What was your favorite toy/thing when you were growing up?
For me, it was unicorns. I collected them as dolls, as figurines, as characters in books, and in posters on my bedroom walls. Anytime I saw a unicorn toy or trinket, I had to have it.
My sister has a 4-year-old little girl, making me “Crazy Auntie Kelly”, and that’s just fine with me. I love my niece and decided that I was going to pass on my joy of unicorns to her. Every time I bring her a gift, it’s a unicorn! She loves them and comes up with fanciful names for them, which is adorable.
I wanted to get my niece a present during a cruise my husband and I went on in October, so I checked out the ship’s gift shop, but to my dismay they had no unicorns on board. Kittens, puppies, stuffed Freddy-the-Funship toys… but not a single unicorn. Not wanting to leave empty-handed, I spent some time thinking about the problem and came up with a solution. A seahorse! The gift shop had lots of aquatic themed toys, including a bunch of plush seahorses. I picked out a pink and purple one and started hatching a plot.
What’s a unicorn? Sort of a horse with a horn, right? Well, I had a SEAhorse! I could make a Sea-Unicorn by sewing on a horn!
I meant to do this before Christmas and send it off as a Christmas present, but I got behind on things and didn’t do it. However, I sat down Sunday night and decided to work on the project until it was done.
I had already purchased some discount fabric at Joann’s during a sale. I didn’t have the seahorse toy with me at the time, so the colors don’t match. It doesn’t bother me, because the seahorse toy is multicolored anyway, and at least it doesn’t clash. The toy is very micro-fibery, touchy-feely, so I got a similar fabric.
At Joann’s I also picked up the thread – it’s a gossamer-fine holographic glitter thread. It was my intention to use this thread to make shiny gold spirals around the horn to give it shape and that magical glitter that unicorn horns have As soon as I started playing with the thread, I realized it was going to be a pain to work with. Ultra fine and made of the same type of stuff that Christmas tinsel is made from, it’s really not a material meant for threading through a needle. I don’t know if it’s intended for machine sewing only or what (I’m no expert on such things), but sewing by hand with it was an exercise in frustration as it twisted and tangled and came un-threaded from the needle at almost every stitch. And also, it was far too fine to work with as I wanted to.
I ended up using 4 strands of the stuff at a time, which only made the tangles and twists worse, and now I had 4 strands falling out of my needle at every stitch instead of one. *sigh* Oh well.
I kept on going because I didn’t have anything better to decorate the horn with. It was slow going, but I finally finished sewing a backstitched spiral from the base of the horn to its very tiny tip.
Speaking of the horn, I decided chunky was best for this project. The doll is not exactly delicate and I felt a small stubby horn would be cute, but not the right design for the job. After attaching the horn to the “forehead” of the seahorse, it measures about 2 1/2 inches long. Its base is almost an inch in diameter, I’m guessing.
Let me just put this out there now… I’m no seamstress. I have a few embroidery stitches that I know because I got my husband’s grandmother to teach me over Thanksgiving. Everything else I do, sewing-wise, is just my best attempt at faking it. And I’ve never learned to properly use a sewing machine…
Anyway I think the results came out well. I used a regular weight cotton thread to sew the horn on as tightly and as close to the forehead as possible without opening up the doll and restitching it’s face. I could never have pulled that off with any elegance, but this horn isn’t coming off this doll. I must have made about 30 stitches, all hidden so you cant see the thread from most angles even if you’re messing around with the horn,
I can’t wait for my little niece to get her grubby little hands on this thing! I had some handmade dolls when I was a kid and I treasured them the most. While this isn’t exactly the same, it certainly is unique! A personalized present, how cool is that!
Well – I decided last night/this morning (haven’t slept yet) that it wasn’t enough. What if she didn’t understand how cool a gift it was? There’s no context!
So, slightly sleep deprived as I am, I decided to write a children’s story about a seahorse who wants to become a Unicorn, but she’s told she can’t because Unicorns are like land horses, not seahorses. But with a little luck and a bit of magic – and a friendly positive attitude, she proves the world wrong and makes a special friend in the process.
For your perusal, I give you “Sally’s Horn“, a completely 100% unique, brand new, custom story for my niece Kylee. If you want to tell it to your kids, I’m ok with that. Just remember to credit me
And now that it’s all done, I’m going to take it and some other presents I have for my sister and my niece over to the post office and ship them off today. I hope “it fits” and “it ships”, LOL!
Remember to tell me about your favorite toy or thing when you were a kid! Or, if you made a special hand-made toy or gift for a child, I’d love to hear about it! Don’t be shy!