22 June 2012

Tabatha Toadstool Tutorial



Making Miss Tabatha Toadstool is the perfect project for an afternoon on the front porch, sipping homemade limeade, and enjoying the start of summer.



Start by gathering your supplies:
  • 1 5/8” peg people
  • acorn caps
  • red, white, and green paint, and whatever color you choose for hair, eyes, and mouth
  • wood glue
  • red and white felt
  • red and white thread 


Cut a circle to use as a template for the cap. Mine is 1 7/8” in diameter. Make a slit to the center and cut out a smaller circle, just big enough to fit around the neck.



Paint your acorn caps red and add white dots. Let dry.
Paint the hair and faces of your peg people. Let dry.
Paint the bodies white and add a little bit of grass at the bottom. Let dry.
Glue the acorn caps to the peg people. Let dry.



While all that drying is going on, cut two circles out of your felt, one in each color. With white thread, randomly embroider French knots on the red felt.



Pin the two pieces of felt to each other and, starting on the inside, use a blanket stitch to sew the two together.



Skip to the outside of the cap, hiding your thread between the layers of felt.



Sew all the way around. Do NOT tie off your thread.



Fit the cap around the peg person’s neck.



Use a whip stitch to sew only the red felt together. Tie your thread off with a small knot and hide the tail between the red and white felt.



Turn your peg person over and repeat with white thread on the bottom. Tie off with a small knot and hide your thread between the layers of felt.



And that’s it! You’re all done. Admire and enjoy Miss Tabatha Toadstool and her friends.


20 June 2012

Tabatha Toadstool


I have had a passion for toadstools all my life. I cannot see one without taking its picture. The very first baby gift I ever made was a toadstool, my Etsy listings are mostly toadstools (of sorts), I used to have toadstool tree stumps around our fire pit, and the only piece of yard art I still own is a metal toadstool.

Felt toadstools in all sizes and shapes dominate my craft room. The only thing missing was toadstool people. Until today. Look who I found, hiding between the irises that never bloomed? It's Tabatha Toadstool and her friends.


They are made of a painted wooden pegs, acorn caps, and felt. I painted faces for a change, if you can call those three little dots that. It just seemed right after I painted on the hair. And Lola really likes it when I give the peg dolls a face. Why Tabatha? Why not? It just rolls off the tongue in such a pleasant way.




25 May 2012

Rooftop Construction

Let's talk rooftops. I have come up with a solution for my paper-mache gnome homes. Not that there are any paper-mache boxes out there yet, but it is always good to be prepared. They work well for the wooden boxes, too.

  
The rooftops are made of six felt panels, sewn together, stuffed with fiberfill and glued onto the lid of the box.The first one I made in this way was red and green. Very cute, but a little dark for the present season. I'll save that one for later in the year. Instead I experimented with ton-sur-ton.



Yesterday however, I was playing around with big gnomes, when all of a sudden I saw how beautifully the bright pink and bright green felt fit together. Watermelon colors, a taste of summer. And my daughter has requested a rainbow roof. I see more construction in my future.

I think I am slowly coming into my own and I like it. I never expected to be an architect and designer to gnomes but it suits me. Tell me, has your creative path every surprised you?




I am sharing my gnome village at Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday and The Magic Onions' Friday's Nature Table.

04 May 2012

Building Fairy Houses And Gnome Homes

Ever since I made my first fairy abode of an apple tree branch, I have been playing around with other possible fairy houses and gnome homes. After all, I do not have that much apple wood and they are quite costly to ship.

One idea was to make a tiny home out of a round paper-mache box. When not being played with, the fairies, gnomes, and acorn folk could be carried around inside the box, making it a lovely toy to bring along for travel. I found the perfect boxes online and enthusiastically started sewing rooftops out of felt.

Unfortunately there is a problem with my supplier's supplier. I have a feeling it's a nationwide hick-up, like the scarcity of Green Bay Packers fleece last year, because the paper-mache shelves of every craft store I recently visited were disturbingly empty save for the two boxes I found hiding way in the back on the bottom shelf at Hobby Lobby.

On to Plan B. Wooden trinket boxes also make lovely houses. In fact, they are even better suited for my creation because they open much easier than the paper-mache boxes I have come to find out. Which means there will be far less pulling on the felt roof and it will hopefully not come off too quickly.

While I was painting my two housing options, trying to decide which one I liked best and how to fix the roof problem of the paper-mache box, Lola joined in and made a fairy house of her own out of an upturned paper basket from the butcher. She painted the roof, windows, a grass border, and flowering trees next to the front door. All by herself. All I did was make the door.

Lola's wonderful paper basket creation

The wooden house with the flat roof

The paper-mache abode. Its roof is a work in progress.
Tell me, if you will, which one do you like best?

We are sharing our creations on Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions and on Sharing Saturday at Crafty Moms Share.


30 April 2012

If They Had Legs...

They could dance the Can-Can!  But alas, these little Dutch girls have no limbs, or even faces for that matter. I know they are happy though, underneath their little orange acorn caps.

This one is for the folks back in Holland, celebrating the queen's birthday.

Happy Queen's Day!











28 April 2012

Learning To Sew

A thrifted embroidery hoop, a piece of burlap, and a pink plastic needle is all you need to learn to sew.




















19 April 2012

I Am That Mom

My daughter Lola celebrated her fifth birthday last week. And naturally she brought treats to her friends at school. But not cupcakes, birthday cake, donuts, or anything fun and tasty like that. No, her mom sent her to school with fruit and cheese. Healthy stuff. How very uncool of me.

Fortunately I presented it in such a way that the folks at school are still talking about it. A redemption of sorts. Her Jr. Kindergarten teacher dedicated a quarter page to my creation in her Daily Newspaper. Behold the Fruit Porcupine:




















I cut a cantaloupe in half and inserted 32 skewers with a block of cheese, a strawberry, a blackberry, a green grape, a red grape, and a piece of cantaloupe. I added some facial features by sticking pieces of fruit on a toothpick.

I think she turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself. There are only 28 students in Lola's class but nothing came back. Not even the halved cantaloupe. I take it that means I have gotten away with my healthy ways. At least for now.


09 April 2012

Rainbow Felt Heart Garland

When I opened my Etsy account, it came with a shop but it has remained empty for more than two years. A little while ago I decided to start up shop. Over the past few weeks I have been working on inventory, pricing, designs, and such. While it is still a work in progress, it was important to me to get it up and running by Easter. And so I did.

The shop only has one product in it, but it's live. The coming week will be all about adding products and linking my shop, my blog, my pinterest board, and my facebook page. And I am proud to report that my one product is already someone's favorite.




















I am linking up with the Rainbow Party at Dilly-Dali Art.

30 March 2012

Happiness Is A Rainbow



















I have been organizing my craft room. Again. It seems to be a continuous process of cluttering and decluttering. I have sorted my felt and my bead stashes by color. I was never much of a rainbow girl but seeing them everywhere now makes me happy.

Next up is my ever expanding thread collection.

21 March 2012

Baby Gifts


My adventures in crafting started many moons ago, making baby gifts. Back then I worked solely with wood, making mostly music boxes. These days I am more diverse. For the new babies this year I have made packer pants, a rattle garland, and a lovely pair of booties based on this pattern from the Purl Bee.

Welcome to the world, little ones. I hope you enjoy your stay.

20 March 2012

Fairy House

I stumbled onto a beautiful felt tree trunk Sunday morning while going through my reader at seven in the morning. Very, very impressive. It made me forget about all the projects I have in the works and develop a severe case of Craft ADD. I do not have the patience to take on such a project though. That's why I don't knit, it takes me too long to finish something and I lose interest.

But I did want to recreate that trunk, my way. Fortunately I had an alternative at hand in the shape of a pile of wood in my backyard. I figured I would cut some wood, clean it up, and concoct a way to attach the felt mushrooms (the Dutch fittingly call them 'fairy benches') to the stump. The mushrooms looked easy enough to make.

So there I was at 8 o'clock, sipping my coffee, eying up the branches and trying to decide which one to use. I pulled out the dead apple tree branch, deciding then and there to take advantage of its hollow core and turn it into a fairy house rather than a stump to use on our nature table. The roof I would make out of felt, and I would make interchangeable rooftops for the different seasons. I could totally picture it in my mind.

I wondered if it would disturb the church goers too much if I fired up the chainsaw to chop my fairy house to size. It didn't matter in the end because I couldn't get the smaller chainsaw to work and the large one didn't have a chain on it. Ryan wasn't there to help me out but I doubt he would have been willing at that hour.

With my trusted little hacksaw I silently cut off a piece of the apple branch and several more branches in various sizes to make toadstools with. Because what is a fairy house without toadstools? I took all the wood inside and baked in a 250 degree oven on a foil lined cookie sheet for about an hour. This gets rid of any bugs, a lesson I learned the hard way last year with my acorn collection.

Next I chiseled out the spongy stuff inside the branch, scrubbed it with a wire brush, cut a door with my jigsaw, and sealed the house with a clear top coat. The other branches I painted white. Meanwhile I sewed the toadstool tops and then hot glued them on.

I am truly in love with the results. I have already started working on another roof for the fairy house, a red and white polka dotted one per Lola's request. All that is left to make are the fairy bench mushrooms. And fairies, of course.














I am linking my fairy house up with A Little Birdie Told Me... at Rook No. 17 and Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions.

29 December 2011

Christmas On The Front Porch


We have a large screened-in front porch that is only used in the summer. We always come in through the back door. Even the UPS guy and the repairmen know to go around back.

But the space is too lovely not to decorate for Christmas. The green and red of the branches from the backyard and the berries from across the road frame the gray and white of my vintage finds nicely.








Isn't it lovely? If the weather were a little nicer, I would sit out there all day.

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