Monday, March 12, 2007

Maple the Miniature Moose

Maple is a legend (to me) and she doesn't even know it.

Much to the dismay of my close-knit family, I moved 1800 miles away from my hometown in Indiana to Calgary, AB Canada back in June of 2006. No regrets... it was one of the greatest decisions I've ever made, and I am now living happily ever after here and am really happy :)

I planned to make a trip back to Indiana to visit my family at Christmas, but by the time October came around, I realized that the Canadian Immigration process takes much longer than I had anticipated, and I had to accept that I'd not be able to make the trip as planned. Instead, I decided I'd handmake something soft and huggable to send home to my family members in my place for Christmas.

I've always been crafty, but I'd not done much with plushies, let alone made a pattern for what's in my head. Back in 1995 I created a group of storybook characters for a children's book project that I wrote and illustrated. It wasn't until 1998 that I finally got the series of characters copyrighted, and by that time I had written several children's books that I'd also illustrated using these little characters. (I never pursued getting the books published - that college thing and starting my teaching career was a bit more important.) Anyway, my family was well acquainted with the whole gang because I used the characters on the front of all the handmade cards I'd made for various occasions. They were "famous" to my family and friends.

So here I was, back in October, trying to come up with what I'd make for my family for Christmas that could be hugged in my place since I couldn't make the trip personally. I wanted something that was somewhat representative of Canada since that's where I was, and it hit me... Montgomery Moose! One of the characters from my little series seemed perfect. The problem was capturing the original drawing of Montgomery in a plushie pattern... something I had no experience with. I knew how Montgomery needed to look when finished, but creating a pattern that preserved that look was harder than it seemed. I tried, but it didn't seem to be quite right. I was talking to a new friend here in Calgary who told me to check this great crafting forum, Craftster, and see if I could find a pattern or someone else who had made a moose plushie before to give me a hand or help critique the pattern I'd tried to make. And the rest is history. Here is my original post (one of my first!) looking for a moose pattern. In the end, I scrapped the pattern I'd made and modified a plushie pattern from a japanese crafting book that sewingstars had posted in another thread, and I was happy with how the new Montgomery turned out. I then crafted 4 that got sent to my family back in Indiana for Christmas. They were a hit!

So where does Maple come in? Well, today I was cleaning out my craft pattern drawer and trying to organize. I found the original sketches of Montgomery Moose from back in October - my first attempt at a pattern - and I decided to finish that original moose that never came to be. I also decided to name it Maple instead, since I'd made a little maple leaf cut-out to put on her tummy... it seemed more fitting. Now that she's done, and not to mention now that I've had several months' worth of experience in making plushies and even drafting my own patterns now (thanks to the great people of Craftster and their support!), I can see where I'd make changes now in order to get her to look just right. I know what I'd do differently "next time", and if there is a next time with this pattern, I know I'd make it better. But for now, the one-and-only original Maple will sit here next to me at the computer so that I never forget where I've been and where I'm going... in life and on many other different levels, too.

Maple is made of felt, and for this project I completely sewed her by hand because it only seemed natural... when I designed Maple's pattern, I didn't have my sewing machine yet, so I would've sewn her by hand anyway. The one arm and leg that I'd already started on before scrapping the project was handsewn, so I made sure the rest was done just the same.

What else did I do this weekend craft-wise? Well I made a decorative gift bag to package up my Stuffiepup for craftymumto2 so I can send it to her this week. It's denim on the outside and lined with cute spring Scooby-Doo fabric that has Scooby-Doo wearing a raincoat and playing in puddles with a little yellow duck. I love it! And I hope she does, too :)

2 comments:

~CraftyMummy2two~ said...

OMG Im so excited I love the bag I know feel like i havent sent you enough.. And I just love your moose they are adorable.. I need to start making again I kinda got lazy this past couple days.. Maple is adorable... Reminds me of the moose we have hanging around are house lately

Toque (Lesley) said...

OMG! I got your package today - I almost died with how cute the bear and the bag was! EEEEK!!! Even more cuter in person than the pictures!

Thank you so much, I love them :)

<3

P.s. - I mailed your package today!