April 13

Huggable Monster Dolls for Kids in Need

Monsters01

A Monster to Love is this great online shop where, for every cute little monster doll you buy, Sam, Ben, and their dad Ray, donate a monster doll to a kid in need.  They partner up with children’s hospitals and even the World Relief Refugee program out of Atlanta.

I ran across their awesome work about a year ago on Craftsy, including a pattern to make your own monsters to donate to local kids in need, or send off to Ray and his boys in Colorado so they can donate the cuddly little monsters to kids in need.

Interested? Here’s the A Monster to Love PDF Pattern and Instructions.  Ray and his boys take donations year round, and you can send them one monster, or one hundred. It’s up to you!

I try to organize a Monster Making Party at least once or twice a year–they’re fun, and pretty easy to do.  Here’s how:

1. I buy a couple yards of fun colored fleece fabric when it’s on sale (usually in the summer).  You can get quite a lot of monsters out of a yard of fleece, or even half a yard. Just be sure to shop when it’s on sale! Along with fabric, I’ll pick up a box of stuffing when it’s on sale too (or with a coupon).  One box can last a long while and stuff a lot of monsters (probably around 30).  I’ll also purchase Safety Eyes for the dolls, which can be attached before sewing, and don’t require any sewing knowledge to install.  I purchased my Safety Eyes here, but there are tons of vendors and craft stores out there that sell them.  The 18mm sized ones are what I used, and I liked to mix and match colors too. 15 pairs of eyes cost about $15.  You can also use buttons for the eyes, but make sure they are SEWN on really well.  If the eyes are not sewn on securely, Ray and his boys can’t use them.  Do not glue on eyes.  Ray and his boys can’t use the monster dolls if the eyes have only been glued on (hello choking hazards!).

All in all, I spent about $40 on supplies for making the monsters, but I did it over the course of a couple of months.

AngieSewing

Angie brought her own sewing machine and helped build a couple monsters. That’s my mom in the background stitching away madly.

 

2. I set up a FB event and ask folks to bring their own sewing machines if they’ve got them, but I also tell folks that there’s plenty of other ways to help too: attaching eyes, stuffing, cuddle testing, and hand stitching are great ways to get even the most novice of crafters involved in a Monster Making Party.   Along with the fabric, stuffing, and safety eyes, I also bring along thread, scissors, and hand sewing needles for people to use.  If you’re worried about materials cost, you can always ask people to pitch in a couple bucks to help out.

3. I cut out at least some monsters before the party so there are dolls ready to be sewn.  I also set up stations for people to work at installing eyes, stuffing the monsters, and hand sewing the monsters closed after stuffing, and even cutting out more monsters if necessary.

ChrystalSewing

Here, my friend Chrystal is stuffing a monster.

 

EuniceSewing

Eunice is hand sewing the monster closed.

4. We have music playing, and I ask folks to help out with some food (like chips and dip, cupcakes, and frosty beverages).  And I invite folks to come when they can and stay as long as they’d like to.  It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening.

5. I’ve found three hours to be a great length of time for a Monster Making Party.  You can get a lot done, have time to chat, and still steal a cupcake too.  Once the party’s over, you’ll want to box up your magnificent creations and mail them off to A Monster to Love! Their address is on the last page of the PDF.

All our Monsters boxed up and ready to go!

All our Monsters boxed up and ready to go!

If you have your own Monster Making Party, be sure to take pictures and share!!!

 

More Links of Interest

 

Category: Craft, Geek, Toys, Tutorial | 1 Comment
April 12

Making science fun with paper roller coasters

Paper Roller Coaster by Andrew Gatt

My grade school days are so far behind me, I remember very little about any sort of science experiments. I vaguely recall something about adding food coloring to water to turn white carnations different colors. BOR-ING. If I had Andrew Gatt for a teacher, I think I would have some pretty epic science memories.

As the lower school science specialist as a school in Raleigh, North Carolina, Andrew started building paper roller coasters in the late 90s as an activity in his 5th grade classroom. He continued refining his designs over the years, and started making presentations of his designs at teacher conventions and eventually started selling the templates and directions.  These days, he teaches science to 7th and 8th graders and uses the templates with his 7th graders each fall. The templates are available on his website.

Homeschoolers and science aficionados rejoice! Andrew offers three lesson plans to use with the paper roller coasters, which are available for free download on his website, PaperRollerCoasters.com. “The lesson plans show how paper roller coasters can be used to teach about speed, acceleration, potential energy, and kinetic energy,” says Andrew. “It’s also a great structural engineering lesson in which students have to build a sturdy structure that will hold up the tracks.”

See videos of paper roller coasters in action on Andrew’s YouTube channel!

Up to the challenge of building your own coaster? We’d love to hear about your efforts and results – feel free to share a link to your creation in the comments below! Go forth now and SCIENCE!

Links of Interest:
Andrew’s site, PaperRollerCoasters.com
More science crafts on GeekCrafts
Science category on GeekCrafts
March 27

Return of the Geek Cat

cat toys2

There was a lot of celebrating on the farm today.  After three weeks and two days, we finally found our cat, Ari!  Apparently he was hiding out in our closest neighbor’s shed the whole time.  I was pleasantly surprised that even after a 23 day stint in the pitch-dark shed he didn’t really resemble Gollum at all.

In addition to more cuddles than he’s comfortable with, I’m making him these geek cat toys as a welcome home gift.  (Underneath that cool cat exterior, I have no doubt that Ari is a total Whovian, Final Fantasy, AND Harry Potter nerd.)  The best part?  No sewing machine is needed for these adorable toys from Allons-Y Kimberly.

Oh man, remember when we posted this?  What a charming place for a geek cat to hang his hat!

March 22

The cute is strong with this lovey

Crochet Yoda lovey by Kristen McCrory

Need a super cute gift for a youngling in your life? Look no further than this adorable crochet Yoda-inspired lovey by Kristen McCrory.

The little Yoda head gives your young padawan something to cuddle onto, while also toting around the ever-so-comforting blankie, all in Star Wars geek style. Win-win-win.

Make this Yoda blankie even more geek-tastic by watching “Star Wars” while stitching it up, so the Force is melded into every stitch. Which episode of the series would you watch while making this?

Side note: I noticed Kristen also has a mega-awesome Gir lovey in her Etsy shop – makes me think, “Aw, somebody needs a hug!”

February 23

Plushy DIY Roundup!

UniPug

This week on Spoonflower, the contest involves original designs for mythical creature plushies, and when I saw Gila’s UniPug design I knew I had to share it on Geek Crafts.  You can purchase your own DIY UniPug Plushy Pattern on a variety of fabrics (I recommend Spoonflower’s new Minky fabric for this one because it’s super soft and cuddly, like the ever elusive UniPug himself) in Cross The Lime’s Spoonflower shop.  The design fits on a fat quarter and costs about $17 with shipping.

GrumpyCat

If you’re more of a cat person, you might enjoy making your very own Grumpy Cat with this Instructable by username elewis03, complete with step-by-step instructions and pictures, as well as a rudimentary pattern you can download for free.  This little guy would make an excellent cubicle pal at the office, don’t you think?

FrogPrince

If grumpy kitties and mythical unipugs aren’t your thing, how about a Frog Prince named Ferdinand from Abby Glassenberg’s blog While She Snaps? This DIY has a free downloadable pattern along with excellent pictures and instructions.  While you’re there, you should check out the other free plushy patterns on Abby Glassenberg’s site–super cute!

February 22

I’ll Be in My Bunk with Jayne

Jayne Cobb chibi plush by Vicious Pretty

In honor of Adam Baldwin’s birthday on Friday (February 27th), I wanted to share something beyond the iconic hat he wore as Jayne Cobb in “Firefly.” We’ve shared a number of different variations of the Jayne Cobb hat over the years, such as a Doctor Who version, a scarf version, a cupcake version, and a lip balm cozy version.

Today I bring you the plushie version – as in, sitting atop a cute Jayne Cobb chibi plush, as created by Cristina, aka ViciousPretty.

Cristina shared her creation over on DeviantArt, where she also has an extensive gallery of other adorable plushie creations, such as Gandalf, Namor, and a number of Mass Effect characters.

Cristina’s Jayne plushie is so cute and cunning, I just want to take him right to my bunk and cuddle. What character have you created in plush form, or have plans to attempt?

Also, be sure to wish Adam a happy birthday on Friday via Twitter!

Links of Interest:

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