I was shocked to see that it’s been over 2 months since my last blog — the days have melted into weeks and here we are, snowflakes flying and craft fairs happening!
I’m going to be selling my work at the Christmas Made by Hand Craft Show in Hamilton on December 6th and 7th. It’s my first big fair, they expect about 3000 people over the 2 days! I am excited/nervous. And I have absolutely no idea how much product to make, not knowing the lay of the land at all. So I’ll either sell out (which would be amazing) or I’ll have product for my Etsy shop afterwards (which would be fine). Either way, I probably won’t want to sew another stitch for a long time by the time next week rolls around.
I’ll be carrying small and large matryoshka dolls, treasure maps, baby quilts, burp cloths, soother/toy straps, mitt clips and lavender sachets. Whew! I’m on the strange high most textile artists and makers will recognize: a heady mix of sleep deprivation, terror as the production schedule gets modified down to match the slipping days, and excitement at the possibility of sharing my work.
It was a year ago this month that I casually shared a photo of my latest project – these little dollies – on social media, and had an overwhelming response! I sold about 60 custom dolls last holiday season. So I got ahead of the ball this year and made a bunch already!
If you are in or near Hamilton, come to the Made by Hand Show on December 6th or 7th! I’m sure there will be many wonderful treasures. I’ll aim to share some of my new quilts and burp cloths before next weekend so you can see what I’m up to while the midnight oil burns … til then, cheers!
I have been busy as the busiest bee, designing and sewing up a costume-storm for dance and theatre productions these last few months. However, I still happily make time for felt Matryoshka commissions when I’m able to spare a day for doll-making – it’s a great way to catch up on some TV while creating a new little dolly-friend to send into the world.
Meet Harriet, the Venn Diagram Matryoshka! She’s science meets craft, and it’s a beautiful thing! In the 4-to-5-ish hours it takes me to make a Matushka Matryoshka (one of my larger matryoshka dolls), I feel like I get to know the little lady and then I have a bit of a hard time letting go!
And Harriet was no exception — though I can trust she is bound for an appreciative home. I love her mix of purples and I added a wide, shallow herringbone stitch in a dark salmon pink to jazz her belly up just a wee bit. I like that her Venn diagram has no details, Harriet will allow you to demonstrate almost anything with her unmarked Venn!
I have spent the last month building a crowdfunding campaign to get a new, microprocessor prosthetic knee for my dear friend Christa Couture. She happens to be a childhood cancer survivor, though the disease left her without a leg. As a musician without extended health care, the prosthetics available to her are serviceable, but there’s a world of microprocessor technology out there that helps immensely in balancing an amputee’s weight, allowing stair climbing and descent leg-over-leg (as we with 2 legs generally do) and backwards motion, among other things. As a musician who tours Canada and Europe regularly, Christa is often hefting gear and this knee component will make an enormous difference in her life — both day-to-day and professionally.
And we have been so mind-blowingly successful! In just over 72 hours we have exceeded our initial goal of $15,000! A true testament to her wide reach as an excellent person and musician. This means we get to go for our stretch-goal of $25,000, allowing even more options for Christa. Check out our Kneeraiser!
A number of Christa’s friends have offered their artistic work as perks for the Kneeraiser. I myself made some little felt matryoshkas and some exclusive Folk Matryoshka dolls, larger guitar-toting mama matryoshka dolls. I think there are a few still available — if you act fast you can get yourself a gorgeous doll and support a most worthy cause: cc-kneeraiser.org. Cheers!
As you may have figured out, I adore Matryoshkas. Those little, detailed nesting Russian dollies, utterly kitschy and charming. Yes, they stole my heart long ago.
I have been making felt ones, and they have become wonderfully popular. I am currently working on my 48th one! You can order them from my Etsy site.
There are a few that are made and ready to sell but mostly people are loving the custom order, where they can choose eye and hair colour, and the flower or emblem for the tummy. I think birth-month flower is a lovely choice, but I’ve done a football, musical notes, a little bird, a moustache, even stethoscopes for some nurses! And they’re pretty flat so they mail easily. I figured out that they fit in those tiny manila envelopes making for ultra cute packaging. Below is an order I recently sent off. So much fun right?! It makes me squeal a bit.
I add a little pin on their backs so that the ladies can be a brooch if you wish, and a little loop of embroidery floss so she can also be a decoration. Either way, it’s a whole lot of charm in your hand. And each lady if unique, a wee friend. I just had to share. And now back to stitching my little ladies.
This month it was time to colour in the Matryoshka dolls on my arm. I had grown fond of the simplicity of the outlined dolls from my first sitting but the plan was always for colour, and it they are oh so beautiful with colour!
Still to do are the graphic flowers on either end of the tattoo, sometime this fall. Til then, I am sitting here, entranced by the beautiful art I’m sporting. Tattoo artist Angie Fey‘s use of colour, whimsey and the fantastical were what drew me to her art. And she turns out to be really easy to hang out with for 3-4 hours whilst inflicting varying degrees of pain — a lovely bonus!
I decided I would tip Angie with art. So I made this little lady, partly inspired by the ones she created for me. I almost didn’t want to part with her and will surely make more soon. I stitched my logo on her backside for a little sass!
My felt matryoshka dolly was an excellent cottage project, she reminded me how much I love hand sewing. I think I’ll try to make a pattern for her this fall to share since she’s so much fun to make. I also remembered that I need a lesson in embroidery, I want to expand my limited stitch repertoire! I smell a sampler project this fall, I’m pretty much in love with this one.