Long Time No Sew

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It’s been at least a month since I was in CraftyTown for any length of time.  I’m trying to find time to get back into the swing of things as I have tons of things people want and double that number of ideas to try out and perfect.  This morning I picked one project to finish.

Unicorn treat pouch

I improved the embroidery slightly on this one, I hope she likes the replacement.

Update

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Things haven’t been running very smoothly in my world as of late. The Flooding of Lost Acre sent things all cattywampus and it hasn’t been an easy time. Repairs are moving along, but the costs keep mounting. We did get to go on a wonderful trip to Disney’s Food and Wine Festival. But it was marred by the fact that with the repairs we really didn’t have the money for it. By the time the flood happened we couldn’t cancel it, so we went and had an amazing time and I am grateful for the time I got to spend remembering why Dave is the love of my life.

Wixer is also injured again (still?). He came up limping after a flyball practice a while back and its been a long process of trying to figure out what the bajabbers is wrong. I feel like I’ve spent his whole life doing that! The best we have are guesses and I’m working with those guesses to try to help him get back to being active. I have to face the possibility that, with his structure and the turn I trained, running flyball might be too much for his joints to deal with. Its really feels unfair and I find myself struggling to maintain a positive outlook.

With CraftyTown a piecemeal operation for the foreseeable future I am also struggling to catch up on some late late laaaaaate orders.  Some stuff I simply can’t find.  I know its there…in a  box, somewhere, but for the life of me I can’t locate it.  I also spend twice the time doing anything because everything is here and there and not in my work triangle at all.  Probably because its less of a triangle and more of a curved path between two rooms.  But I have managed to get some things done that I’m very happy with so I’m going to focus on those and post pretty pictures.

This adjustable martingale leash is for Anthem and might be one of the best things I’ve ever made.  It just came together really well.

Anthem

And to celebrate Skye, this blingtastic leash. I thought about doing the leash in the lighter blue color, but I was afraid of it looking dirty very quickly.

Skye

This pair of leashes are going to the very handsome Viking. Hopefully he will look as dapper in them as I imagine he will.

VikingViking

Then there is Torment. Torment is a whippet who is doing some pretty amazing things in the world of disc, especially the extreme distance events. But he has a little drooling problem while he’s doing it and all those waterworks make catching the disc harder. So Jaimie asked for some towels to sop up his slobbery enthusiasm. I have a few more ideas for different ones, but I very pleased with how this design turned out. Now he can have a least two Torrible Towels.

Torrible TowelDrool towel for Torment

I think this particular design is perfect because Torment has Jaimie’s heart wrapped around his worry stumps and because she is a doctor.  Perfect, no?

Back on the farm-adjacent, a mystery has been solved.  I had a plant growing out of my compost pile all summer, but other than something in the squash family  I wasn’t sure what it was.  Turns out its a pumpkin.  I’m guessing a pie pumpkin seed from Anne’s collection as I’m pretty sure I had planted some of those that didn’t take indoors so I threw them in the pile.  Guess they weren’t done afterall.

Tiny pumpkins!

I also took a walk yesterday.  It was the first in far too long, but the last time I tried, I was sent running back to the car by a wall of mosquitoes.  Didn’t make me want to go back out and try again.  As usual while I was walking along with the dogs I was mindful of watching for poison ivy.  But what I was seeing seemed more strawberry-ish.  Turns out it was.  Wild strawberries all along the path.

Wild strawberry

Not much fruit this late in the year, but one here and there.  So that’s what’s going on over here.  Hopefully I will make a post about our trip to Disney soon.

 

Busy

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Lots going on here at Lost Acre.  On September 5-7 I hosted a dog training seminar with PVybe as presenters.  It was a lot of work to put together by myself and that wasn’t helped with the flooding at home, but I think it ended up going very well.  Ron and Apryl did their usual amazing magic and it sounds like everyone who attended liked what they heard and got good stuff out of it.  We also had two people taking pictures besides me and they were pretty amazing. You can check out all the pictures over here.

My favorites of Wixer were him totally listening to Ron talking about how to present a toy in his discussion of the plague of the free bite.

PVybe Canine DriveTrain

And this one of him at least looking like he’s doing ‘go do dog stuff’ pretty darn well!  This was during his turn at multiple target targeting and Ron was talking to me so Wixer is doing exactly what he should be, and being adorable to boot.

PVybe Canine DriveTrain

Quickly thereafter work started on our house to fix the potential for future flooding, I hope.  They started with turning our basement into the set of ET.  No tunnel, sorry Kate!

Garage

The garage and two rooms got this treatment, plus a lot of coverings on the floors elsewhere. They dug out a trench and put in a giant long drain in front of the garage.

Drain

This connects to a pit just inside the garage with a pump in it.

Pump hole

That in turn connects to a pipe leading outside the garage and out away from the house.

Pump hole out Pump hole drain line

Next up they will be dumping a lot of dirt around over there and regrading everything away from the house.  In the backyard they dug out for egress windows in the two downstairs rooms that will now actually be bedrooms.

Mess

Goodbye garden, hello windows.

Egress windows
Having seen what the windows will look like from the inside I kinda want to do this to them.  But that will have to wait.  A long long time.  Baby steps to the elevator.

I also finished up most of my ribbon bobbin project.

Ribbonsplosion

So far it seems to be working very well! If only I could now find all the non-ribbon stuff that I need to make things. Starting projects only to have to stop every five seconds to go try to find something I need isn’t fun. Or productive.

I also started trying it out with regular yardage.

Regular size

And teensy ones for fat quarters.

Fat quarter size

With just a small sample I’m liking the possibilities for this as well.  These boards are only 1/16″ wide making them a little more space saving, but quite a bit floppier.  I still like the thicker foam core board for the ribbon since it doesn’t flop about so much, so I will keep using the two different materials.  I hoping whenever I get to put CraftyTown back together maybe I can store them on an IKEA Billy bookcase or somesuch. They have a glass door option that would allow me to keep the dust off of them while still getting to see all the pretty colors.  All three bobbins are short enough they should fit nicely.

Then today I went up to TOPS to have Wixer evaluated.  Almost a month ago he came up lame after a flyball practice again and his subsequent rest hasn’t really done the trick.  So I bit the bullet and had them give him a once over.  We didn’t get a definitive diagnosis, but I wasn’t expecting one given his inability to speak and refusal to show pain.  Top of her list for possible issues is an old patella injury that is still causing him difficulty.  Seems crazy that something like that could cause all the issues I’m seeing, but I guess if its ouchy and causes him to use that leg differently it could mess up everything from the bottom to the top?  I’ve already made two appointments with Lisa, who is a canine massage therapist, and the vet suggested biweekly chiropractic appointments so I need to sweet talk Lyndsay into making room for us in her schedule.  I’m thinking pizza, beer, and games might sweeten the pot?

Then this happened during our laser treatment.
Doggles and lasers

I can’t even take it.

Reboot

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Since my last post we’ve had a bit of a setback. Our basement flooded a bit and CraftyTown was a casualty. So that whole thing where I finally made a back piece for my Expedit after over a year? Yeah that’s destroyed now. All the furniture in there was soaked and its been a pretty low time for me. Add to that hosting a dog training seminar on my own and finding out how much all the repair is going to cost, and I’ve been one foot in front of the other-ing it for a couple weeks.

My ribbon shelves were also destroyed in the flood, so my ribbon is currently in a giant box all willy nilly.  Yesterday I went to start on a couple orders for people who are being super patient and couldn’t find anything!  So very frustrating. The only way seemed to be dump it all on the floor and I find this unacceptable. Especially since my sewing machines are currently located in the living room which is irritating enough without that added mess all the time. Down with clutter!

I decided I should try to figure out what I’m going to do with the ribbon and fabric whenever it is that CraftyTown gets rebuilt. After some Internet research and a skull session with a fellow crafty friend Emily, I decided to try something like this.  However,  not knowing if it will do what I want I didn’t want to spend much money.  So I got some 1/8″ foam core board, it’s thinner than the standard 3/16″ and I’m hoping its thin enough to not create too much extra bulk when I shelve them.

So I gathered materials and today I cut out the first of what it looks like will be many many boards. I did end up having to dump out all the ribbon on the floor to sort it, but hopefully it will just be the once. While I slowly work my way through it seems I have help, apparently he prefers the purple pile.

Helper

My plan is to also use these boards to store my fabric as well keeping everything uniform.  I started with the size of the fabric organizer sold on that site, but now I’m concerned that they are too tall for practical shelving. The size makes sense for the size of fabric thought (usually 44″/45″ wide, folding in quarters lengthwise fits nicely on this height). Not sure how to reconcile that yet. I also spent all evening and only got to the greens. Its going to be a long process.

Ribbon boards

 

Title

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TraffiRabbit has gone home and things are pretty quiet here at home.  He wasn’t particularly noisy (which might come as a shock to people who knew him before!), but he was very busy and I did a lot of work with him.  Going back to just the two has been an adjustment.  Its just as well since I’ve been disturbingly tired since I returned from Nationals.  I’ve taken more naps in the last week than I did in the previous year.  Not sure what’s the matter with me, but it can move along any time now.

In between my naps I’ve been trying to finish up more projects in CraftyTown and around the house that I’ve been putting off for one reason or another.  I finally finished one today that’s been a problem for me for what feels like forever!  When we moved in and I put CraftyTown where I did, I knew I wanted to make it more of a discrete room than it is…you know 4 walls and a door-ish.  To that end I put the Geherkenflutz next to the pillar creating a wall between the room and the garage door.  And making an aisle behind it that still allows access to the workshop.  A year ago I found some fabric that I could put on the back of it in order to create even more of a room feel (and work to hide the mess that CraftyTown can sometimes often be).  Due to a series of unfortunate errors on my part it kept not getting finished.  Very frustrating!

Now that its done I think it turned out very well.  The walls (you can’t see) are Tiffany Blue and this fabric compliments it nicely.  I’m still working on finding an organization scheme for most things in there and I’m sure I’ll be rearranging whats in each cubby to make best use of the space.

20140811_120552-1

Here is the back.  Meh.  I should have run Velcro along the whole length of the shelf to avoid the slight sagging.  Live and learn.  At least it looks nice from the inside!

20140811_120352

I also ran a strip of magnets along one shelf to be able to pin up pattern instructions etc.  Biggest issue there is the strip magnets aren’t terribly strong.  So I need to find some of the super strong magnets to hold up the patterns.  If they were cool/cute/stylish that would be even better!  Maybe something like this?  Or this?  I wish I could find something suitably nerdy!

20140811_120031

Next step is to get some Kvartal rails from IKEA and make the final wall/door.  I have no idea what fabric to use and what configuration it will take.  And it’ll probably take me another year to get to it.

I also made another pair of pajama pants.  This time out of an adorable monkey flannel.  I love how they turned out.  There will definitely be more of these in the future.

Monkey pajamas

Then there is this.  Not sure if he knows I’ve been very tired, that I am sad about Traffic leaving, or happy he doesn’t have to share me with him anymore, but Wixer has been in gone full snuggle this week.

20140810_183045

FO Friday

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Okay, so I’ve been waiting to post about this until it was safe, but its been hard!  Last month Val contacted me with a rather large crafting project, she was looking for a b-day present for her girlfriend Lisa who loves quilts.  We decided on some adorbs pink Snoopy and Woodstock fabric which I would supplement with coordinating prints.  I decided to go with a 50″ by 60″ quilt as that seemed to be a common size among the blankets I use to snuggle under.  I’m not a very experienced quilter so I went with a classic design of simple squares with the interest lying in the arrangement and quilting.  I am extremely proud of how it turned out, it definitely ranks up there in the best projects I’ve ever made.

Quilt

Every other row alternates between individual squares or squares in sets of two. I think it lends a bit of randomness to the design that I really like and makes it feel more like some of the older quilts.

Machine embroidered quilting

I chose to use my embroidery machine to do the final quilting and I really like how it turned out. One of my favorite embroidery design sites had quite a few to choose from which made it easy to find one that fit the style.  That being said if I’m honest, I would say that I still like the full machine quilting that most quilts have where the design doesn’t end from edge to edge, but I think this is a great compromise for me.

Quilt back

I thought this design really fit in with the fabrics on the front. I love it when everything ties together! Val also requested a special quilt square with a rainbow heart and personal message. At first I wasn’t sure how to best accomplish that, and started digitizing a fully embroidered rainbow heart, but then I realized this is a quilt! It should be a quilted heart, obviously. It came out wonderfully!

Custom quilt heart

I am just so proud of this quilt!  Val reports that Lisa loves it and that makes it even better.

 

I’ve made a few more things this week including some additional EarWorms.  I’m really enjoying making them and it reminds me to take a break from doing the same thing over and over.  A little variety is a great boost.

EarWormsEarWorms

A few tug leashes (only one of which I remembered to take a picture of).
Xena

I also came to the conclusion that I need to commandeer some space in one of the rooms downstairs as CraftyTown Adjacent.  I started by looking into a stand to hold my photography backdrop (okay its really just a roll of white curtain backing on some 1″ PVC, but photography backdrop sounds so much fancier).  But then Karl told me they had just mounted it right on the wall with curtain rod brackets.  There are so many awesome things about that idea that I made it happen immediately.  I have tons of other stuff to clutter up my floorspace with!

Stage one photo studio

Its not ideal as the room doesn’t get much natural light at all so I’ll have to make due with the awesome set of photography lights Dave got me last Christmas.  I also don’t love the table I’m using right now as its a little long for the space so I might look into a shorter one the next time I’m feeling flush.  Its also a bit low and not very deep…so yeah, not my favorite.  Baby steps.

Muster

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I’m crafty. It’s who I am and it’s what I currently do for a (small) living. I’m lucky that I get to do something I enjoy and feel passionate about. I get to work from home with surrounded by my wonderful dogs in my awesome CraftyTown. But it does have its downsides and this post is about one of them. In the span of one month I’ve had two incidents where people have grabbed an idea I brought to them and taken it to someone else to make without even having the courtesy of telling me. In one case, the thing was exactly the same, in another its my idea in a slightly different style. Perhaps they found a person/company could make it cheaper? Perhaps the style wasn’t exactly right? Perhaps it was a friend of theirs? Whatever the answer, it feels like a pretty low blow, especially after I gave them a prototype and we had a discussion about making more for them.

My best guess when people do something like that is price. My items aren’t cheap to buy, I totally get that. But when you buy one of my handmade items you are buying far more than you might realize. You are not only buying quality materials[1] and the time it took me to make it.[2] But wait there’s more! You are getting a whole lot extra for free! You are getting the time it took me to design the item, make between 1 and ??? prototypes to get it right, shop for fabric for your item, shipping costs of materials I cannot find locally, all of the materials I end up throwing out because of errors, my knowledge and expertise at making an item that meets the No-Shoddy-Workmanship criteria, digitizing services for all embroidery (names etc.), and all of the machinery/tools/supplies in CraftyTown that go into making your item.

 

Makers of all kinds will understand this, but there seems to be a disconnect with many who don’t know how much goes into creating things, let alone well-made quality goods. Both cases I’ve run into this month involve good people who I consider friends (even if I’m wicked steamed at them right now). I don’t think either person thought that they were doing anything out of sorts. And maybe that’s the problem…people being thoughtless.

And here’s a sweet picture that makes me go awwwww, ’cause my blood pressure needs that right now.
Tolerant

[1] Did you know that I make my fleece items with strips cut going the length of the fabric so that they stretch out the least over time? I could save quite a bit of time and money using strips cut the short way. Did you know there are not only three different kinds of webbing that collars are made of, but also different weights of each. I use one that doesn’t absorb water or stretch when wet, resists fraying under abrasion, AND I use the heavier version for maximum durability and washability? Did you know that even my fabric and embroidered collars have webbing in them? I have lots more examples of things like this, but the short of it is, I will not cut corners on the products I make.

[2] Did you know I only pay myself $10 an hour? How many people are willing to take that pay rate?

 

WIP Wednesday

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Sadly, Sally had her satchel stolen.

Rotten stealing stealers make me sad, so when she emailed me to ask about a replacement EarWorm I was all over it.  I started the embroidery yesterday and am hoping to get to the sewing today which inspired this post.

Earworms

But then I thought I have another WIP sitting on my lap right now.  His name is Traffic.  I shot some video of him last night, but it was very dark so I thought I would try again this morning in better light.  I think the one from last night is better (he was more focused and less jumpy), but due to the quality I’ll show you this morning’s session anyway.  Not every session is perfect!  The first video is an ongoing project where I build the value of staring lovingly into my eyes…and not moving.

This is incredibly hard for him and we have been working on it since he came to stay with me. There is no cue for this and we increased the duration one painful second at a time until now I can usually count to 20 without issue (although we use the slot machine method, wherein its 16, then 7, then 10, then 3, then 20, then 9, etc).

I’m severely limiting the different things that I’m working with him on in favor of (hopefully) generalizing a few foundational items that will help Jaimie as she continues with him. Its hard not to want to do the fun tricks and all the sexy stuff, but I think this is more important.  One of the reasons it is so important to me was illustrated this week when I saw a video of another canine conditioning/trick for strengthening shoulders.  Teaching your dog to dig.  I’ve heard this before but I didn’t want to teach my dog to dig dirt/sand because I like my gardens the way I planted them.  But this was teaching them to dig on a towel!  So I went about “teaching” it, only I didn’t do any teaching.  Wixer did all the heavy lifting all by himself and I had a behavior, with no lure, that I could probably start to name in less then one minute.  Is there nothing this dog can’t do?  Am I totally and completely biased?  Maaaaybe.

Anywhoodles, one of the few things I’ve worked on with Traffic is a left hand reinforcement zone. If he was a different dog I’d be adding in the right hand zone along with it, but he is who is is and he’s supposed to be a flyball dog first and foremost so until he’s secure doing that skill with Jaimie I’d hold off on it in favor of the left being extremely desirable. His front reinforcement zone is his default so I haven’t especially worked that one either.  But, the natural extension of a left hand reinforcement zone is heel so we went there.

Its not great and there is still a long way to go, but I am SO incredibly proud of him.

Not so Finished Object Friday

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Apparently I only made one thing this week.  I went to a flyball tournament this past weekend and ended up with another dog!  He’s only staying a little over a month but clearly he needed a snazzy collar while he’s here.  Right? And with the 4th of July coming up it seemed perfect.

For Traffic

I did make all kinds of foods for the tournament though…does that count? I made four kinds of Harry Potter jello shots and three kinds of cake pops.

Here are the Harry Potter Jello shots. Clockwise from bottom left: Butterbeer, Polyjuice potion, Mad-eye Moody, and Chocolate Frog.
Harry Potter Jello Shots

The Mad-Eye Moody turned out super creepy.


Onto the temporary dog!  His name is Traffic and he’s the tiniest of creatures. We’ve been getting to know one another since I nabbed him Sunday night, although Monday was a bit of a loss on that because we spent it in the car driving home. So here are the obligatory new dog in your house barrage of photos.

I really like this one. The neighbor dogs started barking at the train so they both went to check out the shenanigans.
What was that?

Then we chilled out on the couch for a little bit. Traffic is super food motivated so I’m pretty sure he’s plotting how to get more cookies here.
Deep in thought about how best to get more cookies.

Are there cookies over there?  I bet there are.
Behind the ears

We also went swimming.   Our pool is still out of order for the time being so we teamed up with Dr. Lyndsay and went to Four Star.  He jumped right in, although it took him a few tries to find the stairs…
He found the stairs!

When Dave got home Traffic was still a bit concerned about him but then decided a belly rub would be okay.
Belly rubs

FO Friday…maybe

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So we have shitty internet, its a fact of where we live.  However, in the last few weeks it has taken an even bigger hit to the point where I’m trying to do everything possible from my phone.  We’ve been on the phone with them practically daily. But without much hope of help.  Any whoodles.  Here is some of what I’ve been working on this week, not nearly what I got done last week which is a little discouraging, but here goes…

A couple leashes for Kat
For Kat

OR just one of them. I can’t get actually get the page to load to get the link right now.

A collar for Techno
For Techno

And a collar for Ion
For Ion

I sure feel like I did more than that this week, but that’s all I’ve got.