Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Bear on eBay

I got a little bit of a late start this year on Christmas bears. I have 2 that are done, one of which is already up on eBay. Hopefully, I will get the other one listed today. You can see the one I have up already: Toddy the Christmas Bear

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all those in Blogland! I took a break from the computer, and it was wonderful. Now I'm in a panic about making some Christmas Bears. If I don't get any done soon, I won't be able to sell, pack and ship for Christmas, and that would be a wasted opportunity. So I'll have to get off of here and actually go do some work. I did make this little Indian kitty cat and Pilgrim mouse for Lisa of QD Patooties' Softie Thanksgiving Day Parade. As is normal for me, I got it done very last minute and had to take pics late at night in my laundry room. I will try to post some better pics here later as you can't see the mouse very well, and he is soo cute. I designed his pattern just for this Parade, and luckily it was great on my first patternmaking try. For size reference, the cat is 3.5 inches tall ( 9cm ).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Reusing and Recycling

So, I have always been a recycler. When I was younger it was mostly because my family was poor enough to have to shop at Goodwill before it was cool. Also, whenever my family went on trips to the outdoors—hiking etc., my dad would always take big black plastic bags to pick up other people's litter.

In bear making I use a lot of recycled materials and vintage fabrics that would probably end up in a landfill somewhere if they didn't get used. But I have decided to make a concentrated effort to reuse even more. Lately, I have been taking apart vintage stuffed animals (ones that are missing an ear or something, so I am not ripping apart a perfectly good stuffed animal) and reusing them. The partially done pink bear in the picture is an example. It was an old 50s pink poodle originally. It is very slow work invoving lots of seam ripping, trying not to breathe old stuffing and make to much of a mess, and then gently cleaning the usable fabric pieces. The downside of this is that you don't get very much fabric, maybe enough for two mini bears for all the work you put in. The upside is that you can get some super cool results. I love how this bear is turning out.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thrifting, Goodwill and $20

So garage sale season is definitely over here in Oregon, so I have had to revert to thrift stores. I seem to spend more money in thrift stores than at garage sales or even rummage sales. I made a money limit for myself. I am only allowed to spend $20 on stuff that is not actually needed, things like fabric, sewing notions, fun stuff etc.. I also can spend that money only if I actually have made that much recently, for example selling a bear, selling vintage stuff on ebay etc.. This system actually works great to alleviate the guilt of buying too much fabric or bear fabric. If I sell a bear, then I used up some supplies and thus need more ;0)

So my last thrifting trip: Goodwill, Total Spent 50-something dollars. But, I didn't go over my limit. Mostly I spent money on maternity clothes, which I needed, so don't count. Here are a few of the goodies I got:

This item hangs on the wall, and I think had a glass holder for a candle originally. I will probably try to find something that will work.That way, I can hang it in my bathroom for a candle. I was thrilled to find this and it was only $2.99.

These vintage ornaments are the most perfect shade of red ever! I love them, and they were $2.99. I probably won't resell them because I wouldn't make much, plus I want to keep em for my tree.

Last, but not least is this little dollhouse stove kit. I don't know exactly what I will do with it, but it was too cute to resist. This one was only $1.99

First Machine sewn bear!

Ok, the little guy is not actually done (his body cavity is still open and I might redo his arms as I don't like them), but I am soo excited because this is my first finished machine sewn bear. I have actually worked backwards from a lot of bear makers. I started out making micro mini bears, ones that were an inch tall from head to toe. Then I started making bears that were a little larger because I liked the idea of being able to use dollhouse size props with them. So all I have ever done is handstitch my bears, with super teeny tiny stitches (my great grandma taught me to handsew and embroider when I was a girl), but as the bears get bigger, it has taken longer and longer to sew them. Then I put so much time into them that I have a harder time letting them go. So I decided that I was going to start machine sewing larger bears. Of course the materials and techniques for sewing larger bears are quite a bit different from miniature bears. I also found that using larger versions of my mini bear patterns just didn't turn out that great. I actually threw a few heads out before I came up with a pattern that worked. And TA-DA! here is the result. He doesn't have a name yet, and I haven't figured out what his props will be, in fact this bear might even be a girl, not a boy. I just haven't figured it out yet. But he's done and the big plus is that he can even stand on his own-yay! So now I have to decide if I want to just stuff his body with fiberfill or weigh him with some steel shot. ANY IDEAS?