A New Project

The toy box to be

The toy box to be

I’m excited. I have a new project and new projects always excite me! Finding the time to actually complete the project may be tricky but the idea and the will is there so I am sure we will manage somehow.

My inspiration

My inspiration

The project is a toy box for the little one. For someone who is only seven weeks old he has a pretty impressive amount of toys already, we figured that unless we provide a place for them to live they will end up populating the floor (which will become a major problem when he gets into Lego and starts leaving those evil ‘one’ blocks lying about…anyone who has ever trodden on one of those will understand where I am coming from!). Five minutes on Trade Me (the New Zealand version of EBay) led to a blanket box being purchased and the toy box project was conceived.

Maybe I'll paint a robot like this

Maybe I’ll paint a robot like this

The plan is to paint it up a nice colour and decorate it with space themed pictures (I’m not sure why space, it just seemed the thing to do). I have spent the afternoon on the Internet, pinned some pictures to Pinterest and am ready to go. I love to jazz up old items and give them a new purpose in life, it is much more fun than going out and buying the item ready made, not to mention cheaper. Generally speaking you can pick up good quality items that were built to last (something a lot of today’s products are not). This way we can get something that has been personalised for the little one and prevented a perfectly good blanket box from going to the dump. Mummy also gets to have fun completing the project and Daddy gets to play with the electric sander, it’s a win all round situation!

Somehow I now need to find the time to sand, prime, paint and varnish the box…this is the tricky bit. Obviously at only seven weeks old the little one is rather demanding time wise, I’m hoping that with hubby’s help we will manage to complete the project before he’s old enough to actually use it. I think this one will be a case of watch this space.

Making new friends

I had so much fun making the little monster (now named Blob) yesterday that today I decided to make him a friend (as yet unnamed). He’s made in the same way but obviously he is a little different. I decided on ears instead of antenna this time and thought a different body shape would be in order. He has a lovely big heart to show how much love he has to share too! This will have to be my last cuddly for a while though as I am back in work for two weeks tomorrow (boo!) and I have run out of softie guts (double boo!).

I should probably stop procrastinating anyway and concentrate on the jobs that actually need to be done, like packing my hospital bag. I just have to work out what I should be putting in there…any suggestions will be gratefully received.

Crafting away a hot sunny afternoon

Being 8 months pregnant means that hot sunny afternoons are not as pleasant as they might be … finding a bit of a breeze and trying to get comfy are my big priorities at the moment. So with the windows and doors wide open I decided a bit of crafting in the afternoon was required. If I’m going to hide away inside I just as well do something productive!

planning the monster

planning the monster

The husband wanted me to make a robot for our little one but I wanted to try something different so decided a cuddly monster was in order this time. A few minutes on the internet to research and a plan started to form, a few more minutes with a sketch book and the plan was finalised. Next I dove into the fabric box again and selected what I was going to use, part of an old red towel, some of one of hubby’s old t-shirts (again!) and a few scraps of patterned fabric.

I created a pattern using pieces of newspaper and cut out all the pieces needed. Next I appliqued the face and tummy parts onto the towel piece as I had decided I wanted my monster to have a textured front. I added a bit of stuffing behind the face and tummy pieces to give them a little extra “puff” when the monster was finished. The arms, legs and antenna then needed to be sewn and stuffed. It is helpful to use a chop stick (or something similar) to turn these pieces the right way out as their narrow ends can make this tricky.

The pieces ready to sew together

The pieces ready to sew together

Next, just like with the robot, I pinned all the pieces together making sure that the arms, legs and antenna were pointing to the inside so that when I turned him the right way they popped out. The extra stuffing and all the appendages meant he was quite bulky and so I had to be extra careful when sewing around the edge to make sure everything was caught in and in the right place. Again don’t forget that you need to leave a hole to turn your cuddly friend the right way round, I normally leave this between the legs.

The final step is to stuff your new friend, being careful to work the stuffing into all the nooks and crannies. I always take my time to ensure that I am going to be happy with the finished shape. I then carefully pinned the hole shut and used a ladder stitch to close the hole (I sew this twice to make double sure that it’s not going to pop open again).

The completed monster

The completed monster

I’m really happy with how he has turned out and absolutely love his little face with its wonky smile and odd sized eyes. I love the way these handmade cuddlies have there own personality and that even if I tried to make another one it would look different with a slightly different character. It was a great excuse to repurpose a few old bits and pieces again as well, this time a towel and two of hubby’s t-shirts (don’t worry dear these were both in the approved pile!). I love recycling old bits and pieces, giving them a new life. By making it myself I can make sure there are no little bits and pieces to be pulled off as well making a little more baby friendly and of course it costs a fraction of going out and buying a new cuddly (plus I think he is better than a boring one-a-dozen shop bought one). Above all else though it is a great excuse to let your imagination run wild on a hot, sunny afternoon!

Cuddly Robots

One of my favourite things to make are soft toys (or cuddlies as I like to call them). I make them from crochet, socks and fabric. In fact we have quite a few crazy creations in the house already that have sat on shelves waiting for someone to give them a purpose other than decoration (after all toys are made to be played with, aren’t they?).

After a trip to New Plymouth to visit some friends and their little boy I decided a cuddly thank you was needed as they have very kindly lent us a lot of clothes and baby bits and pieces. Two fabric friends I had bought a while ago were my inspiration and I set about making a robot. Again the fabric box was raided for scraps that would stand up to the task of being played with, I choose a piece of stripy upholstery fabric and a piece of denim type fabric with stars on it. These would form the basis of the robot with a few other scraps to be used for arms, legs, antenna, and decorations. A quick sketch to visualise what I wanted to achieve and then off with the sewing.

A robot ready for a cuddle.

A robot ready for a cuddle.

The first thing I did was cut out and then sew the decoration onto the face of the robot. I used the denim fabric for this part and a selection of rectangles, circles and cog designs came together to create a face and some buttons. On the back of the robot I used the lettering feature o my sewing machine to write “this robot belongs to …” just to add a personalised touch. When the decoration was complete I sewed the arms, legs and antenne together (right side together) before turning them right way and stuffing them with fluff (known as softie guts in our house!).

The last step was to pin the front and back of the robot together with the arms and legs in place (make sure they are pointing towards the inside of the robot so that when you turn him right side out they pop into view!) and then sew all the way round leaving a gap to allow you to turn him out. I stuffed the robot to be quite firm and then, using a ladder stitch, closed up the gap.

Obviously because he is intended for a little boy (not quite 1 year old) I didn’t use toy eyes etc but if you were making this for an older child you could use these things too. Fingers crossed the little man will like his new friend and maybe I will have to sit down and make one for our little one too!

(the inspiration for this little guy came from two cuddly robots I bought from a lady called Paisley Jade. She is an awesome cuddly creator and blog writer based in Whangarei, New Zealand. You can check out her blog here.)