Friday, October 12, 2012

Hoot the Owl Halloween Costume

Z wants to dress up as an owl this Halloween. Not just any owl, but this owl - Hoot from the Old Bear and Friends videos.

This is a big deal for us because she went through a phase of being afraid of owls. Every night we had to assure her that no owls were in the room or hovering outside. We told her about all the friendly owls in all the stories and shows she likes, and she finally landed on this owl as the good owl.

So to make her costume, I had to improvise. The owl in the story is more lambswool than feathers, and wears a blue starry dress/apron throughout. I thought it would be better to make it more owly. And more comfortable for a little girl to bounce around and enjoy herself.

Over the months of owl reassuring, I became a big connoisseur of owls. I found a blogs about owls (My Owl Barn is a great aggregater of owls) and sewed owls and generally found myself drawn to anything with an owl on it. Which turns out to be a lot of things.

I started with a long sleeved white shirt and a pair of white leggings. Then I attached felt feathers (a sort of "u" shape) for the owl tummy. These were sewn on, but with a very simple basting stitch that will be easy to remove when she wants to stop being an owl.

The feathers were meant to be in concentric circles, but imperfect ones. It works like an attached bib.

Next I cut some wings from an old sheet. These were based on the ones in this tutorial because I thought the shape was just beautiful.

The wings were sewn together with an opening at the neck for turning, and pinked up to make them lay nicely. Then I turned them inside out (being a white sheet, there weren't right sides) and pressed them, sewed the neck shut, and sewed the tops of the back part of the wings together.

The ensemble mid-feathering
I could only find white leggings with lace edging in my short search, but thought a few feathers placed at the cuff would cover that fine.

The wings presented a problem because I wanted them to be more owl than fairy and that meant feathers. I saw this owl cartoon and thought three tiers of feathers on the wings would work out well.

First I cut some longer feathers - an elongated "U" really.

Then I placed them in three rows and sewed them down at their base with the machine. This gives them a bit of swing when the wings move.

Last I made a mask, a piece of paper folded in half with a big circle for the eye and a triangle for the ear made a pattern. I used brown buttons as the centers of the eye to be more like Hoot. I knew Z wouldn't want to actually wear the mask, so I attached the mask (with a safety pin) to a white hat she had.

And the final owl having fun. She kept the hat on for about 20 minutes and refused to have the wings attached to her arms because they "flapped better" free. Everybody thought she was dressed as an angel, which was funny. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Curse You Pinterest

Pinterest has a lot to answer for. 

First, there is the absurd notion that anybody at all looks good in neon skinny jeans. Every morning I see some poor woman sausaged into a pair - a giant day-glow advertisement of her ass.

Pictured: mint - same idea

Even the model is hiding her face.

And while I hope never to see another tutorial on ombre nail polish or imaginary wedding planned by a married friend, the thing that really makes me nauseous are these:

The "meaningful quote" images.

 The "this is so true" crap made all the more smarmy by ridiculous font choices.

Seriously? Am I supposed to light my neighbor on fire to get stuff done? Really, what am I supposed to do with that?

No I didn't miss the idea that passion can drive a person to do great and powerful things. It is just stupid to me to post a picture of it. If you have passion,you can and will act on it. If you do not, this will not create it.

I admit to loving to gaze at Pinterest and having learned a number of interesting things there. None of them were set in a Deeply Profound font or stylized with pretty edges. But face it, was right:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rabbit Fever

I'm still stuck on rabbits.

I tried making a little lion, and I do like him a very lot, but he's no rabbit.

Towards Easter I got inspired by Alice in Wonderland and sewed a White Rabbit and March Hare - complete with vests, a coat and a pocket watch chain. 

John Tenniel's illustrations inspired me and my bunnies weren't capturing them correctly. 
So I moved on.

To another bunny. 

Another literary bunny.

This may be due to the fact that I got some velveteen at SCRAP and hadn't figured out quite what to make with it. It may be that a friend's daughter had scarlet fever and the story got into my head. I tried to introduce some more character into them with surprised or pleading faces - trying to capture the parts of the story when the Velveteen Rabbit learns he has to be burned. They have bendable ears to be more expressive.

I've even toyed with a Runaway Bunny, though I'm not too sure.

And then I saw this marvel of a March Hair from Tim Burton's Alice. Brilliantly mad. And I'm back to Alice.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Illustration Friday - Suspend

I stumbled on this site - - which made me happy.

The theme for this week is suspend. 

I tried a few illustrations in a couple of different mediums.

 A bubble is suspended - pen with colored pencil.
More bubbles - watercolors.

Ok I'm stuck on bubbles, and watercolors.

And finally, little Z suspended inside a bubble.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Un-Marketing Rabbits

What I don't know about marketing for Etsy could be summed up with the words "just about everything." I've worked in advertising and I'm still at a loss as to how one can be found in the massive catalog of items there. In my less-than-direct marketing efforts around the felt friends I make, I've come up with the 'genius' plan of giving them stories. The stories are really told in pictures, but they are there in the pictures. 

I think.

These stories range from Easter-y stories of egg dying and preparation for the big day, complete with a critique of too many blue eggs ...

... to stories of the bunnies' origin inside painted Easter eggs.


Sometimes it's just a bit of fun for the rabbits - going out for a train ride. 

 Or tending their garden.

I tried to show off the variety of them, colors and positions, and how they were hand made.

But I admit to letting them get a bit silly and over thought.

The thing is it turns out to only be fun for me - well, and sometimes the whole family gets involved (though Z is actually tearing apart the scene here). It does not in any way sell rabbits. To date I have sold one single rabbit. It wasn't sold on Etsy or because of some bunny tableau. It was at a friend's shop and by chance somebody bought it. The old fashioned impulse buy.

With only 4 days until Easter, and not a single order, I can safely say I am not a marketing genius. But I've had a lot of fun.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bunny Houses

Ok, I saw this tutorial and it completely inspired me. When I pinned the tutorial it was the most popular pin I ever pinned - people like Altoid bunny houses. While Benny seems a wonderful bunny, I've made a load of rabbits recently trying to perfect the pattern for my own pocket bunny. So they need little houses, and this was great. I also have a billion Altoid tins around because I can't bear to just throw them out. 

But I had to try and work this idea in because for some reason I think we are going to be somewhere and desperately need the bunnies' home to have many rooms. Or I just think it's a really cool idea. 

First I traced the lid and the base on heavy paper (card stock) and cut it out. It took a bit of trimming to get it to fit, but not too snugly.

Z suddenly took interest in the project and decided to help by making shopping lists on the inserts. We needed many things and got very distracted.

After I got them back, I glued some scrap fabric onto one, which I sandwiched between two cutouts, clipped with binder clips and let dry.

I like binder clips. I made inserts for the top and bottom of the tin. This was a rookie mistake. The tin won't close tightly with the top insert in place.

Loosely following the Benny tutorial, I made a little blanket and pillow. And by now I clearly was into it, because I was making two at a time.

And there is one more little bunny home, complete with the bunny.

I also discovered that the bottom insert was totally OCD and not necessary because once the blanket and pillow were in, it never showed.

I tried to create a window with some felt, but didn't really like it. So that was replaced with "bunny art". On a piece of the card stock that is 2.25" X 1.75" I painted a carrot and some veggies. Then glued cut up craft sticks around it, for that gallery ready look.

I still wanted a window on one - just because.

So I punched a couple of holes in the cardstock, and poked a bit of wire through. I sewed a quick set of small curtains that are approximately 3" X 2", with 1/4" hem on three sides and small 3/4" casing at the top.

I cut out a picture from a magazine as the window itself.

The rabbits, as you can see, could hardly wait to move right on in.

A very big thanks to Benny's creator (Katie Lewis) for a fantastic idea! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Art Co-op Pop-up Zoo

It was another beautiful sunny Friday and so we had a small turnout for art co-op.

This week we made the pop-up zoo created by Rachelle of Tinkerlab. The kids did not disappoint with their takes on the giraffes, elephants, lions and monkeys.