16 December 2009

sweet panda for petite purls/sew petite

Have you folks checked out the latest edition of Petite Purls yet? There are lots of fun, beautiful patterns in it (as always), and I am thrilled to announce that my tutorial for the sweet panda pictured here is in their Sew Petite feature. Many thanks again to Brandy and Allegra for including me in this!

15 December 2009

There are lots of fun things still available at the shop. There are several sets of fingerpuppets and some penguin ornaments, as well as a bunch mini-critters. Just a reminder - last day I'm shipping before the holidays will be this Friday. Hope you're all having a lovely holiday season!

08 December 2009

Shop update tonight at 8PM EST! There will be elephants, lions, snails, oh my! I will be posting my leftover penguin ornaments, too. In case you don't snag one tonight, I am working on a second small batch to post this Friday afternoon, which is also when I will post the sets of fingerpuppets. Of the 106 fingerpuppets I made for Bazaar Bizarre, I have 36 left. I tried photographing all of those individually to post onto etsy, but you know, it was driving me nuts. So I'm just going to offer them as sets and include a discount in the price.

Also, those of you awaiting commissions from me, I am working on those and will have all of them ready by next Monday. Sorry for the delay, but prep for BazBiz has overshadowed just about everything here for the last three weeks. (Seriously, you should see the mountains of laundry I have yet to fold and put away. Yikes!) You will all be hearing from me in the next few days regarding your specific commission.

One last thing - the last date that I will ship will be Friday, December 18th. That is my absolute cutoff date. I want to ensure that your packages all get to you on time, and any date after that is pushing it. I don't want to take any chances with that. On top of that, due to health reasons, it may not be in my best interest to have to deal with the stress of the Post Office in the few days before Xmas. I trust you folks will understand.

Thanks again for all the love & support throughout the year! xoxo

07 December 2009

our table @ BazBIz 2009

Bazaar Bizarre was awesome this year! Thanks to everyone who went and stopped by to say hello and all the lovely folks who bought a soto softie. And thanks to all the organizers, DJs, and volunteers who helped make this such a fun and wonderful event. You all rock! It was great seeing some familiar faces and checking out all the beautiful work by all the other vendors. Fun times, people!

05 December 2009

Bazaar Bizarre is tomorrow, and I am so excited. I am working on all the final prep stuff today. I believe I have more than enough softies and fingerpuppets. I would have liked to have gotten a couple more bats sewn, but I would drive myself batty (hah) if I were to try to crank a few more out today, especially in light of all the other stuff there is to be done. I thought about printing bat patterns, but my printer is kinda crappy. I would feel bad selling patterns printed on that. So anyone interested in patterns, please feel free to drop by my pattern shop.

Just a reminder - we'll be at table #94, which is to the left of the entrance. We are not set up to take credit cards, but we do accept cash (of course) and personal checks. Also, we are offering a 15% discount off any purchase of 3 or more fingerpuppets. Hope to see you tomorrow!

02 December 2009

Just wanted to pass on the info for Bazaar Bizarre for those folks in the Boston area:

Bazaar Bizarre
Sunday, December 6th, 2009
Noon-7pm

BCA Cyclorama
539 Tremont St
Boston, MA

Admission $1

We'll be at table #94. Hope to see you Sunday!

30 November 2009

Hello there! Long time, no blog. There has been a frenzy of activity around here the last month, culminating in the last week of sewing and detailing and finishing off softies in preparation for Bazaar Bizarre which is just around the corner. In fact, it is this weekend - Sunday, December 6th. Please be sure to stop by and check it out if you're in the Boston area. There will be tons of excellent vendors there with all sorts of goodies to surprise and delight you. Seriously, it is an awesome place to get all your holiday shopping done in one go.

Also, the wonderful ladies at WhipUp included one of my photos in their 2010 calendar. If you're in the market for a calendar, it's a lovely one to have. Thanks again to Kath and the rest of WhipUp for including me and also posting this fun interview.

One last thing for now. There is something coming up that I am dying to share with you folks. Just a few more days and I'll be able to tell you all. So please do check back later this week.

18 September 2009

getting ready

Great news! I will be participating in Bazaar Bizarre again this year. Woohoo! So exciting! I've already starting cutting minis and puppets, and next week I am diving into full-production mode. It is going to be amazing this year! Hope you all have a fabulous weekend, folks.

14 September 2009

the battern is now available

hanging Zak

I have been meaning to do this for far too long. Finally, the batty pattern is available! Now you, too, can whip yourself up a little batty friend. Also, I have decided that going forward, my bigcartel shop will be my pattern shop. Why? Because I have a few more patterns in the works to be released in the next few weeks, including some brand-spanking new designs. Just in time for all your holiday crafting!

I am also putting up a bunch of patterns on etsy, just to cover that end. I'm planning to do a shop update there some time next week which will include more minis and a few bats.

One last thing, which squicks me out a little, but I feel that it needs to be mentioned. The patterns I am putting up are for your enjoyment and entertainment. You can make as many as you would like. However, I ask that the patterns not be redistributed or resold or that anyone sell the pieces produced from these patterns as their own. I hate bringing up the copyright stuff, but sometimes it needs to be said because people just might not be aware of the rules.

Anyhootle, hope you folks like the patterns, and happy sewing to you all!

07 September 2009

the twitter twatter of little tweets

I now have a public twitter account for the blog & the shop. I won't be tweeting about what I made for dinner or who I hung out with during the day or sharing the minutia of my existence with you all, but I will be talking about my latest projects, chatting about both the process and the end-result and letting you know about shop updates and promotional stuff. I won't be as conversational as I was in my personal (now self-deleted) twitter, but the truth is that I was having a hard time dealing with that kind of exchange. That's the trouble I have always had with those types of social platforms, like twitter, facebook, and blogging; it's bad enough I feel shunned and reviled in real life, I don't need these feelings reinforced on the internet. Hopefully, this will not only reinvigorate me and get me to focus on creating again, but it will also snap me out of the miasma of sadness I've been experiencing lately. When there's less worrying about people and things that ultimately don't matter, there's more time and energy to invest in making beautiful things and feeling like myself again. So I'm gonna get to it. And if you'd like to keep up with updates and stuff, feel free to follow my soto softies twitter.

01 September 2009

all the minis

The shop has been updated with a small batch of mini-critters. There are mini-zaubermausi and mini-leafhoppers waiting to hop on out of the shop and into your arms.

Also, note to self: Always recharge the camera battery the night before you're going to do a shoot. Always. That way you don't lose precious daylight, waste a ton of time, and keep the good people waiting. Derf! Thanks for your patience, folks. Hugs to you all!

31 August 2009

tomorrow - only a day away

Ooops! I've been running a little late and have only half of what I would like to have finished ready, so I'm thinking the best thing to do is to postpone the update until tomorrow 3PM EST. Same bat time, same bat channel. Sorry about the folks; hope you understand.

Sally the snail, seen above, will be part of tomorrow's update.

26 August 2009

so turn around, stick it out!

I often get asked how do I get the mieces & co. to stand on their own. First, you have to fiddle with their legs a bit. Gently press down on the tips of their feet, and push the legs apart a tiny bit, slowly, so as to balance the weight of the body. This means that they will lean forward slightly. As I told Matt & Stacie the other day, they should look like they're farting. Yeah, I know. Keepin' it clASSy, as always. But seriously, just be patient with it and move in tiny increments, and you can get them to stand on their own. They do stand perfectly when propped against an object, but should you want it to stand freely, well, now you know. And knowing is half the battle, as they say.

25 August 2009

snail tails

Oh the tails!

Funny thing about sewing these tails. The first time I tried to make one, I hated the process. Maybe it was because I kept stabbing my fingers with the needle, or because my thread kept getting tangled because I used too long a length of it, or even because the tail itself kept unfurling and flapping about in a frustrating fashion as I tried to pin it down. I finally have it down, though. Finally. First, I make sure not to stuff the tail itself too tightly so that it's easier to turn, and I turn the tail as I sew so that it's easier on my hands than trying to hold down a twisted form for however long it takes me. I use a shorter length of hand-quilting thread. I use smaller stitches. And I sing as I sew. Now that I have gotten into the rhythm of it, I find the process to be very zen, and I am extremely pleased with the resulting tail/shell. It's a form that works well on top of the snail softie.

24 August 2009

Mary had a little lamb

And now, so can you!

The shop update has been completed. Sorry about the delay, folks. My computer has been a bit off lately, and processing the photos took way longer than it normally does. Everything is up now, I am happy to report. Also, there's going to be another update next Monday which will include a couple of pieces not finished in time for today's update, as well as a bunch of mini-critters. So please do drop by!

Hope your week is off to a wonderful start!

22 August 2009

love those mieces to pieces

Just two of the little guys that will be included in Monday's shop update.

21 August 2009

Lambikins: OMG! You guys! Have any of you seen the scarves? Where are they?

Mouse #1: Um, what scarves?

Lambikins: You know, the scarves we're supposed to wear for our photoshoot tomorrow? Duh!

Mouse #2: Photoshoot? What photoshoot? There's a photoshoot?

Lambikins: Yes! Didn't you get the memo? Dude, you gotta get with the program.

Mouse #3: Yeah, well, scarves are so 2008. Totally passé. Even the hipsters are finally retiring them. Didn't you get the memo?

Lambikins: Yeah, well... well... um, well, we're still wearing them for the shoot. It's a very important shoot. It's for the mondo shop update, this coming Monday, August 24, at 3PM EST. So tomorrow's photoshoot - be there or be square, my cheese-loving little friends. And bring your scarves!

23 July 2009

parting is such sweet sorrow - sometimes

Every now and then, I make something that I wish I could keep for myself because I like it that much. This is one of those projects. I was so smitten with this bat that I had to quickly wrap it up and get it out the door lest I make it mine. It might seriously be my favorite bat ever.

22 July 2009

something kinda different

I have been working on a bunch of commissions the last couple of months. I haven't been diligent about photographing them or blogging about them. It's not very exciting, and I have little to say about them, so I don't post about them or anything. Mainly, I've been cranking them out and getting them out the door as quickly as possible. There have been a few projects lately, though, that I have truly savored and enjoyed working on immensely - so much that I have to share them with you. The little wizard and curly-headed dude puppets above are one of those commissions.

About a month or so ago, I was contacted by this guy on etsy who wanted me to make puppets for a stop-action animation film he was planning to work on for his fantasy baseball league. The whole thing sounded so unusual that naturally my curiosity was piqued. When he presented me with a list of characters, I became more intrigued. This definitely posed a challenge for me. For starters, I usually don't do "humanoid" toys or dolls. My one previous attempt at a doll was incredibly unsatisfying and downright mediocre. I wondered if I could do this and how. I took the project on because it sounded fun and forced me to do something outside of my comfort zone. And now I can say that I am super-happy that I took it on because it was a ton of fun.

The wizard was great to work on, but the curly-headed dude was the best. Trying to make a puppet in someone's likeness was totally different for me, but I think I captured the guy's expression and defining physical characteristics pretty well. I have to say, I LOVE sewing hair onto softies. Love. It. There's something quite zen about that process.

Working on this commission has inspired me to think about other possible human or humanoid dolls that I can make. But more on that soon....

20 July 2009

up up and away!

I just put up a batch of fingerpuppets and mini leafhoppers over at ye olde etsy shop. Have a gander - hope you find one that's just right for you.

16 July 2009

happy accidents!

lomo-like photo of kangapuppet

The other day I was working on a commission puppet and having a little bit of time trying to get just the right shape for the body. I was trying to sew an owl, and I felt that the form I ended up with was way too pointy for an owl. I put it aside to tinker with later while I worked on a new form for the owl puppet. It then occurred to me that this form would be perfect for a kangaroo puppet, and sure enough, it works! Well, mainly when you look at it head on. From the side, it looks a little... ahem... NSFW-ish.

This little guy and a few other puppets & mini-critters & owls will be part of a shop update on Monday. More details tomorrow or over the weekend....

14 July 2009

awww, thanks!

Thanks to everyone who voted for my finger puppet tutorial over at luvinthemommyhood. It won for best craft tutorial over there so thanks, again, people!

And thanks to the long thread for posting about the tutorial! If anyone has any finished finger puppets, I would love to see them.

In the meanwhile, I am working on puppets and commissions in between trips this summer and having an awesome time at it. Hope you're all having a wonderful summer, too!

09 July 2009

well, look at that!

What a pleasant surprise upon returning from a brief vacation! My finger puppet tutorial has been nominated for a top tutorial over at luvinthemommyhood. There's only one more day left to vote, so please do hop on over there. Thanks again for the nomination, Shannon!

03 June 2009

and just in case...

For those folks who don't have the time to make a fingerpuppet but still want one, I just put up a few batches of puppets at my etsy shop.

02 June 2009

warm fuzzy mammal finger puppets - the tutorial


Hi folks! Wanna make a lamby finger puppet? Or a squirrel? Or a mouse? Here's how:

First off, you'll need this handy-dandy pattern* which I drew up:

MammalFriendsFP

Now, as far as materials go, you'll need:

  • tissue paper for tracing the pattern pieces
  • felt (pieces should be at least 4 x 6 inches in size)
  • scraps of fabric no smaller than 2 x 4 inches
  • stuffing material (I prefer Polyfil, but you can use wool or cotton - whatever suits you best)
  • for the eyes - buttons, discs of felt, beads, or plastic safety eyes
  • embroidery floss for the face details
1. Trace the shapes on the pattern PDF* onto a piece of tracing paper and cut those out. Next, pin the cut pieces to your felt and fabric and cut out the number of parts as indicated for each puppet. Note: You do not need to add an allowance as a 1/4 inch allowance has already been included in the pattern. Essentially, you'll need 2 felt parts for the body and 1 fabric head panel for each puppet, plus details. Your puppet parts should look like this:

...for the lamb.

...for the squirrel.

...for the mouse.

2. Pin the ears to the body as follows:

For the lamb, pin the ears with the edges facing the bottom of the puppet with the tips pointing to the front, like so:


For the squirrel, make sure the edges face forward:


For the mouse, pin the ears with the edges facing the bottom:


Before you sew, make sure that all your ears look like this:

ears should look like this when pinned before sewing

3. Now we can start sewing. When sewing, allow yourself a 1/4 inch allowance. Sew the fabric head panel with the right side of the fabric facing down along the top of one felt body piece starting with the nose, sewing along to the back of the head, like so:


4. Sew the other side of the head to the other side of the body (sewing from the back of the head to the nose would make this part easier now). Remember to pull the pins from the ears and tuck in the ears before closing the head so that they don't get caught in the seam when you sew the front edge:


Now sew the two parts of the body together starting at the nose and proceeding along the front edge of the body to the bottom:


5. Flip the puppet over and sew the back. For the squirrel, now is the time to attach the tail. Roll up & pin the tip of the tail so that you can easily fit it in the body:


Now sandwich the tail in the body with the rolled up & pinned tip in towards the center of the puppet's body. You want just a little bit of the base of the tail to stick out from in between the two felt pieces for the body:


Now sew up the back, and you're done with the sewing part! We're almost done now.

Quick thing! Don't forget to pull the pin out of the squirrel tail before you do anything else; that's a lesson I learned the hard way:


7. Carefully trim the rounded parts of the head and the parts where the head and body join with little 1/8 inch cuts. Be very careful not to cut any of your seams:


8. Now carefully invert the puppets with the flat end of a pen or pencil. Be very patient; this part is tricky and a total pain in the butt. It is the only aspect of softie-making that I can honestly say I loathe. You want to nudge the puppets inside out very carefully and little by little. Take your time with it. If you push too hard or too fast, you might end up accidentally ripping the seams and undoing all your sewing or piercing through the felt or the fabric. So go slowly.

9. If you're using plastic safety eyes, put them on once the puppet in fully inverted because this next step is stuffing. Use wee pinch-sized clumps of stuffing and carefully press them into the head with your fingers or the flat end of a pen/pencil. Keep stuffing until the head is as firm as you would like it and so that you don't have an excess of stuffing sticking out of the head and into the puppet body.

10. Now detail your puppet. Stitch little faces on them with your embroidery floss. You can even use markers or puff paint or whatever to decorate them. Do what you like. Have fun with it!

Happy puppet making, people!

* The not-so-fine print: This pattern is for entertainment purposes only. You can make as many finger puppets as you'd like and distrubute them to family & friends & your kids & your neighbors' kids & your students and such, but please do not sell the items made from this pattern. Same thing goes for the pattern itseslf. Share it with as many people as you want to, but please do not charge for the pattern nor pass it off as your own. I feel yucky mentioning it, but them's the rules and it has to be said. Thanks!

17 April 2009

bat sale!

These guys are up at my shop, and they are on sale as I hope to make room for new stuff.

16 April 2009

pretty in pink

New mouse up in the etsy shop. More stuff to come over the next couple of weeks, including that long-ago promise pattern (or two).