Meet Sanford Squirrel

It’s the 15th! That means it’s New Pattern Day in the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club!

Meet Sanford! He’s just a little bit grumpy.

He’s even grumpy at a party! Here he is wearing a party hat from the Fancy Doodads pattern. πŸ™‚

There’s already a squirrel block in the Woodland Critters quilt pattern – but I’ve never been entirely happy with it. He just doesn’t have a ton of personality. πŸ™

But this guy! This guy definitely has personality. πŸ™‚

Here’s how to make him. . .

See how easy that is?

Here are those links I promised. . .

Click here for the tutorial showing how to outline with thicker thread.

Click here for the tutorial showing how to frame any block in a Polaroid frame.

If you’re already in the Funny Faces club, you can access the clubhouse with this link. Grab the new pattern!

If you’re not in the club yet, you can use this link to join.

I can’t wait to see your squirrels!

Happy stitching!


Try one of our newest quilt patterns! Get the Kevin Koala pattern here. Or join the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club to get a new block every month. πŸ™‚

Begin – a free felt applique and embroidery pattern

I started this project AGES ago and finally finished it. I haven’t been working on it anything like steadily. I didn’t plan on releasing a pattern, so I just picked it up and worked on it at odd moments, and didn’t worry about documenting the process much.

Of course, now people want a pattern! I’m happy to share. It was a lovely project and one that was really relaxing and low-pressure to stitch. I’m just letting you know upfront that it’s a pretty loose pattern. πŸ™‚

So here’s how to make it!

My project finished at 11 inches square. That gives me a little bit of breathing room all the way around, because I’m going to put it in a 12-inch frame. You can size yours up or down as you like, but here are the materials you’ll need for this size.

  • One 20-inch square of background fabric. I used a nice dark slate grey.
  • Assorted wool felt pieces. I used all the colors in the Frosty Pastels felt bundle except the white.
  • Thread to match the felt. I used Invisifil 100 wt. thread. (Yes – you read that right. 100 weight. It’s the thinnest thread I’ve ever used – like sewing with spider silk.) I matched the colors to the felt but, honestly, that thread is so fine that you could probably just use a medium grey for everything. If you want to use embroidery floss, there’s a bundle that matches the felt in the Frosty Pastels collection.
  • Slightly darker, thicker thread to contrast with the felt. I used Razzle 8 wt. rayon thread. I love the way the shiny rayon thread contrasts with the wooly felt.
  • Needles appropriate for your thread size.
  • Fabric glue stick.
  • Freezer paper (optional)
  • Frame or hoop (I used a 14-inch PVC frame)

Download the pattern here.

Print it at 100% size – or scale as desired. You can print directly onto the freezer paper, or you can print it onto regular paper and then trace it onto freezer paper.

Using freezer paper to cut small pieces like these makes it sooooo much easier to be accurate. You’ll find more info here.

The pattern page has the letters and eight blocks of blocks.

Cut the letters out of light grey felt.

Cut four blocks of blocks out of each of your other six felt colors. That way you’ll end up with four of each shape/size in each color. That’s more than you’ll actually need – but it will give you some extras to play with as you arrange.

Ok. Here’s where things are a little loose. Sorry – I didn’t take any photos of this process and I was really just winging it. That’s ok – it means you can wing it too!

Lay your background square on a flat surface.

Map out a 12-inch square in the center. I used a few rulers to block it out – use what you have handy. You just need to be able to “see” the borders of your square of workable space.

Start by laying out the letters, centering them in the space.

Here’s the finished layout again so you can refer to it for the next bit.

Start building your way out from your letters, filling the square space you have mapped out. I followed a few “rules” as I built.

  • I kept all my blocks running horizontally or vertically. None of them are tipped at an angle.
  • I tried to keep the spacing between the blocks pretty consistent. Think of it like grout between tiles.
  • I tried to never have two tiles of the same color right next to each other.
  • I sometimes had two of the same shape next to each other, but I kept it a pretty rare thing.

You can follow my finished project as a map if you like, but please don’t feel like you need to follow it exactly.

Once you’re happy with how everything looks, use a swipe of fabric glue stick to stick all the pieces in place. If you don’t have a glue stick, you can use liquid glue like Elmers, but I recommend brushing it on. If you squeeze it right out of the bottle you may get too much glue on there and it will seep through to the top of your felt and remain visible even after it dries. Don’t use a restickable glue (like a post-it glue stick). As soon as you put your hoop in the frame and pull it tight, those pieces will pop right off. Ask me how I know. πŸ˜›

Let it dry and hoop it up. You’re ready to start stitching!

Now I started taking some pictures. πŸ™‚

The first thing I did was whipstitch around each piece using matching thread. This tutorial shows how I whipstitch applique felt.

whipstitch applique felt - free Begin felt applique project from Shiny Happy World

Once everything’s whipstitched down I can stop worrying about accidentally pulling any of the pieces up, or catching my thread on them. Time to relax and settle into the fancy stitching.

I chain stitched in dark grey right down the center of each letter.

There’s a tutorial here showing how to chain stitch.

I stitched a lazy daisy in the center of the dot over the. Here’s the video showing how to stitch a lazy daisy.

Finally, I wanted to embellish each block. The stitching is all tone-on-tone, using a thread color a little more vibrant than the felt color. I really agonized over what kind of stitching. I debated it for what felt like weeks and finally settled on simple stacks of straight stitches. I just love the texture of that!

I started with the long skinny pieces since there was only one way I wanted to stitch those. Just stitch a stack that almost fills the block.

Next I stitched the larger rectangles. They’re twice as wide as the skinny rectangles, so they get two stacks of stitches, side by side, but not touching.

Finally, I stitched the squares. The small squares got one stack, the medium got two, and the large got three. But which direction? Horizontal or vertical? I made the call for each square based on what kind of stitching was going on around them, trying to keep the direction as varied as possible.


When I can leave the house again, I’ll get a 12-inch frame to finish it. Here’s a tutorial showing how to frame textiles without damaging them.

Happy stitching!


How to Make a Cotton Mask – pattern and video tutorial

My daughter Jo has been a mask-making machine. She’s made 136 masks so far and donated them to our local United Way who is distributing them to the clinics and organizations that need them.

She’s not done yet. She’s got another big batch almost finished, and has a goal to make and donate 1000.

She has another goal to encourage others to make and donate 10,000. Ten thousand masks! (You can log your masks made here to help her reach that goal.)

UPDATED! Here’s our progress so far! 6388 masks donated (as of May 3, 2020).


Ten thousand masks is a lot, but it’s still not even close to what’s needed. 😒

I don’t want to get into a debate here – so please don’t send me an email or comment about how you read these aren’t effective. Medical people in my area are asking for them, and I feel like I owe them anything and everything they ask for. 

When I mentioned making and donating masks in my most recent newsletter, I was INUNDATED with emails from patients, nurses, mothers of nurses, hospice workers and more telling me how much these masks are needed and appreciated.

And when production has ramped up and hospitals and clinics are getting all the PPE they need, there will still be a need for masks to help reduce transmission when we all slowly start leaving our homes again. I thought this article laid it out especially well. The short version is – everyone should be wearing masks when they’re in public. My favorite line in the article is, “My mask protects you. Your mask protects me.”

In addition to people saying they wish more people were making and donating masks, there were a lot of emails from people asking for the pattern I’m using. Keep reading for the complete tutorial.

This is a no-elastic mask. Everyone is sold out of elastic and I’ve heard from a number of health professionals saying that a behind-the-ears elastic mask is very painful when worn for hours at a time – which is what they’re having to do. I’m also hearing that some places are washing these masks multiple times a day, and the elastic is wearing out quickly under those conditions. So our mask uses fabric ties. One ties up at the crown of the head (it doesn’t seem like it would stay put there, but it really does) and the other ties behind the neck. This size fits any size head.

If you’re keeping a mask for yourself to wear to the grocery store, walking your dog, etc. make sure to remove it properly. Don’t grab it by the front of the mask and toss it on your kitchen table. Remove it by the ties, put it in the laundry, and then wash your hands.

Whew! That’s a lot of preface. Here’s how to make it. Scroll past the video for written instructions with step-by-step photos.

And here are the written instructions.

For each mask you’ll need two 6×9 inch rectangles and two 1 3/4 inch strips. I read several studies that said NOT to add any additional layers to this kind of loosely-fitted mask. Yes – additional layers will increase the filtration, but they make it harder to breathe THROUGH the mask, resulting in more unfiltered air being drawn in around the edges. Use tightly woven cotton – quilting cotton is great. T-shirt fabric also tests very well, but I don’t have any so I haven’t tried that with this pattern. It should work fine, though.

I’ve read that nurses are requesting two different fabrics for the front and back, so if they have to take the mask off temporarily, they can put it back on the same way.

The ties need to be 1 3/4 inches wide and at least 40 inches long. We went with the full width of the fabric – selvedge to selvedge – because that’s 40 – 45 inches wide. Don’t trim off the selvedges. That finished edge means you don’t have to hem, which will save time. πŸ˜„

With this method, every 3/4 yard will make 4 masks.

If you prefer to use purchased bias tape – that will save time and stretch your fabric stash. Make sure you get 1/2″ double-fold bias tape. There are TONS of people selling large rolls on Etsy

If you use purchased bias tape, then 1 yard of fabric will make 12 masks.

Press your strips into double-fold bias tape. There’s a video tutorial here showing two different methods for doing that. Jo is using a 25 mm bias tape tool to make hers. That’s the right size for 1 3/4 inch strips of fabric. If you have a different sized tool at home, you can adjust the size of your strips accordingly. Just don’t go too skinny or it will be hard to catch all the mask layers when you sew it in place.

Put the two rectangles of fabric right sides together. (Nurses are recommending using two different fabrics so that if they have to remove the mask and put it back on, they can easily tell which is the outside and which is the inside.) Sew them together along the short sides, using 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Turn the mask right side out and press it flat.

Now it’s time to pleat the sides. You need to put three evenly-spaced pleats in each side of the mask.

If your fabric has a direction to it, make sure the pleats are pointing down.

You can eyeball the position of the pleats, but Jo has been measuring to keep things nice and even.

Measure up one inch from the bottom edge of the mask (turned sideways here). Then fold the rest of the mask down over the end of the ruler, and fold it back up at the half-inch mark.

Hold that fold with a pin and continue up the side of the mask with two more pleats, each starting one inch from the fold of the previous pleat.

Pleat up both sides, then sew those pleats in place by sewing 1/4 inch from the short edges.

Time to add the ties.

Fold the mask in half to find the center. Mark the center top and center bottom with pins. Fold the ties in half to find their centers. Wrap the center of one tie around the raw edge at the center of the top of the mask and pin. Repeat with the second tie and the bottom edge of the mask.

We’re only pinning at the centers to hold the ties in the right place. You can get the bias tape wrapped around the rest of the mask edge when you get to it while sewing.

Now it’s time to sew up those ties.

Start at the end of one tie and sew the folds together as close as you can reasonably get to the edge. When you get close to where it starts to wrap around the edge of the mask, pause, make sure the mask edge is tucked all the way up into the fold of the bias tape, and keep sewing. Continue past the edge of the mask, and on to the other end of the tie.

Repeat for the second tie.


A few more notes. . .

If you have elastic and want to make a mask with behind-the-ear elastic loops, there’s a pattern here.

If you have smaller pieces of fabric and don’t mind taking a little more time, this center-seam pattern might work best for you.

Before you make any masks, you can contact a local organization to see if they’re requesting a particular pattern or materials.

If you’re looking for where to donate your masks, reach out locally first. I found our local United Way by contacting our county health and human services office. United Way has taken it from there, finding out which organizations can use DIY masks and handling distribution to them. There’s probably someone in your county doing the same thing.

If your local hospitals/clinics/hospice care workes/etc. don’t need masks – fantastic! You can still make them for regular people. Maybe your grocery store employees need them, or your friends and neighbors. Professional-grade masks will continue to need to go to medical personnel – but we can fill that need for everyone else. In the Czech Republic, a grassroots effort provided ten million masks in just three days. Quilters are a generous group with a lot of fabric. We can help!

If you make masks and donate them, please take a minute to log your info here. We’ll be sharing totals made here. And please share this post and Jo’s info with anyone else you know with fabric and a sewing machine!

If you post on social media, please use the hashtags #coverourcaregivers and #masks4all to help spread the word.

Thanks so much!



Happy April!

Happy April!

My birthday is in April, so I added a party hat to Ginny Giraffe to celebrate. πŸ™‚

She gets a teeny tiny party hat because I didn’t want to cover up her ossicones. πŸ™‚

Download your wallpaper below. There are options both with and without the April calendar, in case you want to keep that cute giraffe up during other months of the year. πŸ™‚

(If you want to make the giraffe, you can get the pattern here. The instructions to make the Polaroid version of any block are here. And the party hat is included in the Fancy Doodads pattern.)

Happy April!


Try one of our newest quilt patterns! Get the Kevin Koala pattern here. Or join the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club to get a new block every month. πŸ™‚

Meet Ginny Giraffe!

It’s the 15th! That means it’s New Pattern Day in the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club!

Meet Ginny! Doesn’t she have a sweet face?

She can also look a little goofy. Here’s she is with some glasses from the Fancy Doodads pattern added. πŸ™‚

There’s already a giraffe block in the Safari quilt pattern – but it’s a double-high block, which makes it harder to work with on its own. Also – the giraffe in that quilt isn’t smiling. I wanted a smiling giraffe. πŸ™‚

Here’s how to make her. . .

See how easy that is?

If you’re already in the club, you can access the clubhouse with this link. Grab the new pattern!

If you’re not in the club yet, you can use this link to join.

I can’t wait to see your sweet giraffes!

Happy stitching!


Try one of our newest quilt patterns! Get the Kevin Koala pattern here. Or join the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club to get a new block every month. πŸ™‚


Daily Bear – My March Drawing Challenge

These are the faces I drew for February. I drew a face every day!

Well, actually I colored a face every day.

You may recognize them from my quilt patterns. πŸ™‚

In January I learned how to use some of the painting tools in the Procreate app on my iPad. (You can see all the results here.)

In February I wanted to apply those new skills by coloring something besides dots. πŸ™‚

Now I’m really going to push myself.

I’m drawing a bear every day this month!

Not just any bears. I’ve drawn a bunch of bears. I have a quilt pattern called Bunches of Bears!

But they’re all kind of neutral, smiling bears. They’re definitely cute and I love them – but this month I’m going to push myself to draw bears with more distinct personalities – and especially with a wider variety of emotions.

I want to draw happy bears for sure. But I also want to draw curious bears, and surprised bears, and anxious bears, and snooty bears, and goofy bears, and grumpy bears, and more.

I’m starting with a grumpy bear. πŸ™‚

I love him!

You can follow my progress on Instagram where I’ll be posting a bear every day. πŸ™‚

Have a great month!



Happy March!

Happy March!

It’s been a super warm winter so far – but we finally got some snow! And I missed almost all of it. πŸ™‚

Download your wallpaper below. There are options both with and without the March calendar, in case you want to keep that cuddly bear up during other months of the year. πŸ™‚

(If you want to make that bear, you can get the pattern here.)

Happy March!


Meet Russell Rat – the Newest Funny Faces Block

It’s the 15th! That means it’s New Pattern Day in the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club!

We just celebrated Chinese New Year last month and it’s now the year of the rat – so I made a cute rat block!

Want to see how easy it is to assemble? Watch this video. . .

See how easy that is?

If you’re already in the club, you can access the clubhouse with this link. Grab the new pattern!

If you’re not in the club yet, you can use this link to join.

I can’t wait to see your adorable rats! Not a sentence I’ve ever said before. πŸ™‚

Happy stitching!


Try one of our newest quilt patterns! Get the Kevin Koala pattern here. Or join the Funny Faces Quilt Block of the Month Club to get a new block every month. πŸ™‚

How to Establish a Habit

I am a person who exercises.

I never thought I would say that sentence.

I remember when my daughter was little, my husband invited her to watch a college basketball game with him. She sat and watched for a little while, and then she asked, “If you go to college, do they MAKE you do that?”

That was me and exercise. It was something I had to be forced to do. I ran track in high school, but I never actually liked it. It was something I did so I’d look “well-rounded” on my college applications.

But about a year and a half ago, I started doing taekwondo. My daughter had started a few months earlier and she really liked it. I had to drive her, so I saw every workout and it actually looked fun.

I gave it a try and I liked it!

So I started doing taekwondo 3-4 times a week. I noticed that on the days when I worked out I felt much better. I had more energy and I was in a better mood. I also liked sparring against my teenage daughter. πŸ™‚

So I stuck with it!

The downside is that I got injured a few times – and the last injury was to my wrist, which made it hard for me to work for a few months.

I also couldn’t do taekwondo while it was healing. And then when I was ready to come back, Jo was injured and I didn’t make the time to go on my own.

I thought I had built a good habit – I wanted to exercise regularly – but I wasn’t doing it.

Do you have something you wish you were doing that you just. . . aren’t?

Maybe you wish you read more, or cooked more, or quilted more – but you just never seem to make it a priority?

Read on.

I remembered this post that Abby Glassenberg wrote a long time ago, about how she made exercise a part of her life. Such good advice! She wrote it about exercise and I used it for exercise – but it applies to anything you want to make a habit.

Abby identified specific problems – the reasons she wasn’t running – and found a solution to each of them.

So I did the same thing.

I realized that I liked working out, but I didn’t especially love taekwondo. In fact, I didn’t love the precision needed, and memorizing the forms. My favorite classes were when we played games.

So I looked for a workout where I would be moving, but not in a specific way. No Zumba, where just as soon as I figure out what we’re doing, they change to something else. πŸ˜›

Dance. I wanted to dance.

Ok. When? And where?

I really didn’t like going to work out in the middle of the day. It meant showering twice and changing clothes what felt like a million times a day. Also, going to a set class run by someone else meant I needed to get there early to stow my gear, stretch and loosen up. And there was driving time there and back. It ended up being a big chunk of my day! It was worth it, but if I could get a workout with less transit time, that would be better.

I also didn’t like driving there and back. I’ve been trying to walk to as much as possible (bank, library, post office, grocery store, etc.) so I thought about trying to find something within walking distance of my house.

But I feel dorky when I work out. I’m not very coordinated. I like to dance, but I don’t want anyone to see me dance. πŸ™‚ I could get over it (I did with taekwondo) but I knew I’d enjoy it more if I did it at home, by myself.

I tried a bunch of different dancy/workout classes on YouTube and finally settled on Body Groove. I liked it so much that I bought a full year of her on-demand service with TONS of different videos.

Now I don’t work out 3-4 times a week. I work out every single day! And I love it!

I roll out of bed in the morning before anyone else is up, throw on my workout clothes, and turn on the TV. I choose a workout and I dance for 30 minutes, until I’m sweating and breathing hard and tired – but also energized. I’ve also built some special 30 minute playlists so I can dance to my own music using the moves I’ve learned in the classes.

I’m healthier, my energy levels are great, I start my day in a good mood – and it’s all because I figured out a way to get past all the little reasons that were keeping me from doing a thing I actually wanted to do.

Use Abby’s method and figure out how to make time for the thing you actually want to do. πŸ™‚

Maybe it’s stitching. πŸ™‚

Happy stitching!



Daily Dot 2020

I decided that this is the year I really want to improve my drawing.

I used the Procreate app on my iPad to draw all the motifs in my book (How to Embroider Almost Everything) but that’s just black and white line drawings. I wanted to take it further. I especially wanted to learn how to add color and texture.

I also knew I needed to take small steps. I can’t get better at all the things all at once – so I’m setting my self small daily challenges, a new challenge every month.

I started in January with something really simple.


Everyone can draw a dot, right?

You can read more about the awesome picture book that inspired the challenge here.

So I drew a dot every day in January, and I learned all kinds of new ways to add color and texture in Procreate.

If you’re interested, these are some of the classes I took to help me along.

And here are the results!

I had so much fun!

So this month I’m taking the skills I learned in January and I’m applying them to actual drawings. I’m not drawing anything new.

(Aaack! Too much pressure!)

Instead I’m taking things I’ve already drawn (favorite quilt block patterns) and I’m coloring them in with fun texture. Here are my first two. . .

That’s one of the bears from the Bunches of Bears pattern.

And that’s the Yeti pattern. I’m especially pleased with the shading on his horns. πŸ™‚

I’m posting a new image every day in February. You can follow along on Instagram!

Happy stitching! (And happy drawing!)