Monday, September 19, 2016

Mickey, Minnie, Bear

One very large pair of mice
I know I've said this before, but this was probably the most difficult memory bear I've had to make.

Some fabrics are harder to deal with than others.  Old, nearly sheer t-shirt fabric would be one of those.  Also, prints/patterns/graphics can be weird.  Ditto, extra-large Mickey and Minnie.

But it had to be done.

My client contacted me and said that her best friend's mother was dying, and that the mother was very, very close to her friend's little boy.  They had gone to Disney together and this was a souvenir shirt that she had worn nearly to pieces.  She thought that turning it into a bear would be a comfort for him when his grandma passed.

Pre-cut denim bear being used as pattern
because pattern pieces have vanished
I could certainly see where it would, but when I received the shirt and saw those enormous mice, I wasn't sure what to do with them.  There wasn't a whole lot of time to wait for inspiration to strike - I knew from speaking to my client that grandma was unlikely to last the week, so there was already a serious likelihood that the bear wouldn't arrive on time for her to give it to her grandson.

The faces were just so large that there was no way to turn them into the bear's face, so after some puzzling (until my puzzler was sore, as Dr. Seuss would say), I laid out my pattern pieces very carefully to take advantage of the features of each.  You can see from the photo that everything fit on the front, but only just.  I did end up using denim for the insides of the arms and legs, and for the accents on the ears, just to break up the white t-shirt fabric.

I also interfaced the -shirt before cutting it apart, just so I wouldn't lose any of the image to stretch.

I haven't totally decided if the combined Mickey-Minnie smile is creepy or fun.  I think it's a little of each.  I was just pleased that I was able to get the faces onto the bear's face in some form, and it seemed more logical to try to do that than to have a half smile appearing under its ear.

The deadline wasn't met, though - I got the bear turned around and shipped back out in 2 days, but my client emailed me the same day that I shipped to tell me that her friend's mother had passed away.

She also emailed me a few days later to tell me that the little boy loved his bear.  If nothing else, it's very suited for all the tears it will have to absorb.

But that's what a bear's for, after all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Three Time Customer

Add caption
While my temp job has ended (I think), I'm still getting around to writing about the last piece I sold to one of my co-workers.  She bought a personalized doll for her granddaughter, then a few weeks later placed an order for an "African" looking doll because her Liberian neighbor often babysat for her, and then just a few weeks before the job ended, she asked for another one, this time to look like her neighbor from Laos/Cambodia.  She even provided a photo of the outfit she wanted the doll to wear.

That was the part that took a while, because I certainly didn't want to do that level of embroidery for a doll, but I also didn't want to just use a solid or print fabric.

Then the thrift store had a half price day, and I found this gorgeous green shirt with an embroidered hem and cuffs, and it called to me across the store.  I think it worked out well.

This woman's ideas are always a challenge, but her dolls turn out so cute in the end that I always make more of them for shows, and they always sell at shows.  One of the African ones even sold on Etsy last night, and it's hard to get found in such a saturated marketplace.

As far as "thinking" that my temp job has ended, they did ask me to come back for a week at the end of September.  I told them my reappearance was contingent upon how much product I could knock out between now and then.  At this point, I'm going to call the admin on Friday afternoon and let her know one way or the other.  Since I actually managed to get 24 owls cut, pieced and trimmed up yesterday, with only the eyes and the stuffing left, I'm feeling optimistic that I can manage to get 3 more days of office pay before the end of the month (not that I want to go back, but we're going on vacation in October, and every dollar is going to count in London).

The whole family

Thursday, September 1, 2016

I'm not afraid to use it.

What my head should feel like
My summer temp job is nearly over, and not before time.  School (and therefore sewing classes) start up next week, and my busy season is fast approaching.

But more than that, it's time to go.  I've been there since early June, plus a few weeks in March to cover a disability leave, and even though last year's stint was longer, I'm really feeling it this time around.

I've been reminded -- more than once -- why I don't do this full time anymore, and the people, while nice for the most part, are now officially in my head more frequently than casual work acquaintances should be.  I guess after 4 summers they've become "real" enough to do that, but honestly, one of the things I enjoy most about working from home is not being surrounded all the time.  I like quiet, I like being drama-free, I like just not having all these extra stories circling around me.  If I want stories, I'll make up my own.

If that makes me sound bitchy, that's not how I mean it.  The inside of my brain feels like Times Square on New Year's Eve, and I need to get back to a place of quiet where I can hear myself think -- and get more work done.

When I said yesterday afternoon that I only had four more days left, one of the other secretaries said, "Don't jinx yourself.  Maybe someone else will quit and they'll ask  you to stay."

"There's one problem with that," I answered.  "There's this little, two-letter word.  No."

And I'm not afraid to use it.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer Seersucker

Summer is slow season for custom work, but lately, I think people are tired of the heat and beginning to think of the holidays.

Last week I got a custom bear order and two orders for custom stockings -- usually the stocking orders don't start until October, but I'm happy as this gives me plenty of time.

When I got the order for this bear, my customer said that her best friend's wedding colors were seersucker, navy and lime green.  This bear is made from a pair of shorts my customer's son wore at the wedding, and is intended for the (not-so-recent) bride's new baby boy.

The shorts were a boy's size 6, and just big enough to get all the pieces.  It actually came down to the stripes running horizontally across the backs of the ears, there weren't any scraps big enough to do them vertically.

I think he turned out cute, and though you can't see it in the photograph, he's got an anchor on each outward-facing bicep, like little tattoos.  He shipped off to Florida on Friday.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Day Off

I love vintage jewelry, but the sheer
volume here was so stunning I couldn't choose
We had ourselves a day off today.  I've been feeling a little overwhelmed with the temp job - it's only till the end of September, at the latest, but last Friday and this Monday have been very vivid reminders of why I don't do this full time anymore.

It's nice to know I can still handle it, but why would I ever want to?

Flea markets should be gotten to early, but that didn't happen.  We slept in a little, then took ourselves across the street to the coffee shop on the excuse that it was faster than making and eating breakfast at home.  We drove up to New Hope, PA, which is about an hour away, very quaint and charming and artsy, and across the Delaware river into Lambertville, NJ, which is just as quaint and charming and artsy, but has a huge flea market right on the other side.

Colored glass in a sunny window . . . delicious

That was the destination, and it was worth the drive (as always).

We got there around 10:30 a.m. and wandered for a few hours.  I found some lovely vintage goodies that I can polish up and put in my vintage Etsy shop (most of it really does come from the endless supply of family stuff, but every once in a while there's a flea market find -- or 10 -- that I see and can't resist the opportunity to pass on).

After that, we went back into Lambertville and parked, had lunch at our favorite restaurant, which has outdoor seating near the canal and (no longer used) railroad tracks.  Normally Mario is bug bait and we have to sit indoors, but there's an herb garden right there, so all available insect life was paying attention to that and he was able to eat and drink in relative peace.  (I was still there, after all).

All the Pyrex was sorted by color
Even with lunching, then taking a walk along the canal and hitting up a few galleries on Bridge Street after, we managed to get back to Philly before it was truly rush hour.

I'm in that lovely state now where I'm tired, from walking and lots of sun and seeing loads and loads of lovely things, and I'm feeling like I should go into my workroom and start on a project, but I probably won't.

Back to reality tomorrow.  I can face it now.

View from the lunch table

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Recycle Tuesday

So Recycle Tuesday is something new for my Facebook business page, which if you don't follow, you should - not only do I post my show schedule and photos of new work, but I'll be featuring the work of other scary-amazing-creative recyclers each week.  Most fall under the "art" rather than "craft" category, but it all falls under the "keeping-it-out-of-the-waste-stream-and-making-something-new" category, which is my favorite thing.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Repeat Customer

Cuteness 2015 - wearing her new dress

Super Cuteness 2016 - with her new doll