Julie’s DIYs

Felt Mother’s Day Flower

As with most of our felt projects, you will use the pattern pieces to trace and cut the center roll-up piece plus 3 different sizes of petal. I recommend 12 petals in each size, which will give you a full flower and will allow you to eliminate a petal here and there if you see fit. This flower looks great in a solid color or in a blend of colors. Different techniques will work as well – I made a purple one using only hot glue and also a yellow one that I hand stitched.

Curl felt and hot glue or stitch to the end
add a dot of hot glue to the base or fold sides together and stitch
each petal should look like this
all pieces are cut and shaped and now ready for assembly
begin gluing/stitching small petals to outer rim of center roll
continue adding medium and large petals
hot glue a magnet to back of piece

Origami Dress

Origami Dress 

https://pin.it/7LKAxiu (Pinterest pin from inspirefind.com)

  1. Select a piece of 6” X 6” cardstock or scrapbook paper
  1. Fold in half and crease, then fold those halves again and crease like the image below (This is the backside or “ugly side”  of my work where it’s easier to see the folds, ignore the ruler)
  1. There are now 3 creases to your work. If we number them left to right as “1/2/3”, our next step is to turn work to the front “pretty side” and fold creases 1 and 3 in the direction of crease 2. The image below will show you both pretty side and ugle side.
  1. Now fold your piece in half top down, with pretty side on the outside, like the image below. It should look a little bit like a wallet.
  1. Next make a short crease (I did not measure but ended up with about a half inch) above the center fold. Your work should now look like a letter Z.
  1. Turn work to the pretty side and align top down. It should look like the image below. You should notice that there are 4 parts: 2 shorter above and 2 longer below. Otherwise, it should be a rather neat rectangle.
  1. The 2 lower parts will make the skirt of the dress. You will pull the bottom right corner to the right and press it with your fingers. Afterwards, pull the bottom left corner to the left and press it with your fingers. This will create an A-line to the skirt. 
  1. The 2 upper parts will make the dress bodice. Begin by making a neckline. Fold and crease the centers top-down like the image below.This should look like lapels. 
  1. Keeping lapels pressed open, fold entire bodice in half, top down, following the lapel line. Below is a view from the ugly side of this step. I’ve even ripped the corner of my lapel a little bit but you’ll never see it in the end.
  1. The next step was the most difficult for me. I hope I can break it down for you! I had to unfold the right lapel and re-crease it, making a triangle piece that came to a clean point on the right side. I repeated the same on the left lapel.  
  1. The image below is both lapels turned in a boat neck neckline. 
  1. Congratulations! It’s all much easier from here to the end. You got this! Fold both bodice sides towards the back, making a narrow waistline. You will also fold a portion of the skirt to the back, completing the A-line of the skirt. 
  1. Turn work to the pretty side and fold the 2 top points directly to each side, making cap sleeves. Ta da! You’re done! 

Discussion Guide: Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry

Discussion Guide: Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry

  1. How is it possible that the youth of Denmark observed Nazi guards in their streets but did not recognize pending danger?


(parents down-played their concern to protect their children from fear, and the German presence was relatively non-threatening at first. No one could know how intense the political scene was going to eventually become for Denmark, nor when it might happen.

  1. Younger sister Kirsti listens to Annemarie tell stories which include pink frosted cupcakes. Why did the author include this detail?


(to draw our attention to the abundance of food that is available to us daily, and to demonstrate how food shortages affect the entire community during war times.)

  1. “All of Denmark is his (King Christian’s) bodyguard,” said Papa, yet our honorable King surrenders Denmark to Germany without much of a fight. What caused this breakdown?


(Nazis were too many and too powerful to be beaten at this time. Many neighboring countries had already demonstrated failed attempts with great loss.)

  1. As tensions mount, Annemarie becomes concerned with the treatment of Jews in Denmark, including her friend Ellen Rosen. What caused her to lose her conviction and begin to despair?


(putting your life on the line for a friend is a brave theory, but who of us wouldn’t cower at the thought of our very skin in the game?)

  1. How does Papa convince the guards in the middle of the night that Ellen is his daughter? 


(he carefully handpicks baby photos to show the guards that his daughter was born with dark curly hair. Close enough to be convincing)

  1. In what ways does our author describe Uncle Henrik that we know we can trust him, even though he is lying to Annemarie about dead Aunt Birte?


(Uncle is quiet, gentle, and knowledgeable, with blue eyes, rubbing the cow’s neck after milking her. Everything about him is safe and affectionate)

  1. Annemarie is startled to realize that her Uncle and Mama are lying to her. What does she discover about the importance of lies?


(that in desperate times, lying to our loved ones is a way of protecting them from the burden of truth. It also serves to prevent people from having to fake their reactions. How often are drug smugglers discovered at airports because they are acting nervous and sweating a lot?)

  1. Describe how Peter’s relationship to Mama Johanson has changed throughout the book.


(where he once referred to her as Mrs. Johanson, and eventually “Mama” as his future mother-in-law, Peter (a leader in the resistance) now refers to her by her first name (Inge) indicating that they are adults and peers in this endeavor.)

  1. Mama and Kirsti both inadvertently teach Annemarie how to handle herself if Nazi guards threaten your covert operation. Describe both influences briefly. 


(Mama becomes agreeable and accommodating, while calmly lying through her teeth about the corpse that is not in the coffin. She is an amazing actress who realizes that their lives depend on her quick thinking and superb acting. Kirsti comes by her talent honestly, being a typical self-centered and occasionally petulant 5 year old who chatters about silly little girl things, quickly causing guards to roll their eyes and shoo her away.)

  1. As a reader, did you develop your own theories about how the author would use the casket and the very important packet? Did the author surprise you in the reveal?


(Our imaginations definitely run wild with possibilities, but the author found a clever and yet plausible purpose for both of these important elements.)

  1. In chapter 12, Annemarie points out that it was harder for the ones who were waiting. Less danger, but more fear. How is this harder?


(Perhaps our imagination has time to get the best of us when we are waiting too long and we don’t know why we are waiting. It’s easy to become frantic when someone is late and danger is a possibility.)

  1. It seems like everything has gone wrong and Annemarie is doomed to fail. What saves the mission?


(She must rely on her training by behaving like her little sister. Also, it helps tremendously that the packet, which is indeed discovered by the guards, turns out to be a handkerchief that feels insignificant to the guards as well as Annemarie.)

Felt Crab

Felt Crab 

(inspired by Sew Sweet found on pinterest)

  1. Cut out paper pattern and trace onto felt: 
  1. Cut out felt pieces, making sure to trim off any ink marks from tracing. 
  1. Use large needle to embroider smile onto face
  2. Use small needle to stitch sequin eyes onto face
  1. Stitch around claw, leaving bottom open. Insert fiberfill into claw (don’t give up, use a pencil or pen and keep poking it in there; it will resist at first but you will win this fight)
  1. Using straight pins, pin the claws and legs into place. Sew around body of project, leaving an opening at the bottom. Stuff with fiberfill and sew closed entirely. 

(see pattern below)

Bleacher Seat Cushion

Bleacher Seat Cushion, by Julie Martin


Size 8 straight needles

Worsted weight yarn in color(s) of choice

Tapestry needle

Foam piece or fiberfill (or you can cut up a really deflated bed pillow like I did)


CO 45 sts

Using color(s) of choice, work front of cushion in stockinette stitch until piece is approximately 18” long.

Begin back of cushion, working in garter stitch until piece is approximately 36” long.

Once you have finished knitting your rectangle, BO all. 

Using tapestry needle and yarn of choice, sew 2 opposite sides of cushion together, making

a pillowcase.

Next, stuff your batting/fiberfill/foam into the inside of the pillowcase. 

Finally, use tapestry needle and yarn to sew your cushion closed.

Discussion Guide: King and the Dragonflies, by Kacen Callender

1) King believes his brother has become a dragonfly. What characteristics of dragonflies made our author chose them? What do they symbolize?

______________________________________________________________________________(dragonflies in this story are nearly angelic. They are dainty, beautiful, winged creatures that represent transformation and self-realization)

2) In chapter one, there is a tense exchange between Mikey Sanders and King with an unexpected outcome. Why is Mikey motivated to extend his condolences to King?

______________________________________________________________________________(Perhaps it is true that no one is all good or all bad; we are all in the process of becoming someone. Mikey may have been at odds with King’s brother, but never wished him dead.  Also, Mikey knows that his own brother is friends with King)

3) At school, 12-year-old King and his classmates begin to hint about crushes they experience. Then the gossip mill starts about Sandy coming out as gay. What challenge does this pose?

(Eager for their own individuality, these students inadvertently added pressure to their peers at a time when identities are still being formed. Shining a spotlight on this formation might make it harder for some to feel respected in their journey.)

4) Why does King keep a notebook of things his brother has said in his asleep?

(King and Khalid shared a bed and had no other siblings, so King really feels a bond with him. Khalid would occasionally utter something profound in his sleep, like “You’re going to be fine” and “I love you, King”. These sayings caused King to be intrigued and comforted.)

5) King shares his secret with Sandy that Khalid is now a dragonfly. Why is Sandy so non-reactive?

(Sandy understands loss – his mother ran off. He explains to King that no one’s ever really gone. This is his way of comforting and accepting King in his moment of grief.)

6) In his sleep Khalid would say, “Everything happens all at once.” What did this mean to King?

(Some of life’s most real moments are outside of time – or at least feel that way.)

7) What does Mardi Gras represent in this story?

(This is the first celebration they’ve dared to celebrate since Khalid’s death. It represents a celebration of life and joy. King worries that it is a betrayal to Khalid to experience this joy.)

8) Auntie Idris is unusually intuitive and compassionate. How does she help King with his grief?

(She bridges the gap between King and his grieving parents. After losing her own father in Hurricane Katrina, she understands the family’s sorrow. “The Spirits of this world don’t stay dead long.”)

9) King explains to his father that being black and being gay is the same sort of hate. Is it possible that this comparison is both accurate and conflicting at the same time?

(Each person will have their own answer to this question.)

10) What did it tell us about Khalid that he didn’t want people to think King was gay?

(Khalid was trying to protect King from others who would judge him unfairly.)



(project found in Mollie Makes magazine, issue #37 February 2014)

You will need: pen, scissors, sewing needle, black thread

1) Using enclosed pattern, cut 2 body pieces in green felt. You will want to make sure you conserve your green felt – there is just enough to make the body if you plan ahead and economize.

2) Using enclosed pattern, cut 2 each of the spikes in light gray. (6 total spines)

You will decorate/stitch just one layer of green felt body:

3) Using your own needle plus pearl buttons and embroidery thread enclosed, stitch eyes in place.

4) Using color embroidery thread and needle, stitch “scales” onto the dinosaur’s side (random placement works fine).

5) Using black embroidery thread and needle, stitch smile in place.

6) Using black thread and needle, stitch spine pieces to your dinosaur’s back, spacing them as you like.

7) Using black thread and needle, stitch back to front of dinosaur, stuffing it with fiberfill when you are approximately ¾ complete.

8) Finish stitching the back of dinosaur to the front.

Tuscan White Bean Soup

White Bean Soup

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 15 mins

Total Time 30 mins

This easy White Bean Soup is loaded with fresh veggies and will keep you cozy all winter. It’s freezer friendly too, so don’t forget to freeze some for later!

Course: SoupCuisine: American, MediterraneanServings: 6 servingsCalories: 288


  • ▢1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ▢1 tablespoon butter
  • ▢1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ▢1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into coins
  • ▢3 stalks celery, sliced
  • ▢1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ▢4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ▢6 cups low sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • ▢1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ▢1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ▢1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ▢1 bay leaf
  • ▢2 cans (15.5 ounces, each) Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • ▢1 cup (from a can) corn kernels, rinsed and drained
  • ▢2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ▢Grated parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
  • ▢Toasted bread slices, for serving (optional)


  • Heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat in a 6 quart Dutch oven or stockpot.
  • Add onions, carrots, celery, and parsley to the heated oil; cook for 5 minutes, or until just tender.
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  • Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.
  • Add vegetable broth; stir in salt, pepper, dried oregano and bay leaf.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in beans and corn kernels; continue to cook for 5 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper; adjust accordingly.
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  • Add spinach and cook for 1 minute.
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  • Remove from heat.
  • Ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve with toasted bread slices.
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Copyright 2020 Diethood (Katerina Petrovska). 

Instant Pot Hamburger Stroganoff

We found this on pinterest and thought it might be good enough to eat. Here goes!

yield: 4 SERVINGS

prep time: 15 MINUTES

cook time: 15 MINUTES

total time: 30 MINUTES


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 – 10.5 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 3 cups egg noodles, uncooked
  • 1 cup sour cream


1.Spray Instant Pot with nonstick cooking spray.

2.Brown meat, onion, and garlic using the SAUTE function on the Instant Pot. Season with salt & pepper. We were living on the edge and used ground turkey. Spectacular!

3.Add in flour and stir well.

4.Stir in cream of mushroom soup, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce.

5.Add uncooked noodles and stir.

6.Place lid on Instant Pot and set to 8 minutes on HIGH pressure.

7.Once finished, turn the valve from sealing to venting to Quick Release the pressure.

8.Remove lid and stir in sour cream before serving.

Brought to you by Hip2Save.

Discussion Guide: A Wish in the Dark, by Christina Soontornvat

  1. Pong and Somkit disagree about whether it is worth fighting over a fallen mango. Which do you agree with? How does this shape their character later in the book?


(Pong, who had been ready to fight, eventually becomes someone who plans to run away from troubles. Somkit, who had been ready to forfeit, eventually becomes someone who plans to stay and fight)

  1. “Fruit falls straight down from the tree.” This is a saying used in the book to judge children by the crimes of their parents. What does this reveal about their beliefs?


(Bigotry. The “good” people in this society have clever proverbs to rationalize the injustice of their treatment of the “bad” people)

  1. The author uses prisoner tattoos to make a parallel to another famous story. Which story is this?


(Les Miserables)

  1. In chapter 13, Father Cham states that “we don’t need an official to tell us whether our neighbors are taking good care of one another.” What is he really saying?


(Father Cham is suggesting that there is some self-sufficiency in providing care for our own community. It should be our duty.)

  1. Nok’s family burns good luck candles even though it is against the law. Does the hypocrisy strike them?


(No, they are able to rationalize this minor indiscretion because they have been taught that they are good people.)

  1. Nok is a very ambitious girl who wants to fight for justice. Along the way, she has encounters that open her eyes. How does her interaction with the Governor change her point of view?


(The Governor sees only her father’s flaws in her. Nok is now able to walk a mile in Pong’s shoes. Instead of being grateful that Nok warned him of sabotage, he condemns her, revealing that her real mother was a prisoner. True to form, he shames her, while breaking his own law and sabotaging a plan for peaceful protest.)

  1. What inspires Pong to free Nok from the Governor?


(Pong sees something familiar in Nok. This becomes one of the main themes of this book: mercy)

  1. During his escape, Pong is visited by the ghost of Father Cham who reminds him to think bigger when it comes to finding what you’re looking for. What does Pong come to realize?


(Darkness is everywhere and you can’t escape it. You must shine a light on it)

  1. Nok has always been a bit ashamed and embarrassed by her father. How does their healing come about?


(Her father explains his shameful affair and apologizes to her for making her life so difficult. Nok now understands that her step mother loves her very much. Nok also apologizes for putting a target on her family’s back because of the Governor.)

  1.  In the end, using fire once again becomes the practice. The topic of safety versus freedom is mentioned. In your opinion, is it possible to have an absolute statement about the balance of freedom and safety, or does it more frequently depend on the situation?