Friday, May 19, 2017

Fluff Project UPDATE!!



That there is my happy face at finally getting this latest round of Fluff sewing DONE.

It's also my happy face at having changed the way I'm doing my charity sewing (just a wee change).  Instead of trying to make a set number of items per month, I'm just going to aim to for one huge total for the year.

My previous goal was 10 items per month, which brings the yearly total to 120.  I'm going to up that to 150 items total for the year and do away with the "monthly" thing.  That way I don't feel the odd pressure I feel (yeah, that sounds dumb, I know) when I fall behind and am still working on X month when it's now Z month.

It also frees me up to share the charity items with whatever charity comes along.  Fluff Project will always be my number one outlet for the stuffed toys I make (and I'm dedicated to 60 items per year minimum for them no matter what) but I like sharing the love.  That and Dolls of Hope contacted me over Instagram letting me know they're all about the handmade dolls/bears for their charity work and I like the message they're putting out there and they have two particular patterns they make which made deciding what to make a no-brainer (remember, I am lazy).

Blah, blah, me rambling about how I've been a slow poke with my sewing. . .get on with the pictures, right!

Ok. . .you're right.  Pics or it didn't happen.


BOOM, in your face with 32 two items.

UGH!  That's me thrusting my pelvis in the direction of those babies and bears and being ever so modest and composed and. . .yeah, you know I like to show off my stuff and that's a big fat buttload of stuff I finally finished.  (and why the whole "X per month" thing was making me uptight when it took a lot longer to churn these out then I wanted).


BABIES!!!!  A veritable United Colors of Benetton of babies right there.

Four different shades, none of which is "super light" because those pale ass babies show too much stains/dirt marks.  Yes, I just typed that out but it's true.  These babies are going to kids in refugee camps (among other places) and darker fabrics will fair better.  Oh, and it's also NICE to make ALL skin tones so kids can find a baby that matches them (if they want) or maybe they just WANT a baby that doesn't look like them because they think that baby is pretty/cute.  I feel you on that one, I'm a particular fan of the darker skin baby with the orange hair there on the left of the pic.  That's a groovy combo if I do say so myself.

Honestly, I really like the darker face shades because they're more forgiving when it comes to the marking pens I use to draw in the faces (for the embroidery).  The lighter fabrics tend to cling to the ink (even though it's disappearing or air/water soluble) and you can get ghost images if you veer off course when embroidering.  And my ass veers off course all the damn time.

What goes perfectly with infants?

Why predators, of course.


Buncha bears.  Grrr!

Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE picking out fabrics for projects.  It's my favorite step and these bears were extra fun because they don't have to be "realistic" (like the baby faces need to be).  Purple bear?  SURE!  Chartreuse?  HELL YES.  I love chartreuse so much I know how to properly spell it without having to double check.  That is LOVE right there, folks.

The one thing I noticed about the bears (which amuses me to no end) is they get busty as you stuff them.  I had to mash them around a lot so they all didn't end up looking like Dolly Parton.  Though a Dolly bear would be fabulous (but I don't know I'd want to work with glittery fabric or deal with the wigs. . .holy crap, the wigs!)

OH, and shout out to the Care Bear fabric.  Some very kind person on swapbot (sorry, I forget who they are now. . .it was a long time ago) gave me that fabric as an extra in a swap we were in.  Out of nowhere they just wanted me to have YARDAGE of this super adorable Care Bear fabric because they knew I sewed stuffed toys for charity.  SEE. .. .that is kindness in action right there.  It had to be a yard and a half to two yards (it was a big ole piece) and I got a ton of items out of it and I think there's still a good piece left.  It was just so perfect for the babies in particular and I'm grateful to that nice person for their kindness.

Be kind to others and make the world a better place, folks.  It's not that hard to do and you'll get a rush out of it.  Really, you will.

Quilt Finish!!

Finished a quilt. . .yes I did.

Ok, it was only a baby/crib sized quilt but it's still a quilt and it was a gift and everyone ooohhhh and aaaahhh'd over it and I totally got a buzz off the attention.  See, I don't lie here.  I like making things for folks when I know they'll really give me what I want, which is attention (just a moment of "ooh, it's so nice. .. you made it!")



Once again, my lack of photography skills rears its ugly head.  RAWR.

I used THIS pattern and it was very easy.  I used Ed Emberley fabric (as they did in the pattern) with the exception of one blender print and the border fabric.  For the borders I used a white on white with a non-directional pattern.


The backing was just the elephant print (the baby's theme was gray and elephants) and did super simple in the ditch quilting around every other block (with neutral colored thread).  The binding was wrap around style so the elephants would be on the front and because I just didn't feel that a hand stitched binding would be tough enough for a baby quilt, which know will get washed a TON.

Of course, I needed supervision.  Feline supervision.


So, Feline Inspector Number One, does it meet with your approval?

*Gene is not amused by my sarcastic tone*


"Well, it does stand up to vigorous rolling but the real test will be. . ."


Looks like it's a winner.

"Do you mind. . .I'm trying to rest."

And that is why the quilt had to be washed before I gifted it.  Well, that and I wanted to make sure the colors didn't bleed and that it would just survive the wash.  It survived and looked even better once it had that rumpled look.  I like that look (which is good because I hate pre-washing anything!).

I did try to piece the batting on this quilt and it was a big ole fail.  I think that's something I should try with a "for home" quilt and it might work but this was not the project for experimenting.



I'm still making stuff. . .wanna see?

Know why I've been neglecting this blog?  Instagram.  It's all Instagram's fault.  That and being lazy.  Instagram rewards my lazy self because I can just post the pic right from my phone (right after I take it), give a little blurb, and done.

BUT. . .there is something fun about being able to really blabber about the stuff in a nice rambling blog post (and it's a slow day at work so I need to look busy).

It's been a few months and I'm still making stuff.  In fact, not having posted here in a while I realize I've churned out quite a bit lately.  Where to start?

Ok, let's start with the random things, mostly gifts for others.

GIFTS n'At



Guinea pig!  I've made two of these before.  This was a single pig made for a co-worker who was leaving for a new job.  She used to take us (meaning the office folks who were interested) to see the baby guinea pigs (in the labs) so she needed a guinea pig as a going away present, naturally.   (Ric Rac pattern used)

Let me just side bar, baby guinea pigs are just about the cutest little things I've ever seen.  They are born looking just like miniature versions of full grown GPs and they can eat sold food fresh out the womb (though they do nurse).  I so wanted to stuff one down my shirt and steal it but the workplace does frown on theft and my husband frowns on rodents as pets so. . .no baby GP for me.

Next up, a baby gift for my SIL (well, it may be a gift more for my SIL but it's under the guise of "for the baby". . .pishaw, that baby can share)



My sister-in-law likes her some Dr. Who and cats so. . .see this is why this gift is more for her than her baby.   (dolls and daydreams pattern used)

Speaking of. . .a new niece means the Bratling count (remember, Bratlings are all my husband's nieces/nephews) to FOUR.  Which means I have to come up with an official Bratling name for this new one.  Which meant I had to amend the Bratling naming scheme a tiny bit.

The new list:

OB1 :  aka The Original Bratling (the eldest)  formerly known as merely The Bratling until he was no longer the only one.

Her Royal Hind-Brat:  aka the first female bratling (second eldest of the group and formerly known as the She-Brat)  Play on Her Royal Highness (this child is a bit of a princess of her castle. . .in a not overly obnoxious way)

Wee-Brat:  also brother to OB1 (no name change yet, he's still little so no personality based name has emerged yet)

Ab-Brat-cadabra:  so named because she was late to her own birth, which leads me to believe this kid will like making an entrance (keep folks waiting!) so she has a "ta-da!" feel to her.  I was going to go with "Tardy-Brat" but that has negative implications with the expression "tard" and I don't like that for a number of reasons.  Ab-Brat-cadabra is also a little nod to this new she-brat's real name.

Blah blah. . .next up, a gift for OB1.


Back at christmas time, after being presented with the jigglypuff I made for him, I was informed by OB1 that the only pokemon he still needed for his collection was an oddish.  He instructed both me and his grandmother that we needed to get cracking on making this creature for him (hey, he is a brat after all).  Once I looked up what the hell an oddish was (and saw it was basically a ball with feet and leaf hair) I told OB1 that I'd see what could be done for his birthday (notice, no promises just a "might happen" type thing).   (original pattern based off a basic ball pattern I got via sweetbriar sisters baby bird pattern)

I'm happy to report oddish did happen before his birthday but he didn't get it until about a week later when I actually saw him (I don't see any of the bratlings much, which is fine with me. . .they are perfectly nice children but none of them live super close and I'm just not keen on taking vacation time just to hang out with a kid. . .sounds harsh but that's not my idea of a good time).

Oddish did have one design flaw which I'm fixing now.  I need to more firmly attach his leaf wig to his head.  OB1 (being a brat) was none too gently with oddish (swinging him by the leaf hair) and the hair came lose.  My design flaw, I should have remembered my target audience here.  So I just need to stitch the hair on a bit more firmly (using a button to anchor the stitching at the bottom of his body then running the thread up through the body AND putting a few stitches directly in the leaves to the top of the head).

Despite the design flaw, oddish was well received (if being flung about a desolate mall is to be considered "well received" which in the case of OB1 I'd say is a big yes).  I was happy with how he turned out so that's all that really matters.

Next up:

SWAPS

Some patches





I'm doing a color series of patch swaps on swapbot and these are the orange and red rounds.  I missed the yellow round (oops!) but plan to keep up with the series.




And I did a pincushion swap:



I re-purposed some shopkin packaging (they come in baskets/boxes like these) to make a pair of pin cushions for the swap and one for me.  I kept the pumpkin.  I had the idea to make a pin cushion out of it for a while but just never did it.  So this swap was good to get me to do that.  They turned out really nice, so I was very pleased.

Then, I did a doll swap.


We were to use an existing pattern (cupcake doll pattern) and make a doll based on what our partner requested.  My partner wanted Stevonnie, a character from Steven Universe.  It's a cartoon I'm not familiar with but google can solve that problem lickety split.  S/he (Stevonnie is a combination of a male character and a female character, so s/he has no one gender) turned out VERY well and was a big hit with my partner.

PAINTING


Finished my first octopus painting.  I'm very pleased with it.

Then I started (and I think might be finished with) this canvas.


 It's just a fun little abstract (that looks really bad in this pic, I swear it's more fun in person).  I just needed something fast (this only took about three classes, which is break neck speed for me when it comes to painting) before I moved on to my next (and much bigger) canvas.


I just started this one last class.  It's another octopus themed piece.  I like how it's looking already but I know I'll get to a stage where I think it's a flaming sack of dog crap.  That's how painting works for me, each canvas has to go through a cycle.  First is excitement to start (with a bit of trepidation).  Then wondering if you did it right (that's where this new canvas is currently heading. . .where I'm trying to figure out if I have everything drawn out so it will look ok at the end).  Then hating everything about it (aka the cursing stage).  Then kind of liking it but not sure if it's really that good.  Then realizing it's done and it doesn't matter, it's done and you made it and that's that.

Speaking of painting, I definitely have my favorites and some I actively despise.  And a whole bunch that I'm just "meh" about.  They are not like your children.  Or maybe they are!  I don't have kids (and this is one of the many reasons I don't. . .I'd feel so bad if after it was all said and done I loved the kid but I found their personality was just not compatible with mine and I thought they were just kind of a dick or a bore or something negative. . .I know that totally happens but I just don't want to deal with that).

Ok, I'm ending this post here because I want to make separate posts for the QUILT I made and for the Fluff stuff that's been finished.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

2017: January Recap

I realized I haven't posted anything from what I've been up to for January.

I did set myself some creative/crafty goals:

1.  5 Fluff tems per month (minimum)
2.  5 Mirabel items per month (minimum)
3.  Try something new (new pattern, block, something)
4.  Make a quilt top

1-3 will be something I do every month.  Number 4 is something I'd like to be able to do but I'm willing to admit that sometimes that one just might not work out (because some tops are time consuming, etc).  And I want to not just make the tops but finish them (by years end) so I won't be making 12 tops this year.  Right now my quilting goals are set at three/four finished quilts.  One is a top I already have done, two are tops I want to make, and one is a baby gift.  I think that's a reasonable goal for the year.

But anyway, what did I get up to for January?

First, Fluff and Mirabel:


That there is a dozen seahorses.  Six for each cause.  It got these done early and am already working on February's items (that will be at the end of the post).

For the "try something new" I suppose I have THREE things for the month (just got lucky).  In no particular order:



Pussy hat!  Had to get my Women's March on and when I realized I had left over pink fleece (from making the jigglypuff doll) I figured why not?  It took just about an hour start to finish (and by start that means getting the fabric from the craft room and cutting out the pattern).  Pattern is HERE.

Then, I also tested two patterns for Sweetbriar Sisters.  (really, get on their pattern tester list, it's good stuff).


Hmm, is that an egg?


It's unzipping. .. what's inside?


Welcome to the world!  Come on out.


Zipper egg and little bird.

The zipper egg was kind of a pain in the ass to make.  Not a total pain in the ass but more of a pain then I thought it would be and it's not going to work out as something I can "mass produce" for charity (too labor intensive).  BUT, it's not the fault of the pattern.  The pattern made it easy to do and I got very good results from my first go around.

The only real "problem" with the pattern is the bird just barely fits in the egg.  They noted they could resize the bird but honestly I'd prefer they make the egg larger.  The bird is a good size.  Small but not so small it's hard to work with.


Close up of the bird.  His beak is a little crooked but still within "acceptable to donate to charity" range.  BUT. . .I might just keep him and his egg since the egg was such a bother I think of it like my reward.


How cute is that fabric?  Feather print for the win!

What else. . .what else. . .OH, quilting. .



The top I'm working on is a cat face block (check out Stash Bee blog for a ton of fun blocks. .. that's where this one came to my attention).  As of this writing, the top is NOT done.  All the blocks (like pictured) are done and I have 30.  So a nice even number to use for a quilt (5 across, 6 down).  I need to put sashing strips between each to make the rows and then I think I'm going to do a type of "quilt as you go" technique to finish the top and the whole damn quilt at one time.

I've made a "strip as you go" quilt before (where you sew strips down to the backing/batting so the quilt top is sewn together right onto the batting and backing in one go) and I think this method will work for this quilt.  I made a tester (from two spare faces) to check my hypothesis.


(enlarged that bad boy a lot)

Don't mind how wonky it is, I was not trying for perfection (and if you look close you'll see the one of the side sashes is sewn on wrong side up!).  I started by sewing down the top sashing (sized to the width of the cat face block).  Then I sewed the first cat face block on (face down on the sandwich, then flip it right side up). then the middle sashing (I pieced together scraps!), then the next face, and finally the bottom sashing.  Then I put on the side sashings, trimmed the batting and rolled the backing fabric to the front for binding.  For just being a tester piece, it turned out well (meaning it worked like I wanted it to).  I think I'm going to just go balls out and try making the quilt this way.  Worst case scenario, it will be a train wreck.  BUT, it will count as a "try something new" so it won't be a total loss, right?

So I just need to finish up this top (hopefully as a full quilt) and then I'll move on to either another top for myself or the baby quilt I need to make (by May/June).

What's am I up to now?



February's charity sewing is already in full swing.  It's snails!  I think there are 14 or 16 or something like that (I forget now exactly how many).  OH, and for March I'm going to add a third charity to the mix (more on that another time, gotta get those snails done first. . .I'm so bad at having tons of projects started at once so I have to stay focused or nothing will get done).

AND. . .I haven't stopped painting.  Now, I only paint 3 ish hours a week (for 6 weeks or so at a time. . .like a school semester) so I'm not really whipping out the finished canvases.  I did finally finish the chameleon set (which I gifted to my mother, who requested a painting. . .any painting. . .for Christmas. . .I'd never force my paintings on anyone, they aren't really that great in general. . .total rookie stuff).

ANYWAY, this is the canvas I'm working on now.


Octopus!  This is how it looks RIGHT NOW.  But I have painting tonight, so maybe. . .just maybe. . it'll be almost done after that (it's very close now. . .I'm trying to not go for "perfection" with my paintings so I can enjoy getting more actually FINISHED. . .this one is at the point where I'm starting to think about what my next canvas will be, so that means it's almost done).

(shout out to my hubby who's photobombing there in the background. . .woot! hey hubby!)

I'm aiming to make February as productive as January and I'm off to a good start!