english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


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Small Stories Exhibition at the Museum of Childhood

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood

Before going back to work – and back to normal – this week, me and Phil spent a couple of days in London. We shopped the Christmas sale (Phil did very well in the Paul Smith sale shop), visited the Horst photography exhibition at the V&A, and visited the current exhibition at the Museum of Childhood (which is also part of the V&A): Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls’ House.

I had a dolls’ house as a kid and have always loved teeny-tiny furniture. Everything looks cuter in miniature.

The exhibition runs until 06th September 2015, and I would most definitely recommend it if you’ll have a chance to visit. The Museum generally is also worth a trip; they have a lot of 1980s toys that really appeal to me, as they provide a great opportunity to spot toys you forgot you used to own, or missed out on owning as a kid!

The Small Stories exhibition focuses on 12 dolls’ houses which cover a timespan of 300 years. I especially liked the modern houses, a large white villa from the 1930s (complete with swimming pool and tennis court), and an adorable high-rise from the 1960s.

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood

The most exciting part of the exhibition, for me, was the Dream House art installation. For Dream House, the Museum commissioned 20 contemporary designers from a variety of disciplines to decorate a small wooden box or room. The result is amazing! I got a few photos of some favourites, but do check them all out in person or on the Museum website.

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Wilderness Dreams, by Orly Orbach

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
A Night in the Studio, by Ina Hyun K Shin

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Home Is Bear the Heart Is, by Mister Peebles

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Library (A Recent Plan), by Emma Mawston and Keighley Shepherdly, Liberty Art Fabric Interiors

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Llama Dreams, by Donna Wilson

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
More Is More, by Jessica Hayman, Rosa and Clara Designs

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Molly’s Favourite Things, by Molly Meg

Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls' House, V&A Museum of Childhood
Offline Hideaway, by Dominic Wilcox

To finish, I’ll leave you with a few photos from the Museum’s permanent collection. It includes a number of sewing and knitting related toys.

V&A Museum of Childhood

V&A Museum of Childhood

Lots of very cool toys (me and my brother used to play with my dad’s toy fort as kids, and it was one of our favourites):

V&A Museum of Childhood

The collection includes some really creepy toys too, that must have given children nightmares..:

V&A Museum of Childhood

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Giveaway Winner: Geek Chic Panda Sewing Kit

Homemade Toy Panda Plush
Just a quick update to note that the winner of the Geek Chic Panda Sewing Kit (selected using the Random.com number generator) is machinegunmama. Congrats! I’ll be in touch.

 


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Giveaway: Geek Chic Panda Sewing Kit

Geek Chic Panda Sewing Kits
I designed my first sewing pattern! It’s a simple pattern to make your own Geek Chic Panda – a soft toy I designed and sell in my Etsy store. As well as selling the pandas (handmade by me) I’m now selling make it yourself sewing kits. The kits contain the supplies you need to create your own Geek Chic Panda:

  • Instructions & sewing pattern;
  • All the required fabric (cotton), including a piece of fabric with a screen printed panda face;
  • Toy stuffing (100% polyester);
  • A woven English Girl at Home tag.

Geek Chic Panda Sewing Kits
I’ve been planning to make sewing kits for some time, having been asked by a few customers at craft fairs last year. The kits make it nice and easy for sewing beginners to make a toy due to their simple design and the inclusion of supplies, and they’re a super quick make for anyone with sewing experience.

The Geek Chic Panda kits come in two designs – with Glasses, or with a Bow Tie. Want to see what the finished pandas look like? Here they are:)
Hand Screen printed Plush Panda

Homemade Toy Panda Plush
So, how do you win one? I’m giving away one Geek Chic Panda sewing kit. To enter the giveaway leave a comment below.

The giveaway will be open until 22:00 (UK time) on Monday 14th April and is open internationally. I will pick a winner at random.

For more information about the kits, visit my Etsy shop.


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My Little Urban Pony Exhibition Entry

Urban Pony Exhibition Entry - Plush Pony

I found out about the Urban Pony Exhibition taking place at Art Space Dudley just in time to get a submission made and submitted. Each of the artists participating was invited to create or customise a retro My Little Pony based on their own artistic practise. There is a sneak peek of some of the other ponies being exhibited on the Facebook page and it looks like the entries include glass, wax and pottery.

Since printing and sewing are the techniques I use most frequently I decided to screen print a pony image onto fabric and then create a plush pony by sewing the fabric together and adding some wool hair. I originally intended to make a pink pony and went into Birmingham to buy pink fabric especially. However, I picked the fabric for it’s colour and didn’t think enough about the fabric type (which seemed to be a linen-like synthetic fabric), and found when I started printing onto it that the fabric didn’t hold ink very well leading to some ‘bleed’.

Urban Pony Exhibition Prep

Urban Pony Exhibition Prep

By this point I couldn’t face the thought of having to go back into Birmingham for more fabric so decided to raid my stash. I had a few vaguely suitable fabrics but when I spotted the blue felt it was the obvious choice, being suitably pastel-coloured, & child friendly. My pony will be on show as part of the exhibition from Friday 24th May in Art Space Dudley.

Urban Pony Exhibition Entry - Plush Pony

Urban Pony Exhibition Entry - Plush Pony

Urban Pony Exhibition Entry - Plush Pony


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The Little Tramp

Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp

I love silent movies and the movies of Charlie Chaplin so decided to have a go at creating a plush Chaplin or two. Here is my first, a solid plush with an image of Chaplin – screen printed by hand – on the front. For the reverse I couldn’t decide on a suitable fabric from my stash so printed my own, carving lino cut stamps of a bowler hat and cane and using these to hand print some plain cotton.

Note the lovely flowers I treated myself to in the first shot below:)

Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp
Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp
Hand Screen Printed Plush Chaplin as The Little Tramp

These Chaplins are available to buy from my Etsy store.


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Geek Chic Panda

Homemade Plush Panda

I really enjoy making toys. I try to make more sensible items, but I always get drawn back because toys are definitely the most fun thing to make & to share.

I had a sudden urge to make pandas so came up with the two designs pictured. A panda sporting glasses and another with a bow tie. They have screen printed faces and were sewn by hand.

They’re available from my Etsy shop.

Homemade Plush Panda
Homemade Plush Panda
Homemade Plush Panda