W.I.P. Wednesday : Boo!

I love Halloween!

And Guppy loves googly-eyes.

After getting our Halloween decorations up earlier this week, Guppy was rather put out that she didn’t have anything to decorate her room with. Since most of the things we put up were rather fragile/not adapted for  inevitable 5-year-old playing with it while no one is lookingness that will happen if they go in her room, I got thinking about “functional yet decorative” Halloween options.

 

I think these may become part of a felty-moblile, but I’m still not sure. Either way, I’m having fun making them (so easy) and Guppy is having a blast helping me (glueing googly eyes is the bomb, apparently).  They are also “functional” because she’s having fun just playing with them – sorting by number of eyes, scariness, etc. I’m feeling frustrated that I am out of black felt, because I really want to make me some Witchies. Thinking about that one.

What spooky (or, cute!) Halloween-inspired crafts are you working on? Do share!

Do you have any new W.I.P.s in the works? We would love to see what you’re up to! Snap a shot of your  “in progress” masterpiece and add it to the  W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool. Whatever your works-in-progress, have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are working on.

W.I.P. Wednesday : Little Purl Bee Rabbits or What I would be making for Guppy if I had time…

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Were any of you “X-Files” fans? I was a bit ‘ole “X-Files” nerd, and while I don’t think I believe in alien abduction (the truth is out there), I can so relate to the phenomenon they oft referred to as “missing time” : when you have this hunk of time which seems to just have disappeared and you have no idea where the time went, or what you were doing… because here’s the deal, despite my lofty ambitions and best intentions, I still haven’t made Guppy’s Easter Bunny gift yet.

Well over a month ago, back when I thought I was going to have lots of time to get them done, I saw these adorable Purl Rabbits at The Purl Bee :

rabbit36photo credit : The Purl Bee

These are some of the most stylish bunnies I’ve seen around! Trying to figure out how to spend all your copious free time? Well, make yourself a Purl Rabbit! You’ll need the Pattern Pieces for Rabbit (Just look at the top of the post in the project journal for the next part of the project.)

I really love the Rabbit Clothes – do they come in adult sizes? They are so cute, and really make the Bunny look all dapper-dan. And fancy-pants. Fancy Danny Dapper Pants. Whatever.

Realistically it’s not going to happen because this week is going to be very full for the Shellyfish, but I technically still have time, so let’s not start calling bets yet, ok? And if all fails, I can still make more of these felt cuties à la Aranzi Aranzo like I did last year – they are always a hit. And of course, if I really go into “you’ve got to be kidding me” mode, I know I have a dino book stashed somewhere that could also be slipped into the basket. Must keep our bases covered and all that.

What are you making for the baskets o’ festiveness? Have a crafty week, and don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too.

W.I.P. Wednesday : The finished, the planned and the in-progress…

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This is an extra-large serving of W.I.P.ness, so grab a little cup of tea and here we go!

The finished : Staring here is good, helps me to feel like I’ve accomplished something!

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Here are the carp I told you about here. Love them. I hope my nephew does, too.

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He’s quite a sketcher (I sent him the watercolour-pencil roll for Christmas) so I thought a blank notebook would suit him. I also made him a black denim pouch to slip the notebook and some pencils in, in case he wants to do a little field work (ok, this is a bad inside joke because he lives on a farm. Sorry.)

It’s also my niece’s birthday soon, so here are her goodies :

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The little dude’s antenna/hat isn’t sewn on yet in this photo, but I assure you, it has since been sewn on and they are on their way to the U.S. along with this :

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…a little felty pouch (decorated with ribbon on the other side) and a heart pin because they are so cute I’m making them for everyone! I used this felt, and for the butterflies I used this adorable pattern from Hillary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls fame. I just noticed she’s having a doll giveaway today – go throw your name in the virtual hat!.

butterfly-pattern

This was one of the first patterns I ever ordered (about 9 months ago), but this is the first time I’ve used it. I have a feeling I’ll be making more of these in the future they are so sweet. And springy.

Oh, and a new pincushion, because I just love making these little cuties!

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and the other side, so you can see my wonky stitching.

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Now, the in-progress :

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Another one of these dolls. This is for a “new” baby (she’s already 3 weeks old – aak!). She’s mostly done – just need to sew her hair ribbon on and get her limbs attached. Have you ever noticed the less you have to do to finish a project, the more difficult it is psychologically to get it done? Or is it just me?

I started this last night for the talented Tacha :

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Lucky me gets to test another pattern for her! This is going to be adorable – I’ll hopefully have it ready for show & tell by Friday! She has the best stuff in her shop – go check it out!

The planned :

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely heard of the terrible fires in Australia, killing so many – humans and animals – and destroying everything in sight. I wanted to so something, so I donated what I could, but still felt like I wasn’t doing anything. Then, the aforementioned Tacha told me about The Bushfire Quilt Project. Tia Curtis, an American quilter living in Australia, is rounding-up quilt blocks from all over the globe and with the help of local quilters, they are creating quilts for families who lost everything in this tragedy. If your life has ever been touched by fire, you know the devastation of completely starting over. These quilts may not be much, but they are a start, and a great way to show some global solidarity to our Australian friends.

That’s great, Shellyfish, but I don’t know how to quilt. Well, guess what? Neither do I! But I’m committing to making at least a few of these Wonky Stars thanks to the tutorial. My biggest obstacle is an anemic fabric stash, but I’m hoping to get some scraps organized Friday. Here’s The Bushfire Quilt Project Flickr Group if you want to be inspired. Doing what you can makes such a big difference, be it 2 or 50 squares. Others are sending quilting supplies to help out. Just wanted to spread the word, and thanks to Tacha for sharing the links with me!

And to finish, behold! Guppy’s new dress, er, dress fabric :

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Ok, this fabric is just dreamy. It has such a great feel and weight to it. Yum. We don’t have a fabric store in town, but there is a vendor who comes to the marché twice a week. The up-side is he often has designer remnants at great prices. The down-side is that you can’t buy the amount you’d like – you’re stuck with whatever size the remnant is – be it a half meter or 3 meters. It’s a good thing in this case because I got nearly 3 meters for 10E which is just super exciting!

I wish I were only 4 and could have a dress, too. Ok, no, when I was 4 I wouldn’t be caught dead in a dress. But Guppy is rather excited about it, probably because she doesn’t have any cold-weather dresses so it seems special. I’m excited because I’ve never made a dress before. So much excitement.

Speaking of excitement, next week’s W.I.P. will have our Wipster of the Month interview and we’ll also have our March Stitch-Along – I bet you just can’t wait! Try to satisfy your curiosity by visitng the other Wipsters to see what they are up to this week, and don’t forget the W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Group, too!

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Eco-Crafters Unite! I L-O-V-E The Kunin Group & their “Ecospun” cruelty-free felt!

WOW! I have been overwhelmed by emails asking me for details on the cruelty-free, super “Green” (with a capital G) felt I mentioned in this week’s W.I.P. Wednesday post. I feel so popular!

I was so excited when I saw all the email love, some from people who were interested in the cruelty-free crafting possibilities, and others who wanted more info on the “recycled” aspect of this medium. To quote an emailer “this sounds a little too good to be true.”

Yet it is true.

To create those delicious-looking donuts, and these heart pins, and many other gifts & crafts, I used “Rainbow Classicfelt” from The Kunin Group. Go check out their website because I think it’s just amazing the different kinds of felt they offer, and all of it created from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles!

I first discovered this amazing felt last year when my mum brought me a bag of crafting supplies from America when she came for a visit. I’d found some polyester crafting felt here in France, but I didn’t like the feel of it. She’d stumbled upon some various felt squares and saw they were wool free so grabbed a few colours for me.

Love at first stitch! Or cut, I could say. While it isn’t as dense as traditional wool felt, it has a lovely feel and is wonderful for bags like these :

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or other projects like this :

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When I was in the U.S. on vacation this past summer I bought nearly an entire suitcase full of Kunin Group felt (yes, nearly an entire bag full. You should have seen the look on Monsieur Fish’s face when he saw that). I bought mine at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics in Rochester Hills, Michigan. I know many of you are in Canada and Europe, so don’t fret. Visit their Where To Buy page – there are lots of locations around the world…though none in France. Snif.

I would just love to get my hands on some of their Plush Felt which I couldn’t find at last summer. It is all plushy and soft and would be perfect for making softies and little stuffed animals, which are going to be de rigueur with Spring Solstice and other such holidays approaching.

So there you go! Vegan crafting at it’s best!

Happy Mail post coming next, promise!

W.I.P. Wednesday : Sugar Free, Fat Free, Calorie Free Donuts! A tutorial…

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I know what you’re thinking : With a title like that, there’s got to be a catch. You’re right.

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I’d been wracking my little brain (ouch!), trying to think of something to make for my Pay It Forward (PIF) winners. It’s not easy knowing what to send someone you know without really knowing them outside of their blog lives. I considered making handbags, but not knowing their individual tastes, didn’t want to send something in their least favourite colour, or something that would sit in a closet forever. The only real criteria for the PIF gifts were that they be vegan and handmade.

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Enter the donuts! As I was thinking of goodies to add to their parcels, I thought of making a treat to send, but was concerned that even though they weren’t leaving the European Union, cookies could be crushed or frosting smudged, etc. by they time they arrived at destination. I’d made some felt food for Guppy to play with, and while she was setting up a little tea party for us one day, I thought felt donuts would be the ticket!

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Please do note that this felt is indeed vegan : made with post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, we’re cruelty-free and lessening the environmental impact by using a recycled medium. Woot!

Would you like to make some donuts? It’s really very easy, though it is a little more time consuming if you stitch your “sprinkles” on. I set this up assembly-line style and it was a fun little project. I can hardly take credit for these – felt food has been around since I was little (Regan child. No, ketchup is not a vegetable. Shudder), and I’ve seen felt donuts in felt food packs for kids, on the net, etc. If you do decide to use this tutorial to make donuts that you’ll be selling, please remember me when you’re rich and famous!

Let’s begin! First you’ll need some felt. I chose two colours of brown for the “cake” part – so we have regular and chocolate flavours, and some assorted colours for your glazes :

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You’ll also need the following :

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Thread, pins, beads for your “sprinkles”, something to trace your donut shape (I used a CD, a canning lid or something similar would obviously work, too, but would indeed be less musical), a needle, an exacto-knife or rolling cutter, scissors and maybe even a self-healing mat if you have one (a clean cutting board works ok, too).

First : Trace your basic donut shape in the darker felt. Don’t forget, you’ll need two pieces per pastry. I made a dozen, so that meant 24 pieces (my math skillz are amazing, n’est-ce pas?).

Next :

use-a-spool-to-trace-your-centreYou can use a spool to trace the outline of the centre. Don’t worry too much about this if your circle isn’t perfect -it’s going to look beautiful once it’s sewn up. Do try to cut two at a time, though, makes matching them up later a wee bit easier.

Now : (night was falling, so sorry for the flashy-blek.)

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Whip out that CD again and trace your glaze colours. You can be traditional or get crazy – these are your donuts and they are your art!

Ensuite : (which means next, but I already said that above)

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You’ll want to cut along the outer edge of your glazes to give them a drippy look. I just weaved in and out with my scissors. Again, if it looks funky don’t worry – it’ll be sweet as can be once it’s all stitched together.

Let’s Sew!

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You can proceed a number of different ways – I tried doing things in different orders because I’m curious like that – but this is the order that I found worked best pour moi. Begin by sewing the outer edge of your glaze to the top layer of your donut. Try to centre the glaze on the donut, and if the holes don’t perfectly match up it’s ok, you can trim them to match in the next step. It’s more important that your glaze is centered over the donut right now.

You might want to pin the glaze on before doing this to keep it in place, or maybe you’re a renegade and you scoff at my idées bourgeoises – best translated as playing square or safe. Anyway, you can whip stitch (I did) or straight stitch this part. Youtube has great videos to show you what that means if you don’t know. I didn’t know a year ago, so don’t worry, it’s cool. You’re cool. I said so.

Sammich time!

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It’s time to stitch all three layers together via the centre. If the three holes don’t match up well (ahem, at all), fear not. You can trim them to fit, just don’t cut too far into your donut or you’ll end up with an onion ring, which is tasty, but not what we’re going for here (but what a great idea! And fries, too! Yes!). Be sure and sew through all three layers using a nice, tight whip stitch.

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If you’re stitching looks like your 3-year-old did it (see above) don’t worry a bit! It’s going to look just lovely when it’s stuffed. Promise!

Sprinkles!

What’s a donut without sprinkles? A naked donut, and I’ll have no nudity on this blog! I used beads, however, if you’re planning on making these for small children, animals, or batty adults, you may want to consider just using embroidery to embellish. Do that now, because the layers are open and it’ll be easier. Let me know when you’re done.

Closing Time!

I had a picture of this, but it was terrible, so it didn’t make the cut. You don’t really need one, though. Just try to match up the outer edges of your donut, and whip stitch them together, leaving a small hole so you can stuff it with polyfill. I used a chopstick (see Katie, I can use chopsticks, too!) to push the polyfill around. If your edges don’t perfectly match up, it’s really ok, just slide them forward or back so that they do – once you’ve added the stuffing you won’t be able to tell.

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See how easy that was? And fun, too! Now go make a guilt-free dozen!

Don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too.

I’ve received some most excellent Happy Mail in the past two weeks and I will be posting about it soon! I’m totally behind, but please super-cool sender-people, don’t think your mail didn’t rock my socks – my next post is all about you!

W.I.P. Wednesday : Felty Heart Pins, Pin Cushions & Stitch-Along Progress

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Hello Crafties! It’s already Wednesday, can you believe it? I am losing the battle to stay on top of things, so I’ve decided to stop fighting and just be like water and flow! Woosh!

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Have you seen this Valentine Pins tutorial? I’ve been making tons of these cuties. Most everyone I would usually make sweet heart-shaped sugar cookies for is watching their weight, so rather than taunt them with pink royal icing and cookie love I think I’ll give them some sweet (and calorie-free) crafty love instead. These are really easy and fun, and gratifying for those moments when you feel like you want to complete a project. Of course I don’t know what that’s all about…

One thing that’s been occupying my time has been these :

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These pin cushions are really fun to make, and a wonderful way to use those favourite fabric scraps that are too cute to end up into the “scrap bag”. I’m also really loving the unique vibe they each have, which is why I love giving them as little gifts. No two look alike, though they may share similar DNA. Or weave. Whatever.

I’ve been so busy playing making the cushions o’ pins, that my Love Bear progress, well, isn’t. Progressing I mean. I’m down to the wire with my last one (ie: it’s hardly started) so if you’re not quite done, you’re in good company. But hey, Valentine’s Day is Saturday, and it’s only Wednesday, so there’s still tons of time left to get stitching, right? If you’ve been stitching along with us and would like to have your little Love Bear included in the W.I.P. Stitch-Along round-up on the 14th, just drop me a line with a link to your blog, your blog name and a photo! Voila!

I’m super excited about next week’s W.I.P. post because it’s a fun tutorial that I can’t wait to share with you! I just need to be patient and hold tight until these three P.I.F. winners receive their goody bags. Don’t want to spill the beans or anything. (Katie and Trina, once you’ve chosen your P.I.F. winners I’ll send you some goodies, too!). And I’ll be having yet another P.I.F. drawing soon because I am a lucky ducky and won yet another P.I.F. drawing! Betcha can’t wait?!?

The Wipster List is growing! If you’d like to play along, just leave me a comment here and snag yourself a beautiful logo à la VeganLovlie. Also, don’t forget about our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Group - show us your gorgeous masterpieces! You know you want to! Don’t be shy, this is fun for everyone!

Valentines for my Valentines : Late Love Is Better Than No Love, Right?

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Here they are, the hand-made valentines I’ve been working on since early January (I started them on my birthday, actually). As mentioned in my previous post I don’t have much sewing or craft experience, so for the nimble-fingered, 13 felt and bead hearts don’t seem like a much of a feat, and I admit that doing them wasn’t difficult, but when I compare the first few hearts with the last few, the difference in the stitching is huge! When ever I had a few free minutes (my copious free-time is far from limitless, but you can always make time when you really want to do something, right?) I would add a few beads or cut out some hearts.

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My goal was to get them finished before Valentine’s Day, and I did indeed manage that- I put the final touches on the last heart the morning of the 11th, but getting them into envelopes and in the mail, well, that just happened today.

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Sending them regular mail, they should get to the States before Saint Patrick’s Day…

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So here they are, and there they go. They are on their way to Michigan and to Arizona to remind the ones I love that I miss them so and that they are always in my heart. My poor belle-mère, my mother-in-law, had a heart attack two weeks before Valentine’s Day, so she got her felt heart early. She is recovering very well for her 75 years, and she had her felt heart hanging next to her bed in the CCU at the hospital. A healthy heart is what I wish for everyone this year. And lots of love, too!

Coeur Rouge & Noir