And all the pipe cleaner animals stood erect-- a fierce wall of nylon and wire defiance--
with one voice they exclaimed, "We shall not be silenced!"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fuzzington: Where it All Began...

This entry should also be called "I Love Martha" as in Martha Stewart. I have deep respect for that woman to have built an empire on crafts. She's making millions off of what we love to do best.. crafts. And for that I admire her.

I also have to thank her for being the spark of an idea that became Fuzzington. And Hobby Lobby. And I have to thank Cox Communications for their Digital Video Recorder (DVR), which is like TIVO. Oh and the DIY channel for playing Martha Stewart's craft show.

So it started like this: When I moved in with my husband after we got married, I was amazed at how many cable channels he had! One of the channels was the DIY channel, and it had all sorts of crafts shows on it. When I was a kid, I loved crafts shows, but we didn't have cable and we could only get them on PBS whenever they had them. So I was in heaven when I found the DIY channel! I started watching the Martha Stewart Crafts show because I had heard so much about her, but I had never seen her at work. She amazed me with her professionalism and pristine neatness in making crafts (although I like to be a little more freestyle in my crafts than her). I started recording her shows on the DVR and watched almost every episode. There was one show that did these adorable little dolls made of muslin and Martha said that the patterns could be found on her website at So I went to look it up and started browsing around, and I stumbled upon a site about pipe cleaner animals. And they were SO CUTE and AMAZING! I didn't know pipe cleaners could be so cute (hence the tagline for my shop). I was intrigued... but I didn't have any pipe cleaners. I marked it down as something I would have to try one day.

Fast forward three months, and I was in Chicago for a wedding and I was staying with my brother-in-law and his family. My sis-in-law (his wife) is also a crafting fiend, and she decided one day to take me to Hobby Lobby. Oh... my... god... can I just say, Hobby Lobby is the bestest hobby store in the whole wide world! I wish we had them here in Southern California... Hobby Lobby kicks Michaels' butt anyday!! Anyway, Hobby Lobby also happened to be having a sale on pipe cleaners. WOW--they had a wide selection of pipe cleaners: thick ones, fluffy ones, striped ones, feahery ones, in all sorts of colors... I didn't know so many types of pipe cleaners even existed! So I bought a few packs to see where they would take me. When I got back to her house, and I was putting the pipe cleaners into my suitcase, I suddenly remembered something about pipe cleaners... what was it... OH! Martha! So I looked up the website again to see how they were done. I decided to try my hand at making a tiger based on the techniques that were shown on Martha's website. It actually came out pretty good in my opinion. But the biggest test was to see if my 2-yr old nephew could understand what it was. If he could identify what it was, then maybe I had something. I showed it to him, and his face lit up and he said, "Fuzzy!" And he loved it! I thought, These are really fun! Maybe I have something here!

My pipe cleaner animals have become a lot more sophisticated since that first one. I started making more pipe cleaner animals, and I found that ideas and techniques just came to me as I practiced and practiced more. It got to a point where I would decide to try something out, and I could picture in my mind how the pipe cleaners needed to come together. I think there are still a lot of artistic juices that are just waiting to be tapped for future Fuzzies!

In the meantime, if you want to try out your own pipe cleaner animals, here's the link to Martha's page.

On her page, you can learn to make these cuties... they're super fun to make, and kids love 'em! As Martha would say, "It's a good thing." Enjoy!!


xtine said...

Cute! I love the monkey w/ the teeny banana :)

Anonymous said...

I'm always amazed at how our paths take us where they do...your animals are so adorable...I am in love with your sophie...reminds me of my sophie..a black standard poodle! :)

Kerry said...

I told you I would come back to check out your blog today! :) What a great story! I really am quite impressed with what you have done with pipe cleaners...I think the little elephant might be my absolute favorite. I think you should add the chameleon and squirrel that were on Martha's page to your shop too!