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31  I made a meerkat! UPDATED! Now with pics of the rare 6'5'' meerkat-of-the-shire in Costumes: Completed Projects by charlieandwillow on: March 15, 2012 06:18:08 PM
So sometime last year, probably around Halloween because that's most likely when I was talking about costume making, my little brother told me he wanted a meerkat costume. This is the time at which I point out my little brother, is 21 years old, in his third year of university, and a 6'5'' 210lb rugby player. He's also a little odd.
It took me a little while to figure out exactly how to create this monster. Originally I figured I would combine tutorials for hoodies and harem pants, and tack on a tail somehow. Then I remembered that stashed in my closet I had some footsie pyjamas. Using them very loosely as a template, only making them considerably wider and dropping the crotch to somewhere knee-level, I set to work on 5 yards of tie-dye khaki fleece with my rotary cutter (I have a new toy...). I basically took the dive-in-headlong approach, and figured out how to make it as I went. I free-handed the hood, sleeves and tail, using a hoodie of my own for reference just to get some idea of what shapes I needed things to be. This is the first time I'd set in sleeves since my final piece doing my textiles technology GCSE when I was 16. And that went...poorly. I'm super proud of myself as both sleeves are pretty much identical, and I didnt have to unpick a single stitch. The tail is set in like a sleeve too. And yes, the sleeves are orangutan long, mostly because my brother is definitely part-ape, but also because this way they cover your conspicuously-human hands.

Weirdly, I feel like the ears are my favourite part as they stand out from the hood by themselves, just the properties of the fleece mean theyre both light and strong enough to hold themselves up. It's got a single strip of velcro all the way down the front, and a hook and eye at the top just to add a bit of strength to the fastening.
The coolest part... To achieve life-like meerkat colouring, I spray painted the back and the tail. And myself, oops. I tried to mix a suitably dark brown from my fabric paints, but the colours I had were a little too... girly. In the end I raided the stash in the basement and grabbed superduper industrial spraypaint DH uses to paint model rockets.

Sadly my pictures are kind of sucky, and I had already mailed it to my bro back in the UK before realising thing. I did DEMAND he send action shots when he gets it though. I'll update this if he ever produces the goods.
It was surprisingly easy to put together once I'd had a couple of epiphanies as to how to engineer it. It's also wicked fun to run around in. I am absolutely making myself a dinosaur costume in this way. And one for my partner in crime, my 4 year old son... Then we can terrorise the library together and snack on books...
Action Shots!
I think he think's he's camouflaged by the tree...
The stripey socks definitely add something to the ensemble...
My brother is a giant goofball...
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32  Dinosaur of Love. in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by charlieandwillow on: February 18, 2012 10:31:42 AM
My other half is my rawr. He may be my Viking, but we have entire conversations in Dinosaur. Given my recent obsession with making plushies, I clearly had to make a Rawrosaurus for Valentine's Day. The stamp was made for me by my Viking when we were working at camp. No reason other than because he could, which is quite frankly the best reason for receiving gifts. Everything came from my stash which is awesome, as it left more in the budget for delicious foods for filling my tummy. Om noms...

I'm really happy with how he turned out, even if his spine spikey plate things didn't work out entirely perfectly. He's now living on the bookshelf next to our new bed, foraging among the pages of swedish fairytales and random histories...
As always, c+c gratefully received.
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33  Wicked cute infant hat version 1.0 in Knitting: Completed Projects by charlieandwillow on: February 01, 2012 06:52:54 PM
Everyone needs a collection of ridiculous hats. It's just a fact.
I've just rediscovered knitting, and found a fantastically soft, textured yarn in the box of weird and unloved yarns in the basement.
One of my best friends from high school is expecting her first baby any day now (in fact I think she reached term today).
Obviously, these three facts led me to knit a hat for Peanut when he or she arrives. I'm rather proud of how it turned out. I didn't use a pattern, I just had one of those eureka moments and knew how I could make it.
Sorry for the shoddy picture quality, I can't actually find my camera right now, I'll try and put better pics up tomorrow, but here we go...

I might pick up some more yarn and make a hat like this for myself. Who doesn't love them some tassels, I ask you?
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34  First knitting project: A scarf for my monster. in Knitting: Completed Projects by charlieandwillow on: January 21, 2012 03:36:04 PM
So the last time I knitted, I was probably ten years old and knitting with my gran. As I remember, I managed about 8 inches of stockinette before I entirely lost interest and unraveled the lot, and that was the end of that hobby. However, over the holidays, both my MiL and SiL were knitting, and it turns out that knitting is a bit like the common cold and has no known cure. So a trip to Joann's for some knitting needles (pretty blue ones!) and a trip to the basement to raid the box of weird leftover yarns later... I had a few false starts (including about 2 feet of scarf in a beautiful soft cotton yarn, which I have unwound to reuse for another project because I dont want it to go to waste as it's so snuggly and lovely) but I ended up with this!

I wanted it for myself but ran out of yarn so my monster has it now.

I apologise for the fuzzy pics, but 1) my dSLR's battery is dead and 2) the only place the monster would stay still so I could take pics was the top of the stairs, and I wasn't allowed to turn the light on or he ran away...

C&C greatly appreciated (but be nice, or I'll set the monster on ya Cheesy)
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35  Wreath of STAAAAAAARS! (pic obese) in Winter Holidays by charlieandwillow on: December 03, 2011 01:54:44 PM

My son and I wanted a Christmassy project to fill a few hours, and we had never made salt dough. I was loosely inspired by the plushie awesomeness of the happy plushy wreath http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=395759.0 but knew I didn't want to have to buy anything new for this adventure. So the wreath itself is a plushie! It nearly made me insane trying to work out how to sew the front and back together and then turn it right side out. There was a lot of swearing involved, let's just leave it at that.

The stars are salt dough (1 part water, 2 parts flour, 2 parts salt), dyed with food colouring and baked at 200 degrees for about 5 hours and then left in the oven to cool over night. Some have glitter in them too. We punched holes in them before baking as I was planning to attach them with ribbon, but it turns out I don't have any teeny tiny ribbon left (oops, my bad) so instead theyre glue-gunned on. They're coated with a layer of spray varnish just to give them a little protection from life.

The front of the wreath is the remains of the hoody I sacrificed to make my dala horse plush, the back and the bow were left over fabric from making christmas stocking last year and the grosgrain ribbon it hangs from is from my stash of hair bow supplies.

I'm really happy with how it turned out in the end, once I'd figured out the structural engineering side of things, and stopped stabbing myself with a needle when handsewing the last seam and attaching the bow. It's now hanging inside our living room, framed by the window in the door. I'd love to hear c+c!

Happy holidays craftsters!
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36  Dala Horse Stuffy. in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by charlieandwillow on: November 30, 2011 09:30:02 PM
I'm on an even-tighter-than-usual budget for Christmas, and so I'm trying to supplement my gift purchases with handmade goodies too. My mother in law is half Swedish, and so the house is full of dala horses, tomtes and Scandinavian fabrics. I'd been making Mystery Critters (http://lesliesartandsew.blogspot.com/2011/09/mystery-critters.html) and was really enjoying making plushies, so I decided to try one of my own design. Using a sweater I had from Halloween last year when my (then 3-year-old) son and I were going to go as Thing 1 and Thing 2, remnants from a plain white T which had given it's life to another project and some of the HUGE-NORMOUS! bag of polyfil I bought for my Mystery Critter project, I turned this...

 into this...

I'm really proud with how it turned out. Technically, it's probably really really bad, but I achieved what I set out to do. The detailing is machine appliqued (in the loosest sense of the word) and then top stitched using (read: playing with) the fancy stitches on my M-i-L's fancy-schmancy Pfaff and different coloured thread. The poor pony is not at all symmetric, and were I to make another I'd be a little more concerned with placing the details a little more carefully so they weren't so smushed once pony's two halves were stitched together and turned right side out. I'd also change the shape of his bum because there's something funky going on there. I may even let him have four legs should I ever make another...
When I'm feeling a little more attached to reality I will get around to updating my blog and adding more detail about the birth of my wonky little dala pony, but for now, c+c would be gratefully received!
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37  Not what I expected, but actually rather cool... Dying a dress. in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by charlieandwillow on: November 06, 2011 11:36:17 AM
I'm heading to a wedding later this month. I need something cute and formal to wear, and I fell in love with a gorgeous dress that fits me like a glove. The trouble was, it was white. I've never dyed anything (well, besides my hair a whole rainbow of colours....) so was a little nervous and despite having the dress and the dye sitting in the house for weeks, I didn't actually feel brave enough to take the plunge until this week. It didn't come out entirely how I planned, but I really like the result. I am tempted to dye it again to try and get a deeper colour, I was aiming for a rich emerald green...
The result...

I do need to fix the hem (the dress accidentally hitched a ride in someone else's load of white laundry, thankfully the only damage was the hem), but I have hem tape waiting for a time when my four year old wont 'help' me with the iron...
Before (linked from the store website)...
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38  Twinkle Toes! Or, exercises in glitter-ification of shoes, an alternative method in Shoes: Completed Projects by charlieandwillow on: September 28, 2011 10:34:20 AM
So having seen a number of tutes regarding the glitterification of shoes, both on Craftster and scattered around the interwebs, I finally got around to customising my mary janes. They started out life as a pair of gold cute-but-really-not-me Steve Madden Deweys, and they ended up spangle-encrusted beauties. Check out my first blog post about the process http://charlieandwillow.blogspot.com/2011/09/twinkle-toes.html.

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