Hello, I'm Megan. An Australian designer, maker and creative. I tell stories with thread and sometimes share those stories here on my blog. I also design and make beautiful heirloom dolls, create illustrations for fabric and dabble in crochet. If you would like to stay in touch with my work, you can sign up to the mailing list. Thank you for stopping by!


Friday, 12 October 2018

Here and Now | October 2018

Can we just all take a deep breath and acknowledge that it is in fact OCTOBER and that clearly some unscrupulous person has stolen 2018 without anyone noticing because last time I looked it was only March!

Right, now we have gotten that out of the way, I am convinced the proper authorities will be notified and we can all start looking forward to 2019 at a much more leisurely pace.

In an attempt to put the breaks on, I am pausing for a minute to enjoy a little mindfulness and meditation in the form of Here and Now, the monthly link-up by the lovely Say! Little Hen blog.

So what is my here and now for October 2018?

Loving // The rain, I appreciate it topping up our tank no end. I can stop worrying for a little while that showering every day is a little risky to the household water supply! Thank you rain!!!

Eating //  Peanut Butter Cookies that are so delicious, I think they might have inspired the Cookie Monster himself!

Feeling // A little out of whack. My Queensland system is not yet used to Daylight Saving and in spite of the many good arguments for it, I am yet to be convinced. I do not like it and I may just well spend my later years being the crazy-hates-daylight-saving-lady that lives on the hill and makes the neighborhood children knock on the door and run away screaming...just saying.

Making //  A little doll who has blonde curly hair and is so far for suggestions!

Thinking // That if you have never met me or my blog you might possibly think my feelings on Daylight Saving are a bit cuckoo...also that my autocorrect makes so many adjustments these days, I look illiterate in my messages and my spelling of anything "our" is confused...
(it's colour not color for the last time!)

Dreaming // Of the Crafternoon Tea Party I am co-hosting with Sarah from Say! Little Hen - it's in December which seems far off but it really isn't...especially if the aforementioned time thief isn't caught. It's going to be lovely, fun and crafty - if you live in Bellingen or anywhere within a couple of hours drive, please do come! I'll pop the link here for the details...

What has been happening in your Here and Now?

Megan x


Sunday, 7 October 2018

The Outdoor Quilt Exhibition in Dorrigo

After what has been a very hectic couple of weeks, we escaped domesticity this Sunday and trundled up the hill to see the 'Hanging Out in Dorrigo' Outdoor Quilt Exhibition - a collection of beautiful old world quilts adorning the buildings in Dorrigo. 

It was such a lovely, clear Spring day and the perfect way to spend a Sunday. 

Daylight Saving time kicked in overnight, and unfortunately, we forgot to adjust the car clock and spent the whole day unwittingly on the old time! (We didn't look at our phones once - the quilts and scenery were very distracting!)

So it was quite strange when we returned home to find it was, in fact, an hour later than we had supposed it was... Having moved from Queensland at the beginning of the year, I am still adjusting to Daylight Saving...albeit not terribly well!

I greatly enjoyed the outdoor quilt exhibition, which trailed inside where the Misty Mountain Getaway workshops were happening. I thought the quilts looked so cheerful, attracting attention to the shops, cafes, and galleries they hung beside. I love how the quilts seemed to match the colours or theme of the building they hung around, and as many of you will know I looooove pink so there are several photos of a gorgeous pink building adorned with some pretty quilts that I may have gotten a little snap happy with!

Beautiful country of many on the Dorrigo Plateau

It's something I absolutely love about craft - it has the ability to draw people and communities together, whether they have a hobby in common, or simply like to admire the beautiful things other people make. 

Quilts make such a gorgeous addition to shop-fronts, I am convinced they should become a permanent feature. For some reason, it reminds me of a chapter in one of the books from the Anne of Green Gables series - beautiful handmade quilts airing on sunny verandahs.

I think I read on the Misty Mountain Getaway facebook page that they had over 150 quilts delivered or posted for the event! It's always so interesting to see how other people interpret a craft or skill and really make it their own, in their own style and with their own fabric combinations.

I love this pink building!

The softness of these quilts contrasted beautifully with the rough,
worn texture of the bricks on this building...
A beautiful hedge of lavender growing on the side of the was up to my hips
and about 3-4 meters long! The scent was heavenly.
And again... let's make a quilt of the building..hmmm?

I've long admired pictures of crumbling old pink houses from over the pond, so this is the closest I have gotten to something of that nature in real life...seriously, why are more buildings or houses not pink??? The quilts on the front are optional but in my opinion, they make this old girl even more adorable!

A picture says a thousand words, so I am just letting these quick snaps I took today do the talking. We enjoyed walking around in the sunshine, browsing the local stores and chatting with the owner of the gallery. We grabbed a coffee just after lunchtime, though I now have a sneaking suspicion it was very much the afternoon as we were functioning on our 'own time'.... we sipped our cappuccinos on the wooden bench beside the garden at Components Cafe, in dappled sunlight to the scent of the Star Jasmine that was growing it's way up the tree above us, listening to an auction going on across the road - what we guessed with strained ears was a meat tray going for a good price!

Once we had finished our coffee, eavesdropping and quilt admiration, we set off for a meander of Dorrigo's beautiful roads - winding through gorgeous farmland and the surrounding countryside, stopping at leisure to photograph anything that caught my eye.

This little wooden gate and ruin were two such things. In particular, the tumbling brick ruin which looks to me like an old fire or wood stove had a tree growing out the top of it and there was something so charming about it that I had to stop and take a couple of photos. There's always a story to these things, and I wondered while I hopped along the fenceline in highly unsuitable heeled boots whether the one pertaining to the little ruin was a sad one, or if it was simply a result of the ravages of time...

Today was such a lovely reminder that getting out and about in your local area is a really nice way to relax and absorb the natural beauty (and talent!) of the place you live in! If you, like me, don't always make time to do this, put it in your diary this month. Take your camera and you'll start to notice the many wonders on your doorstep!

Megan x

If you know someone who would find this article useful, please direct them back here, to my blog as I would LOVE for more people to enjoy my work.

If you would like to receive freshly baked blog posts and other Dolly Henry news delivered straight to your inbox, click here to SUBSCRIBE.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

What Dollmaking Taught Me About Perfectionism

I spent many years staring at beautiful Waldorf style dolls before I finally decided to learn to make them too. There are so many different interpretations of these sort of dolls, with the only thing in common between doll artists being the techniques and materials used in this form of dollmaking.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks I overcame was oddly enough, not in the making process but in my mind when it came to adopting this style of dollmaking. I quickly realized I could easily suffer comparison syndrome and nipped it in the bud before it could take hold.

There are so many dollmakers working in the Waldorf/Steiner category. This type of doll is traditionally made using all natural materials (such as wool and cotton) with techniques drawn from European dollmaking. However, once the doll is made using materials (such as polyester filling or acrylic yarn) or in a style outside of those described in Steiner philosophies, they are usually given the term "inspired" rather than being a strictly traditional "Waldorf/Steiner' Doll.

This title is a great way to make it easy to describe the sort of doll you are creating to others, and also helps you find information in online searches, whether you wish to buy a doll or make one yourself. It is much easier to have keywords that can direct your search so you can find precisely what you need to. The term 'handmade doll' on its own is simply not specific enough, the sheer volume of different techniques used to make cloth dolls is overwhelming. Techniques which produce vastly different doll styles.

 So while 'Waldorf/Steiner Inspired' helps you in a search, I struggled with suddenly being put under a label, because even though there is a definite 'style' to these dolls, each dollmaker is unique and their creations aren't some stock standard item that can be compared or assessed.

With so many amazing, amazing dolls out there, I was pretty daunted when I set out to make my own. I was worried about what 'the masters' of the craft would think, or if people would compare my dolls to someone else's. Were my dolls any good? Did I make them properly? What is right and what is wrong?

None of these thoughts ever sprung to mind when I was making my cloth dolls, a style that has just as many variations in construction techniques and methods. I decided to stop worrying and focus on my dollmaking, my creative expression and my interpretation of this style.

Certainly, I deeply admire many other doll artists and derive great joy and inspiration from seeing their work. However, comparing my little dears to theirs is as silly as comparing children. Dollmaking is like painting, if you are brave, you can create organically from the heart and produce dolls that are representative of your own individuality - dolls that tell the story you intended.

Simply imitating or comparing is akin to painting by numbers - why produce a mediocre copy of a masterpiece when so much joy can be derived by bravely painting from your soul?

The joy I receive in making little cloth characters can be unsettled if I worry about silly little details - a result of my comparison to another's work. Whereas, when I remove the pressure of 'rules' or the opinions of others, I create authentically and produce a doll that is unique to me and my creative expression.

So much can be learned from this process. If my dolls nose is slightly off center, if her thighs are a little 'lumpy' or her torso longer than usual, I have learned to accept these 'flaws' as part of the dolls unique character and design. I use almost no pattern pieces or machine sewing when I make dolls this way. They are formed and shaped in my hands, and small errors, if that's what you want to call them, are part of that process.

For me, the doll shaped by human hands is conveying that very essence. Humans are by nature, imperfect. It's humbling and gratifying to know that even as we all have our own faults and physical shortcomings, so do the dolls we make.

They are little characters of cloth and thread. Made nearly entirely by hand, they mimic the human quality that we are all different - warts, lumpy thighs and all. That difference makes us the same, and the diversity and inconsistency among us is so very beautiful when we accept it, rather than feeling bad by comparing ourselves or our work to others.

Dollmaking has shown me so much and it's about more than fabric and stuffing. It's taught me to tell stories using needle and thread, to express my creative soul through tiny characters and that loving the imperfect is necessary to letting go and experiencing real joy.

Megan x

If you know someone who would find this article useful, please direct them back here, to my blog as I would LOVE for more people to enjoy my work.

If you would like to receive freshly baked blog posts and other Dolly Henry news delivered straight to your inbox, click here to SUBSCRIBE.

Want more info on Waldorf Dolls? See my Resources page for more.


Friday, 5 October 2018

A little break...

A little while ago, I quietly packed up shop and put Hazel and her friends on the train for a much-needed break. They were tired, and I was tired and as we sat pondering our exhaustion, we all realized what a big year it had been. It was time for a rest and some quiet reflection.

So as I waved them off, I sighed with a sense of relief as the bundle slipped off my shoulders onto the ground. My creativity had gone on holiday too, though long before I or even Hazel noticed.

According to an article I once read in some magazine, creativity needs rest to flourish. I had no such expectations, I just wanted the rest. In my case, it turns out that it is true. The minute I decided to take a moment, the pressure that had engulfed me resided and the ebb became flow once again.

Hazel and Brandy, all ready for a break!

It was a relief to have bright sparks of inspiration running through my dreams again. However, I knew rest was paramount so I let my ideas play while I sipped tea and pondered knitting a row on my scarf.

I may or may not have indulged in chocolate while I closed my online shops, and deleted my social media profiles. I needed the courage and feel good stuff that chocolate is apparently said to produce.

All I know is that chocolate tastes GOOD.

What at first was an odd feeling, to be free to simply rest, became a sense of peace while my mind traveled up and down the creative highways, discovering forgotten joys and pursuits. The pressure generating an income by constantly producing new work can be enormous, and under the load, my creativity buckled.

Offline, I noticed the little things again - the birdsong and first blush of Spring on the trees. I breathed deeply and felt myself expand with the beauty and wonder surrounding me. Maybe it is wishful thinking, or a desire to believe in the magical, but ideas and aspirations flow best for me when the moon is full.

With less time spent on Instagram, my head had more space and in the stillness that being mostly unplugged can bring, I realized I was learning and observing new things each day. Life is still very busy, but the small amount of space I took back from social media, in particular, helped me find clarity and renewed purpose. To realize the creative process needs this space and time, to reflect, to grow and to learn.

For the first time in quite a while, I feel inspired and grateful to creativity. It is a mystical, winged creature that chooses when and how it will deliver new ideas and inspiration. It is fluid and intangible, sometimes ebb, sometimes flow. And I have learned you can anticipate it's arrival much more easily when you allow yourself some space and learn to embrace the silence.

It seems it isn't really creative block after all, more a gentle beckoning to sit and just listen for a time.

They say change is as good as a holiday - do you find this sentiment to be true? What is your favourite way to take a break?

Megan x

If you know someone who would find this article useful, please direct them back here, to my blog as I would LOVE for more people to enjoy my work.

If you would like to receive freshly baked blog posts and other Dolly Henry news delivered straight to your inbox, click here to SUBSCRIBE.


Thursday, 4 October 2018

Tips for Achieving Your Goals

On the first of September, I started the 100 Day Goal run by Julia at The Business Bakery. 
My goal is to improve my general wellbeing, which extends into all aspects of my life.

To achieve a goal, you really have to want to.

I know this sounds obvious, but I have discovered in the past (when I have half-heartedly set out to do a 100 Day Goal) if my destination isn't clear, it's so easy to take multiple detours and wind up lost.

This time I finetuned my goal and created some space in my life to make it happen.
 In short, I made my goal my priority.

If you feel like you need to do this in order to achieve your goal, but don't have the resources or time, that's okay. The beauty of Julia's 100 Day Goal is that you only have to take one small step towards it every day. These small steps are called micro actions and can be done in short bursts of 5, 15 or 30 minutes.

If that seems like a jolly slow way to achieve a goal, you might want to read on.

Even five minutes a day will get you closer to your goal than doing nothing at all.

It's a bit like if you want to win a raffle, you at least need to buy a ticket. The more tickets you buy, the greater chance you have of success.

For instance, if you wish to lose weight but struggle to find the time or motivation to do so, doing one thing each day will make more of a difference than doing nothing at all.

I have found micro actions have an accumulative effect - when I set out to do one small obligatory task, this often gives me the momentum to do another one. Energy creates energy and the feel good factor of a small achievement fuels my desire to do more. Before I know it, I haven't just done one microaction, I have done three.

A good example of this is when I mentally commit to just a short walk down the street. By the time I reach the bottom of the hill that is our driveway, I feel motivated enough to go the other way and take an hour long walk instead. 

Action creates action and the adage that the hardest part is showing up, rings true each time.

On the flip side, because I am required to simply do ONE small thing a day towards my goal, it's possible to stay on track even when life throws you a curved ball. A week ago, when the days involved a family emergency and some hospital visits, bigger microactions involving more energy were impossible so I simply made getting enough sleep or preparing healthy food my tasks.

Keeping my goal at the front of my mind helped me achieve tiny little steps that I otherwise wouldn't have.

It is important that you can measure your progress when you are working towards a goal. For some goals, this is easier than others. My goal isn't tangible or numerical so for me, just writing down the microactions I have achieved or observations I have made in regards to my health and wellbeing works well.

Visualisation is a big help when it comes to staying motivated and on track. Some people love vision boards and I do too, for some purposes. However I have a slightly different approach with my goal.

Do you remember waiting for Christmas as a child? You get excited about the festivities and the presents you imagine opening on December 25. All sorts of delightful images and thoughts float through your mind. You are very much putting yourself in the future, full of anticipation for what lies ahead. It motivates you to be on your best behaviour, so you don't land on the naughty list. You write wish lists and letters. Help decorate the Christmas tree, sing Jingle Bells and put on your Santa hat. You do all these little things in preparation for Christmas Day.

This is how visualisation works for me. I imagine achieving my goal and how great I will feel crossing the finishing line. I picture how I look, how my life looks and sometimes, I even start writing a blog post in my head about how amazing it has been to finally achieve my goal. A bit like writing a corny acceptance speech in preparation of winning a great prize, doing this sounds quite silly but it definitely creates a winners mindset. Failure becomes obsolete because Goal Day, like Christmas, is coming and the festive preparations are in full swing!

I am already looking forward to writing that blog post, I am already visualising my success. These little things have made a big difference to me this round. I can't tell you how many times I have set out to do the 100 Day Goal and lasted little longer than a week. I pinpoint my progress down to a few simple factors:

- Choosing a goal I DEFINITELY want to achieve, something important to ME.
- Prioritising my goal over other things and creating the mental space to let it happen.
 (hello less time spent on Social Media!)
- Visualising my success so on tough days (and they are very common!) the finishing line stays in view.
- Redefining success and failure, allowing myself to be happy 
achieving tiny (micro) actions for the first month into my goal.
- Accepting that my journey is a huge part in reaching the final destination and going SLOW is okay.

If you are interested in achieving your own 100 Day Goal, you can sign up to be notified on Julia's website here. It's free to join and the next round will start in 2019!

Megan xx

If you know someone who would find this article useful, please direct them back here, to my blog as I would LOVE for more people to enjoy my work.

If you would like to receive freshly baked blog posts and other Dolly Henry news delivered straight to your inbox, click here to SUBSCRIBE.
No comments

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Creating Blank Space in Your Life

"....I've got a blank space, baby, and I'll write your name...."

Before I go all Taylor Swift on you, let me explain a little bit! I want to talk about why creating 'blank space' or 'white space' in your diary, and in your life is so important.

Life is a little bit like a glass of water - no, this isn't the positivity analogy, this is the space analogy.

Let's say your glass is 95% full. What happens if someone needs to add another 20% to that glass? It spills over and makes a bit of a mess, doesn't?

The thing is, sometimes somebody comes along and just adds to the volume of your glass, whether you like it or not. You can't control the excess amount that is about to be added to your tumbler of water, you just have to frantically reach for a cloth and try and mop up the spillage as quickly as you can.

The only thing you can control is how much water you have in that glass to start with so that when it rains, you have minimal overflow.

I have had that experience this week. It has been one of those weeks. Where the unexpected happens, and it comes in pairs. When the days are longer and more stressful and stuff is happening that you didn't plan for. That's life, and it happens.

What I have been grateful for this week, is that I had a smidgen of blank space there that helped me cope with the situation a lot more easily than if my glass had already been 99% full. This was coincidental and I have been so thankful that for some reason, organisation had been on my side before the week got tipped upside down.

Which makes me think, perhaps we all need a little more white space in our diaries to allow for the unexpected.

Stressful situations occur periodically throughout life, however, often I find these situations easier to deal with if I haven't already got a jam-packed schedule to start with.

Allowing myself 'nothing' space is like creating time between appointments - you can allow time for potential traffic delays, an unexpected phone call or a flat tyre. These things are all a complete nuisance but it is ten times more stressful if your time is stacked so tightly, it only takes one tile to fall before you are in full domino mode.

I feel like creating blank space is as simple as taking a deep breath, and allowing some time in each day to stop and enjoy a cup of tea or something that helps you relax - preferably away from a screen, social media in itself can feel quite 'hectic'.

This definitely helps reduce feeling flustered, and if something arises (and it will!) that takes you by surprise, then you have already created a bit of wiggle room in your schedule.

Life is a little bit like a journey, that you have a partially filled out map to. You have enough of the pieces to know which direction you will most likely go, but sometimes things take an unexpected turn and it helps if you are already prepared for such things.

Creating the space isn't always easy, because whenever you don't say no to something, you are saying yes to it. Did I just state the obvious? For me creating space has never been easy. I always want to be there for everyone, and do everything. It's not physically possible. And it's even more impossible when things aren't going to plan.

The trick is, to not keep your day or week SO FULL. This can mean saying no to a friend, or rescheduling your weekend plans. This can mean allowing yourself more time for tasks than you usually would - so you at least have the ability to add to your list if you need to. So often, I think I can complete certain tasks in half the time than I really do - which just makes me feel stressed. Learning to appreciate that each day only has 24 hours and of that, a good part needs to be left for sleep, has really helped me make more space in my life, and become more patient.

Blank space, that I am very grateful for when something occurs that takes up any extra room in my glass. The overflow is minimal, and when it does happen, at least I am standing by with my mop!

Megan xx

If you know someone who would find this article useful, please direct them back here, to my blog as I would LOVE for more people to enjoy my work.

If you would like to receive freshly baked blog posts and other Dolly Henry news delivered straight to your inbox, click here to SUBSCRIBE.

No comments
© Dolly Henry • Theme by Maira G.