Posts Tagged ‘tutorials’

Happy Birthday Banner
My kiddo is just about to turn 2!  It feels like time is flying by but then it also feels like little Sesame has been with us a lot longer than just 2 years.  I barely remember life before her sometimes!  We’re having a birthday bash this weekend and I whipped up this cute and colorful banner for her party.

birthday banner close upI cut the triangles out with the top edge along the fold of the fabric, so they’re double sided.  They’ll probably flip around when the wind blows them so I wanted them to be pretty on both sides.  I folded them with the wrong sides together and sewed along the edges using the rolled hem stitch on my serger.  (side note: My husband is awesome.  When I told him I was sewing the flags he said, “You’re not sewing, you’re overlocking.”) The letters are cut from white felt and I attached them with fabric glue.

birthday banner

I attached them all together by sewing a length of rick-rack along the top edge.  I can’t wait to hang them up for her party!

flower soakerNow that she’s nearly 2, Sesame is getting to be quite helpful around the house.  At least she thinks she’s helping.  Here she’s trying to wash the dishes.  She mostly just got water all over.  Notice where she’s standing- not on the platform of her learning tower, but on the rail.  The kid is fearless.

She’s wearing some shorts that I just finished knitting.  She wears a wool soaker (or woolly as we call them) at night so these will be nice for the summer.  They’re a short version of the Perfection Pants that I’ve knitted before.  I used one skein of Cascade 220 Quatro that I had left over from a cardigan I knitted.  I embroidered some flowers to make them a little cuter and added some extra stitches in the bind-off of the cuffs so it made a little ruffle. It just needs a drawstring.  They were falling off of her when I took this picture- her little bottom is not really so square shaped.

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Felt Orange Slices

felt orangesI’ve been making a ton of felt food to give to little Sesame for Easter.  She loves playing with her toy kitchen but she doesn’t have any food to play with!  That needs to change.  There are lots of great pictures and some free patterns for felt food on the internet (as well as a ton of awesome patterns you can buy.)  I’ll share all the resources I used, and show you all the cute food I’ve made, once I get it all finished.  For now, I have a tutorial for you so you can make felt orange slices too.

Most of the time that I’ve working with felt, it’s the recycled sweater kind but for this project, I used regular craft felt.


orange and white felt

white embroidery floss

orange thread


felt orange supplesThis picture shows the pieces I used to make 3 orange slices.  You only need one piece of each to make one slice.  The shapes are pretty simple so I don’t think you really need a pattern.  The white circles are 7 cm in diameter and the orange circles are 6 cm.  (I like the metric system and it’s more accurate so there you go.)  The orange peel pieces are 9 cm point to point and the width is 2.5 cm at the widest point.

felt orange circles

Sew the orange circle to the top of the white circle.  Don’t worry if it’s a little uneven, or not perfectly centered.  This is fruit you’re making so a little wonkiness adds realism.

felt orange stitching

I separated the white embroidery thread in half and used 3 strands.  All six strands looked too bulky to me but you can decide for yourself.  Sew 3 straight lines across the orange piece as shown.

felt orange side seam

Fold the piece in half as shown so that the white lines form the orange’s sections.  Hold the peel piece in place and begin sewing it down.  I started sewing it towards the end of one side, as shown, because that allowed me to leave a good spot open for stuffing it later.

felt orange corner

When you get to the point of the peel piece, fold the circle piece down and keep on sewing.
felt orange whipstitch

I sewed the pieces together using a simple whipstitch.  Easy-peasy!

felt orange opening

leave an opening and fill with your stuffing of choice.  You can use poly-fill, fabric scraps, or my material of choice- tiny pieces of felted sweaters left over from making my etsy items.  Make sure you get the stuffing all the way in the little pointy corners, then finish stitching it closed.

felt orange slices

Enjoy your soft, fuzzy oranges!

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Doll ring sling

Doll ring slingSesame is more and more interested in playing with her dolls lately so I whipped up a super simple ring sling for her to use.  I chose a ring sling so that she won’t outgrow it any time soon and I hardly had to do any measuring.  Unlike the clothes I make for, she loved it immediately!  So far she’s carried around 2 of her dolls, a teddy bear and a little stuffed puppy (not at the same time) and she’s getting pretty good at putting them in the sling herself.

This only took me about 1/2 hour to make and I’ve written up my instructions below so you can make one for your favorite little person. I used velcro to attach the fabric to the rings so that if she pulls hard enough, or get it stuck on her, it’s easy to get it off.  She’s still pretty little and having a closed loop of fabric around her neck would make me nervous.


1 piece of fabric about 20 inches by 45 inches (add a few inches if you’ll be turning under the edges and seaming)

2 metal rings, 1.5-2 inches in diameter

A couple inches of velcro

**Please note that this sling is only meant to hold a doll, never a real baby!  I know you’re smart but I feel like I have to say that anyway.  The rings I used came from a hardware store, but you could find some at a craft store.  Slings for real babies use specially tested rings and have really secure stitching to make sure it’s safe.  This sling has none of that.**

Doll ring sling

Finish the edges on all sides.  I used my serger (the 1st time I’ve used it without any frustration, thank you very much!) to do a simple rolled hem.  Of course, you could could turn under the edges and seam as well, but then you’d want to start with a slightly larger piece of fabric.

Doll ring slingDoll ring sling

Gather one short edge to make it smaller.  I did 2 accordian folds that meet in the center as you can see in the picture, then pinned it into place.

Doll ring sling

Cut your velcro pieces and pin into place.  My pieces are about 3 inches long and the strips are 2.5-3 inches apart.  I sewed 4 lines across this edge, catching each of the long edges of velcro in the seams.

Doll ring sling

Thread the end with velcro through both rings and attach the velcro. The picture shows the 2 seams that show on the right side of the sling.

Doll ring sling

Fold the other end in half horizontally and thread through the rings.

That’s all there is to it!
Doll ring sling

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Casey snowflakeI love making paper snowflakes and was excited to learn a fancy new (to me) technique from a co-worker 2 Christmases ago.  She and I made so many snowflakes that year (while we should have been working) that I actually got sore spots on my thumb and finger from the scissors!

These snowflakes have words in them!  I like making them with names but you can insert whatever word(s) you’d like.  Last year I made a name snowflake for everyone in my family.  It was fun to watch them discover that their name was actually making up the snowflake.  Do you see my name in the snowflake above?  Here, I’ll help you out.

Casey snowflake detail

This was the original triangle of folded paper that I cut.  The Y is a little wonky but you get the idea.  Mike snowflake

This was one I made for Mike. His turned out a little boring. (Sorry, Mike!) The great thing about these snowflakes is that you can make a dozen with the same name and they will look totally different every time!

Want to make one yourself?  I’ll make one with you and share some tips.
You start with a square of paper folded up into a triangle. That part is easy.   I like to round out the end, but you don’t have to.
Now draw your message on the triangle. I find a pencil and good eraser to be very helpful. Some people think it’s cheating to draw out a snowflake pattern but you really have to when you make one with letters.
Some tips:
Place the bottom edge of your word on the side of the triangle that’s one big fold. It’ll make your snowflake much more stable when you’re cutting it out.
Your letters need to touch each other! This is super important! If your letters don’t touch, your snowflake will just be a bunch of loose pieces.
Similarly, your design needs to go from the bottom edge up to the top edge, at least in a couple of places. This is where fun filler shapes come in. Try adding stars, trees, hearts or whatever you think fits.
Cut along your lines, working from the outside towards the tip, and from top to bottom. The tip and the bottom edge give your triangle stability so do those areas last if you can.
DSC04516DSC04517DSC04519If you have little areas inside of letters, like on my O, you can use an exacto knife, or just cut through the letter. That’s what I do.

Unfold carefully and see what you made!


Often I’m surprised by how it turns out.  Like on this one, the holly leaf at the center doesn’t look like holly in the unfolded snowflake.  It looks like a flower.  Also, the straight line of the J gives the snowflake a square border.  If I had curved the J, it would look a lot different.

You can also make then with the word starting at the center point, though my former coworker would say that it’s backwards.  Here’s a backwards one.  Edit: It’s my daughter’s name and I don’t usually share it on this here blog.  It’s an uncommon name with an unusual spelling. I also was a little tired so I just did a triangle for the A and didn’t cut out the centers of the R or e.  There you have it!

Now go make your own!  Happy Christmas Eve !

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DSC04510I made peppermint marshmallows last night and they turned out better than I even imagined!  Dense but light at the same time, squishy and chewy and so much better than those at the store!  I read a lot of different recipes and blog posts about marshmallow making and I want to put all the good info I found right here in one place so that I can remember what I did and also so you can make them too, if you’d like.  I highly recommend you do.  They are fantastic.  If you want to read all the marshmallow info that I did you can find the recipes and blog posts here, here, here, here and here.

This recipe filled a 9 x 13 inch pan and I cut it into approximately 75 marshmallows.  They’re a little smaller than the jumbo store-bought cylinders but they’re still a decent size. Here’s the recipe I used- it’s the one from the last link above (though without the vanilla) but I’ve typed it out here to include my notes and the peppermint extract and coloring that I added.


  • 2 1/2 packets of gelatin (this is about 2 1/2 Tablespoons)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • red food coloring (optional)
  • peppermint extract (or vanilla if you want plain marshmallows)
  • rice flour, corn starch and/or powdered sugar- for dusting the marshmallows (Marshmallows need to be dusted in something so that the edges aren’t sticky.  I didn’t want to use plain corn starch because I didn’t want it to come off in my hot cocoa, making it too thick.  I was afraid that plain powdered sugar might make them too sweet and plain rice flour might be too, well, plain.  I chose to mix rice flour with powdered sugar and really like the effect but use what you want- or what you have on hand.
  • oil- so marshmallows don’t stick to the pan
  • parchment or wax paper to line the pan
  • candy thermometer
  • stand mixer with whisk attachment (I guess you could use a hand mixer but it’ll need to be on a high speed for quite a while so be sure your motor is up to the challenge and keep in mind that you, or your elves, will have to hold it for a long time.  A whisk attachment is important because you need to whip air into the mixture)


  1. Put 1/2 cup water in stand mixer bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top.  Let sit while you do the next steps.
  2. In a saucepan, add 1/2 cup water, corn syrup, sugar and salt.  Over low heat, stir until sugar dissolves.
  3. Turn heat to high and let boil until thermometer reaches about 250 degrees. Use a fairly large pan because the sugar mixture bubbles up a lot as it’s cooking. (Nearly every recipe I saw gave a different temperature and some said soft ball stage, while others said hard ball.  I picked 250 because it was about average and my marshmallows turned out great.  Also, you’re not supposed to stir it while it’s boiling but I did and they still turned out fine.)
  4. While that’s cooking, prepare your pan.  I lined the bottom and sides with wax paper, then brushed on a generous amount of oil.  Finally, I coated it with a mixture of rice flour and powdered sugar.  ( Actually Mike did this part, not me.  The marshmallows stuck a little on the sides that didn’t get oiled as much but they were still really easy to get out of the pan.)
  5. Let sugar mixture cool slightly, then pour into mixing bowl with gelatin and water in it while mixer is on medium speed.  Whisk until sugar mixture is completely incorporated.   (Recipes varied on how much to let the mixture cool, while 1 didn’t have you wait at all.  I think the point is to not pour boiling hot sugar into the mixer while it’s on because that can be dangerous.  I let it cool to about 225 but don’t recommend it.  The sugar was already starting to harden a little and it made it hard to get it all out of the pan.  Also, some hardened completely when it touched the cool mixing bowl and that chunk never mixed in with the gelatin.  If you have a splash guard, use that and pour carefully while sugar mixture is still warm.)
  6. Turn mixer to high speed.  Mixture will start to get light and fluffy and will expand a lot.  It starts to look like marshmallow creme.  It’ll get about 3 times more voluminous.  Keep mixing until it doesn’t get any puffier.  ( I didn’t time this part but it took somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes.)  Right at the end, add a little peppermint extract- use your judgment on amount as a little goes a long way.
  7. Pour into prepared pan, smooth top with an oiled spatula and let sit overnight.
  8. Okay so somewhere in here you need to add food coloring. DSC04502Well you don’t really need to but why not?  If you want the whole thing to be delightfully pink, add coloring when it’s still in the mixer.  I wanted the swirled effect so added some gel coloring while it was in the pan and swirled with a knife.  It looked pretty but as it turned out, the color didn’t really make it past the top layer.  After swirling, I smoothed out the top again and ended up spreading red color over the whole top.  Liquid color may mix better but I can’t say for sure.
  9. The next day, take out of pan, peel paper off and put on a surface dusted with whatever you want to dust with.  With a sharp knife cut it into squares, dredge  cut edges in dusting powder and place in an airtight container, separating layers with wax paper.

DSC04514I packaged some up for the neighbors in neat little wax paper bundles and labeled them with these great stickers thanks to my friend LauraLee who works here and is always bringing me stacks of reject/extra sheets of awesome (and sometimes hilarious) labels.

DSC04513Of course the neighbors don’t get them all.  I saved plenty to have in my hot cocoa!

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Apple Cozy Pattern

Okay y’all. The Knitorama pattern sucked so much that I totally changed it when I knit my apple cozies. There’s been some interest so I’ll share it with you.

Materials: I used size 8 dpns and Lion brand woolease. Guage doesn’t really matter, you just want it to fit an apple. If you get to the end of the increase section and it doesn’t seem big enough, add a few more increase rows and the same number of decrease rows to compensate. This will make your cozy both wider and taller to better hold those gigantic apples you can buy at the supermarket. This will also work if your yarn is thinner than worsted weight. Don’t forget, though, that the finished product will stretch!

CO 12 stitches and divide evenly on 4 dpns. Join for knitting in the round.
Row 1: knit across
Row 2: make 1 (m1) stitch at beginning of each needle – 16 st
Row 3: on each needle knit to 1 stitch before end, m1 – 20st
Rows 4-13: Repeat rows 2 & 3 five more times – 60 st

(This explanation might help you visualize the pattern. Each dpn holds the stitches for 1 side of the apple cozy plus 1 stitch to simulate a seam between each side. So after casting on, 2 stitches on each needle are the beginnings of one side and the 3rd stitch is the “seam” stitch. On the first increase row, you increase at the beginning of each of the four sides. On the next row, you increase at the end of each side, then knit the “seam” stitch. By doing this, you create evenly rounded sides and, therefore, an evenly rounded apple cozy. If you use fewer dpns or magic loop, just place markers between the stitches for each side and follow the instructions.)

Rows 14-15: knit across
Beginning with the next row, begin knitting back and forth, not in the round! (you could switch to a straight needle but I found it easiest to stick with the dpns)
Row 16: On each needle, purl the first stitch (this is your “seam” stitch), purl 2 together (p2tog), purl to end – 56 st
Row 17: slip, slip, knit (ssk) 1st 2 stitches on each needle, knit to end – 52 st
Rows 18-25: repeat rows 16 & 17 four more times – 20 stitches (5 on each needle)
Row 26: on each needle, purl 1, p2tog twice. On last dpn, CO 8 stitches.
BO all stitches.

Finishing: With scrap yarn, sew end of 8 cast on-bound off stitches to the edge of the cozy, making a loop.

Bobble button and leaf: I knitted these as written in the book, Knitorama, so I won’t post the patterns. It’s really easy, though. For the bobble, CO a few stitches, increase a few more, decrease and cast off. Then roll or fold up the tiny knitted piece you just made and sew it across from the loop you just made. Viola- a button!
The leaf is knitted the same way only bigger. CO a few stitches, increase a few more, knit several rows even, decrease down to 1 stitch to make a nice, pointy tip and bind off. Sew it on wherever you would like to embellish the apple.

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