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project // bamboo style pool noodle stacking game

Bamboo Stacking Game

With pandas showing up in a lot of my posts this month, I thought it might be a good idea to feed them! So today I've got a pool noodle game that looks a lot like bamboo!

I trimmed down some pool noodles for something totally non-crafty, and started playing with them and thinking they would be fun to stack. Would they stack? After all...they roll a bit. But guess what? They stack in a hashtag/pound sign sort of way!

My dad, who is a big fan of bamboo (he has it growing in our yard!) came along and said, you should decorate the pool noodles to look like bamboo. I said, "That's a great idea! You're in charge of that project!" So here we have a Mollie and her dad collaboration. Scroll down to see it in action!

Bamboo Stacking Game

To make your own stacking game, you will need:

An even number of green pool noodles (I suggest 10 or 12)
A steak knife (maybe don't use your fancy one...)
Permanent markers in shades of brown and green

Note: This game is even easier to make if you skip the bamboo look. In which case, you can use any color or combination of colors that you want!

Bamboo Stacking Game

First, cut all of your pool noodles into thirds. You don't need to be precise; just go for it!

Bamboo Stacking Game

If you're going for non-bamboo, you're done! Start stacking!

For the bamboo look, again, it's not about perfection, it's more about getting the essence of the plant, and it's a little free-form and artistic. Take a look at the layers of lines added:

Bamboo Stacking Game
Bamboo Stacking Game
Bamboo Stacking Game

1. Tan and green lines running the length of the noodles.
2. Brown wiggly nodules around the noodle and brown streaks at the ends.
3. Tan and green streaks at the ends and coming off the nodules.

None of the bamboo pieces are the same, and the placement of the nodules varies with each piece. If you follow roughly the same process for each noodle, you'll come out with a nice variety that really does have a bamboo look to them! You know, as much as a pool noodle can look like real bamboo!

Oh, and as you work, you may find your hands getting a little marked up. The permanent marker sticks to the noodles, but while it's wet, it will get you messy. Just be prepared!

<Bamboo Stacking Game

After your markings have had a chance to dry, gather up all of the noodles, er...bamboo pieces.

Bamboo Stacking Game

Take turns adding layers to the stack, or simply play as a one-person challenge game.

As I mentioned, the pool noodles roll and that's part of the fun of this. However, as long as you are playing on a level surface, your tower will be more steady than you expect. We took these photos on the grass, but that (along with the breezy day it was!) made this more challenging.

What I think I love most about this game is that the pieces are soft, safe, and quiet. It's really a perfect indoor game! And if you have older kids (or adults!) who want to play, consider adding even more pool noodle pieces to make a giant tower!

Bamboo Stacking Game

Of course, eventually, it will come down, and then you can change the game to see how many you can pick up and hold at one time!

Thanks, Dad, for crafting with me!

expand your sewing skills at the sewing party

The Sewing Party

When I see people attending blogging, sewing, crafting, and quilting conferences, I get a little jealous. But then I remember that I'm a mega homebody, and even a bit of a hermit, so traveling to spend a lot of time with a lot of people I don't know might be a little out of my comfort zone. Sewing has been out of my comfort zone too for a long time, but no longer!

So what if I could connect with people without leaving my house AND improve my sewing? There is a way! And it's called The Sewing Party.

On November 8, 2014, thousands of DIY-ers will gather for a fun-filled day of sewing and crafting classes taught online by leading bloggers and educational experts. It’s all about Connecting. Crafting. And Creating.

Attendees will have access to more than 30 online classes available on the day of the event and for an additional 90 days. There is truly something for everyone! Classes include home d├ęcor, fashion sewing, quilting and upcycling, crafting, costume design, techniques for turning your craft into an entrepreneurial venture, and more!

Space is limited and likely to fill up fast! For just $40, “The Sewing Party” participants can attend classes; chat with participants from across the country; interact with top bloggers and educational experts who are teaching; and explore the latest crafting and sewing tips, techniques and products in the marketplace.

Click here to learn more and reserve your space.

And just check out the companies that are hosting this!

The Sewing Party Sponsors

I'm very honored to be an official Friend of The Sewing Party, and that brings good things...for you! Not only do I get to be part of this all-day (plus 90 days!) event, but I get to extend a special offer.

If you sign up by July 31st, with your paid registration, you can get a free The Sewing Party t-shirt valued at $20! It's super cute, so be sure to enter LETSPARTY in the promo code box when you enter.

AND, something extra special...I have five free registrations that I get to give away!

The Sewing Party is only available in the US, but hopefully they'll have an international version someday. For now, only US residents can enter. There are a bunch of ways to enter, and I'll choose five winners next Friday. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And just to follow this up, $40.00 is the price of one or two online classes, and with The Sewing Party, you get 30! I love the value of this, and I'm especially excited about Jennifer Mathis' class about making a zippered pouch. I hope you'll join the fun...sign up here!

project // fruity watermelon quilted placemat

EPP Watermelon Placemat

Last week I shared how to use English paper piecing to make a pineapple placemat, and today is the next fruit in the series...a watermelon slice! I remember seeing in movies (Polyanna, perhaps?) where people would serve giant slices of watermelon at picnics, and I thought that was pretty great. We're more of a cut up the watermelon into smaller chunks sort of family.

Anyway, this happy slice of juicy melon makes a great table mate, so grab some fabric and start stitching!

EPP Watermelon Placemat

Here's what you need for one placemat:

1 fat quarter of quilting cotton
1 fat quarter of linen
1 fat quarter of batting

(So, if you plan on making the set of four, you'll need a yard of each of these!)

For the watermelon, you will need:

pink fabric scraps
green fabric scraps
brown or black embroidery floss
EPP template PDF with 1-inch hexagons printed on card stock

You will also need:

rotary cutter and mat (optional, but helpful!)
disappearing ink pen
sewing machine
walking foot (if you have one!)
fabric glue (like Fabri-Tac)

EPP Watermelon Placemat

For the instructions on how to make the placemat base, you'll need to visit the pineapple post. That will get you started! Hmm...pineapple post. That sounds like where Spongebob would get his mail!

But back to the watermelon! Make seven pink hexagons and eight green hexagons. Arrange them to form a great big slice of watermelon.

EPP Watermelon Placemat

Join the hexagons in three rows, then join the rows together. I used running stitch to join mine.

EPP Watermelon Placemat

Even just like this, it's pretty clear what this is, but for good measure, let's add some details. Before you do this, you'll need to remove the papers. I only pulled them out of the pink hexies, leaving the green ones in for some structure while I worked.

EPP Watermelon Placemat

Stitch a face (just because it's cute) onto one of the inside pink hexies, then use lazy daisy stitch to add some seeds. I put one on each of the hexagons without a face, but you could do more than that.

EPP Watermelon Placemat

Remove the rest of the paper inserts, then lay the watermelon on the placemat to see where you want it to be.

EPP Watermelon Placemat

Use fabric glue along the seams to help hold the watermelon in place. It will keep it from shifting as you sew it down, and it will give it extra security for washings.

EPP Watermelon Placemat

With three strands of brown or black embroidery floss, stitch around the watermelon with running stitch, hiding the knots between the layers.

EPP Watermelon Placemat

Now your placemat is ready for the table!

It's perfect for summer, or any time you just need to brighten your day.

Two more fruit placemats are still coming! Oh, and think about this...if placemats aren't your thing, why not use this same technique to make a longer mat as a table runner? You'll be able to stitch all four fruits onto the one mat!

EPP Watermelon Placemat

stitch love // what the process and progress feels like

Stitch Love proof pages

When they ask you to write a book, they don't tell you what it will feel like. I knew that this would be a lot of work, and I knew that it would be a long process, but I didn't know what it would feel like. Let me tell you: It's amazing and emotional and disheartening and wonderful. It's actually a mix of all those things with some gratitude and dread thrown in for good measure.

If you haven't heard, I've been crafting a book. I say crafting because it's more than just writing, it's drafting patterns, drawing illustrations, sewing things, writing words, and stitching motifs. LOTS of stitching motifs!

It's a roller coaster of things coming together so very well, followed by self-doubt, then thinking it's perfect, and then worrying that nothing will be right. A proof arrived the other day for me to edit and check and mark up with a red pen. I'm doing lots of marking, so the mix of feelings is in full force.

But I'm so happy that I'm seeing it come along, and so happy that I get to tell you bits about it here and there. Things like, you know...the title. Stitch Love: Sweet Creatures Big & Small. That's right...it's a book filled with animals to stitch! Never did I ever imagine that I would draw so many creatures as I did for this book. There were times that I didn't think I could do it, but sketch after sketch, I found myself loving the process.

The book will come out in January 2015, and it's officially available for pre-order on Amazon. There's no cover yet, but just seeing the listing there is so exciting.

Now how about a tiny peek into the pages I'm proofing?

Stitch Love proof pages

I told you it was a tiny peek! No giving away anything just yet! But I can't, can't, can't wait for you to see this whole thing. Only six more months to go!

project // pastel panda pillowcase

Panda Pillowcase

Last summer I was working on a pillowcase project for a book contribution, and my little sister was quite sad that I had to mail the project away. Ever since then I've been thinking that I needed to make a special pillowcase that she could use and keep and never mail to a publisher.

Then, a couple weeks ago she told me that she thought I should make a pillow with a face. Like, just a pillow. But that has a face. The girl knows me, because of course that would be the kind of thing I would make! So I figured I would just make a pillowcase and embroider one of my very Wild Olive faces on there, just scaled up. But a thought came to me, and instead of just a regular face, I decided to try a panda face! And well, it came out pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

If you'd like a panda pillowcase for yourself or a panda fan in your life, it's really easy to fully customize your pillowcase! I'll show you how to make a basic pillowcase with trim that matches the panda, but you could make this with a purchased pillowcase.

Panda Pillowcase

Here's what you need:

3/4 yard white fabric (or something similar)
1/2 yard pink fabric (or another color!)
Scrap of black or navy fabric
Paper-backed fusible web
White and black or navy embroidery floss
Tools: Scissors, Pins, Sewing Machine, Iron, Needle, Water-soluble Pen

Panda Pillowcase Face Templates PDF

Panda Pillowcase

Here's what you do:

Cut the white fabric to 26 x 44 inches (or the width of fabric if narrower) and cut the pink fabric to 11 x 44 inches (or the width of fabric if narrower). Iron the pink fabric strip in half the long way, wrong sides facing, so you have a 5-1/2" wide piece.

Panda Pillowcase

Pin the folded strip to the white fabric, along the 44-inch side, right sides together, and with the raw edges of the folded strip matching up with the raw edge of the white fabric. Obviously the folded piece has two right sides, but do make sure you have it pinned to the right side of the other piece. Yes, I did do this the wrong way the first time, and I blame the white on white print.

For the record, I like how this white polka dot fabric looks, but it was starting to show wear just from my working with it to put this together. It's from JoAnn, and I'm usually pretty happy with what I find there, but this is not a good one. Moving on...

Panda Pillowcase

Sew the strip in place, then you may want to pink the seam allowance to reduce fraying. But if you don't have a pinking shears, it's not a big deal.

Panda Pillowcase

Trace the nose and eye pieces onto the paper side of the fusible web. You'll need to trace the eye piece twice, with one of them flipped. Cut the pieces out and iron the eye pieces onto the pink fabric and the nose piece onto the black or navy fabric. Trim around these pieces, leaving a seam allowance of about 1/4".

Panda Pillowcase

Thread a needle with regular thread and tie a knot in one end. Stitch around the first eye piece on the seam allowance with running stitch.

Panda Pillowcase
Panda Pillowcase

About half way around, pull the thread to gather the fabric around the template (which is also the fusible web). Lightly press the gathered seam allowance with an iron to help hold it, then continue stitching and gathering, pressing to hold its shape. Repeat this for the nose and other eye piece.

Panda Pillowcase
Panda Pillowcase

Carefully peel the paper out of the facial features. Trace the lines for the sleepy eyes onto the pink patches, then embroider them with back stitch using three strands of floss.

Panda Pillowcase

Go back to your prepared pillowcase piece. Fold it half with wrong sides together and with the open edge at the top. This is really important because it's where you'll add the ears. Arrange the face so it is centered on the white area, then when you're satisfied, iron the pieces in place.

Note: If you're using a purchased pillowcase, you won't be able to sew the ears into the seam, but you could applique them on like the other facial features. You'll just need to shrink the ears slightly on a scanner or copier, then follow the same process as for the eyes.

Panda Pillowcase

Stitch around the eyes and nose with running stitch. I used white for the eyes and matching floss for the nose. Trace the mouth onto the fabric under the nose, then embroider that with back stitch.

Panda Pillowcase

Cut out four ear pieces from pink fabric (cut two with the fabric doubled so they match up), then with right sides together, sew around the curved edges of the ears. Clip the curves, then turn the ears right side out.

Panda Pillowcase

Fold the pillowcase piece in half, this time with right sides together, and matching up the seams on the side trim piece. Place the ears facing in, between the layers of fabric. Pin the two sides, then sew them up and trim with pinking shears.

Panda Pillowcase

Add a pillow, and you're all ready to rest your head on the sweetest panda you'll ever meet!

Panda Pillowcase
Panda Pillowcase

The ears are a little floppy, and I'm thinking some interfacing would help that. But when I showed this to my little sister, she didn't mind those floppy ears. In fact, she took one look at this, and said something along these lines: "A panda pillow! *gasp!* And it has EARS!"

So, it was a hit.

printable // panda paper

Panda Printable Paper

About eight years ago, I visited San Diego and went to the zoo. I still remember the silence that both required and inspired by the giant pandas area. They were so special, it created a bit of awe. But pandas are also pretty cute, and the pink panda I made is prepared to give a hug along with a note, and maybe a bit if awwwww...!

Panda Printable Paper

You can use this pastel panda in lots of ways, but first you'll need to download and print it.

Panda Printable Paper

Cut out the shape. I trimmed mine so that the pink lines are cut away and only the white shows in those areas, but you could keep the outlines showing.

Panda Printable Paper

If you'd like to fold your note I give to someone, fold the ears, arms, and legs in, then fold the bottom up and the head down.

Panda Printable Paper

Write a note...

Panda Printable Paper

...then tape it closed!

It's simple, but a little fun too! Perfect for quiet times when a note is necessary!