Friday, November 28, 2014

My new Etsy shop, SMASHPATCH!

I've added a new icon/link to the right navbar, maybe you haven't noticed. I've opened a new Etsy shop, SmashPatch!

Right now, I have a selection of hand-made felt flower brooches, especially for the holidays.

Like this:

And this:

Aaaaaand this:

And a bunch more. I'll be making more "holiday" style flowers in the coming days, then less "holiday" style flowers beyond that.

Right now I am also listing some collections of bead mixes like this one, so go check those out.

As the shop gets more traffic, I'll be listing more embroidered pieces, including ties, zipper cases, etc. And I'm definitely open to talking custom pieces, so come have a look and let me know what you think!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Embroidered Wallet with Matching Biz Cards

I have a friend who is an author and monster-hunter; I've mentioned him before when I made this Nessie tie for him. I like to tease Ben about remembering dates and places, since he works alone and travels extensively. Turns out, I may be underestimating his recall, especially in light of what I thought was a slam-dunk bet I lost to him recently when I challenged him to remember what state (of the Union) we both were in at a particular time. (We live in different states, and every time we have seen each other has been out of our respective home turfs.)

I must have been really confident in that bet, because I put on the line FIVE AMERICAN DOLLARS. Damn you, Arizona!

I'm Scottish, not Welsh, so I make good on my bets, no matter how minor. But I couldn't just, what, put a fiver in an envelope and send it off? What am I, an animal? No, I had to make a little card wallet for him that would fit a few (AMERICAN) bills, as well as business cards and a drivers license, just in case he wanted to take it on the road with him.

And since I was making a fabric wallet, I should go ahead and embroider it.

Ben's Card WalletAnd since I was embroidering it, I should go ahead and create a monogram/logo for him.

And since I had a monogram/logo for him, I should go ahead and make some business cards.

That's where I started.

A certain fandom among us will recognize the origin of this monogram right away. One of Ben's books, the first of his that I read, is Tracking the Chupacabra, the Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore. In it, Ben believes he "solved" the mystery of the (non-existent) chupacabra, which makes him a vampire slayer of a certain sort.

Starting with the Buffy logo (designed by the marvelous Margo Chase), I found an expanded character set, and made outline versions of Ben's initials, BTR. Knowing the logo was also going to be digitized for embroidery, I simplified the design where appropriate so the cards would exactly match.

I've covered a little about my digitizing process in my Electric Eel post. This design is 2-color only, so it was much simpler, but essentially the same process.

Little sewn projects like this are great stash-busters. There was no doubt in my mind that I had some black and red fabric stowed away, so I dug up this really cool black-on-black zebra print/texture (from a skirt I made) to use for the body of the wallet. The embroidery went down without a hitch.

Ben's Card Wallet

Embroidery accomplished, I built the wallet, using a scrap of abstract red/black fabric for the inner card pockets. The wallet itself is very simple, using only two pieces of fabric—the black for the body (folded in half on the long edge) and the red & black for the inner pocket (also folded in half on the long edge), along with some interfacing in the body. There are plenty of wallet tutorials out there if you want one, so I won't go into detail. The trickiest part, for me, was getting the size and the stitching juuuuuuust right so that the longest item to be placed in the pocket, the business cards, were held snugly.*

Ben's Card Wallet 

All my top-stitching in place, I tucked in a dozen business cards and, of course, the FIVE AMERICAN DOLLARS, and sent it on its way.

I tease Ben about not knowing what day it is, but the truth is, I finished this project and was just about to mail it off when I realized that it was also the week of his birthday. Oh! Right, um, happy birthday! I'd feel more guilty about being a crappy birthday-gift-giver, but I make things for people at random times, so hopefully the points carry over.

Ben's Card WalletOverall, a fun, uncomplicated project, with very big personal impact. I think so, anyway—I know MY socks would be knocked off if anyone made something like this for me! (Can I say that??)

*I have unintentionally used the word "snugly" in two consecutive posts. Now that I've noticed, I'm sure to have broken the string. :(
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