Long Distance Birdpants

23 08 2015

Well, hello!  Long time no see, eh?  I closed up shop for a while so I could make a cross-country move to Colorado, where I got a new job.  I love it here, but miss my old avian pals from the backyard of birding dreams.  There are a ton of new bird species out here, and they surely need pants, but my back yard is sparse and only has a fresh new tree.  My HOA only allows “one bird or squirrel feeder” which is disappointing, but then again, I just need to go out to one of the millions of trails nearby and do some birding.  And while the HOA is a bit of a bummer, I can’t say I don’t hate the tidiness of the whole place, and their “no wind chimes” rule makes me pretty happy, too.  I sound like a curmudgeon, but it gets damn windy out here (they call ’em “chinooks”) so windchimes might be an issue.

Meeting people has been somewhat slow, so I checked out some “meetup” groups, and am intrigued by “birding and beers” which is a group that goes birdwatching, then, unsurprisingly, goes to drink beer!  I haven’t dived in yet, but will let you know how it goes. Things otherwise are great, Friendly people, lots of sunshine, and an impending puppy.  I promised my fella a puppy since he was moving so far from home to let me pursue a great job.  He was pretty happy about the move, I suppose, but now that there’s a puppy in it for him, he’s sold.

Bird news:

There are several kinds of jays here, including a Gray Jay, which is referred to as a “camp robber” for its boldness.  Stellar’s jays are also beautiful.  There are yellow-headed blackbirds and black-billed magpies.  There are even pelicans!!  I couldn’t believe that, but it’s true.  All shall have pants soon.  I imagine a pelican carrying a bindle for some reason.

Black-Billed Magpie

Stellar’s Jay

We still have our tiny place near Good Hart, MI, and we’ve finally identified a bird that we hear at dusk.  It has the most beautiful song, and it turns out to be a Hermit Thrush.  If you’ve ever seen the Hunger Games, the bird they imitate (Mockingjay) is a Hermit Thrush.  They have a crazy range and some weird singing ability that most other birds don’t.  Here is what Cornell Lab of Ornithology says about them:

The Hermit Thrush’s beautiful, haunting song begins with a sustained whistle and ends with softer, echo-like tones, described asoh, holy holy, ah, purity purity eeh, sweetly sweetly. It pauses between each phrase, and the song is about 1.5 seconds long. Hermit Thrushes also deliver an extremely faint “whisper song” in spring.

He’s quite elusive – we can hear him but not see him, so pants will be an issue.  But I’ll try. Stay tuned for more riveting news from Colorado!  I have my etsy shop up and running again, with a few items listed as I unpack them. Yay!





The frogs were green… with envy

20 05 2014

Previously, I posted pictures of the making of a squirrel suit.  I am happy to report that the intended recipient was quite pleased with the results!  Hurrah!

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As I was putting away some fabric recently… some shiny, slippery, green fabric…  I envisioned a frog suit.  The hours melted away as I tinkered and toiled with the amphibious inseams.

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The hours melted so far that the sun came up!  Egads!  Time flies when you’re having fun.  Or obsessed with mastering a suit for a frog.  Or both!  I couldn’t stop.

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It even has a lily pad.

 





Seamstress to the squirrrels. And mice. And frogs!

20 05 2014

Well, it seems the denizen of land and sea are upping the ante when it comes to stylish attire.

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A short while ago, a birdpants fan contacted me to ask me about “something for a squirrel”.  Her pal had a birthday coming up and apparently really liked squirrels.  Being the ambitious seamstress, reading my email in the car (I was not driving!) on the way to the show in Columbus, I replied to the request with a few options – squirrel pajamas, squirrel parka, squirrel suit.  There was a short turnaround time (just over a week) and I was a little nervous about creating a whole new prototype of a suit, but that’s what I did and I’m so glad!  Some of my best work comes from special requests.  I try to do some sketching but it ends up being a lot of trial and error.  I’ve learned that I need to make patterns as I go, and take plenty of notes.  Even though I’m winging it, I want to make sure I can try to recreate it.  The following weekend I was heading up north so I dug through my fabric and selected some options.  Purple satin with swirls.  Tweed.  Houndstooth.  Rust-colored satin.  Black satin. Faux leather embossed with a snakeskin pattern.  I snatched up some tiny buttons, my travel scissors and my notions and headed north!

 

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It was a chilly weekend and I enjoyed hunkering down inside.  It was a bit weird not having my wealth of fabric and tools, but it was also a bit liberating – having fewer options made me more crafty.  And the piles of acorns were certainly inspiring!

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half a suit coat!

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forming the pantleg

 

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Craftin’ Outlaws

2 05 2014

A few weeks ago I headed south to Columbus, Ohio, for the Craftin’ Outlaws Spring Fling show.  I had been to Columbus a few years ago, for a food safety conference* and thought it would be fun to go back.  And it was!  The week(s) leading up were a lot of work – we are making all the frames now and it offers a ton of flexibility, but when you’re tired and just want to go buy a frame, that’s not an option.  If you decide on Thursday night that you need more 7×7 frames, you talk your fella into whipping up a few extras!  And when you run out of black paint at 11pm, you invent a new version of the frame, the “Natural” frame.  Which actually turned out really nicely and now I’m going to continue making them.  A little sanding, a little varnish…  perfecto!  The show was great – I saw some familiar faces like Jodi Lynn’s Emporium of Doodles (she did an amazing job on the DUCF Poster this last year) and met a lot of great new artists and crafters, including my awesome neighbors, The Lab Partners.  We came home with goodies from Joe Ryckebosch from Portland, OR and AJW Creations from Beaver, PA.  Also dug some scienc-y goodies from Pittsburgh artists New Alchemy Press and picked up some amazing stuff from Kate Funk of Milwaukee.    

Everyone was really nice and I met Miriam Chon, who is opening a new studio – Shift Studios in Westerville, OH.  I’m excited to announce that she’ll be carrying pillbug designs stuff in her new shop!  WOOHOO!  Tomorrow I will entrust UPS with some bluebird pants, frog pants, cardinal pants, robin pants and ruby-throated hummingbird pants!  

They have another show in November, so I may just be going to Columbus again!  

2014-02-24 04-27-36 -0500.JPGThe Lab Partners

sea urchins   AJW Creations

 

Joe Ryckebosch

 

 

 

 

 

*The food safety conference really was amazing – I swear!  It was like a convention of health inspectors.  For several years I had a weird dream of becoming a Health Inspector but they changed some rules (that year, actually! at the conference!) about requiring a college degree in a “hard” science.  “Soft” sciences need not apply, so I didn’t.  One other cool thing about the conference was that there were caterers doing demos and the chefs were wearing “incredible edible egg” aprons.  You know that ad, the one with the slender hand holding the egg?  I sweet-talked a chef and got an apron for my fella.  He wears it frequently!

 

 





Here comes the bird…

19 03 2014

All dressed in white!  Guess what?  Bird Weddings.  That’s right…  first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby bird in a bird nest carriage! 

Dearly Beloved, Bird and Groom pants happened.  And I’m quite proud!

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With little handmade felt flowers in a bouquet, and festive silver clothespins.

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Perhaps I can offer the option of putting the date of the wedding – what a clever gift for the bride who has everything!

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Tuxedo Trousers with tails!

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And a wedding veil strewn upon the branches.

 

The future is bright for Bird and Groom pants.  Now that Grigg and I are making the frames, we can make them any width to accommodate the groomsbirds and birdsmaids.  Even birdsmaids have to wear a frock not of their own choosing.  Which means maybe they’ll give up a couple of inches of fabric for me to use in the project! 





Turtlepants Success!

19 03 2014

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So I think I cracked the code on the turtlepants.  I was able to get that little turtle-knee-curve that felt so necessary.  All it took was a little magic and some davey board (a/k/a bookboard) and voila – turtle-knee-curve!  And then I couldn’t resist calling them “Turtle Trousers”.





Cracking the turtlepants code

12 03 2014

Something I’ve been thinking about for a while… Turtle Pants.  I’ve tried a few prototypes and just can’t seem to capture their short-but-wide leggedness.  I’m determined to make it work, and I think adding the shiny vinyl turtle shell is a start.  I may have to bring in some Red-Necked Sliders as models.  Google Image searching for “turtle butt” is getting me nowhere.  

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