Moji-Moji Design

Original Amigurumi Crochet Patterns


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2020 Here I come!

I hope you all had a lovely end to 2019 and an equally lovely start to 2020!

With all the energy and verve I can muster I am welcoming in this new year with a positive outlook peppered with a decent amount of inspiration and a heavy dose of commitment. I have a lot new of ideas and a ton of unfinished WIPs to tackle and am determined to (try to!) finally catch up with myself this year.

There have been several reasons for a lack of productivity in recent months. The most fun one being the ongoing care of my three beautiful kittens – really more in the category of small cats these days. In the last few months they’ve grown from this…

…to this…

Even though they’re growing up they still get into lots of trouble. They love digging up plant pots, climbing curtains, legs (ouch!), and bookcases and generally getting in the way, particularly if yarn is involved.

My purr babies are now 6 months old and it’s been plain sailing with two of them. The smallest one – Lyra – had special needs that we only noticed when she was weaned and it has been very challenging to get her to grow. After lots of vets visits and a few tests she was diagnosed with ‘persistent right aortic arch’ where some of the her blood vessels ended up in the wrong place while she was still developing in the womb resulting in her oesophagus being very constricted just below the base of the heart which caused all the problems with eating and swallowing.

Getting her to stay strong has been very time consuming, but I was up for the challenge and fed her a tiny amounts of liquid gruel every hour hoping that some of the food would trickle through to her stomach before she could throw it up. I even crocheted her a little sling with two leg holes and handles at the back so I could hold her upright while she ate, and for 10 minutes after each feed to help it go down, without risk of squeezing the wriggly little madam too hard.

We were told that she wouldn’t survive without an operation to correct her condition, so that made the decision to go ahead very easy. I hated having to take her to Bristol – about an hours drive – but knew that the Small Animal Hospital at Langford would be the best place for her to have such a rare and specialist procedure done.

My heart broke to see her looking like one of the cast of Prisoner Cell Block H.

But she slept peacefully most of the way while holding my hand with her tine paw so I hope she wasn’t too traumatised. To cut a long story short the operation was a great success. They snipped away the constricting vessel and checked for normal dilation of the oesophagus and after a few days she was well enough for us to visit. Here we are at the hospital having cuddles.

The hardest part was leaving her again but the staff were fabulous and she seemed quite content to head off back to the ward with them when our hour was up. Being the awesome trooper that she is she continued to do well and we went to pick her up the next day >happy dance<.

Her stitches were a proper fright-sight but she had some good pain meds and we were instructed to start her on a diet of pate consistency food, fed from an elevated position to begin with. All meals stayed down splendidly which was a joyous thing to us all! She was so happy to be back with her sisters and her street view, but most of all was delighted to scoff down some real meaty looking food for the first time in her life. But, oh, that bald patch ūüėē.

Home comforts are plentiful around here and we made sure she had lots of love, warmth, fine food and cosy nooks to aid her recovery.

I am over the moon to tell you we now know for sure that the operation was a great success, and, while she’ll never have a fully functioning eosophagus she has enough motility there to get plenty of mashed up wet food into her stomach, evidenced by the fact that she is growing again and is lively and thriving since coming out of hospital. At the last vets visit she actually weighed more than her sister Luna – but not more than Loki who is turning out to be a very long legged and solidly built girl!

With the weight of Lyra’s health problems taken off my mind I endeavoured to enjoy the rest of November and the run up to Christmas, though I developed a tooth abcess which put a bit of a blight on things. Amid the pain, antibiotics and eventual extraction I worked on a teeny tiny rehash of my Teeny Tiny Snowman pattern for inclusion in Qing Fibres advent calendar.

I added a few stars and some round beads to create a Christmas dangler that showed off two of their lovely yarns – Hero Suri (deep blue fluffy) and Rambutan (variegated).

Katt from Qing Yarns handsomely rewarded me for my efforts with a few skeins of their Pond yarn. I immediately put it to good use making the Vine Lace Scarf by Marin J Malchior from my favourite go-to tome ‘Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders’ and so I have another WIP hanging around ūüėĮ Oops! This one is good for car journeys as the repeat is small and easy to remember and I only need one ball of yarn at a time so I’ll be adding a few rows whenever the road calls.

We decorated the house on the 1st of the month as is our tradition. No big tree this year due to the monkey-like antics of the kittens, but I pulled in a small pot-grown conifer from the garden and put lights and trinkets on that. They couldn’t really climb it but they did their best to make off with as many baubles as possible.

An American magazine called Annie’s Crochet contacted me about featuring two of my Halloween Longlegs dolls in their 2020 Fall edition. It was rather strange to be working on such an out of season project but it was enjoyable and not too taxing. Perfect for the Christmas run up, which is always such a busy time with non-work related things. I took my time re-writing the pattern to suit the magazine style and remaking the dolls to send to Indiana for the photoshoot.

I even did some of the donkey work during Christmas visits to relatives.

It’s always nice to have a bit of colour to feast the eyes upon with so much grey tarmac all around!

Eventually they were labelled up and sent off to their new home. I’m really looking forward to seeing how they look in the magazine later this year.

So with all commissions done and dusted and Christmas presents bought and wrapped, everything was going exceedingly well until Christmas Eve when I succumbed to a vomity bug, which rapidly went around the whole family, each day striking down a different victim, until Christmas week was over. Oh well, such is the way the cookie crumbles. I came out of the holiday season 4 lbs lighter so that was something to smile about at least! I still got plenty of ‘just for fun’ crochet done over the holidays. I’ve been methodically working my way through this 100 snowflakes pattern book by Caitlin Sainio.

I’ve had this book sitting around for a few years but never got around to having a go until now. It’s been a fun project to snuggle up with. Pyjamas, kittens, crochet – the dream team.

Despite the kitten curiosity I made all of these and pinned them out on one of my foam tiles to be blocked, though the pins proved to be a temptation for little paws and had to be removed from sight once they had discovered them.

Aren’t they so pretty?! It’s my ambition to make every one from the book, maybe for this year’s Chrsitmas window display. Plenty of time left yet to get the other 89 made!

I finished crocheting my poncho/cardigan/shawl/cape/cloak. Not really sure what to call it to be honest, but I do know it is very warm and brightens up the winter days when the heating is on save mode (AKA off).

It was just waiting for the tassels here. I spent an hour or so cutting lengths of yarn and attaching them at the row ends and it really did make a nice difference to the weight and swish of the garment. Well worth the extra time it took and the extra hassle of fighting Luna for the yarn ends.

After all that ‘helping’ Luna has staked a partial claim to the finished garment and often likes to snuggle in the generous folds of the granny stripes.

We can keep each other warm this way. She was purring so loudly when I took this photo, and I would have been too if it was humanly possible!

I have a raft of new Christmas patterns that I never managed to get out in time. Here’s a close-up peak at one of the characters.

I got carried away making so many tiny ornament sized characters that I didn’t have time to write up the patterns for them in the end. I’ve shelved them for now but will be getting back on with finishing these festive designs a little later this year – in plenty of time for Christmas 2020 I hope.

In the meantime they make a very good overspill cat bed for when Loki needs a little bit of space from Luna.

There are plenty of other patterns for me to finish writing and checking over the coming weeks and true to my New Year’s resolution to clear the back log I’ve started with a Yeti pattern. Maybe it will work a charm and bring us some snow, We haven’t had a single flake this year in Worcester (apart from the ones I crocheted). Not so unusual in itself but sadly missed all the same.

Eustace the Yeti and I will be thrilled if we get to enjoy even one white-out snow day before the spring!


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#AmiguruMay – Part One

I took part in my first Instagram challenge last month. Set up with such fabulous attention to detail by Ilaria of Airali Design fame, the idea was to post a photo every day from May 1st – 31st on the very cleverly titled hashtag of AmiguruMAY. Ilaria even made us all printable sheets to help organize our thoughts and plan a full months worth of posts, which really did come in handy for someone as scatterbrained as me!

I’m usually horribly unorganized when it comes to social media and though I love making posts and connecting with people, thanks to the everyday demands of creating new patterns, finishing deadlines, decluttering workspaces, replying to emails and answering queries to name a few of my daily distractions (as well as all the unspeakably horrid housework and other mundanities of life), remembering to post regularly sometimes falls behind. So this time I vowed to keep up, and apart from the odd slip (bank holiday excesses, Hen Weekend, tooth abscess, poorly cat to vets, among other excuses!) I think I kept up rather well.

So, especially for those of you who don’t have an Instagram account (you should get one – it’s great fun!) and for anyone who already follows me but doesn’t mind a recap of last months prompts and pretty pictures, here is Part One Days 1-15 of #amigurumay, complete with the accompanying witterings that fell out of my head as I went along. (Part 2 – Days 16-31 to follow shortly).

Day 1 – Current WIP

My current WIP is a super soft fluffy cat. Having a blast crocheting with this lovely yarn by King Cole. Four more colourways arrived in the post yesterday and more cat’s eyes are on order so there will be kitties everywhere soon – just how I like it!

Day 2 – Inspirations

One of my big inspirations is the natural world and it’s abundance of cute and quirky creatures. While I’m crocheting the amigurumi my mind starts working overtime creating little characters and stories for them and so they then become an inspiration in themselves.
This is Cyril the Squirrel who is Head Gardener at Nutsford Manor. Of all the seasons he loves autumn the best because he can put his bushy tail to work sweeping up the fallen leaves while collecting acorns and conkers for his winter pantry.

Day 3 – Tools

A comfy crochet hook is so important but my favorite Clover ones were all a muddy yellow so I painted them in rainbow colours and added a liberal sprinkling of polka dots.
Also couldn’t live without my stitch markers, and my upcycled pincushion made from an old egg cup keeps all the smaller bits and bobs to hand ‚̧

Day 4 – The Smallest

So far my tiniest amigurumis are a downsizing of the rabbit and mouse from my ‘Minimals – Little Pet Shop’ pattern.
As these are even smaller than the original minimals they should probably be called micromals instead ūüėĀ

I made these with 2 ply crochet cotton and a 1.5 mm hook (while wearing my strongest pair of reading glasses!)

Day 5 – Introduce Yourself & Day 6 – Designer or Maker

Running a bit behind myself after a mega busy bank holiday weekend so doing two days at once here…
My name’s Janine and I love to crochet. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to turn my hobby into my job and now I design crochet patterns under my shop name of Moji-Moji Design. I think that’s covered both topics quite well… short but sweet! ūüėČ ūüć¨

Day 7 – Favorite Yarn

Tricky one this as I just love yarn of all types. I usually favor DK weight acrylics for my amigurumi but am having a bit of a love affair with these tiny 10g balls of cotton yarn by Katia at the moment. The colours are gorgeous and they’re the perfect size for mini crochet projects on the go. As you can see I’ve gone a bit crazy for mushrooms recently!

Day 8 – Animals

I’ve made a lot of animal amigurumi patterns over the years. Here’s a selection of some of my favorites.

Day 9 – How and When I Started

I first got into toy making when my three boys were small. I was also childminding around that time and I loved making toys for all the kiddies in my life – and there were lots of them! I could only knit back then and these aliens were a favorite with us all.

I remember thinking how great it would be to create my own characters but found designing flat pieces for seaming up, or juggling four needles to create a 3D piece, really difficult so I put my ambitions on hold for a while and enjoyed following other people’s patterns instead.

My joy at discovering the almost seamless amigurumi crochet method and the ability to self publish on Etsy about six years ago was immense! Those two things were real game changers for me and I never looked back! ūüĎĆūüėĀūüĎć

Day 10 – My First Ami

I’ve done a double take on this one and included my very, very first ever ami (in the Instax photo) which was a fox from a free pattern I found on Nimoe’s Blog and also the first ami I designed myself – twin lambs called Lulu and Lollo. I was thrilled when they were chosen to be in¬†#Zoomigurumi2about 6 years ago. This was my first experience of being published and definitely helped push my amigurumi ambitions to the next level!

Day 11- The Biggest

My biggest amigurumi so far is an up-sizing of my Bobbin the Bear pattern using chunky chenille yarn and a 4.5 mm hook. Loved working with this Flutterby yarn. It’s so soft and I really like the effect of the puffy looking stitches. I’ll definitely be using it again in future projects.

Day 12 – Safety Eyes

I use safety eyes in most of my amigurumi. Good quality eyes really makes a face come to life as this little dragon face proves rather well ūüĎÄ

Day 13 – Top Tip

My top tip is to take your time when sewing your amigurumi together. Like many of us crocheters the sewing element comes lower down on my list of enjoyable tasks but it’s often the neatness of the assembled pieces that will take your amigurumi to a whole new level of professionalism.
I generally use mattress stich for sewing on appendages and back stitch for flat patches. A knitting needle is a great tool for skewering parts together. It avoids the use of fiddly pins and is easy to adjust until you get the placement perfect.

Day 14 – Favorite Pattern

As I am usually busy designing my own patterns I rarely get to try out other people’s. So I thought I’d do a quick check of my Etsy stats and see which pattern is the favorite with my customers at the moment. Turns out it’s Dante the Donkey and Carlos the Cactus. Seems that people like the heartwarming friendship between a quadruped and a succulent! ūüĆĶ‚̧ ūüźé

Day 15 Hands at Work

Technically speaking this is paws at work, not hands, but Tilly Mouse wanted to tell you how much she loves helping me with my crochet. Sewing on buttons is her speciality.

There are a few loose ends for some new designs I need to tidy up over the next few days but I’ll be back soon to post the second part of my AmiguruMay adventure!


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My First Moji-Moji Craft Stall

Its been a funny old week, having had a total break from my normal routine. I found that time was flying even faster than usual and the craft fair I had signed myself up for, many months ago, was suddenly very nearly upon us. Now I don’t know about you but I always work much better under a tight deadline and so leaving the vast bulk of the preparation and organisation to be crammed into just over a week was probably the best way of tackling it for me personally.

As you can see, I managed to fill my 10 foot long table quite nicely in the end!

The stall sign was both a labour of love and a feat of engineering. But it should last me for a while as it is made out of very sturdy laser cut plywood. Each piece was individually painted by myself and a very patient friend (it took about six hours of paintbrush wielding between us) and was then pieced back together, jigsaw style, and glued onto a backing board.

A lot of work, I know, but well worth the effort. Weirdly there were still three pieces left over that we just couldn’t figure out where to fit. Very odd, but the sign didn’t look any the worse for it so we got straight on with the job of sticking it down. This involved turning it over while sandwhiched between two boards, taping it together along the back, brushing with generous amounts of PVA glue and then weighting it down overnight with anything I could find. Mainly my vast collection of cookbooks, the ever overflowing laundry basket and anything else heavy enough to help but light enough to lift.

And tadah! Here it is after it’s final coat of varnish.

The sign was a good start but I needed things to sell too. Obviously I have a generous supply of ready made amigurumis which were only in need of digging out and showing off.

They all looked a little startled to be seeing the light of day again!

Amigurumis aside, I really felt I wanted to offer a bit more variety to potential customers. So with that thought in mind I embarked on making up a whole batch of crochet kits. I actually really enjoyed this process once I got into the swing of it, though I’m quite happy to take a break from the endless winding and weighing of balls of yarn for a while now!

They next job was to package them up and squirrel them away into boxes along with the all the equipment and notions necessary to create the finished articles.

One week of winding, weighing, measuring, graphic designing, printing, box folding, bag filling and label sticking, and I had my first collection of finished kits to sell. Six different types in all. I would have liked to do more but there’s always next time!

My very helpful sign painting partner also dedicated a whole evening to making me some badges with the Moji-Moji logo cat on (you know who you are and you’re a star – thanks a million!).

I love these so much. Think I might have to invest in my very own badge making machine soon. Maybe one for the Christmas list if Santa is still listening, I have been very, very good this year, I promise!

I found my stash of owl purses (my free tutorial is here if you fancy making some).

And I dug out and blinged up some of my Mini Party Treats by adding a few sprinkles of seed beads and multi-coloured yarn.

I forgot how much I like playing around with toy food!

Looks good enough to eat huh?

I also had a small supply of extra books featuring some of my designs to take with me. A great way of introducing my customers to the topic of the new Amigurumi Monsters book¬†(more on that in the next post) and as there was a recent outbreak of Jeepers and Creepers (who are featuring in the book) spawning in the studio I had plenty of examples to take along as conversation starters. I figured you couldn’t miss all those eyes staring at you as they followed you around the field!

I did have to spend a fair bit of time thoroughly picking them over for kitten hairs though. Oops!

The night before the show everything was stacked and ready to go and an early night beckoned.

My youngest son kindly came along to help set everything up and keep things running smoothly behind the scenes, tidying the table during the lulls and restocking after the rushes.

There was a lot going on at the Worcester Show but I didn’t get to take many photos as I was kept very busy all day behind my stall but for those of you who are curious about the event you can see snapshots of some of the best moments from previous years on their official site in the Gallery section. There was belly dancing, water zorbing, live music, biggest cabbage, longest runner bean, roundest dahlia, best use of recycling, competitive crafts, face painting, fantastic food and fine wine, bonsai beauties, a dog show, sport events, a fairground, and of course the market stalls… ¬†to name just a few.

All in all it was a very successful and enjoyable day. The weather was kind to us and the hours just whizzed by. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat and to those who bought a little something to take away with them. It was lovely to meet you all and I hope to see you again next year, if not before!

And for those that weren’t there, thank you for reading this and sharing my day with me via my blog.

I appreciate all your support and the encouragement that helps me to indulge in my gloriously yarn surrounded lifestyle and passion for amigurumi!


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Monster Mayhem

When the AmigurumiPatterns design contest came around again and the theme this time was monsters, I felt a burst of bright colour and a whole lot of eyeballs coming on. Flicking back through my sketchbooks¬†to see what was stored in my scribbly memory bank and rummaging¬†through my half-started-amigurumis basket I soon¬†found a few designs that hadn’t managed to either make it¬†off the page yet, or that had been begun and then¬†abandoned a while ago. I wasn’t short on ideas – the main problem, once I got into my monster stride, was knowing when to stop but that was luckily taken out of my hands¬†when I simply ran out of time and the deadline was up!

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks immersed in a very strange world where creatures come in all shapes and sizes and all sorts of psychedelic colour combos. It’s been a monster-tastic amount of fun using my imagination and playing around with odds and ends of yarn from my stockpile. My sketchbooks are always full of odd creatures anyway. I particularly love making amigurumi¬†monsters because there are so many possibilities to make exactly what you like without the constraints of earthly biology to tie you down!

Here is a little thumbnail gallery¬†of my final monsters (centre graphic courtesy of Joke from AmigurumiPatterns.net). I’ll introduce you to them all individually in a while.

monster-montage

There were 427 entries for this years competition. That’s a lot of crazy creatures and makes for great viewing. Voting is open until December the 10th¬†so if you want to give yourself a true fright you can find all the different characters¬†on the Monster Gallery page. You can vote for five of your favorites. I cast my votes earlier and it wasn’t the easiest decision I’ve ever made as there are so many really, really creepy and cute designs to choose from (no, I didn’t vote for my own!). ¬†I can be horribly indecisive too – I blame that on being a Libran – so I was there for ages. I hope you have as much fun, but maybe a little less indecision when you go to pick your best of the bunch!

Letting my ideas run wild and getting creative with bright, bold colours has been a fabulous antidote to the seasonal grey skies and almost constant drizzle.

monsters

It’s always good to have an excuse¬†to bring out the eight year old in me and start colouring in my doodles with a zingy rainbow of ink.

sketching-monsters

I’ve mostly been feeling like I’m being watched all the time¬†due to all the big bulgy eyeballs that have been rolling around my desk for the last few weeks.

monster-eyes

Deciding on the perfect eye colour for each character proved to be a challenge and so I made a load in lots of different shades and tried them all out.

Hairy Horace went¬†through a¬†purple eye phase…

horace

…before eventually changing to a bright green. Not quite as bright as his fluffy bits though.

820hairy-horace-3

Whey hey! I think he likes his new contact lens!

If you ever want to know the latest monster gossip on Planet Fuzz then Hairy Horace is the one you need to talk to. He sees everything, even though he’s only got one eye (it’s a very big one), he hears everything, even though he’s got no ears (those strange cones on his head soak up the tiniest noises) and he’s very, very nosey, even though he’s got no nose (but then you don’t actually need a nose to be nosey). Monster biology is a curious business. It takes all sorts to make a universe.

Oh, and he’s a bit of a poser too.

820hairy-horace-2

After Horace came Florence…

monster-making

She also lives on Planet Fuzz¬†and you’ll probably have spotted that there is a vague planetary family resemblance between the two of them.

Fluffy Florence made it straight into the intergalactic space corps flying squad after just one week’s training.  She credits her stellar success to having been born with three eyes instead of the one (or sometimes two) more common to most Planet Fuzz inhabitants. Her all round 3D vision is greatly enhanced by this genetic mutation. She can easily keep two eyes on the horizon and an extra one on the control panel which means she can steer her spacecraft at incredibly high speeds through the most difficult of alien terrains.

820fluffy-florence-1

There is a two-eyed species indigenous to Planet Fuzz as well and it didn’t seem fair to leave him out so very soon Bristly Boris began his crocheted journey.

boris-feet

Poor Boris takes a very long time to get ready for school every morning. He has so much hair to brush and so many legs to squeeze into trousers that he’s often late leaving the house.

820-bristly-boris

Luckily he can easily make up for lost time by running to the bus stop at lightning fast speed. Sometimes having ten legs is definitely an advantage.

820-bristly-boris-3

Enough with the furry yarn for a while. These next two designs had been started over a year or so ago but somehow I never found the time to settle down¬†and get them finished. There’s nothing like a tight deadline for improving productivity is there? So with just over a week to go I set myself the challenge to finish them both. The biggest problem was finding the matching yarn. I really didn’t want to have to start over so had a good rummage through the odds and ends baskets and managed to find ¬†all the oddments I was looking for. Hurray!

First to enrol at¬†Moji-Moji Design’s finishing school were Jeepers and Creepers.

jeep-and-creep

Have you ever lain awake at night and wondered what that noise was coming from under the bed? Were you ever brave enough to take a look? If you did and were also very quiet and very quick about it you may have spied Jeepers and Creepers staring back at you in wide-eyed wonder.

two-critters

Their three big eyes help them to peer about in the under-bed gloom where they spend their time rolling up household fluff into dust bunnies to play with. Even if you’re not fast enough to see these shy little monsters for yourself you may well find a dust bunny or two (googly eyes optional) to prove their existence.

jeepers-and-creepers-2

Last but not least are Lottie and Dottie. I abandoned these two a while back due to other work commitments but the time was right to pick them up again and carry on from where I left off.

My workspace started sprouting eyeballs again. Ooh I love making these colourful staring orbs!

eyeballs

Soon enough two new monsters had joined the gang.

820-lottie-and-dottie

Lottie and Dottie spend a lot of time together practicing their hoopla and coconut shy skills. They take aim at each other’s eye stalks with their hoops and try to knock each other’s eyeballs from their sockets with small wooden balls. As a result of all this dedicated practice they always win the best prizes when the fair comes to town.

lottie-and-dottie-looking-up

I’ll leave it to Lottie and Dottie to wave you all goodbye with their stumpy little three fingered hands.

Thank you for sharing the journey with me. All the Moji-Moji monsters enjoyed your company too!

monster-mash

As for me, I’m all monstered out for a bit. Time to get back to the soothing neutrals and comforting repetition of my new winter blanket. One of the many things I love about crochet is the sheer variety in the types of projects you can get immersed in and after all the decision making that’s such an essential part of any design process, now is definitely the time for a less demanding type of hook wielding!

monster-company

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite¬†monsters (they don’t have to be mine and I’ll never know unless you tell me!). There are so many to choose from, I think you’ll have a blast clicking and scrolling your way through the weirdly wild and woolly imagination of all the designers in this years competition.


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Diggory and Dave the Dancing Dogs

There’s a few more days left yet to get your entries in to amigurumipatterns.net‘s circus themed¬†design¬†competition and¬†I’ve been getting a lot of nagging from a couple of puppies¬†called Diggory and Dave who are desperate to join in the fun.

Diggory-and-Dave

When they heard what the theme was¬†they sat up and begged me to let them take part. Apparently it turns out that – having watched one too many videos¬†on Youtube of Pudsey the dog competing in and eventually winning¬†Britain’s Got Talent in 2012, they have been inspired¬†to learn some clever tricks and get on the stage themselves. What better way for them to hone those skills and satisfy their thirst for stardom than to join a circus?

Well, I’m a sucker for a great big pair of doughy puppy eyes, and with two pairs to contend with I just had to let them get their way on this one.

ami

I asked Tilly Mouse what she thought, as her whole family have been performing in the Big Top for generations. (Read more about Tilly and her sisters here). Tilly told me that the circus she lived with was lots of fun and everyone was very kind to one another. She promised to get these two enthusiastically bouncy dogs an audition and immediately began making them a pair of matching outfits.

Tilly

Tilly finally decided not to follow in the family tradition and join the trapeze act with her siblings. She didn’t really like heights too much and preferred to¬†concentrate on creating fabulous costumes for all the other¬†circus acts¬†instead.

I helped her turn a little corner of my studio into a creative space all for herself where she can sit and concentrate on crafting.

Tilly-Mouse

Now Tilly comes for crochet lessons and a nice chat whenever she can get away.

Mojo has a sneaking suspicion that a mouse may have taken up residence in¬†the studio…

mojojo

…but Tilly keeps really still so he¬†won’t notice her among all the crochet! He soon wanders off for a nap and work can commence again.

moj

It isn’t long before Diggory comes to pay a visit to see how his costume is coming along.

Crochet-lessons

He loves the cute leg warmers and is very impatient to wear his stripy pointed hat. To speed things up he gets himself busy choosing the right buttons for it.

Diggory

Dave comes to join them for a fitting too.

Costumes

After a little discussion between them, Diggory decides to wear the blue cuffs and hat while Dave agrees to wear the red ones.

circus-outfits

Mojo comes back to check things out¬†but¬†Tilly feels quite safe this time with Diggory and Dave at her side.¬†I think Mojo just want’s a bit of the limelight too. Maybe he’ll be the next one to want to run off and join the circus.

Momo

Now it’s time to finish¬†making the dancing props. Diggory and Dave think¬†that hoops and balls will be a good start and before the day is up Tilly has made them a whole basketful of delights.

Toy-basket

She is one busy little mouse!

pup-toys

All puppies love new toys to play with and these two are no exception.

toys

They’re so excited when they see their colourful toys that they can¬†hardly sit still and immediately start to rifle through, making a big mess.

Playtime

Oh well, toys are for play, not display!

Time for them to use some of that energy and start rehearsing. They want to learn to¬†juggle and dance¬†at the same time. That’s sure to impress the audience.

Circus-dogs

I’m pleased to tell you that the¬†rehearsals kept¬†them very busy and stopped them chewing up the house and barking at the postman.

Indeed, all the practice sessions have resulted in a very special act called the Juggling Jig. It’s unique to Diggory and Dave and after an audition with the circus this¬†week I’m thrilled to tell you that they have been asked to join!

Mojo, on the other hand, failed his audition. He has a bad cattitude and isn’t so ready to please as the dogs. Firstly, he wouldn’t wear a funny outfit and secondly, his¬†only real talent is for breaking the world record for the most snoozing in a single day.¬†Even though I could gaze at him lovingly for hours as he snores away I’m not so sure the general public would have found¬†it quite so endearing!

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Oh well, judging from his face it looks like Mojo may have thought better of his transient ambitions and is now treating the whole episode with the utmost contempt!

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Diggory and Dave on the other hand, are over the moon at the prospect of an exciting new adventure. I’m going to miss them but what is life for if not for following your dreams? Go for it Dave! Go for it Diggory! I just hope they¬†come back and visit whenever they¬†can ūüôā

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Do you have an idea for a character? You can find out how to enter and all about the prizes here.

The competition is open until Friday November 27th 2015.

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Good luck if you’re participating and don’t forget to have your say by voting for your favourites from 1st December 2015!


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Pumpkins, Monsters and Spooks

Yes it’s that time of year again! Out come the woolly blankets, snuggly jumpers, mittens, hats and leg warmers (I feel the cold acutely!). On the plus side,¬†there is suddenly lots more time for designing new crochet creations now all the summer holidays and general fine weather gallivanting is over.

In celebration of this change of seasons I’ve made a new pattern that I hope you’re all going to like!

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So please come along and meet Fred Monster, Gilbert Ghost and Pamela Pumpkin.

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I felt¬†inspired to make them due to¬†the need to brighten¬†up my welsh dressers in light of the lack of light¬†–¬†in the form of sunshine¬†–¬†coming through my kitchen windows recently. I hope these three colourful characters will help to put a smile on your face as we head towards the cold, dark, dank and generally very gloomy months ahead. They’ve certainly cheered me up. They were a pleasure to make and the whole design process went without a hitch this time.

It was a case of doodle…

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to done…

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…in no time at all (well, about a week actually, but that’s pretty good going for me!)

These Halloween characters are a good 16″ tall from tip to toe and are weighted with plastic pellets so they can sit solidly on any shelf, table or chair. If you prefer you can¬†leave out the beads and stuff with fiberfill, or similar, for a kid¬†friendly cuddly toy. I don’t really do ‘scary’ when it comes to Halloween, so if you’re a bit of a softy like me then maybe these will appeal to your inner child!

Now I’d like to tell you a little bit more about each one…

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Fred-Heads

Frightful Fred get’s a bit narky when people refer to him only as Frankenstein’s monster.

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It¬†isn’t very¬†good for his self esteem not to have his own identity so he’s¬†claiming back his individuality at last. We discussed what his preferred name might be and ‘Fred’ seemed like a¬†decent, no-nonsense, everyday kind of a name that would be easy to live up to. He’s a down to earth guy at heart, despite his unusual appearance, and would love nothing better than to just fit in with the crowd.

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Gilbert is a friendly little chap who really appreciates the ease with which he can blend into the crowds at this time of year.

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He loves to gate crash as many Halloween parties as he can find because most people think he’s wearing fancy dress and consequently hardly ever¬†scream and run away when they see him floating into view. Even the fact that he’s apparently floating is often put down as¬†a perceptual¬†error on behalf of the beholder due to the ingestion of large amounts of witches brew or pumpkin punch.¬†Be sure to look over your shoulder when you go Trick or Treating – Gilbert’s always where the action is, and even though he can’t actually eat any candy himself, being a ghost and all, he does love to watch the smiles on the children’s faces as their goodie bags fill up. Gilbert’s pet¬†spider, Spot, accompanies him on all his ethereal adventures.

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Pamela is sporting a happy, zig-zaggy sort of smile because she’s been waiting all summer¬†for harvest time and now it’s finally here.

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Ever¬†since she was a tiny pip pushed into the warm dark soil back in the spring she couldn’t wait for the Fall when the farmer would visit the patch to pick¬†out which pumpkin would be¬†his best bet to win a prize at this year’s horticultural show.¬†Pretty Pamela was duly presented before the judges¬†in the produce tent and was thrilled to win first place in the Miss¬†Gorgeous Gourd category.¬†She’s¬†now looking forward to a great season showing off her veggie credentials, opening supermarkets and doing lots of charity work.

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Now that I have my Halloween head on I’m going to finish sprucing up my kitchen dressers¬†with a few more spooky decorations then I’ll be back to share the photos with you all. I’m being nagged into it you see. Pamela’s become so used to all the attention lately¬†and is insisting that she get’s to be in at least one more blog post!

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See you all back here soon!


17 Comments

Dante and Carlos

I’m very¬†happy¬†to be able to say I’ve finally finished my Dante the Donkey and Carlos the Cactus pattern. These little guys were originally inspired by my Mexican blanket project *all those pretty colours* ¬†and were just the most fun characters to make.

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They’ve also turned out¬†to be the best and most devoted amigos ever!

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They first¬†met in the Mexican desert after Dante got lost straying too far from his family’s rancho. Carlos the Cactus chatted away enthusiastically and shook his maracas to cheer the little donkey up as¬†he rested his weary legs through the long, dark night. By the time the sun rose and the¬†morning shone its welcoming light, they were firm friends. Bored of being mostly alone in the desert with only the other cacti for company, Carlos persuaded Dante to dig up his roots and put him in a terracotta pot so he could travel around with his new¬†found soul mate wherever he roamed.

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With Carlos along for the ride and offering some much needed moral support, you’ll doubtless be relieved¬†to know that Dante eventually managed to find his¬†way back home. Now the two of them spend sunny days and starry nights planning their next daring adventure together.¬†Carlos has said he’ll travel to the ends of the earth just to be with his new friend. Dante’s a little more cautious about wandering¬†too far again after his recent incident, but whatever they do they’ve agreed that they’ll do it together. Here’s proof that best friends can come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes make the most unlikely alliances!

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Happy as he is with¬†his new life, Carlos still likes to meet up with his old succulent chums from time to time. Since he started wearing his jazzy¬†pot he appears to have sparked a new fashion. ¬†Now all the best dressed cacti are sporting one! Well, it certainly makes them more mobile¬†–¬†as long as they can get a friendly donkey to carry them about that is.¬†Here they are getting ready for the local Fiesta.

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Dante sets up a food stall to sell some of his homegrown¬†carrots and specialty basil flavored hay to the other hungry donkeys…

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…While Carlos and his friends make a bit of pocket money supplying firecrackers¬†to liven up the crowds, and homemade sombreros to keep them cool. Very enterprising!

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Have a happy weekend!

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xoxox


6 Comments

2014 – My Year in Pictures

I’ve just been having a little trip down memory lane going through my old posts and it’s really brought home to me what a lovely¬†way this is to store my highlights (and occasionally my¬†lowlights) in a way that is easy to assemble and fun to flick through. Blogging has been a bit like scrap booking but without all the paper off cuts and sticky glue to deal with! I’ve always been terrible with a paper¬†diary of any kind, and after the initial novelty buzz of owning my first digital camera about ten years ago, my photo albums took a dive as well, with most of my precious pictures now locked into old back up drives or on soon to be defunct CD roms etc. This is my new era, when I have finally moved into the modern age!

I thought it would be fun to pick out¬†nine photos from each month, so here I present to you¬†some of my favorite moments from 2014… My year in pictures ūüôā

January
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February
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March
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April
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May
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June
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July
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August
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September
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October
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November
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December
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The main thing I’ve enjoyed about blogging is the focus it’s given me to communicate the key points of my year, not just to others but to myself as well. My original intention when I¬†started this blog just over a year ago was primarily to showcase my new amigurumi designs and to make some free patterns and tutorials.¬†Then the Blog bug kicked in and I soon found out it was fun to photograph and write a little bit about other stuff too, such as weekends away, day trips out and the more hobbyist side of my crochet which has been mainly getting to grips with granny squares and blanket/poncho making this year.

My blog has been a great memory enhancer and the visual elements of blogging have really appealed to me. I like capturing special moments in time, a distillation of experiences in an otherwise sensory overloaded world. Another added bonus is the improvement of my photography skills too. Taking really good pictures of my products was the part¬†I found¬†most difficult¬†when I first began Moji-Moji Design, but it’s now becoming more and more enjoyable to me as I get to grips with my camera and learn what makes a hot shot and what makes it not so hot! I’ve still got heaps to learn¬†but that will be part of 2015’s journey. Here’s to never having a dull moment (unless I feel like one that is!)


12 Comments

The week I’d rather forget

Well, what a week it’s been. And, no, for once I don’t mean in a good way. I just found out about the horrendous new legislation coming in from the EU on January 1st,¬†compelling anyone who sells any digital services/products to work out and pay VAT to all 28 member states of the EU separately and according to who has purchased what from each country.

I really don’t want to get all bogged down with details here – this is supposed to be my ‘happy place’, but the more I’ve looked into it the more I see that compliance is not only going to be onerous, but the way things stand at the moment, completely impossible. The systems just don’t exist to enable individual sellers to do what they have to do in order to keep trading legally. There is a UK petition here¬†for those of you who would like to have a look. It includes¬†a¬†summary too which outlines some of the problems. ¬†The adding of your signature would be hugely appreciated by myself and many others who find themselves quite shockingly and unexpectedly mixed up in this bureaucratic nightmare.

Here’s a great link you may want to read on Ysolde Teague’s Blog. She puts it so much better than I ever could. If you design and sell anything via email like I do then it’s a must read. If you love to buy craft patterns, eBooks, printable stationary, meditation courses, music¬†–¬†to name but a few – from any of us independent designer/sellers¬†then I suggest you have a look too because¬†if things don’t change significantly over the next few weeks there will be a lot of us closing down our beloved businesses before¬†this legislation becomes¬†law¬†on New Years day 2015.

If you’ve read Ysolde’s post and the whole topic now has you intrigued, panicked,¬†crying, having a nervous breakdown or just plain curious here’s another good source of information for you on Heather Burns Idea15 Blog. I don’t want to add to your dismay, but knowledge is power, after all.

Right, now that’s been said, let’s have some fun, because there’s only so much angst I can take at any one time.

(Takes deep, deep breath).

Here’s a little¬†Christmas scene¬†to cheer us all up. Well, it is December already! Not only have these tubby-tummied elves built their first snowman, but they’ve also managed to make a Christmas pudding and put their tree up. Wow, I need to catch up fast. I’ve seriously got to¬†get my Christmas wiggle on!820pudds1This¬†is also the time of year when we try to make¬†huge efforts¬†in our otherwise very busy lives to see family and friends who live far away. It’s always so exciting to¬†catch up¬†face to face on¬†a years worth of news or sometimes more. There’s nothing like a big hug, a bit of present swapping and a good chin wag to warm the very cockles of your heart! All the Facebooking and texting or even gossiping on the phone just can’t compare. My next few weekends are full of just such jaunts.¬†Snow people love¬†these kind’s of pre-Christmas shenanigens too. I don’t need to tell you how happy these guys are to have a good old get together. It’s written all over their faces ūüôā820snowpyramid As well as getting together on their home continent on the perma-snow and ice of the arctic circle, they¬†love to travel. As soon as southerly temperatures plummet into the minus numbers they start heading as far south as they can get. I expect you’ve seen them, magically popping up in parks and gardens near you, as soon as the first decent snowfall settles! I’ve had a few postcards from their jollies already that I’d love to share with you.

First the girls went on holiday exploring the forests in Canada…SnowladyPostcardThen the boys decided a spot of skiing would be in order. Here they are in the French Alps…on-the-piste!The baby snowmen aren’t big enough for all that wilderness trecking or alpine sporting but they do love to play together at their¬†local ice rink.820skatingThey’ve dressed up in all the different colours of the rainbow so their mum’s and dad’s know who’s who. Of course their mum’s and dad’s¬†would never really get their own children muddled up but it can be a bit tricky to tell the difference when they’re skating around that fast. Here’s Mr. and Mrs. Snowdon with the triplets, Willy, Nilly and Milly, ¬†and of course not forgetting their new baby Billy.820SnowfamilyAwww, what a lovely Christmas they’re going to have with a houseful of smiling snowbabies. You can adopt some snowbabies¬†here¬†if you want to make your Christmas just as much fun. The pattern’s free and they don’t eat much (yarn) so you can afford to adopt as many¬†as you like!


9 Comments

The Adventures of a Pampered Pooch

Hi guys! It’s the weekend again and I’ve been working flat out to fine tune my new pattern, Pandora the Poodle. She’s the poshest pooch you¬†could ever hope to meet¬†and here¬†she is with two of her high-faluting canine¬†pals, Porscha and Paloma.

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If you can keep Pandora¬†in the style to which she is accustomed then she’d just LOVE to come and live with you (and so would I for that matter!). She’ll sit for ages tucked up in your Prada tote as you stop by at Tiffany’s – you did promise her a diamond collar, didn’t you?

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Shopping in Bond street is her favorite pastime, now will it be the pink outfit or the blue today? Oh the decisions a pampered poodle has to make!820pooch2

A¬†little dash around Harrods is always sure to make her tail wag¬†and if¬†you take her for¬†lunch at the Dorchester she absolutely pinky promises to be on her best behaviour. Cucumber sandwiches,¬†fancy cupcakes¬†and a pot of tea? Yum! She’s licking her lips already.

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Now there’s just enough time left for a visit to Vidal Sassoon on South Molton Street to get those poodle puffs into perfect tip top shape.

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You look lovely Pandora. And what a lot of shopping you have!

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If only my weekend was going to be half as fancy!! In fact mine’s going to be pretty good but I don’t think it’s going to be Pandora’s kind of thing. We’re roughing it again at another festival. Mud, cider and less than immaculate port-a-loos await us! Pandora was invited but she just shuddered in horror. She’s already booked¬†herself in for a few days at¬†the local five star kennels!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend, whether it’s a posh one, a roughing it one or something in between ūüôā