Archive of ‘kid crafting’ category

monster valentines day cards :: free printables

Guys! It’s my very first ever printable paper project!  Meet the Valentine Monsters!Monster Valentine Printables!

It is here just in time to rescue you from a last-minute rush to the drug store to get school valentines.  (You know they will only have crappy cards left with tired, out-dated boy and girl orientations, anyway. And, if you are experiencing the same kind of icy/slushy/grey winter that we are, you don’t need another trip outside. Forget that!)  Print up these MONSTER VALENTINES and make everybody smile!  (more…)

kid’s clothes week :: it’s a win! soccer outfits for imaginary worlds

Seriously winning soccer outfits for these boys imaginary team | made by a happy stitch for kid's clothes week

This is my favorite Kid’s Clothes Week project to date. As I mentioned, when I told the boys about the Kid’s Clothes Week theme (kid art) they both got excited to design their own soccer badges.  See, they each have elaborate imaginary worlds that they love to describe in detail.  It was only natural that they would combine their obsessive love of soccer with their imaginary worlds.  They drew so much more than badges, they drew entire soccer outfits.

soccerkits

I’ll admit I was a bit flummoxed by how specific these ideas are and I was really concerned I was going to get something wrong and they would be devastated.  After lots of deliberation, I had THEM draw the actual badges and it worked great.  I gave them multi-colored Sharpies and white fabric and they drew the badges.  It saved me from trying to figure out how to make the badges exactly they way they want them and it got them involved and excited.  A part of the whole project.

Imaginary world soccer badges on this kid-art t-shirt. | Made by  A Happy Stitch

Kid Drawn Soccer BAdges for handmade tees | Made by a happy stitch for Kid's Clothes Week

I gathered all of the fabric at our local Goodwill by purchasing lots of huge t-shirts in each color.  I had a hard time, however, finding the right stripes for little J’s stripy outfit but he was fine with the red/black stripes I did find.  He’s a flexible one, that kid. They also wanted names on the back of the shirts, which I applied using an iron-on transfer.  It was an iron-on from Target and it started to degrade & crack as soon as they put the shirts on.  Super big bummer.  Thankfully, I am the only one who is bothered by it. I usually use an Avery brand iron-on but I was being cheap.  Learned my lesson.

Kid designed soccer outfits for a boys imaginary world | made by a happy stitch for kid's clothes week

The boys are literally wild about their outfits and needed to play soccer IMMEDIATELY when I finished sewing.  They were actually pacing outside of my sewing room, waiting for me to finish.  I felt both like a sewing rock star and a sweatshop worker with a demanding boss.  I didn’t even have time to take a photo before THE BIG IMPORTANT GAME, as you can tell by their dusty, sweaty faces.

Kid designed soccer outfits for a boys imaginary world | made by a happy stitch for kid's clothes weekOh, I almost forgot to tell you about the patterns!  They are the same as with the matching pajamas except I tweaked my random shorts pattern to fit little J better.  Otherwise, the t-shirt for C is self-drafted to fit him and J’s tee is modified from the crossover tee in Growing Up Sew Liberated. Did you make anything for your kids this week? I’m so happy to have made everything on my list.  Now back to regularly-scheduled making for me!

 

Happenings at Home

Oh dear. I didn’t expect to be away from this space for over a week but it has been a while, hasn’t it? Thanks for all the kind words about my poison ivy, it has mostly cleared up.

It’s no excuse for my absence but we do have lots of exciting happenings at our house right now. The biggest is that we are heading on vacation to Ireland in a week! We leave the day  after school ends for C. (J is already done with preschool, which is lending itself to a real, true ‘summer’ feeling around here. He and I have already gone for pedicures, which are his favorite thing now.)

My husband’s extended family live in Ireland so we will be visiting lots of family in addition to the regular touristy stuff.  I think we all have that mix of insane excitement and mild trepidation that precedes a big trip.  It’s hard for us parents to get our heads around how our picky eaters will survive when faced with restricted food choices but surely we will be ok.  Right?  That aside, it’s our first international trip as a family of four and what better place to go to than the lush and green Ireland!  It’s going to be a true getaway.

We’ve also gone completely World Cup crazy.  Have you been watching the games? We are living and breathing World Cup 2014.  I’m not even a sports fan and I’m keeping track of who is playing who on every given day with genuine thrill about the whole event.  C & J both have these sticker albums that you fill with stickers of each player on every team, they get a pack of 7 stickers a day for an album with over 600 stickers…the albums fill sloooowly.  But, it’s all the boys want to talk about.  I was getting a little worried that they were too obsessive.  They are literally doing one of three things at any given moment: 1) watching one of the World Cup games, 2) pouring over their World Cup sticker albums and discussing teams or 3) playing soccer in the back yard for hours on end.  They have never slept so hard at the end of the day, their brains and bodies are facing pure exhaustion.  Parents are approaching me at the end of the school day to report their kids are coming home full of analysis of upcoming games, all information gleaned from my sons.  J wandered over to our neighbor’s house at 6:50 this morning to report yesterday’s scores in the USA game. Seriously, it’s obsessive.

I decided to stop worrying about future OCD and bring a little craft to the craziness.  So, on a quiet afternoon this weekend, I pulled some toilet paper rolls and egg crates out of a bin I keep in the basement and I cut out 24 little men in soccer uniforms.  My husband even helped make some of the faces because he is a great dad and great at drawing.  The plan was to make two soccer teams that the boys could decorate.

soccer players made out of TP rolls

We didn’t finish all 24 players but we all sat down together and made some toilet roll men for a good hour or so.  Team jerseys were invented as were referee jerseys and goal keeper colors decided.  The boys got excited about making fans and using the egg cartons as bleachers and, well, the ideas were grand and involved but the interest waned early.

Toilet Paper Roll Soccer Players for the World Cup 2014

And wouldn’t you know, the next afternoon J was building a castle and our soccer men had been reinvented as knights protecting the castle.  Finally! A non-World Cup related activity!  Never would have guessed at that result.

I’m hoping to squeeze in a tiny bit of sewing in between teaching my last class, preparing for vacation, caring for J and everything else that needs doing around here.  I’ve also made lots of clothing lately and hope to find some time to share all of it here before we are off next week. That’s what our summer looks like! Why does it feel like it’s already over? Is there a name for that phenomenon? Over before it started, I guess.

sew fab pattern sale – sweet baby doll with a blankie and carrier

baby doll in carrier with mattress and blanket

It’s Sew Fab Pattern Sale week!  This is the mother of the pdf pattern bundle sales (19 patterns and one freebie!) and it’s the original.  I had the great chance to make a few things from this bundle.  First up, I made this cute little baby doll complete with a blankie and a carrier. The rest of what I made will be up tomorrow.

Oh, I had so much fun making this sweet little baby doll.  I have a little friend who is about to become a big brother and I’ve been wanting to make him his own baby.  We bought C a doll around the time J was born and even though he mostly body-slammed it (gotta love 2-year-olds!) he did appreciate having a baby to care for of his own. So, I was so excited when I got the chance to use this pattern.

baby doll in carrier-pattern from patchwork posse

The pattern is from Patchwork Posse and it comes with the doll, a mattress, the carrier and a blanket.  I modified a few things here and there but most prominently I didn’t embroidery the facial features as it calls for in the pattern, I actually drew them with a fabric marker and used blush (real-life makeup type of blush) to make pink cheeks.  I’m not that talented at embroidery so I got freaked out that I was going to ruin the doll if I tried. Turns out, I really like how the drawn face looks.  So sweet and sleepy. Don’t you think?  Plus, it took me all of two minutes! So easy!

baby doll in carrier pattern by patchwork posse-sewn by a happy stitch

The doll, mattress and doll carrier fabric is a Sarah Jane fabric I’ve been hoarding and the geometric print is Denyse Schmidt, I think, from Jo-Ann.  I was aiming for a boy-friendly look without getting super in-your-face about it. I wanted to keep it sweet.  The blankie is made with the same Denyse Schmidt and a super soft red stripe woven fabric I got at a fantastic yard sale.  I also used an amazing 100% organic flannel for parts of the bed carrier. I also opted for some of my scrumptious twill tape in place of using fabric to make the carrier straps.

baby doll with carrier and blanket-pattern from Patchwork Posse sewn by a happy stitch

The pattern also includes the option of adding hair (using yarn) but I like the bald baby idea & I love how all of these elements came together.  I don’t get to make many super sweet things like this so I really enjoyed making this and admiring it after the fact.  The pattern itself provides lots of opportunities to mix and match.  It could be loud and crazy with lots of different fabric choices or gentle and sweet. I find that kind of flexibility means I make something more than once.  I like that. I’m sure I will make more of these for other little people in my world.

sweet baby doll in carrier with blanket _Sew Fab Pattern Sale_ Made by a happy stitch

It all comes together pretty easily.  The pattern doesn’t always indicate the seam allowance (I used my standard 3/8″) so I’d say it’s aimed at sewists with some experience but it isn’t complicated. In fact, the most annoying part of pdf patterns, which is, of course, the piecing together of the pattern bit by bit (ugh!!) is eliminated for this pattern because everything is either cut in a square or fits on one sheet of paper.  Simple!

Baby Doll in Carrier_Sew Fab Pattern Sale made by a happy stitch

As I mentioned, this pattern is part of the Sew Fab Pattern sale (affiliate link), which is a whole bundle of patterns on sale just until May 13th and at a super discount.  It’s a pretty great deal considering each pattern comes to a little over a dollar each.  I was delighted to be given a few of the patterns to sew with, but all the options look amazing.  To top it off, there is a good mix of patterns…a little bit of kid clothing, a few softies, some women’s clothing, fun bags.  It’s like a great starter kit for new sewists but it would expand anyone’s collection.  The best part of it being all pdf patterns is you only print what you are going to use, no waste!

Just as a funny aside, I finished the doll one evening while the boys were sleeping and the next morning I told J, “Hey, I made a baby last night, do you wanna see it?”  He marches after me and when he saw the baby doll he said, “Aw man! That’s not a real one!”  Ha! I guess I should have chosen my words more carefully but seriously, is that how he thinks it works!! Yowzers.

Here’s a little more official information about the sale:
You can purchase the Sew Fab Spring Pattern Bundle for $29.95 this week only! The sale ends on May 13th, and once it’s over, it’s over. You can support independent pattern designers by purchasing the bundle from any of the designers below.

Sew Fab Spring 2014 collage

(Designers in order from Top left to right) Greenstyle Creations, Handmade Therapy, MODKID, Everything Your Mama Made, The Scientific Seamstress, Figgy’s Patterns, Two Sweets Patterns, Things for Boys, Patchwork Posse, Betz White, LBG Studio, Mouse House Creations, Gingercake, Heidi & Finn, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Terra’s Treasures, Paisley Roots, Molly Blossom Designs, Sewing Mama RaeAnna. Sale sponsored by The Southern Institute.

To follow the whole tour of bloggers participating in Sew Fab, check out all of these amazing folks:

Pattern Tour

 

A handmade, portable performance stage

The handmade stage from a happy stitchMove over Partridge Family! We are nurturing some serious musical talent over at our house these days.  Ah-huh because this lady made a portable stage that transforms the living room (or any room) into a performance space.

portable instant stage from a happy stitchIt was just about the simplest thing ever.  In fact, except for one trip buy two tension rods, I made the stage in 20 minutes while sick with the stomach flu.  That’s how easy it was to make.

And, we are having so much fun with this thing!  Both boys are busting out the instruments and making up songs.  The singing is long & the tunes are totally aimless.  The kind of songs that mark childhood.  The kind of songs that don’t make much sense and sort of just trail off only to gain a second wind as soon as you start clapping because you think the song is over.  That kind of song.  It’s awesome and providing for many wide grins on the grown-ups faces.

Performing on the adjustable, portable stage in our home - a happy stitch

Look at that lovely face so intent on his guitar picking!  The cuteness just kills me. I love it.  Our guys can be pretty shy about performing in front of others. At home they want to dance and sing and play instruments but at school…no way.  So, it has been extra sweet to create a little place they can do all of those things to their heart’s content.

performing in front of our portable, instant stage - a happy stitch

This guy has started writing out his songs and practicing them.  This song was about Ireland and all the things you see in Ireland like rocks and cows (!).  It was basically the best song ever.

performing in front of the portable stage - a happy stitch

 

Portable, instant stage - a happy stitch

I made this instant, portable stage out of a product called Smart-Fab.  The company got in touch and offered to send me a sample.

Smart-fab is basically the ‘fabric’ that they make reusable grocery bags out of.  You know it kind of feels soft but also like it might be made of plastic?  Anyway, you can glue onto it, sew it, staple it and it is malleable and pretty durable.  It doesn’t fray so it’s great for something quick and easy.

After I measured our archway and purchased two tension rods long enough to fit the whole distance, I simply cut up the Smart-Fab to the appropriate size & folded over the top  just enough that the rod could fit through.  That was it. Done!  Oh, and I did cut out some stars for the decorative portion at the top.  I did a terrible job cutting stars.  It’s kind of hard to cut stars without drawing them ahead of time.  I was sick, remember?  I wasn’t really into perfect little stars. You could do a better job with the stars.
making the instant, portable musical stage from a happy stitch

Anyway, hang that puppy up and we are ready to perform.  Since the stage uses tension rods, we can move it anywhere we want.  The living room, a bedroom, anywhere we need a stage.  It would obviously be very easy to make this same thing with plain old fabric but I do like the vibrant colors.

performance stage discussion

They also make for a nice background to pictures, don’t you think?

I might use the remaining sample of smart-fab to make a photo-booth kind of thing next.  Or, I was actually thinking it would be great as a kind of muslin fabric for difficult patterns because I could sew it and fit it on me so quickly and easily.  We’ll see.

P.S. Smart-fab has a pretty great Pinterest page and Facebook page that does lots of giveaway.   From what I can tell, a lot of teachers are finding it useful & teachers need free supplies so watch those giveaways!! Smart-fab sent me their product for free with no additional compensation and asked me to write about it.  My opinion about it is honest and wholly my own.

P.P.S. Can you tell I took these pictures on two different days before and after the boys got haircuts?  Ha!

Children’s Book Covers as Art

reflection in the ace hotel

My husband and I recently returned from something unprecedented.  We hopped a train and headed into New York City without the kids for two whole nights.  It was an amazing feat and hadn’t been done in nearly seven years!  We indulged in afternoon beers, scrumptious oysters, explored nooks and crannies in the Lower East Side, ate one amazing meal after another, drank even more amazing drinks and meandered slowly through museums without any frantic, emergency trips to the bathroom or animated games of I Spy.  It was glorious.  (Don’t worry, the kids were with their grandparents and they enjoyed many new delights including their first taste of soda pop and ice cream bars for breakfast.  Thanks Grandma!)

We also visited The Strand bookstore for the first time.  I don’t know what took me so long to explore this incredible place!  If you’ve never been, it is absolutely worth a visit.  Especially if you have an interest in anything because The Strand will have the book about that topic that will blow your mind. Basically, everyone should see this place. (If you follow me on Instagram you already know about my trip and you also know about the wickedly naughty t-shirts at The Strand.)

I meandered over to the children’s section and asked the clerk if they had a books on the book cover art of children’s books.  There is little I love more than picture book art.  The emotions expressed in the drawings and the magic and saturated colors at the heart of children’s books are some of favorites.  I already have one book about book cover art but was hoping to find another.  Wouldn’t you know the clerk found me not one but two books about children’s illustration!  Both out of print and both around $10.  I was floored and so was she, frankly.  She was so excited for me I almost hugged her!

children's book art books

She also suggested I write another book that includes cover art beyond 1960. She was awesome. If she had suggested it, I would have started a collaboration with her.  She was seriously great and a fellow book lover.

My new books are so beautiful and I’ve admired them a whole awful lot since we got back from The City.

cover art book inside

It also reminded me that I never shared an easy, little project I did a while back to spruce up our walls.   Actually the word ‘project’ is a pretty fancy one for what I did, which is basically cut up some of my favorite book jackets and frame them (I know, it’s a little sacrilegious).

book cover framed as art.jpg

First of all, as soon as we get a new picture book in our house, I remove the book jacket and file it away. Sounds kind of silly but the book jackets just get ripped off the book or torn to bits anyway so I started saving them.

It was only natural they end up on the wall at some point.  And, I’m so pleased they did! Easy-peasy, happy wall art.

Book Jacket for children's art framed for the wall

The Valentine’s Day Countdown of Love

valentine's day countdown

Hello February!  It’s time for a countdown to love.

I’ve been sitting on the idea of an advent-like countdown to Valentine’s Day for a while.   The boys love our Christmas advent calendar so much and I love Valentine’s Day so I thought I’d combine the two loves.  I saw something on Pinterest (way back when) that used sewn paper hearts filled with candy as Vday cards.  Of course, the last thing we need around here is more candy.

Instead, I opted for different loving activities;  love the earth by picking up some trash, love a friend by telling them a joke, love the cat by giving her a treat,  love your ears and make up a song, etc.  The activities are really simple and easy to accomplish. I think one of the most involved activities is “love your tummy: make something sweet to eat”.  My intent is not to make life more complicated or hectic but to slip a small something loving into our day.

Ta-da the birth of the Valentine’s Day Countdown of Love!

Of course, I woke up this morning surprised to realize it was actually February 1st.  Seriously, where did January go?  Sheesh.  I quickly made this up this morning.  14 different paper hearts sewn together with love-based activities inside.

love messages for valentine's day countdown

Next, I rolled up and tucked the messages between two pieces of pretty origami paper and used a heart cookie cutter to trace a heart.

valentine's day countdown

valentine's day countdown

I used the traced heart marking as a guide for sewing the hearts together.  I love sewing on paper. Feels like I’m a sewist gone rogue.  So naughty.

valentine's day countdown

I made 13 hearts in regular origami paper and 1 in silver paper.  The boys get to trade off who opens the day’s heart to reveal the day’s activity but the silver heart is saved for the Valentine’s Day itself.

valentine's day countdown

The boys were definitely excited about ripping open the hearts and it took them a long bit of negotiating to decide who got to go first.  (Everything is a learning opportunity, isn’t it?  Even when mama is a little “done” with learning opportunities.)

valentine's day countdown Let the countdown begin!

valentine's day countdown

calendar keeping for little people

In the past two months I have taught six different sewing classes and am preparing for two upcoming craft fairs in the beginning of December.  Can you say busy?  My husband is starting to give me puppy eyes every time I swing out the door before dinner even begins.

One thing that has kept us all sane when things get busy is careful calendar keeping.  It’s so boring but keeping everything written down and organized is the only way to keep from forgetting everything.  It helps me feel things are under control and manageable.  Nearly every grown-up keeps a calendar of some kind.  It’s basic.

But, what about kids?  As our schedule gets crazy and schools start with half-days and events and performance and days off…I keep coming back to calendars I made with the boys this summer.  In the middle of one week of summer camp, J asked me every morning, “Do I have summer camp today?”.   He woke up with no idea of what his day was going to include.  Not a clue.  It finally hit me what an upsetting feeling that must be!!  So, I decided the boys needed their own calendars.  I found these amazing  blank calendar kits from Bare Books for around $3 including stickers. calendar for kids - a happy stitch

While we have a family calendar that is visible to everyone the act of filling in their own calendar became an unexpected learning opportunity.

j makes a calendar

For J, he was 4 then, it was handy for him to practice his numbers and reiterate the order of different numbers.  His attention span for project was shorter, of course, but he filled in what he needed to in order to “X” off a few dates and gain a better sense of what was coming with each day.  Job done!

For C, though, it was a richer learning experience.  Once he figured out that different months have different number of days and the next month starts the day after the previous month ended he was on fire!  It was like a little math puzzle.

c makes his calendar

(Notice that Ironman picture next to him.  Everyone works better with Ironman by their side!)

Several months later we will use these calendars regularly.  When things get wacky, we sit down and cross off days and discuss what is coming…when family is arriving for Thanksgiving; how much time will pass before Christmas; when school has a half day; etc.  It’s immensely helpful and gives both boys a sense of control and knowledge about what is to come.  It’s been a good reminder for me, as well, to involve them in planning things and give them advance notice of what is coming up.  It’s sparked great and hilarious conversations as well.  I especially love the ones about how different months are longer than others and how the shorter months must ‘feel’ about that.  Ha!

Of course, the calendars are getting sloppier, as evidenced below:

calendar at the holidaysThat only illustrates how well-love they are, right?  Yup.  Mama is gonna let go of messy.  Function over form for this one.

 

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