Persevering

Persevering

Greetings, dear pond readers! I’m writing to you with a general update on things in my corner of the midwest. This winter was rough with illness and spring has continued in this vein. I’m declaring a win over my latest bout with infectious disease but with the quietest of voices so that the germs don’t hear me and change their plans.

2021 Blueberries on the Wee Bairn’s Blueberry Shrub by E.A. Schneider

Bulbs are coming up. Grass is beginning to green. The soil looks invitingly black and rich. My inner terrier wants to dig and root and inhale deeply of the rich scent of earth. I keep eyeing the garden centers in my area looking for signs of stocked greenhouses. Already I have read and reread my seed packets to sketch my 2022 Good News Garden alongside my Wee Bairn. My spouse laughs lovingly at us for being a pair of Mr. McGregors scolding the naughty bunnies who have eaten the Wee Bairn’s blueberry shrub to a lone, resilient stick and bisected multiple bulbs we planted with their incisors.

Mr. McGregor is not the only literary character on my mind. I keep thinking of Frog and Toad looking for Spring around every corner together in Frog and Toad All Year. That story is one of my very favorites and I love that I can share it with the Wee Bairn. Side by side we hurry to every plot we dug in 2021 to check for green shoots launching upward to the sky or remains rejected by naughty bunnies with picky palettes. It has smote my sore chest every time the Wee Bairn wants to linger outside to plant flowers and fruits only to be told again for the 47th time not today, not yet.

Watching Wildlife Through the Window 2021 by E.A. Schneider

Nevertheless, spring is coming. Seeds will go in the ground. Some will germinate and thrive and some will not. No matter what, it will be an adventure and I’m glad that I can share it with my Wee Bairn. In keeping with the Good News Gardens principles of plant, pray, and proclaim, I’m keen to chronicle our 2022 adventures here again. I’m having fun coming up with ideas to plant seeds and head start them effectively using up-cycled things like milk jugs, drink trays, and cardboard. We’ll see how successful I am in this but it will be fun.

First Bulb Sighting in the Wee Bairn’s Bulb Garden by E.A. Schneider

Speaking of fun, I’m happy to report that this is a big week for my E.A. Lawrence writing journey. I submitted a story to a lovely place this weekend, another story is still under consideration at another lovely place, and last night I found out my status in the NYCMidnight short story contest. Like so much this season, the news is bittersweet. The lovely place didn’t buy my story and the judges didn’t advance me to the next round of judging in the NYCMidnight short story contest. C’est la vie. The sweet part? The lovely place’s reply was encouraging and the NYCMidgnight judges gave me some helpful, constructive feedback on my story. I am heartened that I have some quality stories that just need to find the right home and I’m energized to look.

Frozen Dewdrop on Broccoli 2021 by E.A. Schneider

I’ve also been doggedly plugging away at another short story project that is due in May. Sometimes I write 10 words and reread what I wrote. Other times I write 250. Every time, I text one of my writing friends with a progress update to keep me accountable. I’m writing in my pandemic log and am on volume three. My area is littered with empty pen cartridges. Every time I think I’ve picked them all up, I or the Wee Bairn finds another. Even for as ill as I’ve been and I’ve been scary ill, I’m continuing to write even if it is only a little bit. The effort is a healing exercise. Getting the feedback I’ve gotten on my stories makes me want to seize my fountain pen and dive as deeply into the page as I can. I made a list of my drafts in progress and am cross referencing it with a table of upcoming publishing calls that look promising. I’m trying my absolute best to live up to my writing spirit animal. I sincerely doubt that I will finish all of these stories, at least to my satisfaction, but pondering the possibility gives my arrector pili¬†muscles the good kind of electric boost.

Lake Michigan Spring Snow by E.A. Schneider

The Wee Bairn has also been helping me cut out fabric and started their first hand sewing project this weekend. While sharing certain fabrics from my stash with others was met with protest, the magic of seeing shapes of fabric emerge from the Accuquilt Go was a thrill declared to be the most fun thing ever by my preschooler. I always appreciate this accolade. Of particular interest was the sight of the fabric we used to make a scarf together for the Wee Bairn. The idea that a single fabric could be in both the scarf and be cut into squares for something else for someone else was a fascinating notion to my preschooler. I’m glad. That concept has always been poetic to me. Rattling around in my heart I think there is a fairy tale on the subject but it’s still growing.

I might post these pictures again when I do my post about all my recent sewing projects but here are pictures of the scarf that the Wee Bairn helped me sew. Not only was my Presser Foot Operator on the case, we collaborated on feeding the flannel and minky fabric through the machine. Turning the scarf right-side out was also a source of great excitement and interest. The scarf has become something to cuddle and use as a lasso on the parents more than something warm to wear but that’s okay; we had fun making it together. I pray that someday my child and my future in-laws will be the happier for these early experiments in creativity and making useful, lovely things.

Spring is around the corner. It’s up to us to persevere and get there. Hopefully, this finds you well and healthy and dreaming of pleasant adventures. Are you creating? Writing? Taking pictures?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

Epic Plushie: How I Made A D20

Epic Plushie: How I Made A D20

Greetings, dear pond readers! At last, I’m writing to share the epic journey that was completing another D&D toy for my future DM, my own Wee Bairn. Being a big fan of Dungeons & Dragons, I’ve used my crafty skills to make a few D&D projects. I’ve made a cloth Player’s Handbook, I’ve made a cloth d20, and now I’ve finished an even bigger plush d20. The critical success? I did it with the help of the Wee Bairn. Bonus: minimal mess and no injury. Woo hoo!

When I finished the first cloth d20, I learned that the d20 shape really lended itself more to a squishy ball than a defined polyhedral when crafted in cloth. It was also a small squishy ball that was going to be quickly less magnificent in size as my Wee Bairn grew. While my Wee Bairn does still like the squishy d20 and remembers the fun of helping me stuff it, the child pretty quickly began pestering me for an even bigger one to play with. I’ve seen the large Ultra-pro plush ones in stores and other ones online but some of those look too round and black isn’t my Wee Bairn’s favorite color. It was time to get inventive.

I found a book called Geek Knits with some super cool projects in it including giant plush dice. The book is lovely and I am incredibly inspired to improve my knitting needle work. However, my rudimentary skills lack the stamina to make the d20 outlined in the book. I could however adapt the pattern to my skills as a sewist. I made my own equilateral triangle template out of cardboard using a protractor and the patterns in Geek Knits. Armed with a sharpie and scissors, I cut out 20 triangles from green fleece I found in the remnant bin on sale. It was fuzzy and washable. Then I cut out the 20 sides of the mini-rainbow d20 pattern that came with the red d20 plushie I previously made for the Wee Bairn. Armed with glue sticks, the Wee Bairn helped me glue each rainbow number to each green triangle. Surprisingly, we didn’t get glue all over everywhere.

Equilateral triangle fun by E.A. Schneider

I was still worried about maintaining the structure of the 20 sides. Pellon introduced a new stabilizer product that comes with a thin foam back called Flex Foam. This is probably going to be terrific for making purses and housewares but my first thought when I saw it advertised was d20. I traced my green triangles on the foam and cut out these layered triangles. Once again, the Wee Bairn helped me glue all the layers together. Happily, we didn’t get stuck together. With a preschooler, this is always a pleasant surprise.

Originally, I had planned to have this be the end of the Wee Bairn’s involvement until it came time to add polyester fiberfil. But the Wee Bairn had other ideas that were vocalized repeatedly: “I want to help you, Mommy! Please, I’m a good helper!” I’m never one to turn down help with crafting and for the sake of my future in-laws, I want to encourage handy participation in the Wee Bairn. Strict instructions to sit still and follow directions or else resulted in the role of Presser Foot Operator for the Wee Bairn. The following scene played out several times in subsequent weeks with the Wee Bairn perched on my knee and my arms wrapped around the cuddly human.

Me: Presser foot up, please!

Wee Bairn: I’m on it!

Me: Presser foot down, please!

Wee Bairn: On it!

Here are some pictures of the triangles in progress. We didn’t do all twenty together but we definitely did the majority. I was surprised at the attention span exhibited by my preschooler but it was probably really neat to see all the whirring gizmos visibly making stitches. Sometimes, we even guided the pieces of fabric together but not super often; I didn’t want any fingers getting incorporated into the project.

To stitch all those layers together, I used a Schmetz Universal needle. I also used all purpose thread and zig zag stitches.

Assembling the three dimensional plushie was definitely the trickiest part of the process. I looked at a bunch of pictures online, my previous d20 plushie, Geek Knits, and my own hoard of dice to get the layout just right. I also used a combination of large safety pins and basting stitches to piece the die together and was continually checking that the sides would line up. This part of the process took place during D&D games instead of anxiously scarfing down treats. The Wee Bairn’s contribution was asking every day multiple times a day if I had finished the d20 yet. That kind of accountability does help one focus. When I was sure I had the layout correct, I turned the die inside out so that I could finish the seams. Here is a gallery of these in-between steps complete with an actual D&D book from the game.

To finish the construction, I did sew some of these seams in the sewing machine. This required quite a bit of patience and upper body strength to maneuver the plushie under the presser foot. I broke multiple needles. A couple times, my Presser Foot Operator did step in to help but thankfully I was able to finish most of the remaining seams by myself. Turning the die right side out again, I discovered some raw seams where the Flex foam was visible but not as many as I’d feared. Using a long needle that was double-threaded, I was able to hand sew the raw areas closed during more D&D games. Here are some pictures of the finished empty plushie.

At last, it was time for the long promised role my Wee Bairn was anticipating: stuffing the giant d20 with squishy poly fiberfil. We used recycled poly fiberfil a friend gave me when something plush of theirs fell apart as well as scraps of torn up quilt batting but you could use any poly fiberfil or fabric scraps you wish. Knowing that this dice is destined for many hefty rolls, we stuffed it super tight. To close the opening, I had to use a curved hand quilting needle threaded with a four strand length of thread as well as a lot of upper body strength. This was the step where I pricked my fingers the most.

Finally, the d20 was complete. When my Wee Bairn went to bed one night, it was stuffed awaiting the final seam and upon the morning, there it was, ready for action. The delighted squeals and games of catch we played together were absolutely perfect even if I can’t say the same of every seam in the plushie. I’m okay with imperfection. Thankfully, the die is also still big enough to be a fun play thing with my growing preschooler for a while and it actually rolls on a side rather than being only a squishy ball.

As an artist, I’m pleased that this plushie looks recognizably like a d20 and it is very cuddly. Even though this was a labor intensive project and took me two years to finish, I could conceive of replicating this plushie with probably greater efficiency. We shall see. For now, it’s satisfying to see this beauty in my Wee Bairn’s hoard of toys and roll it together knowing that this was our collaboration. I want my child to know the joy of creativity and the satisfaction of making things; that was something my parents gave me. Every time we do something creative together, it is an extra special experience and I look forward to the next time even more.

Ready to Roll for Initiative by E.A. Schneider and Wee Bairn

What kind of projects are you working on with your family or friends? Are you exploring the world of Dungeons & Dragons or other RPGs?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

Stitching Fun

Stitching Fun

Greetings, dear pond readers! I hope this finds you enjoying a delightful summer season in excellent company doing creative, satisfying things. Recently, I’ve been busy doing some sewing. I actually managed to finish two projects and have four more well-begun. Time for pictures starting with the finished projects.

Here is a gallery of the steampunk and D&D baby quilt that I made some very close friends of ours. My goal was to have it done in time for the kiddo’s first birthday and I made it by the grace of God and coffee. Lots of coffee. I also made a cotton bag for quilt storage/gift wrapping. Both the front and back are fill-a-yard cheater quilts from Spoonflower.com. I chose the layouts using designs from the marketplace and ordered them on cotton. The edging is soft minky fabric. I’ve always been intimidated by minky but working with it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

Next, I finished an out of this world sleeping bag for my own Wee Bairn complete with a matching stuff sack to transport the sleeping bag and the other adventure essentials of teddy bear, security blanket, and a book or two. Luckily, the Wee Bairn is quite a large youth. To make the sleeping bag, I used a no-sew fleece throw kit. Instead of tying the fleece, I rolled the raw edges over, stitched them down, and then stitched the front and back together most of the way around to leave a generous fold over pocket. I did not add any ties or zippers because given the nature of my Wee Bairn, I did not think that was advisable. The sleeping bag is very cozy and the kiddo seems to like it a lot so I am pleased.

Currently, I’m working on a Muppet quilt and a large d20 pillow for my Wee Bairn. I worked on cutting out both projects during D&D games to avoid excessive snacking. My curious small human insisted on helping me with both of these projects. I was pleasantly surprised that learning to pin fabric squares for the quilt did not end in personal injury. My kiddo is actually quite a competent hand with head pins and worked with great care. While my hair is definitely more grey from the anxiety, I’m excited about cultivating a craft helper. The Wee Bairn also helped glue the triangles of the d20 together in preparation for sewing. As of this writing, I’m 10 triangles through top-stitching the layers together.

Regarding the other two well-begun projects, I am almost done with the back of a quilt for my mom and finishing a Star Trek quillow for me that matches one I made years ago for someone else. The quilt back for my mom might look familiar because it is a collection of the same fabrics left over from my epic mostly recycled flannel quilt. It is going to be my way of giving my mom a long-distance flannel hug across time and space.

I will leave off today’s post with a picture from my Good News Garden.

Are you getting to create this summer, dear pond readers? What are you crafting?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

Kiddo Sewing Fun

Kiddo Sewing Fun

Hello, dear pond readers! Recently, I finished some sewing projects for my kiddo and thought that I would share them with you. First, up are some finger puppets.

The puppets were hand sewn using a cut and sew pattern entitled “animal kingdom finger puppets” from Spoonflower.com. My beloved mostly recycled flannel quilt is the backdrop for the puppets in the picture gallery above. It was an easy project to do by hand and a great way to avoid snacking compulsively during stressful D&D games over the past several months. I lined the puppets with scraps of fleece so they would be a little softer to the touch. My Wee Bairn thought they were cute but they haven’t been the favorite toy I had secretly hoped they would become. This seems to be a recurring source of anxiety with things I make the kiddo. That said, the Wee Bairn does find it very gratifying to put the puppets in and out of wherever they are currently living and that is fun. I had a blast making the puppets and doing goofy voices with them during D&D games. Hopefully, the kiddo will get more into the puppets over time. The other day, I caught the kiddo flipping through the Paddington Bear cloth book and the Chew-bot that I made years ago which warmed my crafty heart to see.

Speaking of D&D, my kiddo is a big fan of the 1, 2, 3s of D&D by Ivan Van Norman, illustrated by Caleb Cleveland. Our family copy of this book bears many battle scars from the loving teeth of an over-enthusiastic Wee Bairn and has been a frequent visitor to Book Hospital. A couple weeks ago the Wee Bairn started pointing at a d20 pillow depicted in the illustrations and expressing a great desire for one of their very own to cuddle. Being a crafty nerd, I actually have three d20 pillows cut out but have not attempted to sew any of them yet. The pieces just sit in strategic places quietly shaming me like so many of my UFOs. While I have plans for a larger d20 pillow made out of green fleece, I decided to try to make a smaller red d20 first using another cut and sew pattern from Spoonflower.com entitled “DIY XL D20 dice Plushy/bag Red” printed on fleece. Because the Wee Bairn has been laid out sick with a nasty non-COVID virus, I was with the kiddo over the weekend watching a lot of streaming and making sure we both stayed hydrated. I started hand sewing the d20 and my kiddo immediately wanted to help me. Sewing isn’t exactly the most child-safe activity but if the kiddo wants to help, I try to make it work somehow. Thankfully, I was inspired by my mom. Growing up my crafty mom would let me help stuff projects she’d sewn and I have a lot of happy memories making plushies & home decor with her. I offered my kiddo the same deal: I sew and you can stuff. Sewing this d20 wasn’t as relaxing as hand sewing usually is for me because I had my kiddo checking in every couple minutes with, “Can I help stuff it yet? Can I help stuff it yet? Can I help stuff it yet?” It took about three hours of Shawn the Sheep (a big family favorite) but I finally was able to answer “Yes!” There was much rejoicing. The Wee Bairn was both solemn and meticulous in stuffing the d20 and clung to me like a baby koala as I stitched the final seam. We had a jolly round of catch and the d20 has been firmly installed in the Wee Bairn’s nest ever since. I think I might have finally made something the kiddo really likes and I have a better idea how to make the other two d20 pillows I have cut out. Here is the d20 plush pillow:

Plushie d20 ready for critical cuddling success!

Have you gotten to do any sewing or crafting lately, dear pond reader? What kinds of creating are you working on?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!

Crafting Through 2020

Crafting Through 2020

Greetings, dear pond readers! At last, I’m going to write about some of the crafting I’ve done through 2020 and now into the first weeks of 2021. Back when 2020 was all new and sparkly and only a couple super bad things had happened, I laid out a vision for the year that included a lot of crafting. I didn’t post much here at the pond about said crafts because I made several gifts that were not in their owner’s hands and then other things kept coming up. Now that it is a new year, I’m starting to take stock and sort through photos. Reviewing my pictures, I’m noticing some patterns. In 2020 I did a lot with paint & stickers in addition to my needle & thread work. I made a lot of scarves, a lot of blankets, more masks, and some miscellaneous small projects involving thread-work. I’m going to break up my posts between thread-work and painting based work with today’s post being all about the needle work. On to the pictures! Let’s start with scarves:

I also made a baby blanket for a co-worker (my first experience with minky fabric!), a quillow for a family member, progress on another quillow for me, and progress on a baby quilt for a different family member.

Finally, I made a couple small things including more masks, a new yo-yo Christmas ornament, and a small embroidery project courtesy of my local public library and my sweet husband.

I spent a lot of time trying to make the best of my way through this challenging time in 2020 and now spilling into 2021. I still need to finish the steampunk baby quilt, my Star Trek quillow, and several other projects but I’ve been having fun making all of these creations. How have you been crafting and creating, dear pond readers? Do you have any thoughts on your creativity during this time of pandemic upheaval?

Please, get vaccinated, wear your mask, wash your hands, stay well, stay kind, and leave a comment or question below. Thanks for stopping by the pond today.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program here at Technicolorlilypond, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Some of the links in this post are part of this program and I hope that any fees will help support me as I continue writing and doing creative things here at Technicolorlilypond. Thanks for your support!