Aug 28, 2012

DIY- Make This Cute Owl Plushie with My Free Template

Here's a super easy to sew project that you can finish in about an hour or so. My owl plushie, who I've named  the Far Out Owl, is made from simple cotton quilting fabric, felt and fleece.  He's got a little bit of hand stitching to give him some handmade yummyness, too.

Here's the template for the owl. You may have to enlarge or reduce it to the size you want your owl to be.  Just whatever size you want to work with. Right click the picture and save it to your desktop to print out. It might be a bit blurry, but that's ok, I'm going to walk you through it and the pattern pieces aren't rocket science - just make them about how you see them in the template.

Materials: cotton quilting material in 2 colors, felt in 4 colors, fleece, embroidery floss, a little piece of fabric bonding material such as Steam-A-Seam Lite, needle and thread, and polyester filling material.
Cut 2 of the whole body shapes from the fabric you'll be using.  This will be the lower front of the owl and the entire back. I used a dark green swirly pattern. Take one of these and put it aside. The other one will have all your applique work added.
Cut 1 piece of the contrast quilting material that will be on the top half of the owl. I didn't show it on my template, but it goes completely across the front of the body in a straight line. DON'T cut it around the eyes. It will be behind the eye pieces.
Take the bonding material and cut it into 4 or 5 little pieces. Use these to hold the contrast material to the main body material and iron them into place. This makes it a breeze to sew later. You don't need a lot of it, just a piece here and there. Mine were about a half inch square.

After you bond the materials together, take the triangle you cut out for the beak, put it in place with a pin and sew all around it about 1/8 inch from the edge of the felt. Then, place the large circles for the eyes and do the same thing.
Using a full strand of embroidery floss, stitch the middle size felt circles in the center of the large circles. Use a large, loose overhand stitch. You want to see these big stitches and it makes it look nice and handmade, too. Stitch the smaller circles in the center of the middle circles using matching sewing thread. The last step for the eyes, use embroidery floss to add large stitches all around the large circles.

Place the wing pieces in  position and baste them by stitching 1/8 from the edge. Just do the area that is on the cut edge. You will sew the rest by hand later.

Now, place the back and front sides of the owl together, with right sides facing. You should see the "inside out" of your fabric. Pin the layers together and stitch 1/4 inch all around, leaving an opening at the bottom for turning. Turn the owl through the hole and stuff firmly. Close the hole with a slip stitch.  Using sewing thread, stitch the wings down with a small overhand stitch. Use a full strand of embroidery floss to make large running stitches on the wings.

That's it! You're finished! See, wasn't that easy? The directions just looked long because I'm probably too wordy.

Leave me a comment if you see that I've left something out in the directions.

Aug 27, 2012

Making While the Hurricane Churns

While I'm writing this, I hear the hammering from across the street where my neighbors are putting up the plywood in front of their windows in anticipation of Hurricane Isaac.  We live in Navarre, Florida, just 30 miles from Pensacola - in northwest Florida.

I have my south-facing windows boarded, and the yard cleaned of anything that can become flying missiles in 100+ miles per hour wind, but other than that and a full tank of gas, that's all I'm doing to be prepared. Some people have bought generators, ice, gas, propane, batteries, canned food, water, etc. Not us. We are optimists!

Nope, instead I've been in my art room, sewing adorable little felt ponies and unicorns. I'm working on my next feltie pattern, and besides, this is SO much more fun.

I almost have the last pony done; a winged horse, and then the pattern for all of these will be sold in my shop on etsy.
Can you see those awful reading glasses? Do you notice there's only one arm? Im pretty sad, aren't I? those are the best for me because they're kind of a middle range, and I use them when I'm around the house. I hate wearing my contacts all day because when I sew or do any kind of close work, the contacts still make it all blurry. The readers do, too, and I have to take them off for anything closer than 1 foot from my eyes. Getting older sucks!
So anyway, I run around the house with these on, and if I have to go outside or answer the door, there I am, with my crookedy glasses with only one arm, hair pulled up in a clip on top of my head and a comfy housedress or tshirt on. So very artsy looking (or bag ladyish, in reality).
Oh, I hear the wind picking up in gusts outside. Not a good thing. Maybe this is the last chance for a trip to the store for a bottle of wine.  If you don't hear from me in a day or two, don't bother to send out searchers, just send more wine.

Aug 24, 2012

TGIF - You Know What That Means!

Ha, ha, of course you know - Thank God It's Friday! I've been needing it because this has been a busy, busy week for me. First, my son turned 18 this week  (woohoo!) and started his first day of college; I also had to register an old car of ours for him to commute with, but before that we had to put in a new battery. I also spent a lot of time in my craft room, sewing dolls, finally, I've been working on writing a PDF pattern. Whew!
 ... And of course it rained almost every day. Here in Florida we have no drought, that's for sure.

My pattern for the Mini Mermaid doll is complete and for sale in my Etsy shop!
It's my first PDF pattern and it was a lot of fun to do, except that I am horrible with Word and that slowed me way down. I did figure it out though, so now I'm excited to make more patterns.

If you'd like a free copy of the Mini Mermaid pattern, send me your email in the comments below. I'll send one to the first 6 commenters. Thanks for hanging in there on my blog!

Aug 18, 2012

Developing and Refining Your Handmade Product

I've been developing a soft doll mermaid pattern and these are my test dollies. When coming up with a new design, it always amazes me how much time and effort goes into creating a consistent product. Even with handmade items,  if it's for resale and I want to make more than one, I spend a lot of time refining and reworking until I get what I want.  I realize that Handmade means things should look individual and not 'cookie cutter' (at least that's my definition)- but I like to refine my design so it becomes easier on me. I can make each item more quickly and easily and that translates to more inventory (and more money).

Do you spend much time developing your work? Are you a fanatic at keeping records of your progress or do you just "wing it"?   I'm in the wing-it category, myself. 

Look for these dolls and patterns to be listed in my Etsy shop in the next week or so.

Aug 11, 2012

Mermaid Painting

I thought I'd share my latest mermaid painting with you. She's painted on canvas that I've coated with a layer of acrylic modeling paste, so there's a very nice texture to it. Professional quality acrylics too, of course.

I went ahead and brought this painting to my booth at Coastal Antiques, but I think I'll have to bring it home to do a proper scan so I can make some prints. I think she'd be fantastic on a few note cards, too!

Feel free to critique or leave a comment :)

Aug 3, 2012

Hand Painted Wineglasses by Denise

I've started a line of hand painted wineglasses. These are all beachy themed and pretty girly. Since I live on the coast and it's so touristy, I thought it was a no-brainer.

 The ones pictured above are all customized for Destin, Florida. The sand here along the Gulf is all snow-white and and the water is a gorgeous emerald blue, just like the color I used on the glasses! I have lots of designs; crabs, dolphins, flip flops, fish and more - all suited to the beach market.

A favorite of everyone is the mermaid glass. I have mermaids with all different hair colors and tail colors. I love painting them because they're all kind of sassy and cute.  I paint my designs all around the glass, unlike some wineglasses I've seen out there.

When I take these to the shops, I add a bit of raffia knotted around the stem, to complete the beachy look. 

These are just a few examples of the line. I don't have them online yet. So far, these are just in three shops in the local area:

1822 Alpine Ave/ Hwy 98
Navarre, Fl

135B Eglin Pkwy
Ft Walton Beach, FL

Crystal Beach Plaza
Suite 140
Destin, FL

Hopefully more to come!