Periodical Update

Good evenfall to you Masters of the Interwebs,

I have been up to my eyeballs in hot buttered rum lately. This is of course the latest trend in beauty regimens; pickling oneself in liquor until deliciously pruney. I must say, I don’t mind smelling of rum and butter. It makes me more attractive to sailors and toast aficionados.

Besides bathing in booze, I’ve also been trying to clean up around the old hen house. You see, Mr. McCluckin’ and I have it in mind to sell our digs. Hopefully we’ll have it on the market in the next month or so. If you are in need of a home in pretty great condition, please let me know. I will consider all offers as long as they are accompanied by a cookie bouquet.

I'm wearing my fancy pants in this photo! Watch me make a pillow on season 6 of Sew it All TV.

I’m wearing my fancy pants in this photo! Watch me make a pillow on season 6 of Sew it All TV.

As you know I work for Ye Olde Periodical and it sucks up most of my crafting time. Right now I am prepping to appear on my second episode of Sew it All TV. The first might be airing near you, my first episode is 612. I make a decoratively stitched pillow. It’s hilarious and also terrifying. If you have Sew it All TV in your neck of the woods, and see me, let me know what you think! I think Iowans will be able to watch the episode in late November. So lucky you, Iowans!

My position at Ye Olde Periodical has afforded me this fabulous opportunity. I’ve also met crafting super stars like the Crafty Chica, Kathy Cano-Murillo and Brini Maxwell. I’ve recently had my first byline come to print. I have about 7 projects on the horizon that will also be featured in the coming 6-9 months. It’s been a wild rascally year since I arrived at Ye Olde Periodical and I think it’s safe to say I’m enjoying myself.

How can you gain from this you ask? Well, one I’ve learned so much about sewing and editing and that knowledge is probably trickling down to you (eventually). Secondly, here’s a free pattern! I made a serger cap back in April and it will be published in December (most likely). In the meantime it’s here for you to enjoy. Note: the hat band on the pattern is a bit snug. You should measure the circumference of your head, add 1/2″ and then make that the length of the band. The crown seems fine to me, but in case you have a rather large gourd on your shoulders take your head circumference, divide it by 6 and add 1/2″ then use that as the measurement for the bottom flat line of the crown pieces.

For now I must bid you adieu. I am being hailed by a bellhop, it might be time for my nightly orangutang wrestling match. I need to stay in shape don’t I? I have a busy job and blog to keep up with; besides it’s terribly good for the liver. Sleep tight or have a recklessly adventurous day (choose one closing sentiment, don’t be greedy).

XOXO,

Henny Penny

 

Live Long and Stitch

Well hey there laddies and lassos!

My how this summer has been hot and also rainy. The fair city of Denver has enjoyed scorching hot days and delightful afternoon rainstorms in intervals this summer. If only we could all be on the same page with the weather. I’m open to some heat around the noonday hour then let’s switch to rain come 3 o’clock. If we can get enough petition signatures, I’m certain the weather will take our requests into consideration.

In other non-weather related news I’ve just returned from a trip to the fabled state of Oregonia. Of course, before going I had to collect three keys, a bronze, a silver and a gold. Then I had to unlock three locks that were not clearly labeled. Thus, I was able to enter the kingdom of Portland and visit the nearby coast. It was a delight! The trip’s highlight was an outdoor performance by the Trek in the Park acting troupe. They staged “The Trouble with Tribbles” and it was absolutely fantasticulous!

Mr. McCluckin’ and I had the privilege of attending a performance the previous season (2012). Knowing that this outdoor fanciness would make or break the trip, I prepared accordingly. I made the mister and I Star Trek shirts. I also spent roughly 60 hours stitching up a tricorder bag for my rooster. Initially designed to hold vinyl records securely when traveling, it turned out to hold his laptop perfectly as well.

It was a feat to sew this beast but well worth the effort; he loves it so! Made of black and silver pleather primarily and lined with Kirk and Spock fabric, I can honestly say it is my crowning achievement of 2013. I researched the original tricorder screen and recreated my own to fit the bags size. I had to add in buttons and grommets and mesh to make all the tricorder bells and whistles. It was quite fun figuring out how to remake the bag using only products at ye olde craft shoppe.

When we attended the performance I asked Spock to model the bag for me and he lovingly did so. He was so enthusiastic about the bag, it was incredibly flattering. All in all, it was well worth the effort, because we were well loved at Trek in the Park. Plus we were in love with Trek in the Park, so win win!

I learned a variety of important lessons from preparing for the Trek in the Park trip. Want to discover them with me? Of course you do (if you hate lessons just skip the next bulleted section):

1) Pleather aka vinyl is tough on a sewing machine. Adjust the pressure foot tension, use tape on the underside of the presser foot and above all insult the machine readily to convince it sewing through 7 layers is necessary.

2) Get out a marker and draw carefully on the pleather wrongside, it will make cutting things out so much easier. Side note: remember you are drawing on the wrongside, it will be reversed when you turn it over.

3) Use quality thread. It might cost more right now, but in the long run the sewing will be easier and the final product will hold up like a champ.

4) Women that sell vinyl are wacky, don’t listen to their back talk and make sure your pieces aren’t permanently creased or otherwise marred.

5) Strap findings are hard to come by, luckily I discovered this fancy gal on etsy and all the strap sewing notions I could ever need.

6) Dial up your upper thread tension (meaning set it to a higher number) for easier sewing of all things bulky.

7) No matter how much you want the zigzag stitch to not be a douche, it will be so be prepared.

There you have it! All the lessons one could expect from such a fine bag. Perhaps the one lesson I didn’t learn is that love lifts us up where we belong. Maybe I didn’t need to learn that lesson, I just needed to learn to use a leather needle and bang this project out.

For now, I bid you adieu. I must mix up my daily anti-aging brain tonic and feed it to my immortal cactus. Have yourself a merry little evening.

Cheerios,

Henny Penny

Chica-me-out!

G’day Mates and Would-be Suitors!

So October has been a hive of activity at work. We just finished taping an entire season of Sew It All TV and hosting several fabulous guests. As you may recall, I met Brini Maxwell. Though that’s not the end of the namedropping list. I also met Sue Hausmann from America Sews, we had dinner together. She likes onion rings. I managed to sneak my way into the studio on the day that the Crafty Chica was taping an episode. Kathy Cano-Murillo was so insanely nice! She even signed and gave me a copy of her latest novel, Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing. It was thanks to her that I decided to start this blog! I saw her Crafty Chica cruise and I thought “I want a cruise or at a minimum to attend this cruise!” As you well know fair readers, I started this fine blog, then my lovely boss saw this blog and soon enough I had my dream job. To complete the cycle, my dream job ended up introducing me to the Crafty Chica. Certainly this is a sign that all things are right in the world.

In other news, I found 17 kittens at a strip mall and taught them to sing Halloween carols. I hope to take the show on the road soon, but 3 of my brood keep threatening to leave me for the circus.

Also, I discovered a fun new photo app for the iPhone. Pic Stitch helps you create collages and add filters to photos to make them look extra fancy. I assembled a few of my favorite shots from a walk in the Botanic Gardens this summer into a collage just for you. It is fairly easy to use and the ads are very unobtrusive. Considering that the app is free, there’s no reason not to enjoy it every now and again.

Lastly, I finished my mittens just in time for the colder weather. As you can see, I whipped out some badass chain stitchery to make a monocle for my evil right hand mitten. I do so terribly enjoy these mittens. I may have to line them to take to Ireland. (Has this review inspired you to make some of your very own?)

That’s all for now ladies and gents! I’m off to the Jazzercise Opera, it’s a great way to stay in shape and while taking in a bit of culture.

Happy trails to you!

Henny Penny

 

Let Funtober Begineth!

Well hey there hooligans and germaphobes!

So glad to see you again, it has truly been ages. Woof, Blergtember is over and I have much to show for it. I spent nearly every waking moment that I hadn’t already promised to work or the chickadees auxiliary club sewing a quilt top. My promises of quilting up something lovely for one of my wee lady friends had proven quite a challenge. Despite the sore claws and lack of meal breaks, I persevered and managed to get the top together before her birthday party.

It’s a flying shuttles pattern and soon I will be shipping it away to a long arm quilter. Then I promise myself, I shall perform a quilt shunning for a solid 3 months before returning to the quarter-inch seam world. If there is one word to describe my experience quilting it would be: woof-sweet-baby-cthulhu-this-shall-be-the-death-of-me.

 

 

 

On to more exciting topics, like presents! Mr. McCluckin’ really decided I was due for some spoiling and surprised me all last week. Each morning he arranged for me to discover a note and a set of embroidery patterns. All of the patterns came from the Stitcher’s Revolution line of Colonial Patterns. They are so ridiculously nifty. I have many plans for their deliciousness. Maybe I’ll just take a few of the patterns to the nearest tattoerie and get the neck ink I’ve always wanted. There’s no telling what these patterns and I will be up to in the coming months.

As you may recall I encouraged you to visit the Craft Ninja‘s mitten-palooza last month. It was a day I shall never forget, and aren’t you sad you missed it? First off, Becky the HNIC (head-ninja-in-charge) was crazy nice, which might be a ploy to lure you in and kill you with craftiness. Beth, my co-worker and hopefully soon-to-be-friend, taught most of the mitten lesson. Plus she even made the pattern (download the pattern here and make mittens for your next game of hammerhead hopscotch). I started making a pair of mittens but then became very busy helping others in their quest for mittendom. Nonetheless, my mitten monsters are laid out and need a bit assistance to become handworthy, but then it’s all mittens all the time.

I intend to attend the upcoming sugar skull thunderdome project hosted by the Craft Ninja’s so here’s your chance to experience the glory of the 3 Kings Basement. RSVP soon to save a spot next to me.

In other news, I needed to have a headshot taken for my worky work and they dolled my face and hair up to the extreme. This is the most makeup I have ever worn and here’s hoping it is the most I will ever wear.

Let it be decreed, Funtober hath begun and the soon all of the fun shall be had. Let us rejoice! To the field of rakes!

Chip, chip, cheroo!

Henny Penny

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Come one! Come all to the Craft Ninjas gathering Sunday, September 23 at 1 pm. Make mittens all kittens will covet! Talk about sewing! Sing songs! Seriously, you should come.

I’m going to be at the Craft Ninjas sewing funshop this Sunday and I feel strongly that you should also attend. Mention your intention to attend on FB, then RSVP on the Craft Ninjas page.

I’m just going to assume you will be there, so hooray for seeing you this Sunday.

Smooches,

Henny Penny

Crafting for Good and Not Evil

Good tidings to you my favorite rascals!

Today I bring you news of many exciting happenings and even a mundane event as well. First off, the chicks have flown the coop. As they became fluffy little birdies we named the surviving three Groucho, Harpo, and Flo-Jo. Today the last two took to the sky with only the slightest lack of ease. It’s really a terrific tale. You see, Mr. McCluckin’ was tending to his daily ablutions at about 6 am this morning, when he heard cries of bird distress coming from the back patio. He raced downstairs to discover Tom, the neighborhood tom cat and ne’er do well, stalking our little friends. Harpo had attempted flight and landed on the patio stairs. The little bird was fine but not quite ready to become cat breakfast. Mr. McCluckin’ rallied the wee dog troops and sent them out to bark the cat away. Up on the windowsill Hester and Flo-Jo were tweeting with concern, but in a flash Tom ran off. Then of course, our wee dogs turned their attention to Harpo but all they wanted was to sniff to chirping fledgling. Luckily, Harpo took this as a sign that he should attempt flight immediately, and he did in a most spectacular fashion. With the immediate danger gone, Mr. McCluckin’ returned upstairs and popped into the craft room to discover which chick was left. Flo-Jo gave him a very serious stare down before flying away. And so ends our tale of windowsill pals… it would seem I have my craft room back.

Onto more crafty topics! I received news that Fancy Tiger is hosting an event to assist the displaced families from the recent wildfires nearby. The sew-a-thon will be this Sunday July 8, from noon to 5 pm. I am hoping to finagle my way out of work early to make it down. Inspired by a need to help, a local father and son created a monster sewing pattern and are putting it to excellent use. The dolls will be donated to families in need of a little comforting. Oh, and did I mention, the monsters are super cute. You can learn more about the happenings by visiting the Fancy Tiger event page. They need plenty of helpers, meaning even if you don’t know how to sew you can still help out.

Additionally, Sew News magazine has just announced Operation Comfort Doll in their August/September issue. Essentially, this is another way to put your sewing skills to charitable use. The little lady dolls will be given to victims of domestic abuse. The pattern is super easy and would be a fine way to learn sewing basics. I’m thinking of putting together a sewing rally offering friends and family booze, snacks, and companionship as they assist in the creation of a doll or two. If you’re interested and want to get started download the pattern from the Sew News website and fire up the sewing machine.

Lastly, in mundane news, I had eggs for breakfast.

There you have it! I really love the idea of sewing for people in need. Most likely this stems from my very practical roots. I want my projects to be useful and enjoyed by the recipients. I am always trying to think up new ways to enhance my life through crafting. Of course, there is always an argument that art enhances everything, but I find that while I brainstorm ideas of arty goodness, the practical projects are the ones finished fastest. For now I am going to stick with the idea of sewing for good and not evil.

I’m off to a tiddlywinks championship; there’s a third grader named Jimmy that can’t be beat. Perhaps this is how I will make my first million.

End transmission,

Henny Penny

Junelillium Falcons

Yodel-lady-hoo to you!

All things are coming up Henny Penny this week. Here are just a few of the spectacular happenings of the past few days:

1) Hester the Nester’s eggs hatched revealing wolverines with beaks. The little chicks are a bit weird looking, but as a non-bird expert I would say they are progressing nicely.

2) Mr. McCluckin’ downloaded Kings Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella, a game that was very near and dear to my heart as a wee lass. I have played quite nearly through the entire game and it’s spectacular. That said those witches in the skull cave better look out! I am coming in, and I’m not leaving without your shared eyeball.

3) Cupcakes! Today I walked/took the bus to work to honor Bike to Work Day. After I completed 4 miles of walking I decided I deserved something sweet. Luckily Cake Crumbs was open and willing to assist. Red velvet used to mean nothing to me and now I can’t live without it.

4) I’ve successfully taught the dogs how to bark in French.

5) Version 2.0 of the index card wallet is taking Mr. McCluckin’s notations to the next level. You might recall the “Hipster PDA” from an April post; well I took the same design and improved it for my ever-lovin’-McCluckin’. I upgraded the closure from sew-on-snaps to Velcro, and I stenciled a design of The Dude and Walter on the outside. My only complaint is that I made the pen loop a little too big this time, but last time it was just a wee bit too small. I suppose my third pen loop will be just right if we follow Goldilock’s law.

BOULDERDOME 2012 went swimmingly. As a special surprise we attended the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s production of Richard III. The acting was superb, the theater delightful, but the costumes were just weird. Some characters wore very traditional Elizabethan dress and others wore weird outfits that were both modern and retro. For instance two of the characters were wearing scouting uniforms while Richard wore leather pants and jackets with mandarin collars. Ultimately, I found the costume choice distracting. Had the director chosen a theme for the clothing and stuck with it, I really feel it would have been at least 34% better. One a side note, while in Boulder I decided to purchase a new owl-adorned wallet; it is sublime.

Alright I’m off to my usual daredevil tricks. Hope you find your other shoe. Have you checked the nearest office supply store?

Tally-ho!

Henny Penny

Watching the Bird

Ahoy-hoy Fiends and Goody-two-shoes!

I have terrible and terrific news for all of you. A lovely robin has nested on the windowsill of my craft room. This is terrible because she is easily frightened by my moving about the crafty space. This is terrific because there are 4 beautiful eggs in her nest and I can’t wait to see them hatch. I’ve named her Hester the nester and she seems to be a lovely and decent bird with excellent morals. She even had a friend pay her a visit yesterday.

This has of course hindered my crafting ability of late. I managed to set up shop in a nearby abandoned coal mine and started making over a few shirts I picked up at the thrift store years ago. The first completed number has gone from plain tee-shirt to spectacular tube top. I am planning to make up a tutorial once I have worked out all the kinks. Several other shirts are on the chopping block in preparation of perfecting this approach.

What else is new in my world? So glad you asked. The answer is simple, very little. I’ve been baking bread and otherwise kicking kitchen ass. Tomorrow Mr. McCluckin’ is taking me to Boulder for an adventure we’ve titled BOULDERDOME 2012! We shall attempt such feats as tea drinking and crepe cake eating, not to mention the possibility of purchasing items from shoppes. Mainly we intend to run amok and cause trouble.

Hope you are living la vida loca. I must get some beauty rest before confronting the foothills head on.

Smooches,

Henny Penny

Thinkin’ Shed Strikes Again

Happy Spring Chums and Strangers,

After rousing my lazy spirits up off the couch of illness I finally fell into the swing of making again this week. Not only did I cobble something but I worked hard to better my crafting style. You see, I am consistently working in the mode of crafting for someone specific. As of late last year I decided to stop promising things to people. This was an all around excellent decision for the following three reasons: I never delivered on time and tended to give people IOUs as gifts, ideas I had for bizarre projects were tossed to the wayside, and lastly I had run out of pom poms. Due to this practice everything I made had to become a final product. I rarely practiced making something and flaws were rampant despite my best efforts.

Then April came sauntering up and I hopped to the sewing machine with an idea. My glorious rooster Mr. McCluckin’ has a man crush on the business productivity physicist Merlin Mann, and fell head over heels for the concept of the Hipster PDA. According to Mr. McCluckin’ this product, will simplify his thought process, de-clutter his pocket universe, and give him the needed virility to deflower the best random concepts. Essentially it’s a binder clip holding together some 3×5 index cards with a pen tossed in next to it. Mr. McCluckin’ loves keeping a notebook for jotting down ideas as they strike and realized that being able to reorganize his notes at any time would revolutionize his world. He excitedly informed me of his plans to create his own Hipster PDA as soon as he was finished with his current notebook. I thought that this seemed a grand idea, but that there had to be a better way to keep things than just a binder clip. So I ran to my thinkin’ shed and took a seat on my craftiverse inflatable sofa.

Next thing I knew the index card wallet was born. It has two compartments for cards and a pen loop, all held securely in a stylish fabric of your choice.

I realized making the pockets perfectly sized was the true trick of this invention. Thanking my lucky stars that I wasn’t in a rush to make this little bitty, I decided to start with a practice run at it. I measured out what I thought was best and sewed it up just to see if the cards fit and it would fold right. In walked Mr.McCluckin’ with his schemes and plots and suggested I call it my prototype and that he was happy to act as a beta tester.

Not 24 hours have passed and already he says he loves it and wants me to attach a patch I made for him last year. Though I think that should wait until I’ve fixed many of the flaws. Nonetheless I am happy to accept the imperfect as a step on the road to index card wallet nirvana. I’m off to the thinkin’ shed to lay about on the home projects settee.

May you find your lost sock in no time at all! Have you checked the refrigerator?

Sincerestly,

Henny Penny

On The Go Mustachio (aka How to Make a Fabric Mustache)

This week’s craft is brought to you by the letter M (for murder)!

Hello Internet Friends!

So glad you popped over to learn about the On The Go Mustachio! This little bit of upper lip machismo is sure to assist you with all of your future endeavors. I decided to make a nose neighbor this week for 2 reasons:

1. Mr. McCluckin’ asked if I would make one in honor of the recently published book Taft 2012 by Jason Heller. It would seem that my favorite rooster was out and about interviewing the author for the podcast Machine Readable.

2. The flying spaghetti monster shower scrub I was working on ended up looking like that creepy clown face from the Saw film franchise, and I personally would prefer to avoid scrub-a-dub-dubbing with that sinister fellow.

Either way it’s a great way to fill an afternoon with the joy of sewing and then spend the evening with a flawless disguise for all the liquor store robberies or presidential campaigns you may need to attend.

Tutorial Begins Right Now:

1. Gather your supplies! You will need: felt (or fabric), 1/4″ elastic, matching thread, stuffing, a fabric pen or tailor’s chalk, hand sewing needle, a functional pencil, papers, and a sewing machine ready to roll.

2. Decide what shape you want your mustache to take on. I made this one to look like the nose neighbor of former president William Howard Taft mixed with a bit of silent melodrama film villain.

3. Draw out the shape on a piece of paper. Practice a few times, then just go for it. If you are seriously worried you won’t get it right simply Google mustache chart and find one you can print. It’s best to make sure no point of your mustache is thinner than 1″.

4. Cut out the paper shape, pin it to your felt or fabric, and cut out the mustache twice.

5. Measure the amount of elastic you will need by placing the end of the elastic just under your nose and then wrapping it around your head. Be sure to pull it a little to give it a snug fit. Nobody like a mustache that won’t stay on their face.

6. Sew the elastic to one of your mustaches. I prefer a zig-zag stitch to better secure the elastic but do whatever makes you the happiest. It doesn’t have to be perfect we will cover this up later.

7. Pin the right sides of your mustaches together; remember the side with the elastic attached is the right side (meaning it will be on the outside when you finish). On the wrong side of the mustache without elastic mark a 1″ to 1 1/2″ opening with your fabric pen or tailor’s chalk.

8. Sew the mustache together with 1/4″ seams, back stitching at the beginning and end. Be careful not to stitch upon the elastic. As you get closer to the elastic, carefully pull it to the opening you have drawn on.

9. Inspect your stitches and confirm that you have: a) not stitched over the elastic at all, b) have stitched through both layers of fabric all the way around, and c) have in fact left an opening. If you have failed to do any of these things remove the necessary stitches (or in the case of accidentally sewing off the fabric add the stitches to keep your 1/4″ border).

10. Clip and notch your seam allowances to obtain the perfect mustache shape.

11. Turn the mustache right side out. I often use a chopstick to get the tight spots fully turned.

12. Stuff the mustache with fiber fill. Only stuff it enough to keep the mustache’s shape, you don’t want to bust a stitch. Again a chopstick comes in handy to negotiate the sexy curves of your mustache.

13. Hand sew the opening shut with a whip stitch.

14. Cut a small patch of your fabric or felt to cover the elastic on the back and sew it into place by hand. I have in a time pinch glued this in place with instant dry craft glue, but it rarely turns out well. Then again if your gang is waiting for you at Ye Olde Liquor Shoppe and you just have to get out the door with your disguise, then by all means!

15. Wear your new mustache with pride.

Bizarre phone photo, please ignore my glazed over stare.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial as much as I enjoyed making this mustache. Think of all the fun options, a glitter ‘stache for a gala, a plaid ‘stache for a weekend in the country, a clear ‘stache for that avant garde party I know you plan to attend…the options are endless!

So long for now interneters,

Henny Penny