Monday, March 25, 2013

Dotee for a Swap: April Unique Holiday

This one is heading off to the post office in just a few minutes.  I finished it on Saturday.  And once again, I put it off and put it off fearing that I wouldn't be able to pull it off and then. . .BAM. . .I just sat down and did it in one go.

I love that.

This is for the April Unique Holiday Dotee:

Bet you didn't know there even was an 8 Track Tape Day, did you?

Or that it's on. . .

Dust off your favs and fire them up, folks!

But I hear you asking.  "Does this really look like an 8 track tape?"

Well, you be the judge.

I'm really pushing the boundaries of what can be considered a "doll" with this one.  But COME ON, people. 8 Track Tape Day?  How can you NOT make an 8 Track in celebration?  It would be WRONG to do anything less.

The base for the tape is some foam I found in my house (aka something slated for the trash but I've been too lazy to take it out to the curb--no, it wasn't gross or anything, must trash).  I hot glued two layers together to get the thickness right.  Then I cut and glued (oh, so much glue on this dotee) some faux leather (aka pleather) type fabric I had in my stash.  The "tape" end has a layer of pleather, the ribbon ("tape") and then another layer of pleather with cut outs to show the ribbon (had to trot out my xacto knife for that).  Then some more pleather wrapped around the body of the tape and folded over at the non-tape end.  The label is a square from a charm pack I had (put some fusing on the back to give it a bit more structure since I was gluing it down).  Since I needed a face on the doll, I clipped an image from some other fabric and fused that onto the label.  Write the particulars on it with a fabric pen and then glue the label onto the tape (trying to hide as many seams as possible in doing so).

The only sewing I did on this was to attach the hanger and tail.  It was all hot glue and fabric glue (fabric to attach the label--I thought hot glue might warp it, especially with the hot glue I have which was so hot it melted the foam!).

This one was really fun to make.  Really got me out of my sewn felt comfort zone.  That was a nice change of pace.

Now I just have to trot on over to the post office and mail it off.

Next up?

Dotee with Wings (partners are assigned on that and I kind of wanted to get it done for this post office run but I was lazy this weekend), Non-fabric dotee, Dr. Seuss dotee, and then Dorothy (for the Wizard of Oz series).

Time to get over to the post office so I can be first in line.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Progress Report: "Little Portraits"

It was a short class this week.  We had to hit the art store to grab up some different red paint so I could get a better pink color and an ellipse template to help with the "circles" on Priscilla's face.  So that made us about half an hour late.  Then there was a demo on stretching canvas (very informative) that ate up a half an hour at the end so. . .all that to say I only made real progress on one painting.

I'll let Priscilla go first since the changes there aren't as obvious:



You can see the change in the shade of pink.  It's definitely more toward the right shade (than the peachy shade previously there).

The only other change is to the shape of the eye patch.  It's getting closer to the shape I want.

Now for Mr. Roboto:



Dang, that eye looks really creepy now that the pink/red is closer to the accurate shade.  It still needs more work but it's really starting to come together now.

I also added a bit of speckles around the body (some are more obvious than others) and worked the background blending a bit.  I think I'm officially DONE with the background, so I decided to put in a rough version of the antenna.  It's just a little nubbin right now, but it's really going to look cool once it's on there for real.

I also worked the white on the mouth more, too, adding some more white here and there for the highlights.

I'd say Mr. Roboto is just about done.  Just a bit more work on the eye, maybe a few flicks and ticks on the body (I'm not sure how I feel about the stitching--it just looks so out of place right now) and then some real work on the antenna and he's DONE.

The next class sessions starts in April and I'm ready to finish these two portraits and start work on the next two.  But that means I have to get Cylindra finished and then figure out who's going to be the star of the fourth portrait.

Swaps Received: Out of this World Dotee

Time to show off a dotee I received.

Like a rocket ride to the moon!!

I received this dotee in the "Out of this World" swap (the first I ever hosted).  I love it.  The whole look reminds me of the Smashing Pumpkins "Tonight, Tonight" video.  Something about the face on the ship.

But nothing beats the ric rac shooting out of the back.  It really steals the show.

I love this dotee.

You know what I just realized?  I have yet to receive a dotee I don't like.  There's just something about each and every one that is unique and wonderful.  They just make me happy.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Paper Piecing: March BOM "Just Spoolin Around"

I haven't fully given up on paper piecing. . .YET.

I'm glad I'm sticking with it and I'm very glad I skipped the February block.  I know it would have sent me into a fit of crazed cursing and/or tears.  Either way, it would have been an embarrassing tantrum that just doesn't need to happen.

I am glad I did the March block.  Just as I thought, it was more suited to my mega super (ie pathetic) beginner skill set.  Yes, it has a lot of parts but not a lot of angles.  That's the key with me.  Though there were quite a few wee little pieces which did strain my patience.

Ok, enough yapping, let's see how it turned out.

Not bad.

Not perfect, but much better than my first attempt (the Jan block).

I'd like to point out all the fabric is the right size.  That was my major fail on the January block so WOOT!  Let's hear it for improving!

That said, the block still has some Major Issues which are darn obvious.  Things are crooked and a bit wonky pretty much all over the block.

You can see it really well on this section.  I didn't match it together so well and took a big ole bite out of the corner of the top of the spool.  I swear, I did make the spool per the instructions (with pointy edges on the brown part) but you just can't see the point on that corner I fed to the seam allowance.


The spool is also a bit off (the color part isn't lined up very well on the brown part).  But that's par for the course for the whole block, so I'm not all broken up over it.

And you can see I'm all kinds of crookedy and wonky on the stacked spools.  Really, it's a think of beauty how the spools can even attempt to balance when the bottom one has such a jacked up and uneven bottom (linen) piece.

I bet you also noticed my cheat there, huh?  Yeah, but the time I got to this portion of the block I just could not fathom having to endure those pointy bits (on the "wooden" part of the spool) so I just eliminated them on that there top spool.

Trust me, my sanity loves me for making that choice.  And honestly, it doesn't look that bad.  Yes, I really like the pointy spools of the original pattern (looks much more detailed) but a beginner has to do what a beginner has to do to get through the block.  I stand by my (kind of literal) corner cutting.

I'm happy to report another improvement from my last go with paper piecing (Jan's block).  I only totally messed up ONE part of the block and had to start over.  The very first part (the left hand spool).  My first go on that I just jacked it up royally (sewed some parts in the wrong order) so I had to cut into one of my back-up copies of the pattern (oh yeah, I make about four copies of each because I KNOW I'm going to jack something up).  So I only had that one major crap up.  *pelvic thrust*

I was also able to actually use up some scraps on this block instead of just making a crap ton more.  All the colorful parts of the spools were from small scraps and used up the entire scrap.  Double bonus, the brown scraps were some fabric that I received in a 2.5 inch square swap but they weren't the right size (which peed me off pretty tough) so being able to use them was a small "in your face, jerky person who swapped me those knowing they were stingy and not really the right kind of fabric".  Ok, that sounds more aggressive and angry than I really feel but you get what I'm saying.  I was vindicated and it was good.  And the scraps really look decent (kind of "thready" even though the one is going the "wrong" direction--eh, so what).

AND, I was able to use up some fabric I didn't really like.  The solids I used for the backgrounds are just so damn ugly.  And the blue is kind of thin and just crappy.  I think the gray was part of a scrap pack I got when I first started buying fabric and the blue was a remnant I picked up around the same time (before I knew how much super thin fabric sucks the big one).  So I was cutting that fug-o fabric up without even one whit of "wasting guilt".  I think that definitely helped me out on this block.

Ok, so on to the big question.

Now that I've made TWO paper pieced blocks, what's my opinion of paper piecing?

Well, I'm leaning toward not really liking it that much.  Not an active dislike, mind you, but I guess I still don't really "get" the love folks have for it.  Yes, I "get" how cool the finished products look (especially if you can do it well) but the process is a bit tedious to me (at this stage) and I still have huge "wasting guilt" over the whole thing.  Perhaps the "wasting guilt" would fade as I got better at it and could actually use scraps more (instead of just making more and more scraps).

That said, I'm not giving up on it yet.  I'm going to continue with this BOM project, doing those blocks that I feel are suited to my skill level and collecting all the patterns so I have them for future practice.  Maybe by the time the series is over I'll feel confident enough to tackle that seam ripper block (just thinking about that one gives me the chills).

Speaking of seam rippers, how the hell do you pick out the seams on this paper piecing stuff?  Maybe I'm setting my stitch length TOO short, but it's just about impossible to pick out a jacked seam and not destroy the fabric.  And forget it totally if I back stitch at the beginning/end of a seam.  I actually gave up on doing that after a while just because I knew I'd never be able to pick it out.

OH, and mega props to the tutorial on how to put the sections together.  The tip to use a big stitch length as a way of basting the pieces together to get a preview of placement was FABULOUS.  That tip alone made joining so much easier (and I credit it with making that part of the process so much easier).

Ok, I'm done yapping now.  Time to share this mess off over at Quiet Play.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Progress Report: "Little Portraits"

Let's get right to it.



Wow, what a difference some detail makes.  Priscilla is really coming to life now!



I worked on Mr. Roboto last so he doesn't have as many changes.  Just a bit of detailing.  Just adding the tooth lines really made a huge difference.

I need to get some different paint to really nail the pink colors on both.  And a template to help make the ellipses on Priscilla's face.

There's only one class left before a short break.  I don't anticipate getting both of these done, but I'll be close.  And the break will give me a chance to get Cylindra finished so I can start working on her portrait, too.

Monday, March 11, 2013

For a Swap: Lions, Dishes, and Aliens OH MY!

Time to show off three different dotees I finished on Sunday.

First up, the one I teased previously.


(insert space ship flying noises here)

You can't see the charm very well on the tail but it's a moon.

Reserved:  Alien Parking Only!

Close up of the inside of the dome.  Little control panel with buttons.  And if you look REALLY close you can see his little seat belt.  Ok, I didn't really make him an official seat belt but I did wrap a stitch around his waist area so he wouldn't pitch head first into the control panel.  He's quite top heavy.

The body of the ship is felt, the dome is one of those bubbles from a gum machine.  The alien was sent to me by my sister and. . .wait for it. . .he GLOWS IN THE DARK!  Oh yeah.

I'm super psyched by the finished product.  It turned out darn good.  I will say the bottom gathers are a bit rough but since dotee dolls aren't supposed to be perfect I'm ok with it.  If I ever made one of these again (a definite possibility) it would definitely have smoother underside gathers.

Meanwhile. . .back on planet earth. . .

After I finished up the alien I moved on to:


Here is the dish attempting to run away with the spoon.

Crazy kids, so in love!

Clearly these are from the "Hey Diddle Diddle" nursery rhyme.

Dish complete with flower tail.  I scored that as an extra from a different swap.  I love recycling.

And the spoon, looking all sly.

At first the spoon's face irked me but now I kind of like how smirky it looks.

Both are fleece.  They sewed up really easily and I'm very pleased with them.

Last but certainly not least. . .


I made it double sided so I could have a "cowardly" side and a "courageous" side.

Aww, poor lion is scared!

Don't fret, my pet, the Wizard will give your confidence a boost and you'll turn right around.

Ahh, much better.  Confident and courageous.

I used the Ewok pattern for the lion.  It worked great.  I stitched up the body (and forgot to put the hanger in--I hate having to attach them after the fact but the fur hid my sins) then made the cowl from the fake fur (which shed all over the dang place).  Then I stitched the cowl down to the body.  Then I attached the faces (over the fur--I didn't cut face holes in the cowls like the original ewok pattern calls for) after embroidering them.

The tail is just a piece of yarn with a knot at the end and the very tip frayed out to look like hair.  Not super exciting but I wanted it to go with the piece (for once a tail that is useful and not just there for decoration!).

I'm quite pleased with the Lion, too.

So now I'm actually working ahead on my dotees.  Up next is March Unique Holiday.  I have a few ideas I'm thinking of but I'm really leaning toward one particular one.

I also need to find some gingham fabric for the next character in the Oz series, Dorothy.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Out of This World Wednesday

Painting class was cancelled due to the weather (ah winter, you are a pain in the butt) so I worked on this instead:


I'm not going to gab about this a lot right now (I'll save that for the reveal post) but I will say this.  It's coming along VERY well.  And I'm VERY happy.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

UPDATE: Postage Stamp Quilt

Had the day off yesterday and since I was caught up on my swaps (hell, I've even worked ahead on the fabric ones--stuff is cut and waiting) it was time to play around with my postage stamp quilt.

I've been pondering what I'm going to do for the reverse side.  I don't really want to have just a generic solid back and since I have a mess of 5 inchers cut (I tend to cut a five inch strip then cut 2.5 inchers from it and 5 inchers) why not make the back from the 5 inchers?  It's also a fun way to practice making simple quilt blocks, practicing making themes or pairing colors.  All that good stuff.

So I worked on my 5 inch square blocks. 

These are the cat themed ones.  I'd love to make a whole quilt top with just cat fabrics.  A crazy cat lady quilt!  There are a few repeat fabrics here but I'm not overly concerned with that for the back.  I mostly want to have theme squares on the back.

I really love the bright pink cat tabloid square on the bottom block.  Goofy stuff like that cracks me up.

Another set of blocks.

Of course I had to have a Steelers block, lest I be run out of my fair city for not displaying some black and gold pride.  I love the black and white fabric paired with the Steelers print.  It's the same shape as the Steelers' emblem but it's neutral so I can use it other places.  And it's "designer" fabric (I think it's an Alexander Henry fabric) that I found at Joann Fabrics for 40% off.  So it was cheaper to get it at Joanns then from Fashionable Fabrics the online shop I go to for remnants (they had it in their remnant bin and I was *this close* to getting it to use with the Steelers fabric, I'm so glad I didn't).

Music notes.  I was surpirsed how many music note fabrics I ended up with.  In fact, I think I have one more that I should have found to use in this block so there would be no repeats.  But I like the catty corner black fabrics with rainbow notes.

MERMAIDS.  I havea  soft spot for them.  I've had that fabric for a while (bought it from the aforementioned Fashionable Fabrics) and had the whole hang up of finding a project that was "good enough" to use it.  I'm forcing myself to get over my "good enough" hang up.  That's how I ended up with so much fabric that I've yet to use for anything.  Time to start using it and not worry about being "good enough". 

The last square is just a totally random one I pulled together from my 5 incher box.  It's just a green theme but I also wanted to match the pattern shapes.  So lines versus dots.  Eh, I was feeling artistic when I paired up that one.  It looks cute though.

Here are some of the wackier ones.  I'm totally in love with the Pop Culture one (top left).  Star Trek, Hello Kitty, Simpsons, and Batgirl/Wonder Woman, Super Girl.  HELL YEAH, all pop culture stuff I enjoy (ok, I'm not a super geek girl over Hello Kitty or the super heros but I do like them).  I love that Star Trek fabric so much.  It's just so geeky and fabulous.

The top right block was another one I just made up from pawing through my 5 inchers.  It's just a wild animals in the grass theme.  I just wanted to use that koala fabric since it's so funky.

The second row has my most ambitious block, the sewing block.  I used 3 inch squares to make 5 inch squares.  The whole block turned out very well and I've very happy with it.  You can't really see it from the pic, but the squiggly fabrics on the bottom right square are needles with thread in them.  And the top left square was an ode to patchwork with the patterns.  It's a funky block but I like it and I think it fits perfectly with the other funky blocks I made.

The one next to it is my Stereotypical Girl block.  It's all "girly" stuff.  So you have princesses and fairys and ballerinas and pink cowgirls and a unicorn and it's all pink and purple and. . .stereotypically girly.

Bottom left.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Can I just pause to say how much I love that Olive Ostrich fabric?  Ostriches amuse me to no end in no small part because of a cartoon I saw on Sesame Street in my youth.  I'm not obsessed with them or anything but they just always make me think of that cartoon (and my family still quote the cartoon, in our own bastardized way).  So a Love Ostriches block was perfect.  The larger heart print is from the same line but the other two prints in that block are from swaps.  I did a 5 incher swap and got a lot of valentines fabric in it (which made me happy--especially when two of the blocks were conversation hearts).

Last but not least is the only block that uses fabric solely from my stash and two fabrics from the same line.  I think it's called Out to Sea.  I wanted it the minute I saw it but waited for it to go on sale (I think it's organic, so it was pricier--I love organics but I'm cheap so I wait to score a sale).  I just love the cute mermaids playing with the whales.  That print is also perfect for fussy cutters like me.  I could cut 5 inchers of the mermaids without cutting into any other image.  There's also a small octopus which was perfect for a 2.5 inch square AND there are litle fish printed all over the fabric so even the scrappy bits are still cute (not just plain color or bits and pieces of arms/legs).  The blue fabric is awesome because. . .well. . .NARWALS.  Whales with horns are awesome.  Like the unicorns of the ocean.  The print is super cute and spaced out well which means a lot especially when it's a more expensive organic cotton fabric, I hate feeling like I have bits that I'm just not going to ever use.

The Out to Sea fabric is also some that I'd been hoarding under the fear of "not good enough", so finally cutting into it and seeing that I can use it and the world won't end was a good thing.  I have a half yard of each print so it's not like I'm at risk of running out of it any time soon.

That's another thing this patchwork pratice is teaching me.  You really don't need a ton of fabric to make a quilt.  Little bits really add up.

Which is a great segue to the update on the actual postage stamp side of this quilt.

I did work on it, too.  So much, in fact, that I had to wind the bobbin TWICE while sewing.  I haven't sewed that much at one time in a long time (and once again I'm reminded that I should just wind a whole mess of bobbins at once to make my life easier but I never do--so dumb).

I made a bunch of 2x2s.  First I paired up 200 hundred charms.  Then I took those pairs and mixed them into some sets of 2x2s I had paired up but not stitched.  I just needed to mix the fabrics up a bit more.

This is where my sewn charms are at now.  The box contains all the 2x4s I've stitched so far (a few are showing off on the table).  I need to take the stacks of 2x2s (in the back, not in the box) and make them into 2x4s then join the 2x4s to make 4x4s.  Then even up the 4x4s to make 8 inch blocks.  Then put the neat 8 inchers together to slowly form the top.

I'm currently debating a few things. 

1.  Should I start making 4x4s now?  I feel like I should wait and incorporate more fabrics in for more variety but then I might get overwhelmed.  So I think I'm leaning toward making as many 4x4s as possible from what I have now then starting the whole process over again.

2.  Should I quilt as I go or not?  If I'm going to quilt as I go, I'd better do it at the 8 inch block phase just to keep it simpler.  BUT. . .

3.  The front of the quilt doesn't match up (math wise) with the back.  I'm making 8 inch squares for the front but 9 inchers for the back.  So I won't be able to quilt them together unless I trim down the back squares even more or. . .yeah, that's a lot of thinking I have to do there.  Maybe I should wait and (if I quilt as I go) quilt them at a larger size so I can fill in the space on the BACK (with some border fabric)?

So yeah, I have some thinking to do.  I think the best plan of attack will be to make the 8 inchers for the front then lay them out on the bed I'm making the quilt for and take some measurements.

This is where it gets complicated.

For a Swap: Easter Dotee (Meet Derpy)

I'm post bombing the blog today.  This is the second post of three for today.  (yes, I could have just piled them all together but I like keeping things categorized so. . .).

SO, this is the dotee I made for the Easter Dotee swap. 

I call him Derpy.  Come on, is that not the perfect name for him? 

While he is derpy, he's also sparkly and fancy.

Show off for the folks, Derpy.

Derpy's back is covered with flower shaped sequins held on with fat seed beads and embellished with some stem stitches.  There are even a few flashy butterflies!

(his tail also has a butterfly sequin).

Derpy himself is a wet felted egg.  He felted up very well and I was pleased with the final result.  I haven't played with wet felting for almost exactly a year.  The last time I played with it was for the Easter Basket of Awesome (yeah, that was a year ago!).

Derpy also has some funky blanket stitch around his mouth and his eyeballs are reversible.  The pupils are slightly smaller on one side than the other (it's hard to see, but that's why there are two pics here).  I love those beads and can't wait to use them more.  I love the very muppet look they give items.

But wait, what's that in your mouth, Derpy?

Open WIDE!

"Ugh, ooof. . ."

"It's about time you let me out.  I was about to pass out in there.  Have you ever heard of breath mints?"

"Sorry, Chicky, I forgot."

"Of course you did."  *sighing*  Now time for me to show you off, you great big fuzzy pudding."

"Uh, Chicky. . ."

"Don't interrupt, Derp.  I'm trying to work my magic here."

"But Chicky. . .uh. . ."

"Shhh."  *clears throat*  "Ladies and Gentlemen. . .boys and girls. . .Chicky Baby entertainment is proud to present. . ."

"Chicky. . .uh. . ."



"Hello?  Is anyone out there?"

"That's what I was trying to tell you, Chicky.  They already saw me."

"What?  WHAT!?  You mean to tell me you just. . .," *covers head with wing and sighs loudly*  "Derpy, Derpy, Derpy.  How many times have we been through this?  Showmanship, showmanship, showmanship."  *signs again*  "What am I going to do with you, Derpy?"

"Go with me to the Netherlands?"

*perks up*  "What's this now?  Take the show on the road?!"  *grabs Derpy and plants a big pecking kiss*  "Derpy, I'm a GENIUS.  We'll take this show on the road!"  *does a hopping dance*  "Ok, let's go get packed, we have a flight to catch."


Yes, Derpy and Chicky Baby are off to the Netherlands.  I hope they really wow the crowds there.

Swaps: Dotee I received

Isn't she cute!

This is the dotee I received from the Easter Dotee swap.

The only requirement (aside from regular dotee "rules") was it had to be egg shaped.  I love all the details (there are more on the back I just didn't get a snap of it).  The face is so cute, too.  I call that a classic dotee face, with the closed relaxed eyes and sweet smile.  All the flowers are so great and spring-y.

But what stole the show for me?

Check out that tail.  See that wee charm.

It's a tiny little bunny.  Eeeee!  So effing cute!

(damn, I'm such a girl sometimes)

I love little charms like this and go buck wild when they show up on dotee tails.  I think that's part of the reason I don't use them on my own dotees.  I want them to stay special to me (and I don't want to copy someone else's style).

This dotee is now happily hanging out with all my others in my craft room.  I really have to get moving on making a display for them (I'm really thinking a small christmas tree--white--would be a great idea).