Thursday, July 14, 2016

Edward's Menagerie: Birds!

My youngest brother loves birds, and I love making things. So when I came across Edward's Menagerie: Birds by Kerry Lord on Amazon and saw that they were having a book sale, I made a deal with my dear bro. If he got me the book for Christmas, I would make him a bird for his birthday. Well, he kept up his side of the bargain, and I became the proud owner of this avian themed collection of patterns. Then, of course, my schedule blew up and I've yet to start the toucan I promised him. His birthday was four months ago.

Worst. Sister. Ever.
Yeah, I know. But he'll get his toucan! I just hope he names it something more interesting than Kerry Lord named hers. All of the birds in this book have their own names and little bios stuffed full of personality. It's disgustingly adorable, for the most part. But then you get to the toucan, and the description was so prissy it actually turned me off to the entire pattern. Since all of the patterns have little bios, though, I think this could also work as a little children's book. Not the kind that you hand to itty-bitties to tug on, but you could read it to them and show off the pictures. Or, even better, make the toy and then tell them the pre-made story behind it!

Beyond that, there are some things you should know before you go out and buy this book...

  1. All the patterns are written with European abbreviations. I know this is a deal-breaker for some people, but the European abbreviations don't make it incomprehensible. Additionally, Lord even points out in a couple of sections what the U.S. equivalents are for what she's talking about.
  2. The birds are sorted into three levels of difficulty, so if you're a complete beginner you can start at level 1 and if you feel the need for a challenge you can jump to level 3. I think you could make all the patterns with only a little experience and some tenacity.
  3. The patterns are split in different parts throughout the book: standard forms, levels 1-3 birds, and technicals. So if you wanted to make Ina the Stork (level 1), it bids you to start the body, neck, head, and wings from the standard forms. The pattern for the legs and beak are on the same page as Ina's bio. To put it all together, you would refer to the "technicals" section; that covers all the additional little details.
  4. Of the 40 patterns listed in the book, there are 3 distinct: owls, penguins, and chickens. Think about that. You don't just get an owl, or a penguin, or a chicken. You get a barn owl (and 2 other subspecies buddies), an emperor penguin (and buddies), and a silkie chicken (plus a regular hen and a rooster). That's just cool.
If you appreciate birds, attention to detail, and some realism in your toys, I would highly recommend Edward's Menagerie: Birds. Even if you're a complete beginner, you can find something here that would be satisfying and fun to make. The patterns look solid, and the directions for all of the toys are "baby friendly" (none of them use extra little bits like buttons that babies and younger children might choke on). As always with crafting books, I recommend getting the print version of this book— especially given how the patterns are separated in the different sections. So have fun with it, guys!

I hope I'll have an opportunity to show off my brother's toucan soon, along with a blue-footed booby for good measure. Because how could I resist making a booby or two?

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