Pattern Book Progress

PDF Patterns

I’ve been on maternity leave for little over two weeks now. Besides sleeping and baby stuff, I have been busy with making PDF patterns on Inkscape. My goal is to self-publish a pattern book for the plushies I have designed over the years and am continuing to design now. Over the last five years, I’ve managed to create one PDF pattern per year (they are a lot of work), but their styles were quite different. This is to be expected I think, when you’re learning a new skill and still trying to find your own way. But if I want to make them into a book, I want them to be consistent and make up a harmonized whole together. So I have been working on that.

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Name the Stitch

If you have been reading my blog for a while you probably know that I love making plushies. I started doing that a long time ago in Japan, and like with everything I love doing I overdid it and gave myself a few nasty arm and hand injuries. Ouch. Oh well, the story of my life. After finally accepting I couldn’t hand-stitch dozens of plushies anymore, at least not without aggravating my injuries, I used a machine to stitch plushies when I was in the States. It was a change in process I had to get used to, but soon enough I loved doing that too. I have been trying to get back into it here in England, but my new sewing machine is quite crappy and frustrates me to no end. It’s the same brand as the one in the States, I bought it new, but the tension on it is ridiculous. I have tried to adjust it numerous times, but it just won’t sew my felt properly.

So now I am back to making PDF patterns to teach others how to hand-stitch my designs. Which is great because I get to play around with Inkscape and make computer graphics. I’m actually updating my old patterns into a more consistent design and working on a slew of new patterns for a pattern book which I intend to self-publish. Hopefully soon.

Blanket Stitch

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Halloween Skull Ornament Tutorial

Most Halloween parties of 2013 have already happened over the weekend, but Halloween is not over yet. So let’s make some Halloween Skull Ornaments together!

This tutorial will show you how to stitch one by hand, but of course you can also use the template below to make skull ornaments with a sewing machine. They will look slightly different, the green skull ornament in the photo above is hand stitched, the orange one is (mostly) machine stitched. This template is for your felt shapes. Print the template and resize it into the size you’d like your skull ornament to be.

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Mouse pdf pattern

I finally finished another pdf pattern, more than a year after the first one. Of course, it takes rather a long time to put one together, I knew that, but almost 17 months is a tad ridiculous. I’m trying to promise myself to quicken things up a bit and have at least one more finished before the end of summer.
I started working on new pdf patterns at the beginning of this year. I got out my markers and started drawing out some steps and ideas. My first pattern was basically a step-by-step photo tutorial with some vector images of stitches and of course the actual pattern. I still like that pattern, but my colorful drawings made me imagine a whole new comic-book-style-look for my new pattern tutorials.
I knew turning marker drawings into actual vector images on my computer would take an insane amount of time (since I basically have no idea what I’m doing and learning just by trying things out) so I was procrastinating. Then one of my lovely customers actually requested a pattern for one of my mice, so I decided to go for it. I spent nearly two months trying out different stitches on a mouse (as I had never hand stitched a mouse before), and creating vector images on my computer.
When I finished my wrist and elbow were sore from hand stitching (which I’m not supposed to be doing anymore) and my fingers were sore from pushing down so hard on and dragging them over my mouse trackpad for hours and hours on end using Inkscape. But I was happy, because I love my new pattern! Here’s a little sneak peek:
My patient customer was happy too, and was so kind to send me pictures of the adorable creatures she stitched together using my patterns. Such pictures make my heart feel light and happy!

Easy guacamole

Last week I made Yasus some egg and chicken salad, this week I tried to make him something else I know he loves. He loves, love, LOVES eating nachos. He usually just melts some cheese on the chips and dips them in salsa, but he likes a more extended version too for example with guacamole.

I cut open the avocados, spooned out the flesh and mashed them with a fork in a bowl. I added all the salsa left in the jar, a handfull of crumbled bacon, squirted in some lime juice and shook in some salt and mixed it well. Then I put it in the fridge to chill.

Yasu was very happily surprised when lunch turned out to be tortilla chips with bacon guacamole! I sprinkled some more crumbled bacon on top of the guacamole, to show him bacon was hidden inside the green mountain. He loved it, and really wants me to make this again. I know I will, but next time I will use freshly chopped tomatoes instead of salsa.

Leftover Easter eggs

Last week was Easter and we still had some leftover hard-boiled eggs that needed to be consumed by today, so I made some egg salad for my hubbie. Yasu just can’t forget the awesome egg salad he ate from a Dutch grocery store last year, and I tried to recreate it because they don’t sell it in the supermarket here.

I peeled the eggs and roughly chopped them with a fork in a bowl. I added a good amount of mayo, some serious shakes of curry powder, and shredded leftover rotisserie chicken (I did not use all the chicken in the picture – not even close – I made sure there was more egg than chicken) and mixed it all together. If it was too dry I would add more mayo and keep on mixing until it looked like egg (and chicken) salad. I think I also added some sea salt along the way. Then I let it chill for a few hours in the fridge until Yasu came home from school.

I put the egg and chicken salad on some toasted french bread, sprinkled it with parsley flakes and let him test it. He loved it. I think I put too much curry powder in it, but will definitely make this again… With less curry, more sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

Rainbow cupcakes

So when you overfill your cupcake papers, you will end up with overgrown cupcakes like these:

But aren’t they all lovely and colorful? I smeared some frosting on top, and then my rainbow cupcakes were done:

I say that like that was an easy thing to do, but the cupcakes were exceptionally fragile (I wonder if that was because of those container egg whites), and when I tried taking out the overgrown cupcakes from the baking pan some of the tops broke off. Which was unfortunate but those broken cupcakes did show how pretty they were on the inside:

The fragile cupcakes made frosting very difficult as well. Just a little push with the frosting spoon was enough to break off parts of cupcake. But as you can see I did end up with several pretty cupcakes and they taste pretty good too! I made more than enough to share, so if you want one just come and get it!