Poppy and Blossom

I’m not going to write much today, just show you how I make my Koala stuffed toys, step by step. You can then have a go yourself, or if you can’t be bothered and desperately want one, you can buy them here:Β https://www.etsy.com/shop/WinterOwls.

To start with, you’ll need some wool fabric, I get mine by upcycling vintage pure wool blankets after throwing them through a hot cycle in the washing machine. You’ll also need some stuffing. When I first started making toys, I used polyester fill, but now I’m using clean washed Merino fleece. It’s eco friendly, but it is more expensive and a little harder to use as stuffing. It tends to jump out of where it has been placed! As well as fabric and stuffing you’ll need some embroidery thread for little details and something fluffy ear like. In the past I’ve used Jumpers, shawls or the fringe of mohair blankets for luxurious ears.

I sew the main outline with a sewing machine, but you could sew up the whole thing by hand easily. I then close the stuffing gap by hand and outline the arms with embroidery thread, once the body has been machine stitched.

You can also gather little scraps of other fabrics, lace or doilies if you want to add accessories to your koalas. Go wild, they love dressing up!

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First cut out your bodies, front and back. Just draw a simple outline and cut around it.

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Choose your front and embroider eyes and mouth. I have sewn on a nose but you can do whatever you like. Hand stitch on any accessories such as collars, buttons, pants etc. Note that here, I’ve shown the front of Poppy and Blossom.

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Next tack on the ears to the front side facing in towards each other and then flip them, so they are facing outwards and you can see what they will look like. I hope that makes sense! You will need to flip them back in, before you sew the two halves together. (They will be covering the eyes when flipped back in)

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Pin the back and front together with the right sides facing inwards. Make sure those ears are tucked in well. Sew around the outside about 1/2 cm in from the edge leaving a 3 cm gap where you would like to put your stuffing in.

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Now turn your koala right side out and remove the tacking from the ears. Use a spoon, chopstick or whatever you have handy to put the stuffing in a bit at a time. When you are happy, hand sew up the opening.

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I like to whip stitch the ears to the head for extra stability and I top stitch the arms to define them, but you don’t have to.

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Finally, make yourself and your koalas Poppy and Blossom, a nice cup of tea. You deserve it.

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Hippitedy Hoppitedy

I’m glad I made so many of you laugh at my magpie predicament in my last post. Thank you also for sharing your swooping adventures with me. Baby magpie has matured very quickly as birds do, and is now able to perch high up and so, mother and father maggie have relaxed a little and are no longer in attack mode.

Being inside did give me lots of time to make a special order request from my Winter OwlsΒ Etsy shop.I was asked to make two of my bunnies in sleeping bags for twins. I made them from lovely angora/ wool jumpers in pink and yellow. Their sleeping bags were made from vintage blankets. On one side, they are asleep and on the other awake. I think I love making bunnies because I had (still have actually), a much loved Miffy toy. She still makes me smile.

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Awake

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Asleep

Getting my creative drive back

This year, I’ve been feeling a little down. It has really flattened my ability to dream and get in a state of flow through my art. So, to try and kick start the process, I purchased a beautiful pad of 100% Cotton Rag Water Colour paper and some artists’ inks which I have not used before. They sat in a paper bag for a few weeks. I peeked inside occasionally but didn’t take them out.

On Monday, in my art class for people with Intellectual Disabilities, my 80-year-old volunteer Judith, brought in a book of nursery rhymes from her childhood. It was beautiful. The rhymes were on the right side of the book, on the left were illustrations, all surrounded by lovely borders of tiny flowers and curlicues. I don’t know why, but into my head popped the idea of drawing Budgerigars or Budgies as we call them in Australia, bordered by a lovely edging.

I have decided to set myself a goal of creating 50 of these. The first one I abandoned half way through as I managed to smudge the pen and I wasn’t really happy with the oval shape. You can see my first completed effort below. I wish I was a speedy illustrator, this took me rather a long time. A feathery look was quite challenging for me, I really wanted to capture the softness of the little Budgie. What colour should I paint next?

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“Hello my pretty” 1 in Winter Owls ShopΒ 

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I planned the border first, then I painted a very soft pink background and sketched the Budgie in pencil first.

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I’m quite happy with this for my 1st effort, stay tuned to see the next 49!