It may be missing its legs, and the Association of Advocates for Consumer Safety would ban it from all toy store aisles, but “Thanks-A-Lot,” the crazy stuffed turkey is an incredible feat of crafting that took me a nail-biting two hours to make. But I pulled it off. Barely. As usual, I had grandiose plans of making an army of stuffed turkey gems full of festive cheer—just knocking the cute factor so far off the charts that Hello Kitty herself wouldn’t know what hit her, but she’d cover it in glitter and cake pops just to honor it.
Instead, here’s what really happened: Fabric glue disappointed the **!!!###* out of me, and I tore the house apart looking for a needle and thread. For the life of me, I could not thread the needle and Nate was at a swim meet with Alex, so I got the stapler. The stapler, for those of you who might not know, is the Catholic school girl’s best friend when the hem of her uniform has unraveled for the millionth time because it would just be more practical to allow her to wear pants every once in a while.
In any case, I was only able to make one prototype of a turkey, which could serve (maybe) as a model of inspiration for any kind of similar craft-like turkey you may wish to make. I call this one “Thanks-A-Lot,” because by the time I got done stapling it together, it looked like I’d made a sarcastic Thanksgiving turkey that was saying something like, “Thanks, a lot. There I was—just sitting on the craft supplies shelves, existing as brown felt, hoping that someone would make something useful out of me. I had big dreams of becoming a Mr. Roger’s sweater on a grade-school bulletin board, but no, you came along with a stapler and this happened.” Well, yes. This did happen, and I love my sarcastic turkey because when I shake him, his expressive google eyes also show other emotions, such as surprised, goofy, and scared. Why, then, should I keep all of this joy for myself? Here’s how you can make and shake your own “Thanks-A-Lot:”
–A fully loaded and trusty stapler.
–Fabric glue—it does work later on, for a few things, not much though.
–A stencil perhaps, if you are not good at drawing.
–Some stuffing for toys.
–Marker/chalk for drawing the body/feathers of the turkey onto the fabric.
–Draw the body of the turkey onto the brown felt and cut it out. Repeat this step once.
–Then, draw 4-6 feathers on the yellow felt and 4-6 feathers on the red felt. Use the leftover yellow felt to create a beak.
–Cut the feathers and beak out of the yellow and red felt.
–Place the body sides together and staple the edges to hold them together—except don’t staple the bottom, yet. (You need a small space through which to push the stuffing.)
–Then, stuff, stuff, stuff and staple, staple, staple.
–Fan out the feathers and staple them together. Then, glue them onto the back of the turkey with fabric glue. Set the whole thing under your child’s heaviest ceramics project and let it sit there for a few hours. In the meantime, use the fabric glue for the google eyes and the beak.
Within, just hours, you’ll have something you’ll be proud to have for some reason you invent on Thanksgiving.
Possible Uses for “Thanks-A-Lot:”
For me, the hallmark of a good craft is not just how cute or attractive it is, because, well– the prototype I made–if you look at it carefully, it has some loose threads and actual staples sticking out. Instead, I need to know that this craft could be useful as well. I think “Thanks-A-Lot” is pretty versatile. Here’s how I’ll use this festive craft on Thanksgiving Day:
–It could be that thing you throw when someone else is “it.” So, when the timer goes off when the turkey is cooking, I’ll throw “Thanks-A-Lot” at Nate or Alex and shout, “You’re it! Go baste the turkey.”
–Everyone wants a clever Thanksgiving Facebook post, so we’ll take a family selfie with “Thanks-A-Lot” and create fun and catchy captions like, “Gobble Gobble!” “Wishbone you were here!” “We’re all stuffed!” “Look what escaped from the crafts store!”
–I could place it on someone’s chair at the dinner table. When we go to sit down to eat, the person who yells, “Ouch! Is that a staple that’s poking me?” is the “winner.”
–The “winner” then gets a safety pin to place in the back of “Thanks-A-Lot.” Then, the “winner” could wear it as a decorative festive item on an after-dinner walk or shopping frenzy.
The possibilities are just endless, but they are most likely limited to maybe a span of a few days or hours. Not enough glue or staples could protect “Thanks-A-Lot” from the perilous rigors of the holiday storage bin. So, “Thanks-A-Lot,” in my opinion, should wipe that sarcastic look off its face and heed these words, which are meant to inspire, not just turkey crafts, but also people of all ages: There’s a lot of living to do before your stuffing falls out.
Your Turn: How would you use “Thanks-A-Lot” at Thanksgiving—or any celebration?