About Me

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Former preschool and kindergarten school psychologist turned stay at home mom and felt food designer. Mr. Felt Food & I are total foodies and our daughter Grace is becoming one, too!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The New Studio

Our recent move to Washington came with perks.  Sure, it was our second move in just under a year but it was great for my husband's career AND I was promised a studio.  Boy did my husband deliver!

The new studio is huge.  I love it.  The shelving on the far left contains shipping supplies & started projects.  The next unit is felt, felt, felt,  The third unit is cottons on top and fleece on the bottom and the far right (barely visible) holds my flannels.  That's a 6 foot table in the middle of the room!  The three bins underneath hold my scraps--felt in the left, then cottons/flannel, then fleece.

Yes that's another shelving unit to the very left of this photo.  It holds more projects.  You can see my inventory storage on the right.  The crates hold felt food, as do the shelves above.

Sorry for this terribly blurry photo.  This wall holds a cabinet for my various small supplies, some bins of projects/ fabric, and the dresser holds doll diapers for my other etsy shop, Sweet Doll Boutique.

See that door?  No, that doesn't lead out of the room....it leads into a walk-in closet WITH window.  Perfect for my photography.  Nothing like natural light to enhance my photos.  I'll have to post pictures of that room later.

Keep in mind that we've just moved--I still have bins of fabric to get out & we obviously need to get some cuter storage (with this beautiful room the garage style plastic shelving units aren't cutting it anymore!).  It's a work in progress but a great start.

Right outside of my studio is a 20 ft x 10 ft. room that is our daughter's play room.  Wonderful!  The person who designed this house used this space as an office.  I wonder what he'd think of it now?  :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ahoy Matey!

I still can't tell you my secret yet.  Two more weeks.  Until then, my shops are shut down in vacation mode & I am taking the time to finish projects I started a year or two ago!

The latest is this pirate baby gift.  I had the skull fabric I'd inherited from someone & just couldn't figure out what to do with it.  My eye caught the red & white stripe fabric also in my collection and inspiration struck.  I made a diaper bag with 4 pockets inside & a pirate applique on the outside.  I hand embroidered the words Pirate Booty Bag & it was ready to go.

The quilt is large enough that it'd make a great baby play mat or cover up for baby.  The three burp cloths & set of reversible bibs?  Well, let's just say I'd walk the plank for 'em they're so cute!  Now, I just need to find someone having a pirate baby.....hmmmm...... :)

Burp cloths--sorry pics are sideways!
Quilt--sorry sideways again!

Set of reversible baby bibs

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Little "Helper"

     I'm not sure if I should title the post "Helper" or "Hoarder."  Grace decided to help me with my latest creation--a felt food snow cone--by hoarding every single piece.  Luckily, she responded well to the trade of crayons & a coloring book that I offered during hostage negotiations.  I was able to get this prototype whipped up.  It's being sent to LucyCake Boutique down in Texas next week along with the rest of my fair food.

Felt Food Snow Cone

It makes me wish I still had my Snoopy Snow Cone machine!

     I make a lot of patterns for my felt food myself but this one was an Umecrafts pattern.  Gotta love her stuff!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Snacks by Letter: Healthy Snacks Starting with the Letter F

Fresh fruit
Fruit smoothies (100% fruit juice, yogurt, fresh fruit, ice-blended)
Fruit kabobs
Fruit & cheese cube kabobs
Frozen fruit Popsicle
Frozen banana (optional dipped in chocolate syrup)
Flax seed and bran muffins
Fruited Jello-O
Fig newtons
Finger-sandwiches (on whole-grain bread w/peanut butter/lean meats or cheeses)
Fish-shaped pretzels/cheese crackers
Fortune cookies
Fruit frappe
Fruited yogurt
Finger Jell-O
Fruit pizza
Frozen go-gurts

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fast Food Felt Food Breakfasts

     I apologize for my lack of blogging or even facebooking with my fans.  We sold our house in Michigan (hooray!) but with that has come a slew of paperwork, etc. while we wait for a final closing date.  In addition, I have been sending boxes of felt food to photographers, which has meant time spent creating a lot of new items!

Egg Felt'Muffin Set

Is it wrong that when I see these pics I get hungry for fast food?

Bacon, Egg, Biscuit & Cheese Set

     It's exciting and I am so thankful to Heather Ashley Photography (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heather-Ashley-Photography/155482276581) and Lavish Photography (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lavish-Photography/200005516682013) for being willing to take this journey with me!  If you are in the Virginia/Ft. Wayne area, please check these photographers out for your family photos.  They are SO incredibly talented!  Heather just finished pics of her box of felt food and I can't wait to share them with you!

Box of food just sent to Abby at Lavish Photography last week.

      I am happy to announce that a third photographer has partnered with Felt Food Kids.  If you are near Katy, TX, check out the amazing work of LucyCake Boutique (http://www.facebook.com/LucycakeBoutique).  LucyCake specializes in product photos so if you are a fellow etsy seller be sure to check her out!

     Photographers interested in becoming FFK partners, please contact me at FeltFoodKids@yahoo.com.  In exchange for your awesome photos, you keep the felt food!

     I'll share pictures of my mini muffin sets later this week--I promise!  Keep cool this week!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Snacks by Letter: Snacks Starting with the Letter E

Egg (hard boiled)
Eggo mini waffles
English muffin (w/peanut butter, fruit spread, or made into pizzas)
Egg-salad wraps/sandwiches 9made with whole-grain bread/tortillas)
Egg-shaped finger Jello or fruit/cheese slices

Friday, May 6, 2011

Snacks by Letter: Snacks Starting with the Letter D

Snacks Starting with the Letter D

Diamond-shaped fruits/cheese slices with whole grain crackers
Dill pickle spears
Dinosaur-shaped crackers or fruit snacks
Dip with vegetables, fruits or crackers
Doughnut (plain with fresh fruit)
Dried fruit

It's a quick list!  Anyone else make any special foods for Cinco de Mayo yesterday?  We had quesadillas for lunch and Mr. Felt Food Kids made a carne asada salad for dinner last night.  Muy bueno!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Breakfast Cafe Set

I've been working hard for a few weeks, designing, designing & designing.  I just finished up this breakfast cafe set, just in time to send to the photographer this week.  The idea had come to me months ago but it wasn't until a psychologist asked for a custom order set for her waiting room that I really got inspired.

Grace loves cooking meals for me in her play kitchen--it's time momma got a menu to order from.  I talked with my friend Jenny of SweetApronzNCupcakes (http://www.etsy.com/shop/SweetApronzNCupcakes) and she's making waiter/waitress style aprons that will be a perfect accessory to this set.  She's working on them soon but if you need one earlier just contact her.

I love my menu.  Is it wrong to say that?  I love the bold lettering on the front & the back?  Well, that's fabric I printed actual pictures of my items onto.  There's a light cardboard sheet inserted in the center to help give the menu better stability.

It's great for beginning readers to associate the words with the pictures--even pre-readers will get excited feeling grown up ordering from the pictures.  I can add prices for those wanting to use the set to work on math skills as well.  I can also add a name like "Grace's breakfast cafe menu" or if someone comes up with an imaginative cafe name I can work with that, too!  I can even customize a menu & set for someone.

We've always taken Grace to restaurants twice a week to help her socialize and learn how to act in public (still working on that one from time to time, lol!).  I love that kids can use a menu like this at home to practice ordering their own meals and interacting with servers, etc.  

One side of the menu:  Yes, the letters & sun take
time to do but are soooo cute!
The other side:  that's actually printed FABRIC & not paper!
All foods shown are included in the set.
 The set will include 2 eggs, 2 slices bacon, one ham and cheese omelette, 2 sausage links, 2 pancakes with butter and syrup, 2 waffles with butter and syrup, and 2 slices of french toast with butter, syrup & strawberry.

Closer view of the menu. 
I try to keep an ala carte style shop, selling sets & individual items so you can choose what works best for your budget, your preferences, and your child's interests.  Here's a planned price list:
Bacon, Eggs, Pancakes--already in the shop!
2 sausage  $4
Ham & Cheese Omelette     $10
French Toast w/Strawberry, Syrup & Butter Pat  $10.50
Menu:  $15

Total Set:  $52 (save $10 off buying the pieces individually!!)

In the meantime, here's some closer pics of the foods I'll be adding to the shop soon!  They are also part of this set.

French Toast


Ham & Cheese Omelette w/Velcro Closure.
I will be adding 2 other styles of omelettes to the shop, too!
I'll be adding this set to the shop around late May.  I'll be sending it to the photographer for pictures on Saturday & she's awesome but will need a few weeks to get pics done for us. :)  If you need a set before then, just let me know & I'll be more than happy to whip one up.

Not into breakfast?  Don't worry!  I'll have lunch cafe, mexican, seafood and pizza shop sets coming in the near future as well.  I love making felt food because the options are ENDLESS!

Want to be a Felt Food Kids photographer?  FFK photographers get to keep all the food in exchange for sending me your awesome photos.  Please contact me if interested.

Contact me:  feltfoodkids@yahoo.com
Shop:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/FeltFoodKids

Thursday, April 21, 2011

FAQ: How Do You Design Felt Food?

Cinnamon raisin scone from the reject pile.

Creating Felt Food:  My Process

FAQ:  Where do you get your patterns?
I get asked a lot about how I come up with my felt food.  The answer is generally a lot of trial and error!  The easiest way to get started yourself is to buy patterns online.  They are great for helping you understand the fundamentals for constructing felt food.  Once you understand how things come together, it's much easier to start creating your own works of art.  However, you cannot sell items you make from those patterns so if you want to become a seller you need to become a felt food designer (aka make your own patterns).  The exception is umecrafts on etsy.  Umecrafts allows you to sell items made using her patterns.  You'll need to be patient with yourself when creating your own patterns as it is rare to get the first protoype perfect!

Since my items tend to be life sized, I often actually trace the real items themselves, cutting them up when needed to help me understand the shape.  My bread size & shape came from the loaf of bread I was using to make Grace's peanut butter and jelly sandwich that day.  I had already made several prototypes that morning, looked down at the sandwich I was making & a light bulb went off in my head.  We've bought foods like pop tarts & pineapples specifically so I could work on patterns.  At the grocery store, Mr. FFK will catch me staring at a package of English muffins.  "Trying to see how many carbs are in those?" he'll ask.  "Nope, just looking at the shape & colors" I'll answer.  

FAQ:  How long does it take you to make a pattern?
The longest I have ever obsessively worked on an item was four days.  Yep, it took four days & lots of prototypes before I finally got a food right.  Most times I can get an item the way I like it in 3 tries.  If I can't, I often set the idea aside and wait for better inspiration to hit.  I don't like to get too frustrated.  Generally it takes 4-5 hours to get a food from idea to a finished product that I'm happy with selling.

A look inside the reject bin.

FAQ:  What happens to the rejects?
The rejects are sent to the reject basket.  Either the stitching wasn't right, the design was a dud, the sizing was off, etc.  Grace often steals out of the reject basket, not that I mind!  Rejects that aren't close to completion go straight to the trash can.  I don't see a point in wasting time finishing an item that isn't even close.

FAQ:  How do you decide what to work on?
Well, part of the fun of this whole thing is doing what I want, right?!  I do have a master list of the 200 foods I have planned in the shop.  I'm currently working on the breakfast section so I can send the food to the photographers next week.  The list is about 40 foods long so I've been able to jump around to what I feel most inspired to make. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Team


     At awards shows, stars are always thanking those important members of their team who make it all possible.  Looking at these pics I took last week on our way out to lunch, it got me thinking about my people, my team.

     Pictured on the left is Grace, a 2 year old with WILD hair and a penchant for wearing glasses, hats or both.  She is unmatched in the area of product testing.  This girl knows what she likes.  Her nickname is Grace the Destroyer.  Thanks to her daddy's lineage, she has Viking in her blood line & it shows.  She can tear something apart in no time, making her the perfect product tester I know.
     Grace, I'd thank you for bringing me endless joy, countless ideas and allowing me to sew by bringing all your Little People to the table to join me, painting/coloring next to me, and taking naps from time to time.  Baby, Mommy is learning how to do your hair I promise.  Of course, if you'd stop helping me while I do it your hair might stand a better chance!

     Pictured on the right is my wonderful husband, Mr. Felt Food Kids.  He is my IT guy, my sounding board, sewing machine mechanic (Blue Bessey has been losing her foot a lot lately), my sanity when I get too focused on perfecting something.  When his eyes light up and he asks "You MADE that?" I know I've done good.  His experience with marketing and sales is so helpful when I'm waking up in the middle of the night to ask "do you think I should have used the other photo of those pancakes?"
     Mr. FFK, I'd thank you for being so patient, particularly with felt and thread everywhere, those 2 a.m. questions I seem to obsess over, and asking you to pick your favorite pop tart three days in a row.  You remind me to take breaks, enjoy the journey, and you share my joy with each sale or new fan.  Best of all, if you see 25 felt food pop tarts stacked on the table & no dinner ready when you get home, you just smile and ask me what you should work on to help me get dinner ready.  You're the best sous chef a gal could have, be it real food or felt play food.

     We are a family of foodies, people with a strong passion for creating food so it is no surprise that we're becoming a family creating felt food as well.  We perform "market research" at new cafes & pubs each week, coming up with ideas for more felt food (bangers & mash was this week's winning idea).  Thank you to all my fans for sharing in our passion, our joy, and excitement each week!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sushi Accenting Art

How awesome is this?  While my mind is always spinning with design ideas, I tend to think in one direction with my felt food: kid toys.  I love when I get contacted about using the food in other ways.

Recently, a psychologist filled her waiting room with breakfast cafe menus and a bunch of my felt food breakfast items so children waiting could play breakfast cafe.  What a cute idea!

This week, an amazing artist, Lucy Fagella, bought some of my sushi to accent her sushi plates for an upcoming show.  I love the plates but they aren't available in her shop just yet.  For more pics of these plates, check out Lucy Fagella Pottery's blog at http://lucyfagellapottery.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/sushi-plate-with-felt-sushi/sushi-plate-and-felt-sushi_lucia-pottery/.  If you scroll to the bottom, there's a great slideshow of her making pottery.  I was mesmerized--she is so talented!

You can check out her shop at Foodie Ceramics: http://www.etsy.com/shop/FoodieCeramics.  I am in love with her salt cellar & butter keepers.  As a total foodie household, I can't believe we don't have a salt cellar or butter keeper already.  I've added hers to my wish list!

As always, if you're looking for felt food sushi or other items, http://www.etsy.com/shop/FeltFoodKids.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

252 More Days

Well, it's only 252 more days until Christmas (less of course until the holiday shopping season begins).  I have so many ideas I want to implement & foods to stock in the shop before then!

It can be overwhelming and once my creative juices start flowing, I can have a hard time focusing on any task at hand.  Of course, my first priority is to be a good wife and mom (translation:  laundry done, house pretty clean, mommy plays toys with Grace often).  How do moms with online shops balance it all?

I'm learning a lot just by watching other moms balancing creating with day to day life.   Ashley, of Lil Blue Boo, is a true inspiration to me.  http://lilblueboo.blogspot.com/search/label/About%20Me  She's gorgeous & subsists on a breakfast of soda & fast food sandwich or donut every day so it'd be easy to hate her you'd think but she's so creative and friendly you can't help but love her!

She recently started a photography affiliate program with her shop.  She gives discounts on clothing to select photographers, etc. in exchange for awesome photos.  A few weeks later, as I was spending an hour trying to get a great photo of a felt food sandwich, then spending another hour trying to edit it so it would look better, it hit me.  I should get some pros to help!

Last week I put out the call asking for photographers to take awesome photos of my products in exchange for getting to keep them.  Two fabulous women answered the call:  Heather of Heather Ashley Photography (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heather-Ashley-Photography/155482276581) and Abby of Lavish Photography (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lavish-Photography/200005516682013).  Both women take the most gorgeous pics and I can't wait to see their creativity in action.  If you are interested in becoming a Felt Food Kids photographer, please contact me at feltfoodkids@yahoo.com.

I gave myself a deadline of the last day in April to get boxes of food out to them.  I'm hoping to send out my entire breakfast line & my sandwich line, too. How on earth do I stay organized?

I looked to Lil Blue Boo:  she has clipboards!  Clipboards on the walls of lists to keep her organized.  So, I followed her lead & made a list for each photographer, taping them to closet doors.

Aren't these lists long?  I was overwhelmed at first but now I'm plodding ahead.

I'm trying to stockpile items a bit as I go.  My hutch started out like this:

Now it's quickly filling with pieces cut and ready to stitch.  I'll have to share a picture of that later. :)

As each item is completed, I'm placing them in labeled, zip lock bags, putting them into my shipping boxes at the top of the hutch (out of Grace's reach) and then crossing them off the list.

My current dilemma is waffles.  I don't want to copy other sellers but there are only so many ways to make eggs, bacon, waffles, etc.

Here's my round waffle.  I'm not a huge fan of them & am now working on a square waffle.  I figure I'll put both in the shop & see what sells.

Speaking of both, I'd better get back to work on those square waffles or I'll never have 2 options!