Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

I will be taking some time off to relax with my family.  
Followed by some much needed new year = fresh start organization and clean out.

Look for me to return around January 6th, along with some destashing that may interest my fellow crafters!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quilted Growth Charts

Since the recipients of these gifts are both under age 2, I think it's safe to post them before Christmas...

Several months back I got my hands on some fabulous Dr. Seuss fabric and was just dying for a project.  I wanted to somehow showcase the characters.  A friend of mine also loved the fabric and wanted something for her boy's room.  And that was the start of the Seuss-inspired growth chart.

I framed each of the characters with coordinating fabrics from the same line (note, matching 'wonky stripes' is impossible - don't try it).  Starting with 'The Cat' along with 'Thing 1' and 'Thing 2', then 'Sam', 'Horton', 'Yertle the Turtle' and ending with 'The Grinch" along with Max.  Each framed character is separated by a block that lists various Seuss Titles.  And at the top the chart is personalized.  

This growth chart was so much fun!  It's a lot of color and character and wonkiness but I absolutely love it.  And I think I have enough fabric for one or two more...

And the latest chart is a take on the same quilted frames idea, only this time I used a Butterfly print from Michael Miller's Wings of Peace line.  In each block is an applique letter and then it is framed with a pink linen blend (oh so lightweight) and then trimmed in a matching pink broadcloth.  And of course, the finishing touch - 5 custom embroidered butterflies.  My favorite is the purple one at the top, though there is also a shimmering blue one in the middle.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Custom Purses - Tween Style

It's that time of year - Handmade Holidays!  And you know I'm making up loads of handmade gifts and since we have already celebrated Christmas with my in-laws, I can go ahead and share some of the handmade goodness.  First up...purses for my nieces.

 I added their names and kept them so similar that you have to look pretty close to see the minor details that I changed from bag to bag.

I started with a fantastic fabric and planned a tween-sized, slouchy hobo purse but quickly figured out that I needed to make some alterations. I needed to make a flat bottomed bag so that they would easily stand up on their own. I needed a mid-weight interfacing so it would be stiff but still keep the softness and gather easily. My sister-in-law told me the girls love to keep their Nintendo DS with them, so I made sure to make a pocket just the right size.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hard Day's Night

I'm buried deep within my studio at the moment, but I hope to have something new to show you soon!  Have a great weekend and I will be back with you next week.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Custom Sewing - Costumes

When I started offering custom sewing I did not specify a specific niche or item to potential clients, I left it completely open (excepting alterations - I do not alter clothing). I am so glad I left it open! I got an urgent call today from a new client needing help with a Jawa costume for his daughter. The Toys for Tots parade is this weekend and her costume is a must-have. So I pushed aside the craft fair work for a bit and started bringing her Jawa costume to life.

For those of you unfamiliar with Star Wars, this is a Jawa:

So now I have expanded my custom-costume sewing from lady bugs and turtles to Star Wars characters. How fun!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Handmade Holidays: Felt Food

In an effort to hold myself accountable I am sharing with you all my great big plans for this year's handmade holidays from my studio. I always have grand plans of starting early, and yet it ends up being the night before I need something and I'm scrambling to finish. Well - NO MORE - I will be prepared this year and I hope that you will be too!

Lil' Hoot is getting a kitchen this year for Christmas and needs some items to fill it up. I bought an assortment of dishes from a neighbor's garage sale but what good is a kitchen without any FOOD?! I have tons of felt scraps around from other holiday makings so I want to turn them into "food" for Lil' Hoot's kitchen. And there are some great patterns out there!

(Warning, some of these items look good enough to eat!)

Cake Anyone?

Ravioli, Farfalle & Marinara "Sauce"

Cinnamon Rolls

And in the event that I (or you) do procrastinate too long...
other crafters can come to the rescue!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

Some days it's hard not to still be in uniform. It was an honor to serve.

To my friends who are currently deployed: Keep your heads down. We're praying for you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Christmas is Coming!

From Trick or Treat to Christmas - I know, I know - but don't roll your eyes on me and click away just yet. I know Christmas gets overly commericialized and each year it seems to get worse, but for handmade artisans like me, we start talking to you about shopping early for a different reason. I need time to carefully and thoughtfully make personalized and custom gifts.

Christmas items are now starting to enter my shop - starting with Candy Cane inspired personalized Christmas stockings. From traditional red and white to funky, modern pink and purple - I combine eco-felt, rick rack, ribbon and embroidery for a one-of-a-kind personalized stocking.

Or create your own custom combination:
Stay tuned for all kinds of Christmas goodies - giveaways, discounts, gift ideas!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Trick or Treat

Better late than never, right? Well, as you know, I made a lady bug costume for Lil' Hoot, but...the day before Halloween we were wandering around the Cracker Barrel store and found the cutest little costume half off. I showed it to Big Hoot who absolutely insisted that it was perfect for Lil' Hoot. She was even happily wearing the hat to go with it (which was very short lived).

So later that day I was a bit mopey that my daughter wouldn't be wearing a single thing for Halloween that I had made, when it hit me - she didn't have a Trick or Treat bag! You have to have a place to stash you sweets, right? Of course!

I went to my closet and found the only black fabric I had available - black satin (ugh), reclaimed from an old bridesmaid's dress of mine. I jumped on my computer and whipped up a simple embroidery and this is the result...

It needs some cat ears to go with the tail but I just ran out of time. Next year hopefully I'll think of the bag sooner rather than later. In any event, it was just her size and perfect for storing her treats. She also found it handy for toting around other little people, which if you think about the bag as being a kinda funny.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Eva's Elephant

My laptop is up and running again so without further's story time again!

Miss Eva has an Elephant.
He's very well-behaved.
He lives out behind her house
In a little patch of shade.

They play together everyday
In the grass and sun and sand.
He's very kind and gentle.
He even holds her hand!

They pick flowers in the morning,
Sing in the afternoon.
They eat their Vegetables for dinner
Then sleep beneath the moon.

Miss Eva loves her elephant,
he keeps her safe from harm.
Her brother has an Alligator,
who always gives alarm!

© 2010 Mama Hoot Designs

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Story Time: Eli Goes Camping

This week's theme - story time! First up, Eli Goes Camping...

One starry night
Out the door Eli went,
In the yard, not too far,
With his pack and his tent.

He laid down on his blanket
And started to sleep,
But outside he saw
Something starting to creep.

It was big and noisy
With a long, long nose.
It must be an Elephant
With a trunk like a hose.

And right behind it
Something started to growl.
It must be a Lion…
But then it let out a howl!

Then into his tent
Came Bailey and Rocky,
Happy to join him,
All slobbery and barky.

After all the excitement,
He started to dream,
Of puppies and kisses
And sweet Ice Cream.

© 2010 Mama Hoot Designs

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sunflower "Growing Like a Weed" Growth Chart

We have a pretty yellow flowered "weed" here in Missouri that overtakes the ditches in the fall. I recently found that they are called "swamp sunflowers". Rather than the tall straight stalk with one large flower at the top of a traditional sunflower, it grows like it is forming its own bouquet of sunflowers - which I love. And thus, the inspiration for my Sunflower "Growing Like a Weed" Growth Chart!

So that's where I started. Then, I sketched out a design (I often do this while Lil Hoot and I are having art time). This time we were playing with markers.

Then I take this idea and head to my computer to create the panels for stitch-out on my machine. I stitch out the charts in 12" sections.

Then I gather up all the supplies and start putting it together. No two charts are exactly the same, I make some small changes here and there along the way each time. I absolutely love the creation process. I love having an idea, putting it on paper, then into the computer, looking at this pile of canvas, felt, thread, velcro and any other random supplies, and then in a matter of hours it comes together to form something entirely new.

What a grand ability God has shared with us - to be creative.
It is such a wonderful blessing!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Barnyard Days

I hope you all didn't miss me too much on Tuesday. Big Hoot has been working long hours and all this sole-parenting to Lil' Hoot has been wearing me out! Since Big Hoot had to work the weekend Lil' Hoot and I decided to head down to see my family and attend Barnyard Days on Saturday morning.

Barnyard Days is an arts & crafts festival along with entertainment, a petting zoo, horse rides, antique tractors, etc. True to its name, it's held in and around the barns of the Circle R Ranch just north of Neosho, MO. Here's a little peek at our trip:
Petting Horses

Feeding Goats

Balloon Flower
I also discovered that Lil' Hoot isn't so fond of clowns. The Balloon artist was dressed as a clown and she was fine with him from afar. Then he went to give her the flower and tears ensued.
She was quite fond of the flower bracelet though.

And my find of the day...

Blue Mountain Woodworks

It's a father-son venture located in the Ozarks (Timbo, Arkansas). They use native Ozarkian wood to create beautiful pieces - the cutting boards, bowls & cups that you see above as well as custom-made furniture. I am lucky enough to be receiving a beautiful cutting board for Christmas this year. (Thanks Mom!) And guess what else folks - they have an Etsy shop!

They are still new to Etsy and I have lobbied Paul to get some bowls and cups in the shop for Christmas purchases, but stop by and show them some handmade-love! And if you are in the area, check them out at the War Eagle Craft Fair in Hindsville, AR next week.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ottobre Coat for Lil Hoot

I finally finished Lil Hoot's Ottobre coat on Sunday (the last day of KCWC). Well, mostly finished anyway - I didn't have enough buttons but I'll pick those up soon. It is a printed corduroy with a cotton/poly blend for the lining. The bottom skirt is pleated both front and back. There are flap details on the sleeves and a four button closure on the front. I chose to use fabric covered buttons.

Lil Hoot Ottobre Coat Front
Lil Hoot chose this fabric herself - pointing to it clearly of the three choices I gave her.
She also chose the bright green lining.

Lil Hoot Ottobre Coat Back

This was the most challenging project I have taken on to date. With at least 20 pattern pieces and tons of markings on each, it took a long time just to prep the material. I was careful and deliberate and determined not to use my seam ripper. I almost made it - I only had to rip back once and it was a silly, silly mistake. I learned a lot about garment construction and I can't wait to tackle more challenges! Thanks for the inspiration Elsie Marley!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lady Bug for under $5

An extension of the Lady Bug Tutorial - but how to make it for less than $5.
*Pictures will be posted shortly.

A point regarding materials - check the remnants bin for felt & fleece. You don't need more than half a yard of red fleece for a toddler size lady bug and mere scraps of black felt, or you can get 1 - 12" square for 30 cents, sometimes less. If you don't have elastic scraps on hand, it's cheapest by the yard.


1/2 yd. red fleece
12" black felt square
1 yd. - 1/2" elastic
12" plate (or circle template)
16" plate (or circle template)
lids/circle templates of various sizes
chalk/marking pen
straight pins
measuring tape

Follow the Lady Bug Tutorial steps #1-4, skip the zipper installation.

6. Determine the position of your straps. Ideally you can measure the child from armpit to armpit to determine placement. However, if you cannot then I suggest you use a well-fitting article of their clothing and measure from there. I placed the top of the straps approximately 7" apart and 3" from the top of the circle. I placed the lower strap markings 3" below the top markings.

7. Rather than using black mesh, simply make the straps from your red fleece and scraps of elastic. Cut 2 strips - 2"x 10" of red fleece. Sew a tube using a 1/4" seam allowance then flip it right side out.

8. Cut a 7" piece of elastic. (Or measure the child's arms at the shoulder and then add an inch.) Slide the elastic through the tube. Then fold the ends into the tube and stitch shut.

9. Sew straps to back as marked.

10. Place right sides together and sew around the edges. Be sure to leave a hand-size hole through which to turn the case right-side out and then to stuff.

11. Finish as though sewing a pillow - stuff, then slip stitch the opening closed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


This week has just exploded with Things To Do. Today was the only day Lil Hoot and I have been home all week! So you know that Lady Bug for under $5 that I promised you...I apologize, but she's not ready yet. I will get her to you on Tuesday. I have been plugging away on filling orders and struggling to find time to participate in Kids Clothes Week Challenge. The second pair of pj pants did not go smoothly (teach me to do too much pattern tweaking) so it's on the back burner while I try something new and daring - a coat from Ottobre! Specifically the gray and black dot coat on the upper right.

Only thing that makes me nervous - my copy is in Finnish. It was a gift from a friend in Finland and I LOVE everything in this magazine. So I'm determined to make it regardless of language. And if you all remember...I made this little number for Grace's baby dedication back in the Spring, also from this issue.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

KCWC Day One-ish and PJ Pants Giveaway

Last week I took the pledge to participate in Elsie Marley's Kids Clothes Week Challenge. It's pretty straightforward - sew for one hour every day on kid's clothes for one week (7 days). Just because it's straightforward does not make it simple. It sounds simple but after a full day with all its challenges and unplanned issues, finding an hour can be tough. Last night I had some computer issues that took priority, but I didn't shirk my pledge. I did my hour, it just started at 10:30pm - yikes!

Awhile back I did a swap with a friend in Finland and got some fantastic jersey prints to use for Lil' Hoot. I found an awesome One Size Fits Many PJ Pants tutorial over at From An Igloo. Now, Lil' Hoot is much more petite than "Many" so I decided to try out the pattern in its original size before altering it for her small stature. I have been collecting jersey remnants from the half off bins at Jo-Ann's and Hancock Fabrics for just such an occasion.

And this, my friends, is what happens when you sew too far past bed time.
Seams on the outside rather than in. Oops!

No worries - I'm Queen of the Seam Ripper. The cuffs are fixed and the pants are finished! And, since I don't have a little boy to go with these pants - I'm giving them away! *Sizing - the length can be easily altered but is currently ~ 23" waist to bottom of the cuff. The waist is currently at 20" but I can easily take it in for your child. It's VERY stretchy.

Mandatory Entry - Visit Mama Hoot Designs, and choose a favorite item, leave 1 comment telling me which item you chose.

Increase your odds with additional entries:

3 Entries - Blog about this giveaway, leave 3 comments and the link to your blog post

1 Entry - Follow my Blog (current follower is also eligible), leave 1 comment with you user ID or name

This Giveaway is open to residents of the United States and APO/FPO addresses. The giveaway will end on Friday, October 1 at 11:59pm PST. Each entry is assigned a # and the winning # will be drawn by and announced on this blog as well as emailed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lady Bug Costume/Backpack Tutorial

Lil' Hoot LOVES purses, diaper bags, back packs, lunch bags - anything with a handle. I went to sew up her Halloween costume - a lady bug - and discovered it could easily be made into a pillow-style "back pack" as well. In honor of Elsie Marley's Kid Clothes Challenge Week, I share with you my process. The measurements I use gave me a 12-24M size. You can certainly enlarge it for an older toddler and if you need any help doing so, just email me.

Tune in for a $5 version of the Lady Bug costume and a Giveaway.


1/2 yd. red fleece
12" black felt square
1/3 yd. sew-in interfacing
1 yd. - 1" black mesh
2 - 1" black strap adjusters
10" zipper
12" plate (or circle template)
16" plate (or circle template)
lids/circle templates of various sizes
chalk/marking pen
straight pins
measuring tape

1. Using circle templates (I use plates) and chalk, mark two circles on the red fleece and cut.

2. Take the 16" circle, fold it in half. Stitch 1/4" away from the folded edge. Open sewn circle. This seam creates the divided wings of the lady bug.

3. Creating the black dots. I wanted dots of different sizes so I simply looked around the house and chose lids that were the sizes I wanted. Trace the lids (or other circle templates) on the felt and cut.

4. Arrange, pin and sew on black felt dots. Sew close to the outer edge of the circle.

Tip for sewing circles.
Go slowly and stop with the needle down to raise, turn and position the circle as you sew. Keep your eye on the outer edge and stop to turn the curves rather than pulling the fleece, which will stretch if pulled.

5. Install zipper. I used the tutorial found on the Sew Mama Sew blog - Zippered Pocket Tutorial.

6. Determine the position of your straps. Ideally you can measure the child from armpit to armpit to determine placement. However, if you cannot then I suggest you use a well-fitting article of their clothing and measure from there. I placed the top of the straps approximately 7" apart and 3" from the top of the circle. I placed the lower strap markings 3" below the top markings.

7. Make straps. Overcast all cut ends of the black mesh. Slip the black mesh through the strap adjuster as shown. I do not cut the opposite end until after I complete step #8.

8. Fold over the end 1/2" and stitch closed as shown.

9. Cut the black mesh approximately 1" from folded, sewn seam. Overcast the raw edge with a zig zag stitch. Fold over 1/2" and sew closed.

10. Pin the strap in place as shown on the bottom marking. Be sure to place sew-in interfacing underneath before sewing. Sew strap to fleece, double stitch for added strength.

11. Cut two 13" lengths of black mesh. Overcast the raw edge with a zig zag stitch. Fold one end up by 1/2", the other end under by 1/2" and sew each end closed.

12. Place top strap on top marking with the folded edge facing down.

13. Pin the top strap in place and sew. Be sure to place sew-in interfacing underneath before sewing. Sew strap to fleece, double stitch for added strength.

14. Feed strap through the strap adjuster as shown. Fold strap end under 1/2" and sew closed to enclose raw edge.

15. Repeat steps 7-14 (except #11) for the second strap.

16. Open the zipper slightly (so you can pull the piece through once sewn together.) Place completed 12" circle on top of 16" circle, centers aligned, right sides facing.

17. Pin in place starting with the 4 "corners". I designed the top larger than the bottom on purpose, which means that it will take some scrunching and stretching to fit to the lower.

18. Pins are your friend! Just keep pinning and stretching the fleece to fit, it will create a domed shape and more room for stuffing once completed.

19. Stitch around the circle. Flip right side out, check your seams. If everything looks good, stitch around the circle a second time for added strength.

20. Flip right sides out, stuff with a pillow form, make your own circle pillow, or let your child stuff it how he/she chooses! Pair with black pants and shirt for a Halloween outfit. Tune in next week for a $5 version of the Lady Bug costume and how to make an antenna headband.