Thursday, May 23, 2013

Progress Report: "Little Portraits"

Good progress last night.

First up, the subtle changes on Priscilla.



The only changes are to the nose (slightly darker) and major face-lift work on the eye patch.  I enlarged the patch last week and this week I recolored the stripes to blend in the enlargement.  Then I whittled down the nose, mouth, and whiskers and did a little work on the eyes.  It's looking better and better every time I work on it.  It's finally starting to lose that out of place feeling it had before.

Next up, Clark/Superworm.



Oh yeah, it's starting to take shape.  Even at this rough stage, the tiny bit of shading I have on this makes it look SO much better.  I'm trying something new and working in some of the shading as I paint instead of making it all one color and then adding in all the shadows.  I'm also really liking the color that's coming out for the background.  I don't have any one color in mind for it but I am leaning toward a bluish/steel gray look.

I didn't have time to work on Mr. Roboto last night but he's VERY close to being officially DONE.  I just need to do a bit more work on his antenna (and maybe the eye) and I have a feeling he'll be finished.

I don't think I have any more painting sessions left.  I'm vacationing next week so I'll miss that class which I think is the last.  There's one extension class after that (you pay extra for it) but I'm not doing that this time around.  So these lovelies will likely sit for a bit.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

For a swap: June Unique Holiday Dotee

I haven't mailed this one yet since partners haven't been assigned.  But I'm ready to mail as soon as I know WHO get is.

This was made for the June Unique Holiday swap:

June 4 is Hug Your Cat day.  June is also "Adopt a Cat" month.  So even if my swap partner doesn't have a cat, they will now.

It's hard to see in the photos, but the eyes are black sequins held on with small yellow seed beads.  The nose is a larger bead.

The body is some fabric I had in my scrap bin.  I think I got it in a scrap swap, it was a really small piece that was just perfect for this project.  The tail is black felt I glued onto the back.

I recycled some ribbon for the neck bow.

And I got to use one of my super cute budgie buttons for the tail.  The tail is folded over ric rac that I sewed together to make it rigid and to keep the button from flopping down so you couldn't see it.

This is a very simple dotee that took only about an hour start to finish but I really like it.  Now I just need the swap host to assign partners so I can mail it out.  It has to be mailed by June 1 and I'm going on vacation in a few days so I may have to mail it while I'm on vacation!  Such excitement, be still my heart!

What's up next?

Under the Sea dotee.  I'm hosting that swap and to be honest I haven't really thought about what to make just yet.  But I have a while so maybe I'll think up something while I'm on vacation.  I'm off to the beach so that should be good inspiration.

Friday, May 17, 2013

I'm a Big Wiener!!!

I had a run of good luck with the Sew Mama, Sew giveaway week.

I won not one but four prizes.

So I'm going to show off the two that arrived this week.

These goodies (three fat quarters on the left, scrap pack spread out along the right) came from Carly at Faith, Family, and Frugality.

I love scrap packs with a passion and this is a good one.  Nice variety of sizes, some perfect to trim up for use in my postage stamp quilt (I love when I can just trim the tiniest bit off a scrap to make it 2.5 inches--hate to waste!).

I'm planning to do a bunch of fabric cutting this weekend (have to carve up some yardage into fat quarters for some swaps) so I'll be rotary-ing these goodies too.

This great collection came from Waggons West.  Some fabric (solid yellow strip, bee strip, religious icon fabric which is FABULOUS, and chalk board fabric), dvd/cd rom with quilt patterns, embroidered patch (bee with flower--adorable) and. . .

This great tag/patch to put on my first finished quilt.  I'm so using it on my patchwork quilt whenever I finally get it done (hence the open area under my name, so I can hand stitch or write in the date of completion).

WW was concerned I wouldn't like it.  They felt the little figure looked too much like an alien but. . .I LOVE aliens.  So it's absolutely PERFECT for me.  Just a bit odd and weird and fabulous.  And I love the shades of green they used.  Now I'm worried this will be too nice for my finished quilt!

I'm keen to figure out a use for the embroidered bee fabric.  Maybe I'll make a random block from it for the back of my postage stamp quilt.  I decided I'm doing the back in random squares.  In fact, my two stabs at paper piecing will probably end up back there, too.  I'm not sure yet.

I need to learn more about the chalk board fabric.  I've seen it before and thought it was cool but never really investigated it because I never planned to buy any.  Now I'm all worried I won't use it "correctly".  What is up with that?  I need to get over that hang up, pronto.

I'm so excited about all the wins I've had.  I'm going to have to use some of my winnings for some charity sewing to pay it back.  I'm also going to make a REAL effort to join the next SMS giveaway week.  I could have my own giveaway here but I don't have many followers so it wouldn't get a lot of participation.  I'm also thinking I need to add a few extras into my next round of swaps, as a kind of karmic payback for all the good stuff that came my way from the SMS giveaway.

Now I need to get my butt to the sewing machine and get sewing.  I've been lazy with working on my quilt stuff lately.

Good luck and positive energy to anyone reading.  It's true, if you send good stuff out it will come back to you (sometimes just in good feelings, but sometimes in cold hard items like free fabric scraps!).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

For a Swap: Little Plushie (or "Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty")

I haven't been sewing much for swaps lately.  There's been a lull in the types I like (dotee dolls, stuffed toys) so it's mostly been fabric swaps (good, but not THAT interesting).

I got this little cutie done last night.

Ok, if I can just say it.  OH MY EFFING GAWD, is that one cute kitty or WHAT?!

I'll give you a minute to collect yourself.  Deep, cleansing breaths.

Here's the best part.

I've made this pattern before and this one is SO MUCH BETTER.  See, that's how things should be.  You go back to a pattern a few years later, with better skills, and you really crank out something that looks GOOD.  I don't have a shot of the original I made from this pattern (really, it was years ago) but he's not nearly as cute as this.  He's very disgruntled looking, which is kind of how I felt when I was making him.

This cutie is not only a testament to how great it is to improve your skills, but also to learning about fabrics and what fabric is best for what project.  The original kitty I made was from all cotton and I sewed it all on the machine.  BUT, the pattern wasn't made for "all turning".  The head, arms, and legs were meant to be made from felt or another fabric that is good for top stitching (not sewing then turning).  There's no seam allowance for the head and limbs.  DUH!  I don't know if I even noticed that years ago or if I did and just decided to use the fabric I had on hand instead.  My first kitty did turn out, but not as well as this one and it was VERY frustrating to use different fabrics and have to fight with them.  Making the original kitty wasn't exactly fun or quick.  This kitty was both.  Went together easily and with very little (I may even say NO) drama.

I did make one change to the pattern this time around.  I added a tail.  It's just two "arm" pieces glued together and sewn to the rump.  Very simple but I like this kitty better with a tail.

Look at that little face.  (yes, I did do a little clean up to get the fuzzies off him)

This cutie is for a Little Plushie swap.  I'm very excited to send him off.  Yeah, I have a proud.

Progress Report: "Little Portraits"

It was a good night for painting last night.

First up, Mr. Roboto.



Bad photo aside (the before is an awful shot) it's getting harder and harder to see the changes as I make them.  They're all subtle tweaks to the shading and whatnot, so they don't translate well via photos (especially my crappy cellphone pics).

Last night I worked on Mr. Roboto's antenna, mouth, eye, and some shading on the background (making it darker).  OH, I also shaved down his one shoulder which I really like.  I'm tempted to shave down the other one but it really is that pointed in the photo so. . .

Next up, Priscilla.



Again, ignore how crappy the photos are (especially the "before"--the lighting is so awful on that).  I didn't spend as much time on Priscilla last night, so not as much was done.  The big change is in the size of the eye patch.  I was wondering why it just looked so off from the rest of the painting.  While I realize the entire painting is "weird" (hello? cat with an eye patch!) but the eye patch itself just really stuck out as not working with the rest of the image.  Yes, it's not exactly true to the original image (my version's face isn't as low and wide) and while discussing the funky eye patch issue with the instructor, he mentions how the shape of the painted eye patch didn't look like it would fit over the existing eye.  So that could be why the eye patch was standing out so much and wasn't working.  The minute I widened it just a bit, it started to look more and more like it belongs.  Once I get it colored properly (fix the stripes so the new bit matches the existing part) and then shade it up, it should be good.  Yes, it's still very different from the photo (one big thing is, in the photo you can see the black fabric around the edge of the pink--I edited that out for the painting) but it will work for the painting (which has a host of small issues that make it far from an exact rendering of the photo).

So why did I have so little time with Priscilla?  Because I started the third canvas in this collection.  I think this third one will be the last in the set.

Here's where working with such small canvases becomes a trick.  You get them covered fairly quickly then have to find something else to do while they dry.

Hopefully that mess up there will slowly morph into a version of this:

Of course, the size isn't the same so the photo was cropped a bit to fit the canvas.

I was going to do another robot and cat but I'm bored with that now.  The I toyed with doing paintings of T.P. Day and Mr. Durr but they have such muted colors and I'm about burned out on dark shades for now (so much gray and black lately!) that I needed a pop of color.  Clark/Super Worm definitely has that.  I'm not sure what the background color will ultimately become, but for now I liked the blue/gray shade so why not fill it in that way and work from there.  It's something different for my.  Normally I'm very methodical and don't like to put down multiple layers of paint.  Like normally I'd leave the mask/eye area and fill it in with only the "right" colors but this time I just greened out the whole head area and I'll build on it with the "right" colors.  No need to be so uptight when I'm working with such a small canvas.  There will be time for that later.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Progress Report: Little Portraits

Finally back to painting.

First up, Mr. Roboto:



The changes are more and more subtle.

I darkened up the corners (they were just too white) and worked on the antennae.  It still needs a lot of work to get it less bright.  But it's coming along.  The eye is also finally heading in the right direction.




Wow, the lighting is bad on this photo.  Very washed out.  For the record, I made the eyes on the eye patch larger (and I really like them).  Again, the changes are subtle because they're mostly shading/lightening (which shows for crap in this really bad photo).

I'm liking where both are heading.  I plan to do at least one more little portrait.  I was going to make two more (another cat and another robot) but I'm just not motivated to sew the other robot and I'm kind of bored of the cat shape.  But I do want to make at least one more of these little canvases.  So I think I'm going to use Super Worm for one of them.  But don't quote me on that.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Charity Sewing: Finally DONE!

I managed to get a few more stuffed toys made for the Hopeful Threads April charity project (stuffed toys for foster kids).

Three little ocotpuses (octopi?).

I altered a free pattern I found for a cute squid.  I was going to make the squid but it was a few more steps than I felt like doing and (to be brutally honest) I didn't like that it didn't have the correct number of tentacles.

I'll freely admit these are some super derpy octopi.  Cute and all that but just. . .derpy.  I like them and am not ashamed to give them away but I'm worried kids might not like them.

Eh, I guess that's not my problem.

I'll be sending the octopi (ooh, octo-tri!) off on Monday.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Who Farted?

Yeah, I could have titled this "what I did instead of painting" but I didn't.

There will be no progress report on the Little Portraits because I skipped class so I could work on some sewing projects I need to get done.

I'm happy to report, I put those three hours I normally spend painting to good use.  I made a big dent in the charity sewing I need to get done so I can mail it no later than Monday (I'm making a few more stuffed toys for the April Hopeful Threads challenge).  I'll show those off when they're done.

I DID get the other project totally DONE.

So what was so blessed important that I needed to skip the painting class I PAY to take?

I present:

My Kentucky Derby Hat.

"What the hell?," you ask?  "Is that what I think it is?"

Oh yes, yes it most certainly is.

It's a unicorn farting a rainbow.

AND, the ties are made from mustache print ribbon.

Oh, and that is most definitely glitter on there.  Little shred glitter that looks like something Etsy vomited up and then tried to cover with cheap felt.

But I'l have you know, it's not made entirely from cheap felt.  The unicorn is made from the good wool blend stuff.


Close up time!

(insert "horny" joke here)

Check out that fabulous horn, would ya.  Want to know its secret?  It's a toothpick.  Not even a whole toothpick either.  About 2/3 of a toothpick I jabbed up through the head piece and then dabbed a bit of glue at the base to keep it steady.  The sparkles?  It's some funky trim I had in my stash.  It's on a spool like ribbon but it has two wires (one on each side) connected with tinsel like strips.  I cut the wires apart (so each would have some tinsel jabbing off of it) and then wound it around the tooth pick.  Badda bing, badda bang, badda sparkly unicorn horn.

The eyes are sequins.  The nostrils are just two ink dots.  (sidebar:  I scored some Sharpie fabric pens on clearance at Target and they're pretty sweet).

The mane is just embroidery floss.  You wrap it around a bit of cardboard (the width you want the hair to be) and then dab some glue on one of the long edges.  Once the glue is dried you remove the cardboard (fold it and gently remove the glued on hair) and then cut the loop (on the non-glued side).  Sew it into the horses neck hiding the glued side.  The mane wanted to stand on end (it came out a bit shorter than I anticipated--I didn't take into account having to hid the 1/4 inch or so of glued part) so I painted a bit of glue along the top of the neck and pressed the mane into it and painted a bit of glue on the top of the mane, too.  I highly recommend felt glue.  It dries perfectly clear and doesn't make felt stiff.

The base is just a piece of cardboard (from a cereal box) covered in cheap felt.  I mean it, it's the super cheap crap.  I glued it down and then did a blanket stitch around the edge.

And the rainbow?

Cheap felt, too.

To be honest I wasn't overly concerned with how perfect this hat came out.  I kind of wanted a truly homemade feel to it so the cheap felt was the way to go.  Also, you can get some seriously bright colors if you get the cheap stuff.

The best part?  I didn't have to buy one thing to make this.  All the supplies were in my stash.

POOT (oops, I mean WOOT).

The only small issue I'm having now is how to keep it from falling off my giant pumpkin head.  I recently got my hair cut short so I'm not sure if a few hair pins (on the underside) will even hold in my hair.  Hell, I'm not that worried.  I'll just have to have perfect posture to insure my hat is properly displayed at all times.

I can't wait to show this off.  My sister is going to shit!

(OH, you can get the horse pattern at Nuno Life.  HERE)

Dotees: Some Dotees I've Received

Time to show off some of the Dotee's I've received lately.

First up, for the May Unique Holiday swap:

Poor sad dottee.  He's a poor lost sock waiting for the day in May (I think it's May 6) when we can celebrate him.  Don't fret, dear, it's almost here.

I love this dotee's face.  Such a cute frown.  And the little cowboy hat applique?  How effing cute is THAT? And, this is the first dotee I have that's made from flannel.

Next up, for the Fancy Button swap:

How fancy is this lady, huh?

I know the buttons should have been stealing the show for me (what with it being a fancy button themed swap) but what really got me was the shape of the doll combined with the fabric choice.  The combo just makes it really look like a fancy lady (and not just a cute little doll--not that there's anything wrong with cute).

The cape also really stood out.  It's fabulous.  Then combined with the giant button?  Yeah, awesome.

Just a close up of the buttons.  The face button is so fabulous.

So far my track record on received dotees still stands.  Not a dud in the bunch!