Working on a new moose, eh? – WIP

I think I have mentioned before that I am a huge fan of the television show Supernatural. Because of that, the fandom has a particular love for moose. One of the first amigurumi I learned to crochet was a moose to represent the fandom. However, the further along I’ve gotten in my crochet journey, the more that pattern isn’t always my favorite. So, one of my dear friends suggested I try a moose chibi (or a baby moose).

What an interesting concept…

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The original moose pattern I started with

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Sorry to inconvenience you…..or the People Pleaser’s Guide to Business 101

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The picture above is probably one of the most accurate representations of me that I have ever seen. I am a people-pleaser; always have been, probably always will be. I remember from an early age always being concerned if someone was upset with me, or wanting to do the best that I could to not disappoint people, especially those I cared about.

Over the years, those tendencies have caused me problems: I’ve agreed to things that I probably didn’t want to do just to make someone else happy. I spent a lot of years not showing my geeky/nerdy side because I didn’t want to be a disappointment to my parents. I’ve learned some from these quirks – but, even though I have made progress in some areas, this is a fundamental part of my being.

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Oh Bother! A Winnie-the-Pooh WIP

Who doesn’t love Winnie-the-Pooh? I mean, just look at him……

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He’s adorable. And the fact that I’m roughly shaped like him makes me love him all the more.

Some of my earliest memories are of Winnie-the-Pooh. My room as a baby through age 6 was done entirely of Winnie-the-Pooh (at which time it switched to Strawberry Shortcake). And when I became a mother myself, I decorated my daughter’s room in a Pooh theme. Pooh and gang have always been some of my all time favorite characters.

When the film “Christopher Robin” came out this summer about the grown up companion to Pooh bear, it seemed like there was a resurgence in all things Hundred Acres Wood: My daughter dug out my old Eeyore toys, and suddenly the tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff was on just about everything again. Excited to try my hand at making my own Pooh and friends set, I bought some patterns from my favorite place on earth…Etsy. However, I got into other projects and my poor Pooh team had to wait.

Right before Labor Day, I received a custom order for a large Winnie the Pooh and a miniature version. Knowing that we were going away for the weekend, I thought this would be the perfect project to take along with me. My husband and daughter would be down at the pool (I don’t usually get into a swimsuit), so I would have plenty of time to work. I could knock this out in a long weekend. Oh sweet summer child……

Fast forward to 10 days, two skeins of yarn, five reworks, and many tears shed later and I finally was able to finish Pooh, who I believe is my largest Luvvie to date. So what were the issues? Why did I almost quit at least five times a day? A lot of it came down to the pattern…and some of it my own interpretations and insecurities.

As I just wrote about before I started work on Pooh, having a great pattern is key to crochet success. However, because I know what should be done but am not the greatest at taking my own advice, I was in the hole from the beginning. Well, not from the absolute beginning.

In the start, things were fairly straightforward: Make the ears (basic increasing and decreasing in the round – check); make the arms (more basic increasing and decreasing in the round – check, check); make the legs (more of the same….this is going to be easy-peasy – check, check, check).

And then all progress promptly ground to a screeching halt.

When it came to starting on the body, I actually was okay – again basic increasing in the round, but then it came time to attach the legs – unlike most amigurumi where the limbs are attached by sewing after the fact, this piece has everything joined by crochet. I’ve joined pieces by crochet before, so it isn’t that unfamiliar a technique, but the way she wanted the pieces attached was just bizarre. There were chain spaces and skipped stitches and going back to pick up skipped loops from previous rounds. The first time I attached the legs, the one I attached on the wrong side and the other was backwards – it was not my finest moment.

And though I crochet to help me with anxiety and depression, there are two other things that crochet doesn’t always help me with, and that is perfectionist tendencies and being quick to anger (especially with myself when I don’t understand something). And this was definitely something that I wasn’t understanding and that I wanted to be perfect because it is an iconic character.

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Even looking at this (because of my perfectionist tendencies) I can see where some of the rounds didn’t quite line up right.

There were many stages along the way that I ripped out large sections of my progress and started again…and again…and again.

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Even as I got further along in the project, there were many times I was ready to scrap the whole thing and start over – or to email the customer and say this was just beyond my capabilities at this level of my crochet career. Surprisingly (for me), I didn’t do either. I just kept plugging along; until finally:

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I had a Pooh (adjacent) bear. He’s not as tubby as he probably could have been (I was afraid to overstuff and have the filling peeking through the stitches), and his muzzle got a little pinched and wonky (again I got a little confused with the pattern and no redoing was going to help), but I can look at him and see a bear that resembles Pooh. Of course things got a little bit better after he got his sweater (the first ever sweater I’ve made, and it was for a bear):

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All in all, he’s not bad. I can look at him and still see some of the imperfections, but I can also see Winnie the Pooh. I’ve learned a lot from using this pattern, and if and when I make Pooh again, I can use this to make him even better. Hopefully, I won’t have quite so many tears the next time around.

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But he still made me smile in the end.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha

 

Photograph(s)

Growing up (long, long ago), I always loved to take pictures. A lot of that love was influenced by the fact that my older brother was a professional photographer and I was around pictures a good bit. As I got older, I think I convinced myself that I wasn’t artistic and I slowly moved away from a lot of creative outlets (other than writing, which was my job for a number of years).

When I started essentialEme (my failed essential oil Etsy endeavor), one of the reasons I always attributed its failure was that everything looked too homemade. Everything looked like I was making it out of my kitchen (which I was). The labels that I made were very basic looking, there was no real packaging effort, it was done the best I could, but with minimal effort. I think that was one of the reasons I resisted selling my Luvvies to begin with – let alone on Etsy.

When I finally decided to make my passion a business effort, I did think long and hard about how to present my product, and I knew that this would be something that would need to be highly visual.

So, this time around I didn’t leap into the frying pan…I took a look at what I wanted. What packaging did I want? What did I want my business cards to look like? And I think overall this time around I have been much more prepared. Instagram also has been a major help because I’m able to take sillier pictures and have a great forum to share. The problem is, I still don’t like how my pictures look: They are amateurish (and yes, I guess that is to be expected because I am an amateur), but sometimes I don’t feel they convey the true sense of the object.

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My house is a weird house…the lighting is not good, and of course it looks one step away from hoarders because of all the junk we have, and the fact that we are practically never in the house – always running here or there. Because of the clutter, limited space, and poor lighting, it is difficult to find good places to take pictures.

When I look at some of the pictures on Etsy, I don’t know if it is the photos have been taken with a professional or higher grade camera, or if it just a good backdrop and good lighting. Do I have a professional grade camera? Yes. Do I want to drag it out every time I want to photograph my Luvvies? Absolutely not, mainly because it usually is midnight by the time I finish and I don’t want to be dragging out my camera and uploading pictures when I can just do it from my phone.

In the photo above, I was trying to go for something cute. I wanted to show what the interior and exterior packaging looked like for shipments, but again light was not in my favor.

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Since the main source of light is in the living, right next to where I work, which is why most of my pictures are taken on the couch…I’m sure everyone can identify the chocolate brown of my sofa by now (lol).

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Sometimes I’ll branch out and take pictures in other areas; but then everyone gets to see the mess that is the rest of my house – I love how you can see all my vitamins in the background.

Actually taking the pictures outside of my house has yielded some of the nicest images: The problem of course being (1) most of the time it is late at night when I want to take and post pictures; and (2) I have to be careful of weather conditions…I don’t want any of the Luvvies to get wet.

I’m still looking for ways to get the most out of my pictures so that everyone can truly experience the Luvvie cuteness. I guess as I keep saying with my stitching, I have to keep trying to find the best formula and keep practicing. Until then, the pictures will continue to look very homey and not quite right; but, I do hope that you enjoy them.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha

What’s New in Luvvies – 9/4/18

Happy after Labor Day to all my American friends – and happy unofficial beginning of fall. I’ve already curled up with my first (two) pumpkin spice lattes of the season, and am waiting for the heatwave to break so that I can settle in to my absolute favorite time of the year.

As we enter the fall, we enter a busy time for Lil’ Luvvies. In November, I will be heading to Rhode Island for Rhode Island Comic Con, followed very closely by a return to Steel City Con. Added to that, I’m not sure what the holiday seasons will provide in terms of gift buying from my site(s).

In honor of Labor Day, I ran a sale on my Etsy shop for 10% off almost everything in the store. I didn’t get a crazy amount of orders, but I got enough that it will definitely keep me busy for the next couple of weeks.

In addition to that, I have been busily crocheting away making new Luvvies – as orders and as stock for cons.

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One of my favorite newer Lil’ Luvvies is based on a pattern from Blue Rabbit Toys I absolute love how scary and cute this little voodoo dollie looks. I added the pins to take some pictures of her, but they are not included in the finished product. This little girl worked up quickly and was so much fun to make.

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I’ve also been working on making some Winnie the Pooh characters. This was my attempt at a chibi Piglet. For a first attempt, I don’t think he turned out too badly.

Over Labor Day weekend here in the states, my husband and I took our daughter on a mini vacation. I ended up using the time to crochet – although I didn’t make as much as I thought I would. But during that time, I started working on a full-sized Winnie the Pooh.

The pattern said when he is completed Pooh will be 18 inches tall – I think he might be a bit bigger than that.

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I tried to crochet some in the car on our way to vacation, but there was too much construction and the roads were a little too uneven for me to get a good rhythm. Plus with my migraines trying to read a pattern in the car was a challenge. (Desi’s Eeoyre is not one that I made, he was actually mine from right after I got married).

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Once we reached our destination, I took over the “living” area of the room and created a makeshift work station. My husband took our daughter to the water park and I stayed to create.

Funny thing (especially considering I just wrote a blog about finding good patterns and everything you should do), this is the most complex and convoluted pattern I have ever read in my life. For the nose/muzzle area, I had to restart five times before I created something that was passable. There were a couple other areas that I had to rip out and restart, as well, and there were some areas that I said heck with it, and just left it not quite perfect (hoping that I can clean it up at the end)

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As I mentioned before, I’m not quite halfway with Pooh and I think he is going to be a bit bigger than I originally planned. I sent the above picture to my father last night (because he has to see all the pictures that I post to the blog and to social media), and – ever the jokster – he said to me, “Where’s Pooh’s head?” What you don’t see a fully completed Winnie-the-Pooh (lol)?

Although Pooh is for a custom commission, he is not at the top of my priority….he’s really not, it’s just I got started on him and now I want to see what he is going to look like once everything is finished.

All this fun has been in addition to me finding ways to creatively crochet through injury.

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I’ve recently learned that crochet is a contact sport and it hurts like anything to hold yarn with a pulled tendon in your hand.

I’ve tried wrist braces and the ever attractive compression glove (as pictured above), but none of these options seem to provide a good solution to prevent further injury. Soaking in Epsom salts and taking ibuprofen have helped with the swelling and the pain, but I still am looking for that viable solution to prevent further damage. I guess, as with anything, practice makes perfect.

I hope you all have had a wonderful week. Sending all my love and best until we chat again.

Hugs and cuddles,

Elisha