Back up. I’m reminded of one specific project that my Mom did when we were kids: a DIY topiary to sit beside the in-ground, well-landscaped pool. It was a fish, appropriately enough, and made with her own two hands out of chicken wire, moss and assorted flowers (mostly white, red, purple, and blue). Sort of like this very sculpted design, but not really. And I say not really, because it didn’t look like a fish as much as it looked like a buffalo. A running buffalo, just like the ones you would see on the Buffalo Bills helmets. We were from Buffalo, we were kids, we poked jokes, and really, the colors? Very Buffalo-Bills-Happy. “Nice Buffalo.” “It’s a fish.” “Oh. But did anyone ever tell you that it looks a lot like a buffalo?” But good try, Mom, and if it makes you feel any better, 15 years later, look what your crazy DIY-prowess turned me into.
And there’s probably a picture of the topiary somewhere. I’ll find it next time I’m visiting.
Back to my weird project. What started out as a crafty little plan to create a brown bear pillow out of the furry fabric that was leftover from sitting beneath the Christmas tree, quickly went kind of awry.
Enter bear. How hard is it to draw the side profile of a bear to create a template for your very fuzzy pillow? Very hard, generally speaking, as a not-so-artful person. An entire evening was spent sketching bear side-profiles on the last 15 pages of my notebook, and then trying to duplicate said perfect profile onto a few pieces of layered paper towel, because I ran out of big pieces of paper. This one was good, I guess:
But look through that red line and see lots of other not-bear-shaped objects. Dolphins. Dogs. And this next one was just one of a dozen really bad ones, laughable. To say it was vaguely-shaped is an understatement, it looked more like the island of Jamaica than a bear. I didn’t want a furry brown Jamaica pillow, so I worked through it.
Using paper towel as a template worked fine (by the time I got the design close enough), so I trimmed it and the fabric, leaving about a 1/2″ of extra overhang all around (I don’t know technical sewing terms). And it looked more like a young Anteater. A 12″x18″ Anteater.
Fuzzy sides facing one another, I sewed all around the edge of the bear to create a pillow form, leaving a 7″ gap right in the rear (yes, the butt) to accomodate a pretty yellow-gold zipper (Spark Gold, the same brand and color that I used when I made pillow cases a few months ago). You know I like a little contrast. And initially, my thought was to have the seam run over its belly but the legs in my final design didn’t leave a lot of room for that; plus, I think a zipper on the butt is more fun.
Flipping the bear furry-side-out, my anteater fears were agitated. With the nose pushed all the way right-side-out, yeah, it did look like an anteater, but I found that I could keep it a little bit inverted and make the nose kind of short. Too much shorter though it looked more like a cow.
I bought a bag of polyester fiberfill, getting what I think is a good deal (32 oz. for $4, because it was a value-sized bag marked 50% off at JoAnn’s), and promptly used only 1/10th of it to fill the little guy up.
Nose poked out somewhere inbetween the anteater and the cow, it really did start to look like a bear. If you squint. And use your imagination. It also kind of looks like a buffalo, ironically, and maybe that’s just a flaw that my mom and I share: making all DIY dimensional animals look like buffaloes.
Can’t forget the cute butt zipper. Anything to improve my zipper installation skills.
Total cost of the project was just about $8; $2 for fabric (I still have a yard left from my original purchase), $2 zipper, and $4 filler (of which, I probably only used .50-cents maximum).
P.S. Mom, don’t be mad at me for bringing up the Buffalo.