Archive | How-to RSS feed for this section

Tutorial: How To Make a Sock Monkey

This is the little monkey I made this week. He looks just like the one I made for my daughter. I purposely placed the eyes and ears in the same spot to give him the same look.sock-monkey-on-bed

First of all, I suggest that you watch the how-to video by Professor PinCushion as you go. It will help show the details of sewing and cutting that I cannot show in a written post. The video is about 37 minutes. Depending on how fast you sew, the monkey could take anywhere from 3-8 hours from start to finish.

How to Make a Sock Monkey:

materials-1

Materials You Will Need to Make a Sock Monkey:

  1. Size Large Socks with Red Heel (Fox River sells two pairs for around $14.)
  2. Fabric Scissors
  3. Pins
  4. Ruler 
  5. Fabric Pen or Black Pen
  6. Sewing Machine with Matching Thread (Cream color works well)
  7. Stuffing (I got mine at Michael’s)
  8. Black Embroidery Thread
  9. Two Black Buttons for Eyes
  10. Red Yarn for Pom-Poms on Hat and Legs
  11. Ribbon to Tie Around the Monkey’s Neck

Sock 1: Body and Legs

lines-for-legs-of-monkey

Draw Lines for Legs
Turn the socks inside out. The first sock will become the monkey’s head, body and legs. To mark where the legs will be, turn the sock inside out and fold so the heel is centered on top. Measure and mark a center point on the brown (2 in. from edge) and a center point on the cream (1.5 inches from edge). Draw a line through the points, horizontally, straight through the center of the sock, from heel to end. Then measure 1/4 inch above and 1/4 inch below that center line and draw two more horizontal lines. Draw another line 1/4 inch from the end of the sock. Draw a vertical line 3 inches from the heel. So you should have three horizontal lines and two vertical lines.

Sew on Machine
Starting at one edge of the cream end of the sock, stitch along the line and pivot at the 1/4 inch line. Continue to stitch, stopping at the 3-inch line. Backstitch both ends. Repeat on the other side. Do not stitch on the center line because that is the line you will cut to separate the two legs.

Cut
Using fabric scissors, cut along the center line up to the 3-inch line. Snip about 1 inch past the 3-inch line. You have a sock monkey body with a hole in the crotch.

Stuff
Turn the sock right-side out again. Stuff the head, body, and legs with stuffing.

Hand-Sew
Slip stitch the hole closed, adding stuffing as needed.

monkey-body-stuffed

Sock 2: Hat, Face, Arms, Tail, Earslines-for-arms-tail-hat

Hat
Turn sock inside out. Cut off the toe of the 2nd sock, leaving about 1/2 inch of brown on the end of the cream.

Tail
Measure a line for the tail 1-inch down from the top (shown above). Draw a line across the length of the sock. Round the white tip of the tail by drawing a curved line.

Arms
Draw a vertical line down the middle of the sock, about 1/4 inch away from the cream heel. Draw another horizontal line to mark two equal-sized arms. Curve the edges of the arms, leaving a seam allowance at the end of the sock.

Face
Leave about 1/4 inch of brown along the edge of the heel for the face.

Ears
The leftover brown rectangle is for the ears. Fold in half and pin the edge to hold in place. Draw two ears, a bit larger than you think they should be, because you will use 1/4-inch seam allowance.

Cut and Pin
Cut and pin tail, arms, and ears. The second arm will need to be the same as the first, so cut the second side that was folded and pin it. (Ears not shown).
pieces-of-second-sock-2

 

Sew on Machine
Leaving the brown end open, stitch around the pinned sides of arms and tail, using 1/4 inch seam allowance and removing pins as you get to them. Backstitch both ends. Sew around the individual ears, using 1/4 inch seam allowance and leaving one side open for stuffing.

arm-stuffing-pins

 

arm-stuffed-and-pinned

Stuff, Pin, and Hand-Sew
Tie the ribbon around the neck of the sock monkey to help you see where to pin the arms. Turn arms and tail right-side out. Stuff, using small pieces of stuffing. If necessary, use a clean chopstick or unsharpened pencil to push the stuffing into the tail and arms. When they are stuffed, pin them to the sock monkey body in their proper places and use a whip stitch to attach each piece to the sock monkey body. Whip stitch twice all the way around.

Ears can be the last thing you stuff and sew, after you attach the face. That way you can see where you want to place the ears.

Some people place the tail above the red, and some people place it in the middle of the red. I chose to attach it to the middle.

where-to-sew-the-tail
mouth-and-nostrils-embroidered

Embroider and Sew Face
Using a backstitch and black embroidery thread, stitch a line straight across the red mouth for the sock monkey. For the nostrils, make a mark where you want them to go and make 5-6 stitches in a horizontal stack.

pin-face-to-body

Pin the sock monkey face to the head, tucking the brown seam under the cream line. Whip stitch the face to the head, leaving the top open. Stuff with stuffing and continue to stitch all the way around. 
ears-and-eyes

Eyes
I used black buttons for the sock monkey eyes, attaching them above the face. You can also choose to embroider the eyes the same way you did the nostrils.

ears-and-eyes-face-done

Ears
I pinned the ears to the sock monkey head and stitched them last.

sock-monkey-completed

Red Pom-Poms
Pom-poms are really easy. Wrap red yarn around two fingers about twenty times. Remove from fingers. Tie another piece of yarn around the middle of the loops. Snip the loops and you have a cute pom pom! These red pom-poms inspired the decorations for my daughter’s 9th birthday: a sock monkey theme (shown in my last post). I used the pom-poms on the favor bags, centerpieces and birthday banner.

Tack one pom pom to the sock monkey hat and tie two more around the legs.

sock-monkey-on-bed-2Isn’t he cute? I love him! Enjoy your new sock monkey friend!

Continue Reading · Comments { 1 }

Easy Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

pumpkin-cupcake-cream-cheese11

Autumn is Andy’s and my favorite season. Is it your favorite season too?

If you are ready for your house to smell like autumn, now is a good time to make these pumpkin chocolate-chip cupcakes. I found this recipe in our church’s cookbook, and I added chocolate chips.

Pumpkin Cake
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup cooking oil
2 cups canned pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 Tablespoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
chocolate chips (optional)

ingredients-for-pumpkin-cupcakes

Mix cake ingredients together until well blended. Fill cupcake papers halfway with batter. Sprinkle a handful of chocolate chips in the batter. 

sprinkle-chocolate-chips-in-batter

Top with another scoop of batter. 

add-more-batter

Bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes for cupcakes, 35-40 minutes for 13×9 inch pan.

*Tip: How do you know when the cake is done baking? When the top of the cake or cupcake bounces back when you touch it, the cake is ready. If it looks done but the top sinks in when you touch it, give it a few more minutes and check it again.

pumpkin-cupcakes-done

*Another Tip: If the bottom of your cake burns before the cake is done, your oven is too hot. Try getting an oven thermometer to keep inside your oven to make sure your gage is correctly set. I got my oven thermometer at Smart and Final for around five dollars.

Pretty Cream Cheese Icing
One pound (one box) powdered sugar
½ cup (one stick) butter, softened
8 oz. (one package) of cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla

ingredients-for-cream-cheese-icing

Beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until well blended. Ice the cake when it is cool. Store in the refrigerator.

 Using a large 18-inch pastry bag and a large icing tip to make fancy cupcakes is easy and quick. My bag is plastic coated, made by Ateco. It washes well in  warm soapy water and has lasted over a decade. The tip I used was number 828, also made by Ateco.

icing-tip-828

The first time you use the bag, cut the tip of the bag just enough to let the tip slide through and hold tight (about 1/2 inch). If desired, use the plastic piece that holds the tip secure. I think it’s called a coupler. Fold down the sides of the bag so you can comfortably fill it with scoops of icing. Put all your icing in the bag. Try not to let air bubbles get in between the scoops. Fold, roll or twist the top of the icing bag down until the icing is pushed down into the tip and starts to come out of the tip. Be careful that the tip is secure.

I like to pipe the icing by starting in the middle of the cupcake and then going around in a circle and ending in the middle again. Let go of the pressure of the bag before you lift it away from the cupcake.

how-to-make-pretty-cupcakes3

 how-to-make-pretty-cupcakes2

cupcakes-cream-cheese-frosting

Pretty!

I put this icing on all my cakes and cupcakes. It holds its shape well, but you can add an extra Tablespoon of powdered sugar and/or refrigerate it for twenty minutes if you want it to hold better.

Add a sprinkle of nutmeg to the top for the finishing touch.

pumpkin-cupcake-cream-cheese2


Let me know how yours turn out.

What is your favorite autumn dessert? Please share!

Continue Reading · Comments { 6 }

How to Start Writing Your Life Story #5

#5 of 5

#1  Your motivation to write about your life is to help people.
#2  Your muse–the face of someone you dearly love who will benefit from reading your book–is in your mind.
#3  Your list of memories and little stories you want to tell is grows longer every day.
#4  Your first attempt at an outline is finished.

What’s next?

start-get-going

Turn on some music—the songs you used to listen to during the time period in which your story takes place. Spray on some of that cologne you used to wear. Get out those old photos, journals, and poems. Feel those old feelings again. Sit down with your lists, post-it notes, note cards, iPhone notes, and your outline. Start writing.

Your story is valuable and worthwhile. It is the story that God had chosen for your life. You do not need to apologize for who you are or where you came from. There was a designer greater than you, your parents, and your circumstances. Give him the credit. Watch, as you dig into those stories, how God will teach you a few things about who you are.

The process of writing about your life will hurt a little bit because it is hard to relive things you’d rather forget. So think of it as telling your story to your muse. Think of it as helping someone who is going to learn the hard way unless you share your story. You are going to hold that person’s hand—just like you needed someone to hold yours.

There is a good reason why you are putting yourself through this. There is at least one person out there who needs to read your story. All you need is to help one person and it is all worth it.

Start at the beginning of your outline and work your way to those gold-nugget stories, what my friend Leigh calls the “candy bar” scenes. Don’t worry about it being perfect the first time around. You will probably have to write five drafts. But don’t let that stop you. You are starting something that takes most authors five or more years to finish. Start now with your first try, work on it a little bit each day, and finish it.

 I can’t wait to read your story. And I can’t wait for you to read mine.

This weekend I wrote down some thoughts about my own story, and I thought I’d share some of them with you.

“Really, Goodnight to My Thoughts of You is a coming-of-age story about an eighteen-year-old girl who has put relationships, guys, ballet, her own outer beauty, her best friend, even her own mom, before God in her heart. So God reveals this idolatry to her through a very intense heartbreak that leads to years of self-hatred and depression. This brokenness causes her to shed the lies and experience the truth that when God comes first in her heart, his will for her becomes beautifully clear. Only then does she have the wisdom to choose to love and marry the awesome man God has prepared for her.”

I’d also like to share an immensely encouraging quote from one of my professors from APU who read an early draft of my book:
“I LOVED the book!!!  Once I finally opened the document, I couldn’t stop reading.” –APU English Professor

Wow! What an honor to receive that kind of encouragement. Praise Jesus!

It is not a perfect book.
It will never win any awards.
But it is an accomplishment of ten years of reflection, five years of writing, rewriting, editing, sharing, praying, and learning.

I thank God so much for calling me to write Goodnight to My Thoughts of You (available in a few months.) It has been so worth the effort.

And I’m developing some new and exciting plans for my first presentation of the story. It is all in the Lord’s hands.

Thanks so much for reading. God bless you in your endeavors to write about your life.

xo,

Chelsea

P.S. I realize that I have only written about getting started and not about the grueling process of writing a book. Let me know if you would like to see some posts about the craft of writing–the actual process.

“My soul clings to you;

Your right hand upholds me.”

Psalm 63:8

Header Background Ocean

Continue Reading · Comments { 0 }