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Category Archives: Hobby

Reflections 2019 w04

Finally I have the pattern for the fox head at the correct size, at least for machine sewing it together, a note one will have to make when making a pattern again.

I do not know why the pattern comes out slightly larger when the masking tape is transferred to a flat plane, but apparently it does a little, well it does with this combination of modelling medium and this masking tape, it was a pain to get it ‘stick’ to the model maybe that has something to do with it. We will see in the future.

One now appreciates the cost for the patterns now that the time has been put in to get it to where it is at the moment, it could do the head as it is, but one is playing with the pattern to equalise the seams on the face.

Overall, one is happy with the second prototype head. This allows me to see where the final shape can be created with some more hand stitching as construction joints, the head is being stuffed rather than skinning a foam head like with the puppets. So the stitching will draw the facial features together where needed.

One has also played with the hair trimmer on the fur, and yes that is as messy as you would think, so the look should be as I imagined it to be.

Just the body, legs and tail to pattern out. It should be plain sailing after the legs are modelled.


Reflections 2019 w02

One has a project build that has been requested, and over the last couple of weeks materials have been bought, techniques have been tried and an idea has been formed.

Except one part.

One part is staying elusive and it now looks like one will have to create the pattern for it, I have not been able to find anything close to a match for my vision.

As with all my ‘next projects’, my skill level requirement is going to increase. It will be a new build, using the sewing machine in a new way, with a new pattern, one that has yet to be created. For most parts one can lean on other patterns and alter a little, or alter a lot, but the general sizing of the material has already been done.

But no, not this part. I am going to have to make a model, make a paper pattern, add seam allowance, factor in darts and curvature.

If one was making a foam model (for a hand puppet) one would not be worried, but this is about the size of a grapefruit. A skin sack that will only let me know if it worked when it gets filled.

I’m going to have to make a prototype.

Even when the project has been completed one could ruin everything when trimming the fur to get the desired look I want. sooo much could go wrong.

Could one have done a similar pattern? Did the request state that the level one is trying to attain? Yes and No.

But I do know if I did a simpler plush toy style, I would then be kicking myself for not trying to get my vision created. Until a time it was created, and then one would feel as though I cheated the person who asked for the project in the first place.

And my inner critic needs no encouragement.


Reflections 2019 w 01

The new year, only this year one is not on facebook.

I always disliked the ‘gym jocks’ whiny complaining, that fatties were using their machines, and that it would not last past January. That it was pathetic to start at the new year, also if they really wanted to get fit they would do it at some other time in the year, regardless if they were using a Christmas present or bonus income; from the busiest time of the year. That they go at peak times…like after work, or before it – how rude – that is for gym goers.

Or how about the advertisers pressure to look ‘ beach body perfect’ for summer, that kicks in just after Christmas dinner.

Does it matter?

Do they not benefit from having a profit making gym?

Have they never thought that there may be a correlation between the newbies being treated like lepers and a sudden drop in new faces by the end of the month?

Or are they too much of a one syllable word user, dragging their knuckles across the ground, to work that out. (Yes they too have stereo types)…Stating the comments and stares are just a toughening process – weeding out the week.

Just like the assholes at school gym class.

My own experience of a gym was no changing cubicles, communion showers and nut sack dragging pensioners walking around naked. As soon as you went in the second door you may have been confronted by a man stark b……. naked blow drying his pubic hair. Mixed in with this were the posers, younger and more used to working out – also naked, striking poses one presumes they saw in a gay mag. Why else would you be doing such displays in front of a male only audience. At least at a nudist beach you have both sexes wandering around – together  – which the ‘I’m not gay!” poses would make more sense if it was not for the gentleman only members.

One is not a prude, I just don’t want to see your junk. If one was so inclined to do so, one would ask you on a date…Like a normal person. And just because one is using the gym, it does not make me automatically gay. Nor does it make such behaviour ‘Normal’.

No; no gym for me. One is currently waiting for the chiropractor to have an offer on, get my back cracked and then join the yoga club at the same practice.

So if the stereotypes are to be believed. One is going to the elitist fashionable exercise group – in slacks. Should be fun. 😉


Reflections 2018 w51

Today I had my first visit to a shop called Abakhan, and it has been the best material shop I have been to so far.

The quest was to get better fleece than I have, and look at their fur, also better than I have, and get a more puppet appropriate foam, than what my more local material shop has.

The shop is brightly lit, with loads of space, materials neatly stacked on repacks, and equipment down one large wall. The pricing one has come across with the local stores is by the meter, here it is also by the kilo. Kind of confusing for the novice, but the staff are super helpful.

I must have looked like I had wandered into the wrong store, as I was almost immediately greeted with a “hello, can I help you?”. To be fair one did go woah wen I went through the door. With it being my first time I asked where the items I was looking for lived, and they were either fetched for me or I was shown where they were.

I am so glad I went in with a list, as one already came out with more than what was on it. I suspect it would have been far greater if I had gone just browsing, as it was I overspent. And I know I am going back there often for more supplies.

The lovely staff member who had helped me was the one who served, and commented on my purchases as an interesting project so I showed her a picture of the done puppet, the now usual aaaah response was had. I felt that if I showed what I was doing, and if I go regular enough, maybe in time I go I won’t look out of place (as much) when my sewing prodgects expand and I go browsing.

One has been using the cheap fleece one has to practice with a sewing machine that is as old as me, if not older, I inherited from an aunt. It feels so natural to use one feels like one can try any setting. And one has gone through a few. Problems have been had, but that has been little more than pebbles to overcome, nothing has set me back with using the machine.

Except one plush teddy bear. My fat fingers, no instructions to go with the pattern, and limited space for sewing, I suspect there was no seem allowance on it either, led me to the understanding – one should not make a 5.5 inch tall (sitting) bear until better at using the machine. So I looked for more plush patterns and found a load at, so I made a version of their owl.

So much easier with instructions…but I did not follow all,  I altered to suit what I had and to practice new stitches with the machine. One never knows when appliquéing will be useful on a puppet. Now I have done it I may be using it more.

Soft toys may seem strange for a bloke to practice on, but they offer a wide range of shapes to get to grips with. If the charity shops can sell them – bonus. Later on the skills learnt could be creating clothing or equipment for walking/camping. A travel bed is going to be one of the first for Spot.

The puppet building will be looking better and better with each improvement, bellow is the puppet (base pattern by and the owl plush.



Reflections 2018 w50

It’s been puppet time again this week, things didn’t go as planed, so the sowing machine, pins and needles came out. I’m not entirely sure if it’s not a form of self harm, I can probably play catch with a cactus and have less holes in my hands.

But the puppet has now got its character starting to show, those that follow my Facebook page will have seen the photos, and I now have to go shopping for an outfit to match.

With this being my second puppet, and of a different design, mistakes are present. However, he is turning out alright, next time it will be worth travelling out further afield to get supplies. As there will be more made. Puppets are escaping my subconscious, vying for my attention, one in particular would not let me see her face for hours after staring at the materials I had bought to build her, I just knew the parts had to be got at the time.

But I know why I have an affinity with them.

It’s not due to a love of Sesamea st, the Muppets, or even Finger mouse, and even though I was a fan of Basil Brush and Hartley’s house none are connected.

It was a glove puppet named pipa, named after a polar bear named Pipaluk who was the second successfully reared polar bear at London zoo at that time (1969).

My pipa was brown not white, and the material in the head was rather hard and scratchy, not a plush toy by any means. And it was not because it was made by Mum that made it special.

No, it was that no matter how bad the bullying was, in school or out, no matter how much hurt was inflicted from the taunts, the rejection, not fitting in, or not being myself – trying to fit in, the shame of being singled out in class by teachers, no matter how crummy the day. I could go back home and pipa would be there to listen.

If the feelings we’re overpoweing, we would hide under the bed covers as we whispered, fearing the power the words could have if they were picked up by the wrong person. Hiding in the makeshift cave, not daring to breath, lest the monster on the outside would hear, and we would have no escape, nowhere to run. Pipa all too often went to sleep wet with tears.

So no, I am hypnotic surprised they are “talking” to me now.

Reflections 2018 w41

Version 2

Fluffy has a name, and even though my first attempt at making a puppet was a little off (character), my son’s smile at being given the chance to name and take him home says his eyes saw none of the imperfections. He has been warned not to brush or comb fluffy without a lint roller present, I even hoovered him, but still he sheds.

Now that this project has been done, a commissioned, one thinks it would still be called this if they just supply the canvas, not sure, but the premise is the same, piece of artwork is to be done next.

This is another piece for the B-WELL group, but after hearing what they wanted/thought I was doing it became apparent they were not the same. But one said I would sketch an idea or two and see what I came up with.

Several sketches later an idea was formed and the artworks concept was born.

It has been worked on several more times now, but tomorrow it gets started, with a now narrow window to complete….No pressure.

Just to throw a spanner in the mix one is doing a style that has previously never been attempted by myself. Well not since Junior school…A long, long, time ago.

Should be interesting.

Reflections 2018 w40

It is late so this is going to be a short one.

I have finished sewing my first puppet, all I have to do is place on the eyes when they arrive and it is all done. It has its faults, but I am rather happy with it; after all it was a learning process with some of the equipment as well as the sewing.

I now understand why the fur puppets have the fleece hands, they were a pain to turn inside out, plus in the end the fingers were cut off the foam because one could not get them into the sewn fur hands, fleece has some stretch in it.

The next project is going to dye the fleece I have bought, I could only get white locally, to a colour I think the muppet puppet will look best in. The fur was general fabric fur, here in the uk at least it seems hard to get puppet fleece/fur, once I have more experience I can order from America, I will also have a better Idea as to how many puppets per meter one can get out of the material. One has a couple of interested people who want to buy. It is always nice when a hobby pays the hobbies expenses.

One thing that one wishes one knew before embarking on the fur puppets project, is a simple but effective piece of information. Luckily I already had this piece of equipment.

You will when combing and/or cutting fur, become rather close to a lint roller. Fur, like sand on a beach, gets everywhere, and clings to all manner of clothing. Any one who knows my sisters dog knows how he can at times lie down only to leave a fur coat on the floor when getting up and moving, it looked like we had a visit from his ginger cousin.

If I had not had a lint roller I would have a hell of a job getting the fur off.



Onto the next project…

Another piece of artwork for B-WELL, I have an idea for it, but not for its layout as of yet.