Protecting Our Most Precious Companions

protecting our companions

Today’s simple project is the result of a news photo I saw the other day…an exhausted-looking mother in NYC, pushing a heavily covered baby carriage. She was wearing a medical mask. Gripping tightly to her other hand was a little boy, also in a mask, toting a stuffed dog.

But the stuffed dog wasn’t wearing a mask. And my daughter has the exact same stuffed dog. Something in my heart just pulled.

So here’s how to use two common household items to make a mask for those most beloved companions. The ones your children reach to for comfort and reassurance. And hey, if you want to give Domino the Dog a quick cuddle yourself, you just go and do that.

You’ll need:

  • 1 flat bottom/basket style coffee filter
  • 2 rubber bands
  • Scissors

Apologies for the image quality…I’m shooting from my not-so-camera-ready home studio!

Stuffed animal heads, noses, and ears vary wildly, so you might have to cut the coffee filter down a bit. Same goes for the rubber bands! You can see how I shortened my rubber band below:

shorter rubber band

Flatten the coffee filter, then fold the top and bottom inwards like a burrito. The size of the folds will, of course, vary with the size of your stuffed animal’s head.

Now tightly bunch both ends of the folded coffee filter. Use scissors to snip a small hole in the bunching on each side (and aim a little ways in from the ends so the rubber bands don’t tear through). Finish by looping rubber bands through the holes.

Slide the mask over your stuffed animal’s nose and face, and the rubber bands behind its ears. Adjust as needed. Stay safe, little friend!

Just Ducky

jemimaNext to Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck is one of Beatrix Potter’s most endearing and memorable characters. This charming stuffed animal version was created for Potter in 1910 by two of her neighbors, Miss Hammond and Miss Mills. The cloth for the shawl even came from the calico factory owned by Potter’s mother’s family. This toy was the prototype used to secure a patent for a mass-produced stuffed animal. In fact, you can still buy a version of the stuffed toy today.

patent papersJemima had a place of honor on top of Beatrix’s book case until she was given to Freda Jackson (nee Storey), the daughter of Beatrix’s farm manager in the late 1950s. Imagine what a wonderful present that would be!

Jemima Puddle-Duck soft toy prototype produced to secure the patent
England, 1910
Created by Miss Hammond and Miss Mills
Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton University Library

Certificate of Registration of Design [Jemima Puddle-Duck doll]
England, June 17, 1910
Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton University Library