"You know, he was always like a fish out of water around her...poor Lumpers, never mind, I says, plenty more fish in the sea, plenty more."

Thursday, December 22, 2011


On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:

an orange owl

                 by Hanna, age 7

and a fruit tree

                                by Piero, age 7

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me

a friendly zebra

                                 by Hannah, age 5

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:

three fair-haired dolls

                   by Nicky, age 7

                            by Riley, age 10

                                    by Evelyn, age 9

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:

four fantastic figures

             by Jess, age 6

                              by Brendan, age 9

                       by Aiko, age 8  

              by Jenny, age 14

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me


              by Avery, age 8



Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Unseen Playmate

When children are playing alone on the green,
In comes the playmate that never was seen.
When children are happy and lonely and good, 
The Friend of the Children comes out of the wood.

           by Wyatt, age 5

Nobody heard him and nobody saw,
His is a picture you never could draw,
but he's sure to be present, abroad or at home,
When children are happy and playing alone.

         by Dante, age 6

He lies in the laurels, he runs on the grass,
He sings when you tinkle the musical glass;
Whene'er you are happy and cannot tell why,
The Friend of the Children is sure to be by!

          by Olivia, age 8

He loves to be little, he hates to be big,
'Tis he that inhabits the caves that you dig;
'Tis he when you play with your soldiers of tin
That sides with the Frenchmen and never can win.

          by Eloise, age 4

'Tis he, when at night you go off to your bed,
Bids you to your sleep and not trouble your head;
For whever they're lying, in cupboard or shelf,
'Tis he will take care of your playthings himself!

           by Anna, age 6

(poem by Robert Louis Stevenson)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rebeca the Mermaid

by Paige, age 7

I think this is definitely the most popular subject for a Child's Own softie - having made close to twenty, and all of them unique. I found a wonderful green silk with mystical colour gradations from green to yellow. And I (accidentally) found a way to curl her yarn hair. In her drawing, Paige inscribed her mermaid's name on the abdomen, but I decided to put the name on a little apron, her one piece of wardrobe. And in my head, I began to craft a story of a princess mermaid who after losing her parents and home to a submarine missile test, must learn to survive on her own. For a while, she works as a waitress in an underwater cafe called The Reef, until one night, the manager, a sea bass, hears her singing, and comes up with the idea of a dinner and show with her as the star. The mermaid draws the customers, and crowds and attracts the attention of all sorts of characters, like the soft-spoken Mr. Sting Ray and the notorious Mr. Shark...

Sunday, December 11, 2011


by Leo, age 9

Leo draws a lot, and like many children, has quite the imagination. Superfish is his own creation. For Christmas, he had this drawing turned into a softie for his 5 year-old cousin, Ben. Ben's blankie is Superfish's cape and the letters B.G. are young Ben's initials.

I like this Superfish. Really, children are the best at thinking outside the box. I'd never in a million years think of a fish as a superhero. But, now I sit here, imagining Superfish saving sea life from untimely deaths due to predators, oil spills, toxic garbage and all kinds of catastrophes caused by nature and humans.

Monday, December 5, 2011

girl with sweater

This is a very sweet drawing by a seven year old boy from Germany, of his mother when she was a little girl. The sweater with a blooming flower beneath a sun and the girl's happy expression signified that winter was ending and spring was arriving.

The package took a long time to deliver, as is sometimes the case for international orders, but I was getting worried, when the boy's father still hadn't received it after a month's time. Finally, a couple of days ago, the customer received news that it was being held at customs, and he was very relieved to be able to go get it. As was I. Phew.

What a nice gift for the mother!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The final lap

by Anna, 4

Guess what? I'm in the final week of softiemaking. The home stretch! And my little sewing machine that I bought at London Drugs four years ago, is now sick! I've cleaned it, oiled it, replaced the needle and re-threaded it, and finally took it to a sewing repair shop only to find that the cost of servicing it would be more than what I paid for it. The same model is still available at LD, but I really don't like the idea of disposable sewing machines.

Luckily I have a spare, an old Beaumark that I bought off a friend for $40 a few years ago. This one will hopefully see me through the last few orders.

Today, a seventy-nine year old grandmother came to help me with some hand-stitching. We sat on my sofa in the afternoon sun, sewing together little red and yellow felt fruits, and we chatted and she shared news and highlights from her recent trip to her village in the Italian alps.

by Jayden, age 5

Unfortunately, I don't get many social opportunities like this in my softiemaking. It's usually just me, a radio and a chugging sewing machine. It's been a couple of months of feeling like I've been pedalling my sewing machine non-stop (inside a pressure cooker), and although I love this work, I am looking forward to the last order on the list. When this last order is done, wrapped up and shipped out, there will be a small exhalation before I turn my attention to all the things that have been calling for my attention: the clutter in our house, the garden, cobwebs on my ceiling, winterizing our car, a haircut, and holiday preparations with my family.

Aren't these cars cute? The yellow one went to Kiev, Ukraine, and I'm hoping it's made it there safely. Jayden's vibrant car has tiny rear tires beneath the enormous purple striped spoiler. Maybe by the time Jayden is old enough to drive, cars will look like that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pirate ship and a mystical creature

by Benjamin, age 7

by Morgan, age 5

Whew, it's been a long day. Just finished answering e-mails - I try to get to them as often as I can or they start getting too numerous and unwieldy. And before I toddle off to bed, I want to post about a couple of recent projects. Colleen sent me drawings by her nephew and niece as well as several footnotes. The pirate ship is pretty straightforward, but I sure was glad for the clarification of the drawing by Morgan. It's a mystical creature, with black spots on its body, like a cow, multiple legs, whiskers around the mouth and a bunny drawing on its back (like a tattoo?) Now, I could have told you it was a unicorn, but then a preconceived notion or an image might have popped into your head. If you look closely at her drawing, you can see another, fainter drawing of a horse-like unicorn in the background - done by someone else, showing her how it's done? Clearly, that's not what young Morgan had in mind. When she unwraps it at christmas, ooooh, I wish I could see her reaction. Will this softie satisfy Morgan's imagination adequately?