A Leopard Jacket for Kids Clothes Week

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Do you know about Kids Clothes Week? It is a wonderful week of intentional sewing for your kids – it happens four times a year and the idea is to sew along with a bunch of other participants for one hour a day, for seven days. This is the brain child of Elsie Marley, but now it has a whole community and blog of it’s own. Let’s just say that I did not make it to the hour every day this week, but I wanted to participate in any small way I could (and I, for whatever reason, told my daughter that I could make a costume this year…). This girl love loves animal prints, the louder the better, so when all the halloween faux furs went on sale, I picked up way too much of this leopard print, hoping for the best. And then it sat. there. in. my. studio. So with the Friday deadline of a school Halloween dance, I started it, erm, also on Friday.

I had a pretty clear idea in my head of what I wanted to make – a dress-style jacket, not too costume-y. Using one of her hoodies as a vague sizing guide, I just cut what I hoped would become something wearable. (Full disclosure – I used to make kids clothing and sell it, which is maybe why I wasn’t entirely terrified to make this. Also, I’m going to geek out about sewing for a bit here…) At first the main body of it was just a long a-line shape, and when that seemed to boring, I made the two second decision to cut it off just under the arms, add a few panels to the bottom half to allow for pleating, and sewing it back on as an empire waist. I had her try it on, and minutes before it was needed I added the fur to the sleeves for extra length, put the buttons in the right place, and sewed the tail on the back. WHEW!

Now, I haven’t made her any kind of clothing since she was old enough to have an opinion, so it has been really surprising to me to see her choose this as her jacket every day over the weekend. I probably would have taken much more time and lined it and been more careful had I known…but so it is. I just plain love that she loves something I made. Everyone wins.

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I’m so glad KCW exists – and next time around I’ll be sure to post about it here ahead of time so you can join in too. Check out their site to see what others have made this week. Happy sewing*

Inspiring People : Sara Carr

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If you love plush, and you’ve been around Etsy for any length of time, it’s likely that you have already come across the oh-so-lovely work of Sara Carr…but today is your day to be reminded of it! Sara is a maker and mama in the UK, where she creates these beautiful knits – I remember that fox being one of my early Etsy favorites, and I still think the simplicity of it is so likeable. I am especially drawn to it because of the knit aspect, it gives such a cozy feeling – plus, I am not a knitter or knitting machine user, so I am extra curious about the process (and would likely become veerry addicted). Her bold jewel colors are so happy, and even though her work is inspired by kid-friendly colors and shapes, it’s not like you need to have kids around to think it’s great – I am always loving plush that doubles as a design element in your home, kids or no. Do you want that Donkey on your couch as much as I do?

The Sara Carr Etsy shop is here – go check out all the plush goodness. Thank you Sara!

New Craft Calgary!

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I spent last weekend in Calgary, taking part in the New Craft Coalition sale. This was my first out-of-province sale experience, and I’m not going to lie – the night before we left, as I was packing everything up and trying to remember every last detail, I thought, this is completely nuts. And I’m still not sure how people manage to do it all the time, especially around Christmas. This is a strange business for maker-artists…you spend 95% of your time alone, making, and then bring your goods to these intense sales that are very social and very exhausting and totally fulfilling all at once. My customers are the loveliest, and it always feel so good to meet the people who give the dolls a good home. But the real story of these sales is behind the tables, new relationships made between you and the neighbor vendor, and big hugs given to old friends. It’s preeetty great.

And shock of all shocks, there was amazing stuff at the sale, some familiar, and lots that was new to me. This is in no way everyone who was there, but just a few pretty things…

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top to bottom: Cathy Terepocki Ceramics, Rabbet, Dear Pony, Leave it to Cleaver, White Owl Ceramics, Sweet Jane Clothing, Carole Epp Ceramics

Thanks to the NCC ladies who work so hard to organize this sale, and to everyone who came and said hi or who picked out a favorite doll. My making energy is totally renewed!

Happy Thanksgiving

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Our Thanksgiving was yesterday, here in Canada. We saw both of our families in one weekend, spent hours in the car and possibly just as much time over food. Our children were miraculously well behaved (which is certainly not always the case), can that be the first thing I’m thankful for? I am thankful for my little family, that we put up with each other and love each other all at once. I am thankful for the fall and its colors that make you pay attention, for store bought pumpkin pie and a big fat warm blanket at night. I am certainly thankful that I have work that I love and places like this to be creative – for imagination, tiny little things that people make with their hands, the school bus driver, and hot lemony-ginger-honey water. It’s a good thing to think about – good to have a long long list.

* Happy Canadian Thanksgiving *

Inspiring People: Dana of Big Stuffed

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This is the work of Dana, a textile artist originally from Israel who now lives and works in France. Her Big Stuffed creatures are so appealing to me, partly in their simplicity, and most obviously because of their scale. I mean, do you not just want to jump into a big pile of these? From the first photo I saw of her work (it was surely one of the big whales) I knew this was something good. I love that this work feels like a true collection – in the theme and relationships of the fabric. What I also love is that they are not quite toy, not quite pillow, but both at the same time…big and squishy, but modern-playful, and as she says ‘for all ages, genders, and types.’ I am doing a big, fat swoon over here.

Big Stuffed is on Facebook, and you can see Dana’s Etsy shop here. Thanks for letting me share your work!

In the Studio

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September and October have been quite busy for me over in my little studio. The best part is that lately, I have had more time than normal to work there – I go first thing after my kids are off to school, and I feel like I’m getting away with something…which I’m pretty sure is the giddy feeling of getting to do a creative job that I love! I tell yah, I will soak in that feeling as long as I can. Anyway, a crazy amount of dolls have been made (I am getting ready for a sale in Calgary next week), my favorite podcasts run throughout the day (more on this soon, I’ve found some good ones lately), my tables get messy, and it’s the greatest. Just thought I would give a peek at some new dolls (yep, this is how I take photos…a big piece of white paper on the floor) and into my studio-day!

** Have a wonderful weekend **

Inspiring People: Las Sandalias de Ana

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These dolls have been a long time Etsy favorite of mine. Las Sandalias de Ana are these lovely dolls made by Ana, a textile artist working from Madrid, Spain. These are exactly the kind of dolls that I would buy for my daughter, but secretly they would just be for me. I love the yarn hairstyles, the tiny little detailed clothing (I am always fascinated by those who are able to work on such a miniature scale, if that hasn’t been obvious already), and the abundance of wee polka dots and flowers. There is something so natural and very very sweet about these, don’t you think?

You can find Las Sandalias de Ana dolls in their Etsy shop, and more about the process and all the finished works on Ana’s facebook and blog. Thanks so much for letting me share!