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.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Review: Equilter Booty Packs

I had a $5 gift certificate for eQuilter (I did a survey for them--so that reward made my shipping only $2.95-ish versus $7.95 ish that it normally is) so I knew I'd get a Booty Pack (aka themed scrap pack).  But then I couldn't decide which one I wanted (I had it narrowed down to two) so I decided to get both.

See, eQuilter *knows* that's how folks work.  Eh, I've been really good about buying lately so I didn't beat myself up over it at all.

So I decided to get the Critters pack (all animals) and the Pop Culture pack.

Time to show off what I got!

There were nine different prints ranging from about 6 inches (by WOF) to almost half a yard.

The dog print was the smallest one.  It was one row from a panel of dog breed faces.  Each image is intact and they'll make for nice fussy cut pieces.  If memory serves, there were four breeds (shepherd, cocker spaniel, lab, and one other I can't remember now).  I would have peed if there had been a Dalmatian.

The cat fabric at the top left is also a panel.  I was happy to get some cat fabric in my bunch (since I'm a crazy cat fabric lady).  I was also happy that there weren't any shells.  The description does note that "critters" includes fish, birds, and shells (along with all animals from farm to jungle) so I was worried I'd get stuck with a lot of shells.  Not that I hate shells but they're just boring.

I love the variety in this pack.  It wasn't too heavy on any one animal which I really appreciate.  And even though there were two "bugs" they're different enough that it's not annoying.  That purple there in the right corner is actually dragonflies among flowers.  The color is great on it, too.

Birdies, sparkly butterflies, and MOOSE!  I really love getting the wildlife prints.  I love those kinds of fabric but it's not something I want in a big amount.   Like I'd never buy a half yard of moose fabric (eQuilter is 1/2 yard minimum) so getting a 7 inch (or so) strip in a scrap pack is PERFECT.  It's exactly what I want in a scrap pack.  Stuff I like but don't want in big quantities.  (though I have bought odd ball stuff in quantity--I did once buy a half yard of opossum fabric--I regret NOTHING!).

So the Critter Booty Pack was a big success.

But what about the Pop Culture one?

Again, there were nine prints in various sizes (all WOF).  The sizes were a tiny bit smaller this time around but none was under 5 inches.  A few were crooked cuts (but not so bad that the images were sacrificed).

That Eiffel tower print was a crooked cut.  So it gets more narrow as it goes along.  But still plenty of good images and even if the images are cut off it's a good print for postage stamp charms (it's a busy print).

Lots of travel type fabrics in the group.  I like them all because they have a lot of different images so they'll be fun for fussy cutting.  I already have my eye on that pizza on the Chicago themed piece (the black fabric on the lower right).

WHAT IS THAT!!!!????

Rodeo fabric?  But not merely rodeo.  RODEO CLOWNS!!!!

(the other fabric is nice, too, but what can really compare to rodeo clowns, the only clowns that aren't creepy--yeah, so weird that regular clowns creep me out but not rodeo clowns).

Look at his fabulous jazz hands!  STOP, clown time!

Yeah, I can't wait to use this fabric.  The only sad part is, it's a smaller piece so I think I only have two of these fabulous clowns.  This fine fellow is going to become a patch for my personal collection (and if I do have another clown, I might just have to use that for one of my random patches I swap).

I'm also tempted to make the bull into the patch I need to make for the Favorite Country Song patch swap but I kind of have my heart set on a different idea (I could totally do Garth Brooks' "Rodeo" with that bull but I really want to do "Going to Hire a Wino" one of the best country songs EVER).

The other four prints are great, too.

I was very happy this pack wasn't full of Maxine (or stuff like that).  I know that she's part of the "pop culture" theme and I don't hate her or anything but a little of her goes a LONG way.  I got a part of a panel and I think there aren't any repeating images.  Each image is big enough to make a cute coaster (so each is about 5 inches square or so) so I might just tuck Maxine there away for now and wait to see if a project comes along where someone really loves her.  Or I'll show her to my sister and see if she wants to use her for something (my sister thinks Maxine is cute--more than I do).

Maxine aside, the other four prints in this group are AWESOME.


I love this fabric so freaking much.  It's all roadside attractions including Wigwam Village (which I've actually visited but we didn't stay--were were on a road trip and it wasn't on the schedule to actually sleep there--but I want to).

That bronto immediately made me think of Pee Wee's Big Adventure, when he's up in the mouth of that t-rex with Simone and he asks her, "What's your big but, Simone?".  I think that bronto is going to become a patch entitled "What's your big but, Simone?".  The only sad part about that fabric is the piece is just not big enough.  I want to see all the images on it.  I may have to track it down on eQuilter and invest in a half yard (the next time I splurge).  For now, I'll just use my little bit as wisely as possible (and love it while I have it).

I still haven't quite figured out what the fabric on the right of the pic is.

I think it's "germs" as seen under a microscope.  A lot of the images look like bacteria (oval shapes with little hairs along them).  I love these cuties.  I call them square sperm.  Look how uptight they seem.  They must be the sperm that make super uptight type A people.  They mean business and will get the job done in an efficient and organized fashion.

The germ fabric was pretty large which made me happy.  Lots of fun germs to play with.

The other biggest piece from the pack was the Matisse print.

The photo just does not do it justice.  It is FABULOUS.  Bright colors, tons of images all inspired by Matisse paintings.  I'm tempted to see if it's big enough to make a bag with it.  That way it won't get cut up too small.  It really deserves to be kept as whole as possible to really show off all the variety on it.  It's a great fabric (high quality, too).

If I was pleased with the Critter Pack, the Pop Culture Pack was EVEN BETTER.  Tons of whimsicle stuff in it that 's so my bag.

Overall rating (for both):   A

Comments:  Great variety in the packs.  I especially appreciate the variety in the critter pack (no duplicates on the animals).  Great size variety too.  Each pack had at least two larger cuts (around 1/2 yard) and no cut smaller than 5 inches.  Not too many crooked cuts and no pieces with random nicks or nips taken out of them.  All of them are WOF, too.  All fabric is high quality, too.  Nothing thin or flimsy.

Good pricing.  These were $15.15 each.  That was on a small sale.  I think full price they are $15.95 which is still very reasonable.  Especially if you just want a little bit of something random and fun and/or you have coupon like I did.

Personally I wouldn't get a scrap pack as my only item because it's not worth paying full shipping for it.  But if you have a gift certificate (like I did) or are getting other items these are always a great add on idea.

I have never been disappointed with a scrap pack from eQuilter.

They also shipped same day (I bought in the morning so that helped there) and their basic shipping is priority mail so I had my order in only two days.

High marks for eQuilter once again.

For a Swap: Purple Dotee

It's for the rainbow/color series.  Purple this time.  For this series I'm doing patchwork for each doll.  I wanted something different so I used the bunny pattern I have (from the Fluff Project bunnies) which worked really well.

Tail in the back, of course.

I also figured out a smarter way to do the patchwork, too.  At least for these dolls where I trace the shape onto a double layer of fabric then sew right on the line and then trim it out.  I made a sheet of patchwork and then sewed the ends to each other to make a tube.  Then I could roll it around to find the best placement for the pattern piece because I really wanted to preserve this:

I just had to have that scrap whole on the bunny.  It's just kind of cool and I really like it.  Sewing the fabric end to end made that possible and I think I wasted less of the patchwork in the long run.

This one will get mailed out shortly.  I want to get one more patch finished then I can mail out this bunny, the two patches I showed off previously, and the new patch.  But I have to draw up my design for that patch, first.