Desert Bus 2017!

This year I donated one cat cube to Desert Bus For Hope, a shift banner cube that will be up for silent auction (between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. EST November 22nd).  Thanks to Stephen Schmidt Photography for once again taking such great photos.cube1.png

Unless you are familiar with Desert Bus lore, this cube might not make a lot of sense – a Desert Bus day is broken into 4 shifts, and there is a banner that is brought out at the start of each shift. You can see the banner art in the playmat at the top of this picture. From left to right the shifts are Dawn Guard, Alpha Flight, Night Watch, and Zeta.

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One thing that was nice about piecing this cube together was that there are no edges that have to line up exactly across each side of the cube, which has always been the most challenging part in the past. The Alpha Flight decal was obviously the most intricate, and I was really happy with how it turned out.

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This is the 4th year that I’ve had a cube at Desert Bus, and I haven’t gotten any less excited about getting to be a part of something so amazing.

Update: congrats to warkface with a winning bid of $987.65!

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POW! Blanket

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This is possibly my favorite baby blanket yet, made for Amelia! I had a difficult time deciding on a blanket design, as Amelia’s parents are into all sorts of cool nerdy stuff, but once I found this fabric I was determined to use it:

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Having a grid to work with for the backing was nice, although it made the blanket slightly bigger than I usually make them.

As a fan of 1966 Batman, it wasn’t a far reach to get to what I’m calling the POW! bubble. It was a larger applique than I usually use for these blankets, so I used wrapping paper to avoid having to tape a bunch of printer paper together. To figure out the shape, I drew a big oval and added the spikes to it once the size looked right.

The font I used is ObelixPro, printed out at a font size of 550. I almost used black trim for that authentic comic feel, but the silver seemed a little more muted and appropriate for a baby. She seems to like it!

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Pokeball Cat Cube

One idea that I’ve had on the back burner for a while was a Pokeball inspired cube, and I finally got around to making it!

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This was the first cube that I’ve made where I constructed all of the sides at once (at least the two colored sides) and it really helped with matching up the stripes when it came time to join everything together.

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I didn’t have an intended recipient for this cube, so currently it’s available in my Etsy store!

Even More Baby Blankets!

Since the last baby blanket post, 3 more sets of friends have had children, which means 3 more baby blankets!

First up is Herman – his blanket traveled all the way to Norway! I didn’t take a ton of pictures, but I definitely had a lot of fun making the cat decoration. The general outline of the cat came from a printable paper mask that I found online.

 

Next is Eliza. I did some pre-planning for this blanket at her baby shower and took a picture of the painting that was used as the guestbook.

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A little bit of photoshop tracing resulted in the pattern for the whale, and the waterspout was easy to improvise.

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This was the first purple blanket I’ve had the opportunity to make, so I was excited to use one of my favorite fleece designs for the back – purple tye-dye!

I was able to deliver this one before Eliza was 3 months old, which might be a personal record.

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The third blanket I made was for Victor, brother to Diego from the last blanket post! I wasn’t sure how much the nursery had changed, so I made Victor’s blanket similar in theme and style to his brother’s, but with different colors.

Luckily, there is plenty of monkey print fleece out there to choose from. The one thing I would change if I were doing this again is to pick a darker background color for the name side – the monkey pattern shows through the yellow more than I’d like. Victor doesn’t seem to mind though!

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This is all for now, but definitely expect another post in the future – I know of 4 babies that are either newly arrived or coming soon, and even if though it feels silly to be sewing fleece when it’s 90 degrees outside, they’re getting a blanket 😛

Desert Bus 10!

This year I donated 2 cat cubes to Desert Bus For Hope, a blue D6 that will be a giveaway (between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. November 14th) and a Desert Bus 10 cube that will be auctioned live at 2 a.m eastern on November 13. Having a craft in a live auction is literally a dream come true, so I’m really excited for that. Thanks to Stephen Schmidt Photography for taking such great photos for these.

Edit 1: The Desert Bus cube went for $1250 at auction!

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The Desert Bus cube is unlike one I’ve ever done before as most of the design is on the inside rather than the outside. It’s also a lot more intricate – getting the lettering right was tricky. I won’t go through every single step, but here are a few of the making-of pictures.

Usually I’ll print out a pattern, cut it out, trace it to interfacing, and cut it out from fabric, but the letters have such a specific look to them that I didn’t want to lose the precision from tracing multiple times. To get the letters/logo correct, I printed them directly on to the paper side of the fusible interfacing from my printer. It worked really well, but on one try the webbing got caught around a roller in my printer and it hasn’t been quite the same since, so proceed with caution.

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Letter spacing was also kind of tricky, so I used a paper pattern to match those up.

Everything laid out before putting the sides of the cube together:

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The D6 was a little easier to put together just because I didn’t have to match up any horizontal lines between sides of the cube. For the numbers,  I ended up scanning a D6 to make a pattern as I couldn’t find a font to match the Chessex die. This was the only in-progress pic I took:

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As always, I’m so hyped for Desert Bus and glad that I’ve been able to contribute for the past 3 years. It only takes one $7 donation to Child’s Play Charity to help a kid, and if these cubes can raise ~$1500 this year I’ll be on track to help 1000 kids with something as silly as cat beds, which is pretty awesome.

How to deal with 100 square feet of foam

My cat cubes are made out of foam covered in fleece, and the first one I made used a twin sized mattress topper for the foam – they’re easy to find, especially around back to school time, and relatively inexpensive. Once I had the technique down, I realized I would need a better source of foam, and luckily the internet has plenty such places. Here’s how I break down 100 square feet of foam so it fits in my house without taking up too much space.

The cost works out so that it makes the most sense to buy 5 half sheets of foam. Each sheet is 82 X 36 inches, and it comes neatly packaged in a 17 lb. box

Everything is vacuum sealed, and once you unwrap it you end up with a lot of plastic and a hissing, rapidly expanding mass. (Video is best at 2x speed)

Once the sheets are free, I lay them out and mark up where I need to cut. Each sheet is enough for 8 cube sides plus an extra strip of foam that I haven’t come up with a use for yet.

Cutting happens on a large cutting mat, and I just drag the foam towards me a few times to get through it all.

In the end, everything fits on top of my Ikea Expedit. It took a few days of after-work work to break it all down into squares, but it is so worth it to just get it done and put away.  This is the second batch of foam I’ve bought – the first time I just left the large sheets rolled up in a corner of the living room, and when company came over we would hide it in a closet or the trunk of my car 😛

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Six squares are missing here, they were turned into a Pokecube

More Baby Blankets!

I like making these for new babies, and while sometimes the babies aren’t brand new by the time I finish, it’s still a fun way to give a present that is both useful and unique.

With Silas, he was old enough by the time I started that I was able to find out his favorite animal/color combination.

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Dogs with big eyes and bright orange were the favorites

The dog pattern came from an online coloring book, which I’ve found to be one of the best places to get simple line drawings to turn into applique.  It does go through a couple of creepy looking stages though before the final thing is ready.

For the back I used Minky fabric for the first time, and while it was fine, it was harder to work with than fleece and slid around a lot while I was trying to get the two sides to match up.

 

All in all though, I was happy with the final product and Silas got his blanket just in time for his 1st birthday.

Unlike Silas, I knew Diego’s name and nursery theme before he was born, giving me a little bit of a headstart on getting his blanket together. I couldn’t think of a way to get enough color contrast for a monkey decal on the front of the blanket, so instead went for a monkey patterned back and really big letters for his name on the front.

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One problem with using a patterned fleece is that it can be hard to match up the colors – you can see that a little here with the difference between the greens, but they are on opposite sides so it isn’t super obvious.

I managed to get this one finished and sent out within 4 months, and it was a hit!

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