Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A note: For the time being, I am shunning garments. They are never the right size; the drape is all wrong; and they suck up too much of my most precious resource--brain power. Henceforth, I will be featuring crafts, home decor, and assorted kids & baby projects that I will make for friends.

As the days grow mercifully short (earlier bedtimes!) and the nights colder, I find myself shunning Pimm’s & ginger beer and instead sipping a small glass of decent red wine. I just want to warm my cockles—is that too much to ask for? Perhaps a hot toddy will be in order soon. Too bad that I don’t know what that is, but it sure sounds cozy.

Readers may recall my earlier foray into the stuffed bird world, in which my birds resembled not so much winged creatures but reptiles. Had I been asked to provide figures for a Pleistocene-era diorama, my “birds” would have fit right in as the early half-fish, half land crawler that Darwin described to horrified Victorians. They would have shuddered upon first glance of my creations, as well. The moniker “O’Connor’s (Loch Ness?) monster” comes to mind.

Well, I am happy to report that my birds, based on a lovely free pattern on Spool’s website, look less like scary bottom dwellers and more like actual birds! The one feature I have trouble keeping defined is the pointy beak. As a result, a few of them are hooded falcons or birds with nasal congestion (stuffy beaks!). The birds make great soft toddler toys; mobiles; and Christmas ornaments.

"Sooo...are you a falcon, or what?"
"Up yours!"

Speaking of warming one’s cockles, one of the best ways to do this is with a mini pillow. These toddler-sized pillows are the perfect size for your preschooler to use at naptime, but did you know they are also great to use on planes, trains, and automobiles if you are a weary adult? I rarely travel, so I’ve been taking mine to bed as a comforting stuffed animal replacement. Pattern Patti on Etsy shows you how to not only sew the case but also the pillow inside of it. So far, I’ve made a kid-themed case, a Christmas one, and a normal one. You could sew one for every holiday and season. The small dog on your gift list this December will appreciate his fashionable body pillow, perhaps with his initials appliquéd upon it?

Other projects in the works: A Victorian needle & sewing case; soft baby blocks; and eco-friendly, reusable snack bags made out of laminate cotton! Join me next week, as I try my hand at the lost art of hand sewing and give my machine a well-deserved rest.

Finally, I leave you with an oddly touching picture of my daughter during her preschool's Halloween parade. She's a shy little girl in crowds. I don't know why, but this picture makes me sad and happy at the same time.

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