Saturday, February 9, 2013

New Lease for an Old Friend

Parents are suckers, aren't we? Especially with the first. The way their eyes light up when you hand them something that they clearly want to cuddle in their chubby arms has us opening wallets and swiping cards left right and centre. David just spent weeks searching for a glow in the dark Care Bear for Little on E-bay because we could no longer find them in the shops here. He ended up buying 3, "because you never know!"

My Dad loves telling a story about how I suckered him. There was an aquarium in what is now the industrial estate when I was about 9 months old. Mum and Dad took me and I fell head over heels for a stuffed toy in the gift shop (which brings me to a parenting lesson: Avoid any location that forces you to either enter or exit through a gift shop. Those places are pure evil!!).

Apparently, no matter which way I was turned or what I was shown in the sparkly tanks, my eyes remained glued on the toys. So, much to my babyish delight, I was bought a toy - a stuffed coral polyp.

Dad was responsible for naming our toys and this one was dubbed: "Poly the Polyp" (he's a very witty man!). But life goes on and I was a fickle baby. The toy did not hold my attention forever and I'm pretty sure it was relegated to a Lifeline bin in the end.

When Dad started scanning photos, of course he came across the one above. He told the story again and I decided that it was sad that a toy who was so loved ended up being discarded. So, in memory of my original Poly, I made the new Poly.

The first thing Dad said was, "It's a bit bigger than the original." But in my mind, it's exactly the right size (Isn't it funny that we grow, but the things we remember do not shrink to compensate!). Poly in my memory didn't have feet (maybe they became the victims of rough play?) and I made her flat on the bottom to sit up by herself (for some reason, that's important to me in a toy). As soon as she was finished, Big fell madly in love with her and very gently cradled her. Little, on the other hand, gave her a massive cuddle and then tossed her into the next room.

I hand dyed bamboo fleece to get just the right shade of yellow (it doesn't show up brilliantly on the photo) and embroidered the face by hand. Her fronds are red acrylic felt. I'm not particularly happy with the lumps and bumps, but I got a bit impatient when I was stuffing her!

So now the girls have the chance to play with an old friend of mine, who kept me happy for many an hour!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pink elephants and good friends

By the time I was in grade 10 at school, I had found a pretty awesome group of friends. In fact, nearly all of us are still involved in each other’s lives to some extent. Being such a big group, we did have little groups of ‘best’ friends and I am so lucky that I am still in touch with mine. We have been each other’s bridesmaids and are ‘aunts’ to children and regularly keep in touch, despite great distances between us.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted pictures of Archie on my facebook page. He is the first toy that I have been a bit more imaginative with. For some reason, I tend to like a certain level of realism in my animals, but the idea of a super hero elephant was too inviting to pass up!

After I had made Archie, the thought struck me that I should make a pink elephant and I knew it had to be. My friends and I have quite an affinity with pink elephants, ever since history class. Some of my fondest moments are from Modern History. I have to question how much work we did, seeing as I have more illegal notes saved from those lessons than knowledge of whatever it was we studied.

A, J, F and I all sat together, mostly counting how many times a particular girl did her hair (10 times over 90 minutes) and quoting our favourite jokes from DAAS, Good News Week or the like. F would roll her eyes at us as she diligently copied notes from the board (can you guess who got the OP1?), knowing we would want to copy them later, while we giggled quietly and not so quietly.

During our research time for one particular assignment, A became very frustrated. She had asked our teacher if she was on the right track and he responded that as long as she had research to back it up, she was fine. She stormed back to the rest of us and exclaimed, “I could say that ‘pink elephants have tea at three o’clock’ and as long as I can find evidence, then I’m right!”

After that, the phrase, ‘pink elephants have tea at three o’clock’, or drawings of elephants in J’s case, appeared on every practice exam, assignment task sheet and general worksheet we had to complete for history, resulting in uncontrollable giggles.

We’ve gotten older since then and the giggles are not as frequent, but whenever I stood in front of a Sose class and talked about the importance of research to back up their point of view, I could almost imagine pink elephants in the corner of the class room.

So this year, for J's birthday, she has received 'Elen' my pink elephant. I did have an epic fail with cheap wool felt...

I managed to salvage the ears and used left over fabric from the girls' table tent. I then made her a little watch from felt scraps and set out to find a tea cup. I have to ask, do children not have tea parties anymore? I went everywhere! But I eventually found a gorgeous pink set at Big W (Big and Little don't notice that there is a cup and saucer missing) to complete Elen.

So, happy birthday, J! Enjoy your elephant and thanks for being my friend through it all!