Saturday, October 18, 2014

D is for Deer

A sweeter soul you will never meet. He thinks the best of everyone (people and deers).

This fellow brings my little family of hand sewn animals to six. I love making these !!! I want to make the whole alphabet, so at the current rate of about 3 per year we might get done in about 2021.

This Saturday I'll be teaching a class at The Cotton Factory.  Its a great fun class where you can choose any one of these six little friends to make on the day.
 Hand sewing classes are awesome, very relaxed and apart from the peals of laughter, pretty quiet (in a no sewing machines kind of way).
 The cost of the class includes the pattern, coffee and yummy lunch.
Beginners, novices and never-sewn-a-stitch folk are most welcome.

Which letter will I do next ? Got any ideas? Want to take a guess?

(you might want to check out tomorrow's newsletter as well folks...nudge nudge wink wink)

Sunday, October 12, 2014


 I had been re-writing my Tea-set pattern in a kind of half-arsed manner over a few months. Pattern writing is boring, but pattern RE-writing is even more boringer .

fabric tea set sewing pattern

 Not that there is anything wrong with the original pattern, but it was written a while ago and I have learnt a few things since then, so it was time for an update.

fabric tea set sewing pattern
 When Emma offered me a selection of her yet-to-be-released fabric range, The Linen Cupboard I knew it was the perfect tea set fabric.

fabric tea set sewing pattern

 I bought considerably more than two cupcakes to star in these photos but in the spirit of artistic integrity I ate the photogenically challenged ones.
(let's be honest I ate the photogenic ones too!)

Friday, October 10, 2014

This post will self destruct in 24 hrs.

Psst - the antidote to a day of craptastic proportions is a little sale. (24 hrs only)

Use the code FRIDAYFORTY to get 40% off these little dudes pictured.

You can share it with your friends, 
You can share it with your mum,
You can tell the repairman to stick one up his bum !!

Thursday, October 9, 2014


 Finn and I were on cover-photo duty this morning

We failed !
One of us finds this very stressful

and one of us does not seem to care.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Round the World Blog Hop (yep talking about myself again)

Last Monday I was tagged by Carmel of Solomon Sewing  to take part in the Round the World Blog Hop. A blog hop where bloggers talk about their creative process.
I have to admit to not really analyzing the whole "creative thing" too much, I am more of a doer than a thinker when it comes to making stuff.

What am I working on ?
How long is a piece of string?
 I have two patterns ready to release as soon as I manage to take decent cover photos. 
I have a cute secret charity project that will need a tutorial soon.
I have a freebie for you guys that also needs to be remade tutorial-style.
I have a new friend called Virginia who is but a bee's whisker from design completion (then comes the pattern writing).
I have a creative card in my mind that I have found the perfect fabric for but haven't started yet.
I am rewriting a few older patterns and making new cover samples.
I have at least another 12 items in various stages of design, some will get revisited and some will languish in the line until I get sick of them or give up on them.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think every one's work is different. If ten different toy makers were challenged to make a dog, you will get ten different dogs. I have often said I would like to be able to see my toys through someone else's eyes. Maybe this question is better answered by you guys !

Why do I write / create what I do?

 I guess I have the technical skills to be able to do a lot of crafty things, but nothing else fires me up like toy making. It is frustrating and exciting and the create problem solving of making things work is absolutely what keeps me awake at nights. I become fixated on new ideas and obsessed with figuring things out.
I sometimes wonder what my life would look like if this crafty world wasn't such a big part of it, and I find it really hard to imagine.

How does my writing / creative process work

Sometimes a particular fabric will send me off on a toy making adventure but it can be a name that I hear or even an emotion I want to try and capture in a toy. Did you know when I made Ernst all those years ago my aim was to see if I could make a sad toy?

Other times it comes about because I want to learn a particular technique or try and achieve a new style or shape. I will often spend time just making legs or practising gussets or darts. I love to figure out how things work - I am a sewing nerd!
Once I have an idea - out come the white sheets. All my toys start with white sheets so I can concentrate on shapes (also white sheets are pretty cheap so I don't feel bad about how many drafts I have to do if I am not wasting good fabric).
As I fart about through this stage I will think about fabrics and try and rein myself in as I generally want to add whole wardrobes of crazy accessories for every toy. ( I use kitchen paper to make up clothes for toys in the design stage- again they are cheap so mistakes don't matter)
Sometimes a toy will go from idea to finished in a few sessions, other times it takes months and months of intermittent time, and sometimes the idea just has to be shelved.
I try not to beat myself up too much when an idea is a flop - there are always other things to work on !

To keep things moving I am tagging Emma Scrapbag   

(Emma's latest fabric line - The Linen Cupboard, Pop on over and check it out)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to add safety eyes to toys

how to add safety eyes to toys

how to add safety eyes to toys
These are 4.5 mm safety eyes with metal backs - the ones I use for all my toys.
The metal back has a 'flat'side and a side that has two little 'wings'on it.
how to add safety eyes to toys
Align your toy pieces so you can create the eye holes at the same time.
Use a metal meat skewer or a large doll needle to make the hole.
 how to add safety eyes to toys
Using some felt scraps, cutting out two rough circles. These need to be just a bit larger than the metal back. These are our felt 'washers'. Skewer some holes in these as well.
The 'washer'stops the ridge of the metal back showing up on the front of the toy after if it is stuffed and provides a buffer between the metal and the fabric/felt.
how to add safety eyes to toys
 Lay your toy pieces out so you can be sure you will be making a right and left side of the toy.
(Trust me this is important)
 how to add safety eyes to toys
 Place a 'washer'over the eye post on the inside (wrong side) of the toy.
how to add safety eyes to toys
 Place the metal back in place on the eye post with the flat side against the felt. Using both hands press the metal back into position. You will here a little noise as the prongs on the wings grab hold of the eye post.
(I know , I know but I needed the other hand for the camera)
how to add safety eyes to toys
 Press the back as far onto the eye post as possible.
how to add safety eyes to toys
Easy as winking !

Sunday, September 21, 2014

fartin' and faffin'

felt doll dress
 I will not be setting the world on fire in the next two weeks. I have decided to fart about a bit, I am going to lollygag, laze and wander. I may very well include some dawdling, meandering and faffing. 
felt ears
You may find me lingering , loitering and tarrying. I shall do my utmost to be a laggard and a lump.
I plan on hanging out and chilling out.
( currently taking bets on how long it lasts).