Fox Lamp and 37 Weeks Pregnant

Time sure does fly by!  I am in week 37 (tomorrow I’ll be in 38) of the pregnancy!  Thank goodness I am getting closer because I am definitely getting more uncomfortable.  My right foot gets swollen to a cartoonish proportion each day.  It’s quite bizarre.  It has made it get to the point where I really don’t need to be out walking too much because of the pain of the swelling which means my poor plants are looking so sad in the yard, we could use more groceries, and other general things aren’t getting done.  I went to the Dr. on Monday and he did a quick sonogram mainly to check the heartbeat I think and he said all is still looking great.  He said the baby is getting lower too and he couldn’t see the face, which is encouraging.  Glad baby is moving in the right direction!  Next week we’ll start checking to see if there is any progress with my body towards delivery.  I’m not expecting much since both my other kids were induced late but one can hope, right?!

I was finally able to take some pictures yesterday of some of the endless projects I’ve been working on.  So, I should actually have something to post about this week!  I am 2/3 done with the boy quilted blanket and that is my last sewing project for a while which is super exciting!  It is definitely too hard to be crawling around on the floor to be doing all the pinning and cutting.  I think my main projects left are just sanding and spray painting items for the kids’ room.

Which by the way, we finally got their beds painted and all set up in their room.  Tonight should be their first night to sleep in there.  The last 4 nights they have been sleeping in Josiah’s old room and getting used to being together.  It has gone really well.  Josiah has been so tired since he doesn’t nap anymore that he goes to sleep pretty instantly and we can hear him telling Audrey to be quiet.  Once he is out she just talks to herself for a while (sometimes up to an hour or so) and then goes to sleep. When they were younger and were in the same room the two would make each other laugh and not go to sleep.  The real test will be coming up though with Audrey able to escape for the first time when she moves to the twin bed.  I plan to still put her down for naps in the crib for a while since I am not ready for that battle yet and the baby won’t be needing it for a while.  It feels so great to finally have things coming together though.  Our new dining table is also set up in the kitchen and is working great.  It is a lot bigger (but not too big for the space).  We have 5 chairs around it (our high chair which reclines sits on a chair) and really could squish another one in if needed and there is a leaf too for when others are here.  I’ll get a picture of it one of these days to show you!

Today I want to share a project that has been in the works for a while now.  It took a little longer than I had expected and had some hiccups but in the end I am pleased with it.

Here is my fox lamp that I mentioned in this earlier post of things I hoped to make.

I got the pattern and instructions from the blog matsutake.  You can find both of them in the tutorials section.  When I printed out the pattern it seemed very small so I had Ken copy it at 150% and it made it really big.  I was worried at first that I had made it too big but after sewing it I think it is just right.

Here are a couple shots of it lit up.  It is filled with a string of 50 led lights that I found at hobby lobby and used one of their 40% off coupons for.  This is one time when it is very helpful that craft stores start putting Christmas stuff out months in advance.  If you look at my fox (which I just noticed has the tail sewn on the opposite side of the original) and the other fox my tail is sagging a lot more. I don’t know how she got hers to stay up so well.  Maybe she had a smaller strand of lights?  It also looks like she sewed the tail a bit shorter which might make it easier to stand up.

Sewing the chin pattern piece to the top face pieces proved to be the trickest part but with lots of pinning and patience it seemed to turn out like it should.  The rest of it came together easily.  Stuffing it was easy.  Wiping it all over with fabric stiffner was easy too.  I just put the stuffed fox into a big bowl that was lined with plastic wrap.  This helped to keep the tail standing up as it dried.  The hard part came when I was taking the stuffing out.  It was easy in the main body but getting it out of the tail proved to be quite challenging.  I used a few different implements to make it work.  The problem was trying to get it out without destroying the work I had done to make it look so good and stiff.  I finally was able to get most of it out with a long piece of plastic that has barbs on it…it is made for putting down drains to pull out hair and crud.  We’d gotten it for free a few years ago.  It is bendable which helped it go up into the tail and then it would grab a little of the polyfil and pull it out.  There was still some of it left in there though that I never could get out.  It was a pretty frustrating process.  I’m not sure of a way to do it that would make it go smoother.  I ended up putting some more stiffner on the fox in places that had gotten pretty beaten up during all of that.

Next, I tried putting the lights inside the fox and it worked pretty well but the strand kept trying to come out of the bottom.  It was also heavy and trying to topple the fox over.  I ended up trying several methods to fix this.  First, I cut a piece of cardboard from our recycle bin to put a ring around the bottom to help give it strength but because it is lit up inside you could see it.  So, then I tried cutting up a plastic bottle from our recycling to do the same thing but it wasn’t strong enough.  So then I thought it’d work well to use the bottom half of a plastic bottle which would hold the lights in, add strength, and would keep the fox’s shape better.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have any bottles that were small enough to make it work.  Next, I tried using a glass canning jar.  It fit but because I couldn’t cut it, the strand of lights had to be spilling up over the side to get to the tail and out the back which made it very lumpy.  I was on the hunt for just the right sized plastic bottle.  After combing our house and even walmart I hadn’t found anything that fit all my requirements.  Then one day a couple weeks later I was cooking and finished up the last of our olive oil.  It was then I realized I was staring at the perfect bottle!  Here it is beside the fox.  I drew lines on it so I would know where I needed it cut.  It worked about as well as anything else could.  It is just the cheap walmart brand olive oil.  The bottle size is 25.5 fl oz.  Of course, be very careful when cutting the bottle.  I used an exacto knife.  I made the two holes more of a square shape because that was easier.  Please do not cut any part of yourself just to make this fox!

The slits made it easy to slide the strands of lights and the plug down to the holes.  I just estimated the length of the strand for the tail and the stuffed a bunch in the bottle for the body and the rest for the head.

My poor little fox got pretty beat up from all the different methods I was trying out on it but in the end it still looks pretty cute and hopefully it won’t be getting touched any more.  I’ve got it sitting at the top of a high bookshelf…well, high for the kids.  The strand of lights I bought (it was the smallest they had) didn’t have any length of the strand by the plug that was lightless.  So, I had to plug in a small electric cord to get it to an outlet.  If you could find a strand with less lights it might be a little easier and still give off plenty of light.  Oh, and one more tip.  I used a wooden spoon to help get the body back in shape after the bottle and lights were in place.  I just slid it around and popped out any indentations.  I should have done it again before these pictures because I was messing with the fox but I forgot.

I am glad I made it and am happy to have it for the baby but if I were to make another one some day I would try a different animal where I didn’t have to deal with the same tail issues.  Also, this fox would also be super cute just stuffed and sewn up to be a stuffed animal.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Update:  After I made this fox lamp and it sat on the bookshelf for about a month or so the tail started to sag because of the weight of the lights.  I don’t know if there is a way to keep that from happening unless you find smaller LED lights that aren’t has heavy or if you just leave the tail empty.  But it doesn’t look bad with the tail laying down.  However, if I had know that would happen I would have sewn it so the tail was already laying down so it wouldn’t have a twist in it.  But I haven’t worried about it and for anyone who sees it I’m sure they would assume that is the way it was supposed to be all a long.  Just wanted to let you know can happen to you as well.

8 thoughts on “Fox Lamp and 37 Weeks Pregnant”

  1. Jocelyn, you continue to amaze me. That lamp is just great. Never saw anything that even compares. You mentioned “boy” quilt – ??? I’d love to see the baby’s room and I love reading your blogs.

    1. Thanks for your sweet words. I just get the ideas from other great minds though. Thank goodness for the internet! I mentioned the boy quilt because I had intended to sew one gender neutral quilt but could never find fabric I liked so I made a girl one earlier and finally finished a boy one last night! So, no, I do not know the gender still if you were wondering. And the baby’s room right now just looks the same as before when it was Josiah’s with the crib back in it and lots of baby stuff piled around. We are almost finished with the big kids room though and I’ll take pictures when I do. Of course you are always welcome to stop by anytime when you are next door. We won’t be doing anything to baby’s room until we know the gender and then it’ll either stay mostly the same as it is or get more girly with Audrey’s old stuff etc.

    1. Well, there are definitely some things that are a little easier to do as a first sewing project but most of the fox is made up of very easy lines to sew. It is really just lining up the face pattern pieces together that is the toughest part. Other than that I found dealing with the rest of the project (the lights etc.) to be more of a challenge.

    1. Sorry for the delayed response! Your question went to my spam box for some weird reason. Anyway, the site, matsutake, has a strange format and it wasn’t letting me link to the actual pattern landing page. But I have a link under the first picture to the blog and if you look in the list of tutorials you should see it and find the pattern to print out. Also, after a while the heavy lights in my fox tail made the tail lie down instead of staying up. So, I’d either use less heavy lights or don’t put lights in the tail if you want it to keep it’s shape.

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