Friday, October 12, 2012

Wondering where I am?

When I started this blog it was really just for myself......a platform to showcase my work and  my animal creations.  Somehow it helped me to look at my designs with a more critical eye.   I was amazed  that outsiders from far afield  would arrive on my page, intentionally or maybe by chance, to enjoy my creations.Still cant believe over 3000 people have visited my blog and from 53 different countries. Feels wonderful actually, so thank you all very much for that!

I tried to keep the blog specific to designing and creating animals and not go into personal aspects of my life. For once I will deviate a bit.

I have been away well over a month now and will probably not have much to show you for another month I thought a brief  explanation for my appreciative fans was necessary.  
As you can see by the chosen colour script I've selected, I was diagnosed with very, very early stage breast cancer........thanks to early detection with routine mammogram.  How could this be happening?.......I feel so well and  fit, I dance and do gym 4x a week; and besides , I feel 30 years old, not 56!  A big shock it was.   X-Rays, tests, biopsies......... waiting for results, surgeon's visit and finally the waiting for  surgery.

what a wonderful workshop with the inspirational, talented and charming Lian Quan Zhen

I was so fortunate. A while back I had put my name down for a watercolour workshop with the amazing Lian Zhen and this workshop was just in that final week of waiting!  What a privilege and fun-filled four days it was. My mind was full of colours, blending , birds , trees and nature......and no thoughts of needles and operations entered my head.

on my way into theatre 

at home

Dear friends spoilt me with these yummy brownies....apparently "one can't get through the day without these."  This is absolutely true!  Even the bow is designed to lift one's spirits.

I am home now, still feeling great, still feeling positive, and hardly sore at all.
I am waiting for my sister to come and visit me - counting down the days. We will have such lovely family time together.

Only after that visit  will I be back sketching, designing and cutting out new creations to show you very shortly. Please be patient with me. 

I leave you with a few pictures of my darling Jack Russells who are no more...but remain always in my heart.  Will probably be making many more of these in the future as life without a Russell is just not the same......even a JR in your pocket  is better than nothing!


 my miniature Georgie

my miniature Lucy

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Amos, Mishak and Edwin

I only recently stumbled upon a facebook page that totally inspired me, moved me and motivated me. This page belonged to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust 

Totally absorbed and fascinated,  I soon headed for their official website address which offered far more information.  

The DSWT was founded by Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick in Kenya in 1977, in memory of her late husband, David Sheldrick, the naturalist and founder warden of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park. The trust embraces David’s vision for the protection of wildlife and habitats and undertakes a variety of projects aimed at ensuring a viable future for animals and people, where they might live in harmony.

Best known for the  hand-rearing of orphaned elephants that are rehabilitated back into the wild  when grown;  the trust does so much more than this  -  managing anti-poaching teams, mobile veterinary units and community outreach programs. I urge you to visit this website and read about the incredible work they do.  You will laugh and smile; and be moved to  tears by their amazing work with these 'human' animals.

Inspired by this dedicated team of workers and keepers,  I have named my three new creations after some of  the elephant's keepers.

Amos and Edwin

Amos and Edwin are made from a soft dove-grey velvet, whilst Mishak is a slightly darker charcoal-grey.  Their inner ears and footpads are fashioned from soft Ultrasuedes of pale pink and grey.

Mishak is very cosy there!

Standing only 1,5 inches high but 2,5 inches from trunk to tail; they are tiny.

Their bodies are string-jointed allowing for movement and their heads are cotter-pin jointed enabling them to move from side to side.
They all have small onyx eyes which have been hand-shaded to provide character

Thick trunks, 'up'-trunks, 'down' trunks.......all different. 

 Needlesculpting technique used to create the appearance of wrinkles

Today, in fact, just a short while ago, I signed up to foster an orphaned baby elephant at the DSWT. His name is  Barsilinga.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lazy Days

Just thought I'd post a few pictures here to prove I am alive and well........albeit very unproductive at the moment.  

Experiencing a wonderful Cape Town winter with low temperatures and loads of rain. I've been spending my spare time reading books, dancing and baking.  My mind continues to spin with all the projects I want to begin......but dont......  resulting in ..........yip you got it.......nothing!

Pippa cuddling the piggy

Super excited for the start of the Olympics.  I shall be glued to the telly for the Gymnastics and Diving and of course all the Athletics.

Lily bonds with Sally

My plan and intention is to sort out pattern pieces, sift through shades of velvets and suedes;  cut out furiously,  then sit and handsew whilst watching the box.......hopefully I will have new animals in a month or so.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sally - teacup piglet

Normally I only work in neutral colours, but at the "Teddy fair" I found a soft, pastel, ice-creamy pink.....a perfect piggy-pink.

Inspiration for my design came from a favourite coffee mug.  I originally sketched a sleek, skinny pig but it just didn't look right. With each alteration my piglet became porkier and plumper.

Well, after all, we all know piggies love their food. 

First I named her Salami but then quickly changed that to Sally.  I would hate her to think she may one day be eaten.  'Quel horreur' ! Perish the thought. Even stuffed pigs have feelings!

Sally is five-ways jointed and stuffed very firmly.  I have needle and scissor sculpted her face to give her  a typical porcine appearance.  Small onyx eyes, a wrinkly snout and embroidered mouth finish off her features.

 Sally stands 1,5 inches high and just 3 inches tall when she stands on tip-toes.

This little porker has tiny cloven feet and a wired, curly tail. A tiny 'Eddybare' label is neatly sewn behind her foreleg.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Digby is another Basset hound creation.  I love how these dogs are all out of proportion and quirky.  Their bodies are way too long for their wrinkly, crooked legs......and their ears and flews are far too long as well. 

Digby's smooth coat is fashioned from a white velvet and two shades of brown. His inner ears and eye whites are suede.  His fur is a little large for his body which give him his wrinkly ankles.

He has five cotter-pin joints allowing him lots of movement and posing positions. He is filled with poyfibre stuffing. His eyes are black German glass.

Digby loves to sleep and stretch out on the bed with his long ears flopping every which way!

He adopts very cute poses to entice you to throw his ball for him......who can resist this little face?

Like all Basset hounds, he is short and long......and measures 6cms when standing;  from nose to tail he measures 9cms

A brass bell hangs from his brown ultrasuede collar.

Here he is posing with his mate Marmalade. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Marmalade - ginger cat

Marmalade is my newest creation.  He is made from ginger vintage velvet with a lovely longpile. He has white velvet trim on his paws, muzzle and chest.  His ears are a combination of velvet and suede. I have handshaded his fur to give it more depth.


He has unjointed limbs and measures just over 8cms high in his seated position. He is very firmly stuffed with polyfibre filling.

Marmalade has a cotter-pin joint in his head which enables him to rotate his head from side to side. HIs long tail  has been wired to allow for posing in different positions.  


His facial details have been achieved by first needle-sculpting his face to the shape I wanted, then extensive scissor sculpting.  His nose and mouth are hand embroidered.  White horsehair has been used for his whiskers.


An Eddybare tag has been sewn into his tail.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Major - the Basset Hound pup

Basset hounds were originally bred for the purpose of hunting rabbits. Their sense of smell for tracking is second only to that of the Bloodhound. The name Basset is derived from the French word bas, meaning "low", with the attenuating suffix -et, together meaning "rather low". Basset Hounds are usually bi or tricoloured .


Major is a tri-coloured pup fashioned from caramel, red-brown and white vintage longpile velvet.  Like all of his breed he is short and solid, holding his curved sabre tail high over his long back.

 Everett Millais, founder of the modern Basset Hound, is quoted as saying "Oh, he's about 4 feet long and 12 inches high." in reference to his French basset.   Our little Major stands only 5,5 cms high!

He fits very snugly into the palm of my hand

Major has many cute poses to entice you to play with him.

His eyes are German glass  and his nose and mouth are hand embroidered .

The Basset is known for its saggy-baggy loose skin, and big dewlaps - which cause it to have a sad look. Needle and scissor sculpting helped me achieve this effect.

He has very long ears in two shades of caramel .

 Major wears a brown ultrasuede collar a with a brass bell.

Major has been 5 ways cotter-pin and wobble jointed allowing him plenty of movement and poses. He has been firmly stuffed with polyfibre

He is not very obedient but has mastered the 'sit' command.....

A big stretch from this tired little pup who bids you good night