Monday, January 28, 2013

Sorting Yarn...

This afternoon, I sorted through all the yarn that I brought home from Grandma's house.

I sorted this huge pile into two groups... donate and keep.

Terra displaying a great amount of self-control while I ball up some of the yarn.

The yarn in the bags is what I'm giving away/donating.  I separated it into the bags by color to make it easier for whoever goes through it.  I am meeting up with someone tomorrow who wants to go through it.   On Saturday, I'll bring what is left to a craft party at a friend's house.  And after that, I'll donate whatever is left to Craft Bits & Pieces.

And this is what I decided to keep.

I'll use a lot of this to make the crochet hearts and some flowers.  I'm also thinking of making a yarn scrap blanket at some point.

I actually might add to the little crochet blanket I got from the thrift store awhile back (the one Terra is laying on)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Custom Item: Minion Nubbins

I made these special "Despicable Me" inspired "Minion Nubbins" as a gift for the adorable daughter and new son of some dear friends of mine. 

I had the idea to make these back in December and planned on making them as a surprise, belated Christmas present...since I knew my friend's daughter loves "Despicable Me".  But then I received an invitation to a baby shower (which was today) and so they became a shower gift instead (along with one of my infant-sized monster ear hats).  I wanted to make 2 Minions, one with one eye and one with two one was for Mollie and one was for baby Mikey.

Here is the original sketch I did in December.

The pupil and "reflection" in the eyes are hand-embroidered.  The mouths are hand-embroidered too.

I watched the movie while sewing to gain inspiration, of course!

My friend, Julie, loved them, and her husband wants me to make one for him to keep on his desk in his office.  I'm sure I'll get many more requests (especially after this blog post).  I gave out a few business cards at the shower today as well.  I tried to get a good picture of Mollie with hers, but she was distracted and excited by all the people around.

*I am willing to re-create these, but will do so by custom request only.  You can contact me via Etsy convo to make a request.

Moose Pillow for Grandma

I made this moose head pillow for my grandma, and gave it to her this weekend as a belated Christmas gift.  She loves moose and the Adirondacks.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Visiting Grandma!

I am visiting my grandma this weekend!

After having the worst single-serve instant coffee yesterday morning, Grandma suggested we go out for coffee this morning!  So we went to a local donut place, Dippin Donuts.

I taught Grandma how to make the crochet hearts this weekend.  You're never too old to learn something new!  We've been doing a lot of crocheting in the past couple evenings, while watching "House Hunters" on HGTV.  I make something of a game of it...if the people on the show choose the home I guess, I win!  LOL!  I keep saying, the only thing I miss about having cable is watching HGTV.  I love all the home improvement shows!

We spent today doing some de-cluttering and de-stashing some of her craft supplies in one of her spare rooms (my mom's old bedroom).  We came across this little clay pinch-pot I apparently made when I was 5.

This is the side view of the pot.
I not only gave Grandma permission to get rid of it, but I TOLD her to get rid of it.  She was a little resistant, but once I took pictures of it, she seemed okay with letting it go.  So the memory can live on in digital form.

There was a lot of thin crochet cotton thread (usually used a lot to make doilies and that kind of thing).  I'll be donating it to Craft Bits & Pieces, which is like a thrift store for craft supplies in Fairport NY.

And Grandma gave me a LOT of yarn.  This is just a small bit of what she gave me.  I will be keeping some, but definitely not all of it.  Whatever I don't decide to keep, I'll be giving it away to any friends that want it... and then donating what is left to Craft Bits & Pieces  I'll be giving the embroidery hoops to my fellow RNESTer, Tiffany of Freckles and Frizz.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's On My Work Table Wednesday: Craft Book Inspiration and Jellyfish Nubbins

I love craft books...especially ones about making stuffed toys! (Gee, I wonder why?)
I never exactly copy any of the projects, but I love learning new techniques and gaining inspiration from the toys they picture!

I recently bought 2 books with my Christmas money from my mother-in-law (thanks Momma Linda!)... Return of the Stupid Sock Creatures (the sequel to the book that inspired me to make plush in the first place) and Palm-Size Softies. Even though the books are around $20 each, I was able to get both of them for just under $20 because I got them at Joann Fabrics and had two 50% coupons that I used on both of them!  Score! Yay for coupons!)  I ordered the Sew Kawaii book from the library. The fourth book, Sew Me, Love Me, I bought last year.  That book is what inspired the style of my "Woodland Creatures" (like my ever-popular Fox)

This is an example of how plush-making books inspire me.  I flipped through "Sew Kawaii" when I was out to lunch with my husband after picking it up from the library... and was inspired by the octopus and jellyfish projects.  And I thought...Octopus and Jellyfish Nubbins!

I did this sketch on a Post-It and posted this Instagram picture to my KiraArts Facebook page, and asked my fans what it looked octopus or a jellyfish?  The general consensus was "jellyfish".  So I made these...

Before I made them, I did some searching on Etsy to gain additional inspiration for my design and saw a jellyfish hair clip that used rickrack for the tentacles.  I thought that would be a great addition for some extra contrast of color and texture with the tentacles I was already planning on doing with the strips of fleece.  Plus, if you've ever seen pictures of jellyfish (I did a Google image search as well for my "research") they have those long tentacles that extend beyond the shorter jumble.  Plus the zig-zagginess kind of reminds me of how those tentacles of the real-life creature can sting/zap.  Ah, the art of plush...making deadly things cute!

The Magenta Pink one is my favorite, since the fleece seems to curl up better than the other ones (I just pull down the length of the strip of fleece to get it to curl like that).  Plus it reminds me of Finding Nemo..."I shall name him Squishy and he shall be mine.  And he shall be my Squishy!"  LOL!

The Purple Jellyfish Nubbin and the Magenta Pink Jellyfish Nubbin are still available as of now!
I made a blue one as well, but it sold less than 15 minutes after I announced the listings on my Facebook page!  That is a new record.  I have never had an item sell so fast!  It was the same lady who bought my Gandalf Wizard Nubbin less than an hour after I posted about the listing on Facebook.  Don't underestimate the marketing power of utilizing your Facebook page!

 I'll be making another blue Jellyfish Nubbin soon, since I found a pearlescant/ metallic rickrack I think would be perfect for the tentacles!  I think I will also be sewing little loop of ribbon to the top so people can hang them.  I used some thread to display them in the Etsy listing photos, but wasn't thinking to make them with the intent of hanging them.  Well, that's why the first batch are prototypes.

And for the octopus lovers, don't worry, I will be making Octopus Nubbins soon!

My neck of the woods...

SO snowy!  I am so glad to be cozy inside right now!

This is my house.
And these pictures are just from yesterday.   It continued to snow through the rest of the day and night!

The view from the back door.  Luna says "Yay!  SNOW!!!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Treasury Tuesday: Granny Craft, Modern Style

Who said "granny crafts" can't be cool?
It's a cold and snowy day out here in western New York state today (at least in my area).  Here's a cozy treasury to give you thoughts of being snugly inside with your granny as she's working on her chosen craft project, be it knitting, crocheting, cross-stitch, or sewing... but with a modern, "granny chic" twist!

(featuring my fellow RNEST members TheStitchingStudio, FrecklesAndFrizz, and KarenSwimmer)

It just so happens that I am going to go visit my own grandma this weekend!...which always involves crafting of some kind!  I will (appropriately enough) probably work on my granny square blanket. :)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Homeschool Art Class: Shaving Cream Marbled Paper

This was the project I did withe the K-1st grade kids at homeschooler art class today...
This project was one of those projects that I have read about for years in various kid-craft books and craft blogs, but I've never actually done it... so I decided to do a test run last night before trying to bungle through the project for the first time with the kids there.

The tutorial said you can use liquid watercolors or food coloring.  I used liquid water colors first.  I used a small baking tray to keep things tidy...sprayed some shaving cream on...smoothed out the top as well as I could...and dripped some liquid watercolors on top...then swirled the colors with a chopstick (sorry, forgot to take a picture of the "swirly" colors before printing) 

Lay a piece of paper on top, pressing down lightly to be sure the color takes...then carefully peel the paper off.  Then take a flat-edged piece of cardboard or plastic (I used cardboard, but I's suggest plastic for easier cleanup) and scrape off the excess shaving cream to reveal the design!

I was curious how using food coloring would differ from the liquid watercolors, so I used those next..

I found the colors are much more vibrant when using the food coloring.  (I may have watered down the watercolors too much though)
I got an interesting effect with the watercolors that we left over on the shaving cream, since I used the same shaving cream instead of cleaning off the tray and using clean stuff.  I think it added a cool dimension.

 Watercolors on top, Food Coloring on the bottom.  I had a lot of fun doing these!

The kids were very excited to do this project!
I had them use the food coloring, since it provided more vibrant colors.  They were very good about carefully dropping the food coloring and not wasting it (I told them they could use 4 drops of each color...although I probably could have had them use only 2 or 3).  And they were also very good about waiting their turn to use the next color. 

The kids took note that the yellow food coloring looks orange/red when it first comes out of the dropper and I tried explaining the concept of "concentrated" color, but I think the concept went over their heads.  Plus, I'm not sure I explained it very well.  But they ended up understanding that it was yellow once the drop spread a bit into the shaving cream and they swirled it around.

The designs turned out very nicely, and the mothers were all impressed when I took the kids all home!  The older siblings want to do the project at their next class!  The project doesn't take long, so I can have them do at least one print before or after we do the project I have planned.  (I'll have to get more shaving cream though.  We ran out today!)
It occurred to me today that I have seen this kind of thing done before at the Lilac Festival this past summer, but using water and special ink/paint instead of the shaving cream and food coloring, and printing the design onto silk scarves instead of paper.

After doing 2 more shaving cream prints and some free-draw time, the kids worked on a coloring page until the end of class.

 I found this printable coloring page via Pinterest earlier this week, which is SO perfect, since I have a couple perfectionists in both the "little" kids and "big" kids classes that get frustrated when they don't get things "just right".  And I am always telling the kids that "it's okay to make mistakes".  (If you couldn't tell, it is one of the perfectionists whose page I took a picture of!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What's-On My-Worktable Wednesday: Parrot Nubbin

In the literal cat is what is on my worktable today! 

I'm convinced Terra thinks she's "helping".

She decided the shelf was a better spot to lounge.

This is what has actually been on my worktable.  I came up with a new Nubbin design...a parrot!  Similar to my Owl Nubbins, but with a different beak design and a rounded head.
I brought this prototype to the RNEST meeting on Monday night to submit it to a critique.  I ended up not bringing it home, because my friend, Amanda (of BeadworkByAmanda) wanted to buy it from me on the spot!  I found out that she collects parrots.

Don't worry, I am planning on making more...and in other colors! (any color suggestions?)  I'll post an update when I have them listed in the shop!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013