Inspiring People: Evie Barrow

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I first learned of Evie through her very beautiful and detailed dolls and plush creations – these folk-inspired one of a kind dolls that embrace their material flaws (and just look at all the tiny hand embroidered stitches!). But then I followed her a little further and it turns out that Evie is so talented in so many areas, the kind of illustrator-designer-maker that makes me immediately feel jealous and want to be friends all at once. Her blog is where she shares her new work, her drawings, doodles, inspirations, personal tid bits, free crafts and designs, and stunning photography. I may have read the whole thing all at once, and it is completely inspiring me to get back to drawing and finally learn some computer skills that are sorely missing from my life. To say the least, the little world Evie has created is really really lovely.

Have a look at her blog, facebook page, instagram, and etsy shop. Thank you so much Evie!

Inspiring People: Marathon 1981

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A few years ago, Kami (the lovely lady behind Marathon 1981) and I both had dolls in the same Plush You show in Seattle. While scrolling through the list of artists involved in the show, I came across her work, discovered she was from the prairies (Shock! There are so few plush makers out here that I know about), and immediately contacted her. We made the best kind of trade – I sent one of my horses her way, and I received one of her ‘furmaids’ who still watches over my studio. There are so many reasons why I think these creatures are amazing – I find that I tend to take my dolls to the cute cute side, so I love it when others are able to take the plush form and give it an edge (especially these two in the last photo from her solo show Cute and Awful). The use of vintage fabrics, visible hand stitches, and slight wonkiness (in the best possible way), make sure you know that these have been handmade and are one of a kind. I love ’em.

You can find Kami and her creatures in her shop, on her blog, and facebook page. Thanks so much Kami! (plus, we need to have tea someday…)

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!

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!

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!

‘Fun of the Fair’ Pattern Review and Giveaway!

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Hi! I have been asked by the lovely folks over at Stitch Craft Create to be part of the blog hop for Melanie McNiece’s new pattern book. Melanie is the lady behind Melly and Me – where she creates patterns and books for soft toys, quilts, and other sewn goodies. You can see instantly what a fun, colorful, happy brand she has created – and I sure do like all of those things…

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The first thing I noticed about the book was that it contains only five patterns, which might not seem like that many – but in those patterns are the basic shapes for so many animals. If you have even a bit of imagination, the pony could become a zebra or donkey, the lion becomes a cat, the seal (with a bit of thought) becomes a whale or fish. Or heck, you could keep it simple and just make the patterns. For anyone who wants to get into toy making there are a lot of good skills to learn here, like attaching legs through outside buttons on the pony, making them moveable. For the beginner, I would suggest trying these patterns in a fabric with a bit of stretch, like fleece. It is a little more forgiving and stuffs up in a lovely way. You don’t get the same impact that the patterned fabric gives here (and the choice for the book makes total sense, since Melanie also designs quilting cottons), but you might just like it! Also, from the photos I thought the animals were quite small, but don’t worry, they are a good, huggable size.

My first choice was to make the pattern for the seal, since I knew I had the perfect fabric for it. To make it my own, I used safety eyes, embroidered the nose (I always prefer an embroidered nose, I find it gives me so much more control over the final look), and left out the whiskers. I kept with the circus-y theme and gave wee seal a hat (because you know how I love to give animals hats!)…but a rainbow pom pom toque, cuz why not. The pattern was simple, explained well, and came together very easily. Here she is!

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The biggest compliment was from my daughter who said, ‘how did you get it to look so cute?’ Aw. Thanks. Well, she might have been fishing to see if she could keep it…

I am happy to say that once again I am able to give away a copy of this book to someone very lucky! This giveaway is open internationally and will close on October 13. Please leave a comment if you would like to be entered, Thanks!

Thanks again to Stitch Craft Create – You can see all of their lovely books here. Fun of the Fair is available in print or as an ebook.  Follow the blog hop to see what everyone else has created and loved about the book. Enjoy!

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This giveaway is now closed – the Fun of the Fair book winner is Buntyw. Thanks everyone for playing along!

Inspiring People: Mandarinas de Tela

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I am loving these art dolls (called Mandarinas) made by Isabel Margarita, a painter and textile artist living in Chile. It’s always so nice to see dolls as works in progress (she shows many on her facebook page), and she describes her process in a way that makes it seem so simple when the result is anything but. Once again, it’s all about the little details at the end – the painting of the faces, the little sequins (Bowie!), the laced shoes. Isabel creates a lot of likeness dolls of celebrity artists, musicians, and characters from film, but just as many are from her imagination – it’s such a good mix and a beautiful aesthetic. Thank you Isabel, for letting me share these. Check out her blog, shop, and instagram (what a gorgeous feed!) too!