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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Creative Inspiration: Vintage Fabric

For Thanksgiving this year Alec and I headed up to Seattle to visit his family. While we were there we looked through some of his boxes in storage to see what he could get rid off. This reminded his mom that she had some old fabric that she wanted me to look through, and here is what I came home with. It's an amazing collection from the '60s to the '80s, leftovers from when she made outfits for her kids. Most of the fabric is in small pieces, but for some prints there is a yard or more. I'm very excited to dream up some projects to put this fabric to good use.

Many of these pieces are from blouses that Breck (Alec's mom) wore as a teen.

 The mouse panel is fabric that Alec remembers from when he was a toddler. I really like the angry lion on the top red corduroy.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Yarn Christmas Wreath

It doesn't get very cold in the San Francisco Bay area so it's hard to make it feel like Christmastime, at least to me. I usually go home to my parents in New Mexico for the holidays, but this year I'm staying home. On a whim while watching a movie I came up with a use for some light green yarn I had. The yarn has thick nubs in it and it too thick for most of my knitting needles, but I thought I could turn the texture into something neat.

I started by using a light white yarn to crochet the nubby yarn into a more compressed shape. I used all the nubby yarn just in case I want to take the wreath apart in the future.

When all the nubby yarn was bunched up I further crocheted it to create the round shape. I was out of wire but I had a bunch of zip ties that I though would help create the round shape, they helped but weren't rigid enough. The crocheting is haphazard as it's on the back and won't be seen.

After all the yarn was bunch into a defined circle, I cut out a backing of cardboard and attached it to that to make it rigid.

I added a bright red satin bow and hung it on our front door. If you look really close, Logray the Ewok is hiding in the peephole.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Kermit the Frog Pajamas

For Alec's birthday this year I made him a pair of Kermit the Frog patterned pajama pants. He already had some pajamas that fit him pretty well, so I used those as the pattern for the new pair. I did add some length and a decorative bias strip at the bottom hem as he is pretty tall. He loves the Muppets so he's pretty stoked on them.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Craft Fairs This Week

It's the holiday season and I'll be at several craft fairs this week. They're all open to the public and free to attend. If you're in the bay area, come stop by as I'll be surrounded by lots of awesome vendores.

Thursday December 5:
Pier 28 Annex The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA
4:30pm - 8:00pm – Free to Attend

Friday December 6:
First Friday at Uptown Body & Fender
401 26th St. (Between Broadway & Telegraph) Oakland, CA
5:00pm - 9:00pm – Free to Attend

 Saturday December 7 & Sunday December 8: San Francisco Bazaar
Concourse Exhibition Center East Hall
620 Seventh St. (at Brannan) San Francisco, CA 
 11-6PM each day – Free to Attend

Monday, November 11, 2013

Make your own Toy at Sticky Art Lab

Starting this Friday, I'm teaching an after school class for kids at Sticky Art Lab in Berkeley to learn how to make their own plush toy. It should be a ton of fun! I'll post some of the kids creations once it's finished.

UPDATE: Here are some of the toys the kids made.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Alameda Harvest Festival

In preparation for the Winter holiday season,  I'll be at a lot of craft fairs including this one:

If you're in the SF bay area come check it out, it'll be fun!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

APE 2013

The Alternative Press Expo is here again and I'll be sharing a table with Alec. I've been sewing lots of new Fluff Engine plush, plus a giant Georgie Monster will be on display. I will also have the second issue of the Terrible Movie Nights zine, in which I review bad movies and create custom illustrations inspired by them.

Alternative Press Expo
 October 12-13, 2013
Concourse Exhibition Center
8th St. & Brannan St.
835 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
835 8th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
San Francisco, CA
More info:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2 Many Totes

I have a lot of cool tote bags but sometime they're too small to be of much use. Here's how to turn two small bags into one big bag that you can fit lots of things in it. I took this great Nicole Georges owl bag and this awesome Liz Prince zine bag and created one big super zinester bag.

 Use a seam ripper to take apart all the seams and stitches on the bags, take off the straps too.

Once the bags are taken apart, lay them out and iron flat the old seams.

I've used a favorite bag as the size template for the new bag. Measure the width of the bag and length and make sure that you include the base tucks. My new bag will measure 18 inches wide by 17 1/2 inches deep (that's just one side.)

Once the finished bag size is decided, cut each picture panel to be the depth of one side plus seam allowance. My bag side was 17 1/2 inches plus 1/2 inch seam allowance on the bottom seam and 1 1/2 inches for the top hem, making the total to cut out 19 inches. Save the extra fabric that you cut off.

After the two picture panels are cut out, pin them together. If one of the panels is a slightly different size, trim it down so that they match.

Sew the two main panels together at the bottom. The panels alone weren't enough to make the width I wanted, 18 inches, so I added a strip to each side of the main picture panel. I finished my seams with a serger, but you could just as easily pink the edges or use a zigzag stitch.

After the side panels are sewn to the main picture panels feel free to add embellishment. I sewed on  some merit badge patches I had, including some awesome zine themed ones made by Jennie Hinchcliff and Carolee Gilligan Wheeler.

Fold the panel in half at the bottom to create the bag shape, then pin the top half of the side seams together. To make the base of the bag create a tuck in the fabric.

Flatten the tuck into the side seam, you'll sew over all of this and it will create the bottom of the bag. Finishing pinning with the tuck in the seam, then sew up the side seam.

The straps on the little bags were also too small so I sewed two straps together to make one long one. I happened to have some strap material left over from another bag project so I used that to make the second strap. They aren't the same width but close enough for me.

Pin the straps to the sides of the bag. Sew them on at 1/2 inch.

Fold over the top of the bag to create the hem. I kept the 1 inch hem from the small bag so I turned over 1 1/2 inch, folding in the 1/2 inch and sewing at 1 inch. Turn right side out and your bag is complete.

The finished bag now can hold so much more so I'll actually use it on a regular basis.  Now I can show off two great prints by two great ladies all on one bag.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Creative Inspiration: Antique Buttons

Along with the Dream Pets Book, for my birthday, I also received a very special gift my aunt. A collection of buttons that she was given by her aunt, my great-aunt. My guess on the time period is the 1920's to the 1950's or '60's.  They are composed of all different materials: metal, bakelite, mother-of-pearl, glass and more. I've started to research the proper way to clean them, as there is rust, oxidation and other signs of age. I've only gotten as far as separating them into smaller collections. I'll have to carefully and gently clean each one before I decide what to do with them. It's such a beautiful collection, I can't wait to utilize these buttons in new outfits and creations.

Since I'm not sure of the metals, there are various signs of rust and oxidation. I'll have to find a good technique to cleaning them without damaging them.

I ended up sorting most of the buttons myself as they were just loose in a box. This was a grouping that was already tied together, I love the purple color with the gold detail.

I love this mother-of-pearl clasp, it's such a neat design. I'll have to make a belt or something to show off its beauty.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Basewood Wolf Dragon

Last year, I created a plush toy version of Alec's Wolf Monster character from his graphic novel Basewood.  I will be creating a couple more to be offered as a reward tier as part of his kickstarter campaign. Please contribute, it's a great project running from August 29, 2013 to September 28, 2013.

When I start making a plush toy I usually draw 3 views to get how it will look once it's made 3D. I don't always use illustrator to make it so tight, but in this case it was actually easier and made sure that I had really clean lines to work from. I then print it out to scale and that is what I base my pattern on.
Since the completed Wolf Dragon is large: 22 in. long by 9 in. wide, I added an internal wire skeleton to support the head, tail, wings and legs. I found a textured plush chenille fabric that was the perfect fit for the body.

All the face details; nose, eyebrows, lines are embroidered by hand.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Creative Inspiration: Dream Pets

A couple of months ago, I found this awesome aviator tiger toy at a thrift store in Oakland. I loved it so I looked up more about it. It turns out it part of a re-lease of a collection of popular toys from the 1960's called Dream Pets made by Dakin.  I did a little more research and found that they made all sorts of different animals with silly themes, many are available on eBay. I also found out about this Japanese book called Dream Pets Book by Satoshi Yamashita, that details all the different Dream Pets that were manufactured. Since it's in Japanese and out of print, it was hard to find a copy but Alec bought it for me for my birthday. I love it, and it's easier to get the book than start collecting more toys that I don't have room for.

There is even a section where they do over how the Dream Pets were manufactured. The original ones were stuffed with sawdust! I love all the different animals, how they are simple but have so much character. I've very inspired to make some new toy designs of my own.