Good Wood and Softies

March 9, 2007

Our Cottage and Farmhouses have just gotten a wonderful mention from Softies Central. Softies, you ask, what are they? “Softies” for the uninitiated (and I was one of you until a few months back) is a term for all items plush and soft. Softies Central bills itself as “a handmade hip experience” and that it is, run by Therese Laskey, a lover of all things softie, who has an incredible eye for the wide range of handmade goodies that are being created in the international crafting community today. Her blog showcases everything from vintage-crafted stuffed animals to pincushions and fiber art. It is also a great resource for crafters looking to connect with others who share their passion for sewing and making things.

Better yet, this year marks the inaugural run of the annual “Softie Awards”. Home crafters have an opportunity to submit images of their work for review by Therese and a talented group of judges who will choose the top five pieces in each category (i.e. Best of the Animal Kingdom, Best Inanimate Object, Best Amigurumi or Best Creepy Yet Still Cute). Those five pieces will then be offered up to the wider community where everyone will have a chance to weigh in and vote for his or her favorite. Today is the final day for submissions and voting will commence on March 19th. You can head on over to Softies Central and click on the “Softie Awards” icon for more information or go directly to the link of Flickr pool entries. It’s fun and informal, and I encourage you to go on over and see what these inventive folks are doing. I’m happy to say you’ll see some Quiet Hours favorites like Ana Paula Rimoli – maker of our Cozy Food, dashing Marco the Pirate and other adorable items. Good luck, Ana! You may also find some new sources for great toys since some of the artists have shops of their own over at Etsy. Here are some favorites:

336424173_48d1b24043_m1.jpg  Humpty Dumpty by While She Naps. Abby makes one-of-a-kind stuffed pieces from vintage and hand-dyed fabrics.

374815953_4980597a521.jpg  291865840_c77397b50a_m1.jpg

Two exquisitely-crafted animals by Sweet Nellie. These are not the pieces she entered for the Awards, but she is so creative I wanted you to see other examples of her work.

 385523858_7e8886a6c31.jpg This tea set by Too Cute is made entirely of wool felt. Can you believe this? You’ll find other fantastic play food at her Etsy shop where, if she’s got time, she is happy to take custom orders. Very dangerous.

280109301_5f8b072cdb1.jpg Mushroom houses, gnome finger puppets, happy colors – what’s not to like? Timothy Haugen of Fantastic Toys makes collectible pieces that look like something out of your favorite 50s picture books.

414370095_95ae5d21c3_m1.jpg  409544240_dc78dedb26_m1.jpg 

The house on the left is inspired by everyone’s favorite little pink house from Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House. These are pincushions by Bella Dia. I want them to be toys.

Here are 3 other people who are not entered into the awards pool but who make unique and lovely things:

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Handmade animals and artful objects by Stephanie of Little Birds . She is also co-creator of the photo-journal blog 3191 I mentioned in an earlier post.

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Ponies & Sugar Cookies makes fabric baby blocks with fantastic patterns and original appliques. They are hard to come by as they sell out so quickly, but if you are lucky you may be able to find some at Lily and Agathe or Mahar Drygoods, my favorite shop on the web, and one I discovered shortly after Quiet Hours opened. As I read about owner Robert Mahar I discovered we share some things in common – same age, same art history and contemporary art background, similar taste in artisanal toymakers – but Robert is way funnier than I will ever be.  Treat yourself to a visit to his place and prepare to stay a while.

greengroup1.jpg 341428280_4df114aeee1.jpg

Ann Wood – Hand-crafted fabric birds that are not meant to be toys – neither is that gorgeous flying ship – but who says you can’t put a few in the nursery?

Happy browsing, all.

So… after that long tangent, why would Softies Central feature our houses which, after all, are made of wood? Every so often Therese will go off-topic and talk about something that really catches her eye. I was thrilled when she discovered Holzkram’s houses and decided they were too beautiful to pass by, because that is just how I feel about them, and I know many of you do to.

I’ve had quite a few inquiries about when the Little House will be back in stock, so let me just thank you all for your patience. Since the pieces are so heavy it is most practical to order a large quantity only once or twice a year. It takes some coordinating to get those big containers from Holzkram’s two-man shop in Germany to our one-mom shop in Pennsylvania. I will never forget when the very first shipment arrived: A giant tractor trailer squeezed it’s way into the alley behind our house, the driver stepped out of his truck with a puzzled look on his face and politely asked me where my forklift was. Thank goodness for power drills, a tolerant spouse and a genial driver who were willing to disassemble the crate in the back of the truck and help me carry the pieces one by one into their temporary home in the garage behind our house.

I’ve learned a thing or two since then and am working with the gentlemen at Holzkram to arrange another shipment of Little Houses, along with one or two new surprises. I’ve had my eye on a more “traditional” dollhouse that not only has the same great design but is completely modular. The top floor can be removed to make two freestanding dwellings that can be placed side by side. Here’s a picture below. Let me know what you think.

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4 Responses to “Good Wood and Softies”

  1. Retro Says:

    I personally love vintage toys. It’s fun finding the toys you had as a kid, or the ones you always wanted.

  2. Lisa Says:

    Comment on dollhouse that you have your eye on. Lovely! How can one get notified when it comes in?

    – Lisa

  3. Christine Says:

    That new “puppenhaus” is exactly what I am looking for as a Christmas present for my daughter… Will it be available for purchase soon? If so, please let me know! Thanks!

  4. Stewart Says:

    Found your blog on Ask and was so glad i did. That was a quick read. I have a quick question.Is it OK if i send you an email???…


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