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Needle felted Christmas lights

September 8, 2011

I am already starting to think about the holidays. I swore I wouldn’t, but I am tired of procrastinating every year, perpetually surprised to find it December 24. I also have a good chance to get my act together and make products to put in my shop for people to give others as gifts or presents to themselves.

I waste so much fabulous time on Pinterest looking for crafts I will most likely never try, recipes I will never make, and clothes I will never wear. However, I’ve decided that I must do something every week to weakly justify pinning and pinning and pinning and pinning!

My friend Lindsey pinned handsewn felt Christmas ornaments from etsy shop DanielleLondon with the idea to make them wet felted. I immediately thought I could needle felt them quickly, and I tried 2. I ran out of a lot of colors that are bold and bright, so it’s time to restock on grass green, bright red, and other colors. My flash made them extra bright!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d love to make a bunch of these. They’re cute and easy to make.

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Pearhug Studio moves to Facebook

September 5, 2011

I decided a long time ago that being successful on etsy is hard work, and I am not up to the challenge! I still have my shop open with nothing for sale since I let the listings expire, and I’ve had 9 sales since April 2010. Since opening on facebook a week ago, I’ve had more than 9 sales! I’m primarily making taggie lovies for babies to feel the different ribbon textures and to snuggle with, wool balls, little sundresses, and custom orders for kimonos, Thai fisherman pants, and Halloween costumes (fleece Lilo and Stitch for a pair of siblings).

Pearhug Studio still celebrates what’s under, in, around, and above us through fiber arts and upcycled/repurposed items. Products are a mix of both new materials and upcycled/repurposed materials, this time with more of a focus on children’s items. I know it will also be hard work maintaining the shop, filling it with new things, completing custom orders, and mailing out products, but I feel like facebook is more personal and friendly.

Since the holiday season is approaching, I’d love to add holiday baby legs, long sleeve appliqued onesies, work on my thread sketching to do cursive writing since I don’t have an embroidery machine, and more felted figurines and toys. I also want to do ready-to-mail taggies so people can just order them off the site.

I am so happy to finally feel organized, efficient, and professional. I sure hope this goes somewhere for a good money maker as well as something I truly enjoy by using my crafting skills and talents every day.

Pearhug Studio’s page address is  http://www.facebook.com/shoppearhugstudio  so be sure to tell your friends to “like” the page! Spread the word! You can also friend me as Lucy Hughes (Pearhug_Studio) at http://www.facebook.com/pearhugstudio since I was facebook-incompetent when I set up my page over a year ago and didn’t realize the profile was different from being an admin of the page–whoops! Hope it is not too confusing for people.

Fortune Cookie Baby Booties

August 19, 2011

I was browsing etsy and saw these super awesome fortune cookie baby booties by sushibooties. I remembered saving a kimono baby bootie pattern a few years ago, so I set out to find a pattern to make them myself. Well lo and behold, Della Slowik of sushibooties was featured on the Martha Stewart show, and the website of the segment includes templates, a visual how-to guide, and a video clip of the show.

Instead of using 2 different fleece colors, I used acrylic felt (couldn’t find wool in my spare hour to run to the fabric store) and muslin lining. I also didn’t print the fortune on the material Slowik uses; instead, I just used a fine tip felt pen and some muslin to write my fortunes. I know if I were to wash the booties, this part would fray and the ink would probably run. I wasn’t too serious about quality–I just wanted to get the process down.

My fortunes say, “Become who you are,” and “Love surrounds you.” Slowik packages them in little Chinese take-out containers–brilliant.

I made a Baby Kimono from the Habitual tutorial about 18 months ago for Hannah Claire out of a Pottery Barn Teen pillow I found at a thrift store, which of course, I cannot find because it’s probably packed up in the winter clothes. It’s time to make baby Charlotte her own little kimono so she can sport her fortune cookie baby booties!

Hannah Claire in her kimono with tie-dyed pants

Felted Wooly Balls!

August 18, 2011

I have the maturity of an 8th grader right about now…I am proud to say I made some fantastic wooly balls. Sorry, sorry, I still giggle every time I write or say “wooly balls,” but that’s exactly what they are–simple balls made of wool.

I used several combinations to get these balls just right. I rolled up raw wool into a ball shape and wet felted it with a little bit of lavender bar soap, squishing it in my hands just like I saw on youtube about Making a Felted Wool Ball, but quickly lost patience.

Next, I put them in some Target tights I keep around for wool projects, creating what looked like the beginning to a Wilma Flintstone necklace and continued felting by hand. I finally gave up that method and threw the whole 4-bead strand into the washer, left them in a few cycles, and then dried them for a few cycles. This method is outlined in one of my favorite felting books, Uniquely Felt by Christine White. 

I then decided that plain white wool balls were no fun, so I covered them with merino wool, Noro wool yarn, and other tidbits from my stash. I felted the base colors again with another load of laundry, and needle felted the decorative elements in after the colorful base layer felted enough. Needle felting helps get that surface yarn down into the wool really well. I used colorfast dyed wool in hot water cycles, but you can also make them on cold. They will felt slower than when using hot water, but the same end result, a wool ball, will still occur!

Wool balls can be great in the dryer used with regular laundry in lieu of fabric softener if one is trying to avoid chemicals. They absorb moisture, therefore helping your clothes dry much faster, which saves electricity. You can also make wool balls by winding wool yarn into a ball and using the same method as loose wool rolled up.

They can get a bit of static electricity…

These also make fantastic kids’ toys. I think it would be really cool to make a globe ball so you can have the whole world in your hands. They’d also be fun with other images needle felted on or a child’s initial. My toddler loves to throw wool balls, and I know these won’t knock out a 5 month-old when tossed in her general direction!

Reconned kid’s halter, fish, bicycles, and vintage ric-rac

August 1, 2011

I found this fabulous 3/4th length baseball style shirt in a size S (not surewhose age category S) with red sleeves at a thrift store. The front says the quote, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” –Irina Dunn and the back says: ECHHS Women’s Caucus” and some sponsor names. I immediately thought, “that must be a dress NOW for a very special girl whose mother is one of the funniest people I know–Rachel Diroll-Zack, who was recently featured on The Mamafesto’s series, “This is What a Feminist Looks Like” on the July 31, 2011 post.

I chopped it up and only using existing pieces of the shirt. I went through a million revisions in my mind and made it up as I went. I even found vintage ric-rac from my mother’s stash while looking for red bias tape that said “3 for 10 cents.” Crazy! The vintage ric-rac was also used in the recon Valentine’s Day project for my older daughter for her first Valentine’s Day. I decided it would become a halter top instead of a dress since I didn’t think a dress would be long. This was one of the first projects I reconned myself, so I love it despite its imperfections.

The J!

Toddler reversible apron and felt food gift

August 1, 2011

The basket of felt food and a reversible apron were made as a holiday gift exchange in 2008 for a very creative son of the awesome Avi from The Mamafesto: Where Motherhood and Feminism Collide. Check out the facebook page at The Mamafesto (“Writing about feminism, parenting, pop culture and any random thing that gets me thinking or sets me off”) and be sure to click “like!” Her articles are always thought-provoking and challenge conventional “norms” of motherhood. She’s started a “This is What a Feminist Looks Life” series that I am looking forward to reading with a giant mug of coffee.

I wanted to make the apron reversible with an applique of his first initial. I didn’t use a pattern, but instead drafted one using newspaper and his measurements. I’m pretty sure I used 2 fat quarters and some ribbon, making this project less than $5 total. It could even be free if you raid your stash! For the “e,” I used fusible webbing and stitched around the edges on each piece before I stitched them right sides together with the ribbons on the inside. I actually traced the letter backwards on the paper side of the fusible webbing, but have since learned to just cut a square and cut out the letter that way–much easier! Then I turned it inside out, poked out all the corners, and top stitched around the entire thing. I used light blue thread on the top and orange thread in the bobbin, both threads being the same brand/type.

To go along with his food theme, I also made some felt food. Again, I had no pattern because I was too cheap to buy patterns. I figured I had decent knowledge of what the food looked like, and I could just try my best to replicate it. Since 2008, an explosion of patterns have been made available online. I hand stitched most of it and filled them with polyfill. I really liked puffing up the butter pats! If I made them in the future, now that I have lots of wool, I’d probably use wool instead of acrylic-based wool, especially now that I’ve learned to either needle felt or wet felt my own sheets.

pancakes with syrup and butter pats, wedge of cheese, loaf of bread with velcro bread slice, carrots, and an eggplant!

Cupcake Dress

July 8, 2011

My baby has now turned 2! She loves cupcakes and calls them “birthdays,” so what better way to welcome her into the Terrible Twos than with a cupcake birthday dress? She also loves stars, so I got a fat quarter of purple star print fabric to make the sashing.

She got so excited when I showed it to her! Cupcakes, balloons, bubbles–perfect day in a 2 year-old’s life!

Somehow, a disposable diaper got washed and left these gel beads everywhere. The entire load now feels sort of worn out and papery even though I got those gel beads under control. I decided to use a braided strap tank top from Target and repurpose it into the cupcake dress.

I followed this excellently written tutorial for the Sweet Pleated Dress  on Make It and Love It.

I am very happy I chose to tackle pleats. For some reason they scared me, but then I felt ridiculous for being scared of a sewing technique and just tried it out. I found the rhythm of making pleats while not rushing was mindless and soothing. The trick is to adjust them so that you match the amount of fabric with the cut off bottom of the shirt.

Sewing french seams was a nice way to finish the seams since I don’t have a serger. I’ll definitely use that technique for future projects.

I think my favorite part is the cupcake applique I made using fusible webbing and a simple running stitch along the edges.

A happy birthday, indeed!