Maker of sock critters, shaker of cocktails, baker of occasionally edible experiments involving peanut butter and chocolate. If you'd like a customised cuddly critter, tweet me @makeitwednesday

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Have a cow, man

A few months ago my pal Erika asked me to make a softie for her niece Ruby, who loves cows. Ruby's barely a toddler but the girl has good taste - cows are one of my favourite animals, too.

I like making comissioned critters as personal as possible, and I like making things in a sustainable manner too. So I asked Erika for some of Ruby's old clothes - that way, I could make the critter from the clothes, giving it a more personal touch, and also add life to something she'd outgrown that may have otherwise been discarded.

Anyhoo, Erika provided a spotted jumpsuit which I turned into this little cow. She's even got a rattle inside her (the cow, not Erika), which I made by sewing some bells into a little fabric pouch and placing the whole lot inside the critter while she was being stuffed.

Last year, I made a rattle in a similar manner for Erika's baby, Joseph. Erika's husband Simon is a Coke addict (the drink, not the drug) so as a joke I made baby Jo's rattle softie in the shape of a Coke can. It's about life-sized and far more nutritious than the soft drink!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Takoyaki takes over

Takoyaki the Mighty Octopus has been installed at Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe!

As you can see, he's sitting astride the front window's signage with

one tentacle hanging onto a light fitting.

He RULES that window with his tentacles of dooooom!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

An octopus and an alien walk into a cafe...

Today I took Takoyaki the Mighty Octopus into Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe, and Peter (the cafe owner) suggested he needed a headband to make him look even tougher. You can see the result here - a Japanese flag-inspired 'rising sun' headband.

It's been a busy week - I also made a floral-print flannelette owl and Bug, a green alien-like critter. That's them being strangled, er, cuddled, by Takyaki.

I made Bug out of some PJs I bought at an op shop a while ago because I liked the print. He's a present for a workmate's baby. You know how parents sometimes buy clothing for their kids that's a few sizes too big, so the kid will 'grow into' the clothes? I suspect the same thing will happen with Bug, since he's about the size of some babies already!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Legging it to Purple Peanuts




Um, yes. What he said.

This guy was commissioned by Peter at Purple Peanuts Japanese Cafe (620 Collins Street, Melbourne, just near Spencer Street. I recommend the vegie curry... and the handrolls...and the onigiri...the noodles are also good...basically you can't go wrong, as proven by the long queue that forms out the door at lunch time. Om nom nom delicious. The food, not the queue!)

Peter bought a few critters from me last year to display in his cafe, but recently asked me for "something bigger and not so cute" and this is what I came up with. Takoyaki's legs have pipecleaners in them so they're poseable, and I reckon his fangs put him easily into the "not so cute" category. I'll post another pic of him in the cafe once he's been installed. Oh, and if you were wondering - Takoyaki is Japanese for 'octopus balls'!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Palmer-ing off critters to musos

A few of my pals have been asking WHY I made conjoined elephant twins. I am tempted to simply say, why not? But the truth is it's because Evelyn Evelyn - the "conjoined twins" who sing one of my very favourite songs, Elephant Elephant - are touring here soon and I wanted to make them a present.

The observant among you will notice there are quote marks around "conjoined twins". That is because the "twins" look remarkably like Amanda Palmer (swoon) and Jason Webley. You can read more about that here.

As for Amanda Palmer - she is my very favourite musician. This pic was taken a few years ago at my favourite bar, the Butterfly Club, after she'd done a slumber party gig there. Yep, we all turned up in our PJs at midnight and listened to the amazing Amanda pound the piano into the wee hours of the morning. And when the show was over I gave her the black rabbit you see her clutching in the pic. I'd made him just a few hours before the show and dressed him in a little stripey jumper made from an old sock.

I guess you could say I have a slightly stalkerish (in the non-creepy way, of course) obsession with giving Amanda critters whenever I have the chance. It's my way of saying that I think she's fantastic. I wish I could say so in words but I turn into a nervous wreck around people I admire so much, and generally end up babbling incoherently before running away. If only "being cool around your idols" had been offered in high school (along with "how to walk in high heels"), adult life would be so much easier. Sigh.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two cute pussies

These are my lovely girls, Lola (the black cat on the left) and Twiglet (the tabby on the right). They're on my - sorry, their - bed. (It's their bed, really, I just share it with them.) The girls were adopted from the Australian Animal Protection Society - if you're thinking about getting a pet, I'd highly recommend you visit AAPS and adopt an animal that really needs a home, rather than heading to a pet store. The staff at the shelter are fantastic and will help you choose a pet that's right for you, and there's an op shop on-site that's crammed full of great stuff.

My cats make me smile every day - what other reason do you need to adopt a pet?

Elephant Elephant

Why hello there.

We are conjoined elephant twins made of felt. We were inspired by the song Elephant Elephant, performed by conjoined twins Evelyn Evelyn. You can read all about them here. We were made by hand by Luna.

If you would like us to live with you, click here - we don't take up a mammoth amount of room and we promise not to make too many trunk calls.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where do you craft?

I like to spread out when I craft. One idea requiring one kind of fabric inevitably leads to another requiring different fabric and several boxes of buttons and then that leads to me wondering just where I put that jacket that still requires a button to be sewn on to it and before you know it there's craft stuff everywhere. And since I am a very visual person* I can't simply tidy it all away and somehow remember what I was doing and come back to it later - no, I have to leave it all out so I have a visual cue as to what it was I was doing before I got interrupted by something irritating like having to go to work. (*Saying 'I am really messy' might be closer to the truth, but saying 'I am a very visual person' sounds so much better. It's like saying my house is 'full of eclectic knick knacks' rather that saying it's 'completely cluttered with things that do not match and are displayed in a hodge-podge manner'.)

Now, there's nothing wrong with spreading out when you craft (at least that is what I tell myself). But, much like not having an actual fabric cupboard, I do not have an actual craft room, either, so you might well find me crafting in the lounge, or in the car (if I am a passenger, that is - I have not yet learnt how to apply make-up at all, let alone when driving the way so many multitaskers do, so I am not going to attempt knitting while changing gears - especially because I drive an auto) or even on the train on my way to work. I suppose that makes me some kind of crafting gyspy, with nowhere to call my crafting homeland. As a result, there's evidence of crafty stuff all over my place. I'm the kind of person who has knitting needles in her handbag and buttons in her jeans pocket. If I ever get pulled over by the cops it's going to be kind of embarrassing.

'Ma'am, we have reason to believe you've bought more than your fair share of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for the third week in a row. I'm going to have to search your handbag.'
'OK. Good luck.'
'Let's see, there's a ball of wool in here that doesn't match the half-finished bit of knitting that's also in here, a sock monster's head and some scribbled notes that look suspiciously like plans for some kind of craft that will involve you spreading your craft stuff all over the place...'

Sorry, off on a tangent there, must be all the Reese's PB cups I've eaten making my mind wander. I meant to say that because I don't have an actual craft room, I end up crafting anywhere and everywhere.

My dining room gets called 'the craft room' because that is where I do most of my crafting when I'm at home, and it's where all my craft supplies are stored. OK, that is a lie, and if you have read this far then you should have spotted it a mile off. Like I said before, I have fabric all through the house and lately I have started viewing my car as a mobile storage unit for whatever I've bought on special at Spotlight but quite possibly did not really need and definitely can't shove under the craft table since there is ABSOLUTELY NO MORE ROOM. Ahem. Note to self, do something with all the stuff under the craft table (no, taking it all out, lovingly sorting through it and then putting it all back really does not count as 'doing something' with all the stuff under the craft table).

When I first started crafting a few years ago, I did my crafty stuff our old ugly dining room table, leaving half-done projects there for weeks at a time, which was fine because we usually ate dinner on our laps in front of the telly anyway (hmmm, could there be a link between those two things?) A while ago, my clever husband reconfigured the furniture in the dining/ craft room and somehow managed to squeeze in a special craft table just for me (which was immediately covered by a sewing machine, several UFOs and my laptop-slash-convenient flat surface to put piles of fabric on) AND a funky new dedicated dining table, too.

'There,' he said triumpantly, 'now when we have dinner parties we can sit at the dinner table like grown-ups, and not have to eat off our laps.'
'Dinner table?' I replied innocently. 'Oh, you mean my big new pattern-cutting table... you didn't really think it wouldn't get swamped with craft stuff, did you?'

We ate one meal on that table to celebrate being grown ups at last, and then, as soon as we'd cleared the plates, the table magically vanished beneath several sewing patterns and some half-finished sock critters. It's not my fault I swear. Like I said, I'm a visual person...

Where do you craft? Do you have a dedicated craft space? And if so, can I craft there with you? I won't take up too much space, honestly...

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Feeling sheepish?

A few years ago at an op shop, I bought a fake sheepskin jacket with a big furry collar and cuffs. You know, the kind that looks good when you try it on, but when you get it home you realise it makes you look like a deranged Muppet.

In retrospect, I am not sure what I was thinking when I made the purchase, as the jacket was white and I am a Melbourne gal and hence wear only black. I suppose I was thinking, hmm, this is a cool jacket and it is only $6 (thank you, Savers) and if I never wear it, I can turn it into a critter.

I suspect I was also having a bout of "but I've been op shopping all day and haven't found anything I want, I can't return home empty handed, I have to buy SOMETHING!!"-itis. I am quite convinced this is a contagious illness suffered by many an op shopper that leads to many stupid buying decisions (hello, silver lurex dress that I don't have the confidence, body or occasion to wear, I see you're enjoying the company of a super cute pair of shoes that are only two sizes too small that I couldn't resist because, you know, my feet might shrink one day).

Years passed with the jacket taking up valuable wardrobe space until one day, I hacked off a sleeve and made this little critter here as my first "critter a week challenge" creation. See, even things you buy in a fit of stupidity just because they are cheap come in handy eventually. That's what I tell myself as I wade through the pile of "what was I thinking" objects invading my house, anyway.

As a result of all this, Amy - as the critter calls herself - has a slightly sheepish expression and horns made from another op shop purchase - a 1980s-style pink and grey striped jumper. And I can proudly say I bought that jumper solely to make into a critter. I might be deluded enough to think I would wear a white furry jacket but I would NEVER wear pink and grey!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Material girl

So, another year, another smug declaration of 'I don't make New Year's resolutions' followed swiftly by 'but this year I am definitely going to tidy up my craft room and do something with that mountain of fabric that's threatening to smother me in my sleep'. (Does looking lovingly through it, saying 'I should do something with all this fabric' and then piling it back in the fabric cupboard* count as 'doing something with all my fabric'?).

*By 'cupboard' I mean 'assorted jam-packed boxes shoved beneath (and around and on top of) my craft table' (and in the bedroom, and anywhere else in the house not already filled with other assorted crap I've hoarded for reasons I can't remember, but I'm sure will come in handy one day).

Oh how I would love an actual fabric cupboard. Not a cupboard made of fabric, you understand, though that would be kind of cool. Though possibly, in my house at least, it would eventually fall victim to either:

a) my two cats, who view anything vertical made of fabric as a scratching post - including the couch, their two actual scratching posts, bolts of fabric and my legs when I'm wearing jeans


b) me and my fabric scissors and some half-baked idea of remaking it into 'something really awesome' that would no doubt end up as yet another UFO. That's UnFinished Object - I do not make spaceships out of fabric (yet... although... hmmm, that could be fun... I could use that silvery fabric that I tried making into a top-with-cool-swishy-over-one-shoulder-cape-thingy that I thought would work out OK but made me look like an extra from a David Bowie video clip circa 1985... and not one of the glamorous, super hot ones...)


c) worse still, a craftastrophe... much like the aforementioned top.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I was floating about in the vast recesses of my mind again, sorry about that. What's your resolution/ crafty plan for the year? Do you bother making promises to yourself that you're likely to not keep, or do you just drift along and see what the year brings? (Not that I'd know about either of those things from personal experience. Ahem.)

This year, I'm going to try to make one crafty thing each week and blog about it so that at the end of the year, instead of looking back and wailing 'I didn't do anything with this year again!' (oh come on now, melodrama is part of the 'reflecting on times past' part of NYE, surely), I'll be able to say 'ooh, look at all the things I made... so that's why I haven't had time to declutter my wardrobe/ write a bestseller/ work out the meaning of life!'

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Greetings, friends! Last night we rang in the new year with a bit of a boogie.

Some of us went all out and managed to achieve the very rare double splits (it helps if you have four legs). That's Katja on the right looking pretty pleased with her achievement.
She's with Mr Holeproof, who's busting his best '70s disco move.

Bluetooth and Travolta didn't make much eye contact but boy did their super-long apendages attract attention.

Hope your NYE was a blast, too*. Here's to a super crafty year, hurrah!

*Disclaimer: I did not actually spend NYE at a sock critter disco. I do have a life, you know. Sure, I may have spent a large amount of time making these sock critters just so I could say a super cool dance night had taken place in my lounge room, but that doesn't make me some kind of craft-obsessed freak, you know... er... does it?