Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mandler Mitts

More of my Christmas projects:

My sister hinted at me, when I visited her in November, that her current oven mitts were getting burned around the edges and it might be time for a new pair.  So I spent an afternoon making a new pair for a Christmas present.

I love these.  This pattern is so easy to make.  I had a pattern that had the thumb off to the side, and trying to sew around a small thumb piece drove me nuts.  This pattern just has three pieces.  Nothing is too small; no sharp turns while sewing.  Making these as a crazy quilt gets rid of the small scraps of stuff I hate to throw away, but are too small for a normal quilting project.

I favor the bright colors.  But rusty/green one looks pretty cool, too.

Mom complained that she has old oven mitts, and she didn't get any for Christmas. I foresee making another pair in the near future....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Battle Pigs

Oh, yes, you guinea pig lovers.  Gaze upon my Christmas present and be totally jealous.  How many of you own a Battle Guinea Pigs t-shirt?

My brother-in-law found it on shirt.Woot! and thought of me.  How lucky am I?

Not that my sister is a slouch.  She found this cute ornament.  I think I'll set it aside for my advent calendar.  That way, it will come out each year, even if I don't have a tree.

But lets face it - those battle piggies are cool!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Tortoise and the Hare


I have been focused on fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters for my nephew's ornaments.  I was told he's been getting into Aesop's Fables this year including The Tortoise and the Hare and that idea stuck.  The result:



This went so much easier than the Highlander ornament.  The hardest part was getting the hare across the tortoise's back without making him look dead or flattening him out too much.  I Googled "sleeping bunny" and looked at a lot of images before I found an idea I could work with.  I thought it's a good look.

This one is not as intricate as some of my ornaments (although the shell took some work), but I always like my 3D pieces best.  It makes me smile - so I know its good.  :-)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Frolicking Bertie

I often hear Bertie running laps in the cage when I'm in the kitchen or living room.  But rarely do I get to see her doing it.  By the time I sneak in, they've heard me and all the ruckus stops.  Similar to Willow, I also have heard Bertie do the Clean Cage Dance.  Since cage-cleaning time seems to be a good time to catch her in the act, I've been setting up the camera on a tripod and let it video them for 10 minutes after I put them back in the cage. 

Its exciting to have a clean dry cage!  Although its the same setup every time, they have to explore every nook and cranny, in case anything has changed (sometimes the fleece, sometimes the cozies, and there's always new hay and pellets).  Hay needs taste-testing, pellets need eating and one needs to try out the obstacle course.

At some point, Bertie gets goosed by Pinni and that really sets her off.  She's a very bouncy Bertie!

Its not the easiest to see with the grids in the way.  I'll need to see if I can get the camera a bit higher and pointed down into the cage to try and capture their utter goofiness.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Highlander with burnt socks

I could perhaps subtitle this entry as: Highlander: FAIL 2.

I fixed my Highlander since my last post:  Trimmed down his ankles.  Fixed the gillie cords.  Got rid of the worst of the paunch belly.  Added all the other items to complete his outfit.  And then I baked him.  Which, unfortunately, left him with burnt socks.


I blame it on an article I read somewhere that under cooking Sculpey can lead to breakage.  I was left with the impression that I needed to be cooking my ornaments for longer than I had been.  Even though the package of Sculpey has in bold letters: Do NOT overbake.  I have learned my lesson - from now on, I trust what I've been doing!

But why just the socks?  And only the top of his socks.  His shirt was white, too?  I'd have figured they'd discolor in the same way?  The only thing I can think of is that because the socks were thin layers of white over the legs, something with the layering caused them to crisp before the solid white shirt did. 

The photo doesn't do him justice.  He's got tassels on his socks and a ribbon in his hat and a big fat gold pin you can barely see  on the cloth over his shoulder (the pin is near his hip).  He had lots of fun details to do.  We've brainstormed over how to fix the socks, but in the end, I'm going to say that my bad Highlander went stomping in mud-puddles before I got a chance to give him to my godson.  :-)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cotillion 2010

Sunday was the annual Scout House Cotillion.  Even though I told Rob he was excused from donning the monkey suit, he insisted on attending.  It poured buckets that evening and Rob was a true godsend, because he gave Maureen and I door-to-door service and trod through the rain to the car by himself.

Don't we clean up nice?

This is the Dress that Everyone Loves.  It's my favorite gown for all sorts of reasons, including its acquisition which involved Black Friday, a mannequin and an assertive friend that would not take "no" for an answer.

It was a decent showing of people.  I had been worried by the lack of Facebook replies that it might be very light attendance.  But it wasn't bad.  I think more people than usual attended in fancy dress, which was nice.  There were some incredible gowns there, especially the period ones.  I totally envied the maroon Civil War dress.  And I am a sucker for a guy in tails. 

I was eyeballing the Fezziwig ball, though, that was on Saturday night up in Salem.  I may look to go to that one next year, for a change.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Plaid: FAIL

I have a few recent projects I'm dying to share, but since they're gifts, and the people are on the internet, I really don't dare to post photos until after they get their gifts.  Its killing me!  I usually share what I'm doing with the folks at work, but so many of them are no longer at the company or work at home.  So there will be a few posts ready to go at the end of the month!

I have worked with Sculpey for lots of years, but have never tried doing that sliced-pattern thing.  I do lots of different figures from around the world - china man, Eskimo, Aladdin, Vikings, Huns, Romans, knights in armor, cowboys and Indians.  So this year, I got the idea of a Scotsman... in plaid.  Right.  What was I thinking?

So I spent hours researching tartans, and two hours coming up with a plaid that was a dismal failure.  I have a new appreciation of people who can create designs in sculpey that they can slice.  I had no idea how thick I was making stuff as I layered it up.  And I ended up with way too much white.

Pretty colors.  But it was unusable for what I was doing.  There goes most of my afternoon down the tubes.  Ugh.

I was going to give up entirely, and try painting on the design after I finished the ornament, but in playing around with my ruined tartan, I discovered that even with a simpler design, I got the "feel" for tartan, even if it wasn't technically what I wanted.  Which is fine.  I liked it better than anything I could paint.

I'm running into several issues.  The gillies look alright, but the dude's legs and ankles look like they belong to an elephant!  And he's got a paunch belly, which makes me laugh.  I think I need to move that weight up into his shoulders!  And the bandaid on my left thunb is wreaking havoc on his face and shirt - its leaving these odd pockmarks if I'm not careful.   And the tartan is brown, not the bright red and green I had been envisioning.  On top of it all, I am out of red, and I really don't want to have to run out and get some more right now.  Finally, in looking at this photo, I realize I should have rolled my plaid a whole lot smaller before I started slicing. <sigh>

But at least I have something to show at the end of the day for all my work.

At this point, I'm fervently praying I can finish him tomorrow.  Usually the most time consuing thing in my ornamets is the research before I start making them, or the small detail work.  I'm having trouble just getting clothes on this guy!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A demonstration on clipping guinea pig nails

Yeah.  Woo-hoo. I'm sure this post will lose what little audience I have.

A brief demonstration on nail clipping.  Not really a tutorial - there are much better step-by-step examples of how to do it on YouTube (search for guinea pig nail clipping).  But my girls managed to demonstrate very different (and all normal) reactions to getting their nails clipped.  Bertie gave a great example of the DO NOT WANT! reaction.   Willow was the ho-hum, I've done this a million times reaction.

First, Bertie the Squirmy.

Yup.  That is a pig that is not going to take it lying down!