Creative Wishes is all about toys for creative play so the toys and games I wanted to make needed to not only be fun and bright but great for sparking a child's imagination, encourage pretend play or have some educational value.
Developing new toys takes time. I have found that most people who aren't crafters aren't aware of the time it takes to come up with a new product. So I thought I would run through my creative process with a brand new (only released these yesterday) toy.
Learn to Count Aliens
1. The Idea The idea for these learn to Count aliens came from a soft toy I had as a child. I remember it being a monster softie but my mum told me it was actually a mutant type animal toy. It had one beak, two tails, three spots etc. I remember it had webbed feet and a dog like face with whiskers. I loved this softie, everyone else thought it was a little creepy! Anyway, the idea for a toy that had body parts to count came from this childhood toy.
2. Draft Pattern After I had formed the idea of making a counting alien it was time to come up with a pattern. To do this I get out paper and pens and sketch until I come up with something I am happy with. Once I have drawn the finished toy I then set about drafting a pattern for it. At this stage it is often hard to visualise how it will look once finished after all it is just a flat drawing on paper.
3. Prototype Once I am happy with a pattern I set about making the toy. The first alien I sewed from the pattern wasn't quiet right (although my son liked him). So back to the drawing board and making alterations until I am happy.
4. Choosing Material Next job is fun. Choosing the fabric. Lets just say I have a little bit of a fabric stash to select from! Choosing the main alien body colour was fairly easy but choosing the colour of the parts to count took a little longer. Lucky I have a big bag of felt off cuts in lots of exciting colours.
5. Sewing The Toy This toy is machine and hand sewn and because it is made for everyday play it is double stitched. Some parts which will pulled more, like the hair and arms, are triple stitched.
6. Writing The Desciption I decided to give each alien an Alien ID Tag with their name and what to count from 1 - 10 on their bodies. These were printed off and tied with ribbon to the softie toy. Then I wrote the description for the online listing and worked out my pricing using this formula
6. Photographing Finally I took photos of the finished counting toys, edited them and made the listing.
So that's my process. Making handmade, unique items takes time but at the end it is so wonderful to see a brand new item that I know isn't mass produced and is made with love and care.