Exploring Etsy with loadofolbobbins!

Well would you look at that, it’s time for another ‘Exploring Etsy’, time sure does fly. From our adventures in the Southern Hemisphere last time, we’re now crafting our way North to the ‘Sunshine State’, so be sure to put on your best pair of shades and pack the sun cream. Today’s amazing maker is the inspiring Valentina Felce whose shop ‘Blue Raspberry Designs’ is truly stunning.

Big Momma by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

Big Momma by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

Olivia and Penelope Live in the Circus by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

Olivia and Penelope Live in the Circus by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

Valentina is a designer and illustrator based in Florida. Since getting a Bachelor’s degree in the Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts she has been making dolls for a couple of years and has found it to be one of her most rewarding projects to date (with such stunning work it’s certainly rewarding for us too!) Blue Raspberry Designs was the featured shop in the Fall 2013 edition of “Stuffed” Magazine, and was also featured in the “Dolls Art” exhibit at the Old Jaffa Museum in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Vincent Van Gogh (Starry Night) by Blue Raspberry Designs - (Soft Sculpture)

Vincent Van Gogh (Starry Night) by Blue Raspberry Designs – (Soft Sculpture)

Blue Haired Sailor by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

Blue Haired Sailor by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

What is your earliest stitching memory?

I would like to say that I’ve been handy with a needle and thread since I was a little girl, but the truth is, my first sewing class in middle school was a disaster! I couldn’t even sew a straight line or get a button to stay on a sweater for more than a day. My attempts in college weren’t much better, but I knew if I was going to open a doll shop I’d have to learn. I was determined to make my little endeavour a success. It took a lot of time and patience, but thanks to my mom and lots of scrap fabric, I finally mastered the process! Now I absolutely love sewing, of course. You can’t let the small stuff, (or major skills in my case), get in the way. Just dive in and don’t be scared to totally suck at first! Every artist has to start somewhere.

My Little Hipster Boyfriend by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

My Little Hipster Boyfriend by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

My Little Hipster Girlfriend (Susan) by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

My Little Hipster Girlfriend (Susan) by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

Stuffed Magazine Autumn 2013

Stuffed Magazine Autumn 2013

What fires your imagination?

My biggest inspirations are the original days of sideshow acts, sailor tattoos and vintage photos of the circus. Most of my dolls have some elements taken from those things, actually. Obviously tattoos play a huge role in my design process, but what’s most important to me is that my dolls express uniqueness. My creations are one of a kind, just like people. I want to make sure that they have distinct personalities and that everyone who looks at them can see that being different is beautiful, too. For me, dolls are a blank canvas to let my imagination run wild and paint an entire character onto, without being limited to what they look like on the outside.

Four Legged Girl by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

Four Legged Girl by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

Painted Lady by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

Painted Lady by Blue Raspberry Designs (Soft Sculpture)

It’s not just Valentina’s work that I love, but her whole philosophy and approach to her work. We can never have enough people like her! Many more characters are just waiting to be discovered by you all in her shop.


Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her new Etsy shop.


Studio MME - West Coast Love - Cover

We’ve featured the work of Megan Eckman and Studio MME a few times in the past and we’re big fans of her illustrative style of embroidery. Megan’s got a new book coming out – West Coast Love – and we’ve been given a sneak preview of it!

Studio MME - West Coast Love - Hollywood

The book has four main chapters – the obligatory learning section and then three sections of designs: California, Oregon and Washington. The book rounds up with the patterns for the design, laid out for tracing and for iron-on (reversed).

Studio MME - West Coast Love - St Johns

Megan has chosen iconic images from each of the three States and pared them down to tidy simple illustrations that are easy to stitch. Her style fuses each design with a classic feel, but they’re kinda contemporary at the same time. I really like them – they’ve got nostalgia in spades.

Studio MME - West Coast Love - Golden Gate

Megan’s designs are simple enough for beginners, but provide a good basis for the more experienced stitcher to go to town on them with all manner of embellishments. I’m sure there’s huge scope for enhancement in these designs, and a good dose of local flavour is bound to produce some nice results.

Project Pages - Golden Gate

The book is well designed, with clear instructions and there’s a nice narrative throughout the book so you feel like you’re having an adventure with Megan, meandering your way down the Coast. I’ve not toured this part of the States, but Megan’s book makes me feel like I have.

As well as popular landmarks, I like the fact that Megan’s included a few bits of wildlife in the book, including the Stellar’s Jay, and you can download a free copy of that design by right-clicking and “Save As…”ing the image below!

Studio MME - West Coast Love - Stellars Jay Design

All in all West Coast Love is a nice addition to the embroidery book market and if you’ve got or know of someone with affection for any of the States in question, you may just want to get hold of a copy. West Coast Love is produced by Studio MME and is available from their webshop!


Despite it all, Bloom

by Emily Moe on 23 February 2015

Millinery Operations with Emily Moe

I wrote a whole draft about the new categories on Etsy and the whole Three Bird Nest debacle, but it sounded like nothing but whining. The new categories are too new to really judge how they will work (though I am skeptical). We need the dust to settle there. And if you are remotely connected with Etsy you know about Three Bird Nest.

Instead, I’m going to offer something entirely positive. No whining.

(I have a rule for whining in my piano studio [my day job is piano teaching]. No whining until you are 13. No whining after you are 13. While you are 13, your body, life and mind are in such a state of chaos that I can take it. For one year only.)

I’m not 13 and so I shall not whine.

Sandra Leko owns one of the millinery supply companies in the US, hatsupply.com. Her stock is of the highest quality and she often has things no other has, particularly vintage supplies. She also has an absolutely wonderful Facebook feed that features a constant stream of beautiful hats from both historical and contemporary milliners. If you want a crash course on what has made an impression on millinery as an art, this feed is the place to do it.


Behida Dolic Millinery

Post by Leko Sandra.

Every once in a while, she offers her own thoughts about hats, beauty and the power of women. It’s a good reminder in this dead cold winter– so easy to forget what it feels like to be a woman when you’re wearing two sweaters.

Women have been hiding out for a long time, even dressing to hide as if to say, don’t notice me, let me blend. We have developed the ability of blending into our surroundings and being unnoticed. This was a powerful gift at the time. This ability has allowed us to observe and gain the ability to know what would happen next. It has also allowed us to feel safe. Blending has taught us the art of oneness. Women understand camouflage.

But new times require new strategies. It is time to drop our camouflage and take on our power as women. Anais Nin said, “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”. 

When you wear a hat it is like medicine for the soul. The hat is the expression of who we are as women in every moment! The hat is your dreams of who you can be. It facilitates the different parts of who you are. With the wave a the hat, viola, you are mysterious, now you are sexy, now proper and now playful.

You cannot hide in a hat. You will be noticed-especially by men. To men you become a lady when you don a hat. One which they rush to open doors for. To women you become an inspiration, reminding them that they have a closet full of hats that they have not had the courage to wear.

When you wear a hat you now become the dream that started when the hat was conceived. The original energy that was put into the hat does not die, it only changes forms and owners. The dream doesn’t die, it is passed on, sometimes from generation to generation. And when you see a woman in a hat in the next car on the freeway the dream grows and we as woman acknowledge each others growth. It is the symbol of the feminine which is so needed for us to share such a vision. For I tell you, thus is how you will “GO AHEAD AND BLOOM”, Leko.

Yea. Go ahead and bloom. Despite being lost in categories. Despite Three Bird Nest. Despite arctic temperatures. Despite it all and more. We should bloom. Put on a hat and bloom.


Emily Moe is a milliner who, since 2007, has slowly been taking over the world of Millinery and captains the Milliners of Etsy, a collective of artistan hat-makers from around the world. She lives with her husband in Minnesota and gets up to all kinds of creative mischief.


Mr X Stitch presents Phat Quarter Finds

The Phat Quarter is our Flickr group where you can share pictures of your best stitcheries!

It’s also the place where we host our legendary swaps to coincide with our Fifth Friday Festivals of Fabulousness!

Here’s the latest 20 pictures that have been added. Why don’t you come and join us?


Mr X