Saturday, April 19, 2008


I hate reading a blog post that starts with apologies for infrequent blogging, especially because if I want to hear reasons for busy-ness, then I only have to listen to myself. I have big changes afoot, which I'll discuss in more detail when I have more time. Which will be starting in May because my boss has agreed to let me switch to part time so that I'll be able to dedicate more time to the big changes.

No, I am not knocked up. Actually, I'm doing a bit of a career change to freelance writing. I've sold one story that hasn't run yet (I'll link to it when it does), but nothing else. Of course, working 8 hours a day doesn't really leave much time for writing and sending out submissions and queries. It only took me 12 years of working in technology and trying to write a novel after hours to figure out that there are only so many hours in a day.

So we'll see how that goes.

Cutting down to part time and then freelancing full time (at some point) means that we have to keep an eye on the finances, which we'd been planning on doing a better job of anyway. Every dollar wasted could've been spent on a trip to Norway.

This brings us to a new feature on the blog called The Frugal Crafter!

I made a present for my cousin's son's 1st birthday present. Entirely out of things I already had.

Inspiration: Craft Magazine's Hand-Sewn Free Range Monsters in Volume 6

Supplies, in no particular order):
An old man's shirt. (One of HA's-the cuffs and collar were too frayed to wear)
Cardstock (leftover from the wedding invites--cardboard from a cereal box would have done just as fine)
Double-stick tape
embroidery floss and hoop
rotary cutter and mat (optional, but speed things up tremendously)
needle & thread
Iron & ironing board
Erasable fabric marker

  1. I cut the sleeves from the shirt and cut off the seams. I had plenty of fabric to make my cuddly monster.
  2. I ironed the fabric, realizing for the first time ever that this might actually be an important thing. (If the fabric had been rumpled, I might not have cut both sides evenly.) I even folded the pieces in half and ironed a crease to make symmetry a bit easier.
  3. I sketched a few monster designs and when I settled on one, I drew on half of it on cardstock.
  4. I cut out the shape.
  5. I stuck the cardstock template to the fabric (folded in half, and stacked) with the double sided tape.
  6. I started to cut the fabric with scissors and then remembered that I own a rotary cutter and that sped things up.
  7. I took one piece of fabric (Horace's face) and drew a face on him  with the erasable marker. Great tool, that.
  8. I stuck Horace in the embroidery hoop and gave him a face with some basic stitches. (I covered all the marking with thread, otherwise this would've been the time to erase it. It magically fades in 2 weeks anyway.)
  9. I re-ironed both sides and ironed them again. Then I pinned the sides together wrong side in.
  10. I sewed it up, leaving a hole in the top of his head for stuffing. At this point, I remembered to take some pictures for the blog.

Isn't he cute?
Then I turned him right side out.

But what to stuff him with? I do have some fiberfill, but it's not machine washable. Horace's new best friend is one years old. He's gonna get drooled on. 

I'd heard about people stuffing toys with old clothes, so I decided to give it a try. I cut up some of the old shirt (cuffs, collar, seams, button bands--I left the large pieces for another project).

This went much more quickly when I re-remembered that I own a rotary cutter. 

The one shirt wasn't enough, but I had saved the sleeves and collars from the t-shirts I used to make the calamari yarn, so I cut up some of that as well. (If you do this, remember to only use fabric lighter in color than the outside fabric, otherwise the color might show through. Though it might actually be kind of cool to do that on purpose. But don't do it accidentally.)

Once Horace was stuffed, I sewed up the hole and gave him yarn hair, following the instructions in the magazine. And there he is.

With any luck, the filling won't disintegrate in the washing machine. The sewing and embroidery took a couple of evening's TV-watching time, which cut into my knitting, but it was fun and a good change for my hands, which do get repetitive motion aches. And I doubt I'd be able to knit a toy as quickly, so there is that.

My yarn closet/craft closet is so stuffed full that I'm afraid to open it most of the time, so I'll be making an effort to use it up/get around to all those projects that I've been meaning to.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on selling the story! That's wonderful news. I hope your new work arrangement gives you the time and energy you need for your writing.

    Love the little stuffed monster! Great idea!


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