Monday, December 31, 2012

Orthodontic Crocodile

This year I took a job in an orthodontic office. When I saw this pattern I knew I just had to make it ..... with braces!  I got this pattern from an australian artist Pauline. She is the owner of Funky Friends Factory and makes her living designing patterns for do it yourselfers like me. I LOVE all of her patterns and own most of them. This is the first time I made the crocodile, and I really enjoyed it. But, I add my own Sew Cute style!

First thing I do is print the pattern. She has them set up so that they fit onto regular printing paper, very easy to work with. 

 Her directions say to trace the pattern onto cardboard to have a good permanent pattern to use time after time. I personally prefer to use a product called EasyPattern. I LOVE THIS STUFF! It changed my life the day I learned about it. It is basically a very lightweight interfacing that is durable to use over and over again. You can find it at your fabric store in the same section as the interfacing.
 The reason is changed my life don't have to pin it to fleece or flannel!!!!!!! NO PINNING!
And being a stuffed animal maker, using fleece for all of my animals, I have saved loads of time not pinning. I can lay out the whole pattern and make it fit onto my fabric piece without having to repin over and over.
 Okay, all pieces are cut out and ready to assemble
 Before I start sewing I prepare my eyes. This pattern calls for hand-sewn eyes out of felt pieces. I never do hand sewn or embroidered eyes. I always use 10.5mm safety eyes. I get them from an Etsy shop called 6060.  Clara is amazing to work with. I order a bulk order of clear eyes every couple of months. I order clear so that I can make them any color I need, so I never run out of certain eye colors
 Just color with nail polish!
 Another reason why I love funky friends so much is the easy directions. With the pattern comes a beautiful step by step checklist to make the stuffed animal.
 The pattern says to hand sew the teeth with embroidery thread after the animal is assembled
I hate hand sewing
so I run it through my machine with black thread before putting the animal together.
 This is also when I add the braces. they are felt squares sewn onto each of the upper teeth
 Because Pauline hand sews her eyes on at the end, and I use safety eyes, this is when I put them in. Now that the head is complete, I set it aside and keep following the checklist to make the body

 Okay, he is all sewn and time to stuff!
 Stuff and sew.....yes hand sew. If I could do this on the machine I would, trust me.
And there he is!  This guy is going to live in the exam room at our office!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

If you don't like where you are......move

This is my motto for the new year.  I failed miserably at posting in 2012, but I had a series of life changes that made me take a step back and take a look at my life.  The summary of the year is this
I am now a single mom,  going through a divorce that is very different from the average divorce story. I have a new full time- year round job as the financial coordinator at an orthodontic office. (and I got braces!) I opened a second etsy shop called Merle Crazy with big plans to make lots of doggie products, but have not been able to yet because of the full time job. 

I have found myself in a rut, mentally, physically and spiritually, and i don't like where my life is right now. but I am not a tree. I have the choice to make changes in my life. So I am. and part of that is my goal to blog more.

Back when I was blogging more often I found that my mind was more focused on activities for both myself and my kids. planning, doing and blogging about these projects kept my mind busy and always looking for new things to do.
I am setting my goal to blog something everyday. So get ready readers, this might get crazy!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baked Chicken Taquitos

This recipe is adapted from one I found at

3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup green salsa
a splash of lemon juice
half of one large onion
half of one large tomato (or 2 romas)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup shredded cheese
approx 10 small flour tortillas

Preheat the oven to 425, line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper

In a large bowl (I used my food processor) combine cream cheese and salsa until well mixed.  Quickly mix the lemon juice in, but not until right before you mix it with the other ingredients (the lemon juice and the cream cheese could curdle if you let it sit for too long)

dice the tomatoes and onions very small, and mix with the shredded chicken. Add the cream cheese mix and toss until evenly coated. Add the cheese, mix in well.

Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture onto one side of the tortilla. Roll the tortilla tightly and place seam side down on the baking sheet.  If the tortillas are not rolling without breaking/cracking, layer them in a paper towels and microwave for 10 seconds.

Bake for 15-20 minutes (in my countertop convection oven I found that 10 minutes was perfect) until crisp

Serve with sour cream, salsa, guacoamole....whatever you love!

These can be premade and frozen! wrap the taquitos individually in plastic wrap to freeze. When you are ready to cook them, place the frozen taquitos on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for approx 20 minutes.   YUM!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Super Mario Piranha Plant

I was inspired by a gal who made a piranha plant for her husbands brithday party and posted the tutorial on her blog. And where did I find it but the fantastic pinterest!   Here is her tutorial if you prefer to use other materials than I used:

Now for mine! I started by making a mini plant
The pattern I used was the felt tomato pattern from my personal pattern stash. To make a tomato you would use 5 pieces of the pattern shown below, I used 4 and left one panel open for the mouth.

To make the larger plant I scanned this pattern into my computer and enlarged it so that it was 11" long, as big as I could make it on on piece of paper.

Cut out 8 pieces in red felt, also cut out 4 pieces in a lightweight cardboard. I recycled a frozen pizza box. You need something that will bend easily but still be strong

Trim the cardboard by about 1/2 inch so that it is smaller than the red felt for the seam allowance

So your felt pieces together. You will sew 4 pieces together, in the end you will have 2 flower heads, one for the outside and one for the lining.

Turn one flower head so the right side is out, but leave the second on with the seams on the outside

glue the cardboard to the inside out flower head. I used my tacky spray (because I love that stuff) and because it dries quickly, it is lightweight and it is flexible.

push the reinforced head into the inside of the first flower head.

At this point I decided to go paint my pot. Terricota pots look a lot like the warp tubes in Super Mario, just the wrong color.  I turned it upside down and sprayed it.

Back inside, heat up the good old glue gun. Cut a strip of white felt approx 2" wide.

Pin the white felt around the mouth of the plant

Hot glue to secure all the way around. I cut mine in 2 different pieces and matched them up in the corners of the mouth.

cut out large round dots from the white felt. use the hot glue to stick them on the flower head

went to check on my pot. I learned that tericotta does not like to be spray painted. The paint just ran right off the pot. I sprayed a second coat and let it dry longer, but if I were to do it again I would purchase acrylic paint and hand paint the pot with my sponge brush.

back inside again. cut a long strip of the green felt approx 1" wide. wrap it around a long dowel, securing it with hot glue after ever couple of wraps around.

stick the dowel into a piece of foam. I pulled this from an old project from last summer (hence the holes)  If your pot is dry stick the foam in the pot. I used my spray adhesive to spray the bottom of the pot before I put the foam in, that way it won't wabble around.  If you are using a square foam like I did you might need to use some of the cardboard scrap to wedge in the bottom of the pot.....becaues I tried to stick a square peg in a round hole....I needed a little extra reinforcement.

Punch a hole into the bottom of the plant. I used my trusty screwdriver.

Push the dowel through the hole, so that it just barely comes up on the inside of the flowers mouth

Hot glue all over the dowel end to fix it to the inside of the flower (I used a lot to do it) then take a bit of red scrap and hot glue it over the dowel end.

cut out some leaves, hot glue some floral wire to the back side

hot glue the flowers to the stem

And there you have it! A Giant Piranha Plant from Super Mario Bros!

Perfect to hold the fire balls for the Goomba Knock Out Game!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Super Mario Party Game: Goomba Knock Out

I have been planning my sons party for nearly a year, when he decided that he wanted to have a Super Mario Bros birthday bash, I imagined an amazing obstacle course with mario themed games.

I found some awesome flame cotton at Joanns and instantly thought of "fire power" and knocking out the bad guys!  So .....

I created this guy!  Since Mario is getting more and more popular, but the party packs are really available (at a fair price anyway). I thought I would share with you how I made this guy, so you could make one for your party too!

First I printed out a goomba, I printed two so I cut one of them into the individual pieces

then I cut out the pieces in felt

and the main body as well as stand, out of a cereal box

cut the cardboard down a little so it fits nicely inside of the goomba shape

Lay out the face pieces and draw his mouth with a marker

set your sewing machine to do a zig zag stitch on a button hole zig size is set to 3 here...follow your marker line to create the mouth

for the construction of the entire face, you are only sewing on one piece of the main body shape, not the back side or the cardboard yet

Pin the eyes and the teeth in place, use the same technique to applique them.

Pin the eye centers on and applique

cut out 2 sets of the eyebrows. since they go out past the edge of the body shape, I wanted to make sure that there was enough to sew on without stretching the felt.

pin them in place on the front side

line up the edges and pin

the eyebrows on the "back" will be inside of the goomba, so they are only on the back of the front piece

the face is finished!

now for the back and support.

I found that the printed side of the box was slippery on the felt, so I used just a spritz of my spray adhesive to keep it in place. Make sure you don't use any glue or adhesive in an area where you sewing machine needle will be....that is a recipe for disaster

Line up the white pieces front and back. you want them to be lined up as close as possible because you will be sewing it all together at the same time

applique around the entire goomba with the tan thread, attach the white piece as one continuous stitch

add the feet, front and back just like you lined up the white piece. Then clean up the edges of the white

While I was creating the stand, I decided that I didn't like my original plan, so I cut it in half and will be using only one piece

I appliqued around the whole stand piece and then hot glued it to the back side of my goomba

If I were to do it again, I would make the bas look more uniform with the feet by using white in the same shapes as the main piece...maybe next time

And there you have it! Now I am off to whip out some more fire-power balls!


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