Friday, 21 November 2014

Materials and Techniques - Ted and Toot

There is are so many people doing so many wonderful things in the creative world. Each fortnight, I chat to another designer about how they make their products. Today my guest is the amazing Larnie from Ted and Toot. Larnie makes absolutely beautiful clothing for children. She is based in Perth and is a fellow member of Handmade Cooperative.


Please tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Larnie and I am Australian, born and bred. I have three adorable, active and high spirited children who love to challenge and delight me and my husband every day. I began designing and sewing evening dresses when I was 15, this began my journey in the fashion/sewing world until University chewed up all my time, prevented me from creating. My beloved sewing machine was packed away until I had my second child in 2010. As a stay home mum, I saw an opportunity to get out my long lost sewing machine and re-acquaint myself with the hobby I once loved so much. I began sewing for my children and before I knew it, family and friends were asking to buy my clothing. In 2013, I decided to open my online children’s clothing store, called Ted and Toot.

 
What materials and techniques do you like to use?

Cotton, Cotton, Cotton!! I love sewing with cotton…it breathes, it is sturdy enough to give a nice shape, while maintaining a lovely drape. Best of all, the range of designs and colours available is mind-blowing. I can see why people, like myself, get addicted to buying fabric. It is hard not to be inspired by the huge range available. I have a little weakness for interfacing too. It adds so much more definition and structure to a garment, which really allows the design, colours and details to shine. I can’t say I have a favourite sewing technique. I like to learn every technique I can. That is part of the fun, learning and exploring new tricks of the trade.


What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

For me the biggest challenge was sizing. I began my business using store bought or online PDF patterns and I found the sizes varied so widely. It became very clear to me that most of the patterns did not conform to Australian Standard Sizes. I soon realised how important it was to understand pattern drafting so I could modify and create patterns myself. I took some time away from my business to learn pattern drafting and it was the best thing I could have done. I was able to design and make anything I desired and I knew I could confidently say my garments were made to Australian sizes. I would encourage any talented creative person out there to find that technique or skill they are weakest in and set some time aside to learn a new skill…brush up on something which makes you doubt yourself or your product.


What drives you to create?

Hmmm, this one is hard for me to answer. I am one of those crazy people that goes from the minute I wake to the minute I sleep. If anything, I need my family to say STOP….Take a day off!! I don’t struggle with drive but I do have too many ideas at once and find I want to make everything ha ha. Fabric definitely inspires me. Fabric patterns jump out at me and I know almost instantly what I want to make with it. If I don’t have a pattern to bring my vision to life, I make one, which is time consuming but very rewarding. I love creating something different and I hope my clothing and bag range reflects that. I love that my range can evolve and change continually over time and I enjoy the fact that my clothing range can be as fun, unique and as different as my own creativity will allow.



What is coming up next?

Shhhh don’t tell anyone, but I am planning on launching my new sewing pattern business next year – Patterns in Australian Standard Sizes of course ;) I also have some new special occasion dresses which will be one of our new products at Ted and Toot next year….I promise they will be amazing!!!


Ted and Toot Facebook
Ted and Toot Pinterest
Ted and Toot Twitter
Ted and Toot Google+
Ted and Toot Instagram

Want to read more lovely creative stories? Catch up on the archive.
Do you want to share your creative story? Do get in contact.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Baby Play - Baby's First Finger Paint


My son has been finger painting and apparently it is the funnest thing ever!


But he's only 10 months old, I hear you say. Surely he'll put the paint in his mouth? He will, but it doesn't matter. This paint is plain yoghurt mixed with food colouring.


Lots of mess and lots of fun!

What does your little one make a mess with?

Friday, 14 November 2014

Mini Washi Tape Pegs


Mini clothes peg photo hanger is perfect for a nursery. Or use them for your own projects, including for baby showers, in gift wrapping, to decorate favour bags, as place holders, and more. Available at my Madeit and Etsy stores.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Friday, 7 November 2014

Materials and Techniques: Skaapie

The creative world is full of talented people doing amazing crafts. Every fortnight I talk with another designer about how they make their creations. Today's guest is Cathryn, a South African living in Jersey in the Channel Islands. Cathryn has the handmade store Skaapie and she makes felted, beautiful toys, blankets and accessories. Cathryn is a fellow member of EtsyKids.



Please tell us a little about yourself.

I'm Cathryn, a South African living in Jersey in the Channel Islands with my husband and 2 beautiful daughters. I started up Skaapie (which means little sheep in Afrikaans) 7 years ago in Cape Town after my first daughter was born. I taught women from underprivileged backgrounds to felt and sew, and designed a range of children's toys, blankets and accessories which I sold at markets and in boutique shops. This wholesale business is still running in Cape Town, while I now concentrate on coming up with new ideas and designs and selling online in the UK.


What materials and techniques do you like to use?

I use 100% wool tops, mainly merino to make felt using wet felting and nuno techniques. I experiment a little with needle felting too. I think it's safe to say, my favourite material has to be wool felt, it's versatility is endless! I also dye my own felt.



What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

My biggest challenge apart from trying to balance family life and house work with being creative and productive is probably the pricing and marketing. It's not easy trying to sell your own product, especially online, with millions of choices and about 800,000 sellers on Etsy alone. My products aren't cheap to make and many people don't realise the process involved in making one toy from raw wool to the finished product. Trying to compete with a higher than average retail price and no marketing budget can feel very daunting. Not sure what advice I can offer, but what's worked for me is having faith in my product and going ahead in trust and following where the creative process leads. Everyone's journey is different, so believe in yours rather than try follow someone else's.


What drives you to create?

It's hard to say where inspiration comes from, but when it's there, you know it and have to run with it. I am a very outdoor person and don't think anyone could not get inspired by nature! I'm inspired by my children, by my amazing creative friends and family, by island life, by children's books and pinterest and dreams. And of course Africa and my inspiring childhood.

 
What is coming up next?

 I'm hoping to start working on a children's book soon, something I've wanted to do for a long time, mixing my felt creations with illustration. Can't say too much about it yet, but am very excited. Am hoping this will take me in a new direction.

 
Skaapie Instagram
Skaapie Pinterest

If you enjoyed finding out all about how Cathryn makes her products, you can read more interviews in the archive. Do get in contact if you would like to share your handmade story.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

DIY Peg Princesses


Princesses are so cool at the moment. Even the kindergarten that Misses 3.5 and 4 go to has a giant ice princess castle.

Inspired by Lil Boy Boo, I made Miss 3.5 a collection of 14 princesses. All you need are some wooden pegs and paint.


Use photos of the princesses that you want to make, or DVD covers, as a reference. Paint the princesses with as much or as little detail as you like, but remember to let each colour dry before adding the next colour. The top knots on the blue and green princesses are made by gluing little wooden balls on with PVA glue.


Let your little one paint their own version at the same time.


At the end, seal the paint with a waterbased, non-toxic matte sealer. This will protect the princesses from losing colour as they are banged around.


And there you go, a box of DIY peg princesses. Of course, being all about equal opportunity, Miss 3.5 has now requested peg princes to go with this set... better get some more pegs.

More activities for children.