25 December 2008

christmas armadillo...

...wishes you all a wonderful holiday full of family, friends, love, and laughter! Have a great one, folks!

17 December 2008

you can stick a fork in me - i'm done!

With this last mini-elephant for an existing order, I am done with the shop for the holidays. I will be shipping stuff for the next couple of days and will happily email out penguin PDFs, but no more updates for the next couple of weeks. Also, as I was finishing a couple of mini-critters last night, I realized that I haven't even made anything for the kids in my life, specifically my nephew, whose birthday I totally forgot about (it's this Saturday - yikes!). So I think I need to take care of that because I love my little nephew, and he seems to appreciate my toys. He still plays with the bunny I made for him when he was just a baby. I can't believe he's going to be 3 already. I still can't believe my baby sister is a mommy. And I still can't believe my baby sister is almost 30 and not a baby anymore. Yep, time is funny, huh? Anyhoo, I'll be around, finishing last minute presents and decorations and stuff. Thanks for another wonderful year, folks.

16 December 2008

hey mr. bojangles, you coo-coo crazy way-out swinging bat

One last-minute bat up in the shop, and tomorrow I will (hopefully) have the last of the mini-critters (the handful that didn't get finished in time for Bazaar Bizarre) up there as well. Friday is my last day for shipping before the holidays, folks, so get your softies and finger puppet sets in while you can. I think I am going to close the shop for a week or so after the 19th - no shipping until after Xmas and no shop updates until January when I get back from celebrating Three Kings with my family in NY. My hands totally need a break right now. I will continue to email patterns out as orders come in for them, so no worries about those. In the meanwhile, I need to decorate this place! Hmmm, I need to think of some quick, easy, and cute ornaments....

14 December 2008

penguin to the rescue!

Looking for a last-minute crafty gift to make? Perhaps this plucky penguin fits the bill! I just posted my first pattern to the shop, and I hope people like it. Huge thanks to Matt for the diagrams and layout.

13 December 2008

for old times' sake

I just put some ducky finger puppets and one parrot in the old etsy shop. For sets of finger puppets and bats and owls and elephants (oh my!), please go to my new shop. That is where I am posting all my new softies these days. Please check your bookmarks and RSS feeds and update them to the new shop as I think I will close down the etsy shop in the new year. I guess today's update is one last hurrah over at etsy.

10 December 2008

things are bursting in the shop!

Thanks to all of you who have scored yourselves some mini-critters today. You guys rock, BIG TIME! There are still plenty of softies to be had, including some new owls, bats, and lunar moths, not to mention several sets of finger puppets. So please spread the word. Also, because today's update was so big (there were 40 items in my shop at one point), I am not actually done adding stuff, so there will be more finger puppet sets as well as individual puppets added in the next few days. There are a few minis that I didn't get the chance to finish for Bazaar Bizarre, so those will be going up in the shop over the next few days. I would recommend checking in around 3 or so every day for the next week. My last shop update of the year will be Wednesday, December 17th, and my cut-off date for shipping out items for the holidays will be December 19th. Thanks again for all your support, folks!

09 December 2008

update tomorrow! hooray!

The big holiday shop update will be tomorrow @ 3 PM EST. Please do drop by!

thank you!

Bazaar Bizarre was a huge success this year. Thanks to all who made it down and showed their support for all the talented crafters. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table and said hello or bought a softie. It was awesome meeting so many people. I was so psyched to see a few familiar faces, as well as to meet some folks whose work I have long admired. I was also lucky enough to be situated right across from two of my favorite people ever. Can't wait until next year so we can do it all over again!

04 December 2008

working for the weekend

Sorry about the lack of posting lately. I've had my hands full getting ready for Bazaar Bizarre coming up this weekend. If you're in Boston, please do stop by and say hello. There will be tons of crafters with a wide assortment of lovely handmade items available for sale. The details are as follows:

Bazaar Bizarre
Sunday, December 7, from noon to 7 PM
The Castle @ Park Plaza

It looks like my table will be 107, which is straight towards the back if you walk down the center upon entering. I am still not set up for credit cards, so FYI I can only do cash. Also, just to let you folks know, I will be closing my bigcartel shop on Sunday but will reopen on Monday with an update. I am not sure if I will be able to update the blog between now and Sunday, but I hope to see some of you at Bazaar Bizarre. Have a great weekend folks!

28 November 2008

guaranteed to brighten up any rainy day

Shop update today at 3PM EST. Fingerpuppets galore!

25 November 2008

why hello there!

So today I have good news and (kinda) bad news. Let's start with the bad, since it's really not that bad at all. That tutorial I promised earlier? It was going to be a free template for the wee stockings I made a couple of years ago and some ideas/suggestions for decorating them. Apparently, Martha Stewart beat me to the punch, and her tutorial is much better than mine. I will have something fun for you all soon, though. I am just in the frenzy before the fair. Bazaar Bizarre is just a little over a week away, and I am busy-busy. I should have considered how much time I had to devote to the blog before I said I would have fun tutorial and such this month.

Anyhoo, onto the good news now: I have made so many of these finger puppets that I am putting up a few sets in the shop this Friday at 3PM EST. Each set will consist of 3 finger puppets, and there will be a duplicate of each set so that there will be 8 sets available total.

Okay, gotta get back to the sewing machine now. Hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving filled with family, love, and laughter!

23 November 2008

matt rocks the party that rocks the party!

I am so lucky. Matt made a finger puppet display for me to use for Bazaar Bizarre. And he's making a second one. Yay! Not only will I have the neat flat display from last year, but now I will have the two elevated ones that also function as softie propper-uppers. He rocks! We'll be painting them later in the week - white or robin's egg blue.

20 November 2008

i've been a busy little beaver

Last night, I finished up some more finger puppets, bringing the total number of puppets finished for Bazaar Bizarre so far to 91 - just 9 shy of my goal of 100. Almost there! Woohoo! Which is great because now I can focus on the critters and bats and a few other things I have up my sleeve, and it also allows me more time on the side to whip up a batch of fingerpuppets for the shop. I am on the fence about whether or not to totally do away with the etsy shop, as people are pretty fond of etsy and there's a huge craft-appreciating crowd over there. I'm thinking what I may do is put up one batch of puppets up at my etsy shop and another on my bigcartel, giving anyone who reads this ol' blog and folks on the email list the advantage in knowing which batch is going where. It may sound complicated, but I guarantee you, it will be all easy breezy fingerpuppets!

Anyhoo, I have not forgotten about the ornaments I promised you good folks. I just want to get a few more things cleared off my plate before I work on those. I am hoping to have a few things ready for this coming Wednesday morning. Please do have a peek then.

18 November 2008

it's nuts I tell ya!

well hello there! I'm just nuts for squirrels.

One of my goals for Bazaar Bizarre is to have 100 finger puppets finished and ready to sell. My secret goal is to have a whole bunch more so that I can put some up at my shop before December. As it is, I have 62 finger puppets done, and if I should continue at the rate I'm going today, I should have a total of 84 done by tonight. This is exciting, or at least it makes me happy and hopeful. I may complete my goal for BB by the end of the week. Granted, I have about 20 critters I still need to sew, and that's not counting the many other softies in various states of completion hanging out on my work table. Still, I feel a little better about everything knowing that I am making some progress. And look! Squirrel finger puppets! Yay!

13 November 2008

the day is too long and there's no end in sight

What a terribly unproductive day I had in the worst way today. I was trying to get a ton done, but my wheels were spinning helplessly. My work area was off limits due to the electricians coming to do some re-wiring and putting in some lights. Suffice it to say, working on a tiny surface that is shared with a pile of laundry (that I really should have put away) and fighting off the curious kitties while standing the whole day makes me a little grumpy. I got very little done, and now I need to keep working until I get the puppets finished even if it means staying up all night. Because tomorrow is another busy day. And the electricians will be back again. Ugh. On the upshot, we now have light in our living room, which makes me very happy. So hooray!

I'll hopefully have some ornaments to share with you over the weekend or first thing next week. Until then, hope you're all having a great week!

10 November 2008

busy busy busy

Sorry things have been so quiet around these parts lately. I have been busy sewing up a bunch of stuff, including a mountain of finger puppets, for Bazaar Bizarre, and also working on a number of other projects. I feel kinda bad that in all of this flurry of activity, I have dropped the ball on a couple of other assignments, but I am trying to keep my eye on the big prize here and focus on BB.

I am also planning to have some ornament patterns to share with you all soon (end of this week or beginning of next), so please do drop by for that. Huge thanks to all the sites that featured my bat puppet tutorial. I was surprised by how many of you did so. Thank you so much!

31 October 2008

happy halloween!

Running around getting ready for a friend's wedding later today, so creepy LG is here to hold down the blog and wish you all a Happy Halloween! Have a great one, folks!

28 October 2008

wow, thanks!!!

Just wanted to take a moment to thank the kind folks at craftzine blog and WhipUp for posting about my recent tutorials. Thank you so much! And thanks to everyone who has dropped by from these two wonderful sites. Hope you like what you see and come back.

27 October 2008

you too can have bats in your belfry

In the spirit of fun Halloween tutorials, I offer this cute and easy bat finger puppet. I would have made a ton of these for the shop if the idea had occurred to me sooner, but as it didn't, here's the tutorial and a quickie PDF pattern for you to make your own to put in your favorite little hobgoblin's trick-or-treat bag.

You will need the following materials:

  • a printout of this pattern
  • a piece of black, brown, or dark gray felt, approx 8 x 12 or so (doesn't have to be 100% wool, although that is what I prefer to work with)
  • a small piece of fabric for the insert (like about 2 x 3 1/2 inches)
  • embroidery floss
  • buttons or plastic safety eyes or teeny felt discs
  • a small amount of polyfill or cotton or wool stuffing
  • (optional) fabric glue

1 - Trace the shapes onto tissue paper and cut two of each shape - except for the fabric head panel - out of the felt. Each shape has been drawn taking into account a 1/8 - 1/4 inch seam allowance so no need to add that. You will now have:

  • 2 pieces for the body
  • 2 ears
  • 2 wings

2 - Now cut 1 head panel out of fabric. It should all look like this:

3 - Fold ears slightly and place and pin to head, like so:

4 - Now sew fabric head panel right side down, like so:

As soon as the head panel is sewn onto the one side, remove the pin.

5 - Sew onto other side:

sew onto other side, remove pins

Remove the pin there as soon as you're done.

6 - Before you sew the rest of the body, adjust the ears. Stuff them in slightly to ensure that their tips will not be accidentally sewn together or to the body:

7 - Now sew the body down the front and back, like so:

trim threads and head

8 - Trim the ends of threads and snip around the head so that you can invert it neatly and easily:

head trimmed, ready to invert

9 - Carefully invert your finger puppet with the blunt end of a pencil:

stick blunt pencil end in and invert carefully - remember to be patient

yay! you have successfully inverted your bat

10 - Now detail the face. You can get as creative with this as you wish. There is no need to only use safety eyes. You can sew or glue on buttons, beads, or sequins or sew on and embroider felt eyes. Please bear in mind the age of the recipient. I feel a little silly saying so here because I know all of you already know this, but it is worth mentioning that it is NOT a good idea to use buttons for a puppet for a toddler. You can also draw on a face with fabric markers or fabric paint. Do whatever you like to detail your bat and give it the personality you want.

11 - Once your bat face is done, now stuff the head with your preferred stuffing, be it polyfill or wool or cotton:

detail and stuff

12 - Finally, we get to the wings. Position them and either pin them to place and hand-sew them (using the whip-stitch) or glue them with your fabric glue. I prefer them to hand-stitch them myself:

Now when your favorite little hobgobblin comes a'trick-or-treating you can give them a treat that lasts longer than candy, is more interactive, and won't give them cavities or empty calories. Happy Halloween folks!

24 October 2008

uhhhhh, fail!

fingerpuppets in progress

I had big plans for this shop update, but I should have known last week when I lost all my steam and took a few days to deal with personal business and to continue certain fix-it projects around the house that I have too long neglected that I wasn't going to get everything done that I had hoped to get done. There was also a bit of prioritizing as well, being as I am working on a couple of side-projects that I will talk about here soon enough. So today's update is not going to happen. Sorry about that, folks. There is still a lot of stuff in the shop from my last two updates so if you haven't already had a look at those items, please do have a peek. In the meanwhile, as I mentioned in my last post, I am going to continue to post project ideas and other fun stuff through Halloween, and I am definitely going to have one more (hopefully huge) update in mid-November before the holidays. After that, the focus of the blog will shift to the creative process and more holiday crafting ideas as I work my tail off for Bazaar Bizarre. Come December, I will start to update the shop again regularly. You may be reding this thinking, "Dude, you don't have to tell me all this and take me through it step-by-step." Well, I guess I'm just thinking aloud here. That and I don't want anyone to think that I am abandoning the shop, you know. Thanks for all your support and patience! And have an awesome weekend, people!

more fingerpuppets in progress

21 October 2008

trick or treat!

homemade trick or treating bag

Would you like to make a nifty little trick-or-treating tote like this one for your little hobgoblin this Halloween? It's easy! First, you'll need one of these:

And you'll need this here. You can blow up or reduce the image to print it to whatever size meets your project's requirements. For the mirror/inverted image to use with the transfer sheets, please go here.

I did it the hard way since I didn't have either of those on hand and just ironed some lightweight fusible interfacing onto some Kona cotton, then cut it to size (8 1/2 x 11 inches in this case), and ran it through the printer. It kinda smudged a little, so I don't know if I would recommend anyone else do that, but I guess in a pinch, it'll do. In order to make a simple teeny tote like the one I made up there, just follow these instructions here:

1. Once you have transferred the image to your fabric using your preferred method and cut the fabric to size, cut another piece of fabric to the same size so that you now have two pieces. Again, in this instance, both pieces measure 8 1/2 x 11 inches. Also, cut another piece of fabric for the handle. I cut a piece with interfacing on it that is 5 1/2 x 12 inches.

2. Take the piece of fabric with the image on it and place the matching piece of fabric over it, right sides together. Pin to hold in place. Starting at the upper right hand corner, sew around three sides (with a 1/4 inch allowance), leaving the top open. Once you are done sewing, trim your corners on an angle, like so:

3. Once the perimeter of the bag is sewn, now you're going to shape the bag. Stand it up and push the sides at the corner in, like so:

Flatten and mark it with a disappearing ink fabric pen or water soluble pen, like so:

Now sew along those lines, keeping the bag flat as you had it when marking it. (Pin the bag in place to be precise.) The result will be two "flaps" that you push down to the bottom of the bag once you turn it inside out. If you want to be particular about it, you can sew the tips of these two flaps together. Either give it a couple of stitches by hand or a quick two stitches on the machine. I am not being as particular with this model bag.

4. Fold in the top of the bag (about 1/2 - 3/4 inch) and press flat all around, like so:

You can fold it in twice and hide that cut edge if you want to make sure the hem doesn't fray. Now iron it to get a nice crisp top edge:

Once the bag is the height you want and ironed to a crisp perfect edge, pin the edge so that you are ready to sew. I stick the pins in vertically, points towards the edge, so that I can pull them out easily as I am sewing, like so:

5. Sew the handle now. Fold the piece of fabric for the handle in once from one side and then in from the other side, press with the iron for crisp smooth edges, and run it through the machine a couple of times, making sure you stitch both edges and sewing another couple of rows of stitches in the middle to give it some substance:

Once it's sewn, you will trim the edges:

Only you won't leave your rotary cutter lying around open, and you will have the presence of mind to use your ruler with the numbers going the right way, which I clearly didn't. (Because I sew like a maverick! Getting all maverick-y with my tools!) Now place the handle where you want it to go on your bag and pin it in place:

6. Now you're ready to sew the top edge of your bag and attach the handles. Pull off your machine's extension table/accessory box so that the free-arm is open and place your bag on the machine like so:

Leaving about 1/4 inch allowance, sew all around the top of the bag, including the handle ends where they have been pinned. Pull out the pins as you sew so the needle doesn't hit any of them.

And you're done!

bag - done!

If you want to make sure that your bag looks great and that the handle is sturdier and neater than this:

then perhaps you want to sew another row of stitches either around the whole bag or just to reinforce the handles.

Anyway, have fun with this image. Reduce it to make little paper treat bags or enlarge it and put it on a t-shirt or make a sign for your window or door. If you guys have any suggestions or additions to these basic instructions, please let me know. This is my first time writing a how-to like this really (besides a very quick and non-detailed sew-as-you-go softie thing a while back), so there's definitely room for growth, but I hope this works as a basic tutorial. Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!