Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Well, its the last day of September, beautiful spring weather here in Brisbane, and to me that sounds like the perfect day to give away a couple of toys made by me.

I finished this little matryoshka inspired couple yesterday - a girl and her soldier boyfriend.

Like what you see? "How can I win them?", I hear you ask. Simple. Just leave a comment on this post. I will leave the give away open until Sunday evening and then select the winner via a random number generator.

Good luck! (Don't forget, just leave a comment.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Eye spy

I made this doll a while ago, months ago in fact. I never liked the spacing of her eyes, they were un-naturally wide apart, like having eyes on your cheeks. You can see the original here.

Today I couldn't stand that wide eyed stare any longer. I got my seam ripper and sliced through the stitching. Yes, I cut out her eyes, just like that. I even plucked her eyelashes right out!

I sewed some mighty fine new eyes in a more acceptable eye location, put on new eyelashes (a little mascara), and gave her some little pink cheeks (blush, blush). I even made her a sweet pink apron to make up for the radical eye surgery.

Now she is finished, months after being "finished". A softie for Mirabel perhaps?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Stuff it!

Ahh, back to creating. After making Riki I have been thinking about boy toys. I got down to some more sketching the other night, thinking about soldiers, pirates, sailors, rocket men, robots, monsters and the like.

Everything, bar the essentials, has been taking a back seat today. I have had a go at making a boy matryoshka doll, and a girl one to match. I have to say I am very proud of the results....

...and as such I will be giving them away on this blog in the very near future! There you go, a giveaway about a giveaway.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Meet Riki

My good friend's son turned one yesterday and of course I just had to make him a toy. A toy for a boy, no floral fabrics allowed.

I started work on Riki from scratch on Monday night. Sketched out an idea, made a pattern, cut it out, did the face, sewed the arms and legs together, and then.....I realised my poly-fill was in the storage cupboard in my son's room, and he was asleep so there was no way I was going to go rummaging in the cupboard with a torch.

So Tuesday morning I used some "study time" to stuff the arms and legs and get them sewn into the body. Gosh I really hate that step, everything is so lumpy and bumpy and things slip around at the last minute just as they are going under the presser foot of the machine. I unpicked one of the arms at least three or four times trying to get the positioning just right. I keep telling myself practice makes perfect, right?

Finally, turned and stuffed and sewed up. I added his hair at the last minute. He's ready for take off!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A farewell

This little lady went to a new home the other day. Here she is packaged up with label and happy birthday letter. It seems to be little people birthday season around us right now, so lots of excuses for me to create (a new toy will be ready tomorrow, so tune in to see him, won't you?)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nook (and cranny)

Did you ever wonder about nook and cranny? What are they?

A "cranny" is a crack or small hole in something.

A "nook" is a little out-of-the-way corner of a house or any sort of secluded, sheltered spot. (via)

Put together, "nook and cranny" is thus equivalent to saying "remote corner and small crack," places that only a very thorough search would reach.

Sooo, you probably guessed, I headed off down to Nook last week. It sure was a little out-of-the-way secluded spot, filled with all sorts of lovely goodies, all very beautifully presented. I did have to search to find it though as I almost never drive around south of the river here in Brisbane, all those one way streets and no turns in Southbank and West End drive me mad. Lets just say I took the scenic route, I looked in every nook and cranny for Nook, and then I found it.

The nook and crannying was worthwhile. I purchased a fabric basket kit from Ink and Spindle. This is going to be fun, hope I don't get a fabric basket bug from this adventure.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Toy Society Drop

My pile of softies is growing. Some are going to be donated to Softies for Mirabel, but today I decided to try out dropping a toy for The Toy Society.

The Toy Society is a street art project where you can handmake a little toy and then anonymously "drop" it in a public place to be found by a complete stranger. Nothing else to it, just spreading some love with a handmade toy looking for a nice home.

I decided to drop my red and blue matryoshka doll. I like her very much, but really I decided she needed a more exciting life than sitting on my crafting shelf at home. I packaged her all up with envelope and letter, sealed in a zip lock bag, and took off down to Southbank.

It was a hot one in Brisbane today. Loads of families were down at the Southbank beach and waterpark cooling off and enjoying themselves. It was so crowded that it was hard to find a place to drop the toy without being noticed. Eventually after swimming and eating ice-cream with my own family I left the toy at about 5pm on a bench near the entrance to the underground car park. It was a total rush, I felt like I had committed a crime and everyone saw me do it!

Plenty of families were heading home at that time of the day. I watched for a while, and many people walked by without even noticing the package at all.

We decided it was time for us too to drive home, and then on a whim we circled the car back to do another drive by. This was about 15 minutes later, and the toy was gone, the recipient leaving the string on the fence and the plastic bag on the ground. I take this as a sign of an excited kid ripping into it to get to the doll.

Enjoy, whoever you may be.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Like a headless...

Well, you know the expression.

They say good things come in threes. Here's what happened today:

1. I actually finished a little sewing project on my new sewing machine. I am very impressed with how solid it feels, and it whipped through the layers of this soft toy just as smooth as silk. I actually had a little bit of fear in starting to use my new machine - what if it was no good?! I was a bit traumatised by the breakdown of my old one I think. All fears gone now. Ready to sew again (just got to find the spare time).

2. The new National Geographic Magazine has a feature article about orchids, which is the subject of my oh most massive and final assignment. I can see an end in sight to this mid-thirties academic nonsense (why o why did I think this was a good idea in the first place!)

3. My son seems to have spontaneously started to use the toilet, which if you are a mum is kind of a big thing, but just gross for those not in that place. So thats all I am going to say about that.

Well, off to prepare a lesson about parasites and bacteria for tomorrow. Gee I have so much fun don't I!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A little bit of culture

I have to admit that I haven't been up to much sewing lately. I have just come into possession of a new sewing machine and apart from unpacking it, reading the instruction booklet, threading it up and sewing a few centimetres of a test run I have had no time to do anything more. I just don't feel liberated from other things going on in life to let myself free with spare time for sewing right now. That will rectify itself, just not in a good spot right now to be enjoying craft.

So, instead I thought I would share something a little bit different. I went with my husband to a little Bulgarian cultural evening last Saturday night. My husband is Bulgarian, I am Australian. So we have family and friends there, visit when we can, and we are raising out son bilingual English/Bulgarian, so the language and culture surrounds our lives everyday. Its a lovely and unexpected plus in my life in particular.

I have seen Bulgarian traditional costumes before, but never really concentrated on them. I was looking at the dancers' outfits and started talking to one of them about the traditional embroidery patterns on their shirts. Bulgarian embroidery is characteristicly very geometric in pattern, and is dominated by bright colours of reds (lots of red!), pinks and oranges. Different designs originate from and represent different regions of the country. Something for me to look out for next time I go visiting over there. Hope you enjoy a couple of examples.


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