Crochet amigurumi very fat dog – oops!

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I made a crochet dog for my friend.  This is supposed to look like her dog Bear, but Bear is a much thinner dog.

I already gave this little dog some liposuction (with a crochet hook and a couple of stitches) but she is still way too fat.

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It could have been even worse.  Check out my first try for the legs:

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I used some Gala yarn that I really love.  It’s kind of an eyelash chenille, and it’s perfectly soft for making little animals.  But of course, it’s impossible to see what I’m doing as I crochet along.  I ended up poking my hook through anything that would hold it, and instead of four or five stitches per round, it ended up double that.  So I made new legs, focusing on making them smaller.

I’ll save those huge legs and make something else with them.  Maybe a couple of tiny mice or something like that.  I only have an eensie weensie bit of yarn left, so it will have to be something tiny.

I still need to find some eyes for mini-fat-Bear.  Real Bear has amazing golden eyes.  They are really beautiful, so I’m rooting through my buttons to find something just right.

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I ended up using two buttons layered together for her eyes.  Well, four buttons, I guess.

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Here she is, all fat and jolly!

More freestyle amigurumi – Lucky, our pet muscovy duck

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Shhh!  Christmas present for my hubby!  He says he doesn’t want anything for Christmas.  I’ll bet he changes his mind when he sees this.  His office is very professional and professor-y, which is nice I suppose.  But maybe just a little bit, he needs to lighten up and make it cozy!

I used a bulky black scrap to make the body, then switched to a scrap of some kind of zigzaggy lightweight yarn for the neck and head.  Then another scrap of red for the caruncles around his eyes, and a little bit of gold for his feet and bill.  I used the same black and white for the wings and sewed it all together.  I didn’t use a pattern.  I just winged it.  Get it, get it??   Her-her-her.

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Freestyle crochet amigurumi owl – “interesting” update below

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No pattern this time.  Just using up some extra yarn!

My youngest came home from school feeling miserable.  I’m afraid he’s sick.  No more blogging just now – my mothering skills are needed!

 

UPDATE all is well.  Sort of well.  My son is fine.  OK here’s the weird part.  He was feeling terrible, terrible, terrible, so we drove him over to the urgent care clinic.  There was about a 1-1/2 hour wait, which was not so bad, so we checked him in and then went to wait in the van.  After about an hour, he needed to use the bathroom, so we started walking towards the clinic.  All of a sudden, he collapsed in the parking lot, but don’t worry.  He crouched to the ground and I was afraid he might pass out.  But he thrashed around for a minute or so and then got sick to his stomach, and then he felt a lot better.  Sorry, I know this is kind of gross, but there was cheese and maybe some chicken and corn or something.  Weird part’s still coming.

Next it was his turn and the doctor checked him out and gave him an antibiotic for a sinus infection.  No flu!  Just a sinus infection and then the nausea from the accumulation…never mind.  I don’t want to be gross here.  The weird part is next.

I fessed up to his horking in the parking lot because I thought they might have some sort of procedure involving a bucket, some disinfectant, maybe some of those little rubber gloves they wear, something.  But the doc said not to worry about it because they have a lot of raccoons at night.  “They’ll clean that right up.”

Remember, there is no food so bad that a raccoon won’t eat it!

Clay Menagerie of Friends and Foes

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My younger son will not be outdone by his sister!

He got into the polymer clay and sculpted, baked, and painted himself up a whole little zoo.

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First up is a piranha.  Notice the bloodthirsty mouth.

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Next is the shark.  We can tell it’s a shark because it has two dorsal fins.  Science, boys and girls!

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Moving on into the movies, we have Jabba the Hut and his horrible pet, Salacious Crumb.  I love that little guy.  He’s so icky!

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Here’s a big black spider.

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A blue whale.  He really nailed the shape of the body, I think.

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And now we get a little more personal.  Here’s Porky

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…and Lucky!

The sculpture of Lucky just about started WWIII around here.  My older son spotted the baked-and-cooling duck and banged on it, breaking off the wings.  Not cool at all!  Negotiations ensued and a cease fire (and apology) were issued, and the last of the Sculpey was used to mend the duck.  A few more minutes in the oven and a cooldown under lock and key got everyone back on track.  I think it looks even nicer with the repairs, and it surely is more sturdy.  If the truth must be told (and it must!) the wings were already starting to crack off simply from their own weight before the hostilities.  Most importantly, the boys are back on the best of terms.

 

 

 

 

My daughter’s unnamed mountains painting and a word on creativity

My daughter got all independent the other day once she remembered my stash of painting canvasses and acrylic paint from a rummage sale this summer.

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When the kids were little, we had regular paintfests in the kitchen.  Sometimes they made galleries of dozens of paintings.  Of course in those days, it was printer paper and washable watercolors.  My older son liked to paint while he was nude so that he always had a surface for his art, even when I was not fast enough switching out papers.  Then he could hop directly in the tub when he was done.  He also liked to paint himself and then roll around on a big sheet of kraft paper.  There was no keeping up with that child!

Now that they are a little older, we don’t rip through quite so many paintings.  I don’t have to lock up the paint and brushes to discourage unauthorized artistic expressions.  They even (mostly) clean up after themselves!

My daughter was quite inspired by the gold acrylic paint. It was probably pretty expensive originally, but at rummage sale prices…go for it!  I like the 3D thing she’s got going on there.  It looks to me like rocks tumbling down the mountain.  And check out the shading of that sky.

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Her first attempt at this painting didn’t go quite the way she wanted.  Her sky got smeared.  She tried to wipe it off, but that didn’t work, so she dunked the whole thing in the sink and started over.

When the kids work on art projects, I try to stay out of it unless they ask me for help.  Well, except for household management and safety issues.  I don’t want them to try to please me – I want them to just get whatever is in their brain out here where the rest of us can see it.  All three of my kids are pretty quirky, which makes for some wonderful art.

When I was young, I liked to write stories.  Sometimes I turned them in for my school projects.  Once, my teacher read my story in front of the class and said that it was very creative.  One of my classmates got all ugly with me and whispered that creative was just a nice word for weird.  Eh, middle school!  I tell my kids that weird is just a nasty, jealous word for creative.

I was weird though.  I am weird now too.  Oftentimes I don’t know I’m being creative until someone tells me.  I do what seems to be the most obvious, natural thing, and then I get these looks.  Oops, my creative is showing.

It’s gotten easier to handle as I’ve gotten older.  I’m just myself – I couldn’t be normal if I tried, so I focus on being kind and loving and responsible, etc.  I work to improve my character, and otherwise accept myself the way I am.  Life would be boring if everyone were normal.  Plus, we wouldn’t have art, and we’d still be wandering around foraging for food.  Nothing would get invented.  We would die young and sick and miserable.  Creative is good.

Here it is, all done except for the signing.  I love it and I’m so proud of her!

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Need some justice over here. And some business advice, please!

My daughter is studying the industrial revolution in social studies right now. We are reading The Jungle together.  How awesome that there’s an audio book now, and even video versions! I was a kid when I first read it, and I couldn’t pronounce any of the names, so I substituted ordinary American names in my head just so that I could keep track of everyone.  But then I had to keep track of my substitutions, so I had a cheat sheet that I used as a bookmark. Plus I sometimes fell asleep while I was reading it…no wonder I couldn’t remember much of it.  Except for the yucky parts. Anyway.

From the eBay message boards: (until eBay removes it)

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Oops.  Looks like jaknox is going to be looking for a job soon.

This is one of the (many, many) reasons I prefer to meet you all over on Bonanza.  😡  Lookie lookie, actual evidence of big-time criminal behavior at eBay. There have been rumors for a long time but lots of denials and no proof. Go get ’em, DOJ. It will probably take awhile for this to hit the regular news, but this against the law, and this leaked list could be the foot in the door that is needed to go after evidence of other crimes.

I used to think many of the commenters on EcommerceBytes were bitter, cynical, frustrated, angry people in all aspects of their lives. Crackpots. But the more I learn about the business, the more I think those commenters were oracles.  Ming?  Yeah, he may look all bonkers and stuff, but he’s right about a lot of things. Or maybe I’m getting to be a crackpot too.  🙂

How many family businesses has eBay taken down to scratch the backs of their partners? How many customers have not been able to buy what they wanted, at the price they wanted, from whom they wanted, because of these collusions?  OK, enough ranting for now.  Time for some soothing music.

I’ve thought about moving over to Etsy, but their search engine gives me the heebie jeebies.  And their interface – it’s too much like Pinterest, which creeps me out.  Plus I don’t know how to list things.  I have a lot of vintage craft supplies, for instance.  Are they vintage?  Or are they craft supplies? And (significantly) I don’t want to spend hundreds of hours and lots of money to set up shop at Etsy to find the same problems happening all over again. They are becoming a big business too, and they must be feeling the pressure to act like a big business.

But…I need my competitors.  Nobody has ALL the craft supplies, so a marketplace is where we can all get together and customers looking for stuff can find what they need.

I like Bonanza because it’s really easy to list, and if I get enough sales over there, I can afford to go whole hog and open a store. (I just have a booth now.) I think lots of eBay sellers will make the move now just because Bonanza is glad to do the heavy lifting and import eBay listings. So for now, that is where I am going to park my store. Right now, Bonanza seems unusually honest and ethical. If they grow, are they going to turn into scuzzbags too? I guess we’ll find out.

I’ve been checking out some Facebook groups for selling and buying. They seem to be a little more “Wild West,” kind of like Craigslist, but some of them are fun. I sell a little bit on Amazon, but it’s not such a good fit for most of my merchandise.  Ecrater is very cheap, but an awful lot of work, and I’m not sure my technical skills are up to the challenge just yet.  I’ll be thinking and reading and testing over the next few weeks. As soon as I can afford it, I would love to dump my eBay store.

So…craft supply shoppers?  Where do you like to shop for patterns and yarn and fabric and kits? What do you think about Etsy? Sellers, where do you sell your things? If you’re in a good Facebook group, would you mind sharing that with me as well? Thanks, you’re awesome!

 

Magic Circle, where have you been all my life???

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I’ve been crocheting practically all my life, but I don’t remember patterns like this when I was young.  I got it from Planet June, which is the cutest place on the internet.

When I was a kid, I made some granny squares, but I hated them.  Of course all those loose ends drove me bananas, but most especially the chain ring in the middle frustrated me to no end.  I always made it either so loose it looked ridiculous or so tight I couldn’t use it and there was just no “just right.”  Even if it looked just right, I knew it was not (knot, ha ha) and I couldn’t stand it.

Just who invented this magic ring, and why is this the first I’ve ever heard of it?

The yarn I used for this little guy is from some secondhand yarn that I bought.  Lots of times when I go thrifting for yarn, I end up with 3 balls of nice yarn, and then 1-1/2 cuffs and 6 inches of a scarf.  Sometimes I use the yarn and sometimes I sell it, but I never know what to do with those little worked bits.  Glad I saved them, because now I know!  I see quite a few of these little guys in my future…

I did notice that all of June’s guys have adorable pointy little noses, and everybody else’s guys on Ravelry using the same pattern also have cute little noses.  I must have messed up somewhere, but I like him anyway.  I didn’t put any eyes on him because my eldest is scared of eyes (because they have “ert things.”)  It’s nice to be able to make your own toys when you have issues like this!

I have a love/hate relationship with eyelash yarn.  I love the fuzz, but I can’t see what I am doing and I get frustrated with the fuzz too.  I used some black eyelash yarn with a little bit of white running through the center, and I think that helps a bit.  I’ve got a little more in my shop too, and I’ll definitely keep my eye out for more.

Project idea: owl cash register paper roll notepad

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Here’s a treasure I found at a rummage sale this summer.  It’s probably from the 1970s.  Orange owls were so very…well probably not groovy, maybe the 70s verion of groovy.  Cool?  Maybe.  No, I think they said “groovy” on The Brady Bunch.  But were they square when they said that?  Hmm.

I’ve had this hanging on the inside door of my kitchen cupboard and I really like it.  I can keep a running grocery list there until I’m ready to go to the store.  Then I tear off the list and leave it on the counter when I go to the store.  🙂

But it does seem a shame to cover that cute little owl with a big old roll of paper.  Here’s what it looks like when the roll is full:

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I’ve already got this and I don’t need another, but I’m putting these photos up here for anyone interested in making one of their own.  It’s just so cool, and it could be made of mostly scraps and recycled materials.

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The bar to hold the paper roll looks an awful lot like a belt buckle with a couple of snips.  It’s held in place with two brass fasteners that poke through a couple of holes in the wood.

This little guy was probably made in a factory, and the cutter looks like it was made by the zillion for little owl note thingies.  But you could make your own out of the steel cutter from a box of foil or freezer paper.  I think the bends at the ends are key so that it lifts off the base a tiny bit.  I think it’s also important that it’s about 1/4 inch above the bottom of the base.  I haven’t cut myself yet, and I am very clumsy.  So it’s surprisingly safe this way, at least for grownups.

I’ve seen other ideas to make your own that are cute too, like using ribbon or  shoe string to hold the paper roll.

I keep trying to imagine how to make something this cute and practical without covering the owl.  I thought maybe putting the roll hanger where the cutter is, like a perch, and then have the roll hanging down from that with a cutter below that.  But then it would be impractically large, plus it would look like the owl is pooping all over the grocery list.  The kids would be drawing inappropriate mysterious chunks on the list and maybe that would be kind of fun for them, but I need to start thinking like a grown-up.  So maybe just a tiny owl or other decoration with a more plain backing, maybe with decorations around the edge.

Idea: A bride, and the list is her train…with chores written on it…to keep track of wedding planning stuff.  Oo, oo!  Somebody make this and show me how it turns out!