Felt Minion

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Felt Minion

My nephew was recently introduced to a new iPad game called Minion Rush and has since become really into all things minion related. (Ironically, he has not seen either of the Despicable Me movies nor does he want to.) While perusing Pinterest, I found an adorable pattern for a felt Minion pincushion by Lady Joyceley. I’ve been doing a lot of machine sewing so I thought this would be a good way to practice my hand sewing. It didn’t look hard and I thought I could easily get this done in one evening.

Mistake #1: Thinking an project that requires skills I do not have is easy

Mistake #2: Thinking it would be a quick project.

I was sewing and googling videos/instructions on different types of stitches far into the night and through the next day. The only major modification to the original design was I re-cut the arm pieces bigger and sewed it into a loop with a running stitch, instead of a blanket stitch, because the thread I had wasn’t the same color as the felt and I didn’t want it to show that much. I would also recommend embroidering on a mouth BEFORE stuffing the minion, which I did not. I ended up having to buy a curved repair needle in order to complete the mouth.

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I think if I were to make this again, I would use a higher quality felt. Perhaps if this was being used just as a pincushion, the felt wouldn’t pill so much, but because this was being schlepped around by a kid, it is beginning to show some wear. I would also perhaps use a thinner thread on the parts where the seams shouldn’t be noticeable. The embroidery thread is totally fine, but it peeks through in some spots. My nephew was also quick to point out that minions had hair (which is what the pins are supposed to simulate) but I told him this was going to be a special bald minion. So, future renditions would probably include hair as well. I was super enamored with the end result that I started to make the smaller version of the minion to use as an actual pincushion. Unfortunately, it wasn’t coming out as clean as it’s bigger predecessor so I nixed it. If I get inspired, I might try to make another big one for my craft room. Back in the crafting queue it goes…

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First pattern project: Kids Pajama Pants

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Kids Pajama Pants

  • Pattern: Simplicity 2027
  • Fabric Used: 1.125 yards of 100% cotton flannel
  • Notions: About 1.5-2 feet of 1″ elastic for the waistband

You know those ladies (and sometimes men) who sit at those tables in the middle of Joann Fabrics, in the sewing section, thumbing through immense books of patterns? I’ve become one of them. With Joann’s having sales on Simplicity and McCall patterns, I went on a pattern buying frenzy and now my queue has become, let’s say, impressively ridiculous.

First up on the block, pajama pants. After pinteresting and googling “easy sewing projects,” pajama pants came up over and over. If that many people were suggesting it, it couldn’t be a wrong way to go. The pattern I used was Simplicity 2047 and I made the C Pants in size 4, with my nephew as the lucky (or unlucky..) recipient of my first work of art. At least he picked out the fabric himself.

Reading a pattern for the first time is like trying to read a book in a different language when you only know the alphabet. I had to google so many words (e.g., what is a selvage), look up what different symbols meant, and watch youtube videos on how to cut patterns. I also had the opportunity to use my brother in-law’s serger, which was incredibly daunting given I was a novice at a regular sewing machine. There were a few rough patches in the construction and it was pretty slow going. All in all, the end product came out decently except for one minor issue. I used the wrong end of the fabric and placed the pieces such that the pattern on the pants is upside down. It’s a good thing these pants were for a 5 year old who was going to wear these at home.

One technical note, I decided to leave the pants long (instead of cutting off the excess) and adjust the length using a blind hem stitch on the sewing machine. It took me several tries and in the end, it means there’s a bunch of fabric folded under at the ends but I think it is fine. Now, when he goes through a growth spurt, I can let down the hem and the pants remain wearable for a little while longer. That is, if the rest of the pants hold up to the wear and tear of an active 5 year old.

He seems happy with them.
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The “Thin Mint” Cupcake

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My niece and nephew turn 6 next month, but since their school year ends next week, their teacher wants to celebrate their birthday tomorrow. Which means we have the “honor” of bringing in cupcakes for the class, honor meaning more work. Being the designated baker of the family, the task fell to me to either bake cupcakes or to buy them.

Making things is my life. Heck no, I’m not buying pre-made cupcakes!

The kids requested chocolate and mint cupcakes (a rather refined choice, I thought, for soon to be 6 year olds) and so I descended upon the web for an answer. I settled on the recipe from My Baking Addiction, and defaulted to my trusty buttercream recipe from Savory Sweet Life with the addition of mint extract, instead of the suggested frosting/ganache on the thin mint cupcake recipe.

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I admit I have always just picked up a box of cake mix and topped it with a homemade frosting. I thought boxed mixes were plenty tasty and wonderfully convenient. I’ve done this for years, and now this recipe has changed me. I’m not sure I can go back to boxed mixes ever again. The texture is much nicer (fluffy and firm) and I like that I can make substitutions for ingredients. My palate must have become more refined over the years as I blindly trusted my naive opinion of pre-made cake mixes. That or I’ve become a food snob. Okay, it’s the latter.

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Anyway, this was an awesome recipe to use and the cupcakes came out wonderfully. I would probably invest in a better peppermint extract in the future (mine is a peppermint and spearmint blend) but I doubt any James Beard award winners will be sampling my goods.