by Wiley

Exciting things are afoot here at Quizzical Creatures! The newly wedded Ingo and I met up recently to talk about our product line, and we’re excited to (eventually) show you what we have in store for our fall launch.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my sewing machine has been humming along after six years of woeful neglect. Our friend Michelle came over a few weeks ago and showed me how to set up and use the Singer 132 I purchased (and never used) in college. Since then, I’ve had friends over to work on projects and to practice sewing. My boyfriend says that the house has become a regular Build-A-Bear factory. (Click on the links to see Tamela’s mermaid and Walt’s fish.)

So far, I’ve made some baby gifts and a lot of mistakes (such as sewing appendages the wrong way so that they’re trapped inside the doll’s body).

Here is a stegosaurus, letters, and bunny that I made.

A few weeks ago, my friend Molly’s five-year-old boy W. and seven-year-old girl M. drew me pictures of Uglydoll-like creatures. On Friday, we had a craft day where we brought their vision to life.

For the five-year-old, I cut out and sewed the stuffed animal’s body and face together so that it looked similar to W.’s drawing. W. then decided what else should be added. He cut out some sleeves (which became arm bands), a head band, and “numbers for the shirt.” He also asked me to cut out a square to put behind the numbers. Molly then sewed the fabric onto the animal. At no point did W. explicitly say that he wanted his stuffed animal to be an athlete. He just kept adding details until, ultimately, that’s what the stuffed animal became. He also explained that the white cubes on the face weren’t eyeballs but glasses. W. himself is a bespectacled jock so, apparently, what W. ended up creating was a mini-W.!

For the seven-year-old, I showed her my box of fabrics and just let her go to town. She picked out what materials she wanted to use (she chose houndstooth for the teeth — clever girl!) and drew and cut out her own pattern for the body and face. She handstitched the face with embroidery floss and outfitted the doll in an argyle shirt (which she drew, cut out, and handsewed). All I did was use my machine to sew the two body pieces together and reinforce the stitches that were handsewn on the shirt — all the rest of the work M. did herself!

Here’s  M.’s story about her new friend:

“His name is Houndstooth. He works at [my housemate’s family’s restaurant]. His favorite pattern is houndstooth. He likes to invite people to Cal Performances. His favorite person is [my housemate]. And he likes to go dating.”

Handmade buddies.