Thursday, February 26, 2009

The birds are telling me spring is just around the corner!

Today has been one of those days that's hard to break into. I just can't seem to get my act together to get anything accomplished. As I gloomily checked my email, said good morning to my Twitter friends, and got some coffee, I overheard my kids playing hide-n-seek with their caregiver. Smile. "It's not such a gloomy day," I thought.

I noticed that the sun was starting to shine on my window shade, making the whole studio glow. Opening the shade, which involves refolding the accordian pleats and clipping it up with plastic clips (yes, I still have those temporary paper shades after living here for a whole year and a half), revealed this lovely sight.

It may look dismal to you, but those are the tracks of my children, which were created just a few days ago on a snowy winter day. Today, those tracks reveal grass peeking through, and the thought of my kids running around out there having a blast gives me a warm feeling. Too often, I'm scolding them for venturing into the snowy yard when they haven't the proper boots on, too often I'm in a hurry to get out the door, too often I forget to enjoy the little things.

It's 45 degrees right now. I cracked open my studio window so I could hear the birds, which is well worth the chilly breeze that occasionally graces my bare feet as I sit here typing. The snow is melting. The sun is shining. The birds are singing - spring is coming!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pattern Making - a favorite part of the process

In the handwork group's shop, a customer asked if one of us could try a pelican. I love a challenge, and this has been great fun so far! I thought I'd share a bit of the process with you.

I start with a sketch, and try to work out scale. I've looked at books and the internet to view pictures of real pelicans - all different sorts. My customer didn't specify a particular species of pelican, so I'm doing a black and white one. I think they are a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the common brown pelican :)

Next, I look at photos of stuffed animals - mainly birds for this little pelican - to get ideas on construction methods - where to put the seams, what the shapes the fabric pieces might look like flat, etc. Then I start to cut up my drawings into little makeshift patterns. I fold them and tape them and try to form a real 3-d animal. If a piece doesn't work, I take it off the model and trace it, making modifications, a snip here and there, and try again. And that is the point I have reached with the pelican ~ I think he's coming together quite nicely so far!

Next, I'll try him out in craft felt (not using $wool until I know the pattern works LOL)! This will give me perspective on what is too hard to make, what works great, and where I can consolidate pieces. I like to sew as few pieces together as possible. Also, at this point I'll look for feedback from my other handwork group artists. It's already been sugggested that perhaps I could make the beak a single piece instead of a 3-d beak, but I'm not sure.... I kind of want to emphasize the beak since, well, it is a pelican.

Our school is on break right now, so the handwork group is meeting at my house in the morning instead of the usual cozy fireplace room at the school. Hopefully I can make my home feel cozy enough that we will all be comfortable there (and productive).

On that note, I better go and give the toilets a good scrub, tidy up, and make sure the coffee pot is ready to roll...

Little Sapling Toys

Okay, so I don't normally do "features" but I just have to give a shout out to my friends at Little Sapling Toys. I've purchased from them several times for gifts, but haven't actually seen any of their products in real life. But, I love how everything in the shop looks so soft and smooth!

Don't you just want to pick this up and feel it (or put it in your mouth)? Not to mention how freakin' cute a teething ring shaped like a hedgehog is...
I've been debating about getting some more wooden blocks for the kids. My kids have some, but none are this nice (and don't you love those columns?). I just can't get over how smooth and supple it all looks. I want to pick them up and play with them!

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's Friday!

I can't wait to have an entire weekend of crafting! Hubby will be at home taking care of the kids, and I can curl up in my studio and snuggle with my fabrics... and, you know, WORK! On the creative docket is a new car design (my old design was a not a huge hit) and perhaps another transportation vehicle or two. I've had a special request from a customer :)

Then it's handwork on Monday (and maybe even another day this week!). Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the next few days!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Don't worry!

It seems that my last post scared a few customers into thinking I was finished with I Spy Bags! Nope. I will keep on keepin' on. Not to worry. I just like to get outside my box every once in awhile!

And for those of you who have been patiently waiting for me to list some more supplies to make your own I Spy Bags, here ya go!

Other than that, I've just been working working working. I made some more deer for the handwork group. I think I've got a whole herd going.... I want to make some bunnies next. And I designed some new I Spy Bags - two different suitcases. One geared for girls, one geared for boys, but they could each go either way...

Oh, and I purchased some showcase spots on Etsy. That means that there will be a link from the front page, and it is SUPPOSED to drive traffic to my shop. I've never done a showcase, so we'll see. My first one is coming up on March 2nd. I hope it is worth the $15! I will report back.

And in family news, I feel like my kids are so huge all of a sudden. My middle son just weighed in at 39 lbs (3 yr check up), and my youngest is not far behind. I can hardly pick them up! The toddler days are waning and my kids are turning into, well.... kids. I expect that none of their clothes will fit come spring! I may have to start designing children's clothes... wouldn't that be fun?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oh Deer

I'm just not into making I Spy bags right now... maybe they have run their course? I don't know. What I do know is that my current passion is doing handwork with my friends at my daughter's Waldorf school. We meet every Monday, and I never want Monday mornings to end! This week, I finished up these little fawns, and I'm literally tickled pink to be showing them to you.

And I'm so pleased with the photography -- I might just make one of the images into a card. What do you think?