I’m Back And Hobbling For A Reason

Though I’ve been absent, my brain has been mulling. Churning to the point where I can no longer avoid talking to you because of some bad experience blogging for an internet marketing business that’s not worth it’s weight in chewed on Styrofoam cups.

 

UNPAID INTERNSHIPS = FREE LABOR at least in my case

(also my right hand kinda goes cold and numb if I type too long. Boo for that.) Regardless I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m letting that crap hold me back from doing something I actually love. Write, even if just for the hell of it.

So much has changed since last we spoke!

  • I’ve moved into the best apartment ever in Andersonville, Chicago, with the most fabulous landlord that wears sparkly earmuffs and Monkee’s tshirts. She’s fantastic.
  • I have new doctors actually making an effort to figure me out. Crackly mold lungs, super sleepiness, short term memory loss, numb right hand etc, all on the table for dissection. (edit: Both my shoulders are jacked up making it hard to type for very long… so blogs might take a min as I have to stop every time I can no longer feel my fingers. Just saying.)

    milwaukee trip '14

    Coors brew plant. Not all our drinks, I swear.

  • Have the best boyfriend ever. Ever. My mother calls him a gift from God even though she hasn’t met him yet.
  • I’m learning a lot about the needs of the communities on Chicago’s South Side and developing ideas to help give the youth there a voice of their own outside their limited environment.
  • Oh, and I learned to knit. It’s fun, and I give most of it away to kids who needed some warmth during this last year’s polar vortex crap. Seriously, my hair froze.

The point is, I’m back. I love this and I love talking with you, so I don’t intend on going anywhere soon.

Next blog, trying to save my friend from death by selling everything I make on Etsy. It’s a thought right?

so this is something I make pretty frequently.

so this is something I make pretty frequently.

 

Let me know what you think about that last thing, or if you have a physical therapist that accepts Medicaid. Seriously. 

I need input. Talk to me people.

Weirdness and best intentions.

Annalise

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
― Anne Frankdiary of Anne Frank

Chicago Had A Makers Faire?

makers faireHow did I miss this Chicago?!?!?!   There was a Mini Makers Faire here on May 18th on the North Side (where I happen to live) and I somehow missed it. Why? Maybe I live in a little bubble of my own that includes me, my computer, the cats, and a bunch of tea. If that is true I should be ashamed, but if not, this thing was definitely not well publicized.

The artsy craftsy scene is this town is pretty prevalent, as is every other niche you could possible want to wiggle your way into, but I think it needs to work a little harder. This is festival season people! The only reason I am a bit perturbed is that I looked at the other cities that held similar events, including my old hometowns, and I was for once jealous of the people who still live there. Bay Area, Orange County, San Luis Obispo, they all had one large or multiple events.

Bay Area Faire

Bay Area Faire

This thing even reaches internationally.

Victoria BC... we're letting Canada beat us people.

Victoria BC… we’re letting Canada beat us people.

Chicago, how did we fall behind! Someone gather up some gumption and do it again, I’ll help I promise.

Do it big. Do it right.

And don’t do it in Wicker Park, the hipsters would bum everyone out.

Fortune Cookie Dreams and Felt Creations

We had Chinese tonight from a place in Uptown with food good enough that it makes the terrible service almost tolerable. Of course there had to be fortune cookies. Aren’t there always? And every time that happens I start thinking about one of my favorite unrealistic dream jobs. I have quite a few of these if you must know. My first response to “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was, “I want to be a flower giver.” A flower giver. I wanted to go around and give strangers pretty flowers to make them happy. (I’ve actually done this before,  and I have to say it was pretty awesome). But that’s not the job I currently have in mind.

I would love to get away with being a Fortune Cookie Writer. Best job ever, right?

I would revolutionize fortune cookies for the world. It would be brave and new if you know what I mean. Skip all that daily affirmation junk, there is a big part of me that would love for someone to open up their cookie as they wait for their check and see this:

fortune cookie carsteal

I would be so utterly pleased to sit and type:

“Don’t look behind you.”

“Pretty sure you left the iron on.”

“Meet me at 1060 W. Addison at midnight, no cops.”

“Hope you weren’t expecting a ring.”

OK, sometimes my dream jobs are a little silly, but they wouldn’t be unrealistically far-fetched if they weren’t ideals.

After day dreaming and eating a cookie to two, I decided I would figure out how to make my own. Kinda.

I’m not much of a baker, so I started with the excess of felt lying around in this place and made some fuzzy ones. Easiest craft every by the way. Here’s how.

half done cookie

What You’ll Need

  • Felt
  • Embroidery Thread
  • A Glass (or something else round to make a circle with)
  • Stuffing Of Some Sort
  • Needle and Scissors

First cut out your circle and fold it in half.

Sew a little bit from the bottom up the center (see picture)

Fold Half the other way and you’ll start to see the cookie form.

I stitched around the edge with a blanket stitch leaving enough room for me to stuff a fist full of stuffing in through one corner and close it up.

So easy you don’t even need a template. Here’s what I ended up with:

guess which one's are felt...

guess which one’s are felt…

I think next time I’ll add little fortune tails on them. What fortunes would you write?

Love and stale cookies

“An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Mice and Headless Penguins

It has been few days since any real posting of mine. My schedule filled up with all kinds of animals to look after this weekend and once I got home and showered off all the accumulated disgusting, I wasn’t exactly focused enough to type things for fun. But I’m back, and here is what I did in my slightly dazed state.

Late last week I decided to try a pattern I found online for a sort of standing/sitting mouse toy for the cats. Since they love their other mice and fish so much I figured why not! But instead of a cute little mouse catnip toy I ended up with this:

The Headless Penguin

The Headless Penguin

THE HEADLESS PENGUIN, as he is now endearingly known in this household, is a big hit with the kittens, but a huge failure when it comes to actually being a mouse (of any recognizable shape or even abstract form).

At that point I threw the Headless Penguin into the cat toy basket and became determined to create a template for a mouse that when sewn together is recognizable. So, while decompressing from taking care of a load of cats all over the city (one of which acts like she needs an exorcist every time I enter her house), I toyed with how to fix the penguin problem and finally came up with this little guy,  and an easy pattern with instructions right on it to share with you.

he's a little goofy looking, but who's not?

He’s a little silly in the face, I realize this, and can definitely be toyed around with a bit (bigger ears, 3D arms, etc), but at least he has a full body and head. I apologize that he’s in all black. I’m running seriously low on anything with color in it. The fabric store is a little difficult to get to, and so is money at this point, so black is back for now.

Here’s the pattern to print in case you want one of these littles all your own.

standing mouse templateHere’s What You Need for the project

  • Felt in whatever color strikes your fancy
  • embroidery thread
  • stuffing of your choice
  • scissors, pins, needle
  • your favorite show to keep your brain busy while you piece it all together. Personally, the mouse took me about an episode of Supernatural. I’m going to miss those boys when it’s over.

It’s that easy. Simmy, my cat, wouldn’t wake up long enough to model it for me, so I used him as a cute platform with which to display my end result.

IMAG3155-1

Don’t feel too bad for him, he threw up in my hair about 2 hours later.

“There are still many more days of failure ahead, whole seasons of failure, things will go terribly wrong, you will have huge disappointments, but you have to prepare for that, you have to expect it and be resolute and follow your own path.”
Anton Chekhov

Starting Again: Andersonville

I’m sure I’ll expand on this later because it’s potentially pretty exciting. I spent today running between clients and real estate agents and now I’m pretty exhausted. HOWEVER! We are pretty sure we found a place we want that may want us back. As of  this moment, Operation Andersonville is in motion.AndersonvillePoster

What does this mean you ask? Well…

  1. Some serious spring cleaning and mass purging of things I probably haven’t used or seen since we moved in here 2 years ago.
  2. Somehow moving all my crap with a rib still on the mend…
  3. A BRAND NEW APARTMENT to make my very own while freaking out the cats as little as possible.
  4. and most importantly, a brand new fantastic location right off Clark with all the cozy bars and quirky shops to make a fresh start with.
  5. Oh, and Ann Sather’s. They are going to make it super hard to not eat sugar…
Somehow that's a side to them. Like a fruit plate or toast is a side. No logic in sugar.

Ann Sather’s. Somehow that’s a side to them. Like a fruit plate or toast is a side. No logic in sugar.

There’s so much more to say about the place, it’s light and airy with actual counter space (rare in Chicago apartments), but I have to get up early tomorrow and give a big fat cat some insulin and kisses, so I’m stopping this blurb and getting some rest.

I really look forward to sharing this new adventure with everyone. I want to talk about the puppet bike (click link for fabulous video), Hamburger Mary’s bingo nights, my upcoming DIY adventures, and how my living a block from Starbucks is going to make stock values skyrocket. Invest now, I have no self control. But all of that soon enough.

Anyone want to help me pack?

“The extent of your consciousness is limited only by your ability to love and to embrace with your love the space around you, and all it contains.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

Goldfish Toys For All!

Ok, really the toy is just for cats. I made mine for my little 9-year-old Grey Davis who has been rolling around with it since I finished the last few stitcIsn't she sweethes.  I also made a bird, but it looks a little odd, so I’ll have to improve upon it before exposing it to the world.

Anyway, I still have an excess of felt laying around that I’m trying to craftify my way through, so I found this template at My Fantastic Toy blog after searching for a while online. The only thing I didn’t appreciate about it was the format. The patterns are overlapping, so you have to print two of them in order to get the full pattern. It doesn’t so much effect the fish, but with the other patterns on the site it does make a difference.

fish template My plethora of felt does not include gold, so my fishie is black and pink, but I’m not into giving staunch boundaries and parameters to creative efforts, so do what makes you happy.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Felt in whatever colors you choose
  • embroidery floss
  • scissors, needle and pins

    Ladder Stitch

    Ladder Stitch

  • stuffing (cotton balls work too)
  • catnip (optional)
  • eyes to be sewn on (not recommended*)

*I don’t really think that adding the eyes is exactly a great idea. Working with animals for so long, I’ve seen some strange things get swallowed by cats and dogs alike (ex. golf balls, crunchy toys, gorilla glue, etc). Depblack and pink fishieending on how the item decides to go through (or get stuck), the vet trip ends up being an expensive one. 

HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  • First you’re going to put one of the sides and the bottom together, and pin a side together right side in then sew a ladder stitch nose to tail. (I didn’t like any of the ladder stitch images I found, so I made my own for you above in case you need a reference)
  • Then pin the other side and the bottom together, right side in still, and stitch from tail to nose.
  • Turn right side out and continue your ladder stitch half way over the top of the two sides leaving enough space to stuff later on.
  • At this point grab one of your fins and attach one to each side securely with the same ladder stitch. This stitch is great because when pulled tight it is barely, if at all, visible from the outside.
  • Next add your stuffing until full. It’s also possible to use the catnip alone as the stuffing making is more smushy like sand than fluffy, which some kitties really like to chew on. I did about half and half since I’m running low.
  • Finally finish stitching up and over the back to the tail and tie a knot with the thread around one of the last seams. You can hide the knot after by pulling it through to the inside, poking the needle through the opposite side and cutting it so your ends are hidden.
  • I used the embroidery floss to make circles for eyes with a chain stitch in place of any sort of button or added eye for safety.

Now you have a fish to give your little friends!

IMAG2942

Japanese goldfish,

With your gossamer tail,

You are the loveliest creature

I have ever seen.”

“Japanese kitten,

Put your tongue back in where it belongs

And go away.

I know exactly what you are thinking.” 
― Paul GallicoHonorable Cat

Hearts of Felt pt2

So when I said tomorrow, I didn’t really mean 1:30am, but here I am. I watched Castle and some da Vinci’s Demons (pretty fantastic, by the way) and finished stitching together these lovely felt heart designs to show you.

I posted the template in the previous post Heart’s of Felt pt1, so if you need it just visit that post and print away. Then you must come back, because we are not done yet. When I left you we were blanket stitching around everything.

FROM THERE:

-grab some stuffing, cotton balls, batting, beans, rice, whatever’s around and fits inside, your dog’s squeaky toy (could be fun?), and fill that heart up.

-Next, continue with your stitches to close up the side that you left open, and TADA! You have a stuffed felt heart.

-At this point you can leave it, throw it at something, doesn’t matter, but I kept playing with the things. I wanted them to be a little more embellished.

(Note: I have no idea what these things are for, not a clue. So if you have any ideas what I should do with them let me know. They are just sitting there looking like nonsense.)

Here’s a shot of them stuffed and stitched so you can see the direction I ended up going:

aren't they sweet!

aren’t they sweet!

If you want to know anything about the lace or mesh overlays, just ask and I would be happy to help you with those. I work with animals,  so it’s actually nice to talk to real people sometimes instead of holding conversations with cats about their weird banana shaped toys (true story), why their tummy’s are so soft, etc.

The black and blue sparkly one I have yet to stuff and close because I decided to try out my really jenky embroidery skills, and it’s still a work in progress. If you want to know what those flowers are supposed to look like, there’s a really great basic embroidery stitch tutorial at the Needlework Tips and Techniques site. It’s helping me on my baby turtle slow learning curve.

Alright friends, it’s time for sleep to happen. I have an interview tomorrow that I should probably actually care about, so I should be awake for it. I’m pretty excited.

Love and fat kittens.

“Our heart always transcends us.” 
― Rainer Maria Rilke