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Apr 2005
"Recycled Monster Action"
Problemo on his perch along the back of my futon. He's 68" long.
Big, wide smile
Detail of tail
He's got a yella belly, reclining on the futon.

About Problemo

Yesterday, I tackled the softie I planned to make for April's Month O' Softies theme on "Recycled Monster Action." My plan was a to make a giant monster, the length of my futon. A 3D reperesentation of the way I represen>problems in my graphic facilitation work (see the red guy).

It took 10 hours and I documented it all to soon be on it's own page. See finished pics above..

He's about 95% recycled materials. He's made of:
1 white cotton slip
1 short-sleeved cotton shirt
1 pair cotton pants
1 short-sleeved fake fur shirt (big wavy stripes in middle)
2 napkins (arms)
1 beaded purse (on tail)
2 lace curtains (stuffing)
1 embroidered jacket
1 yellow velvet dress (I originally made from a bedspread)
quilting cotton scraps (tail)
loads of scraps for stuffing.

Basically the only non-recycled parts are the striped ribbons and the white fabric used for the teeth, claws and eyes.

I'm pleased with how well this went from mental picture to actuality. And I got to integrate several favorite things into Problemo so I have them reused into one useful pillow: The yellow dress that became his belly (my absolute favorite yellow), the beloved bead purse that I literally wore out, those favorite striped ribbons, favorite quilt cottons, the striped ribbons.

And so he make a great pillow to lean on when my futon is down, when I'm reading in bed. The only thing, he's really heavy, stuffed with odds and ends. I think I'll need to restuff him with new stuffing to be lighter and more even.

This theme has made me want to make MORE MONSTERS! Since I cleaned out my closet on Saturday, I know all the scraps that have monster potential.

Here's Problemo step-by-step:

1:00 pm: Here's the cotton slip laid out. I needed plain, lightweight cotton to sew all the pieces to.
1:09 pm: Body drawn with a Sharpie
1:09 pm: By making dots, I transferred the lines from one side to the other.
1:12 pm: Oops - need more fabric.
1:28 pm: Here's the gap sewn in with some more white cotton.
1:51 pm: I began with the smile, because I knew I wanted the black fabric "lips" to go over. Also, I knew I wanted to quilt the teeth to give them a little dimension. Simply a layer of batting between the cotton foundation and the cotton top layer.
2:00 pm: Other side done.
2:14 pm: Lower jaw sewn on. I used the bottom edge of a cotton shirt, so that the edge was already finished.
2:40 pm: Top jaw made from the bottom hem of a pair of pants. Again, the edge was finished, so it made a clean "lip." Notice the slightly different fabric at the tip of the snout...
2:40 pm: ...I used buttonholes from the cotton shirt for nostrils. To make them more noticable, I lined them with red cotton.
3:00 pm: Both faces are done! Now I get the easy, fun part of making the stripes down the sides of the body.
3:17 pm: I started with a favorite black and white stripe of cotton fabric, followed by two cotton ribbons. Also favorites. It's great to use some favorite materials on this project, so I don't have to hoard them anymore!
3:43 pm: The next stripes were wide, so I pinned them to help them stay put.
4:11 pm: Only this much left on the sides, but I need a break!
4:12-4:33 pm: Sat down and ate a little food. Tried to take a longer break, but the project kept staring at me to come back to it. But I did take some deep breaths and sat on my butt for 15 minutes.

5:13 pm: One side finished! The dots are beaded silk from a beloved purse that I wore out. Again, I am so glad I was able to integrate that into this to give it a second life, and to be able to look at it day to day. The end is some favorite quilt prints.

5:32 pm: Both sides done!
6:05 pm: I sewed the whites of the eyes on. Zigzag applique stitch. I then painted silver glitter paint in the centers for a small iris. Then set aside to dry. Next the arms...
6:18 pm: Here are the claws cut out in pairs, three claws per foot. This white cotton was part of the 5% made from new materials.
6:37 pm: Sewn and stuffed claws chain pieced.
6:56 pm: Hard to see here, but the arms are made from black napkins, a great black on black stripe.
7:05 pm: The cotton base for the belly.

7:53 pm: The belly fabrics sewn and quilted on. As you can see, I made the belly narrower. I could tell it was going to be too wide for the sides, and to fit along the top of my futon, like it should.

I gave a lot of thought to what to do with the belly. I liked the idea of making it "yellow bellied," but I wasn't sure I wanted to break it's monochromatic color scheme. After finding a bag of yellow velvet scraps, and not having a good gray to use instead, it was gonig to be yellow.

The super thing about this is that the yellow fabric is on to it's third use! I originally bought a eggyolk yellow bedspread at the big Ragstock warehouse in the Twin Cities. First I made a dress out of it. Later, after I wasn't wearing the yellow dress enough (a little too short and skimpy), I cut it up. At that time, I covered the front of two drawers with it, and made a stuffed goldfish.

This belly is from two pieces of the dress sewn together. I had to cut the stitches out of a dart to get it wide enough.

8:17 pm: The button eye sewn on, from the cotton shirt that is the lower jaw, a couple stripes and the botton of the jaw/chin. I used a decorative stitch for that you can't see in this lighting.
9:06 pm: The belly sewn on, and Problemo turned right side out. Only thing left, is the prairie points along the spine!
9:45 pm: Here's the prairie points ironed and ready to be sewn together.
10:48 pm: Here's the whole darn thing sewn together and turned right side out. He looks so deflated laid flat.
11:01 pm: Tada! He's stuffed with all sorts of stuff and done! Boy, he's heavy stuffed with plenty of cotton, vs. fiberfill.

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