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I have made myself a promise not to get ahead of myself and then be disappointed when nobody wants to buy any of my lovely handmade things. The Carousel Gifts project is, after all, not really meant to be about creating a business - let's not get carried away Zara. Carousel Gifts is just a lovely whimsical website for me to display any creations that I happen to be working on in between my wonderful mood swings. If you don't know about those, or the inspiration behind my work you can find out more on the MEET THE MAKER page on my website.


I am however, starting to think about Christmas gift ideas for the shop... especially now that we are in an official lockdown here in London, and I am hoping that everybody is thinking what I'm thinking... Let's get ahead on our Christmas gift shopping! Well guys, the sooner the better, because postal services are going to be pushed to their limit this year. I mean, is the lockdown going to lift in time for Christmas high street shopping? Or come December is everybody going to be wishing they had started their online ordering sooner?


I thought I'd share a blog post with you today to tell you about some of my fun little soft toy pairs... Check them out... Aren't they CUTE?



When my niece was a little younger, I made her a pair of soft toy cats for Christmas. Cats are still her favourite animal! The thing she loved most about them was that they came as a pair, like best friends or sisters. All of the adventures she took them on were twice as fun because everything is more fun when you get to share the experience, right? Those little twin cats had slumber parties and camping trips in the living room, they went to "school" together and had many deep and meaningful conversations under the duvet, concocted from my niece's imagination of course, and the stories that were read to her before bedtime.


The thing her mum loved most about my handmade pair of soft toy cats was that they came in their own little drawstring bag. I made it specially so that my niece could keep the cats together, safe and clean. It also gave her a place to store extra clothes once she got old enough to start experimenting with fabric scraps and a needle!


So I decided to try out a few soft toy pairs in my shop. I am dying to make loads more, but I might just hold back and see if these ones attract anyone's imagination first.



I started off by making these two adorable rabbits... or they might be hares... you decide! I made one bigger than the other so that children have the option of role playing parents and children, or teachers and students. Another perk of having two softies is that siblings can play together.


I chose to keep the colours as neutral as possible so that the toys can have a unisex appeal. This means that kids can imagine that they are role-playing with a mother and daughter, or big and little sis; father and son, or big and little bro.


I also designed the rabbits so that they are stiff enough to stand propped up against a backdrop, but flexible enough to sit down, without having any extra moving joints or buttons that might fall off during play.



One of my favourite things about these rabbits is that their extremely simple knitted scarves and sleeveless felt coats can very easily be removed and put back on by small fumbling hands and fingers. I chose not to include skirts, trousers, or tops, as I didn't want to influence gender preferences.


The great thing is that for slightly older kids, or kids with creative-minded parents, there is the opportunity to make your own whole new wardrobe of simple felt and fabric clothing items, extending all of the possibilities of imaginative play and creativity!


The jute presentation bag is simple and hardwearing, perfect for children to take their softies out on day trips in their backpacks, storing everything together. If you want to purchase a pair of soft toys as a Christmas gift or stocking filler for your kids I have the bonus option of swapping your natural jute drawstring bag for a lovely festive red jute one instead - Just let me know when you make your purchase!



I also made an alternative animal soft toy pair as seen below... the adorable little deer. These are designed with all of the same specs as the rabbits.




After I had made these two sets of woodland animal soft toys I really wanted to see what a pair of felt dolls would look like. So I changed many of my design features to create these fabulous best friend dolls.


They are clearly girl dolls with their crazy long wool hair and little felt pinafores, but I don't see why little boys couldn't play with them too, if they wanted to. In fact I might even try my hand at making a pair of little felt boy dolls, just to see if they get any interest in my shop... so watch this space!


These dolls are slightly different from the animal soft toys. Firstly the clothes are not designed to be taken off, and secondly their legs are far too skinny and dangly to stand up. These are definitely sitting and lying down dolls.



My favourite thing about them is their bright colourful hair and skin tones. I intend to make a few more of these so that there are plenty of fun colour combinations, and they can be collected so that kids can have a whole group of felt friends to play with.


Well, I think I have said just about everything I want to say about these guys for now. Check them all out in the HANDMADE CHILDREN'S TOYS section of the shop on my website.


If you are new to Carousel gifts and would prefer to shop on a more well-known site, I also have an ETSY SHOP and you can find my handmade soft toys and other lovely handmade things listed over there. They will be slightly cheaper when you purchase from my website though.


Don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list in the footer of the website so that I can keep in touch with you. The best way of keeping updated with all new blog posts, products and news though is to download our mobile app. Just type your mobile number into the form on the homepage and we'll text you a link!



Thank you so much for your interest & support!



Updated: Sep 23



I am so excited to finally launch my Carousel Gift Shop. I have been undecided about the project for so long, and so it feels great to have made a positive decision to put my ideas into action.


I think that my main reservations have been due to "coming out", in a way, about my mental health disorder. Part of me has been tempted not to include it as part of the concept behind the gift shop, but I think that it was an important decision to make. Not only is mental illness incredibly relevant to my project, but mental health is also something that we are all being encouraged to talk about, as it affects so many of us.


Cyclothymic disorder plays a big role in my life, essentially influencing everything I do whether I like it or not, and so "coming out" is a bit like embracing this part of me, and taking back the control. This is my life after all, and while I can't let my mental health disorder take over, I can invite it along on my journey, allowing it to play a positive and productive role rather than an entirely destructive one.


I will write more about my relationship with my creative work and cyclothymia in future blog posts, but if you would like to find out more about what cyclothymic disorder is and what my own experiences with it have been you can visit my other blog - http://mykindofbipolar.com - where I discuss it all in much more detail.


For now though, I would like to extend a BIG welcome to you all. I hope that you will enjoy browsing the website and seeing if there is anything in my shop that takes your fancy. Every purchase, no matter how small, makes a big difference to me, and so I will always try to include lovely handmade gifts and handmade greeting cards at those lower price points so that you can easily support my work on a regular basis and enjoy receiving things in the post from me.


Don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list in the footer of the website so that I can keep in touch with you. The best way of keeping updated with all new blog posts, products and news though is to download our mobile app. Just type your mobile number into the form and we'll text you a link!



Thank you again for your interest & support!





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