Monday, September 28, 2009

Dog Photography

In an attempt to improve my photography (specifically dog photography) I decided to take my camera along for a quick weekend getaway to Greer. I captured a whole lot of images! Here are some of the better ones. I think I am improving on my CRAFT.
You can get lost in those eyes!

NO WAI! (thanks Nico!)

What to murder next...

She loves vacays

A tale of two tails

Sneak Attack

Dainty Paws

My love

Just my fur kids. Hangin' out.

Glamour shot (where is the red rose?)

Driver License Photo

Coach Snuggle


Sneak attack part II

Leash vision

A squeaky toy may have been used

Someone needs Just For Men Gel

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ahoy! A Stuffed Whale

I have been meaning to get into making stuffed animals for a while, and since I had the fiberfill out for the last project I decided why not. I got the pattern from the book Softies, but this project is so simple you don't really need a pattern. You could probably just free hand draw your own pattern and go from there! This would be step 1, either get or make a pattern.

Already Looking Very Whaley

The next step is to trace your pattern onto a piece of fabric and cut out your first side. For this whale I used grey felt, but pretty much any fabric would do. Hell, make a patent leather whale if you like. I recommend tracing and cutting out the first side using the pattern, but trace/cut out the second side using your first piece as a guide. This guarantees your sides are perfectly even.


After both sides are cut out, you now need to decorate the whale's face if you want to use any sewing. This is so your messy knots and work are concealed inside the whale. (Pinocchio-style). I used needlepoint like the Softies book recommends. This book also gives direction for basic needlepoint. Needlepoint is a whole topic unto itself, so I won't really get into it here. If you don't want to learn/hate needlepoint feel free to create the whale's face using whatever you would like.

Sorta looks like a Vampire Whale

After this, it is much like sewing up a pillow. Remember to stitch your whale up inside out! Stitch all around the edges using either a machine or by hand. Leave a gap to allow for stuffing. Also, be sure to make your whale's tail large enough that you can get the tail fin through. For tight spots you can use a pen or other small point object to help push the tail through.

Now that your whale is mostly sewn up and right side out, stuff that baby! Be sure to read my stuffing tips if you need help. You can also use that pen to help stuff filling into tight spots like the tail.

Please don't call those Sea Shepherd people

The final step is to hand sew up the hole and add an eyeball. I used an eye of the google variety and employed the use of hot glue. Now your whale is complete!

Riding on a Hand (Like all Whales do)

Pass the Krill

This project is so easy and so cute you should expect to see a pod of these little guys soon!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Shrunken Sweater Pillow Crafting

According to the internet, fall is just around the corner. Although it is still 100 degrees here in Tucson, I will go ahead and believe it. One of my favorite things about autumn is the clothing because you get to wear sweaters and pants and scarves and all the things you can't wear for the other 9 months of the year here. One downside of this is the inevitable wool sweater in the washer and dryer. It is a sad, sad day to find your favorite sweater warm out of the dryer misshapen and shrunk to half its size. What to do in such a situation? Some would say make lemons into lemonade. I would say make sweaters into pillows!

This is the story of this sweater. I bought it for my husband at Target (because I am cheap). He wore it several times until GASP it ended up in the regular laundry. Luckily for me, it shrank to my size! I wore it several times before it magically appeared out of the dryer again. Since we have no babies nor midget friends we were out of luck. Until this craft came by...

Oh, you have never heard of a dry cleaner?

Step one is to decide what shape to cut your pillow into. Mine had trim along the bottom so this was a good place to start a choppin'. Another natural cut line was right before the armholes began. The shape becomes less square after this point due to tailoring and it would make this project more challenging. Since I am a pretty miserable seamstress I thought it would be better to keep it as simple as possible. Interesting fact: Ever notice how wool feels denser after it has been washed? This is because the washing machine and dryer agitate the wool fibers causing them to mat a.k.a. felt. Much like the wool animals you see on my site, the wool changes characteristics due to agitation, be it a barbed needle or water. The more you know...

Snip Snip

Tada! A sexy/cozy wool tube top

You could of course stop here with your tube top, or you could continue on with the original pillow plan. The beauty of this project is that the sewing is half done! Two sides should be the original seams, so you only have two straight lines to do! Be sure to turn the tube top inside out before you sew! This will conceal your sewing work on the inside of the pillow that no one will ever ever see. I used a machine, but you could do this by hand if you don't have access to a sewing machine. It isn't especially difficult, it would just take more time. Sew along one entire side, closing up that end. Begin sewing up the other side but LEAVE A HOLE large enough for you to stick your hand in. This allows you to turn the pillow right side out and also stuff it with fill.

Stuff it, Stuff it Good

A few tips on stuffing. I used a poly-fiber fill. It is a good choice because it is readily available at the craft store, is cheap, and works pretty well. Please don't just take the fill out of the bag and stick it in your pillow. Lump city! Instead, break it up in your hands a little so that there aren't any huge lumps and bumps. Now start stuffing. As you put it in watch for huge lumps and fill in these spaces accordingly. You will use more filling than you think. Really stuff it in there! A nice firm pillow will a.) Look better b.) Feel better c.) Resist lumping up in the long haul. After it is all stuffed hand sew up the hole. The great thing about wool is that the fabric is so fibrous your stitches virtually disappear!

So Comfy

You have now saved a sweater from dumpster death and accessorized your home to boot! What? You don't have a shrunken wool sweater because you know how to do laundry? Ok fine. You have a few options. Ask around. It is possible that a friend lazy enough to shrink their clothing will also be lazy enough to not make it into a pillow themselves. You can also check the thrift stores and discount chains for wool sweaters. Wash those babies a couple times in your washer and dryer and you are all set!