Monday, 30 July 2007

diary 2008 project

diary 2008
Originally uploaded by lalootka.

I participated in diary2008 project - also in flickr group - and it was real pleasure and great fun to make a page for this diary. Lucy B from Fantazya Fantazies who was the manager and initiator of this project accepted my drawing, and I'm happy for it. Actually I'm very happy! Now I have new motivation to make supply to my etsy shop - though it's not opened yet. Grand opening soon, I believe, as soon as I have a banner, but so far visiting relatives and family doesn't go well with sewing and drawing. I don't know why but I seem to be more busy here than while at home! Ada goes to sleep rather late, wake up early mornings, wanting almost constant care - too much exciting things happen to her everyday - too many children, new people, fun, new words she learns, new territories she explores - and she can hardly bear it! I quite understand her.

But speeking of diary again: I like the idea of a diary when lots crafters and artist can draw a page or few - to advertise, to show their style. Many interesting people took part in this project and I'm priviledged to be among them, excellent! I wanted my page to be as simple as possible. Of course, the main character on this page is Ada, accompanied by her softies. Some are already existing, some are not. But they will.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

dragons rule! And Harry Potter!

Dragons rule. One of the most mysterious creatures of imagination. I always wonder why in the West they became so feareful, merciless, greedy, anyway - evil creatures while in the Far East they are blessed and blessings bringing, generous - well, mostly they are. Whatever the reason is I love the art whose subject were dragons.

plush dragons on display
Originally uploaded by nicole s.

And I love dragons - that's quite common, I know. But I collect St. George's images to have more dragons. Dragon and dragon slayer bond to eachother for eternity influence my imagination. I love Ursula K. LeGuin's "Tehanu" for the wonderful character of baby dragon in human form. And for Kaliesin - she rocks! (Kaliesin, not just Ursula K. LeGuin). And now dragons - or one of them - became again important character in the last of Harry Potter sag - great! I saw an amazing illustration of a dragon rode by Harry and his friends by Madame GrandPre (I adore her illustrations in "Narnia"s books and Tolkiend's stories also) and wonder how to get the special edition of HP... (Reading comments of Potteromaniacs was wonderful and touching - most of them wants to believe that Snapes is good at heart and Ms Rowlings had some mercy for Harry. So do I!)

I decided to make my own version of a dragon - lalootka's style - soon.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Feng shui corner of my house

rhino and birds
Originally uploaded by lalootka.
I like feng shui as an art of creating our environment, and treat all the symbols that anchor our imagination. That's why, from time to time, I make something new to my "feng shui corner": now it's a blue rhinoceros for protection of the house, birds that bring lucky chances and pi yao - a dog clown.

Rhinoceros is inspired by Saracoloridos' - one of my Inspiring Cre8tives - beautiful rhinaldinha or rather rhinosalsicha as Sara called it. I kept the shape, material - felt, though changed the size and resigned of those unbelievable stripes she had made. My rhino has blushes - I like blushes very much in all my softies.

And I made pi yao - flying dog. Pi yao is the ugliest and the funniest creature at the same time - he's role is to uppease angry Duke Jupiter and pi yao is the only one who can make it. I'm not surprised - it's so comic. Pi yao is made of polymer clay and painted with acrilics. it has wings to fly to the heavens bringing our requests. I like this creature and it's friendly snout. I keep it in my study.
It has auspicious birds painting in a background. I like this picture very much - I made it just before last Christmas, as a kind of a gift for the house. Now it welcomes everybody in the entrance of our house. Maybe I should make another one for my mother - she said it's beautiful.
Recently I've found a great Feng Shui course - Feng Shui For Cats (with instructions) funny, smart and illustrated with great photographies of amazing cat with gorgeos eyes (Rudolph would be angry hearing my complimenting another cat, so would Adam, but as the cat has now another life of his 9 lifes, I hope they forgive me). I like this course very, very much. I took all these advise and want to find a good paper box for Rudolph - now I know why he doesn't like his carrier to sleep in and prefers our bed.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Otter and baby blanket

Finally, that's the otter became rattle. I resigned of making another mascot - kitty when I realized how time consuming baby blanket was. So to help the situation, I put one rattle into otter's belly, and second - in a tail. It jingles softly. It's wonderfully cuddly, because I didn't stuff it too much - just for the 6 months old baby girl Ula, I hope. I made all stitches extra carefully to protect from busy fingers ripping the sews. I'm especially proud of its tail, I must say, not just because of jungle, but in general - it's long, firm, just otter's tail - perfect while swimming. Mr Otter has no paws - Adam's noticed that it looks more like swimming like that. And as I quite agree with it, I took his advise not to sew the paws. It diverse much from the first sketch: it has no whiskers, but blushes, it's longer and slimmer and has more rounder head - but I like it even more.

I like to pose my softies with a folk stripes painting in a background - it's so colourful and joyful. I'm glad I made that painting. It brings fresh look into our study.

I completed all the work today - about 3 p.m! Just before customer's arrival, which means Malwina. Baby blanket was finished at 5.30 a.m.
This baby blanket took soo much time and, frankly, effort that next time I'll think twice before I take such an order having such a short time! Though now I have an idea how to make it better. Originally the pocket of the white (cream) side of blanket was for kirry - but Mr Otter fits also. As well as pacifier or any other baby good.
It was fun, of course, as my first attempt to make a baby blanket and applique, but on the other hand - it's been a big challenge. I like the idea of embroidered characters appliqued on, and that can be useful in my next project, but I see that as always less means more: less fabrics means more effect.
And though I like it, I can not be sure if the customer was satisfied till Malwina reaches her family, baby niece Ula and nephew Mauni, 3 years old (what a nice name, I forgot to ask if it's Hawaiian or Polynesian name). Malwina seemed to like it -I hope she really did!!! We are friends and I don't want to make any misunderstandings because she bought something from me and it was not satisfactory. But if she likes it, she can be the best trendsetter ever!
Forest set of finger puppets needed some improvement. So I changed it a bit - monster has been replaced by a tree with a sky background. Animals didn't need any change, but I made a bear much bigger than before. In such a comparison wolf looks rather a cub than adult one.
I made also a nice, orange felt envelope decorated with blue blanket stitch. Puppets can be packed nicely to protect them from dust, for instance. I hope they won't dust anyway! They need to be used as a theatre for children! Now I need to make such a set for Ada, at last!
And I had a chance to improve my tags slightly. I added ribbons and thanks to eyelets set I made a nice little whole :)
As usually, as a package I use my favourite brown paper.

I'm happy with the result. But my family is not happy with me so busy for few days! After a week absence, mother and wife still out of reach, that's too much. Now I'll have to make an effort to sooth them.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

baby blanket WIP

I'm working on Malwina's custom order. I changed it a bit: it's more decorated actually than a first sketch. To tell the truth, it's completely different. Exept the swimming otter, which I put here also. Here are embroidered figures of an otter and kitty, playing together in a moonlight. There is a moon embroidered also with a chain stitch, and felt cloud. I used two kinds of polka dots fabrics: navy blue with white and warm brown and beige. I like polka dots, especially on satin textures, I must say.
Malwina wanted me to make this baby blanket of various textures and it is multi-textured: many kinds of fabrics, embroidery, ribbons, polar fleece, denim, cotton, felt and frotte (kitty has a pink frotte towel). Many textures to touch and activate child's curiousity. I hope "story" I'm telling with this blanket will look friendly and nice.

In addition I'm gonna make two heroes of this story: Mr Otter and Miss Kitty. Kitty will be mascot with a rattle, and otter will be much larger - a big pal for the kitty. And for the baby.
Or vice versa - maybe it would be more fun when it would be Miss Otter and Mr Cat? Anyway kitty will be black and otter - white. My two favourite colours - my base.
It's my first attempt to make an appliqued blanket and I'm very curious how it's gonna work out. And also first time when I use my sewing machine! It's too large for me to handsewn it so I needed some machine help. My "genius personal sewer" is not a machine, but a toy, but it can help anyway.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007


I got a custom order - from Malwina. I'm so happy about it! It's for her 6 months old little niece and 3 year old nephew.

She wants me to make a forest set of finger puppets for him and mascot with a baby blanket and rattle for her. I assume she saw lalootka's photos on flickr because she said that black kitty Izumi was super-duper :) Well, at first she wanted me to make something unusual so I made sketches for a beaver and an otter - for a change from bears and kitties. But it seems kitties like Izumi, rule anyway. Or maybe I would make kitty - rattle? It's small - perfect for a rattle.
I chose otter because they are brightly looking, smart and pleasant creatures will "smiling" cute faces. And my grandmother called me "King Sobieski's otter" when I was a kid. And a beaver, bacause it was my sister's nickname.

And Hildegarde is going to Italy to girl Federica! I knew she'll be loved. Hildegarde - Federica is loved for sure! Federica has a mother that collects handmade softies. I just need to come back home to pack Hildegarde with all her accessories and make a tag. I hope they'll like her music also.

Only Sophie-bear will stay with Ada these days. No, how could I forget about cats - still in my attic, waiting for some remodelling, embellishment, and more stuffing. They have their place in Ada's old safety-chair, shared with Rudolph. It looks funny, but I can not make any photo of them together - Rudolph doesn't want me to show his laziness and always runs away seeing me with a camera.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

sheep of the world, unite!

After making Amelia, and Sinead, I decided to make a whole herd - sheep don't like to live alone, prefer to flock together. I also thought that "sheep of the world, unite!" would be a great motto of such a production. So I thought that such a flock could be a good toy for any child - and even better present for an auction! Going to Lodz last Friday, with all my suitcase full of softies, I took my "moving studio" with me, few WIP sheep, threads, needles and so on. During couple of hours of travelling I made Pola, white fluffy sheep with scarlet legs, and embroidered heart on her "arm" for embellishment. People in compartment were rather surprised by seeing anybody with a needle work - it's so oldfashioned! - and asked me if I had any work finished to present them. And I did. They all agreed that Hildegarde was the sweetest monkey ever, and couldn't decide if Hadrian or Leelee was cuter. But I will never publish Pola's photo - one nice girl bought it. OK, she did not - I gave Pola to her father, because little Nicola asked him to buy her such a beautiful sheep (and I was flattered to hear it). I thought she was exact person to have it - she showed her good taste pointing the most beautiful of my toys - fox, Florence. Florence is especially dear to my heart. And so I just asked Nicola's father to sent the amount of money he thought Pola was worth to Gajusz Foundation. Well, I believe he will do it :)
When I came to Lodz, and I told my mother what I did, and what slogan I have, she asked me to make these sheep for her - to take them to Israel!!! She has the idea to present them at artistic symposium, as a metaphore of currency - masses treated as an easy pray, herds of unprotected sheep against the pack of wolfs - politicians and corporacies. I don't actually like this dichotomy: Us - Them, Sheep - Wolfs, it's too simple as an analyze of reality, but sheep and lambs indeed evoke many religious and mythological associations. Most of them connected with naivety, easy character, offering, innocence, pray, cuddly nice creatures of small reason. Though I'd prefer them to stay, I liked the idea they will make a journey to the Promised Land :) (actually, not so promised when some sheep are equal, and some sheep more equal there...) So, mother took three sheep and a lamb: Sinead, Amelia, Vincent and Bobby to Israel and promised me to take lots of photos in interesting surroundings. Good start. If it's still actual with summer_pickles, Amelia will go to Australia afterwords. Or maybe all of them? (My mother's safety is more important for me than any photo and I hope she won't make photos in any dangerous zone, and don't want to even discuss it). And then, I think that mother was right: slogan "sheep of the world, unite!" is not just a joke and travesty of communist slogan, but can be a statement, and motto for all those, whose good intentions, charity, trust, attachment for family is taken as a stupidity, herd instinct or target for misuse by anyone.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Every child is precious

Today I've been in an orphans house "House in a Boat" runned by Gajusz Foundation (I do not know whay I can not make a html for linking it), a NGO foundation that's running also a hospice for children. (I put their banner on my site. There is also auction site of the foundation at with their nick "Hospicjum_Dzieci").
So when I went to this house, I took Leelee and Hadrian and fox Florence for the children - residents. I made a purse and miniature Puka I had made as a toy for Florence.
But speaking of children: so far there are only three of them there, but it's gonna be 9 - all of them are more or less disabled. I feel shame that I didn's go there earlier and that I feared this visit. Because I did. Unnecessary. These children are so cute, vivid and funny! They deserve to be loved and cared. Not just by social workers and employed nurses, but by parents - adopted, if not by parents by blood. Or families - adopted also. Unfortunately, our social care system is not helpful to arrange adopted families for those children, or family houses. And that's a pitty. No, actually, more than a pitty. So far I do not know how to help to solve this problem.
But the best thing will be circle of friends - and I believe in this I can help. Actually EVERYONE can help.
I like the name of this house "House in a Boat" - for it's double meaning: the city it's located is Lodz, which means Boat also. They have quite lovely place, with a small backyard and garden, with a kindergarden as the closest neighbour. I hope they'll settle there nicely as soon as possible. They just have to familiarize the neighbours with their presence. With the presence of Strange Strangers, in many ways.
1o% of every sold toy item, I want to give them. That's a pledge. I think it will be better to focus of one charity - until I'm very reach :)