Christmas time is toy time!

Christmas time is toy time!


Now it is a long time since any of my offspring expressed an interest in soft toys.  That said, I still enjoy making them every now and then.

Back in 2013, I was very fortunate to be awarded a trip to Finland.  It was under the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme.  The project brought together European citizens from throughout the Union and the aim of the project centred around new skills’ acquisition and learning/appreciating other countries’ cultures.  Subjects covered included spinning, weaving, sewing and crochet and the focus was on reuse and recycling.  It was a fantastic week.  I got hooked on crochet and when I returned home I enjoyed myself crocheting with and without patterns.

I started crocheting owls, they were great fun to make, I made tiny ones and huge ones – One ended up being used as a cushion by its young recipient.  Here are some of the owl family:


These led to a collaboration with a Maths teacher and these three ended up at an international maths conference:

Then came my interpretations of the famous Minions.  These ended up being gifted to various households:

When my friend became a grandmother, baby added this bunny to her soft toy collection (made with pattern):


This little guy had to stay here with me as I used teddy eyes (choking hazard).  He stands in a corner overseeing my work:

Most recently, I made this little hare for another friend’s little girl (again made with a pattern).  He hasn’t left the house yet and our off-spring (age range 25 to 31)  reposition him regularly – I am liable to find him in various parts of the house – it is possibly best if I hand him over before he gets lost.


Here’s a few of the toys I have sewed in recent years.  The patterns came from a website Bustle and Sew ( and are worth checking out.

I made a number of the elephants.  Here are a couple of them.  The brown material was sourced from the inherited stash – the floral (orange/green base)  material came from the days when Debenhams used to sell dress fabric (the name was printed on the selvedge:


I also made a few of the little dogs.  The pattern came from the same website:

I made this little teddy (again, the pattern was free from .  I found the fabric while rummaging through my husband’s aunt’s stash which she had bequeathed me.  It was an unfinished dress and the fabric is cord.  Again this little toy was to keep due to its sentimental origins (and its teddy bear eyes):


A more cuddly version made from fleece suitable for an older child (again the eyes and nose were the issue):

Another friend recently asked me to make her little one a Christmas stocking.  Both she and her hubby are visually impaired (she has around 5% sight and he was born without sight).  So I thought it would be good to add a very definite colour to the stocking so that she could see it more easily. The stocking was pretty straightforward and measures 16.5 inches (42cm) by 12.5 inches (32cm).  I appliquéd the little one’s name unto the front of the stocking.  It really was a fun make.


So this is my last post for 2021.  I hope some content within my posts got your creative juices flowing in perhaps a different direction.  I hope you all get a chance for some R & R over the festive season and I wish each and every one of you good health and much happiness in 2022.






20 thoughts on “Christmas time is toy time!

  1. Even in this age of toys with flashing lights and sound effects, all children love a soft toy – and what a gorgeous selection of cuddlies you’ve made!

    Peaceful 2022 to everyone!

    1. Thanks Lyn.

      So much young emotion is tied up in teddys and all the rest of the population of soft toys. How many adults still have their childhood ‘love’ stashed away secretly. I have this theory that if society allowed ‘grown ups’ to still enjoy and seek solace in their childhood toys there might be less need for self help books and adult emotional crutches.

      Happy Christmas to you both and to your families 🙂

  2. What a lovely selection – do wish I could crochet!
    Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas (restrictions notwithstanding!) One day we might be ‘back to normal’ – who knows?
    For now I will wish you all ‘pastures new in 22’!

    1. Thank you Nancy and here’s good wishes traveling back to you!

      My first ‘foray’ into crochet causing a look of total dismay on my teacher’s face as I held the yarn like I was about to knit! Looking back it was so funny. All the pieces here were done with the simplest of stitches so that I could just create (the owls) mindlessly. If you know someone who can crochet, do get them to show you and persevere. I promise it will be worth it. Happy Christmas to you and yours!

  3. Looks like you’ve had some fun over the years with making all those wonderful toys, as well as bringing joy to their recipients.
    My favourite has to be the beautuful bear made from blue and white needle cord.
    I also love the fact that your children, grown adults that they are, reposition the rabbit around the house. Once he’s gone I hope they carry on the shenanigans with another!
    A happy and healthy Christmas and New Year to all x

    1. Thanks Karen, that would be ‘Kathleen’s bear’ (the source of the sampler in one of the earlier blog pieces). He’s sitting on top of a cabinet as I type, watching my every move.

      I don’t think my trio will ever grow up, once they spend time at home. At present ages are 31,27, and 25. Like every other year, there will be a demand for cuddling up on the bed to listen to me reading ‘The Night Before Christmas’. Thank goodness some things never change.

      Many happy returns to you and yours Karen. xx

  4. They are all so lovely, I can see the teddy bears going down a treat, and so many children would love those minions. Definitely, I will be looking at those patterns next year. The bunny chilling in the ‘bath’ is my favourite. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Marie, bunny just headed to his new home last week. The recipient’s Dad is visually impaired (born without sight) and he immediately took to the texture of the stitches.

      Do try out the patterns in the New Year. The patterns work well and fit together properly which is great and well done to the designers.

      Happy Christmas to you and your family x

  5. Stuffies (as they are called here) always seem to delight whoever gets them, young and old alike. I think I like the bear in his scarf and the dog the best. I wouldn’t have guessed they were crochet. The stitches are close and tight. I usually think of crochet as very open. I hope you have a wonderful Holiday and a great New Year.

    1. Many happy returns Ann.
      Doggo is sewn but the little guy in the blue scarf is crochet. He was made with the simplest of stitch and a smaller hook which increased the density of the fabric. All good fun to make and a great break from felting and stuff. x

    1. Thank you Cathy, I would love to see your toys. I would definitely recommend trying the dog. The pattern (free) from the lady who runs Bustle and Sew really works well and you can enlarge it to make bigger versions.

      Wishing you a very happy Christmas and health, happiness and peace in 2022.

    1. Thanks so much!

      Would you believe the brown owls were the subject of a mathematical experiment. They were made to prove that the formulae for volume and mass actually worked. I ended up doing it in reverse, made them without any weighing scales or tape and then carried out the calculations (with my friend, the conference presenter our respective partners and a bottle of vino). Hey presto, everything was accurate – the power of maths and imaginations!

      Happy holidays to you and your family!

  6. How fun, Helene! I too have succumbed to making “toys” (well, I knit them for grown-ups but they’re still cuddly) and have had fun this season knitting two bears 🙂 I might add them to my next year’s post ideas, thanks for the inspiration.

    I love the idea of an European arts exchange. I bet it was so much fun. I’m glad you got to take part. Happy holidays!

    1. Thanks Leonor, many happy returns!

      The Finnish trip was fabulous and our hosts were most gracious and superb fun. I have many happy memories of the experience and I met my ‘creative sister’ who became a really good friend, so much so that we have visited each other (she lives in the Netherlands). We bonded over a weaving loom when we discovered our kids who are both dyslexic were born on the same day. A bit of a coincidence until I throw in that both celebrate their birthdays on 29th February.

      Definitely go for the teddy post, I would love to read it and I love the idea of making for adults. I think everyone should retain a connection to a soft toy. The best counsellors in the world for little niggly issues.

      Enjoy the holiday Leonor x

  7. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Helene! Your various stuffed animals are all adorable and it’s very hard to choose a favorite from such a wonderful collection. I’m sure the recipients were thrilled. The arts exchange sounds like a great opportunity and I’m sure it was fun for all.

    1. Thanks Ruth and many happy returns to you and all your family. x

      The week finished off with a few events which included a sauna (all female). While culturally it would be the ‘norm’ in many European countries, it’s not something the Irish run into at the end of every day. It broke down many barriers, especially when our hosts spent the day collecting birch branches to beat us all with!! lol! Cooling off was done in the glacial lake which was next to the sauna house. Sea swimming will be a doddle after that. Happy days!

  8. Love your collection of animals….many of which must have been hard to part with, even knowing they were to be enjoyed by their recipients. Somehow creating them they become part of the family.

    Love your fabric elephants. I hope the stocking went down well.

    Love what your grown up brood are doing….the hare is perfect for this family activity.

    Like you I made many crocheted amigurumi & altered a few for good humoured recipients – 2 were monkeys….one for my father had a single curlicue on his head (dad was bald) & the other a ring of fringing (EPH has full head of hair & beard!) 😂

    Seeing your offerings has made me want to get my crochet hooks out again!

    Festive greetings & hopes for a healthy, inspiration filled year, to everyone in all corners of the globe.

  9. Seasons greetings Antje!

    Definitely go find your crochet hooks and get the ball rolling on that front. It’s really relaxing and when you approach it with your sense of fun – so much the better. I bet your Dad loved his monkey.

    It’s great the way something so simple can bring out the fun and be enjoyed by adults. When I dropped off the hare for the little recipient, her Dad’s pup (a seeing eye dog in training) thought it was for him and was quite disappointed that it was not offered to him. He’s a super puppy with a long life of work ahead of him. Already he is so well trained that he differentiates between his own soft toys and those of the little girl. xx

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