Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Tale of the Totoros

                Remember the Totoro I made for my sister’s Christmas present? When I posted a picture of it on Facebook, I got requests to make more of them. I was amazed that so many people knew about “My Neighbor Totoro”! For a movie made in 1988, it’s still very popular.

                My friend from high school, Cindy, saw the Totoro and wanted me to make one for her. She and her husband are big fans.

Then my friend Randy wanted me to make a Totoro for him too. His daughter is a big fan of Japanese cartoons/Manga and attends ComiCon each year in San Diego. He wanted to buy one for her birthday present.

When I started making the Totoros, I made 1 large one (which seemed too big), then a small one (which seemed too small), then I made the medium (which was just the right size). I sent the large one to Cindy and the medium one went to Randy. Randy said that when his infant son, Kyle (who now has new owl friends) saw the Totoro, he was fascinated. Kyle loved looking at the Totoro, smiling at it, and playing with it. So the small Totoro will be going to Kyle!

Large Totoro  9” tall
Medium Totoro 7.5” tall
Small Totoro 6.5 “tall

Then my friend from college, William, also wanted a Totoro for his kids. On a trip to Japan, William and his wife, Jinny, visited the Ghibli Musuem, in Mitaka Japan. The museum features creations from Studio Ghibli, the company behind Totoro. The best part about the museum is their giant-sized Cat Bus! William and Jinny love Totoro so much that their daughter’s middle name is Mei, named after the little sister in the movie! Since William has 3 kids, instead of making 3 separate Totoros, I suggested making one giant Totoro instead. This one is double the size of the largest one I made before. I used the same concept of the owl, which is to use thicker yarn and a larger crochet hook to make the same toy in a larger size. William says his daughter loves the Totoro!

Giant Totoro 18” tall
Large Totoro 9” tall
I think my Totoro phase is almost over but I still love making them. If you want one too, just let me know! For now, I'm moving on to my next projects because there's still so much to learn! Thanks again for joining me this week! See you next week!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lions and monkeys and zebras.....oh my!

(January 2011)

                When my friend Ruben found out he was having a son, he prepared the nursery by painting an amazing jungle-themed mural. Baby Ruben Agustin was welcomed home by 5 new friends: a lion, a monkey, an elephant, a zebra, and a giraffe. Ruben’s wife, Jessica, asked me to make Ruben Agustin a lion, to match his new nursery. Since I already had experience making a lion for my nephew’s school fundraiser, I readily agreed.

                The lion I made before was from a pattern found in an issue of Crochet Today Magazine. It was part of the "Runaway Menagerie" collection. The lion itself was not so hard to make, but the toy took a long time to finish because it has a very detailed mane. Without the mane, the lion would look like an orange bear.  


                Check out the original design to see if it’s pretty close. I modified the lion’s posture because I thought it looked cuter standing up instead of sitting down. This way, the baby can grab all its limbs to play with it. I also added a pipe cleaner in the tail so it could bend.

                When I gave the lion to Ruben Agustin, he was fascinated. Of course the first thing he did was to put it in his mouth to see how it would taste. Since he was just learning to grab things, the curls in the lion’s mane was perfect for him to grab with his cute little fingers. Jessica and Ruben also loved the lion. I told them I would continue the collection with the monkey, elephant, zebra, and giraffe!

Ruben Agustin, Jessica and their new friend.
                Thank you for joining me again this week! I’ll be on vacation next week, but I’ll be back the week after. Join me for more next time!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Owls for Kyle

(January 2011)

         My friend Lilly gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Kyle. She put a lot of effort into decorating his new nursery and it came out amazing. Everything from the furniture to the paint and the decorations on the walls matched to perfection. Kyle’s nursery was baby blue and dark brown with animals to keep him company.

         Lilly was looking for a mobile to match Kyle’s room but had a hard time finding one. When she saw the pictures I posted of my Amigurumis on Facebook, she asked me to make her a custom mobile for her son. Lilly wanted the mobile to have owls that are dark brown and baby blue.

         I used two patterns found in Ana Paula Rimoli’s books and adapted them to make my own creation. The owl was adapted from a pattern found in Amigurumi World. I had previously made the owl to pattern and didn’t really like the result, so I changed it to fit my taste. The branch and leaves came from the Little Bird mobile found in Amigurumi Two! (which I had made from my niece’s Christmas present).


         There was a crochet technique I really wanted to try that I saw from the book, Ami Ami Dogs, Volume 3. It turns out that the size of the Amigurumi depends on what size yarn and crochet hook you use. So if you use a very thick yarn and a large diameter crochet hook, you can make a giant size version of your toy. I made a giant size owl for Lilly to match the mobile.

         The owls fit into Kyle’s new nursery perfectly! I was so happy when we put the owls in the room and they looked like they belong there. Lilly says Kyle is fascinated with his new flying friends. Lilly also loves the owls. It turns out owls are her favorite animals.

         Here’s Kyle! Did you notice that his outfit has an owl on it too? Every time I see him, he grows bigger and bigger. 

         Thanks again for joining me this week! See you next week!