Make St. Ia and Her Friends!

Saint Ia and her friends created by Kristina Wenger

My sweet and crafty friend, Kristina Wenger, sent me the cutest gift – St. Ia and her friends! Isn’t it just adorable?! I can’t believe how much they look like the characters in the book and I can’t stop looking at them. It’s one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve gotten. If you would like to make some of your own, Kristina has created instructions and templates for you to use. Below are images

She created directions for all of you in case you want to create them yourself. I can’t believe how much they look like the actual characters in the book! She has kindly written up the directions on how to make them and is letting me share them with you.

From Kristina:

“I’m a child at heart, and as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed making toys. Of late, I’ve most often made stuffed animals or dolls, chiefly to give as gifts. Occasionally, however, I create them as my natural response to someone’s gift of art. Some people write fan fiction or create artwork inspired by someone else’s work. I create fan stuffies or toys. I’ve made stuffies in response to store logos, a comic figure, and several books. 

From the moment I heard that my gifted friends Melinda Johnson and Kristina Tartara were collaborating on a picture book about St. Ia, I knew I’d want to make some sort of fan response to their work. I love Melinda’s writing and Kristina’s illustrations. I knew that this book would be amazing. And I was right. It is. 
I followed their process closely as they shared snips and scraps about the book, throughout the process. As I did, I brainstormed ideas for a stuffie that would be an appropriate response. Over the months, I considered several options, but once “Ia Rides a Leaf” arrived in my mailbox, I knew that I couldn’t make a stuffie in response to it: I needed to make four toys, and each needed to be able to bend and move so that anyone playing out the story could imitate the actions of St. Ia and her animal friends. And so my St. Ia bendy toys were born.

I wanted to make it possible for anyone else who wanted a set of the toys to be able to do so. So I have created simple patterns that can be cut from fleece or felt and glued or sewn together, with pipe cleaner bases, to make bendable toys to accompany this book. I’ve also assembled pictorial tutorials for the toys in the event that anyone else wants to make them. (I went the “quick” route and glued my toys together, but I think they’d be lovely sewn, as well.)

I’m so grateful for my friends’ hard work on this sweet book. St. Ia’s determination and trust in God, as shown in the book, will encourage any young (or old) reader to do the same. And the illustrations are so playful that some readers will want to create toy versions and play out the story on their own! I hope they’ll invite me to come and play, too… “

Patterns & Tutorials

Kristina has graciously provided PDFs of the patterns and tutorials on how she made the toys, so you can make them just like she did.

If you made any of these characters, please share pics at We’d love to see what you’ve created!