Dolly Henry is a sewing and design blog for the creative wanderer, where style meets play and making is a lifestyle.

Hi, I'm Megan - owner, designer and writer at Dolly Henry! Join me here as I explore the ins and outs of creativity, dabble in dollmaking and raise my voice on issues facing creative entrepreneurs.

Make yourself a cup of tea, and come on in!


Thursday, 29 November 2018

Willoh - A Waldorf-Inspired Doll

Meet Willoh. She loves collecting vintage treasures and hosting tea parties for her friends. Willoh lives in a little retro caravan called Connie, which she has decorated with cloth bunting and gingham curtains. Willoh spends her days creating - she loves to sew, crochet and paint.
Dolly Henry Dumpling dolls are one of a kind, Waldorf-inspired dolls.
A Waldorf doll is traditionally compatible with Steiner education philosophies to encourage a child’s own imagination in play. Their appearance is kept intentionally simple and childlike, in order to encourage creativity, problem-solving skills and imaginative play in children. Dolly Henry Dumpling dolls make excellent companions for children, their clothing is removable for interactive play, and are filled with a beautiful natural eco-friendly vegan fiber so they are lovely to cuddle. They have a little bit of weight to them, unlike a cloth or rag doll, that is comforting to children and makes them feel a little bit more 'real.

Annie was so excited to meet her new sister, and the latest addition to the Dolly Henry waldorf-inspired doll collection - Willoh! 

It's clear that Willoh loves a good matchy-matchy colour scheme, as she is decked out in classic baby blue and aqua.

Her unruly blonde locks are piled high and kept tidy with her vintage style gingham headwrap.

There is something so lovely about blending knitted and woven textures together - the cotton blouse peeps out from underneath her gorgeous hand-knitted pinafore, which is delightfully soft having been made using 100% organic Australian merino! 

Willoh is now available for sale in the Dolly Henry store. She would make an excellent companion and wonderful Christmas gift for someone very special! You can see her here.

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Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Dolly Henry Podcast - Episode 1

Hello! It is with much excitement, and a few nerves, that I introduce the first ever Dolly Henry podcast. In this episode, you might have to endure a few 'ummms...' as this is the first time I have ever done a podcast or recording, and excuse my very 'Australian' accent!!

Consider this a little studio diary, as I chat a bit about making my latest pattern, Mama Llama (shown above) and the events coming up for Dolly Henry in the coming weeks.

I have linked below to some of the things mentioned in the podcast, happy listening!

Megan x

Links from the Show:

Dolly Henry Pattern Shop

Hazel's new outfit - the Woodland Dress and Cape Sewing Pattern

Crafternoon Tea Party

Handmade Doll Christmas Shop

Dolly Henry Facebook Page

Bellingen Artisan Market

Sign up for the Dolly Henry Newsletter

Sunday, 18 November 2018

DIY Christmas Tags & Stitching on Yarn

I'm delighted to be a contributor to the second issue of Yarnologie, a new Australian focused digital magazine for yarn lovers, hoarders, knitters, spinners and crocheters...yes yarn hoarding is a hobby too!

As our seasons are completely reversed to the Northern Hemisphere, it's so lovely to have a knitting and yarn publication that is dedicated to sharing all things yarn from down here in Australia. We have so many amazing artists and designers down here, it's refreshing to learn about new people and read stories from our neck of woods. The summer issue will be full of inspiration to suit the southern hemisphere, though I am personally NOT feeling the heat yet here in NSW.

I dusted off my water colours to create a set of bookish Christmas tags, suitable for attaching to all those woolly socks and jumpers you've been making as gifts... if you really have managed to make gorgeous handmade items for your friends and family, then I salute you. For me, my NY resolution was to not make anything handmade this year, for gifts. Mean I know, but I really needed a break.

Of course, as with all resolutions, I didn't quite stick to it and some people still benefited from my creative adventures...count yourself as chosen ones if you got something I made this year...

In my defence, it takes just as much effort and creativity to curate a lovely store-bought gift. Even gift cards - they are like buying a little bit of are locked into spending the moolah guilt-free at your favourite shop...what's not to love?!

Anyway, whether your creativity goes all out or not this year, at least you can affix a handmade tag to your gifts! Also in this issue, I have written a couple of articles, one on WIPs (works in progress to the uninitiated) which are always on my mind as the year draws to a close. I did half wonder if I could finish all my current WIPs before 2019 arrives but I decided that was probably a bit WIP stash is next level across the crafts of knitting, crocheting, embroidery, patchwork and dressmaking!

Commitment issues? Nooooooo......(ducks and runs)

My second article is all about when Stitching met Yarn. (sneak peek above!) A modern love story? More like the entwining of two threads, who alone are pretty amazing but when put together produce results only dreams are made of. Well, that might be a tad dramatic and romantic but you get the gist. Stitching pretty things on other pretty things made of yarn makes everyone happy.

I'm sorry if my writing has been a bit up and down in this post, that's probably what happens when you type with pop music blasting out of the computer...your fingers dance a little.

Anyway, if you love yarn and creative inspiration, then make sure you jump on and order your copy of Yarnologie from the Say! Little Hen shop - Issue 2 is out on December 1st! (I feel like the overly bright voiceover from a TV advert! I'm not, it's just really good and you should get onto it!)

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.

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Thursday, 15 November 2018

Here & Now | November 2018

It has been such a busy week, it's nice to sit down and focus on the Here & Now, at least for today.
Thanks to Sarah from Say! Little Hen for running this monthly linkup.

Loving // Cooler Days. The weather is a bit crazy but thankfully, the super hot weather has left again and it's once again feeling quite cool...especially for this former North Qld girl! Wondering if I will ever put away the jumpers and socks for a season...

Eating // Chocolate cupcakes that didn't quite get their full share of raising flat chocolate cupcakes. Still chocolatey and delicious though!

Drinking // Less tea, more water now that summer is (sort of) here

Feeling // Like I really could do with a holiday...a month of no disruption, no stress, no running to-do list. That quiet time between Christmas and New Year cannot come fast enough. (PS. I am sorry if I haven't replied to any blog comments yet! I love hearing from you and promise I will do it soon!)

Making // I re-opened my pattern shop in case anyone needed to make something lovely for Christmas, and have been working on a new dolly outfit pattern for the holiday season...

Thinking // About dinner because it's about that time of day!

Dreaming // Of somewhere over the rainbow.

If you'd like to join in the Here and Now link up, you can find all the details here on Sarah's blog.

What has been happening in your Here and Now?

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, 10 November 2018

Slow Saturdays

It has been one those very busy weeks, which means a quiet Saturday was definitely in order. Despite the hectic days, I am surprised at how much I have achieved creatively. My projects included some photography for Yarnologie magazine, alongside a festive commision which involved my watercolours. 

A beautiful surprise parcel arrived in the post, a gift from a lovely friend whose kindness and encouragement is something I value very much. Sometimes a sparkly heart, some buttons, and beautiful fabrics are just what you need! That and a few sneaky trips to the delicious sourdough bakery we are so lucky to live near. (I am pretty sure I am making up for all the years I couldn't eat conventional bakery food!)

My doll making adventures included making a purple-haired little munchkin, her lovely locks beautiful handspun wool from my sister - I'm constantly stealing anything that isn't deemed suitable to knit for my dolls! I guess if you wanted to factor in all the extra time that using things like handspun yarn take in the making process, you'd be needing a thousand dollars for your doll...but I digress. I enjoy the slow nature of creating a doll and using as many natural materials as I can. I love buying new fabrics, but also enjoy the fact I can use my scraps or reclaimed pieces to make their clothes too. 

The filling I currently use is an eco-friendly Australian made corn fiber filling. Wool is always my preference, and I deem it to be the most environmentally friendly (my opinion) but after some trouble with a large bag of wool this year, and difficulty with sourcing good clean wool for a reasonable price, I resorted to the next best option. This doesn't make the dolls ' vegan-friendly' by any means, because I continue to use animal fibers in their clothing and hair, however, I figure if you have a slight wool allergy, hypo-allergenic toy filling can't hurt!

I moved onto a mouse doll today, a second prototype of the first mouse doll I made earlier this year. I was busy preparing for a big market and didn't have time to perfect the pattern - for ease of construction - so she fell by the wayside. When she was finished, we visited the doll dress up box - a little cardboard suitcase I keep of doll clothing discards. I like to do this because it seems unfair that the doll has to sit around nude while I wait for clothing inspiration, and it also helps me to decide what kind of clothing the doll's personality requires. I currently have a few nudie dolls because I am yet to decide what clothing they need!

I really love mousey. She needs a better name but her sweet yet comical expression makes me smile.
I love the simplicity in her shape and design, she reminds me very much of a toy that has been loved and treasured as a childhood friend over many years. I usually use matching thread to the material I am working with, but as she is sort of a prototype I stitched with white, the colour my machine was threaded with. You can see the stitching a little in the seams, but I rather liked this effect - giving her a worn, vintage feel. I am toying (pardon the pun!) with the idea of stitching a little fabric patch on her, to further enhance this look.

What do you think? The jury's still out for me.

These beautiful liberty fabrics and buttons have inspired me so much, I haven't put them away yet! 
Thank you so much for the surprise Ally!

I've been enjoying a bit of watercolour lately. I used to paint and draw so much growing up, before I ever touched a sewing machine! Those sped-up videos people share on painting on Instagram are addictive, there is something mesmerizing about watching a painting come together. I would like to try other paints but for now, I have my watercolour pencils. They don't make much mess or take up much room so they are perfect for my current situation. I have been creating little illustrations and then developing them on the computer into some prints...

A little birdie tells me there'll be some watercolour bonus's in the next issue of Yarnologie...

I know there is a trend called 'keeping it real' for the purpose of showing your followers that real life doesn't always look the same as your blog or Instagram feed, but I have never needed the 'keeping it real' posts from people I follow. 

I guess because I know when I do photography, I can make a small corner look very different then it does in real life. I like this about photography - you can tell a story with a single shot, a made-up story if you really want to. Or you can use a camera to give you a new perspective - to find beauty in the ordinary. You can edit a photo and either make it feel warm or cold.

 So often, it's easy to let all the little things go unnoticed, to be ungrateful for the good that you do have. Taking a photo and showing the beauty in the every day, in the clutter, in the mess and in the totally ordinary can completely change the way you see something.

These photos in this post tell of a calmness that hasn't existed in my week, which has been chaotic and beyond my control to say the least. You could make assumptions, but I see that there is in fact truth in these images - though it might feel like life is a runaway train, these recordings show me that I did manage to snatch moments where I was able to be in the present, preserving a little bit of the process.

 Ignoring the bigger, noisier picture to instead focus in on the small things such as the splash of paint on paper, the soft feel of handspun yarn under my fingers or the slow contemplation of a doll's attire.

This is keeping it real, because when the noise fades away, you can see the things that really matter.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,

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.

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Thursday, 8 November 2018

PDF Patterns Are Not Pop Songs

As a designer, I am always having conversations with fellow creatives about the issues we face, and recently I have read a couple of blog posts about the cost of creating PDF or digital files.

I usually relate to these posts quite well, as it's somewhere I have been and something I continue to struggle with at times. I appreciate other's raising the subject, as it is something that I feel needs discussing, alongside educating customers about paying designers an adequate fee for their skills and time.

So with the topic fresh on my mind this week, after a bit of a flurry in the knitting/crochet circles about designers being paid for their patterns, I thought I might share my point of view - in for a penny, in for a pound, as they say!

The common misconception with passive income streams, such as digital patterns, is that once the work has been done, you have no further costs in distributing that pattern. I laughed when I heard this, before I had ever even made or sold a PDF pattern.

Previously, I designed and made children's clothing, selling it online internationally and also from a short-stint brick and mortar shop. The clothing didn't just sell itself, I had to get online every single day and let people know my products and brand existed. If I didn't keep at the marketing, the sales would slow. I was a very small business of one, without a large advertising budget so the buck stopped with me.

When a friend was creating her first digital product (an e-book), I urged her to increase the price on the item as she naturally assumed that once her work was done, the book cost her nothing. I reminded her that the book would continue to cost her time, even if the difficult work had been done. She would need to continually promote the book to continue to receive sales on a regular basis, assist people with download issues, and I knew she'd offer extensive email support should a customer encounter an issue with making a recipe.

All of these things take time and need to be taken into consideration when pricing a digital product.

The heavy lifting of the creating is done, however, unless you completely abandon the product once you have created it, your digital item is no different to a tangible product - you need to market that baby and you need to provide customer support services too.

Unless you have won the lottery and have disposable time and resources to spend on these things without being compensated, then you have to take this into account when you create a product.

That being said, it is incredibly difficult to 'regain' the costs of a PDF pattern or ebook in the short term. The number of hours alone it takes to create a new design and write the instructions means you often need to sell hundreds upon hundreds of copies before you break even. If you do a good job, most people will not need assistance with creating your pattern, so you don't need to worry about adding $100 on top of each sale to cover the time you'll spend helping them!

However, if 1 in 20 customers need a bit of help, then the little bit extra you have gained from each sale will help cover a little bit of that time. That's a good theory anyway, quite often there is no little bit 'extra.'

When you think about it logically, how is someone selling a $10 pattern several times a week (or even a day if you were really lucky!) going to make an income? Even if you can donate your time for free, there are still running costs for the distribution of the pattern - all website platforms have transaction fees, listing fees or an overall monthly fee. This is a cost to the designer - it's like shop rent and each of those costs has to come out of the patterns they sell.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

It really is impossible! When I was creating my first pattern, I asked a few people about how much they'd expect to pay for a pattern. I found the answers a little dismal, with one lady even telling me that if the pattern template pieces weren't digitally drawn, then she wouldn't spend more than $10 on the pattern. (I personally have purchased some excellent patterns with hand drawn templates, and I have also purchased some TERRIBLE patterns with digitally drawn templates.)

In short, the general expectation was that more than $10 was a little bit expensive for a digital pattern. I don't entirely disagree, there are some designs that warrant smaller price tags depending on the size of the pattern and item in question. However my patterns have extensive instructions, are photographed step-by-step and even though I originally offered my initial design with hand-drawn templates, they all now contain digitally drawn templates - several pages of them.

I wanted to create designs that looked amazing but were relatively simple to sew and so that the resulting item looked the same as my original work. There is nothing more disheartening than setting out to create something only to discover the process is incredibly complicated and your finished project doesn't even vaguely resemble the pattern picture. I hoped to make a pattern where even a beginner could feel proud of their finished item - even if their skills needed perfecting.

Doing this takes a lot of time and energy, and years of carefully honed skills. These skills aren't simply the ability to draw and sew a doll. To create a pattern to the standard I wanted I needed to know how to take good photographs, grasp editing software, feel confident in graphic design and learn to master Adobe Illustrator and digitize my pieces - to scale so that they print out properly and all match correctly.

That is a lot of work so that my customer can confidently purchase a pattern and download it in one afternoon, start sewing and (hopefully) produce something that looks really good too. The simpler something looks and the easier the process is, the more work it takes to make it that way.

On top of all that time, I also have running costs - such as the Adobe suite which enables me to edit and create graphics, pattern pieces, and edit photos. If I didn't do all this myself, I would have to pay a graphic designer for these things and factor the costs into the pattern. I do it myself, which allows me to do it faster and on demand, but I deserve to be paid for these skills as much as a graphic designer would so the costs need to go into the pattern.

Given all of the above, $10 feels like an obscene price to charge for a pattern. It should be much, much higher. After all, my customer only has to purchase my pattern once and they can make as many items as they like from my design and also learn new skills along the way. It's much more than a pattern, it's a little sewing workshop too.

Sometimes I hear people say they can't afford to pay more for a pattern, and I won't disagree with this statement as I have no idea what kind of budget someone else is running. I only know that as a designer, and owner of a small creative business, I'm not exactly rolling in it myself so when I can't afford something, I simply don't buy it, or I save for it. What I don't do is ask someone else to take an income cut so that I can have something for less $$.

If I can't change the price of flour, something I have to buy every week as a household essential, then I sure as hell am not asking a creative to charge less for their time on a pattern I only need to buy once and have forever. I've spent more on a cheap lunch than what a lot of us pay for patterns, and it's digested by the end of the day!

I have a friend who was recently faced with having to cull people off her newsletter list or start paying for the plan that allowed her to keep all 2000 members. The fee was above what she could sensibly afford at that point in time, so she culled hard. We did a little exercise for the fun of it, of what her subscribers would have to pay to stay on the newsletter list. It turns out that for $3 A YEAR each, she could cover the cost of the newsletter list and everyone could stay subscribed. Of course she didn't even offer this as an option, but it made us both think how little you have to spend to support a small creative business!

PDF patterns are not pop songs, you won't top the charts and sell 2 million+ copies for $2.99 a piece...

Selling PDF patterns for $10 or less would only generate serious income if you had a large customer base who were happy to buy a pattern every year or so. Just one pattern each. However you would need over ten thousand customers for that to happen, and because there are a lot of patterns out there for all sorts of different things, that scenario is incredibly unlikely.

My own patterns are in a small niche. And within that niche, my style will not be for everyone. This means that the patterns need to be more expensive so that I do not have to sell to 15,000 people. But this also means that the industry needs to really change its perspective on paying designers. Not all patterns are created equal, as has been my own personal experience, however you can't price your work based on someone else's.

I also take issue with the fact people question that a designer would 'dare' to charge 'x' amount for HER creative work, when in other creative circles you can earn a lot more money 'designing'... In my opinion, the sewing/knitting/crochet/quilting industry is vastly undercutting itself and it's not doing a lot of good!

In order to continue to create new designs and patterns, we need to be paid for what we do. The pay rise I'm asking for is not even extreme - paying $18 to $20 (AUD) for a well-written 10 pages + pattern, with instructions and photographs is not going to break the bank. But it might mean I can scrape together a small living.

In comparison to the patterns of yesteryear, which were black and white text instructions, with no photographs, no technique instructions or help at your fingertips or even pattern templates - today's patterns are like mini-workshops!

The notion that a digital pattern should cost less than a paper pattern is also misguided. The printing cost is only tiny percentage compared to the creation of the design - if a printed pattern was vastly superior and costly, then everyone printing off PDF patterns at home would find it very expensive, but as we know, it is relatively cost-effective.

When you purchase a paper pattern vs a PDF pattern, even if they both had identical pricing, the customer already saves money on their PDF by not paying postage and has the convenience of receiving their file instantly. There is no real need to significantly discount digital files in the face of their paper counterparts.

I think we are taking all this wonderful automation and instant learning for granted. We think because it comes quickly and easily to our computer that is should, therefore, be extremely cheap. The washing machine and dishwasher were created to simplify our lives and make things easier, however, those time-saving devices cost quite a lot.

I'm not suggesting we start charging $1000 for a pattern (though a girl can dream!) but I do think we need to perhaps have a bit of a mental shift going forward into this new era - for both independent designers and their customers.

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.


Monday, 5 November 2018

Thoughts on Creative Community

There is a lot of talk about community online these days. From businesses and brands urging you to come and join their community on social media, or in the creation of new websites or apps specifically for makers. At the heart of it, you can be sure there is a mention of a 'community' and the offer for you not only be a customer but to be part of building a new company or product.

I guess that is the really cool thing about the internet - we can share, exchange and connect with others on a global scale and this can eventually lead to micro-communities - groups of people with something in common, invited to actively participate in growing a business while building relationships with other customers.

While you can certainly foster a community, and offer this to your audience, I believe there is more to it than simply joining a newsletter or using a common hashtag. For me, community happens almost organically, and they spring up when we are open, giving and authentic.

Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash

I have always wanted to create a community within Dolly Henry, I have been unable to define what that means precisely in myself. I don't simply want to bandy the word around like another piece of modern 'snap of the fingers' smart marketing dribble that doesn't mean a great deal. An unofficial rule of mine - if your Mother or Grandmother doesn't quite know what you are talking about, re-explain. There is no need to complicate everything all the time by making ordinary things sound 'deeply profound'....

Apologies if that sounds harsh, it's just that I have spent the last couple of days watching a new platform launch, with all the promise of community for it's makers, without seeing the vital essence or spirit that is needed to truly create an engaged and excited community.

A community is not a fan-base that you can curate on an app, herd into a Facebook group or collect in a bundle of Instagram hashtags. Those things can help facilitate a connection between like-minded individuals, acting as the bridge that often spans the gap of different time zones, languages and cultures.

A community comes when you cultivate an environment that allows the members of your audience to develop relationships with each other. Think about your brand or business as a cafe, a place where people can meet. You have created a space where like-minded people can connect, which encourages community. But the cafe cannot sell or offer 'community' with your coffee and cake - it is in the spirit and nature of the customers to decide whether they wish to form relationships within the cafe.

I love the opportunity the online sphere has given me for meeting like-minded people. It is easy to feel isolated in your location in a time where not quite as many people enjoy making things, and it can be hard to find your tribe without the connection tools of social media.

The ultimate extension of all this online connection, is facilitating events or meetings where you can get together in person, or if distance is a problem, the sending of an actual paper letter or swapping craft supplies in the mail. That feels a little like community to me.

Sharing information, exchanging ideas, inspiring each other and developing relationships with people you have something in common with. It's not fancy, it's not something that you can tap into by simply joining a newsletter list or slapping a hashtag on your latest post. It comes from positive and active communication, one on one with others - whether in messages, comments, emails or snail mail. It comes from taking the time to get to know people and form relationships. All these things gradually and slowly build up and create a sense of community.

Your friendships within an online community do not have to be deep and meaningful, they can be built solely upon your shared love of a craft. However, that feeling of connection and being able to honestly relate with someone else who just GETS IT is powerful. It is encouraging, inspiring and it motivates us to go forward and create.

A couple of years ago, another maker and blogger reached out to organise creating a quilt for another lady in the creative community who was having a tough time. It was amazing being able to help make that happen, barely knowing the other women involved or even the recipient yet we had been brought together purely because we had sewing in common. As a group, we were able to complete a pretty big project, enabled by the creation of community through social media (and the postal service...quilt blocks flying here and there across the country!)

A lot of makers I know that are helping to create micro-communities within their business or blog are going about it quietly, and are most likely unaware of the value they have given the people that follow their work.

Whether it is by hosting a swap, a sew-a-long or a knit-a-long, writing blog posts, organising collaborative projects, inviting discussion on important craft topics, encouraging creativity, creating online magazines with a view to connect makers with each other and the most important of all - listening to what their customers/readers/followers have to say.

To those quietly going about their business, creating space for others to participate in positive and inspiring environments - thank you. You are the ones who are truly making a difference and creating communities. You don't have to be big, or fancy, or have 50k Instagram followers or be up on all the latest whiz-bang marketing lingo, but your kindness and authenticity shine out over that every. single. time.

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, 1 November 2018

A Study of Tiny Flowers + A New Little Doll

When you create a title for your blog post, it's supposed to be something good, that will come up well in searches. That makes sense but it isn't something I manage to do very often, and I guess it's because that isn't my purpose for writing on my blog. 

I like blogging because, for me, writing is a bit of a therapeutic process, it can help me collect my thoughts and also slow down my day a little bit by pausing to reflect on what are usually small things that would otherwise pass by without a great deal of notice. 

It's been a really busy time here lately. You know those months where you feel like it is an achievement if you just manage to keep the house tidy and cook a good dinner every night? 
That's me right now! Which could explain why I am taking a necessary hour out of my evening just to slow down a little and write here, despite the fact my flying fingers are racing the feeling in my stomach that indicates it is indeed dinner time.

Yesterday was a 'winning at life' day - not only did I manage to restock the pantry, the freezer is full of homemade dinners, there is a watermelon salad in the fridge (sounds odd, but it's so nice!) and thanks to yesterday's efforts, there is cauliflower soup in the fridge (again odd, but delicious. Think copious amounts of cheese, chicken stock, and cream) so dinner simply needs to be reheated.

When days like that happen, I don't question them and I have learned not to think I can do that every week! I am just thankful for the space, time and energy when the stars align and I manage to perform the miracle of stashed dinners, a full pantry, and tidy kitchen all in one day. 

It might mean an 11pm night but the squirrel in me is too smug to care.

In between all the flurry, I have been adding borders to my granny squares as I am serious about getting these WIPs under control. My latest Waldorf inspired doll got her shoes, and she is yet to have a full reveal here, there is a sneak peek of her baby blue slippers below.

There is also a new arrival, a little beanie Baby, she is awaiting her attire but I've shared a sneak peek of her too. She is borrowing a cardigan from Hazel. She is smaller than my usual dolls but so, so cute. Like a lot of beanie babies, she was a bit of an accident. For some reason, I was having trouble creating the usual head size that day, so she came out smaller and therefore she needed a smaller torso, arms, and legs to match. I am in love with the new baby size though!

Recently, I have been finding my daily dose of calm in nature. A walk around the leafy streets, a stop by the river, a stroll on the beach. This afternoon I took a walk around my own backyard and took the camera, to make it a bit more interesting. I wasn't sure what there was to photograph but that is half the fun! Suddenly the obscure becomes noticeable, and the insignificant, worthwhile.

So often, it's the big and stunningly beautiful that captures the attention. But there isn't anything particularly amazing lurking in the garden just now. So I had to look closer, and I decided to make a study of the tiny flowers growing in the garden this afternoon's photography subject. By flowers, I mean the vegetables that have gone to seed - mostly. They are pretty but a lot of the time, I don't pay them a lot of attention other than being thankful for the vital bee and insect food they provide. 
And of course, the very important task they have of producing seed. 

But to stop and admire them in the same way I would a grand rose? Not quite.

However, this afternoon was for the little guy. The sweet little radish flowers. The brilliant yellow of the mustard blooms. The potato flowers growing from some surprise spuds that sprang up out of the kitchen rejects. The pretty purple of the garlic chives (or society garlic) that look so beautiful on a salad and taste surprisingly pungent. 

The sweet peas are blossoming and for such a delicate little flower I am always surprised at the intensely heady scent they produce. I didn't realize until I loaded the photos onto the computer but in these two, it looks like the plant is reaching out with a tiny tendril in some kind of flower dance. The second shot shows the sweetpea looking very much enamored with a nearby leek that has gone to seed.

Yarrow is such a bitter herb, but the ferny leaves and tiny white flowers give this plant a fairy-like delicacy. Some of the flowers have gone to seed, and I enjoy seeing more of the detail when they are isolated in photographs.

You wouldn't think that the dark silhouettes of these plants (having no green thumb, I honestly don't know what they are!) were taken at the same time as the other flowers. It's so funny how the light differs on each side of the garden.

A week or two ago I started playing with some crazy patchwork but got so caught up in remembering the techniques my grandmother taught me that I forgot to organize my fabrics and colours. That's a really important part to me. When I looked at my block halfway through, my heart sunk - I really didn't like it. I didn't want to waste all my time or the fabric so I decided to chop it up as I liked parts of it, but not all of it together. 

The smaller crazy blocks are floating as I embellish them a bit here and there and they are destined for life as mug rugs. Not sure I like crazy patchwork much anymore. When I was talking to a friend, we both agreed we didn't much like improvised patching. I usually don't plan out a patchwork project much anyway, preferring to work as I go but I must admit I like to have carefully considered of my fabric choices and colours.

A thought from this week - don't be afraid to take life a little more slowly! You'll never know what you will experience if you DO. I saw a pod of Whales, from the hilltop as I slowly made my way back up from the shore.

Worth a read - this post about behind the scenes of a quilt pattern business - I really related to the points Kirsty makes in this post, having published my own PDF patterns. 

That's a little round of my week so far! What have you been up to?

Megan x

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