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Hoot for Owls

In an alternate universe, I’m a full-time crafter and a part time writer. It’s a great fantasy that I keep coming back to when I’m feeling overwhelmed (which seems to be everyday lately). Crafting is such therapy that despite serious time shortage for anything other than work, I took on a little commission job to do table centerpiece accessories for an owl-themed birthday party. Sewing this kept me sane and afforded me some “me time” this crazy week.

I love owls and I’ve made some before, but the pattern that I made two years ago is a little labor intensive, especially with it being two inches tall. What I did have time for was a handful of simple owls that basically played with two shapes: circle and teardrop-like. Sew in a chopstick and you’ve got a quick and dirty decorative stake you can stab into the floral foam of your table’s blooming centerpiece.

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Sugar Skull In-Progress

The sugar skull was one of my first embroidery projects. This was later turned into a pin that I gave to a friend who is obsessed with skulls. I had captured the step-by-step with my computer camera–forgive the low resolution–and thought it would be nice to share, especially with those just learning to stitch (backstitch is your best friend). I started by making a cardboard patten of the basic skull shape, tracing it onto the felt, and from there, it was just drawing in the details and attempting  symmetry (fail, btw).

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Matryoshka–sorta…

There’s something about wooden dolls. And me making them into some sort of softie.

I first came across the matryosha doll when I was a kid watching Sesame Street. I remember some type of stop-motion short, where each of the nesting dolls came out of the bigger one.

I made a feltie pin version before, complete with babushka, but this one stands on its own thanks to BB gun pellets. I haven’t figured out how to make a nesting version yet. I wish I had more time to just craft…

Meet Michiko Hatsu

After three sleepless days, I’ve finally finished my kokeshi doll. It’s my first attempt at a feltie larger than an inch and I was thoroughly challenged by it.

There are some things I’d already like to change in my next kokeshi doll–like use softer felt, measure cloth better (see if you can spot my shoddy sewing).

So the name…my friend Baba did some research and baptized her Michiko (beautiful and wise) Hatsu (firstborn). I thought it was a lovely idea since she’s the first of what I hope to be many kokeshi dolls little girls would like to play with.

My two other friends, Arbee and Joza, also did a photoshoot and they absolutely went to town with it.

 

The Softer Side of Kokeshi

I’ve just come back from a trip to Tokyo, Japan, and it’s been an overload for my senses. Some cities have left me bored in three days, but even during my sixth and last day, there was still so much to see and taste and do. Pair that with my growing obsession with fabric artist Mimi Kirchner, and you have my new work-in-progress: a kokeshi-inspired softie.

I’m sure you’ve seen those little wooden dolls with  intricate blossoms on their painted-on kimonos. I’ve learned that kokeshi dolls represent a wish for a healthy child, and it’s also been used as a charm to prevent fire since the wood used by the craftsmen literally translates as “water tree”. Still, others have noted that they’ve been used as massage tools in the hot springs where these dolls were first made.

Already I know I have to fix the eyes–right now she could pass for    Princess Leia; add some flowers in her hair. I’m quite excited about this one–especially at the thought of embroidering the kimono. It’s also the first time I will be integrating non-felt fabrics into my project. I can already see a series of  dolls, one in blackwork, and maybe even some 12-inch bookends…