Tag Archives: Crafts

Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids

This holiday season, Jax, who is almost 5, asked to make gifts for his grown up friends. He’s been very interested in play dough lately, so I suggested clay jewelry and trinket bowls. He loved that idea, so we headed to the craft store for some supplies.

Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids

What We Used:

We used Sculpy oven bake clay so that we wouldn’t have to wait too long for it to harden. I got a large white pack with a 50% off coupon. It left him with plenty to play with. He’s quite fond of making clay Kirbys!

Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids

To make the beads, Jax rolled various sizes of spheres and I poked holes in them with a bamboo skewer.  We used the skewers to add texture to some of the beads. We made stripes and dots.

Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids   Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids

The small bowls started as a larger ball of clay that I had Jax dent and squeeze into a bowl shape. Younger kids will need help with this. In some of them, Jax used a foam snowflake sticker to stamp an impression in the bottom of the bowl.

Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids

Jax also make a few other fun things with the clay while I poked all the holes and pre-heated the oven (follow your clay’s instructions). I baked ours in two sessions, since the bowls and beads were fairly thick (and bedtime was approaching!)

Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids

The next day, we spent some of our homeschool time painting all our beautiful beads, bowls and crafts! I stuck the beads on skewers and toothpicks to paint them. Jax found them to be too tricky, so he told me colors and patterns to use while he painted the bowls.

Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids

We traced Jax’s hand in clay to make this rockin’ ornament for a guy friend!

Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids

That evening I coated them with glossy Mod Podge to seal in the paint. Any acrylic sealer would work. To coat all sides of the beads, I strung them on cord and painted them while they hung.

Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids

To make our necklaces, I had Jax choose 3-5 beads to string onto a long cord. I tied on copper-toned lobster clasps and tab rings, then sealed the knots with Fray Check. I think he chose beautiful combinations!

Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids

We really enjoyed working on this craft together. I think a child just a couple years older would be able to do it all (besides the oven) themselves.

Jax has been so proud to hand out his gifts! He’s been telling everyone that they were made with love.

Colorful Clay Jewelry Craft for Kids

The Nine Minute Pencil Bag

The Nine Minute Pencil Bag
My little man is turning 5! He’s very into his Wii and anything Super Mario, so it was easy to pick his party theme. I always like to include a handmade party favor for our guests. This year, I’m making pencil bags! Since I am making 12 of them and my free time has been so limited lately, I had to make them quickly. And so, the Nine Minute Pencil Bag was born!

I used fabric that I custom designed and ordered through Spoonflower. (If you like my fabrics, you are welcome to order them too! I think I get about $1/yard to spend there if you do.) I made a question box tumble is three colorways: red, green and blue. I ordered one fat quarter of each. I needed a dozen 9″ zippers, so I ended up buying this zipper assortment. It came with a good assortment and only one of them was the wrong size out of 54. I also bought three additional fat quarters in coordinating colors. With 6 fat quarters (3 outer fabric and 3 lining) you can make 12 bags.

The Nine Minute Pencil Bag

What I Used:

  • Two 9″ x  5″ rectangles in my outer fabric
  • Two 9″ x 5″ rectangles in my lining fabric
  • One 9″ zipper
  • Matching thread
  • Iron, sewing machine (with zipper foot) and scissors

The Video:

I don’t talk in this video – turn on CC if you’d like written instructions. And enjoy one of my favorite classical pieces – The Blue Danube!

The Basic Overview:

You start with a “zipper sandwich” – take one rectangle of each of the fabrics and lay then stacked, right sides facing. Place the zipper inside the sandwich facing the outer fabric. Line its edge up with the long side of the fabric on the inside of the sandwich. Sew along the zipper with a zipper foot (moving the zipper pull partway). Flip the two rectangle so their wrong sides are facing and the zipper is sticking out of the sandwich. Make a new sandwich around it, right sides facing in, putting the lining on the lining side and outer fabric on the outer fabric side. Sew the edge with a zipper foot (moving the zipper pull partway).

Open up the rectangles so right sides are out and the zipper is in the center. Iron it smooth, then flip the sides so the linings are together (right sides facing) and the outer fabric pieces are together (right sides facing). Press the zipper/seam towards the lining. Open the zip halfway. Starting on the short side of the lining near the bottom of the zip, carefully sew across the zipper. (Make sure you do not sew over the metal crimp at the base of the zipper. It will break your needle!) Sew all the way around until you get back to your starting side, then stop when you have 3″ left to go. Leave that open for turning.

Clip the tails at both ends of your zipper, then clip all four corners. Flip the bag right side out through the hole, unzipping the zipper the rest of the way when you are able. Make sure you poke all the corners out. With the outer fabric and lining on each side, iron it smooth. Fold in the hems of the lining opening and iron it to crease it. Stitch it closed close to the edge. Push the lining into the bag and iron it inside and out, making sure to iron the fabric away from the zipper.

All done! I’ll be filling ours with Dollar Tree pencils, sharpeners and faux mustaches.

The Nine Minute Pencil Bag
They turned out super fun!

The Nine Minute Pencil Bag
If you make some Nine Minute Pencil Bags, I’d love to see them! Share them on my Facebook page or mention me on Twitter or Instagram ( @iolstephanie ). Enjoy!

Recycling Quiet Book Set & Free Printables

Recycling Quiet Book Set & Free Printables
I’m always looking for ways to teach Jax about what we can do to help our planet. I knew a “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” theme would make a wonderful quiet book theme. Trash and recycle trucks are so much fun for kids to watch, so I had to add one in to expand the project into a fun recycling set.

Recycling Quiet Book Set & Free Printables
This is a pay pattern available in my Etsy shop. Purchasing my pay patterns will let me move towards making a living at crafting and give me more time to devote to both pay and free projects.

Recycling Quiet Book Set & Free Printables
The 6″ square quiet book features 3  double pages: Reduce teaches turning off lights and faucets to save resources. Reuse promotes using reusable cups and bags whenever possible. Recycle introduces sorting recyclables (and compost items!) into their bins. The cover has a recycle symbol and an earth with a heart.

Recycling Quiet Book Set & Free Printables
All of the sorting items can be used with the recycle truck that features a working back hatch. Pull the loop to open the hatch, then pull the ribbon to close it up again. There is also a recycle bin and a felt doll that is compatible with my other dress up felt dolls (fire station and dollhouse.)

I hope you’ll find the pattern files to be beautiful and helpful. A lot of time went into them! The pattern includes a stitch guide and full tutorial with photos and illustrations. You will also receive a coupon for $5 off at American Felt and Craft to help you get started on your felt stash.

Recycling Quiet Book Set & Free Printables
You can purchase this pattern for $8 in my Etsy shop, Imagine Our Life. If you would like to sell the finished product, you can purchase commercial licensed version for $20. This is a one time fee, and you’d be able to sell as many recycle quiet books as you’d like after purchasing it.

Recycling Quiet Book Set & Free Printables
As a free add-on to this felt set, I am providing my matching 3-part cards and recycle sorting game free for educational use! Click here to download the pdf.

Recycling Quiet Book Set & Free PrintablesThe cards and game include the same sorting categories as the felt set, giving you an additional way to teach the new vocabulary. (I include both the North American spelling on “aluminum” and the world spelling of “aluminium”.) The game features illustrations that were hand drawn by me.

Recycling Quiet Book Set & Free Printables

Montessori MondayTo assemble, print out the cards and cut them out. Glue them to card stock backs, then laminate and trim. I use this laminator. To make laminating a bit easier, you can try adding a dab of glue stick to the cards when you position then in the lamination sleeves. It keeps them from wiggling and overlapping.

I purchased two 3-packs of blue drawer organizers from Dollar Tree to use as my sorting bins.

If you liked this free homeschool printable and want more homeschool ideas, visit Montessori Monday at Living Montessori Now.

I hope you enjoy this pattern! I can’t tell how much your support means to me. Big thank yous to all of you who are a part of our Facebook page. You have given me so much inspiration! Please feel free to comment here or on Facebook if you have suggestions for new projects. I am sketching patterns and ordering felt for all my fall projects this week. I’ll post some sneak peeks on Instagram. Come follow along!

Recycling Quiet Book Pattern

Felt and Sequin Dangle Earrings

Felt and Sequin Dangle Earrings

I keep my sequins in a vintage canning jar beside my sewing area, and all the pretty, sparkly colors have been calling to me recently. I wanted to make a quick project with them, so I combined my love of felt and fun, dangle earrings!

Felt and Sequin Dangle EarringsNo patterns needed for this one – just have fun!

Felt and Sequin Dangle Earrings

What I Used:

Felt and Sequin Dangle Earrings

I started by cutting out shapes in my felt and laying them out with sequins to create a design I enjoyed. I then cut out a second set. Make sure you cut a backing piece for each earring body. Decorate the earring fronts by sewing down the felt shapes and adding sequins and French knots as embellishment.

Felt and Sequin Dangle Earrings

Here is how I made mine:

I cut my base out in a rounded teal diamond shape. I had a honeydew green circle the size of a nickel and a blue-gray square, slightly bigger than a sequin. I laid the pieces out and started by sewing down the center square. With the same thread, I sewed on the center sequin. I then switched thread colors and sewed on 4 contrasting sequins around the circle.

With the same thread color, I added a French knot to the center sequin. Switching thread colors to match the circle, I stitched it down. I then started alternating adding matching sequins and stitching French knots.

Felt and Sequin Dangle Earrings

Repeat everything for the front of the second earring.

I then created a tassel. I cut a length of three colors of floss, cut those in half and then tied then together at the midpoint. I then folded them in half and used one of the thread colors to tie knot loops around the bundle. After my last knot, I ran my needle up through the top of the tassel and let the tail stick out with the others at the top. I trimmed the bottom, then made a second one to match.

With thread matching my background, I stitched the tassels to the backsides of the earrings. I made stitches that were hidden by the sequin on the front. I then began sewing the front and back together for each earring. I paused at the top and sewed on a jump ring. Make sure the rings face the way they need to in order hang the right way from your earring wires.

Finish the earrings by attaching the earring wires. I had fun with the colors and made a bright pink and purple set that is slightly smaller.

Felt and Sequin Dangle Earrings

I really enjoyed making these and may design some more to give as gifts or sell in my Etsy shop. Let me know if you make some! Stop by our Facebook page or share a photo with me on Instagram or Twitter (username @iolstephanie). Be sure to share the project with a friend who sews!

Felt and Sequin Dangle Earrings

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

At last, the final sewing installment the Montessori wall map! It’s hard to believe I’ve finished sewing the whole world (just about)! The next and final post in this series will feature the world landmark printables. If you haven’t been following our Montessori wall map and quiet book yet, you can read all about it here. This post is for the continent of Australia.

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Every continent (and the oceans) will have landmarks and animals. Australia has so many wonderful animals, but is too small on the scale of this map to fit more than 4 pieces I ended up choosing 3 animals (thanks to your votes on Facebook!) and one landmark for this continent. The landmark, the Sydney Opera House, is the only landmark I chose in this project that doesn’t have a matching Safari LTD figurine. It was so iconic that I couldn’t not make it, though. I included: The Sydney Opera House, and Emu, a Koala and a kangaroo.

Overview and Map PatternsAfricaAntarcticaAsia • Australia EuropeNorth AmericaOceansSouth America

Our finished map!

Our finished map!

This project is totally free for you to use (though commercial use requires a license.) If you’d like to support my designs, one way is to make a purchase off of Jax’s Amazon wishlist – he turns 4 on February 5th! I use his list to bookmark school and craft items until I am able to get them. For more ways to contribute to this site, visit my support page.

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Materials I Used

The Pattern (see the first post for the main patterns) Felt from American Felt & Craftpastry [golden taupe], chocolate [deep brown], fresh linen [off white], monkey [red brown], honeydew [light green], sparrow [light blue], ice [aqua blue], rocky point [heather taupe], elephant [charcoal], graywhite and black. Hook & Loop – I used white snag-free Velcro on the backs of all these pieces and brown hook & loop (loop only) on the front of the Australia puzzle piece. My brown hook & loop was from here. Felt glue to tack down the pieces before sewing, printer fabric for the continent label, embroidery floss in colors to match the felt and micro tip scissors.

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

For the Australia quiet book page, I sewed a running stitch (dashed) outline around the Australia pattern piece and sewed down snag-free Velcro to line up with the Velcro on the back of the Australia piece.

Australia: (Felt used: chocolate brown) For the Australian continent puzzle piece, I sewed down pieces of brown loop Velcro. On the back, I sewed strips of white snag-free Velcro to correspond with the Velcro in the quietbook and the wall map. I finished it by sewing the two sides together around the edge with a blanket stitch.

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Label: (Felt used: chocolate brown) For the continent label, I folded under the edges (just a tiny bit to hide the rough edges) and creased it with my nails. The printer fabric held the folds nicely without ironing. Then I stitched the label to some brown felt and trimmed it down to be a border. I cut a matching felt rectangle for the back, sewed snag-free Velcro to it and then sewed both sides together.

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

For all of the animals, I started by gluing the pieces down to a scrap of background felt with a very light amount of felt glue. I glue multiple animals at a time to give them time to dry. I sewed them down, trimmed the background and cut a matching backing piece. I sewed snag-free Velcro to the back and sewed both sides together with a blanket stitch.

We love this animal encyclopaedia!

We love this animal encyclopaedia!

Emu: (Felt used: rocky point heather beige and chocolate dark brown for the body, grey light grey and elephant charcoal gray for the head and legs and honeydew light green for the background) For the emu, I tacked everything into place with felt glue. I then sewed all the pieces down around their edges. I made little dashed stitches with brown floss to make his feather texture. His eye is a gold French knot with a tiny black stitch in the center. His mouth is a black line.

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Kangaroo: (Felt used: monkey red-brown for the body and pastry beige for the background) I started by tacking everything down with felt glue. The joey’s head and kangaroo leg go on top of the body. I stitched everything down around the edges, the back stitched the line of the kangaroo’s elbow. There is a straight stitch in her ear and the pouch. Both eyes are black French knots.

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Koala: (Felt used: gray for the bodies, white for the ears, black for the noses, chocolate dark brown for the tree and honeydew light green for the background) I started by tacking everything down with felt glue. Then I stitched everything down around the edges (except the white of the ears). The eyes are brown French knots. Their nails are brown straight stitches. I back stitched the mama koala’s mouth.

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Sewing the Landmarks

For all the landmarks in this project, I started by sewing the front piece. Then I cut out a backing felt to match the final shape and added some snag-free Velcro to it. I finished sewed around the whole edge, switching colors where needed. For all of the detail work, see the photos for a sample of where to stitch.

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Sydney Opera House: (Felt used: pastry beige and white for the building, ice for the water and sparrow blue for the background) I glued down the building pieces and stitched down the edges. Using three shades of brown floss, I made many straight stitches to add details of the building. I looked at photos online for reference. See my close up for exactly what I did.

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

These animals are from Safari LTD’s Down Under TOOB

Montessori Australian Animals 3-Part Cards

The series of 3-Part cards I am making for this project is something that Jax will be using for many years in homeschool. I have been focusing on the animals in these posts, but the next post will feature all the landmarks we sewed. Eventually, we will expand our collection of cards even more to include cultures, more landmarks, and so much more. Three part cards are extremely flexible learning tools.

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Click here to download my free pdf file to make your own animals of Australia cards. To make mine, I cut them out, glued them to brown construction paper (to match Australia’s Montessori color) then laminated them. I use this laminator and I’ve been very happy with it. It makes everything so shiny and strong! My photos come out slightly faded from the printer (I use normal paper) but turn gorgeous after lamination. (Quick tip: Add a dab of glue stick on the back of your pieces before you place them in the lamination pouch to keep them from sliding around as you feed it through the machine.)

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

I know many of you are sewing along (or plan to after the holidays!) If you are, stop by my Instagram @iolstephanie and leave a comment on one of my photos (I can’t see your photo if it you are private, but I can request to follow you temporarily if you leave a comment on mine about it) or share photos on Facebook. You can also email me. I love seeing what others make from my patterns!

Animals of Australia for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

I know many of you are sewing along, or will be soon. If you are, stop by my Instagram @iolstephanie and leave a comment on one of my photos (I can’t see your photo if it you are private, but I can request to follow you temporarily if you leave a comment on mine about it) or share photos on Facebook. You can also email me. I love seeing what others make from my patterns!

Montessori Monday is a fabulous resource of Montessori and homeschool ideas! Please visit for more great projects…

Montessori Monday

DIY Washi Phone Case

If you have an iPhone (like me) and a talent for dropping said iPhone (like me) then a good impact-proof case is a must. However, those strong cases are never cute. I need cute!

DIY Washi Tape Phone Case

DIY Washi Tape Phone CaseI’d been using Otterbox cases for years. They come in a lot of colors, but aren’t cheap, so I’m stuck with the same look for a long time. I was having trouble with the silicone part of the case wearing out and the hard part cracking, so my husband suggested I try Spigen cases. The color options are a bit better – the case is in two pieces and you can buy extra colors separately. However, I really didn’t like that the inside color was black on all but one and I was over solid colors. I ended up buying the one option that came with a gray inner piece and a silver outer piece (Satin Silver) with the intention of making it beautiful!

DIY Washi Tape Phone Case

Have you used washi tape? I’m sure there aren’t many people who haven’t at this point, but if not, go get some now! It is beautiful patterning masking tape that can be used for decoration and easily removed. It was the perfect solution to my ugly but functional phone case! I’ve been decorating my new case and switching it up every few weeks. So easy!

What I Used

DIY Washi Tape Phone Case

It’s as simple as cutting strips of tape and sticking them on the case! Take your phone out first so you can wrap the edges of the tape to the inside where they won’t be seen. Be creative! Sometimes I use all one pattern of tape. Sometimes I let the case color show through.

DIY Washi Tape Phone Case

Have you decorated anything unusual with washi tape?

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

Time has been flying by with lots of projects on my plate. I can’t believe it is nearly Christmas! But I finally have the last two polar family felt ornament patterns ready for you to enjoy.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

This year’s theme is Polar Families, inspired by some of the animals Jax and I have been studying in homeschool with our world continent project. There will be four designs: a penguin daddy and chick, a narwhal family, a pair of penguin mates and a polar bear mama and cub. The latter two are featured here.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

What I Used

I am listing all the supplies I’ll use for the 4 ornaments, noting the ones not needed for these two.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins  Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

These beautiful sequins are a new offering of American Felt and Craft!

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

Penguin Daddy & Chick

 I cut a rounded strip of white felt for the snowy ground and tacked it down across the bottom of the white background felt with felt glue. After I cut out all my pieces, I tacked them into place as well.  Then I trimmed down the background felt so there was just a small edge around the penguins.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

For the penguins, the heart and the top of the snowy ground, I stitched all the edges down with matching floss. (I use 2 strands.) I stitched crystal sequins randomly onto the snowy ground using 2 stitches each. I also added them to the heart. At the end of the scarf, I made upside-down V stitches as tassels. I made French knot eyes on the chick.

On the white background, I stitched snowflakes: a plus sign shape of four stitches, all stitched towards the center, then four more longer stitches on the diagonal in between.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

I cut a length of red ribbon and a piece of orange whip (coral orange) felt to fit as the ornament’s backing. I stitched all the way around, adding stuffing halfway and catching the ribbon loop in the top. I used a blanket stitch.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

Narwhal Family

I love narwhals! They live up in the Arctic ocean, so I was happy to include them in this polar series. Narwhals are brownish grey, and they turn speckled white with age. I stuck with my color scheme, as they look blue gray under the ocean water. I had intended to use two shades of brown sequins for the adults’ speckles, but I ultimately decided to skip them. I found them distracting. [ You can see what they look like here and decide for yourself. ]

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

There aren’t a lot of narwhal pictures out there. I was very inspired by this drawing. Narwhals don’t typically stay in family groups, but I wanted to show all of their forms in this ornament.

I started by tacking everything down to a dolphin teal-gray background with a light layer of felt glue, including a pointed strip I cut out of lemongrass to be the male adult’s tusk. I cut the tusk into two pieces and layered part behind the heart and part in front so that it looks like the heart is pierced. I stitched around all the edges, and added sequins to two of the hearts. The eyes are French knots with little stitches in one corner of each. The tusk was done with diagonal stitches running across it.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

After sewing everything down, I cut around the outside of the ornament to trim it down, then sewed crystal and mermaid sequins on as bubbles. Add as many or as few as you’d like. I overlapped and grouped mine.

I cut a length of red ribbon and a piece of blueprint (blue-gray) felt to fit as the ornament’s backing. I stitched all the way around, adding stuffing halfway and catching the ribbon loop in the top. I used a blanket stitch.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

Are you an Etsy or craft fair seller? Would you like to sell these ornaments, or any other item sewn from an Imagine Our Life pattern? Visit my Etsy shop and contact me for custom commercial licenses. All authorized sellers get featured on the website.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Narwhals & Penguins

If you make one of these ornaments, I’d love to see it! Stop by our Facebook page, or mention me @iolstephanie on Instagram or Twitter. (If you are private on Instagram, I’ll have to request to follow you to see it.) Happy Holidays!

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

I can finally mark a major sewing project off my list holiday season! It was one that was chosen by my readers in our Facebook page: a felt Christmas tree play set! I hope you’ve been sewing along with me as I’ve shared the toddler-friendly tree pattern and tutorial and the first, three sets with you. But it’s not too late to join in! These mini ornaments bring a whole lot of holiday cheer and work up fast. Choose a few to stick in someone’s stocking or tie to a present as a gift tag!

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

I designed 24 ornaments, and I’ve been giving Jax one to unwrap every day leading up to Christmas. I shared the ornaments in batches of 6. Ornaments 19-24 are: a fireplace, a lamb, a rocking horse, Santa, gifts and a reindeer.

To see all the posts in this series, click here.

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

What I Used:

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

For all of the ornaments: I cut pieces of baker’s twine, doubled it over and tied a knot in the ends. When stitching the tops of the ornaments together, I made sure the knot of the twine loop was inside. I also made sure to stitch through the knot to secure the loop.

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

19. Fireplace

Fore the fireplace, I tacked down with glue the logs and flames to the black fireplace area, then stitched everything down. I stitched the black area to the bottom center of the front of the bricks, then stitched the front mantle on along its bottom. I glued down three stockings, then sewed them down with a sequin on the toe of each. I did a long stitch at the top of each for a cuff, and a single loop of a lazy daisy stitch at the top corner. On the back, I stitched the back mantle on along the bottom, then stitched the front and back together, catching a loop of twine at the top.

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

20. Lamb

Oh, this sweet little lamb! She is quite simple, but you can believe me that all those crystal sequins are a labor of love. I started by gluing the heads onto each body piece, then sewing sequins onto the whole thing. (I provided a basic body shape in the pattern, but I found it worked best to trim the body into wooly bumps freehand.) I took the legs and folded them in half, gluing them down then stitching all around. I stitched the body of the sheep together with the twine loop at the top and the legs at the bottom. I stitched the two sides of her face together. I glued the hat brims onto the hat sides, then layered them around her head and sewed them together and onto her head.

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

21. Rocking Horse

I started this cute rocking horse by gluing the saddle on, then sewing it. I added two green sequins on each side, then bordered it with French knots. I gave him black French knot eyes. I sewed the two sides of the main and tail together then glued them in between the two finished sides of the horse, as they are too small to pin. I stitched all around the horse catching a twine loop at the top, skipping the ears, but making a little brown stitch in the center of each. Using gold floss, I made an anchor stitch under his chin then looped the floss around his muzzle, then made a French knot on each side. I then loosely looped the floss behind his neck and made an anchor stitch to keep it from pulling out.

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

22. Santa

Ho, ho, ho! I had to do Santa! I started him by gluing his beard and mustache onto his face. I stitched them down, then added some crystal sequins to his beard. I made two straight pink stitches for his mouth, a peach stitch for his nose and two blue French knot eyes. I stitched the beard to his red back piece around the outside, the stitched his face and corners of his ‘stash onto one of the hair pieces. Then I sewed the back hair piece to the front. I glued the hat brims on and stitched crystal sequins to the front one while sewing them down. I layered the two hat sides onto his head and sewed them together and onto him. I added a white pompom to the tip of his hat.

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

23. Gifts

These three little gifts could be made in any colors. I went with a classic Christmas palette. I stitched each of the two larger gifts separately, then stitched them together, only going through one layer of felt to hide the stitches. The corner of the red gift got the loop of twine. For the two bows, I decorated each loop with a sequin, sewed the two sides together, then stitched them on with some crossed stitches only in the center. On the gold gift, I glued down a strip of red felt as a ribbon and trimmed it to fit. I sewed a trio of sequins on to decorate it. I put the back and front together and started sewing them together with blanket stitch at the bottom, then laying it on the other two gifts and sewing through bother the gold gift and the top layer of felt of the other two while sewing the last three sides. I finished it with a plastic holly embellishment that I stitched on with red thread around the berries.

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

24. Reindeer

I started the reindeer by gluing the two layers of each antler together and setting them aside. I made sure to glue them edge-to-edge as I wasn’t sewing them together. I decorated the front of his face with a red sequin nose and brown sequin eyes. I glued then sewed the inner ears to the front ears, then sewed the front ears to their backs. I sewed the face pieces together with the antlers and a loop of twine at the top. I stitched the ears to the front top of the head. On the top of one antler, I made a line of back stitch running down, across and up to the top of the other. I stitched colored sequins along the way, using only one stitched in each so the dangle like holiday lights.

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

And now all the ornaments are complete! Which have been your favorites? It is so hard for me to choose, but I’ve really liked the tree truck, the dove and the hot cocoa cup. This project and its patterns are completely free for you to use for personal use. If you’d like to purchase a commercial license, visit my Etsy shop and contact me if you don’t see a current listing for it.

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

If you are making a set, I’d love to see your finished ornaments! Tag me on Instagram @iolstephanie (if you are private, I’ll have to request to follow you), mention me on Twitter @iolstephanie or post a picture on our Facebook wall. I love what I’ve seen so far! If you’d like to support my free site in other ways, visit my support page. If you’d like to get my posts the moment they go live in your email inbox, sign up here.

Mini Advent Ornaments Set Four

I’ve been giving Jax his ornaments in little origami boxes (mine use 6″ papers) with printed numbers on top. I have them all in in a Christmas basket and he finds the right one each night. I started out adding candy treats in there as well, but he lost interest so I stopped. He’s really gotten into opening them and asks me all day long if it is time yet.

http://greeneyed.com/2010/12/page/3/

Happy holidays!

 

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Are you ready for the next installment of the Montessori wall map? This has been the most epic sewing project ever… If you haven’t been introduced to our Montessori wall map and quiet book yet, you can read all about it here. This post is for the continent of Europe.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Our Europe 3-Part Card Tray

Every continent (and the oceans) will have landmarks and animals. Europe has so many amazing landmarks! I ended up choosing an even mix of animals and landmarks for this project.

Overview and Map PatternsAfricaAntarcticaAsia • Europe
North AmericaOceansSouth America

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Those of you who follow along on Facebook or Instagram have been seeing what I’ve been creating for Europe. Things are definitely a tight squeeze when you put everything on the map at once. There is just so much awesome in a small area! I made: the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum, a harp seal, a mallard, a hedgehog, and a grey wolf. My choices were influenced by which figurines were available from SafariLTD’s TOOBs.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables
This project is totally free for you to use (though commercial use requires a license.) If you’d like to support my designs, one way is to make a purchase off of Jax’s Amazon wishlist. I use his list to bookmark school and craft items until I am able to get them. For more ways to contribute to this site, visit my support page.

Materials I Used

The Pattern (see the first post for the main patterns)

Felt from American Felt & Craftbig apple [red], cilantro [olive green], pastry [golden taupe], gold nugget [gold], chocolate [deep brown], fresh linen [off white], chai [taupe], doe [brown], jade [green], sparrow [light blue], ice [aqua blue], stone [heather taupe], elephant [charcoal], graywhite and black.

Hook & Loop – I used white snag-free Velcro on the backs of all these pieces and red hook & loop (loop only) on the front of the Europe puzzle piece. My red hook & loop was from here.

Felt glue to tack down the pieces before sewing, printer fabric for the continent label, embroidery floss in colors to match the felt and micro tip scissors.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

For the Europe quiet book page, I sewed a running stitch (dashed) outline around the Europe pattern piece and sewed down snag-free Velcro to line up with the Velcro on the back of the Europe piece.

Europe: (Felt used: big apple red) For the Europe continent puzzle piece, I sewed down pieces of red loop Velcro. On the back, I sewed strips of white snag-free Velcro to correspond with the Velcro in the quietbook and the wall map. I finished it by sewing the two sides together around the edge with a blanket stitch.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Label: (Felt used: big apple red) For the continent label, I folded under the edges (just a tiny bit to hide the rough edges) and creased it with my nails. The printer fabric held the folds nicely without ironing. Then I stitched the label to some red felt and trimmed it down to be a border. I cut a matching felt rectangle for the back, sewed snag-free Velcro to it and then sewed both sides together.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

For all of the animals, I started by gluing the pieces down to a scrap of background felt with a very light amount of felt glue. I glue multiple animals at a time to give them time to dry. I sewed them down, trimmed the background and cut a matching backing piece. I sewed snag-free Velcro to the back and sewed both sides together with a blanket stitch.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Harp Seal: (Felt used: fresh linen off-white for the baby seal, white for the background) The harp seal is super simple! I tacked down his body with glue and sewed around the edges. I made a small stitch for a mouth and satin stitched a nose. His eye is a black French knot.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

We love this animal encyclopaedia!

Hedgehog: (Felt used: stone heather taupe for the body, doe brown for the ear and legs, fresh linen off-white for the face and cilantro olive green for the background) I first glued down all her parts in the proper order, adding the ear last. I stitched all the way around the edges and made a stitch at the base of her ear. Using brown, I made a French knot eye and satin stitched nose. On her back, I used dark brown and cream to make stitches to show the texture of the spines.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Grey Wolf: (Felt used: gray and elephant charcoal for the body and white for the snow and sparrow light blue background) I started by gluing down the front leg piece and the face (using the back/chest pieces to find the positioning. I then glued down the back/chest, followed by the hind leg and the ear. I cut a curvy piece of white and glued it down over where his feet would be to make the ground. Once it was dry, I trimmed around the wolf and stitched everything down. While stitching down the darker gray piece, I made my stitches longer and a little “sloppy” to make his fur look shaggy. Along the underside of his tail, the edge of his face and under his chest, I made light gray stitches the same way. His eye is a little stitch to make it look closed, his nose is satin stitch and his mouth is just lined with two straight stitches.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Mallard: (Felt used: gold nugget gold for the beak, jade green for the head, chai taupe for the body, chocolate deep brown for the chest and wing and ice aqua blue for the water and background) I glued down the body and head pieces, then glued the chest and wing on top. I cut a thin, wavy blue strip for water and glued it down over the bottom edge of the mallard. I stitched down all the mallard’s edges, then using dashed stitches, I stitched through the center of the water wave. At her neck, I made two long stitches in white. The eye is a French knot in brown, with a tiny stitch for a nostril and two long stitches to make the beak opening.

Sewing the Landmarks

For all the landmarks, I started by sewing the front piece. Then I cut out a backing felt to match the final shape and added some snag-free Velcro to it. I finished sewed around the whole edge, switching colors where needed. For all of the detail work, see the photos for a sample of where to stitch.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Colosseum: (Felt used:stone heather taupe for the building and sparrow blue for the background) I glued down the building and stitched down the edges. With brown floss, I stitched 3 rows with back stitch. On the lower three levels, I stitched arches using a lazy daisy stitch that is open at the bottom. On the top level, I made tiny vertical stitches for windows.

Tower of Pisa: (Felt used: gray for the building,  white  for the ground ,cilantro olive green for the ground and sparrow blue for the background) I cut out a small green piece for the ground, then glued it down with the white ground on top. I glued the building on top. Using a medium gray floss, I made long stitches across the building to make each level. On the bottom level, I used it to make vertical stitches for columns. On the top level, I made an arch with an open lazy daisy stitch. I switched to white floss and made the rest of the columns.

Eiffel Tower: (Felt used: chai taupe for the structure and sparrow blue for the background) The Eiffel Tower is tacked down in place with glue, then I stitched around all the edges. I made criss-crossed stitches all over it similar to the beams it has. In some spots I made long horizontal or vertical stitches to make the real tower.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

The beautiful landmark replicas seen here were provided by SafariLTD. I am working with them to make this project the best it can be.

Eiffel Tower: (Felt used: pastry golden taupe for the building, white for the clock face, elephant charcoal for the roofs and sparrow blue for the background) For Big Ben, I glued everything in place then stitched down the roofs and the sides of the clock square piece. On the tower, I made rows of back stitching with long, vertical stitches in between. I stitched black clock hands on, then stitched a square around it in the taupe floss. Using dark brown, I made little windows above the clock. Using gray, I made the points coming off of the roofs.

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Montessori European Animals 3-Part Cards

The series of 3-Part cards I am making for this project is something that Jax will be using for many years in homeschool. I have been focusing on the animals in these posts, but at the end of the project I will make a set featuring all the landmarks we sewed. Eventually, we will expand our collection of cards even more to include cultures, more landmarks, and so much more. Three part cards are extremely flexible learning tools.

 Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Click here to download my free pdf file to make your own animals of Europe cards. To make mine, I cut them out, glued them to red construction paper (to match Europe’s Montessori color) then laminated them. I use this laminator and I’ve been very happy with it. It makes everything so shiny and strong! My photos come out slightly faded from the printer (I use normal paper) but turn gorgeous after lamination. (Quick tip: Add a dab of glue stick on the back of your pieces before you place them in the lamination pouch to keep them from sliding around as you feed it through the machine.)

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Our main way of using the cards for now is to pull out our SafariLTD’s TOOB figurines and  match them to the pictures. We like to watch short videos about an animal, then study some pictures and draw our own. The TOOBs we used for these animal cards are: River TOOB (mallard), Arctic Toob (harp seal, wolf – which is actually a husky!) and Pets TOOB (hedgehog).

SafariLTD kindly provided the World Landmark TOOB and the Around the World TOOB for this continent. We are working with them to make this project the best is can be!

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

I know many of you are sewing along (or plan to after the holidays!) If you are, stop by my Instagram @iolstephanie and leave a comment on one of my photos (I can’t see your photo if it you are private, but I can request to follow you temporarily if you leave a comment on mine about it) or share photos on Facebook. You can also email me. I love seeing what others make from my patterns!

Animals of Europe for the Montessori Wall Map & Quietbook with Printables

Please be sure to visit the other ideas featured on Montessori Monday. There are many great links!

Montessori Monday

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns – Penguins & Polar Bears

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns - Penguins & Polar Bears

Last year I made a set of felt holiday ornaments with the theme of Christmas Cottage. I really enjoyed the process of designing and sewing them, so I knew I’d do it again this year. I made some loose sketches and chose a color palette so I could order supplies, then began designing the patterns once November started. (Eek, it’s November!!)

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns - Penguins & Polar Bears

This year’s theme is Polar Families, inspired by some of the animals Jax and I have been studying in homeschool with our world continent project. There will be four designs: a penguin daddy and chick, a narwhal family, a pair of penguin mates and a polar bear mama and cub. The latter two are featured in this post.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns - Penguins & Polar Bears

What I Used

I am listing all the supplies I’ll use for the 4 ornaments, noting the ones not needed for these two.

These beautiful sequins are a new offering of American Felt and Craft!

These beautiful sequins are a new offering of American Felt and Craft!

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns - Penguins & Polar Bears

Penguin Mates

 After I cut out all my pieces, I tacked them into place on white felt with a thin layer of felt glue. I cut a wavy strip of white felt for the snowy ground and tacked it down across the bottom. Then I trimmed down the background felt so there was just a small edge around the penguins.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns - Penguins & Polar Bears

For the penguins, the heart and the top of the snowy ground, I stitched all the edges down with matching floss. (I use 2 strands.) I stitched crystal sequins randomly onto the snowy ground using 2 stitches each.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns - Penguins & Polar Bears  Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns - Penguins & Polar Bears

On the white background, I stitched snowflakes: a plus sign shape of four stitches, all stitched towards the center, then four more longer stitches on the diagonal in between.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns - Penguins & Polar Bears

I cut a length of red ribbon and a piece of orange whip (coral orange) felt to fit as the ornament’s backing. I stitched all the way around, adding stuffing halfway and catching the ribbon loop in the top. I used a blanket stitch.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns - Penguins & Polar Bears

Polar Bear Mama & Cub

After I cut out all my pieces,  I cut a wavy strip of sparrow (light blue) felt for the snowy ground and tacked it down across the bottom dolphin (grayish teal) felt with a thin layer of felt glue. Then I tacked down the remaining pieces, only sticking the base of ear ear down. I trimmed down the background felt so there was just a small edge around the polar bears.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns - Penguins & Polar Bears

For the polar bears, the heart, the scarves and the top of the snowy ground, I stitched all the edges down with matching floss. (I use 2 strands.) I stitched crystal sequins randomly onto the snowy ground using 2 stitches each. For the ears, I made three small stitches in the base of each so the rest of the ear could stick up. On the mama’s scarf, I stitched coral sequins. I stitched dragonfly sequins onto the cub’s. At the bottom of each scarf, I made 4 upside-down V stitches as tassels. The polar bear’s noses are satin stitched. Their mouths are straight stitches. For the eyes, I made a curved stitch, then tacked the curve in place with a teenie tiny stitch wrapped around the center, much like you’d do with the lazy daisy stitch.

Polar Family Felt Ornament Patterns - Penguins & Polar Bears

I cut a length of red ribbon and a piece of lemongrass (green-yellow) felt to fit as the ornament’s backing. I stitched all the way around, adding stuffing halfway and catching the ribbon loop in the top. I used a blanket stitch.

Are you an Etsy or craft fair seller? Would you like to sell these ornaments, or any other item sewn from an Imagine Our Life pattern? Visit my Etsy shop and contact me for custom commercial licenses. All authorized sellers get featured on the website.

If you make one of these ornaments, I’d love to see it! Stop by our Facebook page, or mention me @iolstephanie on Instagram or Twitter. (If you are private on Instagram, I’ll have to request to follow you to see it.) Happy holiday crafting!

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

This past weekend was a 3-day holiday weekend here in the U.S. thanks to Labor Day. My husband announced we would be painting our powder room. I love color in my house, so I he didn’t have to ask twice. But of course I never DIY something halfway, so I was immediately brainstorming ways to involve Jax in the decorating.

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers  IMG_2918

Once we chose a lovely spring green called Pear by Behr, I was inspired to try watercolor painting with my toddler! The bright citrus color just begged for some sweet watercolor paintings to be hung on it! Don’t be afraid to try watercolors. It is great medium for young kids!

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

The materials you need are: watercolor paper, watercolor paints, a pencil and eraser and an art pen. I have a fine art degree, so I bought nicer watercolor paints that I could add to my fine art supplies as well as use with Jax. Mine is the Cotman Watercolor Compact Set. I have this 11″ X 15″ Watercolor Paper Pad that was 40% off at the craft store for back-to-school. I used a Faber-Castell Pitt Artists’ Pen, also from the craft store (with a 50% off coupon.) I also used a bunch of old thrift and dollar store picture frames and a can of white spray paint.

Start by having your little one draw pictures on the watercolor paper with a pencil. Remind them they don’t need to color anything in at that point. We are just making the outlines. I LOVE that Jax loves to draw actual pictures now instead of just rainbows and scribbles. (He still loves drawing rainbows, though!)

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

While they are drawing their second picture, trace their pencil lines with the waterproof artist’s pen. Jax got ahead of me to I send him to the school shelves to choose an activity to do until I finished tracing. When you are finished tracing and the ink is dry, erase the pencil lines.

And then comes the fun part! Painting!

Painting his rainbow.

Painting his rainbow.

I started out loading and cleaning Jax’s brushes for him. I showed him how he could get extra water on his brush to spread the paint more if it starts to get dry. We explored the different marks each brush made.

I let him do some careful paint loading, and also let him help mix colors in the tray. When he painted his house scene, he asked that we “work together” on the sky, so I helped fill it in. I think he was worried he’d mess it up.

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

Jax really enjoyed painting!

"House"

“House”

"Fruits & Veggies"

“Fruits & Veggies”

"Rainbow"

“Rainbow”

He was so proud to see them hanging up in the finished powder room.

Have you tried watercolor paints with your toddler? When Jax was even younger, I painted outside with him on canvas with acrylics.

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

Watercolor Painting with Toddlers

How can you not smile when you see art like this?

Bumble Bee Lacing Maze Quiet Book Page

Want to sell items sewn from this pattern? A commercial license is available!

Bumble Bee Lacing Maze Quiet Book Page

I’ve been a busy bee, so it’s taken a while to get this latest free pattern up for you! Seems fitting that it is a page about a very busy bee!

This page came about because I wanted to do a page about spring flowers and bees, but I also wanted to do something to help Jax with his manual dexterity. A lacing activity was the perfect combination! Since Jax is in to dot-to-dots and mazes, I numbered the flowers so the bee needs to follow the correct path to collect pollen and bring it back to the hive.

This two-page spread is a scrap-buster. All the flowers are made from my scrap felt from American Felt and Craft. Their felt is way to pretty to throw away even the smallest scraps. But my scrap bucket is overflowing! This was a perfect way to use up a bit of it.

Bumble Bee Lacing Maze Quiet Book Page

What I used:

closeup01

Starting Leaf: Back stitch a vein on the top leaf piece then sew both layers together. Stitch one end of your cord to the page, then sew the leaf to the page one each end, leaving the center open to hold the extra cord. My cord is sewn to the page under where the leaf is sewn down.

Bumble Bee Lacing Maze Quiet Book Page

Hive: Stitch the ground piece to the page on the ends. The rest will get sewn down under the hive. Sew the leaves down one at a time by back stitching a center vein.

Bumble Bee Lacing Maze Quiet Book Page

Cut the center slit in both hive pieces, then sew a running stitches (dashed lines)  to show the layers of the hive. Pin the two layers of the hive together and sew both sides of the slit using a blanket stitch. Pin the hive onto the page and sew it down around the outside edge.

Bumble Bee Lacing Maze Quiet Book Page

Leaves and D-rings: For each flower, cut about 3.5″ of ribbon and fold it in half through a D-ring. Stitch through the ribbon just below the D-ring to hold the ring in place at the end of the folded ribbon. (Zoom in to the above photo to see!) Place each ribbon and D-ring where it will be on the page, and pin a leaf over the end. Stitch the center vein of the leaf, making sure your stitching goes across the end of the ribbon to secure it to the page.

Flowers: You can definitely get creative with your flowers. I’ll tell you what I did for each, but go for it and make this page your own!

For each flower, I used a stem stitch to embroider the number on (using a thread that matches the petals.) I also made French knots in floss that matched the centers – the number of knots corresponding to the flower number.

Flower 1: I layered the petals evenly under the center and stitched the center on. Then I back stitched the center line of each petal.

Flower 2: The petals on this flower were evenly spaced around the center.

Flower 3: I centered the center on the flower petal piece and stitched it down. I made some straight stitches around the center.

Flower 4: I overlapped the petals under the center so they were evenly spaced.

Flower 5: The center is just sewn down over the middle of the petal piece on this flower.

Flower 6: The two petal pieces are layered with the top one rotated. The center was sewn down on top.

Flower 7: I sewed the center down onto the evenly spaced petals. Then I made long stitches in the center of each petal (but not the page) and pulled tight to ruche the petals up.

Flower 8: The petals on this flower are evenly spaced under the center.

Flower 9: The petals are spaced evenly, each one overlapping the petal to the right.

Bumble Bee Lacing Maze Quiet Book Page

Flower 10: The four petals on the past flower were evenly spaced.

Bee: I melted the loose end of the cord in a candle flame so it couldn’t unravel. I threaded on a black pony bead, yellow pony bead, the wings (with a tiny hole cut in the center of the base) and a black pony bead. Using black thread, I made stitched through the cord and around the black beads to hold them in place. (Look closely at the above picture to see the black thread.)

Here is a quick overview of how I sewed the two pages together.

Jax is thrilled with this page and started playing with it before it was even finished! He begged me every time I finished a flower to let him lace the bee through. I think this page with be a big hit right now.

Stop by my Instagram or the Facebook page to see updates of my current project. It’s a fun one!