Quips and Quotes
"We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue." John Piper

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rustle S. Crow (Not the Actor) Tutorial

Rustle Scare Crow
It's time for scarecrows! Don't know 'bout you, but I really like scarecrows. They are a real American homestead icon. On the farm, you'll find them staked in fields of of ripening corn, guarding the sweet, golden ears from... what else?...crows, of course. However, scarecrows have now become connected with fall and the harvest, even for those who have never visited a farm.

The first "real" scarecrow I made while we were living in the Napa Valley on four acres. He was LIFE-SIZE and I posted him on one side of the driveway. Once he was set in position, I continued to work, cleaning up; but every time I caught a glimpse of him in my peripheral vision, it startled me. He was so "real", that I thought some man had snuck up on me. So now I make small scarecrows, like the one here in this photo...His name is Rustle Scare Crow

My scarecrows are made from recycled or re-used materials. I did not use any kind of glue on the clothing (gently used children's clothing, size 12-months) so once I'm done with the scarecrows, I can bless a mom and child with the pants and shirt. So... without further ado, here's how I made Rustle:

Materials Needed
old stuffed doll or animal
clothing to fit - shirt, hat, overalls or pants, handerchief
1/2 yard muslin or burlap (burlap is harder to work with, but gives a really nice look)
small scraps of fabric for patches
black embroidery floss
fiberfill stuffing
black, orange, light pink, and white acrylic craft paint
twine (cotton or jute)
heavy thread I use quilting thread)

Tools Needed
glue gun
long needle

1. This scarecrow was made using a cast-off stuffed animal as a base. I found this funky-looking rabbit at a thrift shop. I purchased clothing to fit his size - overalls, shirt (they were 12-months size) and hat at the thrift shop also. I paid less than $5 for these basic pieces.
2. I cut off the ears since scarecrows don't have long ears. The head came off because the front of the face was sort of pointed. By taking the head off, I was able to turn it sideways and have a typically shaped scarecrow head.
3. I covered the scarecrow head with two layers of scrap muslin. The rabbit's black patterned fabric showed through with just one layer, but you'll see that two layers serve another purpose as well. I positioned the first of the two layers over head, smoothing the front by drawing fullness to back of head.
4. Then I added second layer, pulling the bulk of the fabric to back of the the head and tucking under the excess, like you would if gift wrapping a present.
5. Next I did the same on other side, as shown in photo below.
6. I tied both layers tight at base of head with twine.
7. As you can see, the front of the head is much smoother than the back.
8. Using a large needle (you can see how large the needle is next to the spool of thread), I sewed the head to the body.
9. Only the inside layer of muslin gets sewn onto the body, as shown in the photo below. I stitched from front to back four or five times, using a thimble when necessary. When the head felt stable, I finished and tied off the thread.
10. I smoothed the outer muslin layer over inner layer that was just stitched. As you can see, the outer layer of muslin covered the stitching for a nicer finish.
11. Next, I paced the shirt on stuffed doll, making sure that the muslin from the head was tucked into the shirt.
12. I cut a piece of muslin fabric large enough to cover one hand and have the excess extend up beyond the wrist so it could be covered when the shirt cuff was buttoned. I covered the hand with muslin, tied it loosely with twine (around the wrist) and worked the fabric around the entire wrist so that the fullness was distributed evenly, then tightened the twine and tied it in a knot.
13. Raffia was next. I bunched up some raffia and tied it with twine around wrist and then distributed it all around the wrist so it looked like the photo below.
14. I folded down the top of the raffia over the jute and hot glued along the fold, holding the raffia down till the glue cooled. Then I brought the sleeves down over the folded raffia and buttoned the cuffs, as seen below.  I trimmed the raffia so it was no longer than the hands. I then repeated steps 11-13 with the remaining hand and both feet. 
15. Next I tied jute around the waist and stuffed the shirt with straw. But if I had it to do again, I would have stuffed the shirt with fiberfill. Straw is just too messy.
16. I tied the handkerchief around the neck...  
17. ...and put on the overalls.
18. I painted the face on with acrylic craft paint, using the blunt end of a wooden skewer dipped in white craft paint to paint the dot on the eyes (dip the blunt skewer end in the paint, then dab onto a paper towel to remove excess, then touch the eye lightly for a perfect dot).
 19. Then I hot glued the hair (raffia) onto the front and back of scarecrow's head. 
20. I glued a button with some raffia threaded through the holes onto the front of the hat, glued on the hat, sewed three patches on the clothing, stuffed some raffia into the pockets and put a pail on his arm. Later I filled the pail with little pumpkins. And..."wha-la!"...Rustle Scare Crow! 
Then I proceeded to make a scarecrow from this striped down frame that was once a standing doll (for lack of a better description). I got this thing at the thrift store also for a few $s. Of course I stripped the raffia off the head and used it for all the scarecrows. That saved me at least $8-$10.
Here's the finished project...I named this guy Tom Cruzin-Through-the-Corn
And last but not least, I made a girl scarecrow. As you can see her "hair" is curly raffia, which I took off the used doll that I got at the thrift shop to make her. I ended up getting her nose a little bigger than I liked, so I named her Barbara Strawsand. She's in the photo below along with Rustle Scare Crow.
Happy Harvest from Rustle, 
Barbara and Tom!!!

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