Saturday, April 28, 2012


Rob took a picture of my hands today.  Hands can take a beating from sewing.  There are a lot of sharp objects in play, including scissors, knives and needles! 
Sewing machines are high speed and you have to pay attention or else!  My new  sewing machine can be dangerous and I had a number of incidents this week.  One of the circled areas is a callous that I always have from hand sewing. Luckily I haven't had any serious cuts.  Sewing has got to be safer than cooking!  At least there's no danger of getting burned.....unless you use an iron :)
Piknik has a lot of fun features....Here's how I fixed my nails and added bandaids by using their "doodle" feature :)
Amazing what you can do with technology these days! 
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Monday, April 23, 2012

France food highlights

France was just ducky.  We enjoyed many olives.
The wine was fine, even in the humblest roadside cafes
We visited a fancy chocolate making establishment and ate a lot of chocolate
We drank a lot of yummy hot coffee because it is cold in Provence in April.
But nobody tried the canned duck, which was for sale EVERYWHERE !
 I usually take toys along with me wherever I go.  You never know when a toy will be just the gift somebody is looking for.  I never gave this duckie away, but he did get into some photos....seems food was involved most of the time.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How I made it: A Fox

To start making a fox, first you must find the right sweater.  Grey wool sweaters are easy to find.  Foxy coloured ones are among the hardest.  Here I am haggling with a vendor in FRANCE because I spotted an orange sweater.Unfortunately it was a designer label sweater and the vendor would not budge on the price, even though it had a hole in it, which I am showing him in the picture.  At Value Village, they give 50% off for a hole! That is my daughter looking on, she is an au pair in France, we were visiting her.

Back home again, I found a suitable sweater buried in my stash.  Here I have cut out the fox body, head and snout and tail pieces. I cut out 4, but I am only finishing one today.

Next comes the sewing machine, where I sew the legs, nose and ears.

The tail is made by sewing through small squares of fabric, then trimming them into a tail shape.

After that, I cut out the ears. They are cut from wool felt and sewn onto the head by hand. In the background is my well worn rotary mat cutting surface.  It is imbedded with fuzz from countless sweaters.

Next, I stuff the head and sew it shut, then stuff the body. Stuffing is actually one of the most difficult steps, it has to be done carefully or the fox could end up lumpy or with a weak leg. To get into all the hard to reach areas of most of my little creatures, I use a pointed dowel.  I stuff with clean, carded wool fleece that I get from a local supplier.  She actually dropped off 4 bags this morning.

Now comes the reward for the previous steps.  I embroider the facial features onto the head, securing the knots at the back, where they will be hidden.  The eyes have to be straight and spaced properly.  Too far apart and the animal looks like an alien.  Too close together and it starts looking a bit too sneaky.

Here is the finished fox, ready for packaging.  This particular fellow is going all the way to New Zealand. It is a privilege for me to be able to offer my work to friends near and far!
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Changes Afoot

After 15 years of service, it is time to change the flooring in my beloved home studio. Carpeting is comfy, but it collects dust (cutting and sewing reused sweaters is incredibly dusty).  This is a job I have been putting off for a while.

This is how things look this morning. Obviously I won't be doing any sewing for a few days and the computer is getting disconnected later today, so I won't be around online as much either.
I keep supplies for each animal in its own transparent box.  I have about 50 of these boxes, so some which you see piled high in my window well above.

I couldn't believe how much stuff I had crammed in here.  I am going to question the value of every item as it comes back (or gets donated).
Time to get organized (again, sigh, lol).  Daily cleaning and clearing is required, but it is so easy to get caught up in projects and forget about the clutter.
My online shop is still open, but shipping delays are in effect.  Check here for more

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