Friday, January 28, 2011

Woodland Creatures Series: Sir Jackson Rabbit

Sir Jackson Rabbit came about in an odd, random way. He was actually originally supposed to be a raccoon. His head was originally to be for a raccoon, and his moustache was originally cut out as the raccoon's "mask", but after messing around with the placement, I thought it looked like a moustache. And I've been wanting to do another creature with a moustache (moustaches and beards are still trending themes. Yeah, facial hair! Woot!).

I'm not sure exactly why I chose to make him a rabbit. The only thing I can really think of is that I was inspired by the Mr. Herriman character in "Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends" (Which is one of my favorite cartoon series! I have all 6 seasons on iTunes and I tend to watch them on my iPod while I sew).

His left eye (well, that would be the right eye in the picture) is intentionally bigger to suggest a monocle. As for his plaid shirt/ jacket, I had just gotten a wool plaid shirt at the thrift store this week, and it seemed to go well with the grey wool sweater I'd cut the pieces of the head from.

I'm not sure if he really fits in with the other woodland creatures in the series...because of the human traits I've given him...the moustache and the shirt. He's the only one I've done with clothes so far. But he's still fun and adorable. I'm sure someone will adore him and he'll end up as someone's favorite companion!

I imagine him as having a British accent...saying stereotypical British things like "Cheerio mate! Fancy a spot of tea, wot wot?" *(I actually have no idea what "Wot wot" even means. I just got it from the Redwall books...where the hares tend to say it a lot. Can any British peeps help me out? My blog stats say at least some of you blog viewers are from the UK!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another set of Rockets!

I never imagined, when I made the first rocket for my friend's sick little boy, that people would actually be commissioning me to make more plush rocket ships! Here's another custom set I just made.

I made these two newest rockets out of fleece, since I ran out of the sweater I made the previous ones out of. So due to the stretch of the fabric, they turned out slightly skinnier.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rice-Filled Sock Birdy

My friend Stephanie is hosting a few 4H meetings soon and is figuring out some crafts for the kids to make. Some of the themes for the meetings are "staying warm" and "birds". So Stephanie came up with this craft - a sock filled with rice and tied off, with felt pieces sewn on to make it look like a bird. When you put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds or so, you have a cute little kid-friendly heat-pack!

She was initially inspired to make this rice-filled heat pack by some Nubbin hand-warmers she bought from me last winter at Presence on the Patio. She says her kids love them and they were particularly helpful when one of her kids had an earache and laid his ear on one to soothe the pain.

Since I am the token "crafty friend" in my circle of friends, Stephanie brought over this prototype yesterday to show me and get my opinion. And I think it is absolutely adorable! So adorable, in fact, that I had to take some pictures to share here on the blog!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Commissioned Piece: White Cat

This week, my husband requested that I make a white cat for his boss & his boss's wife. I guess they are mourning the recent loss of their cat, so CJ thought a plush version would help cheer them up a little, and would serve as a memorial for their beloved pet as well.

The interesting thing is that he happened to ask me to make this after I watched "The Secret of Kells" on Netflix instant view this week. It's an absolutely gorgeous animated movie, with an abundance of stunning Celtic art and music. I think it's become one of my new favorite movies. I'd never even heard of it before Netflix had it in its suggestions for me, but apparently it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2010 (it got beat out by "Up").

Anyway, my point is, there is a white cat named Pangur Bán in the movie. And at one point in the movie, another character, a faerie girl named Aisling, sings a song to/about Pangur Bán. It's an absolutely beautiful song, and I had it stuck in my head the entire time I was sewing this white cat.
"You must go where I cannot...Pangur Bán...Pangur Bán..."
That's the only line I know... because it's the only line in English. The rest of the song is sung in Irish Gaelic. It's so beautiful though, as is the rest of the music. I want to buy the soundtrack.

I actually want to make another version of the white cat and design the head more like Pangur Bán in the film...shaped more like a half circle... and with two different colored eyes of course!

If you're wondering where I took the pictures, I photographed the cat on my parent's living room window sill. I was visiting them today, and wanted to be able to photograph it before I gave the cat to my husband to give to his boss today.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

RNEST Monthly Challenge: January (Vote for Me!)

It's time for the RNEST Monthly Challenge! The theme for January is "Start the year out right!"
I have to admit that I had a hard time figuring out how to interpret the theme and what to enter...but a fellow artist on the RNEST forum gave the idea that coming out with a new line is a great way to "start the year out right"! So I entered Knox the Fox, as the first of my Woodland Creatures series (who has already been sold!).
So, if you want to vote for Knox, go to the RNEST blog and cast your vote on the poll in the upper, right corner of the blog. :)

Woodland Creatures Series: Brock the Badger

Here is the 3rd animal in the Woodland Creature series...Brock the Badger.

The name Brock is derived from a surname based on the Old English word for badger. There is a Scottish variation, "Broc", but I like how the name looks with the "k" that silly? I'm sure the Scottish spelling is based on the same Old English word.

Making these woodland creatures (the badger in particular) is giving me the urge to either re-read some of my books in Brian Jacques' "Redwall" series, or read some of the newer ones in the series that I haven't read yet. I used this book cover, as well as some pictures I found on Google image search, for a design reference.
Salamandastron was the first Redwall book I ever read. I found it at the library when I was in either middle school or high school. I picked it up because I was intrigued by the cover. In the Redwall series, badgers are wise and a warrior class of creature. Maybe I should have made Brock some armor? I am reminded that there is actually a character (and book) in the series who is named Lord Brocktree. (I have not read that book, but Lord Brocktree is mentioned in some of the books I have read).
I know...I read books about anthropomorphic, talking warrior animals. I'm a geek. As if you didn't already know that. ;)

And here's all 3 of the critters in the Woodland Creatures series so far! What creature should I do next? I've had lots of great suggestions from people both IRL (in real life) and on the Facebook page.

I do have parts of a grey mouse cut out right now. And I'd like to do a hedgehog. I've also gotten suggestions for a squirrel, a deer, and a groundhog.

Of course, my stash of brown sweaters is quite limited at the moment though. I have one light brown/tan sweater, but no dark brown. I may do a hedgehog and use the light brown sweater for the main body and use dark brown felt for the "spikes". But this upcoming Monday is half price day at my local thrift store, so maybe I can find a nice, woolly brown sweater there. I'm finding myself becoming quite partial to using wool sweaters (or at least sweaters that are a large percentage of wool). I just like the texture (especially if it's felted!) And I think it gives my creatures a bit more of an old, vintage kind of something your grandma would have made for you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Pixie Pouf Headbands

I'll be making a listing for these on my Etsy shop soon...

I finally figured out how to edit the colors in Photoshop to make the purple look right... at least when the purple is by itself. (if you'll notice in the first two pictures, the purple still looks pretty blueish)

It's so hard to photograph myself modeling these. It probably took me about 10 tries to get a semi-decent photo!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Treasury Tuesday: R is for Raccoon

It's Treasury Tuesday! Well, it's Treasury Tuesday on the RNEST Blog, but after listing Mika the Raccoon in my Etsy shop, I was inspired to make a raccoon-themed treasury.

I would have included it in today's RNEST Treasury Tuesday but, #1: I've already posted today's RNEST Treasury Tuesday, and #2: I'm the only RNEST member featured in this raccoon treasury, and I don't want to hog the spotlight (since I'm already one of the two RNEST members featured in today's treasury). I also don't want to seem like I'm using my position as the writer of the Treasury Tuesday blog posts as an opportunity to toot my own horn. Maybe I'm allowed to toot my own horn a little, I don't know. Maybe I'll include it as a bonus treasury on a week where the main treasury doesn't feature any of my items. But for now, I'll post it here for my own Treasury Tuesday!

Woodland Creatures Series: Mika the Raccoon

Here's the second in my new Woodland Creatures series....Mika the Raccoon

I went to a baby name search site and searched the meanings for "raccoon". The female name, Mika, was the first and only name that came up. "The name Mika comes from the Native American origin. In Native American the meaning of the name Mika is: Intelligent raccoon."
Convenient, since I'd already decided that my raccoon looked pretty feminine. I even made her a little skirt.

I've had comments in the past where people have a hard time visualizing how big/small my items are, so I had the idea to do at least one photograph with a ruler to give a sense of scale.

* I just realized I should have had an extra "C" to correctly spell "raccoon". Oops. And I'm usually such a stickler for spelling.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rocket Ship Appreciation Photos

I just got home from a meeting with Renee and George of George Lama Photography. They are a local photography business that I'm partnering with for a special promotion in March. I'm so excited! I'll let you know more about it toward the end of February when we "officially" start advertising it. I may do a giveaway around that time... a promotion to promote a promotion!

This opportunity came about because Renee is the one who ordered the set of 2 plush rocket ships after seeing the first one I made. Here are some lovely photos that George took of their 2 year old son enjoying his rockets!

I love it when customers post/send me pictures of their children enjoying the plush toys I've made! It makes me happy to see them so happy because of something I've created!

Apparently "He calls the green one Buzz and the red one Woody." I love that! So cute!

*These pictures are via George Lama Photography's Facebook Page. Please go check them out! (make sure to click that "Like" button and leave comments!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Organza Pouf Flowers...

I made some more organza flower poufs. I'm trying to stock up for my next show, Hearts & Crafts Indie Market on February 6th. I'm debating whether they'll be better as hair accessories or brooches. And then if I do them as hair accessories, what kind of clip do I use?

I'm still experimenting with scorching and the number of layers. I think 8-6 layers is the best for a larger flower. Scorching is tricky, but it's necessary so the edges don't fray.

This red & gold one is my least favorite. It's only 4 layers, which just isn't working for the scorching went a little wonky.

This smallest flower is only 2 layers. But I'm liking it. It needed a little something extra, so I sewed some seed beads in the center. I'm thinking of calling it a "pixie pouf" and may attach them to bobby pins.