Boo! I don’t think I had carved a pumpkin for Halloween since high school, maybe college. Santana’s mom gave me one, and the day before Halloween, I decided to give it a go.
I sketched a quick template on paper, folded it in half, and cut it out, so I could trace the lines onto the pumpkin with a pencil. Then I used whatever I could find to carve it, a steak knife, an X-Acto knife, and a little stabby knife of undetermined categorization.
First, I “drew” the lines with the X-Acto knife. Then I chipped the surface away where I wanted yellow, with the X-Acto knife. Then I used the steak knife and the stabby knife to cut all the way through where I wanted the holes. I cut the top and scooped out the inside when I was done cutting. I made a bit of a mess, but filled in the lines and pupils with some acrylic craft paint.
I set an emergency candle in a cat food can, first dripping a little wax into the can to get the candle to stand up. Santana kept the cat pumpkin, which was made in his honor, company while we had trick-or-treaters.
We had the best Halloween in years here, only about fifteen kids, which is more than usual, but they had great costumes. One family came with the mom and baby as astronauts, and the dad as the universe. He was all in black, with white lights across himself, so as he held the baby, the baby appeared to be floating through the sky.
One adorably baby lion tried to crawl up the steps. I met him halfway with the bowl of candy.
My favorite was a little superhero, maybe three years old. He had seen the Corgis at the previous stop, and wanted to know if we had any animals he could see. I told him I had a bunny rabbit. He looked incredulous, and said in a surprisingly low, gruff voice, “I wanna see the bunny rabbit.” I showed him Oliver, through the safety of the door, and they were both very curious about each other. The superhero made all kinds of grimaces. I’m not sure he believed Oliver was real, until Oliver reached out his head for a better look. That got a hilarious grimace and a big bizarre pirate laugh. I was still laughing the next day.
I took apart all those pajamas I got on clearance, and fleece throws this week. They are now pre-washed and folded, waiting for me with about a gazillion other lengths of fleece. I was going to try creating a design and ordering some Spoonflower fabric for toys, but thought, since I have so much fleece, I would try having them print eyeballs instead. I made up a repeat pattern in Photoshop Elements, and uploaded it to their site. It was straightforward, once I got the dpi of my image to 150 at the size I wanted.
I got my fat quarter in the mail this morning, printed on their Minky fabric. It looks pretty good. There is a small amount of stretching of my circles, near the edge. I don’t know if the black is as black as I might like, but the dye seems to have saturated the surface pretty well. That was my biggest concern, that white would show through the black. I am pre-washing the fat quarter right now, putting it through my usual steps. I will see how it comes out, once sewn on some slugs.
I think the printed eyeballs may be more consistent in shape and pupil placement than the ones I make by sewing the black onto the white. I don’t want them to lose their charm, but they will probably continue to be wonky enough for my satisfaction. I may need to interface the backs so they don’t wiggle too much as I sew them on by hand.
This is the current group of Hug Me Slugs I am working on. Thank you all for continuing to leave me such nice reviews. Aside from helping me out, those cheer me up. Getting appreciation back is great and helps me keep going, making things. It can be hard, working in a bubble of sorts, from home, so those mean a lot to me. I have been feeling better than I have in a while. Got to go get back to my sewing!
These 12 and 7 inch Hug Me Slug plush toys are in my toy shop right now. They are burgundy, purple, lavender, red, fuchsia, and mauve fleece.
I made my 800th toy shop sale this month. I want to reach my 1000th. I have those 200 toys in progress!
My 798th sale was to a little girl from the United Kingdom. Her dad had given her a Hug Me Slug. She took her slug to school for show and tell, and told the kids she came all the way from the United States. She saved up her own money to adopt a second Hug Me Slug. That is a great compliment.
I found some novelty print fleece pajamas on clearance and grabbed them to take apart to make toys. That seems a little wrong, but I liked the unusual, flamboyant designs and colors. I found throws in orchid fleece, which I have been looking for for years, and in cornflower blue, another unusual color.
I ordered a color map printed on Minky fabric from Spoonflower. They make custom-printed fabrics and I wanted to see if the Minky fabric would work for my toys. It is super soft and nice, but the colors don’t saturate the fabric all the way though. So, a little white shows at the base when stretched. I don’t know how that will look on seams or on my stuffed animals yet, since that may part the pile and show the white. I will check it out. There is enough white around the one-yard section, on which the color map is printed, for me to use to see how much the fabric stretches, but I will need to print another color sample to get a better idea of how much white shows at the base when it is stuffed, since I don’t want to cut up the color map. I’ve seen examples online, but I want to see it in person. It is a bit of an expensive experiment, but they don’t sell seconds for experimentation, unfortunately.
At the end of the day, I have some TV time with Oliver and Henrietta. After months of lying on my chest, staring into my eyes, Oliver is getting more independent. He wants to be petted on the bed now,
and the first thing he wants to do lately is jump into Henrietta’s carefully curated assortment of cat toys. He pushes them all around. Henrietta has collected this particular group of favorites, and generally does not let anyone play with them.
I tried giving Oliver one of them, separately, and Henrietta left her nest of toys to go sit on the one I gave him. He took the opportunity to run back to the others. They are both stubborn.
She decided to try sitting on Oliver, and then sitting next to Oliver. At first, he ran at her, and now they have agreed to share.
Josephine came along to investigate and neither was willing to do any additional sharing.
The bigger toys, the Pillow Pets, make excellent bunny “bumpers” around the edge of the bed, to keep Oliver from hopping off the edge when I get sleepy. Oliver likes to groom the yellow bunny’s ears for him.
Meanwhile, Jojo has decided she likes Oliver’s bunny bin. She spent a whole day in there, taking a nap. I think she wants to be a bunny for Halloween.
Oliver fits more comfortably inside to nap than Jojo.
He didn’t care too much that she wanted to visit. He spent the same afternoon in the hallway instead.
Trouble, next door, decided he likes pets. He is worried about the camera here.
He rolls over, he likes pets so much. He comes looking for me at least twice a day when he is loose. He and Santana, another neighbor kitty who hangs out here, were doing okay for a while, even sitting in view of each other, as I went back and forth petting each of them.
Then they had a few weeks of fighting. Both are the kind of kitties who don’t let things go. Some negative experience must have set them off. I am using some positive reinforcement. I have been keeping an eye on them while they are out, congratulating each one for being good and staying apart. It seems to be working pretty well. I have been luring Trouble into the woods, away from Santana, for pets, and calling Santana over to our deck or porch. They seem to be calming down again. Knock on wood.
Santana loves to be told he is a good boy. Praising the good behavior has worked best so far, at helping them get along. We’ve been through this before with Santana and another kitty who liked to visit. Santana gets angry and holds a grudge if he hears the word “no” or is scolded. He doesn’t forget it easily. I am careful to avoid that. Treats and catnip toys have worked wonders at keeping the peace before. I saw Trouble and Santana sitting near each other when I looked out this morning, with no to-do, but I lured them apart anyway. I hope that means we are making progress.
I photographed and posted these 12-inch Hug Me Slug plushies in my toy shop. These fleece colors remind me of fruit, or jelly beans, mango gold, orange, lemon yellow, and soft orange sherbet.
And these are dark forest green, light turquoise, and olive green fleece.
I plan to keep adding more as I get them ready. I’ve been updating my titles and tags over on Etsy, because they are trying out a new navigation set-up for some people, and it has shown up for my account. I think they are trying to streamline it, and so I am trying to streamline my shop in accordance. I’ve also been straightening up my shipping profiles on Etsy, since postal rates seem to change a lot too. And I’m continuing to stuff toys. I feel like I am terribly slow at everything, but I am actually fussy and perhaps set unreasonable expectations for how quickly I can get toys ready, or photos taken and edited. I am pleased to see my toy shop being repopulated. I hope you will come visit.
I am so relieved that fall is here. The temperature change makes me feel like I am coming back to life, even though I feel a little overwhelmed by how much there is to be done. I want to feel like everything is coming together, but it can only happen one piece at a time. I’ve been at the computer all day, making progress. I think I will go read a book on the porch for a while.