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: 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!

IMG_1872 edited

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

IMG_1881edited

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.

IMG_1886 edited

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)

IMG_1922

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.

IMG_1925 edited

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.

IMG_1938 edited

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.

IMG_1934 edited

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

Falling off her perch

Did you wonder if Winter Owls had fallen off her perch?

Well, she did for a while, she moved from a pretty 1920’s weatherboard in the suburbs , to an apartment in an Art Deco converted silk spinning mill, in the inner city, just above the Yarra River. Her family, naughty dog and goldfish came with her.

She had to cull lots of treasure (a.k.a clutter) and was still faced with this when she moved in:

IMG_1419

90 boxes to unpack. Eeekk!

She has had lots of fun decorating with things like this:

IMG_1645

Sky planters swing from the heating pipe three metres up. Quite a challenging exercise to get them up there…

Most of all though, she has fallen in love with this, just a minutes walk away:

IMG_1756

The Yarra River, flowing through Melbourne’s heart.

See you all very soon,

Jen x

Hello there

I have been away from this little blog for a while but I have been busy living. I hope you have been well and happy and I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve been up to.

Last year saw lots of changes in my life and I lost my creative spark. Well, it’s back. I have so much to show you and tell you. First, I was lucky enough to have a much needed holiday in Fiji. This is the painting I did after that holiday. When I look at it I can smell coconuts, frangipani and the warm sea breeze…

150dpi

Coconuts, Frangipani and a warm sea breeze

Fiji Time 75 dpi for etsy

Fiji Time

 

A mess of buttons

After showing you my organised cupboard last week, I find myself in a mess of buttons, threads and doilies. The table is covered with little hills of vintage purple, gold, blue, cream, white and red buttons. Fine velvet ribbons curl around each other and doilies lie piled up like pancakes. This is my favourite part of the creative process. I sort and swap, arrange and shift, pick up and put down. When finally I’m happy, I start to stitch.

2014-09-04_18.44.15

An upcycled doily, with velvet ribbon and vintage buttons,

2014-09-04_18.43.57 (2)

turns into,

2014-09-04_18.43.51

a lovely little necklace. Available in Winter Owls Shop.

Spelling Tuesday

“He respects owl, because you can’t help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn’t spell it right.”

A.A.Milne

Here’s to Tuesday, here’s to not being perfect, here’s to loving handmade and all its little quirks….

2014-07-03 17.30.38

Hand painted with love by Winter Owls.

2014-07-03 17.31.34

A white owl peeks from a vintage wool blanket bag.

2014-07-03 17.31.08

Original hand painted brooch available in Winter Owls Shop

I’m still here…

I’m still here but haven’t been posting or visiting you much lately. A very dear friend has passed and I feel a little numb. I want my blog to be an uplifting happy place to visit, so I’m going to take a little break for a few weeks. I leave you with a little woodland owl nestled against the lichen on my apple tree. See you soon….

owl and lichen

An owl commission

One of the most exciting things that happened when I started selling my paintings, was getting a commission. A lovely woman had seen my paintings in a local café and asked if I would paint ten small canvases with different owls on them. They were for her school friends who were turning fifty that year. We met for coffee and she described each friend and we chose colours and expressions for them based on their personalities. Some had to have sparkly eyes, one a very gentle expression and, from memory, there was a grumpy one too.

Recently, I was asked by the same woman, to paint a family of three owls as a gift for a yet to be born, long awaited baby.

2014-04-04 15.58.12

A family of three