One woman's crazy quest to take on everything and become the ultimate jack-of-all-trades.
I am a Pinterest-aholic. Due to the addictive nature of Pinterest, I think that should be “a thing.” I think some sort of “Pinners Anonymous” should be available to those of us who spend hours at a time browsing that site. But there is one thing I really do not like about Pinterest. Tell me if any of you have ever experienced this:
You are browsing for a fun project, when all of a sudden you come across the PERFECT pin. It is exactly the type of thing you wanted to make. It is the Grand Poobah of pinspiration. Your heart lifts and your spirit soars as you imagine buying the materials, lovingly assembling them, and feeling that unbeatable satisfaction when it is complete and perfect (because your projects always come out perfectly in your head). You raise your little arrow icon up and click.
As the link opens, you are met with soul-crushing disappointment. It is not the instructions for the “God-pin,” it is an etsy product.
OK, you think, no problem. I may not be able to make it myself, but it is still an awesome idea. I can buy this one. Discouraged, but with the last remnants of optimism coursing through every motor neuron, you look for the option to buy the thing. You notice the most depressing four-letter word in craft lingo: SOLD.
This is exactly the situation I found myself in a few weeks ago. This was the perfect idea for my son’s security blanket. Incidentally, all of this store’s products are really cool, but now I had a picture in my head of my son holding a cute little monster that looked a lot like this AND a new sewing machine that I was eager to continue putting to good use.
When we hit rock bottom there is only one way to go. Unless you carry dynamite, thermite, or plastic explosives. As a JoaT I happen to know a lot about thermite.
I decided the only solution was to construct this thing sans-pattern. From scratch, using only the pictures on the etsy site as my guide. Optimism restored, I journeyed to the fabric store. Minky fur and fleece were both on sale (sign from the universe?), so I randomly guessed how much I would need and brought the materials home. The fur was pretty hilarious because when I cut it, it left pieces all over the floor. My husband came home and asked me if I had murdered Elmo and if I needed help hiding the corpse.
As I sat down to plan, it became apparent that the project was do-able, even for a beginner. I was not worried about the body. It was a simple enough shape to cut and sew, and the construction of the claws was almost identical to my jellyfish project. I knew I would run into problems with the head. I could not tell from the picture if the whole monster was made in one piece or if the head was attached separately. I decided to try a separate head. Baaaaaaaaad idea.
Over two days, I created a pattern and attempted to put this thing together. I was encouraged when the body went pretty well. The only problem I had was this:
OK, so I got a little aggressive with the seams and could not repair this mangled claw. It’s only one foot. It’s a minor set-back. It gives my monster character. It looks… erhm, rustic and handmade.
Then it came time to make the head and the problems started. I could not figure out a graceful way to hide the seams for the horns (and it was late at night, so I could not go buy matching thread), so I tacked them on the front and the seams are obvious. I could not get the eyes to hold still on the head to attach them, and I accidentally sewed the head shut before turning it inside out. Twice. Remember my issues with visuospatial tasks? They were never a more apparent deficit.
I went through two heads trying to get the proportion right and to save enough fabric for the neck. I got overcomplicated with the head shape. I could not fit the overstuffed monster head into the sewing machine to attach it to the body. I banged my head on things. I asked myself why oh why I had done this project in two pieces. I almost gave up. I thought of about a million better ways I could have done this thing. Then I gritted my teeth and found a way to finish.
This is Proto. Short for Prototype. His head is much too big, it is not cleanly attached to his body and it is off-center, he has no eyes, his horns look like crap, he has a massive underbite. I considered him almost an utter failure. Well, at least I didn’t give up, I thought. I reasoned that the next morning I would salvage what materials I could from him, throw the rest away, and start again. I went to bed dreaming of all the ways I would do it better next time.
I woke up the next day to find my daughter in the kitchen, hugging Proto close to her. “Mommy he is soooo cute!”
“…….You actually like him?”
“I love him!” I examined her face closely. She was not mocking me. She seriously loved this completely flawed and seriously hideous creation.
“Well… he’s yours, then. His name is Proto.” I was pretty sure Proto was about to have a gender crisis, because every toy my daughter owns is a girl. But somehow, she accepted Proto exactly as he was. He now lives in her room and is living a productive life eating spiders and nightmares that dare to enter my daughter’s room at night. I keep saying I will give him eyes at some point, but my daughter does not really seem to care. There is no love like a children’s love for their toys.
I have more fur, so one of these days before my son actually needs a security blanket, I will try again. This time I will sew it all as one piece!
Look out, Elmo. I’m coming for you.