1/4/2017: Homemade Primitive Snowmen

Spent a majority of yesterday evening doing due canine diligence and enjoying the unusually balmy 40-ish degree weather here in northern New England.  As a result, by the time the canine was tired, so was I, and my crafty time was cut a bit shorter than usual.  As stressful and time consuming as fostering dogs can be, at least when you have two they can entertain each other.  The other side of the coin being the times when both of them expect you to entertain them, of course!  Being Kyra’s sole source of entertainment, while always an adventure, inevitably leads to me putting off things that the Mature Adult in me knows I should be doing.  (However a slice of me also thoroughly enjoys ignoring Mature Adult.  She doesn’t know how to have any fun.)

However I did finally complete and wrap a Christmas present for the best friend, just in time for our post-Christmas celebration planned for tonight.  I haven’t actually completed the other gift I’ve been crafting for her daughter (that may or may not be tomorrow’s post, as like an idiot I packed all of the supplies to finish it at work today except the yarn I needed to crochet the last piece…sigh!  One more neuron apparently bites the dust).  Fortunately I’ve kept quiet about this little blog experiment that I’m doing, so I can post the picture with abandon.

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An amateur’s attempt.  As long as the bestie likes them!

Cute, right??  I ended up making quite a few of these before holidays and gifting them to coworkers, for the most part.  The best friend absolutely loves snowmen and dropped some not-too-obvious hints about wanting one – “You’re going to make me one of these, RIGHT?” – when I dragooned her into helping me assemble and stuff them at one point.  I had actually been out shopping with the sister and saw what are called “primitive snowmen” for sale in multiple shops for $15-$30 and thought about how absolutely ridiculous the price was for fabric and stuffing, and promptly decided to make my own.

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$15 for this?  I’ll make it myself…

Unfortunately I can’t post instructions or a pattern as I bought it (at a very reasonable price!) off Etsy, and I won’t post instructions for something for free and undercut what someone else sells.  However I WILL say that once I spent the money on the pattern and made a test one, I smacked myself on the forehead and said “well-duh I could’ve thought of that” and promptly revised the pattern to my liking.  Essentially, take a snowman shape, view it from the top, slice the shape like a pie into five equal sections, and you’ll have the pattern for the outside of the snowman.  I bought clearance fabric from the Evil Empire, layered it and cut all the fabric at once, machine stitched the slices together and stuffed it, and filled in facial features with Puff Paint.  The noses, hats and scarves are made from scrap felt and fabric I had around the house.  I also weighed down the bottom of the snowmen with rice before sewing them shut, so they stand up on their own.

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A trio for my fellow manager.

The only real snag I hit during construction of these guys was trying to put arms on them.  The pattern came with cloth arms and legs, but I thought that wouldn’t be quite true to the snowman paradigm.  I tried brown pipe cleaner arms on my sample guy and intensely disliked them…smacked too much of grade school craft projects for me.  The original photos that I took of the expensive store-available snowdudes (below) had wire arms, but my feeble attempts at sculpting and attaching these type of arms did not go well.  In the end, I decided to simply nix the arms.  Maybe my snowmen are representative of ancient Snowmen of the Plains…no sticks to make arms with.

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Wiry arms and a big nose…he’s my kind of guy.

As you can see from the photo, there are some obvious differences between my snowman and the Official For Sale Primitive Snowman, and in the upcoming year I’m hoping to make a few tweaks to my design to make it closer to what I saw in the stores.  I like the triple bump and the exaggerated facial features better in the store one, and perhaps that’s why the crazy wire arms go better with this guy than they do with my homemade snowpeople.  I also like the buttons on his torso, though I’m super paranoid about putting buttons on anything that could potentially go in a toddler’s mouth.  Plus, the fabric paint is just easier, provided you have the patience to wait until it dries to continue with the project…which I typically do not.

The other thing of note is that the typical Primitive Snowman is dyed a tannish color to look like he’s been around for a while and Beaten Up By The World (maybe they simply survived public high school, the look on his face is about right for that).  The pattern I bought included instructions on how to dye them correctly, and it turns out that it’s simply weak tea or coffee that’s been sprayed or dabbed on to the snowman and air dried.  I haven’t been brave enough to try it with my guys, with the expectation of total disaster and being forced to make yet another one before deadline, but it’ll come someday.  Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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