Thursday, December 8, 2011

bean bag surprise

okay—here it is. a not-so-secret secret amongst most moms (at least all the ones i know):

we HATE stuffed animals.
kids LOVE stuffed animals.

they are purposeless, dust-catching, they take up loads of space and there’s no good way to store them, and if your kids are like mine—they rarely (if ever) play with them—but scream and throw a fit if you try and get rid of them.

sometimes i swear these things breed in the night. they’re everywhere—multiplying like rabbits—even despite my best efforts to corral them, sneak them into the trash, and even enact a stuffed animal embargo in this house.

then i found this (sorry. insert photo of bean bagish thing filled with stuffed animals, which the site is no longer advertising. carry on)

brilliant.
a bean bag chair, minus the beans, plus the animals.
so, not technically a bean bag chair.
more a stuffed animal chair.

GENIUS!
thus was born: 

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it’s fully lined, with a layer of stuffing in between so that even when the kiddos take out some stuffed animals to play with (riiight) it still has some cushioning.

and the bottom has a nice big zipper for easy access to all our fuzzy friends.

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wanna make your own? here’s how i did it!
to make things easier to photograph, i made a miniature sized one. the principles are the same, just size it up for real life :)

i’m going to give you the basic outline of how i made this, but your exact measurements can vary, so your yardage etc. will also depend on how big you want your bean bag—and how many you want to make—maybe your kids are stuffed-animal-aholics who need like five or six of these babies. i don’t judge.

EDITED TO ADD: the lovely and talented Sherri of Thread Riding Hood has created a pattern for 2 different sized S.A.C.s, which you can get HERE on her site! let's all hear it for Sherri! head over for your free pattern, show Sherri some love, and then come on back here for instructions.

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and

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tricky, right?
on my final product there was about a three inch difference between the outside and inside pieces. just enough space to get a bit of stuffing in there.

now here’s the extra tricky bit. with five sides, our base has to be a pentagon.

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what i failed to realize when coming up with this design is that apparently the pentagon is, like, pretty much the hardest shape to draw. ever.

(and you thought triangles were hard. amateur.)

i googled, i youtubed…i admitted defeat(before i even started) . anyone who’s a regular reader of my blog knows that I DON’T MATH. EVER. PERIOD.
so, if you’d like to be better than me: be my guest. get your compass, your ruler, and your extra large bottle of aspirin and head here for instructions on making a Perfect Pentagon. lemme know how that works for ya. i can tell you that the sum of your angles must be 540 degrees. how you get there is your business.

but i come from the land of Good Enough (which is across the river of Fudged from the country of Almost, But Not Quite Perfect), and this is how we Good Enoughians roll.

let’s face it: it’s a stuffed animal filled bag. does it really have to be mathematically perfect? methinks not.

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straighten it out as best you can. channel your inner mathematician.
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this is your pattern piece for the bottom.

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now let’s put in the zipper!

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now we turn our attention back to the body of the s.a.c.

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we’re on the home stretch now!! it’s time to assemble everything.

BUT: somehow i skipped a lot of pictures of this part. sorry! trust me though—it’s not difficult.

first, line up your outside beanie (or beanie outside, whichever) with the bottom zipper piece—right sides together, matching seams to pentagon points.

sew that up.

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now sew your lining to the bottom piece, right sides together. try to follow the same stitching line you made
sewing your outsides on to the bottom.

because i forgot to take a picture, i made you this handy drawing:
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you’re making a hamburger:
top bun=outside
meat=zippered bottom piece
bottom bun=lining


now you have to reach through the hole in the lining, and pull the outside through. at that point the whole thing will now be inside out, so just unzip it and flip it right side out.

sew up the hole in your lining.

final steps:

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i made two of these things.

one was big enough to fit all the stuffed animals. i counted 40. no joke.

the other got filled with all the dress up clothes:

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these things are AMAZING.
seriously. i knew i would love them once i got around to making them.

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but they’re almost worthy of the term “life-changing”.
i don’t completely detest stuffed animals anymore.
i may even let my kids get more.

nah.

but of course, the one the kids like the most?

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the tiny one i made as a photo sample.
they all fought over it.

and i realized as i watched them, with just a touch of irony…
i just made them a great little toy to make them play with
all
    the
          stuffed
                   animals.

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