The Eternal Maker Crafts

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Woah Nelly (The Elephant)

I nearly didn't do this post this evening - Rachael and I went to Zumba (don't say a word) after work, and then I missed the train home and had to stand in the cold and dark and rain for an extra half hour - which would be just about ok if it was normal English rain, but those of you who are in the UK at the moment know we aren't quite having normal English rain (at least, not down South, we're not.  It's monsoon season, surely).  So by the time I got home (a bike ride after the train too, in the aforementioned rain), cold and miserable and hungry and tired I thought, I just can't be bothered,  I just want to go to bed (cue sad faces all round).

But then I remembered what it was I was supposed to be doing and the fact that it wasn't a chore at all it was something I was really looking forward to - I have loved this project,  and quite frankly I'm a little blown away by how many of you responded to the elephant cushion - thank you so much!  And awesomely, I now feel like I am a fountain of knowledge on all things elephant.  I now know about Murderous Mary (how did I not know about that before?), the name of the Elephant that Hannibal crossed the Alps on (good pub quiz fact?), the fact that Benjamin Blumchen exists (I looked him up, and saw pictures and everything.  I read about a lot of real life elephants that are painters and child minders and all sorts of fantastical things, and I learnt that a lot - and I mean a lot - of people's favourite animal is the elephant.  I mean, why not?  It's an awesome animal.  It only surprises me that there aren't more in literature.  There's a gap in the market, surely. It's time for a modern elephant story - a children's one please.  Come on, you're all creative people...

But anyway - moving on.  Although so many of you entered, there can only be one winner... 

And it's Maureen, who said:
"The first famous elephant I ever met was Dumbo. I got him on a trip to Disney World when I was in 2nd grade. I think he's hiding in my moms attic."
Maureen, I think it's time to get up in your mum's attic and dust off Dumbo.  He's an elephant, he can't be that well hidden.  Get in touch with your address at and we'll get your bundle sent out to you!

And moving on from elephants, I just wanted to leave you with the other animals that have filled my day today: cat and mouse. 

Cat is based on Big Cat, my own real life cat, although she looks nothing like her.  And to be honest, she's far too fat and lazy to ever even try to catch a mouse (even when I lived on a farm and the place was surrounded by them).  But you get the gist.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Elephant Cushion...and giveaway!

There are a lot of people I promised this to, but due to the inexplicable breakdown of my scanner, I have been unable to do it until now.  So now we have: new scanner (whoop! I love my new scanner.) and the ability, finally, to scan elephants.  Not whole elephants, of course (blimey, just imagine it), just flat ones made of felt.  Cushion sized so to speak.
This cushion was first made for my god-daughter for her first birthday, and then after I gave it to her I made another one as a store sample for the lovely organic Mod Basics range for Birch.  Although really I made it again because I was sad I had given it away (even if it was to a very good home).

You will need:
 The pattern pieces, downloaded from here
Main Fabric (Yellow Dottie) - Fat Quarter
Backing Fabric (Coral Elephants) - Fat Quarter
Solid Pink - 10cm square
Solid Green - 10cm square
Solid Teal - 10cm square
Solid Aqua - Fat Eighth
Dottie Green - 10cm square
Dottie Teal - 10cm square
Dottie Coral - Fat Eighth
Silver Grey Woolfelt - 30cm x 45cm
Strawberry Dream Woolfelt - 10cm x 45cm
Black Woolfelt - Scrap
White embroidery floss - scrap!
Bondaweb - 50cm
(This may seem like a lot of bits, but it's really mostly scraps with some felt and 2 fat quarters, honest!)

How to put it all together:

1.  Print out your pattern pieces.  Before you do anything else, you need to reverse them otherwise all your pieces will be the wrong way around (the best way to do this is to hold the pattern sheets up to a window the wrong way around, and trace the lines on the other side of your paper).  Trace out your elephant onto the paper side of your bondaweb, joining the pattern pieces as marked.  Always use the bondaweb as sparingly - trace as close to the edge as possible!

2.  Roughly cut out the elephant (not on the lines, about an inch all around), and iron this piece onto your grey felt.  Now cut it out exactly on the lines.  Put to one side.

3. With your remaining bondaweb and the same method, cut your inner ear out of the dottie coral, and your droplets out of the solid aqua.  To know how many droplets to cut out, decide what word you want.  The first time I made this cushion, I did my God-daughter's name 'Hester'.  This time, I wrote 'hello'.  Ideally you want to keep it between 4 - 6 letters.  Put to one side.

4.  Cut out your letters from the strawberry dream felt.  If you have any left you can use the bondaweb, if not, just cut them straight out.  Put to one side.
Half Square Triangles
5.  Half square triangles:
Take a 10cm piece of a solid and a dottie in one colour, and lay face to face.  Draw a line from corner to corner (fig. a).  Sew a 1/4" seam on each side of the line (fig. b), then cut down the line (fig. c).  Open out the triangles, and iron flat (fig. d).  With a 1/4" seam, sew a row together using the main picture as a guide.
fig. a
fig b
fig. c
fig. d
6.  Take your dottie yellow fat quarter, and cut down to 55cm x 35cm (as close as possible).  Join your strip of triangles to the bottom edge of the yellow fabric, making sure to centre as much as possible.  You may lose some of the first and last set of triangles.

7.  Iron on your elephant to the left hand side of the yellow fabric, leaving at least an inch around the edges.   Sew all around the edges - I used a pink thread to highlight against the grey.

8.  Cut your outer ear out of the remainder of your grey felt, and iron your inner ear centrally to it.  Stitch down one side twice to secure to the elephant head, using the pattern piece marking as a guide.  Your ear should remain flapping. (note: I liked the idea of a small pocket for secrets behind the elephants ear, but never actually got around to it.)

9.  Using the remaining bondaweb, cut out your eye and iron onto the elephant head.  Stitch the eye highlight with white embroidery thread.

10.  Place all your droplets, and the letters inside them, to look as though they are spraying out of the elephants trunk.  You may have to fiddle about with the layout to get it to work properly - each cushion will vary according to what letters you are using.  Once you're happy with the layout, iron on the droplets, and stitch around the edge with the pink felt.  Then either iron (if you used the bondaweb) or pin on your letters, and sew centrally through each letter.  Go slow, don't worry too much about perfection (if you are using pink thread, you won't see it much in the pinky red felt!).

11.  That's your cushion top completed!  Next, cut your elephant backing fabric to the same size as your finished piece, and right sides facing.  Sew around all four edges, leaving a 5" (approx) for turning and stuffing.  Turn the right way out, and poke all your corners with your fingers leaving nice sharp corners.  Then stuff, stuff, stuff, as firm as you can.  Once you're all stuffed out, ladder stitch the edge closed tightly.  And that's it, we're at the end!

But hang on, I hear you say.  In the title, you promised us a giveaway... Well, we've put together these lovely bundles to make the cushion (they contain the felt and fabric, but not stuffing or bondaweb) - you can purchase them here - and we're going to give away a bundle to one of you. 

All you need to do is leave a comment on the blog naming a famous elephant.  Yes, a famous elephant.  We tried this in the shop earlier - and once you get past the obvious, there are surprisingly few, I think.  I'm going to leave this open until this time next week, and then I'll randomly generate a winner!

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