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.

Doozy

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So much for my plans.  I normally have a very busy day on Tuesdays, but this week I was free of all obligations.  My plan was to get caught up on a bunch of stuff that needs doing, and maybe even pop over to the farmer’s market.  It was going to be glorious.  And then last night we had a massive storm.  Wixer did a really good job of keeping his freaking out to reasonable levels (poor dude really doesn’t like storms – but he tried real hard!), but we didn’t get to bed until late.  This morning a quick survey of Lost Acre before I let the dogs out turned up a few developments.

The maple in front lost a large branch.
Storm damage

And another branch from the same tree that somehow made it to the complete opposite side of the yard and over the fence?
Storm damage

One casualty I couldn’t save. Poor guy looked like he either fell out of his tree or collided with one trying to fly in the winds.
Storm casualty

and one that I could. THE largest frog I’ve seen up here.  He did not particularly want to be saved, but I thought all that chlorine wasn’t doing him any good.
Giant frog

The worst of it was losing some of the fencing.  Which really sucks, we don’t really have the money for this right now.  The fence people are supposed to be out on Monday to take a look at fixing it.Storm damage

All I can say is thank goodness for the old MacGyvered flyball fencing I made in Florida, at least I can still the let the dogs out.  I’m actually pretty proud of this particular fencing, it has held up really well and is fairly sturdy as portable fences go.
Thank goodness for old flyball fence

So I haven’t gotten to any of the things I wanted to and I’m pretty tired already.  I’ll just have to get to what I get to and have it be good enough!