December 7, 2012

Powers for Good, Mr. Skeesbear!

I might have mentioned that my husband is a teacher. He does a lot for his school, more so than most, I think. He works the after-school program until 6pm three out of five nights a week. He is the moderator for both the Norsemen and the Ultimate Frisbee club. Most days he is on campus from 7am till 6pm.

In past four years he has taught five different subjects. This has allowed him to teach the same pool of students even though they move up in grade every year. This means that for a few kids, he has become more than just a teacher. Talking with someone almost every day for three years is a pretty powerful bond, so much so that he has become as much of a friend, mentor and father figure as a teacher.

Like all high schoolers, they have to graduate. But for a few, it is more like leaving a second home, than just leaving a school. It is difficult to leave the support groups we make for ourselves. It is scary. Not only are there the normal stresses of school, graduating, social identity, friend drama, finals, college applications, and the giant scary question: "what am I going to be", but now they have to try and do it by themselves. At least until they form new groups where ever they end up. I speak from experience, and I know this is case for a lot of people.

The good thing is that even though you might physically leave the presence of your good friends, mentors and family, you certainly can still call upon them whenever you need them. And it is good to grow in your own confidence. To struggle for a bit and figure out what you want without any influences.

Anyway this is getting more emotional than about crochet, so I'll stop there.

For these few kids who are graduating this year, I decided to make them a present. A little mentor and friend to take with them. A little piece of the place they spent so much time in. A little friend to hug. To remind them to be good and that they are loved, special, smart, talented, and not alone!!!

I used the base pattern from PicaPau that I made the monkeys from. I know she has made bears from it by looking at her blog site, so I tried to do the same. I used a round disk of lighter color for the snout and embroidered a nose and mouth in a darker brown than the "skin" tone. I also added some heavy brows and a little goatee like my husband has. The ears are the same as the monkey's minus one row to make them smaller and placed higher on the head.

I also pulled the clothing look from my husband's standard wardrobe for work. I made up a new pattern for the arms (at the bottom of the post), to give it a look like it had rolled up sleeves. I also made up a pattern for a tie and for a vest (also at the bottom). Instead of switching colors for the shirt, I made it a solid in their favorite colors. I then switched to black for pants. And finally back to brown for the feet.

 The tie, embroidered belt, and vest are all in a dark gray. The buttons on the vests are all leftovers from my jar of extra buttons that come with the shirts you buy.

 And of course a tiny bear tail on the butt.

Over the course of making these I couldn't resist giving them test hugs... I did marry the guy they are modeled on after all. :)

Arm Pattern
A note: The arm pattern from the original pattern is worked from the hand to the shoulder, mine is worked the other way, from the shoulder to the hand, so that I could have two pieces to get the fold over for the shirt cuff.

Row 1: Chain 5 in desired shirt color
2: 2 single crochet in each, (10 stitches)
3-10:  sc in each around
11: Sc in each, front chain only
12: Sc in each, bind off leaving a long tail
Fold over last two rows and sew cuff down using the tail. Stuff the top half of the arm here.
13: switch to brown/skin tone yarn, one sc in each open loop of row 11 which should be exposed when you folded it over.
12-16: sc in each (10sts)
17: *sc in one, 2sc in next*, *repeat around, (15 sts)
18: sc in each
19: sc, popcorn stitch^, 13 sc  (^popcorn stitch: 4 double crochet in the same stitch, remove hook, insert in top of first dc, pick up loop and pull through, extra chain to secure)
20: sc in each (15)
21:  *sc in one, decrease next two*, *repeat (10), Stuff bottom half of arm here.
22: decrease around (5), bind off

Vest Pattern
I am sure there might be better ways to make vests, but I wanted to make one single piece vest. The arm holes are a little small, so you have to squish the hand a bit to get them into it, but once the hand is through it fits nicely around the join where you have sewn on the arms. Note, to keep in in my mind I broke it down so that 10 chains is the left side, 15 chains makes the back of the vest and the last 10 are the right side. It should overlap a little on the front of the body if you wrap your chain around the finished bear body. Also note, I used a chain 1 at the beginning of each row to make sure I had room to get into that first stitch and make sure I didn't drop any. The decreases on the end of the rows makes the V neck of the vest. Row 7 makes the arm holes, hence why it is treble crochet to get the height. Also note, this is worked from the bottom of the vest to the neck.
Finished flat vest. Having it be another piece means dolly dress-up fun!

Chain 35, turn
Row 1: Chain 1, single crochet into first chain on from hook, or 35 sc
Row 2-4: Chain 1, sc35, (3 rows)
5: Chain 1, Decrease twice, sc 27, decrease twice more
6: Chain 1, Dec 2, sc 23, dec 2
7: Chain 1, Dec 2, sc 1, ch 4, skip 2 stitches, trebele crochet next 13, chain 4, skip 2 stitches, sc, dec
8: Chain 1, slip stitch in first two chains of 4, sc in other 2 chains, sc in each treble, sc in first two chain, slip st in next two, dec,
Bind off, weave in ends to the inside of the vest piece so you don't see them.

December 5, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 17: Robot

Thought about Futrama robots, Chobits, Questionable Content and a lot of the other robots I have seen in stuff. Then I thought about the things I would want in a robot... a companion, able to get on the internet, give me the weather, my to do's, answer basic questions, call my contacts, take photos, record and transmit my voice, be a passable speaker, and then of course be companionable, portable and cute. Pretty much what my iPhone already is, even though I'm still working with the 4th gen.

But that last bit is what I would really want... CUTE. Robot-ish, ya know. Like for real. Android style.

So here is my design for a robot that I would want. Something with limited motor skills. Flash drive full usb connector in chest and storage. Ears are speakers and removable to be headphones too. Super big eyes for capturing photos. The shiny forhead "gem" is a lens for being a mini projector. Face blushes are microphones for voice calls and commands. Body poses like an artists doll to allow stable projection and act as a tripod for the camera features. Tail is mini usb for charging from computer or connecting to peripheral devices. And it is cute. I figure it might not be able to walk but would at least be balanced enough and heavy enough to ride on a shoulder, be attached to a backpack or purse or fit in a large pocket. Size wise then it would be about 8 inches tall.

December 3, 2012

Cactus Cutie

So I am working on a present for three girls for Christmas. Thought I would crochet something and had this pattern for a cactus garden by Elf Loves Dwarf Crochet that has been languishing in my pattern collection. I thought that maybe they might like one for in their dorm rooms, kind of a plant you can't kill thing. Well I got most of the way through the first one and then thought of something better, but I still thought I should finish the one I started. 

The pattern whipped up really really fast. Total project time for this guy was a little over two hours I think. I added the black safety eyes because I wanted it to be a dumb cute cactus.

A little desert warmth in the winter.

The eyes are slightly off... think it adds to the derp factor.

A close up of the flowers.

He's about 10 inches tall. I think next time I would add those weighting beads to the bottom of the pot so he stands up better. Now I just have to figure out who to give it to.

November 30, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 16: Ghost

First girl ghost I thought of was the ghost of the child Inez in the Chichago Graceland Cemetary. I know of it because of the Dresden files book, Ghost Story. Found a few reference images of the statue and decided to draw the scene where she is speaking to Harry in his grave.


November 28, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 15: Dragon/Reptile Girl

Dragon girl. Thought about dragonball z and decided to take the dragon for earth and make it into a girl. Fun to try another style again.

November 26, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 14: Dullahan

Had to look this one up. I thought I had heard that word before, basically it's the Headless Horseman story. So I guess I was still thinking about Hotel Transylvania somewhere in my head because headless volleyball is what I got out of this one.

November 23, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 13: Insect Girl

Based off the description of "Mantis Girl Tessa" from Small Favor by Jim Butcher.

November 21, 2012

November 19, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 11: True Monster

A true monster is something not easily dealt with. Not something cool to dress up at Halloween.

November 16, 2012

A Second Jumping Monkey

So, one of my oldest friends is having a second kid. For her first I made a monkey as that is her theme for the nursery. She likes to leave the sex as a surprise so generic colors and gifts are best. I like this monkey pattern from Pica-Pau because I feel like with a few adjustments, I can easily change it from a boy to a girl. So, if it turns out to be a girl I will just add a little skirt at the bottom of the shirt and add a flower or two.

The last monkey was one of the first more complicated patterns I have ever made and in the year or so since making that last one, clearly my skills have improved. At least I think so. I chose better yarn this time around for one thing. I was able to make the thumb popcorn stitch correctly after spending so much time working on those for the many Daleks I made.

I was a little short on safety eyes so this time I embroidered them on. I think I like it better. Plus I was able to follow the nose/mouth area pattern with improved understanding since it is conveyed via a diagram rather than text.

I am really happy with this one. Hopefully I will be able to add that skirt...

UPDATE: She had a girl and so I was able to add a skirt, and a little flower too.
It was pretty simple since the bottom edge of the shirt was made in the back loops only so I had an open front loop to use to add the skirt on to. It is two rows of sc, one row of dc, one row of alternating a shell (5dc in the same stitch) and one sc in next, and then I did one edge row of sc in the light green. 

Much more of a girl now.

November 14, 2012

Sugar Rush

Wreck-it Ralph was really good. Kinda wish it had been more video game references, characters and locations, and less CandyLand/Candy Kingdom, but still really good. The reason I don't mark it down for having so much candy stuff is because it is too gosh darn fun and lovable.

From the trailers I really thought I was going to hate Vanellope Von Schweetz as a character but I ended up liking her more and more. Also, I really want to own a copy of Sugar Rush now.

So since a lot of the people I have in my google reader were making their own racers, I thought I would give it a whirl.

Tried to think about my favorite candies... Not sure why I forgot about my favorite, Mallomars, but I was stuck thinking about what is in my house right now... Mounds. Dark Chocolate, coconut and coconut flakes. Thought about the textures and the way the chocolate kind of ripples on the top. Also thought about what I wear in the winter, since all the racers have a winter wardrobe.

I gave her coconut flake cake ball earmuffs, kept my blue hair, pale skin and my freckles. She is dressed in a coconut husk-esque scarf, a coconut cream tunic long sleeve sweater, a short pleated skirt seemed manditory for the girl racers so I gave her one peeking out under the sweater. I made it blue to tie into my hair, but also because almond joy has a blue wrapper, and maybe she can like almonds even though I don't. She has dark chocolate colored leggings inside her chocolate ripple patterned boots. I also gave her fingerless gloves because I like them, in orange, cause I like it too.

Got to figure a name... kind of leaning toward: Almonella Cocowhipple.

Update: Made a mallomar version since it was a good idea and Almonella's first outfis isnt screaming CANDY. Dark Chocolate Beanie, Racing goggles, a marshmallow whip coat, chocolate skirt, graham cracker leggings and chocolate boots.

Update 2: Created three more racers at the request of a certain person, Phil, on facebook.
First up is my hubby. He is based on root beer floats. Has a root beer float hat, a vest and bow tie, pants and shoes. I added the bow tie to make him feel more "Malt Shop".

Next is Phil since he asked for them. I thought Atomic Fire Ball! So he got a firey shirt with an atomic bomb shirt underneath, jeans and an atomic fire ball beanie. Thought his shoes should be converse sneakers or something. And can throw puffs of spicy cinnamon air... I guess.

And I thought to round out the couples with his girlfriend. Not sure what candy she likes, but she is sweet and fresh and I thought candy canes for some reason. So she has a candy cane hair clip and pendant. A lacy candy shrug, a red drop-waist dress with a licorice belt. Candy cane striped leggings and red sneakers.

November 12, 2012

Always the blue one

Laying in bed last night I was thinking about my blue hair. It needs to be redyed since the roots are showing...  Contemplated going back to brown. But then decided against it for the simple reason that I think blue is the right color for me. Don't care if brown is "natural", blue is me.

It's been my favorite color since I found out that I was a Pisces - Aquarius cusp sign in elementary school while looking through the Big Book of Birthdays. And probably before that. The time while I lived in Missouri, with my two good friends, Marie and Katy, I learned a lot about myself. I'm starting to realize how formative that time was. The three of us shared our favorite shows together and, of course, assigned each of us a character from each show.
Bubbles likes to color. Umi likes to read. Ami has an awesome mini computer and glasses. Ditto to all.

Powerpuff Girls was the first: I was Bubbles.
Followed by Sailor Moon: I was Ami Mizuno aka Sailor Mercury.
Finally, Magic Knight Rayearth: I was Umi Ryuuzaki.

They were all the blue character. Assigned to water. Common traits seem to be that they were smart, quiet and dependable, if a little shy at times. Guess I am happy with that.

November 8, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 10: Succubus

This one was a bit more fun. Posemanics is always a good place to go for poses to use for templates. Wanted to make her sexy but not too slutty or anything. A little fun lingerie too helps.

November 6, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 9: Demon

I always thought demons and angels were sexless... or at least very androgynous. So that doesnt really fit with forcing them to be girls for the challenge. Sure there are millions of demon looking scantily cald girls in a lot of video games, but I really wanted to try something grotesque. Had a hard time getting back into the swing of this so here are just a few rough doodles.

November 2, 2012


A friend commissioned a new crochet piece. Since the wave of babies seems to be ebbing, I took the chance to make something new. The idea was this: Spock-topus. So I figured, use the same general pattern for the Socktopus, but make it spock. Duh.

Sketch idea.
"They like you very much, but they are not the hell your whales."

Structurally this was not a hard thing to wrap my mind about. I used a circle pattern for the head, starting in the beige skin tone, stopped at 50 stitches and then continued down for about 16 rows. Then I switched to black (doing the first row of black in back loops only to get a clean line) for the neck of the shirt that he wears and then switched to the blue to finish off the head/body shape.

To do the hair I simply did the same circle pattern to 50 stitches, but with a hook one half size larger than the original hook to make this shape fit snugly over the bald head. After about 6 rows of hair I stopped and did 30 stitches back and forth, turning at the end of the rows to get the hairline to go down for the back of the head but not the front. Once I sewed the hair onto the head at the hairline I used more black thread to add the pointed sideburns that he is famous for. 

I used a simple leaf pattern, but in the skin tone to get his pointed ears. I then sewed these to the sides behind the sideburns of hair. I added some emboridered spock eyebrows and used a set of black safety eyes. I also added a small mouth. Thought about making him smile or have a chibi sort of look, but it is Spock and I wanted to give him some dignity. I also embroidered him his badge in yellow and silver yarn, because what officer would be without his badge?

Finished head/body

"What is Kiri-kin-tha's first law of metaphysics? Nothing Unreal Exists. Correct."

At this point he looked kind of like a giant Spock-bean or Lego head. Kind of like him that way actually, but she said -topus so the legs were next. The eight legs are 12 stitches in a round completed to a length I liked. Done! Fun, pretty fast, and easy.

"I have, and always shall be, your friend."

Total time: 8-10 hours

October 24, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 8: Octomaid

Octomaid. Sketches and doodles. Trying to figure out if to put the octopus part on the lower half or face... decided to do both.

October 22, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 7: Plant

This one was fun to do. Not sure why I thought "plant girl... plant princess" but there it was and then the idea for a punky sort of princess with a bird of paradise hair do. She's a little tough, a little rocker, a little warrior princess sort of vibe with the gladiator boots. She has a one shoulder sarong on with the leaf hugging her curves attached by plant magic and a belt. I imagine the back of her outfit shows a lot of bare back. I kind of wanted her to have a robin hood- peter pan kind of vibe too. I guess that's the tough and laid back attitude. Since it is Halloween soon, I gave her a sidekick patsy of a Pumpkin Seed dude. His seed body has some roots out for his arms and legs outside of his shell.
So much fun that I might do the rest as AT princesses... though there already is a Slime Princess.

October 19, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 6: Spider

I hate spiders. I'd follow that up by saying, who doesnt?, but I acutally had a co-worker once who thought they were the cutest things ever. She bred them and kept some as pets and sold the rest for apparently not too shabby profit to others who also love them.

I know in the whole circle of life thing that they area good bug, eating off the more annoying ones... but get me alone in a room with one and things will not turn out well.

So I did a good job of NOT looking at any spider reference material for this, save to remind myself of what the Spider lady in James and the Giant Peach looked like.

This day is pretty awful. Just throwing that out there.

October 17, 2012

Show Choir Logo

My husband is a teacher. I might have mentioned that. One of his co-workers asked me to clean up a logo idea they wanted to use for a t-shirt. I received this sketch:

I did a search for musical note fonts, took one into illustrator and altered the shapes a bit to get the letters. I kept the idea of the music notes as letters. I rounded off the ends of the letters to match the music notes a little better. I also took the curly-que from the bottom of the S letter to add to the C to make them look like they were from the same font. I used a different, more simple, font to keep the NCHS as a separate item visually. 

I like it. Not too busy I think. And they really liked it, so job well done! Yeah!

October 15, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 5: Mermaid

Mermaids... a popular and subject of a lot of drawings. So I drew mine. Lin Kohaku was a character that I created a long time ago for a One Piece inspired dnd game. It never went anywhere but I like her anyway.

October 12, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 4: Naga

A naga is a snake thing. Snakes dance.

Not sure why but wasn't feeling this one.

October 10, 2012

The Skees'

My husband really liked the last doodle from this post. So much so that he spun a whole story off it when talking to me about it and then asked if I could make a comic out of it for his birthday. Well, that was last month, but our anniversary was yesterday and I thought I would finish it in time.

I thumb-nailed the comic first. Then drew out each scene in pencil. We took some photographs for reference too. Then inked it when I was happy. Then scanned in all the inked panel sketches separately. Then took them into Illustrator to get vector line art. Then laid out the frames, vector art and text in InDesign. Then saved the file as an eps to keep the transparency. Took that eps into Photoshop. Colored the panels as if in full daylight. Then added a few filter layers to get the color right for a darker evening and the lighting. Added one more layer and tried to paint some backgrounds in for context.

October 8, 2012

Final Fish and Dragon Update

So I think I can safely say (fingers crossed) that I have made my very last fish hat. This final one was for my husband who has wanted one from the start. It consumed the last of several skeins so it was good to do and now he isn't left out.

Final total of fish hats made: 8

Since I was getting out a lot of yarn, I thought I would also tackle the matter of my Dragon hat's nose. Been meaning to add something to give it one to help the face feel more finished. So I started looking for a way to make the kind of cloud bubble shape I wanted. After not finding anything I liked, I then started looking for leaf patterns or tree embellishment patterns. Tried a Gingko leaf shape and didn't like it. So I went back to other leaf patterns.

Looks better with noses.
I finally settled on a maple leaf pattern. I thought at first that if it came out large enough that I would use the two lower sides of the leaf for the nostrils and leave the top for a nose ridge. But they came out pretty small so instead I made two (without the stems) and used one each for the nostrils. I sewed them down and then added black lines for the holes.

Just a shell stitch worked into the space and connections between the red and orange row.
I also added a bit of a neck ruffle down the side of the head to give the face a bit more definition and to add a bit more detail to the hat. I have a feeling that this scarf might be something that I continually add on to... Keep thinking about making the tail larger or adding legs. Or some sort of embroidery to the face, scales maybe?

October 5, 2012

30DC-MG: Day 3: Slime

30 Day Monster Girl continues...

Day 3: Slime

Looked at a lot of pictures of Slimer. Gak. Mucus. If I was a slime girl, I'd be lazy. So I'd need some sort of transportation. Thought about the enchanted bathtub that Lock Stock and Barrel from Nightmare Before Christmas had and thought that might be perfect.

I wanted the tub to feel like a dog, happy to sit and play in the goop for her amusement. Made the faucet long like a tail too. I imagine it might wag about too, since it isn't hooked up to any water or anything. Just a loose faucet in the holes it is set into.

But that would get boring fast and a slouchy pose suits a slime girl.


Today I remembered I had another idea for a slime girl. Not made of slime, but excretes it. So a slug girl. So here is a second doodle for today. :)

October 3, 2012

Football Season... Woohoo?

Yeah so it's that time of year again. My husband, now being the moderator for the boys-only-noise-patrol-for-the-football-team aka the Norsemen, has to go to every school football game. Meaning if I want to see my husband before 2am the next day, I have to go to the games on friday night too. I draw the line at away games, but home games, ok. At least I am now at most 15 min from the school and can leave when I want to.

BUT, if I have to sit in bleachers for 5+ hours, I am for sure doing it in comfort of some kind.

So I decided in the interest of saving my back and butt, I would splurge on one of those bleacher chairs with the back and squishy butt. Found one at the local Academy Sports Store. Of course the back had their logo plastered across in in huge letters. Awful. Can't be seen with that.

So I fished through my husbands drawers looking for a solution. It presented itself in the form of a t-shirt for the school that he doesn't wear.

The t-shirt to be used.
I laid it over the back to make sure it was big enough. Yup! Then I made three cuts through both front and back of the shirt. One just under the neck from sleeve to sleeve and one down each side to trim off the excess. I was careful to center the t-shirt design because I wanted to keep it on the back side. of the seat. I turned the pieces inside out and marked with pins where to sew.

Three straight lines of sewing later, courtesy of my not-a-toy mini sewing machine, and I had a slip cover for over the top of the back. I flipped it back right side out. Since the t-shirt had a little stretch to it, it fit nice and snug over the back of the seat. I then took it off and proceeded to do a little doodling.

My name, the viking logo for the school team and a totoro of course and now it is MINE.

I added some industrial strength sticky back velcro dots to the bottom of the shirt to keep it on there snug, but I doubt I really needed that to keep it on there. And now I realize I ought to have made one side a little longer to wrap around the bottom and velcro to the outside, but oh well.  Still very happy, and I can always make another. :)

Total completion time: 30 minutes.
Difficulty: Easy

October 1, 2012

Daleks: Round 2

So I mentioned in an update that I would be revisiting my Dalek crochet pattern. My brother, who's birthday is rather soon, asked for one. I thought it would be nice to make it in time for this occasion.

He said white dalek. I assumed the one pictured below and got to work.

One of the first things I noticed between this one and the last was that this one, being two toned, meant I needed to come up with a solution for how to do those gold dots in the middle of white rows. I had two thoughts: 1) make a ton of crochet circles and sew them all on a finished body or 2) figure a way to crochet two colors at the same time but not have the gold show until I needed it to. I went with the latter idea. I created the body as normal following the pattern as before, but once I got to the part where the colored dot things start I added my second gold color to the mix. Using the white yarn, I established the chain for the popcorn stitch rows (which make the bumps) and when it was time to popcorn, I switched yarns. I was careful to keep the white on the outside of the piece when not using it, and the gold towards my body so that it remained inside the piece. Once I created the popcorn, I secured it with a chain in white and then continued the next three double crochet in white to create the space between each bump. Switching back and forth made an interesting look on the inside, but the outside was what I wanted! Obviously this would not work for a flat item, but since it would be stuffed the inside look did not matter.

Inside. That length is the space where double crochets were.

Outside. Look, no lines!

Switching colors for a popcorn.
Of course I got the whole body done, before I thought what if that isn't the right one?

Body done, unstuffed, no details on the arms or bottom. Guess its kind of a hat right now.
Sure enough, he wanted the new white dalek from the more recent season. Which of course, after you look at it, has different head, neck and eyelights. Still two toned though so I knew I could use my new yarn switching method.
New white dalek has different neck fins, no panels, and a foot pad.

Since this one has large sections of black and white I felt that I could a) not use the old pattern shape and b) switch yarn more often. I used a row of single crochet, followed by a row of back post single crochet to get the kind of neck vent look. Every time I switched colors for a new section I also used the back post single crochet to get that clean hard line between colors. Then I used that switching colors for the popcorns. I left the last row be a double crochet row in black to get that foot thing. Then made the bottom piece in black as well and used a single crochet to attach them together to get a kind of lip for it to stand with.

New and old for comparison.

 Of course I again made the plunger arm and manipulator arm, tried to make a gun face gun thing, and then embroidered the eyelights on since these are a lot more streamlined than the old lightbulb looking ones.

Neck vent texture, arms and face gun thing.

Another cute dalek out the door to EXTERMINATE!
The forlorn half finished one I have plans to finish at some point and make into a Christmas time Dalek. Because it seems absurd to me. :)