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“And you know, life is too short to just mock one thing. There is so much shit out there that needs to be made fun of, and I’m not getting any younger.”

April Winchell, founder of regretsy

(found via epbot)

I can’t say I ever read her site, but her quote just touches me right where it counts. In the cereblog cortex.

o O o

In other news, I have owls!

I would do a tutorial, but… well, why not. For the short version, skip to the bottom.

Hanging Owl Tutorial:

1. Find an owl template online, or trace the pictures above directly from your computer screen onto tracing, printer, or other thin paper. This is how I get most of my patterns, being too cheap to buy a home printer. I’m considering it, though, now that I’ve definitely been accepted for my PhD program here. I’m that lazy that I won’t take the extra twenty minutes to go to the Linguistics building, log into a lab computer (which takes about a year), and print. I think they’ve recently moved to a cloud-based system, though, which would mean I can print from my laptop. We’ll see.

Although tracing patterns from the computer means I get only the outline I need and don’t have to fiddle with the scale controls on the printer, so it works quite well.

Aren’t my tutorials instructive?

Confession: I actually free-handed the owls above, since the shape was pretty simple. I didn’t even draw them first, just cut the fabric. I did trace a pattern for the giraffe pillow last week, though.

2. Pin two small pieces of fabric, right sides together, and cut out the owl shapes. If you trace the shape directly onto a layer of fabric, make sure that any lines end up on the back side of the owl, since no edges are turned under during this project. Not like a pillow. Each owl requires two cut-outs.

3. Cut out two circles for eyes and one beak per owl. Freehand it.

4. Blanket stitch the fabric pieces together; use parallel whipstitch to attach eyes and beak. Alternatively, use any decorative stitch you like.

Find a nice environment, filled with friends or Jane Austen movies, to do your hand sewing. My chosen locale for this project was a nice game of Arkham Horror. Hand crafts like small sewing and knitting make me much more patient during board games.

5. Outline pupils with backstitch and fill using your favourite filler stitch, such as satin stitch. This is my very favourite site for learning embroidery stitches, filled with informative pictures. Owls 2

Because it’s quite difficult to fill an area with satin stitch that’s bounded by the unraveling edges of the eyeballs, I think that if I were to make more owls, I would use something solid, like buttons or small fabric circles, for pupils instead. Or perhaps a radiating stitch instead of a parallel one.

6. Outline wings. I used a one-sided feather stitch to suggest feathers. Adding wings really made a difference in the appearance of the owls, putting them firmly on the correct side of the owl/furby divide.

7. Attach a cord (mine was made by twisting together two pieces of embroidery floss) to the back of the owls using a few stitches. Make a loop in the top and secure by wrapping the joint in thread and cutting off the dangling end. Or just tie a knot. Be creative.

I think this ‘tutorial’ took longer to write than the owls actually took to make. Well, not quite, but you get the picture. Short version: cut out owls, stitch together with favourite stitches from this site, string on a cord. This is also the recipe for the embroidered hearts  in my living room and for my Christmas ornaments.

The kick in the pants to start this project came from this blog, but I had been planning the project for a while, since owls are all the rage these days. The graduating sizes were inspired by a similar project in stained glass (plastic) in a local shop.

Owls 3

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