Crazy Times

How are you all doing? I am struggling to stay calm and sane when it seems like all is going down around us. I was supposed to go to Chicago today and spend some quality time with some of the kiddos but obviously that got cancelled. My days shouldn’t seem all that different than usual since I work from home and spend most of my time working alone and not going out. It is the news and how the people I care about are being affected that is causing anxiety. Schools shut down, shows cancelled, shops closed, and everything uncertain. So, I am still working away in my studio but I am distracted and I’m not sure what I am working toward.

I put away all the merman supplies- paper patterns, merman specific fabrics, other random bits, and decided I’d stick to the ocean/water theme of these recent days and make up some fish. I pulled out ALL the bins of wool, sorted through to pick out colors and fabrics that appealed and got to work. The photo above is the construction stage after I’ve cut out the main body pieces- the ribbing and boiled wool bits are used for the fins and tail. I’m always looking for the good textures and interesting color matches.

Sewing, sewing, sewing… next step, clipping curves and turning to the right-side. I want to make a stockpile with an assortment of colors. It is so satisfying to have a big pile all cut out, then all sewed up, ready for me to finished up. When I decide I need to make up more fish, there they are!

And here they are- that is approximately 35 sewed up fish plus about 15 more that are cut out with all their pieces neatly stored in zip-lock bags. Every time I start cutting things out, I think I should cut out “a few”. Several days later, it’s 50! I got tired of the sewing so some fish will wait for another day. I picked out 6 to stuff and finish and the rest went into a storage bin to wait their turn.

Here is the thing I don’t understand- I cut out 50 fish and yet all my fabric bins seem as full as ever! I think the fabric swells in the night :-) I will post some more pics of the finished fish but the weather here hasn’t been great for photos.

And so, how are you doing? How are you coping? My husband has been working from home for 2 weeks now. That’s a bit different. We had food delivered last night for the first time ever- we decided to support local business and try something new. Usually, if we get take-out we can just walk or drive to get it. I have so many friends who make their living by selling their artwork and ALL the shows have been cancelled. (I have a show scheduled for Memorial Day weekend and I’m wondering if it is going to happen.) If you can afford to buy from small and micro businesses, now is the time to show your support. Also, if you are bored and have supplies, a lot of us sell patterns! fyi- if you want to make your own fish, the pattern is in my etsy shop and I’d rate it advanced beginner. I like to make them from wool but they can be made from any fabric including quilt cotton, cotton knit, home dec fabric, etc.

Lastly, if you want to lean into the whole pandemic thing, I think this book is excellent- Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright. The chapter about the flu of 1918 is still very relevant. The big lesson of the book is that you want a strong and compassionate government in place when something like this happens. Her writing style is not too serious which helps with this very serious topic. The book is set up with each chapter focusing on a particular event so you don’t even have to read it in order. I listened to the audiobook several years ago and have re-listened to sections ever since. Also, a lot of libraries have it.

And hey! Spring is on the way! (the first daffodil in my garden)

Red-haired Merman

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This is the last fellow for now. A red-haired merman to finish up this batch.

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Swoosh in the back-

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Finding a way to photograph these mermen has been a BIG challenge. There is only so many places in my house that work at all and I hate using the same place over and over. So here he is, hanging around. I know, maybe on the wall is better!

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Blond Merman

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When I was dyeing up the fabric pieces for these mermen, I had the idea that I wanted to make a golden one. When I searched through the colors, I choose one that was labeled caramel. And I did get caramel. But I was still thinking about golden: hence the blond hair. He ended up completely different from what I’d been aiming for at the start but I love who he became. It is always a surprise.

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Picking out a button is always a very big decision!

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Very big, Big Merman

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Yes, he is a very big fellow. This is a link to another big man merman that I made a while back. You may notice that this new merman has a longer tail. When I cut out the tail pieces, I adjusted the proportions of the tail to match the slimmer guys, not really thinking about how his torso is longer. So he’s ended up about 2 inches longer than any of the other mermen. Oh well!

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Also, he is made of linen which is a little stretchier when stuffed so that helped him grow.

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I have listed 2 of the other mermen into my etsy shop today but I’m going to hold off on this one. I need to figure out if I’ve got a box that he would fit into for shipping!

Merman + Vintage Laura Ashley

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I have a seemingly endless store of fabric, spanning so many years of collecting. This merman tail is made of vintage Laura Ashley fabric, circa 1970’s. My sister lived in Montreal in the 70’s and could buy bags of off-cuts which she gifted to me- thanks Tina! I still have some of it in my stash and it shows up every once in a while.

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More hair styling-

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The button looks like sea glass.

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Merman with Blue Tail

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This fellows looks like he is from the colder part of the ocean, not the tropics. He is more into the camouflage and limited colors versus the bright tropical colors.

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I thought he was looking a little too plain so I sewed these antique star beads onto his beard.

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He also has a fish bead-

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The little fins are the same pattern as his hair but in a different colorway.

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