Monday, January 1, 2018

More Characters for Andrew

Ended the year with three forms to send to Andrew: Cat Spitz dog, and horse. I thought the horse looked a bit plain, so I added the mane.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Sea Lion for Andrew

When I write to Andrew, who is currently in boot camp for he Navy, I like to include a bit of artwork for home. Last time it was a pained fox. This time I wanted something more ocean related. So I made him a Sea Lion. The book called it a seal, but because the back flippers are rotated forward it is a Sea Lion.  Seals cannot do that with their flippers

Next time I will try to make small cuts in the head to make the little ear flaps hat sea lions have. Seals do not have them.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fox In Sox

Here s a figure that I did to send to a friend. for Christmas. I liked the way it turned out so I made another one to send to another friend who has been a friend to foxes ever since I've known her. And I made and extra one for myself. 

The fox fold is made from two pieces of 5 1/2" squares of a reddish-brown colored origami paper and painted with acrylic paint.

The acrylic paint. The acrylic paint it thick enough to go on without being so wet that it warps the paper. It is thick enough so that just a couple of coats will give a sooth, opaque coverage.

The book I used for inspiration on this project was The World of Origami by Isao Honda, Japan Publications Trading Company, 1965. I first saw this book at the public Library in Panorama City. I was later able to buy a copy for myself. A few years ago I loaned it to a neighbor, didn't get it back, so went on line to get another copy. I' glad it is still in print! It is easy to follow and has a lot of very fun figures.

I like the big ears!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

More Acorns!


When I made my biscornu I also wanted to make a small bag to go with it.  So I have created a pair of small bags, one as a gift and one for myself, that use the acorn pattern. This time I used a couple of leaves and tossed in a wider interlace pattern for good measure. They measure 4 5/8" by 4 3/4" or 4 7/16". One has a seam down the center back, the other at the side. I may do more with the side seam. The openings for the ties are different and that is the only real reason for doing the seam down the back: the two buttonholes match. Minor detail there. Side seam makes a smoother uninterrupted back for more embroidery. I used the 18 count Aida cloth in oatmeal  (fabric color, not the breakfast) for a nice background color that would blend with the greens and browns. Lining is a cotton print of leaves in shades of green. Ties were made of a thin polyester lining fabric.

I added a tiny button to the center front of one. Haven't decided if I want to add one to the other bag.

The bags are personalized with cross-stitched initials and the names spelled out. In the one where the seam runs down the back it made it a little tricky when stitching in a line that happened to be centered in the design. I sometimes had to take two stitched to make it show up.

For the end of the ties I wanted to do something different. I wanted something that would go with the small size of the bags. I decided to try the Fimo clay that I had on hand. Bought it years ago, never got to use it. When baked at 265 degrees F for 30 minutes, it dries to a nice hardness that I think will be chip resistant and hold up pretty well. I poked deep holes into the acorns so the tie ends could be poked down into the acorns and glues in place.



I was watching "My Neighbor Totoro", a delightful Hayao Miyazaki film, when I came up with the idea for what might really finish off my  little Pikachu bag. I was pretty sure that I wanted some traditional Elizabethan Blackwork patters to set it off, in black, of course. I thought that it would go well with the bright yellow figure and blend with the black that was already in the cross stitch. I could have gone with red, but that would not have shown up the blackwork design well enough and would have been too bright a color and overpower the main motif. 

But what should I use? I thought of maybe some bug and leaf patterns like the illustrations that accompany the end credits of the film. Then the film answered the question for me. Mei, the young girl in the film, tries to lure out the totoros by setting out a trail of acorns for them. I figured that Pikachu was like a totoro in that he, too, is a mythical creature from Japan. Okay, not a strong connection, but it opened the door. Now I was on the search for some acorn patterns.

I blazed a trail over the wide expanses of the plains of examples till I found one that had possibilities. But now I had another problem: I needed an exact stitch count. I allowed a specific seam allowance. I wanted it centered and to be as high as the Pikachu. Pikachu was an uneven number of stitches high. For weeks I poured over graph paper, flipping, shortening, and rearranging the motifs. I modified, counted, then modified again. This was supposed to be a quick project done on just a scrap of 18 count white Aida cloth! But finally I got it right, and these are the results.

I wanted a wrap-around pattern which meant that I would have to consider the embroidery stitching up the back seam. It seems to have worked pretty well.

I used 7/16" red grosgrain ribbon for the ties. Still needed to get a little more red in there. The bag is lined with a bright yellow cotton that matches Pikachu.

For this pattern there was no consideration of how it would look as it moved over the sides. The pattern would get where it was going.

For the size of the bag, just 4"x4" when completed, I wanted something other than the longer tippets that I used for the other Pokemon dice bags. I visited several bead shops till I found something that was small enough but still had a large enough aperture through which the tie ends could be secured. To close off the open ends, I glues in a small garnet beads. Red against the gold? Perfect!

And here is the end result!

My Old Dice Bag

This is a quick follow-up to my last post. This is the dice back that I made for myself out of a scrap from a drover's coat that I made for Rob.

Finished size is about 6 3/4" x 8".

I have no idea how many dice or gaming pieces are in it. I never bothered to count. The collection keeps growing, though slowly these days. Still, I am on the outlook for an unusual or interesting item to go inside.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pokemon Dice Bags 1

                       Beedrills and Mew

Pokemon Dice bags are fun to make! They're colorful, easy, and you can embellish them any way you like. They make great gifts! Here is one that I made for my son Sean for Christmas I used several patterns for the Beedrills and made a wrap-around picture.

For this bag I used a 14 count Aida cloth in pale blue, then used a cerulean blue acrylic paint to dry brush the darker streaks across the fabric before I started the cross stitch. Then I added water to the paint to thin it out and added more streaks. This not only makes the background more unique, it adds a sense of action for the Beedrills.

The bags range from about 5 1/2" wide and about 6" deep. The bags are good for holding card decks as well as gaming dice. I made this bag for my son Sean.

I did the cross stitch using cotton floss for the main bodies and heads, but the wings are filled in with an iridescent "Light Effects" DMC white floss that is a fiber core wrapped in plastic. It looks really good on the wings! I used a rayon thread for the drills which gives them a bit of a shine.

Even Baby Beedrill wants to 
       get in on the action!

I make the ties using either a fabric that matches the lining fabric or any color that will look good with the bag. Strips can be about 14" long and a about 1 1/4" wide. Fold the strip in half, stitch almost down the middle (you want a little less fabric at the cut edge), trim the cut edge a tiny bit to make sure it will fit inside, then turn inside out.

Now we have pretty little MEW. Mew looks good on a bale blue background with free form clouds of different kinds of white thread, such as the regular cotton, shiny rayon thread (which is a bit harder to work with), and the iridescent "Light Effects" plastic floss. I filled in the clouds with various blackwork stitch patterns so that each cloud is different.

This is the backside. For some reason, when people look at embroidered pieces, they develop this irresistible urge to flip it over and look at the back.

Mew gets a nice pink satin ribbon to set her off. Those blue eyes of hers are complimented by the blue of the bag. This was a gift for Anna Bastis.