First, take the piece of batting and lay it on a flat surface (again, I use the floor). (I bought a crib-sized piece of polyester batting.) Take the front piece and lay it on a flat surface, with the wrong side facing up. Spray with temporary spray adhesive and let stand for a minute or two (this step is best to do outside). And then lay the front piece on top of the batting, smoothly the fabric as you lay it down. (It’s helpful to have a friend hold up one end as you smooth.) Flip the batting over and do the same with the back piece of fabric. (The back piece is a larger piece of fabric, but still make sure it lines up with the front piece. Once complete, I pin safety pins around the quilt as a precaution to keep the fabric in place.

The next step is quilting! Using the “stitch-the-ditch” quilting technique, you sew along the existing seam, creating a quilting pattern that matched the front piece. For this quilt, I sewed along the outline of each plus sign.

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Once complete, cut off all loose thread as well as any excess fabric that extends beyond the length and width of the front piece.

The final step is calling binding, the creation of the quilt’s edge. Since I had a lot of blue in a quilt made for a girl, I went with a pink binding. (I think it’s important to pick a color or fabric that helps connect the pattern and colors of the front and back pieces.) First, cut out several 2.5-inch strips, and sew them together so the fabric measure the lengths + the widths of the quilt. (I can’t remember the exact dimensions.) Iron down 0.5 inch on one side, and then pin the strip of fabric to the front side of the quilt (remember, always rights sides together).

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When you get to a corner, keep the fabric aligned with the edge, folding at the corner so the fabric overlaps (hopefully the picture can help explain). With the fabric in place, sew along the quilt’s edge with a 0.5-inch seam allowance. As you approach, stop sewing about 0.5 inch from the corner. Remove the needle from the quilt, and turn the quilt 90 degrees. Because of how you folded the fabric strip, you’ll have a excess triangle of fabric. When you put your needle back into the fabric, make sure that excess triangle is out of the way.

This process is hard to explain, but trust me, there are a ton of YouTube videos out there that are very helpful (especially for those who are visual learners like me).

With the one edge of the binding in place, I fold the fabric over the edge and whip-stitch the other side in place. (It’s a long process, but I find it easier that machine binding the whole thing!)

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Before I finished the binding, I took a moment to embroider my niece’s name. These personal touches make all the difference!

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I love the modern twist to the classic gift of a baby quilt. (And I’m a huge of the navy, blue and pink combination.) I did finally get the chance to meet my little niece, and she looks crazy cute wrapped up in this!

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Piecing Together a Dresden Plate Quilt

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It was about this time last year that I took this picture. It was in the midst of Birmingham’s Snowpocalypse 2014, and with the office closed and roads a mess, I had nothing better to do than start a quilt. Now – more than a year later – I found the motivation to pick up where I left off with the hopes of finishing my first full-size quilt before the end of March.

The pattern is called the Dresden plate. (I also heard it be called the flower or floral plate.) The idea has been floating around in my head ever since I finished my last quilt (as my Pinterest board can attest.) Finally, I bit the bullet (a year ago) and purchased the template blocks and got started.

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Piecing this pattern is a two step process that involves a lot of ironing. Step one: cut out the pieces. I used the template, a rotary cutter and mat to cut out each piece. I then took the top of each piece (where the fabric comes to a point), folded over a 1/4 inch seam allowance and pressed the seams. Step two: sew pieces together in sections. Instead of sewing the ring together piece by piece, it is much easier to work in sections: sewing pieces into pairs – stop and iron – then pairs to quarters – stop and iron – quarters to halves – stop and iron – and finally 2 halves into 1 whole circle.

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With a plate completed, the next step is to applique it to a block of fabric. For my quilt, I cut each block to measure 15 x 15 inches.

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Now some tutorials will show you how to hand-applique the plate in place, but I decided to cheat and use heat n’ bond iron-on adhesive. I cut a piece of adhesive to be smaller than the plate, leaving the outer points untouched. (A downside of using iron-on adhesive is that it will make the fabric stiffer, but I find it so helpful in keeping the fabric in place.)

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After ironing the piece of adhesive to the plate, I peeled off the back side, placed the plate in the center of the block and ironed it in place.

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Next, I cut the center circle. Instead of pressing the seams, I decided to use the heat n’ bond to avoid frayed edges. (This may back fire on my one day, but for now, it makes this step super easy.) I simply ironed the circle in place.

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Finally, I hand stitched the outer edge and center circle to help secure everything in place. (Plus, I think the stitching enhances the overall look.)

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For my quilt, I need 35 of these blocks, and I have made 10 so far. So I have quite the feat in front of me. In the meantime, feel free to visit my Patchwork Pinterest board. (And remind me I cannot start a new quilt until I finish this one!)