So I've been practicing on my sewing machine, a lot! And I'm pleased to report that it works swimmingly! I found some tutorials online, to try out, and I've already made several drawstring bags, of which this one is my favorite. Oh, and it's even lined on the inside!
But what I really want to make on my machine are little felt creatures. So I found another tutorial for a tiny Japanese owl, which I tried and really liked. But it still had me sewing by hand too much and it was made of regular fabric instead of felt. So then I tried something of my own improvised design: a huge felt bear, which is kind of a mash-up between my old hand sewn bear and reindeer.
I like the things I've been able to sew with my machine so far, and I'm pleased with the control the machine gives me over the stitching. These were just practice runs and now it's time to draw some new patterns, because the old ones aren't really suitable for machine sewing, and start creating new creatures... en masse!