Mug Mugs!

I came home from the thrift store the other day armed with an armful of mugs: I love the word “mug!” It’s fun to say – the way it starts with an mmmm- and ends with a short, round -ugg.

Lots of mugs!

Lots of mugs 🙂

And mug has multiple meanings. A mug is a useful container from which to sip tea or cocoa or coffee. And a mug is something you can make tasty microwave cakes in. And a mug is a face! So what I’m doing with these thrifted mugs is putting mugs on them.

Hello Mr. Zebra!

A zebra’s mug on a mug

But you don’t need to mug me for them (though maybe mug me for the pun..). You can make your own!

I’m sure you’ve all seen Sharpie mug tutorials around the interwebs. They’re very straight forward, but here’s my quick take on it.

  1. Choose a mug of low quality. The glaze will absorb the Sharpie better.
  2. Clean your ceramic mug well, which means washing in soap and hot water, followed by a quick rub-down with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Draw on it with a Sharpie or similar permanent marker
  4. Bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes. Leave the mugs in the oven while it’s preheating and while it cools.
  5. Ta-da!

I design and sell artisan mugs on my etsy shop, and also make them for fun gifts. The mugs I’ve made so far will be posted in my shop once they’re baked (right now I’ve only done through step 3). The style I use the most is called stippling, which is the practice of making up a picture with lots of tiny dots. However, it’s only one way you can decorate a mug. If you try something on your mug and don’t like it, you can wash it off fairly easily before it’s baked. For small touch-ups, use rubbing alcohol and a q-tip.

My favorite things with which to adorn mugs are animals, particularly their faces. Hence, mug mugs! The hardest part is deciding what animal should go on what style mug. I like to match the general shape of the animal with that of the mug. Now without further ado, and for your own inspiration, here are some of the mug mugs I’ve been working on!

Here's an adorable bunny rabbit. He's my favorite so far!

Here’s an adorable bunny rabbit. He’s my favorite so far!

And he's flanked by carrots. I know rabbits shouldn't eat carrots, but I like the visual pairing.

And he’s flanked by carrots. I know rabbits really shouldn’t eat a lot carrots, but I like the visual pairing.

Here we have a butterfly on the butter yellow mug.

Here we have a butterfly on the butter yellow mug.

And finally, a hibernating hedgehog.

And finally, a hibernating hedgehog.

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Nice To Meet “Shrew”

So little while ago, a friend of mine asked me to make him a life-sized shrew. He was doing a presentation on PA’s largest and smallest predators, and the short-tailed shrew is PA’s smallest! (Thank god he didn’t ask for largest, a black bear!) If you’re not familiar with this small rodent, here’s a pic.

photo from Blarina_carolinensisPCSL20929B

I whipped one up out of brown felt, and made a tutorial. I’m inspired to share this now, because as the snow melts in my neck of the woods, you can find little tunnels under the snow where shrews, moles, and field mice have been navigating. Come summer, these tunnels riddle the lawn and can be harder to spy.

So make yourself a little shrew and picture him scuttling beneath the blanket of white, waiting for spring!

Materials: Brown felt*, two seed beads, brown thread, sewing needle, stuffing, pattern

I don’t have a pdf or anything for the pattern. Just use this picture as a guide, keeping in mind that the felt body pieces should be 2.7-3.5 inches in length, with a .5-.8 inch tail.

* a note about the color. Real shrews have a grey tummy, but I didn’t have any grey felt. If you’d like yours to be more accurate, simply cut the bottom piece (which is at the top of the picture) out of grey felt.

Procedure:

1. cut out all the felt pieces.

2. Use a running back stitch along the edge of the side body pieces to make the body of the shrew.

3. Baste the feet and tail onto the bottom piece of felt.

4. Turn the now-stitched top pieces right-side out. Now’s a good time to stitch the beads on. I forgot to take a picture of this step, but I trust that, using the finished shrew photos, you all can figure out where eyes go.

5. Leaving a small gap around the tail, stitch the bottom to the top. I know in sewing you typically put wrong sides together, then turn right-side out, but the felt is a bit too stiff for that. Instead, pin the bottom to the top as it will look finished and use a small, neat blanket stitch all around. Oh, and you won’t really be able to do blanket stitch over the feet and tail, so just do a tight running stitch over those bits.

Again, follow the yellow marks for stitching. And note the opening by the tail; that's where you'll add the stuffing.

6. Stuff your shrew and then sew up the gap. You want him to lay flat on his belly, so don’t over-stuff. And that’s all!

Enjoy your tiny predator :)

sNOw post this week…

Sorry everyone, but I live in PA, and we’ve been hit with some of the worst snow and power outages this area has seen in years. Yesterday a falling branch took out my internet and phone line. I have no idea when it’ll be hooked back up, so this is just a quick update, and I’ll hopefully be posting real content next week! In the meantime, here are some pictures of the storm!

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Snow people in love! After the ice, they literally fell at each other’s feet!

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Blue sky and icicles

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This is one of the smallest downed branches. What looked like half a tree missed my car by inches!