Dexter has finally chosen a comfort item.
When I was pregnant, my husband sent me a beautiful (and yummy!) fruit bouquet for Valentine’s Day. A soft white bear happened to be attached, so I just added it to the tiny but growing basket of Dexter toys. In the first 21 months of his life, he barely paid attention to it.
Then he became socially aware.
He now recognizes that his cousins, Ty and Micah, sleep with bears. One day we were talking about it while I was rocking him (Actually, I was singing about it. Yes, we have a Ty and Micah song.) and afterward Dex really wanted a bear to sleep with. I pulled out the girly white bear and he has slept with him ever since.
A few days later, we were having lunch with my friend, Lisa, and her daughter, Alex. Alex’s favorite toy is a bear named Sunny. Dexter was really excited about “Sunny Bear”, and talked quite a bit about her. And eventually he started calling his own bear Hunny Bear.
Since the attachment is growing stronger, I decided I’d risk ruining Hunny Bear early on in order to make him more boyish. And less dorky. Let’s face it, random bears that come with bouquets aren’t made with aesthetics in mind.
Here is Hunny Bear’s journey:
I really think my least favorite part is the ugly floral embroidery on the foot. But we’ll get to that. Easiest first step: Lose the bow!
What I really wanted to do next was get away from the white fur. If this becomes Dexter’s permanent buddy, white is going to look gross fast. I was hoping to warm it up to a honey tone, but a few things were in my way. 1. I know almost nothing about dying. I knew the tone I wanted, and I knew it needed to be child-safe. But I didn’t really know what would work on the mostly synthetic fur. Which leads me to my next point… 2. I am IMPATIENT and I wanted to start dying NOW. So my options were pretty much limited to a tea bath.
I boiled a bunch of tea bags, added some vinegar for good measure, and gave Hunny Bear a bath. Dex enjoyed watching the process from his high chair 🙂
(Ok, so I just took one picture of him, and it only proves that he enjoyed playing with the discarded ribbon and playing with his ears, and that I haven’t cleaned off my dining room table in a while… but I promise, he enjoyed watching Hunny Bear get dyed!)
Poor Hunny Bear really went through a lot. I hope for his sake that Toy Story isn’t true.
The pre-dye soak:
Into the boiling hot water:
The “Poor Wet Rat” stage (btw, THIS is the color I hoped he’d be.):
Rinsing and wringing:
After this, I realized that the dye was just barely taking and that the tea bits were not going to come out of the fur with a hand rinse. I think Dexter’s favorite part of the whole process was to personally throw Hunny Bear into the washing machine 🙂
While he was washing and drying, I made a tie. If I had to do over, I’d research the actual proportions of ties and plan the length a little better. But remember the impatience we discussed earlier? I decided to just go for it. I cut a folded length of fabric into the approximate shape of a tie.
I didn’t want to put a lot of effort into it, and I didn’t mind if the tie frayed, so it is just a single layer.
I unfolded the tie and machine-stitched around the edges. I did two rows to help ensure that the fraying didn’t get entirely out of control. I really like the way it looks!
After failing to understand several diagrams, I used a tutorial video to learn how to tie my necktie. I stitched at the knot so the necktie wouldn’t come off. I think, since I made a weirdo little tie, that it almost looks more like a scarf than a necktie. But it’s way better than that purple bow.
After he was dry, I could tell the dye was just *almost* a waste of time. But at least now he is a gentle vanilla shade instead of stark white. So ultimately it was worth the effort.
Dexter was happy to see Hunny Bear again and didn’t seem to mind the new changes.
Phase Two involved covering all traces of purple. I used scraps of chocolate brown fleece to patch over the nose and feet. So so cute!!!! This was my favorite change!
One last step… Goodbye forever, Anya!
And officially hello, Hunny Bear!!