Thursday, April 10, 2014

Goodbye For Now (and a Giveaway!)

Hello friends!

It's been quite some time since Angel and I have posted regularly on this blog. I wanted to give you all a little update.

Angel has been busy this past year, working with Kaleidoscope, a "community center for the arts" in Nashville. She's been doing a phenomenal job and enjoying her time making art with children.

On my end, I have been focused on my Etsy shop, as well as designing projects and patterns. I worked on a few projects with publisher Lark Crafts and have 2 designs included in the brand new book Never Been Stitched.

Never Been Stitched is edited by the wonderful Amanda Carestio and just released this February. It features 45 no-sew or low-sew projects to make with fabric. So fun! You can find a free sample project from the book on the Lark Crafts blog. And please check out my blog for a review and giveaway!

For the foreseeable future, Stumbles & Stitches will remain dormant. We are not taking the blog offline, since there is a bevy of useful tutorials and project posts on here. We hope you'll continue to visit and browse! We still receive notifications from comments, so don't hesitate to say hello or ask questions.

In the meantime, I will be posting tutorials and craft projects on my own blog, Jenny Bartoy Handmade. I hope you'll come visit me there. You can also follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Thank you for your support all these years, and goodbye for now.

~ Jenny

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ben's Zombie Stuffie

Smack dab in the middle of the holiday rush a couple of months ago, my 6-year-old Ben came up to me and asked if we could make a stuffie together.

The transition to First Grade has been a bit rough on my big boy: there have been meltdowns galore and less-than-stellar behavior, along with much need for hugs, cuddles and quality time together. Even though I was swamped with holiday sewing and craft show prep, I caved and said "okay".

I'm so glad I did! In just about an hour, we'd worked together on a fun little project and created an adorable plush zombie!

When we work on a project together, Ben often jumps in with a very specific idea in mind (see Halloween costumes for examples) and this was no different. He drew me a picture of the "zombie stuffie" he wanted to make, illustrated with a little cloud of polyfill.

We dove right in. Ben first chose fabric from my overflowing box of scraps: a piece of soft grey and white flannel left over from the backing of Hugo's quilt. He picked two matching emerald buttons from my button stash for the eyes. I helped him with stitching the buttons on, but he stitched the mouth on his own with bright red floss.

I layered the embroidered fabric right sides together with another. I cut out the zombie "pattern" and pinned it on the fabric, making sure to fit the embroidery in the head area. I then used my machine to sew about 1/8-1/4 inch all around the outline, leaving a 2-inch opening on the side of the torso. I carefully cut around the stitches, clipping seam allowance inside the angles between the limbs.

We turned the stuffie inside out and gently poked the limbs out with a chopstick. Ta-da!

Ben was in charge of stuffing. He needed a bit of help to make sure the polyfill made it into the arms and legs, but otherwise handled it like a pro.

I pinned and machine-stitched the opening closed, and we were done! I think it turned out super cute. It definitely looks kid-made and Ben loves it! He calls it Mingu and has slept with it every single night since we made it. So sweet! We also made a lion version for his best friend for Christmas.

I am terrible about prepping craft projects on which to work with the kiddos. I love this type of kid-led spur-of-the-moment instant gratification project. How about you?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Giveaway: a bundle of craft books!

Hello friends!

Today is Giveaway Day on Sew Mama Sew, kicking off a week of fabulous giveaways all around blogland. And here on Stumbles & Stitches, we're offering up a bundle of 5 craft books -- your choice from the pile pictured and listed below! (Read on to find out the details.)

If you're visiting from Sew Mama Sew, WELCOME! Stumbles & Stitches is a conversation between 2 friends, Jenny and Angel. For the past 4 years, we've been sharing our craft projects (successes and failures both), as well as tutorials, spotlights on favorite artists, giveaways and book reviews.

Things have slowed down a bit over the past year, since Angel helped launch Kaleidoscope in Nashville and Jenny has been busy in Seattle with her Etsy shop and writing projects for upcoming sewing books. We still come by the blog, here and there, to share the latest, and we have a ton of great archives, so please stick around and browse a bit.

Back to the Giveaway: a bundle of craft books!

The winner of this giveaway will get to choose 5 books from a bunch of recent publications by Lark Crafts, photographed and listed below. ($75 estimated value. U.S. residents only, apologies to our international friends!) Lark Crafts graciously and regularly sends us books to review, and we're excited to share!

Available books:

Stitched Blooms: 300 Floral, Leaf & Border Motifs to Embroider by Carina Envoldsen-Harris
Print Collective: Screenprinting Techniques and Projects by Jenny Doh
Doodle Stitching: Embroidery and Beyond by Aimee Ray
Paper Blooms: 25 Extraordinary Flowers to Make for Weddings, Celebrations & More by Jeffery Rudell
Stamp It! DIY Printing With Handmade Stamps by Jenny Doh
Book Play: Creative Adventures in Handmade Books by Margaret Cogswell
Adventures in Pompom Land by Myko Diann Bocek
Sweet and Simple Jewelry by Aimee Ray
Wee Felt Worlds by Amanda Carestio
Paper Pups by Hiroshi Hayakawa
Creative Lettering: Techniques & Tips From Top Artists by Jenny Doh
Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction by Abigail Glassenberg
Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & Go by Laura Wilson
Printing on Fabric: Techniques With Screens, Stencils, Inks & Dyes by Jen Swearington
Journal Your Way: Designing and Using Handmade Books by Gwen Diehn

** How to enter the giveaway **

  • Please leave a comment on this blog post. (One entry per person, please.) If you'd like, tell us which titles on this list look most appealing to you.
  • Make sure to include an email address if it's not included in your Blogger profile.
  • This giveaway is open until December 13 at 5 p.m. PST, at which point we will choose a random winner and will contact them by email.
  • This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, apologies to our international friends.
  • Void where prohibited.

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered! Congratulations to our winner, wobblybobbin!

Thanks for visiting Stumbles & Stitches! You can also find us on Facebook.

And before you leave, I'd like to plug a brand new book that will be released in February 2014. Shameless promotion! I am excited to have 2 projects featured in this book, including one on the cover! It's called Never Been Stitched: 45 No-Sew & Low-Sew Projects, edited by the lovely and talented Amanda Carestio for Lark Crafts. And you can pre-order it now!

Don't forget to swing by Sew Mama Sew to check out all the amazing giveaways happening this week!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween Costumes: King Cobra and Fireman!

Hello there!

I hope you all had a fabulous Halloween, with enough candy left over to get you through the dreaded and brutal time change...

Henry's costume was easy this year: he wanted to be a fireman, and we had the perfect costume ready to go in the dress-up basket. It was made by my mom a few years ago for my niece and it is awesome. We even had rain boots to match the jacket and helmet.

On the other hand, I had quite the Halloween sewing challenge this year, with Ben wanting to be a King Cobra snake. How do you make a person, with legs, look like a snake? I went into it a bit haphazardly, but I'm so happy with how his costume turned out, despite the legs!

Here are the boys on the way to school on Halloween morning:

I touched on inspiration for the costume in my previous Halloween post, and showed the "sketch" that Ben made me with his vision. Here are a few photos of the progress and construction, including my own sketch.

The main part of the costume is a simple fitted "poncho", or shell. There is Velcro on one of the shoulders, so Ben could take it on and off. The hood is attached to this shell. The hood is lined with a medium weight interfacing so it "flares" out on the sides like a proper Cobra head.

It took most of my Sunday to complete the shell with hood. At that point, I still had to make, stuff and attach the tail which took a few tries to get right (about an hour altogether). The last part of the construction was to tinker with both the hood and the tail to fit them properly on Ben's body. There was some hand-sewing involved, but minimal.

All in all, it was pretty much a one-day project. Not too bad! It is by far the best quality costume I've ever made. And it was quite the learning experience to sew with pleather (gold and light snake-skin) and stretchy denim (black snake-skin). I used 100% wool felt for the fangs and tongue, which made them very durable and unlikely to rip or tear.

And here's some Halloween cuteness, just because:

How was your Halloween? Did you have some costume-making successes? I'd love hear all about it. Please share links if you have them.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Halloween Prep 2013!

Are you ready for Halloween? We have a firefighter and a king cobra in the family this year. How about you?

Henry's costume is easy: it's a hand-me-down from the cousins' dress-up box, made by my mom years ago. Henry has been trying it out regularly. He's so excited! He did bring up being a ballerina instead this morning, so I hope he doesn't change his mind at the last minute.

Ben's costume, as usual, is not so easy. He knew he wanted to be an animal again, or maybe something from Star Wars. He went down the list of his favorite animals -- including Secretarybird, Mongoose and Krill, I kid you not -- and finally decided on King Cobra.

Image borrowed from

My 6-year-old knows exactly what he wants and it is very specific. He wants a costume that looks like a real snake, made with fabric that looks like real snake skin. With a hood that creates a flare on either side of the head. And fangs.

Here's his vision of it, with views from the front and from the side:

I went to Joann's the other day, looking for "snake" fabric. I lucked out in the fashion textile departments with snake prints in black/gold and gold/brown. I also grabbed some pleather in gold and black.

I am still hashing out construction. I found this King Cobra Ninja costume online and like how the costume part fits like a poncho/shell over the black clothing. That might work well for our purposes. I shall report back soon...

Ben keeps asking "So, are you ever going to make my costume?". Gotta love the sassy First Grade attitude, oy! But I realized today that, well, he's got a point. How is it already October 17?!!! I'd better get sewing.

What costumes are you guys working on? Any cuckoo requests from your kiddos? Share links if you've got them!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hugo's Quilt

Hi Angel!

Oh. Em. Gee. It has been forever since we last posted! And, far too long since you and I last Skyped, ahem! I know Kaleidoscope is keeping you very busy. You'll need to give us a virtual tour here on the blog soon. I'm dying to find out more about this Community Center for the Arts you're growing in Nashville.

Fall is in full swing in Seattle. School is back in session and with it, playdates, soccer practice, swimming lessons and routine (hallelujah!). Before that, I have to admit we had a super summer -- intensely busy but wonderful. We went camping 5 times, heading out for 3-day weekends in various corners of Washington State. Family time, beautiful places, open-ended outdoor time, delicious local foods, hikes galor -- it filled my heart in the best of ways.

In August, we also paid a visit to my large immediate family in Austin and San Marcos, Texas. I have a brand new little nephew named Hugo and we got to meet him for the first time! In the weeks before our trip, as time allowed between camping, beach dates with friends and playground outings, I put together a baby quilt for Hugo. Here he is on it! My brother sent me this photo a few days ago -- it's nuts how much he's grown already!

Hugo's Quilt

And here's the full quilt (thank you, dear husband, for holding it and letting me boss you around while I took photos!):

Hugo's Quilt

Since I did take a good amount of photos of the quilt in progress, I thought I would provide a little info about the process.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Painting Triangles

Hi Angel,

I feel like I haven't posted in ages! I've had so much happening on the business side of my life, with lots of custom orders and my first experience with consignment in a brick-and-mortar shop. I also have been trying to stock my Etsy shop with new items.

But, "real" life goes on just the same. For example, the boys have been sick with the awful norovirus this past week. I've never done so much laundry, blech! On a funner note, our Spring Break occurred mid-April and my mom came to visit for a week! It was so wonderful to spend some quality time with her. The kids loved hanging out with Yaya and we sat down for some craft projects.

I had been wanting to paint some square wood panels to decorate our bathroom for a while. I took the opportunity of some rainy day crafting with my mom to get the paints out. Our bathroom walls are a nice shade of turquoise, while the floors are tiled in black in white. I thought some modern triangles featuring those colors along with others might be fun.

Jenny: Painting Triangles

Jenny: Painting Triangles

Jenny: Painting Triangles

I first tried out some large triangles with my watercolors. I love how vibrant the colors turned out, but despite a couple of layers, you can see every brush stroke -- not sure I like that.

Jenny: Painting Triangles

Jenny: Painting Triangles

Before I went any further, I tried smaller triangles and gouache paint on my other wood panel.

Jenny: Painting Triangles

What do you think?

Jenny: Painting triangles

I don't know whether to keep going, maybe add some additional colors -- a pop of red or fuchsia perhaps? -- or just paint over it all with a coat of white and start from scratch.


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