Saturday, February 26, 2011

Recycled Spool Button Stamp (Plus Owl-Inspired Art)

You know my love of vintage wooden thread spools...but what to do with the modern plastic ones when they're empty? I saw a tutorial a while back for making a button stamp out of an empty plastic spool and craft foam. I decided, on a whim, to try making one yesterday.

I didn't have the tutorial yesterday (I actually had to search for it in order to post the link), so I just sort of winged it. I'm sure I didn't make mine exactly like the tutorial. (but when do I ever make something exactly like the tutorial?) I used regular kids' craft form instead of the adhesive-backed foam. (I used regular, white, school glue to attach the foam at first, but even after drying overnight, it fell apart, so I re-attached the foam with hot glue today. Much better. You gotta love hot glue!
I made my stamp double-sided as well...

I liked the simple design I did on the "test page", but thought it would look better with 9 "buttons" on a square piece of paper. I also thought it would be cool to use watercolors to color the buttons. I painted the color on first, let it dry, and then stamped the design.

^note the sock monkey slippers^ ;)
(my Mommy got them for me as a belated Christmas gift.)

I watched "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" last night and was inspired by the gorgeous visuals, so I did these two quick sketches with my watercolor pencils.

Terra is always curious about what I'm up to whenever I'm doing things on the coffee table. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RNEST Monthly Challenge: February (Safari)

This month's theme for the RNEST (Rochester NY Etsy Street Team) Monthly Challenge is "Safari"... so I made Liam the Lion...

He's almost entirely hand-stitched (except for his head)...since I was visiting Grandma this week and didn't have my sewing machine!

So...if you want to vote for Liam, go to the RNEST Blog and there will be a place for you to cast your vote in the top-right corner. As of now, I'm neck-and-neck with Sunshyne Silverwear and her "Leo" pendant! (not that I blame anyone for voting for her. That pendant is pretty awesome!)

Simple Pleasures: Vintage Spools of Thread

It's pretty silly how happy a bunch of vintage spools of thread can make me...

I've mentioned in earlier posts how I have a thing for vintage wooden spools. Well, while visiting my Grandma this weekend, I happened to ask her if she had any old wooden spools lying around. So she went upstairs and rummaged around in her sewing room. When she came back, she had a bunch of wooden spools for me! Not as many as Maya*Made's stash, but more than I already had! Grandma also gave me some fabric, and a bunch of her old Tupperware this weekend, but these silly little spools of thread are my absolute favorite thing that she gave me this weekend!

And I hadn't expected her to give me spools with thread still on them! I'd have been happy with bare wooden spools. The thread still being on them was a bonus! It saved me from having to wind my own thread onto them for pictures. And I couldn't have asked for better thread colors!

Now I can make some prints and add my own photos to the ones I've already gotten off Etsy from Abby Try Again and DearMachine. :) Now if I can only get around to actually framing and hanging them...

Most of the spools are Coats & Clark brand...but two of them have Fruit of the Loom labels.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Grandma's Vintage Calender

I'm visiting my Grandma in Rome, NY this week. I saw this beautiful vintage-looking calender at her house.

I thought it was a new calender, because the dates look correct. Plus it's that vintage style that's popular recently. So I asked Grandma where she got it...

She's had it since 1983! And she just happened to find it recently. It doesn't just look really IS vintage! I guess the dates for 1983 are the same as 2011!
I told her I want the calender at the end of the year. I want to frame the prints.

Link Roundup: Other People Sewing Monsters!

Here is yet another link roundup! This roundup features other bloggers' sewn monster projects...

Monster Tooth Pillow (image credit: The Long Thread)

This one isn't a tutorial, but check out this monster that a blogger's son made! A boy after my own heart! I'm quite impressed! I made a comment on her post that "I hope he keeps that love of sewing and doesn't get "too cool" for it when he gets older and grows up to be a crafty man!" Crafty men are the best! (image credit: RiceBabies)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Angry Birds Duo

My brother, Adam, came to visit this weekend, for the first time since before Christmas. I was finally able to give him his Christmas gift!...the first plush Angry Bird I made!

I took the above picture tonight. Now that I've finally been able to give it to him, I can post the pictures I took back before Christmas! (I wasn't sure if he reads my blog, and I didn't want to give away the surprise!)

The first one I made had the felt pupils like in the original pattern. It also has an orange beak (instead of yellow like on the one I made for CJ).

Heck with "Christmas in July"... this weekend is Christmas in February!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Monster Ear Hat Color Choices...

I am trying to come up with a fixed set of color combinations for the Monster-Ear Hats. I've just made the combinations willy-nilly before, but I want a fixed set of colors to make the process of making them smoother. Don't worry, I WILL still accept special orders for custom hats, but I need a set that I will have ready-made for craft shows and the Etsy shop. It's so hard to try and anticipate what colors people will want to buy. I'm always aware of the idea that just because I like a certain color combination, that doesn't mean anyone else will! So I need your help for some market research!

Go to my KiraArts fanpage on Facebook, go to the "Hats!" photo album, and click "like" on the picture of the color set you like best! (there are 3 sets to vote for).

I am personally favoring Set 1...but I want to know what my customers will like the best!

This 4th graphic is of some ideas for specific "Special Edition" hats. (I need to make more of the "Yoda" hats in adult sizes! I had at least 2 requests for them at my last craft show, and all I had were 2 kid sizes!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Link Roundup: I (heart) Wooden Toys!

I seem to be on a link-sharing kick lately.
Although I make plush toys...I also have a great love for simple, wooden toys. I've always said that blocks are the best. I remember building blocks being one of my favorite kinds of toys growing up.

Old Spools: New Blocks (image credit:Maya*Made)
I saw this huge collection of wooden spools today on the Maya*Made blog. I love, love, LOVE wooden spools! ESPECIALLY these vintage ones! I don't know what it is about them. And the fact that Maya has so many of them makes me drool! I actually just found 3 vintage wooden spools of my own today while cleaning my craft room. I think that brings my collection up to 5 or 6 of them. I have recently developed a thing for photos of vintage spools of colorful thread. I bought a print from Dear Machine on Etsy awhile back, as well as one from photographer Abby Try Again. Now that I've found some vintage wooden spools of my own, maybe I can wind some colorful thread onto them and take some pictures of my own!
This is SUCH a good idea! I would love to make these as a gift for someone. The problem with paper dolls is that they are paper...which can be a fragile thing, especially in the hands of a young child. This is an idea I could "monster-fy" as well, using my own designs.

Block Mates (image credit: Guidecraft)
These are just cool. "Block mates cleverly transform ordinary unit blocks into animals and vehicles." I found this via Ohdeedoh (of course). I can't tell if these are wooden or plastic (and it doesn't say on the site), but either way they are pretty cool!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Angry Bird Plush Valentine

Nothing says "I love you!" like a handmade Angry Bird plush! ;)

A few months ago, I showed my husband a tutorial I found for the red Angry Bird at the blog Obsessively Stitching. After he saw it, he wanted me to make one for I finally made him one and gave it to him today for Valentine's day.

I sew on the details differently than the tutorial. I use a zigzag stitch instead of a straight stitch and cut out the pieces before I sew them instead of after. I also decided to use black safety eyes for the pupils instead of felt.

Obsessively Stitching has patterns for the other birds too, as well as the pigs (she provides links to those tutorials on the post I linked to). I'll probably make those eventually too... since I know CJ wants them!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Link Roundup: Last-Minute Valentine Kid Crafts!

Attention stay-at-home moms, homeschooling moms, babysitters, preschool/kindergarten teachers, grandmas, and any one else who enjoys doing holiday crafts with young are a few easy, last-minute, cute Valentine craft ideas I've come across this week!
No paper doilies in your craft stash and not enough time (or energy) to go out and snag some? Scrumdillydo says that this craft is based on the "ever happy and popular coffee-filter butterfly" you could always use coffee filters instead! (you could use watercolors to color them)

This project is more suited for older kids that are ready to start learning how to sew.

The fun thing about both these projects is that they can be versatile and don't just have to be just for Valentine's Day. Change up the colors or leave out the smattering of hearts and you have just a regular ol' everyday kids' craft that you can use any time of the year!

Happy crafting!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Commissioned Piece: Kaze-kun the Crow

I finished the crow plushie that was supposed to go with the fox that my friend Em from My Kitty Empire commissioned me to make.

Before I left, Em took some nicely staged pictures of the Fox and Crow for me with her snazzy professional-grade camera. (she's a freelance photographer and illustrator)

Em and I actually went shopping together yesterday in order to find some specific rectangular-shaped shell buttons that she wanted for the crow's eyes. After a trip to JoAnn Fabrics (where I found the buttons, but not the leopard print fleece I was looking for for another commission project...blah.) we went to Goodwill, where we both bought ourselves some comfy clothes as well as some monster-making sweaters! After thrifting, we got some food and then went back to her house to eat and chat. After we finished lunch, she gave me a tour of her wonderfully HUGE 200 year old house...with magical little passages that lead you from one room to another. It was one of those lovely old houses that just never ends!

* all photos (except for the first two) are courtesy of My Kitty Empire.