Turkey Buttoning Activity

Thanksgiving is a little less than 2 weeks away!  There’s still time to make this adorable turkey buttoning activity!  It’s a great activity for 2-4 year olds, and helps practice those fine motor skills in a fun way.

You can find the instructions on my blog, here.  After I made the first one for my son’s Montessori class, the other teachers saw it and wanted one too.  By the third one, I had learned a few things.  1) Use brown thread to go around the turkey body,  🙂  and 2) A zig zag stitch going around the body and feathers looked better.

Christmas is fast approaching

At least from a crafty perspective.  I can’t wait to pull out my embroidered advent calendar!  It gives me such pleasure to pull it out every year!

Embroidered felt advent calendar

It was so worth all the work! I need to fix the star on top this year though.  It’s gotten a bit floppy over the last few years of use.

Last year, I started making the “Hood tree skirt” from the 2010 Holiday issue of Fat Quarterly, but never got around to finishing it before Christmas.  Well, this weekend I pulled it out, and did all the quilting (Free-motion).  Whew!  It only took about an hour, but my arms/hands were tired!  Now, all that is left is putting on the elastic or ties, and doing the binding.  I thinking I will get it done this year!  Just need to decide on the binding.  Red or green polka dots?  Maybe.

The other project that I didn’t finish before Christmas last year were my holiday-themed place mats.  I finished those earlier this spring, so I’m looking forward to using them for the first time come December.

I like to make a handmade ornament every year to give to various peeps, family, teachers, etc.  Or just for myself.  So, need to think about what I want to make this year.  Last year I made some felt owls that I loved.  The year before I made Elsie Marley’s gingerbread man (Not my gumdrop buttons!).

I’m going to have to peruse my Winter/Christmas craftiness board on Pinterest and see what I might like to make.

The Start of Christmas Crafting

Now, what do we have here!?

I received an order from Casey’s Wood Products yesterday.  Amazing how many little wooden things they can fit into a small priority mail box.  Lots of little wooden peg people.  Most of these little ones are the “little boy” size.  I also got some of the big people size, some blocks, and some mini and small clothespins.  I have Christmas present crafting plans!!

The boys got right to work however with my stash this morning before school crafting together a ninja army.

And a ninja flying army.

I don’t have any plans for the big people.  They are just good to have around and I was placing an order anyway.  Likewise on the clothespins, but I’d like to try painting them for some art wire displays.  Now the little boy people were my main motivation for the order.  That I have to keep a secret for the time being, but no worries, I’ll be sharing if it all works out!

Do you need any creative inspiration for your Christmas crafting projects?  Sometimes I think that I have too much inspiration!  Seriously though, I highly recommend Pinterest if you are a visual person (or even if you think you aren’t!).  I was just scrolling through it to find something that I had pinned on my Crafty Ideas board, and I was once again blown away by all the ideas swirling about my head when I saw all those lovely pictures!

And just for fun….the puppy wants to say Hi.  Is he still a puppy when he’s three?  He still acts like one.  Unlike our “old-man dog” who tore his ACL six weeks ago, poor guy.  Trying to keep up with the puppy!

Happy Fall!

Yes, it’s fall in Maine!  Look at that beautiful color in my backyard.  I especially love that dead tree sticking up above it all.  It’s a favorite place for the crows to hang out, and I have even seen a juvenile bald eagle there once!  It has been busy this fall with the normal start of the school routine, and of course fall sports for the boys.  K started travel soccer this fall and it has kept us busy.  He’s having an awesome time and has improved a lot with the higher caliber of play and coaching.

The girls are doing wonderfully.  We have 1 barred rock and 5 golden comets.  They have been pretty consistently giving us 4-6 eggs per day.  I need to discover some new frittata recipes or something!  Too….many….eggs.  My friends are going to begin to be the lucky recipients of fresh eggs.  K loves hard boiled eggs, but I’ve discovered that you can’t hard-boil the fresh eggs.  Well, I knew that to be true, but I have also proven it several times.  Last time I hard-boiled some, I let them sit for about 10 days before boiling them.  That still wasn’t quite long enough.  The shells are really difficult to remove and you get a mangled egg.  I’m going to try 2 weeks next time.

I made a great kim chi fried rice with fried eggs on top last night for dinner.  I’ll share the recipe this weekend.  The kids don’t like fried rice, but Hubby and I loved it!

My annual Halloween display needs some new additions this year.  J wants to make more ghosts.  I’m not sure what to make though.  Hmm….maybe a floss wrapped bendy doll in the shape of a skeleton?  That might be fun.  Some mini hay bales?  Or maybe these hay bundles?

Of course, the month is getting away from me.  So we’ll see if I end up with time to make anything.  I have a project to make for a fundraiser auction for J’s old school, and of course I haven’t even started on Halloween costumes yet!!  K wants to be a red ninja, and J wants to be Yoshi from Super Mario Bros.  Ninja is not so hard.  Yoshi…..hmm…..more difficult.  I’m thinking this dinosaur tail, plus a hooded fleece cape with some spines down the back.  That’s my project for this weekend.

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything but how super-cool are these mushrooms growing up a tree in the woods behind our house??

Holiday Place Mats

Well, I started these sometime in early December, but got side-tracked by Christmas and was not able to finish them before the holidays.  I am trying to finish up my works-in-progress from last year before I get too engrossed in new things.  (Hard to do with my short crafting-attention span.)  One down!  37 to go!  No, just kidding, what I would like to finish before moving on to other things are my Amy Butler Daisy Chain quilt for our bedroom, the house appliqued tree skirt (from Fat Quarterly’s Holiday edition) which is sitting on my ironing board and ready to be quilted, the knit Nature Walk pants from the Liesl Gibson workshop last November (1 of 4 pairs completed), and the Doodle Stitch-Along stitching and quilt (2 of 4 blocks complete).

For these place mats, I just cut out the various shapes, stitched them together.  I didn’t bind them traditionally, instead just put down the batting rectangle, then the backing right side up, then the top right side down.  Stitch around, leaving about 4 inches to turn it.  Turn, poke out the corners with a chop stick.  Press well.  Stitched along the bottom rectangle, close to the seam on each side (2 rows of stitching).  Then the same along the seam between the two top rectangles.  Then, top-stitch all the way around the outside, closing up the open hole from turning it as you go.  Easy-peasy!  And now to put these away until next December when I will seeing my new place mats!

Up close picture of my basic quilting

In the meantime, of course since I can’t resist, I have started/completed a few other projects.  I made two Kidlet wall pockets from JCasa’s free pattern using some burlap with the Echino bicycle fabric.  For my friend who loves her bike!  The inside is lined with some Kona cotton in a teal color.  Super cute!


And made an absolutely lovely visit to Halcyon Yarn in Bath, Maine (AMAZING place!) and picked up some gorgeous yarn to make their Family Favorite hats for the boys.  My first knitting project!  We’ll see how it goes.  I’m on row 5 and doing alright so far.

And that’s not even everything!  I had better get my little crafting fingers working!

Christmas Project Status and Open House over at Alewives

Okay, not a lot of posting going on because I’ve been busy getting ready of Christmas of course!  So, here’s what I’ve been up to, and some little information about a cool little Virtual Open House at my favorite fabric store.

Alewives Fabrics is located in Damariscotta Mills which is in mid-coast Maine.  If you are ever here in Maine (or you are you lucky enough to live here), then make the trip!  It is the best fabric store that I’ve ever visited.  Seriously.  My husband is lucky that it’s an hour away otherwise I’d have spent enough to send Rhea (@AlewivesGirl on Twitter, co-owner with her mom in the store) on a trip to Aruba.  Rhea is having a Virtual Open House today on her blog.  Just visit the blog, leave a comment, and she’s giving away some fab prizes.  And in the meantime, while you wait to see if you’ve won, check out her online store.

When I was there last time (at the Liesl Gibson sewing with knits class), I bought some awesome fat quarters of the new Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush in velveteen.  Oooh!  It’s awesome.  I think I’m going to make some pillows from it.  And Rhea has a great eye for combining fabrics and her 20 fat quarter sets are fab.  I got a cotton set of Innocent Crush of that too.  Not sure what I’m going to do with that.  Hmm…I need to finish my Turning Twenty quilt with Amy Butler Daisy Chain, and then maybe I’ll make another one!

So in Christmas crafting news:

1) Still working on the Hood Tree Skirt.  I ran into a snag.  The front is 42″ round, so they say to use a 44″ square piece for the back.  Well, yes, you’d think that would be easy right?  Fabric is about 44-45″ wide.  Well, not when you’ve pre-washed it.  So, all my Christmas fabrics are only about 42″ wide and won’t work as the backing to compensate for any shifting that might occur as I quilt it.  And it needs to be big enough because the little houses applique go straight to the edge.  Can’t cut any of those off!  So, I need to piece the back.  Sigh.

2) I did succumb to a little “me” shopping at Sew Fresh Fabrics on Etsy.  They had some of comfortstitching’s new Sherbet Pips by Moda in stock! So, I got a charm pack!  So excited.  It’s not coming out until April otherwise. You can see the style in the Little Girl on  a Tree Swing mini quilt that I did a few months ago.  I can’t wait to make some stuff for the guest room with that fabric!  Sew Fresh Fabrics is great!  I also bought some Kona cottons and they mark all the pieces with little stickers with the color name.  So useful!

3) I am making some of these cute little owl ornaments.

4) And I have plans for these little house ornaments, a freebie project from the new book Scandinavian Stitches.

5) Hubby and I are going to use his woodworking skilz to make the boys Harry Potter-esque style magic wands!  We need to work on those.  Maybe tonight.

6) I’m making some more kid-drawing placemats for my mother in law.  Finally got the kids to sit down and make some special drawings, and I’m currently cleaning them up in Paint Shop. Then I will print on that inkjet fabric paper and make into placemats.  The problem is that last year’s placemats have not washed very well.  That inkjet printer fabric seems to hold onto stains.  I’m going to try to Scotchgard them this year and see how that works out. I don’t think I ever shared pictures last year??  I meant to do a tutorial for it but got side-tracked by the fact that they weren’t washing well and didn’t really want to recommend it until I figured out that problem.

7) Christmas Eve pajamas.  I make the boys pajamas every year that I give to them on Christmas Eve.  Haven’t started this year’s yet!  I’d better get cracking!  I have some quilt flannel with cartoon soccer players on it that I might use.  Or I have some baseball fleece.  Hmm…

‘The Hood’ Tree Skirt

Here is my start to ‘The Hood’ Tree Skirt in the 2010 Holiday edition of Fat Quarterly.

Applique houses

I am hoping to get them ironed onto the white background today.  I’ve been meaning to do it for the last two nights, but just haven’t felt up to it after the kids go to bed.  Last night, I spent that time making homemade chicken stock instead.  I’m going to make Greek lemon and rice soup later this week.  YUM!

And here is my favorite Christmas ornament that I made on my tree.  We decorated the tree on Saturday, and I have so much fun pulling out all the ornaments.  It’s a half-eaten gingerbread boy made out of felt and hand-stitched.  Pattern is from Elsie Marley’s blog.  They are quick to make.  Make one for yourself or a friend this year!

Busy with Christmas

Are we all busy with Christmas?  Usually I spend quite a bit of time in December crafting presents.  I decided to cut back this year in that department, and I’m still spending time crafting, but I’m focusing on some things for the home this year.  I love to have handmade things around the house, and the holidays are a wonderful time for inspiration.

Right now I’m focused on a quilted tree skirt.  The pattern is from the holiday issue of Fat Quarterly, which is a nifty little e-zine that is quite cool.  It has little appliqued houses going around the outside of the tree skirt circle.  Cute!  I need to take some pictures.  We got our tree yesterday from a tree farm in the next town, and it looks awesome with all of our ornaments from the last ten years of marriage and children.  Amazing how much you can accumulate in ten years.  Off to do some applique ironing before it gets too late….what are YOU working on??


It was a frosty morning today.  Low of 25 degrees last night, and I had to bundle up in my winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves when I walked the dogs this morning.  Time to put away the Halloween decorations and start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas!  I’ve actually been thinking about Christmas for quite awhile, but I’ve mostly been doing thinking and not a lot of doing.  Time to put things into gear!  In the meantime, I need to put the garden and yard to bed, and plant some bulbs before the ground gets too hard.

I dug up my carrot crop the other day.  I planted my seeds about 3-4 weeks too late, so they are all very tiny.  But, they are so sweet and yummy.  I roasted a bunch for dinner the other night, and will probably do it again tomorrow.  I’m definitely making sure that I plant them on time next year.  Hubby built a special deep square foot box for them (4′ x 4′) which is what put us behind this year.  No excuses next year!

And before I start talking about Christmas….if you missed it last year, this Montessori practical life buttoning felt turkey was a huge hit with all the kids in my son’s Montessori school (age 3-6 classes) last year.  Think about making one for your own little one!  It was really quite easy.

When I made the second and third ones, I switched to a zig zag stitch as I went around the outside of the turkey body and the feathers, and it looked a lot better.  The face is hand-embroidered.

Also, if you are really thinking ahead, I thought I would share my wool felt advent calendar that I made two years ago.  I just *love* it!  It was so worth all the time that it took to make each individual pocket.  If you start now, you can still be done by December 1st!

The chickadee pocket is one of my favorites.

Plants vs. Zombies Halloween costumes

We are going with a Plants vs. Zombies theme this year.  For anyone who hasn’t played this highly-addictive and simple game yet, you must try it!  The boys love it.  So, they decided to be Plants vs. Zombies this year.

K is going to be a zombie.  He initially wanted to be the “football zombie” but I was hesitant about the helmet/pads thing and where to get those items, so I convinced him to be just a regular zombie.  For some reason, the zombies look like business executives.  So I bought him a brown corduroy blazer from Gymboree on clearance, and a red tie (that I figure we can re-use for some event at some point in time).  Now, he needs the white shirt and pants.  Hmm…I’m still working on those, but I saw this great idea over on Betz White’s blog for putting “zombie skin” underneath the torn pants.  So, I’m going to try something out with that.

J decided to be a peashooter.  Initially, he wanted to be a hypno-shroom, but I thought that might give the wrong impression (lol) and the idea of making a mushroom costume seemed a bit daunting.  Of course, a peashooter costume wasn’t probably much better.  It actually came together rather well.  First, we made a hood out of dark green fleece from a random Halloween pattern that was supposed to be for an animal jumpsuit with a hood and collar.

Now onto the peashooter part.  Here is the foam model that I used to glue the green fleece to make the head.  It’s a foam craft ball plus an egg-shaped one that I picked up at Michael’s and then trimmed off some sides, and glued together with tacky glue.  Thanks to my friend Katie for suggesting foam and glue!  I had visions of elaborate plushie designs at first.

I glued the fleece onto the egg-shape first going around.  Then, I glued the overlap onto the front piece, and then covered that up with a black circle of felt.  Then I made this random curved shape that I put around the top portion, and glued it around the top edges, but then hand-sewed it down onto the hood.  I couldn’t use the machine because the big foam under-structure was in the way.

I also added velcro to the chin portion of the hood and collar so that it would close tightly around their heads and keep the peashooter from being wobbly.

I added some leaves to the hood collar.  The leaves have a pipe cleaner through the middle to give them some sturdiness, and to help them bend.  It’s just two layers of fleece, with the pipe cleaner up the middle vein, sewed down on each side of the pipe cleaner, then sewn around the outside, and some random sewing through the middle to look like veins.  Then I just tacked them down onto the hood with a lot of zig-zag stitches.

Before adding the eyes

Then, added eyes and a little leaf on the back of the head.  Eyes are just black and white felt that I glued on.  Leaf on the back was just sewn, right-sides together on three sides, turned back inside-out, and stuffed with polyfill.  Sewed up the bottom, and hand-sewn onto the back of the hood.

Then, I made a brown poncho using this tutorial to be the “flower pot”.  Hooray!  It turned out so cute.  We also bought some green foam small balls (a bag of six) just for throwing around and pretending to be peas.

I’ll share the zombie costume later this week when it comes together.