Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crazy Crafty: That's MISTER Potato Head to You!!!

I don't know if "Potato Head" has ever been used as an ethnic slur against the Irish, but I think it is high time that the Irish, and those of us who boast some kind of vague Gaelic heritage (mostly by way of seasonal, marathon viewings of The Quiet Man (1952) and Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959), claim the term as our own.  An entire corner of the toy industry was founded on transforming the humble potato into a thing of greatness and that, as they say, is no small potatoes!

Invented in 1949, with distribution by the Hasbro toy company beginning in 1952, Mr. Potato Head has been a mainstay of toy store shelves for nearly seventy years.  Right up there with the Easy Bake Oven, old Mister Potato has never experienced a season of famine.  Year after year, the farmers at Potato Head Farms must supply a bumper crop to keep up with perennial demand.  Using the 1949 toy/craft as inspiration, I set forth on our St. Patrick's Day Crazy Crafty!

It was obvious from the image on the front of the original "Mr. Potato Head Funny Face Kit,"
that making Mr. Potato Head a leprechaun was not going to be too big a stretch.

The original Mr. Potato Head Funny Face Kit included only prosthetic appendages and accessories, requiring the use of an actual potato.  Not until 1964 did the kit come complete with the lumpy, plastic potato body, so well known to folks of my generation.  Always one to bring a little vintage wacky tacky stylings to the holiday proceedings, however, I decided to go old school and craft a homemade potato head with only materials I could find around the house - including fresh produce.  While challenging in its own right, finding a picturesque potato would prove to be the easiest part of this holiday craft.

I mean, have you ever sewn shorts for a potato?
Authoring this blog has taken me down some roads of questionable creativity, but this was a first.
The eyes are made of layered buttons.  The hat, ears, nose, glasses, and shoes are made of paper.
The eyebrows and muttonchops are made of unraveled yarn, while the belt is grosgrain ribbon.  The
legs are made of wire wrapped in yarn and the pipe is made of a bamboo skewer, paper, and a cotton
ball.  And who needs arms when you have the luck o' the Irish and the magic of the leprechauns!
I was particularly pleased to be able to use my grandmother's pot as our little leprechaun's pot o' gold!

This potato has eyes!!!
Speaking of eyes, I think I have unwittingly discovered how I want my next pair of specs to look.
Can someone please manufacture these glasses in a size suitable for the world's largest potato head?

Did you ever play with Mr. Potato Head or his lovely wife?  According to Wikipedia, Mr. Potato Head was the first children's toy to advertise on television.  Obviously, the strategy of marketing directly toward children was a winner.  Lo, this many years later, children (and the perpetually childish) continue to play with their food, making funny faces with Mr. Potato Head!

An early commercial for Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head Kits

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!


Mr. Tiny


  1. I always loved potato head

    retro rover

  2. Mr. Potato head rocks. Now he just needs to rap, wear platforms, talk like the kardashians or make jokes about junk food!!! by the way Mr. Tiny, know any Any good potato recipes?

    1. I'm developing recipes now but they all end up with only one direction: Just add potato. Everything is better with potatoes!

  3. I'm old enough to have had the early non potato version and stuck those little things into all manner of objects - edible and non-edible.

    1. Hahaha!!! A good toy inspires the imagination!

  4. OH MY GOD! I don't know if Irish people are referred to as Potato heads or not...but if they are, I don't see how that's degrading or an ethnic slur. There is absolutely nothing disparaging about LOVING potato products! This holiday always makes me into a tremendous poser, because despite being pale, I have nary an ounce of Irish in me. Boo.

    Also, I wish you lived closer so we could have crafternoons.

    1. One day, when I make it back to TN, we will have a crafternoon. We just have to be done by 7pm; that's my bedtime!