Toys+Plush

Delia is a wife and a mom to two boys. Most of her days are spent being a mommy, cleaning up messes, bandaging up scraped knees, and reading stories but she likes to round her days out with one of her many hobbies. She likes to dabble in crafting, sewing, crocheting, cooking, and photography and likes to blog about it all over at deliacreates

Hello Whipup.net readers! I am thrilled to be here.

When Kathreen asked me to guest post she said to post about what has been on my mind lately. My thoughts immediately turned to my kids and how I want to pass on the legacy of working with their hands and being creative. I had this puppet project idea in the back of my mind all summer and decided now was a great time to finally do it with them.

I split the project up over a few days and did things in stages so as to not overwhelm them {or me}. We started with a sewing lesson.


For my two, almost three, year old I made felt lacing cards. There are two felt rectangles that I punched holes in with a paper hole punch. I actually broke my hole punch, so punch at your own risk if you try this. :) I then had him whip stitch the holes with yarn. He did great for about 5 minutes and got halfway up one side then lost interest.

Luckily his older brother was very much into this project and finished his sewing for him. For my six year old, I also taught him how to whip stitch but with needle and thread. We cut the sleeves off some ruined wool sweaters at an angle and sewed up the angled ends. I got the from idea here. His stitches weren’t perfect, but he and I were so proud of his effort. It surprised me to see how much he really enjoyed sewing.



Later, I sat down and made some puppets of my own. 

Here’s a quick run down of how I made the felt rat:

  1. Cut two oblong felt semi-circles that are just larger than your hand with fingers close together.
  2. Take one of the pieces and cut out an eye shape. I used a cereal bowl to help me achieve a nice curve.
  3. Using that same curve cut some triangular mouth pieces. You need two curved pieces for the outside of the of mouth and two flat pieces for the inside of the mouth. You also want to make the bottom mouth pieces just a bit smaller than the top.
  4. Take the inside mouth pieces {with the flat ends} and make some mouth embellishments. Cut your ear pieces.

 

 

 

  1. And sew them together except for the tongue. That will be sewn in later.
  2. Now take your curved mouth pieces and sew them to the top and bottom pieces of the front of your puppet.
  3. Then add the inside mouth pieces and sew them to the top and bottom mouth pieces only.


  1. Line the top and bottom pieces together and sew. When you open it up…see the tongue. :)
  2. Line up the front and back pieces and pin the ears in. Sew all the way around.

  • The puppets were ready to be dolled up. So we pulled out all my scraps and embellished our puppets using a hot glue gun. It would have made for better quality puppets to sew everything on, but with kids they enjoy the project more if it comes together quickly.
  • My two year old’s felt lacing cards became a funky little robot.
  • My older son and I made our sleeve puppets into mice. I didn’t plan on having so many rodents, but it just worked out that way. I tried to make my orange one a cat but it just looked wrong. Hence why the ears look nice and messy.


We were pretty pleased at how they all turned out though.

We wanted to debut our new puppets with a puppet show. So I hung some raw red fabric across the end of their bunk beds. It only took us about 5 minutes to figure out that the curtain was a bit too complicated for a 2 year old and even my 6 year old. After we ditched it, the boys had a lot more fun with the puppets.

They ended up eating each other most of the the time. :) But I should have seen it coming when I made the snake and the bear.  All in all it was a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to try another project with them that stretches their creative abilities. I think the only thing better than exploring my own creative outlets is sharing them with the next generation.

Thanks for having me over Kathreen. I hope you all have a wonderful day. :)

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For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

Teeny Tiny Mochimochi; more than 40 itty-bitty minis to knit, wear and give. Anna Hrachovec. 2011, Potter Craft.

Do you like small things?  Do you like projects that take a few hours from cast on to finished?  Do you like teensy tinsey small things?  Do you like projects that use up scraps of sock yarn?  Do you love toys that can fit with half a dozen of their friends all together in the palm of your hand? Do you like well written and photographed instructions? But most of all, do you love teeny tiny things?

Of course you do, everyone does!

Anna Hrachovec started a designing and knitting challenge for herself, to design and make a Tiny Toy every weekday for a month.  Once she posted each Tiny Toy on her blog mochimochiland.com, it was clear that she wasn’t the only one who was in love with tiny knits.  She has continued to make a Tiny Toy at least every week since then, and her new book Teeny Tiny Mochimochi is a collection of her favourites.

This book contains more than 40 Tiny Toys to knit.  Some of them are humanoid, like the Tiny Mermaid, Tiny Gnome and Tiny Caveman.  Some are animals, food or from nature, such as the Tiny Lion, Tiny Chickens, Tiny Cupcakes, Tiny Cacti and Tiny Volcano.  And a few of them are inanimate objects, like a Tiny Computer and Tiny Record Player.  All of the projects in this book have little eyes that look back at you, and did I mention that all of them are Tiny?  Really, really Tiny.  Most projects are under 2” in size, which makes them seriously cute indeed.

As always, Anna Hrachovec’s techniques section and instructions for each pattern are very clear, very comprehensive, and very well photographed.  The projects in this book use double pointed needles and fingering weight yarn (4 ply), but don’t let that scare you.  Even if you haven’t used this kind of needle, or ever knitted in the round, the instructions will lead you step by step.

If you have a niggly little sensible voice in your head saying “those Tiny Toys are terribly cute, but what do I do with them?” rest assured that there is a whole chapter on how to adapt the Tinies to wear, carry, display and gift them.  Instead of casting on for Holiday gift knitting and worrying about the sizing on the hats or mittens you are wanting to make, or wondering how on earth you are going to get something made for all of your kids’ teachers, relations and workmates, a Tiny Toy for everyone to put on their key ring, in their cubicle, or on a pair of earrings might just solve all of your worries.

The two downsides to this book as far as I can see, is that you will have a hard time choosing which one to make first (then second, third, seventh and fifteenth), and that I have to wrestle the book back from my kids, as they are besotted with it.  I made a Tiny Caveman for my son to take with him on a school caving trip, and now we are all addicted to Tiny Toys in my house.  Which one should I cast on next?

Anna is guest posting during Kath’s Guest blogger series, and explains her design process and talks a little more about her year long challenge.  Watch this space on 2nd of October!

About the reviewer: Kate is a busy mother of four with many craft projects on the go, including, but not limited to, crochet, knitting, sewing, dyeing, paper making, spinning, felting and bookbinding. Kate has challenges in the areas of finishing things, saying no and craft supplies storage. She also has a very very patient and tolerant husband.

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Today I am very happy to welcome Katie from Duo Fiberworks with her Carving play food tutorial: strawberries. This tutorial is part of her series on carving play food which has been playing over at her blog. So far in the series you can find carrots, cucumbers and scallions – and today Katie shows us how to carve strawberries.

Katie Startzman is a maker whose first creative love is knitting, but she blogs about all her creative pursuits at Duo Fiberworks. Lately she’s been writing about leather sandal making, wood carving, chicken coop building and hand sewing.

I came up with this project because we needed more pretend food for the play kitchen at the preschool cooperative my son attends. Using scraps of lumber, watercolor paints and bits of wool felt, I fashioned sweet and sturdy play food. I know some people are intimidated by working with wood, but I am also a beginner wood carver. If you have a sharp knife and a few hand tools, you can make some simple, lovely berries for your family, give it a try! I will continue to offer tutorials on my blog for carving fruits and vegetables; so far I’ve done scallions, carrots and a cucumber.

Supplies:
-Wood piece – I used a scrap of pine 2×4 that was about 8½” long
-Watercolor paints
-Beeswax or polish
-Green wool felt
-Tacky glue
-It helps to have some real strawberries to look at for reference.

Tools:
-Knife (see here for more on knives)
-Hand drill with ¼” bit
-Clamp for sawing
-Saw
-Paint brush
-Knitting needle or something sharp

1. First, cut a piece from the 2×4 that measures 1¼” wide.

It’s much easier to work with a larger piece of wood, so I do as much carving as possible before cutting the individual strawberries off.

2.Begin by removing the corners of the whole piece, so you have a rough cylinder shape.

3. Draw a strawberry shape on the end of the piece and place a mark in the center of the bottom.

4. Taper the end to form a pyramidal shape, and continue refining the whole piece so it’s a cylinder.

5. To shape the top (wide end) of the berry, score a line that marks the top of the berry.

6. Make cuts into the piece that angle towards the line you scored. Work from both sides, so eventually you’ll have a “v” shape cut around the circumference of the piece.

7. I go around the piece several times to make a deeper indentation.

8. If you are just making one or two berries, you can cut off your first berry here.

9. Clean up the edge, by holding the knife at an angle and working across the grain.

10. Remove the end grain roughness by holding the knife almost parallel to the surface and moving smoothly across the top. This is much faster than using sandpaper.

11. I made 7 berries from my piece, so I sketched the shapes on the wood. See how the tops and bottoms are next to each other? It’s easier to do it this way.

12. Then I used the same scoring and carving technique as above to rough out the shapes. It’s kinda tricky, but if you turn the piece frequently, you can remove a lot of material and get your berry shapes mostly formed before cutting.

13. When you have refined the shapes as much as you can, cut the pieces off.

14. Clean up the tops and bottoms by again working across the grain to bevel any sharp edges and removing the end grain. I like a beveled, chunky look, but you can use smaller cuts to make things look more refined.

15. When you are pleased with your shapes, it’s time to move on to painting. Mix a couple shades of red. Apply the paint using plenty of water, but remember the paint will dry lighter and a little will rub off when you add your final finish.

16. Let the pieces dry. Drill a hole in the top of each piece. Apply a light coat of beeswax or polish and buff the excess off. This makes a slightly shiny, smooth finish.

17. Cut a “starburst” shape from felt for each top. Glue securely to the top.

Optional: If you want all the points glued down to the berry top, add a dab of glue to each point and use a sturdy rubber band to hold them in place while drying. Cut a ½” stem. Add glue to the end of a stem. Use a knitting needle to poke the stem down through the felt top and into the hole you drilled.

18. Let the glue dry. Your strawberries are finished, how about some shortcake?

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Still on my wee break – so will leave you with some fun and quirky Australian themed knit and crochet patterns.

Fornicating Kangaroo knit chart (Ravelry download)
Anzac remembrance crochet poppy
Lest we forget crochet chart
Crochet kangaroo with joey
Crochet Koala
Knitted vintage koala pattern
Koala softie pattern

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I am really happy to have Mollie from Wild Olive joining us at Whipup today.

I’m so happy to be here today! When I was a little girl, one of my favorite games was a Pop-O-Matic game where you built peanut butter & jelly sandwiches out of foam. I still have the game, but the foam has started to age and I don’t want anything to happen to this dear memory. But I got to thinking, I bet I could make a similar game out of felt, and I’m sharing that with you too. Are you ready? It’s peanut butter jelly time!

Here’s what you’ll need:

- PB&J template [download the PDF here]
- felt in cream, light brown and purple (or the jelly color of your choice!)
- embroidery floss in tan and black

To Make:
1. Using the templates, cut out all of the pieces.
2. Embroider faces onto the bread with black floss. (After all, this is a Wild Olive project, and I like things with faces!)
3. Use a running stitch to sew around two bread pieces with tan floss. Repeat for each set.
4. Sew a cube, with matching colors on opposite sides of the cube, and leave a small opening. Add just enough stuffing to keep its shape, then sew closed.

To play:
1. Take turns rolling the die to collect pieces and assemble your sandwich in order. The colors of the die indicate which piece you get on your roll.
2. You must start with a piece of bread, then add peanut butter and jelly in any order, then finish with a piece of bread (with a face!).
3. The first one to complete their PB&J sandwich wins!

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