kids project

Introducing Anne from flaxandtwine blog, Anne has a wonderful project she is sharing here today – she explains…

Hi Whip Up Readers.  I’m so happy to be here.  I am a sewer, a knitter and a crafty-thing-maker.  I started my blog flax & twine []  to re-discover my artistic voice through creative exploration.  I strive to share the value of hand made and the important place it holds in my life with my children and with others.  And, to have a ton of fun along the way.  I’d love it if you joined me in the adventure.

A Paperboard Mystery Message
This special word puzzle was originally made for a sweet, strong, little boy in my life who has cancer.  I designed this “get well” gift to have a meaningful message, be easy to do while sitting in bed and have the flexibility to play with over and over. Original purpose aside, I think ANY kiddo loves to decode a secret message.  What a fun birthday gift!  Or gift from a visiting friend.  The added benefit is that the letters can be used for word building long after the original message is solved.
paperboard (used cracker/cereal boxes)
alphabet stamps (can use printed letters from computer)
ink pad
craft knife
cutting mat
sewing machine
scraps of fabric
Make the Message
1. Make a “card” by cutting two pieces of 4×4 paperboard and sewing them together with decorative stitches around the border.  Write the greeting and instructions on one side and the secret message to be decoded on the other.

Make the Letters (Note: The tutorial for the letters below is for a different message than the photos above).
1.Cut a 2×4.5″ paperboard strip for each of the letters you need for your puzzle.
2. Fold strips in half, with the printed side facing in.
3. Stamp your desired letters on one half of the paperboard with local craft store alphabet stamps.*
*If you don’t have stamps or don’t want to buy them, you can print large font letters (try Arial Black – 120 pt) from your computer printer, cut them out and paste them on to the paperboard then proceed with the below instructions.
4.  Cut out letters with a craft knife.  If you have a letter like “O” with a center, cut out the center piece and save it to glue back on the letter later.
5. Select fabric scraps and trim to fit inside the folded paperboard (with a small margin).
6. Sew paperboard sandwich closed around edge with a zig-zag (or other decorative) stitch.
7. With fabric glue, glue down centers of letters and any other cardboard pieces that might bend.
8.  Trim edges of paperboard where corners didn’t quite line up.
Wrap the Package
The message and letters can be wrapped and presented in many different ways. I wanted a handmade reusable bag so the puzzle could be played with again and again.  If you want to make a bag like mine, you can find directions for that here.



September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

Today I want to welcome Tina Givens to Whipup, Tina has a new book of children’s clothing patterns just released titled Sew Tina! 30 Cute Projects & Adorable Décor Items for Kids and later in the month I will be participating in her blog/author tour which should be a blast! Tina is a multi-talented woman – she not only designs patterns to wear and use and make but designs fabric and stationary too.

Character Blankee

I love illustrating for children, and wanted to create something in fabric—using stitches instead of paper, paint, and ink. I sketched out a few little characters and fell in love with free-motion stitching. The instructions below are for a little blanket, but the same method can easily be adapted for wall art, quilt tops, or a cushion front.


Templates for the bunny and piggy can be downloaded here.

  • Scrap fabrics for appliqué, enough for character pieces
  • Fusible interfacing, lightweight (enough to attach the character pieces)
  • Craft felt to fit your finished appliqué, about 16 x 20 inches
  • 2 pieces of fabric for blankee top and backing, 18 x 21 inches
  • Cotton batting, 18 x 21 inches
  • Fabric to make binding, enough for a strip that is 2 x 85 inches
  • Tina’s Tip: When making the binding strip, consider whether you want to miter the corners or not. If mitering, cut the binding on the bias. Otherwise, binding cut along the grainline will work just fine.

  • Tools: Basic Sewing Kit + Free-motion presser foot
  • Seam allowance is 1/2 inch unless otherwise noted
  • Before You Start Here are some material suggestions:

    Scraps—For the characters faces, use something that is a light-colored solid or with a minimal pattern design. Otherwise, the facial features will be lost. Consider mixing up your scraps so different fabrics will be next to each other.

    Background fabric—It’s best to use 100 percent cotton (light to medium weight), and to select this fabric after you have determined your scrap selections. Choose something that will make your appliqué stand out the most. Likewise, the felt border around the character will help create a distinct outline, so choose the color accordingly.

    Thread—Regular all-purpose thread is fine, or you could use a machine embroidery thread. I love using a chocolate brown color, because it makes the stitching look like it was done with an ink pen.

    Cutting and Preparation
    1. Download the templates found in the materials section and enlarge the template of your choice to your desired size.

    2. Fuse interfacing onto the wrong side of your selected scraps prior to cutting out any pattern pieces.

    3. Place the tracing paper on top of the character you wish to appliqué, and trace each individual part that will be cut from a different fabric, separating them out. For the Flying Pig, for instance, trace the beanie hat as a piece, his face as another piece, then the goggles, and so on. (I cut out his nose in the same fabric, for added dimension.)

    4. Cut out the individual pattern pieces, and pin them onto the interfaced scraps. Cut out each shape in fabric.

    5. Place each piece directly onto the felt, following the template. Pin each piece down securely. Don’t worry if you can see the interfacing peeking from under the cut appliqué edges—it will soon be hidden by the stitching.

    Tina’s Tip: When I do sketch (free-motion) stitching, I begin with larger or base pieces, like the pig’s face and head. I then stitch around the goggles, and save smaller details for last.

    Sewing Instructions
    6. Start stitching the pieces in place, one by one. When you are ready for smaller stitched details, like eyes and teeth (for the bunny), use a pencil or disappearing fabric marker to draw them as shown on the pattern, then stitch. Eyes are simple, just make a little circle and fill it in by stitching around and around. When you clip the ends, you can leave a 1/4-inch thread tail, which look like eyelashes. Once you have finished stitching all parts and pieces onto your felt base, press everything flat.

    7. Cut the felt around your character, about 1/4 inch from all stitching and fabric edges. This will create an outline of solid felt, which is a vital component of this busy appliqué. It serves as a separator of color and pattern, and creates a three-dimensional effect for your little character.

    8. Pin the character appliqué, felt side down, front and center on the right side of your blankee top. Again, use sketch stitching around the edges of your character, along the previously sewn lines. For any extra little details, such as the propeller motion lines, stitch directly onto the background fabric.

    9. To assemble the blankee layers: Lay the backing fabric right side down, lay the cotton batting on top, and finish with the appliquéd front, right side up. Pin around all edges and through all layers. Baste close to the raw edge on all sides.

    10. Make your own double-fold bias tape and bind the edges of the blankee.


    September/October brings change of season, and fresh starts and frivolity and seriousness too. So for a break from whipup realtime I am introducing a few weeks of guest bloggers to liven up your crafty experience. To bring you something fresh, and hopefully invigorate you to make and do and be and think! Its going to be a fun few weeks so come along for the ride.

    Today I want to introduce Nicole Mallalieu, she writes (for the occasional magazine article Stitches, Get Creative, Homespun etc), keeps a blog You Sew Girl, which has heaps of sewing tips and tutorials and she runs a shop too – selling supplies and finished goods so you can get making too.

    Since picking up a needle and thread at the age of three, I have been a passionate designer and maker of all things “textile”. I graduated (in 1989) with a degree in Fashion from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and worked in Australia, England and Ireland, in the fashion and craft industries. Since returning to Australia in 2002, I have designed and manufactured bag patterns in conjunction with teaching courses and workshops in patternmaking, sewing and bag making. I launched my online bag-supplies store in 2004.

    From the ashes of disaster (grows the Lavender of success!)

    I carefully planned a tutorial for making these “Lavender Luggage” bags for my guest spot on Whip Up… Never one to skimp on instructions, I couldn’t make it fit the Whip Up brief. I spent two days refining, preparing and tweaking before I gave up and embarked upon a quick-fix project. (Sometimes we just have to accept that things are not going as they ought and find a different path!)

    Here is my 20-minute-or-less quick-fix project – it saved my sanity after the time I poured into the other project. I whipped up this quick little lavender bag for my frog-obsessed 4-year old. It was meant for her wardrobe, but she prefers to hang it from her bed-head so that it can relax her to sleep.

    The method:

    1. Cut (x 2) green homespun cotton fabric into a frog face (-ish) shape – no templates are included – you can wing this using the photographs to guide you.

    2. Cut 2 circles for the eyes (I had no white felt, so I used two layers of fusible interfacing). This face was embroidered by machine – but it could be done by hand. Buttons were sewn for the eyes (but could equally be appliqued or embroidered).

    3. With right sides of fabric facing, sew the two pieces together around the outside edge – leaving a 1” gap in the seam at the bottom of the face and catching a loop of ric-rac or ribbon into the top edge seam.

    4. Trim the seam allowances to 6mm (1/4 inch) with pinking shears and turn the face to the right side out through the gap in the base. Fill the face with lavender flowers and slip-stitch (ladder stitch) the gap closed.

    This frog was so simple and quick, it made me think of the limitless possibilities for little “animal face” lavender bags for children. It also made me appreciate the simplicity of using materials that are to hand, and throwing them together with love. A nice reminder not to complicate things!

    You can see the other project – my Lavender Luggage tutorial on my blog You Sew Girl,


    Super cute idea on how to use this ikea fabric. A great project for the kids – fabric city.


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