Fun Felt Toys

When I scrolled through my Pinterest pages a few days ago to find images of the button-down shirt pillows  for my last post, I came across several projects that caught my attention—again. I printed several of them, including these wool scrap pincushions from Better Homes and Gardens. And this one, also from BHG.

Then I rooted through my stash and found some hoarded felt and got busy.

Felt Toys and Pincushions on JanMadeIt

How’d I do?

Felt Toys and Pincushions on JanMadeIt

I started with the heart pincushions. I cut out a heart shape free-hand and then stacked it on a variety of colors and cut out more of them so I could mix and match in assembly.

Felt Toys and Pincushions on JanMadeIt

While I was cutting—I tend to do things assembly-line-style—I also cut out a couple of daisy-type flowers, two different sizes, and a tulip.

I assembled the hearts first and used a simple blanket stitch around the edge. As the tiny pillow neared completion I stuffed in little bits of fiber fill. I tacked a small circle of felt on a larger circle of felt for the flower. Then I snipped notches in the larger circle to make the petals and attached the little flower to the heart.

Felt Toys and Pincushions on JanMadeIt

For the daisies, I found out I have to stuff the petals as I go, and next time I won’t make the base of the petal so skinny.

As suggested in the BHG pins, I attached a ribbon to the center back of each of the hearts and flowers. They suggest tying one to the handle of a sewing basket. I also suggest they can be tied to the arm of your sewing machine, or for hand-work, you can tie it around your wrist.

Felt Toys and Pincushions on JanMadeIt

After the original shapes were complete, my imagination was running pretty rampant and I made a block which will be a dandy toy for a tot. I started with flowers on two of the sides, then a butterfly seemed appropriate for the garden-theme.

Felt Toys on JanMadeIt

A caterpillar inches along a little branch. It’s one of those camo caterpillars with a fake eye at the tail end so predators can’t tell if they’re coming or going.

Felt Toys on JanMadeIt

A friend is a fan of frogs, so I came up with this guy for another panel. I was very pleased that everyone recognized it as a frog.

Felt Toys on JanMadeIt

And on one of the pictures above you can see I put a little blue bird on the last panel.

I wanted a ladybug on one panel, but I was manning my booth at the flea market and I didn’t have any black felt with me. But lo and behold, I came across a box full of scraps, some already cut into quilt pieces and there was a small stack of felt, including black, in the mix so now I could make my ladybug. I just love her. Felt Toys and Pincushions on JanMadeIt

If you’re handy with a needle, you can easily craft your own and show friends or family how to do it. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t even know which end of the needle to thread I can turn this into a tutorial that will show you how. Just ask.

I have one more week at the flea market and then I’ll put these on etsy. Or maybe I’ll put a kit on etsy and you can sew your own. If that’s something you’d like, let me know and I can certainly put them together for you.

Easy Peasy.

If you want to keep up with my next project, follow me. And “like” my Jan Made It facebook page while you’re at it.

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Beautiful Burlap comes from Ugly Orange Footstool

The only thing to call this is “Ugly Orange.”

As stylish as it may have been back in “the day”—must have been a day in the 70s—it’s well past its prime.

Ugly Orange Footstool on JanMadeIt

As ugly and orange as it was, it was still in great shape. Sturdy, with nice legs.

Ugly Orange Before

There wasn’t much to it, just a functional wood frame.

Ugly Orange Before

And the plywood top had suggested it really was for feet. There was the thinnest layer of foam on top. Not a cushy spot to plant your bottom.

Ugly Orange Striped

After I stripped her. I added thick layer of foam on the top. I forgot to take photos of this step, but it was a couch cushion rescued from our annual city-wide clean-up a few months ago.

Ugly Orange w/ Burlap

I had jute coffee bags in mind for this makeover, but couldn’t make the patterns and prints fit the dimensions so I went with plain burlap. The burlap was in my stash of rescued fabrics and fortunately there was a piece large enough to cover the new thick foam pad.

Ugly Orange w/ Lining

I have an eyelet dust ruffle somewhere and I had that in mind when I thought of the skirt. To cover up the raw edges of the burlap and the cardboard that covered the sides I stapled on an undergarment of plain muslin, also from my stash.

Ugly Orange w/ Petticoat

Then for a more modest look, I covered the legs with a wide strip of crisp muslin. First I stitched lace around the hem. It was part of a huge score of lace I bought at the flea market sometime last year. The lace was a double layer, so it would have cost a pretty penny if I bought it new for this project.

Ugly Orange Petticoat

I know I should have pressed it first, but this layer won’t show and I was impatient to finish.

Ugly Orange After

Turns out I couldn’t find my dust ruffle, but I didn’t look very hard after I came across this curtain panel. A friend gave me this because she knew I would find a good project for it. She was right. I cut it into four strips, but only used three of them to add this skirt.

Ugly Orange After

The skirt got two more layers of lace at the hem, this time, two different pieces.

I hid the waistline by stapling double-edged lace—it had a finished edge along the top and bottom—along the seam. Then I covered the staples by whip-stitching a narrow bit of trim over the staples.

Ugly Orange After

And that is how an ugly orange duckling became a beautiful burlap ottoman. It’s a great accent piece in the den or living room and it would be fun and functional in front of a vanity in the powder room, or master bath. Little princesses of all ages will love it.

The staples are the only part of this project that aren’t recycled. But I didn’t buy them at the hardware store. They came out of a box someone else bought at a hardware store many years ago. I bought the box of staples at an estate sale a few months ago.

So while it’s not 100% recycled, I’d say it’s 99.99% recycled. What do you think?



A Personalized Patchwork Christmas Stocking

I know time is short, but surely I’m not the only one who waits until the last minute to finish up Christmas preparations. So, if you need to make a stocking or two, here’s another “how to” make a Christmas stocking tutorial.

I made this personalized patchwork stocking with discarded jeans, vintage buttons and orphaned game pieces.  I used pinking shears, a hot glue gun and a sewing machine to make it.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

I made this stocking for my son for his second Christmas. I probably put it together on December 23 because that’s how I roll.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

I wanted to cover it with little toys, but since he was just two, and all the tiny toys are choking hazards, I didn’t have much to choose from. I went with buttons and a handful of vintage game pieces.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

I started by cutting a stocking shape in red fabric. I cut two pieces, one piece would be the back, and the other piece is the base of the denim on the front.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

Then I cut pieces of denim in a variety of fades and laid them out on the top side of the cut red fabric. Start sewing them down on the base piece as you find a pattern you like.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

I used pinking shears to reduce fraying on the denim patches. When I had the stocking top covered I trimmed the denim to match the stocking shape.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeItDenim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

Then I laid the top piece on the back piece and stitched around the edges on the right side and trimmed the seam allowance to about a quarter of an inch, again using pinking shears.

And somewhere during this phase I attached a loop of red ribbon to the top of the stocking to make it fit for hanging.

Denim Christmas Stocking on JanMadeIt

Then I laid out the buttons and game pieces and hot glued them into place. I was able to spell his name with letter die from a word game. I think it was a prehistoric version of Boggle.

You could make stockings like this for all ages. Use any fabric and any adornments to personalize it.

What would you use to personalize stockings for your family?



Quick and Easy Dog Cape

This is Zeus. My full-blood blue-eyed rescued deer head chihuahua. I thought he was a “plain” chihuahua until someone told me he was a reindeer chihuahua. We thought it might be because of his long legs, but it has to do with the shape of the head. The little round-headed versions are called apple heads.

Dog Cape on JanMadeIt

He was about to be dumped on the side of the road when I agreed to take him in.

I think he was born in July 2011. The first owners got him in August and in January 2012 they said he was too mean to be around the kids and was biting and barking all the time so they were going to sell him. I wasn’t going to buy him but we were at the flea market and I had something she wanted, so she traded me to take the dog. He shivered constantly when I first got him. People said “all” chihuahua’s do that. I think he was mistreated and terrified.

He doesn’t shiver now. He doesn’t bite, or snap at anyone, and he only barks when Gray Cat growls at him.

But sometimes he needs a coat and most of those store-bought knitted doodahs get really ratty looking really fast. I just needed something practical and functional.

Quick and Easy Dog Cape on JanMadeIt

How’s this? He wasn’t much for posing the day I made this. This glare is one of the few times he looked at the camera.

Can you tell I made this out of the sleeve of a sweatshirt?

This recycled, repurposed project is free if you have a spare sweatshirt, and this little coat won’t look ragged and old anytime soon.  The only tool you need is a pair of scissors and it only takes about ten minutes.

This works for small dogs. Some sweatshirt cuffs get all stretched out so you might find something that will work for a bigger dog. I have a beagle who’s always digging under the covers, so I’m working on a design for larger dogs. I’ll post that when I get it figured out.

Quick and Easy Dog Cape on JanMadeIt

The first thing to do is cut the sleeve from the sweatshirt. To size it, with one hand hold the cuff of the sleeve at your dog’s neck, and with the other hand hold it at about the dog’s tail. Cut the sleeve off at this line. Try to cut it parallel to the cuff.

Quick and Easy Dog Cape on JanMadeIt

Next cut up the seam line all the way to the cuff.

Quick and Easy Dog Cape on JanMadeIt

At this point, you can slip the cuff over the dog’s neck to get an idea of where the armholes will go. The armholes will be very close to the cuff.

Quick and Easy Dog Cape on JanMadeIt

By folding the sleeve in half at the seam, you can clip both armholes at the same time so they’re in the same  place for both legs. I cut a slit about two inches long and then widened it to a narrow oval shape.

Quick and Easy Dog Cape on JanMadeIt

Now you’re ready to try it on. Zeus hadn’t worn a coat in months, so we wasn’t real crazy about it.

At this stage you can make adjustments if needed. Some things to check are:

  • Make the armholes bigger if they seem tight.
  • Cut off the length if the coat is too long down the dog’s back.
  • Curve the back edge if the points on the side hang too far down.
  • If the collar seems to go up too high, roll it down.
  • If the collar is too tight, clip it at the throat just across the seam. Just a tiny bit, because it will stretch out as the dog wears it more.
  • If your dog wears a harness all the time cut a slot for the ring at the appropriate spot between the shoulder blades. If your dog occasionally wears a harness—Zeus only wears one when I take him out on a leash—the harness I have will fit over the coat. His dog collar sits under the cuff and his tag hangs out at the throat.

Quick and Easy Dog Cape on JanMadeIt

You’re done.

Now that we’ve had a few coldish mornings I’ve slipped it on him before putting him outside and he knows it’s a good thing. After chasing him around the yard trying to take a picture of him from the front, I finally caught him looking right at me and I snapped the shutter.

And during the delay before the shot was captured, there was a noise in the street out front and this is what I got.

Quick and Easy Dog Cape on JanMadeIt

Any suggestions for a caption?


Crushed Velvet Headbands From Fabric Scraps

After I finished updating a lampshade (I’ll post about that soon) I had leftover strips of dark red crushed velvet and this is what I did with that little pile of scraps.

Crushed Velvet Headbands on JanMadeIt

I’ve been snagging plastic headbands for pennies apiece at garage sales over the past year and finally upcycled a few of them. The dark red with creamy white buttons and beads will fun to wear as the holidays approach.

Crushed Velvet Headbands on JanMadeIt

To make one of these you’ll need

  • A plastic headband, any shape.
  • Torn fabric strips, about an inch wide.
  • Buttons, beads or baubles.
  • Thread. I used cotton pearl embroidery thread #5. The shiny finish will slide through the fabric with few knots and it’s heavy enough you won’t have to worry about broken threads.

Note: Tearing the fabric into strips makes a neater edge than cutting it. After you pull out a few threads on each side there will be a small tidy fringe that won’t be shedding strings all over the place.

Crushed Velvet Headbands on JanMadeIt

I wrapped the fabric around the starting “tail” to hide it. I continued wrapping on a slight diagonal to the other end of the headband where I hand-stitched the loose ends to finish it off. After you wrap the headband and make your flower, try it on to position the flower. A small single item looks best on the side. You might want it at the part in your hair, or maybe down further to sit above your ear.

Crushed Velvet Headbands on JanMadeIt

To make the flowers and other doo-dahs, I basted a line of stitching down the center or along the edge of the fabric. At the ends, fold the raw edge back to create a point. When you attach it to the headband you can use these points as part of the design or tack them out of sight.

Crushed Velvet Headbands on JanMadeIt

After basting about an inch, pull the thread to gather it up and made a little back-stitch (not shown) to secure it. A center stitching line will make a caterpillar shape, or stitch along the edge to make a flower.

Crushed Velvet Headbands on JanMadeIt

To make this little gizmo, I stitched down the center of a strip about 12 inches long. When it was gathered from end to end it was about five inches long. I tacked it to the headband creating little “S” curves along the way compressing it down to about three inches. Then I embellished it with groups of glass beads to make it look like a cluster of small flowers.

Crushed Velvet Headbands on JanMadeIt

I made this little flower by stitching along the edge of the fabric. As the fabric gathers on one side it naturally turns into a circle and it’s easy to tack it into place. I used a single layer and topped it with a 60s era earring. I only had one, so I removed the earring back and stitched it into place.

Crushed Velvet Headbands on JanMadeIt

I used a broken necklace with Wilma Flintstone irregular shaped pearly beads for another.

Crushed Velvet Headbands on JanMadeIt

More glass beads decorate another scrunched up caterpillar shape.

Crushed Velvet Headbands on JanMadeIt

When I made a poufy flower with several layers I used a simple vintage button.

Crushed Velvet Headbands on JanMadeIt

You can make these out of any fabric, but the crushed velvet was very forgiving and easy to work with. The crumpled surface and exact color match with the thread makes the stitches disappear. If you don’t have any crushed velvet on hand, it’s not expensive and you’ll only need a few inches. Find a remnant if you can.

After you get started, you’ll come up with all sorts of things you can use to make a headband special.

What do you think? What are your ideas for something special?


Paint with Fonts for a Change of Pace

I have this obsession with little stools. I can’t resist buying them. Fortunately, I get them at garage sales, flea markets or thrift stores and I only have to pay a dollar or two for most of them, maybe $5 for one with a hinged storage compartment, like this one I updated last year.

A few months ago I acquired a very small oval-shaped wood stool with a neat little ruffled upholstered cushion on the top. The fabric was dark green with horses on it. Good quality, but dated and not my style. The wood had never been painted so I tore off the fabric to paint it before I recovered it with something more appropriate to this century.

I gave it a base coat of white, because it was handy, and then it just sat there. I had no inspiration complete the job. In all the piles and shelves and boxes of fabric I have in my house I couldn’t find a single small swatch that needed to be on the top. The fabric voices—which are always jabbering in my head—were silent.

One night while I was sleeping, the inspiration from this French Postcard Table, by Red Hen Home, and this bead board sign on Elizabeth & Co came together to create another voice. And that voice was painted embellishment!

Fleur de Lis Painted Stool by JanMadeIt

As in type embellishments. As in a fleur-de-lis.

While I can free hand some patterns, like this zebra print student chair, I knew I couldn’t free hand a specific symbol like a fleur-de-lis. But I knew where I could find one. So I went to the font file on my computer. I love fonts, and have a couple hundred at my fingertips, even one named appropriately Fleur de Lis. It’s a small selection, with a dozen or less different versions, but I picked a simple design for this first project.

Fleur de Lis Painted Stool by Jan Made It

I started by enlarging the symbol to fill the page. I reduced the side margins to 1/2″ to get all of this 600 point symbol on the page. When I printed, to save toner, I printed it at low resolution, but after I printed it I realize I could have changed the font style to outline which would have saved even more toner.

Fleur de Lis Painted Stool by Jan Made It

I measured the stool both directions to find the approximate center and tore off the excess so I could tape the design in position. Actually I started tearing, and then realized I might rip my pattern so I found the paper scissors to trim it. I had a heavy marking art pencil, a stylus, and a small (not sharp) pocket knife I would use to trace the edges of the design.

Fleur de Lis Painted Stool by Jan Made It
I started by outlining it with the heavy pencil to get the feel of the design, then traced it with the stylus which put a little groove in the wood. Note that if you want to transfer a busier pattern or a lot of text the technique shown on the bead board sign might work better for some projects.

Fleur de Lis Painted Stool by Jan Made It

Then I filled in the groove with a light pencil line.

Fleur de Lis Painted Stool by Jan Made It

And I decided to burn the edges of the design into the wood with this wood burning pen I got from a flea market. It worked great, but I found the perfect place to hold it, that white ceramic section, is very hot and the original cork insulator is missing. It was a little harder to handle further up the barrel but I made it work.

Fleur de Lis Painted Stool by Jan Made It

Next I filled it in with paint. A friend passed along the leftovers of a sample size of Olympia’s Wet Concrete and that’s what I used for this project.

Fleur de Lis Painted Stool by Jan Made It

If you’re not familiar with this kind of painting, you probably wouldn’t pick a straight edge brush for this project, but I’m here to tell you it’s the one to use. When you’re filling in and making a straight edge it’s much easier to control and you can keep a straight line straighter than you can with more flexible bristles.

Fleur de Lis Painted Stool by Jan Made It

Then because the edges weren’t sharp enough to leave alone, I filled in the crease made by the wood pen with a fine line of gold paint. There were some goofs, but I kept going knowing it could paint it over and start at the beginning if I really messed it up. But before I gave I up, I sanded away at the mistakes.

Fleur de Lis Painted Stool by Jan Made It

I added the bottom of the design to the legs of the stool, mostly to get more practice, and then I added a little free hand doo dad to the edge of the stool. That didn’t turn out so well, so it got sanded a lot. I also added a little gold line to the top edge.

Fleur de Lis Painted Stool by JanMadeIt

Because I used gold trim on the design, and the base wood is light, I finished it all off with a neutral glaze and a little dab of raw umber craft paint.

I used the same technique, without the wood burning, on this little footstool.

Heart Footstool by Jan Made It Before

I painted and stenciled this to go in the nursery when my son was born. I propped my feet on it when I rocked him in the bentwood rocker.

Heart Footstool by Jan Made It Before

Here is how it looks now.

I covered the red with a couple of layers of pink and used this lily-looking ornament. It came from the Bodoni Ornament font file. The center section looked like a pulled tooth with a very long root when it was enlarged to 500 points, so I covered it up with a sprig of leaves. I used a darker shade of green along the edge of the leaves, and I used the light pink of the flower to add a border around the groove at the edge.

You could use this same technique with any letter or symbol you can find on the computer. You could add a little flourish in the middle of a drawer, on a drawer pull, on a bench or anything else that needs a little something extra.

If you’re just using the fonts that came with your computer and have no idea what I’m talking about, there are several websites that offer free fonts, and they’re very easy to download and use. Search for “Free Fonts” and you’ll get a bunch of them to check out. When you get to a font website look for dingbats, ornaments or embellishments and see what you like. I’ve used Fontspace, and 1001 Free Fonts. Most of the fonts are free for personal use, but if you’re going to use a font with a licensed character on an item you plan to sell, it’s probably not OK.

I just saw a really cute font called Mario and Luigi. Personal use would be to put it on your kids chest or headboard, or use it as a pattern for a their birthday cake. But if you’re going to paint a bedroom set to sell, or you’re selling decorated cakes and you use it, that’s a violation of copyright unless you buy the font and pay for commercial use of it.

What do you think? Any particular design, or use of this technique you can’t wait to try? Or is there an easier way to transfer the design to your project? I’d love to see some of the things you’ve worked on.


Build a Birdbath

I came across a sturdy wooden bench with a crumbling seat a few months ago.

Bar Stool becomes a birdbath on JanMadeIt

I thought I might turn it into a table or a lamp or something when I came across a few bird bath tutorials and decided that’s what I needed too.

Bar Stool becomes a birdbath on JanMadeIt

I painted it a soft yellow and found a shallow tray to use as the bath. I’m looking for a deeper, larger bowl but this let me get it set up right away. And when I filled it with water I was able to see how to adjust it to get it level. If it works in this location I’ll gather up some of my flagstones and get the feet off the bare ground.

Bar Stool becomes a birdbath on JanMadeIt

Instead of attaching the bowl to the stool I weighted it down with some native Oklahoma rose rocks. So far it’s working.

I have a couple of cats—Sundance and Cait Sith—that go in and out, but they don’t seem to care much about the mockingbirds that hang out here. I wanted to be sure they won’t be jumping on this and knocking the whole thing over before I made it more permanent.

Turns out there are a couple of insistent starts of Sweet Autumn Clematis near the base of my bird bath. It should hide the legs of this nicely by next summer.

Here are a couple of the images that inspired me with this project: this garbage can bird bath at Funky Junk Interiors, and a step-ladder bird bath from Eclectically Vintage.

Now I’m seeing bird bath potential everywhere! What about you? Do you have something fun you could repurpose into a bird bath?



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