The Artichoke Returns

Another artichoke was commissioned a few weeks ago, and now I’m making a new and improved globular fruit.  This is the shape that got me started, not so long ago when I was making things as a joke.    Giant stuffed fruit?  Mwhahahahaha.Image

It’s becoming quite beautiful, and I’ve discovered new techniques which may take me in a fashion direction.  On the agenda: leafy scarves and baby blankets.  


Pardon the canister of Panko in the background. No, this will not be a breaded artichoke. It’s just a perfect size for holding puppets upright!

I’m loving my new job at Steve and Kate’s, but it’s hard to get work done when I get home.  Kids are so tiring!  I may not be making a lot of my own, but I’m helping a lot of other crazy stuff get made.  Lots.  A lot of the campers have started on embroidery, and while they’re still doing basic stitches, they are prolific and think it’s the greatest thing ever.  I showed one girl how to do a satin stitch without wasting all your thread on the back end, and she looked at me like I told her the meaning of life.  Teaching kids makes you rethink the way you do and say everything, and I think I’ll come out a more articulate person afterwards.  


Dress pattern from young camper.


Puppets Away!

Image from

I’m making fantastic progress on the mushroom cloud puppet, and am at the point where I needed to revisit the Henson, or Muppet, stitch.  I practiced on a small piece of the fleece I chose for the cloud’s column:

You can barely tell where the seam is, and I used red thread!  The trick really is to go slow and only do 3-4 stitches at a time. WAX. YOUR. THREAD.  Also remember that Muppets are made with fleece, not felt.  It makes a big difference.

I spent about six hours working on the puppet today, and everything is done but the eyes and bottom cloud (it’s kind of a cloud skirt).  I’m eager to have it done so I can move on to other things, like more Water Bugs, unicorn horn tutorials and whimsical photo shoots.

You Too Can Make a Puppet?


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I’ve resumed work on the mushroom cloud puppet. It’s definitely coming along better than before, but still just as scary as the first go:

When it’s done, I’ll make a better version and send it off to this enterprising young filmmaker:

Puppets Part 1

About a month ago, I was asked if I could make a puppet for someone.  As usual, I didn’t read the question as, “Do you have puppet-making skills?” but as, “Do you have the gumption to make a puppet?”  Well, I sure as hell do.  I tried to find puppet-making books at my local library, but most of them were about making them from things like spoons and socks.  Those are all well and good, but my assignment is this: a mushroom cloud-shaped puppet.  Holy hell.

My biggest help was a 14-part video series on, by a puppeteer from Puppets and Stuff:

The puppet I’ve been asked to do won’t have any arms, and will be more of a column than a humanoid shape.  I also couldn’t visualize how the shapes would look after the foam was added to the heads, so I decided to cut out some experiments from an old bedsheet.  I first tried four different head shapes, to see which size yielded the best results with padding and mouth plate added.  I hate measuring and making a control group, so don’t expect this to be very scientific:

As you can see, I’ve shown the puppets front and side view, with each of the shapes listed (round, wide, tall, flat/wide).   To tell the truth, no one shape fared better in regard to the mouthpiece.  By cutting a slit and inserting the mouth plate (as opposed to tucking in material a la sock puppets) not much material was subtracted from the face.  Any shape will do.  But stuffing worked better on the round and tall puppets.  This may have been because I was following the directions from the eHow video.  Playing jazz and sewing aren’t always a good combination.

I’m loathe to waste too much of the foam, because it isn’t cheap.  And not wanting to cut and waste is what keeps me from getting projects started faster.  If I had an endless supply of materials, I would be more creative and take more risks.  When I cut this puppet from the felt I intend for it, it will probably hand a lot differently.  The bedsheet I used is over 30 years old, and is very limp.

Any suggestions for puppet videos and tutorials would be appreciated.  In the end, this puppet must fit the hand comfortably and be able to support a separate headpiece.  For now, I will concentrate on making one that isn’t horrifying.