15 @ 40 // day six
Back when I was a tween crafter, probably around the same age Butterfly is now, I hadn’t long finished my first quilt, when we were heading off on holidays. For no other reason than it amused me, and I liked the fabric, and I wanted to, I used some of my scraps to sew a tiny backpack – from memory it was maybe 1.5″-2″ tall. I believe I stuffed it full of road trip lollies. Everyone know treaties taste better when they come in cute packaging.
In the intervening years, I’ve continued to love tiny and cute things. I’ve also spent a lot of time indulging in craft-as-a-love-language – when the children were small, every birthday party was an excuse to get my craft on. Making kid gifts, and making little things, have been mainstays of my crafting journey. Next week, my niece is coming to visit my parents for a couple of days, before going to her other grandparents for the rest of the week. There’s quite some travel in her future, so of course it was the perfect opportunity to indulge in some good old fashioned small scale kiddo crafting.
I’d seen some little dollies in a tin floating around one of my homeschool groups, and I thought it would be a cute little travel companion for her during her upcoming roadtrips. We don’t see her a huge amount, thanks to life being busy and living on opposite sides of state borders during lockdowns, so I love any chance to play the fun aunty and spoil her a little. With felt toy making a solid part of my homeschool crafting routine, it seemed like the perfect little project to add into my “fifteen at forty” series, ticking quite a few boxes of what crafting looks like in my life.
The tin was easy – back in my photography days, I had custom USBs printed. When people were dropping a decent chunk of cash on digital images, I wanted their deliverables to still be an experience worthy of the price tag, and these USBs were super cute. Wooden casing, with my logo engraved (and for Santa photos, I also got the Santa experience logo engraved on the other side). Obviously, these things come in minimum quantities, and after winding up my business at the end of 2019, I had a handful left. The tins have been such handy little additions to my stash, useful for making stitch marker sets in, or in this case, turning into a little travel play set.
I went for a dive into my felt box, and pulled a couple of colours that appealed to me, along with some white, some skin colour, and some deep peach that is somewhere in the vicinity of the colour of my nieces adorable red curls. From there, it was time to dive into my signature making style called “winging it”. Dolly’s head was shaped by tracing around a 1/2tsp measuring spoon. Her body was sketched out freehand in roughly the shape that looked right. Details were added by layering and tweaking and stitching and trimming and tweaking some more. To finish off, I added some freehand embroidery in both basic flowery shapes, and also in imitation of my favourite mark-making patterns when playing with mixed media.
Of course, poor little dolly couldn’t go without being comfortable, so I got busy making her a little bed and blanket. The “mattress” was formed using the foam base layer that once protected the USB drive, along with coordinating embroidery. Similarly to the creation of the doll, her matching blanket was an exercise in improv, making the most of some of the offcuts in my stash, pulled together with embroidery, and a fold-over top held in place with some simple straight stitch.
To complete the package, I found I had a finished heart in one of the colours I’d used, so decided I would pop that in as well.
The further I get into this series, I continue to be surprised in the ways each project links together different aspects of my crafting life, beyond the original single idea. From “felt” on my list, I’ve pulled in kid crafting, embroidery, hearts, homeschooling, and my younger self. In crafting, as in life, it seems nature does indeed abhor a vacuum, and nothing exists as a solitary island.
Today’s post is part of my “FIFTEEN AT FORTY” project, a fifteen day, fifteen project, celebration of creative exploration, to mark my fortieth year and my blog fifteenth. The journey so far has been amazing. The creation of the pieces I plan to share with you over the next fifteen days has been a revelation. I am brimming with inspiration and motivation for what is still to come.