Sewing Tutorial: Felt Hot Chocolate

Felt Hot ChocolateWelcome!  Today we’re going to make a big mug of hot cocoa that even little ones can enjoy! Play food is a great beginner’s sewing project and can be altered to make food as simple or as fancy as you’d like.

This tutorial will focus on creating the set with a sewing machine, but you could also hand sew the items.  If you don’t sew, you could use felt fabric glue to glue the pieces together.  When making felt foods please keep the age of the child you’re making the project for in mind.  Children who still put things in their mouth should never be given small objects as these would pose a choking hazard.

When making felt food you can use whatever type of felt you desire.  Craft felt is easy to work with, cheap and easily obtainable but it will not wear as well as wool felt.  Craft felt may get pilly over time, but you can wash it with warm soapy water and use a lint shaver to get rid of pills.  If the item doesn’t contain a pipe cleaner or glue, you could even run it through the washing machine.

Wool felt will wear better and last longer.  If you’re creating something that you’d like to pass down from child to child, wool felt is best.  If you plan to use wool felt, you may want to first practice on craft felt so you don’t waste money on the more expensive stuff.  I typically use eco-fi felt which is made of recycled plastic bottles.

Let’s get started!  You will need the following to create your Felt Hot Chocolate:

  • Felt in red (or a color of your choosing) for the mug, brown, tan, and white.
  • Polyfil to stuff the hot chocolate mug
  • Scissors
  • Monofilament thread or coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Hand sewing needle
  • The hot chocolate mug template and fully illustrated sewing tutorial. Do not scale the file to fit, print as actual size:  Felt Hot Chocolate.

This sewing project pairs nicely with our easy peasy felt cookies.  And it’s one set of cocoa and cookies that Santa is sure to love!

 

I Didn’t Marry My ‘First’ Love…And I’m Okay With That

I didn’t marry my first love…and I’m  okay with that.  It seems like a crazy thing to admit for a woman who is happily married with two children, but I’m admitting it because I think it’s important to remind people that real love stories are not like the movies or those novels we so love to engross ourselves in.  Real love happens over time, in ways we don’t often expect.  Real love often happens when we’ve given up and are on the precipice of an all-consuming darkness.

TrueLoveI love to hear a good love story.  A real love story.  One with lots of plot twists.  And you’ll hook me every single time if there is a point where it seems as if the ‘main characters’ won’t actually end up together.  For me, that’s the point of no return, I have to know what will happen after that.

I’ve loved love for as long as I can remember.  As a young teen, perhaps even a preteen, I dreamed of love.  I wanted so badly to be swept up in someone else.  I wanted someone to make me forget who I was and create a new life.  I wanted to be simply enveloped in love…  Always in a rush, always thinking too far ahead for my age, the idea of love bit me early and hard.  I wrote notebooks full of songs and stories about love.  The longing of it, the inevitable loss.  Those early years spent experimenting in ‘dates’ that only meant we held hands in school and wrote little notes back and forth were just the beginning of my journey to find what love truly is.

We aren’t born knowing true love, not true romantic love.  True love doesn’t even happen instantly…it takes years to develop.  It takes mistakes, forgiveness, and above all, compromise.  True love is not the moment your eyes locked with the person you decided to spent the rest of your life with.  Small ThingsTrue love is continuing to love that person even when they make you angry.  True love is fighting for that person, crying with that person, forging a life together when the world seems to want nothing more than to tear you both apart.

I still remember the way new love feels…I remember it because occasionally my husband and I still spend nights whispering under covers, giggling about things no one else would find funny, and tracing each other’s lips with our fingertips.  I still remember the spark you feel down your spine as his hand brushes your lower back.  The way goosebumps inch their way down your arms when he kisses the small of your neck…  I remember because it still happens.  Almost a decade later – he still makes me feel like I’m the most beautiful person he’s ever laid eyes on.  All those seemingly small things, those small reminders of new, fresh, exciting love are what make love true.

I’m not a believer in love at first sight, but I am a believer in knowing when there’s something special between two people.  I didn’t instantly love my husband when I met him.  I’ve never instantly loved anyone in my life except my two children.  Even with them, it took time to forge a bond.  However, it didn’t take me long to feel a connection with my husband when we met.  I couldn’t tell you what it was, even now, that drew me to him.  But it was there, it was heavy, and it tormented me day and night.  Exploring LoveYou see, our story is one of those stories full of plot twists.  I couldn’t write a more unbelievable story if I tried…and trust me, I have a passion for writing about love. It’s a story I’ll sit down to tell one day and it’ll leave you on the edge of your seat if you don’t know it all.  No one knows it all except he and I.  Our story has always been a bit of our secret and I’ve enjoyed that.

I’ll never be one of those people who can claim they married their high school sweetheart.  I’ll never proudly proclaim to teenage children that I’ve only ever had one real love or been with one person so they should wait for that one special person.  Nor would I want to.  I can tell you that I am thankful for every experience I’ve had to feel love and explore it.  I can tell you that finding the right person to love is not easy, but it can be an amazing ride.  There are different degrees of love, but anytime we open our hearts to another person we open ourselves up to learn.  We learn about ourselves and about what it takes to make a relationship work.  We learn what we do and don’t want in a partner.  We learn what we should and shouldn’t do for and to ourselves.  Value of True LoveAll the chances to love are also chances to grow.  Whether it’s a small first love that consists of nothing more than love notes, or a big life changing event that breaks us into a million pieces when it’s over…it’s love.  While love can end, what we felt in those moments does not change.  Therefore, I’m thankful.  I’m thankful to have grown and loved and lived.  And to have found my person – the one whose love for me and mine for him does not fade, but grows.  The love whose been there when I was at my worst and loved me harder.  Those are the ones we hold onto, those are the ones that are real.

I didn’t marry my first love…but I married my true love.  And in the grand scheme of life…true love is far more valuable than the first…

The Day That Isn’t…

Beacon of HopeBack in September…I was so excited about Christmas this year.  Granted, I’m excited about Christmas every year, but this year there was to be a special announcement.

One week (or perhaps just a few days) before Christmas, we were to find out the gender of the baby that I lost in September.  Just as I had made an elaborate video to announce our new babies impending arrival, I had a big plan to reveal baby M3’s gender.  I was so excited that the time was going to work out so that we’d find out right before Christmas.  As soon as the ultrasound was done I was going to rush over to my favorite baby store and buy an outfit in the appropriate colors that screamed BOY or GIRL.  Two outfits actually – one for my mother and one for my mother-in-law.  And oh how a big part of me prayed for a girl.  One tiny precious little girl among my rough and tumble, but painfully sweet boys.  If that box had been filled with a pink outfit, my heart would have leapt higher and higher.  Of course, if that box had been filled with more blue I would have rejoiced just as freely at having another protector.  Another precious little heart for me to teach how to be kind and love.  And who could teach me in things like superheroes, race tracks, and playing in the dirt as my other boys so love to do.

I can’t help but be a bit sad – occasionally weepy this holiday season.  I am so blessed to have so much good in my life that it can often overshadow what I feel is bad.  Yet in the quiet of the morning and the stillness of the night I’m often left alone with the thoughts of what could’ve been and it becomes a heavy burden.  While there will be presents beneath my tree, there will not be the promise of another child’s birthday to await next spring.  There is not a growing life in my womb to be celebrated…

As it so happens, my oldest son was born just two weeks shy of Christmas.  It is always such a celebratory day for us.  We celebrate this beautiful child who brought into our lives so much more than a new life.  Through his labor hope and proof that miracles happen were born.  God's GiftsHe proved to us that dreams come true if you never give up on them.  He was a beacon of light that pushed his way out of a darkness many mother’s sadly know about – but not all escape.  His birth showed me that I embody strength and courage and still kept a soul gentle enough to be brought to tears by a brand new baby’s cries.  Such a small baby, born three weeks before he was to come, just couldn’t wait to tell the world – we did it.  My mom, dad, and I – we beat this infertility thing and we’re here.

I view my two boys as true miracles, it would be hard not to when you look at how many of their siblings failed to thrive in my womb.  With so many living, walking miracles in my life I often feel guilty that I still pray for just one more.  God placed within me a mother’s heart and that is one calling that I have never wavered upon.  There were many times when the darkness in me called upon me to give up…but, I was never one to be told I couldn’t do something.  My mother’s heart always won out in our battle to become parents.  And, I do sincerely believe it will win out in our battle for “just one more”.

I’m not wrapping up any big news to place under the tree this year.  The day that I was so impatiently waiting for will not be.  I am wrapping up love and hope.  I’m walking proof that perseverance is a trait worth holding on to and that if you want something to happen, eventually it can.  I do not hold time’s playbook.  I don’t get to peek under God’s Christmas tree and see what he has waiting for me.  However, if I take the time to breathe, let go of my fears and anger, I can open my eyes and watch all the past gifts that mean so much play out before me every single day.  For that I am thankful.  I am clearly blessed….

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Spice SnickerdoodlesAnother new twist on an old classic. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodle Cookies

Ingredients

Cookie Dough

  • 2    3/4c All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 c Butter Flavored Crisco, room temperature
  • 1 c Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 c Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Coating

  • 1/3 c Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.  Set aside.
  2. In a separate large bowl beat shortening and sugar until smooth and creamy.  Add in eggs one at a time.  Scrape down bowl and beat in vanilla.
  3. Add flour mixture 1/3 at a time, beat on medium until a smooth dough forms.
  4. Place dough on parchment or wax paper and refrigerate 1-2 hours or overnight.
  5. Once dough is ready to roll and bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place rack in center of oven.
  6. Mix sugar and cinnamon for coating in a shallow bowl wide enough to roll dough balls in.
  7. Take spoonfuls of dough and roll into 1″ balls (you can make them a little smaller or  a little larger to suit your tastes).
  8. Roll dough balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture and place 2″ apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Flatten dough balls slightly with two fingers.
  10. Bake 12-15 minutes until light golden brown.

Butterscotch Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Butterscotch Cinnamon Roll CookiesRemember our cinnamon roll cookie recipe from a couple of years back?  I bet you do if you’ve made it because it’s one of my most requested!  I have a fun spin on that recipe to add to your holiday cookie trays.  What’s better than cinnamon roll cookies?  Butterscotch cinnamon roll cookies of course!

Butterscotch Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Filling
2/3c chopped butterscotch chips
3tbs brown sugar
1tb cinnamon

Cookie Dough
1 cup shortening (all vegetable or butter  flavor)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I add a little extra)

1.  For filling combine ingredients in a food processor or mini chopper and chop until you get a sandy texture.  Set aside.
*If you do not have a food processor or mini chopper, you can chop the butterscotch chips by hand or put them in a plastic baggy and break them up with a rolling-pin.

2.  For cookie dough, combine shortening and brown sugar in large bowl.  Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended.

3.  Combine flour, baking powder, salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in small bowl.  Add to creamed mixture and mix well.

4.  Turn dough onto waxed, freezer, or parchment paper. I recommend the shiny side of freezer paper.  Spread dough into a 9X6 rectangle near top of paper using a spatula and your hands.  You can also use a rolling-pin to help flatten the dough.  Smooth over any cracks with your finger.

5.  Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of cinnamon mixture to within ½ inch from edge.  Roll up dough jelly roll style starting with end closest to the edge of the paper (so your log will end up closer to center of paper).  Go slowly and smooth over any cracks with your fingers.   This is a stiff dough and can be difficult to work with as it cracks easily during the rolling process.  Just go slow and you’ll master it!  Dust your completed log with the remaining cinnamon mixture.Butterscotch Cinnamon Roll Cookies 2

6.  Roll your log up in the freezer paper and freeze overnight (I’ve even froze this for a week or two).  Trust me, you want to freeze for as long as you can to make cutting this stiff dough easier.

7.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Slice dough ¼ to ½ inch based on preference.  Thicker slices are less likely to fall apart.  If you do have any cracking, just smooth the cookie back together.  It will still taste the same.  Bake for 8-12 minutes or until slightly browned on top.  Cool on sheets for five minutes and then transfer to cooling rack.

Sewing Tutorial: Felt Pumpkin Pie

Felt Pumpkin Pie TutorialWelcome!  Today we’re going to finish off our Thanksgiving Dinner Set with a big slice of pumpkin pie! Play food is a great beginner’s sewing project and can be altered to make food as simple or as fancy as you’d like.

This tutorial will focus on creating the set with a sewing machine, but you could also hand sew the items.  If you don’t sew, you could use felt fabric glue to glue the pieces together.  When making felt foods please keep the age of the child you’re making the project for in mind.  Children who still put things in their mouth should never be given small objects as these would pose a choking hazard.

When making felt food you can use whatever type of felt you desire.  Craft felt is easy to work with, cheap and easily obtainable but it will not wear as well as wool felt.  Craft felt may get pilly over time, but you can wash it with warm soapy water and use a lint shaver to get rid of pills.  If the item doesn’t contain a pipe cleaner or glue, you could even run it through the washing machine.

Wool felt will wear better and last longer.  If you’re creating something that you’d like to pass down from child to child, wool felt is best.  If you plan to use wool felt, you may want to first practice on craft felt so you don’t waste money on the more expensive stuff.  I typically use eco-fi felt which is made of recycled plastic bottles.

Let’s get started!  You will need the following to create your Felt Pumpkin Pie:

  • Felt in orange, tan, and white
  • Polyfil to stuff the slice of pie
  • Scissors
  • Monofilament thread or coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Hand sewing needle
  • The fully illustrated and detailed pumpkin pie slice tutorial which can be downloaded here. Do not scale the file to fit, print as actual size:  Pumpkin Pie Tutorial.

Grab the turkey leg tutorial here, and the sides here.

 

Sewing Tutorial: Felt Turkey Leg

Sewing Tutorial:  Felt Turkey LegWelcome!  Today we’re going to make a felt turkey leg for a Thanksgiving Dinner Set! Play food is a great beginner’s sewing project and can be altered to make food as simple or as fancy as you’d like.

This tutorial will focus on creating the set with a sewing machine, but you could also hand sew the items.  If you don’t sew, you could use felt fabric glue to glue the pieces together.  When making felt foods please keep the age of the child you’re making the project for in mind.  Children who still put things in their mouth should never be given small objects as these would pose a choking hazard.

When making felt food you can use whatever type of felt you desire.  Craft felt is easy to work with, cheap and easily obtainable but it will not wear as well as wool felt.  Craft felt may get pilly over time, but you can wash it with warm soapy water and use a lint shaver to get rid of pills.  If the item doesn’t contain a pipe cleaner or glue, you could even run it through the washing machine.

Wool felt will wear better and last longer.  If you’re creating something that you’d like to pass down from child to child, wool felt is best.  If you plan to use wool felt, you may want to first practice on craft felt so you don’t waste money on the more expensive stuff.  I typically use eco-fi felt which is made of recycled plastic bottles.

Let’s get started!  You will need the following to create your Felt Turkey Leg:

  • Felt in brown and cream/white
  • Polyfil to stuff the turkey leg
  • Scissors
  • Monofilament thread or coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine
  • The fully illustrated and detailed turkey leg template provided here:  Sewing Tutorial – Felt Turkey Leg. Do not scale the file to fit, print as actual size.

You can grab the felt mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and crinkle carrots by clicking here.  And don’t forget your pie!!

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Sewing Tutorial: Scrappy Turkey

Scrappy Turkey TutorialLooking for a fun and easy way to create a one of a kind piece of clothing for your child to wear this Thanksgiving?  Look no further!  Our Scrappy Turkey can be created with little fabric, minimal sewing experience, and is as versatile as it is cute.

You can go simple and let the turkey’s feathers lay flat, sewn down to the piece of clothing.  Or you can give them a bit of flair and let them stand up as those shown in the picture do.  Little hands love a 3D piece of clothing that lets them explore.  Using different types of fabric that have different textures is also fun for them.  The fabric choices and embellishments are endless and entirely up to you so that you can create a truly unique piece just for your little turkey.

To create your turkey you will need:
– An item to attach your turkey to.  You could use a bib, t-shirt, even the butt of a pair of pants.  You can hand make the article of clothing or buy a ready to wear piece to embellish.
– Several small pieces of fabric large enough to cut your turkey and feathers from.  Colors and fabric type can vary to suit your own tastes.
-An iron on fusible stabilizer that can be sewn.  I prefer Heat and Bond Lite – sewable.
– Sewing machine, scissors, thread, pins.  Hand sewing needle – optional.
– Embellishments such as ribbons or buttons – optional.
– The detailed and illustrated Scrappy Turkey Tutorial PDF available for download here. Print actual size DO NOT scale to fit:  Scrappy Turkey Tutorial.

The most important part of this project is to have fun.  Your turkey does NOT have to be perfect to be cute and enjoyed by a child.  They love whimsy and having an item made just for them.

This pattern is provided free of charge.   You may do what you want with your finished piece, but please do not try to sell the pattern.

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Sewing Inspiration: On The Go Toddler Pants

Can you guys tell my sewing machine is officially out of storage?!? Haha, haven’t got around to any new sewing tutorials yet, but I am certainly getting my machine back up to speed.

Little brother had to have new pants after big bro’s new birthday outfit was created yesterday.  This Moda print fit the bill for a busy little guy who’s always on the go and loves any kind of car.  The best part, I was able to whip these up in about an hour, while watching two toddlers.  Nothing better than cute and easy!