As I mentioned before, I am part of the two-person team that makes the employee appreciation mug cozy each month. Last month, Casey (the other member of the afore-mentioned two-person team) received her cozy, with a felt rendition of our office cat, Barnstable, on the front. She was excited. He was less than pleased.
This month, the cozy and coveted parking spot went to Jessie. She is one of the folks on staff usually tapped to take pictures, and so most of the suggestions for her cozy label included “camera.” I felt that was too easy, though, so we asked her boyfriend for some ideas. He came back with about 20 different buzzwords, among them: nature, specifically mountains, trees, flowers, hiking, photography, fairies, animals, butterflies…the list went on for a while.
Of course, when I heard “fairies,” the wheels started working and I decided that’s what I
would make. I had an idea for how I wanted to make it, but my plans were thwarted when I realized I had forgotten to bring toothpicks from home, and there weren’t any in any of the kitchen cabinets at work. Thankfully, Casey’s desk is full of random craft supplies. She pulled out a handful of pipe cleaners and asked if they would work. They were perfect. I cut a small section off for the legs/body, and another smaller section for the arms.
I started by trimming the sparkly fuzz down as close to the wire as I could. If I hadn’t, the sparkly bits would have poked out between the wrapped embroidery floss, and it would have looked like really weird leg hair. I’m not giving a judgement on leg hair in general – just that it wasn’t going to work in this particular situation. With the pipe cleaners trimmed, I started wrapping the embroidery floss around what would form the legs, careful to catch the loose end of the floss under the wrapped threads. When I reached the bottom of each leg, I turned the very tip of the pipe cleaner up over the thread, and continued wrapping the thread back up the leg, covering the folded-up pipe cleaner tip. This will keep the thread from unraveling at the bottom of the leg, eliminates a potentially sharp point, and creates a little “foot” at the end of each leg.
I used a bit of glue to secure the thread at the top of each leg, and wrapped more thread to secure the arms to the body. Each arm was was secured at the end, just like the “foot.” When I finished wrapping the arms, I returned the thread to the “torso,” where the arms meet the rest of the wire, and wound a little more thread here to secure them in place. I cut come more embroidery floss for hair, folded the length several times, and inserted it through the loop at the head of the fairy. I brought the gold floss up and wound it to create a neck and a head, securing the hair in place. Another little dab of glue secured the loose end of the thread on the back.
I went back over the loose end with some more thread of a contrasting color, to make the fairy’s dress. The embroidery floss hair was pulled to the back of the head and secured with another small dab of glue.
I cut wings out of black felt, and proceeded to make symmetrical cut-outs where I wanted color. I sewed small bits of felt to the back of the black “outlines”, so you can’t see where the colored felt meets. The wings then got stitched to the label, Jessie’s name was embroidered on, and I secured the body of the fairy to the label with a few strategically placed stitches. I even managed to make little french knot eyes for her.
I’m pleased with how well this one turned out, though I’m a little worried that I’m now expected to up my game even further.