Kanteen Carriers

On top of Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park

In honor of the boys’ first trip to Acadia National Park (only two hours away — how have we not made time for this before?!?), I made the boys and their friends carriers for their water bottles using the tutorial for an upcycled water bottle sling that Betz White created for the last issue of Petite Purls (Spring 2010).  I thankfully had quite a few outgrown pairs of cargo pants laying around here, even though I’ve given away quite a few already!  They were destined for Goodwill or a summer garage sale, but are now these super-cool drink carriers!

We have Kleen Kanteen water bottles, so I modified the pattern slightly by making it a little bit taller and cut out 10″x13″ rectangles.  The kids loved them!  My one other suggestion would be to add some sort of fleece sleeve on the strap as my younger son complained that it was digging into his neck a little bit on our longer hike on one of Acadia’s carriage trails.  I’ll probably take the time to add that before our next hike.

Hiking on carriage trails near Jordan Pond

Since you only needed a small rectangle for the lining, I was able to just use scraps that I had laying around.  I did buy the twill for the straps for a whopping $7!  And for those who are wondering, it probably only took me about 2.5 hours to make four of these, and that counts sewing on the decorative gold button that J picked out since he wanted his to be “different.”  We watched the weather, and went on the one day of April vacation that had the best weather.  We really lucked out.  Hardly anyone was there, the Park Loop Road was fully open, and the weather was gorgeous.  If you haven’t made time to visit the first national park east of the Mississippi, then you really need to find time for a Maine vacation.  Definitely a treasure!

Little Hunters Beach

Alewives Fabric Craft Swap

When we were at the Maine Quilts show in July, we stopped by the Alewives Fabric booth.  We loved their stuff!  Loved it!  Well, I went online later to check out their online store, and saw that they had a craft swap coming up in their store on a Friday night.  It looked like a good time, so my friend and I went.  It was a bit of a drive to get there, but so worth it!

The swap was tons of fun and we can’t wait until the next one in December!  It was an old-fashioned Yankee Swap, and I was excited to have possession of Rhea’s Denyse Schmidt-inspired scrappy quilt, even if it was only for a little while.

Here is what I made!  I used Skip to my Lou’s reversible tote bag tutorial to make a little linen tote.  I made the handles a bit longer to make it easier to hang over your shoulder.  I pieced the front piece with some pretty Irish linen that I had in my stash, and some purple quilting pieces, also from my stash.  Then, I used the Sketchy Stitchy Applique tutorial from Bloomin’ Workshop to make these little birds.  I love the little birds!  I used Heat and Bond Lite to attach the birds to the linen, then did the sketchy stitching using some brown thread (don’t forget stabilizer underneath!).  I think brown has a nicer effect than black thread.  Finished it off with some Kona cotton handles in Violet.

Linen bird tote for swap

Linen bird tote for swap

Sketchy Stitchy Applique birds

Sketchy Stitchy Applique birds

Of course, that wasn’t enough for me, so I also made a little stuffed birdie with a thrifted wool sweater.  I needle felted the tail, beak, belly, and the little bits of orange color on the wings.  The pattern for the bird was based off the pattern that Living Crafts magazine had in their winter issue last year (last year, I made them with regular wool felt as Peace Dove bird ornaments for Montessori teacher gifts for the holidays).  And to top it off, I threw in the brand-new (at the time) book from Amanda Blake Soule, Handmade Home.

Felted wool bird

Felted wool bird

It was a great time, and I loved making the items.  And what did I receive in the swap, you might ask?  A totally adorable bag!  I love bags.

My craft swap loot

My craft swap loot

Of course, while I was there, I couldn’t resist shopping in their lovely store.  New post for that.  I can’t wait to show you what I’m going to do with what I bought!!  I’m very excited about it.

Cashmere bunny

I made Betz White’s free pattern for a cashmere bunny last night. So-o-o-o cute! Betz wrote Warm Fuzzies which I got for Christmas and I absolutely love. Highly recommended!

I got the cashmere sweater at Goodwill for $4.99. The cashmere is a bit slippery to work with, but it turned out okay. Her pattern calls for sewing closed the opening after you turn it, and attaching a tail. Her suggestions for a tail include a yarn pompom or a wool felt ball. I decided to stuff the bunny with wool batting instead of polyfill, and then I let the batting hang out the end. Then I sewed the hole closed through the batting that was sticking out, and needle-felted the bit of wool hanging out the end into a tail. It turned out very cute! I had to go back to Goodwill today to try to find another color of a cashmere sweater so I could make another one in a different color! I might have been successful. I’m not sure if the sweater I bought is cashmere or not because the tag had been cut out. I guess we’ll see how it works out! It was pretty quick and easy to make. I’d say it took about 2 hours max. (We were having a crafty-girl night, so there was much chatter and not as much crafting!)

Stuffed penguin heating pad

My younger son likes to complain that his tummy hurts. I’m not really sure if it really does however. In any case, I had an idea to make him a rice heating pad in the shape of a stuffed animal. Then, when he does go into the tummy-hurting routine, we can warm that up, and he can have it to cuddle and will hopefully make him feel better. His favorite animal is a penguin, and I ran across a post by Allsorts of some Wee Penguins she made based on the Wee pattern by Hilary over at Wee Wonderfuls. Hmm….this looked like good inspiration!

I used the template from the Wee pattern, but enlarged it by 200%. Then, instead of making it stand on its own by using three template pieces of the body, I just used two, so it would be flat. It’s an entirely recycled penguin! Or upcycled, or whatever the go-to term for this is nowadays. I found some old fleece pants in my closet that I haven’t worn in five years. Then, the penguin tummy is just some craft felt that I had laying around. For the rice insert, I cut the sleeve off a button-down shirt that is in my scrap/rag pile because it got too raggedy for my husband to wear to work anymore. I sewed up the bottom of the sleeve, then sewed in three channels. I filled each of these channels with rice. This will help the rice so it doesn’t shift around too much. Then I sewed the bag shut.

I thought about making it so that you could take the rice bag out, but I decided that was too much of a hassle. And I was worried that the rice bag might fall out if the boys were playing with the stuffed animal. Instead, I just sewed the bottom closed. The little wings are stuffed with polyfill. I was excited to use the recycled fabric that I found in my closet, but the fleece was pita to sew with. It had some level of spandex in it or something and it was really shifty when I was sewing, even though I used a ball point needle.

It took me about 2.5 hours to make one night after the kids went to bed. It was a huge hit with my penguin loving DS!