Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Have a whale of a time making this felt whale!

whale Have a whale of a time making this felt whale!

This felt whale is easy to make and very cute to boot.

I’ve been playing around with making my own stuffed creatures from wool felt and my own patterns. So far I have made an elephant, some hot air balloons, a  helicopter and now a whale.

This little guy is made in blue felt but he could be any color. I filled him with some pony beads to make him more stable but next time I’d add a sealed bag of sand instead – I’m becoming a fan of sand in the base of these pieces as it weighs quite heavy, you can sew it into a little pouch to use really easily and it’s natural!

The pattern is free – from me – and you can download it here.

You will need:

blue wool felt (body, back and flippers)

white wool felt (belly and eyes)

pink wool felt (mouth)

black wool felt (pupils)


needle and thread

sand or something to weigh it down with

Cut two body pieces and a long strip which goes from the head across to the tail – all in one color is good. Also cut four flippers from this color.  Cut a belly piece and eyeballs from white, and pupils and mouth. Please, do yourself a favor and use wool felt because it really is far superior to the other stuff. Wool felt stands up better to being stitched close to the edge and it really feels much nicer to work with.

Sew eyeballs and pupils in place on the face.

Sew the mouth to the body both sides then add the belly piece and stuff it with fiber fill as you go. Add a pouch of sand or something to weigh him down and continue to sew him up inserting the belly and long back strip between each side as you go.

When he is all sewn up sew the flippers together in pairs and stuff as you go. Sew to the body in a position they can help support him and you’re done. He would look great in a mobile for a kids room or he’s happy to sit on your desk to keep you company too.



Monday, December 24th, 2012

Painting Water colors on the iPad in ArtRage – Lavender in a pot

ipad artrage lavendar watercolor final Painting Water colors on the iPad in ArtRage   Lavender in a pot

I painted this image in Art Rage on the iPad.

One cool feature of Art Rage is the ability to paint water painting style strokes. To do this, you’ll select the watercolor brush which is the one that has the pointed tip.

From the options for the brush you can select an option such as Just a Spot, Delicate on Dry, Dried Strokes or Low Blending. Any of these will give you interesting results as the paint then interacts with the paper and other paint on the canvas.

ipad artrage lavendar watercolor brushes Painting Water colors on the iPad in ArtRage   Lavender in a pot

Then select the brush size and a color and start painting on the image. Here I used the watercolor brush and some pencil lines drawn with the pencil tool.

The finished result is a watercolor style image. However I ran into some problems with this image because I didn’t leave enough room at the top of the canvas for the image to “breathe”.

Although you can’t see it in the final image this is what the image looked like on the iPad.

artrage lavendar watercolor original e1349908373187 Painting Water colors on the iPad in ArtRage   Lavender in a pot

Over at my Photoshop blog there’s a solution to this using Photoshop and the new Content Aware Fill tool to create some empty canvas to fill the missing area.

Here’s the link to that post.

In future I’ll be a little more careful about planning ahead, but there’s always Photoshop if disaster strikes.

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Recycled Christmas, Hanukkah and Birthday Wrapping paper


christmas wrap recycled packing paper Recycled Christmas, Hanukkah and Birthday Wrapping paper

Recently a lot of companies – I think Amazon included – are using scrunched up brown paper as a packing material. It comes perforated and it is about 15 inches wide and each ‘piece’ is 8.5 inches deep. I’ve been saving it up because it is nice clean brown paper and it flattens and folds up pretty neatly.

I put mine in a stack under some  heavy books so it flattens out nicely.

With all the paper I had mounted up I was thinking about what to actually do with it. Then Hanukkah came around – at Hanukkah you give  8 small presents so it can chew up a lot of paper – and I had a lot of paper!

Shortly before Hanukkah I was shopping at our local supermarket and they had foam stamps in Hanukkah shapes – a menorah, star and so on. The light bulb went off. I bought the stamps – they were about $4 and dug out my Ranger Adirondack Denim ink pad – it’s a great blue ink – and Hanukkah colors are blue and white so everything was ready.

Now you could iron your paper if you want to but I left it as I had it stored. I smooth and flatten it and fold it up so it is still a bit scrunched but it looks cute.  I lined up the paper on  my desk and got to work. All it needed was some stamped images – I did 8 images per panel and did a whole bundle in around 5 minutes. The ink dries pretty much as you work so I just folded the paper up concertina style as I had finished each set of panels.

The paper holds up well for wrapping. The perforations don’t tear open if you’re careful – and because it is perforated you don’t really need scissors except for small gifts. Because it is kraft paper you could finish by using string around the parcels for a cute look. It’s simple, effective, inexpensive and a great recycling project.

I am already making paper for Christmas – this time I’m making stamps using some foam sheets I have  and for birthdays – think cupcakes, streamers, balloons – it’s too easy!


Monday, December 17th, 2012

Drawing in Sketch Club on the iPad – cute owl drawing

owl Drawing in Sketch Club on the iPad   cute owl drawing

One of my favorite applications to use to draw images on the iPad is Sketch Club.

One of the cool things about Sketch Club is that it has layers and blend modes and a mix of brushes. Some work a little bit more like procedural drawing brushes such as its fur brush and it has a Smudge brush too.


sketch club brushes 1 Drawing in Sketch Club on the iPad   cute owl drawing


Here I created this owl image basically using the brush tool with a range of the different brush types used at different sizes and opacities.


sketch club brushes 2 Drawing in Sketch Club on the iPad   cute owl drawing


I used a mix of colors with low opacity brushes to get a somewhat Seurat impressionist image. That way the dot and texture brushes do most of the work for you.

The eyes and marks on the owl’s chest were also done with brushes this time with a medium size, light opacity angled brush – I used a reduced opacity so that some of the underlying texture would come through.

Over the top of everything I added some very low opacity brush strokes in contrasting colors to give the image some texture.

Of all the apps on my iPad, Sketch Club is one of those that I keep coming back to. It’s just extremely smart, extremely easy to use and flexible. I don’t like spending hours selecting colors and brushes when I really just want to get to work. Other applications have more sophisticated brush options but Sketch Club is a good tool for getting down to painting without a lot of fuss.


Friday, December 14th, 2012

Recycled MiO container – Mini Felt House

felt embroidered house mushroom opener Recycled MiO container   Mini Felt House

Have fun tuning a recycled MiO container into a super cute felt house.

With this project I finally nailed the recycled MiO container felt house. Yeah!

Inside this felt house is a MiO container filled with sand to weight it very nicely.

This one took a bit of time to make –  I pulled the roof off a  few times and continued to rework the shape until I got what I  wanted. What I wanted was to  give the impression that an inverted flower cap or something similar was the roof of the house.

To make this you can download the free pattern here.

MiniMiaHouse1 Recycled MiO container   Mini Felt House

You will need colored felt for the house. I used grey, dark crimson, a cream for the house and little bits for the decorative elements. You should always use wool felt or a blend that includes wool as this stands up to a lot more punishment than the fake/polyester stuff.

Cut your house shape from one color felt – use this for the back, front, sides and base of the house. Cut out a door, windows, hearts for the flowers and the roof pieces. You’ll probably want the underside of the roof to be a different color than the roof itself – I used a dark crimson.

felt embroidered house mushroom 3 Recycled MiO container   Mini Felt House

Start by sewing on the  windows and door of the house. Sew a French knot for the doorknob and then embroider the flowers on the rear of the house using mini hearts as flowers and adding beads if desired.

The stems of the flowers are a backstitch and detached lazy daisy stitch.

Once you’ve got the front and back of the house embroidered and finished sew up the house around the MiO container. You can add some stuffing front and back so that the house becomes slightly rounded rather than the exact shape of the MiO container, if desired.

felt embroidered house mushroom rear Recycled MiO container   Mini Felt House

Sew the pieces for the roof together. The roof is four pieces with a twisted top shape. Then sew up the piece for the underside of the roof. I made mine from multiple small pieces of felt sewed together with blanket stitch to give a ribbed effect but you can do it any way you like. I’ve given you the pattern for the basic shape for the underneath of the roof – how you prep the fabric before cutting is up to you.

Sew the underneath of the roof to the top of the roof and then stuff the roof and make sure to stuff  in under the area that’s going to be attached to the house. At this point I suggest that you pin the roof to the house to make sure that you’ve got enough stuffing so it sits above the house and so you to see as much of the underneath of  the roof as you want to.

Then finish off with a small neat stitches to stitch the roof to the house.

I was really pleased with this house and the stability that a MiO container filled with sand gives to it. It’s also a cool way to recycle MiO containers because they’re just such a cute shape – just crying out for some mini felt house goodness!





Monday, December 10th, 2012

Mini felt house – recycled MiO container with embroidery


mini felt house with pattern opener Mini felt house   recycled MiO container with embroidery

Turn felt into a cute house and recycle MiO containers at the same time!

This step-by-step tutorial with a downloadable pattern shows you how to make a felt house complete with chimney and chimney stack and embroidered flowers.

I have been playing with felt houses a lot lately and this mini house was designed initially to be based on a MiO container.

Unfortunately I learned a lesson about sizing  patterns with this project and my pattern was too small so this is a standalone project. It’s weighted down with a small sealed bag of sand and stuffed with fiberfill.

felt house via container model 2 Mini felt house   recycled MiO container with embroidery

The basics of the project that you’ll need are a pattern which I’ve created that you can download here free of charge. You’ll need some white or light colored felt, some dark gray, red felt, blue and crimson. You’ll also need some embroidery thread.


felt house via container model 1 Mini felt house   recycled MiO container with embroidery

At this point I was using regular six strand embroidery thread although I now prefer to use DMC size five embroidery thread if you can get it.

Either way basically anything will do for the project. Start by cutting out the pieces. I recommend that you use wool felt as it holds up just so much better than the other kind.

felt house via container model 3 Mini felt house   recycled MiO container with embroidery

Cut a front and back in your basic house color felt and cut one wrap piece and the  base.

Cut a front door, heart and chimney pot from the crimson felt, some mini hearts from red felt and four windows from the blue felt.

Then go ahead and cut the dark gray felt for the roof.

mini felt house patter Mini felt house   recycled MiO container with embroidery

Sew the door and two windows onto one of the pieces of house felt and add a doorknob with a French knot.

On the second piece which will be the back of the house sew on two windows and then embroider some small plants using the hearts as flowers. I added a couple of small beads to each of my flowers and the embroidery was done in backstitch with lazy daisy leaves.

When you’ve got the house shape done sew up the sides and base, add a bit of weight to the base of the house and then begin to stuff it with fiberfill.

Now get to work on the roof. The roof is four pieces of gray felt sewed together with the chimney attached last of all. Add the heart to the front of the roof before you attach the roof to the house.

mini felt house with pattern opener Mini felt house   recycled MiO container with embroidery

Before attaching the roof to the house make sure that you finish stuffing the house and the roof because that’s the last time that you’ll get to add stuffing to the project.

Sew the two pieces of the chimney together, stuffing them as you go and add a small semi-circle chimney stack in crimson. This is the first of a series of houses.

You can make more using this pattern or branch out and use your own.

You can also look out for an upcoming blog when I finally get to make a pattern large enough to make a MiO container house.


mini felt house with pattern rear Mini felt house   recycled MiO container with embroidery






Friday, December 7th, 2012

Felt circle embroidery #17 – Colorful Running Stitches

embroidery on felt stitches wool DMC 17 Felt circle embroidery #17   Colorful Running Stitches

This piece in tan, sand, purple and red really was fun to do and I did quite a lot of experimenting with stitches here including a multicolored one.

Row 1: Coral stitch – this is a pretty simple stitch to do and the knots are pretty easy – as with anything in a contrasting color you need to get it spaced right or it is pretty obvious you didn’t!

The bead is held on by a series of long stitches and they are enhanced with a few rounds of weaving around the stitches.

Row 2 – Chevron Stitch – not to be confused with Herringbone Stitch, this one has bars top and bottom and the angled pieces come from these. It is a cute stitch and works pretty well around the circle here.

Row 3 – At the very edge is a row of Pekinese stitch which is basically a row of running stitch with a contrasting color of thread looped through it. Here is it a bit lost because of the colors I used but it is a nice stitch.

Between the rows 2 & 3 are lines of running stitch two of which are laced with a contrasting color thread.

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Felt circle embroidery #16 – Somber with a flash of color

embroidery on felt stitches wool DMC 16 Felt circle embroidery #16   Somber with a flash of color


I love this circle – it is a bit understated and conservative with a touch of color!

The colors  are dark and light grey, grey green and a crimson – but it isn’t those colors you see at first glance, instead it is the pink/red thread in this project really makes it. The stitches were a bit of an experiment – some old favorites and some new ones too. I love this piece it feels warm and tactile and the dark gray felt is one of those that has some wool in it that didn’t dye properly so it’s sort of mottled to boot.

Row 1 – Closed Blanket Stitch – I am just realizing how often I use this stitch – I didn’t think I did but I do use it. I like the triangle appearance of the stitches.

The bead is attached by long stitches ending in French Knots.

Row 2 – Open Cretan Stitch – This is the pink row and the alternating character of this stitch makes it look very attractive and it looks like it covers a lot more area visually than it really does.

Row 3: Basque Stitch (aka Twisted Daisy Border Stitch) – this twisty sort of blanket stitch variation is cute and I think I should use it more than I do. It’s pretty easy to do once you get the flow of doing it and the twists look great.

Between rows 2 & 3 are Buttonhole Wheels – basically a form of blanket stitch done in a wheel shape around a central spot.

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Burlap Christmas Gift Tags

embroider burlap cross stitch christmas tags 1 Burlap Christmas Gift Tags

Make these cute burlap tags to gift your handmade Christmas gifts

Around our neck of the woods, handmade is all in for this season. In the spirit of making handmade items and hand baked goods this holiday season I’ve been making tags by hand too. I lucked on a heap of burlap ribbon at Cost Plus. Some of it is seamed on the side with green or red and some – that I haven’t used yet – is made with burlap on one weave and a plastic on the other – all in all very cool stuff and it comes in 5 yard lengths so you get a lot of tags for that!

Burlap is great for embroidery because you can do cross stitch on it. So I hunted down a cross stitch alphabet, adapted it to my burlap so the letters would be tall and thinner rather than short and squat and got to work. So far Anna, Leah, Judy and Pua are in line for tags!

I added a small cross stitched element to each tag – some are getting trees, some reindeers and some holly.

embroider burlap cross stitch christmas tags 2 Burlap Christmas Gift Tags

Then I hunted out some things to fix them with. I found some old Making Memories Christmas ribbon and some soft red fiber. I also found some soft string that works too.

embroider burlap cross stitch christmas tags 3 Burlap Christmas Gift Tags

The tops of the tags are folded and fixed to a point with large eyelets – the type you get in the sewing aisle not the scrapbooking one. I made the holes for them and fixed them in place with my Crop-o-Dile – gotta love that tool it makes holes in just about anything and you can set really big eyelets without having to hammer anything.


embroider burlap cross stitch christmas tags 34 Burlap Christmas Gift Tags

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Free Downoad – Christmas Printables

christmas printables craftinggoodnessdotcom Free Downoad   Christmas Printables

Santa’s Elves have been busy creating these free printable Christmas tags

At we’ve been busy getting ready for Christmas in so many ways and one of them is drawing some tags for you.

These fun tags come as a pdf file in black, red and green. Simply download the file, open it, print the page or pages of your choice and then cut the tags for your presents. You can print onto heavy cardstock or onto paper with sticky back so you can trim and stick – it’s up to you…

Wishing  you all the very best for the season from us all!

Download your tags here.