The iconic HEN
It has always been our intention to sell "branded" merchandise in our new store. We've tossed around several ideas, and joked about just slapping our chicken outline on EVERYTHING.
But in all seriousness I did want to develop a simple pin cushion in the shape of a chicken to sell. Pincushions are collectible! I could make this a series! But first I had to start.
I had the idea of making a shaped plush and shrinking it down, but after playing with paper and tape I realized that wasn't happening. I remembered some simple drawings of birds Kate had done years ago after being inspired by greeting card art. Kate's art is gone, and my attempt at sketching what I remembered did not produce a shape that would suit for a pincushion.
Still, I was encouraged in my own process to keep it simple. A search online for free patterns came close, but didn't produce exactly what I wanted. I was thinking of the pyramid shape that has been made into chickens, frogs, owls, and more. Through a blog post I finally found this pattern that I thought I could work with.
The changes I made were to round out the "thigh" area, change the eyes to french knots, glue on the beak, comb, wattle, and felt wings and also to sew one corner before stuffing to form a tail. The legs were just scrap string I had lying around.
I didn't end up making her big enough, and I didn't put anything to weight it down, like walnut shells. So, she is just a prototype. But I am excited to build my flock! (And sell the flock!)
Mask It, or Casket
Ok, so maybe this blog title is a little dramatic. But it gets the point home. It's taken me literally months to wrap my head around the new reality and new habits that this pandemic has brought. That's why this post is in July and not back in March when the news broke. Here's what I know for now:
The following statements should not elicit a political response in my readers. If you find yourself disagreeing, this post is not for you.
Ok, with that out of the way, the point of this blog post is to provide a few mask making resources Kate and I have found.
However, Kate wasn't a fan of the somewhat baggy fit in front. After a bit more research, she found another style called the Olson Mask.
Link to the Olson Mask Pattern:
Meanwhile, I had requests from friends to make them masks. No style was specified - they just wanted them as soon as possible. I had happened to watch a YouTube video from a costumer named Angela Clayton on masks she was making for donation.
The masks that Angela are making are called A. B. Masks, made by a nurse named Jessica. Although a link to the pattern on Instructables is provided in the YouTube video description, the originator of this pattern has updated it and made a website with a free pattern download and step-by-step .gif instructions. Jessica's hobby is quilting, and she created this pattern for fellow nurses to use over N95 masks and ventilators.
The first time I tried this pattern I skipped the step of trimming the mask after basting the two pieces together. It was rather large on my face.
Here's the link to follow to go directly to the mask pattern download:
And if you want step-by-step instructions, visit the website: https://www.nursemade.co/
There is a nose dart as well as side pleats to this pattern. It was ok, but definitely fogged up the glasses if you huffed and puffed a lot. After I got through the orders from friends I set out to improve the pattern a bit by sewing the top and bottom ties together around my ears.
Many patterns I've seen have elastic around the ears but I didn't want that. The mask fits just fine without elastic. It just doesn't fit anyone else. ;)
I still had plenty of fabrics to choose from, and with a slight modification to how the nose pleat is sewn I had reversible pattern masks. The fashionista in me was secretly thrilled.
With this new batch for myself, I knew I needed to look into something that would hold its shape over my nose. I wasn't really interested in putting pockets in this pattern, and Kate had told me pipe cleaners didn't really do the job well.
So, I did something I've never done before. I clicked on an Instagram ad. The company was legit, and American. The price was ok ($0.50 per nose piece) so I took a gamble and bought the straight style from DIY Mask USA. They are small steel strips with rounded ends and holes in them for sewing. You bend into shape. So far they're very sturdy and fairly easy to work with after you've bent them over a marker for the rounded top. I stitched over the middle to keep it from riding up. And, they function as a stop for my glasses too.
The large size of this mask lets me open my mouth fully underneath for yawns, and hides my double chin. ;)
Are masks fun? Not at all. I don't like breathing in warm humid air. Even in the dead of winter when I put the covers over my head to stay warm at night I keep my mouth and nose out. But they're necessary for now.
And just like bras, I'll wear one in public for the safety of others and myself, and save the relaxing for home.
I think, like many of you, I lost the entire month of April to COVID-19. Shortly after my second full post about the red renaissance dress project, I got the okay from my boss to work from (not my) home. Once it looked like working from home would last at least a couple more weeks, I knew I needed to make other arrangements. So, I packed up my improvised home office, and temporarily moved in with my (retired) parents. This turned out to be a good thing for all of us. The pandemic has brought on a lot of introspection, and a big life change for me is in the works. But more on that in a later post.
Thankfully, none of us have gotten the "'Rona-virus" yet. However, life has still kept us busy. My dad had the misfortune to take a tumble down some stairs and break his leg in two places, but thankfully is recovering well
The other big thing to happen in our family is the arrival of our much-anticipated niece, "C". Originally she was due the last week of May. But, we got word that doctors would prefer if she made her appearance two weeks early, on May 4.
Fortunately, we just had time for the small, social-distancing approved baby shower - which gave me an excuse to make the cutest little baby romper. The challenge, of course, was that I would need to use what I could find in my Mom's sewing room.
After a quick search online for free baby clothes patterns, I settled on this one, which seemed easy enough
I couldn't tell you what the fabric was originally purchased for, but it was only about a yard or so. I think the purple and white flowers are perfect for a spring baby.
The romper is based off an OshKosh design, and has a self-lined sleeveless yoke on top, that closes in the back, with a baloon-style bottom that snaps at the crotch, leaving the arms and legs bare.
Along with the fabric, I found some rick-rack to add some decoration. The rick-rack came from my Grammie, who absolutely loved the stuff. I think it will make for a special outfit - it will have a touch of C's great grandma on it.
And here it is, all finished! I can't imagine her being tiny enough to wear it. Hopefully, she'll grow quickly enough that she can only wear it once or twice. At any rate, I really enjoyed the excuse to make it.
My sister-in-law was kind enough to send me these pictures of little miss C wearing it a few weeks after the shower, with a matching yellow hair bow. She's so cute in it! Soon after this, my brother told me her head had grown too much to for her to be able put her in it - three cheers for a growing baby :)
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!