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Topic: Cute Stuffed Toy OR Dog Usurper? YOU Decide  (Read 1749 times)
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Semiadolescent By Night
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« on: May 12, 2008 08:14:13 PM »

So lately I’ve been busy with a variety of projects, which I haven’t posted about yet because I made some of them for a swap, and I don't want to spoil the surprise.  But I've been dying to post about them (hopefully my package will arrive soon)!

After I finished my swap project and got it sent off, I had a couple of other little things in mind that I wanted to work on. One of them is related to my increasing obsession with the idea of making cute stuffed animals, so I’ve been researching books on the topic, and one of them that I recently took out of the library was a brief volume titled Soft Animals A to Z. It has some of the more thorough patterns that I’ve looked at, so I copied a few of them off and started working on a little elephant this weekend, using some scrap flannel I had around. I was originally going to make it all pink, but I had some soft floral print as well, and decided to use it for the insides of his ears, as well as his tusks, tail, and footpads. I am so glad I decided to do this.

This was a great project for me to work on at this stage in my sewing skills, because it gave me some practice working with very small seam allowances, as well as with turning and stuffing small bits and pieces. It also was small enough that I was able to finish it in a weekend. So Saturday night after I finished potting the herb plants I bought while out with onthinice, I laid out the pieces and started working on the little elephant. It only took a few hours to get him nearly finished, and by midnight I was almost ready to turn his body inside out and start stuffing.

I found the pattern fairly easy to follow, and didn't have much trouble putting things together, based on the helpful diagrams, well-labeled pattern pieces which are referred to clearly with all capped names in the text, and the combined clarity and brevity of the instructions.  I didn't follow it exactly.  It called for a different type of material, like microsuede or felt, but I decided flannel would be just fine.  I like the way it turned out, and how soft it is.  The only thing I might do differently is that I think the pale color I chose might get dingy too quickly, especially if given to a child.  Still, I really like the way it turned out. 

The pattern called for me to cut 1.5 inch cardboard or plastic circles to push into the bottoms of his feet for stability, but I decided this would only frustrate me, as I was not able to get his footpads sewn on quite uniformly enough for this to work without some adjustment. I don't think it's really too noticeable, but they are not quite round, and not quite all the same as each other.  So instead of struggling with that, I poured two tablespoons of poly pellets into the bottom of each leg, then used a chopstick to stuff polyfill down into the legs.

I am extremely proud of this elephant. It is one of my greatest sewing accomplishments to date. My boyfriend pronounced it a “totally great” elephant, and when I went out to dinner with my coworker friend tonight I took the elephant along in the car to show off, and even she agreed that it was a “very cute” little elephant.

To explain the title of this post, last night after I completed the elephant, I was holding it on my lap looking at it, and my boyfriend was lying on the other couch with the dog curled up against him. “Hey, I’ll trade you,” he said. I handed him the elephant and called the dog over. He looked at the elephant, then tucked it under his arm where the dog had been.

The dog began staring at the toy elephant, which was sitting where she had been, enjoying the affection and attention she had been. My boyfriend noticed this and pointed it out to me. He moved the elephant a little bit, and the dog perked up and pricked her ears forward. This is the same thing she does when she thinks a mouse is around. She jumped down and stared up at the elephant, which he then handed to me. She immediately resumed the spot the elephant had been occupying.

I found this completely hilarious, so I began fussing over the elephant and petting it, and telling it how it was good and maybe it needed a treat. The dog watched bitterly from her perch in my boyfriend’s arms. “Honey, that’s cruel,” he accused, in a way that suggested he found it as humorous as I did. So I stood up with the elephant and walked over to put it on the table. The dog got up and followed me suspiciously.

Then this morning when I was getting ready to leave the house, I picked up the elephant to put it in a bag, and the dog kept a watchful eye on it the entire time.

Good dog. She won’t be allowing any elephant shenanigans in this house!
Monisaurus the Crafty Dinosaur
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2008 08:18:52 PM »

holy crap!
that is the cutest thing I have ever seen!

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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2008 08:25:54 PM »

i love it...have you named her..she looks soft and cuddly!



« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2008 08:31:24 PM »

Your pink elephant is adorable!  I love the tiny rosebud print fabric.  You did a great job.
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2008 09:00:22 PM »

this is adorable on so many levels. i love the knobbyness of her knees.  and the fabrics are sweet as can be.  the dog story is a riot.  what kinda pooch?  great job!!!

what WOULD willie do?
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2008 09:44:02 PM »

Awwww.   My nephew would LOVE this!  ( So would I!!!)

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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2008 02:11:13 AM »

i totally have the same book as you (Soft Animals A-Z) and the elephant is the only one Ive made so far, although there are others I want to make but havent had time..  yours came out way better then mine I think.. I love how you changed the colors for the tusks, ears, etc

Would you not like to be?  -DMB
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2008 05:44:11 AM »

That is a mighty fine elephant!  The button eye has a certain look to it.  Maybe Heidi thought the elephant not only took her rightful cuddle spot but also gave her the button stink eye.  That is war-starting behavior for sure.

Heidi doesn't have a fondness for chewing up stuffed animals, does she?  She may have plans for your new beast.

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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2008 10:13:14 AM »

that elephant is adorable! and your dog story is so funny! sounds like something my jealous doggle would do :-)  that elephant better watch her back!
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2008 07:19:36 PM »

Oh, you guys, thanks for saying such nice stuff! 

To address your inquiries:

1) No name yet.  For some reason, despite how feminine it looks, I have been thinking of this elephant as being male.  I know, it makes no sense.  My boyfriend suggested "Ollie", but I'm not sure I care for it.  I considered Jackson.  I still haven't decided if he will live with us or go to someone else's house.  He might make a good little visitor. 

2) The dog is a runty miniature schnauzer mix that I found in the trash a couple years ago.  I have written other stuff about her stupidity, too.  She has a good personality, but I really do think a few of her circuits aren't firing reliably.  We used to have a little garden fence and no matter how many times she walked into it face first, she never did understand that she couldn't simply go through it. 

3) (technically not an inquiry but that's OK) I really like this book so far and am considering buying it.  Not only does it have the staples, such as rabbit, cat, dog, etc. but it also has stuff like armadillos, a hippo, a giraffe, so that's nice for a bit of variety.  The instructions are fairly easy to follow, as well.  I like how they are written.  I may try a rabbit next - there is one in sort of a soft, nonplush fabric in one of the pictures. 

4) and 5) No attacks yet, but the elephant has been kept safely out of harm's way where the dog cannot reach.  She isn't much of a chewer anyway, so I'm not terribly worried.  She has a squirrel toy that I named Brandon (I'm obsessed with naming things), which she carries around with her sometimes, but she doesn't really do much other than get spit on him. 
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