December 27, 2010

Homemade Gifts Reveal Part 1: Needlecrafts

Hey Blog, it was the best Christmas ever for our family in every way! A lot of the reason was that it was our first "Creative Christmas." Daughter Katie, with the backing of her sis Amanda, suggested this year we eschew lists and give each other total surprise gifts, things involving less expense and more creative thinking. As a crafty sort of person, I took that ball and ran with it! And the family members all did a super job on their gifts. I love everything I received! And I humbly report that my gifts were all huge hits. Yay!

So, I've been keeping the interwebs in suspense as to most of what I was up to the past months, and now I'm here to share with you all those secrets at last! I'm going to post three parts to this Big Reveal, starting today with needlecrafts. Two of my presents were sewn items, and here they are.


You may recall some months ago when I made a new case for my little camera, ICU. When Katie saw it, she expressed the wish that she had a small camera (rather than her big SLR type) just so she could have such a case. Subsequently, she tracked down on Etsy some felt cameras that had been made by needlecraft artists that made her flip (and cost beaucoup bucks). How could I not take this as a hint?

So, I looked for a model of camera that had a simple boxy shape and a lot of doodads all over it, and found this Rolleiflex. It was perfect to reproduce (more or less accurately) in felt. The camera is about 3" tall and I reinterpreted all its lenses, dials, buttons and crank in felt and thread. All the little snippets were glued before sewing, which helped keep everything in place. The stitches used (for the embroiderers out there) were running, whip, and satin. I reinforced the strap with ribbon so it is sturdy and you can actually wear the camera. It's stuffed with polyester fiberfill with cardboard to support the shape.

And yes, embroidering the tiny letters on this thing was really a challenge.

So, here are views from all four sides. Just to be cute, I incorporated Katie's birthdate in the serial number on the back.

This little project took about 20 hours, including the original pattern making. I'll put it to you this way: I had a great time doing it, but I don't want to do another one real soon! LOL

And most certainly it was all worth it when I saw Katie's reaction on Christmas Eve:

(By the way, Blog, she had overheated from all the excitement even before this.)


Davie and I are huge fans of Simon's Cat, the feline cartoon/video star of the interwebs. During the fall, I discovered that the website had a neat little gift shop and in December they planned to offer stuffed Simon's cats for sale. I bookmarked the page with the intention of getting one for Davie. However, I went to the site in December only to find that the stuffed cats were sold out! Bummer!

One evening Davie went to bed especially early and I had nothing to do (yeah, can you believe that?). I had a sudden brainstorm that why not use the three hours of time out of Davie's sight to make him a homemade Simon's Cat? Could I be blamed for copyright infringement when I really tried to buy one from the shop but couldn't? :-)

I designed one that I felt interpreted the 2D nature of a cartoon cat into a suitable 3D version (the one sold on the site was just a 2D image made into a pillow). It really seemed to work, and after I cut it out, sewed it, stuffed it, and highlighted the "pen lines" with Magic Marker, I decided it truly did! Here's the little guy:

And next to Cody, for scale:

In the insane flurry that was the holiday, we almost forgot to open the box with the cat in it! But he was the last present opened, and is now ensconced on a nice perch on Davie's computer desk.

In our next episode, I'll share Part 2: Graphics Stuff!


  1. Those are adorable!

    Well done. :) Can't wait to see the rest. and what did YOU get?

  2. Bravo!!!! Maybe next year I can boast as much!!!

  3. Thanks, Con...I can't wait to see what you do next year! Sam, thanks. I got so much great stuff: tickets to Admirals hockey, Ben Folds and Jersey Boys, a fab new lunch bag that says Nom Nom Nom on it, a spa extravaganza, a professional photoshoot of all my creations to date and my own light box, a gorgeous little chest with 12 different stone drawer fronts, and much much more. Hope you two had a great holiday too!

  4. Great job!! I can see why everyone was delighted with your gifts, Diana. The detail on the felt camera is absolutely amazing!

  5. Thanks so much, Eileen, you're too kind!