Posts filed under ‘crafts’

my blog died.

i’m never home, and when i am, there are sixteen hundred and forty two thousand things for me to do in my free time.  i write in my head, but by the time i’m sitting at the computer, i have no idea why i sat down in the first place.  so that’s my apology with an excuse for anyone who has been wondering “whatever happened to that little blog of joan’s?”

and now i’m just going to pretend that i didn’t fall off of the face of the earth, and pick up right where we left off:

i retired.  but i kept making stuff, obviously!  i love making toys and always having yarn in my hands!  so there’s a little problem there, and let’s see if anyone out there caught it.  anyone? anyone? hmmm.. i don’t see any hands in the air, so i’ll just tell you:

i have loads of stuff with nowhere for it to go!   so today i made a facebook page for all my stuffs. of course, i’ve made the facebook page mentally many times over the last few months, but today i actually had time, opportunity, motivation, and a computer– all at the same time!

if you want to check it out, here is the link.  and just an FYI- it says “happiness made from YARN!”.  i’ll be fixing that cover photo up lickity-splickity.

my little page

November 29, 2014 at 17:13 Leave a comment

the astrid transformation

do you remember before christmas, when i made the declaration that i was going to go from this: 

to this?

well i didn’t get it done in time for christmas (shocker!), but i did finish it up by 5pm on the evening of anne’s birthday.  here she is!

i didn’t have a ton of time for photos since she was stuffed inside a prettily wrapped box, about 4 seconds after the last stitch was sewn, but here’s what i’ve got, and a bit of a source guide for anyone who wants to make their own:

groovy girl thora came with pink hair on her head, which i cut out as close to the root as possible.  i bought some patons astra yarn in a yellowish colour because it had the sheen and twist of the original hair.  it’s not a perfect match but meh– highlights.  i used a massive darning needle to replace the pink hairs, and added in a couple lines of hair to the top of the head for astrid’s centre part.  the ‘do was simple: choppy bangs and a chunky braid down the back.
the headband and shoulder guards were made the same way– leather strips dotted with metallic puff paint.

 the sweater was just a knit tube turned tank top when i got to the armpits.  i scoured the internet until i found Stroll fingering weight yarn at in the “tree fort” colourway.  i sewed the shirt onto astrid, thus declaring this a toy with no removable clothing.
the arms are covered in a lightweight hemp, which i sewed in place as i wrapped it.

i was hoping to find skull and thorn buttons on the internet, but can you believe that they don’t exist?! i know, i was shocked too.  so i bought some white and metallic silver fimo at micheal’s, and got sculpting.  i pressed 4mm jump rings into the backs of each skull & thorn before baking, to make them something that i could sew onto astrid.  i just used a thin sharpie for the skull details.
skirt:  i bought a strip of leather, and cut slits into it (which i rounded off to size).  to sew on all of my new buttons, i had to first punch holes for my needle to go through.  a push pin and a cork board were great helps in this step.
underskirt: you can’t really see it in any of my pictures, but before i sewed on the leather skirt, i sewed a rectangle of dark brown felt onto astrid.  after i’d sewn the leather skirt on, i went between each of the rounded leather strips and cut the points into the felt (like the picture from the movie, above).
legs: i painted groovy girls legs blue with a sharpie paint pen.  i also coloured her underwear with a brown sharpie because thora came with sunny yellow ones and i’m all about the details.
boots:  i tried to just colour over thora’s yellow boots with both a sharpie marker and paint pen, but the glitter kept showing through and it wasn’t going to work.  so then i tried to make boots out of leather and that nearly killed me.  eventually i made them out of the same dark brown felt as the underskirt.  they were definitely the hardest part of the project- can you believe that i’ve never made boots before?  haha.  the fur on the tops was also a bit of a challenge until derek found a toy beaver at value village.  it died well, bravely and without a struggle.  elliot was completely horrified at the death of a stuffed animal, but he loved the creation process too much to make a big deal out of it.

so i think that’s it!


from this:

to this:

to recap, you’ll need:

  • sharpie paint pen in blue
  • sharpie markers in dark brown and a thin-tipped one in black
  • fimo, white and metallic silver
  • 4mm jump rings
  • leather in two colours: reddish-brown and gray
  • grayish-brown fur  (from an old toy or if you can find it at a craft store– i couldn’t!)
  • dark brown felt
  • metallic silver puff paint
  • yellow yarn
  • lightweight hemp
  • stubbornness, time, and attention to details.
  • a beautiful and enthusiastic six-year-old who will love and adore the transformation:

February 11, 2012 at 08:54 1 comment

another reason to love the internet

i used to be able to crochet, but then i stopped doing it and now i have no patience for it.  just like the sewing thing, it bugs me when i can’t do something.  well i conquered the sewing fear a while ago and am so ready to get over this crochet hurdle.  how fantastic is it then, that another blogger (craftyminx) is offering a free crochet class for the month of october!

check out a few of the fun things that i have pinned on my “i wish i could crochet” pintrest board:

Source: via Joan on Pinterest

Source: via Joan on Pinterest

Source: via Joan on Pinterest

that owl hat is totally destined to be a piplup hat for elliot, and anne would love a little family of those dolls.  and i must must MUST learn to make that photo prop while there are still newborn babies to photograph in my family.  i can’t wait to change the name of that board to “things i finally learned how to crochet”!  anyone else want to join in?

September 28, 2011 at 19:51 3 comments

calendar tutorial



one of the benefits and curses of homeschooling  (combined with my husband being a shift w0rker) is that i never really ever know what day of the week/month it is.  i’ve never thought of/acknowledged this as a problem before, but now that my kids are supposed to know this stuff, something had to be done.  

there was no way i was going to buy a cheap-o bristol board one to tape to my wall, and i wasn’t going to spend $40+ on the “calendar systems” offered at educational stores.  i knew i could do this one, i just needed to DO it.

cast of characters:


  •  mod podge
  • scissors for paper
  • scissors that can cut felt.
  • lots of felt (i bought a mix of normal and the pre-stiffened stuff)
  • felt sticky-backed numbers
  • foam project display board (20″x30″) from walmart
  • big sheet of  white “basic felt”
  • and my glue gun came in handy too.

all of the above came from michael’s accompanied by coupon magic.  except for the thing that says it’s from walmart, that was by the crayola markers.  i feel the need to tell you where i found it because i spent a really super-long time getting lost looking for it– so unacquainted with that place!

step the first:

i sketched a very basic idea of what i wanted onto the back of the board, then took a picture of it so that i’d remember my initial plan.  then i laid the foam board on top of the basic felt and cut it to size, leaving about 3 inches extra on each side.
after that i slathered mod podge (but any adhesive would work here) all over the surface of the foam board, and smoothed the foam out over top of the goo, making sure there were no wrinkles or bubbles.

deuxième step:

i pulled out my glue gun and started at the corners, bringing them in at a 45˚ angle.  i remember math.  after that it was just a matter of glueing down the excess fabric to completely wrap the foam board in soft squishy felt.


applying some more of that math stuff, i started measuring out 2¼ x 2¼ squares from my main felt pieces.  these are the number squares that make up the basic calendar, and i chose to use repositionable squares and use the white space as a frame because it just seemed easier both to build, and to customize for each month.  also in the background of the above pic you can see the bare tree that i cut out.  i just free-handed it, but i’m sure that you could also print off a picture from google images and just trace it onto your felt before cutting it out.


to make the digits on the number squares, i used pre-made felt stickers.  they were kind of pricey even with the coupons, and since i’m el-cheapo, i refused to buy the necessary number of packages for all of those ones and twos that the calendar requires.  so i ended up piecing together a bunch of twos from different letters (hook of the J plus the two bottom strokes of a ZED = number 2).  to make the days of the week, i had neither the money nor the required letters nor the necessary space to use the same technique.  so i used one on my favourite fonts (porky’s) to print off the days of the week and the names of the seasons.  i cut them out and modpodged them to a piece of felt and then hoped it would turn out alright.  when i found the dried fabric the next morning i was jubilant, and kind of wished i’d done the numbers on the squares the same way.


i stuck it all together.
it’s really just a matter of cutting and pasting to make stuff like the sun & clouds.  i also made storm clouds, a lightning bolt, and several rain drops so that the kids can look out the window each morning and copy the weather onto the felt board, and there are different leaves to decorate the tree with for when the seasons roll over.    as the seasons and days progress we move contrasting colour blocks to highlight the appropriate item.  i free-handed the letters/numbers for the month and year, but again– you can find that stuff online and just trace it if you don’t feel super-confident in your scissor skills.  i’m really just too impatient to bother with extra steps!

so there we have it: with one simple interactive display the kids can learn/review the days of the week, seasons, weather, months of the year, and most importantly– i know what day it is!


September 17, 2011 at 19:28 2 comments

my life in pics