Friday, October 24, 2014

For a swap: Dios de los Muertos Ninni monster

First up, a link to the free tutorial and pattern used:  Ninni monster.

For the swap, we used that tutorial and made whatever type of ninni we wanted (you could even play with the size but the regular size is easy to work with).

I decided to go with the regular size but I hemmed and hawed on the design for a bit.  First I was thinking I'd do a hipster ninni, with corduroy pants and big geeky glasses (maybe even a beard) but then I was looking over my swap partner's profile (I really wanted this to be good, since I swap with this partner a lot and she always makes great stuff so I have to bring my A game with her) and BOOM. . .sugar skull design.  So timely and a little easier to do than the hipster.

How damn cute is this little monster?  I was THRILLED at how well it turned out, too.

I was confident the design would work (it's just simple embroidery).

Felt details for the eyes and nose with embroidery around it.  All basic running stitch with some french knots for a little pizzazz.  (the felt details are sewn on, too.  I was worried glue would make it too crispy)

I was worried the heart wouldn't turn out right since I just did a random free hand design (for both the felt heart and the flames).  At first the red looked bad to me, but then I looked at it for a while and low and behold it kind of looks like a wee crown.  I totally didn't plan it that way but I'm happy it turned out like that.

I totally cheat when I embroider, too.  Especially on felt.  I draw the design in ballpoint pen (light) on the back so I have a basic guideline to follow.  Sometimes I deviate from it a bit (the mouth in particular didn't follow the pen marks exactly at all) but it keeps me from going too crooked or wonky when I'm stitching.

I kept the design really basic.  I didn't want to overwhelm the little monster.  If I had been feeling more brave, I would have added some petal type shapes at the hands and feet and maybe a little bit of scrolling down from the arms and along the edge of the body.  But I was kind of worried about the seam allowance (it's built into the template you use) and I was sewing felt to cotton so I opted to not embroider right up onto the edges.

This is the back.

How much do I love that fabric?  I've been hoarding it for (no joke) YEARS.  I got a remnant of it back when I thought I was going to make myself a Mimi Kirchner tattooed man/woman (she gives the pattern for a mini sized one in a book I have) but I never got around to it.  I knew I wanted to use skeleton/day of the dead themed fabric on the back and I have a bit to pick from and I had pretty much forgotten about this until I got poking through my DotD/halloween fabrics.  That image is the perfect size for the back, too.  It was meant to be!

I was worried that the seams would be too bulky when I turned out those little ears and hands, so I used a smallish seam allowance.  I don't remember what the allowance was on the original but I'm going to guess mine was about 1/8"?  I just set my needle as far to the right as possible and then used the edge of the regular presser foot as a guide.  I know at the regular (middle) needle setting, the presser foot edge is a tiny bit more than 1/4" so. . .It was perfect.  I didn't have any issues with getting too close to the edge and risking a blow out.  I did have to pick the ear seams out a bit with a thick needle when I turned them (just to make sure I really go it fully turned) but that wasn't a big deal.  If I was going to make this all in felt (and turn it) then I'd add a bit for a bigger seam allowance.  For all cotton, I'd just go with 1/4 inch.

I love the design of this little monster, too.  You can do a TON with it.  And it has a bit of a cat look to it which made me tempted to make a second one to add to the ofrenda I set up for my cats.  But I'm just about done with the special item I made for it this year and I'm thinking I need to make a mat for it, too, so maybe I'll do a ninni sugar cat for next year.

I just mailed this off today so it should arrive by Monday.  I can't wait for my partner to get it.  I really think she'll like it a lot.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

For swaps: Dotees and a patch

First up, two dotees.

Patchwork octopus for (what I think is) the last dotee in the "rainbow" series.  This one was for all colors (aka rainbow) so I dipped into the small scrap bin and had some fun.

Yes, there are indeed eight legs there.  Each is different.  The light one there in the middle has cats on it.  In fact, there is a lot of cat fabric on this octopus.

Look at that cute face!

I tried to get the mouth even but after trying it twice I gave up.  Pachwork-topus has a wry, crooked little smile.  He's up to something, you can just bet.

See, more cat fabric on the back.


Next up was the Autumn Dotee.

Aww, dead leaf is sad.

Poor guy.  Don't feel bad.  I LOVE walking through the dead leaves and listening to the tales they tell.  It's one of the most relaxing sounds around.  (when I walk, I like to go into the cemetery and walk through the leaves)

Such a sad face.

I was really hemming and hawing on this dotee.  I couldn't decide what I wanted to make and I was really leaning toward an acorn but then as I was pawing through some scrap fabric (looking for autumn themed prints) and the bag of random stuff I use for dotees and patches I came upon that golden mesh.  Someone had sent it to me as an extra and I never would have guessed I'd use it for this.

It was really simple to make the leaf.  Just layer the mesh between the fabric (right sides together with mesh in between) and sew.  Turn and then top stitch the veins on.  The face could be optional if you just wanted to make plain leaves.  At first I was going to try doing a reverse applique type thing but after a brief experiment I gave up on that.

I LOVE how this leaf turned out.  You can squish it up a bit to get a more curled "crunchy" look.

Oh, and for the record, it is stuffed.  Just super lightly.  I guess you could also just use batting but I wanted a lumpy look for the crispy effect.

Speaking of lumpy (and last but not least) is the October Teesha Patch (note:  the month isn't the theme, it's just a monthly anything goes patch series).

Since it's anything goes, I decided to use this cute fabric my sister just got me.  She scored some super cheap remnants and this fabric was among them.

Really, how dang cute is that spider?

I just embellished him a tiny bit.  He needed some fuzzy feet and wild spider hairs.

I made the patch in the classic Teesha Moore style, where it's stuffed with fiber fill for a lumpy look and your stitching shows on the back.

I have to say, I like the lumpy texture of the classic style but seeing all the stitching on the back still disturbs me.  I just feel like I'm being messy letting all my work show like that.  I can't decide how I feel about the edging.  I like the simplicity of the classic style (where you just sew two pieces of fabric together and then roll the edges over) but I like the neat mitered corners of the way I do them (where you make it more like a quilt with a backing piece of fabric that you wrap around the front like binding).

Making that leaf and the patch made me want to put my free motion foot on my machine and practice with it again.  But I have a lot of regular sewing projects I want to complete first, like a monkey and some finger puppets and that quilt top I started.  (in my defense, I had to stop work on the quilt top when we got our new cat, Murry.  He was up in the spare room where I was planning to lay out the quilt squares before sewing them together into the top--Murry's out in the house now so the room is now mine again so I need to get back to that).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

For a Swap: Halloween Dotee (different one)


I can't believe this idea never occurred to me until I received a mummy dotee from my partner in the other Halloween dotee swap (the one I made the bat for).

Super simple to make, too.  Just a free hand drawn peanut style body (with the hanger sewn into the seam since I like a neat hanger attachment like that--it's spider web ribbon).  The body fabric is a gray mottled print.  Then I wrapped it with two fabric strips I tore from some white cloth (and tacked down in a few spots).

The first strip I tore didn't go the full length of the piece of fabric, so I took that skimpy piece (and another skimpy piece) and added them after I had done the full wrapping, so I'd have some bits flapping off the doll.

The eyes are black sequins held on with dark red beads.

The tail is just embroidery floss with a spider flat back "button" on it.  Let me just pause to say how much I DESPISE when there are flat backs in a package of cute buttons.  Is there a way to add a shank to those?  Not to my knowledge.  Thankfully that spider had a little divot in the back so it was a perfect spot to hammer a nail into to make a hole.  That was after I tried to heat a thick needle and burn a hole through it.

Eugene, what are you doing on the table?  You know better.

No, that's NOT a cat toy.  You're a bad boy.  Get down.

*sigh*  I said GET DOWN, not "lick your butt".  Don't pretend you don't know what I'm saying to you.

Gene's been more needy since Olive died.  My poor baby girl Ollie has been gone for about three weeks now (after she got sick and slowly went downhill over the course of four weeks).  She had FIPV, which is a virus that has no cure or any real treatment.  It's still so upsetting to realize that we only had her for a few weeks over one year.  She was barely an adult and now she's gone.  I'm making a special item for my Day of the Dead shrine this year to honor her.  We don't have her ashes back just yet, but should shortly (in plenty of time for DotD).

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fluff Project WIP: DONE

At long, loooong last I have the next shipment of Fluff Project goodies ready to box and send.  Now I just need to find a box big enough for them all (or a few bags?).

16 ghosties.  BOO!


4 reindeer

That's 20 items.  Too bad it took me way too dang long to get them done.  But at least they'll arrive before Halloween so maybe they'll get to the kiddos in time to not be too late.  Well, the christmas ones should be (but maybe not the halloween, oh well).

These are both My Funny Buddy patterns which are always easy to follow and produce a nice end product.

Closeups of the wee ghosties?


The ghost pattern comes with four sizes and five designs.  Four designs to make a family (mom, dad, daughter, son) and one design for a more classic "scary" ghost (with a black oval mouth versus a cute stitched smile).

Mom has the cutest purse.  You can put the bow on her, too, but I didn't feel like it.

I made the "son" of each family a little different, too.  You can use the bow (on the daughter/mom) as a bow tie for the son but I wanted to just have a plain cute ghost for the son (since I wasn't making the "classic" look--I didn't like it as much as the super cute version and I didn't have enough fabric to make it and a full family in each size).

I love the mustache on the dad.  And his monocle.  It's just so darn CUTE.

All the sizes are nice, too.  The bigger ones would be great for littler kids and the small ones for teens (who might think it's not cool to have a stuffed toy but still want one).  You can also put hanger hoops on the littlest size but I opted not to just to keep everything simpler for me when I got to the mass producing.

Even though there's a good bit of hand stitching on these, it goes really fast.  I cut out all the bodies for everything and then cut out each size face details as I sewed.  So cut out all the big faces and then stitch them on.  That broke up the small cutting and hand stitching a bit (and kept me from worrying about loosing pieces as they sat waiting to be stitched).

I got my flannel from the remnant bin at Joann fabrics and the faces are all wool blend felt from my stash.  The deer are all from stash fabric.  The light colored ones are small wale corduroy and the dark one is some funky fuzzy faux fur (short nap, shiney on the back--little bit thick to work with but not as bad as full nap faux fur which is a pain in the butt).

I'm going to take a small Fluff break for at least a month while I work on some projects for me.  I want to make my big ole whale and work on my postage stamp quilt and other quilty stuff.  But I just bet I'll get bored of those projects and find some fluff I just need to make (I do have a lot of patterns floating around).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Painting: Work in Progress: Mermaids

It's been a while since I showed off my painting.  Class started back up last week so it's time to keep myself motivated by showing off the progress report shots.



This after is actually two rounds "after".  I just forgot to do an update on this painting in a while and then class broke for the summer and. . .yeah, I paint slowly too.

It's coming along nicely and I think I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel on this one.  Like I mentioned, I paint s.l.o.w.l.y.  Like painfully slow.  Like I'm using an eyelash on a toothpick to make every stroke, slow.  Slow.

This canvas has taken over a YEAR.  And that doesn't even surprise me at all.  But I'm ready for this canvas to be done.  I was really hating it at the close of the last semester but not looking at it all summer definitely made me more fond of it when I looked at it again.  I'm not exaggerating, I hadn't even laid eyes on this canvas in MONTHS.  So I had completely forgotten how awful it is (it's not really "awful" but I felt that way about it before--I always hate my paintings at least once in the process, and a few I still hate even though they're "done").

I'm working right to left on this one (just turned out that way) so I'm really feeling the gray haired mermaid is very close to done.  I might need to shade the dots a bit, since I put them on the tail after I had the tail shaded.  I'm still debating if I'll put the details on the hair or not.  I'm leaning toward no right now but when I start playing with the canvas again I might change my mind (or the instructor will gently push for me to add them--he's good like that).

I'm really liking the detailing on the blonde mermaid's tail.

I was worried it would suck royally but it's coming out fairly decent.  See, it's details like this where being a tediously slow painter comes in handy.  These swirls are slow work with a small brush which is basically how I work an entire canvas so I'm right at home (with my eyelash on a toothpick!).

The middle mermaid's hair needs a lot of work.  The details aren't there just yet.  They feel very. . .flat?  Not matching enough?  Something.

The background is pretty much where I want it.  It might morph a bit as I work the mermaids, especially if I have to clean up their edges at all.  Though I'm trying to make all the edges a bit more blurry so they look more like their underwater.  That's a struggle for my anal retentive painting style.

I'm excited to get this canvas done because I'm more than ready for something different.  I think the next canvas will be an abstract.  Not a full on abstract, but one based on a photo.  A full on (no pic to work from) abstract would make my head explode.  I'd just stare at the canvas and then have a complete breakdown.  I really envy the folks in class who are abstract painters.  They just sit down in front of a big ass canvas (like the size of a small wall, big) and just start glopping on paint and when it's done it looks GOOD.  I love watching them paint when they just squeeze paint right from the tube onto the canvas and then just mash it around with a palette knife.  How can they be so freaking FREE?  Clearly they aren't worried they are "ruining" the canvas by making mistakes (ie painting) on it.  I really need to get over that hang up.

For a Swap: Tiny Pumpkin Patch

I'm loving the One Tiny Thing swaps I've been doing lately.

This latest one was themed "pumpkins".  For all the OTT swaps, you have to make ONLY one item and it has to be under 4 inches square (and fit the theme).

The minute I saw this swap I knew what I was going to make (but not exactly what I'd do).

Tiny pumpkin patch!

The grass patch is just under 4 inches square.  I cut the fabric at 4 so I knew once I stitched and turned it would come in under (not that I expect my partner to measure, but I like playing by the swap guidelines).

The six pumpkins are needled felted and just so dang CUTE!

Two have sparkly embroidery floss ribs for a bit of pizzazz.  All of them have embroidery floss stems coated in felt glue to give them a bit of form.  Just run the floss up from the bottom (to hide the knot) and then coat the tail in glue.  Let it sit for just a minute then when the glue is still damp you can curl the stems.  Once they're fully dry you can trim them back a bit if they're still too long.

I got an itty bitty pumpkin patch, in my hand!

See, it really is small.  Small and cute and I kind of want to make a whole boatload of baby pumpkins for myself.  They're really EASY to make.  For such an easy craft, they really look good, too.  Sometimes super simple crafts look like just that.  Crafts for kindergarteners.  Needle felting is definitely NOT for kindergarteners.  I stabbed the crap out of my index finger.  Hurt like hell (but I did not shed blood on the patch).

The next OTT swap is Christmas themed.  I'm already thinking about what I want to make (and have one idea).

For a Swap: Patches

This one was for the Favorite Country Song patch swap.

I chose "I'm Going to Hire a Wino to Decorate Our Home".  A fabulous ditty from 1982.

The song's all about a woman who's pissed at her hubby for spending his paychecks at the bar, so instead of getting in a fight (again) with him she just decides they should remodel their house to be a bar so the hubby can come there instead.

"I'll serve hard-boiled eggs and pretzels, and I won't cook no more."

I got the egg jar image online and just free handed the pretzels.  Super simple but fun.

The next patch was for a Christmas ornament patch swap.


Pretty simple design but i just wanted to show off the cute fabric.

I embroidered around the mittens and then lightly stuffed them to get some texture.  Then a few sequins and beads for the holly berries and that's that.

I didn't show off either of the backs because they're pretty simple.  The kitty patch's back is a winter print but it's white on white (snowflakes if memory serves) so it's very subtle.

For the ornament swap I also had to include a patch kit.  So fabric and trims/baubles.  It had to be wrapped so I wrapped it in fabric and pins.

Both of these are getting mailed out Friday.