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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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School Playset DIY

My daughter says she wants to be a teacher when she grows up and she loves to play school, so I created a playset to help spark her imagination.

 photo DIYschoolplaysettutorialbyRobynWellingRobynHTV_zps77835cb5.png

It was simple to make, is easily customized, and it hangs on the wall so it doesn't take up any of the valuable floor space in her room - nice. You can make one yourself, and in no time your little teacher will be ready for class.

Note: this was originally published on my old craft blog, apparently before I learned how to properly operate a camera. Please excuse the craptacularly low quality of some of these photos. I would take new pics, but I built this two years ago and let's just say that my daughter (who still plays with it often, by the way) has loved some of the accessories beyond recognition.

What you'll need:

As I mentioned, this project is easily customized to fit the materials you have available and your child's preferences. Your supply list will vary depending on what you include with the playset, but here's what I used.
  • a piece of plywood, 2' x 2.5' (I recommend deciding on what you're going to include and determining the layout of the items, keeping in mind the amount of wall space you have available, to figure out how big your plywood board should be)
  • hardware to hang the board on the wall
  • cup hooks
  • red paint
  • dry erase board with dry erase marker
  • 5" x 7" self-sealing laminating pouches
  • self-adhesive Velcro squares
  • white paper or cardstock
  • zippered binder pouch
  • empty lotion bottle
  • small clipboard
  • chipboard tag, white letter stickers, and ribbon (for the hall pass)
  • cardboard, clean cloth diaper (or other natural fiber fabric), and stapler (for the erasers)
  • chipboard clock hands (or cardboard to make your own) and a brad to attach them to the clock
  • items to put in the zippered pocket (I included flashcards and star stickers)
  • scissors, glue

What to do:

First you'll need to create the elements that will be included with your school playset.
  • Print out a US map and blank calendar from the computer on white cardstock, sized to be 5" x 7" each. Cut them out and laminate each one using the laminating pouches according to the package directions. I then cut out another 5" x 7" piece of white cardstock and drew a blank grade sheet on one side, and a blank checklist on the other (I did these by hand, but you could also create these on the computer). I laminated that using another laminating sheet.




  • Print a round clock face from your computer (mine is 4" diameter) and cut it out. I mounted it on cardboard for added stability and coated it with clear silicone for durability, but that's optional. Affix purchased or hand-cut clock hands to the center of the clock using a brad so that the hands can move.
  • For the heading, I cut S, C, H, O, and L on my Provo Craft Cricut machine (4" high so they'd be the same height as my clock, using the Plantin SchoolBook cartridge) from white cardstock. Alternatively, you could cut these freehand, use large stickers, or print the letters on cardstock and cut them out.
  • For my dry erase board, I found one that was spiral bound with several different pre-printed backgrounds. I removed the spiral, and inserted three keyring rings that are used to hang it from cup hooks (see photo), so that it can be taken down and flipped to use different backgrounds. However, you can substitute a plain dry erase board if you like. If your dry erase board doesn't come with a dry erase marker like mine did, make sure to get one.
  • For the cup to hold the marker and erasers, I adapted an idea I found here for cutting an empty lotion bottle. I punched a hole at the top, and since my bottle had a sticker label I just peeled it off and left the cup plain white; if your bottle's label is printed directly on it, you might choose to cover it with fabric as the inspiration tutorial shows.





  • For the dry erase board erasers, I cut four pieces of cardboard approximately 3" x 4", though you'll want to make yours whatever size fits in your lotion bottle cup while leaving room for a marker. I stacked two of these pieces together for extra thickness and wrapped them with strips cut from a clean cloth diaper (you can use any soft, natural fiber fabric) and stapled it around the edges (if you have time and patience, you could sew around the edges for a nicer look). I repeated the process with the other two pieces of cardboard to create a second eraser.
It's at least 67% less lumpy in real life
than it appears to be in this photo.

  • To make the hall pass, I used a chipboard tag (if you don't have one, cut one from cardboard and cover it with colorful paper). I spelled out "Hall Pass" with white letter stickers, and tied a white ribbon through a hole in the tag (see photo).


Now to create the background and assemble the playset!

  • Determine the size of your plywood as stated above, and paint it red. This may take several coats. You could use any kind of wood, but plywood is what I had available.
  • Lay out your elements on the board once it is dry, and determine the final placement of everything you want to include.
  • Note that I spelled "SCHOOL" along the top, using the clock as one of the "O"s. When you like the letter placement, glue the letters and the clock into place.
  • Add Velcro squares to the corners on the backs of the blank calendar and map, according to package directions. Use the Velcro to attach the map and calendar to the plywood background; attaching them with Velcro gives you the option to remove, rearrange, or replace them later. If you have a regular dry erase board (instead of the spiral-bound kind I used), you can attach it with Velcro squares in the same manner.

  • For elements that will be hung from cup hooks (in my case, the dry erase board, zippered binder pouch, small clipboard, and lotion bottle cup), determine where you need the cup hooks to be and screw them into the plywood.

  • Then just hang your items on the cup hooks, fill the zippered binder pocket with school-related accessories, tuck the erasers and marker into the lotion bottle cup, and clip the grade sheet/checklist onto the clipboard. Attach hardware of your choice for hanging the playset on the wall, or screw it directly to the wall if you wish. You're ready for school to be in session!



I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing - and so I don't get all lonely.


My Toddler: Genius or Tyrant?

I know every parent thinks their baby is some sort of genius/musical prodigy/math whiz, with the language skills of a toddler twice her age, more friends than anyone else in her pre-pre-school, and the most beautiful silken curls to ever grace a human head. Ask any mother on the street, and if she doesn't hit you with her diaper bag first (Stranger danger!), she'll probably tell you that her darling angel learned how to solve quadratic equations while potty training herself in the womb, and had all her adult teeth by the time she was two.

I can tell you to shut your pie hole in six languages.

But that said, my little girl really is pretty advanced for her age. Yes, she's super smart, already exhibits the early stages of sarcasm, and dances better than some kind of John Travolta/Baryshnikov hybrid. But the main reason I think she's advanced (Gifted, even?)  is because, at 20 months, she's already bossing me around at almost a 9th-grade level.

When there's a decision to be made, this kid takes the initiative and tells you how things are going to be, before you even realized the issue was up for debate.
Didn't know your skin was dry? Well, it must be, because she's insisting you dispense lotion into every hand in the house. For the fiftieth time.
Thought the house was looking pretty tidy? Nope, she's in the mood to hear the vacuum, and you'd better believe you're going to carry her in one arm while you push the sweeper around with the other.
Tired of hearing her favorite song? Don't be an idiot. What part of, "AGAIN!" don't you understand?
It's hard to keep track of all the daily minutia that falls within her realm of expertise, but this graphic touches on some of the main categories.


It's actually kind of a relief to have someone else dictate my every move, all day long. Otherwise I might have to weigh the pros and cons of ramming a pretzel stick into the roof of my own mouth, or wonder if it's a good idea to lift my shirt for the little old ladies in the Frozen Foods section. With my toddler already showing the qualities of a corporate CEO who was formerly a prison warden with a background in Drill Sergeantry, I can just relax while she takes care of all the big decisions for me.

If you'd like to know the benefits of having a Genius Tyrant Toddler taking over your life, I hate to hog all the fun. Feel free to stop by my house for five minutes. Just be sure to wear a headband. It's required.


Click the banner below to vote - the baby says you have to.
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I Could'a Been A Contender

What I like to do at night, instead of sleep, is stare at the ceiling and get worked up about stuff that I couldn't possibly do anything to change even on my best day, not even if it was daytime and I'd taken my multivitamin and I was someplace useful instead of in bed staring at the ceiling.

I stew about things that irritate me, such as inflation, or the fact that muffin tops won't go away if you insist on eating a steady diet of Reese's Cups.

Sometimes I fret over the fact that I'm stunting my children's social development by refusing to answer the phone when their friends' parents call to set up play dates.

Occasionally I'll obsess about the possibility that the girl from The Ring lives under my bed and is waiting for me to drift off to sleep so she can slither up creepily between the wall and my headboard like that girl from The Grudge (related: I shouldn't be allowed to watch scary movies before bedtime).

Only rarely do I concern myself with the small matter of my increasingly obvious aging. However, one night not long ago, the insomnia-fodder of choice was Life Goals and how I haven't really attained any. Because clearly the proper time to tackle these issues is at 3 AM when you're just a few hours away from being jabbed enthusiastically in the eye by a baby who's ready to get up and play.

At that point it occurred to be that I graduated from college (rechecks math twice on fingers) FIFTEEN years ago. Fifteen years is sort of an eternity, and one would think a person could've made great strides toward any of her goals in such a time, were she the Striding type instead of the Lollygagging Around type.

Then I saw that today's Monday Listicles prompt over at Stasha's The Good Life was "10 Things You Thought As A Child You Would Be." I figured, Hey, what better excuse is there to sit down and really quantify my life's failures? Sure, I don't remember meeting any of the goals I set for myself as a child. But what the hell were my goals to begin with, anyway?


This is one of those instances when careful reflection has really helped me work out my issues, and I've come to the happy conclusion that (as usual) I was wrong! According to the goals I'd set for myself when I was eight years old, I've actually become (some version of) most of the things I thought I wanted to be when I grew up. Who knew?

I'm starting to feel like maybe there's still time to get around to that magical fairy princess thing, too.


A click below gets me one step closer to world domination! That's right, I forgot I always wanted to be Queen Of The Universe when I grew up, too.
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Fake Felt Snacks

I hope you're still hungry, because after last week's felt chocolate chip cookies, this installment of Craptacular Crafts is all about snacks. Fake snacks. Felt snacks. Fake felt snacks that I wish I could eat.
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I've had these chips served to me at least a zillion times, as a side dish with a sandwich in Zoe's "restaurant," or as part of the sack lunches she makes for me to eat when we play school so she can write down how many demerits I've racked up for eating chips in class. The popcorn is cute and quick to make, too; I've always thought it would look great as part of the decorative packaging in a "movie night" gift basket with a DVD or movie theater tickets, a theory I'll be sure to test out if I ever make any friends and feel compelled to give them a gift for some reason.



What you'll need:
  • Craft felt: yellow for the chips (2 sheets), white or off-white for the popcorn (1 sheet), and two colors for the bag and lettering (I used 1 sheet of light blue and scraps of red)
  • thin, clear plastic if you want your chip bag to have a window (I used a page protector from a three-ring binder)
  • Small amount of stuffing for the popcorn (I just used scraps of the off-white felt)
  • white or off-white thread, embroidery floss to match the lettering on your bag, needle
  • sewing machine (optional)

What to do:


Chips
  1. Layer the two sheets of yellow felt on top of each other. Cut out as many ovals as you want - one matching set of two ovals for each chip. You can make them whatever size suits your needs; mine are about 2" long by 1.25" wide, but the sizes and shapes vary, just like real chips.
  2. Zig-zag stitch back and forth 3-4 times across the surface of each chip, securing the two ovals together. You can also hand stitch, and/or use a decorative stitch around the edges of each one.
    • Tip: Before sewing, you can sandwich a piece of your thin plastic between the pieces of felt. Make sure it's a little smaller than your yellow pieces so it doesn't show on the edges. This will give your finished chips a "crinkle" sound, catapulting your chips into a new level of awesome.

Chip Bag
  1. Cut a rectangle of felt (here, I used blue) that's 5.5" x 12". This will be folded in half to create a 5.5" x 6" bag, but you can use whatever dimensions suit your project (this makes closer to a snack-sized bag of chips).
  2. Yes, I strive to provide the
    crappiest photos possible.
    On the half of the rectangle that will be the front of the bag, cut an opening for the window (see photo). I made a triangle with rounded corners, but you could cut any shape.
  3. Cut a piece of thin, clear plastic that's the same shape as your window opening but larger - you should leave yourself about a 1/2" seam allowance. Layer the two pieces and top stitch around the edge of the opening to hold the plastic in place.
  4. Cut the word "chips" out of a contrasting color of felt (I used red). I cut mine freehand, but you could use a template or purchase iron-on decals. Using matching embroidery floss, sew the letters above your window on the outside of the bag.
  5. Fold the rectangle of felt in half, so that the folded edge is the bottom of the bag. Machine (or hand) stitch each side of the bag closed. You can do this with your lettering to the inside, so that when you turn the bag right-side-out your seam allowance is hidden inside the bag, or (as I did) simply top stitch along the edges. It's easier, and I think it looks more like the crimped edges of a real chip bag.
    • Tip: you can add Velcro along the top edge if you want to be able to seal and reopen the bag.

Popcorn
  1. Cut wavy-edged circles from the white/off-white felt, approximately 1.5" in diameter.
  2. Using white thread, sew a basting stitch in a circle in the middle of each piece of felt, leaving the ends loose (see photo).
  3. Put a small amount of stuffing in the center of your piece and pull the basting threads tight - the stuffing should get closed up in the pocket created by your basting stitches. Tie the threads off and snip the excess thread.
    • Tip: For extra realism, highlight a few spots on each kernel with yellow ink or chalk to mimic butter.

There you have it - some quick and incredibly cute snacks that will provide hours of entertainment for any little food lover!

I know, it's not as good as REAL food, but the low salt content will result in less water retention. Less water retention = sexier cankles. You're welcome. You can thank me by clicking that TMB banner down there.
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Anatomy of a Mom Purse

There are lots of jokes about how women have to give up on carrying adorable little handbags once they have other adorable little things to carry - namely, babies.

Of course, the real joke is that it isn't a joke.


New mothers kiss their dainty purses goodbye, and prepare to cram all their precious essentials into a tiny mesh side pocket on their new 231-gallon diaper sack for the next several years.

Sure, it's sad at first. You miss being able to sling your bag over the back of your chair at a restaurant without blocking the path between tables or knocking your server unconscious. You can't leave the house without restocking more items than the night crew at your local Baby Crap Emporium. You might start to resent the fact that carrying so many tubes of lanolin, sunscreen, and hand sanitizer frequently causes you to smear diaper cream all over your hands instead of lotion.

Fear not - it doesn't last forever. But to be totally honest, you don't get your purse back right away.

Once you leave the Diaper Bag Phase, you enter the Mom Purse Phase. It's smaller, yes, but you're still the family's equivalent of a Sherpa to mountaineers, lugging around every item someone might conceivably need as they venture out into dangerous parts of the world that they're unqualified to navigate without you (like Wal-Mart).

I'm about to get "purse-onal" (go ahead and roll your eyes, you knew it was coming) and prove it by dumping out my bag on the dining room table (I told  you we had one) and showing you what I, a Real-Life Mom, would be toting around with me in the event I ever actually left the house.


  1. A stylish bag is essential - I picked this one up at a garage sale for $2.
  2. Coin purse that contains my kids' college funds - in pennies - and weighs more than everything else in the purse combined
  3. Paperwork. This is a broad category including a volunteer sheet for school (still blank - oops), a stranger's school photo, a doctor's referral I never followed up on, a sweepstakes entry I never filled out for a giveaway that ended last July, Goodwill coupons (score!), and a sticker we picked up at the Apple Store to (unsuccessfully) distract the baby while we complained about our bill.
  4. Gift card to a spa, the interior of which I don't expect to ever see
  5. Edibles. Half a confiscated blue candy cane, a pack of gum (empty), expired Tylenol
  6. A small hand, because it isn't a Mom Purse unless a child's hand is in there trying to grab something they aren't supposed to have.
  7. "Make Up" bag. In quotes because, these days, my make up bag contains two hair bands, a Tide stain stick (dried out and useless), one of those rubbery tubes you slide onto a pen to make it grippy, and mint lip balm I got from the dentist's office. Clearly my beauty regimen isn't what it used to be.
  8. Wallet. Contains one of everything on Earth made of paper, except money
  9. Clothing. Mismatched baby socks and breast pads, because... of course
  10. Toys. I did a purge a few weeks ago, so we're down to one cheap pinball game, crayons, a pen and a tube of Aquaphor (which count as a toys because the baby likes them).
  11. Sunglasses belonging to...?
  12. Cleaning supplies. Ancient hand wipes, wadded up napkins (probably clean)
  13. Plastic bag to contain a dirty diaper, in case I need to perform clean-up duty on the go. Please note that I'll be totally hosed if that happens, as there's currently no diaper in the Mom Purse inventory.
  14. Pad, for "Mommy accidents" or situations when I might laugh or sneeze suddenly. Luckily it's wrapped in plastic, since it appears to be covered in pencil shavings, just like everything else in my purse, even though I don't have a pencil in there
So, what about your purse? Is it a hot mess, or do you still carry around a tiny clutch with nothing but lipstick and an ID inside? Is it organized and tidy, or would the erupted contents of your ginormous Mom Purse even fit on your dining room table?

Tell me all about it in the comments (I need moral support), then stop by to visit my friend Kelley on the Kelley's Break Room Facebook page to check out other people's purses. To make people feel better, Kelley posted her own bag today, which she aptly refers to as "a garbage can with straps" - then you can even submit a picture of your own!

For the record, I put everything right back in my purse after I took this picture, including the broken candy cane. No, I'm not proud of myself, but I know you'll click the banner below anyway! Won't you???
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As The Dollhouse Turns: Dinner Time

Dinner Is Served - Sort Of


As darkness falls outside, Sunny heaves a sigh of relief. It's been a long day - the baby got shots at the doctor's office, she politely sat through a two-hour pitch from a traveling vacuum salesman, she lost her internet connection just when she was about to Facebook about how annoying the salesman was, and on top of everything else, the school had an early release day.

But all that's behind her now. She sits down to reward herself for a long day's work with a little "liquid snack," when the family suddenly joins her at the table.

What do these clowns want?  she wonders.

She glances nervously at her wine, but then relaxes. She knows it can't be an intervention. That would require Buzz to organize a family activity without her help.

They stare at her expectantly. Someone's stomach growls.

At this point, Sunny realizes she forgot to make dinner.

She forces a smile. "Of course, dinner! Let me go get it."

In the kitchen, she pokes her head in the fridge and starts opening Tupperware, looking for leftovers she can toss in the microwave. "Hmm, there's not enough of that to feed everyone. No, the kids wouldn't touch this the first  time I served it, let alone reheated. Eww, I don't even know what that is!" By the time Chenille walks in, she's resorted to shuffling through her collection of carry-out menus and expired fast food coupons.

No, I'm not eating cookies back here
while I look for something to feed you.

"Mommy, Daddy wants to know what's taking so long."

Sunny scowls. "Tell him to hold his horses - he's welcome to make his own dinner any damn day," she grumbles.

"What?"

"I said, 'Tell him, of course his wholesome dinner is on the way!'"

A few minutes later, Sunny emerges from the kitchen.

"Good news, everyone," she announces with artificial glee. "We're doing something special tonight - breakfast for dinner!" She places a bowl of cereal in front of each member of her family.

The girls squeal with delight and dig right into their bowls of Krack-Koated Kandy Bomb cereal. On Buzz's side of the table, however, the meal is met with silence and disbelief.

"Um, I thought we could have a nice pot roast tonight, honey. What about that? Can't you whip that up real quick?" Buzz asks.

Sunny speaks slowly, through clenched teeth. "I suggest you drum up some enthusiasm, honey,  because right now," she jabs her spoon in the direction of his bowl, "this is happening." 


Uh-oh...

Maybe it's the tone of her voice, or maybe it's the murderous look in her eyes, but Buzz finally seems to catch on. "Oh, yeah, this is great, right girls?" he backpedals quickly.

Sunny smiles and almost sits down, thinking the light at the end of this tunnel of a day might have reappeared - but before her khaki pockets can meet the seat of her chair, Chiffon flips her bowl upside-down, spilling milk and cereal bits all over the floor, then Chenille, having consumed two spoonfuls of food, declares, "I'm full. What's for dessert?" and Charmeuse starts yelling about how the baby's milk has absolutely ruined her new favorite butterfly t-shirt.

Sunny isn't sure if she's going to laugh, cry, or run screaming from the room. She looks pleadingly at Buzz, who instinctively starts sopping up milk with his napkin. Then, for the win, he says those words that every woman longs to hear at the end of a tough day.

"Can I pour you more wine, dear?"


More real-life dollhouse drama next time - until then, please feel free to catch up on previous episodes of As The Dollhouse Turns. Then please click the Top Mommy Blogs banner below, while I check the Grape Nuts I have simmering in the crock pot.
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My Journey To Jogging And Back

For no reason whatsoever other than possible spontaneous brain damage, I suggested to Gerry that we should start jogging.

"It will be good for us," I said. "We'll feel better, and my zippered pants might fit again. It will give us time alone together, time during which I'll be completely unable to have my face glued to my phone." I knew that last part would be a huge selling point for my husband, who often comments how beautiful my profile looks illuminated by the sickly glow of my iPhone screen.

Secretly, what I was really thinking was, My friend and her husband started running, and in the Facebook pictures she posts of them finishing marathons and whatnot, they both look so happy and fit and proud of their accomplishments, not to mention they're outside of the house without any children!

Either way, Gerry was on board. I set myself some goals to help with that pesky Motivation stuff people are always talking about.

With that, we were suddenly Joggers. People who jog. Without any training, doctor's notes, or paperwork from any kind of governing authority, we simply decided that we were going to become the types of people who carve out a piece of our day several times per week to go outside in the cold and briskly run away from nothing in particular.

I felt under-qualified for this endeavor, to say the least. Gerry ran track in school, but I'd never once in my life run, on purpose, without a PE teacher yelling at me, aside from two separate occasions when I was being chased by a swarm of wasps.* But I figured, Hey, I didn't have to pass any tests or get anybody's permission to start having babies, and that's arguably even more life-altering than jogging, on some levels. I can do this!

On our first day, I started showing my inexperience immediately. "You're not supposed to stretch first, it's bad for your muscles," Gerry informed me before we'd even left the house. Apparently my exercise-related information was outdated, not having learned any new fitness facts since legwarmers were required gym apparel.

Then I shared one of my few jogging tips with him, by helpfully pointing out that if we intended to do this properly, he probably shouldn't bring his coffee along in a travel mug. Teamwork!

Unstretched and under-caffeinated, we reached the end of the driveway, exchanged a look that said something like, "What the hell do we think we're doing?" and began to jog.

And I can't lie.

It was glorious.

For half a block.

At that point, I started to breathe heavily and lost whatever tiny scrap of motivation I had previously mustered. Gerry, who never once broke his stride or gasped pitifully for air, tried to encourage me. Meanwhile, I wasted what little strength I had on bargaining with the Jogging Gods.
Dear Jogging Gods, I swear I'll run the rest of this block all the way to the stop sign, if you'll just allow me nap for the next two blocks.
Please, let that sensation I'm feeling be a major earthquake, and not my femurs shattering into a thousand pieces while my heart implodes.
Jogging Gods, if you can just make my legs continue pumping in some sort of a rhythmic fashion, I promise to point us toward a hospital.
The next time was not easier. But we did it, and congratulated ourselves, and I messaged my friend to let her know what an inspiration she and her Facebook pictures had been in setting us off on this healthy path (and also to make myself more accountable by admitting to someone else that we'd started jogging).

We jogged again. I complained. Gerry was a natural, always ready to hit the road whenever the opportunity arose. I, on the other hand, revisited my earlier goals.

However, Gerry soon became concerned for my heath and well-being, based on the weird whimpering noises I made every time I crumpled onto the sidewalk and started twitching, which was an alarmingly frequent occurrence.

That was when I learned that, when it came to jogging, the power of my will to quit is powerful enough to overpower my willpower to keep going. (Go ahead and crochet that on a pillow, I'll wait.)

That was a few weeks ago. We decided to save jogging for the spring, and spend the winter months reconditioning our neglected cardiovascular systems on the dusty elliptical machine in the basement.

I love that idea. The elliptical and I go way back, and I absolutely love it. I used to work out on that thing every day, and I have no doubt that using it will be a fitness program I'll be able to stick with.

I'll let you know when we get started.

*It won't shock you to hear that I didn't successfully escape from those swarms of wasps, either time. Those things are pretty fast.
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Felt Food: bacon and eggs

It's Craptacular Craft time again, the occasional craft tutorial extravaganza for which I originally intended to think of a better name but then didn't bother. I wrote these posts after making my daughter a metric ton of felt food for her play kitchen over two years ago, and believe it or not, she still loves the stuff. There's hope for the imaginations of America's youth, after all! Probably. Now get crafting!
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Here's another entry in the Felt Food series - bacon and eggs. No set of felt food is complete until the Little Chef in your life can add breakfast foods to their menu - and getting them ready for the play kitchen only takes a few minutes!

Felt food bacon and eggs tutorial by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV


What you'll need:
  • Craft felt: dark brown, light brown, white, yellow
  • Sewing machine, or needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Small amount of stuffing, such as cotton or polyfill

What to do:

Bacon
  1. For each strip of bacon, cut a strip of dark brown felt 6" x 1.5" and a strip of light brown felt 6" x 1".
  2. Stack the light brown strip on top of the dark brown, and stitch down the middle of them lengthwise, securing them together. I zig-zag stitched with white thread on my machine, but you could hand-sew and/or use any stitch you like. My daughter liked the zig-zag stitch because it made the piece a little bit stiff, like real bacon.
    • Tip: You could run a few loose basting stitches down the length of each piece before doing your final sewing. When you pull them tight or "gather" them, they'll make your strips wavy - like real bacon! Do your final stitching from step 2, which will hold the wavy shape in place, then remove your basting threads. Keep in mind that doing this will make your finished bacon strips a little shorter, so you might want to start with longer felt strips.

Egg
  1. For each egg cut a piece of white felt roughly in a kidney-bean shape or similar (see photo) - mine is about 5" long and 3" wide at the widest point (by the yolk). Each egg will also need a 2.5" diameter yellow circle for the yolk.
  2. Place the yellow circle at one end of the white shape, with at least some white showing on all sides.
  3. Top-stitch, by machine or hand, around the edge of the circle to secure it onto the white shape; when you get close to getting all the way around the circle, stop sewing and tuck a pinch of stuffing under the yolk circle to make it puff up a little. Then complete your top-stitching.
That's all! If you want a really "finished" look, you can cut one extra dark brown strip and a duplicate white shape, and sew them onto the back of the bacon and egg, respectively, to hide your stitching. This can be done with top-stitching, or a decorative stitch like the blanket stitch, all the way around the shapes. Have fun!


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Felt Food - sugar cookies

Felt is so easy to work with, and can be used for so many crafts. One of my favorite things to make is felt food because it's quick, and makes a fabulous, one-of-a-kind gift for any child who likes playing house or restaurant - these sugar cookies are great for tea parties, too!

felt food sugar cookie tutorial by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV


What you'll need:
  • Cream-colored craft felt (for cookie); pink or light blue craft felt (for icing)
  • Beads (for sprinkles - I used bugle beads, but you could use any type of small bead you like)
  • Embroidery floss or thread to match your "icing"
  • Cotton or polyfill for stuffing
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread; sewing machine optional

What to do:
  1. For each cookie, cut two circles roughly 3" in diameter from the cream-colored felt. Imperfection is okay - no cookie comes out of the oven perfectly round - but you can trace around a cup, small lid or other template if you want to.
  2. Cut a random "splotch" shape (see photo) from the other (pink or blue) felt; it should be slightly smaller than the cream circles.
  3. Using the coordinating color of embroidery floss, sew several beads onto the "icing" to look like sprinkles.
  4. Layer your icing onto one of the cream circles, leaving a roughly even border around the edges and making sure the beads are showing/on the outside.
  5. Using the embroidery floss that matches your icing, stitch the icing in place on the cream circle. I used a simple whip stitch, but you could use a blanket stitch, satin stitch or other decorative stitch, or top stitch using your sewing machine.
  6. Stack the two cream circles together, making sure the icing is to the inside/between the layers. Hand- or machine-stitch the two circles together, leaving an opening about 1" long.
  7. Using that opening, turn your cookie right-side-out. Put a little bit of polyfill, cotton, or other stuffing inside the cookie, and then hand sew the opening closed. In my photo they're still pretty puffy, but before long they flatten a bit around the seams and look more realistic (or as realistic as a cloth cookie can look, anyway).
You're finished! Make a whole plate full of these treats, or create an assortment of cookies using my other Felt Food tutorials. Try variations of this sugar cookie, such as red and green icing for holiday decorations or in place of the bow on a special gift, or use heart shapes instead of circles on Valentines Day!


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Felt Food - chocolate cookie with icing

It's Craptacular Craft time again, the occasional craft tutorial extravaganza for which I originally intended to think of a better name but then didn't bother. Today's tutorial is part of a series about felt food, which is similar to real food but considerably less delicious. I wrote these posts after making my daughter a metric ton of felt food for her play kitchen over two years ago, and believe it or not, she still loves the stuff. Now my toddler plays with it daily, too; in fact these were the infamous "toot cookies" (it's not as bad as it sounds). Now get crafting!
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Mmmm, don't these look tasty? They're a great addition to any plate of felt cookies in a play kitchen.

felt chocolate cookie with icing tutorial by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV


What you'll need:

  • Dark-brown craft felt
  • Medium brown craft felt (for stripes)
  • Small strip of another craft felt (for icing) in color of your choice
  • Embroidery floss in medium brown & dark brown
  • Cotton or polyfill for stuffing
  • Thread, needle
  • Scissors


What to do:

  1. For each cookie, cut two circles about 2.75" in diameter from the dark brown felt. I used the bottom of a cup as a guide, but you could trace around anything that's the desired size, or freehand your circles - when you're baking cookies they never come out perfectly round anyway!
  2. From the medium brown felt, cut three wavy strips for the stripes. Arrange them on one of the dark brown circles as shown.
  3. Using the medium brown embroidery floss (2 strands), tack the stripes onto the circle with a running stitch.
  4. For your dollop of icing, run a basting stitch along the long edge a narrow strip of craft felt about three inches long, using thread the same color as the felt so it won't show.  Pull the basting stitch tight, tie off the thread, and snip the excess.  Hand sew the icing to the center of the cookie over the stripes (see the pink and blue "icing" above).
  5. Place the circle with icing on top of the remaining circle, making sure the icing is on the outside/showing. Blanket stitch around the edges of the circles, securing them together, using dark brown embroidery floss.
  6. When you get within an inch or so of completing your blanket stitching, tuck a small amount of cotton, polyfill, or other stuffing between the layers to give your cookie some dimension. Complete your blanket stitching, and you're done!
Make as many as you like, or make an assortment of cookies using my other Felt Food tutorials - enjoy!



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I'm Feeling These Felt Cookies

It's Craptacular Craft time again! (I swear, at some point I'll come up with a better name than that.) Today's tutorial is the first in a series about felt food, which is similar to real food but considerably less delicious. I wrote these posts after making my daughter a metric ton of felt food for her play kitchen over a year ago, and believe it or not, she still loves the stuff. She actually slept with the cookies for a while, but that's a story for another post. Now get crafting!
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My little girl loves her pretend kitchen, and she can't get enough play food. Try making these chocolate chip cookies - they're perfect for make-believe snack time, or would be so cute tied to a bag of homemade cookie mix for an unforgettable holiday or housewarming gift (assuming that, unlike me, you regularly get invited into people's homes). Bonus: they won't ruin your diet. Unless you eat them. Then they also probably ruin your stomach lining.


What you'll need:
  • Medium-brown craft felt
  • Small scrap of dark brown craft felt (for chips)
  • Embroidery floss in medium brown & dark brown
  • Cotton or polyfill for stuffing
  • Scissors
What to do:
  1. For each cookie, cut two circles about 2.75" in diameter from the medium brown felt. I used the bottom of a cup as a guide, but you could trace around anything that's the desired size, or freehand your circles - remember, when you're baking cookies they never come out perfectly round anyway (at least mine don't).
  2. From the dark brown felt, cut several small triangles (or circles, if you prefer) for the chips. Arrange them on one of the medium brown circles.
  3. Using the dark brown embroidery floss (1 or 2 strands, whichever you feel looks better - I used 2), tack the chips onto the circle with two stitches per chip.
  4. Place the circle with chips on top of the remaining circle, making sure the chips are on the outside/showing.  Blanket stitch around the edges of the circles, securing them together.
  5. When you get within an inch or so of completing your blanket stitching, tuck a small amount of cotton, polyfill, or other stuffing between the layers to give your cookie some dimension. Complete your blanket stitching, and you're done!
Make as many as you like, or make an assortment of cookies using my other Felt Food tutorials (umm, coming soon) - enjoy!

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