Toasty the Shark: an Origin Story

Toasty the Shark was born of a desire to create something handmade to add to my gift bag for my workplace Secret Santa. My giftee was formerly afraid of sharks but has since embraced her fear and taken them as her spirit animal(s) and roller derby persona - Suzi Sharknado. She has also amassed a collection of shark paraphernalia at her desk.

In the back SolidWorks corner, we have a common problem in work offices - inconsistent HVAC/AC systems. As a result, the back corner can be arctic while our primary desks are balmy. Sharkie has been spending more time designing with us in the tundra corner lately so I thought it'd be nice to give her a way to keep her warm - microwaveable heat pack!

Last year, I created a functional heat pack and sash design. This year, I decided to go for some shark-themed whimsy. I found a suitable pattern for a pencil case online (shout out to PatchworkPosse.com) that I could alter and update for my needs. I thought I had appropriately patterned fat quarters to use but nothing sparked my fancy so I took a trip to Joann's Fabric and there, in the front entry way, was a table full of grey cotton patterns - fate! 

As many before me have discovered, paying attention to the finishing and details really elevates the finished product. I flattened seams and took my time closing up the opening by hand with a hidden stitch instead of going with a much faster whip stitch. 

I didn't want this gift to feel too DIY (a major give away to my Secret Santa identity) so I made a fake tag for it as well with microwaving directions. I even faked the lamination with some well placed packing tape.

Critical Reception

Sharky enjoyed the gift and didn't realize that it was handmade by me until I told her (Secret Santa success!). I was also finally able to post Toasty to Instagram/Facebook and my social network expressed their delight. In response to calls for me to create an Etsy Storefront, The Happiness Field will be going live shortly - time to see if friends or strangers will pony up when a purchasing decision is actually being made. #etsyresolution