Monday, October 13, 2008

Pretend Play Just Got Sweeter

Felt Cupcakes for Pretend Play

Imagine kids setting up a tea party with these sweet felt treats. How will they choose just one? We all know pretend play is an important part of kids development and felt food is a great addition to any tea set or kitchen play center.

ince we launched our shop on Etsy we've been dreaming up new designs. We're excited to launch some sweet new styles this fall. Shown here is a group of felt cupcakes featuring some new color combinations and toppings including a birthday candle, chocolate heart, strawberry, cream puff and cherry! These felt treats will be available for sale at the Packanack Lake Craft Show on November 1st in Wayne, NJ. After that we plan to list these for sale in our shop at

With every piece of felt food we complete we find ways to make the designs even cuter. Our ice cream cones are a good example. We found a way to make the felt ice cream scoop a bit rounder and the ruffle more finished. We offer felt ice cream cones in strawberry, chocolate, vanilla (shown here) and mint chocolate chip too!

Up next are some new cake slices. We haven't done these in a while but have lots of ideas for color combinations and designs. Check back soon to see what we bake up ;)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Free Word Find Printable

I remember doing word finds as a kid and still enjoy them today. This one's great for older kids and easy to complete in about 10 minutes. They'll have fun searching for birthday related words and maybe get a bit hungry for our favorite food - cupcakes ;)

Get your free printable now, just click on the image to open in a new tab, then print. Visit us every month for a new and different type of challenge. Enjoy!

Have an idea for our next free printable? Please leave us comment.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dreaming of Felt Food

Felt food is great way to encourage pretend play

Like many moms, I get my work done after the kids are asleep. Last night I was dreaming up a new style of icing for our felt cupcakes. The first post on this blog showed our original attempts at creating a realistic cupcake shape. If you've tried making your own patterns for felt food you know it takes a few tries to get a piece looking just right. Katherine and I initially settled on one icing style and have sold several in our shop on Etsy. These cupcakes feature soft ruffles in pink and white felt.

The fun thing about cupcakes today is variety, so we're going to keep dreaming up new designs for our felt cupcakes too! Our newest style features bold swirls of felt. I still need to stitch the layers together but so far I think it looks great. I couldn't resist putting a cherry on top. This was my first try at a felt cherry!! It was tedious to stitch the pieces together, but I think it's a nice finishing touch on this piece.

If you're shopping for play food this holiday season, please consider handmade felt treats like ours. See more of our felt goodies in our shop on Etsy!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Featured Seller: ChiliMango

One of the best things about Etsy is that new shops are added all the time, like this one ChiliMango. Emily recently started selling jewlery on Etsy, although she's been a member on Etsy from the beginning.

Based out of California she finds inspiration in the warm tropics and nature. I was impressed with the unique construction of this necklace - orange Japanese seed beeds and a yellow canary faceted lucite bead are strung on turquoise waxed cotton cord, twisted to make up the fun focal pendant.

Priced at $10 it's a great gift for a friend or for yourself!

In addition to her day job and Etsy business, Emily also created a social network called "Do You Etsy?" - a friendly place where Etsyians can promote their work, trade tips and support one another. It's a great resource for sellers, my favorite part of this network is the video section. Here are some of the great videos you'll find:

  • Indie5Collective Channel for Etsy Artist - daily videos where you can learn about Etsy communities, meet other sellers and get tips for starting your business.

  • How to videos for promoting your shop with myspace, facebook and twitter.
  • Etsy Lab videos - packaging, photos and more
Lots of luck to Emily and her new business!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quick and Easy Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs are a fun and easy recipe to try with kids.

It hit me last night, summer's winding down and there are just two weeks before school. I decided today was going to be a family fun day - no chores!! So we decided to spend our day making treats. If you've read our blog before you know I'm not great at baking - but today we struck gold with sweet and easy cream puffs. I'm telling you anyone can make these, even me.

We followed a very basic recipe from our Better Homes and Gardens cookbook - this is our go to source for everything. If you don't have this cookbook, the recipe is also online. The best part about today was that we had fun at home with stuff already in our kitchen. The basic ingredients for cream puffs are water, eggs, butter, flour and a pinch of salt. That's it!! For the filling we used instant pudding which we stirred by hand. With two eager helpers five minutes of stirring was perfect - everyone had several turns.

I couldn't believe how easy it was to make the dough and when I first put it on the baking tray -I admit, I was skeptical this was actually going to work. But after 30 minutes in the oven they looked great (although not all the perfect shape or size).
We had fun scooping out the inside and adding pudding - topping it off with, of course, chocolate sauce and confectioners sugar. Definitely try this at home - super easy and very YUMMY!!

Of course real cream puffs are the best, but felt creations are fun too and last long after the real treats are gobbled up. The other day I experimented with felt circles and made a bunch of cream puffs to use on our felt food. Just like real cream puffs, these were super easy too.

To make these you just need a small circle of felt with triangle shaped notches cut out all the way around. Think of it like a clock and keep the cuts symmetrical - 12, 3, 6, 9 and one in between each of those. Sew each layer to the next, tie off and your done!
We'd love to know...
What's your favorite recipe to make with kids?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Late Summer Blooms

This time of year there is so little color in our garden. We're enjoying the hydrangeas and are surprised by a few late blooms on other climbing plants like our violet clematis. Usually I just enjoy these flowers from a distance because they grow over our arbor, but I love the detail in this close up shot.

Although this felt creation isn't quite a clematis flower, it has a fun, rolled up felt, fringe center that adds a nice detail.

A few years back I added a hydrangea tree to the back corner of our yard. It's been growing slowly in height, but has tons of great blooms. The other day after a rain shower I went outside to take a few pictures for inspiration. This shot really captured the shape of each individual flower and gave me a good starting point for creating this treasured flower in felt.

Here's a sneak peak at my work in progress - which features my version of a felt hydrangea flower. Visit our shop on Etsy soon to see the completed projects!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Transportation Themed Boy's Room

Affordable, heirloom quality wall hangings

We all know the dilemma - you want to decorate you're child's room around a theme but you don't want to plaster the licensed characters all over the bedding, walls and accessories. PJs are definitely OK. Last month a mom was designing on her son's "big boy" room and she turned to Etsy for a solution.

Like many seasoned Etsy shoppers, she posted a request to Alchemy. If you haven't checked out this feature on Etsy - please do!! Alchemy is a place where shoppers can request custom items - really anything under the sun - and Etsy shop owners will bid on the request.

This mom wanted something to decorate her son's walls that was based on the bedding. The bedding set she selected offered optional wall decals, but she wanted something nicer.

We bid on her request and she selected us to create two custom wall hangings based on the wall decals shown above. We had a few conversations and settled on the Jeep and Truck icons.

It was so much fun to take these cute images and turn them into heirloom art for her son. As it turns out the week I mailed these to the family - they were still welcoming home a new baby boy!

Our wall hangings are made with wool felt and are sewn entirely by hand. We'd love to hear from you and talk about how we can create a custom design for you.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Free Bake Shop Printable

As moms, we know getting kids to practice their handwriting isn't always easy. Many of our favorite kid's web sites have printables that feature characters and make learning fun. So we thought, kids love treats and it could be fun for them to learn words like - cupcake, cake, ice cream and cookie!

Treat them with this sweet lesson today - print our Bake Shop Fun worksheet. Spend a few minutes coloring and have fun writing out some favorite words.
TIP: As you go through the sheet you can also ask questions about their favorite flavors or ask them count the chocolate chips.

Get your free printable now, just click on the image to open in new tab, then print. Visit us every month for a new and different type of challenge.

Have fun!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Summer Fun Birthday Party

Saturday might have been the hottest day this summer!! It was also my daughter's fifth birthday party. When we can, we have our parties at home because it's easier to incorporate a theme. Last year was a fairy party and this year was a good old fashioned summer fun party. We based the party around the cutest plaid kiddie pool we found at Target. All the colors were bright - pink, orange, green, yellow and turquoise. We found room in the yard for the pool, a slip and slide, and a bounce house. The kids kept cool and had a blast- we think they especially enjoyed the water balloons.

Katherine and I always help each other out in business and in our personal life. We both love throwing parties and often joke that we have enough party supplies to start our own rental place. She and her husband brought over their bounce house, extra tables, chairs and market umbrellas. My family was there too, helping in every way they could.

Every year I try to get the perfect theme cake made but it never comes out quite right. So this year we just made cupcakes. I'm great at sewing, but I can't bake (my husband's the baker in our family). For this party, we had two sets of cupcakes ours were simple with pink icing. Katherine made the fabulous cupcakes shown in the photo, inspired by some she had seen on THANKS Katherine!!

We've been having fun with our business and watching that take off. We're planning our first event - the Packanack Lake Craft Show - November 1st. It should be a great venue - inside the clubhouse right nearby the lake. We already have lots of super cute ideas for how we'll stage our display. For us, an event to showcase our work will be a little like planning a theme party!! It should be lots fun and hope that those of you in northern New Jersey will stop by. Please stay tuned for more on that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cupcake Night at Etsy, July 2008

Thanks to everyone who participated in Etsy's Cupcake Night. It was a great night of crafting and of course everyone loved cupcakes (thanks to Nichelle, Rachel and Allison for providing the yummy treats

We met so many wonderful people tonight and were so impressed by their enthusiasm and creativity. In the Etsy Labs we provided the instructions for our cupcake ornament, then gave attendees a variety of felt and yarn to choose from. While many followed our model, there were so many funky and unique designs. We took a bunch of photos which you can view in our photostream on Flickr. Towards the end of the night we popped on the webcast and gave the virtual attendees a step-by-step demo. Thanks to all who hung in there to see us online and for your kind words.

Thanks again - Jill and Katherine

To get your template and instructions

please convo us through Etsy (shop: tinycupcakes) or

send an email to

Template and instructions are our original design. We're happy to share with you but please use our guide for personal crafting only :)
Copyright (C) 2008 tiny cupcakes

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Evolution of our Felt Cupcake!

We tossed around lots of business ideas, and then we discovered felt play food. We were immediately hooked on the idea felt food and set off to try our hand at creating our own versions. Our goal was to keep our product original so we decided to create our own patterns. Not as easy to do as we thought. My first cupcake was too large, Katherine's was smaller and more along the lines of what we had in mind. My second cupcake was cute, but looked more like those great mini chocolate mouse cakes. The third attempt was too small and a bit boring.

We really wanted a realistic size and shape - easy for kids to hold. Although kids love icing the best (and that's usually all they eat), we thought a detailed cupcake wrapper was important. So we experimented a bit, and then found a process that worked for us and makes our cupcake look authentic. Our end result is fun for kids - soft, squishy, and a replica of one of their favorite foods. Plus we think it looks gorgeous with lots of ruffled felt layers of icing on top.

We used acrylic felt and fleece for our prototypes - we now have a great supply of heirloom quailty, wool blend felt that's resists pilling and will better hold up to years of fun.

This is just the beginning for us - we look to real desserts as the inspiration for our felt play food. The ideas are limitless and we hope you check us out again to see what we're baking up next!