I was Hooked by This Little Fishy

Fishy Fishy Fishy…. Details Details Details I love Details!

Who remembers my Finger Pocket Fish PDFs? Here is a reminder…

Last November (2014) I participated in an Aspiring Designer Challenge via several Facebook Sewing Groups

Finger Pocket Fish

I released a set of Patterns that are available on Etsy and Craftsy.

Finger Pocket Fish 1 “This Little Fishy” Sewing Pattern PDF
Finger Pocket Fish 2 “That Little Fishy” Sewing Pattern PDF
Finger Pocket Fish 3 “Another Little Fishy” Sewing Pattern PDF
Finger Pocket Fish “Net All Three” Sewing Pattern PDF (this one is available through DIY Crush too)

One Little Fishy reminded me so much of a Goldfish I simply had to try to design some fabric and have it printed through Spoonflower.com

Continue reading


Why I am Just Bananas Over Soft Toys

Being “Just Bananas” is more a state of ‘being’ than a ‘name’ for a hobby/business!

If you were following the 5 Day Art Challenge that I participated in during January 2015 via Facebook you would have had the opportunity to see some of the images that I have included on my Permanent Blog Pages Youth Hobbies. All of these artistic endeavours had a certain amount of satisfaction attached to them but on their own individually they weren’t enough to keep my attention.

Here’s a quick recap of the images I chose for the Challenge.

Remember more information and other examples of my artistic endeavours are included in the Permanent Blog Pages….just click the red text to follow the links.

Day 1 of the Art Challenge:

Wildfire Painting Facbook Challenge  Closeup Wildfire Hobbytex  Wildfire Papier Mache

Day 2 of the Art Challenge:

Inspiration and Imitation Running Horse  Inspiration and Imitation Arab Horse   Inspiration and Imitation Hawk on Branch

Day 3 of the Art Challenge:

Wildfire Papier Mache

Flicka Papier Mache

Painting Flicka and Jubilee

Day 4 of the Art Challenge:

Darcy Painting and Ceramic

Giraffe Antelope Ceramic

Billy Ceramic

With so much early creativity in a variety of mediums ranging from Painting, Drawing, Papier Mâché and Ceramics you may be wondering why I am “Just Bananas Over Soft Toys.”

The beginning of my interest in making Soft Toys was visually portrayed on Day 5 of the Art Challenge… Reading two horse books written by Monica Edwards “Wish for a Pony” and “The Midnight Horse” were the starting point. “Wish for a Pony” inspired me to draw horses and “The Midnight Horse” inspired me to create horses using fabric and other materials (see Toy Making).

Day 5 of the Art Challenge:

Inspiration and Imitation - Page from “The Midnight Horse” written by Monica Edwards & Toy Horse on Hand

Inspiration and Imitation - Newspaper clipping and toy Gundy Gay

Inspiration and Imitation - Phar Lap

I feel like I am “Just Bananas” because I am so passionate & borderline ‘crazy’ (i.e. bananas = crazy) about designing Soft Toys. I love to look at fabric creations and try to figure out how they are made & how to apply the techniques or methods to what I am aiming to create. I strive to learn and improve all the time. When making Soft Toys I aim for realism and prefer to refer to real live living creatures or good photos whenever possible.

I enjoy the design process, the drawing & cutting out of paper & fabric shapes. Sometimes I find the sewing a little tedious because I am such a perfectionist it can take many, many attempts and tiny revisions to get the shape just right! I am currently learning a digital drawing program & enjoying using it to make my Pattern shapes neat. Plus it is always fun to work with photos and create what I hope are clear step by step instructions. Then there is a new creative outlet that combines even more of the artistic skills that I gained as I grew up, namely Custom Fabric Design made possible by Spoonflower.com which is a dream come true! Perfect for all those occasions where I can’t find just the right fabric! If only I had more time I have so many ideas!

But that is not the full explanation as to ‘why’ I am “Just Bananas Over Soft Toys”… it’s not just about “me” being able to create the things I do it is about encouraging & supporting other people (e.g. other toymakers & designers) and about enabling others to create also (e.g. by creating Sewing Pattern PDFs).

When I heard about the Sewmamasew 6 weeks of Softies Competition I spent a lot of time thinking about whether to enter or not. I was keen to see all the fabric creations and hoped to see people who needed a little confidence boost or encouragement by way of positive feedback or winning a prize benefit from the participation. I felt the need to continue to work on my current PDF and wondered if I could spare the time to sew something(s) to enter.

My main motivation for entering is not based on a desire to win a prize. Even though I have been designing and making Soft Toys (off and on) since I was 12 years old I have only had an Online Internet presence for just over a year (Etsy & Craftsy shops, Facebook Page, Spoonflower shop and this WordPress Blog). By participating in the competition I hope to show a wider audience what I make. The best ‘prize’ I could ever receive would be to fuel and assist other people’s creativity!

Designing Soft Toys is my (almost all consuming) passion! Why have I pursued Toy designing instead of drawing, painting or ceramics? The main reason is repeatability…..

I could show you my drawings or paintings & provide you with some art supplies but would that empower you to recreate the images that I have created?

I could give you some clay and show you techniques and guide your hands but could you replicate what I have made?

I could create realistic Textile Art animals and birds etc using a freehand/organic non repeatable method but that doesn’t enable anyone else does it? However “if” I create a design for a Soft Toy and turn that into a PDF and/or Custom Fabric design I can take things one step further. This is where repeatability is the ‘star’.

Cut n Sew Fish with Fabric

Made using Spoonflower Cut n Sew Sateen fabric and Finger Pocket Fish 1 “This Little Fishy” Sewing Pattern PDF

Bay Cut n Sew plus Horse

Made using Spoonflower Cut n Sew Faux Suede fabric and “Wish for a Pony” Hobby Horse Sewing Pattern PDF

Chestnut Cut n Sew plus Horse

Made using Spoonflower Cut n Sew Faux Suede fabric and “Wish for a Pony” Hobby Horse Sewing Pattern PDF

Buckskin Cut n Sew plus Horse

Made using Spoonflower Cut n Sew Faux Suede fabric and “Wish for a Pony” Hobby Horse Sewing Pattern PDF

BTW If you want to know more about the Cut n Sew Fabric look here!

My aim is to give others the potential to achieve a close if not identical result as I have. As soon as a Soft Toy has been successfully created by someone who purchases a PDF then the imagination and creativity of the maker can be added to the base I have provided. I am longing to see the starting point I can provide become a unique and personal expression of someone else’s creativity.

Does it make sense now? Now do you understand why I say I am “Just Bananas Over Soft Toys”?



Inspiration and Imitation - Huang watercolour using a photo as referenceI’m currently trying to learn how various features of WordPress work to see if I need to change to a different Theme or not. Currently I am trying to get my head around Categories and how to add “New” ones and apply them to a Post. I plan to have a series of examples of my TEEN HOBBY interests titled “INSPIRATION and IMITATION”. I loved to Read & Draw & Paint etc etc.

This was the easiest example to use of ‘how’ (when I was at Teachers College) I used a photo as an INSPIRATION for a Painting of my Asian University friend Huang. It probably doesn’t appear to be very relevant to Soft Toy making…but there is ‘method’ to my madness 😉

You see I am an ‘Imitator’……I enjoy realism. Even though this painting could be better described as an ‘interpretation’……for me to say “I am an Interpreter” would be totally misleading!

2016 Update: WOW I sure didn’t know much when I wrote this Post!

FYI: I now have quite a lot of content on my Permanent Page called YOUTH HOBBIES (rather than TEEN HOBBIES seeing as I was a little older when i created some of the art works or participated in the activities!)…..so go ahead click the Main Menu Tab for YOUTH HOBBIES to see what I am talking about! Or Just click HERE!