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Do you love fabric? Do you wish you could get custom printed fabric (or gift wrap or wallpaper)?

Well that is just what Spoonflower is/does.

And right now they are having a wonderful event. 2nd chance at 2 for 1 Fat Quarters of Fabric.  Now until noon EST December 16. Effectively it’s actually 50% off Fat Quarters because when you get to your cart even if you have odd numbers they are all at 50% of regular price.

Usually they do this sale once a year — in November. This year I finally branched out from basic cotton and jersey and got some silk (real silk not polyester) and cotton sateen. They are gorgeous.

They have some truly lovely designs for sale. Just make sure to look at large pieces in the preview as not all designs repeat as well as others. Make sure you like the repeat before ordering.

This are some the currently trending designs:

spoonflowers-whats-trending-12-14-16

And a few (OK more than a few) of the designs from my favorites:

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(I ordered a fat quarter of micro20 after klimt in silk and it is amazing – more pastel than the preview but amazing.) And the captain owl doll in linen canvas (8″ swatch is 1 doll).

spoonflower-a-few-more-favorites

I ordered some dotd skulls black medium in linen canvas last year to make a new skull handbag. Still haven’t made it yet but I’ve got the fabric. Hah!

spoonflowers-the-favorites-continue

Yup, I bought the tiny steampunk octopuses and the exterminate 25cm fabrics this year.

I strongly advise creating an account so that you can make a favorites list; that way when there is a sales event so you’ve got them all in one easy to shop place. I didn’t do this the first year and figuring out what I wanted to order was both time-consuming and frustrating. Still worth it but boy did it eat up time.

miss-suzy-cover

Miss Suzy by Miriam Young, pictures by Arnold Lobel, 1964.

Miss Suzy is a book that makes me feel all warm and safe. So I decided that today is the day to share it with all of you. It is Ucky outside! The story is about a lady squirrel who lives in a lovely tree house and gets chased out by a nasty squirrel gang. Then she ends up spending the winter in the attic of a house living in an old doll house. She befriends a group of toy soldiers who, in the spring, chase the squirrel gang out of her house. And they all live happily ever after.

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It has printed endpapers, which (as I have said before) I just love.

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Here she is in her house in the tree. It is a most charming house in a lush full autumnal-ish tree. It’s golden and inviting. I think that Miss Suzy’s house would make a spectacular doll house even though just the thought of creating at least the top part of the tree with the house is an extremely daunting prospect. Still, it would make an awesome doll house so it would be worth all the work.

Has anybody made this house? Does anybody want to besides me?

miss-suzy-cooking

Here she is cooking and cleaning. Her furnishings are minimal and made of the sorts of things a squirrel might find lying around outdoors. Note that the firefly lamps contain real live fireflies, I’m assuming she swaps them out every day or so that she isn’t keeping them caged until they die. She is after all, a kindly squirrel lady.

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Miss Suzy tucked up warm and cosy in her bed. Don’t you just want to climb in there and go to sleep?

miss-suzy-and-the-soldiers

This is the doll house where she lives for the winter. She found the group of toy soldiers while exploring the attic for things she could use. They had been waiting a long time for someone to find them and play with them. So it worked out well for all of them and they spent the long winter together.

I love the illustrations in this book. The full color images are jewel-like and the limited color images balance the color pictures so that you don’t overload on color and become desensitized to it. By combining both types of pictures the book ends up being more than the sum of it’s parts.

I hope that you have enjoyed Miss Suzy, and remember if you want your own copy it turns up on Ebay and Amazon Marketplace regularly at reasonable prices. (No, I don’t get a cut — I just like to see good books find their people.)

Happy Halloween!

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Love those little goblins peaking out from behind the big pumpkin moon.

And a silly spooky Blythe dress:

blythe-dress-halloween-2016

Yes, that is my handy dandy headless Blythe body which I got so I could fit patterns on it without risking scratching a great big Blythe noggin.

About a week or so ago I was doing some recreational browsing, which is kinda like retail therapy except you don’t generally buy anything. When I spotted this cool small scale skull fabric and thought I have got to make something out of that, at the counter I noticed that it had a tag on the bolt that said “Glow-in-the-Dark”. So I bought some and went home, dug thru my pattern stash and decided to make this yoked dress. Then I did a little google search to see if anyone made glow-in-the-dark thread and found out that DMC does. Wow! Back to the fabric store to get some and also pick up some lace for the bottom of the dress. A few, well several, hours later — ta da, Spooky Blythe Halloween dress.

Which I posted off to Arlene, who got the package, opened it, picked up the phone and Sqwee! She really liked it. Photo of her doll wearing the dress properly accessorized to come later.

A note about that DMC floss: it’s from their Light Effects collection and it’s number E940. It looks white in daylight but it Glows-in-the-Dark. Hooray! Also it’s made of polyester not cotton which means it’s fiddley to work with so for what it’s worth here are my tips for use. Use shorter lengths than you would for cotton floss, this stuff likes to unwind and tangle. Also try to only touch the needle not the floss as this stuff snags on everything, my hands aren’t the smoothest but they aren’t that rough and the floss kept catching on my fingers. Polyester floss is a booger to stitch with until you get the hang of it, but the final effect is worth it.

 

UPDATE:     Here are Arlene’s Blythe dolls all dressed up for Halloween.

arlene-blythe-halloween

Right up front I’m going to totally own that I have a vested interest in this particular magazine project. ‘Cause J and I are massively addicted to this fairly new humor magazine “American Bystander” and want many, many more issues to be published so we can hug them in our greedy arms and croon over them in joy and laughter. We aren’t affiliated in any way with it’s creators or their publishing venture. We just really, really want them to be able to keep this wonderful magazine going.

American Bystander is a rare beastie: the print humor magazine. Decades ago there were these cool things that came in the mail or that you picked up from the newsstand that your mother hated and you and all your friends loved. These odd paper bundles were filled with funny articles, comics and fake ads that made people howl and roll around holding their stomachs. It was great. But those days are gone.

Flash forward. Now there is a chance to revive the printed humor magazine. American Bystander in Kickstarter for the funding of printing issue #3.

bystander-3

This is a wicked funny magazine. J and I have issues #1 and #2 and love, love, love them.

bystander-1        bystander-2

Issue #1 has a viciously funny parody of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Here’s a pic of an article from issue #2:

bystander-2-book-reading

This fake ad appears in both issues:

bystander-telly

So why am I posting this appeal to fund this project? Oh come on, you had to know where I was going with this. I was shocked today to go to the project page and find that with only five days to go they haven’t yet met their goal. So many people loved #1 and #2 that I was sure that #3 would fund with no problems.

Now I’m worried. So pretty please go fund this. And then share it with all your friends and ask them to fund it too. Then share it with your enemies, your grandma, your brewista, and the guy down the hall, oh and don’t forget that co-worker who always asks you to buy cookies from his kid.

Do it for me, do it for you, just do it damn it!

 

Oh and you can get #3 and pdfs of #1 and #2 for only $30.     Hooray!

As promised, I tracked down the follow-up book by A Coney Tale author Paul Ratz de Tagyos. Yup, it’s time for Showdown at Lonesome Pellet.

showdown-cover

An old timey western with coneys (rabbits). What could be better?

This book is sillier and funnier than the first one and little kiddies are gonna giggle a lot when you read it to them. OK, the big kiddies too!

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First off it’s about these coneys who live in a dusty old west town named, yes you guessed it, Lonesome Pellet. Established in the Pellet Rush days it’s now just a quiet little town. Except for the Pointy Brothers.

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As with A Coney Tale a great deal of the charm and humor of this book is in the illustrations. Check out the names of the products at the feed store, my favorite: “We carry Rolinda Moss”. I just love the charges on the wanted posters: Feed Theft, Littering, Smoking, Pushing Coneys, Saying Bad Words, and Being Bad.

showdown-hotel

But then a stranger does appear . . . wearing an entirely peculiar hat. A Radish Hat. Will he save the bullied residents of Lonesome Pellet? How?

Well our stranger, being polite as a proper coney should, visits the sheriff and introduces himself. His name is Saladin and his card has his motto “Have Fur — Will Travel”. Why am I not showing you this? Because this post is image heavy enough already.

showdown-saloon

So let’s go right to the heart of any old west town: the saloon. In this case the Bunny Hop Saloon where our hero Saladin (sans hat) is having a carrot juice at the bar. Again, for me it’s in the details: the newspaper headline says “Archeologists Claim Discovery of Giant Carrot in Old Flanders” and “Feed Poisoning — We Thought They Were Raisins!”. The signage, the carrot tops littering the floor, the card players, the dumpy little stove, even the pink dressed floozie coney are all a delight to me.

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My favorite bar detail is the carrot juice dispenser. Anyone who’s ever had a cage-living pet has seen this bottle many times. How priceless to put it behind the bar among the bottles and barrels.

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So to reestablish peace, Saladin and the towns folk trap the Pointy Brothers and send them off on the noon train to face justice and jail time.

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And as in all good westerns our intrepid hero walks off into the sunset.

All and all I’m really glad I tracked down and acquired this book for my collection. Amazon has a number of used copies for reasonable prices so if you liked this you can easily get your own copy.

As my book is signed “See y’all on the ol’ bunny trail”.

‘Cause if you do I’m about to make your day.

He has a new book in the works. And it’s a poem dear to my heart.

Goblin Market - Omar Rayyan

Yes, indeedy: Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. It’s on Kickstarter so go back it already!

I can’t remember where I first saw Omar’s work but it was likely either Spectrum or Cricket magazine. I do remember that it was love at first sight. He has a print of Alice and the Griffin playing chess in his Etsy shop that I just love — if only I could find the wall space. Oh, the curse of the itty little house. Ok, so I could likely shoe horn it in somewhere — the large is only 13 x 19 inches, but just now I defo can’t afford it and getting it framed too. It will have to be a “do it later” project for now.

Hey, here’s something fun to do. Go here to Blick’s art contest for mixed media. Look at the entries. Then vote, hopefully for my bestest buddies piece:

phoenix - arlene navarro

OK, so I’m very biased but Arlene made this beautiful floating Phoenix which I like the best.

A few FAQs about Arlene and her work. She lives in Los Angeles, her pieces all have an ethereal cirque look, some are more fantastical, some more art deco, she is a friend of Blythe (so am I — finally), she is sweet and kind and very funny. Go here to see more of her work.

Got to dash, ugly thunderstorm rolling in. TTFN