Sandwich or Needle felted Hanukkah Dreidel?


Hanukkah dreidels are usually made from clay, wood, plastic or metal; I decided to see how one would work made from wool.


The needle felted sandwich dreidel is made up of many parts (tomato, lettuce, cheese, olive and 2 pieces of bread) balanced on top of each other and sewn together.

tomato, lettuce, cheese, bread (needle felted and felt)

The edges of the bread and tomatoes are covered with a strip with felt and sewn to the needle felted shape. The soft fluffy wool of the bread makes the slices feel and look real!

needle felted bread detail

A  low, flat shape shape spins the best (apple slice, sandwich, sufganiyot, egg). I cut a hole in the middle of these shapes and glued a piece of chop stick through the center for spinning.

Hanukkah apple slice dreidel (with real apple seeds), fried egg dreidel, jelly doughnut dreidel and sandwich dreidel

Now I’m hungry!

Costume accessories rule!

A witch hat is a great costume accessory

Looking back, the whole costume charade was fun and transforming for kids, but I think that simple costume accessories can be just as creative, more affordable and easily made at home.  

The top hat and cape ARE the costume for the magician.

  The best accessories are hats and capes. 

Versatile black and red cape, vampire or magician
medieval knight's cape, costume or accessory

  This medieval knight’s cape can be an accessory for a more detailed costume or it can work as the costume alone.  

Excalibur sword, accessories for knights and warriors

Fabric weapons are another great accessory; I know, I know, you try to discourage your child playing with such things, but in the end, a stick becomes an outlaws knife or a spoon is suddenly a cowboy’s gun. This fierce sword (as well as the crown and super hero cape and mask) are  projects in my book Sew Magical for Kids. The book includes easy sewing instructions and patterns for these accessories.  

King or Queen's cape, a beautiful costume accessory.

  This king or queen cape can be made in several different colors and lengths to alter the look. Don’t forget the crown!  

Royal crown and ruff accessories

 This beautiful, adjustable crown is very easy to make, it can be made out of many different materials such as felt, lame or cotton.

Really Scary Stuff

Oh no!

Halloween is a time for costumes, parties and scary stuff, but what is scary to you? My kids think these things are scary:

  • the dark
  • monsters
  • dead people
  • getting lost
  • a bad dream
  • entering a black hole
  • quick sand
  • a head that turns all the way around
  • scary movies
  • hearing spooky noises in the house

but I think these things are scary:

  • my computer crashes
  • driving in India
  • having to use a public restroom in India
  • hot dogs
  • showing up at the airport and realizing my passport has expired
  • war
  • extreme anything, i.e. amusement park rides, political or religious views, sports
  • driving while the gas tank reads empty
  • trying to get out of the parking lot after a big concert
  • my daughters wants to date or learn to drive

What frightens you?

Note: I made this Frankenstein costumes for my store last year. The Frank hat is made from felt, the jacket is wool.

Inspired by Beauty and Elegance

tutu on a rainy day

Writers and artists talk about creative blocks, a loss of inspiration and a lack of ideas from which to create. I usually have so many ideas that I never have time to explore all of them, but I always look for inspiration. One theme that I’ve seen appear repeatedly over the years in my work is ballet, I’m inspired by the beauty, elegance, colors, music, costumes and backdrops of this dance. Here is one of the videos about sewing ballet costumes that I love! Recreating a tutu\’s splendor

Elli's ballet recital

I’ve never taken a ballet lesson in my life, but my mother did make me take tap dancing lessons when I was a kid because I was so clumsy! I hated taking those tap dancing lessons and they didn’t work because I’m still really clumsy! My girls, on the other hand have loved ballet; Lili started wearing a pink tutu at two and half years old and refused to take it off for about three years.

first ballet class

Due to my girls’ love of ballet, I was inspired to make  tutus and ballerina costumes in my store. I knew that many little girls shared a love for this beautiful form of expression; tutus, ballet outfits, ballerina dolls, ballet bags and pretty ballerina crowns were some of the most popular items that I made and sold in my store. I researched how to sew a “real” tutu because I wanted to make a tutu that stood up and bounced when danced in. A “real ballerina tutu” uses several layers of tulle; not all of the tulle is the same, the bottom layers are stiff, the top layers are light and fluffy. The gathered layers of tulle are sewn to the waist band in different directions  (some layers are sewn upside down) to give the tutu a lift.

classic tutu

Mothers swooned over the the ballerina costumes and tutus hanging in the store and their the little girls pleaded to try them on. Outfitted in the finest pink tutus, the little girls flitted across the floor on tippy-toe to the mirror, where they started to twirl around in circles.  I always loved to watch this happen, when a child transformed into the character of the costume they were wearing; I think it’s one of the magical moments of childhood! To add to the wonderment, I created a little bag that looked just like the ballerina outfits. The instructions and pattern for this bag can be found in my book: Sew Magical for Kids.

Ballet Bag
The ballet bag looks just like the ballerina outfit!

To be continued…

Kids and Moms love Teddy Bears

Emili and the big teddy bear

Over the years, I’ve made about everything you could think of for a child as with a  teddy bear theme. I have many teddy bears that were childhood toys and I still have them; My girls received many as newborn presents and they still have them too. When they were small, I made teddy bear bibs…

Teddy Bear bib

I made teddy bear blankets…

Sleeping with a bear blanket

 I made teddy bear bags of all kinds to keep things in…

Teddy Bear Bag
Teddy Bear Bag
Teddy Bear Tote bag/Diaper Bag
Teddy Bear Backpack
Emili wearing a teddy bear backpack

 I made teddy bears to play with…

classic teddy bear toy
heirloom teddy bear toy
Big Toy Teddy Bears
Tiny, ornament sized teddy bears

and teddy bears to wear…

teddy bear sunhat
Let’s see what else I can come up with…