Friday, February 4, 2011

Not Quite Elvis

I've been wanting to practice sewing with my new machine so I decided to try and make some famous silhouettes.  I figured that this would give me some experience with very simple toy making while, hopefully, creating some cute little toys that I can give as gifts.  My first attempt was the king himself, Elvis Presley.  I looked around online for profile shots of him that really emphasized the pompadour.  I settled on this one:

I printed it, cut it out and played around with resizing on the copier until I had to a size that I thought was big enough.  It ended up covering two sheets of paper that I cut out and taped together.

Once I had the template done I pinned it to a square of good quality felt and cut around it.  Repeat.  Next I pinned the halves together and had a go around the edges with the sewing machine leaving a space for me to turn it right side out.

Unfortunately, the final result looks nothing like Elvis and had some sewing issues that I'm going to have to try and work out with practice.  The curve to the back of the head had a lot of puckering, the hand sewn bottom that I'd left open to turn was all kinds of wonky and the face was way too delicate to translate to the felt form.  The features just get lost and the pompadour just looks like a weird bulge.  But at least I've gotten some experience and gained a little knowledge.  I still like the idea of using silhouettes but I know that the next one is going to need to be much more exaggerated to get the point across.  I'm trying to decide between Lincoln, Hitchock and Sherlock Holmes.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Zombie Card

Chris drew this awesome card to send along with my tiny zombie to our friends. He's drawn these sort of cards for several other toys that I've made and I absolutely love his style.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


A few weeks back I made the most delicious apple pie. I'm very new to pie making but I got some pie pans for Christmas and wanted to give them a try. The last apple pie I made was in a cheesecake pan to give you an idea of what I was working with. Just a note that while a cheesecake pan gives lots of room for a super deep dish apple pie don't expect to ever be able to get a slice out of the thing.

I made a simple butter crust, trying my best to keep everything involved as cold as possible. I used granny smith apples tossed in a quick sugar/flour/cinnamon mixture. I did some snowflake cutouts from the top crust and threw on a sanding of sugar to try and class it up a little. It's definitely my best looking pie to date and it was pretty damn tasty, too, if I do say so.

I made a pecan pie for Chris at the same time. Unfortunately, it was not a very photogenic pie so you'll just have to take my word that it existed. It made up for it's generally homeliness by tasting awesome. Everytime I make a pecan pie I'm shocked at the sheer simplicity of it. There's maybe five ingredients tossed in a mixer and sprinkled with crushed pecans (preferred in our household over whole pecans).

Pies may not be the quickest treat to whip up but I'm looking forward to making my next one.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tiny Braaaainss!!

I'm no stranger to zombie making as you can see above. I made that guy in January of 2009 from the Corporate Zombie pattern in Creepy Cute Crochet. That was probably my favorite pattern that I've made so far from the book.

Well, two friends of mine recently moved all the way to San Francisco. These friends had really liked my original zombie and we had joked that I would teach them how to crochet so that they could make an army of zombies and leave them randomly around New York City to create a full on zombie invasion and maybe make someones day more interesting. So I never got a chance to teach either of them to crochet but I decided to make them a tiny zombie as a way to say that we missed them and maybe I'll send them a few more zombies throughout the year and they can start their zombie apocalypse on the West Coast.

I'm really happy with how the tiny zombie came out. The Oreo gives you a sense of scale. This was a very tiny zombie. I wasn't sure if the pattern would hold up this small but I was pleasantly surprised. I think that the details are still cute and aren't so small that they get lost. I think the next zombie's going to be a girl just to switch things up.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Swallowtail Shawl

I just finished knitting The Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark for my Chris' Gram. I am in love with this pattern.

I knit it in Lion Brand Wool-Ease and it took just a tiny bit over two balls of yarn on size 10 needles. I mostly make toys so I'm like the opposite of a yarn snob. I love a good multi-use, work-horse sort of yarn and Lion Brand Wool-Ease (and Vanna's Choice) are my favorite picks for this. It's only about $3 a ball with a great range of colors and great continuity between dye lots. So for under $10 I've got this gorgeous shawl that's big, comfy and super soft and almost an entire ball left over that I'm thinking might become a pig or maybe some baby clothes for my new niece.

I was nervous when I started the section above with the lily of the valley nubbs because it seemed from the comments like other knitters ran into some trouble with this section. It did take a little while to get the hang of but I think it's so pretty. This section really sets the pattern apart from more basic shawls.

I definitely want to make this again although I might have to try a few different ways to wear it. I tried the shawl on for Chris in the typical over the shoulders shawl way and he said, "wow, that's just added 10 years to you." So I need to find a shawl that doesn't scream grandma. Any ideas?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Photo of the day

I took an art history class one summer in college. One of my fellow students was taking a painting class and asked to draw me in profile. She said I had a very distinctive nose. The professor overheard the discussion after class and told me that I should be proud of my nose. He said that Napoleon would only promote people who had prominant noses because he thought it was a sign of strength of character. It's entirely possible that my professor was making that up. He was pretty weird. Even if he wasn't Napoleon was pretty weird but it did make me look at myself a little differently.

Photo of the Day