I made a thing: squirrel stuffie

Here are the photos documenting the construction of a cute little stuffed animal I made for a friend’s baby.

Just a pile of fabric to start. These are pieces of wool thrift store sweaters that have been washed in hot, soapy water and agitated to turn them into felt.

Here’s the book I was using for the pattern. I totally want to make that fox on the cover.

A shot of the pattern pieces being traced and cut.

Sewn and turned but not stuffed. He looks really cute to me like this.

The stuffing. Hand-carded wool, or maybe alpaca? It had lots of short bits in it, so it really was not gonna be good for spinning, so it was the perfect material to use here.

Here he is stuffed but nude. Still pretty cute! 

Ears and nose go on. I used embroidery in place of buttons because this is going to an infant, so I didn’t want any choking hazards.

Time for some eyeballs.

Pupils embroidered and trying out the tummy patch.

Tummy patch sewn on.

One leg partially done.

Two legs complete and attached.

Dry fitting the tail. The excess wire was further encased in the tail so that it would be inaccessible to little fingers and gums. I also used a softer telephone wire as opposed to the heavier garden wire that the pattern called for so that it would be gentler and squishier for a baby.

And complete! Pictured here with a little bonus gift for the mama to keep safe until the little one can be trusted not to eat it.

I definitely had fun making this little guy, and I will definitely make more animals from this book.

I am still here

Nothing much to say to the world these days, but I need to publish a new post to test something out for a client. Waving hello and blowing kisses to anyone who is reading this!

I am here.

I am just planting a little stick in the sand here to mark that I have come this way, that I am present on the earth, that I am alive and breathing, that my heart beats, that my fingers touched these keys. I am leaving a little rock for myself -o- to show that I visited this little corner of the vast world.

I have suffered, am suffering, a loss. I can’t say more than that, because to say it would make it more real, and I am having all the real I can stand right now. I worry people will judge me as being coy or cryptic (to my inner judge that reflects those thoughts, I say, hey, not helpful! privacy is a legitimate need, and in the world I want to create and live in, space for pain isn’t contingent on an informational transaction– there is room for all of it).

I am trying to tether myself to this world, and right now, writing this post seems like one way to do it, one little piece of connection I can create to the world and the people around me, one small act of reaching out. I want people to reach back, and I believe that me reaching first is how that starts. Probably me reaching repeatedly is how it keeps going. Showing up and asking people to reach back toward me (in case you’re wondering, I’m asking).

This morning I was reminded (not that I forgot) that other people are experiencing loss and pain, too. I am writing this post because I want to take a page from their books and write about this stuff, instead of hiding. I want it to be okay to be in the world even when I hurt, even when I need. Sometimes I feel like I am this fragile box that might break if anyone knew that I have problems, make mistakes, feel pain, feel sadness, am scared about the future.

But who doesn’t, and who do I think I’m fooling? Hiding my pain and mistakes and problems hasn’t helped me heal or avoid or solve them. What if I try this new way? What if I tell you that I’m a flawed human with a life that has both good and hard stuff in it, like so many people? What if there’s no such thing as a flaw, if we are all just different versions of perfect? What if having good doesn’t negate the hard and vice versa, it’s all just there together? What if you know I am scared, and you don’t run away from that, away from me, but you sit here with me for just a moment, and you let me know I’m okay and that I’ll get through this hard time? That would be so good for me right now. To make a space for myself to be everything I am, even when it’s not all pretty and happy and easy. That’s what I’m trying to do by writing today.

I am here. I exist. If you want to leave me a little rock -o- to mark your presence here, too, I welcome it. I’m reaching for you.

The lesson in the word count

I learned something interesting today. A friend just finished writing over 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo (yay, Armelle!), and in cheering for her, I took a mind to count the number of words I’ve written this month in posting every day. Turns out I wrote 25,174 words this month (not counting this post), which is pretty impressive since I didn’t set myself a word count goal, just an intention to post daily.

What you don’t know is that I had a secret sub-goal. I also aimed to post once/day to one of two non-public blogs. Yeah, I’m still shy about certain parts of me being seen, what can I say.

So of those 25K+ words,  I wrote 5,021 here (not including today), 7,753 over here, and 12,400 somewhere else that is even more secret. That’s over 4 times as many words written somewhere else as I wrote here. Wow. Quite eye opening for me.

Also today I read this post, and it reminded me of this post. Both of those are such vivid descriptions of how things get in my world sometimes, but I avoid writing about it. Reading those posts brought tears to my eyes because they reminded me I’m not alone.

The connection is: those 20K+ words I didn’t share with y’all here? What if even a few of them helped someone else feel less alone with their problems? Can I get over my… shyness is not the word. It’s fear. Fear of being judged or analyzed or ridiculed. But if I could somehow, not conquer the fear, but allow it to exist and possibly think about moving if not past then around it, if I could allow myself to be more open here, what might that be like? Would something I write help someone feel less alone someday? I’d like that.

Another thought I had? I bet I could totally write 50,000 words in a month if I was trying. It’s entirely possible that the act of trying would make the words dry up, and instead I would just sterilize my entire house in avoidance of writing every day, but hey, that might not be so bad either. It’s definitely something to consider. If only I had a story I wanted to write as a novel!

Good news, bad news

The good news is that I got a crapload of housework done today: laundry, changing the bed, roasting a dang chicken (ugh, there is a reason we’ve let Andy cook all the meat in our household all these years) and making pan sauce and mashed potatoes and lining drawers and cleaning shelves and the bathroom and doing a mess of other stuff.

The bad news is it all leaves me way too tired to write anything remotely intelligent. Only two more days of the forced march.

Grey Sunday with a significant bright spot

Today is grey and rainy. Quiet in the neighborhood, a blessed sweet relief from the leaf blowing sound pollution of the past few weeks, and we’re not yet into the snow blowing season. A good day to curl up in a blankie and watch something British on TV, which I dutifully did.

Andy did his own thing today, and what a delightful thing it was. He installed 3 of 4 drawers (that he built himself over the past few weeks) in what was previously an incredibly underutilized cupboard in our kitchen. For the first time in years, we can store our silverware and utensils in the kitchen again, instead of in the next room. Being able to unload the dishwasher without leaving the room? Bliss.

Tomorrow I’ll be back to clearing and rearranging stuff. Today I made mental progress: rough sketching out some more ideas for ways we can get more space in the kitchen. I’ll post pictures of Andy’s beautiful drawers when all four are in and the fronts are on. For now I’m just going to go admire them again. If you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen, swooning over my beautiful new drawers.

He’ll always be little to me

Another day of clearing, today in the living room. Some nice open space was restored, but now I’m too pooped to pop.

Today’s biggest excitement was talking to my little brother, who turned 40 today. It’s pretty strange to have a little brother who is 40. I got to hear about his spinning on the wheel he made himself (one of several he’s made), the scarf he knit for his girlfriend, and the knitting technique he invented for himself that somehow involves holding one needle stationary with his belly. I hope to see it in person someday.

I wish I had something more interesting to say today, but apparently I’m going for quantity over quality this month.

Gone cleanin’

Spent a wonderful day clearing out my loom room, which had gotten junked up with various things that didn’t belong there. We’ve got a friend coming over to hang out in about 15 minutes, and I get three more days of puttering, cleaning, cooking and chilling out with The Professor this weekend. Not too shabby!


I used up all my blogging energy today setting up galleries for a couple posts written by a fellow weaving guild member about some neat places she visited this summer (weaving related). Between uploading, captioning, formatting, inserting, and I don’t remember what else, I am just tired of looking at ye olde dashboard at this point. Take a look! Make sure you note the diacritical marks in the captions. Figuring out how to do that by myself, with only Google as my guide, constitutes a significant personal achievement.

The arithmetic of tired

On a good day, I wake up around 6:30 am without any alarm. I haven’t used an alarm clock since about 1992 (with only a handful of exceptions, most of which involve inhumanely scheduled air travel). I have a whole rant about how the human body should never be forced awake with an alarm clock, but I will save that for another day.

Usually though I’m awake around 5:30 am. It does give me extra time to write and read and think (or worry, depending on how things go), but I am consistently jealous of Andy snoozing away next to me. He can wake up and fall back asleep no problem. Lucky bastard.

I’m not really a night owl, so for me, by around 9 or 9:30 pm I’m starting to zonk out. Yes, it does get in the way of having a social life, now that you mention it.

Today, I woke up at 3:30 am. No alarm clock, no reason,  just freakin’ wide awake. I think I was thirsty, but drinking water did not turn out to be a magical back-to-sleep elixir that I had hoped.

So for me, today, 7:30 pm is the equivalent 9:30 pm, and that sucks, because if I don’t figure out a way to stay awake, the cycle continues. In other news, I’m too tired to think up an interesting conclusion to this post. Good night!