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Topic: Brain Pin Cushion Served Up on a Purdy China Plate  (Read 4134 times)
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« on: January 13, 2006 05:02:16 AM »

(Originally posted in "Occasions and Holidays as a "brainstorming" idea)

Not sure how this idea occurred to me, but I somehow have decided that the perfect gift for my mother this year is a pincushion...design ed to look like a brain. She's a former alterationist and spends a lot of time sewing...she also occasionally has a twisted sense of humour (which I've inherited, apparently), so I like the idea of a stuffed, squishable brain, about the size of a fist, that she can stick her pins and needles in. I was thinking I'd glue it to a rather pretty, gilded dish. maybe even use some slightly translucent nail polish to simulate blood...

but how on earth could I make a half-decent stuffed brain?


it would be nice if it weren't too involving, expensive or time-consuming, as there's a great chance she hate it (we are sadly beyond the phase of "anything my daughter hand-crafts is sacred"). better still if it had the separate hemispheres and ridges. I'd like to spend about five hours on it, tops, but I'm open to spending more time if it's a really terrific, workable idea.

(don't worry--I have other gift ideas that are much more Mom-appropriate--it's only fitting that someone get her back for her years of gag gifts)

so, I did end up making the pincushion.
 I had wanted to go with the upholstery trim idea, but was unable to find any at the fabric store. Also, when studying photos of real brains, I realised that a lot of the shapes and coagulations of the brain couldn't really be reprdroduced with  tube--some of them were "t" shaped, for instance.

What I ended up doing instead was buying a styrofoam cube (aproximately 4"x4") and carving it down until it was roughly the size and shape of a brain.
I further smoothed and sculpted that styrofoam, to make it even more brainy looking, with a division for the hemisphers.
Then, using an assortment of makeshift tools (inkpens, orange sticks, plastic chop sticks) I "sculpted" the styrofoam--basically, I'd poke a deep ridge in the styrofoam with one of my tools, then round it using the orange stick and the soft pads of my fingertips. The key was to follow a picture of a real  brain as closely as possible.
I then put on a few layers of my acryllic paint--enough to make it look less porous and glued the whole contraption onto a nice china dish that I'd gotten at goodwill.

Mom looked perplexed at first. I think once she figured out how much loving effort was involved, she decided to love it. Whether or not she truely does, I'm not sure. I guess I'll see if she proudly displays it on her desk or table...

Being made of styrofoam, if it gets much use, it probably won't last as long as if it were made of felt or stuffed or something. I figure it'll last as long as it needs to.


She didn't really like my mis-using her naitivity figures like this...I insisted that the nativity clan weren't worshipping the poor brain, just staggered with astonishment over it...

« Last Edit: May 17, 2011 05:21:10 PM by LimeRiot - Reason: image housekeeping » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2006 05:17:39 AM »

Love the idea of a brain pin cushion! Love that it is on a china plate!

Love even more the nativity figures around it!

Now to think about how it could be made out of fabric....

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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2006 06:27:06 AM »

this is ingenius.

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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2006 06:31:16 AM »

omg i love it..... this is the funniest thing ive seen in ages!!! nice one! Grin

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« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2006 06:40:08 AM »

That's hilarious.  I especially love that you glued the brain to a pretty little china plate.  And the photo where the whole nativity clan are gathered around it.  hehe

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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2006 12:06:00 PM »

Trapunto!  It is a method of quilting that would lend itself well to this craft.  You need 2 layers of fabric; the outside (pink velour maybe?)
and the underneath layer (muslin will do), pin the two together and sew the brain convolutions, turn over and cut a tiny slit in the muslin in every bulgy bit and stuff.  You should now have a piece of fabric with a decidedly brainy look to it you could then wrap it around an appropriately brain shaped styrofoam base or stuff the material itself and needle sculpt the hemispheres. Cheesy
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2006 01:05:09 PM »

i am in love with the BRAIN  very cool
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2006 02:34:26 PM »

I love crafts featuring organs! This is like a brian voo doo doll, cures what ails ya, and helps keep your pins in order

« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2006 04:26:52 PM »

Random thoughts--

Thanks for such positive feedback, ya'll! (big grin)

check the link at the top of my first post for some others' really nifty ideas of how to fabricate this (literally!).

When I was looking at photos online (and there are a disturbing number of real, live brains within real live human heads) I found that real brains don't have that much variation in colour, which I didn't find as visually appealing.

if anybody does end up trying to make this out of fabric, please PLEASE send me a picture!

I recall now what inspired me to make this--it was using the phrase "pick your brain" one too many times.

it'd be really cool if someone made a voodoo doll pincushion...or is that already on here? I forgot to check---

Have to admit that I really like that plate and am almost sad to see it go--but it was for my mother, gosh darn it! I had to glue it down, otherwise, I might have renigged and kept the plate for myself (which isn't a practical size anyhow). I liked the way the pink flowers complimented the pink of the brain.

alright, done yammering.

Thanks again!!! I knew that you craftsterites would appreciate something like this...

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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2006 06:02:28 PM »

He he heeeeeeeee! That's so gross... Tongue
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