An eclectic mix of handmade gifts, sewing inspiration, reviews, books, needlework, crafts, homeschooling, baking, and recipes

A Finished Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox! April 6, 2010

We have a tad bit if an obsession with foxes over here!

“Fern” (aptly named by R.), a beautiful red fox living across the road above the pond, provides us daily with many hours of amusement…although she drives our dog (a border collie mix) batty.

We love watching her go about her day.

She often creeps into our yard to hunt in the many holes hiding rabbits and woodchucks…she is always welcome!

I think I permanently damaged the nerves in my thumb and first two fingers, ha ha, but I managed to finish this Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox last night.

Not a moment too soon…he will be coming with us on our trip to D.C. so I can give it to R. along with the Fantastic Mr. Fox book for her 9th birthday!

This little fox was made from a kit from Bird and Little Bird (original post here).

I love supporting local (local enough anyway) crafting Moms!

I simply adore his right ear that flops forward ~ the unplanned wonkiness of my Mr. Fox and Ms. Rabbit (here) ears is certainly growing on me!

I know R. will fall in love with him the way she did with Ms. Rabbit a.k.a “Funty” (have you read the Penderwicks?)

Simple enough pattern for even beginner sewers to follow.

Getting the needle through all of the stuffing to attach the limbs was the most difficult part…just takes time and patience (and the feeling out of your fingers!)

There is quite a bit of hand sewing involved, but there is a great “ladder stitch” tutorial at Sewing Stars (here) to help you along.

Happy sewing,



“Mostly” Marvelous Ms. Rabbit April 3, 2010

Phew!  After much hand sewing this afternoon, I am so proud to present (just in time for her to hop into R.’s Easter basket!) my finished “Mostly” Marvelous Ms. Rabbit!

I love that Annie’s (from Bird and Little Bird here) directions for embroidering Ms. Rabbit’s face clearly states not to be a perfectionist, that indeed is why she is called “Mostly” Marvelous, and that any imperfects only add to her handmade charm!

Certainly mine is charming, ha ha, look at those wonky ears!

Next time I will baste the ears before sewing.

This rabbit kit (more about that here) was custom in that I had Annie give me the fabric to make a patchwork scarf (like the Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox here) instead of the usual felt one and she gave me fabric for the pocket (and even made me the carrots!) instead of the usual felt flowers.

Now I’ve got just under a week to get Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox stuffed and put together for R.’s 9th birthday…

Happy sewing (and Easter!),



Some Little Rabbit March 28, 2010

Some little “Mostly Marvelous Ms. Rabbit” kit (available here) showed up at my house yesterday, just in time to get sewn up today for R.’s Easter basket!  Lucky for me she is spending the day with one of her little friends so I don’t even have to hide away to make this little rabbit.  How sweet is Annie from Bird and Little Bird, she even made me some felt carrots for Ms. Rabbit’s pocket?  Hoping to finish Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox today as well…

If you missed my first post about these adorable kits, please check it out here!

Happy sewing,



Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox March 22, 2010

Just finished sewing up the pieces for R.’s Semi-fantastic Mr. Fox! I just need to stuff it, slip stitch the openings closed, and attach the accessories. It was super easy and really fun to sew up.  The BEST part was that there was no tracing and cutting involved! I have decided to give it to her along with the “Fantastic Mr. Fox” book to her for her birthday rather than Easter because there is no way her quilt will be finished in the next two weeks.

I had so much fun sewing Mr. Fox that I asked Annie from Bird and Little Bird (Etsy Shop here) to set up a custom listing for me for a Mostly Marvelous Ms. Rabbit kit with the fabric shown in the center of this trio (here) to replace the fox doll in R.’s Easter basket.  There’s still time to order one for your little ones!

Her kits come with everything cut and ready to be sewn (shown above: I had already sewn most of it together before I thought to take a photo) as well as most of the materials to finish it.  I am figuring it will take about four hours, start to finish, to complete Mr. Fox.  Her instructions are clear and include helpful photos…my only suggestion for new sewers is to remember to clip your corners and around the curves before turning your pieces right side out.

Oh and if you don’t want to make one yourself, Annie sells custom handmade foxes and rabbits too!

Happy sewing,



“Jane” Kitty Softie February 20, 2010

Filed under: February 2010,Gifts,Sewing,Softies — The Threaded Nest @ 9:02 am
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Isn’t this “Jane” Kitty too sweet?  R. is particularly excited about her embroidered face with gray french knot freckles.

Somehow R. convinced me to buy her a softie pattern to use the kitty fabric she found in the fabric stash.  “Jane” Kitty was super easy and we whipped her out this morning in a flash.

I picked the “Katie Kitty” pdf pattern from Bit of Whimsy Dolls (Etsy shop) because it was very basic and I really wanted R. to help me make it (and have it finished quickly because I really need to get moving on her birthday quilt).  She promised me that if I made this one little kitty for her that she would not to ask me to make her another thing until after her birthday…I’m sure I’ll be reminding her of that promise often!

She helped with the pinning, cutting, turning, stuffing, thread clippings, and of course all of the “design” choices.

R. could not resist making her “Jane” Kitty a lovely home of her own, complete with bed and draperies…she is so proper, ha ha.  With cardboard boxes and fabric a plenty in the house, I may never need to buy her another toy ever again!

She is also completely in love with the Bit of Whimsy “Jane Doll” (R. thinks Jane Austen is the coolest because Mom is a JA fanatic!)  She wants “the blond one that looks like Emma”… didn’t know she knew what Emma looked like ~ ha, ha that’s my precocious child!  Hoping to find time before her birthday to sew her up and give her as a gift with her quilt.

Happy sewing,



Meet Spoc Monkey February 4, 2010

Filed under: February 2010,Gifts,Sewing,Softies — The Threaded Nest @ 2:24 pm
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My Husband D.’s birthday is a few short days after Christmas (poor guy!) and I feel like he always gets short-changed on the gifts (because all of our money gets spent on Christmas presents and the five other family birthdays that fall in December).  I really wanted to get him some of the gifts he had picked out from a catalog, but as we decided this would be a “cash” Christmas, I was completely out of money.  The previous year I had made our nephew a sock monkey and D. loved it.  I racked my brain for something special I could make him.  He had mentioned a couple of times over the year just how cool it was and that he wanted a blue sock monkey…

A trip to our local sock outlet, a pair of blue eco-wool Men’s hiking socks (these were really thick and a pain to sew on my machine…I doubt I would use them again), and a bunch of scrounged supplies from my craft closet later “Spoc Monkey” was born.  D. is a techie and a huge geek (geek is used as a most enduring sentiment in our home ~ we aspire to achieving greater geekiness around here!) so along with Spoc we gave him the book “A Geek’s Guide to World Domination” … with a Spoc Monkey and guide in hand there would be no stopping him, ha ha.  Really, he has never before been so excited over a gift in our eleven years together!

R. has sort of adopted Spoc (D. says he’s sharing her) and wants me to make her an “argyle” (I love that she knows what argyle is!) monkey.  I love that you can select socks that fit the giftee’s personality!  They are not hard to make, but are time consuming and require quite a bit of hand sewing.  After making Spoc and Chloe (her 16″ Waldorf-inspired Doll) this past December, and because I will be making her Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox for her Easter basket very soon, Mama has decided she needs to dedicate  her time to other projects.  I am thinking maybe I will make her monkey for Christmas this year??

For those of you interested in making a monkey, this is the really great (and EASY!!) tutorial I followed on Web*Goddess and the instructions for Spoc’s scarf can be found here on Sock Monkey Fun (they also have a great hat that I had made for my Nephew’s monkey).

Happy sewing,



My Challenge January 6, 2010

Filed under: Gifts,January 2010,One Small Change,Sewing,Softies — The Threaded Nest @ 3:07 pm
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Hello and welcome to YearofHandmade!  I recently finished reading “Julie and Julia” and was inspired to embark on my own adventure this 2010 year.  I figure if she could spend a year with “MTAOFC” I could certainly hand make all of my gifts for a year.  I love making things, baking, needlework, knitting, and my new passion sewing.  So here I am!

I did indeed make many gifts over Christmas (2009) and helped my daughter make quite a few as well, but we fell well short of making gifts for everyone.  Meet the Waldorf-inspired doll (named by said daughter “Chloe”) I spent 2 weeks of every spare minute of every day locked in my room working on to give her Christmas morning.

I also made her dresses and hat.  Sweet satisfaction was mine when she fell completely in love with her even after receiving “Emily” an American Girl Doll given to her by her Pappy!  Goes to show handmade with love trumps commercial.

I was also inspired by Hip Mountain Mama’s One Small Change Project.  My January change is to commit to making and giving only handmade gifts this year. My hope is that these items will be used (or eaten!) and treasured and not end up in a landfill.  Added bonus…I hope to master (well at least better my skills) the art of sewing in this year long process!

My first gift will be a project for my cousins’ son’s first birthday. I have looked at several great ideas including Counting Bean Bags (tutorial and pattern on Chez Beeper Bebe ), a Baby’s First Book (from “Sew Liberated” by Meg McElwee), and a Memory Game (from “Stitched in Time” by Alicia Paulson).  All of these look like fun but I am leaning towards making a Soft Turtle Buddy (from “bend-the-rules SEWING” by Amy karol).  This project doesn’t require much in the way of having to purchase things…I could in fact make it from items all found in my craft stash…but all of my fabric is really girlie and this is for a little boy.  With that said, I have found the most adorable fabric from Cloud9 Fabrics (they are organic!) that I really want to use and will only need 2 fat quarters.  I still have a few days to think about it.  It is coming up on January 17th and I know there is no way I will have it finished before then.  That’s O.K.  I have resigned to the fact that many of my handmade gifts will be late.  I am sure (well…I at least hope) the recipients will understand.