Friday, December 30, 2011

My first commission!

Someone who saw me knitting it loved Eric's scarf so much that he's commissioned me to make the same exact one for him!  So... my very first knitting sale!

... once it's done.

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Sumo's Sweet Stuff

New in the Reef Botanicals Handmade Artists Shop!

Patterns and toys!

You can buy the 29-page pattern, instructions, and photos to make your own Busy Book here.  This includes the pattern for the dinosaur puzzle.

Or you can buy the pattern for the Dinosaur Puzzle alone here.

You can buy a set of Numbered Beanbags here.

And you can buy a set of Jumbo Dolphin Crayons here.


Monday, December 26, 2011


I can do cables!

Now I feel like I can do anything.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Handmade Holidays, Part 7: Last, but Not Least

I couldn't post anything about this before Christmas, 'cause Eric reads this blog.

Remember when I took knitting lessons and then knitted some mice?

Well, Eric's been lobbying for a sweater ever since.  I told him I had neither the time nor the expertise, but decided to try it anyway.  Today, in addition to the cheese making supplies I bought him, I gave him the scarf, and he loves it!  I finished it just in time, on the morning of Christmas Eve.  Talk about down to the wire, right?

I used Homespun in Prairie, since I loved the colors.

It was slow going at first, especially since I'd never done ribbing before, but then I started to get the swing of it.  I remember I was all impressed with myself when I had just 24" done.

Finally, I had all 69" (it was supposed to be 66", but I went a tad overboard).

The pattern I sort of followed had a 2-2-4-4-4-4-4-4-4-2-2 ribbing pattern, but I decided to add 10 rows in stockinette on each end.

Finally yesterday in the early afternoon, I was able to box and wrap it, and get it under the tree.

Eric loves it!

Now he thinks he's a model.

Well, hell, I did make him look good, after all.  And now?  Someone who saw me knitting it has ordered one from me too!  My first scarf sale!

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Handmade Holidays, Part 6: More Beanbags

Since I have two nephews, I did two sets of beanbags.  This one's in green, with a green bag with dinosaur lining.

Huzzah for another gift done, just in the nick of time!

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Dragonfly Designs

Friday, December 23, 2011

Want a Dinosaur Puzzle?

Like this one, I mean.  Well, you can make your own, 'cause the pattern and instructions are now in the Reef Botanicals HAFShop!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Handmade Holidays, Part 5: Biggest Undertaking Ever

That's not entirely true.  Not the undertaking part, the holiday part.  My nephew's 2nd birthday is today, and this is actually about his birthday gift.

A busy book.

I'd wanted to do this for a while, but had no idea how intense this would get, how involved.  This was a lot of work!  See, I wanted to design my own, not use someone else's pattern.  That's not to say I didn't search online for ideas.  Of course I did.  I took bits and pieces of inspiration from some of those, as well as from other places, and from my own head too.

Anyway, here's what I came up with.  Page one, I did color-matching flowers that are held on by velcro.  And the stems are attached to the "separate" flower heads to hold them to the book.

And yes, throughout this whole thing, I hand drew the designs onto paper, then pinned them to the fabric and cut them out, then sewed them on.  Some were topstitched like the felt on this flowerpot page, some weren't.

On to pages two and three.

Page two is a pair of denim shorts with a belt that buckles and unbuckles.  I used my own jeans for the shorts and the waistband of a shirt for the belt, but any thick fabric would do.  It just happened to be the absolute perfect width for the 1" buckle I bought.

For some reason, this page intimidated me before I did it... then it turned out to be perfectly fine and fairly easy.

Page three is my car with snap-on wheels.

The wheels, headlight, and bumpers are felt, but the car body is a really soft velour.  I'm sure my nephew will love the feel of it, but man was it a pain to work with!

Ah, pages four and five.  The pages to teach buttoning and tying.  The pocket, made from the same shirt as the belt on page two, didn't worry me at all, but the fabric proved difficult and the way I wanted it sewn wasn't as easy as I thought it'd be.  And that, my friends, is my very first buttonhole.

Meanwhile, the sneaker, designed by looking at my own Keds, was the last page I completed and most to scare the ever-living daylights out of me.  In the end?  A breeze!  The "toughest" part of that page was hitting the store to purchase the grommet pliers.  Oh, and using crazy glue to make the ends of the laces stiff and keep them from fraying.  It worked, but I did it with my bare fingers and then spent the next day and a half scraping crazy glue off because I don't happen to have nailpolish remover.

Pages six and seven, the zipper page and the clock.  To get a zipper involved, I made a jacket from another old shirt, with felt collar, cuffs, and waistband.

The clock face is made from a shiny, slippery shirt fabric.  The grommet pliers came in handy again on this one, so the clock hands are moveable to teach time.

Last, but definitely not least, page eight.  I had no idea what to do with page eight, but I didn't want a blank page.  I also didn't want to be repetitive and had already addressed buttons, velcro, zippers, snaps, and everything else I could think of.

So, I did a gift within a gift.  I made a pocket out of this fab dinosaur fabric I have.

And in that pocket... a puzzle!

And yes, another button, but for this one I did a loop closure, so it's still something new.

Anyway, on to the puzzle.  It's felt.  It's several layers, and it's dinosaurs.

Measuring 10"x15", it's cut into 8 pieces and features a pterodactyl, a stegosaurus, and a plesiosaur.  I figured one air, one land, and one sea dinosaur would be fitting.  The pieces fit nicely into the dinosaur pocket, too.  And it turns out my nephew loves dinosaurs!  So it's perfect.

I didn't want to leave the cover blank, so I hand-embroidered a title for it.

And I gave it a ribbon-tie closure.

After all that work, I couldn't use my design just once.  So you can purchase the extensive instructions and .pdf patterns for the entire thing in the Reef Botanicals Handmade Artists Shop! Or you can also get the instructions and pattern for the puzzle separately, in case anyone wants just that.

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