Monday, August 24, 2015

DIY Chicken Cowboy Costume

Do or do not...there is no try-Yoda.   I do believe he had this chicken costume in mind when he said that.

It started as something I was completely awestruck with...And then it became an obsession...And then it became an very serious plot...and then it became a very intense workout...and then it became reality.

This was a labor of love as well as super mega cheapness.  I did NOT want to spend a grand on a cool costume (the one I found online was $1500 and so fabulous).....

Be warned!!!  I AM NOT A SEWING DESIGNER.  I do design knit and crochet patterns- you can see them (and all my other random craft craziness) on my facebook page.  I do not like to sew and I consider myself a novice.  I have had no formal training-I taught myself to sew to keep my mind occupied while my hubby was deployed a while back.  Don't attempt this if you need a perfect pattern-this is merely a guide for someone who is adventurous.

You will need (always err on the side of caution and buy more if you think you will mess up or need a larger size-I am a size small and I just scraped by with what I bought):

2 yards white faux fur-do not skimp-buy the really nice grizzly long fur...
2 yards yellow flannel
1 yard white (for lining)
.25 yards of red felt
3 sheets of yellow felt
1 sheet of black felt
velcro  (you'll need just a tad more than what fits around your waist)
Polyfil (stuffing)
plastic grocery bags (a crapload)
chicken wire
pool noodle (preferably white or a very light color)
Jelly Belly Jelly beans (or snack of choice)
Tissue Paper (Or whatever you want to use for a 'pattern')
Overalls that you don't mind destroying
socks and/or cowboy boots (maybe knit or crochet them or make some out of brown felt)
Yarn for reins (which I still haven't made)

To begin, I sketched my ideal chicken shape onto paper to use as a guide.  Then I laid out some tissue paper (to use as a pattern-I had to tape a few sheets together) and used a sharpie to draw my chicken's body shape (be careful because sharpie will BLEED THROUGH TISSUE PAPER so put newspaper underneath or do this outside)

 I then cut out my chicken's body shape-I  made sure it would work for the size chicken I would need by holding it up to myself and making sure that back portion would be enough to go half way around my waist.  At this point, you  may need to make your chicken bigger or smaller depending on your size...

At this point you will be stressing out because you will be needing to cut into that expensive material.  Pour yourself a nice bowl of jelly bellies....or chocolate...just not alcohol.  You will be using sharp objects! haha!  

Using my chicken's body pattern I cut two pieces of my faux fur material (your fur should be folded or laid so that when you cut it you will have two mirror image shapes-I kept the wrong sides together as I cut).

I then cut two wedge shapes-one for the back of the head and one for the belly of the chicken-each were cut with the fold at the bottom so when you open them they are like a pointed oval shape.  Unfortunately I don't have a photo of the head wedge but this is the belly wedge, but I basically just wanted to add a little depth to the head and also the belly.  


I then sewed my chicken body together, strategically placing my wedges where I thought they would help give a little extra depth...Sew them with the right sides of fabric together and then turn right side out.

 Using my red felt, I drew a comb, using the sharpie and then cut it out (in the same manner as the chicken's body-you need two pieces to sew together). 

 I then sewed my little chicken comb together and turned it right side out.  I lightly stuffed my comb and then I pinned the comb to the center of the head and hand sewed the comb to the head.
 Using my yellow felt and a cup I thought was a good size for a chicken's eye I used my sharpie to draw a circle and then cut out my eye.
 I had to use a smaller cup for the black-and since black sharpie doesn't' show up on black felt I had to make a pattern by drawing it onto a piece of paper first.
I then hand sewed all my little eye bits together and then made the waddles...Which I also forgot to take a photo of-SORRY!  I did put my eye ball on the red felt though, and outlined what I thought was a good waddle shape onto the felt and cut out two-one for each side.  The eye bits then got hand sewn onto the waddles and the waddles got hand sewn onto the face.

For the beak I drew a beak shape onto the yellow felt-for this I used the fold of the felt as the top portion of the beak so I wouldn't have a seam on the top of the beak-I then used the machine to sew the front and bottom of beak-leaving the back of the beak open to lightly stuff and then hand sew onto the face. 

At this point I was rejoicing because I could tell my chicken was going to actually look like a chicken.  Of course I tried it on and got all excited.

Now was time for the destruction of perfectly good overalls.  I actually purchased these for 40% off at Target-they were wonderful overalls so I tried really hard to rip the seams nicely so I could sew them back up if I wanted to actually use these again for real.  You need to rip out the whole crotch area so your legs can fit out the opening and you can pull them up over your waist with the legs dangling at your sides.  I then just used socks for at the bottom of the pant legs...I used safety pins to keep them on-I just didn't want to sew into these jeans.  I stuffed the socks and the legs of the pants with grocery bags loosely.  I had contemplated newspaper, but it is always rainy on Halloween so I figured grocery bags won't get all soggy.

 I decided I needed a lining for the chicken's body that my body will go through-I just used my white material and made a tube that would be large enough to fit around my waist with a little extra room and then made a big hem on the top so I could put some elastic through it.  Instead of completely closing my chicken up, I wanted to be able to access his innards so I used velcro to keep the lining attached to the body.

I don't have a good photo of the innards of my chicken because I had to build it while it was inside the chicken.  I felt like a surgeon.  I put the pool noodle in the bottom of the chicken and that is my base-I put both the ends together and used duct tape and some strange wire things hubby gave me to keep it still.  I used chicken wire and made a long tube that went from the base to the top of the head and attached it to the pool noodle. I did the same thing for the tail.  

The chicken wire was a really good decision because it doesn't add a lot of weight and then you only have to stuff a little bit around the wire....

For the chicken legs I just used some old pants I have and traced the outline of them onto the yellow flannel and cut out two of those...seamed up the inner legs and then sewed the body together...
 I then used tissue paper to make a chicken foot pattern, sort of using my own foot as a template.

Each chicken foot needs two pieces of felt cut with right sides together ....then sew the outer edge of the foot seams-leave a portion open though so you can turn it right side out and then stuff.  You'll then sew closed your hole...After it is stuffed you can sew closed the inner foot part.

 I didn't really like how the foot hangs on me, so I am going to be putting a velcro closure on the back of the feet so I can keep them in place..I am also going to be putting elastic across the bottom so it will hug my shoe.

Now you need to immediately put your chicken cowboy costume on and go scare your girls! :) 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Turning 40: Cause for Deep Inner Reflection....and knitting!

I don’t mind being 40.  Truth of the matter is that I never even remember how old I am most of the time because, frankly, I don’t care.  Back when I was 32 I was deep in thought how I was ‘almost 40.’  I thought about it so hard that I actually thought I WAS 40.  At the doctor’s office, he asked how old I was, when I told him I was 40 he gave me a math lesson.  I lost 8 years that day.  I didn’t feel any different.  I was the same me I was leaving the office as I was coming in. 

I don’t mind being 40 because I almost wasn’t 21.  A lucky break with a cheap in-school physical alerted us to the fact that I’d need heart surgery if I wanted to make it to 21.  So really, I guess every breath I take after that birthday is just a heaven sent gift that some random stranger with a stethoscope decided to not let me pass a physical-first test I ever failed!

I don’t mind being 40 because I spent so much of my childhood wishing I was dead that I feel that I need to be thankful to my inner strength for getting me this far.  I can’t thank myself by wishing for something that cannot be.  I can thank myself by being grateful for every single thing I have.

I don’t mind that being 40 means I actually have to work out a lot harder than I did when I was younger to fit into my pants.  Sure, it is a little more work-but with more work comes great pride and self-respect and those two things are priceless.  No matter how much I work out, my legs will never be as nice as they were when I was 20-I’m OK with that…because I am sure they look better now than they will when I am 102!

I don’t mind that being 40 means I have to actually pluck disgusting hairs on my upper lip.  Totally gross.  I’m horrified that nature does this to us.  It’s just something I have to do now, and it is annoying as all hell, but in the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t high on the list of things that will destroy your life.

I’m so glad that I am 40-I have learned so many things over the years-things that I would have killed to know back when I was 20….
  •     A sports bra is the most comfortable item of clothing-and it actually looks good underneath clothes!
  •     The color nude, although hideous, is an imperative color of bra if you wish to wear a light top and not have your bra show through!
  •         It is nearly impossible to be unhappy when you wear flowers in your hair!
  •     Cigarettes do not make you happy-they make you wrinkly and old.
  •       No matter how bad you think you have it, there is always someone that has it worse-so smile for what you have today because it could be gone tomorrow.
  •     Chickens.  Yes, that is a full statement.  Any ‘why’ question can be answered with:  Because chickens.
  •     Wearing a stupid hat on your head can mean the difference between a life of boredom and a life of giggles.
  •      It's OK to compete with yourself.  I try to one-up myself every chance I get.  I try to knit something better than I did yesterday and I try to make a better Halloween costume every year.  If you can't be your best competition-what's the point?

I can’t wait to find out what I will have learned by the time I am 80!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Yarn Dyeing-You Need To Have The Guts!

I have always wanted to try my hand at dyeing yarn. I've always been really scared to try though. Working on my alien dissection's internal organs, I decided to go for it and use the Wilton cake frosting dye method-I am so glad I finally have the guts to try it! BAHAHAHA!

This is still a work in progress, but I was so thrilled with how my  yarn dyed up I thought I'd share it with ya'll!  Since my little yarn blobs were small I just used some berry bowls and put in a small amount of water (enough so my yarn blobs could have a cozy bath), a dash of vinegar and a tiny amount of Wilton Cake Frosting Dye-I stirred it around with a toothpick until I was happy with the color concentration.  

You need to keep the water hot-but not boiling-so I used my microwave.  I wasn't about to have pots on the stove or anything funky like that-so I just kept nuking them for about 15 seconds every few minutes just to keep them hot.  I would stir them gently as well.  I just kept soaking them until I was happy with how they looked and then rinsed them well.

Here is what the guts look like hanging out to dry...In case you wondered what alien guts look like hanging from trees...

I'm really happy with my little alien so far-I still have a few more guts to make and then get it all put together, but he is going to be awesome-at least he will be in my mind. :)  I can't wait to share with you the finished object! :)

Here he is off the needles, a few days later
Every once in a while, a project will come along that you become obsessed with. I'd am happy to admit that this Alien Dissection has been one of those projects. This little guy has been building up in my mind for such a long time...I am so excited that he is finally off the needles. I love how his hand dyed guts turned out-I can't wait to dye again...All this guy needs is a nice little shadowbox, fun little background and some T-pins!

A few days later....He is DONE!  I love him.  I am so proud of myself....mainly because I have convinced hubby to hang him on my wall-I thought, for sure, he would put his foot down!  EEK!  Mr. Alien shall hang on my wall with my Star Wars snowflakes that I lovingly cut out a few years ago and hung in sweet frames.  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Walking Dead Jacket DIY: Daryl Wings

 I wanted to make my daughter a cool money holder for her birdday.  I had no idea what to get her and so an idea blossomed.  I thought, what fun to make a Daryl from Walking Dead jacket and stick the money into a pocket.  So here we go....a glorified money holder! :)

This is what I did to get me the end result....

First, I stopped at a local thrift shop and made good on a 50% off all winter outerwear and got this faux leather jacket for whopping $2.50.  I found some gynormous white pants that had a thicker material that I thought would work well for the wings for an extravagant $1.50.

The next step was to take some measurements to make sure I would be making my wings the corret size.  I measured from shoulder to shoulder-the widest part (divided that in half), and also measured from the tallest (where I wanted my wings to begin and end.  Then I took a sheet of tissue paper and cut it to those measurements and began sketching one wing.

I then took another sheet of tissue paper and traced only the outline of the wing.  Then I cut out that outlined wing, but cut about 1/4" away from the outline (the outline will actually be the sewing line).

I pinned the outlined wing pattern onto the pants and cut out my wings-one leg of the pants made both of my wings (double layered and back to back-it was perfect).

I took the other pattern of the wing, the one that had all the details sketched onto it and cut out, along the lines a few 'pieces' that I could trace over and onto my wings.  I just traced lightly in pen.

Then I took some black shirt paint and a paint brush and brushed over all my pen lines and let it dry.  After it was dry I washed the wings and let them dry again (just to get the pen out) and then I ironed them.

After pinning the wings to the jacket I used black thread in my machine and sewed along my outlines.

Then I wanted to make the edges look a little more raggedy, so I used a pin to pull out some threads....

And that's it! :)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Wedgie Burger

I stressed and stressed over the making of this shawl.  It has been a work in progress for almost four months.  After tons of frogging, tweaking, chart adjusting, and ship port strikes (omg my yarn was stuck in a port of a month!!!) I am finally done, and so very excited about this shawl.  I hope to get it tested soon, but I am really stressing over it, as this is a fairly complicated knit, and I have serious George McFly issues-fear of rejection.

This shawl consists of three different wedges (charted and written).  They are each interchangeable which means, the possibilities for creativity are endless.  I love making patterns that lets the knitter/crocheter 'chose their own ending.'  I love having artistic creativity, and that seems to come through in my patterns.  This one is no exception, and I'm actually really excited to see what others come up with using this pattern.  

Why Wedgie Burger for the name? Well…the wedge part of the design is obvious but for the rest….here is the back story: There is a long tragic story about the ‘Wedgie Burger’ in my family…My mom was in a restaurant and the man ahead of her ordered a beautiful sandwich and when she asked what he had ordered he told her it was a ‘Wedgie Burger.’ She said it looked so delicious she changed her mind at the last minute and decided to order what he did. When she was asked for her order she politely asked for a ‘Wedgie Burger.’ The cashier was dumbfounded. My mom continued to ask for a ‘Wedgie Burger’ a bit more and finally pointed at the man and his lovely sandwich….It was explained to her that the man had ordered a ‘VEGGIE burger.’ But of course, we all call them wedgie burgers now. So, this shawl I am naming after my mom. :) She’ll be thrilled. bahaha!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Bringing Booties Back!

Alright, here's the deal. My husband is awesome. He really is...Buuutttt sometimes he says incredibly stupid things...Things you cannot take back. If you know him well, chances are you have a favorite Jaime quote.

Tonight, he outdid himself. He was whining and complaining about his feet being too cold. He said, "I NEED BOOTIES!" Now of course we all knew he meant slippers, but booties is what came out. 

We can all look at Shawn (me) and blame her because she makes stupid stuff like booties on a continuous basis....So we giggled and laughed for about five minutes as he continued to get our lovely daughter her ice cream...

He finally had had enough of the abuse and shouted out to us, "Hay! I'm bringing booties back!" So that,my friends, is his one funny for this year. So if you were hoping you'd get to witness it, missed out. You'll have to wait till next year.

While I wait for him to come up with his next funny though...I think...just to be a big mean jerk, I will make him some booties.  ;)  Some really cute frilly ones.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dreambird For Dragonbird

I am currently working on my dream project. It is something I have seen floating around for a while and every time I would see someone’s lovely FO of this project pop up I would sit and stare at its beauty. I would enviously wish I could knit so I could create such a wonderful display of artwork on my own body. So I taught myself to knit in May. Mainly, because this was my goal. I worked very hard on many different projects so I could get some experience and decided it was time to take the leap.
So now I am having a really tough time with this. I am so in love with the project it is interfering with my working on it. I keep stopping so I can lay it out and ogle it. I lay it out…pat it gently, think about what color to use next, take pictures of it, show it to my family (who roll their eyes because it looks no different than the last time I showed them) and basically just DROOL all over the stupid thing.
Am I the only one that has this crazy love obsession with a project? I want to think that it is a GOOD thing to love what you are working on, but good lord, maybe I shouldn’t love it THIS much! haha! I’ll never finish!

This is an excerpt from my project's notes:  "I am in love LOVE with this pattern I tell you. I keep stopping my work so I can just stare at this stupid thing. how insane is that? VERY. I love everything about this pattern, and I think I shall marry this thing when it is all over. I finally got to the pink part in a feather and I almost died from excitement. I think this is seriously getting out of control. No one should be that in love with a project. It’s Wacky Shack worthy. I have found though, that I was pulling my double stitches a little too tight with this thinner thread (the crap yarn I was practicing on didn’t have that issue). So the first few feathers have a few little holes mainly because I was too diligent in pulling them tight…But my last feather is perfection. PERFECTION I tell you. Did I mention I love it? OMG I need sleep. Sleep? I’ll dream about my dreambird. Yes I will. Why? BECAUSE I LOVE IT."