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

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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

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

Strangest Animals I’ve Seen In A While…

There will be a post later today with a tutorial, along with templates, on felt hearts and all the things I decided to create with them. But while that craft is still in progress, I give you one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while to help you stand the wait.

Enjoy friends. Love.

Mice, The TARDIS, and Chalky part 3

Now that we’ve gotten through felt rodents and boxes that are bigger on the inside, it’s time to move on to Chalky.

If you’re not familiar with the police term, it’s the unofficial nickname for the chalk outlines left where a body fell at a crime scene. In reality this is rarely ever done, but here in Chicago we claim the prestigious title of Murder Capital of the US (last year we beat our everyone else by a body count of nearly 100), I’m sure some chalk hits the pavement from time to time.

Say hello to our little friend…

I used this handsome guy.

I decided to make this slight macabre kitty toy because there is a cat in my house that has already established herself as belonging to the “dark side” of existence, and she needed something new to attack in the middle of the night. Her name is Noir (a.k.a. Chunkers), and one of her favorite toys of all time is a plastic Halloween finger she found somewhere and now carries around the house like the trophy keeping little serial killer she is.

Get it Chunkers!

 Not that she doesn’t have other beautiful atributes…

She moonlights as a DJ

She also moonlights as a DJ,

and lives in the sink

Now on to making this little guy.

Meet Chalky

Meet Chalky

    Here’s What You’ll Need

   2 pieces of black felt

1 piece of white felt

white embrodery floss

stuffing

catnip

scissors/ needle/ pen

-Print out the picture at the top of the page and use the guy as a pattern for your felt.

-Cut three pieces, one from each sheet of felt, and make a little oreo type sandwich. I made the white piece slightly larger than the black ones so it stuck out a bit. The three layers make it really sturdy too, which helps when cat’s play as rough as mine.

-Then blanket stitch around the edges while you stare at something more entertaining. It get’s boring if something else is not happening around you, because it takes a little bit of time to make the stitches close enough to one another.

-Leave enough space open to stuff it while adding catnip, and do so with small pieces and move it into the limbs with a pen so you don’t get stuck with a floppy arm or head. (totally happened and it was a pain to fix)

-Then close up Chalky and get creative. I didn’t give him a face, just little eyes, but I say go crazy. If anyone does so, I would love to hear back from you and see your fantastic creations! Much love and poetry.

“She says, “But in contentment I still feel
The need of some imperishable bliss.”
Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfilment to our dreams
And our desires.” 

Sunday Morning (V.1-5)

by Wallace Stevens