Monday, December 29, 2008

Harva-Contest Mania

First, a big big big huge thank you to anyone who voted for Harv's Packers/Penske commercial. You are awesomer than awesome. Sadly, he didn't win. A big bummer. If you ask me, it was a very poorly run contest, with little to no promotion and a three month window in which you could vote. It seems fairly certain that the prize went to not the best spot but to the person who could get the most friends to vote everyday. Harv's pretty modest and not the type to shamelessly self-promote to the extent that was probably necessary to win.
Oh well. He's already got big plans for next year.
One contest does not a mania make and so I will now share with you what prevented me from making a single handmade gift this year.


The Bushman World Ukulele Video Contest!
I found out about this contest about three weeks before I had to leave town for Christmas, decided to enter 2 weeks before and only started animating 1 week before. Yipes. It was tight. But I designed the video in a way so that I could probably (I hoped) get it done. It's all cutout paper and fabric shot on a down shooter (a multiplaned table with the camera suspended above). I started animating on a Saturday, finished the following Friday night (while working full time, bear in mind), took a red-eye to Connecticut the next night and finished all of the compositing/editing (computer stuff) once we were there. It was nuts.
Of course I had some super helpers all along the way. Buddy Systems (Harv's studio) was very awesome to let me shoot there and use their resources. Linnea and Kelsey, two Buddy interns, helped a ton. Among other things, Linnea drew the puppet and Kelsey cut out all of the hills and trees. Jenny Towner did the track reading and lip synch, Eric Towner advised me on post production matters and Harv did all of the lighting and camera work. Nick Mariana sacrificed some of his band's rehearsal time to help me record the song and Alex Kamer lent his baritone uke skills to the mix. Ethan Marak saved my deadline with some last minute advice. Plus, he gave me "permission to not be amazing". And last but not least, Tennessee Reid Norton got me hooked on the ukulele two months ago and I've been obsessed ever since.
Thank you all so much, you're all the best best best!

So, wish me luck! Thankfully, this contest is not determined by internet voting. The winners are announced on Monday.
Here's a handful of behind the scenes pictures.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Free-Motion Quilting Strikes Back

I bought myself a darning foot a darn long time ago. I tried free-motion quilting. It didn't work out so well. I abandoned the idea.
Then last summer a friend asked if I could turn her boyfriend's childhood Star Wars sheet into a quilt for his birthday in November. I said "Sure! I've got plenty of time!" Well, after freaking out a little in October and considering sending it to a shop to be quilted on a long arm machine I gave the free-motion thing another try. It was so simple. Here's a tip that I found especially helpful: lower the presser foot. Duh. That was my problem. I don't think you can blame me though, if the needles up the presser foot looks like it's up, even if it's down! Ack. Such a stupid mistake.
So, long story long, I figured it out in the nick of time and hauled ass on this baby over the course of an evening and a half. It was nuts. A crazy, wine-fueled, free-motion party for one.

It was really a lot of fun. I totally dig free-motion quilting. I will do it again soon.

Quilting a solid cloth quilt like this was also quite enjoyable. It allowed me to focus on the quilting. Plus, I think it's pretty bad-ass. And bonus, the birthday boy dug it too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tip of the Week

A little while ago (yipes, two months!) Kathy Mack of Pink Chalk Studio extolled the virtues of a marvelous product called Fabri-Tac. I would like to second that. It dries fast, it holds really well and it's clear and flexible. The only problem I have with it is that it is more of a gel and can be hard to manuever straight out of the bottle, especially on small details. And that's where my tip comes in. Many many puppet makers I know use this stuff all the time for gluing foam on puppets or making teeny tiny costumes but instead of using it out of the bottle they put it in one of these babies:

This little guy will change your life. Or at least your gluing life. For real. You may be able to buy similar syringes at the drug store but a google search for Monoject 412 comes up with a lot of online sources.
I used this guy a lot recently when I made the costume for this bad-ass. Hopefully I will be able to show you more pictures soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

C'est L'Halloween!

Well, it was two and a half weeks ago anyway. What? I'm busy!
I've gone from zero to sixty this year in the costume production department. Buddy Systems hosted what may be the first annual Halloween Buddy Ball so there was no way my Kroquasian costume could make a repeat performance. So...I'd like to introduce you to....Squirrelly Temple!

A bit high-concept? Perhaps. Eerily close to a furry outfit? Most definitely. But the costume was a ton of fun to make and even more fun to wear.

The dress was from an actual pattern (I'm sorry I don't know what!) that I shortened A LOT and widened the boob ties. I whipped up a matching pair of puffy underpants/diaper cover (no, there was no diaper). The tail has some big ass heavy duty armature wire inside along with some fiber-fil. The wire is JB Quiked into a piece of 2x4 which is screwed to a nylon work belt from the hardware store. It was surprisingly not uncomfortable yet not surprisingly awesome to wear. And of course, the icing on the cake was a pair of tap shoes, ordered off Ebay, originally sent as two left shoes, I kid you not.

Some other notables:

Harv (as a Green Bay Packer) and I.

Imposter Harv (our friend Ethan) and genuine Harv.

And last but so far from least, the masterpiece known as Sexy Stay Puft.

More Buddy Ball pictures here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Make a young boy's dreams come true!

Okay, not so young but you can help him just the same! My husband Harv is a finalist in a commercial contest for Penske Trucks and the Green Bay Packers. The winner gets to watch the last home game of the year from a box suite with 17 of their favorite Packer fans. Now, I should mention that at least 40% of Harv's brain is devoted to the Packers at any given time, much more so the closer it is to Sunday. With this contest going on, it's probably up to more like 80 or 85.

So if you're ever in the mood for some cute stop-motion, hop on over and cast your vote. The voting lasts for a loooooo-oooonnnnnggg time and you can vote everyday so don't be shy!
The contest is here, Harv is commercial number 5. Thanks for listening, you all are the sweetest!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kroquasian!

Harv and I went to a party recently called Kroquasian. It was an Asian themed croquet party. Sounds strange, I know, but let me tell you: greatest party ever!

All of the guest were in "anything goes" Asian costumes and the hosts decorated like mother truckers, with lanterns galore, a giant homemade gong, a pagoda bar and an incredible custom croquet course.

Also...Singapore Slings. Oh goodness, those are good.

We've never been costume people but we gave our all for this party and had so much fun. I made a "Lady Harvatine Style" Kimono and Harv went as a Roaring-20's-Socialite-Panda-from-Long-Island. "The Great Pands-by", if you will, complete with bamboo croquet mallet (its long in case he gets hungry and needs a snack).

The kimono was made from an altered Butterick (I think) costume pattern. I shortened the hem considerably and the sleeves slightly, and added the patchwork panels at the bottom of the sleeves. Harv's costume was entirely thrifted with the exception of ears, a tail and a pair of women's argyle socks from Target.
You can see some more photos here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Here she be.

I here by vow to try my very derndest to get these babies out on time from now on. This is June's (oops) Common Threads quilt block for Melissa.

I used this stuff for the first time when pressing this.

It's a starch alternative that I got at JoAnn. I dig it. I think I'll be using it frequently. I don't know what you more experienced quilters think about this sort of thing but my seams need all the help they can get. They're not always what you call "straight."
So July was my month and I've received two awesome blocks so far. I can't wait for the rest to roll in!

Friday, July 25, 2008

You look thirsty.

Let me get you a drink.

Oh, I'm so sorry, you're glass is sweating! It is horribly hot today. Here, have a cocktail napkin.

What's that? Why yes, I did make them, thank you for noticing!

Oh, it was quite easy. I could show you if you wanted.

Really? Okay then, let's!

For each napkin you will need
  • two 4.5" squares of fabric, either the same print or two complimentary patterns
  • 20" of rick rack
  • a good stiff cocktail (I find a vodka tonic works well)
  1. Cut the rick rack into four 5" pieces and lay them out on each side of one of your fabric squares, right side up. How close it is to the edge depends on how wide your rick rack is. Mine was the regular size and I lined it up with the raw edge of the fabric. If your's is jumbo it may have to overlap the edge.
  2. Lay your other square on top, right side down and pin together, making sure to catch the rick rack with your pin. I only pinned the corners but you can do more if you like.
  3. Sew a 1/4" seam around all four sides, leaving a 3" gap on one for turning.
  4. Trim the corners and turn right side out. Poke out the corners and press. Sew a seam close to the edge of the fabric all the way around the napkin, closing the gap.
  5. Have a drink and admire your work.
  6. Optional: Make a drink for a friend and ask him/her to admire your work.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Checking Stuff Off

I'm going back to work in a week and a half and there is much yet to be done. I have squandered my hiatus. I will admit it! But for the rest of my time off I'm going to make an effort to be better. I have a to-do list! And there are already things being crossed off of it. I even got my hair cut and went to the dentist this week. Not only that but I also finished my first Common Threads quilt square! Late, I know and for that I am truly sorry. Sorry Rebekah, I'll try to be better in the future!

Yesterday I decided to buckle down and do this thing. I drew up a little plan and here you go.

Kind of boring? Maybe. I was trying to keep it from being too busy because it is just one of twelve blocks in a quilt. I wanted it to blend in. This was kind of hard! Rebekah sent out red, black and white fabric but my bundle only had red and black. She didn't say anything about using additional fabrics so I stuck to the hand I was dealt. Definitely a little out of my element. When I finished I thought it was a little "ugh". But I reminded myself of my original intention. This is not a stand-alone piece, it's part of a much bigger whole and I think that it will blend in quite nicely. I hope Rebekah thinks the same!

Monday, June 16, 2008

And the winner be...

Claudia takes all! Congratulations, lady!

The cutting table is newly cleared and I am ready to sew. Aside from slippers, I have to take care of the little matter of May's Common Threads quilt square (sorry Rebekah!) and some curtains to sew for the much maligned but newly reinvented Winnebago. I will keep you posted!

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's hot! Why not get some free stuff?

Well, maybe it's not hot everywhere but it sure is here and I know there are a few places out there that could use a little relief from the heat. Guess what I'm wearing as part of my anti-summer defense shield? My summer slippers!

It is that time of year again. Time to let your piggies breath a little while still lounging about in ultimate comfort. In honor of the season as well as anyone who is reading this despite my sporatic and non-craft related posting, I am not only going to make myself a new pair of slippers, I'm going to make a pair for you!
Well maybe you. Just leave me a comment on this post and I'll pick a random winner on Monday morning. The comment can be anything you want, you can even tell me to fug off, I'll understand! You're probably just crabby because your feet are so hot and uncomfortable. Just be sure to leave your email address so I can get your shoe size and address if you win. I'll even let you pick what color slippers you get. And if you don't win, you should really go ahead and make your own pair. Your toes will thank you.
So happy summer, happy giveaway and thank you for hanging around!

What is up.

What is up around here? A lot of nothing, perhaps too much. But also some gardening. Enough to make me so sore that I have to walk straight legged everytime I sit for 5 minutes because my calves are so unbelievably tight. I don't even know how that happened. It's good though. I don't exercise at all so every little bit counts. And is felt. For days afterward.

I'll bet you can guess what I haven't been doing. Crafting! Yes, it's true. I have roughly one month of hiatus left which may seem like a lot to you but I know how fast it is going to go by. My fear is that I'll go back to work feeling like I squandered my time off on hours of surfing the internet and too many episodes of "What Not To Wear".

So I'm blogging outside right now. It's pretty amazing what a difference it makes to poke around the internet from your newly degrossified and beflowered backyard rather than your your much loved but far too dark living room. Look at me, enjoying the great outdoors.

So because I have absolutely nothing crafty to share with you I'm sharing the fruits of my gardening labor. So far I've cleaned out the entire backyard (there was a lot to clean, logs, moldy lemons, garbage from the previous tenants), chainsawed a huge pile of logs and a nasty old picnic table and benches, planted one of the garden beds back there, planted a bougainvillea with a trellis to cover part of the hideous back of our house, put up some reed fence over the old ugly chain link fence at the back of the yard and planted the nice big garden bed in front of the house.

There's more that I want to do but the yard is still so enjoyable at this point. It has gone from a spider infested garbage heap to quite a pleasant place to "chillax". You can see a few more pictures here.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Common Threads

I've recently been asked to join a virtual quilting bee a la "The Virtual Quilting Bee." I really love this idea and I'm very excited to participate in something with a group of quilters who seem to share a lot of my design sensibilities. And speaking of which, I just wrote a long-ass post on the bee's blog all about what I do and don't like in my quilts with little sprinklings of how I discovered my style. Please read and share your own design story, I'd love to know! For many of you it will be much more than you ever wanted to know about me+quilting. But it was really fun to write and interesting for me to put the story of how my quilt style and tastes developed into words. I've found that with many creative endeavors, so much is internal and that you can learn a lot about your process and the way you think by trying to put it all into words.

The "bee" is called "Common Threads" and I will certainly post here about the blocks I make for it. And to anyone who thinks this sounds like fun and is sad they are not participating, please please please, start your own! Email a bunch of bloggers that you like and get to quilting! I certainly didn't think to do that after seeing bloggy ladies join together for the first bee. I just pouted and wished I could join in. But don't be like me! It's such a great idea and really encompasses one of the most appealing aspects of craft blogging which is connecting with other crafters. I have next to zero friends in the real world who do what I do. It's so fun to meet and share with people who have a common interest. But you knew that already! You're smart.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Fabric Fortune Cookie Tutorial

When Sew Mama Sew started their tutorial contest I thought "Great! I will write a tut' and enter." So I took some pictures of the process I use to make my fabric fortune cookies. Then...I let them sit there. And now the contest is over. Which is really okay. The real motivation for me to enter things like this is to share with people who don't ordinarily read this blog, not to win. So in the continued spirit of not winning anything I present you with the "Lady Harvatine Style Fabric Fortune Cookie Half-Assed Tutorial".

You will need:
  • a 5 inch square of cotton fabric for the outside of your cookie
  • a 5 inch square of felt for the inside
  • a circle to trace, one with a diameter of about 4.5 inches (I use an old paint can)
  • pinking shears
  • a slip of paper, about .5" by 2.5" for your fortune
Trace a circle onto both your cotton fabric and your felt.

Cut both circles out.

Lay the cotton on top of the felt, right side up, and line up the edges. Sew a half inch seam around the entire circle. I use my walking foot for this but you don't have to.

Use your pinking shears to trim the raw edge all the way around the circle, leaving about a quarter inch of fabric.

Fold the circle in half with the cotton side together, felt on the outside. Sew about an inch seam down the middle, not sewing to the edge of either side of the half circle. Be sure to back stitch a few times.

Flip the cookie open and adjust the folds until it looks right.

Before you give it to someone be sure to write a fortune on a slip of paper and stick it inside. I like to use pretty origami paper that is blank on the back.

You can also string a piece of ribbon through the center of the cookie and tie it to a gift, like so.

Ok, the end, happy cookie making!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The End

Well, the show that I have been working on, "Moral Orel", has been canceled. We found out a while ago but were able to finish the last season, slightly shortened. I've said it before but it's worth repeating here that "Moral Orel" is a wonderful show, unlike any animated show on tv now or in the past. If you haven't seen it (which I'm pretty sure you haven't) please check it out. The first 15 episodes are on DVD, all episodes that have aired are available on iTunes and the third an final season will be airing sometime soon on Cartoon Network.
I wanted to make a thank you gift for our animation director, my friend Ethan who you may remember as the recipient of Pac-y. You may also remember that Ethan returned Pac-y about a month after receiving him. Pac-y was too big and Ethan claims he was growing. So as a way of saying "job well done" I tried again with a smaller machine, this one featuring an as-of-yet undeveloped game called "Ethan!".
The "Ethan!" game play consists of doing all of the things that Ethan does best, some of which you can see here on the title screen. I designed the graphic and printed it out on pre-treated inkjet fabric.
This machine is a much more manageable size than Pac-y, perfect for sitting on a shelf or the corner of a desk. (Seen here with the recipient for scale.)
The joystick is made of pipe cleaner bent at a right angle and sewed to the inside of the machine with a painted wooden ball glued to the end.
"Ethan!" doesn't have the great big coin "tunnel" with a zipper in the back like Pac-y did. Instead he has a petite little pocket on the front with a buttonhole.
Space for a couple of quarters, maybe not your whole stash for your next visit to the arcade but enough to make a phone call! If you're into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A tiny bit of sewing.

You know what's really sad?  The amount of blogging I do is directly proportional to the amount of crafting I do.  I think you know where I'm going with this.  There's just been so little going on around here!  It is truly sad.  I think it's work.  It just steals so much of my energy that is ordinarily designated for crafting.  Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at it) work will be done for me in what looks like less than a month.  For a time at least.  We'll be back in production of Robot Chicken season 4 before you know it.  But in between there will most definitely be a serge in crafting and blogging.
In the mean time, I did muster the energy this weekend to start a simple quilt top.  No small task considering any sort of sewing required I first clean out the h-hole that was my craft room.  I hope I will be able to share the top with you soon, if not a semi-completed quilt.
I also was able to make some frantic last minute table runners for some friends' wedding.  The wedding was in Hawaii.  I didn't go.  Super bum.  I thought about it long, hard and often but in the end I just didn't feel psyched about taking a day or two off of work.  I was able to send a little bit of myself off to the reception though.  
The wedding colors were inspired by the outside of a pineapple and since it was a little more on the casual, beachy side of things I went with linen in chartruese-y green and coffee brown.  The bride just sent me this picture.  Apparently there was some sort of miscommunication with the table measurements.  They were supposed to be runners, albeit somewhat wide ones.  Instead they spill over the sides of the tables.  But I think that's okay!  So... congratulations Sarah and Olivier!  I wish we could have been there!  (And I hope you don't mind me sharing your photos!)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Spring is in my sack

Well, I did as I said I would and tried to make a spring-y bag to brighten my mood. This is a big fat version of the Charming Handbag from Bend the Rules Sewing. I just drew a bigger version of the books pattern instead of enlarging it with a copier. I needed a bag that would be big enough to stick my computer in.

I pieced together some Amy Butler fabric with some pinky corduroy for the outside of the bag and added some of the velvet ribbon that I bought last week. This is a perfect example of what you can do with 1.5 yards of ribbon but not with 1 yard. As I said before, I was accidentally sold the latter, thus my bag only has ribbon on one side. I just make sure to always carry it with the ribbon facing out.

The bag is ok but I would probably recommend against making this style in a large size like this. It's a little too droopy when it has a lot of stuff in it. I made the suggested, small version of this pattern for a Christmas gift and that came out really well. I think it would work better to try a larger bag that was slightly wider but much deeper. Next time!

PS I made button holes in the lining to feed the handle through instead of making a casing. This is what I did before. Someone suggested it in the Bend The Rules Sewing Flickr group. I think it's a great idea.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

No Flowers In My Hair

So...I didn't have work this past week, an unexpected break for an unexpected reason that's kind of stinky but not the end of the world. So to look on the bright side of things and take advantage of this little bit of time off I flew up to San Francisco to visit my sister Leigh for a few days. Going someplace by myself I've got two items on my agenda: eating good food and shopping for fabric. Check and check.
First there was yum, yum, yum and yum.
Then I did a little high end shopping here:

Bought myself some bits for a baby quilt I'm planning out for a new baby in the family.

I also bought a whole mess of velvet ribbon. I couldn't resist, they were all so beautiful and I think that they're even more beautiful in a group! The super bum here was that I asked for a yard and a half of each but didn't realize until I got home that the girl only gave me a yard of each. She charged me correctly but a yard just isn't quite enough to be really useful.

I also did a little low-end shopping and brought home an abundance of thrifted zippers and rick-rack, all for less than one yard of that velvet ribbon.

Quite a score. I also had plenty of chances to play with my new camera. Check it out.