A Bouquet In Honor Of A Wedding

For Robyn and Sean, June 1st, 2013.

The best part about June weddings is the huge variety of local flowers available here in NY. This is a little selection of flora cut from the garden at my home.

A large pink rose-scented peony, lime green Hakonechloa grass (var. Aureola), variegated hosta, and mustard green flowers (var. Ruby Streaks). A small upcycled bottle serves as a vase.

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Color Inspiration

Last summer’s purchase of Sedum “Angelina” finally found a home, in this amazing azure blue metal planter. Love the winter-in-to-spring color change of the foliage. It’ll be bright lime green by summer, which will really pop against the blue.

Orange, lime, azure. Dig. Gotta sew some of that…

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Evolution of the Love Bunnies!

Rainbow Bunny

In honor of Easter’s festivities, it’s time to release some Bunny Love in to the universe!

Here is their story, in a matter of rounds. It all began with a couple of cats…

Round 1:

Somewhere deep in the folds of the interwebs I discovered a really adorable Amy Butler pattern for some super cute cat pillows. A couple of years ago, on the cusp of my first trip to Sweden, I decided to make two of these cuties as gifts: one for each of my beloved Swedish cousins. They’re both older than I, and already have kids, and I figured they could withstand cuddly fun from all ages. Fortunately, they also wouldn’t take up too much space in my luggage, which was already crammed with enough toys and American superhero ephemera to put Santa to shame. These pillows ended up being my first successful sewn stuffed animal project. There were a couple of previous failed stuffie attempts, which forced me to learn some proper technique, and a myriad of amigurumi and origami successes that hinted at what I was capable of.

This was one of the first...

Little Red Cat

Somewhat strange, yet oddly endearing, no?

Both were constructed out of upcycled denim from my stash. The black bunny was made out of an old pair of JNCO jeans (I was a raver…those pant legs were HUGE back in the day). The red one was crafted from a bunch of red denim that had been around for ages. This was also around the time that I learned that you can draw, albeit crudely, with a sewing machine. For the white face, I discovered that I actually liked the sketchyness of the back of the fabric I was using to create the face, and replicated that look on both kitties. This was my first taste of riffing on a pattern.

My niece Em insists that these are actually dogs. She, and I, insist that “The Em” is always right.

Round 2:

Blue Velvet Kitteh

A few months later, one of my wee friends was having her 2nd birthday. I decided that another cat would be a nice gift. Sticking with the upcycled fabric tip, I cut apart a velvet shirt that belonged to my dad, and scored some really nice dark royal blue base material. It was a bit stretchy, a fabric texture that I had no experience using, hence why the face got a little ripply. Part of the nature of working with upcycled fabrics is that you only have SO much material to work with, therefore mistakes are not easily forgiven. Still cute, and über soft. This face was constructed per the original pattern, however I used a satin stitch for decorative (albeit ruffly) effect.

Round 3:

Hop forward about one year, and a couple of amazing fundraising events came up in my area. Both of these were dear to my heart. The first, the RHyTHMS Benefit, was set up to raise money for two very close friends who had recently been diagnosed with MS. The other, an annual local production of The Vagina Monologues, was raising money for Eve Ensler’s V-Day Foundation and Family of Woodstock Domestic Violence Services, two organizations that do amazing work to assist women and families in need. Since I rarely have any extra cash to donate directly to worthy causes I decided to flex my crafty skills and make some stuff to donate to their auctions. It’s amazing how love inspires creativity…

Black Love Bunny - The First Bunny of 2011

Red Love Bunny - The Second Bunny of 2011

He's a ninja, and loves climbing shrubs.

The bodies are constructed out felted sweaters. I had come across some nice, and far too small/slightly damaged, cashmere/angora/wool sweaters at a clothing swap, and decided to try my hand at felting. I figured this was a good test project for my newest fabric!

I had decided that I wanted to do something totally different for these critters. I played around with pattern a bit, and tried my hand at making some quilted ears. There was definitely enough extra fabric* to give my vision a test drive, and I’m glad I did. These ears were love at first stitch! Ok, truth be told there were many stitches involved, but I thought they had such amazing character, and came out exactly the way I hoped they would. Both of these bunnies sold at auction, for a bit more than I thought they would, and helped raise money for some fantastic causes.

Round 4:

This year I made 2 bunnies to auction for V-Day 2012, at performances of The Vagina Monologues in Kingston and New Paltz, NY. These fundraisers were raising money for the same great causes as last year. Me and my girls did 2 weekends of shows, and I felt the need to spread the bunny love around! I had, in the interim, made a FULL washer load of felt after collecting all of the woolish sweaters that I could find. There is a sneak peak at the top of the page, here are a few more pics. First in line is Mr. Pink Love Bunny:

He loves climbing trees...

...appreciates the oxygenating capabilities of plantlife...

...and can tire swing like a boss!

This super cute little dude was snapped up at the Kingston show, and from what I’ve been told he’s getting along REALLY well with his new family:

Mr. Bunny and his new best pal Ponyboy Curtis Calabrese Photo by Nancy Lee Lewis

The second was the Rainbow Love Bunny! This is the first stuffed creature that I’ve made using the ribbon fabric created as a part of the Ribbon Scrap Art Project! It looked so amazingly vibrant in person that I got distracted by his good looks and only got shots of this guy before he was completely sewn up. This one was picked up at the New Paltz show. I can’t wait to make some more critters with this stuff:


Round 5

…is coming up soon! I’ll be creating yet another Love Bunny for another auction: the Starlings for Hope Gala, which will be held at the Bearsville Theater near Woodstock, NY. This time around proceeds will be donated to HOPE’S Fund and Starling Productions, two amazing organization in Ulster County, NY. Hope’s Fund connects women with other women in the community, bringing together human and financial resources to create empowerment and improve lives. Starling Productions, nexus of the awesome TMI Project, is a woman owned and operated theater company which is dedicated to fostering creative and personal transformation through the power of performance.

Will YOU be the lucky bidder that gets to take the next creation home? I’ll be posting updates on the Crabapple Hideout Facebook page…and on the Twitterz

Thanks for reading!

xoxoxox

~salix~

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*I know I’ve said enough, but I’m adding a footnote anyway. I use a ton of upcycled materials, but 2 of the bunnies (Sir Black and Mr. Pink Love Bunnies) actually contain accent fabric that I purchased from an awesome company called Sew, Mama, Sew. They also run one of my most FAVORITE sewing blogs on the web! I discovered them pretty early in my new sewing path. That blog, and page after page of funky fabric swatches, has offered countless hours of inspiration, and also kept this lady sane in the midst of a really nasty and abusive work environment a few years ago. I owe them a HUGE debt of gratitude.

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Do you want to try making your own cat pillow? Here’s the original pattern I used. If you do, I’d love to see what you come up with!

Birdie the Cat, aka Cozy Kitten Pattern, can be found here.

More amazing free patterns by Amy Butler can be found here.

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P.S. –  I’d like to dedicate this post to timethief and her amazing post about recovering a lost page in WordPress. Although I never actually lost this post, I had to recover a bunch of info from old drafts because the visual editor decided to disappear for as of yet unknown reasons. Thank you thank you thank you.

The Wing

Ribbon Scrap Art Test #3 - The Wing

Ribbon Scrap Art Test #3 - The Wing

This one was either a labor of love or mission towards insanity. At this point I’m not quite sure what the answer is, but at least the resulting piece is interesting. This is SUPER dramatic in person.

And now for the close-up...

And now for the close-up...

My initial inspiration for this was an owl’s wing, although it does have a bit of a fish-scaley look in person. This is a single winged owl at this point…

Here are some process photos of my journey:

First I free handed a wing shape on some scrap pattern paper...

First I free handed a wing shape on some scrap pattern paper...

Yes, I use markers when I draw my outlines. I have yet to find a chalk that lives up to my exacting standards. Usually it’s a Sharpie though…

Then I traced it out, with a bit of a hem, and cut out a piece of muslin...

Then I traced it out, with a bit of a hem, and cut out a piece of muslin...

Then I cut out a bunch of "feathers"...

Then I cut out a bunch of "feathers"...

I had to do this MULTIPLE times. This piece used up so much ribbon it was kind of ridiculous, and awesome because I have a ton of scrap screaming out to be used. I cut boxes full of diamond/rhombus shapes, out of the longest strips of ribbon in my stash, and kept them at my side during the layering process. I cut each piece at a 45-ish degree angle from the edges of the ribbon. These are all curling because my stash is stuffed rather tightly in to bags at the moment…

Then I started sewing them in overlapping rows across the wing...

Then I started sewing them in overlapping rows across the wing...

I kept the rows pretty tight together, about 1/2 an inch between layers, and followed the contour of the muslin shape at the base. Check out the photo below for the x-ray specs version…

Row upon row upon row...

Row upon row upon row...

...upon row upon row upon row upon row upon row...

...upon row upon row upon row upon row upon row...

This is not a project for you unless you are insanely OCD. Like me.

Perhaps if, and only if, I feel a complete desire towards gaining symmetry with this project, then I might actually complete the second wing. Otherwise this may just remain an eyeless fish upon my wall.

I’m currently looking for a product that I could spray on this piece to keep the ends of the ribbon from fraying. Something like Dritz’s Fray Check, but that I can use in one fell swoop instead of on each individual “feather”. I need something that will allow for flexibility in the final project, is preferably non-toxic or low fume, but which will also keep the very ends of the piece intact. Any suggestions and recommendations are much appreciated.

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If you like what I’m doing, and want to follow along with my progress, please like the Crabapple Hideout Facebook page! Click on any of the photos above to get there, or just click here!

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