Project #44 in '50 in 2009 Challenge' - Activity Satchel
I admit it, I am one of those aunts (godmothers, adults in general).
I will try my darnedest not to give you the overly commercialized, plastic toys that you crave for your birthday or Christmas if you are a kid in my life.
As a kid in my life, you can expect books. When not books, handmade toys. When I can't find an appropriate book for the occasion or don't have time to make a handmade toy, you will most likely get some sort of activity to do - like an age-appropriate craft or a coloring books with crayons or if you're luckily a board game.
I can't say I'll keep this up when I eventually have children, but I like to think I will. That my home won't be overrun with brightly colored, breakable, plastic toys. And until then, I'll inflicted the wee ones in my life with my ideals.
Project #45 in '50 in 2009 Challenge' - Rodney & Chomps Stuffed Buddy Carrier
This Christmas I only crafted two gifts for the little kids in our lives (only our nephew, Braydon and Mike's cousin's daughter were lucky enough to make the list this year). The first being what I dub an "Activity Satchel" for a tiny little, princess-obsessed two-year-old who would be joining us for Christmas Eve dinner out at a restaurant. I figured she wouldn't be as quiet as she had been in the previous two years, so what better gift than one that could be put to use right away. This satchel is a simplified version of the Travel Activity Tote I made Bray a couple years ago, this time with only a pocket for a pad of paper on one side and 8 crayon pockets & a peg people pocket on the other. A simple loop handle fit for a small hand. And that was it. Compact enough to fit in mom's purse, but packed with an hour or so of continuous fun.
Happily, it was well received. She was able to rip it open almost immediately upon us entering the house and as the paper came out, little cries of "Crraaayoonnns!" were exclaimed and then she proceeded to go through at least 10 pieces of paper in the few minutes before we left the house. Luckily the restaurant table was covered in white paper so she didn't end up blowing through the entire pad in the one night.
A rather bad photo showing the special Chomps compartment.
The second gift I whipped up was for dear little Bray, who asked me before Thanksgiving if I could make him a special carrier to hold his two best buddies, Rodney the reindeer and Chomps the alligator. According to my sister, they had been out and Bray said, "Mommy, I miss Rodney & Chomps. I wish I could bring them with us." So Aunt Sarah got the call. At Thanksgiving, I took Bray to the fabric store to pick out any fabric he wanted for his bag. On the way there I was asking him what his favorite color was and if he had a favorite pattern (like stripes or polka dots) and he rambled on like only a soon-to-be-5-year-old can. Then as we started to walking through the aisle, we came across a large, dark blue striped home dec fabric and Bray exclaimed, "that's it Aunt Sarah, exactly the fabric I was telling you about!" Sadly I wasn't able to get the bag, which is of my complete own design, done in time for his birthday, but I needed to get his mom her hats and then time just slipped away until it was the weekend before Christmas and I realized it was now or never.
So last weekend I got to work whilst Harry Potter movies played in the background. It only took 3 HP movies to complete (#2, 3 & 4 for those who are interested - #1 was used in making the Activity Satchel), but it was completed in plenty of time to give at Christmas.
This bag was quite a doozy to work on. First my measurements of the stuffed animals were off, way off. As I cut out all the fabric needed for the outside and full lining, and then started to sew it together, I realized that I had an enormous bag on my hands. Like too big for even my body, let alone a 5 year old, so I had to much adjustments after having the entire outer bag sewed up. I'll just say it involved cutting off several inches of height and then sewing the side width in half. Second, I had a very specific vision for how I wanted the bag to work. It would resemble a tote bag with a long messenger bag style handle, but then it would have a side opening on the bottom appropriate for a long horizontal stuffed animal to sit and then a shorter inner lining that would act as a seat for our long time bud, Rodney. Since Chomps is an alligator, and I just so happened to have fishy fabric, I decided that Chomps needed a water based environment. The bag was lined in a watery blue and then I created a heavy interfacing base wrapped in fishy fabric that not only acts as food for Chomps, but also as structure for the bag.
In all the Christmas excitement, the bag didn't get nearly as much awe as it deserved. How can I compete with Bakugan & a real flying helicopter?! It was tough to get a picture of the little monster wearing it with his buddies stowed away. Though it didn't receive the Christmas glory, knowing how much Bray loves his Rodney & Chomps, it should get plenty of use. And that's what really matters. :)