Homemade Playtime for Penelope


Girly Bean Bags

Does anyone else despise obnoxious talking Elmo toys? You know, the toys that make the annoying sounds and always get tossed aside whenever a cardboard box is present? I really don’t like those toys. I do like the ones that make real (not canned) noises when handled by exploring hands of little ones. It’s possible that I like my peace and quiet.

Two weeks ago, when my mother-in-law was in town, she suggested that I make Penelope some bean bags. I thought this idea was doubly radical* because my mom had just given me a 5 lb bag of white beans that were starting to look slightly aged. I also had remnant fabric from a few misc. projects including minky fabric from the quilt my mother made for Penelope.

Happily, all of the fabric seemed to coordinate very well. Really. What doesn’t look good with Heather Bailey fabric? Seriously. Heather Bailey is my hero.


I wanted to have a different texture on each bean bag to keep Penelope interested, but I don’t think it would’ve mattered, because she loves them so much anyway.

Penelope loves her beanbag

I finished sewing the fourth bag at about midnight two nights ago and less than 10 minutes later, Penelope woke up. She did NOT want to sleep, she wanted to play. I think she knew I had just made her a new toy.

Her face lit up when she saw the new bean bags and she giggled and clapped when Christopher started juggling them. It felt SO good to make her something she likes so much. She likes them so much I had a very hard time getting all four bags in one spot to take photos. Penelope kept taking one and running away from me. Sneaky girl.

*Awesome is losing power. Radical needs to take over the world.
view or add a comment
  • Categories
    1. Nicia says:

      What a great idea!! They turned our really nice too! Good work.

    2. I totally agree. Our 22 month old LOVES Elmo though so we’ve steared him towards the 40th anniversary Sesame Street toys that don’t make any noise, like the apartment that opens up. He loves that one a lot. I do love the bean bags though… did you make a bag to go inside the bean bags in case they are torn open, or did you just stuff them?

    3. Melissa says:

      I haven’t seen the Sesame street toys that don’t make noises. I’ll have to check those out!

      I completely spaced making a muslin inner bag for the beans, so I just stuffed them. I didn’t make a dent in the 5 lb bag of beans my mom gave me, so I’m FOR SURE going to do that with the next bags I make. If I also do an envelope-style cover, they’d be easy to remove and wash. I have a feeling I’ll need to wash them with all of the use they’re getting.

    4. Jenn says:

      haha, not rad, but ‘radical.’ I really love it. And those are some mighty adorably girly bean bags. You can take Elmo apart and use his stuffing to make more bean bags.

    5. Laurie says:

      Very very cute, and a great idea too!

    6. kami says:

      so cute! i am going to make bean bags for my little boy for christmas and i know he’ll love them…i’m so glad to see that kids this age really do love them! that’s a good idea to make an inner bag…i’ll have to do that!

    7. Lillian says:

      You are amazing! I totally love them. After you told me about them the other day, I was hooked and my Ella loves them. I’ll have to try and make a minky one, too. Of course there’s no way it’ll turn out as cute as yours, but it’ll be a nice attempt:) Thanks for the idea, I feel so cool copying you.

    8. Miranda says:

      love these! am inspired. also very impressed with your use of the full word ‘radical’ as i usually just opt for ‘rad.’

    9. AmberLee says:

      wow. i’m falling in love with beanbags all over again.

    10. […] {here} is a woman who takes bean bag sewing seriously. I could learn a thing or two. Aren’t these […]

    11. […] Vintage circus posters – Isn’t the typography radical? […]

    12. Jhan says:

      Oh….so cute!!!!

    13. Bridget B. says:

      I agree about the toys vs. cardboard boxes, handmade toys are so much better. Your bean bags are radical and I’m pretty sure my little one needs a dozen.

    14. made sweet says:

      they’re gorgeous!!! what a great idea.

    15. Rob says:

      I really like how you are promoting the word radical. It is very much underused and awesome is very much overused. I think you should post just about this very thing! :) lol

    16. Allison says:

      Ha ha ha. Radical indeed. Mind if I shorten it?

    17. Nancy says:

      I’m impressed by your simple, yet totally radical idea of making pretty beanbags. I’ve made some seriously plain ones in my day. Love love love the idea of an inner bag and a washable cover. Like a pillow. So so genius.

    18. These are cute and fun. My sons both enjoyed pennies in a taped up plastic water bottle (fun but not so cute). Thank you for sharing!

    19. Emily says:

      I loved this idea so much that I made some for my niece (blogged on my blog today)! Thanks so much for sharing your idea…I’m sure my niece will love them!!

    mobile site