About custom handmade stuffed animals, crafted with love

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Monday 2 October 2023

To edit or not to edit a pattern…

There is a lot of work that goes into creating a new pattern. Regardless of whether it is based on something (you have) created before or not, it takes a lot of designing, testing, editing, testing, finetuning, and testing again (and again, and again). This is why pattern designers generally do not allow changes to their patterns to be made, and rightfully so. Over the years I have come to appreciate all the work, time and money that goes into creating, selling and protecting things you’ve made. It is something that many people who have no experience with this, do not or cannot fully understand and appreciate.

But I used to be one of those people. I started making small changes to one of the more successful patterns in my repertoire. I had dutifully purchased the pattern (DO NOT share patterns, please always buy a pattern yourself!) and liked it, but it was designed as a quilting pattern with many extra layers and steps I did not need or even want. I liked the shape of the animal, but did not want the extra quilted lines and all that.

After the first couple of iterations of that particular pattern, I started making it more to my personal liking. A few changes here and there, and the long journey of creating the perfect mane and tail: yes it’s the horse pattern I’m talking about. Created by the wonderful Kathy Barbro from Rumpled Quilt Skins. (Check out her shop, she has got some really fun patterns! I made the cow for my son, it was great fun.)

Back then, I figured it would be OK to do this. After all, it was just little me, creating a few stuffed animals. I wasn’t into quilting and there was nothing in the text warning me not to make changes. Actually, there wasn’t even something written in there about it being OK (or not) to sell products made from that pattern. Or even a requirement to acknowledge the pattern creator when I sell. And of course, if it’s not mentioned or covered, it means that it’s OK to do it, right? Right?!

Well, at some point I finally put on my big girl pants and approached Kathy to ask if I could get her permission to make changes to her pattern. It felt like quite a big risk – what if she said no? This was without a doubt my bestselling product and if she said no, I’d have to stop making my horses, unicorns and alicorns. I had tried to create my own pattern before and it is really exhausting and very time consuming – I haven’t finished it still. But I felt it was the right thing to do, so I asked. And yes, I was fully prepared to stop using that pattern if she’d said no. It would have been incredibly tough, but I would have done it.

However, she’s a very nice person and she not only liked my horses, she was also fine with my changes. I feel incredibly lucky that it went like this and I’m grateful. Don’t be like me, however. Don’t make any unauthorized edits to a pattern somebody else made. If you want to be creative, put in all the work yourself and create your own pattern (and then see how you feel about somebody else making a profit off of what is basically 90% your work). Creators deserve more appreciation for what they do, period.

Friday 23 June 2023

Less is more

Summer is here and I’m enjoying it!

It’s only two more weeks until the summer holidays will start. Six weeks of no school – that means we get to sleep in on some days, and have time for fun activities and a week of vacation in France. It also means having to navigate working-at-home-days with two kids around, and managing personal irritation levels throughout that time.

To be fair, they’re 7 and 10 now (already?!) and they generally manage to get along reasonably well (better than I used to when my little brother and I were about that age!) but when annoyance gets the upper hand, things get nasty very quickly. I’m sure it’s recognizable 😉 .

So I’ve been building in room for less pressure – only two custom orders per month. That gives me the freedom to move things around a bit, and not “having to finish” so many things at once. It also leaves me time to work on my own projects. Currently I have pieces of Lothlorien Vale and Misty Mountains Namárië ready to be sewn up. There will be two custom orders made out of these fabrics, and I had enough left for my own creations. At least one will probably be available via draw to purchase in the Tenshi Treasures Talk group – so if you’re not in there, go check it out!

While I’m sewing away on my various projects I can be certain I’ll get comments like “Mom, I’m bored!”. Unfortunately for my kids, I lack empathy 😉 and always tell them that if all the toys in their room can’t keep them entertained, they’re free to list them on our local online market place and sell them. If they do it, it’ll get their rooms ever so much tidier and less cluttered. Chances are high they’ll encounter some long forgotten fun item to play with along the way too. And if they don’t, I’ve at least given them an option, and they’ll mope around for a bit, and then decide to go outside and see who they can find to hang out with.

So yeah – less is more. Less clutter, less pressure, less “must”.

Now if only I were better at following my own advice… I just remembered I also “need” to make two camera straps (one for my future camera that I have my eye on, and one for our new binoculars…). Ah well. We’ll have to start with the good intentions and see where we end, won’t we?

Monday 3 January 2022

Happy new year!

Even when we have no idea whatsoever what this year is going to be like, that won’t stop us from making resolutions (if you’re the type of person who does that – I’m not) or just looking ahead and make plans.

I don’t “do” new years resolutions because I firmly believe in applying any resolutions Right Now instead of postponing them. That, and I find it just doesn’t work for me. I just do what needs to be done when I’m ready for it. Well, most of the time I do. I try ;).

I’m very happy with my new schedule, planning 3 orders a month and then having some wiggle room for adding extras. I have a ridiculous amount of fabric “in stock” because I very much enjoy buying beautiful pieces of fabric, and every time I do that, I want to craft with it. With a filled-to-the-brim custom order list, I didn’t have any time for that, but now I do and it keeps me very motivated.

For this month I have a beautiful red piece on my ‘extras’ list, and another one pre-cut for when I have the time for it. Yes, that means I’ll have a few items to add to the shop, every now and then. If I can keep them out of my daughter’s reach, because she loves to take whatever it is I’m making, and then declaring it hers.

I may regret saying this 😉 but if there’s anything that you’d love to have me make from fabric I have in stock, let me know and who knows, I might add it to my extras list to make whenever I feel like it. Either way I love hearing from you all, so drop me a message or post in my group (you can find Tenshi Treasures Talk here)!

Sunday 12 December 2021

Bunny Doorstops

Bunny door stop - made by Tenshi Treasures
Door stops

Sunday 12 December 2021

Teddy bears

Teddy Bears

Sunday 12 December 2021


Wrap scrap cat by Tenshi Treasures

Sunday 12 December 2021


Wrap scrap goat by Tenshi Treasures

Monday 6 September 2021

Looking forward

Whoa – before you know it, it’s September! My kids are (thankfully) going back to school, sports have started again too (much to the delight of my youngest who has “finally” – she’s 5 – started swimming lessons) and I’m looking forward to spending a bit more time on sewing stuff :).

And not to forget – I’d promised to open up the custom orders list sometime in the Autumn! I’m thinking it might well be November before I’m ready to do that, and the slots will be for January and February. This will allow scraps to arrive in a timely fashion (although shipping in November/December is always a bit of a gamble).

Closing down the order list has been a very good decision for me. I’ve also had an average of 5-6 orders each month where I usually try to have a maximum of 4, which hasn’t helped with the feeling of being a bit overwhelmed. I have a poor little bunny still waiting to be finished but I am starting to feel more on top of things again, which is nice.

In the meantime I’ve been making a cute little Scottish Terrier (among other things) that will not be added to my portfolio to be available for custom orders, but I just might be persuaded to make another one, if you ask nicely. They’re not too complicated (as opposed to the unicorns or foxes) so it’s nice to have a simple pattern every now and then.

And I really should trim down my collection of fabrics – it’s nice to be able to offer such a diverse selection to customers, but it’s not the best thing, business wise, to have so much money tied up in fabric. On the other hand I just keep buying new ones so I’m not quite sure if it will actually be helpful if I try to thin it down a bit! I’ll be uploading pictures of my new acquisitions soon, because I haven’t added them to the albums yet. Some rainbow stuff, as well as some of Oscha’s very last Sea Island Cotton warp – very special (and expensive) stuff!

Thursday 27 May 2021

Pace yourself

I usually tend to think that whatever happens, it’ll be all right. Some way or another. And it usually does, confirming that I’m right. Usually.

But every now and then things don’t go as expected and that throws off the existing balance enough that it takes more time to recover that balance – which is where I am now. I’ve taken on some extra work in the assumption that it’d be okay… but this time I may have to alter my plans a bit, because somehow I am, apparently, not Superwoman and I can’t do everything I WANT to do in the time that is available to me.

So – unfortunately that means no extra slots in the foreseeable future (sorry). I have a delay in the current flow of things, but should be able to get things in order by the end of next month (I hope ;)). And there’s a lesson learned: don’t plan so many orders in advance, especially in May! Because May is the month that both of my kids are celebrating their birthdays and with everything indoors practically being closed this year, we had to organise their birthday parties ourselves.

That wasn’t a big issue really, but it was VERY time consuming and I underestimated exactly how much time it would take to get everything in order. A five year old has different demands for her birthday party than an eight year old so there was no way we could recycle stuff, haha. However all kids had a great day and we were exhausted but satisfied afterwards. Needless to say though that I’m looking forward to being able to outsource most of it next year, haha.

So I aim to finish half of this months’ orders by the end of this month (ooooo not much time left) and then finish the other half in time with the orders for next month by the end of, well, next month. Hopefully I’ll be back on track by July when I’ll be celebrating my own birthday (or not…) and who knows, I may take on some new orders for next year sometime this Autumn!

Monday 18 January 2021

Growing pains

First blog of the year!
I vividly remember admiring the women (I’ve looked, but haven’t found any men to refer to) in the babywearing community who had managed to set up their own shop, working with treasured wrap materials, making keepsakes for their customers. I ordered from a quite a few of them – some items I still use on a regular basis.

I’d never thought I’d be one of them, creating meaningful items for others who have loved their babywearing journey, long or short, as much as I have. But here we are! And I’m loving it! However, I’m also experiencing some growing pains as my time is limited but the demand is ever growing.

So I have decided (after a much-needed push from a dear friend) to raise my prices to reflect the significant amounts of time I put into each and every one of them, and to cut a few patterns from the collection. You can still find them on the website and in the albums on my Facebook page (the two go hand in hand), but I’ve removed them from the price list and they will not be available anymore – you can’t order them.

I’m sorry if I’ve removed one of your favorite animals, but they were probably removed because they take up too much time (and I don’t think anyone would be willing to pay € 200 for an animal? If you do please let me know and I’d happily make one for you!) or do not appeal to me as much as the others. Limiting the amount of options I offer also makes things more manageable for me, while still having some variety available.

Right now, my custom order list for this year is FULL. I can’t take on any new orders and will not start planning for 2022 just yet. But do feel free to message me if you’re interested and I can put you on my reminder list, to let you know when ordering is open again. I also hope to be able to put up some surprise custom slots later this year, whenever I have the time. I haven’t decided on a format yet but you’ll probably have to keep an eye on my Facebook page and act quick to get one. They will probably be limited to a few patterns only, but I just don’t want to have to disappoint everyone who’s asking for a custom order this year. I know how frustrating it can be to fall in love with something, only to hear you can’t have it (for a long time to come)!