DIY Reversible Mouse Pad: a tutorial

I love when I can take a little bit of fabric, a short amount of time, and come up with something that can brighten up a space. When I got sick of looking at my plain, black mouse pad, I decided to sew up a new one that would bring a little color and fun to my desk. It only takes a small amount of fabric, so its a perfect scrap buster project – great for those scraps that you’re hoarding and you can’t get rid of… you know what I’m talking about. Plus, this is a great beginner’s project to try!

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  • Two pieces of non-stretchy cotton fabric – size can vary, mine were approximately 8.5in x 10.5in.
  • Slightly smaller piece of fusible fleece (such as Pellon TP971F Fusible Thermolam Plus – affiliate link)
  • sewing machine, thread, etc.
  • scissors
  • iron

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1. Cut your two cotton fabrics to your desired size. I cut mine to be approximately 8.5in by 10.5in. Round the corners.

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2. Cut two fusible fleece pieces at least 1/2in. smaller than the cotton fabrics. Iron one piece of the fusible fleece to the wrong side of each fabric piece (be sure to check the instructions that come with your fusible fleece).

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3. Pin the two fabric/fleece pieces together, with the right sides together.

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4. Sew the pieces together, using a 1/2in. seam allowance. You want to sew around the fleece, so it’s not caught in your seam allowance. Leave an opening of about 2 inches as shown above.

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5. Clip the fabric around all the corner curves, as shown above. This will help your corners not to be bulky.

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6. Turn the fabrics right side out, using that small opening. Press the seams with your iron.

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When you are pressing your seams, make sure that the fabric around the opening is pressed under.

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7. Topstitch around the entire mouse pad.

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That’s all there is to it! In a short amount of time, you can brighten up your desk. No more boring mouse pad! And now you have yet another excuse to keep all those pretty fabric scraps. As if you needed another excuse. ;)

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And you can flip it over when your mood changes and you’re looking for something new. This would make a great gift for anyone who works at a computer – dads, husbands, teachers, or a blogging bud!

DIY Reversible Mouse Pad 2Happy sewing, friends!



Painted Gardening Tin: a Tutorial

Painted Gardening TinI recently had the fabulous opportunity to play with some awesome painting supplies from Martha Stewart Crafts.

DSC_0684I had about a bajillion different ideas, but when I came across these large tin buckets, I knew it would be the perfect canvas.

DSC_0681You’ll love how easy it is…
DSC_06881. Press the self-adhesive stencils to your tin. Especially if your surface is uneven, you’ll want to make sure the entire stencil is completely pressed down. Otherwise, your paint will leak through. [not that I would know from first hand experience or anything…]DSC_06922. Apply your paint. I used the foam pouncers, which come in a few different sizes and make it application really simple.DSC_0685Helloooo gorgeous paint colors!DSC_06963. Carefully peel off the stencils and add some fun embellishments with decorative stencils.DSC_07054. Grab one of Martha’s brushes and add some garden-y details.

DSC_0709I added some flowers, keeping it pretty simple. How sweet would it be to use the stencils to add a great personalized Mother’s Day message to the back? So many possibilities with these fun products!DSC_0727Throw some gardening tools, seeds, etc. inside to make a complete gardening set! Such a great Mother’s Day gift, right?DSC_0723

All these Martha Stewart painting products are available at Michael’s Craft stores, and Michael’s is celebrating moms with a special coupon! Click here to get yours and save on your next shopping trip [because you know I’m all about saving on my sewing and crafting supplies!]

You can check out Plaid Crafts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or at their blog.

Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of a sponsored campaign with Plaid and The Blueprint Social. All opinions and serious l.o.v.e. of Martha Stewart Crafts are my own.

Boys Will Be Boys: Name Bean Bags Tutorial and a GIVEAWAY! [giveaway is now closed]

My three-year-old is really into letters right now, so we’re working on recognizing his name. Yep, that’s the teacher in me… giving my kids educational toys for Christmas.


Click here to see all the posts in this series.

And I know that the nerdy, educational parent part of you wants to help your littles learn their letters too!

name bean bags tutorial


  • Three coordinating fabrics
  • Chalk or water soluble marker
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Coordinating thread
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Fray Check
  • Beans, rice, or poly-fil to stuff


1. Cut three squares of your fabric for each bean bag [only two squares are shown… obviously]. The size you cut will depend on how big you want the bean bags to be. Mine were cut about 5in x 5in.


2. On one of the three fabrics, draw out your letters, using either chalk or water soluble marker.


3. Carefully cut the letters out.


4. Put one of the coordinating fabrics behind the letter cut out and pin the fabrics together.


5. Straight stitch very carefully around the letter. Using a thread that doesn’t coordinate will make more of an impact and make the letter stand out a little more [in other words, it’s way more fun]. But if you are worried about your sewing mistakes showing, use a coordinating thread color that will blend in.


6. Put the three fabrics together, right sides together. Zig-zag stitch around all four sides, leaving an opening to turn the fabrics right side out.


7. Cut around all four sides with pinking shears to stop the fabric from fraying.


8. Turn right side out.


9. Stuff with beans, rice, or poly-fil [the poly-fil makes it more of a pillow than a bean bag… but pillows thrown across the room are much less dangerous in a house full of boys]. Hand-stitch closed.


10. If you’re using a fabric that will fray, apply Fray Check to the cut edges of the letters. [Fabrics like knit or fleece will not fray, however, and you wouldn’t need to use it]


Now you have a fun way for your boys to learn their letters and recognize their name!

IMG_6636I’m super excited about today’s giveaway. Elizabeth from Sew Chatty is giving away this aDORable elephant softie! [this giveaway is now closed]


Seriously, SO cute. To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment telling me who you would get this little lovey. That’s it!

If you want an additional entry, like Sew Chatty on Facebook and leave another comment to let me know. The giveaway will be open until Sunday.

Now don’t forget to head over to Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy to see the awesome tutorial Stacey has today. I know my boys will LOVE this one.


P.S. The Fabric Fairy giveaway closes tonight and the See Kate Sew pattern giveaway is open through tomorrow!

Boys Will Be Boys: Soft Soled Baby Shoes Tutorial and FREE Pattern!

We’re already halfway through our gift series, Boys Will be Boys, so Handmake Their Toys!


Click the image to see all the posts in this series.

So far in the series, I’ve shared a lot of tutorials for toys your little boys are sure to love. [well, mine are sure to love them anyway!] But sometimes you want to be a little more practical with your gifts. And really, how many toys do your littles really need… even if they are handmade?

So today you get a tutorial for a gift that’s perfect for those littlest boys who are content to play with pots and wooden spoons. And who just need to add a little cuteness to their wardrobe, instead of adding to their toy bin.

baby shoes tutorial


  • felted wool
  • 1/8 inch elastic
  • soft leather
  • sweatshirt scraps *optional
  • sewing machine
  • coordinating thread
  • scissors

Download the free pattern here.

1. This pattern is sized for a young toddler – between 12-18mos. My son wears a size 5 shoe or 12-18mo. soft-soled shoes (like Robeez), and these fit him well. If your child wears a different size, just scale the pattern up or down.

2. Cut out the half circle pattern piece out of felted wool. You will need two of this piece. You will also need to cut two rectangles of wool that are 2.5in x 7.5in. I used this awesome vintage wool suit coat that I thrifted and felted.


3. Now cut two of the oval pattern piece out of soft leather [I upcycled mine from a vest]. I also cut two ovals of sweatshirt material, to make the shoe a little more cushiony for baby’s foot. This is optional, though.


4. Fold over the edge of the half circle piece and top-stitch. Because you are using felted wool, you don’t have to worry about the edges fraying.


5. Fold over one long edge of the rectangle piece and top-stitch.


6. Cut 5in. of elastic and attach it to a small safety pin. Use that pin to thread the elastic through the rectangle piece of wool. [note: if your baby has particularly pudgy ankles, you might want to use 6in. of elastic]


7. When your elastic is just barely sticking out of your wool, zig-zag the end to attach it. Then pull the rest of the elastic to the end [the wool will bunch up slightly as you do this] and zig-zag the other end.


8. Now pin the rectangle onto the half-circle, as seen above. The finished edges should be facing away from you.


9. Use a straight stitch to sew the two pieces together. You’ll want to sew two rows of stitching – one that is close to the edge of the rectangle piece and one that is close to the edge of the half-circle piece. [you can see the two rows of stitching if you look carefully at the picture above]


10. Sandwich the leather and sweatshirt piece together. The sweatshirt piece should be on the bottom. Then pin the wool pieces around the leather. The finished side of the wool should be facing the leather.


11. Zig-zag stitch along the edges, making sure to capture all layers of fabric as you go. Repeat all these steps for the second shoe.


Now turn your shoes right side out and admire your handiwork!


And attempt to capture them in action… but of course, a 16 month-old will not sit when you want him to and does not yet understand bribery…

Stacey at Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy has a great stocking stuffer over at her place today. Super hero hand warmers! She also has a giveaway for a T-shirt from I Heart Bricks that your boy would LOVE to wear!


Don’t forget to enter the giveaways from Fabric Fairy and See Kate Sew!

Boys Will Be Boys: Fabric Dominoes Matching Game and a Pattern Giveaway! [this giveaway is now closed]

Welcome back to Boys Will Be Boys, so Handmake Their Toys!


Click on the image to see all the posts for this series!

Today I have a tutorial for a  game that even the youngest boys can play. Bonus, it’s a game that doesn’t make any noise. [not that I can promise anything about your kiddos…]

fabric dominoes tutorialSupplies:

  • Two different materials – something sturdier than quilter’s cotton is preferable [or you will want to add interfacing]
  • Felt
  • Hot glue gun [or craft glue – but hot glue will hold better]
  • Sewing machine
  • Coordinating thread
  • Scissors


1. Cut the two different fabrics into approximately 4in x 7in pieces. Each domino will use two pieces, so you’ll need to cut double the number of rectangles as dominoes you want to make.


2. Cut felt shapes – you’ll want at least three of each shape. The more matches you have, though, the more fun the game will be. And the more time your little one can spend playing it. Then, using either hot glue or craft glue [hot glue would hold better], attach the shapes to your fabric.


3. Put the fabric pieces right sides together, then zig-zag stitch around three sides.


4. Clip the corners and turn the pieces right side out.


5. Fold the unfinished edges under and press. Use a pin to hold in place.


6. Top-stitch around the edge of the dominoes.


And now you have a game that your boys can play over and over, matching the shapes together. Or using their imaginations to create their own rules!


And today, we have another awesome giveaway. Kate from See Kate Sew is giving away a bundle of her three softie patterns — so you can make your kiddos an owl, a hedgehog, and a dinosaur! [this giveaway is now closed]



What little boy [or even girl!] wouldn’t love those adorable creatures added to their collection?

To enter, simply leave a comment telling me what animal softie you think the little one in your life would like the best.

For additional entries:

Leave a comment for any of these extra entries for them to count. The giveaway will be open through Saturday.

Now hop over to Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy and check out her awesome Pokemon card pouch.


Boys Will Be Boys: Cloth Light Saber Tutorial

It’s another day of our gift series, Boys Will Be Boys, so Handmake Their Toys!


Click to see all posts from this series!

Today’s tutorial is sure to win over the hearts of any boy who has a love for Star Wars. Or turning things into a weapon.

And for you, the lovely handmade gift maker? An easy sew, but one that your littles will love. And one that won’t actually hurt when they fight with each other. [not that my littles ever do that… *ahem*]

light sabers tutorial


  • Fabric with little to no stretch
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Poly-fil
  • Needle


1. Cut rectangle on the fold, approximately 18in x 2.5in (when folded).


2. Cut a second rectangle on the fold, approximately 7in. x 2.5in. (when folded)


3. Unfold and zig-zag the short end of the two pieces of fabric, right sides together.

sewing body of light saber

4. Fold the fabric again and zig-zag along the top edge and the open side.


5. Turn right-side out and stuff with poly-fil. You want it to be pretty well-stuffed, so that the light saber will actually hold up and not flop over. [that’s also why it’s best to use a fabric with little stretch – it will be much better for light saber fights]


6. Hand-sew the bottom of the light saber closed.


And now your boys have some safe, fun light sabers… that took you almost no time to create!

Now get yourself over to Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy to check out the super fun shop she’s featuring. And she has an amazing giveaway of a set of these:


And the Fabric Fairy giveaway from yesterday is still open, so be sure to enter if you haven’t already!

I am Complete.

Being a stay-at-home mom is one of the most amazing joys I have had in my life.  I have known since I was young that this is what I wanted to do.  Especially since the journey to meet my littles hasn’t always been smooth.

Photo courtesy of Hanle Productions

But even though I know that this is what my God has called me to, in this season of my life, that doesn’t mean that every day is sunshine and roses.  Some days end… or begin… in tears.

That’s why I was overjoyed to receive an amazing necklace, from Lora.  She crafts these beautiful, stamped necklaces that come from a heart that is so obviously filled with love for her Savior.  When Lora purchased a new lower-case stamping set, she felt that her first attempt wasn’t fit for her shop – it was too crooked (or so she says… I thought it was lovely!)  She decided to give it away to the first commenter.  When I popped over from my reader, I noticed one person had commented already, but I left a “I love your new stamping set – and your necklaces!” type comment anyway, just because I really did love her new stamping set. :)

Later that week, imagine my joy and surprise, when I received an email from Lora saying that her second attempt didn’t turn out the way she wanted either, so she wanted me to have it.  I can honestly say that I cried.  Maybe that sounds silly to you, but Lora’s words to me that day were: “God really loves you, Jess, and He wants you to know that you are COMPLETE, lacking nothing!!”  Sometimes, I need that as a reminder.  Probably more than sometimes.  When my kids are crabby and my house is a mess and my latest project has ended up in a pile on the floor because it isn’t turning out the way I wanted it to… I forget.  Now I can have a tangible reminder.

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4

Thank you, Lora, for the beautiful reminder of how my God has given me everything I need to be complete.  In Him, I truly lack nothing.

And P.S. … today happens to be Lora’s birthday, and she is giving away another one of her fabulous necklaces.  You should pop over and give her some birthday love.

An Upcycled Christmas

So, if you read my blog pretty much ever, you’ll notice I’m a big upcycler.  As evidenced here or here or here or here or here or here…. just to point out a few.  Because there are more!

There are a lot of reasons I upcycle… I love that I can re-purpose something that would have otherwise been thrown out or unused.  But mostly, I am cheap thrifty.  I love to buy clothes at a thrift store, then turn them into something else.  Because let’s face it, that is way cheaper than buying fabric.

So that was my goal this Christmas… to upcycle as much as possible, preferably with things I already had on hand.

This is a gift for one of my nephews.  He’s a super handsome kid, so he’ll be a heart breaker for sure. ;)

The pants are simple elastic waistband pants, made from a medium-weight sweatshirt.  They have stretch, which is good when you’re a super active two-year-old.  I didn’t make the shirt itself, but I had purchased it awhile back intending to make something for my oldest.

The applique is cut from the same shirt (and I still have the sleeves leftover to make pants for my littlest).  I did a spray fabric adhesive, then machine stitched them on.

I don’t know about you, but I have been sewing non-stop for the past couple of weeks.  I’ve been thinking of naming my machines, we’ve been spending so much time together.  Sid the Serger?  Sonya the Singer?  I’ll post some more upcycled gifts soon.  Some of them will have to wait until after Christmas, though… don’t want to give away any surprises!