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Non Medical Grade Masks

A few people have send enquires as to whether I am still making non medical grade face masks, (amongst other things), mostly I think due in part to the lack of posts for long periods, sorry about that.

I am still making them, but the posts about masks have waned as I grew a little tired of posting “another mask made”. I am well aware that not everyone wants to see masks and have a constant reminder that this has been our life for over a year now.

For those unaware, here is a little bit about the non medical grade masks that I make.

They are made with 4 layers;
2 x 100% cotton
2x non woven interfacing (also called polypropylene by some, I just call it interfacing)
Note: the interfacing is between the layers of cotton

They also have;
Polyester Elastic (same elastic used for disposable masks for hospitals, so softer than most)
Cotton loops for the elastic to thread through
Wire (with a plastic coating on it to reduce wear & tear on the mask) for over the nose

The design for the masks, is a combination of several ideas that I liked, when I was researching “best fit” overall. I realize that the style/ sizing might not work for everyone, but with various sizes available & the design features incorporated, I have had a large number of repeat customers, who are adamant that it’s the most comfortable mask they’re found. It’s a nice piece of feedback, because I played with so many design ideas, before settling on this one & I know that for us, it has been the best fit too.

Some of the design features that I think make it stand out for improved fit are;
Wire over the nose – ensures less gaps
Darts at the sides – snug fit at the sides
Loops for elastic – more flexibility in terms of fit & ease of adjustment/ adding more once elastic wears out.

Being immunocompromised, I went with 2 layers of non-woven interfacing from the start, as a filter of sorts, because it was the safest option I could offer. I started making masks a little later than most, because of all the research I did, but it was around the time when people were cutting up furnace filters and adding all sorts of weird things into their masks to work as a filter themselves.

The non woven interfacing or polypropylene works as a filter of sorts because unlike cotton which is woven, (so therefore has gaps), a nonwoven material makes it harder for some particles to get through. Is it medical grade filtration? No, but it will give you more protection than a simple two layer (non medical grade) cotton mask does.

If you are washing in a washing machine, I suggest cold to warm wash to ensure a longer life & line dry, as opposed to popping them in the dryer. A delicates bag when washing can help to prevent the elastic from prematurely wearing out, which is good use for any mask type you might have, especially if it’s sewn in, as some mask designs have, when you would likely just toss the mask.

I supply a decent length of elastic with each, usually enough to go over the ears, but I can also supply extra if you wish to secure it around your head instead. I also generally supply a little extra in the event that something happens & you need to swap out the elastic at the last minute. Some actually prefer ties, as you can get an even tighter fit (shoelaces are actually great ties). Personally, my family all prefer over the ears, as it’s easy to flick them off & into a bag for dirty masks, to be cleaned later.

Be sure to remember to cut up all elastic when it has reached end of life, as it can still pose a risk to wildlife.

Please note: ALL my non medical grade masks, are not a failsafe & users should still exercise caution when in close proximity & practice distancing, handwashing & other precautions as well.

I mostly do masks, as custom order requests, but from time to time you will see them pop up on my site or via social media

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Mermaid Tails

It’s been a while since I have been asked to make a mermaid tail/ fish sleeping bag. Their popularity seems to have fizzled out the last couple of years. They were hugely popular in 2016/ 2017. They might not be as popular these days, but I still get the odd request, which is fun. They require a fair amount of fabric, but every time I make one, I get a little excited, because then I have more “scraps” for my scrappie critters. WOHOO!!!

They’re pretty fun to photograph too, they often look like a big ‘ol fish 🙂

The colour in the picture makes this one look a little pink, but this one is actually purple & blue, with a lovely soft minky lining to go with it. The small image (within the larger one, below), shows all the fabrics used, both inside & out. I make the tails so you can put your feet all the way into the very end, because it adds to the fun 🙂

This one was made nice & big to give a lot of growing space (it’s large enough for an adult) & it’s not to tight either, to allow space to move about. From what I’ve been told this tail was a huge hit last night, when it was used for the first time too.

Latest Mermaid/ Fish Tail Sleeping Bag
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Postage

Some people might wonder why some artisans like myself, insist on posting items tracked & insured. Most of the time things get to their destination no worries, so why the added expense? Is this just a cash grab?

Personally, I do it because you never know when things might not go to plan. In March, for the first time, I unfortunately had to address a non-delivery situation, for the first time in years.

I posted these two scrappies to Australia at the start of the month & within a few days, I received a successful delivery notification, which was extremely weird. My heart sank when I realized that they had been marked as successfully delivered to an address in Vandreuil-Dorion, Quebec, not even close to where they needed to go.

Fortunately, because I had tracking, I caught the error within a couple of hours, which allowed me to log a ticket & start the process to get them back into the mail stream ASAP. I hate to think what would have happened to them without that tracking though.

Here is a little screenshot of the journey they took, after the fact. Many of the updates only showed up several days after the dates posted, which was a little stressful, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have arrived at their destination without tracking & my ability to flag them as going missing.

Tracking record

In the end artisans like myself have no say in cost to post/ ship items with insurance & tracking. Posting with tracking & insurance protects you & myself.

I’m grateful that in this instance, I didn’t have to go down the route of making a claim & remaking the scrappies that I created, as each one is unique, so it’s near impossible to recreate them exactly, but if this hadn’t ended well, at least there would have been less than a financial burden for myself & my customers.

In the end you try to plan for the unexpected, because you never know when the tables might turn.

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Scrappies for R & F

I love making my scrappies, always have, from the first time I was asked to make something unique & the idea was born, to now.

Not only, are the scrappies I make, an expression of myself (anything you make always holds a part of you in it, whether you realize it or not) but, I sometimes get requests for custom makes to reflect their adopted owners as well.

R approached me a little while ago to make a couple for her & her partner F. As with any custom request, I asked for a little bit of information & R responded with a lovely table of information that contained a wealth of info. I then used that list to brainstormed ideas & consulted my bins of scraps, assessing what worked together, until I settled on something I felt matched their personalities.

For F’s scrappie critter I focused on black & white colours (New Zealand pride), the colour blue (fav colour), a love of dogs (the scrap of ribbon I had was just long enough), and rainbows (representing LBGTI+ pride). The two hearts are in reference to the relationship that F & R share.

For R’s scrappie critter I focused on favourite colours (purple, teal & emerald green) and a love of nature. I really loved the flower, that I had to attach. The scrap for the face had a nice shape to it & the flower sits perfectly in that little space.

Both scrappie critters have butterfly loops for ears (or antenna) as a nod to connections to the Deaf community. Butterflies are a symbol of the Deaf community, because they’re deaf. I had enough purple ribbon for both of them, which is more of an obvious link that both scrappies share, just as R&F share an obvious connection.

Thank you to R for the privilege of making these for yourself & F, they really were a lot of fun. I love that the creation of each of these scrappies is a puzzle of sorts. My scrappie critters have a certain style to them, but they are also very unique, which adds to their charm both as the maker & to those who receive one.

If you would like me to make one (or more) of these for you, please let me know.


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I’m an Auntie

A few weeks back, I became an auntie, again. This time it was my youngest brother, who had his first child, miss M.

My other half’s brother has two kids, so this isn’t my first rodeo in terms of being an auntie, but there’s something also rather special when it’s your little brother having kids & this is his first. There are announcements online that he has made in public forums, one of which went viral with over 18k in likes. If you like hockey give my brother a follow too. He’s a fantastic writer & also does a weekly podcast.

My Brother is a DAD!

The great thing about being an auntie is that you can make all the stuff you wanted to make yours but, were too worn out to to do. So, little Miss M is going to be thoroughly spoilt. It’s a shame that with COVID I am unable to actually get these items to her in person, but maybe in several years time when I do finally get to see her, it will be more memorable? At any rate, I’m happy that the postal system exists.

Playmat for Miss M
Hungry Caterpillar, Flowers & Rainbows themed Playmat/ Blanket

So here’s a little sneak peak of the blanket/ playmat made. I used the Hungry Caterpillar themed cotton spotted fabric I have & some of my lovely smooth minky rainbow & flowers fabric to make this one. It’s just under 40″ square, so it’s a decent sized playmat/ blanket.

I had originally planned to have taggies all around this blanket, but because of it’s size & the fact that I wanted it to be multipurpose (both a colourful playmat & a blanket), I opted for a simpler design.

I look forward to seeing pictures of my little niece with it, I just have to be patient, because, for now it’s still on it’s journey over.

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Creativity

After fixing a recent issue with my site & then noticing how little I post on here, I have decided it’s time for a change.

In the past I’ve tried to be fairly selective with the creativity that I share, but then there are huge droughts in posts & what fun is that? I certainly create more than I am posting, so it’s time to share more of it & honestly, I like the idea of having the ability to look back on it. If others like it cool, if not, no worries.

There will likely be a few creative posts that crop up with the kidlets too. Now, that we are on the homeschooling journey (due to COVID) there’s a fair amount of my creative time that focuses around the kidlets, so there should be a good mix of creativity beyond my typical posts that focus around fibre arts.

So, welcome to this extended journey. I hope that you enjoy the ride. I know I will 🙂

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Scrappies in memory of Susan

Melissa & her mom, Susan
Melissa & her mom, Susan

In August, I saw a post on a local Facebook group, from Melissa, who was looking to have memory items made, as her mother had sadly & unexpectedly passed away. I decided to comment & sent a link to a previous write up about the memory scrappies for Lawrence, I had made, with an offer to create memory scrappies for her.

Melissa, reached out to me describing her mom, Susan as Martha Stewart reincarnated, she could turn anything into a something & Melissa liked the fact that I had “unique craftiness” too. So thus, our creative venture began.

Normally, when I’ve made my memory scrappies, I will have at least one long face-to-face meeting with a loved one & several follow up discussions, in person or online, as I think of new questions, but this time around (Covid) all our conversations were online. Even though it was different, it had it’s benefits, the fact that everything was written down helped a lot. Melissa was wonderful at sharing memories both in words written & pictures shared. The love that Melissa had for her mum was abundantly obvious, it was quite beautiful to be privy to it & to capture it in the scrappies created.

Susan’s Beautiful Gardens
A talented artist

As with all my scrappies, every creative decision made, happened for a reason. All of the fabrics used were Susan’s. I did use some interfacing & new polyfil, but everything that you see, carries memories of Susan. One continuing theme on each, were the eyes, all made from the same fabrics. They are green & brown, as I was told that Susan’s eye colour was green/brown.

Water Loving Scrappie

Now, to talk about other features of each scrappie. The first scrappie, was nautical themed, the red striped shirt I later discovered, Melissa had given to her mom. I picked it because I wanted to capture Susan’s love of the ocean & it had a lovely boat anchor on it, which I wanted to feature. There was a blue shirt, that reminded me of the water, so I used that for the face on this one. The brown striped arm was my little nod to gardening as was the yellow (flowers, the sun) and then there was a green top (her favourite colour was green) that had a pattern on it that made me think of vines. The other leg, a mosaic pattern, was a nod both to artistic talents and to the way the water catches the light sometimes. 

Stars front
Stars back with open zipper

The next scrappie, made use of a star shirt, as the main fabric. Not only was Susan, one of a kind, just like the stars, but she was incredibly special to her family, who loved her very much, so, of course stars had to be included. This one features the mosaic fabric again, this time I used it to create a pocket. It isn’t easy to see, but the pocket features a puzzle piece, cut from the same fabric I used for the legs, in recognition of time spent making puzzles. The legs (& puzzle piece) are made from a gorgeous quilted jacket that made me think of a painting or beautiful garden, which had to be recognised. I also used a part of that jacket for all of the brown pupils within the eyes of each scrappie. There was a green top with zippered pockets on it that I decided to use for the backing fabric, incorporating the zipper into the design, because lets be honest, zippered pockets are awesome. Green being recognised as her favourite colour, again.

The third scrappie featured another pocket, this time only one though. The pocket was taken directly from the same jacket that I used in the previous scrappie for the legs (with nods to gardening & artistic talents) & I used a couple of other pieces of clothing to create a little heart & spade icon to recognise time spent playing cards, including Go Fish with one of her grandkids. It seemed apt to use a shirt that repeated the words je t’aime (I love you) in a heart shape on the back too. The red striped fabric from the nautical themed shirt of course tied in a love of the water & the yellow used, linked back to creativity, sunshine & time spent in the garden.

Little Scrappie
back view

Melissa had actually only asked me to make 3 scrappies for each of her mom’s grandkids, but I really wanted to give her something a little extra, so I made her a little travel sized scrappie of her own, one that she could always take with her. I went back to my winking style for this one, because I wanted to capture some of her mums cheekiness. The heart shaped mosaic fabric was a purposeful little message of love, to symbolise the love that they both share for each other.

Scrappies together



Here they are complete, together.

They’re a pretty cute little bunch, aren’t they?

Thank you for asking me to make these scrappies for your family Melissa. I hope that they bring lots of reminders of the wonderful memories you all have with your mom.



EXTRA Artist notes:
Each of my scrappie critters are made to be uniquely imperfect, just as all of us are. Some will have more noticeable stitching in places, in this case the nautical one does. They’re not symmetrical, appendages are not exactly the same in size or number on each. This is all done on purpose, our differences & imperfects are what make us who we are after all.

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Memory Scrappies for Lawrence

Lawrence with his kidsLast fall I was given some clothing from a friend & asked if I could make some memory scrappie critters. To be honest I was blown away, a privilege that I didn’t take lightly.

I met with Debra & her sister in law, Denise, to discuss which pieces of clothing had special meaning to whom & we took notes. It was a lovely chat, a necessary one to get to know Lawrence more too. I was given permission to use other materials if I so desired, to compliment the clothing I was given, but after much thought, (after our meeting), I felt it would mean more to limit bringing other materials into the picture.

Having made that decision, I still spent an  inordinate amount of time planning out how to create the scrappies I was entrusted to. This is fairly typical for me, but I do admit a greater level of responsibility felt, means more time I spend in ensuring execution goes as smoothly as possible.  I spent a while pulling out Lawrence’s clothes & packing them up again, not quite ready to cut them. Playing with scraps of random fabrics from other projects is one thing, but as with any memory items I’ve made in the past, when you are working with items of clothing that someone has held onto, you MUST respect the treasured memories they hold. I familiarized myself with Lawrence’s clothing, grouping different clothes together (cross referencing a list that I had) and spent a lot of time checking out images that Debra shared on Facebook of Lawrence & asked questions as they cropped up, before I was ready to cut.

The first piece of clothing that I deconstructed, was an Ottawa Senators hat (pictured above).  I needed to make a scrappie with the Sen’s logo on it for Lawrence’s  brother, Alan. They both spent many hours together, watching different sports games. Lawrence was a Habs & Sens fan, so I felt the need to incorporate colours for both teams.  The appendages were made of appropriately coloured materials, which included a t-shirt, some collared shirts and a tie. The hat was actually part of the brim of a hat on a raincoat. I’d never made a scrappie with a hat before, so it was especially fun to do. The main material on the front was a light coloured pair of pants & the back a redish coloured shirt.

The Sen’s hat was actually an integral piece, it openly tied all the scrappies together in so many ways. Something that I hadn’t really expected until I got into the thick of it.

The hat had a nice black fabric on the brim that I used for the pupils in each scrappie.  Lawrence had brown eyes, so I used a brown pair of corduroy pants for the iris on each too. This wasn’t the only way that they were all tied together though, a less obvious addition was an old favourite cut up t-shirt, that I was asked to include a little of, within each scrappie. 

The Sens hat also had a beautifully weighted red fabric too. It was the perfect fabric to use in creating little applique hearts on a couple of the scrappies, but the hat also contained an unexpected treasure, a little St Perigrine. It was small enough, that even Debra didn’t know it existed, until I mentioned it. Lawrence was always full of nice little surprises apparently & when I asked who might appreciate it most, she told me to attach it to the scrappie for Denise, as it would have the most meaning to her.

Scouts BadgesThe next Scrappie that I made after Alan’s was Debra’s. This one had to incorporate one of the Scout leader badges that Lawrence had on his shirt. Lawrence had actually joined the Scouts so that his son could be a part of it. I have never unpicked badges with such care. I had asked Debra if any of them had any particular meaning & knew that the beaver ones (not Tic Tac) had to go onto scrappies for her & her daughter. They came from the shoulder loops on the shirt that Lawrence had, so I knew they had to go on arms.

The one for Debra’s was attached to an arm that was made from a leather glove (see picture below) that I cleaned up, cut & then sewed together again. I wanted Debra to have the leather glove on her’s specifically, because I felt that it would be as if his hand was touching hers when she touched it.

It was whilst I was creating Debra’s scrappie that she mentioned it would mean a lot if I could tie in some Star Wars, specifically a Boba Fett reference, into the ones for her & their kids. They had many wonderful family memories that focused around Star Wars, so it would mean a lot if I could. Fortunately, I have a bit of stash of fabrics (one which I am working to reduce) & had a Star War’s material with an actual image of Boba Fett on it. I offered to make a patch, I make them for my kids clothes, so why not this? I had all the supplies; material, medium weight interfacing, bo-nash (a powdered fabric glue, often used for patches) & a sewing machine to do some some zig-zag stitching around the edge. As you can see in the pictures they turned out not too badly either. 

In the past I’ve gravitated to only using certain fabrics for my scrappies, staying away from stretchy fabrics, where I don’t want stretch to happen, because it was just easier, but  when you’re working with items of clothing that hold memories within them, like a Rashie, T-shirts, Silk Ties and more, you work with it. I reinforced many of the materials with interfacing & others I stitched a piece of non-stretchy material behind, from another item of Lawrence’s clothing. I realise it might not be noticed, but I felt better about it, as I was limiting the amount of materials that were not his, into these creations.

Debra asked me at one stage if I could incorporate a pair of goggles onto hers or Kate’s, because Lawrence wore them, when swimming. The goggles, which probably look a little like a superhero mask, were actually inspired by a couple of rubber holders we had from buying a couple of bottles that came with a small sample, on each. I used some denim from a pair Lawrence’s jeans to create the goggles.

The critters for Debra, Kate & Alex all had ears, which tied them together as well as, the Star Wars badges. Alex had ears that were made from the ties on a favourite pair of pj pants, Kate had ribbon that I carefully unpicked from a football (soccer) hat & Debra had belt loops from the jeans that I used for the goggles. As mentioned before, I used the beaver patches for both Debra & Kate’s scrappies, I purposefully positioned them so that when they sat next to each other, they were almost joined.

Kate & Alex's Scrappies

With Kate’s I didn’t have any more embroidered sports related patches, so I used part of a football hat that had an image on it, to create a patch of sorts. The hat was made with different coloured pieces connected to look like a soccer ball, they weren’t very symmetrical when you pulled it apart though. I  had thought of trying to correct it, but decided to keep the rather wonky shape when dismantled (as it was going from a curved shaped item to a flatter surface), because that was more in keeping with the original item it came from. 

Alex’s scrappie received the majority of the Scouts Badges, because they had more meaning to him than anyone else. I didn’t originally intend to cut up Lawrence’s Scout’s shirt, but in the end it seemed appropriate that if I was going to use so many Scout’s badges on his scrappie that it also incorporate part of the Scout shirt that they came from.

After I made those 4 Debra collected them, as they were an Easter weekend gift & Then I set about making the next 3, which actually turned into another 5.

Denise wanted a couple of scrappies, a little one potentially for a child & another one for herself. These two I really liked because they were different again to the last 4 & they tied together nicely. The little travel sized scrappies are a favourite, because they really can go anywhere with you & I loved the little heart (Sen’s hat) & the pants I used for the back (blue tartan) as shown on the arm of the bigger scrappie, was cute too. The bigger scrappie incorporated a tiny little pocket from the same pair of shorts that I used for main body, which I embellished with a little heart to hold the little St Peregrine that I had discovered (hopefully you can see this detail in the pictures)

 

I had a couple more to make, one for Lawrence’s mum, and another as a surprise for a niece. I used a yellow & red raincoat for their scrappies, which I alternated colours for both on each & the backs were made up of the same t-shirt, split in two, which I really liked. They were embellished with more Soccer related items, with one  (Maria’s) receiving the last Scout’s badge. 

The last scrappie I made was, actually a little gift, it was a little travel scrappie to go with the one that I made for Denise. This one had ears that were made from the corners of a couple of Lawrence’s shirt & some of the ScoobyDoo pj pants fabric that I used on the backs of Alex & Kate’s larger scrappies. They looked really cute together don’t you think?

This really was a family of scrappies that I throughly enjoyed having the honour to make. There were a few challenges along the way, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome & the solutions for each just add to their connected & yet unique charm.

I have to finish, on this wonderful picture that Debra sent me, taken just before many of them made their journey’s onto other family members to remind them of moments shared with Lawrence. 

Aren’t they incredibly cute?

Nine Scrappies

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Headbands for Masks

A few weeks ago I decided to make a couple of headbands for friends in the medical field, one works within a hospital, the other is a nurse in a long term care home. Little did I know that a simple post would be met with such huge demand on my Facebook page . So far, I estimate that I’ve donated at least 200 headbands. It’s an achievement that I owe to both family & friends. My kidlets helped in some of the assembly & many friends have helped out with buttons & elastic & even some funds to help cover some costs, as I used up a great deal of my own personal stash of buttons, elastic, cotton material & interfacing throughout the whole process. I am currently awaiting another (rather expensive) order of elastic in the post.


The order of 60 headbands for a department at CHEO  (pictured above) was one that I was especially proud to have had enough materials to supply.

For those that are interested in the pattern that I used, it can be found here on Happy Together By Jess, she has since edited her post to add information about buttons but it wasn’t at that stage when I borrowed the pattern.

I have a tendency NOT to read instructions & make it up as I go. If you are looking to make some, here are my own comments, after I finally read through the pattern instructions;

After some trial & error on button placement, as well as some feedback from those actually using them, I wouldn’t suggest having them where Jess suggests. I measured 1.5″ up & then sewed the buttons on from there. The buttons should not be less than 1.5 cm in diameter, larger is obviously better.

I would also highly recommend using interfacing to reinforce the headbands which will increase their longevity & is especially important when sewing buttons onto the headbands. A normal headband perhaps wouldn’t require so much stability (there is no mention of it in the original pattern).

The 3/4″ elastic was much easier to add in, than the 1″, but either work fine. A normal headband wouldn’t require so much stability. I didn’t encase the elastic, as it just seemed  superfluous to the whole project.

If you are buying elastic, you want to get the highest quality possible, tightly woven. I know it’s in short supply though currently, so that might not be possible. 

Feedback so far has been amazing for these, with many of pictures of smiling faces being shared & confirmation that they hold up well to being washed at high temperatures.

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Scrappie Critters are online

So after purchasing the domain for my scrappie critters page & letting it sit for an extended period of time, I finally set up the site. https://scrappiecritters.com/ is LIVE. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s up.

I will likely only sell from this page, once I fork over more cash to get that happening again. In the interim people can still contact me about items. To be honest, last time I had the bones of online purchasing sorted, but the reality that I needed to put up so many individual items, meant other things took precedence for my time, likely history will repeat.

Well, back to it….