Friday, September 24, 2010

Monkeys, Elephants, and Babies--oh my!

So how do you decide what to give for a baby shower gift?  Well, for me, I have a division of two main categories--bought and handmade.  There are a lot of baby shower invites constantly coming through, but some people get lazy and cheap about it and just send out a mass email or mention it to you in the grocery store.  Really?  A new baby and that's it, a two line email sent to everyone in your address book?  Hmm, I always think babies are more special than that.  So for the lazy, I give lazy--I go buy something.  Oh, don't worry, its something nice--never jip a new baby.  But for those who actually bother to mail out an invitation to me, I make something.  Quilts, toys, booties, who knows, but I make it.  Sure it takes more time (and money), but obviously these moms are really into having a baby--so I put the effort in.  I usually like to make a snugly blanket with flannel and minky.  Mmm...

This time, for a baby boy, I decided to do something different--toys!  I've been hearing all about how wonderful those crinkle toys are, so I just had to make some.  I made two.  First, a softie toy monkey.  I used the Millie the Monkey pattern from Bit of Whimsy Dolls but added some crinkle to its body.  I figure this toy will grow with the baby until he's much older.

Bright and cheery isn't he?  (He's been renamed Charlie because I didn't think he looked like a Millie, BTW.)  I used luscious flannels for this monkey so he's soft and cuddly.  His face is hand embroidered (no buttons for babies!) and inside this monkey's tummy is some extra crinkle material (McDonald's coffee packet wrappers in this case) so that when Charlie is squeezed he sounds fun and crackling.

I used orange minky-type fabric for the backs of his ears for a little fun texture.  I also embroidered a little heart on his bum!
I also made a flat crinkle toy; something that could be taken with the baby easily.  To go with the monkey softie, I had some great jungle flannel and some fun orange plaid flannel.  (I know, how perfect is that--and I didn't even preplan it!)  I decided an elephant would be best, so after searching for a great shape for an elephant, I came across this adorable quiltie pal made by Kim Burley (quiltinkimmie).  She, being a completely awesome person, let me use the shape for my elephant. 

I lined the inside with cleaned wrappers from protein bars (my border collie loves the sound, so it must be good) and a cough drop bag.  (I've also heard of moms using the wrappers from diaper wipes, but not being a mom, I didn't have a spare one on hand.)  I also used a grosgrain orange polka dot ribbon for the tail which will also act as a loop for the plastic accessory ring so mom can attach it to the baby car seat or a pacifier or whatever.

You can see where I stitched the shape of an ear and top stitched around the edge of the elephant--this not only adds to the finished look, but also helps hold the inside wrappers in place.  (His name is Peanuts.)

Now all these cool toys need is a baby to scrunch them--but that's someone else's part!  :)  Enjoy your new home Charlie and Peanuts!

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