I spent several years in university studying play, imagination, creativity and learning. I am a strong believer in play-based learning, on encouraging children’s imagination and creativity, and on using dramatic play, the arts, and imaginary worlds, to bring learning alive. It is not uncommon for the students in my classroom to be archeologists, scientists and marketing experts as they venture into ancient Roman ruins, explore life at the bottom of the ocean, and enter into a boardroom discussion on the design of a new children’s toy, all without leaving the walls of our classroom. We also like to hop into paintings, bring story characters alive, and experience historical events first hand.
It is with this spirit, and with great respect for the imaginary worlds of young children, that I embarked on a sewing project for my students as a Christmas gift last year. If you have been reading awhile, you might remember the puppets I created from my students’ monster drawings. You can find them here, here and here.
I really loved bringing the individual details to life, so when I opened up my Etsy shop, these custom mini-monsters were one of the first things I added to the store.
But I really wanted to take this concept and apply it to something a little bigger, something a little more cuddly. A kind blog-reading friend graciously allowed me to borrow her children for a test run of the concept, and my first create-a-creatures were born.
I made them out of polar fleece for cuddly softness, and tried to be as true to the original drawings as possible. I love how unique they are, and must admit it was a little sad to have to pack them in a box and send them away, but I am sure these two creatures were happy to meet their young designers!
These cuddly custom designed creatures are now available to everyone in the shop.
I couldn’t resist making a little something for my friend’s youngest daughter, even though she was too little to draw a picture. This is my second attempt at the Black Apple Doll (my first attempt is here), made from flannel and fleece, with a cotton body. I made the arms and legs slightly bigger this time and am much happier with the result!