Felt Animal Masks for Kids

Lately, I have a new obsession with felt masks for kids. It all started when a friend asked me if I could help her with her baby’s Halloween costume. She was dressing her baby as a bald eagle. (Get it? Because she’s bald.) I helped by creating a mask out of felt that the baby would wear more like a headband. I don’t want to post a picture of my friend’s baby without her permission, so you’ll just have to trust me, it was adorable!

And as things can go for me, I quickly became obsessed with the idea of creating felt masks for kids, and the Internet has so many ideas to share with me!

My niece and nephew live abroad, and typically when I want to buy them presents, I shop through Amazon because, at the end of the day, the shipping is cheaper. But I think what spurred my obsession was the thought: Felt masks are going weigh nothing! They are going to be so cheap to ship overseas!

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So one Saturday, I sat down and created six felt masks—three for both my niece and nephew. For the most part, I found some sort of inspiration online and then freehanded the whole thing. The blue bird was my most abstract mask, but it turned out to be my favorite.

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Sure enough, once wrapped and packages in a mail bag, the total weight was less than a pound. It was the cheapest present I’ve ever sent to Europe. My intention was to send them as Christmas presents, but one day in mid-December, I got a text from my sister-in-law with a few pictures and the caption, “I’m so sorry, but we just couldn’t wait!”

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I may just have a new business venture in the making!

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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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.

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.

A little freehand stitching

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One night, I decided to do a little freehand stitching, not really knowing what I wanted the final piece to be. I started by creating the bowl, and then the different succulents started to take shape. Sewing can have a lot of rules, and I love – from time to time – to take a break from straight lines and even stitches to do something more spontaneous. The final product was the perfect addition to a care package a sent to a dear friend.

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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