What a week it’s been! The heat I’ve been begging for has arrived, with a vengeance. Three consecutive days of triple-digit heat, and P-town is just not ready for it. Even our house has heated up … the very floorboards are warm; that never happens, never. Of course we have no AC, other than cold showers. The sewing room, at the top of the house, is truly a hotbox. I am writing this post from the back yard, sitting with my feet in a wading pool, at 10:14 at night; the tent is set up next to me, and Echo’s sleeping inside it (it’s Camp Out Night!) That’s hot.

So of course I’ve been engaged in an especially warm, cosy, sweaty endeavor this whole week. Actually, I wanted this to be sprung as a completed surprise, but the heat has slowed me down to a humid crawl and I’m not finishing on time at all – so here goes: Meet my army of softies (seven out of thirteen, anyway):

The Process

First, spend several hours figuring out which fabrics and combinations will work. I mostly have three color stories going on here, based on what scraps I have most of: aqua/orange (the colors Echo was dressed mostly in until the pink craze hit), fawn/lavender/blue, and black/yellow/blue. A bit of pink appears too. After the thinking is done, cut out critter pieces using the Wee Wonderfuls pattern “Put-Together Book 1.”

Second:  Sew pieces to make the 2 sides of each softie.

Third: Cut eyes, noses, collars and all the rest. I’m using scraps of wool felt from the Pendleton Mill End Store – $5.00 per plastic bag, you-stuff-it as full as you can. You won’t get a better price on real wool felt, and you don’t want to use anything other than real wool felt. The scraps are on the small side, but it’s worth it … it’s all in keeping with my imperative to never, never buy from the top of the food chain. My aim is to solely use raw materials that were headed towards a landfill, divert them from that end, and create something new and valuable from “waste.”

4). More time thinking, mixing, matching eyes, collars, etc. etc.
5).  After the two sides are sewn together, snip, snip … clip the curves and notch the corners for nice turning. I spend an inordinate amount of time on this step.

6).  Painstakingly stuff it! And here’s where it gets sweaty, baby … the stuffing, and the stitching.7). – stitch every felt sit firmly in place.   For some reason, that’s killing me this week.
So, where will these guys go to live? More on that later …

This past week, we have done these interesting things:

  • Seen the Portland Cello Project at their CD release party
  • Echo’s spent her first evening away from home (with Moon and Lanny – and the DVD “Hairspray” – she’s got some new dance moves)
  • Seen a bloody terrific movie, “Tell No One” – French, fantastique! Do see it if you can.
  • Hosted our first playdate (for Echo’s buddies C. and E.)
  • Gone swimming at the Sellwood Pool five times
  • Purchased a new bike! Echo’s got her first two-wheeler!
  • Faced reality and started to prep for fall term
  • Biked around town a lot
  • Gone to a birthday party (our fourth of the summer, I think)
  • Seen Nellie McKay at the Doug Fir – and ate dinner there too, what a treat
  • Ate loads of fresh fruit and some nice meals:

Last thing: Nellie McKay doing my favorite song – the encore song last night!


5 thoughts on “Creatures!

  1. First off, I can’t believe you have managed to do everything you have done this summer. Can’t say you had boring summer! I think Portland has truly been good for you. I have to have a doll or two! Can I specify which color ? You already know I collect black cats, so there you have it. I simply must have one. Are you still arriving on the 20th? Are you staying here to begin with or somewhere else?

  2. Finally! I hear from you. Yes, arriving the 20th … I am about to look into rental cars … I’d love to stay with y’all, now that both your little birds have flown the nest. Yeah, I have had such a great summer – the best in a long, long time, and I can’t wait to see you. Check tomorrow or Weds. morning for a pic of your black cat. mee-YOW!

  3. Looking forward to seeing you and the gecko on Wednesday, a.m., or p.m.? It works out perfectly on this side cause Joel leaves early Tue. and Rob left this morning (Mon.) . Anyway, I talk all big and bad about getting the house to myself and now that it has come down to it, I’m scared to be alone at night! So Joel’s room is available with blow up bed and clean linen ready to sleep in. I remember you liked the bed when you were here last time. ….. keep me posted!

  4. This is an amazing coincidence. On the exact same day, you and Jason both post your most amazing fruitions of creativity to date, and both on the web, and with pitchurs. The softies are really cute…I’m thinking of a funny story to tell. So, at the other end of the spectrum, we have Jason’s *Sails of Blood*. Check it out: And, I hear the nun assassins are…well, yeah, I guess you could say “really cute” (so much so you might want to kiss them, although, you wouldn’t want to get in the habit!) But you have to wait to like page 50 for them to enter the story, and by then JB will have run out of comic books and CDs to sell, and so will have to take to selling his Russ-original artwork to pay his illustrators and inkers and letterers, and we wouldn’t want that to happen. “MARS NEEDS WOMEN!” Anyway, you should do a cross-over, and make hallucinogenic toad softies (pattern’s in Wee Wonderfuls, Book 5, I think). Yeah!

  5. Your softies are adorable. I especially like the bunnys (with the Tuesday Adams look-a-like out fit). We’ll take two! Do you have time to sew a K and a C on them? If not I have a marker. Ok, here’s my joke. There’s two penguins in a bathtub, see… and one says to the other, “pass me the soap.” The other penguin looks in disgust and says, “what do I look like!? a radio?” Thank you thank you, I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.

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