Saturday, 8 February 2014

Who am I?

Bright. Fun. Sweet. Sassy .. They were the words I originally used to describe my vision of CottonBerry. Somewhere along the way that changed a bit and I found myself struggling. 

It was an unintentional change, influenced by trends that I was seeing on Facebook from other page owners. It took me a while to realise that lace and frills, while very pretty, are just not me! 

But who was I then? 

Creating is something I have always done. To realise that I was dreading the very thought of making something was awful, and honestly, looking at my work table was depressing. The pressure to "keep up" with handmade trends, even if that pressure is only placed on us by ourselves, is so very draining on the creative soul. It might be corny but I think each item that is made by hand is special, it has the hopes and dreams of the creator in it, as an item has to start as someones creative vision first, don't you think? 

So with that in mind, I took a step back and let myself dream. I went through my old sketch books, the ones where I outlined my CottonBerry vision, where I thought up a business name, where I jotted notes about what I wanted to create, doodles of future designs, and in the process I started to rediscover who I was and what I wanted to create! 

So, what did I discover? 

I would have to say my creating style is sweet simplicity. Cheerful colours and patterns, maybe a smidge of lace and ribbon every now and then, but primarily unfussy happy designs that are for playful kids.

Dolls were just one thing I had wanted to make for CottonBerry, but they were never meant to be all I was making. My vision included bedroom decor for kids, bright, fun, happy decor to liven up a childs space! Funky artworks and quilts, cushions & buntings .. I haven't really done any of this to date but I plan to! 

I do have to remind myself that I am only one person and there is only so much I can achieve though .. Plus I need to develop some skills in the quilting department, my ability is limited to dolls quilts right now! But cushions and artworks, I have big plans for those!

T-shirts are something that was at the bottom of my vision list. It is funny that they were the item to kick start my creativity again! I have been making simpler versions for my daughter for a few years, just basic applique hearts, a xmas reindeer shirt, a babushka doll cutout .. I never really intended to add clothing to CottonBerry, but the other night I was doodling and then before I knew it I was cutting fabric and appliqueing it to a shirt and I was in love! 

So, my creative passion is back! What I create is probably going to be a bit random .. one week might be all about Sproggle Monsters, and the next about clothes! I might use fun florals one week, and the next skulls!

Ideas zip around my head all the time, inspiration twists me in all different direction, so I am just going to go with the flow in future and enjoy my crazy creative ride! 

I hope you will enjoy my crazy adventure with me! xox 

Monday, 22 July 2013

Handmade at its Best!

Collaborate for a Cause 2013 is nearly here! 
This massive online Charity Auction starts this Friday 26th of July at 8pm and goes until Sunday 8pm! Every single dollar raised goes directly to the nominated charities. This is the third year that C4AC has been up and running, organised by Jen Kennedy of Ainslee Fox Handmade and her fabulous team of helpers. Last year the gorgeous ladies of the handmade community managed to raise over $40,000!! I wonder if we can beat that this year!!

You can find the Collaborate for a Cause facebook page and more info about how it all started HERE

Last year I was involved in one gorgeous collaboration. This year I had the pleasure of creating items for 2 collabs, and I am so in love with both of them!

This Doll and Quilt set was made using Riley Blake Designs "Hipster" fabric, and it was so much fun to work with! Melissa of Ms Midge made the gorgeous Pinwheels quilt, I adore how bright and fun it is! Rilee-Kate is the Berry Sweet little miss that was made by me! All the money that is raised from our collaboration will be going to Red Kite, a national cancer charity that offers support to children, young people and their families while they undergo their cancer journey.

Rilee-Kate and her Snuggly Quilt

This Super Hero Play Set was made using the very cool Robert Kaufman "Superhero" fabric! Christie of Jalli~bean kids made the funky pants and shirt set, hand embroidering the Sproggle image to the shirt! Kylie of Little Pink Pebbles made the super cool Super Cape and Mask set! And no superhero is complete without his sidekick! Ajay the Super Sproggle was my little part of this awesome collab, which was perfectly photographed by Wendy of Keepsake Photography by Wendy . All the money raised from our collaboration will be going to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the leading researchers into a cure for type 1 diabetes!

Let's Play Super Sproggle Set

With over 250 collaborations loaded into the auction album ready for Friday night, and over 135 charities set to benefit, Collaborate for a Cause 2013 is just spectacular, and I am super proud to be a part of such an amazing event!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Introducing Abigail

When I started my latest doll I had a very clear idea of how I wanted her to look. I had spent weeks sketching faces, and hours researching exactly how to create her hair. I then proceeded to spend a couple of days stressing myself out of starting her! I very nearly put this creation in the "too hard basket" simply because I was terrified of trying something completely new and wasting so much time on her! 

It's funny though, this doll looks nothing like I had planned! As I worked on her she evolved into a completely different little miss, one that was sweet and natural and insistent on dressing in very soft, girly florals.. If I had had my way she would have been in luxurious jewel tones: yellow, aqua, deep pink and blue. And she would have looked ridiculous! I had had in my head that she would be name Katerina, a royal princess in search of her prince .. apparently she preferred the name Abigail, and while she loves long dresses she would rather search out flowers to pick! 

So, this is Abigail, my first doll with "hair". Each strand of her curly locks has been individually stitched, taking me around 3 hrs to do. I thought I would find the process tedious but it was actually very relaxing! I did end up with a lovely blister on the tip of my index finger from the needle, but the end result was worth the pain!

Abigail's dress was an interesting process.. I kind of made it up as I went! I knew what I wanted it to look like, and I have to admit that I am super proud of how it has turned out. Mind you, I never thought to trace out what I actually did to make it so recreating it is going to be interesting in future! haha

Abigail will be available to purchase just as soon as I figure out the best way to offer her! I can't decide whether to just make her available, ballot her or auction her. Feel free to comment with your preference, at this moment I am happy keeping her for myself :P lol

Monday, 25 February 2013

My Handmade Obsession Revealed!!!

I love handmade! I love making things myself and I love buying other peoples handmade creations.

A lot of my friends and family don't get it. I get asked all the time why I don't just make it myself. The reality is that some of it I could have, but I like supporting other handmaidens too, and quite frankly, I couldn't be bothered trying to make it myself! Seriously, it takes forever to make something new when you have never done it before! I tried making my daughter a dress once.. it looked ridiculous! Dress making is definitely not in my skill set! And I could never make a doll like someone else just because I could, that is copying and a massive no go!

So anyways, over the past couple of years I have made some gorgeous purchases from the handmade community. Hairclips, Buntings, Clothing, Dolls, Softies. I thought I would share a few of my favourite purchases :)

Firstly, I have to start with my Marlibug Cuppie Pony. She only arrived this morning and she is what started the wheels turning about writing this post. She is AMAZING! I had to name her Florence, no idea why, it just jumped out at me and stuck. Phaedra (pronounce Fay-dra), the super talented handmaiden behind Marlibug Cuppie, was so wonderful to work with in creating this sweetheart. I had no idea what I actually wanted, so I just linked her a heap of pictures of past creations she had made and told her to do whatever. I love that she "got me", and my pony is perfection! 

I can't get enough of Cute Critters: Hand Sewn Creations! I ordered 3 Legged Yettles for my guys for Christmas and they are too adorable for words! Shannelle is the creative talent behind these cuties, and she is constantly evolving her designs and adding variations.. I want one of everything, just for me, just 'cos they are so darn cute and I love cute things! Do you think I said cute enough?!!

Aline, from Bedros Designs, creates the sweetest dolls! Her Little Miss Glasses doll caught my eye because of how fun and quirky her glasses are! My Little Miss Glasses, who I named Lucy, was sitting on my sewing table keeping me company until Miss Lolly (my daughter, aged 5) decided she needed to have tea parties with Sparkles (her Yettle pictured above) and the gang! So now I am looking forwards to the day I can add a Miss Glam to my collection! (definitely go have a look at Miss Glam, she is adorable!)


If you haven't heard of Lilliput Loft, you need to change that right now! Seriously, stop reading and go! But come straight back, you need to finish reading my ramblings!

I have 2 Pretty Poppets and I adore them! One is technically Miss Lollys but I am nasty and very rarely let her touch (insert evil mama chuckle!) Jillian and Vicki and the creative genius behind the name Lilliput Loft. Jillian is responsible for the Pretty Poppets and the new Petite Pippins ranges, while Vicki creates the Urchin Collections. Seriously, I adore everything about this duo, and I can't wait to add more of their gorgeousness to my home! 

The last one I will share today is Rapunzel from the gorgeous Ring A Rosie! Janette is the loveliest lady and makes the sweetest dolls! Rapunzel was part of a showcase and as soon as I saw her I knew I had to get her for my Miss Lolly as she is obsessed with Rapunzel! I am not joking, she watches the movie Tangled all the time, her hair comes down to her bottom and she freaks if I even mention that I want to cut it off! Anyways, I adore the details of this Rapunzel, her puffy sleeves and waist corset, and omg, her hair! Amazing! One day I will try wool hair on one of my dolls, but for now I am in awe of all the ladies that work with it, and most especially this dolls hair.

I have made lots of other gorgeous purchases. Artworks from Cheeky Pickle, buntings from ZippyZippy, clothing from Ainslee Fox Handmade & Little Bapple, a cute rabbit softie from HinckleDoodle, a bear from The Faraway Tree, more dolls from Vivibijoux, Little Honeypie, Little Lottie, Cook You Some Noodles .. goodness, I could go on! This could actually get me in trouble! And I have just told the whole internet world about it so there is no hiding my handmade obsession! 

Shhh, don't tell my hubby!! 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Busy Busy Busy

Hands up if you think I am the worst blogger alive! I am so hopeless, I keep forgetting that I started this blog and that I need to write on it regularly.. 

Anyways, I thought I would share some pictures of all the things that have been keeping be so busy lately!

Miss Miranda is one of the dolls that I have created recently and sold in my Hand-Made shop

I Love Hand-Made! It has been a fantastic process setting up and selling on there! Here is the link:, pop on over and have a looksee at all the gorgeousness available <3 

On the weekend just gone we celebrated my daughters 5th Birthday Party (her birthday isn't actually for another week but since it is so close to Christmas we had her party early). Here are a couple of pictures!

Double Barrel White Chocolate Mud Cake with Butterscotch Frosting made by the amazing Chelle H. xx

Gorgeous Cupcake fondant cake topper Made by Chelle H. xx

Cupcake Party Favors

I had to make 30 of these buggers! Do you know how long it takes to cut cellophane into squares and wrap 30 round cupcake cases filled with a few lollies and Smarties? I think it took me approximately 3 to 4 hours! I don't think I ever want to see another cupcake wrapper again!

I have also been busy with a few personal crafty creations! 

I made this T-Shirt and matching hair clip for my daughters Kindy Graduation (Shocking picture sorry, but it is super cute on her!)

This T-Shirt I made for the kids Christmas Concert.. I had found a couple of templates on Pinterest and liked elements of both so I kind of meshed them together to create something new! The original template links are : and
My daughter loves it, she wants to wear it to Kindy in the morning! I love making things my kids love!

Since we have established that I am a lousy blogger I think I will leave it at that and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I may as well add Happy Easter too while I'm at it since we don't know when my next blog might be! hehe.. then again, I could surprise us all and turn this into a regular thing lol  xxx

Thursday, 7 June 2012

What is 'Rest'?

I wonder if Doctors are really serious when they tell mothers to rest? Surely they are internally laughing at the very idea, right? Because I don't think I know a single mother out there that can actually follow that advice!

For 3 weeks now I have been "under the weather" .. Just when I think I am over it, WHAM! It decides to knock me back on my butt! I am almost positive these germs are having a lot of fun at my expense. I don't know how many times I have sent them the message that I am over the "death warmed over look", they keep persisting on making me look and feel like a zombie.

I had a 5 day window where I felt mostly human again, which was so lovely. I had started to forget how nice it was to breathe through my nose and how my bones don't really creak and groan with every movement. Naturally though, that is when my 3 mini monsters came down with their versions of being unwell. But they couldn't all be unwell at the same time though. No, they all had to have there own separate turn of cuddles and days off school. I am sure it was the germs way of sabotaging my recovery. Just as my youngest mini monster started recovering I started with the sniffles again.

And all the lovely doctor recommends is rest. HAHAHAHAHA. I wonder if the doctor would like to come and enjoy my version of rest and all the work that goes with it!!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


I don't know how other handmade/home based businesses feel, but lately I have found myself comparing my business to a pregnancy... post natal depression included!

Firstly we have "Conception" - The big idea of turning a hobby we are passionate about into a something more.

The "Trimesters" -We spend months nurturing the idea, researching how to make it happen, pouring all our hearts and souls into the big moment when we launch ourselves to the public.

The "Birth" - The moment when we place our business out there and lap up the "oooh's" and "ahhh's". Just like a new mama with her baby! When we look at our "baby" our hearts swell with pride and we smile to ourselves, thinking how awesome we are to have created such a perfect little biz.

Then the dreaded "Post Natal Depression" starts to sink in...

We go through "teething" problems, trying to learn things that never even occurred to us .. lets face it, we are crafters, artist... essentially butterflies in disguise lol. 

We suffer sleep deprivation trying to keep up with our gorgeous customers who all want to own one of our creations. Not that I am complaining at all. I am just making the comparison to having a new bub and the sleep deprivation we feel at that time of our lives lol.  Hmmm, I wonder... is it possible to get a business sitter just so we can catch up on some sleep??? lol  

We have bouts of self doubt. Have we made the right choice? Are our products really that great? How can we handle being everything to everyone that we need to be? Can we make our business grow and flourish? 

Then there is the loneliness... Just like a mum with a bub feels lonely, as a home business we are essentially by ourselves (or with young children) day in, day out. Some people seem to think we have it very easy. In some ways we do. We have the luxury of taking our kids to school and picking them up each day. We can drop everything to go on excursions for them and never have to worry if they are sick and need us home for the day. We could even go shopping and catch up with friends for coffee everyday if we felt like it. But then who would run the business? Who would create the items to sell? Who would source new supplies? Think up new designs? So, if we want to be successful we need to be at home. And that can be rather lonely at times ... 

All I can say is thank goodness for Facebook! I have formed some amazing friendships with some equally amazing business women in the 9 months that CottonBerry has been running. Talking with them is like taking my business to "playgroup"! We can discuss the "sleepless nights", the "teething problems", all the in's & out's of running a business at home, (we can even get an ego boost when needed lol) and know that someone understands exactly what we are saying!

So many comparison between starting a business and becoming a new mum!