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Armstrong the Elephant

Late on Christmas morning, my almost 8-year-old Jamie, curled up next to me and asked, “You didn’t make us new stuffies for Christmas this year?” He was so sad that I hadn’t followed through with my normal holiday tradition of sewing new stuffed animals for him and his brother! Of course, since he has a birthday just three weeks after Christmas, I promised that I would rectify my lack of cute, cuddly sewing with whatever stuffed friend he wanted!

His specific request? A stuffed elephant WITH tusks! Sounds easy enough, right? But, I was so surprised at how hard it was to find a pattern that didn’t leave off the tusks. A Pinterest search led me to the Funky Friends Factory Ellie Elephant pattern, and I knew it was the perfect choice.
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A Three-Piece Theo Trio

I’m still loving sewing new stuffies for my two little guys and our granddaughter for every holiday. (Eventually, they’re going to run out of room for new ones, aren’t they? But, maybe not before they outgrow them.) A few weeks before Christmas, I asked for pattern suggestions in an online PDF pattern group. Since I don’t generally design stuffie patterns, this is an area where I enjoy trying out patterns from other designers. Time was short so I needed something quick, but I wanted something really cute, too. Enter Three-Piece Theo from Tie Die Diva Sewing Patterns!This pattern goes together so fast, and this bear is the cutest thing ever! I’m a bit of a naturalist when it comes to fabrics, so I used cotton velour rather than the suggested polyester fleece for the three bears that I made. I love how soft and squooshy they are, and the cotton velour makes them easy to wash, too.I chose to use buttons for the eyes and to embroider the faces for a more vintage-y look. The hand embroidery was definitely the hardest part for me. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I stitched the noses on the boys’ bears on Christmas Eve after everyone was asleep and the presents were under the tree. Then, I decided on Christmas afternoon that I really didn’t like the rectangular shape I originally used, so while the kids all played with their new toys, I ripped the bears back apart and gave them much nicer triangular noses! It’s pretty cool to see how much you can change the personality of the bear with a slightly different face. My kids think that Katie’s green bear looks like a koala because of its long nose.I used the pants pattern that comes with the bear for the pants, but I couldn’t resist downsizing my Charlie Tee pattern for the top! Wouldn’t it be fun to make matching bear/child clothes? My boys would probably roll their eyes, but I think Katie would love that!These were a hit with my littles. They even traveled with us on our mini Orlando vacation this past weekend. I think I’ll be turning to this pattern again in the future for more quick handmade and personalized gifts, too!

Stocking Up the Play Kitchen with Handmade

Our granddaughter, Katie, got a new play kitchen for Christmas, and I couldn’t resist filling it up with handmade play food! My 15-year-old daughter, Samantha, teamed up with me to make this set. She did the knitting while I did the sewing, and since much of our play food has seen its better days, we made a matching set for our youngest son, too.

Samantha knitted each item using cotton yarn and stuffed them with polyfil so that they’ll be washable — just in case. She started with oranges knit from this pattern: The Fruit Bowl – OrangesShe added strawberries from this pattern: Strawberries by pezdiva.From Deborah’s Knitting, these chocolate chip cookies look good enough to eat! Chocolate Chip CookiesShe used Bee Knit’s Cupcake Pattern for the cake part of these cupcakes. It includes a pattern for the cupcake liners, but Samantha wanted to knit them in the round, so she drafted a quick pattern for these liners herself. I love that the cupcakes and liners are separate!No play kitchen could be complete without pizza, right? This pattern is from Bittersweet Blog: Pizza Party!I used self-drafted patterns, cotton quilting fabric, polyfil and bit of felt to sew this pair of apples . . .. . . and this bunch of bananas.Finally, the Stuffed Carrots tutorial from Clares Craftroom turned out the cutest pile of handmade carrots ever!That should be enough to keep a couple of little chefs busy cooking for quite some time!

Bit of Whimsy Fritter Frogs for Easter

Meet Freddie and Mike (the Knight), our latest handmade cuddly family members!  I stitched these guys up for Charlie and Jamie using the Bit of Whimsy Fritter Frog pattern.  I chose the larger “daddy” version, and they’re the perfect size for cuddling or using as a pillow.  (I’m thinking they’ll be great to have in the car for our trip next month!)

Isn’t it odd that I don’t really care for store-bought stuffed toys at all, but I LOVE creating handmade stuffed critters for my littles? Charlie and Jamie named them.  Freddie is Jamie’s frog.  He likes alliteration almost as much as his mom.  Mike (the Knight) is Charlie’s.  He just likes Mike the Knight.  (Poor Charlie is actually curled up on the couch recovering from a nasty stomach bug and watching Mike the Knight right now.) These two were the fastest and easiest stuffies that I’ve ever sewn.  I just pinned the eyes and tummy on and stitched them down about 1/4″ from the edges using a short stitch length and leaving the edges raw.  Because I used the larger “daddy” frog pattern, they’re big, and I was able to stitch the legs to the inside like the arms, leaving an opening between the legs for stuffing.  Then, instead of stitching across the bottom, I closed the opening between the legs with a ladder stitch.

I actually have this pattern out on my work table so that I can cut out a few more for this month’s Hopeful Threads Fluff for Foster Care project!  I just need more stuffing!

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