Chit Chat Puppet Pattern Review

We have a special guest blogger today! My daughter spent the weekend making a puppet with the Chit Chat Puppet pattern by Abby Glassenberg. She’s here to share her thoughts on the pattern and process.

I love this puppet pattern by Abby Glassenberg Design!!! It is amazingly fun to do if you have spare time on your hands or just something for the grandkids if you run out of Christmas ideas 🙂 

I am twelve years old and made my puppet by myself (my mom only did one little thing!) and think that this pattern is all ages friendly. Of course five year olds would need a little more help than ten year olds- let’s be honest here- but after you are done, they are super fun to play with. You can finally talk to yourself without getting those “looks”!!

I did this in one day, it’s quick and easy like that, and ended with pretty much the exact version of the puppet I had thought of in my head. The pattern is easy to follow and very flexible. I could change her looks to anything I wanted to! I also found that if you zoom either in or out before printing, you could change the size of the pattern for either smaller or larger hands. 

I borrowed one of my sister’s doll dresses for my puppet. The more poof, the more it hides your hand!

My little sister asked for one for Christmas, my other sister said she was making one, and both my brothers just like her. (My puppet’s name is Charlotte.) I definitely think this pattern deserves a five-star review for all of the reasons stated above!!!

Talofa Kids Advent Wreath Pattern Notes

Last month, I had the opportunity to test Talofa Kids new Advent wreath pattern. The author, Britta Gandy, has been making these wreaths for years. I was thrilled when she put her creation into a pattern so that we can all sew them too!

Pattern Notes for the Talofa Kids Advent Wreath

Materials

  • I chose an old Army duffel for the wreath body. This is a heavier fabric than Britta suggests using, so it took a bit more effort to turn and doesn’t lay quite as flat as it would with the lighter fabric that’s supposed to be used.
  • Instead of sewing a hanging strap, I used a seam ripper to get the strap off of the duffel bag and used that. It wasn’t an easy task (seam ripping heavy fabric never is!), but it was well worth it.
  • For the leaves, I used scrap felt that a friend gave me. There were also a bunch of fall-looking colors in the bin, so I made the opposite side of the wreath with fall leaves.
  • I had hoped to stuff the wreath with fabric scraps, but the heavy canvas didn’t agree. Thankfully a friend had a bag of Poly-fil on hand.

Assembly

  • My kids helped with tracing and cutting out all of the leaves and candle pieces. It was nice to be able to involve them in a project they’ll be using for many years to come.
  • Britta offers instructions for both hand stitching the leaves or machine sewing. I machine sewed the green side, then opted to free motion quilt the autumn leaves. I’ve been wanting to learn free motion quilting, and this was the perfect project to try it on!
  • Even though I’ve never sewn a wreath, the pattern instructions were clear and easy to follow.

Thoughts

  • This Advent wreath pattern shows you how to make a heirloom quality project. The kids in your life will love the tactile and interactive nature of a new Advent tradition.
  • Making the wreath reversible was an easy way to be able to use the wreath even longer throughout the year. Plus, my son is always pestering me to decorate more for fall. Win win :).
  • There’s nothing quite like using reclaimed materials to make a project pointing to Christ. Meaningful sewing always make me smile!
  • Britta even includes devotions to use with your family during the Advent season. Such a thoughtful addition to the pattern.

2020 Handmade Holidays Shopping Guide

The 2020 Handmade Holidays Shopping Guide is here!

Two of my favorite things to do are encouraging other women and connecting more people to creative entrepreneurs. So I’ve gathered 12 of my favorite handmade stores into one place! You can browse and shop to your heart’s content, knowing that your purchase will be supporting a small business in a big way. There’s jewelry, art, hand lettering, clothing, baby items, cards, quilting, and more.

Enough talking, I’m going to go start browsing for myself!




Patchworks of Grace + Mending Notes

What beauty there is in mending.

In having a tangible reminder of the work Christ does in us and for us every day.

And, even after the painstaking work has been done, knowing we’ll be going back for more when what was previously restored is torn apart once again.

Yes, we will never be fully renewed this side of heaven.

But each stitch can bring us closer to Him.

We are all walking patchworks of God’s grace.

Mending Session Notes:

These jeans were first mended several months ago by using patches on the interior and machine darning on the exterior. I didn’t have to worry about how they looked in the end because their function was simply for around the home. For this mending session, I opted for iron on patches on the outside, followed by machine darning. Here are my observations:

  • My machine doesn’t darn well through an iron-on patch. There was a lot of needle sticking and stitch skipping. I’m not sure if this is typical of all machines, though.
  • Making designs is fun! I’ll definitely be working on more free-motion stitching so I can add little designs in during the mending process. I added a messy looking bouquet of poppies on the left knee :).
  • Always start darning with a full bobbin. Or you might end up switching bobbins 3 times in half an hour like I did.

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and breathe meaning, joy, and life into our days.


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Simple Block Printing on Fabric

History last week was about the Golden Age of China (thank you Story of the World!). After reading about the ancient Chinese form of block printing, the kids wanted to try it out for themselves. We gathered objects from around the house and outside that might make interesting shapes when dipped in acrylic paint. First we practiced on paper, then we added our favorite prints to pieces of canvas fabric to make these simple zip pouches.

Learn from our endeavors and do your own block printing at home!


Supplies

  • Scrap paper and/or light colored canvas fabric
  • Acrylic paint
  • Glue (optional)
  • Cardboard (optional)
  • Paintbrushes (optional)
  • Various objects you don’t mind getting paint on (we used twigs, leaves, old wine corks, and a bunch of stuff from our recycling bin)

Set Up

Start by gathering supplies you’d like to use for your stamps. Kids can get really creative here! We ended up with wine corks, bottle lids, sticks, pencils, chopsticks, toothpicks, medicine cups, leaves, and probably more that I’m forgetting.

Next, make your blocks/stamps if needed. You can simply use the object itself. Or, if it’s too small to get a good grip on (like a plastic water bottle cap), glue the object to a small square of cardboard. Make sure to glue down the side that you will not be printing with.

Here are some of the “stamps” we used. We didn’t have success with the glue patterns (the ridges weren’t high enough), but the rest worked really well!

Cover the surface you’ll be painting on.

Squirt out small amounts of the chosen acrylic paint colors.

You’re ready to go!


Printing

Note: If you will be printing on fabric, I recommend having the kids try out different designs and stamps on paper first.

Let the kids explore different stamping techniques. Some objects may work well being dipped into the paint, some may work better having the paint applied with a paint brush. You may end up with a kiddo that just wants to use the paintbrush to paint, like I did.

Encourage them to try different patterns, allowing paint to dry between changing colors if the patterns will be overlapping each other.

Change to printing on the fabric once everyone is comfortable with the block printing technique. Acrylic paint can go directly on the fabric! We used a duck cloth canvas fabric, which absorbed the paint well and makes for sturdy zip pouches in the next step. Plus I had scraps left from banner making, so it was a win-win.

Such a simple, fun artistic foray!


Using Printed Fabric

If you will be using the fabric for anything other than display, let it dry for 24 hours. Then iron the fabric to set the paint.

Put your iron on the setting required for your fabric type (mine was quite hot). Place a piece of scrap fabric or parchment paper on your ironing surface, then place your fabric paint side down on top. Iron on the non-printed side of the fabric for 2-5 minutes, moving the iron back and forth slowly to avoid scorching.

Iron on the back side of the fabric for several minutes to set the paint.

If you’re looking for a way to use your fabric, make some of these fun little zip pouches! The “Easiest Lined Zip Pouch” is even simple enough for an older child to sew with minimal help.



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The Easiest Lined Zip Pouch

There are about 1,200 different ways to make a zip pouch. The one I’m sharing here is as simple as you can get for a lined pouch. Plus, it’s a great way to use a single piece of special fabric for the exterior.

For this tutorial, I used fabric that my kiddos did block printing on during a history lesson about “The Golden Age of China”. Check out this post to see how we used simple block printing to design our own fabric!

I’ll be showing you two sizes here, but you can make this zip pouch your own by changing the dimensions to any size you’d like. In the “Make It Your Own” section at the end of the tutorial, I’ll give you instructions on how to change the sizing to meet your own needs.

Okay, on to the “Easiest Lined Zip Pouch”.


Materials

Large zip pouch (8.5″ x 4.75″):
One 9 1/4″ x 10″ piece of exterior fabric
One 9 1/4″ x 10″ piece of lining fabric
One nylon zipper 9 1/4″ or longer

Small zip pouch (5.5″ x 3.75″):
One 6 1/4″ x 8″ piece of exterior fabric
One 6 1/4″ x 8″ piece of lining fabric
One nylon zipper 6 1/4″ or longer

If your zipper is longer than the width of your fabric, trim it down to size.

*The easiest way to do this is to close the zipper completely and line up the end with the zipper pull with the edge of your fabric (note, this should be the shorter edge of your fabric). Trim off the overhang on the opposite side. Make sure not to cut off the zipper pull! You may stitch back and forth over the new end of the zipper if desired.


Sewing Instructions

1.

Exterior fabric right side up, place your zipper right side down along the top edge of the fabric. Zipper pull to the left. Pin or clip in place.

2.

Baste zipper in place, 1/8″ away from the edge.

*Basting means using a very long stitch length to hold the zipper and fabric in place. Basting stitches will not be seen in the final product, they simply add stability to make the next step easier.

3.

With the exterior fabric right side up, place your lining fabric right side down on top. Line the edges of your fabric up along the basted zipper edge. Pin or clip in place.

*If you are using a directional print for the lining, place the fabric upside down so when the zip pouch is opened, the fabric will be seen in the correct direction from the front of the zip pouch.

4.

With the zipper foot on your sewing machine, stitch through your zipper sandwich 1/4″ away from the edge, using a regular stitch length.

5.

Open what you just sewed to reveal the zipper.

6.

Fold the fabrics back so the lining and exterior fabrics are wrong sides together, with the zipper showing at the top.

*If you’ve never sewn a zipper before, here’s a view from the side of what it should look like at this point.

7.

Press along the top edge of the fabric, being careful not to accidently iron (and melt!) the zipper. Top stitch through all fabric layers, 1/8″ away from the zipper.

*Here’s what it looks like from the lining side after top stitching.

8.

Place your fabric exterior side up, zipper at the top. Treating the lining and exterior fabrics as one unit, fold the bottom short edge up to top along the unsewn edge of the zipper. Pin or clip in place.

9.

Sew along the clipped edge with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Here’s what it looks like from the other side.

10.

Neaten up the unsewn edges on the zip pouch by trimming off any fabric that’s not lined up.

11.

*Note- I changed pouches here to work on the small one.

Here’s the ONE kind of tricky part of this zip pouch. Shift the zipper back on the sewn fabric so that the fabric at the top of the zip pouch folds accordion style. Do this on both unsewn sides.

See the step by step photos in the grid below if this looks confusing!

12.

Pin or clip the unsewn edges in place. Make sure your zipper is at least halfway open before clipping!

13.

Using your regular stitch length, stitch along the unsewn edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

14.

Sew along the raw edges with a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.

*If you have a serger, you can use it to combine steps 13 and 14.

15.

Turn the zip pouch right side out, using your finger to push out all of the corners. Clip the top edge of the fabric along the zipper. Make sure it’s lined up nicely, as you’ll be sewing along that top edge.

16.

Top stitch along the top edge of the zipper. The corners will be a bit bulky, so make sure to use a sharp needle and go slowly. You don’t need to sew the bulky areas completely if it’s hard for your machine, rather leave an unsewn 1/4″ on each side.

*Start sewing 1/2″ in from the side and then backstitch. This will help feed the fabric through nicely and allow you to adjust to the bulky edge.

17.

Trim any loose threads and you’re all done!

*Here’s what the large pouch looks like on the inside. The directional print is right side up when opening from the front. The front edge (not shown) will be upside down.

Make It Your Own

There are several ways you can use this tutorial to make a zip pouch with your own special flair. Also, check out the free Stand Firm Zip Pouch for a different twist on this tutorial!

Change up the materials:

  • Design your own fabric with acrylic paint following our block printing tutorial.
  • Sew a quilt block to use for the exterior.
  • Use a meaningful fabric, such as an old shirt. If you want to use a stretchy fabric, interface with Pelon SF101 or a similar interfacing before sewing.

Resize:

  • You can make this zip pouch any size you’d like! Just make sure the width of your fabric is the same as your zipper length. See “Materials” for how to cut down a zipper to the size you need.
  • Keep in mind that your zip pouch will end up approximately 3/4″ smaller in width than your original fabric piece, and a little less than half as tall. For example, if you start with a fabric piece that is 10″ across and 10″ tall, you will end up with a zip pouch that is 9.25″ across and 4.75″ tall.

Together we can find more ways to reclaim fabric
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Announcing – A Handmade Holidays Shopping Page

I’m excited to share a great opportunity for connection with other business owners specializing in handcrafted goods. This year will be Reclaimed for Good’s first annual “Handmade Holiday Shopping Guide”, featuring handmade *very* small businesses.

There will be a webpage dedicated to listing stores and services, and I’ll also feature one store each day on Reclaimed for Good’s social media feed starting November 5th.

No obligations, fees, or hoops to jump through, I’m just excited to connect people with lots of new creative, handmade stores!

Here’s what the “Handmade Holidays Shopping Guide” will look like:
  1. A dedicated page on my website www.reclaimed4good.com with photos and links to what you’re selling.
  2. A different shop featured daily on my IG/FB pages starting Nov 5th.
  3. Lots of tags in my stories to point people to your handmade goodies!
How to add your shop:
  1. If you’re unfamiliar with Reclaimed for Good and our mission, take some time to look at the website first to make sure it’s a place you’d like your store featured.
  2. Fill out and submit this Google form or click on the button below.
  3. Email a couple of photos to reclaimed4good@gmail.com that you feel best represents what you have to offer.

Entry deadline is October 30th.

Message, email me, or comment here with any questions!

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Baptism Banner Reflections

Over the past year, I’ve had several discussions with people about my method for making banners or wall hangings.

Let me tell you, it’s not a one step process!

In fact, even though I’ve made quite a few wall hangings by now, I still follow a detailed checklist I made for myself so that I’m less likely to goof up and skip steps along the way.

*fingers crossed*

I like to work with fabric that has special meaning to the recipient, cut the letters and/or images from this fabric by hand, fuse them to a backing I’ve hemmed, and then finish it by using my sewing machine to stitch the edge of each applique piece.

Is there a machine that could create a banner with fewer mistakes and more precision?

Probably.

Is there a machine that could make a banner in a fraction of the time it takes me?

Definitely.

But, is there a machine that could draw me into deeper connection with both the person I’m creating it for and to the materials in my hands?

Nope.

The connections of reclaimed fabric, faith meditations, and using my hands to create something new is what draws me to sewing.

So, for now, I’m going to stick with this laborious, slow process for making banners.

Because, in this current season of my life, unearthing meaning in creating and finding unending connections to Christ in sewing mean more to me than efficiency.

Discoveries

The past couple of summers, my older children took clay classes at a nearby art museum. While they created, the other kids and I developed a sweet routine of going on a walk, grabbing a snack, and playing at the park. Like so many things in life right now, we missed those days this summer.

Yesterday, though, we finally had the opportunity to recapture a little bit of that art class/mommy time joy. I dropped a few of the kids off at an art class, grabbed some hot chocolate from a local coffee shop, and the 2 year old, 5 year old, and I played a park until it was time for pick up. It was misting, the ground was wet, and it wasn’t our “usual” routine, but it felt like a beautiful glimpse of normalcy.

Discovering this new art class and playground got me thinking about all of the things we’ve missed over the past several months, and all of the things we’ve discovered along the way.

I’d love to hear what you’ve missed and what you’ve found, too! Here are a few of mine.


Relationships

We’ve all missed in-person time with friends, the kids especially. But with few friends around, our kids’ sibling relationships have deepened and turned into a rich blessing. Turns out our kids appreciate each other more the more time they spend together! What a sweet outcome during a difficult time.


Playgrounds

At first, playgrounds being closed made for some sad kiddos. Then we discovered several nature trails nearby that we didn’t know about before. Long hikes and wading filled in the holes that a closed playground left. Who knew there was such beauty in our little neck of the woods?


Sports

We are a sports loving family, so it was tough when Tae Kwon Do and little league baseball were cancelled. To stay active we started going on several bike rides each week and multiple walks a day. Let’s just say we got to know our small town quite well :).

Even better, we started doing Zoom yoga classes with Fit Mooney each Sunday afternoon. Our family around the country joined in the classes, too, so we were able to practice yoga “together” each week! These are such encouraging, accessible classes that I’m excited Melissa from Fit Mooney is letting me give away two free sessions (details at the end of this post)!


Family Gatherings

Since we don’t live in the same town as extended family, it was a long time before we were able to see other in person. Luckily, my siblings came up with some creative ways to stay connected! My sister gave one of our kids weekly Spanish lessons via FaceTime, another sister joined an online writing group that met live via Zoom, and my brother taught me the art of sourdough bread making all over the phone! I’m naturally suspicious of technology taking the place of face to face conversation, but it was wonderful to discover that it can be a great tool for connecting to each other as well. (The photo below is from when my brother and I finally got to bake together!)


Full Schedules

Of course we missed all of the travel plans and activities we had on the calendar for Spring-Fall of 2020. Along with music, sports, art, and other school/extracurricular events, we were going to travel to Washington D.C. and Tennessee as a family on carefully planned roadtrips. I learned, yet again, that you don’t need a full schedule to have a full heart. We filled our freed-up time with hikes, playing outside, making blanket forts, and reading good books aloud together (like Anne of Green Gables!). Slow things that matter more than all of the trips in the world.


Normalcy

Last, but not least, these past several months of missing normalcy have served to point us to the one Hope. Sometimes it’s not until everything is stripped away, that you remember what truly matters. Making Hope Pouches throughout the pandemic has reminded me over and over again that “my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness'”. It can be easy to forget true hope when life is running as normal!


Giveaway!

I love our weekly live yoga classes with Fit Mooney so much that I’m giving away two sessions! Live classes are Sunday afternooons, but a recording is available for those not able to make it at that time or for those who want to practice more throughout the week. These encouraging sessions span all abilities and age levels! I’m a beginner, and my kids even join in :). To win a spot in next the Zoom session on September 20th, comment on Facebook or Instagram with what your favorite “pandemic discovery” has been!


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Sewing with Kids – First Projects

Is your kiddo ready to sew a project and you’re not sure where to start? Here are some of my favorite beginning sewing projects that are just right for little hands.

For more info on how to start teaching your child to sew, check out the other posts in the “Sewing with Kid” series:

  1. Setting the Stage
  2. Hand Embroidery
  3. Machine Sewing
  4. First Projects

I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again: I’m so glad you’re interested in teaching a kiddo how to sew. It takes a bit of time and a lot of patience, but seeing a child’s eyes light up with joy as they build a life skill makes it worth the effort!


Pillowcases

Pillowcases are a great place to begin sewing. Plus they’re useful! Win. Win. Here’s my favorite pillowcase method and the one my kids started with while taking a class at our local quilt shop. To make this tutorial even easier, you can leave out the accent strip of fabric.

An envelope pillow cover is a another great, simple option! My kids helped me make a million and one of these for their dad’s birthday one year.


Framed Hand Embroidery

Take hand embroidery projects and frame them in the hoop for an easy and beautiful way to display your child’s work. Don’t forget that the handiwork doesn’t need to be perfect to warrant display! Here’s a good tutorial to get you in the right “frame” of mind.


Tote Bags

Like pillowcases, tote bags are simple and useful things to sew. You child can even add his or her own embroidery to make it unique! Here’s a simple tote bag pattern to to start with.


Accessories

Headbands, bookmarks, and pencil holders are great ways to use up scraps and let your child sew something he or she can use on a daily basis.


Patchwork Quilt

When you’re ready to move on to a bigger project, a patchwork quilt is a fun project with a child. It takes more time, but has such a gratifying, confidence boosting end result! I have a series of quilting posts here that break every step down for you if you haven’t quilted before. My posts use t-shirts for a quilt, but applies to quilting cotton, too! In fact, I recommend starting with quilting cotton if you’re making a quilt with a kiddo :).


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