food so tasty you want to hug it

Are you stressed out by work? Crazy relationships? The news that tells you the world does not deserve mercy or desires more mercy? Nothing is more therapeutic than making something with your own 2 hands.

So when J's birthday came up, I decided to return his lovely lantern gift with something handmade too. Being a true daughter of this food-loving island, I decided to make him a food doll.

So friends, the weekend's coming up. If you have some time to kill but you are not sure where and how to start with your DIY project, ampulets is happy to give you here a step-by-step beginner's recipe for a simple food doll (click on the pics for a larger view in flickr).

Step 1: Decide on the seafood/vegetable/fruit/edible thing for the doll
If your stomach cannot decide, let your materials decide for you. You need some buttons, thread, stuffing and fabric. The type and colour of your fabric is most important. I recommend you rummage through your cupboard and dig out 1 or 2 really old T-shirts that can't even be given away. Recycle! Plus old t-shirts are soft and smell good.

I didn't have a food/fruit/whatever in mind. All I got was an old bluish-grey tank top, and scraps of brown cloth from a trouser-end. Not very food-like colours. So the only conceivable thing from that was a squid. OK, squids are not grey. Plus they are sea creatures first, not just J's fav seafood. But it suffices for the simple Singaporean to call them just food.

Step 2: Cut out the shapes
Fold the cloth in half and draw the desired shape of your chosen food on one side. Aligning one point or edge of the shape on the folded edge of the cloth itself. This is so that when you cut out the shape, you'll get a siamese pair of them instead. I had a pair of Siamese-twinned Squid bodies, joined at the tip.

Step 3: Making a little pouch from the cut-outs
Flip the cloth inside out, and sew the 2 shapes together along the edges, leaving an opening for the stuffing to go in. If you need to attach anything (e.g. limbs, leaves, button-eyes), sew it on from the inside too, so that all the ugly stitches are hidden.

*Tip 1: Think of it as a pillow case turned inside out.
*Tip 2: For any stitches that are exposed, choose a thread of a nice contrasting colour instead.

For my squid doll, I sewed the "Wings" (the 2 triangles sticking out) of the squid together using red thread from the outside. This bit is not meant to be stuffed, so it is sewn shut. Then I flipped the cloth inside-out and sewed along the edges (leaving the bottom open), creating a little squid-shaped pouch. On the open edge, I attached strips of brown cloth from the inside to form the tentacles, and a bit of the tank-top strap on the other edge to form the squid head. The button eyes are first attached to the squid head. For all this, I used grey thread.

Step Four: Stuff it!
Having joined it all up from the inside, you turn your creation back out again! Voila! You should get a little pouch the shape of your favourite food. And it's ready to be stuffed.

Get some cotton wool (if you have those squares of facial cotton, just rip and fluff them up) and dried beans. Green beans are a nice size. No need to buy those styrofoam balls from the craft shop - styrofoam is badbadbad.

*Tip 3: If you want your food doll to sit up, stuff the top with cotton wool and leave the beans for the base. You can also just use only wool or only beans. Whichever material you are using, make sure you are generous with the stuffing because the stuffing will start to "sink" or "shrink" over time.

Step Five: Sew it up
Just stitch up the opening. Since these stitches are likely to be exposed, you may want to consider making the stitches a decorative element anyway, and use thread of a contrasting colour.

Step Six: Serve it on a plate
Image by J
And any meal - er, even an inedible one - is best when it is shared with someone you love, a friend who has stood by you, a family member who needs some cheering up, or just a neighbour who has shown you more kindness than you deserve.


tscd said…
That is really cute. Ikariya!
wheyface said…
Happy belated birthday, TOHA!
Tym said…
Happy birthday, TOHA! And aren't you lucky to have such a creative ampulets by your side?

I suspect that were I to try a food doll, it might end up looking more like something from Mars Attacks...
happy birthday TOHA!
tcn afen said…
oh god, that is great. happy birthday!
ampulets said…
Thank you all. Y never fails to amaze me!
tym, Mars Attacks will be so fun! - TOHA.
ampulets said…
"Attack of the Mars Bars", toha?

tym, the "beauty" of the food doll is that it can as ugly as you have not intended it to be, cos almost anything will end up resembling some kind of food in Singapore. Tie some strips of brown cloth together and sew it onto a round something, and there - a plate of char kway teow. ooh, i see the possibility for a whole cookbook worth of food doll recipes.

but it's a challenge trying to remember how to sew those funny "comb stitch" (or hem stitch??) - you remember learning it from home economics lessons in Secondary school?
Unknown said…
that sotong is the cutest thing on 8 tentacles! happy birthday dude =)
Anonymous said…
haha and i thought food doll meant a doll made with food...
happy birthday TOHA! (whats TOHA?)
ampulets said…
TOHA - The Other Half of Ampulets. :)
Tym said…
ampulets > I only know 3 types of stitches, all of which my mother taught me before I ever set foot in a home economics class: backstitch, hemming and the simple running stitch. Never needed to know more for my simple darning needs!

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