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1  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Space Ship Play Mat on: December 18, 2011 05:48:24 PM
Someone who read my older post about my Dinosaur Play mat
reminded me that I had mentioned using the same pattern to make a space-themed play mat (years ago!) and that I never posted pictures. So here they are!

Click HERE to go to the CRAFT magazine article with the detailed instructions and downloadable template. For the space version, I used two layers of black felt instead of cotton, and skipped the fusible fleece/batting. And since felt won't fray, I didn't add the binding.
2  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / The Cat from Outer Space on: September 20, 2010 06:22:30 AM
My son wanted "The Cat from Outer Space" as the theme for his 6th birthday party so of course I had to make him "Jake," the cat/star of the movie. (for those who are unfamiliar with it, it's a 1978 Disney movie. My husband had fond memories of it, and our son has been obsessed with it since we watched it this summer).
 I found a free pattern for a sitting kitten http://dollmaker.nunodoll.com/cat/ragdoll.html   by Runo Dollmaker, but that seemed too small and squat, so I enlarged the pattern in Photoshop so it was 150 percent taller. I think I could've gone with a bit less height since the end result is sort of oddly stretched out, but I was just glad all the pieces still fit together fairly well after I tinkered with the pattern. This was my first experience using plastic stuffed animal eyes (hence the crooked placement) and my first jointed stuffed animal (the head swivels).

More pictures, including the spaceship cake my husband made, on my blog.
3  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Wooly Pig on: April 14, 2010 10:48:49 AM
This is a gift for one of my son's little girlfriends, made with a felted thrift store wool sweater.
The pattern is from Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts (though I believe it's also available on her Web site).
The sweater was really thick, so a bit tricky to sew, but overall, I think it's cute!

4  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Robot Memory Game on: April 02, 2010 07:26:49 PM
Another little gift for my robot-obsessed 5-year-old: a robot-themed memory game.

I used a free font from dafont.com called Lost Robo and just typed a bunch of "letters" in different colors, printed two sheets onto photo paper, glued them to card stock then cut them into 2-inch squares.
(To answer a question below, I used Photoshop and typed 20 letters on one page -- 4 across and 5 down -- and made each one a different color. But you could do the same thing in MS Word or any word processing software, just increase the size of the font to make the "letters" about 2 inches tall, which I think was about 200 pt, and change the text color for each letter)
The decoration on the bag is made with iron-on transfer paper.
5  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Cuddly Robot on: March 22, 2010 07:32:35 PM

I made this robot for my 5-year-old son, who had his tonsils and adenoids removed last week. He has been building lots of robots out of cardboard boxes and odds and ends, and my father-in-law (electrical engineer) has promised to help him build a "real" one. In the meantime, I thought this cuddly version was more suitable for post-surgery snuggling.

The pattern is from Gulf Coast Cottage (http://www.etsy.com/shop/GulfCoastCottagePDF), modified a bit because I didn't have enough felt so I used fleece for the front. I also sewed it so the seams were on the inside, and made the arms and legs striped. (Just to make a very straight-forward pattern more complicated!)
6  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / My version of Hobbes on: December 24, 2009 06:19:29 AM

After seeing Yakkomia's adorable Hobbes stuffed animal (https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=113448.0) earlier this year, I decided to make one for my son because he loves Calvin and Hobbes, and stuffed cats in general. Of course, I waited until 4 days before Christmas to start..

The orange plush was very annoying to work with (and is more hunter blaze orange than pumpkin orange). I ended up using the same Simplicity baby doll pattern I used to make a Richard Scarry Huckle doll earlier this year. I altered it by scanning the pattern, then laying it on top of an enlarged picture of Hobbes in Photoshop. That worked fine until I realized that in doing so, I made the neck opening too small to be able to sew the head on as directed. So I had to sew the head on by hand after it was stuffed. Luckily, the wretched orange plush hides all the stitches. I sewed strips of black fleece to the orange before assembling the pieces, and then found it impossible to line them up when sewing the arms and legs together. And Im sure there will be orange and white fuzz floating around my house well into 2010.

Ive decided that I worked too hard on this to let Santa take credit!
7  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Story Dice * NEW, EASIER TUTORIAL LINK* on: December 16, 2009 10:06:44 AM

Back in December, I posted a tutorial for the story dice I made as gifts for some of my sons friends. The basic idea is that you roll the dice and use whatever picture is facing up to tell a story.  I really liked how they turned out, but the packing tape transfer technique was quite labor-intensive, and required a color laser printer. Ive been tinkering with other methods to transfer images so the wood shows through as if the pictures are printed or painted directly on the blocks.

What I finally came up with is MUCH easier and faster: temporary tattoo paper for inkjet printers!

I have a tutorial and audio slideshow with step-by-step pictures

Here's my original post with the link to the other method:

I made these story dice for my son and his friends after seeing a few different versions online. I used digital scrapbooking elements for the images, and a transfer technique that uses packing tape to transfer the pictures to the wooden blocks. (You need a laser printer or color photocopies) The idea is that you or your child rolls the dice and tells a story based on whatever image comes up.
I have posted a tutorial on my blog http://www.stitchcraftcreations.com/2009/12/16/a-sad-story-about-story-dice/
(But for anyone thinking of making them for Christmas, I'll warn you that this is an easy but time-consuming project! My grand plan to make 22 sets for the entire class dwindled to eight sets)

(To answer the question below: I ordered the blocks from Casey Wood Products: http://caseyswood.com. I think hand carving would've put me over the edge!)
8  Halloween / Halloween Decor and Parties / Needle-felted Polka-Dot Pumpkin on: October 17, 2009 06:15:54 AM

Here's the centerpiece I came up with for our apple-picking party and harvest dinner earlier this month: a needle-felted pumpkin. I took small pieces of wool roving, maybe 1/4 inch wide and a few inches long,  jabbed the ends into the pumpkin and then wrappedthe roving into a spiral to make circles, needle felting as I went along to keep it in place. The balls surrounding the pumpkin are wet felted. The larger ones are felted around styrofoam balls.

I was crunched for time so just did the one pumpkin, but I think this could be a cute idea for a whole bunch of pumpkins... you could spell out BOO! or other words, or use black roving to make spooky silhouettes.

9  CLOTHING / Costumes: Completed Projects / Tutorial Link: Reversible 4-in-1 Cape on: October 07, 2009 07:42:10 AM

I designed this cape for my son last year so he could easily switch between all his alter egos: Super Hero, Knight, King and Dragon/Monster.
I wrote about it for The Associated Press, so I can't cut and paste the copyrighted tutorial, but these links will get you to my article as well as a step-by-step audio slideshow.

4-in-1 Cape Article & Tutorial
4-in-1 Cape Audio Slideshow
10  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Busytown Birthday on: October 02, 2009 09:00:52 AM

My son loves Richard Scarry books so we had a Busytown-themed birthday party for him earlier this month.
I used a wonderful out-of-print book, "Richard Scarry's Best Make-it Book Ever," that I found on eBay to make decorations, favors, even his gift. I made 10 Lowly worm dolls as favors and printed little coloring books from the Make-It book to give his friends.

The book also included Busytown buildings to cut out... we adhered them to fiberboard and used a jigsaw to cut out the shapes. We glued on some plastic pieces (orginally designed for child-proofing cabinets) so the buildings would be free-standing.

And I made him a stuffed Huckle Cat! I used a Simplicity baby doll pattern, and altered it to add the ears, etc. He LOVES it, and even takes it to kindergarten every day.

Check out my blog for more pictures, including the FABULOUS Huckle cake my husband made!

(And see response number 46 below for another picture for those asking about how I made Lowly)
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