GUEST POST: PARATROOPER SOFTIE BY HOLLY

Do you ever have it where you stumble across a great blog you’ve never seen before and it’s like discovering gold and you get really pumped and speed-read all their archives?  That happened to me a few months ago with Chez Beeper Bebe.  It embarrasses me a little to admit this but after discovering Holly’s blog I immediately sent her a gushing email declaring/unleashing my new-found love for her blog (but please, don’t let that stop any of you…*beams*), and if she thought I was a stalker at least she didn’t let on in her most-gracious response.  It might be her background in creative writing, but Holly produces some of the most hilarious and well-written blog posts I’ve ever read AND her blog is crafty, so it’s one of my faves.  Holly’s got a day job in Corporate America and is also a wife and mother, but in her free time she upcycles unwanted textiles into all sorts of cool handmade things (mainly toys) which in addition to selling in her Etsy shop, she often shares tutorials for on her blog. Among her future goals: finishing her novel and “redesigning Little People for Fisher Price so they could be as cool as they once were.” Hear, hear, I say!  Here’s Holly to introduce you to her awesome Parachuting Softie:

Hello. I’m Holly. I make stuff from other’s people’s stuff they no longer want–you know, that whole reduce, reuse, recycle business. I have one energetic (read: sofa-leaping, light-saber wielding, trouncing on whomever is within range) 5 year old boy who inspired me to start my own little plushie-making business–which has since evolved to include other less-plush toys and a few things for babies. It’s mostly all about the under-10-years-old set.

And while I have always loved toys and found them creatively inspiring, my son is my main source of inspiration. Everything he does–from coloring everything using every crayon in his box, to his fascination with reptiles, to his unmitigated adoration of superheros–somehow, in some way, makes me want to make something new.

Which is how this little paratrooper tutorial came about–it was my own love of classic dimestore trinkets meeting his frustrated attempts to play with this awful, plastic-y parachute guy he brought home from a party that simply would not fly like a paratrooper should.
So, here we are. I have put together a little tutorial on how to make your very own paratrooper softie–made with reclaimed silk scarves only a grandmother could love (thank you local thrift store!). My tutorial also includes some ideas for variations, depending on your skill level, the amount of time you are willing to devote, or just your own inspiration (because if you are like me, you just somehow cannot make it exactly like the instructions tell you to). And there is a little landing pad too, for those so inclined to have a target at which to aim their paratroopers. Happy paratrooper-craft-landing!

CLICK HERE TO HEAD OVER TO CHEZ BEEPER BEBE FOR THE TUTORIAL

*****

From Rae: AWESOME!  I have fond memories of playing with a paratrooper toy off of Aunt Merry’s deck when I was a kid along with vague recollections of envy of my cousins Joel and Shawn for having such a great toy.  Good times.  I know an almost 3 year-old who is going to totally dig this!  Thanks so much Holly for joining in on Celebrate the BOY month and sharing such a fantastic tutorial. 

GUEST POST: Soft Baby Book by Kristena

Happy Monday! Our final week of Boy Posts has begun. Today’s guest blogger is Kristena Derrick, creator of the beautiful blog Thimbly Things. Her blog is filled with stunning light-filled vintagey photos that make me want to hop over to Oklahoma and hang out in her house. I began reading Thimbly Things last summer, attracted by her wardrobe refashions, but have since found her blog has just a little of everything: kids clothes, toys, recipes, crochet, and so on. She recently opened an Etsy shop where she sells prints and handmade items. She’s currently obsessed with patternmaking, papercutting, sewing patchwork potholders and reading dottie angel. Kristena is married to her college sweetheart Evan (they just celebrated their 5-year anniversary on Friday) and has two toddlers Emily (3) and Jacob (almost 2). Today she’s here to share a beautiful soft baby book tutorial with us. Here’s Kristena:

Giving birth to my son, Jacob, may have been the greatest challenge of my life, but designing an original soft toy for him was, hands-down, the greatest challenge of my crafting life.

Jacob is so basic–so easy-going–that he doesn’t need much to be happy. One yellow car, Elmo, Emily’s babydoll (it’s true), Thomas the Tank Engine, hugs, kisses, and some boardbooks: that’s all it takes. Oh, and an open space in which he can run, do flips, sing, roar, dance, and hop-hop. Let’s not forget all that.

He is just uncomplicated.

So what does a crafty mommy make for such a content little heart?

Well, a book of course!

One that cannot be (easily) destroyed by tiny teeth, drool, or inquisitive little fingers.

One that is colorful and personal.

One that is washable.

And one that has many of Jacob’s favorite things.

Thus, I present to you the Soft Baby Book. Made from Mommy’s old jeans. 😉

Simple and perfect for the boy. Come see the tutorial and template at Thimbly Things!

Enjoy, dear friends!

:)Kristena

P.S. Thanks for hosting me, Rae! You’re awesome. 🙂

*****


Thanks so much Kristena for sharing such a fabulous tutorial! That would be perfect for a shower gift. I love it! I know one little baby girl who would love to have one of those too (and I’m sure I have at least one pair of jeans on “the pile”)…

Dana always has something amazing going on at MADE; hop on over:
And be sure to come back tomorrow for a double giveaway right here on Made By Rae!

Perfect Timing: Welcome Baby M!

 

Just in time to help us Celebrate the BOY, last week my cousin Sarah gave birth to one of the most precious little boys I have ever seen. Baby Micah needed a gift, so inspired by Dana’s 90 minute shirt tutorial I whipped up a little shirt along with some baby pants and a bib.  That great scooter/bike flannel is called “To the Rescue” flannel by Hoffman International, which I purchased at Pacific Fabrics in Bellevue, WA but cannot for the life of me find anywhere online though. dur…


I was under a nap crunch so instead of tracing a pattern (but do read Dana’s wonderfully easy how-to on making your own patterns if you haven’t tried it before), I dug up a commercial pattern for baby layette I already had that happened to include a lap tee. The main fabric came from a t-shirt I had in the harvest pile (where never-worn, old, or poorly-fitting clothes go to die in our house. Although lately that pile seems to have found New Life as it is currently winning the battle against my closet).

I had large enough sleeves on the tee that I could make the entire long-sleeve without a raw edge, so I skipped the cuff, but now looking at all of the adorb. pics of Owen I’m thinking the next one I make has to have those killer cuffs.

Of course, the “newborn size” came out large on Clementine (who is 6 mo!) but at least that way he can grow into it.  I don’t get it, really I don’t.  Why do I have to wear a size ginormous in a Simplicity or Butterick pattern, but when I try to make something itty bitty for babies it comes out large enough for a kindergartener?  Anyway.

 

Congratulations Sarah and Jeremy and big sister Sadie!!!

And don’t forget, Meg’s Belt Giveaway is open until tomorrow morning, so if you haven’t entered yet, head over right now!

Dana’s got a great place to find custom made carseat covers over at MADE:


GUEST POST: Bot Camp Tutorials from Stardustshoes

I’ve been reading Joanna’s blog, stardustshoes, longer than any other I can remember (seriously!), so I feel like we go “waaaay back.” When I started putting together a roster of guest bloggers for the Month of the Boy I immediately thought of her; she’s written so many fantastic tutorials, many of which are boy-friendly as she has three boys of her own, ages 8, 6, and 3.5.  She is married to a software engineer and in a former life taught ESL in Taiwan.  She’s currently obsessed with sewing leather and has an Etsy shop in the works!  Joanna just so happens to go to the same church in Bellevue, Washington that my parents attend (it’s really such a small world, isn’t it?) so she had Elliot in her Little Lambs class (Sunday School for toddlers) a couple weeks ago when we visited.  I was so happy to get the chance to meet her briefly and she’s every bit as down to earth and funny in real life as she is on her blog!  Today she’s here to show us a few of her wonderful tutorials using another great line of boy fabrics, Bot Camp by Michael Miller. Here’s Joanna:

 *****

Hi, readers of Made by Rae! I’m Joanna and am so happy to have been asked to participate in Celebrate the Boy month. I am mom to three rambunctious (and loud) boys, which fits my personality well. As a child, I was a tree-climbing, rope-swinging, straggly-haired tomboy who, when given the choice, would choose jeans over pink and frilly any day. When I first started sewing and needed inspiration to sew boyish things, I was a bit disappointed in the slim pickings, so I started the flickr group Handmade Crafts for Boys. I’m happy to say that the group is over 900 members strong, and the inspiration is plentiful.

From time to time I write tutorials for Making it Fun, Kathy Miller’s blog for Michael Miller Fabrics. I recently wrote tutorials using Bot Camp fabric that are perfect for a boy’s room. Click on the links for a further description and for access to the tutorials.

Tab Top Curtains:

top

Pillowcase with Inner Flap:

pillowcase

Pleated Bedskirt:

bedskirt

Round Cushion w/Piped Edging:

robot cushion

The Miniquilt:

rocketship

Happy sewing to all of you, and thanks again, Rae, for inviting me to the boy celebration! 🙂

*****
Thank you so much Joanna!  What a great line-up of tutorials with a great fabric line!  Those mini-quilts are such a fantastic idea for a boy’s room decoration. I love it!
Dana’s got a great boy’s jeans review, so make sure you check it out and the latest over at MADE:

Boy Sales and Specials

http://www.magpiepatterns.com/product-details.php?ProductID=SW001JH&DesignerCode=AB10011The following online shops have very generously offered the following specials to help all of you Celebrate the BOY!

Magpie Patterns is offering 15% off all boy patterns for a week, so click over and take a look! All of the patterns shown below (and more) are in the shop, where you’ll find the brightest, shiniest, and loveliest patterns for knit, crochet, embroidery and sewing. Use coupon code: BOYS!15 when you check out to save on any of the patterns for boys.

click on any picture to go to the pattern (or book where the pattern can be found)

S T R A W B E R R I E S & S U S H I

Diane at Strawberries And Sushi sells super-cute Japanese fabric and is offering free worldwide shipping this week to anyone who leaves a ‘Celebrate the Boy’ message when ordering. Recently updated with lots of lovely boy-friendly prints! For more information, check out her blog www.monkey-magic-blog.blogspot.com

Y U M E * D E S I G N

Head on over to Yume Design to design your own necklace with your little one’s name or photo. This is a simple yet sophisticated way to keep your boys with you all the time. These are such a great mommy gift…get one for yourself or for a friend or family member. Owner Diana has two boys of her own, and is offering a 10% discount to all Made and Made by Rae readers through February in honor of Celebrate the Boy month! Just mention “Celebrate the Boy” in your notes at checkout and they will refund 10% of your purchase price!

J O J O E B I * D E S I G N S

To join in the fun Jo at jojoebi designs has put all boys Japanese fabrics and handmade items in the shop on sale until the end of the month. There is 10% off anything that has SALE in the title (you will be refunded the 10% on this items through Paypal once payment is received).

********

Thanks to all of these shops for offering these fantastic discounts! And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go do a little shopping…

GUEST POST: Army Bunker Tent by Care


We have another fabulous guest blogger here today, Care from Obsessively Stitching!  Care’s blog is impressively chock full of tutorials and ideas (OK, and I was sucked in by the cute pig and wolf finger puppets, see picture below).  With two boys to sew for she’s got plenty of ideas for boys too!  This week she’s got an entire week of tent tutorials going on over at her blog called “Tent Week” (a w e s o m e !) so be sure to look back at the tents that have been posted so far.  She’s here today to share a few of her best boy-friendly crafts from her archives and introduce you to her Army Bunker Tent Tutorial.  Here’s Care:

 *****

Hi! I’m Care from Obsessively Stitching, and I am so excited that Rae has invited me to be a part of Celebrate the BOY! I’ve got two little boys of my own, so I know how hard it can be to find good BOY crafts… Well, today I’d like to share a few of my own!



click on each image to go to the post on Care’s blog!

My boys, like many boys, enjoy throwing things at each other. In addition to the classic pillow fight we have from time to time, I’ve come up with a wide array of what I like to call “safe projectiles.” We love having “goofball fights!”
We also enjoy reading books and telling stories together. I’ve made a few finger puppet sets to tell stories with (and have more in the works!), as well as my own take on Storytelling Dice. It is so much fun to hear the stories THEY tell on their own, with just a few prompts from the dice!

This week at Obsessively Stitching I am posting a full week’s worth of tutorials for kids’ play tents. My very favorite (and most BOY) tent is my Army Bunker Tent. It is made to fit over my kitchen table, but still has a peaked roof, as any bunker tent should.

One of the best things about this tent is that it is BIG…

…with plenty of room inside for even a handful of kids to play in.

BUT, when it’s time to put it away, it all fits in this handy little bag — even the roof frame!

Come on over and check out how I made my Army Bunker Tent — and don’t forget to have a look around at some of my other projects, too!
*****
Thanks so much Care!  I love how it packs up.  I can’t wait to give this idea a try — and I’m sure my little guy will be thrilled.  I’m also very excited to see the other tent tutorials for the rest of the week, what a fantastic idea!
Dana just put together a fun roundup of pictures from readers who’ve made things for the you MADE it pool…I just love her narrative style as she shows us each picture; it’s such a joy to read.  And how ’bout this star power? Meg of Sew Liberated shared a adorable pilot’s cap on MADE yesterday that you must not miss.  See it all and more over at MADE:

Tomorrow I’ll be posting some online shops that are having special Celebrate the BOY! sales and discounts.  If you have one you’d like to share, please email me specific information (that I can copy and paste directly, come on you know I have a 6-month-old so help me out here!) with the subject line “Boy Sales” and I’ll try and get over to take a look. 

GUEST POST: belt tutorial by meg

From Rae: Meg from Elsie Marley is here today guest blogging for us with a brilliant tutorial for an adjustable boy’s belt! Yaaaaaaaay! I first discovered Meg’s blog a year and half ago when she did a week of kid’s clothes; someone (I don’t even remember who) linked to her site and I fell in love with her style. I love how she uses light in her photos and everything she does looks quasi-European even though she’s actually a Midwestern gal like me. It wasn’t until I started looking through her blog to write this intro that I realized just how many ideas I’ve actually stolen from her (like making this felted Martha hat in knit: hers and mine). This summer she gave birth to her third child, a boy, shortly after my little gal was born and the fact that she’s still blogging brilliant things like these advent coloring pages and maintaining her Etsy shop (where she sells the cutest little stuffed diggers and messenger bags, among other things) proves to me that she actually is some sort of super-human life form. Let’s hear from Meg:
*****

Hello! My name is Meg and I have three kids: a 4 and a half year old girl, a 3 year old boy, and a baby boy just 6 months old. The addition of this cute little baby put me squarely in the boy camp. I really enjoy sewing clothes for my kids–it’s frugal and stylish and so great to hear them say, “My mama made it!” There just aren’t that many tutorials for boys clothes out there which is too bad because my boys are much less picky than my little girl (well the littlest really doesn’t have a say) and they will wear anything I make with pride.

The boys also get short changed in the accessory department. The girls get all the hair clips and the tutus and the jewelry, though honestly my son has been seen wearing all of those things. So to remedy the situation I came up with a pattern for a boy’s belt. It had to be tough, but also easy for little hands to work–and work fast, because I have to say, “run to the potty! run to the potty!” about a hundred times a day.


But this belt isn’t just for little boys, you can very easily change the size so it fits the big boys or even a baby boy. So with just a little bit of fabric and some snaps you can make all your boys something stylish to keep their pants up.

 


Head over to Elsie Marley to see the full tutorial for these awesome belts and be sure to thank Meg for sharing this great idea with us! I really love how adaptable it is for bigger boys and girls too. Thanks Meg!


Congrats to Meredith who won the Silhouette Tote Giveaway from LiEr!


Check out what Dana’s doing today over at MADE:


GUEST POST: Throw a fantastic boy bash by Jess

From Rae: I am thrilled that Jessica Levitt of Juicy Bits is here as today’s guest blogger.  Some of you may already be familiar with Jessica as the designer of the new fabric line Timber, which debuted at Quilt Market last fall (and which, incidentally, has many great boy-friendly fabrics, this one being my personal fave).  Right after she left her career as an engineer (she has a degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke) she worked as a professional event planner, mostly for weddings.  Now she puts that experience to good use designing the most fantastic parties for her children, Aurora and Theo.  She’s here to share a little of her amazing creativity and give us some pointers on how to throw a great party for our boys.  

Here’s Jess:

Hi guys. So glad to be here celebrating the boy this month.

 I’m here to talk parties. As Rae may have mentioned I have both a boy and girl. And, yes, just like other moms I find it so much easier to find cute crafts for my daughter. But I don’t know if that really applies to parties. Sure, pink princess or fairy parties have a high cute-ness factor right off the bat, but with a little planning a boy’s birthday bash can be just as adorable. Think of all the theme possibilities: space, puppies, race cars, sailboats, trains, robots, jungle, camping, zoo, and so on. And the best part is that most “boy” parties tend to be gender-neutral and since I’ve always invited both boys and girls to my kids parties, I find this very useful.

Most of these pictures are from my son’s 2nd birthday: a construction party. He had a magical day full of digging and playing and even a ride with “Bob the Builder”. Please hop over to my blog for a play-by-play of the whole event and even more pictures.


So while I’m here I’ll share some quick tips for a stylish (and fun!) event:

1. Stay away from commercial characters. If you want a more polished look, it’s best to be generic. So if your son loves Thomas the Tank Engine, just goes with trains. Bob the Builder = construction. You get the idea. Even if the whole theme is centered around a character, like say, Indiana Jones, think of more general details to go with it. For example, cool treasure maps, hat, even whips? But not so much with the giant logo banners.


2. Color is key. Use it everywhere. Of course there are millions of combinations, so start by looking at something you like the look of: a book, piece of clothing, etc. and focus on 2 to 4 colors. Try to repeat them all over the place, from the food table to the games and activities.


3. A theme can equal high impact. Just like color, the more you repeat an idea, the more impact it has. So think of adding details to things like drinking cups or even coloring pages.

 
 
4. Homemade is from the heart. I get how much time it takes to make stuff on your own, believe me, but I know those details are always the most appreciated. And even if it’s not something you made, try to think of different ways to use regular stuff. For a construction party, nuts and bolts or traffic cones make better balloon weights than store bought ones.


5. Remember your audience. Think about what your child loves and use that to guide you. Aim your activities to the age group you’re having and they’ll have a blast.


6. Keep it small. Or as small as you can stand. Your child will probably be happier and less overwhelmed and you’ll have more money and time to spend on each guest. For example, if you only have 5 children come over, you could possible make them each their own softie (like I did for my daughter’s monster party). With 25 kids, not so much.


Here a few pictures from my daughter’s monster party, which was very gender-neutral:

I hope these pointers help you celebrate the birthdays of all the boys in your life with flair!
Jess

**All photos are by Christianne Ebel.

*****

Thanks so much Jess!  I am so impressed with all the little details that went into these parties.  What wonderful memories for you and your family!  

Have you seen the President’s Day t-shirts yet?  Dana always has something new and exciting over at MADE today, go check it out: