Toys

These Fish Were Made for…Throwing?

  I’ve had the pattern for these fish pinned for quite a while now.  I printed the pattern out back before Christmas, thinking they would be cute stocking stuffers, and just didn’t get around to it.  It sat on my desk, waiting for me to get to it, through the New Year…through the boys’ birthdays…through Easter even, until I finally decided to make it happen last week.

  The boys had been being especially rambunctious, and I hadn’t been successful in getting much done, and I was looking for an “easy win”.  These worked.

  Being my first attempt, the red fish took me longer to get done, but now that I’ve made a handful of these, each one only takes me about half an hour.  I made the mistake of doing quite a few of the details by hand on that first fish.  Doing all but the “gills” has given me a far better result ultimately, much more quickly.

  The instructions on the blog that the pattern came from are in a language I don’t speak/read…so it was a little bit trial and error figuring out the most efficient way to put them together.  One of the biggest time savers I found was this:

  Unlike, on most stuffed animals, there’s no need to leave a hole in your edge stitching for the filling to be pushed through.  There are holes left from the slits cut for the fins, that you will need to stitch up anyhow, and they work perfectly for filling the fish.  I machine stitch all the way around the edge, hand sew one of the fin slits shut, stuff the fish, and then sew the second fin closed.
  I also decided that while these fish were originally intended as kitchen/store play fish, I reaaaallly wanted them to throw well.  G and I have been driving each other up the wall lately, and I’ve been struggling to find a way to stop unacceptable behavior without things escalating all the way to a “YOU GO TO YOUR ROOM YOUNG MAN” time-out situation every time.  Putting beans in the nose of these and tossing them at him has been a pretty quick and easy solution.  They’re still nice and soft (believe me, I’ve taken several in the face myself), but the “beanbag” weight gives them enough heft that they fly straight and make a satisfyingly loud noise upon impact.
  I’m sure that come a few months from now, the novelty will have worn off, and I’ll have to find a new strategy, but for now, it’s a huge relief that, instead of every minor offense having to be a knock down, drag out battle to the death, I can lob a fish across the room and distract him enough to usually stop the bad behavior.  Plus, it usually results in an awesome game of “feed the zoo seal” that we both enjoy.

  If you have any questions about how I put these together, please let me know!

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Everybody likes to smell nice (except maybe little boys, who prefer beans)

  I’ve mentioned before that our house is old.  I love our old house.  It has charm, character and history.  But, unfortunately, it also has cracks and crannies that let in critters.

  Some time over the winter, it let in moths.  I’ll give the sewers, knitters and crocheters a minute to flinch and hiss at the m-word.  I felt the same way.
  Thankfully (I guess?) they started in the pantry.  It was obnoxious, and a little creepy, but throwing away the occasional bit of food didn’t get to me too badly.  Until I saw one in my closet.
  That meant war.  You can take my graham crackers, but you stay away from my textiles!!
  After doing some research, I found that my options were pretty much limited to nasty chemicals or lavender.  Not wanting to bring any dangerous nonsense into my house and kind of digging the idea of everything having a nice floral scent, I decided to take the lavender route.
  Luckily for me, the Purl Bee had just done a tutorial on lavender sachets.
  If you’ve never seen their site, do me a favor and don’t click on those links til you’ve thought to yourself what pretty little sachets I made, and how nicely my picture turned out.  Once you click it’s going to be obvious I’m a rank amateur.  The materials they use are incredible, the end products are beautiful and the photography is gorgeous.  I sincerely doubt there are any toddlers in their lives.
  Speaking of toddlers; I made two sets of sachets and when I’d finished, G desperately wanted to play with them.  He begged and begged to play with the “pillows”.  Him using them as a new toy wasn’t really going to work out for moth control, so I had to take them away, but I used the same general idea to make him a couple of bean bags and now he’s happy as a clam.
  For either bean bags or sachets, start by cutting yourself 2-4″ squares of fabric.  I loved the look the Purl Bee sachets had with the plain canvas on the back, so I used muslin for mine, but complimentary fabrics could be absolutely beautiful as well.
  If you have the time and ambition for hand sewing, I suggest you follow the directions for treating the hem in advance of putting in your filling that is in the link above.  If you’re stealing moments while your tiny dictator(s) nap and think hand sewing sounds like it will be lovely to have time to do when your little one(s) gone to college, you’re with me.
  Start by placing your squares, right sides together, and stitching 3 of the 4 sides.  Turn the pocket right side out and iron.  Next, fill about 3/4 full with either lavender or dried beans.  Turn your hem allowance under, iron flat and sew shut.  …it may actually be easier to turn your hem allowance and iron it before you fill the pockets, but what can I say, I prefer ironing dangerously.
  If you’re making bean bags, you’re done.  Go throw it at somebody you love and have fun.  If you’re making sachets, you’ve got one more step.  Start by using my knot free technique to attach your thread to the center of your muslin square.  Push your needle through the center, moving the lavender to the edges with your fingers and creating a long stitch in the middle.  Pass the needle from front to back a few times until the pillow puckers in the middle.  Tie it off (again knot free) and you’re done.  If any of that is confusing, click over to their tutorial where there are lots more pictures.
  This is an incredibly quick project, and a rather satisfying one.  I finished a dozen of them fairly quickly and am planning on making another dozen soon.  It’s a great way to use up scrap fabric, and I love that on top of making my house smell nice, the lavender will be keeping my yarn and fabric stashes safe.
  As always, if you have any questions or comments, please let me know!  I love hearing from you guys!