Today I am excited to be featuring a fabulous little shop that I found on Etsy called "I'm a Ginger Monkey". The creator behind this store is Katy from "wet & windy Yorkshire" (don't blame me ....that's her description). If you like funky, fun kids toys for yourself, or for gifts for others then you'll love her Merrylegs toys!!!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a 33yr old stay at home Mum. I have a daughter of 8 and a son of 2yrs, a very supportive husband (who only occasionally moans about the state of the house, the bits of thread all over and the ever growing fabric stash) and 2 british shorthair cats
How did you come to be a designer / creator?
Basically out of boredom. I was stuck at home with my son when he was a baby, and I was getting itchy to do something, anything! I didn't want to go out and work, and I didn't want to go back to school. I've always been the crafty Mum who would make things whenever kids came round, and I had some bits lying around so I made a toy for my daughter whilst she was away on holiday, that went down well, so I made a few more, and then thought 'I could probably sell these!' It just kind of went from there.
How do you go about starting new projects / creations (what is your process?)
I have a sketch book I carry around with me and I am always doodling little creatures in it. The dolls tend to come from a sketch first, then I break them down into pieces, draw those out, make a very basic pattern and choose fabrics. Sometimes fabrics jump out at me (and that's not because the closet is so full!) other times it's harder to pick what will go with the doll's personality. I tend to have an idea of 'who' they are as I am making them, and that influences my choices. It sounds all a bit pretentious, but I think it's just that I'm a little bit crazy and being sat in the house for most of the day you have to have a conversation with someone - why not let it be a doll?!
What inspires you in life?
I think my main inspiration comes from my kids, and any kids in general. The whole innocence and naivety that we have in childhood where everything is black and white. I love that and wish the whole world could be as simplistic. Whatever I do I think of the effect it would have on the children, and our family unit. There is nothing more important than the people in your home, and I believe that they are the only ones that you should consider when doing anything. They inspire all of my decisions, whatever they may be.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
Oh, fabric - how much do I love fabric?! I love corduroy - baby cord, big fat cord, any cord!!! It's so full of texture. I love how soft it is and could stroke it all day! But printed cottons are amazing because of the sheer variety available.
Name your top 5 websites
1: has to be etsy. It's a wonderful site, full of everything. But sooo addictive, I get lost in there for hours! It's like the most amazing craft fayre you have ever been to, and then some. Totally brilliant!
2: Then there's ebay. It gets a lot of criticism for fees, but I don't sell on there so it doesn't bother me! If it weren't for ebay I'd struggle to find decent fabrics at reasonable prices. Most of my cotton fabric comes from the US, and I have ebay to thank for that!
3: I'm a bookworm - so amazon is there at 3, but it's a close one between amazon and flickr. Flickr is great, there's so many amazing photos, not just crafty ones. So I can't decide - amazon and flickr can share the number 3 position!
4: sewmamasew - it's full of inspiration, and fabulous tutorials. I think that can have the final position.
What is your most treasured possession?
It's a weird one. I have a seahorse - a real one, but it's dried and long dead. My grandmother used to have it in a cabinet in her house and I was never allowed to touch it, she said it would crumble and break. That little seahorse was full of mystery, I can still smell my grandmother's house and feel the chill that was always in the room she kept it in. It reminds me of magical times with her, and an idyllic childhood. She had to go into a nursing home recently and I asked her if I could have the seahorse. I still haven't touched it. I got my Dad to put it into a cabinet in my house, and there it will stay. I was going to take a picture of it, but I am not sure if I could without touching it!!!
Who is your current favourite designer / creator?
There are so many to choose from, this is a hard one. I don't want to choose someone we all know and love. That's not fair, because there is a wealth of talent hiding under the radar. So I'm going to pick a Dutch lady called Erika of mikodesign.etsy.com. She makes some beautiful screenprinted fabrics with the help of her kids. I just bought some from her, and it's fantastic. She also has a blog - http://www.mikodesign.blogspot.com/. She is worth checking out!
What do you most enjoy about the city / town you live in?
Actually, not a lot. I don't like our local town and am trying to convince my husband to move some time soon! But we do have a wonderful sculpture park just 2 mins from our house, in the countryside (which we are surrounded by, so that has to be a good point). It's a place where the kids can run free and be touched by art without realising, and also touch art - the sculptures are there to be touched and climbed on, not admired from a distance in a stuffy gallery.
Tell us where we can find your work.
I have a blog where I can be found mostly rambling on about nothing much, but also has news of new dolls and stuff. http://www.imagingermonkey.blogspot.com/ and I have my little shop on etsy http://www.imagingermonkey.etsy.com/