ella is in the most WONDERFUL preschool, and one of the things i like best about it is that they take emergency preparation very seriously. the school sent home a bag with a list of things we were to fill it with--things like a change of clothing, non-perishable food, etc.
one of the things on the list is a small toy. at first i was going to make her another dolly like this one, but once i had the body done, i discovered this doll was WAY TOO BIG to put in the bag. i was sitting at the dining room table wondering what to do, when i noticed a doll that she already had--a skeleton doll that came in a happy meal during the "pirates of the carribean" promotion. that doll was the perfect size--but i definitely wasn't going to put a skeleton doll in her bag--it needed to be something comforting, something that would help her feel safe.
a few days later, we had gone to see thomas the train and ella was playing with her magnetic thomas the train book. the book has several pairs of magnetic train cars, and she decided that of each pair one was the mommy and one was the baby. she was cradling the babies on her arm, rocking them back and forth and cooing to them and singing them lullabies. these were flat, hard magnets, and she was treating them just like baby dolls.
then it hit me--her definition of "baby" was much broader than mine--to ella, as long as she SAID it was a baby, and treated it as a baby, it was a baby. it didn't have to have movable arms, or yarn hair, or a wardrobe--heck, it didn't even have to have a human body!
and that revelation inspired the perfect "baby", or rather a pair of babies--max and ruby. she LOVES max and ruby, so much so that we spend whole days being max and ruby. i knew having them with her in the event of a true emergency would be perfect to help her feel loved and soothed.
so, i found and downloaded coloring book pages of max and ruby, colorized them in photoshop, and printed them out on pieces of white muslin that i had previously treated with bubble jet set 2000. then i layed the printouts face down on another piece of muslin, stitched around them (leaving an opening to turn), i turned them right side out and stuffed them, then closed the opening. EXACTLY LIKE MAKING A PILLOW. in fact, i would call these two things pillows--but ella calls them BABIES.
boring technical information (click any image to see an enlargement):
treat your fabric with bubble jet set before starting on this--the fabric needs to soak and dry before it can be used. you can also use purchased printer fabric, but that is far more expensive (as in, about 7 times more expensive, based on prices found here in nashville).
find coloring pages, edit as desired (i only used the front of max and ruby):
colorize in the image editing program of your choice:
attach fabric to printer paper (i know--most people iron it to freezer paper--i've done that too--but on the day i made these i didn't have any in the shop, so i just taped the fabric onto the paper i had in my printer). print and let dry:
remove fabric from paper, lay face down on another piece of fabric, stitch all the way around (leaving an opening). turn right sides out, stuff, close opening:
proudly congratulate yourself for having made your child something so adorable:
(carrying dolls like this is called "up, up, up").
these dolls have been washed and dried in the machine several times, they get stuffed in our bag each day, they've played in the sand box and in the bath tub, the ink is permanent and has not faded at all.
i made two sets of dolls--one for ella to play with, and one for her emergency bag. now she asks me every time i print something, "are you making me some more max and rubies? i WUB max and ruby so much". and i know in my heart that max and ruby love her too.