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Welcome

Hey there! My name is Megan and I'm the sewing, pattern making girl behind Dolly Henry. This is my blog, where I share my own creative adventures and hope to meet fellow fabric enthusiasts. I also design and sell sewing patterns through my online boutique, alongside a beautiful collection of clothing and dolls. Thank you for stopping by!

NEWSLETTER

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Lilo - A Waldorf Inspired Doll


Say hello to Lilly. I mean Lila. Lucy. Lola. LILO.
Her name is Lilo but for some reason, she is one of those people that is always having to repeat her name! Everyone just seems to forget what it is. Do you know someone like that? 

Lilo is a sweet little girl who loves spending lots of time oudoors, pottering around in the herb garden and talking to the birds. She has dusky skin and long wavy locks. Her little brown eyes glint like chocolate buttons on her face, hiding the mischief behind them. She has a rosebud mouth and her cheeks are rosy from all her time spent outside.



Part of a secret group of mushroom huggers, Lilo possesses the unique talent of being able to speak mushroom, often talking to the pixies that dwell within their little fungi walls. Lilo's little floral dress features puffed sleeves and a gathered peplum. Her chambray bloomers peep out underneath, above chubby knees that wear grey and white striped socks. Her little shoes are hand knit using Egyptian cotton.



Always on the move, Lilo keeps her unruly locks in check with a lovely floral headscarf and two grey hair ties. 


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I've wanted to make a Waldorf/Steiner inspired doll for quite a few years and decided I would finally learn how. I really enjoyed making Lilo - it's a completely different technique than I am used to. I found myself stressing a bit initially, wanting her to come out just right. And then I realized I don't put that pressure on myself with other dolls. After all, I wasn't trying to make her look a particular way - strictly Steiner or whatever - and I should let go. After all, I was still making a doll just like any other, and she needed to evolve naturally. I see dolls as an art form, each is unique to the doll maker and no two dolls are the same, no two doll artists are the same. 

I plan on making another doll in this style. There are some tweaks to the design I would like to make now I am at terms with the way it all works. Her head is a little smaller than I would have liked for example. I would also like to try and give the next doll a nose. I didn't venture too far away from the book I was following because I didn't think it was a good idea as a raw beginner.

Since making Lilo, I have done some research and reading and have decided what changes I will make. I like to create something and then make changes, when I am learning a new technique. I don't fully comprehend the process until I experienced it, and then once I have the lay of the land, I find it quite easy to draft in changes.

I love the size Lilo is, and she is definitely cuddly - I can see what a child would fall in love with this style of doll!

The book I used was Simple Cloth Daisy Dolls - it has lots of pictures, and patterns for clothing. I drafted my own because it's an area I am completely familiar with but if you weren't up to it, there are some really sweet little tops and bottoms in the book.

For her shoes, I used this lovely free pattern by the amazingingly talented Little Jenny Wren

Megan x


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Friday, 18 August 2017

A Foxy Collaboration


Earlier in the year I made the Washi Fox Cushion Cover Pattern.
What you don't know is before it became a pattern, I sent alot of emails to my Craft Fairy Godmother Kellie checking and double checking measurements and details to make it all happen. Kellie is a quilting expert extraordinaire - she knows her stuff and she knows it jolly well too!

Kellie became a tester for the pattern, in fact her enthusiasm for the project pushed me to get organised and make it happen, without her...the pattern may still be gathering dust. While I made four or five cushions to check out my measurements and instructions, Kellie rather wonderfully decided to take the cushion block and multiply it by four, creating an absolutely stunning baby quilt in the process.

I've never received anything in the mail before made using my pattern. It was such a surreal feeling, and to receive something that had been made with such exquisite attention to detail was just amazing!
Of course, the quilt was just coming for photos before I send it home again. I think Kellie might notice if I kept it!


While we hatched the plans, we both had an idea to make a matching cushion cover and Fox doll pattern so that we'd have a complete set to photograph. That's how Freckles the Fox came about. Her pattern is still in the works, however I've made a doll and a cushion cover to showcase the Washi Fox design with Kellie's amazing quilt. I did regret not knowing anyone with a designer nursery to use, because the trio together just looked absolutely stunning!

To make a quilt, you will need the Washi Fox Cushion pattern. You can make the front block up as many times as you want, and then simply join them together to make a quilt. Kellie has added a white border around the edge of the joined blocks. And quilted them rather marvellously!

The pattern includes the fox applique, which I believe would also look amazing if you made a matching pennant banner. This design can be made in girly hues or a more masculine palette. It's incredibly versatile, you could use super modern prints or even go black and white! There is so much potential with this design. A Washi Fox bag would also be equally amazing...heck let's make some wall paper too! 


Washi Fox Pattern Available as a digital download in store here
please contact me if you require a paper pattern.

Kellie's gorgeous blog here


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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Finding my Creative Rhythm


I've been taking part in the Business Bakery 100 Day Goal, which started May 1st. My goal was to improve my health and also gain some organization back into my daily life. It was a pretty loose goal, I had a few habits I wanted to start making a part of my daily routine but other than creating and sticking to those, I wasn't sure what to expect. 

It seems just having in mind that this is a goal I have set for myself, however casually I have approached it, has done quite a lot for me really. I've become braver and more confident. I'm learning to say no without feeling like a bad person for doing so, and I am also learning to put in boundaries with other people without those guilty feelings.

I've also found I am quite capable of working myself too hard and it's been in the last few days of the 100 day goal that I decided to sit down and make the creative schedule that had been on my goal to-do list (these are called micro-actions) The reason I haven't done so until now is because I have tried countless times before and a working schedule has never worked well for me.

The days have always been too unpredictable and my creativity with it. Throw in a shoulder that decides to be evil two weeks out of three and it's a very hard to create a rock solid schedule. I decided I needed a new word for it and I found Creative Rhythm was more to my liking. It feels more fluid and natural than 'Schedule.'


I sat down and decided I really needed to simplify this business of mine. This came after a particularly painful bout with my shoulder and I realized I had been complicating matters, as I am prone to do. I had also started the extremely bad habit of having a huge amount of tabs open in my internet browser again in an attempt to get more done, more quickly. I think I did this in my brain, too.

I'd leave the computer feeling like I needed half an hour to be sociable or even think clearly again, while my brain resurfaced deep from cyber space. I would take photos, edit photos, upload photos to website, write a blog post, write a product listing, put together a newsletter linking to those, facebook and instagram it....all in one insane session.

I'd stopped doing that a long time ago and there it was, slipping back in again! Multi-tasking and busily running from one tab to one screen. I was feeling frazzled! It also started making it hard for me to go to sleep because my brain was on overdrive and I had to make a concerted effort to start calming it back down, instead of letting that whirl of thoughts and ideas continue well until 1 am the next day. When my shoulder fired up badly again after a dormant period, I knew I had to change something.



So with my piece of paper, titled "My Creative Rhythm' I wrote a list of things to keep and things to stop. I realised that even if there were some things I really wanted to do or things that business advisors/gurus say to do to 'make your business better', trying to cover all bases wasn't working for me in my present season of life and with my physical limitations.

Sometimes good has to be good enough.

I made the decision to send a monthly newsletter from now on, instead of a newsletter each and every time I blog. I thought this was funny as I once struggled to do even a once a month newsletter and now I was making the decision to cut back!

I have decided to blog less, putting down once a week at the most. I love writing but I have to strike a bit of a better balance with creating because I can't run my arm and body ragged all day.

I was starting to get into the habit where I thought I had to be super active on social media again - well it's all a bit difficult pulling all those strings all by oneself! So I'll be reducing the hours I spend doing that. I spend a lot of time talking to people via message and that's important to me, along with replying to comments and chatting with my followers. (I don't really like that word!) I love interacting with other people online.

I'm going to work in sensible blocks again and take breaks, I won't take a huge amount of photos and then edit them afterwards. I'll have a break first! Or gulp, do them the next day!

I have grabbed a notebook and kept a running list, every time I think of something I have been jotting it down, instead of trying to remember it all in my head, which I do surprisingly but it's less stressful with paper.

Creatively I also feel really pulled towards making my dolls to sell right now, not the patterns or clothing, so I am going to go with that direction, for however long it lasts or for whatever purpose that is.



Making patterns takes me so much work in developing the design, testing the design and then the work that goes into the instructions and photography - it's enormous. I'd put the pressure on that I should be producing more patterns after I made Hazel - which oddly enough was a complete accident. I just made her for fun, then released the pattern months later at a plodding pace. Part of the reason it takes me so long is I have to be in the right frame of mind to write good clear instructions (lol!) I also have to spend awhile on the computer which is the arch-nemesis of my shoulder right now and creatively, I can't spend day in day out on a computer...if I could I might have gone into graphic design! It is also really important to me that my patterns are really good quality and give the maker a great experience not a stressful one, so this takes time. I also don't want to publish patterns for the sake of it - when I do write or share one of my designs, I want it to be something different!

On my goal list was to do Yoga each day - I have a 20 minute routine that I like (see it here) and I haven't really done it! It's necessary that I do because it helps realign my body after all the computer and sewing work, where the body is bent for quite a long time in very unnatural positions. My shoulder thanks me for Yoga.

I am going to VALUE MY TIME instead of thinking of all the things I didn't manage to get done! (yes I am yelling at myself here!)

It struck me when I went to town the other day, how insanely busy everyone is all the time. I imagine from a bird's eye view, we would look like ants when they are out in number and running around like the earth is about to flood for the second time. That in this particular point in time, it is really quite difficult to make the decision to slow down. To not push, push, push. To let good enough be good enough and to not pile the weight of the world on your shoulders. I heard once that busyness has become a badge of honour and I think that is a good summary of what society is like now. To make the conscious effort to not be busy is a bit weird to a lot of people. As if the idea of just accepting there are 24 hours in a day, sleep is necessary and therefore it is impossible to do it all (and to what end anyway!) so we might as well breathe deeply and relax just a bit. There are times when life is insane, I know that. It's just when it becomes a daily habit over a prolonged period of time, something has to give. And if we aren't careful it's usually our health (guilty!!) or good relationships with those closest to us (lots of people I know! Sadly.)

My creative rhythm is simple - to do less with greater impact. To choose quality over quantity. To take the time to enjoy a slower pace. To accept that I have a limited amount of time each day to accomplish something and to not feel bad if I don't achieve it right then and there. To breathe and smile and go about my work with more purpose and less 'chook running around with her head cut off'......

Can you relate?

Megan x
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