Monday, August 19, 2013

Sew What?! Baby Elephant Walk

At first, I couldn't decide if this was a "Sew What?!" project or a just another Crazy Craft.  When I examined the fundamentals, I realized that the only supplies involved were cotton fabric, thread, batting/fiber fill, ribbon, and some pom-pom fringe - no yarn, hot glue, beads, popsicle sticks, felt, rhinestones, feathers, foam, puffy paint, or sequins.  Furthermore, the only techniques involved were machine and hand sewing - this was definitely a sewing project!

Mary and I have been invited to perform at a private event, to be exact, a baby shower (a co-ed baby shower, no less).  I know that we are paid entertainment, but I have a hard time showing up completely empty-handed to a party.  Not knowing the host and hostess (the expectant parents) very well, not knowing the sex of the unborn baby, and not knowing if/where they're registered, I figured that I could put my stash-busting skills to work and make something that was mostly gender-neutral and suitable as a small token of congratulations for the proud mama and papa-to-be.

This is what I came up with.
I started making these stuffed animals and then, for some reason, decided that they needed to be wearing bathing suits.
The cool cat wears jams and the dainty elephant wears a floral, yo-yo bikini edged in pom-pom trim.
They were all ready in their bathing costumes, so I had to take them to the beach.

There are many unusual sights along the Southern California coastline, none so strange as the fully-grown, fully-dressed man laying down in the sand to spread out tiny towels and a miniature umbrella for his stuffed animals.
Would it have been less weird if I had made a little picnic too?

Sun worshippers!
"Everybody had matching towels!"

Aware that I have already shared this song multiple times, I couldn't help but include "Stuffed Animal" again, both for its thematic relevance as well as my love for the bizarre lyrics as so eloquently delivered by Annette in a 1960's peignoir.

"Stuffed Animal" - Annette Funicello

So deep in the thick of stuffed animal making, and excited by the fact that the cutest nephew in the world was coming to town, I decided to make yet another miniature mammal.

This particular kid is obsessed with three things: pumpkins, trains, and PIRATES.
 I thought it would be fun to make a pirate elephant...and it was.  I started with the same blue, floral
material used to create the bikini-clad elephant's body but used a red-and-white stripe for the legs.
Sticking with the red, white, and blue color scheme, I used navy-and-white polka dot fabric for the
pants and eye patch and a red bandana for the head scarf (the ears go though machine-made
buttonholes), and multi-stripe grosgrain ribbon for the sash.  A PATRIOTIC PIRALEPHANT!!!

I gave it to him when we picked him up from the airport and he loved it (a welcome surprise from a
kid who likes something for one minute and then throws it in a corner never to acknowledge its
 existence ever again).  He even asked to sleep with it at night.  Yahoo!

After all of these baby elephants (and one cat), there was really only one other song that would underscore this post perfectly.

"Baby Elephant Walk" - Henry Mancini
as performed by The Lawrence Welk Orchestra

I hope the recipients of these animals will like them.  My favorite part of this project was that it required zero trips to the fabric store; I used only what I had on hand!  Have you ever made a stuffed animal?  What do you think of homemade gifts?  Are they corny or cool...or both?

Here's hoping that the waning days of summer (Northern Hemisphere) are treating you well!


Cheers!

Mr. Tiny

15 comments:

  1. OK so first of all you got an awesome song going through my head (Sorry Annette, but I'm a big Mancini fan!) and then I realized that if Old Mod B is ever invited to a baby shower I'm going to get all of my gifts from you! Those are so cute!!! What a great gift, and I bet your performance will be as well. You guys are so swell :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks MB!!! That goes double for you! When are you guys making a return trip to CA?

      Delete
  2. You did a great job! If I ever have kids I plan on making and knitting a lot of things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mariela! I think the pirate elephant is the first thing I've made for my nephew; I don't know what took me so long!

      Delete
  3. That song is so strangely erotic...way too much so to be about a teddy bear. I can only picture it playing in the background while someone is getting murdered. Is that weird??!? Probably. BTW- those are adorable little creatures you made. You so crafty, mr. tiny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it weird AND wonderful? The sequence in the movie (Pajama Party) has Annette in her nighty singing directly to all kinds of awesome 60's stuffed animals! You're so right, it would be great and incredibly spooky in a horror movie about someone who turns his victims into stuffed animals! Great, now I've just given myself nightmares!!! Hahahaha!!! Thanks!

      Delete
  4. they are so cute! i love a little hand made stuffed animal. and i also love the idea of you setting up that photo op at the beach! i think a little picnic would have made it even better!
    (when i was a kid my best friend and i would make tiny bisquick biscuits for our beanie babies!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only thing that saved me from getting self-conscious was pretending I was Pee Wee Herman (like in PW's Big Adventure when he is arranging his breakfast) and singing to myself. While that might make some people more self-conscious, it helped me a great deal. It also helped knowing that people would have a weird story to tell their friends when they got home from the beach! Hahahaha!!!

      Delete
    2. Also, I sent you a message. Are we going to be able to see you guys when you're out this way? I hope so!

      Delete
  5. Very cute creatures. I have only made sock monkeys does that count as a stuffed animal? FYI those pom poms may be a choking hazard for the under three crowd. I think you should make a pumpkin pirate high jacking a train car? Maybe a train that is a pirate with a pumpkin boat? OK I know there is way you can meld those 3 into 1 toy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I thought about the choking hazard only afterward; I'm hoping (and will make a recommendation) that these remain shelf toys until they are age appropriate. My nephew is 3 and he really liked his pirate. I almost considered making a pumpkin-headed pirate - maybe for Halloween. And sock monkey definitely count as stuffed animals!

      Delete
  6. These are so cute - I must admit I am slightly envious of that elephant's pom-pom bikini...!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Maybe I need to start a range of elephant-inspired swimwear! Hahaha!!!

      Delete
  7. I almost hesitate to mention 1965's "Who Killed Teddy Bear?" starring Juliet Prowse and Sal Mineo. She was hot stuff, but I have to agree heartily with TV GUIDE's use of the adjective "disturbing."

    ReplyDelete
  8. Love your sun worshipping elephants. :-)

    ReplyDelete