i love this program. love it love it love it.
i thought i would share an experiment i tried this year that came about as we were filling four boxes for the youngest age group (2-4 years old). b and i usually scour target and the dollar store(s) for well-priced goodies, but this year i've felt more scatter-brained (disorganized), we haven't been able to spend as much time shopping and we haven't been able to find as many goodies as in previous years. what these boxes in particular needed was a snuggly something, but stuffed animals aren't cheap (nor should they be, since they're probably sewn by hand by someone in cambodia). at target last week, b and i, totally unimpressed by the stuffed animals in the toy department, stumbled into the pet department, where there was a huge selection of rather adorable pet toys for about $5. we considered these options seriously, though there is definitely something incredibly embarrassing about admitting that- but really, if there was no difference between the doggy toys and the kiddy toys beside intended market, and really the dog toys were cute...then why not? but we concluded that the warnings on the tags "not intended for use by children" maybe referred to there being higher levels of lead or other toxins that are strongly regulated when the toys are for children, but not when they're for pets. anyway, we didn't get any. instead, we started tossing around the idea that i could MAKE some stuffed toys myself! so we meandered from target to joann fabrics and bought some brightly colored fleece- 1/2 yard each in orange and blue (and it was on sale!). when we got home, i created a simple pattern based on the size of the lid of our shoeboxes (so that i knew it would fit). i realized that i'd be able to make 1 stuffed toy per 1/8 yard of fabric, so i had twice as much as i needed, really. also, i happened to have a lot of scraps of batting lying around (when shipping some things here from NY, instead of using newspaper/peanuts as packing material, i used scraps of batting, because hey, you never know...which is proof for why you should never ever ever throw anything away---it really might come in handy someday!!) to use as stuffing. so, here're the first couple of steps:
for eight stuffies: 1 yard fleece, one pattern, pile o'batting
i made the shape i wanted for the form of the toy, and then added a half-inch or so around it for a seam allowance.
next, i pinned it to 2 pieces of fleece, cut it out, and re-pinned the two pieces together. then i sewed them together, leaving a few-inch-long gap (along the leg/side of the body) so that i could get the stuffing in. i'm not very good at making tutorials, so i neglected to thoroughly document my process. it's really not that difficult to figure out though.
i made the one on the left as a test, and then sewed the others- adding the ears was a good idea- they're fun :)
the trickiest part was adding faces. i should have done this before sewing the two pieces of fleece together because trying to sew only the top layer of the fleece was annoying. also, it was tedious trying to fill in shapes like the eyes and noses with thread (i didn't want to use buttons), but i didn't really know what other options i had. so here they are...
...and we only spent $5.50! and really, i only needed half that amount. granted, they did take a while (maybe six hours, start to finish?), but it was worth it. i am considering the idea of making some clothes for them...we'll see. i'm done for today.