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Need a hand? How about an eyeball?

Happy Halloween! I was going to make cat ears, but that seemed too time consuming, and I was feeling much too lazy at the end of the day yesterday. I wanted something fast. So, my mom suggested I just make a big eyeball. Okay. One big eyeball coming up. This doesn’t take long to make at all. You can download and print my pattern here. It prints on a standard 8 1/2 x 11, letter-sized piece of paper.

You can wear it in the middle of your forehead as a third eye,

and it works pretty well as an eye patch. You could also attach it to a headband, a bandanna, a gauze bandage, or, who knows, it might look nice pinned to your sweater.

There are only three pieces. The largest is the size of a CD, and that’s the eyeball itself, or the white of the eye. The other two circles are the iris, in any color you like, and the pupil, in black. I used fleece, but you can use felt, or old T-shirts, or anything you have lying around, socks, washcloths…whatever you like, as long as it is soft enough to wear, if you plan to wear it against your face. You’ll need a small wad of stuffing, some strong thread (I used upholstery thread, but you can just double your thread up), a needle, and embroidery floss to match your eye color and your pupil (black), and some white floss for a highlight. You’ll also need about 5 feet of 1/4 inch ribbon, if you want to tie the eyeball to your head. A short length of ribbon works if you want to tie it to your finger as a ring.

Start by sewing a running stitch, just in and out, about 1/4 inch in from the edge of your white circle, pulling your thread a little a you go around.

You’re gathering the edge as you sew around the circle.

It will make a cup. Poke your wad of stuffing in the middle, and tug your thread some more.

Pull it as tight as you can without breaking it. It helps to keep sewing around the circle, picking up the edges of the circle as you go, and pulling the thread. Once you have it gathered as much as you can, knot your thread and cut the end.

Now you have an eyeball. Time to attach the iris.

Pin the iris on wherever you like, right in the middle if you want your eye to stare straight out. Sew a blanket stitch around the edge, using your floss. I have a step-by-step tutorial for the blanket stitch here.

Knot the end once you’ve gone all the way around, and pull it under the edge of the iris, and out the top of the iris with your needle, to hide the knot. Cut the end of the floss.

Lay your pupil on top of the iris, in the middle if you want it to stare straight out, and attach it with a blanket stitch using your black floss. Knot the end, pull the knot under the edge of the pupil, and out the top to hide the knot. Cut the end of the floss.

Take the white floss, enter from under the edge of the iris, and come out on top of the pupil. Take a few stitches to create a highlight for your eye. This is really the same as taking a few satin stitches. You can see my tutorial for a satin stitch here. Then poke your needle back in and under the iris, and out under the edge of it, to hide the end of your floss. Cut the end of your floss.

There’s your eyeball.

I attached a ribbon to the back of mine, trying it on first to see where I wanted the ribbon. Just hand sew it on to the back and your all set. I still like the idea of pinning it to a sweater like a brooch.

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So many things to be inspired by today

I came out on the porch this morning, and realized I’ve been taking these pretty morning glories for granted. I went back in an grabbed my camera.

The morning glories have been blooming here since we moved in, and we’ve never planted any new ones.

I love to see what flowers look like from behind. You never see those views in the garden books. The sun is shining through this one.

I had another custom “Name your own slug” order, and I noticed I didn’t have all that many pinks or purples in my fabric stash. Well, now I do! Hehe. I just ironed all of these.

I had some trouble finding pinks I liked. The last place we stopped was at my favorite Raleigh quilt shop, Carolina Sew-n-Vac, and they had plenty of pinks. Yay! When we got to the counter, the couple who owns the shop started joking about how he tells her she buys too much pink. She was happy to hear she’d filled a need. She told us to tell everyone she has pink!

I added some pink, purple, and blue to my embroidery floss collection too. I’ve been trying to sort my fabric and my floss by color so I can keep better track of what I have. Before I did that, I kept thinking I was short on yellow fabric, and then I’d buy more yellow fabric. After a while, I wasn’t short on yellow fabric, but I had no idea. Having everything organized by color makes coordinating fabrics for projects much easier too.

I picked up some more yarn and socks as well. I must be ready for anything now. I get excited just looking at all these supplies.

And with perfect timing, just after I amassed my new pile of socks, Stray Sock Sewing Too: More Super-cute Softies to Make and Love by Daniel, arrived in the mail. I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard it was coming out, because I love his first Stray Sock Sewing: Making One-of-a-kind Creatures from Socks book. I got mine on sale from Crafter’s Choice book club.

Both books are adorable. The dolls, the photography by Liao Chia Wei, and the narratives in each are clever, sweet, and charming. Even if you don’t sew, it’s just so much fun to look at them. I can imagine children would enjoy them also. But if you do sew…there are great tips in each one. This new book has instructions for fourteen new sock creatures, and I can see any one of them as such a nice handmade gift. The instructions don’t require the use of a sewing machine either.

Most of all, for me, they are full of wonderful stepping off points to create my own creatures. I find once I try one technique, before I am even finished with a doll, I have tried something else that came to mind. There is so much room for being creative with these.

In other creature news, this is a meeting of Ducks Against Pills. Some time around Labor Day weekend, Mr Duck decided he’d about had enough of antibiotics. What a challenge! I had a terrible time trying to catch him, falling gracelessly to the ground, nearly hitting my head on the fence, very humiliating! Ha! I did my best and we did manage to get that last pill in him. For his part, he did plenty of wiggling and spitting his pill out. I noticed someone came over to the blog looking for directions on how to give a duck a pill. An avian vet is the best at showing you how to do it, and of course, you wouldn’t want to give medication to any animal without consulting a vet first anyway. It’s a lot like giving a pill to a cat, only you really need to wrap the duck’s body carefully in a towel first. Their beaks open just like your cat’s mouth opens, when you reach over the top of the head, pressing gently behind the corners of the mouth/beak, while tilting the head gently back. And, just like your cat, they can push their pills out with their tongues, and they learn to wiggle too. It takes some patience!

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Hippos and ducklings

Here are some better photos of “Hilda the Hug Me! Hippo”, my sock hippopotamus. You can see her hand-embroidered eyes, nose, and mouth, which I did by winging it with some embroidery floss.

I even gave her some eyelashes, and some tufts on the end of her little tail.

Her posture is pretty funny too. I think I might just keep her!

The ducks showed up with some babies! Two sets, on different occasions, so far.

Their mama likes to talk to me. She will walk right up to me and quack, quack, quack. She’s the same duck who ran into some trouble before, the one we caught in a sheet so I could remove some fishing line from her leg. She seems to know me. Sometimes she will just sit and look at me for a while, tilting her head this way and that. She’s very sweet.

We’ve only seen one duckling today, and we’re hoping the others are hiding down by the pond with the other mama duck. They don’t all leave the pond together lately. Some stay behind. The ducklings in the other set are smaller, and I haven’t seen them myself yet. I’ve only heard about them.

It’s a big trip for them. They will just fall asleep in place while the other ducks are standing nearby. If anyone slows down long enough, it’s nap time.

Update: Just as I was posting this, one of the missing ducks appeared limping badly, unable to make it up the hill. We caught him in a sheet and found he had a long fishing hook stuck in his leg. We couldn’t get it out, but managed to cut it off so it won’t get snagged on anything. We poured some peroxide on the wound, but there is only one avian vet we know of who was willing to help last time, and he isn’t open at this hour. So, we will have to wait and see. Please everyone…pick up your stuff and dispose of it properly when you leave a place. Garbage and leftover fishing hooks and fishing line cause so much suffering.

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Collecting supplies

I’m back. No worries. I haven’t gone over to the dark side 🙂 I haven’t grown to 50 feet tall, and no old boyfriends were harmed, at least not by me. I’m thinking if I do ever wake up and notice I’ve grown to gargantuan size, my first thought would probably be, “Cool. Now I can eat all the cupcakes I want,” followed by a zillion worries, the first of which would probably be “I hope I don’t step on anyone,” and then “How do I get some privacy?” So much for wreaking havoc. It’s just not my thing.

I accumulated some more supplies today. Sulky rayon thread, above, for my machine embroidery stitching. It’s going to look so pretty combined with all those Kona cotton colors for doll dresses. Sulky threads are on sale right now at Joann.

Hancock Fabrics is having a sale on lace and trims too. I picked up these cotton and rayon laces and a yard of off-white Kona cotton. I’ve been getting my Kona cottons through the mail at this Hancock’s, Hancock’s of Paducah, and have been happy with them.

I also went over to Jerry’s Artarama and was tempted by these 6 x 6 Claybord Aquabord squares. As you can see, I’ve got a collection of Claybord at this point! I didn’t get all these today, just the 6 x 6’s. They had a pack of 4 x 4’s too, but I decided “cuteness” wasn’t a good enough reason to add those to my pile. They were awful cute though…

Btw, they’re participating in a fundraiser over there, at Jerry’s, to raise money for children’s cancers, which you might want to check out. I was kind of wondering what happened to people’s hair when I went in!

I also, for no other reason than inspiration, picked up these “Day and Night” Notecards, featuring the paintings of Edward Robert Hughes. I love the Pre-Raphaelites, and have long had a love of his “Night and Her Train of Stars”, above. It was part of my inspiration for both my “Moon and Star” and “The Moon Sings a Lullaby“. In fact, I wrote a children’s story inspired by this painting, and those are two of the illustrations from that story. It was never published, but who knows, I may get back to that idea some day.

“Moon and Star”
“The Moon Sings a Lullaby”

Okay, I’ve got some email to answer, so I’d better be on my way. Hope you all had a great weekend.