Tuesday, June 17, 2014

CHALLENGE MET!!!!! 40 for Fluff DONE!

Yeah, that's right.

I did it.

I made 40 critters for the Fluff Project (which was also Hopeful Threads second quarter charity sewing project--double dipping for the win!).

Yes, I am bragging.

Brag, brag, brag, brag.

And being that obnoxious person who shoves pictures in your face and is all, "LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!!"  (said in my best Stuart voice)

That there is what I completed in the last two days.  Yes, two days, 15 critters.

Ok, so I did hedge my bet and make some easier stuff.  I'll admit it.

These puppies were a free pattern I found through the Hopeful Threads pinterest page (it might have been on the blog, too).

I think it was meant to be a bit bigger but I didn't enlarge it a ton.  These were just big enough that they weren't a pain in the ass to machine stitch.  You get too small and the machine is like a hungry beast ready to chew up bitty fabric pieces.

Hello Kitty puppy.  Yeah, I think it's CUTE.

Five puppies total.

Five stegosauruses total.

This was another free pattern (via Hopeful Threads' pinterest).  But I altered it a little bit.  The original pattern had loops of ribbon for the spines but I didn't want to do that.  I wanted them to be more appealing to more kids (and the ribbon loops made them very "baby").

SO. . .I took the arm pattern piece (from the large My Funny Buddy dino pattern) and made plates.  It worked PERFECTLY.  I didn't have to resize or anything.  Yeah, I'm gloating about that.  I got the creativity, my friends.  (and straight up laziness--I did not want to make my own shape).

This one is my favorites.  Big Bang Theory dinosaur.  *slaps knee*  It's so funny!  The two white plates have a fern print on them.

OH, and I accidentally cut one of the dino sides the wrong direction and was miffed about it but then I used just about all of it making the plates.  WIN for me.

Birch organics dinosaur.  This is from a scrap pack I got a while back (reviewed it here, like I do).  I think it's technically two different lines but they play well together.

Butterfly dino with bright plates.  I had so much fun putting together the fabrics for these.  Fun scrap buster for the plates.  I was pawing through my small scrap basket and holding the pattern piece to bits to see if they were big enough.

Polka dot and purple/pink dinos.  Check out that little bit of Briar Rose there on the polka dot one (the rose print).

I really love seeing all the scraps on these stegos.

When making the plates using the arm pattern, just trace the arm and then sew on the line.  So that means you can just draw the pattern on a folded over piece of fabric (or two layers of scrap) and just sew then cut it out (using pinking shears).  No need to backstitch at all, either.  Turn them right side out and roll the seams a bit (to make them nice) and then baste them along the back of one of the sides.  Just make sure you have them in the right direction.  I just hold the plate along the top of the side piece (as it would look finished) and then fold it down so it's flat against the side piece then pin it.  One pin per plate.  Super easy.


I'm a total basting convert and now I preach it like the gospel.  Go forth and baste.

The Dinosaur family says "Hi!".

(take a small Pee-Wee's Playhouse break and sing along to that fabulous theme. . it's ok, you know you want to. . ."Come in, and please pull up a chair LIKE CHAIRY.  Let the fun begin, it's time to let down your hair. . .)

The triplets.

All these dinos are My Funny Buddy patterns.  The babies are a free pattern that includes this baby, a baby coming out of an egg, and an egg.  These babies are super easy and fast to make.  Very cute.

Adult dinos.

I was worried this pattern would be involved but it's really fast and easy.  The faces have a bit of applique (as most MFB patterns do) but it's not bad at all.  Definitely worth the few minutes it takes (most of that is cutting out the pieces--but that's a great felt scrap buster).

There is a bit of curve sewing to get the belly to the front tail piece and to get the face/head back to the body pieces but it's not bad at all.  Actually, it's good practice.

I switched the pattern up just a tiny bit and put the arms in the opposite direction so they pointed up to give a real, "HE-ey" feel to this pair.  I like the up arms a lot.  Makes them cuter and happier.

That fabric was PERFECT, too.  It's from years ago when I bought a remnant box from fabric.com.  It's a damn shame they upped the price on those because they are great.  Nearly full yards of fabric (I reviewed it here, so check out the "review" tag if you're interested).


That there is:

10 bunnies
9 "peanut" puppies
6 dollies
5 wiener dogs
5 stegosauruses
3 baby dinos
2 adult dinos

TOTAL 40 critters.

And I had a box that was just the perfect size so they can all go together in one shipment.  WOOT!

One last pic just to show the bunnies sitting on the puppies' heads.  The bunnies look so worried!

(oh, random funny moment when I was taking pics.  I put the dollies next to the wiener dogs and one dollie looked like she was totally eyeballing the dogs' butt.  Her face was right up in there.  I had to move it, after I cracked up, of course.  Yes, I have the maturity of Beavis.)

I'm so damn happy I met my personal challenge and that everything turned out looking so well and there was NO drama.

Ok, the only thing close to drama was when my needle fell out of my machine.  Yup, the screw had wiggled loose and BOOP, needle just fell on out.  Didn't cause any drama but I was like, "Huh?  What do you think you're doing, crazy machine?  NO RESTING!!!"

OHHHHH!!!   I almost forgot to share this great thing that I finally got.


Yes, I got a spool over the weekend and let me just tell you it's a god send.  I'm getting decent at ladder stitch but with the clear thread you can just do a very shallow whip stitch and it looks good.  No need to match thread to fabric or labor to get the perfect ladder stitch.  But there is a cost.  It's irksome to work with.  It holds the coil from the spool which is frustrating and knotting it is trickier than regular thread (seeing it and manipulating it).  And it likes to just delicately pull out of the needle (when you get your fingers all caught in the curliness).  BUT, it's easy to thread the tiny eye needle I prefer for closing stuffed toys, since the clear thread won't unravel.  Damn, I totally hate when I'm trying to thread the Tiny Eye and the thread just blows up on the end and I have to trim and slobber all over the thread (yes, I use my mouth when I sew--put the thread in my mouth, hold embroidery floss in my lips when I'm separating strands, lick my finger tips to separate fabrics, you know regular stuff like that).

AND, I also got thread conditioner for use on my embroidery floss.  I only used it on the second of the adult dinos (the one with no whites on the pupils) but I can already see a difference.  I'm a convert.

Ok, I'm done yapping now.  I'll get the box of stuffie goodness in the mail this week (before vacation!).

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I got my Play with Clay swap done last night right before we had a crazy thunderstorm that had me seriously worrying I'd have to flee to the basement with my cat children.  Ok, I'm a bit antsy about all things "tornado" so I was probably over reacting.  Me?  NEVER!


They're pretty dang cute if I may say so myself.

The swap requirements were to just make something using clay.  Any old thing you wanted.  It was also a beginner swap so your item didn't need to be perfect, which is good because these minions, while cute, are far from perfect.

I haven't played with clay since I was a kid.  And that was real clay, not the paper stuff I used for these minions.

Let me just tell you, paper clay has its pros and cons.  One pro and con at the same time is the texture.  I needed to get my hands a tiny bit wet so it wouldn't rub off on my skin and so it would stay smooth.  But if you use too much water it gets slimy.

It does work well and if you're careful and patient (and have more experience) I'm sure you can get a nice smooth and non-lumpy finish.

It also takes a while to dry if you use a big hunk.  My first go with this project, I just made to little nuggets of solid clay and they took days and days to dry.  So I made a second set with foil cores which dried much quicker but I think also lended to a bit more lumpiness.

A HUGE con I discovered was my cat, Olive, was obsessed with this project.  Normally my cats neb my stuff a bit (I sew in my kitchen so it's all right there for their inspection) but she would no leave these alone.  I even tried to outsmart her and put them down in a rope basket I use as a shopping basket when I go up to my craft stash room.  I was all proud of my ingenuity until I came home one evening and I found tooth marks on one of the samples.  It was a significantly smaller one that I had made just to see if a small one was doable.  She also knocked the solid clay ones down on the floor and got debris all over them.  I still used them for practice (painting, etc).

Good thing I started the project well in advance so I'd have time to try a few things, huh?

At first I thought I might add arms and legs but then I realized they could be bean style (my sister mentioned it and I liked the idea--it was also WAY easier).  At first I was going to use all paint but then I realized I can have some seriously shaky hands and I kind of wanted to do some sewing for this too.

So I made the pants out of felt.  There's also a dab of glue inside the bottom so the pants are not removable.

I wasn't sure at first how I was going to do the faces then one of my swap partners sent me some glue on google eyes as an extra in a package and BAM, problem solved.

Glue ribbon on for the goggle strap, glue on google eye(s) over the seam where the ribbon ends meet, and add the mouth with a marker.  (hot glue, mind you)

I won't lie, the cyclops one is my favorite.  Part of it is the eye and a bigger part is the mouth.  The mouth was a total accident.  There was a small wrinkle/scratch in the clay there (like I mentioned, smoothing was my weak point) but it was placed perfectly for a cocked mouth.  All I had to do was add the marker color.

I love when things like that happen.

I'm very pleased with how they turned out.  They're imperfect but that's kind of the heart of the swap.  We were just to enjoy using clay and I definitely had fun with this.  AND, I still have at least half the packet of paper clay.  I might have to make myself one of these.  Or maybe make one for my cat!

Next up?  A flower dotee for an angel swap (I'm angeling for someone who got ripped off on a flower dotee swap and they're making me a zombie dotee for the one I got ripped off on--sweet!).  And a few more stuffed toys for the Fluff Project.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fluff Project: Closing in on my goal!!

In case you forgot, this quarter's charity sewing project (via Hopeful Threads) was a double dip with the Fluff Project.  The Fluff Project is the ongoing charity sewing project at Hopeful Threads.  But Hopeful Threads also does different quarterly projects (for different charity things).  I was very pleased about the double dip.  So pleased, in fact, that I got all worked up and made myself a personal sewing challenge.

40 items.

Yeeeeah, I should have thought that through just a tiny bit more BUT. . .there you go.

So, I need to get my items mailed out by July and it just so happens that I'll be on vacation the last week of June so guess what that means?  I need to get my items in the mail by June 20.

For those that aren't keeping track (or don't have a calendar hanging on the wall RIGHT next to their head) that gives me exactly 11 more days to meet my challenge.

That there is what I currently have done.

That's 10 bunnies, 6 dollies, and 9 puppies.  A grand total of 25 items.

That means I need to make 15 more items in the next 11 days.  Totally doable considering there's a weekend in there and I'm not going to painting right now (summer break) so I can take the three hours on Wednesday evening that I normally paint and make them sewing hours.

I did already cut out a dinosaur and get the face all stitched on.  I'm giving the pattern a test drive to see if it will lend itself to mass production.  So far it's no more time consuming than what I've already made.  I'm just curious to see how fiddly the pattern will be.  It has a belly piece that attaches to the front and it's a big ole curve.  And the body has some dips and humps to it (to make a limb).  So we'll see how irritating all those warbles and curves will be.

If the dinosaure proves too annoying, I'll at least have one for the pile.  I may push through and make a second one since, in a fit of dumbness, I cut a few of the pattern pieces in the wrong direction.  So I have a belly and front body already cut (facing the opposite direction of the one I'm working on).  So I'd only have to cut the back body, head pieces, and limbs to make a second dino.

I'm not sure what pattern I'll make if the dinosaur proves too annoying.  I'm tempted to re-visit some patterns I've already done.  Maybe the monster.  It was so cute and you can use a variety of fabrics.  I like picking fabrics.

Ok, time to check out the puppies in detail (since they haven't been profiled here yet).

It's a My Funny Buddy pattern.  They really are nice patterns for pillow style stuffed toys.  (Pillow style means they're rather flat, so no gussets to make them stand up).  They have nice details like hand stitched faces which can be fiddly but I've found once you get in the groove the faces are easy to mass produce.

The most fiddly part of this pattern are the ears.  You can make the ears without the flip to them, but the flip is so freaking cute it really is worth the tiny bit of fussiness.  Really, it's not that bad.  You just sew a curve into the underside of the ear and then put the two pieces together.  The curve is easy but putting the two pieces together is where the minor irritation comes in.  I just always worried I wasn't keeping the fabrics lined up well enough and would get puckers/folds along the top.  It never happened but I fretted it each time (despite copious pins).

The collar involves a few steps, too, but it's not fussy. Just straight sewing.  And the finished results are totally worth it.  The collars are also fun scrap busters.  All the collars on my pups came from my bucket of small scraps.

This was the first one I made.  I always do a test item to see if the pattern is good for mass production.  Nine times out of ten, the test item turns out well and I can use it.  This puppy is definitely good to go.

I was testing the face fabric along with the pattern.  The face fabric is a rather thin muslin from my stash.  I like it for the faces since it matches everything and is a natural shade.  It also made it so I could use off white for the eye patches.  Pure white just attracts so much dirt and dark fuzz.

The test puppy is the only polka dot one and the only one with a bright yellow collar.  The other eight puppies come in pairs.  OH, and for the record you can get two puppies out of one fat quarter of fabric and still have a nice piece leftover.

Patriotic puppies.

That fabric is so dang cute.  I got it in a swap and I liked it for the cuteness but (since it was patriotic) I really did think "what the hell will I use THIS for?"  But that's the fun of doing a fabric swap series.  You get a few fat quarters of different themes so you have them around when/if that them comes up.

I used it because it was puppies.  I dug around my stash specifically for dog print fabrics and found quite a few.  This fabric also has the bonus of being glittery.  I'm a sucker for glittery fabrics.

Groovy puppies.

That fat quarter came in a scrap vomit fat quarter bundle I got many moons ago from Pink Castle fabrics.  I recommend their scrap vomit fat quarter bundles.  You get nice fabric at a good price and it really is a grouping of miscellaneous fat quarters that really don't go with each other.  Mystery fugly fat quarters?  Yes please.

Big puppies.

Another random fq from my stash.  Cute dog print fabric perfect for making puppies.

These are my favorites (well, I really like the polka dot one, too).  That fabric is so super cute I could die.  It's also really nice quality.  I'm pretty sure it came in a mystery fat quarter bundle I bought when I first got really into sewing (I would buy mystery bundles to build my stash) and I've been deliberately hoarding it for a while.  I needed just the right project to show off the cuteness!  LOOK AT THE PUPPIES!!!  And I made sure to fussy cut the ears so puppies would show on the flopped over part.

See, that fabric is why I'm so happy there was decent scrap left over after cutting the patterns (even with a bit of fussy cutting).  I didn't want to use up every last bit of that super cute puppy fabric.  I need to have at least a charm or two to add to my 2.5 inch postage stamp charms (which some day before I die will become the world's most heinous quilt).

I will be taking a small break from the Fluff Project sewing while I finish up a swap I need to get out (by the same date as the Fluff stuff).  The swap item is going VERY well (after a bit of drama involving my cat, Olive, trying to EAT part of it. . .bad girl!) and as long as there is no further drama I think I can get it wrapped up in just a few hours of work.  I do need to fire up the glue gun and I'm not sure if the glue will play well with the paper clay (dried) that I'm using it one so. . .we'll see!  I can't wait to see how that project turns out, it's looking very cute so far.

Friday, June 6, 2014

REVIEW: Fat Quarter Shop Mystery Fat Quarter Bundle

Yes, yes, yes, I know the fabric fast technically isn't over but when the Fat Quarter Shop sent me a 20% off coupon code AND they had their mystery fat quarter bundles available, I decided I needed a small treat.

You see, the mystery fq packs have 12 fat quarters of coordinating fabrics (from the same line) for $19.50.  With my 20% discount, that meant I'd only be spending $1.05 to ship it.  So I was looking at getting some fat quarters for $1.71 each.  Quilt shop quality fat quarters, mind you, not just the gauzy cheap ones you can get at Joanns.  Hell, the ones at Joanns are usually more than $1.71.

Even if the fast had JUST begun, I'd have jumped on the deal.  See, I love me some mystery bundles.  And I bought one from the Fat Quarter Shop before and it was nice (sparkly christmas fabrics).

My little treat arrived yesterday and I was SHOCKED.

I got 12 fat quarters of Fox Field.

Eeee, I saw that fabric before and had thought "ooh, nice" but I didn't add it to my official Wish List because, well, the Wish List is kind of long and I really don't need to be buying fabric.

But I LOVE the horse print in this line.

And now I have some!!

Fancy fabric circle FAIL.  But I give myself a thumbs up for really trying (and the rotting picnic table in my yard gives me etsy barnwood cred, yo!)


Yeah, I need to make a patch using some of my ponies.  I'm thinking Tina Belcher might need to be in between them.  That fabric gives me such a Tina vibe.

But lets not poo-poo the other fabrics.  Look how nice they all are.  Some really good blenders in there.  I love the low volume gray one and the zig zag stripes is really much more vibrant in person.  Hell, they all are.

OH, and the polka dot ones have bunnies on them.  Randomly there are bunnies in place of a dot.  Yes, that makes me happy.

So, what is my official verdict on this purchase?


Great price, especially if you have a discount code.  Just buying it by itself (no code) wouldn't make it as great a deal (and I probably wouldn't pay full shipping just for this one item).  But if you're making an order for something else, adding a mystery bundle on would be a no brainer.  Especially if you really love mystery bundles.  Excellent quality fabrics cut and packaged well and shipping quickly.  I'm very pleased.


Since I'm doing a bit of a buying confession, I also have to admit I made a big purchase from Fabric.com a week ago, too.  I spent $35 and got a bunch of stuff from my wish list, the majority of it was on sale.  And only one item was NOT on my Wish List.  Most of it was cat fabrics but I also got some Wee Wander (the pony print was the only thing that wasn't on sale but I got it anyway since the other prints in that line were on sale and I just wanted to totally cross Wee Wander off my Wish List).  I was going to take pics but then I had a rush of being tidy and filed it away in my stash and I'm not going to pull it all back out now.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Sugar Skulls!

Ok, they're actually felt sugar skulls.

Of course,they're made for a trade.

The swap was for just one but they're so small (about 2.5 - 3 inches or so) I just had to make two.  That and I wasn't exactly sure what the size requirement was, so if my first one was too small I made a second to make up for it.

The bride was the first one I made and I didn't think to add the veil until I had the front/face done.

Isn't she lovely!

I really like the face on this one.  It's cute but not too cute.  The eye sockets are bits of felt and the rest is embroidery and beads.  The veil is a bit of lace.  I tied it at the top (to make a little bunch) and then hid the bunch in the seam.  It worked out well.

The back.  Bead and sequin flowers with embroidery stem.

And now, for her husband.

I was a bit obsessed with making a skull with a mustache.  That and I wanted one with flowers as the eyes.  I saw a lot of skulls with flower eyes when I wa looking for inspirational images.  I was going to put the flower sequins for the eyes but they were too girly and once I saw that trim (the gold stuff) I had to make another crown.  (I used that trim for a crown on a doll a while back).  I like how the mustache turned out.  It was just free-handed but it's pretty even and looks decent.  It might be a tiny bit high on the face but I think that is kind of cute.  (for the record, I had to tear out the right hand side of the mustache twice to get it right.  I was worried I'd rip the fabric and have to start the face all over again)

I finally used some of the sew on jewels I've had forever, too.  Bonus.

The back is really very random.  I just wanted to do some embroidery but I didn't really want more flowers.  I thought I might do a pile of french knots (I love that look) but after a did a few I knew I didn't have the patience.  So I made a dot of knots (that's the yellow at the top) and then I just did some stem stitch and just made a random design.  I had been toying with using one of the skull beads I just got (love those tiny ones!) so after I had the swirly done it seemed a good spot for a bead so there you go.

These will go off in the mail probably tomorrow (I don't fee like walking them over this morning).

I LOVED making these.  So simple and fun.