Thursday, March 6, 2014

A New Obsession...Hand Puppets

Today is a very special little girl's birthday. Miss A turns 3 today! We're heading out to party tonight, so I'm getting this post ready to go before then. But don't worry...I'm making sure it won't post until she's been able to open it. No chance of spoiling the surprise in case Mommy or Grandma happen to take a gander at the post beforehand.

As Auntie, it is always my responsibility to make sure that my nieces and nephew are spoiled with homemade gifts. This one might be my new favorite.

The pictures on this post are all mine, but the idea is not. I found the patterns for these guys via Pinterest. They were designed by Larissa over at Just Another Day in Paradise. She has a magnificent set of patterns over there to make all of these guys, plus a duck and a farmer. I didn't make the duck because I didn't have enough yellow felt. I'm not a big fan of the farmer (he looked a little creepy to me) and didn't want to take the time to make myself a new pattern just yet, so that one's on hold for now.

They were so much fun to make that they are now my new obsession. I've been thinking about new possible designs for the last couple of days and I can pretty much guarantee that there will be other animals making debuts on the blog in the future.

All you need to make these is your patterns, scissors, felt, and thread. So straightforward. You could probably sew them fairly simple by hand, but the sewing machine makes thing way faster. Each hand puppet takes about an hour to make. That includes all cutting and sewing. Not too bad.

I started off with the chicken. He's the easiest in the bunch so I wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting into before I got rolling on all seven different puppets. Sometimes a project looks like it will be simple, but blows up in my face. I didn't want felt everywhere if that happened. But...I needn't have worried; he was a breeze. The instructions are simple to follow and I was surprised at how easy the applique went.

After the chicken came the lamb. I think it might be my favorite. I didn't get as much scalloping on his head as I really wanted and I changed up the color of his belly (as well as a couple of other details on the other puppets), but I love his sweet little face.

Usually when I'm sewing a project like this I have my TV running up in the crop room. I run through series of shows on DVD (most often Gilmore Girls). This time though, I was all in the zone. No distraction. Except for my brain...which wouldn't shut off. The whole time I was sewing this lamb I kept hearing a few songs from my childhood run through my head.

The first was a church hymn called Little Lambs So White and Fair. I'm not a big churchgoer, but I very vividly remember being about 4 years old and having my Aunt Lizzy teach me the song on my grandma's piano. It's one of my earliest memories. I still love that song. It has a very pretty melody.

The second song was Mairzy Doats. Just a catchy little ditty.

Oh...and this lamb reminds me a little bit of Lamb Chop. Anyone out there remember that one? Lamb Chop's Play-Along was a short running series on PBS with Shari Lewis and her hand puppets. I only remember it in a blur, but I do remember that it featured The Song That Doesn't End.

We drove my parents crazy singing that on more than one road trip. I think it might have gotten one or more of us grounded. Thanks a lot, Lamb Chop.

I love the little bell accent on the cow. Brilliant idea on her part. I added the little nostril holes and I have mixed feelings about them. I like the added depth, but next time I need to make myself a circle guide. I get a little lost in the stitches when it's in the machine.

I also have mixed feelings on the horse. I think he's cute, but I think next time I'll do a different color. He's awfully dark. It makes him crazy hard to photograph and it takes away some of his cuteness. I also kind of cheated since I didn't do any of the backsides on any of my puppets, so he looks a little different than the original.

After the horse is where it got challenging. The cat and the dog both have those darned paws to deal with. That was some interesting sewing. I also managed to make the cat's whiskers a little longer than I planned. Oops.

Like the horse, I think I'll be changing up the color scheme on the dog. He is cute, but photographs dark. I folded his ears over and sewed them down to get the folded droopy ear look. I only tacked a small portion so that the thread wouldn't be obvious through the center of the ear.

I had everything finished up last night and had decided on no hooves. That was until this morning. I was getting ready to wrap these guys up when I glanced at the pig. The poor guy just looked so plain. He needed the contrast of the hooves. So I added them to the pig, lamb, horse and cow. I was actually pretty surprised that they only took me about 15 minutes to attach to all four puppets. Easy peasy.

I'm really glad that I decided to try these guys out. I seriously loved this project. Simple (and inexpensive) to make and so cute when they're finished.

I'm excited to see what I can come up with for other versions. They might be my new favorite thing.


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