Hope you giggled! All these cuties are available in my shop.
Hope you giggled! All these cuties are for sale in my shop.
All these cuties are for sale over in my shop.
Maggot and Monster: a best friends love story
There was a time change this weekend. We lost an hour early Sunday morning, but it truly felt like I was running to catch that hour ever since Friday afternoon. I rocketed from one hectic event to another and each one seemed to be at least a hundred miles away, which makes for a very long ride in the car. None of those drives can compare in anxiety and perversion to that of weekend Atlanta traffic.
For some reason, those with authority decide weekends are the best time to close down a couple of the six interstate lanes of traffic for some nonexistant repairs. Well, they seemed nonexistant to me. At least, there were no workers, equipment, or vehicles anywhere to be seen. There were, however, a plethora of oversized orange and white plastic safety barrels. Couple these lane closures with a Georgia Tech football game and you've got the makings of a stomach churning crawl then standstill that requires your foot to hover oh so slightly over the brake pedal for an hour or six. And all the while as you're trying to exercise patience you must be sure to watch for the speed of light lane changers struggling and managing to get three feet further down the road. Yeah, there's a recipe for road rage if ever there was one.
I spent the whole weekend busy as sin. I was running so hard from one thing to another that I never took the time to enjoy any of the events in which I was participating. How freakin' sad is that? And these events should have been enjoyable. Instead, I found myself stressed out and frustrated or overwhelmed with fatigue from that stress and lack of sleep. So Monday morning, instead of thinking back on a groovy weekend, I found myself wondering how I was going to get through a week of work so I could have some time to work on crafting and gardening and catching up on rest, not to mention catch up on chores. Instead of smiling when thinking about my weekend, I found myself scheduling time to make a very long to do list for things that supposedly need to get done this week. I was adding "make a to do list" to my mental to do list. Jeez!
When I got to work that morning all of that changed. Because it was technically an hour early, it wasn't entirely daylight yet. The sky was just turning orange and it was getting lighter by the moment but the amazing thing that struck me as soon as I opened my car door were the birds. They were singing their little heads off! There were tweety sounds of all imaginable kinds and they were everywhere. Their sweet songs surrounded me and forced my eyes up to the dark trees in an attempt to spy the crooners. Only, I couldn't really see them because they fit so well into the landscape. They blended perfectly with the tree trunks, branches and leaves. But it didn't matter, I just stood there with a smile spreading across my face and my eyelids shutting. I must have stood there for a full minute until I snapped my eyes opened and laughed calling out to those tweety birds to sing it! Those little tweets had done their job of making me forget about all the rushing around and stress from my weekend. They reminded me to stand still for just a moment and remember that it's indeed a beautiful world.
I carried their song and beauty with me all the way into building. Then the door shut behind me and I was surrounded with dead silence and beige walls. My smile faltered only a little until I reminded myself that I could take the memory of their sweet songs and the colors of the beautiful morning any time I wanted. So that is how I spent my day.
Tutorial: Paperbag Nest for a Plush Tweety Bird
Select a preused paperbag for your nest.
Start rolling down the top of the bag towards the inside of the bag.
Keep on rollin' it down.
Keep rollin' til you get to the bottom.
Now, flip the thing over to deal with those two poking out pieces.
With your fingers or thumbs bend them toward the center and scrush them down.
Flip it over and your nest is complete. If it looks a little lumpy feel free to scrush up the edges to even them out.
Finally, insert bird and you're good to go :)
Hey y'all, if you're in Atlanta this weekend drop by the American Craft Council Show to see my Plush Demo & Workshop. I'll be there on Saturday, March 12, 3p.m. to 5p.m.
Plush Creature Making Demonstration & Workshop Session
During the first part of this workshop Felicia Haywood will introduce the audience to the world of plush making while demoing various original designs as well as tips and tricks for would be plush makers.
During the second part of this workshop the audience will create a mini plush Octopirate of their very own using a Fluffy Flowers craft kit which will be provided. No special skills required for this class. Limited to 20 participants.
After a lifetime of crafting, Felicia started her own business, FluffyFlowers.com, in 2007. She loves creating unique plush creatures that make people smile. Every Fluffy Flowers creature is handmade with love. Felicia is a member of the International Plush Team and her creatures have been featured in: Savannah Magazine, Indie Craft Experience Atlanta, and the current Plush Team in Candyland gallery exhibit in Milwaukee.
"I'm not going to tell the story the way it happened. I'm going to tell it the way I remember it."
- Ethan Hawke as Finnigan Bell, Great Expectations
When I was young a long time ago in the late seventies and early eighties, the world was a very different place. There were no cell phones, no one had the internet, and cable tv was a luxury afforded only to those who lived In Town. I did not live In Town. Far from it. I lived about as far from In Town as one could get. Out in the sticks is what some folks called it. Way out there in a very scary world is what I would say.
It was, in fact, half way between two very tiny towns in the most southern part of Hillsborough county Florida. It always boggled my mind that the city of Tampa actually existed in the very same county in which I lived. I grew up a very long way away from Tampa.
Back then there were still parts of Florida that could be called rural. I grew up in one of these places. Orange groves and strawberry fields were common sites on the long, long drive home from the grocery store. I never even noticed them unless there were pickers in the fields. Vast expanses of crops were totally normal. So were homes spread far apart. I say homes because most of them were not, in fact, houses. Most were trailers masquerading as mobile homes. They existed everywhere and in various states of shabbiness. Every so often there would be one that looked brand new, sporting a shine that would soon be lost within a year or two of Florida's oppressive heat and humidity. But these trailers were the exception more than the rule. Usually, trailers were small, faded things whose flimsiness did not inspire a feeling of safety nor comfort. In fact, quite the opposite. I'd be hard pressed to call them shelters because I always felt that given one strong hurricane, the whole thing would be blown off into the Gulf of Mexico. I grew up in one of these.
It's a long way from the country to town in more ways than one. First of all, it's a freakin' long drive. Often it felt like we would never get there and anywhere but here is always where I wanted to be. We would only make the trip to town once a week and would make the rounds to all the hot spots: the grocery store, the library, the thrift store, and possibly my grandmother's house if I was getting dropped off to spend Saturday night in order to attend church with them the next day.
When I was little I was glad to get out of the trailer and have a chance to see other things. But I never felt comfortable at my Grandmother's house. I always felt weird there. Thinking back on it now, I guess it had less to do with my grandparents then it had to do with my having lived in that house a few years before with my mother. We were just back from the Philippines then and needed a place to stay. My great-grandmother, whose husband built the house, let us stay there. Unfortunately, she also let her son and his family, a wife and two boys, stay in the house. At least my great-grandmother wasn't still living there too, having moved in with one of her daughters and her son-in-law. It would have been even further over the top of overcrowded had that been the case. As it was, my very young and inexperienced mother was feeling the pressure. Even my six year old self could tell that.
Unable to endure the situation for long, my mother hooked up with the man who would eventually become my step father and she moved us out of that house and into a trailer with him, his mother and two brothers. For me, that just made things go from bad to worse. The stress of sharing cramped quarters with differing personalities drove my mother to get out no matter where she and I would end up. But my great-grandmother's house was never a home to me and, in fact, had been the scene of some of the scariest moments of my life up until that time. I had no idea that soon I would come to know real fear in a way that was unimaginable to my six year old self.
But before I jump off into the land of eternal doom and gloom let me spare some words for a few of the happy moments I remember back then. There were indeed a few of those despite the seemingly impossibleness of it. The trip to the U.S. was exciting for sure, although I really hardly remember hours of waiting in the airport during the PanAm air strike. Its just a flash of groovy sites and sounds that parade by in about a nanosecond in my mind. I do remember getting one of those fab toy airplanes to play with. It'd probably be worth a fortune today if I still had it. I'll have to check ebay later.
Anyway, I am told that the first thing I asked for when we finally hit the land of the free is a hot dog. Now I, myself, do not remember this request but it is a story that has been told to me, with great laughter, all of my life. I'm also told that I did get the hot dog. I also got a stuffed panda bear that I loved with utter abandon. He was my friend and my favorite toy and I loved him. He came from the thrift store and I used to feed him fake milk from a blue plastic baby bottle whose milk would magically disappear as if actually being drunk by a baby doll. I hardly remember ever having baby dolls but I do recall my love for that bear. He was mysteriously lost during our move to the trailer. I still miss that bear today. Hello Panda Bear, where ever you are! I miss you.
It wasn't until I was eighteen years old and living on my own that I got another Panda Bear. That bear is still with me, more than two decades later, and I sleep with him every night. He's also gone missing a time or two and one of these times was discovered hundreds of miles away. But I've always managed to get him back. We never did find my first loved Panda Bear. Thinking back about that now I wonder how that could be. How did we lose a prized and beloved stuffed bear during a move of about twenty miles when all our possessions could fit in a Ford Falcon with plenty of room left over for three passengers? The love and loss of that bear is one of my strongest childhood memories and the beginning of a very long, lonely country road of hard life lessons.
My love for plush making must certainly come from that first stuffed panda toy. I've been making plush creatures for a few years now and in the past few months I've had a bagillion ideas of different plush things I wanted to make. They all seemed to be random objects or people and I couldn't figure out a way to make them all fit together. Finally, it dawned on me what they all had in common. Me. I've decided to tell my stories through plush. This Autobiography in Plush series is a way to share the stories of my life. They're meant to celebrate the good times, help deal with the pain and everything in between.
Making this plush trailer was not a fun experience. It reminded me of my impoverished and sad childhood. The entire time I was making it I questioned if I was doing the right thing and wondered if I shouldn't just go back to making happy creatures that make me smile. This morning I put my recently created plush baby owl in a nest on top of the plush trailer and left for work. I was dreading coming home to put one finishing touch on the trailer and finally being done. But I still didn't feel like I'd accomplished or learned anything by making it. It was making me depressed to work on the thing! But when I got home, I took one look at the trailer with a bird on it and laughed my freakin' head off. Suddenly, that trailer's power over me was broken and I saw just how funny it was.
What: The Plush Team in Candyland
When: January 21-March 20, 2011
Where: Hot*Pop Gallery, 213 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202-5839
Who: The Plush Team is an international group of plush artists who create unique dolls, toys, soft sculpture and all manner of soft creations. Together for the first time in a gallery setting, The Plush Team in Candyland show will feature sewn, knitted, and crocheted tasty confection creations.
Make plans to attend the opening reception, where many participating artists from all over the United States will be in attendance, a "candy bar" featuring the artists' candy faves, and super sweet libations to keep everyone from getting too salty. The opening reception is Friday, January 21, 2011 from 6p.m. to 10p.m. RSVP for the opening reception on Facebook!
My Gnudie Gnomes will be there! They'll also have their sacks of raisins with them. Raisins are nature's candy :)
I have made oodles of plush that are still available in my shop.
I'm especially proud of these baby doll 60s Girls.
Each one is unique and she wears a handmade button necklace.
I gave her loooooooong arms & legs so she's easy to carry everywhere :)
Just a handful of my mini garden gnomes left. These fellows have been super popular this year!
Still oodles of dancing twirly girls to choose from though.
They make a perfect stocking stuffer.
And of course there are many of the super popular Emotionals to choose from.
I've made oodles of pretty wristlets too.
Drop by the Fluffy Flowers shop to bring some of these cuties home :)
Hope you have a very Merry Christmas!
I love being part of the Plush Team. This craft guild has done a lot to inspire my creativity and push me to try new and interesting techniques and designs.
Every couple of months we engage in a team challenge based upon a theme. The current challenge is Plush Vegas with totally groovy categories: show biz, gaming, and neon. I chose the neon category and proceeded to make the cutest ever version of our team mascot, P.T. Stitchy.
He turned out better than I expected and I love him! You can check out all the other totally awesome plush over here and vote for your favorites.
Welcome to the Plush Team Virtual Book Tour!
The Plush Street Team is a group of artists supporting and furthering ideas behind plush dolls, toys and all the soft areas in between.This year we published our first book, Get Stuffed, which is available for sale in our team shop.
In the book you'll see oodles of amazing creations from plush makers all over the globe. My creatures couldn't wait to see themselves in the book.
Thank you so much for stopping by to visit me on this tour. As a special treat I'll be taking you behind the scenes in the Fluffy Flowers plush making world so you can see how creatures get born.
Oh, but before we start you might want to put on a little music. Or play a little music if you're so inclined. You can borrow my plush amp if you want to crank up your guitar. This amp makes a cameo appearance near the back of Get Stuffed. You can read all about it here.
I find myself constantly inspired by things and people that surround me. Recently, a dear writer friend of mine was considering writing a book about a mermaid. She was on the fence about it and I wanted to do everything I could to persuade her to do it. I decided to make her a plush mermaid to serve as inspiration. So where to start...
First I gathered potential supplies. I usually grab a lid off a copy box and use it for whatever project I'm working on. They're perfect for portability if you want to go from the studio to the TV room or even to the car if you're going for a long drive. Be sure someone else drives! I have a bunch of these box tops which I bring home from my day job. I swear by them!
Anyway, back to the hunting and gathering stage. I go through all the materials in different parts of my studio. I grab anything that speaks to me as "mermaidy" or "oceany". I grabbed a lot of blue stuff because my friend's favorite color is blue. I also grabbed that groovy word fabric because she's writing a book...
Next I draw a design. This can be tough. I try to make it very basic without much detail.
Next, cut it out.
Then comes the fun part. I tried out different fabrics to use for the tail. I like this bubbles one a lot.
This one's groovy too, sort of sky looking.
This one is kind of oceany too but I really think I like the first one best.
Next I draw the pattern on the fabric. I don't really go in for all those fancy pens and things you can buy at the fabric store. I just use regular ol' pens you can get down at the grocery. I swear it's never been a problem.
Ok, now I cut the mermaid tail out but first I double the fabric over so I can cut both sides out at the same time.
Ta da! Two tails ready to go. Notice how the fabric is reversed so that the right side will show on the outside after it's sewn together.
Now to cut out the body. I picked this groovy swirly patterned fabric because I figure it will look like tattoos.
I was careful to lay out the body pattern so the swirly bits would go across the body.
Notice I used that same red pen to trace the pattern. Then cut it out. I love that little pattern detail.
I cut one upper body with the head but then I realized that I drew the neck so narrow on the pattern that is would be super tough to turn the fabric right side out after I sewed it. So I decided to cut the head separate from the upper body. This will allow me to stuff it separately.
Finally time to do some sewing! Sorry about the lighting. I can never seem to get a decent shot from my sewing machine.
Here she is all sewn together. I sewed the upper body to the tail for both the front and the back. Then I laid the two pieced together and sewed all the way around except for the neck which I left open for stuffing and so I could attach the head.
Now its time to turn your fabric. Oh boy. This is never easy when you're working with small pieces of fabric. The best thing I can tell you to do is use tweezers. Yep, its one of the best tools to help turn those cotton fabrics inside out.
It takes a little fiddling and a lot of patience but I swear it works!
See? I usually start with the extremities and pull those in first and then turn the whole thing inside out.
Time to start stuffing! This is another thing that takes time. I use a pencil or a chopstick to get the stuffing way down in there and then work my way up.
The secret to good stuffing is to pack it tight. Not too tight so that your stitches gap but really snug. Just when you think you're done stuffing try to see if you can stuff a bit more. A well stuffed softie will look much better than a less stuffed one.
Also, notice the two stuffings above? The one on the right is sort of silky and the one on the left is sort of cottony. I find the silky one pretty tough to work with. I have some in case I need it but usually I get the cottony kind which comes in a big box at Voldemart.
Ok, time to give this lady some personality. One thing you will notice about all my creatures in the Plush Book are the big, wide eyes. I almost always put big eyes on my plush. I cut a little felt so that it made a little blue ring outline around this sweet mermaid's eyes.
Now she's starting to come alive. She just needs to get her smile on.
I snuck that smile on while y'all weren't watchin'. Now it's time to stuff that head and I made the neck so small that it took a while to get it in there.
Okie, dokie, her head is stuffed and nearly sewn on.
Now for her hair! I used some yarn from my enormous yarn stash (I'm a knitter in the winter months) and maid (ha ha, I really can't spell but I think in this case it was a slip of the mer kind :) it really long.
I just sewed it on with a simple part down the middle of the head.
I slipped this little starfish bead necklace on with a ribbon. It's a perfect finishing touch.
Now you know what this little lady needs? A home to live in. Writers usually make some sort of inspiration folder or box for their stories so I figured that would be a good place to start.
I think this shoebox will make the perfect home for her mermaid.
Perhaps a little coral sea floor?
A little tulle for waves and a star to steer by. She's starting to look a little cozy. But she needs some accessories.
How about a plush book for the writer?
Blue fabric for the cover, word fabric for the interior, and a piece of felt to sturdy the pages.
Time to do some book binding!
I wedged the pages in between the covers...
...then sewed them together.
It turned out better than I expected!
I think she likes it. Oh, and I slipped in a little plush fish to keep her company.
I think she will be well loved.
Thanks so much for stopping Fluffy Flowers for the Plush Team's virtual book tour. I appreciate it! I hope you enjoyed your visit.
My creatures really enjoy it and I know you will too!
Hope to see you Saturday at the next stop on the tour.
Well this year we're hosting Tiny Tuesdays!
Every Tuesday for six whole weeks a pile of totally cute tiny plush will show up in the Plush Team shop.
Last year I made a group of sweet Twirly Girls. This year I've made a family of Alien Twirly Girls.
They're currently for sale over in the Plush Team shop so grab yours today before they sell out because these will be the only ones of their kind!