I'm thrilled to have Fiona visiting with us today, all the way from Australia! I've long been an admirer of her wonderful toys; I love the modern twist on a classic look. Today she's sharing some thoughts about making toys, blogging, and being a work-at-home mom.
The style of your toys and dolls is so lovely; there's a sort of Shaker-like simplicity to them that works so well with your bright fabric choices. Where do you get your inspiration?
Thank you! I'm inspired every day by
the things I see online (of course - there is just so much goodness out
there). I also love kid's books and get loads of inspiration from
whatever we're reading at home. Also, I'm a graphic designer and I
think the influence of that has been hard to shake - a lot of the
things I'm drawn to have that shaker-like simplicity - lots of white
The internet is amazing for creating connections (here we are chatting between Utah and Australia!). How has blogging connected with you with other people, whether like-minded mums, fellow crafters or providing new outlets for selling your toys and patterns?
I've been blogging
now for five years and I am still amazed every day at how blogging has
connected me to so many incredibly lovely, talented and like-minded
women, many who have become 'real life' friends. When I started
blogging, there were only really a few of us who blogged about the
things we were making (nothing compared to now - I've long lost hope of
keeping up!) I started selling my toys online after a few nice people
asked if they were available and my little business has grown from
there. I am so grateful to have been able to drop much of my freelance
work to concentrate on my business in those times when I'm not busy
with my kids. It has it's fair share of detractors, but the growth of
sites like etsy, and the connections that blogs allow have really given
carers of young children who are based at home so many more
opportunities to meet others and start small businesses.
When you create something you must leave your own signature mark on it, give it a little bit of your personality. Your Poppy Doll pattern seems to be quite popular, what is it like seeing your creation given new life and a new personality in another crafter's hands?
I love seeing my patterns made up by other people, seeing their interpretation and fabric choices has been fantastic. It sounds naff but I feel really lucky when people choose to make toys from one of my patterns to give to their own kids or someone special - it's given me a real drive to make more patterns of my toys.
I notice you often make toys for your own kids; tell us about some of their favorites.
My daughter, Audrey, has a big collection of toys I have made for her, plus she often makes off with trial versions and toys I'm not happy enough with to sell. We made a Poppy doll together a few months ago, and happily (for me), she still sleeps with her at night and asks me to make clothes for her now and again. She also has a bunny and giraffe that she's still quite fond of. But I gave up ages ago hoping that my children would connect closely with something I made - kids can be so fickle! Audrey's most special soft toy is a store-bought bear, while Henry's current best mate is a small Maisy mouse. But I hope when they grow old and sentimental they'll have a small place in their heart for the toys their crazy old toy-making mother made for them!