My sister makes some awesome knitted toys, but for some reason she asked me to make a set of Funky Friends for a baby shower. They are a set of twin boys and we decided on an elephant and a giraffe. I went for bright primary colors and found some great stripy fleece for the accent parts.

These are in the “Floppy” state. They are easy to store like this. Em had fun trying to make the giraffe stand up before he had any stuffing.

I found this stuffing tool on clearance a few years back. It is called “The Big Stuffer” and is made by AirTex. (They don’t have them on the site, but you can call to order one.) The gal that developed it makes and designs teddy bears. This thing is excellent for getting the poly pellets down in the feet and then filling up the legs, trunks, and other long, stretched out parts with the polyfil. The biggest problem comes in finding the plunger part. Apparently it looks a lot like a microphone to an imaginative pre-schooler.

I am constantly amazed at Pauline’s ability to look at a real animal, flatten out the parts, and make pattern pieces that reconstitute into a realistic stuffed animal. Check out her fabulous collection of critters over at the Funky Friends Factory. I have fun playing with colors and fabric patterns when I make one. The kids just have fun playing with them. The only serious design flaw has been on the elephant, and that was minor. My lovely daughter pointed out that Ellie did not have a tail. And, as every astute pre-schooler knows, ALL elephants have tails. Silly Momma! So with a simple fix of an after-market tail, all is right in the Funky Friend universe.

(I ran out of polyfil and had to finish them off at my sister’s place, so we had a multi-location photo shoot for them!)

I planned this Ellie with a tail from the start! The safety eyes that I would normally use are not recommended for kids under the age of three. [If they aren’t safe, then why call them safety eyes??? These are the things I ponder while sitting in the car waiting in the after-school pick up parade of parents.] Pauline recommends a french knot for the eyes in this case. I am crap at french knots, and I would need yarn or a big bundle of floss to make one that would look appropriate on this pair. So, I cut small pieces of black fleece and stitched the eyes on. Safe and much more attractive than any french knot I could have made, even on my best day!

I hope the boys love them!