Cat bed

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The weather here has been very weird for January. It had gone from cold and wintery, to warm and springlike, back to arctic and snow. It all just makes me want to stay in bed until spring really and truly arrives.

Since I am unable to hibernate until March, I decided to at least let our kitties have a chance at staying comfortable as they can be while the pendulum of nature swings back and forth between winter and summer. I sewed up a cat bed for another project I hope to get back to at some point during the summer. It was so easy to sew up and put together that I didn’t realize that I forgot to take pictures until I was done. So I did the only thing a cat owner can do – I made another one. Two cats means a minimum of two cat beds.

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Celebrating Ugly Christmas Sweater Day!

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December 16, 2016 was Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. Did you participate? What was once a gift people dreaded receiving has now become a reason to celebrate during the holiday season. There are many places selling sweaters specifically designed to be ugly, as well as sweaters that someone thought was cute, but isn’t quite suited to everyone’s tastes.

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Cat post 2

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See, I told you all that I would try to write more often. Slowly but surely I will get back into the habit of making time to write about the things that I am attempting to create.

This time, I am here to talk about cat toys. The kittens that we are fostering really like to try to hunt and “kill” whatever is around them. I decided it might be best to give them a lot of options that would be safe for them to destroy.

I had a pair of jeans in my fabric stash that Mr. Uncommongeek decided to get rid of due to a rip that could not be repaired. Denim is a super rugged fabric that can be very durable. As noted previously, I also have a seemingly endless supply of stuffing. As a side note, should I decide to make more in the future, I also happen to have a supply of catnip that I am not using here, simply because the kittens are too young to really be affected by it.

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I cut out a bunch of small pieces of the denim. Then I sewed them in various ways. The kittens are very small, so I wanted to be able to have something that is small enough for the kittens as they are now, but also some bigger pieces for when they are older.

Most of the shapes that I sewed were pretty square. First, I sewed up 3 sides.

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Then stuffed the pouch and sewed up the final side.

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I did the toys in two rounds to see which kind would be more popular of a toy. I like the look of the toys with the seams on the inside, but the kittens both seem toprefer having a flap of exposed seam to bite into. The exposed seam is also the side that they hold when they carry it around in their mouth. I also attached tails on the second round, just to make the toys more interesting. I decided not to add anything else because I definitely want to avoid any sort of choking hazard, or potential accidental ingestion.

Happy sewing!

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Hat + scarf = harf…That can’t be right

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The Facts

Fabric: fleece from stash

Pattern: Simplicity 1795

Year: recent

Notions: thread

Time to complete: an afternoon

First worn: not yet

Wear again? Possibly next winter

Total Cost: I have no idea

Quite some time ago, I promised Mr. UncommonGeek that I would make him a hoody that resembled a recognizer from Tron. Since I have no experience sewing sweatshirts, and I am trying to use fabric that I already own (but do not currently own any suitable sweatshirt type material), this has proven rather difficult.

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(This is the tag from one of the fabrics used in this hat. Notice the date. I have had this fabric since 2010. Slowly but surely I will use all of the fabric in my stash.)

Then I came across the YouTube video that Sewing Nerd! that showed how to make a Mortal Kombat inspired hooded scarf. You can watch it here: http://youtu.be/Hkz4T8ikDrM

I showed the video to Mr. UncommonGeek and he immediately saw that I could make a hooded scarf that looks like a recognizer. I wasn’t 100% sure how to make the pattern that she uses. I have tried to make head wear in the past and it has not turned out well at all. Then I remembered that I had a copy of Simplicity 1795. I bought it awhile back because I am kind of a sucker for cute accessories. I figured that since spring is almost here, why not make some winter accessories.

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Since I have not made this pattern before, I decided to make a test one to see if it would work for what I need. The pattern went together pretty smoothly, but I found that the scarf part is super short. I feel like a t-rex when I put my hands in the pockets. I definitely need to lengthen the scarf ends for the final product. This means that I need to make another test hooded scarf to make sure I have the right pattern for when I make the final product for my husband.

Here is the finished product. I used my octopus that I made recently as a model.

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Happy Sewing!

Snow and snow men

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Blowing snow. Drifting snow. Snow that is recorded by the foot. A light dusting of snow. Snow and ice and arctic chill.

Still with me? Good. While I dream about leaving for someplace tropic and never coming back, here is a simple way to create snowmen using socks, stuffing and pipe cleaners.

I made these after Thanksgiving, but before Christmas. I used them to decorate my desk at work. Since the holidays are over, I took them all down. Now there is snow on the ground and in the forecast. The temperatures are verging on (and breaking) record lows all across the country.

I’m thinking that I may need to place these snowmen on a place of honor to appease the gods of snow and winter so that the icy grip of winter may be reduced down to a gentle handshake of winter. Should my offering not be enough, I beg you dear reader, to make your own snowman offering. If enough of us do something, Winter may become sated and decide to release us to spring a little early.

Fabric: socks

Pattern: self drafted

Year: current

Notions: thread, beads, pipe cleaner

Time to complete: about 20 minutes per snow man

First worn: N/A

Wear again? N/A

Total Cost: All materials were from my stash, so $0.

Find a sock that has lost its mate. Or start with a pair of socks to make two snow men. Decide if you want to make a snow man that has two sections or three. I found that making them with two sections was easier to make and the arms make more sense in their placement.

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I cut the sock so that the toe becomes the head. Then I cut another section for the main body. Next, I sew up one of the ends of the body piece. Then I stuff the body piece with as much stuffing as I can fit. I use polyester fiber fill because that is what I have on hand. Other online tutorials suggest using rice, beans, or sand.

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Once the body section is filled with the stuffing of choice, I closed the top of the body section the same way that I had closed the bottom. Then I fill the head with stuffing, closed up the opening, and then attach the head to the body.

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The arms are made from one chenille stick per snowman. I started by folding the stick in half and folding each end until it resembled a hand of some sort. Then I wrap the stick around the snow man.

The finishing touch is adding eyes. If you really want to make your snow men unique, try adding more to their faces. A smile is traditional and basic. Eyebrows and a frown or a snarl embodies the facet of Winter that I feel has been growing increasingly stronger ever since the end of December.

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If you have fabric scraps, you can also make a hat and scarf for your snow man. If you are a Calvin and Hobbes fan, you can recreate the snow men scenes that Calvin created. I’m feeling pretty lazy, so I just stopped at giving them faces.

Happy sewing!

Week 14 – Stash Busting (VIP Fabric)

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The Facts

Fabric: Mystery blend fabric. Unknown origin, unknown fiber content.

Pattern: Mashup of McCall’s 6819 and modified Simplicity 4046

Year: 2014

Notions: Thread, interfacing, ribbon, grommets

Time to complete: 30+

First worn: Not yet

Wear again? Maybe after some intense reworking

Total Cost: Unknown

* This is a post that I wrote last year, but did not get around to posting until just now.

I have had this fabric in my stash for quite some time. I do not know where I purchased it originally. Since it was cut by a previous owner, I probably got it from a charity shop/thrift store or an estate sale. I love the color and the pattern. I knew that whatever I made from it would have to be really special.

In addition to my hoarding fabric, I also collect sewing patterns. I have managed to amass enough patterns to open an Etsy store that sells nothing but vintage and gently used patterns. (Hint, hint.) Most of the newer patterns that I own are ones that I have bought on sale so I can practice making all of the tailor made clothing that I love so much, or so I can recreate some of the steampunk outfits that I covet. Most of the my vintage patterns are ones that I have collected from various sources and are unlikely to be made by me. So while it seems that most everyone I know has been furiously creating a costume for either the Steampunk Empire Symposium or for C2E2 this weekend, I have been working on this jacket. I was hoping to possibly wear it this weekend, but I have not finished it and I have made enough mistakes during its creation that it is possible that it will not ever be worn without a major overhaul. It may be possible to wear it as is if I make a bustle extreme enough, but that is unlikely to happen any time soon.

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I combined the top part of the McCalls’ pattern with a modified bottom of the over skirt from the Simplicity pattern you may remember from last week. I found out that fabric drape is an important consideration when making a full skirt. This fabric is very stiff, which is good for the top portion of the jacket, but not so much for the bottom. If there had been enough to follow the pattern exactly, I think it would have turned out alright. I was thinking a shorter version would work with the dress that I made previously. I obviously did not think it through well enough. You can see in the pictures that the front does not line up in the center front because the jacket front does not line up in the center. That is how this jacket was designed. You can see in the picture of the pattern that there is a choice of a peplum or some tabs. Either way, there is a visual distraction at the waistline of the jacket to hide the fact that it overlaps in the front and it is a fact that I did not realize until after the jacket was constructed. But, I am sewing to learn more about sewing and clothing construction. As much as I love this fabric and the idea of this pattern, there is a fabric that I have had since I began my fabric hoarding. When I feel more confident in my sewing abilities, I will cut into that fabric and make this jacket again (or one very like it) but I will match the fabric at the seams, I will understitch my seams on the correct sides, and I will know how to match things up better so I have a more symmetrical jacket overall.

Happy sewing!

Week 10 – Art – Inspired by artwork

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The Facts

Fabric: Lace from…various sources (yard sales, estate sales, other crafters’ stash-busting events)

Pattern: based on a thing that I saw on Pinterest (inspiration photo above)

Year: 2013

Notions: Lace, crochet, beads, baubles, scrapbook paper, vintage frames, new frames, found items, previous projects, etc.

Time to complete: Many hours of cleaning, searching, placing, fighting, rearranging, putting together, taking apart, and doing everything all over again. Still a work in progress.

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