Sunday, 28 June 2015

Feeling Sheepish - Mini Challenge Week 6

Wahooo! I did it!! I made six knitted toys in six weeks. One disaster but mainly triumphs. With everything else on my 'to do' list, I have questioned why I set myself such a challenge. However in making these Fluff and Fuzz patterns, I have learned a huge range of new knitting techniques.

Here is the Blue Sheep!

My Loopy Sheep, which I thought was going to be the most difficult, actually turned out to be a breeze (once I figured out how to make the loops). I may even make another... one day...

Here they all are, Mini Challenge Complete

I will admit, there were times I was thinking of giving up on my Mini Challenge, but now that it's over, I am glad I did it. I am very excited about all the new techniques I now know, and my mind is racing with all the woolly possibilities.

If you are so inclined, I wholly encourage you to check out all of Amanda Berry's patterns and try and chose just one to make yourself.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Two Little Ducks Went Out One Day

On Good Friday every year in Melbourne, there is the Good Friday Appeal that raises money for the Royal Children's Hospital. A cause very close to my heart for a number of reasons.

Good Friday Appeal Auction Pack
This year, I participated in an online auction and my bid won an amazing swag of goodies that were kindly donated by Jacinta at Two Little Ducklings. We ended up with 4 adorable and original sets of flash cards, a beautiful picture and 3 name charts for our three little rascals.

I fell in love with them instantly, as did the kids. I just had to ask Jacinta about her handmade adventure, which she has very kindly shared;

How and when did Two Little Ducklings come about?

I began Two Little Ducklings when I was on maternity leave, I was very career driven before having Lexi and always thought that I would return to my job (I was Senior Designer and Studio Manager of a prominent Design Studio in Melbourne), but when this little lady entered my life, I was, like any other mother, completely besotted, I couldn’t really imagine going back to my corporate job. 

D is for Different
A few friends were having a babies, so I created a few cards for them, and thought I could do this for a business, it all started from there. The educational series was developed when Lexi was continually given some really heinous books on things like alphabet, counting and colours, they were all very American based and just awful designs. Being the creative person I am, I decided to create some well designed-Australian based flash cards for her to learn from.

What is your favourite design?

This is such a hard question to answer, I like my products for different reasons, but because of it’s originality I really like my name charts, I haven’t seen anything like these and love that it can teach kids the letters of their names in a creative and fun way.

We are the proud owners of 3 of these name charts

Where do you find your inspiration?

I’ve just finished redesigning my new range of cards, gift tags and wrapping paper and my flash cards, so it was a big time for research and figuring out what would work. I look at a lot of things for inspiration, from Instagram and what is happening in fashion to magazines and what people are putting in their homes, I try to stay on-trend and current, looking at new ways to do things with design. Colour is a big part of what I do, so I try to see what is working for people now and include them into my colour palettes. I also get a lot of inspiration from Lexi and and my niece and nephew, to see what they are liking and put these things into my designs for my kids range of cards and prints.

Where do you work from?

I would totally keep this!
I work from home and utilise lots of it. In summer  I love to work upstairs on my bed as the light is beautiful there and I can spread out, in winter, I tend to stay downstairs on the couch under the heater. I have an office nook, but it really just houses my products, and my kitchen table is always covered in my work. One day I hopefully will be able to have a little studio. At the moment though, I don’t think any room isn’t used for Two Little Ducklings. 

What do you love most about what you do?

I can't bear it!
I don’t think I have ever felt happier at work than doing what I’m doing now. I get so much enjoyment from sending orders out to my beautiful supportive customers and stockists. I love seeing my work on my stockists shelves and get a real buzz when I get another order. I feel very humbled that so many people love what I do. I worked very hard to get to where I am, with a four year university degree and then eight years building my career.

I love that I get to see Lexi so much and don’t have to rush off to work, I like that I get to choose what will work best and to solve problems, as a designer that is primarily my job. Apart from my product range I also run my own little design studio and I love that I get to work with my clients and build brands for them and develop their companies look, it is completely different to working on my own stuff, but it is lovely to see happy clients.

What is your ambition for Two Little Ducklings?

I am approaching my first trade show next month and that is a major step in getting Two Little Ducklings a little further around Australia and hopefully New Zealand, which is what I would love to see, I’ve always envisaged owning my own stationery store so perhaps that is something I would like to eventually aim for, but in saying that I am just taking it one step at a time and seeing where this little business takes me, I am very much enjoying the ride. I could never have imagined it would grow to what it is now, so I figure shoot for the stars and see where I land!

I highly recommend check out the website or pop into a stockist, whatever you do, you really need some of these adorable things in your life!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

This is not a holiday - Mini Challenge Week 5

Well I may have been making a Camper Van this week, but it certainly hasn't been a fun and relaxing adventure! I don't know exactly why, but this one has been a bit of a disaster. The pattern by Amanda at Fluff and Fuzz is just as well written, as clear and as clever as the rest of the patterns, I however, have stumbled.

It has personality, that's for sure!

Perhaps it was my colour choice (the original is blue). I was trying to resemble Peppa Pig's camper van (one of my children's much loved programs). I've finished it, but it certainly falls very short of my standards.

There is now only one item to complete in my Fluff and Fuzz Mini Challenge, and that is the Loopy Sheep. I have read over the pattern, and I am afraid to report, I have left the most difficult until last.

The Loopy Sheep... Guaranteed to send me Loopy!

I have also been working at getting my little handmade business up and running. This has been an emotional roller coaster (and I've only been online for a week!) This is because I am worried no-one will like, or want what I am making.

Baby Mittens - A new item I've been designing

However, I have turned my thinking around. I make what I love and love what I make. It would be a huge bonus if someone was to pay me for doing so, but if it doesn't happen, I will still make what I love and love what I make.

I hope you have been making something you love too.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Handmade Challenge - June Update

Well here we are. We are halfway through the year, and with much determination, I have (just) made half of the items off my Handmade Challenge List.

The latest item to be marked off is the little tea bags. They looked simple and innocent, however I found them to be for more complicated.

Fancy a cup of tea?

I have been working late into the night, and this was the only photo I managed. I did make six tea bags in total, not just the one! However the following morning, when I had hoped to take proper photos, the kids decided they just couldn't wait to make multiple cups of tea. Needless to say they don't quite look like they once did, however they have been a HUGE hit with the kids, and therefore worth every swear word.

Six Items Down

The items that now remain all seem to be quite big ones, and sewing, so much sewing. I knew I would do that.

Six To Go


I feel I am in desperate need of a cheer squad. How do you motivate yourself when everything seems impossible?

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Make it Snappy - Mini Challenge Week 4

What I've discovered this week is; I love knitting cables! I purchased the Fluff and Fuzz pattern Miles the Crocodile so that I could give cables a try. The verdict is, I love them! I also love my (not so little) Croc!

Smiles for Miles

I made him in a bigger ply, on larger needles, so he is a good size and super dooper cuddly. I think I may enter him into the Melbourne Show's Cuddly Toy competition, mainly because he will go to a child in the Children's Hospital who may just be in need of a cuddly croc.

Friendly Fellow
So once again, in the name of my Mini Challenge, I have spent half of my Sunday, sewing bits of wool together to try and get my toy to resemble the one in the pattern. At least I only have two more to go.
In other news, I am falling woefully behind in my much larger and looming Handmade Challenge. We are now halfway through the halfway month of the year and I am not halfway through my list. I am pulling my socks up, and will make something this week and post an update as well. Wow, big words.

This week I will also be working on Mini Challenge Item #5. A knitted Camper Van. Fingers firmly crossed that this will be a nice quick one!

Fill Her Up

What have you been making?

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Twit Twoo, Halfway Through! - Mini Challenge Week 3

'What am I doing?' I asked my husband last night. He doesn't know, I don't know. Why did I sign myself up for a crazy challenge entirely of my own making when there is so much I need to and want to be doing?

One very surprised looking owl!
I managed to make Wise Mr Owl (just) in time, for my Fluff and Fuzz Mini Challange. So many bits to sew up and sew on... By very bad light, I was madly trying to sew the black hat together last night, not entirely ideal. Looking at the original photos, I've ended up with quite a tall and slim looking owl!

In other news, Sophie is doing amazingly. She has finally shaken this virus and to look at her, you would not believe she had open heart surgery 2 weeks ago. This is a huge relief for us. We will see her cardiologist this week, find out where she is at, and start getting on with our lives.

I have also thrown myself into overdrive with making things, and I am about to do something I swore I would never do again, open an online store. It is a very difficult thing to put yourself out there and try and sell things that you make. They are a little piece of you, and if no one buys them, it can be heart breaking. Glutton for punishment?? I'll give it a go.

Instead of announcing tomorrow, (to save time) I will let you know now that this week, as well as everything else, I am going to attempt to make Miles the Crocodile.

Never smile at a crocodile, except this one

Have you ever attempted, or do you sell your own things? Have an tips or hints?

Monday, 1 June 2015

Owl - Mini Challenge Week 3

This little Owl from Fluff and Fuzz will mark the halfway point of my Mini Challenge if I manage to finish by Sunday 7th of June (June already!!)
This should be a hoot!

I am keen to get stuck into about three projects I have in various stages of completion. Number one is Sophie's cardigan off my Handmade Challenge List, another is something for me, and the third is my own pattern for a cuddly toy I am making to enter in this year's Melbourne Show. The toys will be donated to the Royal Children's Hospital (where Sophie has now had 4 operations) which is the perfect reason for me to make and enter something.

We are still a bit paranoid about our little girl and are keeping a close eye on her. She has a virus and isn't 100%, so every little cough, cry and slightly strange breath have me examining every square inch of her. Extremely glad not to be in hospital though.

What have you been working on?