June 1, 2016
Starting a long journey always begins with a first step. Sir Winslow never would have gone anywhere without beginning with careful planning. I know he had help from his colleagues at Oxford, his connections with the Home Office, and people he had met on previous travels. Our family is leaving next week to head out west, and I think planning a trip 100 years later has got to be so much easier.
The expedition of Sir Winslow's Zoo began with a first step, too. It wasn't even a journey I was planning on going on, let alone being on it without end. But don't worry, I much prefer this adventure to some of my others!
So let's head back to late October 2013. My sister Beth ( now assistant Zookeeper) and I had joined forces and were selling other items at a craft show in Baxter, Iowa. Across from us was a lady selling a variety of things. On a top shelf she had 3 owl pillows. My daughter Emily wanted one, of course. I told her, "I can do that!" knowing full well I could make it better.
Christmas was coming and I always make each of my kids a handmade item. I remembered Emily telling me she wanted that owl, and thought "aha!" I purchased brown bubble minky at the fabric store and drew out a pattern on a paper sack.
The first draft was really more of a sketch, and with a couple of tweaks I had my full size pattern. At that time I was using my ironing board to cut things out, and what a mess it was! If any of you have used minky for a project before, you know tiny pieces of fuzz get EVERYWHERE!!!! Your nose itches for hours afterwards! But onward HO!
With scrap fabric boxes overflowing (more on that at a later time), I chose pieces for the faces and wings. I think that is my favorite part of the owls--the color combinations can be so fun and joyful! I collect fabric like a crazy person! I'll show you pictures of my shelves sometime. However, at that time I was sewing in my own house, so everything was crammed in boxes and tubs.
These are the first three owl pillows
I posted this picture to Facebook and they were an instant success. I knew they were cute, I just didn't expect the response I got. To say that I am blessed because of it is an understatement. I love the joy it brings to a child when they receive one. I love watching an adult at a craft show struggle to find the perfect gnome pillow for their living room couch. I love being able to give away the shark pencil cases for charity causes. This is truly a special journey.