So this is going to be a little bit of a break from my usual type of post. If you’ve been here before, you know I am all about making a handmade wardrobe. But the reason that I named the blog Handmade Head to Toe (other than the fact that I love alliteration), is that I am hoping to make more of a handmade life.
Can I make everything? Of course not! But, slowly but surely I’m making more and more things in my life and I am saving more and more money and making less trash. Now, not only do I make my own clothes, but I also make my own deodorant, shampoo, and I am dabbling with limited success to make some beeswax products like solid perfume and beeswax cloth for storing food.
Besides that, I’ve also been on a kick of making some toys lately. There’s a few reasons for this:
I’m cheap and I’m not rich.
I hate buying plastic toys that will become trash within 3 years
My favorite series of picture books to read with the girls is the Princess in Black series of which I cannot find manufactured toys.
I like crafting and have inherited and collected many supplies for it over the years.
In other news: I am now fully employed. It turns out, employment takes a heck of a lot of time. I could write many pages about the pros and cons of being a paid employee vs. stay-at-home mom*, but I’ll save that for another time. Because of this whole employment jazz, this is going to be more of a slapdash post. But here’s the project I’ve been working on and some other toys I’ve made in the past.
*SIDENOTE: I know that the common vernacular is to say working vs. stay-at-home mom, but anyone who has stayed at home knows that it is, in fact, work. I actually found staying at home to be more difficult physically and emotionally. Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather stay home. But it’s not easier.
So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the silly little project Josey and I worked on while Kyah was at school and I was between jobs.
Crafty-made toys: Princess and Black Mini-set
I knew I wanted to give the girls some Princess in Black toys, and I would have even paid money for them, but I couldn’t find any on Google. Then I had the idea to make them and went to the local hardware store to look for supplies of what I could make the bodies with (I spent $6 on this. So don’t get nervous that I am not living up to my “affordable” tenant.)
I ended up buying some clothes pins. The old-school one-piece kind with a rounded top. I also bought some little tiny round dealies for finishing woodwork. I should know what they’re called. But I don’t.
I sawed them down so the proportions would be a bit better, and I started making little characters. This is my first attempt at doing anything like this, and some of the results are a bit embarrassing because they’re quite sloppy. That’s what you get working with a three-year-old and trying something without a plan. But here they are. Just for the sake of posterity.
As of now, the set includes one Princess Magnolia and her alter-ego, The Princess in Black. One Princess Sneezewort and her alter-ego, The Princess in Blankets. One Duff the Goat Boy and his alter-ego, The Goat Avenger. And one Frimplepants the Unicorn and his alter-ego, Blacky the pony. I also made a set of 4 goats, a monster, and a sign for Monster Land.
For the clothes, I used craft paint we had around the house and scrap fabric. I also had some beading wire which I used to make the arms. The goats are made from welt-felted wool and alpaca fiber. I made these tiny little balls the same way I make dryer balls, but teenie. Their legs, necks, and horns are made of toothpicks. I’d like to think of a way I could give them eyes so they have some expression.
For Blacky the Pony and Frimplepants the Unicorn, I used the leftover bits of clothespins for legs and head and a bit of wood for the bodies. The necks are made with pipe cleaner that I salvaged from a former art project the girls brought home from the library. Frimplepants’ horn is made of wire I spiraled.
Crochet & Knit Toys
I crocheted the monster. Crochet is my favorite way to get silly shapes. You can see here a fish I made a couple of years ago. Before my youngest was born, I was going to make a crochet mobile of sea animals. I have a couple of star fish and a turtle that match it. But alas. I never put it all together and now each piece floats through the house as the girls see fit.
I love making little stuffed animals. It’s a great way to get rid of scrap yarn and even plastic bags that you can’t recycle (they’re good stuffing). Of course, these are nowhere near as beautiful as other amirugumi patterns you can find. So I’m linking to some amazing ones to my pinterest board that I love.
PS. If you can’t crochet, you can also knit cute little stuffed animals. I made this turtle in high school. It is stuffed with old plastic bags.
If you follow me on pinterest, you also may have noticed that I’ve been looking through teddy bear patterns lately. I’ve recently been asked about doing memory pillows from loved ones’ old clothes, and I like the idea of doing teddy bears or Christmas ornaments too. I made a couple of fat teddy bears inspired by PACountryCrafts bears. I didn’t print the actual pattern, but just eyeballed it and drew up a similar shape to the pattern. It turned out ok, but my next bears will be less fat and have more pronounced necks. These little guys are made from old onesies and baby shirts that were too stained to give away. They’re a super satisfying scrap-busting project that whip up quickly. I think I’ll make a few more before Christmas for the cousins.
These little guys are stuff with scrap wool that wasn’t good enough to spin, but you could also stuff them with fabric scrap or unrecyclable soft plastics.
So there it is. A bit of a slapdash post. But we’re going for consistency. Not perfection.
My kids really love the Princess in Black set we made and every day Josey would ask me to work on it once Kyah went off to school. That in itself has made the project worth it. I love seeing them get excited about making stuff too.