Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Craftiness and Cuteness

"Every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness."
--Richard Bach, author

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! My own Christmas was filled with much craft and cute, both given and received. I worked my fingers to nubs stitching gifts for family and friends til the very last minute. However, it was more than worth it to see the delight on their faces when they opened their boxes. Not to mention they generously gifted me with many wonderful things in return!

Now that Christmas has passed I can finally reveal a few of the softie gifts I was excitedly working on.

Here's a more elaborate take on my usual owl. I was going for a Victorian era look. I love how distinguished and proper he looks. I had such fun making him that I'm thinking of doing more owls in costume like say . . . a Zorro owl, a pirate owl, or a roman owl in toga garb. Such possibilities!

Here's a new softie design of mine, which I'm calling a Wee Beastie. I was inspired by Max's wolf suit in the book, Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak as well as Mario's Tanooki Suit. Basically, instead of wolves in sheep's clothing, think kids in beastie clothing.

This little guy is the first I've made from the new pattern and I'm so pleased with how it came out. He looks so cheerful, smart, and ready to take on the world, don't you think?

A close-up of his face.

As for the things I received, I must have been very good this year or at least I've gotten better at hiding my shenanigans.

Look -- another Eveluche! How lucky am I?! This little fellow is called the Frozen Raccoon. That explains his sadly sweet expression. I just started to crochet and I cannot imagine making something so intricate. I counted at least 5 different yarns used to make him. He's quite a work of art. Every time I look at him I'm amazed all over again.

Don't be sad anymore, Frozen Raccoon. You're in Hawaii now, where it's nice and warm. We'll have to put that scarf away and get you a straw hat! Do you remember your fellow Canadian, Little Blue Bear? He'll give you the grand tour of your new home.

Look at this tiny sculpey charm modeled after one of my owls. It's only a centimeter tall. One must have such steady hands to paint something so lilliputian. I love it!

No, these are not bowling pins. They are wooden nesting dolls ready to be painted! What a unique canvas, don't you think? I have so many ideas for these . . . all which include bunnies of some sort. I cannot wait until I have the time to start working on them.

Thank you everyone for all the goodies and good wishes. Thank you for visiting me here, my own little corner of the universe. Most of all, thank you for making my holidays so happy, crafty and cute! Much aloha to you all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Please Welcome Mino the Elephant!

I've been dying of anticipation ever since I was lucky enough to purchase one of Mumka's softies. I've been visiting her store for awhile now, and I've just been so intrigued by the little bears and bunnies she makes. They are so adorable! And when an unusual little green elephant popped up in her shop, I snatched him up right away!
I spied a little box in my mailman's hand as he walked up my driveway yesterday. I was so thrilled. Finally, my Mumka! However, that quickly turned to dread upon seeing a large gash on the side of the box and an ominous green sticker that screamed: EXAMINED BY U.S. CUSTOMS! My Mumka softie came all the way from Poland and I'm not well versed in the ways of international shipping, so seeing this gave me a bit of a fright. I immediately had visions of over enthusiastic bomb and drug sniffing dogs shredding open my box and drooling on my poor plushie.

With apprehension, I carefully opened the box . . .

And thankfully, Mino the Elephant was none the worse for wear considering his extensive and harrowing trip to Hawaii. Isn't he cute? I just adore his fresh, mint green color. He was also very well outfitted for his travels -- he came with a little blankie, a pillow, and a wee elephant softie of his very own. A card that accompanied him states:

Mint Elephant Mino
Born: 8th December 2007
Made with mohair, linen, cotton, felt, *heart*
Favourites: short trips and sleeping



Short trips? Well, that was certainly a very long trip, poor thing.

And sleeping? Well, I guess that explains why when I left him for just a moment, I returned and found this --

Shhhhhhhh . . .

Sweet dreams, Little Mino.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Loovee's Christmas Swap (and the Meddlesome Monster)

What an exciting day! Loovee's swap package from pal Molli and her mommy Linda finally arrived!

What could possibly be inside that pretty box?

A bottomless pit of goodness that's what! Loovee was speechless by all the adorable items -- cupcake ornaments, cute kitchen magnets, sweet smelling erasers, a cat rubber stamp, Hello Kitty stationary . . . but what was really screaming out at her was that beautiful dress.

She quickly rushed away to try it on . . . .

And returned to find Gachapin, the resident exchange monster from Japan, rifling through her package! It seems he could not resist all those delicious looking goodies.

Luckily, Loovee got there before he could do any real damage. She coaxed him out of the box with a cupcake magnet and sat him down. Patiently, she explained that the world is a tricky place, and just because it looks like food doesn't necessarily mean that it is.

Poor Gachapin was so confused and unhappy. "But that ice cream cone looked so real!"

***

Thank you so much, Linda and Molli! This was Loovee's first swap and it was the funnest experience. The outfit you made is just scrumptious. I love the great details like the teensy buttons and the flowers on the headband. And how do you sew such neat, little hems?

We do hope you enjoy our swap package as much as we have enjoyed yours. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Molli and Linda!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Mailman is My Friend

This has been a very happy mail week.

I purchased this lovely bear from Eveluche on Etsy. It was supposed to be a gift to myself, which I would open up on Christmas Day. Obviously, that didn't work out as planned. I tore the package open as soon as he arrived. Honestly, making myself wait was like telling myself to not be happy, which is just downright silly.

Isn't he adorable? And so well made, too. I love his crocheted tag with the embroidered heart. He also came with a little first aid kit with a variety of yarns. So clever! I am just thrilled to have him in my ever growing collection of handcrafted softies.

I got these kokeshi fabrics from Lucky Kaero Fabric and Supplies. I couldn't resist those big round heads and rosy cheeks.

This print came all the way from England from Belle and Boo. I have such an affinity for bunnies. They just make the greatest pets. One my my favorites was one Boo Radley, who passed away last year. He was all white like in the print and given the name of the shop . . . well , it's fate that I should have it, don't you think?

I miss you, Boo.

And this bit of mail is something being given, not received. I was lucky enough to meet Linda and Molli via the TIB Forum dedicated to Blythe dolls. We are doing a Holiday swap for our dollies, Molli and Loovee. Such fun! I have never done a swap before so I am excited beyond words. I am mailing Molli's package off tomorrow, and I do hope they like what Loovee and I have been working on.

I have more things coming in the mail, which I am dying to receive. I hope my mailman isn't creeped out by my sitting on the curb, waiting for him.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Last Owl and Bunny

Found this little guy in The Drawer of Almost Finished Projects. All he needed was a face. Now off to Etsy he goes, ready to see the world with his brand spanking new eyes.

And so ends my amigurumi bunny phase with this last girl. I had so much fun making them, but now it's time to get a move on. She's going to Etsy, too.

These softies will be the last I'll list in my shop until after the New Year.

With the holidays coming at light speed, I have to switch from leisurely crafting mode to "Holy cow! I've got a load of Christmas gifts to make!" mode. That doesn't mean I'm done with softies, tho. I have some really great new softie ideas and I can't wait to get started on them.

I hope I can finish them in time. 26 days until Christmas!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Hoot! Hoot!

It's been awhile since I've made owls. I forgot how much fun they were to put together. This bit of magic happens when I finally sew the eyes in place. They suddenly come alive and it's all I can do to not start talking to them. Out loud, at least.

Once again, I will sing the praises of wool felt -- it is wonderful stuff! It costs a lot more than craft felt and is harder to come by, but it is so worth it. They make these owls' eyes pop.

This group of Thoughtful Little Owls will go to my shop bit by bit as I find the time to list them.

Thank you to everyone who inquired!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Multiplying Like Bunnies

I've been in an amigurumi bunny zone lately. After making the snow bunny for Softies Central I cannot seem to stop. Now that I've finally got the hang of it, I just find crocheting so soothing. Much different from sewing, which for me requires a lot of concentration. As for the bunny obsession . . . well, I have four pet rabbits running about my house so they serve as my muses.

For these three little girls I used a loosely woven alpaca blend yarn. It's hard to see in the photo, but they have this fuzzy halo, which sort of reminds me of sparse mohair fur teddies.

The best part about making them was finally having a reason to use supplies that I was saving for something special. I recently got some 60/40 wool & rayon blend felt which I ordered online. It's great stuff! I will never go back to acrylic craft felt again. I found 100% wool felt to be too thick and stiff, but 60/40 has a nice drape and is easy to sew. It also still has that soft, smooth feel you only get from wool felt. I loved using them for the flower embellishments on their ears.

For the ear insets and reversible smocks I got to bust out all the fabrics I purchased on my summer trip to Japan. I didn't intend to make the smocks reversible, but I had such a difficult time choosing just one fabric so this was a nice compromise. Also, the fact that you can switcheroo their clothes makes them a bit more playable and not just displayable.

I think I will try my hand at making other amigurumi creatures next time -- bears, koalas, kitties, etc. Once this bunny phase dies down that is.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

This Week in Cute: Wawaya Softies

Adorable, yes? When I discovered Etsy about two years ago, a wee stuffed bunny immediately caught my eye. It was so sweet and strange looking. At first I wasn't even sure if it was a bunny (I'm still not sure, really) because it looked so alien, but then those rabbity ears . . . . Anyway, I couldn't resist. I had to have it . . . and then another.

These softies were made by a very talented artist in Japan. You must take a peek at her work. Even though her site is in Chinese the photos tell all. Her softies are truly original, and if ever you're lucky enough to own one, you'll see that they don't disappoint up close, either. The detail work on the little guys I purchased are amazing. They are completely hand sewn, button jointed, and can stand unaided. Oh, and their facial expressions -- so precious! Not to mention that they each came tucked inside a drawstring bag that had my name hand embroidered on it.

Just looking at my Wawayas always makes me smile.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Softie Surplus = Etsy

So every time I design and create a new softie I get so excited about it that I whip them out one after another . . .until the novelty peters out. Well, after awhile I've built up quite a softie surplus. Hence, my opening up an Etsy shop. I hope my softies find better homes than the plastic storage bins they sadly live in now.

These will be the first softies up for adoption this weekend (or however long it takes me to figure out Etsy).
A sweet koala girl.

A pretty kitty.

And three thoughtful owls.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Softies Central Holiday Awards

Little bunny happily skips through the snow to drop off gifts to family and friends . . .
So this is what's been keeping me busy this past week. Have you heard of Softies Central? Well, if not you must go pay a visit. It's a hub for softie artists and they're currently hosting a contest for the holidays. All the entries thus far are amazing and so creative. Go take a peek and be inspired. Little Bunny here will be participating in the festivities.

"Happy Holidays to you!" Little Bunny says. "Now off I go!'

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Loovee's First Trip to Japan

This past summer I took Loovee on vacation with me to Japan. I had so much fun gearing her up for the trip. I sewed all of her outfits. Loovee is my very first Blythe and also the first I've ever photographed in public. I was a bit embarrassed about doing so for all the world to see, but luckily my pal P does not embarrass easily, and he helped me pose her and take the pictures. Here are a few:
Before I left Hawaii for the trip, I fell in love with this Japanese creature called Gachapin, who I first spied in the Killers music video, Read My Mind. P spotted a Gachapin softie in a shop in Japan and purchased him for me. Loovee was wary of him at first, not knowing exactly what sort of monster he is, but they soon became fast friends.

One of the things I was excited to visit in Japan was a 100 Yen Shop. I just love a good bargain.

Here's one of the malls we frequented.

I plunked Loovee down in a random flower bed we passed by. I think the flowers really bring out the blue in her hair and eyes. I just have to say I had a helluva time making the pattern for that bunny hat. I wanted it to fit perfectly. About a dozen drafts and a couple of maximum strength aspirin later, I finally got it to my satisfaction.

The street to the Naritasan Shinshoji Temple were lined with these cute little statues of different animals such as turtles, bunnies, chickens, and such. Here she is on a ram.

At a park near the Narita Station.

The parting shot -- at the airport before we left Japan. Loovee is decked out in her aloha dress, ready to go back home to Hawaii with her new best friend.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Aloha!

I'm not much for talking about myself so I think I'll keep this introduction short and sweet, and (mostly) in picture form.


First off, I love to make softies. I'm very inspired by the Japanese ideal of cute. No one does cute like they do. Here are some koalas I whipped up awhile back.

I make owls, too.

These are some kitties that I've yet to finish. They have no faces yet, so enjoy the view of their behinds.


I recently taught myself to crochet for the specific purpose of making amigurumi. I used the book, Crocheting for Dummies. It is aptly titled in my case. I have a long way to go, especially in the tension department. My hands get so cramped up. This is a little amigurumi bunny I purchased off ebay, which serves as inspiration. Along side it was my first attempt at crocheting.


In the neighborhood of cuteness, I've fallen in love with Takara Blythe dolls. This is my Loovee, an Asian Butterfly Encore. I made her dress and bunny hat, which she wore on her first trip to Japan. I think I will tell you more about that in my next post.

Well, thank you for peeking in and I hope you visit again.