Researching and Catching Up

Wow.  Where did that time go?  I’ve finally found my way back to my website to update a little.

Thanks to my wonderful friends and family, Christmas and birthday saw me all kitted out for a year of creativity.  I received some great presents including books (Making Cushion Covers by Debbie Shore and Prints by Heather Ross) and beautiful fabric, some of which was designed by my husband and printed by Spoonflower.

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Christmas and birthday pressies

I was itching to get going.  Then, head brimming with ideas, I did my usual trick of getting stuck at the research stage.

So my resolution to write at least one blog post a month went to pot, even though I seemed to be spending an eternity on the laptop. This time it wasn’t trawling through pages of gorgeous printed fabric that was distracting me.  It was researching other things. As usual, small ideas became quite complex as I entered the world of Google, and the simple task of ordering a few bits and bobs became quite an ordeal, albeit interesting.

Here is a list of some of the things I was researching:

  • Stuffing for soft toys (something a little more organic please than that wretched polyester stuff you get in bags at craft shops)
  • Absorbent and soft fabrics to use for bibs which would make life that little bit more comfortable for babies with their oh so sensitive skin
  • Softer than soft fabrics for baby/toddler blankets and comforters.

All of these things needed to be researched and ordered before I could get on and ‘make’ – one of the frustrating necessities of this game!  I will share what I found in future posts.  But for now, suffice to say I did find more or less what I was looking for.

Once the fabric and stuffing had arrived (yay!) I got busy with making:  a selection of baby comforters, baby/toddler blankets, bibs and tabard style wipe clean aprons.  Then came more little softies; some seasonal Snuggle Chicks and, a new line for the Tinny Tinies range, Sleepy Sheep.

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 I have since held a stall at two more craft fayres – Over the Moon Baby and Toddler Fayre at Shoreham, and MArKEt at The Old Palace in Tarring, Worthing.  Both events were very enjoyable and I met plenty of interesting and like-minded people.  Now I just need to get myself booked in for some more events.

I’ve also been spending time getting myself set up with a Facebook page and keeping my Etsy shop well stocked.  So much to do but all good fun!  So all in all pretty busy.  Thanks for reading.  Will be back with more soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tinny Tinies – Elefriends

Inspiration comes when you least expect it.  I was clearing out the kitchen cupboards (worst job in the world when you’re doing it, but always so satisfying once it’s done) and I came across some old paper napkins from my son’s first birthday.  They had a pattern of individual jungle animals on them and it struck me how cute the elephant was. Just right for a new Tinny Tinies collection!

I was keen to get started, so needless to say the kitchen cupboards were left less than dazzling and I ended up making a mess elsewhere instead, pulling out bits of fabric that might be suitable for the job.

I started as usual by sketching a pattern onto paper and cutting it out, allowing for a seam, then pinned the paper pattern onto the fabric and cut out the basic shape.

The pattern

I wanted the ears to be in a contrasting fabric so I decided to do lots of elephants in one go, cutting out the body shape and the ears in the same colour with the intention of mixing and matching later on.

Selection process

After what turned out to be a somewhat lengthy selection process pf pairing up the ears and bodies I was ready to start.  First I machine stitched around the main body, leaving the bottom edge open for turning and stuffing.  I also machine stitched around the curve of the ears, leaving the straight edge open for turning.

Main body stitched, turned and stuffed and eyes sewn on

I stitched on the eyes before stuffing and stitching the elephant closed.  That way any knots could stay inside the body of the elephant.  I used the tiniest beads I could find.

Beady eyes

At some point before stitching the elephant closed it was necessary to give him a little tail.    I found the best way of doing this was simply by tying a knot in some embroidery thread, threading it through from the inside out using a needle and then tying a knot at the end of the elephant’s tail, snipping off the excess.

Tail made of thread and knots

The rest was done by hand, whip stitch all the way.  The ears were the last to go on, making the little fellow feel like a proper little elephant at last.

One completed Elefriend

The whole herd

Being a Tinny Tiny, each and every one of these little elephants was entitled to a bed.  I decided to go one step further this time and make a sleeping bag instead of a blanket.

Sleeping bag

What do you think my little Elefriend? A nice, snug fit?  Zzzzzzz.

Trying out the sleeping bag

Finally into the minty Altoids tin, with sleeping bag and pillow.  Ready for the next sleepover or camping trip.

Will you take me with you?

 

 

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Tinny Tinies

Every child likes to have a tiny friend who they can put to bed at night and wake up in the morning.  I’ve seen miniatures housed in matchboxes before but wanted something a bit more long lasting than cardboard.  Everyone knows how quickly those shiny new games boxes get demolished once they’ve been opened at Christmas! I was inspired by ‘wee mouse tin house’ on mmmcrafts.blogspot.com. What better than a mint tin to start off with? Thank you mmmcrafts for that top tip!  After a little wash and plenty of airing out the tin was ready.  Now all I needed to do was make a tiny friend and turn the tin into a cosy bed.

After a lot of indecision about what type of friend to make, Billy Bear was created.  I settled on a bear because bears are always a good place to start.  Quite simply, a classic.  I used  soft 100% brushed cotton for the main body and felt for his paws and ears. I stitched around the edges of the paws and ears for definition.

Then, with right sides facing and paws and ears in place, I stitched around the whole bear making sure to leave a gap for turning and stuffing.  Once turned I stuffed the bear with toy stuffing and then whip stitched the opening closed.  I used French knots for the eyes and nose, stitching the mouth on last of all…and Billy Bear was born!

Billy Bear at his beach hut.

Time to make Billy Bear a bed!  I got a small, rectangular piece of cotton fabric and made that into a pillow by stitching around three edges with right sides together, turning and stuffing with toy stuffing. I whip stitched the opening closed.

 

For the blanket I took a small, rectangular piece of fleece and stitched a zigzag pattern around the edges, providing both decoration and protection from fraying (thanks again to mmmcrafts.blogspot.com).

 

 

Time for bed Billy Bear…

Hopefully there will be more tinny tinies to come soon.

Snuggle up Billy Bear.

 

Lights out!