Summer Ami Update

School has started, but summer is not officially over until after Labor Day in my mind. I had a wonderful summer filled with traveling, hanging out with friends, reading, napping, crafting, and of course, crocheting! I also had to change over to a new computer after my old one fried (RIP!), so it has taken me a while to figure out how to transfer pictures. My goal for this past summer was to make 50 amigurumi to sell at the craft show I do in October. I am going to be short of this goal by next weekend, however, I feel like this was one of the most relaxing and fun summers I have ever had, so I will not fret about not making the perfect number of amis! Without further ado, I present to you the next in the series of the many amis I made this summer:

Here is a baby chicken I made. I love how his hair sticks up!

#5 - baby chicken

#5 – baby chicken

Next is Pete. He is a cutie pie blue bear.

Pete the Bear

#6 Pete the Bear

Then I have Melvin, the elephant:

Melvin the Elephant

#7 Melvin the Elephant

Then there is this lovely owl. She has a sweet heart on her tummy to remind you she loves you!

#8 Owl with heart

#8 Owl with heart

This giraffe has a really awesome mohawk:

#9 Mohawk Giraffe

#9 Mohawk Giraffe

Then I made a really large Dalek, to honor the upcoming Dr. Who Season!!!

#10 Large Dalek

#10 Large Dalek

The next one is another minion, about 8 inches tall.

#11 Large Minion

#11 Large Minion

My cousin (from Tennessee) wanted a UTK minion for a friend of hers. I enjoyed this one especially, since UT is my alma mater!

#12 UT Minion

#12 UT Minion – GO VOLS!

After I saw the newest Avengers Movie, I was inspired to make a Hulk! I hope I can get him some buddies pretty soon.

#13 The Hulk

#13 The Hulk

I love dinosaurs! So, I made Tyrone, the Tyrannosaurus to celebrate that love!

#14 Tyrone the T-Rex

#14 Tyrone the T-Rex

Then I made a Momma and Baby Penguin

#15 and 16 - Momma and baby penguins

#15 and 16 – Momma and baby penguins

Then I wanted to make a really fat and short panda.

#17 Fat Panda

#17 Fat Panda

I added a pink hippo to the collection.

#18 Pink Hippo

#18 Pink Hippo

Because of the media stir around Cecil the Lion in Africa, I made a lion and named him Cecil.

#19 Cecil the Lion

#19 Cecil the Lion

I made a super cute monkey.

#20 Just monkeying around

#20 Just monkeying around

A few years ago, I bought some patterns from Lucy Ravenscar, and these are some of them:

Star Wars Gang

Star Wars Gang

#21 C3PO

#21 C3PO

#22 R2D2

#22 R2D2

#23 Yoda

#23 Yoda

#24 Storm Trooper

#24 Storm Trooper

#25 Ewok

#25 Ewok

As you can probably guess, I am a huge Star Wars fan. I plan to make some of the others, but I would want them to have a light saber, so I am still working out how that will happen…

Finally, I also got really into watching the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons on netflix, so I am starting on making some of them. The first is a tiny Batman. He stands about 3″ tall, so much tiny and adorable! He is already sold as an addition to my dear friends classroom!

#26 The Batman

#26 The Batman

As you can see, I have been a busy beaver this summer, but not so busy with this that I did not take sufficient time to enjoy being off and stop to smell the so-called roses. Thanks for stopping by and enjoying my creations. You can bring them home with you via my etsy shop.

Fun Plushies

I have been experimenting with a new medium for my stuffed toys – fleece. It feels like I am making “real” stuffed animals. It started with my nephew’s dinosaur-themed first birthday party. I wanted to get him a dino book, and stuffed animal to go with it. I could not find a stuffed dinosaur that was a generic one (not associated with a movie or game). Plus, most of them were pretty scary, and well, he was turning one. I decided I would have a go at making my own, and it turned out very cute, and very one-year-old friendly.

First dinosaur

First dinosaur

I chose the color to match one of the dinos in the book. I think he turned out quite well. I hand sewed this one, which takes a long time (well, longer than a machine), so I decided subsequent attempts would be machine sewn.

Profile view

Profile view

His eyes are sewn as well, since safety eyes should really be for ages 3+. My second attempt turned out a bit cuter, but maybe it is just because I prefer yellow, and the seams are hidden inside –

second dino

second dino

I also gave him larger eyes. I have a theory about the size of eyes being directly proportioned to the amount of cute something is. I made his tummy a bit thinner too, so his legs stand up better. I plan to make a couple more and tweak the pattern.

dino profile

dino profile

Of course, I try stuffed animals with my very own pattern first, and then do some research and find TONS of free patterns out there. So I decided to try a couple of them out. The first one is a bunny. It is a really good pattern, but I used felt instead of fleece, so his ears are a bit too large, and he is not as soft as he could be.

bunny foo foo

bunny foo foo

He is still quite cute, and his eyes are my first successful attempt at a French knot! I have been trying to master that one for quite some time! I had a bit of trouble following the pattern instructions, but I think it is due to my inexperience, rather than an issue with them.

My next project was gigantic, too big even for my photo booth, but I did have a “whale” of a time making him.

Whale

Whale

Again, he is baby safe, and so squishy and adorable. You can make your own using the tutorial found here.

so big!

so big!

Those are 18×24″ papers – he is nearly a full yard long! I love his squish factor and size. Squish factor is a technical term, of course.

I also made him a rather large buddy in a darker shade of blue.

big blue whale

big blue whale

You may be able to see, he is taking up nearly half of a six foot table.

nice eyes

nice eyes

I love how his eyes turned out, very expressive.

swimming buddies

swimming buddies

Here they are together. I am sure they will enjoy many hours of swimming together!

My favorite pattern I have made as part of this experiment has to be the foxes I made using this pattern. It is adorable, simple, and yet doesn’t look too simple. I am thinking about ways I can adapt this pattern to different animals – maybe a dog, cat, elephant? Who knows?

Best Friends!

Best Friends!

They are so cute, and I imagine they are best friends!

Orange fox

Orange fox

I really got quite a bit of experience with the applique setting on my sewing machine doing their faces. I decided to make them complimentary in color.

Brown Fox

Brown Fox

I think they both turned out quite cute. I am very pleased with this little experiment, and I am sure there are lots more to come. I just love working with new things and learning about new crafts. Ever since, I have picked up every stuffed animal I see (dog toys included) to examine their construction. Just like amis, they are basically a combination of simple shapes. I love to see simple things that work together and make a very complex whole. I hope you enjoyed this small stuffed menagerie.

Recent projects

I have been quite busy crocheting up a storm the past couple of weeks. Some things have been special orders, and others are because I am working on having more inventory for my etsy shop, other things are just for fun, just for me. I am still working on it. I hope to have several items posted by the end of this month! Before I post items there, I wanted to show them off here first!

Here is a cute little fox hat I made for a friend of mine. I really need to make some more of these, they are so stinking cute!

Cute little fox hat

Cute little fox hat

I made this owl for a friend who needed a gift for a baby boy. She requested brown and blue for him. I think it turned out adorable.

Owl for baby boy

Owl for baby boy

When my husband and I went to Chicago last summer, I went to a local yarn store and bought some beautiful yarn. I have been holding it for a while, trying to figure out the perfect thing to make with it. While I haven’t figured out what the perfect thing is yet, I could not wait to make something. We have had some really chilly mornings here Texas, which means super cold ears while walking my dogs. Since this is wool, I made a headband/ear warmer to wear on those chilly morning walks! It is a simple single crochet stitch, but the variegation in the yarn makes it looks super elegant. I love it!!

Chicago yarn headband

Chicago yarn headband

While I was on a headband kick, I made another one from some really thick green yarn. It turned out really cute. I did a faux bow in the front by gathering and wrapping the front with a small piece.

Warmer front

Ear warmer front

On the back I did some front and back post stitches to create a bit of a ribbing to allow it to expand so it would fit snugly around my head.

Ear warmer back

Ear warmer back

From the same thick yarn, I made some cable crochet hand warmers. They are so cute, and very warm! I use them almost every day.

cable crochet gloves

cable crochet gloves

I found a super bulky white yarn, and I made a little hat out of it. It is the perfect size for a woman or a teenager. I will put it up for sale after I get a picture of it on an actual person 😉

IMG_2841 IMG_2842

I also made this twisty cowl from a thick, wool yarn. It is super cozy and comfy, and once again, I need a model for it before I post it in the shop. I have a couple of volunteers for the model position, lol, we just need to match up schedules. I love it because it uses a new stitch I discovered, the extended single crochet!! It has been so long since I found a new stitch and I immediately am enamored of it! Anyway, this particular cowl is made from from alternating rows of single crochet and extended single crochet. I made a long block, and then twisted it and sewed it together. I love the look of it, and it is really warm.

Cowl

Cowl

Last one – a Doctor Who TARDIS inspired hat. I am really happy with this one. I used two strands of each yarn throughout. The pom pom is made to look like the light on top. I embroidered the words “POLICE BOX” onto it, and I think it looks pretty good. Yea, Doctor Who!

TARDIS hat

TARDIS hat

Thanks for looking and allowing me to share this with you! I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!

2014 in review

WordPress offered me a summary of my blog for 2014, which is highly appropriate as I am working on ideas for crafty goals for 2015! If you are interested in how the blog is growing, here are some stats and figures!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Staying Organized This Holiday

The holidays are an extremely busy time of year for everyone. Personally, I have more to do in December than just about any other month. For school, I have evening concerts, elementary tour, assemblies, sing along, final exam and review, and we begin music and prep for our most intense concerts of the year. For myself, I always take too many gigs because I love to play, so every evening and weekend is filled with either a rehearsal or a performance and somedays both! It is also the busiest time for Lou’s Labors between custom orders and regular orders from my etsy shop! When school finally ends for the semester (this Friday!!!!), I can start thinking about and planning the multiple family holiday celebrations we do each year.

I love each and every one of the things I do at the holidays, but it really takes some work to stay organized and keep from being overwhelmed! Sometimes I do really well, sometimes I cry because of the lack of good night’s sleep, but my goal is to try to thoroughly enjoy each moment of the holidays. I know that I am incredibly fortunate to be able to do so many things and share my musical gifts, and have such an amazing extended family with whom to celebrate this time of year.

So, what is a crafty girl to do? Make a holiday organizer, that I dubbed a “Holiday Survival Guide,” of course 😉 !

I was looking at Pinterest over Thanksgiving Break, and I found the greatest idea – a homemade holiday planner! Jen, from Eighteen25, is seriously creative and made some fabulous printables. You can find the link here.

Holiday Survival Guide

Holiday Survival Guide

I followed her tutorial, but this year’s printables were not my favorite color palatte. I had about a million sheets of holiday paper from other crafts, and I always have tons of labels (teacher, remember), so I made my own set.

It was simple to make and really took no time at all. I traced the cover of a composition book onto scrapbook paper and glued it on using paper mod podge. I let that dry and then covered the seam with a sticky glitter ribbon. I cut out the tabs and attached them at several intervals in the book. I used small labels and Sharpie markers to make them. They say “TO DO,””THE LISTS,” “EVENTS,” “SCHEDULE,” “CALENDAR” and “OTHER.” It has been extremely useful, and you could make the tabs say anything you want.

Tabs

Tabs

I taped the tabs into place. I taped the calendar pages into place. If I make this next year, I will get some double stick tape so you don’t see it, but for the first time, it looks pretty good.

Calendar in place

Calendar in place

Doesn’t it look so nice with all the pages blank? I use the other section as a sort of journal/notes for next year place. It has been the least used section, but I feel better knowing it is there. I use the to do to keep a running list of everything I need to accomplish this season. The lists are gift lists for people, crossed out when purchased. Events is my planning section for events. For each event what do I need to bring, when is it, all the pertinent details for me. The schedule is for the incredibly busy days when I have to schedule even my free time so I can get everything finished. Calendar keeps the dates and deadlines hyper organized.

Tabs taped in

Tabs taped in

Several people have asked about me making them one, so I think I may try to get some of these together early next year and sell them. I may also add some pockets on the inside covers for receipts/coupons/other items not in the book. For this year, it is too late, as I am already doing enough! What do you do to help stay organized during the holidays?

Amis for Craft Show

I recently participated in a local craft and specialty show sponsored by a local high school. It was a very successful weekend, but I felt like I was scrambling to make enough items to show. Fortunately, I was nearly sold out, took several special orders, and everything that did not sell, I am posting in my etsy shop. All the designs are my own, unless otherwise specified.

Here is a look at some of what I made:
Here are the Winchester Boys – Sam and Dean, from the show, Supernatural. This is one of my favorite shows, and I made them for a swap, and I think they turned out adorable! I will probably need to make more of these for my shop 🙂

Winchester Boys

Winchester Boys

I almost always have to have a penguin to sell. They are one of my favorites, and this is such a cute version, it is hard to not make many of them.

penguin friend

penguin friend

It is not getting cold enough in North Texas for snow, yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun with an adoarble snow man.

Snowman

Snowman

Here is a sweet little bear. His facial expression reminds me of the Velveteen Rabbit, before he became real, of course.

Bearymore

Bearymore

Here are a set of adorable Avengers. I made the Hulk, Captain America, and Iron Man. They were picked up almost immediately.

Cutie Hulk

Cutie Hulk

Cutie Captain America

Cutie Captain America

Cutie Iron Man

Cutie Iron Man

I had some yellow and orange yarn, not enough to make a huge giraffe, but I wanted to make something. I came up with this ridiculously cute duck.

Quack, quack, quack

Quack, quack, quack

This year I have been experimenting with extra large amis. I made three that are pretty huge. Trevor the Dinosaur, who did not sell, but is my absolute favorite thing I ever made. I think I am going to keep him.

Trevor the Dinosaur

Trevor the Dinosaur

Trevor wants a hug

Trevor wants a hug

I made an extra large monkey. He left to be a present for a baby shower. Those are my large (9″) scissors.

Big Monkey

Big Monkey

Finally, I made a giant elephant. Everyone picked him up and loved on him, but no one took him home. I will definitely post him on my shop, maybe with some better pics 😉
IMG_2542

I did a special at the craft show, for every hat someone bought, I am going to make and donate one to our local children’s hospital. I need to make 16 hats! I contacted them to find out what size they need most, and I am working on 16 hats for teens. I hope to have them finished by the end of November. Thanks for stopping by to look.

Back To School Crafts 2014

So school is back in full swing, and has been for a couple of weeks. I guess it is time I share some of my back-to-school crafting! This year I made several things for my room. None of them are particularly functional, but they are cute and lovely, and make me super happy to have them around 🙂

I made a sign for our room.

Orchestra Sign

Orchestra Sign

I bought some paper mache letters, painted the edges black, and decoupaged some cute scrapbook paper to it. I hung them over our doors using some velcro. They look totally adorable, and I think they really make the room look a bit more inviting 🙂

I saw a similar sign to this on Pinterest, and I really loved it! I made my own version, and pasted it to a canvas covered with cute paper. It turned out really cute, and I hung it above my desk. I look at it each day for inspiration.

Inspirational poster

Inspirational poster

Flower pens

Flower pens

I see these great pens everywhere, and I always love them. I decided to get some flowers and make my own. I put them in a cute container on my desk. They are cute and handy. They are not only my favorite colors, but they are also my school’s colors 🙂 Go Eagles!

Bouquet of Pens

Bouquet of Pens

I also added an Einstein Bobblehead to my toy collection! My DH got him for me for our anniversary. He is one of my heroes, and favorite historical figures. These are the toys that sit on my desk and help me keep my sanity every day. Yu Darvish tells us we can do anything we put our minds to (even though he is a bobblehead, he can only nod up and down). Yoda – because duh, who doesn’t need a jedi master around? Beethoven, who stares menacingly at us, especially when we are testing! Finally, I have a Papa Smurf that is conducting, that i have had since I was a little kid.  Teaching middle school can be crazy, so I guess I have to be a little crazy also 🙂

Toys!

Toys from my desk

So that is a peak into my classroom. I have a few more crafty ideas for the room, but they will have to wait for another day. Thanks for looking 🙂