Wednesday, January 14, 2015

the Twelve Days bundle and a vague but hopeful timeline

As promised, the discounted bundle of the first three patterns is now in the Etsy shop. And also the Craftsy shop! I'll continue to create bundles as I release the patterns. There will be a future bundle of patterns 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. I think I'll probably offer bundles of six patterns (1-6 and 7-12) and of course at last a bundle of all twelve patterns once the series is complete. That will be a very happy day! :-)

Timeline: Many folks have asked me when they can expect the series to be completed. I'm shooting for late 2016, if I possibly can. I have nine more patterns to go, so that may not happen if I take an honest look at my turnaround time for each pattern and trying to fit it in around life, the universe and everything. Colly Bird, number 4 in the series, is the next one to be released and I hope hope hope to have it released in February. My goal for 2015 is to release numbers 4, 5, 6 and possibly 7. Crossing fingers!

The design process for each ornament sometimes happens quickly and everything just falls into place like magic and tiny, animated forest animals come and help me clean up the studio as I admire the first perfect sample made from my sketch. More often *coughgoosealayingcough* I make it and hate it, make it and hate it, make it and hate it. That's just how it goes, can I get an amen. I'm really looking forward to tackling the maids and lords and pipers. It will make a nice change from birds. However, I anticipate one of those tricky Hate It Make It Again cycles as I transition to humanoids. I want it all to look like a cohesive set so that will take some finessing and some really strong coffee.

Thanks so much for your interest and encouragement in this series. I love it so much and I'm glad that you do too! I want each one to be special and just right. The completed set will make for lots of cozy, handmade Christmas crafting in front of the fire.

(Click through if you missed the sneak peek of numbers five and six after Christmas. Number four, colly bird, has had a redesign since I made the first one, so the new one looks a bit (maybe a lot) different but alas, you have to wait to see it until I get some samples made.)

Monday, January 12, 2015

curated felt color collection for French Hen ornaments

Felt bundle photos courtesy of Benzie Design

This ten-color collection of felt and floss especially made for my French Hen pattern has been available in Benzie Design's shop for a few weeks but now I have some gorgeous photos to show you of the bundle itself. Isn't it pretty?

Benzie felt colors: 
Blue Spruce
Bronze (This color is being discontinued. Boo! Buy while you can.)

Now I can share the floss colors I used for the contrast embroidery, just in case you'd like to make two ornaments that look like mine shown above! See below.

You can purchase this Benzie felt bundle with or without the matching flosses. You'll need matching floss anyway to sew your ornaments together, so having the pre-matched flosses comes in handy! NOTE: You will still need to purchase floss for the contrast decorative embroidery. See colors below.

Copper/gold/blue French Hen contrast embroidery colors:
DMC 3852 (V Dk Straw)
DMC 3844 (Dk Bright Turquoise)
DMC 3846 (Lt Bright Turquoise)
DMC 608 (Bright Orange)
DMC 902 (V Dark Garnet
DMC 919 (Red Copper)
DMC Black

Aqua/green/blue French Hen contrast embroidery colors:
DMC White
DMC 580 (Dk Moss Green)
DMC 3812 (V Dk Seagreen)
DMC 3847 (Dk Teal Green)
DMC 907 (Lt Parrot Green)
DMC 891 (Dk Carnation)
DMC Black

Within the same Benzie Etsy listing are pull down menu options to purchase the previous 12 Days collections also. See my posts about those colors here:
Partridge & Pear
Turtle Dove

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2014 in review

Keep scrolling! I had to split the image in two.
(In no particular order.) Bit tardy with the 'year in review' post, but it's still January so it counts. 2014 was a great year, highlighted in a big way by my trip to Rio. Lots of fun making, designing and 12 Days pattern releases. It was the Year Of The Ornament. I predict that this year and the next will also have that title. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride.

Friday, January 2, 2015

handmade gifts 2014: penguin ornaments for thing 1 and thing 2

My last handmade gift post for 2014. Two more penguin ornaments, this time for my two sweet girls. They get such a huge kick out of decorating the tree with special ornaments and I can't believe I haven't made them more. It warmed the cockles of my heart to hear them oohing and ahhing over last year's princesses as they came out of storage this year.

This short, fat one is for my youngest girl. As I made her I imagined she's a very girly, pink-wearing, sweet eating sort of penguin and refuses to go anywhere without her stuffed polar bear, Mr Bibbins. She's wobbling around on her first pair of ice skates and very proud of that.

This taller pengy is for my oldest. I imagine her as a more patient and adventurous 12 year old sort of penguin who likes to ice fish and gaze into sunsets as the wind ruffles her feathers. Her momma makes her take her pesky little sister along on all her outings. Such is the life of a preteen penguin.

These two were made in the same way as the earlier ones, with hand painted pinecones, painted wood beads, stiffened felt, and pipe cleaners. This time I added poms for feet and made the blades from tinsel pipe cleaners.

Here are my dear Things 1 and 2 getting some no doubt good advice from Santa. I hope they listened! They can talk to their therapist later about how their mom still takes them to get a picture with Santa.

So that's a wrap up of all the manic handmade gifting this year. I hope you all had a great new year's celebration. I've spent the day putting away all the Christmas things and orienting my brain into 2015. It's not taking very well. I need more egg nog! Who drank all the egg nog?

Oh yeah. That was me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

handmade gifts 2014: downhill skier ornament for trent

Nephew Trent received this downhill skier made from wood beads, toothpicks, pinecone, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, wool felt and a jingle bell.

It was fun to put together. Same pattern as the previous pinecone elf ornaments, only this time more athletic!

Monday, December 29, 2014

handmade gifts 2014: penguin ornaments for asher and gage

When I saw the MS pinecone penguins I was charmed and then determined to make my own version. I didn't follow their tutorial because I wanted to use painted wooden beads for the heads and stiffened black felt for the wings and feet instead of acorn caps and pinecone petals. So I made it up as I went along.

The tall ornament is for big brother Gage and shorty is for little brother Asher.

I used the bead hole on the front of the faces to insert cotton pipe cleaner beaks. I painted store bought pinecones with white acrylic paint on the tips only and then hot glued the finished heads, wings and feet. The fun part was adding the tiny ear muffs, scarves and hat.

They look cute from behind too. Especially shorty. The hole on the back of the head was a convenient place to add the hanging loop after I inserted a twisted black pipe cleaner.

More penguins coming!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

handmade gifts 2014: replacement doll for audrey

Meet Amelia. A little bird told me a few months ago that a certain puffy green doll was lost in the move and that there was sadness. Well, we can't have that. While I couldn't remake the doll to match Miss MIA, I did make her a red-haired sister. Blue, flowery and not as poofy puffy. I was excited about this at first but I hope that doesn't create more sadness. You never know with these things. There may be green terry cloth nostalgia to overcome.

You can't really tell but she also has pink streaks in her hair. I thought Audrey might like that. I tell ya, I made a royal hash of the hair at first and you can probably tell if you look closely (so don't look closely). It has been six years since I made the first doll and the instructions are a study in brevity. They don't include tips for the long hair so I have no idea how I did it for the first doll. This doll does have hair, and it is sewn on in places, so I'm calling it a win.

If you make the Martha doll, be sure to use very stretchy jersey knit for the head, hands and feet. Also it's very helpful to sew a basting circle on the feet and hand squares to use for gathering, draw them up, tie them off, and then stuff them, not the other way round. I didn't use batting to fill them as instructed, I used polyfil for the whole doll.

I think the pocket on the original doll was intended for baby teeth. This doll has a wee little pocket too, which is still good for teeth or whatever tiny treasure needs to hide there. Maybe small, folded, very secret lists.