Sunday, March 27, 2011

Squishy Squares--Colorful Toddler Dice Tutorial

Board games are big at our house. My husband and I are pretty competitive people and we played Yahtzee incessantly while I was pregnant. Now that my son is a little older, he wants to get in on the board game fun, but regular dice are just too small for him to play with. Enter Squishy Squares--colorful, musical dice to help your toddler with color recognition, counting and, of course, large straight rolling. Thanks go out to my Facebook Fan Maureen who came up with a name for these dice that wouldn't get me sued by Milton-Bradley.

The Ingredients: 

I'm not going to lie. This project is a lot of pieces, mostly small round dots. I didn't spend a ton of time making the dots perfectly round, either. On the upside, this is great for cleaning out your scrap bag because you only need a little bit of each color.

-30 white felt squares, one for each side of five dice. These are 1.5 inches tall.
- Colored felt dots. I did rainbow colors but any color will do. You need 105 dots altogether (5-ones, 10- twos, 15-threes, 20-fours, 25-fives, and 30-sixes)
- 5 bells
-Embroider floss to match

The Recipe: 

 After all your pieces are cut, the first task is to attach all the little dots to the white squares that will be the sides of the dice. I just did a quick "X" on each dot. Do yourself a favor and start with your squares that have 6 dots. If you start with the easy squares that only have one dot, you will be so tired of sewing dots by the time you get to side 6, you will likely want to give up on this project. But if you start with the highest number of dots, you get to sew fewer and fewer dots as you go. 

Once all your little dots are affixed to all the white squares, determine where each side should be by looking at a real die. Side 6 is our top and directly opposite side 1 on the die. 

Using the side 1 as the bottom, sew the other sides to side 1. 

Then, sew up the sides, forming a topless cube. 

Add stuffing and the bell inside the die,

then sew on side 6. 

We now have one completed die. You now get the joy doing these same steps with the four other dice.

Here are all 5 dice finished. Time to test them out!

They definitely have our seal of approval!

Happy Felt Gaming!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

And The Winner Is. . .

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway! The lucky winning comment is:

Comment 34 belongs to Sheena Marie! Congratulations Sheena!

This giveaway was so much fun! I'll have to do another one in the near future. In the meantime, I'll be back with regular tutorials soon! Keep an eye out for Squishy Squares and oversized Easter Eggs!

Thanks again!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's a Felt Play Food Giveaway!--CLOSED

It's time for a giveaway! As a fun way of celebrating reaching 200 fans on the Mama's Felt Cafe Facebook page, I wanted to spread some felt food love. I decided a gift certificate to my Etsy Shop would allow the winner to choose the item or items of their choice. So, if you would like a $25 credit for my hand sewn felt toys, here is what you have to do:

Leave a comment on this post telling me which item or items you would like if you win. Be sure to include a valid email address so that I can contact you if your comment is chosen. This entry is mandatory to enter the giveaway.

Want a chance to enter more than once? Here are some ways to up your odds of winning. Be sure to LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH ENTRY:

1. Become a fan of Mama's Felt Cafe on Facebook (Of course you already are, right?)

2. Follow Mama's Felt Cafe with Google Friend Connect (there is a handy button over to the right)  or sign up for the Mama's Felt Cafe RSS feed

3. Follow @MamaFeltCafe on Twitter

4. Post about this giveaway on your Facebook page or Tweet about it on Twitter. Be sure to link back to the giveaway in your post: Include a link to the Facebook post or Tweet in your comment.

That's all you have to do! If you already a follower/fan/subscriber of  Mama's Felt Cafe, just leave a comment saying so. Each of these actions counts as one extra entry, so each person can have up to 5 entry comments (including the mandatory entry). Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry. Multiple entries in one comment will be disqualified. I'll leave this contest open for a week, until March 23, 2011 at 11:59 PM PST. I'll use to pick the winning comment  from all the comments and contact the winner via email. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, I'll draw another winner. Contest open to residents of the USA and Canada with free shipping for the winner. If you have any questions, please email me,

Thank you for your participation and Good Luck! 

Happy Felt Fooding!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Felt Spinach and Mushroom Quiche--When Play Food Meets Brunch

Recently, my friend Ashleigh over at Scrunch Nose Sews mentioned that she made a real life quiche, and I was instantly taken with the idea of making a slice out of felt. The basic design of this tutorial can also be used to create other pies--simply change the colors and the items sewn on the top and sides. I used my same pattern to also make a slice of cherry pie. 

The Ingredients: 

-2 triangle top and bottom pieces, one in green and the other in tan felt. These measure 5.5 inches for the long sides and 4 inches on the short side. 
-1 quiche "filling" strip in green felt, measuring 11.5 inches long and 2 inches wide.
-1 pie crust back rectangle, measuring 4 inches by 3.5 inches
-6 large mushrooms for the side of the quiche, about 1.5 inches
-4 small mush rooms for the top, about three quarters of an inch tall
-various cheese shreds in cream felt. I used more than shown here, probably 20 but you can do as much as you would like.
-Embroidery Floss to match

* As a side note, it was asked if I was going to include PDF patterns in my blog. I thought about this and decided I will keep my tutorials with piece measurements when necessary. That way, anything that is sewn is still the work of the creator as you will have to measure and make your own patterns from my suggestions.

The Recipe:

First things first, we need to affix our embellishments before we construct the quiche. I started with the large mushrooms on the side. Be sure not to place a mushroom too close to the center of the side strip as we will be folding this in half to attach it later.The mushrooms can be sewn on flat or they can be stuffed slightly like mine are here.

 After the mushrooms are sewn on, I back stitched some crossed pieces of cheese in between the mushrooms so that the quiche has layers.

 Next, fold the green strip in half and sew a whip stitch down the center of the piece. This will give our quiche a nicely defined slice look. It also makes it easier to line up your pieces when you sew the top and bottom to the sides. 

Now that our quiche sides are done, let's move on to the top of our slice. I whip stitched the smaller mushrooms to the green triangle piece.

Next, attach pieces of your cheese all over the top piece. I just did a couple back stitches in the middle and left the ends of the cheese free.

Once you have a sufficient amount of cheese sewn on the top, it's time to sew it to the side piece. Be sure to line up the point of the slice with the seam you sewed down the center of the side piece.

After the top and sides are attached, it's time to sew the tan triangle crust piece to the bottom.

Like the top, make sure to line up the triangle point as you sew.

When the bottom is sewn, add stuffing to your slice.

The back of the pie crust is the last piece to go on. I sewed along the bottom first, to make sure the crust went on straight.

On the sides of the back of the crust, only sew up until it meets the top of the spinach piece.

Now fold over the top of the back crust and sew the raw edge to the spinach top piece. Be neat with your stitches since they will be visible in the back!

Almost done! Now that the crust is fully attached, the last step is to do a large whip stitch to give the top of the crust some shape.

You can play around with the angle of the stitch and the tautness of the thread to give your crust different looks.

There you have it! A quiche worthy of your Little Cook's Sunday Brunch.

Happy Felt Fooding!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ten Reasons it Felt Sew Good to Make My Own Play Food

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Crafting may not be for everyone, but I have discovered quite a few pleasant surprises during my foray into felt food making. Most of these apply to any handmade felt toy, but some are specific to felt food.  In case you needed some persuasion, here is my list, in no particular order, of reasons why you should grab a needle and start sewing!

Bonus 11. They’re Adorable-
This point is fairly self-explanatory, but worth mentioning, which is why it is Bonus 11. Spend a few minutes perusing felt toys on and you will be overwhelmed with cuteness! I personally prefer the look of hand sewn over machine stitched. Handmade items have an undeniable personality that is not easily replicated and certainly not found with mass produced toys.

10. It’s Easier Than You Think-
Thankfully, we live in the information age. If you want to learn anything about doing anything, Google can likely find a tutorial to help you.  A quick search of YouTube will reveal a myriad of sewing instructional videos, from beginner to advanced. Though I lament not living close enough to my grandma to have her teach me to sew, I found plenty of videos, some posted by other people’s grandmas, to offer an educational substitute.

9. It’s Economical-
                As any parent can tell you, toys are expensive.  Fortunately, felt toy materials are not. For the same $20 you might spend on a pre-made play food set, you can buy all the accouterments needed to make dozens of items out of felt. Stretching a dollar and getting more toys in the process wins in my book!

8. Hand Made Toys are Customizable-
What child doesn’t love a toy with their name on it? One joy in making your own toys is tailoring items specifically for your child. Using your toddler’s favorite colors in a project or a personalizing a lunch bag to hold their felt food are extra special touches that can be included when crafting with love.

7. It’s Ecological-
Unlike the plastic toys that overrun store shelves, felt play toys are ecological. Felt is made from a variety of materials, each with Earth friendly advantages. Eco-Felt is made out of recycled plastic bottles, giving new life to petroleum based trash. Wool felt is renewable, naturally antibacterial, and flame retardant.  It’s a good idea to look for wool sources that treat their sheep humanely. Bamboo felt is also available and comes from a sustainable source. I try to use wool blend felt I can acquire locally, reducing new materials needing to be trucked and shipped to me.

6. A Stocked Play Kitchen Provides Gender Neutral Imaginative Play-
Many parents today are breaking traditional rules about what types of toys their children play with. Gender neutral, Waldorf inspired toys are becoming increasingly popular, as is encouraging imaginative play.  A kitchen filled with hand sewn toys can provide hours of creative play, for both boys and girls. It is important for any child to know their way around a kitchen and cooking is no longer considered solely a woman’s domain. Not only is play cooking fun for either gender, it will continue to be fun for years to come. I know of very few toys that can captivate a one year old toddler and an elementary school aged child. 

5. Felt Food Encourages Healthy Eating Habits-
As felt food in particular is close to my heart, one aspect I love is the ability to encourage healthy eating habits. It can be tiring seeing conventional play sets with the same junk food over and over. But since you decided what foods to make for your child, you can load their kitchen full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other healthful options. The greater exposure our children have to healthy food, the easier it will be for them to identify and choose those foods later on.

4.  Making Toys Makes You Handy With Thread and Needle-
Most new mommies these days come from a generation that neither had a need to learn to sew nor a Home Economics class to teach the basics. Being familiar with a needle and thread is a “mommy tool” that can be very advantageous. From mending a pair of ripped pants to affixing Girl Scout patches to making costumes for the school play, sewing is a skill worth acquiring. Working your way around a sewing machine is great, too, but needle and thread are cheap and readily available. You never know when hand sewing skills might save you in a pinch!

3. Felt Toys Are Cuddly- 
I don’t know about your child, but my toddler is a thrower.  While wooden toys are cute and come from a renewable source, they are heavy and can cause damage when catapulted by a child. Felt toys are soft, squishy and lovable—and don’t hurt nearly as much if one comes your way unexpectedly.

2. Make Learning More Fun-
You also have the opportunity to make your toys more educational than a conventional toy would be. Making the number of “chocolate chips” correspond to the number on the back of a felt cookie turns it into a counting toy or adding a bell transforms a mute toy into a musical one. The possibilities are endless!  You can showcase your creativity while providing your child with a greater learning experience.  

1. It’s Heirloom-
My favorite reason to make felt toys—it warms your heart to see your child play with an item created just for them.  These are toys that are saved year after year, long after the teddy bears and wooden blocks are gone. Felt toys are as creative, unique and individual as you are and because they are made by hand with love, they are sure to find a long, happy life in your home.

Happy Felt Fooding!


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 8 with all the carnival links.)


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