Wednesday, October 17, 2012

So, while we will be out of town for the entirety of next week, celebrating my husband's birthday in the redrocks badlands of Moab, I have managed to complete one more soft sculpture to add to the shop.
 My little mermaid one-of-a-kind soft sculpture, with jointed arms.
 She is very sweet, very soft, and compatible with both my previous collections.
 I will be working on designs for future collections while on our little break, and hope to have another full collection online by the end of the first week of November.
Meanwhile, although both collections have sold out almost entirely, this fish and this little mermaid are both still available in the shop.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

So, since almost all of my sea creature softies sold out within the first two days, I worked up my second set: Circus Animals!
 Sorry to say, however, that the Circus Animals sold out in the first half hour after I put them in the shop.
Needless to say, I'm very happy that my Circus Animals are traveling to a wonderful home with a very special little girl this week!
That said, I'm sorry to have to say that I will not be able to put up a new set of softies in the shop until after our week-long trip to the desert for my husband's 40th. 
We are all taking a step back and remembering our roadtrip roots by taking the Q to Moab for the very first time next week. We'll be staying in a log cabin and  hiking/biking/climbing/exploring our hearts out for the next several days. 
Q will be taking a week off school for this trip, and I know she will miss her new Kindergarten friends, but the geological/archeological/historical/physical lessons she will be learning will be well worth it. I spent many childhood days exploring the redrock badlands of Moab and Canyonlands with my own parents when I was little, and I can't wait to show it all to Q.
I will have a brand new set of one-of-a-kind soft sculptures to put up in my shop within a week of returning from our little vacation. Meantime, watch my facebook page and shop, because I may well have one very special piece ready for the shop before we leave this weekend!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I have been working on a new project for the past few weeks. 
My soft sculptures began with the little Owlie that I posted about recently, a lunch pet that turned into a nap pet in three dimensions. 
Since then, Owlie has been Q's nap pet every day at school, and has traveled home to accompany her to bed in her own room each night. 
When Q began requesting  more softies, I began to sketch...
...and once I begin to sketch, well...
So a new "softie" division of my shop was born. 
The first set I  created was a sea life set. 
Along with making wonderful nap pets, they also make lovely shelf or sofa decor. I have included an option for custom-made softies, and a discount for multiple orders, in case you want to create a collection!
 Q is pretty excited about the whole thing as well. 
Not that she's really all that interested in my shop. 
She really isn't. 
She's doing the happy dance because every time I come up with a new set, she is able to con a new custom softie out of me. So far, in addition to Owlie, she has a custom-made Sparky (after the Tim Burton film Frankenweenie which we saw last week), a custom mini-fish (in Q's favorite colors), and a bunny on the way. 

 Q has been a great sport about helping out with my shop photos, and in the process she has discovered that the octopus from my sea life set makes a lovely pillow. I have a feeling she will soon have her very own octopus nap pillow to use on her school cot. 
The softies have been a huge success with the Q, and a great deal of fun for me. My little sewing machine has been brought out of its lengthy retirement and is now being pressed into hard service in the studio!

I already have several new sets on the drawing board.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I couldn't resist posting this shot of Q and her adorable best-buddy Isaac. I think she is loving her new school! 


Check out Q and I on Elizabeth Street today!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

 A little seasonal color, courtesy of Denver, Colorado!
 As you can see, when the weather decides to change here, it changes FAST!
 We went from low 80s to low 40s in under two days. Even with my many years of experience in the highcountry, I have to admit that my closet was not 100% ready for that transition! We had to scramble a bit to get read for this morning bike ride!
(He was taking a picture of a funny bumper sticker)
  Ahhhhhhhh....I love where we live. I really do.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

 A little DIY on today's blog post...

In our house, we have a tradition known as "lunch pets". 

From her first days of preschool, Q would ask whichever one of us was preparing lunch to draw a "secret" note for her lunch kit, declaring that we loved her and, preferably, including some sort of drawing and a few gratuitous hearts. 

We really could not refuse such a sweet request, so my husband started a tradition of drawing her a lunch note featuring a sketched cartoon of the TinMan from the Wizard of Oz (her favorite character). Since the Tinman is his specialty, I took to spending my early mornings creating small sketched characters for her on cardstock, which I tucked in with her lunch. They have ranged from cats to robots to "ghosties" (another personal favorite of hers). 
This week, one of my lunch pet characters, an owlet that she dubbed "Owlie", took on a third dimension. 
It was such a resounding success that I thought I'd do a little tutorial for a quick-ish Owlie lunch pet. 

You will need: 

- Two pieces of fabric (one for the backside, one for the frontside) measuring roughly a square foot each. Use untreated, neutral-colored, natural-fiber fabric. I used unbleached cotton broadcloth, but muslin or  plain, thin cotton would work just as well. A piece torn from a white cotton sheet works as long as it is translucent enough so that you can see your pen sketch through it, like tracing paper)

- A large piece of stiff cardboard or heavy mounting board for backing

- artist's tape or blue painter's tape for stretching (you can find blue painter's tape in the paint department at Home Depot, or white artist's tape at any art store)

- a Sharpie or other permanent marker

- liquid acrylic paints in any range of colors that strike your fancy

- a couple of relatively fine-tipped, stiff paint brushes appropriate for acrylic paint (synthetic bristle is fine)

- a jar of water

- sturdy, neutral-color thread and an appropriate needle (or sewing machine)

- sewing pins

- stuffing of your choice (poly-fill, recycled, or natural fiber, depending on your preference)

 I begin by sketching my design on the stiff cardboard or mounting-board backing, and then tracing over it in Sharpie or any other heavy black marker. The sketch needs to show through the fabric so that you can trace it. 

"Stretch" your fabric over the stiff backing by attaching tape to the edges, and pressing down. This doesn't have to be a perfect "stretch", just strong enough so that it won't shift while you're tracing/painting. 

Once your fabric is taped down, trace your original drawing carefully in permanent marker on the fabric.
 Now you're ready for painting! 
I use a child's plastic plate with sticky saran wrap over it, but you can also use a regular paper plate as a palette. Squeeze out your paint colors, and have your water jar handy for moistening and rinsing your brush. Fill in the outline of your sketch with colors that make you happy. Black and white would work just as well on a design like this!

When I'm finished painting, I like to draw a dotted line around the image, leaving about 1/2" margin, just like a sewing pattern. This reminds me where to cut and sew.
The back side is far easier. Remove your (dry) frontside from the board. Take your second piece of fabric and  tape it to the board over your original sketched image. Trace only the outer outline of your animal onto the fabric scrap (I wrote Owlie's name along with a heart to please Q).

When both your front and your back side are drawn and painted, cut around your image, leaving about 1/2" outside of your dotted line.
 Proceed to pin the two sides of your critter together, color sides facing in. Place pins inside of the dotted line, and make sure that your outlines match up.

Now, you're ready to sew!
I have to (guiltily) admit that I usually sew my critters by hand. I do have a machine, but sewing is not my favorite thing. I prefer to sew by hand while I watch a movie. That's just me. 

Either way, start in the middle on the right or left side, depending on your preference, and sew around leaving about a two-inch opening on one side. 

Once your critter is sewed, use the blunt end of a pencil to help you turn your critter right-side out. Then take your stuffing and begin filling in, starting with the extremities (legs, arms/wings, ears) and progressing toward the middle. 

Once you have your critter filled to your satisfaction, tuck in the edges of the fabric around the opening, and hand-close the opening with close, tight stitches. 

Tie off your stitches, and....

 Presto! Your 3-D lunch pet is ready!
Sit back and prepare to bask in the joy of your child and his or her schoolmates!

Monday, October 1, 2012

 Due to the unprecedented heatwave this summer, we have not made it out to our favorite picking farm until the tail end of the season. Also due to the heatwave, draught has made for a smaller than usual harvest in many areas. 
 Even so, Berry Patch Farms in Brighton reigns as one of our favorite seasonal diversions.
 Though the flower selection is a bit more limited in scope than usual, it still manages to be spectacular. 
 Particularly rich in shades of red and purple this summer. 
in MadeInMommy skirt and dress

 As a result, our seasonal bouquet was particularly color-coordinated!
 Q creating her flower arrangement. 
 Inside the barn this week, the air was redolent with the mouth-watering scent of roasting green chiles. We bought a bag of those, and a bouquet of fresh cilantro, and Mike made a crock-pot green chile pork sauce which we have all been enjoying this week. 
Q hams it up with her floral arrangement. 
I can't help it, the kid cracks me up!

certified, organic, pick-your-own and farmer's market
Berries, flowers, fruit, herbs and veggies
Where: 13785 Potomac St.; Brighton, Co. 80601
How: Hours: June-Sept: Tues-Sat: 8-6| October: Tues-Sat: 10-4 | Nov-May: Sat: 10-3
Check the website for hours and picking schedule