Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A new moo

Although I really enjoy creating on my sewing machine, I still miss stitching creatures by hand. Especially, when one of my lovely customers really wants to order one of those handstitched creatures that have sold out.

It's impossible to sew the same creatures on a sewing machine, because of the different techniques of sewing and stuffing, but what if I redesign my old creatures to make them machine-sewable? 

That's what I asked myself this weekend after a customer request, and I think I've succeeded with this new cow! Next up, a redesign of my old cat.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stocking up in Japantown

In Japan I did not use to worry much about felt, I knew if I needed more the little sewing store, across from the school I used to teach at, had quite a large variety of good felt. And if it wasn't emergency I could easily wait for a weekend trip to an excellent Osaka craft supplies store, of which my favorite was the insanely huge ABC Craft.

But here I find myself worrying about my felt stash a lot. It's not that I'm almost running out, it's that I still haven't found a good felt supplier. Of course, they do sell felt in American craft stores like Michaels, and sometimes even nicely embossed or printed felt, but it's always eco-fi felt and it's quality just does not measure up to Japanese felt. I like my felt to be soft, strong and not see-through.

So I conviced my hubbie to come to Japantown with me to check out the new and improved 100 yen store. Well, I'm happy to report that it was an excellent decision! Sure, Daiso Japan cannot to compare to ABC Craft, but it did sell more felt than Michaels, and it was all Japanese felt! Score!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The owls

As this blog shows, I've been a bit owl-obsessed these last two weeks, and the result is that I now have 36 owls for sale in my Etsy shop! Posting that many new items almost seems to take longer than actually sewing them. Perhaps it's because the sewing part is so much more fun than uploading pictures over slow wifi and typing the same tags 36 times. But it's done and now they're all waiting for someone to adopt them. Use coupon code FSBLOGGER during checkout and your new friend will be shipped to you for free, no matter where in the world you live.

Two days ago, I was happy to finish owl number 36, but now that I see all of them in a nice collage, I kind of want to make a few more owls. I love them all, but my favorite is probably the beige owl in the top left corner. Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Owls, owls, owls - Part four

All 36 owls are done! Of course, I didn't just make these for fun - although it was fun to make them - I made them for my Etsy shop. And every Etsy listing needs some product pictures, so after finishing them in the sewing studio (the table in our small apartment's livingroom/bedroom), I moved the owls to the photo studio (the table in our kitchen).

I chose six background colors and picked which owls would be photographed against which background. And then I got out my very unfancy but very trusty point-and-shoot Canon to take pictures of the modeling owls.

Owls seems to have something magical and people just adore these birds, I wonder if this has anything to do with Harry Potter's popularity. I've been using Instagram and Twitter to document the birth of all 36 owls over the last week, and I was happy to receive so much owl-love from everyone. The wittiest compliment was someone calling an owl 'hootie-ful'!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Owls, owls, owls - Part three

After sewing on all the white parts of the eyes and beaks, it was time to have some fun with my supplies again. I got out several boxes of buttons, organized by color and size - I love that kind of thing - and got to work selecting button eyes for all the owls. It always surprised me how long this process takes. First, I have two find buttons that are the same which can be a time consuming challenge because almost all my buttons are vintage and I'm lucky if I can find a matching pair. And then the buttons need to find a home on the owl that they work best with, and I did this 36 times! Choosing the ribbons was a lot easier, because I only have 6 different colors, so I just made 6 loops of each color for the owl ornaments.

After sewing all the buttons on by hand, which I need to do very slowly to not exacerbate my arm injuries,it was time to sew with my friend the sewing machine again!

After sewing almost all around the owls bodies, it was time to stuff them. This is my least favorite part because the American polyfill I use these days, just falls apart in little pieces around me and makes a huge mess on my clothes and on the floor. Soon I'm going to check out some Japanese 100 yen stores and see if they sell some of that Japanese polyfill that's so wonderfully soft and never left a mess, I really hope so.

Now that they're all stuffed it's time to sew them closed and make sure they all have ribbons to hang them from! They're almost done, come back tomorrow for part four ;).

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Owls, owls, owls - Part two

After I cut out all the felt shapes for the owls, I went through my fabric stash and picked colorful tummies for all the owls. I used my marvelous sewing machine to sew the tummies behind the felt. It takes a while when you want to make that many owls but it's great practice.

After attaching and exposing the tummies, I went back to cutting felt this time for the owls' eyes and beaks.

My sewing machine makes it really easy to switch between different colors of thread, because it threads the needle itself and I can basically just drop the bobbin in and start sewing. Still, I like to minimize the thread switching, so first I'm going to sew on all the yellow beaks, then all the orange beaks, next the red beaks and finally all the white eyes. Oh, how I keep myself busy!

Friday, October 07, 2011

Owls, owls, owls - Part one

So I really liked the owl I designed the other day, so I made a few more in different designs and colors to see how I liked those, and I do! So I've decided to make a large bunch in different colors and in 3 different shapes.

So any process of making felt ornaments starts with felt, obviously. And in this case lots of it. I cut out enough owl shapes for 36 owls. I always like to organize the leftover pieces of felt by color, so it's easy to use that for smaller shapes in future projects, and because I simply love organizing.

For some reason, owls make more sense as a decoration in fall and winter than in spring and summer, so it seems like the perfect time to be working on a bunch of owls, with a nice cup of tea!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Bear couple

I made a cute couple of bears for a cute couple of humans. These were a thank-you-present for friends of mine who took really good care of me last weekend. I hope they like their bears.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Experimenting with designs

I like drawing designs and imagining what they might look like in felt. And when it seems like a good idea, I turn my drawing into a felt plushie and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. 

Like this week, I'd hoped to make a cute fat laughing Buddha, but it turned out to look more like a weird crying baby. But I did manage to finally make an owl (something I've been wanting to do for a very long time) which did turn out the way I'd hoped. So now I'm off to make some more owls!