Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Little Penguins Take the Cake

Hi, Knitters,
I randomly picked a winner for the Red Hot Art hand-painted canvas tote bag by Linda

The winner is..... introvert ~ rav id or Faith!

Faith is from Green Bay, Wisconsin which might be the direct opposite of Florida where Linda lives. I love that. I've passed on all of the information to both parties to arrange the bag exchange. Thank you to Linda for the opportunity and congratulations to Faith. I will host another giveaway very soon.

Now for today I'd like to share a quick little project that I made for my daughters' little swim buddies. Our summer pool's mascot is a penguin. Each summer the kids on the swim team are assigned a buddy or two for the summer season. The buddies are called Little Penguins. My daughters each have two Little Penguins this summer, four in total, and all are girls. The Little Penguins exchange support, cards, candy and friendship throughout the summer at the swim meets. 

Last year for the final big meet, the Madison All-City Swim and Dive Meet, I sewed up some adorable fleece penguin stuffies for the buddies (photo above is from last summer of 2013). This year I did something a little different. 

I happened to have some wool felt in team colors that I had picked up on a sale quite awhile ago. I knew I wanted to make some sort of penguins using the felt. I washed and dried the felt in my washing machine and dryer a couple of months ago so it was all ready to go.

Yesterday I ended up stitching these adorable tiny penguins for the little girls. The penguins are about 2.5-inches tall, a little over 3-inches including the loops. I sewed in a grosgrain ribbon loop at the top of each one because I am going to pick up some key chains or loose-leaf rings today so they can hook the penguins on their swim bags if they'd like. They would also make cute ornaments for the Christmas tree in the winter season. 

The penguins turned out really great! I am very pleased. The Little Penguins will receive these along with a bit of candy and a homemade sign for good luck tonight at the team's spaghetti dinner.

I made an extra penguin for our neighbor even though she isn't an official Little Penguin of ours she is on the team and she is like a little sister to TC. They remain good buds. I made our neighbor the fleece penguin stuffed toy from last summer and she brings it along with her to every single meet this season. How could I resist not giving her another penguin to love? She is so sweet and I can't believe she is already 11 years old.

I thought a little personalizing would go a long way with this bunch of girls so I took some red thread and stitched their names in tiny letters on the white bellies. It added a bit of charm.

The penguins are all hand-stitched but after the first one the rest really didn't take me that long. I got it figured out very fast and off I went. I think they are a lovable bunch. Plus the hand-stitching was such a nice break from the book knitting I have been powering through as of late. It was a needed break.

You know, there is something about a hand-stitched or sewn wool felt toy..... there is such a charm-factor to them and they feel really good to hold in your hand. I highly recommend making some if you haven't before.

Here's where I found the pattern for the tiny felt penguins, the book Sew Quick, Sew Cute by Fiona Goble. What a fantastic book. Good job, Fiona!

I can't remember if I purchased this book or if it was sent to me by the publisher. The publisher is Ivy Press and Adams Media and it was released in the spring of 2014 so it is a new one. I am pretty sure I purchased the book. The book is really good and chock-full of easy, simple beginner sewing projects. I love this type of distraction from my knitting every once in awhile and I really do enjoy hand-sewing projects. I can do it for hours on end very easily. It makes me happy, content and completely absorbed. 

When I was paging through the book a few months ago I made a mental note that there were some sweet little felt penguins to stitch. I am amazed that I actually remembered these when it came time to get this final penguin gift of the season together. 

The penguins are part of the Antarctic Play Set which is pretty adorable and fun with all of the pieces. I love how the white felt has a little tent or snowbank built in for a penguin to take shelter. That is clever and playful. 

Here are some of the other projects that interest me for future sewing endeavors:

I love this fabric box. I may not even add the handles but just keep it as a simple box for storing goodies.

I have linen fabric and lots of fabric scraps for appliqu├ęs and this pattern looks so simple and easy. There's nothing much to it. This is definitely on my to-do list.

I've always wanted to make a little girl's dress like this one. I love the "shirring" at the top and I think it would be loads of fun to try and learn this technique. 

I've always wanted to make my own tomato pincushions! These are perfect and easy.

A little flower-shaped play mat would be super fun to sew as a baby gift. Sew Quick, Sew Cute has projects for babies, children, and adults, the home, cozies, a garland, an ornament, stuffed toys, a skirt, sachets, pajama pants, an Advent calendar, and more. There are 30 simple, speedy projects, just as the book cover states, and for any level of sewer there are some sweet ideas in this book. This would be a good teaching or learning book as well. There are time estimates given in hours for each project as well as the pattern pieces (some have to be enlarged), and well-written step-by-step instructions. I found the book clear and simple to follow. 

One thing I enjoyed about making this project yesterday is that when I spread all of the materials out on my kitchen table to work on the penguins, TC then pulled out her scrap paper, markers, glitter, notebooks full of handwritten motivational sayings, scissors and glue. She made her Little Penguin good luck signs at the same time. We sat most of the day together at the kitchen table chatting and crafting (except for a quick and needed cupcake run to the Bloom Bake Shop). I loved yesterday so much.

Awhile back TC told me she really loves it when I sew in the kitchen. This touched me for some reason. When I sew with my mom's old 1970s sewing machine I inherited I set it up right on the kitchen table and go to town. I remember as a child when my mom was sewing up a storm on this same sewing machine. I loved it when my mom was sewing just like TC does. There was something very comforting about my mom and her sewing. It made me feel safe and loved and her creativity and talent was exciting to be around. Although I am most certainly not a talented sewer like my mom, maybe this same feeling has transferred to TC. I like to think my mom has had a hand in this. 

Anyway, I wanted to share a little piece of my home life with you today. The rest of the week will be very busy attending the All-City Swim Meet, starting tomorrow. This is a city-wide event that takes place over three days and involves thousands and thousands of swimmers and families. It is a gigantic event that I participated in as a youngster growing up in Madison and that we have been participating in for over 15 years now as parents. What a tradition!

You might enjoy the book Sew Quick, Sew Cute by Fiona Goble if you want a few super fast and simple projects to sew up as gifts or just for fun. Click here to see more about it.

I'll be back soon with more. I hope you are enjoying this beautiful final week in July. The weather has been extraordinarily pleasant this summer here in Madison. We are loving every minute of it.

best, susie