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So I know a lot of sisters. It seems I know more sisters all the time! For some reason my family and many of my friends have had girl babies – and… more then one girl! Hence, all the sisters!

When I was little I soooo wanted a sister – all I had was a stinky brother LOL.

But now I understand that sisters can also be hard. (some sisters are stinky too!) or sometimes it is just hard to adjust to being a sister if before you were the only one in the family and had all of mum and dad’s attention.

Often when I am giving a handmade toy to a new baby, I also make something for their older sibling. Since I think sibling rivaliry is tough – especially on little kids.

So when I saw these dolls on Bit of Whimsy I thought they were perfect for some of the new big sisters and their very new little sisters. They are Mae and Baby dolls. I think they are gorgeous!

So I got to work, these are for my good friends daughters, big sister R and her new baby sister Y;

These dolly sister were going to go on a big journey once they were ready because my friend and her husband were taking their family back to Nepal to live for a year… so I had a deadline to get them ready.

 This both dolls are almost ready to go…

here they are! But they can’t go to Nepal without clothes…

The big sister is Asher Mae, and the baby sister is Mya Baby. I made them two skirts to wear depending on their mood (and the fashions in Kathmandu)

So cute!!

So cute that I had to make more right away!

I made these sisters for my cousins girls

As you can see they are both Mae dolls. Because N and E are big girls now – no babies.

So they are matching sisters (not twins) and their skirts match too, here is a close up.

 So you can see that Nelly Mae is in the blue Bunny skirt and Lottie Mae is in the green bunny skirt

And here are their other skirts, if they feel like a change.

so… what’s next? Something tells me there will be more Mae’s and Baby’s in the future!

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So to change tact a little this is not about the renovation…. phew!

Because I have been doing other things. Yay!

yes, while we have been stuck all squishy like living our entire life in our bedroom I have still been doing some sewing.

during this renovation I have made the funny beetle bugs, and Hecktor Girrafe and also these little guys: Koby Koala!

A friend of mine from the Solomons is pregnant with her first baby, and another friend of mine is expecting her second any day now – but when the baby is born she and her family will go to Nepal to live with his family for a while. So when I was thinking of what to make for these new little babies I though, a Koala! Give these babies a little piece of Australia. 🙂

I decided to make one for Teeny H also, for her 1st birthday – which is coming up soon. And of course I had to make two to go into the playroom and wait for their little friends (my future children). So that makes 5 in total.

the pattern comes from Bit of whimsy Dolls and I think it is super cute!

So I got too it making the Koala’s;

The Bit of Whimsy designer used chenille on Koala’s trim (ears and tummy bit) so I was not sure what to use. I had polar fleece left over from this project from ages ago;  (Bunnies) but I also bought some Faux Fur thinking I would try it.

But at first I was too scared to try the faux fur – it just looked too difficult to work with.

So I used the polar fleece for the first ones – here is how they turned out;

But I was not too happy with how they turned out. Too babyish!! Which is kind of a weird thing to think, since I mostly make toys for baby’s LOL.

But still I like the toys to look a little bit funkier then that. a bit less babyland/babyworld/babyuniverse and a bit more groovy.

So I got brave and took on the faux fur:

It wasnt that hard to work with after all;

even the ears were ok in the end;

of course I was a bit more worried when it came to the sewing it all together step;

When you have the two pieces of material for the ears (faux fur) and then two pieces for the head of the Koala, it gets a bit thick.

But then it all worked out! Look at this little guy – he is almost done! Just needs his legs;

For some reason I thought it would be hilarious to photograph these Koala’s in our gum tree, 🙂

I am not sure where this one will end up, I would love to keep him for the playroom – but maybe he will go to the Solomon Islands?

This one is for Teeny H, for her birthday! I hope she likes it!

This one is absolutly going to stay in the playroom for our future baby – I think he is gorgeous!

This one might go to Nepal? we will have to see…

 And this is the last one I made! The sleepy one…

And here I put two together in the branch, to have a Koala cuddle 🙂

Just like the real thing, huh? LOL

So I have a computer again -yay! I can blog again -yay!

I cant really hope to catch up on everything that has been going on around here for the past while, because blogging is not really like that. But, I will try to update on the renovation soon. We coming onto week 10 and the whole thing was going to take 12 or 13 weeks and we are pretty much on schedule so it is all good. yay.

I have still been crafting though all through the renovation on the teeny little camping table set up in our bedroom so I can catch up on that. Starting with…… Hecktor Girrafe!

The pattern for Hector Girrafe came from The Big Book of Softies and Hecktor is described as “a funky alien-like girrafe”and I could not agree more! LOL

The story behind making Hector is that months and months ago I was talking to a friend of mine who lives and works in Thailand with a fantastic organisation I work with called the Karen Women Organization. Anyway I was telling her how I have started to craft and she said “thats great!” then later in an email she said “my birthday is coming up…. what are you going to make me?” or something like that. And I said “Challenge accepted!!”

I really liked the idea of making something for an adult. But I wanted to make it true to my usual crafting style also (similar type creature and fabrics) so I looked through the pattern books I have for something that would appeal to both a child and an adult and I thought that Hecktor Girraffe fitted the bill. He had the right amount of stature and gravitas (LOL) and also the right amount of fun.

So here is how it started:

cutting cutting cutting bits out;

One of the biggest challenges when making something (not just hecktor girrafe) is picking the fabrics. Which colour/pattern for which part? You want it to go, but not be too matchy matchy. But then you dont want to put a fabric in that clashes so much that it ruins the toy. I am always thinking of the person it is indended for and trying to make something they would like… which is hard because of my rule; whatever I make I make it for the intended people (new baby, childs birthday, friend in Thailand) and then make 2 extra to put into our playroom waiting for our children who will one day come and play with them. It is only hard since I dont know our children yet. So I try to make things pretty gender neutral (not that I am much of a pink is for girls, blue is for boys person anyway) but I try to have a good mix….

Anway I spend a lot  of time on the fabric selection part some times…. fiddling with it right up until the end.

Like here, does this look best?

or does this work better?

the next part that takes the longest are the faces. Because they have to have personallity!

As you can see from above I decided to make 4 Hecktor Girraffes; 1 for my friend in Thailand, 2 for our future babies to wait in the playroom and the last one is for my niece Teeny H, whose 1st birthday is coming up next month.

Because they are Giraffes I decided to photograph them in nature of course! So here are the finished Hector Giraffes!

This one is now in Thailand with my friend 🙂 she said she really likes him. And she said (without me asking) that she love the colours so YAY! all that thinking planning and working it out was worth it! phew…

These ones are going into the playroom to wait for their lovely little friends (my future children) to give them love and cuddles;

And this one is waiting for Teeny H to turn one so she can give him a big hug 🙂

So thats all there is about Hecktor Girrafe. What do you think? Do you think he looks like a Girrafe? Or like an alien? Or like neither? Well…. he looks like the picture in the pattern so I know I got that right… as to whether he looks like a girrafe…. I just dont know about that one…

So, the other day I had a baby shower to go to and also my little friend, baby M (the new daughter of my friend and colleague) was coming to visit us at the office for the first time. I thought I should make something but  I wanted it to be simple.

I decided to re-visit an old pattern: Beetle Bugs! Which I had made before about a year ago, here. They are actually good for new babies because they are quite small, and colourfull, very light and with their 4 legs it makes them easy to grip.

Anyway I don’t usually make things that I have made before…. in fact I had not really done it before. I dont know why. But I thought since I had made them before it would not be hard. The pattern is from The big book of Softies

Here is the page from the book showing what the beetle bug is supposed to look like:

so I got to work. Because I was making them on Saturday and the baby shower was on Sunday…

 as usual the faces take the longest to do (because you have to make sure they have personality!)

As you can see, even though I only had events for baby M and baby S, I made 3 beetle bugs – because of my rule of always having 2 of the same toy put aside in our play room for our baby(s) in the future.

It was all going pretty well.

two beetle bugs were sewn perfectly. And then…… disaster!

somehow on the 3rd one… I accidently had sewn the face in upside down… and backwards!

eeekk!! So as you can see. This little guy has a frown instead of a smile 😦 and his frown is on his forehead… um… wrong.

as to why he faces the wrong way… well I dont really know why. My only guess is that upside down equals backwards (!?)

Anyway, I could fix this little guy a bit.

I unpicked his frowny-forehead and re-sewed his smile at the bottom of his face. But obviously that was not the end of his problems… his legs were also a bit off. I don’t know why.

Anyway, I guess it is just a good lesson that things don’t always turn out perfectly. And that sometimes it is our imperfections that make us unique!

So the two Beetle Bugs that turned out well (both on the right) went to Baby S and Baby M.

And the imperfect one is in our playroom 🙂 As devistated as I was at first that my sewing went horribly wrong, I now really like my imperfect Beetle Bug! He will always fly ‘the other way’ to his friends, always face them with his smile! He is an individual. And I think he is a sweetie!!

good question.

I don’t really know either. But I wanted to make one 😉

A friend suggested that I take some sewing to Perth to make my time there more useful. And I thought it was a great idea. I chose to attempt Plurbits…. even though I am not sure what they are.

Maybe a Plurbit (pictured above) is a Martin? Maybe it is a robot? Maybe a friendly monster? Or maybe it is just a thing…. like the things in where the wild things are … who knows?

Anyway they are made of felt and cut all around with pinking sheers. It was a bit of a new experience.

I think my interpretation in the end was more Martian then robot/monster. Friendly Martian of course!

Here is one that we are keeping for the playroom:

See how his facemask says ‘I come in Peace” he is a friendly Martian!

We will also be keeping this one for our future baby;

His facemask is starbursts to reflect his cosmic Martian ways. 😉

The antenna were not in the pattern but I decided to add them to the Plurbits…. because otherwise how would the Plurbits be able to phone home?

Here are two others I made. These are for giving away to some little boys I know.

But one of the most interesting parts of the Plurbit making process was using my mother in laws sewing machine. It is 45 years old. It worked really well even though it has moved with her from house to house.

Maybe that is because it is actually a travelling sewing machine! It is very compact with few moving parts and has flaps on each side which close up neatly around the machine protecting it.

They were fund to make and it was nice to have something to do…. you know how Christmas can be, sitting around waiting for people to come around for lunch/ dinner etc. It was good!

So as I said (here) while the light installation was going on Indai was helping me sew, see;

what were we making? Cheeky Monkeys!

They are actually called Millie monkeys (the pattern is from  a bit of whimsy dolls). But I was wanting to make them more unisex so I did not want to call them Millie monkeys.

I made 6. Two for christmas presents, two for babies that not been born yet, and two to go into the playroom and wait for our baby(s?) to join them!

I often by fabric when I am up in Thailand. I love the fabric that is woven for traditonal Burmese longyi’s (like sarongs) and I thought this green one would make some great cheeky monkeys;

I bought it at Borderline shop  in Mae Sot. The fabric was made by the Mon Womens Organisation – the Mon are one of Burma’s many ethnic minorities;

The others were made with fabric that I had on hand. I wanted them to have some textural element (for babies to touch) so I used polar fleece and terry toweling fabric for most of their bodies.

Here are the results!

This one is for teeny H’s (my gorgeous niece’s) christmas present, she is about 7 months old now and SO cute! She is at an age where she really enjoys touching and eating her toys 🙂 ;

The pattern only depicted the monkeys with round eyes. But I really felt that the cheeky eyes I used on the Baby bumblebees recently would look fantastic on the monkeys – because it looks like they are laughing and have a cheeky little secret!

The orange one on the left is a christmas gift for my friends baby (Baby M) who at only one month old is having her first christmas.

The green one on the right will be for my cousins baby. The baby will be my cousins first and we are really excited for him 🙂 I can tell the green monkey can’t wait for that baby to be born!

This one is for my good friend’s new baby – who will be born early next year. Hopefully the baby likes it 🙂

And finally here are our two cheeky monkeys! Made from the Mon Women’s Group material, to be similar but not the same.

I think these two look like brothers and oh, so cute!!

I hope they dont have to wait too long for their playmates 😦 Please, please, please can 2012 be our year to hear the pitter patter of little feet in our home.

So I have not posted about anything crafty for a while. Maybe you think I have not been crafting? Well… I have!

I bought this cute pattern for Baby Bumblebees from etsy online, the shop is called Bit of Whimsy Dolls lovely!

so I got to work making a few. At first I made 5. I wanted to give 3 away to little people and keep 2 for our future children to love…

 The pattern was VERY easy to use, I bought some other patterns from the same esty shop and I cant wait to make those dolls too.

Here are the first ones in blue and green tones:

Too cute! The one in the middle is waiting in our playroom for a friend. But the two on either side have already found forever homes with two lovely little boys I know.

Then there are these two yellow and orange ones:

So cute! See their eyes? You could chose to do the plain type round eye – or you could sew the eyes as closed in a ‘laughing’ way. I love it! And I would have done more but I said to Husbot – how do you think I should do the eyes? He said, ’round – that other way looks funny’. But I thought I would try it for at least one – and I LOVE it! So did he actually – he said it was so cute.

we kept the one with the closed laughing eyes in the playroom. The other one was a gift for a friend who… had just got… The Call!! And brought her daughter home from Thailand – yay!!

So after a little break I made more. Here is one in her natural ‘bee’ environment!

This one was a gift for my colleague when she had a little baby girl – earlier this month 🙂

And then lastly I made these!

The one with the tummy of pears was a gift for little Z for her 2nd birthday. The one with the tummy of clouds is a bit special because it is going to wait here untill another friend of mine gets her call, and their child comes home to them from Thailand. They have already been waiting a long long long  time for their call – so lets hope that cloud-tummy-baby-bumble-bee does not have to wait long (fingers crossed!)

I also made this one…. (how many is that now?)

This one is for an old friend of mine who had her 2nd baby girl last friday – congratulations!

And that is all I have made lately! I just love them! So smiley and cuddley!

 

 

I have not really written anything about why I make thing – like the little toys.

I have been asked! Probably because I am not a person with a lot of free time. I mean who does have a lot of free time?  But yeah, I can’t say that if I thought about it I would say I had a lot of time for it. But I enjoy it – so I make time.

There are a few reasons why I make things:

  • nesting. of course my focus is toys so there is an obvious link to my focus on my future children.
  • waiting/ creating a welcoming space. The waiting is hard and there is no ‘right time’ to start working on the nursery or the playroom etc – but since I am waiting and making things there is a need to put all these gorgeous things somewhere! So there has been a slow and natural process of building a playroom out of handmade things, yes, creating a welcoming space.
  • a dislike of mass production. yes, there is a political element to it. I really don’t like a lot of toys that are out there. They are quite impersonal. Mass produced. Plastic. Throwaway. I don’t like the person who made it has laboured hard for a poorly waged job in potentially hazardous environment. For what? Something that comes ‘for free’ with a meal and gets thrown away with little thought or care. I shudder at the thought of my child playing with something that might have been made in a sweatshop.

I think this documentary is REALLY fabulous. It looks at the link between craft and feminism, activism. I hope the link works: (it is quite long – but really worth it!)

http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/812234

I am not actually part of a craft group. Nor am I a craftivist.

I am an activist in the old school way for Free Tibet and Democracy in Burma.

A few friends have said that I should sell the things I make. People do sell stuff. On Etsy etc. I have seen Mumma Bears, Masies etc on there for sale.

But firstly – my stuff is not that good! hahaha I have had the head stitch fail that I blogged about and since then a leg stitch fail. So I had to make a leg operation repair. Also – arms sewn on the wrong way etc. I mean I am not claiming my stuff is saleable – it is home made. Imperfect. Made on a domestic machine not an industrial machine.

Secondly – I already have a job! hahaha. It is interesting. It is full time (more then that often) and it is busy. I am not really worried about what to do with my time. As I said I make time for craft.

Thirdly – the whole point is that I am not really into consumerism. You see

Look, I know that there will be a day when my future child will reject my handmade toys. They will be all like “I don’t want your strange handmade bear. I want a barbie/my little pony/ben 10” etc I know that will happen.

I also know that all that plastic, throw away crap will be given to them by other people. Probably in a lovely, caring and well meaning way. And I will have to be accepting and get over myself a little bit.

But I figure I have a few years up my sleeve. hahaha.

So I will craft away and enjoy it while it lasts.

Polly is broken

well maybe she was not loved to death – but Polly sure is not looking as chipper as she was back at easter time when I made her and gave her to my niece!

Polly at Easter time

What happened??? Let me be clear, I dont blame Little Z. She was just having fun and loving Polly, when things went all pear shape and Polly started coming undone! She gave Polly to Ama-la and said ‘fix?’ one day – but it could not be done 😦 I think it was either the fabric I used for Polly’s head. Or the instructions; they do not require you to ‘finish’ the seams, which did confuse me I must admit as my teacher back at high school was always very very strict about that. But none of the toy patterns I have used have instructed that seams be overlocked or zig-zaged or anything.

well, my confidence in mytoy making skills has been shattered. I certainly will not be getting a job in Santa’s workshop this year!

Anyway, on the weekend I decided to try to pick up the remainer of my shattered confidence and try again – to get back on that stuffed toy horse so to speak.

And so I made………………………………. New Polly!

ta da!

She has different fabric for her head. Also for her arms as I was a bit worried about that one too. But other then that she is the same.

I have always double stitched the legs and arms when I make toys but this time I also ….

finished the seams with zig-zag stitch!

So I think she should hold!

 
for good measure I also made some Black haired Polly’s to go with the red haired one and brown haired one

black haired sister Polly's!

cross your fingers these Polly’s are ok 😉

Oh, but I have.

I made four Masies ages ago – Before my trip to Thailand last November (I think??) or maybe at Christmas time. Anyway I either was in the stage of forgetting to blog, or I had other things to blog about so, anyway, long story short – they have felt a little neglected that their friends have been bloged about but they havent.

So, last weekend when I was going Polly and Mumma Bear mad I also realised that I did not have enough Masies to adequatly address the current baby boom going on around here. By the way in case you are wondering we are still waiting for our new niece/nephew… hurry up little bubs!! We are sick of waiting and Little Z is SO ready to be a big sister!!

So, what did I do? I made two more Masies. Now I feel that there is enough and no little baby girl associated to me by way of friend or family will miss out! Yay!

Here is how the process went ages ago;

Their faces are hand embroidered (sp?) which is a bit nerve racking but also fun.

Have I ever mentioned how much time goes into fabric selection for these toys (not just the Masies)? Because you need the right amount of contrast and complementation to make the dolls fun and colourful but not crazy clown. It is a lot worse then picking an outfit. I sometimes sit there for hours putting fabrics up against each other and then swapping them around. It is hard when two work so well like the pink and green ones above and then you need to find to more (one for the head, one for the legs and arms) because then you could have something working perfectly and accidently ruin it.

But now I have a few piles of fabric around it is not such a problem. At the begining I would be like – um…. I need a green that has a small pattern but is not too patterny. And then we would have to go off to Spotlight or Lincraft for hours while I found the perfect one (and of course I would by several spares hahaha) or I would start sewing and realise I did not have any pink/brown thread : ( but now I have a stash.

Here is how the pink and green one from earlier turned out – I think she is a good one!

They did not all turn out so well. The arms were the trickiest part. Some were a bit askew (I think we will keep those ones hahaha) and another I accidently sewed in upside down so she looks like she permenatly has her arms in the air saying ‘hooray!’ in fact maybe it is because of the arm situation that I need to keep two and I had to make two more… hahahaha!

Here are all the pink and green toned ones;

one in the middle says 'Hooray!' hahaha

Here are all the yellow and orange toned ones;

who said our arms are wonky? thats mean : (

anyway I think they look so cute together. But they are not staying together long. Soon they will be in the arms of the teeny little people they were made for : )