Saturday, December 01, 2007

happy december

We got a smattering of snow last night. It is already melty. It's chilly out, but not really cold in the frigid-we-have-snow way.

I still can't believe it's already December.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Advent calendar

With the holidaze coming up, I thought I'd make a quick advent calendar. This is the finished calendar, which ended up being four pages on 8.5"x11" size cardstock.

I started with some shipping tags and decorative papers cut to make pockets.

Then I trimmed the pocket paper with decorative scissors for a fun little border.

Here's what they begin to look like grouped. I tried staples, but I didn't like how they looked and just went with tape.

Small tags with ribbon on top will be the surprise seen each day. I'm still not sure what to write, exactly, but since there's no real room for candy, I might just stamp or draw a piece of candy for the boy. Or it might be a promise to play a certain game or go to a certain place or have ice cream. Or something.

Each pocket is stamped with a number. 24 leading up to xmas.

And here is the finished bit, the pockets attached to black cardstock with snowflake brads and tied together with a ribbon. I still need to figure out where to hang it.

Next year, I want to make little stockings out of felt or cotton or linen so that candies or trinkets can be put inside the calendar.

Friday, November 16, 2007


The etsy plush street team is getting together to form the words out of plushies. Here's my contribution.

Plushteam star

This was try #2. The first one just looked funny, so I redid it. Go figure.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Halloween contest

PLUSH TEAM Halloween contest!

Go and vote for your favorite Halloween-themed plushie! I've entered Horrible Hennie in the Spooky category, but there are so many talented plush makers in our group, it's going to be a tough contest. Funfunfun!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Horrible Hennie

This is my entry into the Plushteam Halloween contest. It's not really spooky, but I think it's still in the style of my regular stuffies while being different enough that you can tell it's for Halloween. At least I think it does. (Her little buggy pal comes out of the pocket.)

I should make some more stuff for Halloween, especially cards since we're now on the last day of September. Sheesh, where did the time go? I actually have a few new Halloween things, but I've cut waaay back on my craft buying because I still have a ton of stuff I just don't use. My Halloween stamps are old, but I'm tired of seeing the same ones everywhere.

Is it just me or do all the scrapbooking and cardmaking companies start to look like one another?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

frog friend

I finally got around to making some pet friends out of the small amount of wool felt I own. I made two frogs--one out of the acrylic felt for N--and a kitty. I still have to make a puppy. And then it will be making the other funny things I'd sketched out. But now I need other colors of felt... and I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more fabric until I sold something. Which I haven't.

So I can make more black or brown cats, a few more frogs, maybe some purple somethings... I think I might even have white (so I can make a few black/white or brown/white animals).

And I need to get around to making some other stuff and putting them up in the shop, which has been languishing. Need to put up new stuff.

Friday, August 31, 2007

pocket sized

I had a new idea to make groups of things. So I came up with some new pocket stuffies.

Playtesting to see how they look in realistic hands. They need to be a little bit taller or the "hands" need to be thinner and placed a little higher. I'm still super happy with the puppy. The kitty is like my little pocket hanging/clip stuffies I made a year ago and had the most sales of. I might have to make more this autumn. And maybe some other colors of kitties. Or puppies.

I have a huge stash of this very stiff curtain material. I don't even know where the curtains are anymore, but I'd washed this extra and threw it on the ironing board. Weeks later, I got around to ironing it and the wrinkles won't come out. I might have to rewet and lightly dry, then immediately iron out the wrinkles. But in the end, this material might best be used for wallet-type or zipper pouches. I'd call it medium-weight cotton almost bordering on shirting twill. I don't think it's a true twill, though.

Here are my basic pocket stuffies made from fleece with felt arms. I doubled the arms and made them a little longer, but I think if I just use the wool felt and made them smaller, they'd look better.

I now need to figure out what to do with my hoard of cheap acrylic felt so I can buy more wool felt. Anyone want some cheap felt for school or craft projects? If not, I might end up donating it to our preschool. Or something. I doubt anyone would actually buy the bulk off etsy...

Friday, August 24, 2007

one step at a time

I've been hearing about Craft, Inc. for weeks now. It sounds like something I really need to read. A part of me just decided one day last week that I wouldn't pursue the idea of making my crafty endeavor into a business. But the more I thought about going back to an office job, the more I hated the idea. I'm still stuck in the What Do I Do When I Grow Up mode. I had a career. I left that stressful job for a totally different life, which I really like.

I think I'm mostly just overwhelmed with the **idea** of trying to be creative AND businessey. I know there are things I need to do--seller's ID or tax ID, face-to-face venues, marketing (which is a HUGE thing with hydra parts), processing of credit cards... filing of taxes. And stuff I probably never thought about.

Which is why I think I should get this book. Maybe after I read it, I won't feel so at-ends with what I want to do.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another pouch

More successful recon of a Baby Gap pj set. Took more time and went much much slower.

The interior is from the pj bottoms.

I've got another pj set with a dinosaur theme. They're really cute designs and I'm really sad they don't make them in larger sizes. I really don't like the truck/sport theme they have for older boys. If anything, I'd stick with the cartoonish, stylised animals. Or space themes--can't have enough funny little aliens and astronauts in retro-style rockets.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

How Not to Make Pouches

Because I can't follow tutorials or directions very well (I have to make up my own because I've got a rock for a head), I always have to reinvent the wheel.

Also, a lot of the tutorials I used as reference never give final measurements. They'll say to cut out fabric 8"x5", but then they don't say what the final pouch measures. And that makes me crazy because I keep looking at the tutes thinking, "But what's the final size? Can I fit my cards in them? Are they bigger than regular biz cards or credit cards?" And since I'm no good with numbers I can't figure out how to maximize a smaller size to fit my own needs. Urgh.

Which brings me to the lovely set of pouches you see.

These are too small to fit either a credit card or a business card. The blue flowered pouch will hold lip balm or coins or anything smaller than a credit card, so it's not a total loss. The yellow dot card case is too small to fit anything, so I didn't bother with closures. When I measured, it seemed to be the right measurements. Ugh.

And these are the size I want, but have other problems. I forgot to put on hook n' eye tabs for closure on the purple one, so had to glue them. They're working for now, but I don't think they'll last very long after real world use. The green w/purple dots is also great, but then I screwed up sewing the lining in and didn't face the interior with the sewn hook n' eye tab the correct way. So the tab is on the inside of the pouch. Ooops. And finally, the pink pouch is wrong side out (I meant for the dots to be on the exterior, but it's not all bad) and there's no interfacing, so it's rather floppy. But still would work for change or lipbalm or something that doesn't require stiffness.

What I have learned: instead of going my own way, just follow someone else's tutorial. /bonk own head

Friday, August 03, 2007

card case

Trying to incorporate my stuffie designs into other things, so tried to make a business card/credit card case. Lots of tutorials out there on and on plenty of other blogs. I made a couple before--even gave one to a friend for xmas. I just forgot to write down the dimensions, so always had to start from scratch.

This time, after tweaking and reworking some patterns, I finally settled on a method that works for me. Of course, I'm reinventing the wheel, but a) I don't have very good pinking shears (mine are good quality, but I think they need to be oiled at the hinge or sharpened or something. They just don't open and close smoothly) as suggested in this tutorial and b) I want to cut as few pieces as possible to minimize getting the wrong size. I really should make a cardboard template so that I can just trace around it on the fabric.

This is the two pocket style. I can also make a one pocket (or more of a pouch style for other things than cards if some is happy with their wallet or their own nifty case) and will mock up one of those next to see how the hook n' eye tape works. I have snaps, I have elastic cord and plenty of buttons. So many options for closures. And I might just have to embroider more designs on the cases themselves and try to keep them flatter.

I also ordered some more wool felt. I plan on using the acrylic/poly felt for prototypes and toys for my son. Quick and easy stuff. :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Plush team self-portrait

Well, it's not really a self-portrait in the usual way. I went with a more representational feeling--I just think the wide open arms and smiley squinty eyes makes it look like the stuffie is ready to give a big hug.

Embroidering on wool felt is a lot easier than the acrylic stuff, but it's also much stiffer to turn inside out. I had to rip out a couple of seams to open up my too-small space. Fortunately, sewing it closed with a hidden stitch worked super swell, so you'd not even notice it unless you were looking for it.

All in all, I still think it looks like one of my stuffies but with a slightly different design.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Some lovely things

Kup Kup is a maker of really neat dolls and pictures out of fabric and embellishments. I love her style and the stories behind her creations. The couple below are Jeff and Alice and can be found at the Kup Kup etsy shop.

I love the quirkiness about Kup Kup and the really unexpected stories written about them. The attention to detail, the tiny beads and the general feeling of whimsy all make for unique items. Don't forget to check out the pincushions and the pins!

Another plush maker, Sukisukishop, is new to etsy. I like the expressions on their super cute toys.

And in other news, I've joined the Etsy Plush Team!

Some really talented plush makers on this team! What does it mean to be on a team? Promotion, promotion, promotion. And lots more stuffie challenges. I need to do a self-portrait and a Plush Team mascot, which I woke up this morning thinking about. This will be tough because I don't make "realistic" creatures at all, but should be fun because it can be anything. No one said a "self-portrait" had to be a person-like doll. Mwhahaaha! I guess this is what they used to call "thinking outside the box". Me, I just call it "due to the limitations of my sewing and un-pattern-making skillz, I need to think of something representative."

Saturday, July 28, 2007


What to do with a lot of paper? Make matchbook notepads.

The Edward Gorey picture and the papers inside are from my page-a-day calendar. I use some of those pages as scratch paper, some as notepad, but a lot of it just sits on my craft table. So, I folded, scored, and stapled. Then I realized I have a ton of brown paper shopping bags, so voila, some of those too. If I didn't need to use some sturdier paper, I'd just make notepads entirely of brown paper bags...

And I haven't broken out the magnets yet, but I do plan on making that "spider" type thingy. I still have to figure out what to do with my little felt pictures.

Friday, July 27, 2007

bird squares

I had this idea to make some more felt coasters. And I love simple geometric shapes and trees. So, I landed on a tree/bird/birdhouse thing.

I'm super new to embroidery and working with poly felt probably isn't the easiest way to work. But I am getting better at the french knot and did okay with the other kind of stitches. Plus, I squirted some glue out on a paper plate and used some cheap cotton swabs to smear it on the felt pieces rather than try to squirt the glue directly onto the pieces (disastor! mess!).

I'm not done with the little house (upper left). I wanted to finish knotting some purple dots all around it. And then my sweet husband said that the bumps and funny bits might make a glass wobble, so they might not work so well as coasters. I just happened to have this 5x5 frame sitting around, and since the felt pieces are about 4.5x4.5, they seemed to fit right in.

But they look kind of... plain. In some ways, I kind of like them super simple, but in other ways, I keep thinking, "Beads! Buttons! Add something else to give them some pop!"

I should have made the lone bird orange to match the little (attempted) orange bird in the tree. Well, there's always another try.

Tip: using a disappearing ink pen is great, but the ink kept disappearing faster than I could embroider, so I had to keep drawing so I knew where to put stitches. Funny, but none of the branches are anywhere near where I drew them, but they worked out fine.

Tip 2: wait for glue to dry completely before embroidering (unlike me! gluey glooo mess).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


This is my first attempt at a real pincushion. I noticed my pins were a) becoming magnetized from sitting on a magnet in an old Altoids tin and b) were getting very dull. So instead of buying the ubiquitous tomato, I decided to stuff a pillow with some steel wool and polyfil and try to make my own pincushion.

Loved all the lovely ones in the Flickr group, Pincushions, but really wanted something functional.

I also wanted to try to make some real french knots, which came out okay except for the few times I didn't pull the string tight. I'm also guessing that silk floss will be much smoother than cheap cotton. And I mean cheap craft cotton, which is workable, but not easy to work with. Also, I need either a much smaller embroidery hoop or the more expensive wood kind instead of my cheap plastic one. Ugh.

And then, I didn't get the fabric glue out to the edge of the circle pieces, so they sort of flip up. I'm always a little paranoid that I'm putting too much glue on the fabric and that it will soak through and look horrible. I also need to put a tin of cotton swabs down near my craft table so that I can scoop and smear the glue rather than fight with squeezing the bottle, which is super hard to squeeze carefully.

Things I've learned/plan to do differently: glue more, get silk floss, make little weight-bag for bottom of pincushion. I have small plastic pellets (like the beans in the beanie babies), but haven't used them yet. I should just get some muslin and make little baggies with them. But now I have a pincushion.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I used to make beaded jewelry, so I still have a lot of beads and findings. I've lost my spools of beading wire for necklaces and bracelets, so when my friends came over last night, all I could make were earrings. Two on the right are made with sterling silver and the two on the left are made with hypo-allergenic metal wire, which is much harder to bend.

We sat at my sewing table for lack of a better place.

And I cleaned up my desk (which was buried under miscellaneous junk). Why in the world do I keep so many grocery store receipts?

I still have a ton of beads and I'm slowly finding uses for them in other places (like on my stuffies), but I may end up just making a bunch of earrings and seeing if any of them sell in the shop.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Cool magnet I found at Wrapables. I wonder if I could make something like this using felt or cloth. It wouldn't be the same, but I like the idea of long limbs holding notes or things with a smiling funny thing in the middle.

Oooo, I have rickrack!

a little something

Just a bunch of felt coasters for a friend's birthday. They ended up being rectangles instead of squares (this is what I get for "eyeballing") and it took far longer than it should have. I had to ditch a couple that didn't turn out so great--cut the ribbon too close to the seam, didn't cut the ribbon... you get the picture.

My friend really liked them and I was glad they fit in with her decor. I had originally made pink and green ones with big dots, but I didn't think my friend was a pink-green person, so we're using them now.

Friday, July 20, 2007


A couple of robots are up in the shop. Will post the other two later and then I'll make a couple more in some other colors.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Second zip pouch

I finally got around to buying a zipper foot for my really basic sewing machine.

So I decided to take some Gap baby clothes and turn them into a zippered pouch.

I sewed too close to the zipper here, so had to rip out seams and start over. Working with this stretchy material was challenging after working with cotton. It's like working with the fleece and it just means I have to pin a lot more and go super slow.

But, I finished!

I bought a couple more baby pjs on sale and plan on making some more pouches. I might sew the stretchy material to some light interfacing with my zigzag stitch before doing this again. OR I just won't line the pouches and sew the zip to a turned-in edge. I have more material to work with, so more trial to come.

Annnnnd of course I forgot to add a tag to the side. eep. But I think I might use a ribbon/bead thing for the zipper pull. I could attempt to carve a stamp in the likeness of the cats, stamp on some leftover shrinky dink sheet and then attach... but ribbon and bead seems like the way to go. I could do the shrinky dink zip pull for something that needs more embellishment. The kitty material doesn't really scream for more embelishment.

Monday, July 16, 2007

memo board

My attempt at one of those fabric covered memo boards.

Amy Butler quarter flat, some polka dot ribbon, and a canvas. The staple gun I had is heavy duty and super difficult for me to use. I needed both hands to squeeze the "trigger", which meant my careful placement always shifted.

So fighting with the staple gun meant I wasn't paying attention to the basketweave pattern of the ribbon. Half the ribbon is just laying on top of the bottom layer instead of woven in between. Then I ran out of ribbon, so had to go back to the store to get more just to finish the thing. The back looks like a disastor. Why does it always look so much nicer when someone else does it?

I had the tiny silver brads and bought the larger ones just for this project. I'm still meh about the whole thing. It makes a pretty good place for business cards, though. So maybe it will become my biz card holder. Not so good for larger bits. Even my 3x5 cards seem too big. I have another canvas and a lot of material, so I may or may not make another one.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


New stuff up in the shop! More to come, but Etsy is being slow to load, so I'll wait and do it later today. I also have to reshoot the stuffie 'bots. The photos didn't come out very well.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Photo op

Some stuffies are ready for their close-ups. Now if I can only get the camera to cooperate, we'll be cooking with gas.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

They're not Transformers...

...but I thought I'd make some more stuffie 'bots.

I'm hoping to make a few more in different colors, then work on some new stuffie ideas, then put them in the shop. If I have time today, I'll upload these guys and add the tote bags I've been noodling on. I've got a lot of ideas, but I need to find a way to sew faster. It took me a really long time to cut, pin, sew, stuff, close holes on just two of these guys. How do these other makers manage to crank out so many so quickly in such quantity?

Friday, June 22, 2007


So I was all set to try my hand at a zippered coin pouch. I cut material, got a zipper, then realized why I have a stash of zippers... I don't have a zipper foot for my machine. I tried to attach a zipper without the special foot, but oh, the gnashing of teeth and pulling of seams. I will not attempt that again.

I just have to make sure I get a zipper foot attachment the next time I go somewhere that sells those sorts of things. I have the cheap Kenmore blue machine, so it's about as basic as you can get and still have a backstitch and a buttonhole feature.

I made a couple of totebags. I'm not sure anyone would buy them. In fact, I'm never sure anyone will buy anything of mine, and so I don't put anything into the shop. I really need to get to marketing myself even though half my stuff is trial and error and by the time I've figured it out, I've lost interested in the original intent.

And now I'm waiting to see if it will actually rain or not. I need to get out and plant some seedlings.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lotta bags

I've been making small and simple purses ever since finding the Jordy bag tutorial on Craftster. If you like to make purses and have basic sewing skills and a machine, you can make all kinds of bags. Check out the list of different styles--it's amazing.

So when I heard about Lotta Jansdotter's new book called simple sewing, I took a look and was skeptical. Most of the patterns in the book really are simple--straight seams, no linings, nothing more advanced than what I've already learned. But I'm TERRIBLE with measurements and patterns, so this book actually works for me. It also reminds me to do things I always forget, like mitering corners for less bulk, or using a vanishing pen when tracing out patterns (I need to get me one of those. Right now I have white chalk and a regular pencil). I don't know why doing things like measuring, tracing, cutting along the line hasn't translated from paper to fabric for me--I outline, trace, and cut along pencilled lines all the time with paper. Mind boggling, I know.

So I tried Lotta's simple tote. And made my own adjustments frankensteining the Jordy cornering technique and lining with Lotta's fold-up-the-bottom-turn-in-all-raw-edges pattern.

The result is a nice little tote bag with interior pockets and a small bit of velcro for closure. I didn't bother using the magnetic clasps or zippers I have stashed away because this was a trial run.

Lotta's basic pattern was super easy to follow. I love her photos of her finished bags with the contrasting fabrics and appliques and embroidery. It's a smorgasborg of possibilities. The Jordy bag pattern is also easy to follow. The two meld okay--adding the interfacing and lining to the lotta bag was interesting--but I think I might try and work with the Lotta pattern again and adjust. Unlike the Jordy bag where the weight is on a bottom seam, the Lotta bag carries the weight in the handles. So for a grocery tote bag, I could interface at the upper seam for more secure handles... or something.

The simple drawstring backpack reminded me of the junior high school project and was also super simple. I need to adjust the sizes, though because I don't need the depth. I also will add a lining and possible interfacing for light structure, although I really like the slouchy look. I used ribbon instead of fabric straps and may use only one strap instead of two for a cleaner drawstring. I wonder if this will work larger with sturdier fabric. Maybe with silky-type cording instead of straps for smoother opening and closing...

(The hiatus from the etsy shop continues. I have teenies--see the pink one on the lotta bag--to sell, but I'm still not sure anyone will buy this design. The ones with velcro I put on our grocery bags got a big reaction at the store and they might be more desirable. But they'd also take me a lot longer to make. So, I dicker with myself and the store remains static. I should probably remove the current listings and start fresh.)