29 August 2013

Creativity Journal - Day 22 (Bridge)

Create a bridge. Connect two things in a creative way. It could be small enough for an amoeba or big enough for an elephant to cross it.
I would really like to claim my new sewing room design as my bridge project. After all, if it happens it will create one of the most difficult and powerful bridges there is - bridging the difference of opinion of two people.

28 August 2013

Sewing room inspiration

When I first started sewing we lived in a very small cottage. We had a kitchen, bathroom, lounge room, two bedrooms and long, narrow enclosed sleep-out. The lack of dining room was annoying and the sleep-out wasn’t user friendly. It was boiling hot in summer as the afternoon sun sat on the windows for hours, and cold in winter because the sun was behind the neighbour’s house. Eventually we rigged up some temporary blinds made from shade-cloth. They rolled down in summer and rolled away under the eaves in winter. We started using the space as a lounge room, which gave us the lounge room as a dining room. When I started sewing I took the far end of the room and set up my little ‘nook’.

Although this house is bigger, we now have a teenager and my sewing has grown at an even faster rate than she has. I currently have most of the third bedroom, which is open to the lounge and is supposed to be a cosy sitting room, come guest room, come sometimes study, come sewing room. The reality is that a 3m x 3m room simply won’t function in three or four different ways, at least not with stock standard furnishings.

I’ve been looking at space saving options – Murphy beds, roll away desks, and the like. Most of them are extremely expensive and still a lot bigger than our room will handle. I love looking at websites that proclaim “for small areas” and then show you rooms with a double bed and two metres of clearance around all four sides. Wouldn’t that be nice, if that were my ‘small’ space?

We’ve recently added a verandah to the front of our house. The plan (currently waiting on a job and a pay packet) is to put a new double glass door from the lounge room onto the deck. The current front door opens into a small entrance foyer. We’ve used this area as a library for a while and the plan was to remove the current door and shelve the entire space. There is a large (double-door) opening into the lounge room on one side, which we could partially close up when it’s no longer the main entrance, and an external window on the opposite wall.

The space looks a little like:

Yesterday I looked again at the space. It is almost exactly half the size of the spare bedroom. It measures 3.40m long by 1.40m wide (the bedroom is just under 3m wide). My sewing space needs three things – of which I currently have one. It needs a large cutting and layout bench at kitchen cabinet height, a working bench that will take three machine (yes, I’m greedy, I regularly use an overlocker, embroidery machine and sewing machine), and lots of storage.

And I actually think that with a bit of planning and custom building, I can get all three elements into the front entrance.

Here’s the plan:

At one end build in a cutting bench, the full width of the room (1.4m) by the depth of the wall on the lounge room side (0.8m). This is about 0.95m high.

Build a ‘U’ shaped bench at 0.73m high that runs under the cutting bench, along the outside wall and along the wall at the other end. This bench is 0.50m deep. This bench will hold sewing machines and provide general working areas. Under the cutting bench it will provide storage space for rulers and mats and the like. Originally I thought to keep it as 0.50m deep under the cutting bench, but now I’m thinking the full 0.80m will work fine for those sorts of tools.

Under the bench, there will be a shelf all the way around, about 10cm deep. Again this will provide storage for things such as scissors, unpickers, spare needles, and all those things you need when you’re actually sewing. At the end opposite the cutting bench it would hold all the tools for the stuff I do that’s not sewing – beading and jewellery making, paper craft and so forth. Ideally, this would be drawers all the way along, but I think a shelf with suitably labelled storage baskets will work just fine.

Above the working bench and the cutting bench would be various depth and height shelves to fit the space. Under the benches I’ve planned some shelves under the cutting bench, towards the back where I won’t kick it with my feet; possibly in the corners of the working bench; and a narrow ledge to pick up sewing machine feet for cleaning the floor and so forth.

I’ve drawn up some plans and I had a play with a room-drawing program last night. It will be a small space – not a lot of empty floor space. But, if I spend some time now planning what sort of storage I will need – do I need lots of wide shelves, will narrow shelves actually be better, what about baskets etc – I think it will be a lot more efficient than the entire room I have at the moment.

The only thing I’ll really lose is wall space for designing and hanging things. I am thinking that perhaps a framed board that can sit in front of a set of shelves and lifted out of the way as need be might work for designing.

I am very excited by the possibilities and the thought of having my own space that I don’t have to share with anyone. And ending the endless arguments and discussions about my taking over the entire house.

I’ve been playing in RoomSketcher (http://www.roomsketcher.com/). I like it. It’s easy to use, it’s flexible, it gives you a good idea of what a room might look like. You can only design in 2D in the free version; this makes actually filling a room with stuff (boxes, books, knick-knacks) a little tricky. In the paid version you can use 3D, which I imagine is a lot easier. There’s a limited amount of furniture (no sewing machines), but all the furniture can be customised – changing the dimensions and where in space it sits. To indicate my bench with the under shelf, I’ve ‘stacked’ two tables on top of each other. One is 630mm high, the other is 730mm. Although you can’t design in 3D in the freebie version, you can view your room in “Home 360”, which will give you a 3D fly around.

Here are a bunch of screen shots of my design. As I said, RoomSketcher has limited furniture. I would not be using a dark heavy wood for the shelving. I'm thinking white melamine for easy cleaning and to keep it light. And there's no 'sewing machine' on the list either. I've substituted speaker boxes, which look nothing like a sewing machine but do take up a space.

Standing in the entrance to the lounge room, looking left

Standing in the entrance to the lounge room, looking straight ahead

Standing in the entrance to the lounge room, looking right

Take from the left-hand end of the space (the blue is the lounge room)

Take from the right-hand end of the space (the blue is the lounge room)

Taken from the window, looking right

Taken from the window, looking straight ahead (into the lounge room)

Taken from the window, looking left

25 August 2013

Owl - Day 1

I started my garden sculpture this afternoon. And so far I'm quite pleased with the results. It's both not quite as difficult as I expected and harder than I thought. Although the material (Hebel) is soft and doesn't take a lot of strength to work with, it is still very tiring to tap away with a hammer and chisel for two hours. It would be nice to be ambidextrous. I've taken it slowly, slowly because I don't want to chip off a huge piece in the wrong place and wreck it.

For my first ever sculpture - I'm thinking I'm doing okay.
My box of tools - the cheapest set of chisels (and it would have been easy to spend $100+) and files that I could find, my clay proforma, sandpaper, and a pencil.

A blank block

Marked up block and clay proforma. I realised later that I forgot the ridge between the eyes :-(

Feet, first pass. I've since made them a little deeper and a little wider.

Finished first side. The wings were originally the same density as the feet, but they look much better deeper and wider.

I'm not entirely happy with the eyes. Need to do some more fine work to even them out.

Here he is standing. The pencilled in wing on the side is obviously a little out of whack now I've actually carved the front.

And one just for a perspective of his true size. Eyes look really screwy because of the light coming in from the right.

21 August 2013

Creativity Journal - Day 21 (Story)

Write a ten-word love story. Bonus: Illustrate it!
Woohoo. Three weeks complete. And it's only taken me seven to get here. Today's was fairly easy. Ten words isn't a lot but if you add illustration you can say just about anything. My first thoughts were of the opening few minutes of the film "Up" - no words, lots of love story. And my next thought was a video that several people have posted on FB over the past few days. And so I offer these ten words:

She was beautiful, loyal, and smart, and loved him completely.

20 August 2013

Creativity Journal - Day 20 (Clay)

Buy or make some clay (see instructions on page 238) and then use it like you never have before.
What's this? Two posts in one day? The boats have been sitting around for a couple of days and I've been mulling over the clay adventure. My thoughts went:

- "Use it like you never have before" - that's the easy bit. I haven't used clay since high school, so really anything would count as a new experience.
- Clay and fabric don't really mix. I could make some sort of patchwork pattern on clay. But what would I use it for? That becomes clutter.
- Clay and words might work. But again, what would I use it for? More clutter.
- What I really want is some sculptures in the garden. Hmmm, where does one get that much clay? Maybe I could change the rules and work with something other than clay.
- Let's see ... plaster doesn't last in the weather.
- Concrete? Need a mould. Hmm, too difficult.
- Ah, hebel. Hebel is a lightweight aerated concrete sold in blocks or panels. For some reason I remember someone telling me about it years ago.

So, the plan became research hebel, buy hebel, carve hebel. I've never carved anything other than the occasional roast dinner, so it could be an interesting adventure. I started, where everyone starts all projects these days, my friend, Google. There are some beautiful hebel sculptures. There are some weird ones too, but lots of a lovely stuff I wouldn't mind having in my garden.

Bunnings, which sells the stuff, even tells you how to make sculptures with it.

I 'pinned' a few I thought were doable. I quickly realised that intricate, interwoven abstracts probably weren't a good place for a complete novice to start. This swan really appealed, but I think even this would be stretching it for a first attempt. I could just see me managing to snap the neck in two.

As I thought about 'releasing the angel inside' (apparently a quote by Michelangelo) I got a bit bug-eyed about the whole enterprise. Although hebel is quite cheap as a sculpture material ($10 for a 600x200x200mm block), I didn't want to end up with a huge block of masonry that like a pile a rubble (or was a pile of rubble). Although, if my pile looked like this ...

I did see a number of owls I liked (they're mainly the ones I ended up pinning). Owls are quite trendy at the moment, but I've always loved owls (and frogmouths). A couple of sculptures that I pinned were very stylised and I realised I could keep it quite simple and still create an impression of an owl.  

I started sketching. I don't do 3D very well. I get tangled in the corners and the angles. I've tried to work out Google Sketch Up, but it just frustrates me. I started back at the beginning of high school tech drawing - a flat image of each side.

I decided to keep the hebel essentially rectangular, with some rounding off on the edges so I could use it as a bird bath stand. The wings and beak will be etched into the stone. The eye saucers will be etched in with the eyes either left raised, or if I stuff it up, painted in, or glow in the dark stones :-)

You may notice from my tenses, that I haven't actually carved this yet. No, because again the 'completely don't know what I'm doing' struck. And here's the irony of this challenge. I decided not to use clay. I decided to sculpt something out of hebel. I decided I need to make a model of my intended sculpture and clay is to most logical choice of material. So, in the end, I did use clay. (No idea what I'm going to do with my owl, but I'm sure he won't be clutter.)

Front view
Side view
Rear view
Having now made my prototype, I will go ahead and buy a hebel block to play with. Still might end up a pile of rubble, but at least now I know what sort of look I'm aiming for and that it does actually work in 3D. Hebel will have one slight advantage. I can mark it up with a pencil, instead of working 'freehand'.

Creativity Journal - Day 19 (floating)

Create something that floats on water. (It doesn't have to be a boat.)
I was thinking about this challenge last week, while sitting in my car in the car wash. All the water around obviously went with the floating theme. I tried to work out how to fold an origami boat with my receipt but failed miserably. I just ended up with a piece of paper with dozens of criss-crossed folder lines.

All the emotional dramas of being unemployment (or well under-employed) got in the way of life last week and I never quite got around to researching my origami. I finally did it the other night, and finally now I'm posting the results.

I won't post the instructions, mainly because there's lots of resources on the web already. I'll just send you to the two sites I used.

The first site was for a simple sail boat - Origami-Instructions.com.

One comment: I used my receipts and I found that the 'sail' must remain taller than the sides when you're folding. That is, when you get the instruction "Now fold each edge of the paper upwards as shown.  Use your fingers to open up into a hat!  You can stop at the hat, or continue on to the boat." the centre points must be above the edges you are folding up. Using receipts, which a long and thin, I sometimes had to fold in the extra length.

The second site was for a long thin boat. I thought this style would work better for my receipts, particularly the family grocery bill. The site I found was origami.wonderhowto.com.

I had a little bit of difficulty following the end of the video. I sometimes think these sort of instructional videos would be best done with the video over the person's shoulder. That way, non-spatial people like myself, aren't trying to tie our brains into knots working out which way around things go. The main thing that I missed at the end is that the very last step, after all the folding is complete (from about 1:47 in the video) actually involves turning the entire boat inside out.

If you look closely in this photo, you'll notice that my long boat is not very secure - because I didn't turn it inside out. I was watching the video on my phone and just couldn't make it out.
The next day I tried again, watching it on a bigger screen, with a some what squarer piece of paper.

I refolded my original receipt boat and tried them all out in the water. Result - some receipts make great boats because the paper is waxy; others are very thin and take on water quite quickly.

The wonderful thing about both these boats is that they only involve about five or six sets of folds (and the magical turn inside trick for the long boat). They're really easy to learn and memorise. I can see it being a useful "magical aunty" sort of trick for visits to parks and ponds - IF you put all your 'dead' boats in the bin so they don't feed birds :-(

Not fabric related, although I was thinking so stiff serviettes could be folded into the long boat for cutlery sets at a dinner party. Not word related, although I used printed paper. But definitely not clutter creating, because I used paper destined for the bin.

Linked to Noah

Noah Scalin, the author of the Creativity Journal, has blogged my meagre efforts on "Make Something 365 & Get Unstuck." Even though I wrote and submitted the copy, does this mean I'm famous ;-)

It does mean I'm inspired to keep going. Who knows who might be watching now!

Noah's post: http://makesomething365.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/an-ordinary-life.html

I've got some boats coming up later today. Kind of fitting really - boats and Noah ;-)

14 August 2013

Preferential voting in Australia

It's at about this point in the election campaign someone says to me, "I don't understand preferential voting. It's a waste of time. Why can't we just elect the most popular person and leave it at that?"  Preferential voting is not difficult. And it ensures that the most popular candidate is elected.

Come the election is it crucial that voters understand our preferential voting system. It’s actually not that hard or confusing. It simply means that your vote is influential regardless of who you vote for. Without preferences, minor parties and independents wouldn’t bother standing; they’d rarely, if ever get in.

Our system says a candidate must have an absolute majority of the votes, that is fifty percent plus one vote. If more than two candidates are running for a seat, you can be almost certain no-one is going to get a majority straight up. In some countries they solve this problem by having multiple elections. Round 1 - every one votes, lowest candidate is eliminated from the race. Round 2 weeks or months (and lots of dollars) later - everyone votes again. And so it goes until its a race between just two candidates. Preferential voting does the same thing - in a single election so we don't have to have endless election campaigns.

Here’s how it works:

My electorate of Lah-Lah Land (where lots of pollies live) has four candidates standing for a seat.

We have Jane, ultra conservation, right major party.
Joe, blokey, left major party.
Christine, ultra left, hippy, tree-hugging independent.
Finally, Bob, a little odd and we’re not really sure what he or his party stand for, but he has a winning way with people and they seem to respond to him.

To keep the maths simple, there are 100,000 formal votes (informal votes – those that are incorrectly filled in or defaced – obviously are not counted).

How voters are required to vote is different for different elections (local, state, national). It’s important you check the rules as stated on the paper. In some cases, it is sufficient for you simply put a ‘1’ against your top candidate. Alternatively, you may be required to number every box OR number a certain percentage of boxes.

For ease, in this election we have assumed that candidates must number every box (1 through to 4).

In the first round of counting, the only thing considered is the "1". Votes are separated based on the first preference of every voters. In our electorate that's four piles of papers - one for each candidate.

Of our 100,000 formal votes we get the following results from the first round of counting:
Candidate First Round
Jane 33,000
Joe 21,000
Christine 16,000
Bob 30,000

If a candidate had gained a clear majority – 50% plus 1 (50,001) – they would be declared the winner and we stop right there. However, as no-one has a clear majority counting goes to preferences.

The candidate with the lowest number of votes (Christine, our tree hugger) is eliminated and her ‘preferences are distributed’. These means that her 16,000 papers are distributed according to the number ‘2’ votes marked on them.

For example: I voted ‘1’ for Christine and ‘2’ for Bob. When Christine is eliminated my vote will now count for Bob. Why? Because I decided if I couldn’t have tree-hugging Christine as my representative I’d prefer to have odd-ball Bob rather than the either of the two major parties.

The results of our second round of counting are:

Candidate First Round Second Round Total
Jane 33,000 7,000 40,000
Joe 21,000 4,000 25,000
Bob 30,000 5,000 35,000
Christine 16,000 - -

We still have no clear majority. Again, the lowest candidate is eliminated and their next preference is distributed. That is, Joe (our leftie) is eliminated. The 21,000 voters who placed Joe as ‘1’ will have their second preference counted, and the 4,000 voters who originally voted for Christine will have their third preference counted (their second preference having been Joe). My vote was Christine, then Bob – so it’s not involved in this round of counting. Only the votes that have either gone directly to Joe or have been distributed to him in the second round of counting will be affected.

Our third round of counting results are:

Candidate First Round Second Round Third Round Total
Jane 33,000 7,000 6,000 46,000
Bob 30,000 5,000 19,000 54,000
Joe 21,000 4,000 - -
Christine 16,000 - - -

After the third round we have a clear majority, Bob, the slight odd-ball with no clear policy, is now our sitting member.

Why do we do this? Why is it important to understand how it works and use it wisely?

The preferential system means that the candidate who is ‘preferred’ by the most number of people will be elected.

A lot of people who voted for Christine ‘preferred’ Jane over the other candidates. However, in contest between Jane and Bob, they actually preferred Bob.

Why not just count my first candidate? 
The other option is a ‘first past the post’ system, rather than a majority. In a first past the post system Jane would have been elected, even though she’s not the candidate that most people would prefer to have.

Party preferences 
Often the parties will allocate their preferences. You, the voter, simply put in a ‘1’. If additional rounds of counting are required, your vote is distributed according the preferences nominated by the party. This is all very well IF (big IF) the party’s preferences match your’s. Unfortunately, a lot of voters use the party preference because a) they don’t understand the system and b) it saves them time and effort – particularly on the Senate vote, which can have dozens and dozens of candidates.

How to mark your preferences 
Still not sure how to use your preferential vote? It’s really very simple.

1. Put a ‘1’ against your absolute top candidate. ‘If everything goes the way I think it should this person will be elected.’
2. Think ‘Okay, if number one wasn’t running, who would I vote for out of the rest of these geezers?’, because (essentially) that’s what preferential voting is about. Put a number 2 against that candidate.
3. Continue the process until every box is numbered.


12 August 2013

Creativity Journal - Day 18 (Car)

Work with the things you find in your car (or a friend's car if you don't have one).
Until last October, like the vast majority of people around the world, I had never owned a brand new car. I am now the proud owner of a lovely, new, shiny, blue car. With "SMF" in the number plate, naturally it is called 'Smurf'.

When we got married we had an OLD car; a car so old, and so big, and so heavy that steering it in reverse to get out of our curved driveway used to put my back out. Then we bought an almost new car. It was so beautiful. Little did we know that it would subjected to the indignities of a baby and toddler.

I know people who say, "Oh, we'll buy a new car before we have children." My advice, buy an old car. Wait until the children are older - old enough to have their own car is probably okay - and then buy a new car. Children, particularly babies and toddlers, are fond of decorating with food - at all stages of digestion. "Oh," they say, "We won't allow food in our car." Older and wiser parents smile and nod and allow them to continue in their fantasy. When you get stuck somewhere longer than expected and home is a long way away, the 'no food in the car' rule quickly becomes irrelevant, compared to the screaming toddler. And, besides, unlike the drunken friends of your youth, you cannot yell at a baby to hang their head out the window before they spew.

Yes, our lovely, near new car went through all those indignities. And several Nullarbor crossings. The Nullarbor is difficult for people who have never travelled it to comprehend. Our trips were normally from Perth to Melbourne (or return). That's a trip of about 3,500 km, or just under 2,200 miles. I work out that's the equivalent of driving from California to Fort Wayne (it's mentioned in a MASH episode). However, about 1,200 km (745 miles) of that is nothing. This is not Europe nothing or America nothing, this is Australia nothing. In that stretch there are no cities, no towns, no villages, no hamlets, no houses. The best you come across is a petrol station, with a greasy eats. You stop at every single petrol station; a, because you need petrol and b, because you need something different to look at for 10 minutes. How people survive and live out there, I'll never know. I love the bush, but this part of the world takes it to the extreme. By the way, I work out that's about the equivalent of Las Vegas to Denver.

I did have another car. It was even older. It was old when I started driving; it was really old by the time I owned it. I loved it. It went like rocket. It was definitely a lady car and it was going through menopause. It leaked, it had hot flashes (the air-conditioning was long gone), and the stereo consisted of AM radio (no modern fandangled technology for this ol' girl). A small car, on the freeway, without airconditioning, travelling next to B-doubles is no fun. Any car that leaks when it rains is no fun. It was a fun car to drive though.

When hubby was given a car as part of his work package I had to decide whether to keep my rocket or the family car. Sad to say, but comfort (and music) won the day and I reluctantly parted with my car. And I regretted it. Although my car leaked and was hot, it went. Our family car was slowly dying and becoming more and more unreliable. Although I am the child of two motor mechanics, I do not do greasy hands and I haven't a clue where to start looking when something goes wrong. Being stranded on the side of the freeway on a 36°C day is no fun.

Last year we decided we could afford to upgrade. And the new car is mine (at least, that's what the rego says). And being a brand new car I do try to keep it tidy ... well ... tidier. The sole contents of my car were - two jackets, three lolly wrappers, one water bottle. The glove box contains wet wipes, first aid kit, sewing kit (naturally). The back door cup holders have cups and some picnic cutlery. Now, I'm sure if I thought really hard I could have turned all that into something. However, I'm also sure it would have been classified as 'clutter'. (Theme 3: create no clutter.)

However, I was inspired to clean my car. I don't do it very often. I vacuumed and toyed with the idea of making patterns on my carpets. I wiped the insides and all the windows. And then I took my car to the car wash place. And I took photos. They're not wonderful, or outstanding, or even amazing. But I had fun actually "looking" at the water and soap as it played on my windscreen. Not fabric related, not word related (unless you count all those words up there), but also not clutter.

11 August 2013

Creativity Journal - Day 8 Update (book)

Transform an old book into something new by cutting, folding, gluing, and so on.
I finished this challenge a couple of weeks ago, I just forgot to post about it. I finally overcame my hesitation (paranoia) about cutting up or destroying a book. I will confess going to two op shops before I found the 'right' book. I didn't even really know what I wanted to do with it, and still I couldn't choose a book. "Too plain, too fancy, too many pictures, too many photos." Sigh!

Finally I found a book that was a good mix of words and photos. In the end - I didn't use any of the photos at all. Still, I've saved them, I'm sure they'll come in handy for something. One day.

I found a poster on Pinterest that I really liked.

I wanted to make my own version; something uniquely ours rather than a copy. Knowing I planned on working with cut outs, I designed it in Excel using bold fonts, no thin line fonts. I used Excel because it allows for limitless page size.

I had already bought a canvas. I didn't buy a square canvas, because it wouldn't work in the space I was planning to use. My canvas is twice as long as it high, so although I was using the above layout as a guide, I had to think about my own design elements. Once I decided on what words were going on what lines, I used Word Art to allow me to drag the words bigger, higher, wider (or smaller, shorter, narrower) in the space I wanted.

The fonts I used are:
  • Rockwell Extra Bold (twice)
  • Cooper Black
  • Berlin Sans FB Demi
  • Franklin Gothic Heavy
  • Arial Black

When I finally had a design that met the Teen's approval (my art critic) I printed out the lettering. I rough cut each letter, laid it over the section of the book's page I wanted to use and then cut through both layers with a craft knife. Much easier than cutting out the letters, drawing the letters onto the page, then cutting out the page.
My letters all cut out and ready to go. I considered cutting out the pictures from the book somehow to make a collage background for the canvas. I decided that it would be too busy and not the look I was hoping for. In the end I squirted rows of green and white paint on to my canvas and just sort of smoshed them about with a brush.
The end result was quite evenly coloured, but it has a hint of variation. Because the paint ended up quite thick, I used it to 'glue' the letters down. Sadly, that means not guide lines and my letters are little wonkier in placement than I would like. If I did it again, I lay out my lettering before I painted the canvas and draw faint guide lines to get a more even layout. Everything should be moved down just slightly; the 'most' is supposed to tuck into the 'h' of 'house' - not sit over the top of it; and the 'share' line has a slight slope, but these things are hard to remember when you're working on the fly.

Apologies for the poor quality picture. I think I must have taken it in the afternoon, when the sun comes through the window behind this opening.

Creativity Journal - Day 17 (Eyes)

Make something inspired by and/or that goes over an eye (yours or someone else's).
Day 17 was another day of 'trials and errors'. This challenge inspired me to consider making sleep masks for sale. I wanted something a little different to that available online. Ebay had a couple of version that people make. I didn't simply want to be a copy cat. I thought what I could do is put the expensive embroidery machine to some use. I do use it, just not as much as its price tag warrants. Here is a record of my trials:
The lovely curly-cued and decorated 'S' I wanted to use was too big for a sleep mask. I shrunk it about half in my embroidery program. In theory, the density of stitches should adapt accordingly. In practice, they just get shorter.

I wanted to use a satin-like fabric. A, because I have some, and B, because it has a nice texture on the face. As you can see, I didn't even get part way through the first trial stitch-out. The thread breakages got to me and I realised it was going to pucker and pull the fabric dreadfully.
I tested it on calico (one of my tea stains from Day 13) to see whether it was just the fabric or not. Not. And then the fun began. I've done some really basic editing of embroidery files: merged letters to make monograms, deleted some sections I didn't want on an image. I ended up spending three days working on this one file. Embroidery files are a little like clipart. There's a 'dot' at every point where you want a stitch. It's not simply a matter of drawing a shape and colouring it in. Every single thread is drawn, aligned, and 'dotted'.
In this attempt, the three densest sections - the top curl, end curl, and lower curve - have been 'thinned out'. Each of these sections is a series of lines in one direction then back. I took out every second line, which meant I had a series of lines all running in the same direction. In a drawing this obviously is a non-issue, when you're stitching the end of one line has be the start of the next OR you have to be prepared to deal with 'jump stitches'. A jump stitch is a loose stitch, which you cut off when the stitching is finished. The less jump stitches the better. When I grasp the issue of the jump stitches, the answer was fairly straight forward. You simply reverse the stitch direction on every second line; reverting the entire section to 'one direction and back'.

Although this stitch-out is flatter, it's still got a fair bit of pull and pucker. The issue, of course, is all the curly-cues. They are all double-stitched - out to the end and back again. At full size the double stitching isn't a problem; at the half size they were too weighty. I thought it would be easy enough to set them all to single stitch and deal with some jump stitches.
Alas, as you can see if you compare the curly-cues on the above photo with the one before it, it didn't work. I think (although I'm not 100% sure) what happens is, if jump stitches are too short, they just become regular stitches. Hence, the loss of pretty, defined curly-cues and the addition of ... well ... mess.

After playing for hours and hours and hours with these darn curly-cues, I decided - smeg it. I don't need them. I deleted them. Eeek, aaak, disaster. The tails of the curly-cues link the three other sections; the two narrowest sections of the 'S' are curly-cue tails. More hours, and hours, and hours of grabbing and dragging little dots on my screen. Lots of false starts, lots of "smeg it, forget it, no I can't", finally:
Ah, yes. Certainly not as a pretty as the original, but it worked on calico at the reduced scale. Would it work on my satin-like fabric? I did some research into stitching onto slippery fabrics. One website, Crafty Stitcher, recommended two layers of Solvy (a dissolvable, plastic sort of stuff). I wasn't sure if that was two layers underneath, so I went with sandwiching the fabric between the two layers. I got as far as top-stitching my completed sleep mask when I noticed disaster:
The embroidery had 'cut' the fabric, and not just in one place. Sigh. Still, I hadn't spent three days editing the pattern and trialling a half dozen samples to quit now! Oh, no. I decided to try iron on interfacing on the back of my satin-like fabric. And it seems to have worked.
My first mask I sewed right-sides together and then turned in the right way. This one (I was pretty over the whole thing by this point), I sewed wrong-sides together, satin-stitched around the edge and trimmed away the excess. I didn't like it at first, but the satin-stitching is growing on me. The back is soft black polar fleece. The elastic should be black. I wasn't really thinking beyond the embroidery by this point.

I have learnt a lot about machine embroidery designing and that I probably don't want to make enough of these to sell them, but if you'd really like one just leave a comment with your preferred colours (fabric and thread) and I'll get back to you.