Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fabric.com is a RIP OFF

I just have to get this out of my system right now.

fabric.com is a huge stinking rip off.

Oh, they have sales and lowish prices and free shipping (all the time) if you spend $35 (which is so freaking easy, am I right?).

BUT. . .you have to buy full yards to get the best price.  And that's a NEW policy.

I got their fun black friday sale email so I went to go sniff around the sale stuff.  Thought I'd grab up some half yards of some fun stuff on my wish list.

But wait, when I select half yard it's not just half the price of the sale.  It wasn't even half of the REGULAR price.  "Ok," I thought, "it's because it's a sale.  Let's check a regular priced item and see what's what."  Same damn thing there.  Full (non sale) price was $9.48/yard.  For a half yard it was $7 (and change).  


THAT'S JUST NUTS.  Who on earth is going to agree to pay THAT much more for less.

Oh, fabric.com, I used to enjoy going on little spending splurges with you.  Yes, I learned to avoid buying panels from you because you have some poor cutting quality with panels (but good customer service trying to correct it but even the corrected panel was still cut into. . .*sigh*).

I guess I always knew I shouldn't be buying stuff there.  It's better to go to smaller stores and all that but I'm cheap and if I could score a deal I was all about it.  Those days are now over.

So, all those smaller shops out there, I'm ready to do some shopping.  Whatcha got in the way of sales/deals this holiday season?

(for the record, I was hoping to score some Highlands cat prints and I was willing to buy one of the shades in a full yard because I knew I could use it but I wanted other prints and I know I won't use a full yard of any of them.  Oh, well.  Their loss, some smaller shops gain!)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sewing for Charity: Softies for Mirabel and Fluff Project (updates!)

I've kicked it into high gear to make sure I have something to send to Spoonflower for their Softies for Mirabel drive.

Here's what I have so far:

Sweet and sour pickles!

It's a free pattern courtesy of While She Naps' Abby Glassenberg.  HERE.

The original pattern was for felt with french knot bumps and felt eyes.  I mixed it up a bit with textured fleece/minky (got it in the remnant bin and it made 13 total pickles and there is a bit still left over--my first test pickle is not shown here but it turned out great so it's part of the donation pile)

I also subbed out small safety eyes and then did embroidered mouths.

Half dozen for Softies for Mirabel and half dozen for Fluff Project.  The extra will go to Mirabel (yes, I was tempted to keep it but these are so easy to make I could make more for me any time I want so no need to keep the tester since it turned out perfect).

More pics because I can (the color is a minty green despite what these pics show--I still have horrible lighting in my kitchen and I'm too lazy to make a light box and all that shit).

Holding it in my hand to show the size.  It's small but even with the small size was not hard to sew at all.  The pattern is three pieces (to get the good shape) which had me worried it would be a pain to sew (more dimensional stuff can be a pain in the ass and when I want to assembly sew for charity sometimes I prefer patterns of least resistance).  I was also concerned the eyes wouldn't fit but they did.

TIP:  Put the eyes on after you sew the pickle but before you stuff.  That's not normally how you put on safety eyes but since this sucker is small, the stems of the eyes would get in the way.  And you won't have to fight with them getting too close to the edge.  That's a super pain in the ass when you're making something and the safety eyes are already on and when you're trying to do the seam the eye is all in the way.  No, just no.  Put the mouth on after you stuff but before you close (so you can best hide the knots).

Pickles aren't the only thing I'm up to.

(I'd like to note that since I made 6 pickles for Fluff Project, technically I've met my five stuffed toys for December goal AND met my yearly goal, too. . .but I still want to make some other stuff for Fluff if possible and I've already started on something else for Fluff).

I've also been cranking out stuff JUST for Softies for Mirabel.

I got all that done this weekend.  The crabs (also an Abby Glassenberg free pattern. . .I think I forgot to link it before so HERE it is--I make mine with quilting cotton not fleece but that's my only change--I just don't like fleece for small fussy pieces since it stretches a lot and annoys me).

The snail is one I've done for Fluff Project before, so the TWELVE here are all for Mirabel.  I'm going to googly eye them all since I love that look.  Now I just need to close the crabs (then they are DONE) and finish up the snails (close the bodies, put on eyes and mouth, and attach shell to body).

"Mom, hurry up and leave the room, I want to nose around in that scrap bin and see what I can find to eat!"

Yes, Murray likes to dine at the scrap bin buffet.  Butt.  I have to dump it every time I sew (or make sure there isn't anything desirable like long pieces of thread or crinkly plastic or paper or cardboard. . .you get the idea. . .in there).  I can only leave a few fabric pieces (not bits, they have to be larger pieces, I like to save them to test my machine when I have to change thread) in there since that's the only thing he seems to not care about, though he'll still get up on the table and rummage about.  I think he's part raccoon.  OH and I have to cover everything too, especially if there are little bits cut out.  If they don't actively cart them off, they'll push them off the table and play with them (meaning they get lost) or just generally get into shit.  Cats, gotta love them.  (or just not have them because you're never going to win with them.  Never.)

2015 Quilting Goals: Drunkard's Wife QAL

I decided to do a quilt along to force myself to work on my quilting skills.  That and I happened to stumble onto Sew Scatterbrained's blog (via IG).  She's doing the work of setting the QAL up so all I have to do is play along (no signing up or any of that, which is just my style).

I got all caught up (there were only two blocks to do) this weekend.

The fun twist with these is you're supposed to make an error (because you're drunk, right?  yeah, that's too dangerous for me to mix alcohol and fast moving needles, thankyouverymuch.  that and alcohol makes me sleepy, again, not good to be drowsy when playing with fast moving needles and rolling cutting implements).

This was a churn dash (I believe that's the correct term) block and I deliberately put one corner and one of the "two bar" pieces on wrong.  You really notice teh corner error but the bar takes longer to notice.

OH and double challenge for this, I'm trying to use up three scrap packs I bought on a lark from Pink Castle Fabrics.  They had a bundle sale (they do that a lot) so I grabbed a cool, a warm, and a neutral.

And the other block.  I don't remember if this has a "real" name (I know all of the blocks are standard patterns, nothing too outrageous though the next block looks complicated and I'm worried I'll really cock it up good just due to incompetence).

That block is supposed to have all the points the same so it makes a starburst in the middle.  But I deliberately turned the two side ones to make stripes instead.  I really like the starburst way and this alternative version.

My only problem is these are supposed to finish at 12.5 inches (pre-trim) and mine simply do not.  I know I cut everything accurately so it has to be my seam allowance.  I consistently used the same for each seam and I did check it before I started BUT (now that I'm thinking about it and given my general fail at math and mathy related things) I could have messed that up.  I really did measure it with a ruler and all that but I could have measured wrong.  I'm just going to keep making them all the wrong size and then trim them all the same when I go to put them together.  No harm, no foul I suppose.

See, I can't even pull this off when SOBER.  Maybe I should have a little nip of gin before I try the next one.

Friday, November 6, 2015

FLUFF PROJECT: October and November DONE!

Holy crap on a cracker, I'm AHEAD on Fluff Project stuff.  Yes, I finally got the crabs and the chameleons done so that gets me all caught up.

Blah, blah, blah, pics or it didn't happen.

Crabs and chameleons attacking my sewing machine!

Aww, too cute to eat.

Yes, yes, yes, I know my quota is five items a month and there are only four crabs here.  Rest assured that after I took these pics (and realized I failed basic counting *headdesk*) I sat down and made ONE CRAB straight through.  Yes, I actually completed a project (every. step. even closing it up!) in one go.  It was shocking, trust me.  So I DO have five crabs (but that last one just didn't want his pic taken!)

Chameleon close up time.

Looking all innocent as they crawl all over my sewing machine.

Get down here you naughty lizards!

I was so tempted to keep the first one of these I made (still might!) but I wanted to have five for Fluff so unless I make more chameleons (which I'm thinking about doing for Mirabel) then there will be no chameleons for me.  If I do keep one, it will be one of the green batik ones.  I really love that fabric for this project.

Speaking of fabric, again I have to point out that my crazy fabric stash made these wild chameleons possible.  They also made the variety possible.  Since I have a lot of fat quarters in my stash, small projects like these are perfect.  If memory serves, I can get two chameleons from one FQ (with some left over but I don't think enough to make one full toy).  Since I don't (as a rule) hoard batiks, I can rid myself of them in the perfect way.  (yes, I said rid myself of them.  I still don't like batiks much even though time and again I've used them for projects I love including not only these chameleons but some other fluff toys and the backing of my Ollie Memorial Quilt. . .yeah, what's up with that?)

Now I just need to make December's Five for Fluff and I've met my yearly goal (actually, I'll have exceeded it by a few since I made some extras here and there).

BUT. .. I need to get the stuffies for Mirabel done (and mailed before December 1) first.  I think I'm going to see how many crabs I can get out of the last of that polka dot fabric (I'm guessing at least 3).  Then I want to double dip and make some bacon and eggs (and take pics as I do so I can get that long neglected tutorial done before the year is up).  I also want to try out this idea I have for pickles.  I have a promising pattern but it was for a felt pickle and I want to use fleece so I'll have to see if that will work out for me.  But first I need to make my final decisions on what I'm doing so I can put together a felt order.  I need black felt so I'll just go through and see what other colors I could use (because paying shipping just for one color is nuts).  I know white will be on the list, too, since it gets used a TON.  (hmm, I also want to make some more jelly fish, too. . .maybe I'll do that first since those are pretty easy. . .and the stuff to make them is already at my work table).

Ok, that's all I got for now.

For a Swap: Disney Patches JKL

Showing off the patches for the ongoing Disney patch swap.

The whole group right there.  Now for the closeups.

J is Jafar.  I always knew I'd do this patch for J.  I love this line and my sister and I will crack each other up saying it to each other (totally randomly, too).

It's embroidered letters with fabric marker beard.

PERFECT backing fabric.

I've been doing so great with backing fabrics for these lately and it makes me smirk, all proud like of my crazy fabric stash.

In my defense (hoarding wise) that arabian nights fabric came in a mystery fat quarter bundle.  I think it was one of the scrap vomit bundles I bought YEARS ago.  And I used the majority of the two FQs of that print (one was buildings, one was people) for a pencil pouch for a charity thing.

K is for King Louie.

I love the Jungle Book and I was tempted to do Baloo for B but I ended up doing all villains for that group.

Louie is crayon tinting with single strand embroidery for all the lines.  The colors are more defined in person.  (and this time I remembered to put the white crayon layer first. . .forgot that on the last ones I made).

Backing fabric.  Of course I had to do crazy monkeys to go with King Louie.  That and I didn't have any "jungle" fabric (meaning something that looked like palm leaves/jungle growth).  I love this fabric and have used it for other projects (patches and a stuffed toy).

L is for Lumiere.

I was about stumped for L.  It took me a long time to realize that Lumiere was the best choice for this one.  Then when I was scouting for images I got the "oh crap" feeling when I saw how detailed he is.  I wasn't sure I could pull it off with crayon tinting so I opted for felt cut outs with embroidered details.

I cut out the image and used it as a template for the felt.  The yellow is one continuous piece (then I added yellow details--you can't see them that well in the pic).  I glued down the felt then did the embroidery through the felt, fabric, and batting.

I have to admit, I like this patch but I also see the flaws in it like big red flags.  Lumiere's eyes look SUPER drunk, which amuses me more than it annoys me.  What annoys me are the wee smudges on the felt.  That's what I get for using ball point pen to make my not-so-light (it turned out) stitching lines.  It doesn't look horrible, but it irks me because I know it shouldn't be there.  His tongue annoys me a bit, too.  It's not sized quite right or something.  Again, not horrible but irksome (just a bit).

Another backing fabric WIN.  Silverware, of course.

And this is where I have to admit that I'm nuts.  I REMEMBER what's in my stash, to a certain degree.  When I had decided on these designs, I stared thinking about the backing fabrics and I immediately thought of the arabian nights fabric and the silverware.  Nevermind that I hadn't used that arabian nights fabric in about a year!.  I wasn't as clear with the monkey fabric.  I hadn't forgotten I had that fabulous fabric but I was stuck on finding something "jungle" so I hit my greens first but nothing was right (I was thinking about a fabric I had that had big palm/leaves on it but I think I must have used that all up).  Once I gave up on that idea I remembered the crazy monkeys and that was that.

So, what's up next?  Well, the M, N, O round is next for this series and I already know what I'm doing for all of those.  So while I wait I'm working on a Winter/Xmas themed Ninni (have my idea all worked out for it, might need a trip to Pat Catan's for one supply) and a winter/xmas themed art doll (no clue what I'm doing for that. . .right now I can't shake a carousel horse idea but I'm not sure about that).  Then I need to work on some stuffies for Mirabel (a charity in Australia but Spoonflower is taking donations so that would mean cheaper for me to ship so I'm in to make some stuff) and then my December quota for the Fluff Project.  Speaking of, that's my next post so. . .off we go to that.

Friday, October 30, 2015

For a swap: OTT Halloween/Fall theme

I love OTT swaps (that's one tiny thing).  You have to make one item that's 4 inches or smaller based on the theme.

Since it's Halloween season, I had to do a Halloween OTT.

Wooo-oooh!  Haunted graveyard!

I love this silly little thing (even though the fake turf has a smell to it, like tires but not overpowering)

Felt tombstones with embroidered RIP, lightly stuffed and sewn (by hand) to the fake grass.  I was surprised (and pleased) the grass was so easy to sew through.

Two tiny ghosts haunting the place.  They aren't attached (and I almost lost them while I was making this. . .and of course the cats were all about this project between that fake grass and wee little felt things, Gene was convinced this was for him, as all things should be).

The lawn is 4 inches square and the tombstones are around 1 inch high.  I machine stitched (with a zig zag) the grass to a piece of soft green fabric from my stash.  It's plushie-ish fabric that I've used for things before.  I just didn't want the ugly back of the grass showing (along with my stitches) and I thought the backing might help stabilize the grass where I had cut it.  It was fraying a tiny bit (and leaving rubbery crumbs).

If I would have thought about it a bit more (I got this one done last minute even though I had the idea for a good week or so) I would have gotten an old coaster or some cork for the backing and just hot glued the cork to the grass.  A backing really is a must to help the grass lay super flat.  It was a small roll I got in the dollar zone at Target and this is the first chance I've had to use it.  I think I might need to make a TM style patch with some of it now that I know what it's like to work with.  I think if I sewed it to the batting first, then attached embellishments through the grass/batting combo it would be plenty sturdy (not a lot of crumbs).

I also made an itty bitty (2 inches) ghost for another swap but forgot to get a pic of it. It wasn't super fancy but it was cute.  I love tiny plushies.

What's up next?  I have three Disney theme patches to churn out this weekend and then (finally) finish up some Fluff Project items.  I only have one more crab to close up and one more chameleon.  Then it's just attach legs to the chameleons and add their mouths/nostrils.  If my calculations are correct, the chameleons and crabs should have me all caught up so all I need to produce is my quota for December (5 items).  WOOT!

Speaking of charity sewing, I want to make a few things for the Mirabel Foundation.  I've heard of them before but they're in Australia so the cost of shipping something to them was just prohibitive.  BUT, Spoonflower is acting as a collection point for them (they are stateside) so I should be able to put together a few things to send to them.  Ooh, maybe I should double dip and make some bacon and eggs (and get tutorial pics while I do it).  Hey, hey, hey, that's a great idea.

Time to get sewing!

Friday, October 23, 2015

For swaps: Two stuffies!

These are both going to the same person.  I love when I can do that.

Fall/Halloween theme ninni

Candy corn ninni!

I was still in a candy corn state of mind when I made him.

Stars in your eyes?  NOPE!  Jack-o-lanterns!

Super simple ninni but I like the way he looks.  Simple doesn't automatically mean "cop out".

Next is the stuffie for the Day of the Dead Sugar Skull swap.

BAM!  Made that pic nice and big (yes I did).

Can I just say, I love this face.  It's cute but not overly cute.  It's also just a tiny bit wonky so it definitely has a handmade look to it (his nose is a bit off center. . .hell, everything is just a bit off center).

He's felt with embroidery, sequins, and beads.  The nose is fill stitch as are the pupils of the eyes (the yellow under the flower sequin).  The purple on the eyes is felt held down in the center with the fill stitch and then around the edges with looser stitches.  So the felt does curl and wave a bit which is what I wanted (I wanted the eyes to be very flower like).

And. . .the back.

I couldn't just leave it blank, now could I?

I'm not religious but for some reason I do like the burning heart of god imagery you find on sugar skulls and skeletons for Day of the Dead.  The heart is felt (stitched on) and the flames are all fill stitch.  I'm still getting the hang of getting the best direction when it comes to large swatches of fill stitch.  You can see the orange is a little goofy (on the left side).  Should have gone in the other direction (like the right side).  But I'm still super happy with how it turned out.  I went back and forth on adding something to the heart (you see thorns wrapped around them a lot and sometimes a crown) but I wasn't sure I could pull it off (and have it look like actual thorns) so I decided to quit while I was ahead.

The skull has blanket stitch around the edges and for the life of me I can never remember how to do it.  I have to look it up (sometimes multiple times) every time I do it.  Which isn't often (which is probably why I haven't committed it to memory).

The whole skull is 5-ish inches (bit wider at the widest spot, bit shorter along the narrow part of the jaw).

I think my partner will dig it.  I know I do.

What else am I up to?

Well, I'm traveling this weekend so I decided to drag my Fluff Project items along in the hopes I'll close them all up.  Then I just need to attach the legs to the chameleons and add their mouths and that whole pile will be DONE.  Then I need to work on some swaps that need to go out by Halloween.  Good times!