“The Land of the Remembered is an endless world. No ceiling, no floor, and always expanding. It’s inspired by and it incorporates elements of Mexican’s folk art, such as hearts and skulls. If you look closely, you can even see a guitar-shaped building hidden in the scene. This symbolizes Manolo’s true love for music.”
8-foot giant squid pillow.
- 2 yards of felt
- 1 yard of patterned fabric (I suggest a polka dot-type pattern so it looks like suction cups)
- 1 medium piece of black felt, 1 medium piece of white felt (for the eyes)
- white thread, black thread and thread of the same color as the felt you’re using
- about 5 lbs. of stuffing
- a couple big sheets of paper to draw your pattern
First, you need to draw out your patterns. Here’s a basic template to get you started, although most of the measurements are reasonably fudgeable. If in the likely event you don’t have any four-foot-long pieces of paper lying around, just tape a few pieces together.
Once you’ve drawn out your eight patterns, it’s time to cut the fabric. Pin the pattern to the fabric, laid flat, and cut out the following, leaving a half an inch or so of extra fabric around the edge of the pattern:
FOR THE ARMS: 8 felt and 8 fabric cutouts of piece 1
FOR THE, UH, LONGER ARMS: 2 felt and 2 fabric cutouts of piece 2
FOR THE BODY: 2 felt cutouts of piece 3
FOR THE FIN: 4 felt cutouts of piece 4
FOR THE HEAD: 1 felt cutouts of piece 6
FOR THE EYES: 2 white felt cutouts of piece 7 and 2 black felt cutouts of piece 8
So now you’ve got all your pieces ready, it’s time to start sewing them together. I did mine by hand because my sewing machine is busted and I get a kind of Zen buzz from sewing by hand, but if you have a non-busted one I recommend that you use it as it will be MUCH EASIER. You’re going to be sewing everything with the nice side of the fabric facing in, then turning it inside out to stuff it.
THE ARMS: (To make a quilted pattern that looks like suckers, see this other post). Pin together one patterned fabric piece 1 and one felt piece 1 (with the nice sides facing the inside). Sew down around the U-shape and back up, leaving the top open. Then turn the arm inside out, stuff it (it’s easiest to do both of these things if you sort of scrunch it up like you’re trying to put on a pair of tights, excuse the non-dude-friendly reference) and sew the top closed. Do the same for the other seven arms and rejoice in the fact that this is the most tedious part. Same deal with the two long arms, they’re just harder to stuff.
THE FINS: Pin together two of your piece 4s and sew together the curvy outer edge. Turn the piece inside out, so the seam you just sewed is on the inside, and start sewing up the other side, stuffing gradually as you go along. You should end up with a triangle-ish puffy thing. Repeat for the other two piece 4s.
THE BODY: Put down one piece 3, then place the two fins you have down with the point up and the curvy side pointing in, then make a sandwich by putting the other piece 3 down on top. Pin it all together and sew around the edges with the two fins still inside, as shown. Turn it inside out and move on to…
THE HEAD: So take piece 6 and the ten arms you’ve already done. Lay the arms, fabric side facing you, out with the arms’ top seams in a line half an inch from the top of piece 6. The order should be arm arm arm arm BIG ARM arm arm arm arm BIG ARM. The legs should be almost entirely covering piece 6. Pin them in place and sew a straight line through the individual legs seams to attach the legs to piece 6.
When you pick up the other side of piece 6, you now have something resembling a really weird untied hula skirt. Sew together the two 9-inch ends of piece 6 with the fabric side of the arms on the outside, and keep it inside out for the moment.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: Fit the open end of the body through the arms (still fabric side facing out) and pull the edge all the way through the felt cylinder so it’s even with the edge that DOESN’T have arms attached to it. Sew around the diameters of the head cylinder and the body cylinder to attach them, then pull the legs down over the head and you’re almost done!
Stuff the body, then seal it off by sewing piece 5 over the open end (even if you do have a functional sewing machine, you’ll probably have to do this part by hand).
THE EYES: Sew the black circles on the white circles and whipstitch the eyes onto the head. You do this last because you can’t tell where they’re going to end up on the end product if you put them on before stuffing the body.
Claiiiiiiiiiireeeeee! Can we make a sharktopus instead/as wellllllll?
Yes! It must be done! We need fabric! And stuffing! Ooh, I have some stuffing! I can provide stuffing! If I can find it! Also, we may need more stuffing!
Nzinga Mbande, Mother of Angola (1583-1663)
Here’s another one of my favorite Rejected Princesses — Nzinga Mbande, 17th-century queen of what is now Angola.
She began her political life as her nation of Ndongo was fighting off a Portuguese invasion. Her brother, a by-all-accounts wimp, seemingly could not bend over backwards far enough for the Portuguese, and once he ascended to the throne, the Portuguese just tossed him in jail and took over. Nzinga approached the Portuguese and demanded her brother’s return and that they leave Ndongo. At their meeting, in a sign of disrespect, the Portuguese offered her no chair to sit in, instead providing merely a floor mat fit for servants.
In response, Nzinga ordered one of her servants to get on all fours, sitting on her as she would a chair. After the negotiations concluded, according to some accounts (more on that later), she slit her throat in full view of everyone, and informed them that the Queen of Ndongo does not use the same chair twice. Shortly thereafter, the Portuguese agreed to let her brother go.
With her brother now safely back home, she is said (again, more on that later) to have murdered him in his sleep, killed her brother’s son, and assumed the throne herself - because if you’re going to do something right, you better do it yourself. From there, she moved south, started a new country, conquered the infamous ruthless cannibal tribe known as the Jaga, began offering sanctuary to runaway slaves and defector soldiers, and waged war on the Portuguese for THIRTY FIVE YEARS.
Now, you may have noticed that I have repeatedly used words like “supposedly” and “according to some accounts.” As with many powerful historical women (as you’ll come to see as you read more of these entries), her story is a mixture of fact and fiction, with the two difficult to separate. That she met with the Portuguese and that she sat on her servant’s back is generally agreed by historians to be accurate. Furthermore, there is no doubt that she was a thorn in the side of the Portuguese, that she founded a new nation, or that she was a great leader.
Where it begins to fall to suspicion is in the more salacious rumors. While some report that she murdered her brother, others report that her brother committed suicide. Her slitting the servant girl’s neck and proclaiming her need for one-use chairs is likely hyperbole. Other outlandish rumors, to be taken with a brick of salt, include:
- After killing her brother’s family, she ate their hearts to absorb their courage.
- As a pre-battle ritual, she decapitated slaves and drank their blood.
- She maintained a 60-man-strong harem throughout her life — this one, best I can tell, is more regarded as true than most of the others.
- The men in her harem would fight each other to the death for the right to share her bed for the night. This one is more doubtful.
- She also apparently dressed some of them like women.
- Conversely, she staffed her army with a large number of women warriors.
It is difficult to determine how much of this is fact and how much fiction — it is entirely possible that she stirred up some of this as her own PR in the war against Portugal, and it is entirely possible some of it was a smear campaign by her enemies. Based off my (ongoing) research, a lot seems to stem from a book called Zingha, Reine d’Angola by Jean-Louis Castilhon. The book is in French, though, and I haven’t been able to find much English-language information on it yet.
Anyways, after decades of killing the Portuguese (both militarily and economically, cutting off their trade routes), they eventually threw their hands up and negotiated a peace treaty. She died several years afterwards, at the ripe old age of eighty-one. There are statues of her all over Angola to this day.
Many people have (rightfully) been clamoring for citations on some of the more outlandish rumors here. I’ve wanted to hold off until I got to the actual origin of some of them, but I’ll release now what I have.
- The at-the-time rumors about her seem to have largely stemmed from a Dutch captain named Fuller, who claimed he saw her dance wildly, stick a feather in her nose, decapitate a sacrificial victim, and drink “a great draught of his blood.” He nevertheless respected her greatly and described her as “generously valiant.” An excerpt from his notes can be found in Battle Cries and Lullabies: Women in War from Prehistory to the Present by Linda Grant de Pauw.
- The rumors that she killed her brother, nephew, had a great harem, dressed them like women, and practiced cannibalism can be found in A Military History of Africa by Timothy J Stapleton (as well as many other books).
- The rumors of her killing the slave whom she had used as a chair, proclaiming that she never used the same chair twice, that she killed her kin and ate them, and that she killed members of her harem can be found in Women Warriors by Rosalind Miles and Robin Cross.
- I reached out to Robin Cross and Rosalind Miles for help in further research — as I don’t have physical access to Women Warriors, and I can’t check its bibliography online. Mr. Cross wrote me back suggesting I look up Portuguese Africa by Ronald Chilcote (1959).
- I tracked down Portuguese Africa, and it has no reference to the slitting-throat legend (although the sitting-on-servant one is represented). I reached out to Mr. Cross again, but have yet to hear back.
- In the meanwhile, I picked up another book by Cross and Miles, Hell Hath No Fury: True Profiles of Women at War from Antiquity to Iraq, which repeats the throat-slitting legend, but provides no bibliography other than Chilcote’s Portuguese Africa.
- I’ve also found the throat-slitting legend repeated in Antonia Fraser’s The Warrior Queens, but with no specific source. At this point, worrying this is something I won’t be able to get to the bottom of.
- I have also reached out to a scholar who is currently writing a book on Nzinga for help in uncovering additional sources of the rumors about her.
- I will continue to update this entry as I am able to uncover more reliable information about her.
- Her outfit and axe are derived directly from one of the statues around Angola.
- The servant she used as a chair was female, not male. I realized this after the fact. Eep!
- She’s wiping a bit of something red from her mouth as a reference to the blood-ingesting legends.
I’ve seen some posts making this guilt trip of how the people who like to dress up as a sugar skull or the Catrina for halloween or whatever is racist and cultural appropriation.
Nah, it’s completely fine, as long as you are not totally ignorant about it or disrespectful.
Sugar skull represents the deceased, in a joyful manner. And the Catrina is just a social critic which became an icon later on for the day of the dead and Mexico.
It is not offensive to turn this into a costume or an accessory because it already is, so if you want to dress up like sugar skulls on Halloween, do so, but atleast know it’s value.
Be open minded, don’t even hate, and share this rich culture we have with the rest of humanity, chill.
This post is about that eradicating guilt trip and blaming, and turn it into self awareness
Who wouldn’t want to work at Google? The whole HQ looks like an amusement park with FREE food 24/7 & if an employee of Google dies, their spouse will receive half their pay for 10 years as well as stock benefits, and any children will receive $1000 a month till they turn 19. Source
let me tell you a story about the google headquarters
so my uncle works for google and I went down to visit him once and he took my family on a tour of the google headquarters just for fun. there was tons of cool stuff and art and a random jungle themed room and the most crazy ass 360 degree google earth screen thing you ever saw
but you’d kind of expect all that right
but then I started to notice something kind of weird
there was a weird amount of rubber ducks? like. a WEIRD amount of rubber ducks. like typical yellow ones and camo ones and huge pink ones with bows and tiny donalds and pirates of the carribean themed ducks and bejeweled ducks with no explanation on nearly every surface
so i asked my uncle why there were so many ducks and this is what he said:
"google has a suggestion box for employees to use, and one time this guy got hired at google who had previously worked for another company. the other company also had a suggestion box but they never actually listened to any of the suggestions, so the new employee assumed that google would be the same way. so as a joke, he put a suggestion in the box at he google hq that said something along the lines of "great office but needs more rubber ducks." a week later, 5000 rubber ducks arrived in the mail"
google read this guy’s bullshit suggestion about ducks
and actually listened to it
AND ORDERED 5000 RUBBER DUCKS
I don’t wanna taco bout it aha @fizzink