01 June 2012

OUT Chapter 3: Jo of Boogaloo

 I love it when something created has meaning behind it, more than just look what I made! (which I guess is why I love OUT so much). Today's guest, Jo of Boogaloo, is another newcomer to Once Upon a Thread, and her project might spark your imagination of what you can do with that bit of old scrap or clothing item that has sentimental value (you know, instead of debating whether or not to just let it go or keep it tucked away in the cupboard, taking up space.)  Plus, she shares a couple of her secret weapons (I love secret weapons!)  Please welcome Jo!
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It is such an incredible honour to be featured on Katy's blog. I am in awe of her
talent and creativity so I can't even express how happy I am to be here today!

I absolutely love children's literature. And one of my favourite books is Phoebe Gilman's 
Something from Nothing.
I love it so much I bought a copy for each of my boys.

If you're not familiar with this book, it's the story of a young boy named Joseph who receives a blanket from his grandfather.
As he gets older, the blanket becomes worn and his grandfather re-purposes the remaining usable fabric into something new - over and over again.
Throughout the years the blanket is reincarnated into a jacket, a tie and eventually a button.

This book is beautifully illustrated and has a secondary story about a little family of mice along the bottom of each page.  
The mice use the fabric scraps from Joseph's blanket to furnish their home and keep their growing family warm throughout the years.

So when a good friend of mine asked me if I could make a stuffed animal for her daughter from a pillow 
that belonged to her grandmother - it reminded me of this touching story.
I couldn't refuse.
I thought a mouse would be fitting.
The fabric from the pillow fabric frays so easily so I decided to use it as tummy and ear
 patches - and just let it do just that - fray.
I used this pattern and got to work.
When it came to the arms I used this Quick Turn tool made by Dritz.
This handy tool not only made it easy to turn fabric tubes right-side-out...

...it made stuffing them easier as well. 

I would not have been able to stuff those skinny little arms without it!
 The batting and cording were reused from the pillow. 
Once Lucy was done (she's been named after Grandma), I moved onto a blanket.
For this I sewed a simple pinwheel quilt block and used the pillow fabric to cover a button for the center.
I think it adds just that much more symbolism from the story.
To make the button, I used this i-top tool from Imaginisce.
If you are interested in creating your own custom fabric buttons, this is a really inexpensive tool to use
(compared to other kinds on the market).
It was a simple gift to make but it really was about the sentiment that went into it.

And I'm pretty certain that 'Lucy' will be treasured for years to come, just as Joseph did his blanket.

Thanks for having me here today Dills!

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What a cutie! (both the mouse and the mouse trap ;).  Thank you, Jo, for a clever way to reincarnate a bit of sentimental treasure.  
So, do you have anything you plan on reviving?


  1. Oh my goodness! that little mouse is one of the cutest little things! (I may need to make one!) And I love the way you used the pillow to make it and the quilt...adorable! Great job! I'll have to check out that book, it sort of reminds of a book that we love here: "I had a favorite dress" by Boni Ashburn, it's a similar idea where a girl's favorite dress becomes too small so it is reinvented over and over...with that notion i actually made a skirt out of one of my favorite dresses that I made my daughter after it was too small http://buzzmills.typepad.com/blog/2012/04/kcwc-day-three-snip-snip-sew-sew-a-new-skirt.html
    Oh, and, I definitely need to get my hands on that turning tool!! I turn and stuff a lot of little legs around here!! :) Great job!

  2. The mouse is cute. I also wanted to share a post I did with I Had A Favorite Dress (a contemporary Joseph's Overcoat) in mind.


  3. I love being introduced to all these new to me bloggers. Its amazing to see all these creative souls out there. Darling mouse! Love this idea;)

  4. That story sounds fabulous & I LOVE her Lucy ;-)

    This reminded me: we are making a few changes in our bathroom. My husband asked what all I was wanting to do, so I went down the list. When I got to 'new shower curtain' (to be made from a thrifted stained sheet and scraps of fabric from other projects ;-) - but he didn't know all that....) he asked, "so what are you doing with the old one?" The old one has had a huge tear in it for years (why didn't I sew it??) and is a sheer fabric that frays horribly. I really couldn't think of something to do with it, and I have a tiny house, so I don't keep a lot of 'just in case' stuff, so I told him I was throwing it away. He acted all shocked and said, "Who are you? MY wife would never throw that away! She'd make a purse or a diaper or a dress or SOMETHING out of it" ;-)

    p.s. love this series & being introduced to new books to enjoy.

  5. When we were children, our brother had a handsewn sleeping friend, a very simple bear. Twice cut a bear shape, sewn together, tummy, ears insides and hands-foots in other color, its nose and mouth was embroidered and had two black and white button eyes. All through the years that bear changed its skin a few times, the only thing what's the same on it (he still has it, close to 40), are the eyes. But it's still the same bear for him. :o)

  6. Oh how darling! Thanks for the tip on the tool too.

  7. Such a sweet little mouse! I love how she tied the story in. Thank you!

  8. We just read that book for the first time recently. My boys love seeing the story inside the story. Thanks for sharing that turning tool with us! Genius!

  9. This one made me cry! & thanks for the tip on the Dritz turning & stuffing tool!

  10. I love this! Great story and great project.

  11. Such a darling creation! And, I have been looking for a better way to make covered buttons and this just may be it! Looks like these buttons would have more sturdy backs than the kits they sell in the fabric stores. Thank you!

  12. I absolutely love how powerful this little mouse is... what a delightful and precious gift for a wee girl. Thank you for sharing.


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