For the Love of Dinos (Jurassic Badges)

Ever since I can remember I’ve been into dinosaurs. In my younger days, it was not uncommon for me to carry a Barbie in one hand and a plastic Brontosaurus in the other. Indeed, dolls and beasts lived in peace in the realm of my bedroom. As I grew older I was drawn into the thrill of the Jurassic Park films and would pore over encyclopedias for hours in search of obscure prehistoric facts.

It’s been such a joy to watch my daughter’s interest in dinosaurs (and all sorts of creatures) grow in this year of endless questions. She watches Dinosaur Train on PBS and loves stopping to examine the clear plastic tube full of multi-colored Triceratops, Brontosaurs, and Brachiosaurus in the toy aisle. That’s where the inspiration for this project came.

I really have no idea what to call these. Badges? They look so much like Girl Scout merit badges – so this is what we’re going with: badges. They’re colorful, full of whimsy, and surprisingly versatile since they can be secured with a barrette or a headband to hair, with a pin to clothing or an accessory (like a backpack), or even strung through a necklace. Be creative, folks!

Here’s the rundown:

Supplies:

  • Felt
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery floss
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • Dino Templates (traced from images)
  • Round drinking glass or container for tracing circle

Dino_supplies

Trace away. Or free hand it, ya show-off! Carefully cut-out the shapes. The dinosaur outlines I used had a lot of curves and crevices, so they were actually pretty difficult to cut out of the felt. Not all my cut-outs survived (you’ll notice the T-Rex missing from the final lineup. R.I.P., Brutis.).

Note: You’ll need two circle cut-outs per badge.

dino_traceit

Cut-out a small strip of felt which will easily fit within one of the circle cut-outs. Attach it to one of the circles using a needle and embroidery floss. Use the needle and embroidery floss to affix a dinosaur cut-out to the other circle. You can choose any number of stitches to do this. Here are some lovely ones.

dino_sew+back
Affix a strip of felt to the back of one of your circles. This little guy is the key to versatility.
dino_front_back
The front piece and back piece ready to be sewn together.

Sew the two circles together using a whip stitch around the edge of the circle. Pro top: Begin your first stitch by inserting the needle through the back of the top circle (see photo below). This will hide the knotted end. Also, be sure the strip on the back of your circle is positioned the way you want it (vertical or horizontal).

dino_sew_together

Once the circles are sewn together, the badge is complete. But how can you stop with one?! Create more badges in different colors and different dino varieties…or create a different creature altogether. A bunny? A unicorn? A wombat? Go for it!

dino_family
A happy family of adorable dinos!
dino_clipit
Use a barrette to secure it to hair. Or loop it through something else…a belt? A necklace? A headband? You can even pin it to something.
dino_baby
A curious hair accessory for a curious girl.

So fun, no? Now if only I can get my daughter to keep them in her hair….

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The Holland Shrug

Holland ShrugMichigan winters divide people into two distinct camps: those who enjoy the frigid outdoors, and those who prefer the temperature-controlled indoors. I fall into the latter category. As much as I love the natural world, there are few things that can pry me from the comfort of slippers, coffee and piles of quilts in the colder months.

Of course, between work, child rearing, and all of my attempts at being social, there’s no way I can remain the Hermit of Quilts. So I compromise by taking my coffee to go and layering up. There are a few garments that rule the world of layers, and the shrug is an all-star among them. Easy to layer onto long and short sleeved tops, the shrug provides a carefree look and a cozy experience.

The Holland Wrap

The Holland Wrap was crated by following this pattern from Lion Brand. However, I added my own v-stitch pattern, which I’ll share below.

Yarn Used: 5 Skeins Lion Brand Wool-Ease

Yarn Weight: 4

Hook: 5.5 mm, I-9

V-St Definitions

Dc-V-St: 2 dc in indicated sp.

Tr-V-St: 2 tr in indicated sp.

Stitch Pattern

Chain 113

Rows 1 and 2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), dc 1 in each st across.

Row 3: Ch 5 (counts as first tr), tr 1 in each st across.

Rows 4 and 5: Rep rows 1 and 2.

Row 6: Ch 3, dc 1 in next dc, skip 1 dc, *dc-V-St in next dc, skip 1 dc; rep from * to last 2 dc, dc 2.

Row 7: Ch 4, tr 1 in next dc, tr-C-St in each dc-V-St to last 2 sts, tr 2.

Rows 8 and 9: Repeat rows 6 and 7.

Row 10: Repeat row 6.

Repeat rows 1-10 until piece measures 32 inches.

Follow the instructions on the Lion Brand pattern to complete the shrug.

The Holland Wrap
This shrug is so simple! It begins as a rectangle, which you fold in half and seam up the sides, leaving six inches at the top for arm holes. The complete instructions for doing this can be found via the link to the Lion Brand pattern.

The Holland WrapThe Holland WrapFinal words:

As with any pattern, you may need to make adjustments to get the fit you want. The pattern I followed was a one size fits all pattern, but you can adjust the base chain to make it larger or smaller. I don’t have a formula…just experiment!

What are you making this week?

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The Philosopher's Wife

Mitten State Ornaments

Mitten State Ornaments

My family did not decorate for Christmas this year. At least not in the was that we normally do. My love for Christmas causes sends me into a frenzy of decorating in the day or two after Thanksgiving. The more bulbs, tinsel, evergreen and coconut flake snow, the better.

However, up until a week ago my family was crammed into a small apartment with only our essential possessions. Every tote of material Christmas cheer remained in our basement in Milwaukee while we hung a single stocking from a nail in the wall and enjoyed a the company of a naked artificial tree sent by my parents. We had nothing else.

At first I was bitter. I was even jealous of Charlie Brown and his anemic Christmas tree. At least he had ornaments! At about this time my church joined a nationwide movement called Advent Conspiracy, which boasts four tenets: Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, Love All. Slowly, my perspective began to change. Instead of focusing on a gracefully decorated home, I spent more time concentrating on my friendships. Rather than spending money on more Christmas decorations and gifts, we gave. It ended up being one of the most relaxing and meaningful Christmases of my life.

Another benefit of not having anything to adorn our tree was to use a bit of creativity (and yarn, of course!) to create something that would do the job. That’s how the Mitten State Ornament was created.

The only materials required are yarn, felt of different colors, embroidery floss, twine, and sewing pins and needles.

Crocheting circles is really easy and you can make several of them in no time flat. I followed a simple pattern for them at Crochet Spot. P.S. This is a great way to use leftover yarn.

To make the Michigan shape, I used a paper template (traced from a picture online), pinned it to the felt and cut around it. The felt shapes were then pinned to the crocheted circle and stitched onto it with embroidery floss. Some twine was then looped through the stitches at the top of the circle – this is obviously what is used to hang the ornament.

Mitten State Ornaments

To finish, I traced and cut a circle of felt to match the crocheted circle and stitched it to the back of the ornament with embroidery floss.

The stitches around the shapes are not absolutely perfect, but it makes the ornaments seem cozy and folksy. I like it that way.

Mitten State Ornaments

I’ve created them in a variety of colors and added a shakily embroidered “HI” onto one of them. These can be made with any state shape…or any shape imaginable. Imagination is the only limit.