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Effie’s fam

Effie thought he’d introduce you to his siblings.
So without further ado… meet Ollie, Rosie & Georgie.

(Effie’s the baby in the family, so he usually gets pushed to the back of the line.)

When they’re not eating, serenading Jack with their trumpeting, or romping around, you can find them relaxing at the local window ledge, taking in the afternoon sun.

Don’t they make quite the family?

Now seriously, how cute are these guys?!?! And let me tell ya, they are super simple to make. Once you figure out how to sew one, you’ll be gathering all your fabric scraps to create your own herd!

I picked up my pattern from a local sewing store called CityCraft, but you can buy an Effie & Ollie pattern online here.

These lil’ guys make a wonderful matching addition to a handmade quilt, blanket, or other gift and can be completed in about an hour. They also take very little fabric to create, so are a great way to use up your scraps. I think it might even be fun to mix different fabric scraps on one and see how it turns out. What do ya think?

Jack’s Baby Quilt

My friend Ellyn recently had a darling baby boy. She’s always been a big fan of Winnie the Pooh, so I knew I’d have to make her a quilt using some Pooh fabric. I liked the subtlety of this print, and mixed it with some basic solid colors. The batting is a low-loft cotton and the quilt was edged with a handmade bias-binding.

To match, Jack got his very own “Effie”. This lil’ guy was made from a Heather Bailey pattern and he loves to stomp around his Pooh playground. Watch out, though! He’s been known to give a slobbery kiss or two when you aren’t looking. Hmm – or maybe that’s the other way around. Right, Jack? heehee

He has some brothers and sisters he wants to introduce you to tomorrow…so stay tuned!

Halloween fun with Heather Bailey

I love good fabric design, and Heather Bailey is one of the best. Along with creating beautiful fabrics, she has a knack for coming up with fresh and fun patterns. Every once in a while, she even offers one for free on her blog. How generous is that?!

I came across her free Betty Boo pattern a couple of months ago and was smitten. What a great use for those crazy Halloween novelty socks!

So I hit my local Dollar Tree store and picked up a few pair (that’s just 50 cents a doll!). All you need are socks that have a contrasting heel and toe. I also found some great black & white striped Michael Miller fabric from CityCraft that was begging to be used.

Within a couple of hours – a family was born.

Meet Herman, Betty, & Matilda Boo.

Matilda’s teeth haven’t quite grown in yet. 😉

But really – what’s a Halloween party without inviting the cousins?

What can I say? Once I got started… I just couldn’t stop! *lol*

You can even recycle the parts of the project you don’t use. Why not turn the discarded sock tops into mini-treat bags?

Just turn the sock topper inside out, sew a seam across the bottom, thread around 8″ of thin ribbon through the top & gather with a bow to close.

Would love to see your projects…anyone else inspired by Halloween this month?

Handmade Doggie Toy…

Back in March, a new member joined my household…

Meet Gus.

Gus was dumped in my neighborhood in pretty rough shape with no collar or microchip. The pic above was taken before his first visit to the groomers. That’s some crazy hair! *lol*

He’s scrappy as scrappy can be, but has lots of love to share too. Over the last four months…we’ve been through A LOT of squeaky toys.

Rather than buying new ones each time he wore one out, I thought I’d take a shot at making one myself with some leftover scraps from other sewing projects.

I traced out a bone shape on copy paper to create a pattern, then cut two pieces out of sturdy canvas. I took some scraps from my buttercup purse project and added lil’ chew ties on one-side (he loves those things). I then sewed the shape together, leaving a small hole to turn inside out. I stuffed the bone with polyfil and added a squeaker from a “retired” toy before closing it up. The finished project looks like this…

Gus thought it was love at first sight…

This lil’ guy could literally play fetch all day!

I picked up a pack of 6 extra squeakers for only $1.99 at Petsmart. Think I’ll try some new toys soon. I might put together a lil’ tutorial if anyone has an interest in patterns & step-by-step photo instructions.

Buttercup Bag

I made my first handbag recently based on this free Buttercup Bag pattern by Rae Hoekstra.

The great thing about this pattern is that it only uses two fat quarters of fabric (one for the exterior & one for the lining). That means the finished purse size is pretty small, but it’s still big enough to fit a wallet, phone & keys for a night out.

It also means that if you don’t have old fabrics laying around, you can test this pattern out without breaking the bank at the fabric store.

I used some linen-textured, navy fabric for the purse exterior and added a coordinating fabric flower made from one of my Sizzix dies (Large Daisies 38-0208).

To create one, just line your fabric with fusible interfacing for stability, then cut out a large & small flower in contrasting fabrics with your diecut machine. (I used my Cuttlebug.) Sew the layers together with a button, then hot-glue a pinback to the assembled flower to finish. I created my own coordinating fabric-covered button from a simple Dritz button kit I found at my local craft store. Helpful hint: Add a touch of fraycheck to the ends of your flower so they don’t unravel.

On the backside of the purse, I added a small button panel with more fabric-covered buttons.

The lining is vintage (reminds me of some baby clothes I had in the 70s.) I added a simple square pocket and a bronze-colored magnetic snap closure. I’d never tried using magnetic snaps before, but found they were pretty easy to work with. I was also amazed at the selection at my local fabric store. Apparently, purse-making is having a comeback. They had a whole aisle dedicated to it with handles, all kinds and colors of snap enclosures, etc.

Before I try this pattern again, I think I’ll enlarge it a bit. I highly recommend it, though, for a beginner sewer. You can finish one in just a few hours, and I think these bags would make great gifts for friends and family. If you decide you want to sell them, Rae also offers a commercial license for only $10.