This month Blue Whimsy is celebrating its 1-year anniversary!! It's hard to believe a year has gone by since I made my first Blue Whimsy doll. Many exciting things have happened this year, and I'm so grateful for all the support I've had from so many people! To say thank you, and to celebrate the first year of this adventure, I'm having a doll giveaway. You could win one of these sweet Blue Whimsy Nora Ballerinas!
To enter, like the BW facebook page (www.facebook.com/bluewhimsy), or follow BW on Instagram or Twitter @bluewhimsy_. Then, private message me your choice of pink or yellow ballerina. The winner will be announced on June 14th!
Hello! Recently I've had a chance to pursue my next venture - designing patterns for original Blue Whimsy dolls. It's been a busy couple of months finalizing the designs and posting them to Etsy! The process of opening the Etsy store has been a little daunting, but exciting at the same time. Take a look at the store (Blue Whimsy on Etsy) - I'd love to hear what you think!
I'd like to introduce you to the three new Blue Whimsy additions: First, meet the Sleepyheads... The pattern for these swaddled babies is easy enough for beginner sewers, and it only takes about an hour or two to make one doll. The finished doll is about 9 inches long - perfect for a baby or toddler's first doll!
The process of creating a pattern on my computer and having it come to life in the form of a new doll is pretty neat. My goal has been to make the patterns easy to follow, with detailed instructions and clear diagrams for each step. I'm learning how to use Adobe Illustrator a little better with each pattern - a much better choice than the "draw" feature of the word processor I started with!
At the WCV craft sale last November, I was surprised at the popularity of the ballerina dolls. There was enough interest that I decided to come up with a slightly different design. The "Nora Ballerina" pattern is a good intermediate sewer pattern, with step-by-step instructions and diagrams. The doll is 18 inches long (plus her top-knot!), and fits all Blue Whimsy doll clothes.
The very first pattern I designed was the "Penny Doll". I have to admit, the name was inspired by memories of the pig-tailed heroine of the 1980s kids' show "Inspector Gadget" :). The Penny Doll is also 18 inches long, fits the Blue Whimsy doll clothes, and can be customized by changing her clothes, her hair colour, or even giving her a side pony instead of pigtails. This pattern is a good choice for intermediate sewers.
With working full-time as a teacher, the challenge for me has been to find time to develop all of my ideas. I have more ideas than time at this point, and have to admit that I'm looking forward to summer holidays so that I can "work" on my dolls! There have been many days where I come home from a full work-day and spend another six or seven hours in my sewing room. However, I'm always excited to get home and starting sewing or designing. I've often heard my dad (who farms) talk about loving what he does so much that it never feels like he's going to work. I'm starting to get an idea of how he feels, and it's pretty cool! :)
The phrase "Christmas Customs" took on a bit of a new meaning for me this year. Even a month ago, I would have said it meant dear traditions like decorating the tree, treat-bags at the Christmas Eve service, and sour cream cookies with sprinkles. In the last months, the word "custom" has taken on more of the meaning "made to order". A couple of people requested dolls with special characteristics for Christmas gifts, and I gladly agreed to try - a challenge, but an honour!
The first set of custom dolls was for my friend Jon, who asked if I would please make two dolls based on a childhood picture of him and his sister, as a Christmas gift for her. The picture was so cute - I couldn't wait to get started!
The challenge for this pair was figuring out how to create perfect little sweaters for each of them - I had only worked with cottons, denim, felt, and flannel, and unfortunately I don't know how to knit. I found some great sweaters to reuse, and lined the pieces with flannel so they would be easier to sew. The finished product turned out better than I hoped!
The second custom doll was a surprise Christmas gift for my brother Jeremy. A few months ago, he had requested either a mad scientist or a rockstar...I couldn't decide which idea I liked better, so I decided he had to have both:
Mad scientist by day...
Rock star by night...
The new challenge with this crazy guy was his hair - every other doll I've made has had felt hair, and so I wasn't sure how the "real hair" would turn out. Thankfully it ended up being a lot easier than I expected, and the wild hair suits both personalities! This doll has definitely been my most creative Blue Whimsy endeavour to date - it was so much fun to envision his two personalities, and create the right look for each.
The custom work has left me wondering what direction Blue Whimsy will take in the future. I found myself surprised at the enjoyment I got out of knowing to whom the dolls were going, and sharing a vision for the result with the person who requested each doll. The reality is that the custom dolls require more time in a few areas: creating a design for the doll, searching for the right materials and embellishments to use, and creating many more pieces of clothing than any of my other dolls so far. I'm hoping it can continue to be a part of Blue Whimsy, along with a couple of other new ideas I'm developing.
With the Christmas rush over and a little more time on my hands, I'm excited to see what the new year will bring. Guaranteed, 2014 will include many learning experiences, a few challenges, and hopefully a lot of fun as I continue on this adventure. Happy New Year!
Five and a half months ago something pretty amazing happened in my family. My brother Joe and my sister-in-law Brooke had a baby boy, "B" - my first nephew, the first grandchild, and the recipient of tons of love and attention! I had recently set up a new sewing room in my house, and so I started making him a few things... a quilt (pictured below), burp rags, etc. I decided to try to make him a doll, deciding even boys should have dolls (especially if they could be "farmer" dolls!). I ordered a Simplicity pattern off of ebay and sewed my first doll: Farmer Beck! Farmer Beck now makes a regular appearance in B's monthly photo shoots. :)
After Farmer Beck I decided I'd see how long it would take me to make six more dolls for some of my friends' kids. And after those six dolls, I decided to make another nine, just for fun. And then another seven, and then another... well, you get the idea. Being a teacher, I had the entire summer to sew as many dolls as I wanted (which ended up being a lot). What started as a hobby turned into a bit of an obsession...maybe calling it a "passion" sounds a little better! :) The Simplicity pattern gave me three basic styles of dolls:
And when I got a little bored with sticking to the pattern, I came up with a few ideas of my own...
So here I am, 100 dolls later, and very excited to be doing my first craft sale ever on November 30th - the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard Christmas Craft Sale. When I think about how much I love doing this - everything from picking out amazing fabrics, to creating tiny "people", to designing a new type of outfit - I can't believe I haven't done something like this before! After five months, my ideas are only gaining momentum - can't wait to see what this next year brings!!