Sunday, February 27, 2011

Some finished products

I'm pretty sure I've talked about these guys before, but I finally took some pictures of them.  I made Bob the zombie completely by hand.  He was made using the tutorial at  I went through the fabric I had lying around.  I used greenish blue fleece for the body and some stretchy green material for his head and hands and feet.  I made his hair out of some grey yarn that I found.  I had a bit of trouble with the hands and feet.  I couldn't make them the way they said to.  I ended up sewing them together down the sides the way they tell you to do the head.  I found that trying to make a ball of stuffing and place it into the square of fabric you cut for the hands and feet was a little bit difficult.  So I sewed in a small seam and it made it a whole lot easier.  I hand sewed the whole thing because I was having sewing machine issues at the time, but it turned out fine.  This was also the first time I ever tried a face.  I used embroidery floss to make the eyes and mouth.  It was easier than I thought it was going to be.  My daughter was a little put off by him at first.  She liked him until I added his face and then all of a sudden she found him too weird.  She warmed up to him eventually and he found a spot in her giant pile of stuffed animals in her room.  Here's a few pictures of Bob the zombie....

The second finished stuffie is Reddy the red guy.  I was at work thinking about what to make next when I came up with this idea.  I had been watching "Repo: the genetic opera" the night before and in that movie there is a character that wears other people's faces.  It made me think of the shy guys from super mario bros. I drew up a pattern the next day and decided to use it to test out my sewing machine and see if I could fix the problems I was having before I used it on the main projects I was already working on.  It worked out, but didn't turn out exactly the way I wanted it to.  I should have added a little more of a seam allowance.  Oh well live and learn.  I hand sewed on his face mask.  Here's a picture..

So these guys are finished.  Unfortunately I still haven't finished the doll I have been working on, or the bear.  I really have to get some inspiration soon.  I just haven't had the drive to do anything.  My wife got a little upset with me when I told my daughter that I would make her a bear.  She told me that I shouldn't keep adding to my daughter's stuffed animal collection.  I told her that she will always get one of everything I make, because I would keep one for myself anyway, so why not give them to her.  I think we just agreed to disagree on this point.  I won't stop making stuff for my daughter.  She's my inspiration for all this anyway.  We'll have to wait and see what happens.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sewing machines

I just have to say that the learning curve on sewing machines is very steep.  Especially if you figure that you've got it figured out and don't bother to ask questions or read the manual.  If one of the tools in my workshop were to give me this much trouble I would probably throw it out.

I started on making the bear last week.  I drew out the pattern I wanted on some poster board and traced it onto the fabric.  I drew in a seam allowance and pinned the two pieces of fabric together and cut it out.  Then I began sewing.  I got about half way up one side of the body when the problems started.  I kept getting little nests of thread on the bottom of the fabric.  Then the thread would break on me.  Then the bobbin would stop working altogether.  I tried rethreading everything.  I tried rewinding a new bobbin.  I tried everything I could think of and then almost threw the sewing machine out the window.

Then I decided to check out and see what I could find there.  I found out that if you are having a problem with the bottom of the fabric then it is probably a problem with the top thread.  Who would have guessed?  So I rethreaded the top again.  Then I read something about the tension being a too high for the material you are working with.  I have never played with the tension on my machine.  There is a dial in the front which I hadn't touched since I pulled it out of the box.  I looked at the dial and realized it was set at 8.  I looked in the manual for a guide on thread tension.  There was nothing, but the pictures there for the general sewing settings showed the dial at 4.  So I adjusted the tension down to 4.  This was all 3 days after I almost gave up on the whole thing.  It worked like a charm.  I finished the bear with no problems and am now in the middle of stuffing him.

The whole thing makes me feel a little stupid.  I really have to pay more attention to what I am doing.  I have to start realizing that the sewing machine is a tool and deserves respect.  Maybe then I can make a few more bears, because I know once my girl sees this one she's gonna want more.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I went looking around on the net and found an amazing site for crafts and sewing.  It's Craftster.  Oh what a site it is.  This is probably the best site I have found in a long time.  I'm addicted.  I go on everyday and just troll for hours.  The downfall with it is I have to have 10 posts before I can put up any pictures.  That's slightly annoying, but they want to make sure I'm not a spam bot and I can understand that.  It has given me a ton of ideas though. I highly recommend it.

I have been sewing away at the dolly and having a good time.  The body is complete.  I did manage to sew one of the feet on backwards when I attached the legs, but that's fixed now.  I'm currently working on the face.  Then I have to fill the head and the body and attach them.  Then it's on to the hair.

I bought some crazy yarn at Zellers last weekend.  I can't wait to see if it will work for the hair.  I found a great tutorial on hair making.  It's actually for a different type of doll, but it should translate over fine for what I am working on.

Of course I have an idea burning in the back of my head and it's been there all week.  So I have to put the doll on hold today and try this out.  When I went to Craftster the first time I found an article about teddy bears.  I checked it out and it had a list of non traditional teddy bears that the author had found around the net.  On, and a few other places.  I loved the creativity in them.  I never would have imagined that teddy bears could be anything but the traditional teddy bear.  You know how you get an idea in your head of how something should look and you never see it any other way.

When I was a kid I had tons of stuffed animals.  I loved my teddy bears very much.  My siblings were older than me and I usually spent my time playing alone with my bears.  I want to create a bear for my daughter.  Something that she can play with that seems like it would be a good friend.  Maybe I'm just overthinking this.  A traditional teddy bear is a lot of work.  And requires a few skills I don't have yet.  I think I'm gonna go non-traditional and make a bear that is huggable, soft and easily identifiable as a bear, but not your traditional everyday teddy.

Of course I also have some other ideas for this bear pattern which may be pretty neat.  Let's see how it turns out before I start thinking about making a super bear or a ninja bear though.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sewing machine

Well the new sewing machine sucked.  I couldn't get the bobbin to work.  The wife couldn't get it to work either.  I checked the net and there was absolutely no help for me there either.  So today I checked the net for help with my original sewing machine and found a youtube video on how to get it threaded.  I followed all the directions to the letter and it worked like a charm.  I'm soo happy that I was able to get the big sewing machine working.

I started in on the doll right away.  So far it is going well.  we'll see how it ends up.  The moral of the story, I guess, is if you have a problem with a machine or anything like that check youtube.  You never know what you might find.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


In this cold weather I can't really get out to my workshop without freezing my butt off, so I decided to spend some time inside.  I have made two softies before so I figured why not try some more.  I went looking on the internet for some patterns and ideas.  The first softy I made was Texi.  I believe there is already a picture of him in the last post.  The second was a doll(link is in previous post).  I finished the doll the other day.  Put a face on him and everything.  So now it's off to another project.

I found a doll pattern on the net that I kinda liked and changed it to suit my style.  The end result was basically a mix of two different patterns that I saw.  Google image search will pull up some amazing things if you take the time to look through them.  I drew out what I wanted in my sketch book and then drew out the pieces onto some poster board.  Traced them onto some fabric and am ready to go.

So far I have done a lot of hand sewing on my last projects.  My sewing machine was apparently a piece of garbage and I lost the receipt so not sure what to do there.  I went out and bought an easy stitcher.  It's a sort of mini sewing machine.  I think it's made by singer.  It should be good enough to sew together the doll I'm working on, so we'll see how that goes tomorrow.  I might just draw up a small softy to try first so I don't screw up the doll.

All these ideas.  I love making things for my daughter.  She also loves when I make her things, so it's win win.  I'll let you know how the new sewing machine works out.  And of course I'll post a few pics to show off the new toys.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The things I make

Well christmas is over.  I didn't get done all the things that I had hoped to get done, but I can thank my appendix for that.  I ended up in the hospital on the 22nd and had to have my appendix removed.  That put a stop to any more projects being finished.  The way I figure it though I will take the time to work on them when I can and give out what would have been the christmas presents throughout the year.  It will be fun.

I did manage to finish the doll cradles, with help from my wife who painted them for me on christmas eve.  The girls were very happy with them.  I made them out of 3/4" spruce plywood.  The design was inspired by someone else, but I drew up my own version.  They are 9" wide by 18" long.  Next time I think I will make them wider though.  They tip over if the girls aren't careful playing with them.

I had to hand sew the pillows and the mattresses because the sewing machine broke on me, but with help from my wife we were able to do it.  The mattresses ended up a little poofy, but they will flatten out with use and eventually cover the bottom of the cradles.  It was a fun experience and I think they turned out great.  The girls loved them too.

Speaking of sewing.  I finally finished another craft project that I had been working on for quite some time.  Last winter I bought a sewing machine and decided to make some stuffed toys for my little girl.  She absolutely loves her stuffed animals.  I came up with my own design and bought a bunch of fabric.  I managed to get my first creation mostly completed but life got in the way and it was never finished.  After my appendix surgery I couldn't lift anything or really get up from my chair, so I decided sewing was the way to go.  I grabbed my sewing kit and finished off the project.  Finally.  My daughter has named him Texi and he is greatly loved.

I don't think he turned out too bad for my first try.  After he was finished I started looking around on the internet for more ideas.  I looked through many craft blogs and softies and plushies websites and found some really amazing stuff.  I decided to start with a doll.  I got the basics from a craft blog.
I made mine out of blue fleece and green nylon type material for the head and hands.  It's turning out really cool.  Just needs a face.  My daughter already found him and spent the day carrying him everywhere even without a face.  I have the plans for a girl doll already drawn up and can't wait to start it.  It's going to be a very crafty and creative year this year.  I can already feel the excitement.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Doll Cradles and more

The madness has started and of course that means I haven't had time to post anything here.  Not that anybody's reading it anyway, but this is a great way for me to sort out the ideas that I have running around in my head.

I like to have more than one project on the go at one time.  That way if I have to stop a project due to gluing or whatever I have something to do while I wait.  I have quite a few things running right now.  I decided, in my ultimate wisdom, to make doll cradles for my daughter and my friends daughter.  So that has taken precedent over everything else at the moment just so I can see if I can actually do it.

I kept things simple.  I'm using 3/4" plywood for the end pieces and 1/2" ply for the sides.  The idea and part of the design came from a post of the Scrollsaw woodworking and crafts forum where someone posted pictures of doll cradles he had made.  I liked the idea so much I decided to do one myself.  I took some measurements of my daughters cabbage patch kid, as it is the biggest doll she has, and went from there.  I kept the design fairly small so I could cut the circular parts and some of the more intricate things on the scroll saw.  So far the first one is turning out ok.  We'll have to wait and see what the end result will be like.  I like my design so it should be alright.

Of course I also have the dump trucks and the puzzles to do.  Not to mention the two projects I can't mention on here because my wife might read it and it will ruin the surprise.  One for her and one for her mom who is coming for Christmas.  Oh the fun.  At least I love doing this and of course all these things are being made for people that I love, so it makes it all worth while.  I hope everybody likes their presents when they finally get them.