11 January 2016

If you go down to my woods today........

......be sure to wear your wellies and waterproofs, you might meet some bears but they are unlikely to be having a picnic its rather soggy round here.  As you wander through the wood you would be forgiven for being confused about what season we are in (not half as confused as those further south than me tho').  The temperatures of late have been more Spring like, they have cooled now perhaps Winter is on its way finally?  I do hope the Spring bulbs that have started to sprout will not be die off.   The world is definitely warming up there is not disputing that, but there is much disagreement as to why that is happening, I cannot believe that us humans are not having some impact.


The warmth of the season much be having an effect on hibernating animals who do so when the temperatures door there surely can't be enough food for them to survive a warmer winter awake.  I heard last month that Polar Bears, were having to walk much further to find food making them hungrier, there is a concern that this will impact the seal population.  Polar Bears don't hibernate and neither do those that go for walks in woods whilst their breakfast is cooling.  We all know that Bears don't eat porridge or live in houses for that matter but in fairy stories anything is possible right?

I made a storysack back in May, a birthday present for my twin nephews they loved it so much my sister in law requested another for Christmas.  She wants to introduce some of the fairy tales to them so asked if I could use one as the basis, can you guess which one I chose?  For those that have never come across story sacks they are a bag of books, props and sometimes a game on a theme, a thread from the main book in the sack.  The props are toys that enhance the main book.


The latest sack is Goldilocks and the Three Bears, did you guess right?  There are hundreds of versions of this story around I chose Gerda Muller's version, I love her illustrations and her take on this well known tale.  She has changed the ending, the Bears are still cross with Goldilocks not for what she has done, but rather not done.  She entered their house without being invited in, she hasn't minded her manners, they offer her to join them for a bowl of porridge as she runs away!





I have made three bears Daddy, Mummy and Baby and a Goldilocks who is a little on the small side but I don't think that matters when you are three.  It was difficult to work out the finished size from the pattern, I sized it up a bit but it could have done with increasing a bit more.  I managed to make her from bits and pieces in my stash.  She and the Bears are stuffed with sheep's wool from a fleece I was given by a friend, I had to wash it first!


As I was sewing and cutting the various pieces I pondered the cost of making these sacks and other presents I gift.  I have often been told I should make things to sell, there are two reasons I don't, it would lose its appeal to me, 'having' to do it and more importantly would be the costing the items and whether I would ever sell them.  I have been talking about this with a friend recently she opened an etsy shop recently and has found pricing the items to ensure she can make a living.  I used plenty of small pieces of material from my stash, the stuffing was free, the few pieces (including the books) I bought came to about £20, the biggest 'cost' was my time.  The bears took an hour to cut out and and hour and half to sew up and stuff for each one, Goldilocks was about the same.  Her clothing and hair took three hours and the bag an hour that is a total of 14 hours of work at the current UK minimum wage that would be £93.20 for my time, I would be charging over £100 for this story sack.


There was a second book, Please Mr Panda, in the sack a story book about manners that I thought tied in with the main book and with a bear covered bag to keep it all a Goldilocks and the Three Bears Storysack.  I love making these sacks and I am sure I will make my nephews another for their birthday in May, might have to get thinking about that one soon!


Joining Nicole

49 comments:

  1. What a wonderful, thoughtful gift. I think they will enjoy them for years to come. I wish I had relatives who appreciated things like this. It makes me sad that they don't, but I can make more for my own children. You did a beautiful job, I especially love Goldilocks and her Waldorf styling.

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    1. I do hope they will be used for years to come, that is the idea as mum is a childminder. I just hope they are robust enough!

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  2. What a great idea! Just the sort of thing children would love I am sure. You are right about making to sell - if you cost yur time into the equation things prove prohibitively expensive. I remember someone once asking me if I would make them a waistcoat like the one I had done for my City and Guilds creative Textiles exam and then being shocked when I told them that even at 50p an hour it would cost more than they would wish to pay! Do it because you love doing it - it would lose all its satisfaction and creativity if you try to sell things and have to make dozens of the same thing over and over again.

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    1. Thank you. I do love doing it and you are right that it would be unsatisying if I had to make many that is one of many reasons that puts me off.

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  3. What a wonderful gift so enchanting. You are so right about the pricing up of handmade items to sell, so any people fail to price up the hours it costs for each item to be made. Also people buying or looking to buy not appreciating the time & effort put in. So much better to make gifts to be treasured & passed down. I keep on missing your posts I thought I had put you in my blogger feed, I have now. Take care x

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    1. Thank you Jo. I do love making gifts and always hope they will be treasured.

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  4. That is so creative ! It's a gift that will be treasured for a long, long time and hopefully passed on to the next generation. xxx...x

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  5. That is a fabulous gift, I think these story sacks are such a wonderful idea. I love the three bears and goldilocks that you made, Baby Bear is so cute and Goldilock's hair is perfect. I'm sure your your nephews will have loved their gift.

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  6. Goldilocks and the three bears are delightful - clever old you.

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  7. You have such wonderful ideas...i'm not much of a shopper, but i know for sure that your teddy bear sack would be a bargain at 100 pounds in this current consumerist market.

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    1. I would like to think so.......but I wonder who would buy it?

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  8. What an amazing gift! I think they would be very popular. As a crafts person I understand your hesitation to make a business of it though. There are times when I work for a fraction of the minimum wage when taking into consideration costs and time. Your nephews will be absolutely thrilled though :)

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    1. I know you make beautiful creations for sale it must be hard to have to sell them for less than their true cost.

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  9. I L-O-V-E your bears!! They are gorgeous. I would buy one from you if you fancied making some more?!! x

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  10. Oh, Goldilocks and the Three Bears... It brings so many memories. I remember how my Granny read it to me, in Russian it is "Masha and the Three Bears". I remember being so scared for Masha and wishing she would go away before bears come back :)

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    1. I have a feeling I read somewhere recently that the origins of the story are Russian. It sounds like you were read a very scary version! I love how stories like this are changed over time and in different cultures it would fascinating to find out how they were originally but most were handed down orally so there is no written record until more recently.

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  11. Your storysacks make an amazing gift...their individuality is what makes them so unique...they are an heirloom to be shared with future generations. By the way the temperature is going to be 41c here tomorrow...we are having an incredibly hot summer in Australia.

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    1. Thank you, I do try to make them unique but I couldn't if I was making many!

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  12. It is difficult to 'cost time' when you are a craftsperson as you could never charge what it really does take you to do. The value of the product is in the love that you have put in it and that is impossible to put a price to it. You have to be very driven to craft and charge -both with what people are willing/able to pay and what you need to give yourself a wage - having tried it for myself, know how hard it is. Your bookstack gifts are amazing and so well thought out - they will be treasured x

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    1. Those are exactly the values that I was considering and the very ones that it is so hard to put a price on.

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  13. What a beautiful story sack. I love the bears and the Goldilocks is perfect. I made a version years ago for my Eldest and knitted the bears. She still has it. Also made a Princess and the Pea for middle daughter, which she has not hidden away. Story sacks are a winning formula.

    I've toyed with the idea of making and selling, but it is the pricing which puts me off. I could only make one-offs. I costed my recent needle felted polar bear and at minimum wage, my time alone was over £26. Admittedly the cost of the materials were a fraction of that

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    1. I love that your children still treasure the things you made them when they were younger. The Princess and the Pea would make a great sack............

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  14. So thoughtful! lovely bears.

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  15. What a wonderful and thoughtful idea. Certainly a gift to be cherished. Your bears are gorgeous. X

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  16. I love your story sack idea. I don't think I'd have your skill for making the animals but I would like to try the idea somehow for my grand daughter. I made her a rainbow bag for Christmas with those coloured gossamer squares in it. I should add a rainbow story to it and perhaps some crayons as she gets older. You are right about the difficulty of pricing hand crafted products for sale. a 'reasonable' retail price barely covers the materials let alone the time. I have tried this with candles and badges in local craft shops and their mark up makes it prohibitive.

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    1. The beauty of these sacks is that you can put anything you like in and it doesn't have to complicated. Just a little something to enhance the story and give the child/ren a chance to act it out on their own if they want.

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  17. Oh what a gorgeous teddy - perfect for a story bag, they're going to have so much fun acting it all out :)

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    1. I do hope so, my two loved getting story sacks from the library.

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  18. The story stack is a wonderful idea and I love the bears and Goldilocks doll you've made. You've done a really fantastic job with them and I'm sure they will be played with and enjoyed for many, many years. X

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    1. I do hope so, I hope I have made them robust enough!

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  19. you are quite clever!! love the theme and the idea :)

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  20. Beautiful gift! So much time and love put into it!

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    1. It did take time but I enjoyed every moment of it!

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  21. I love your story sacks, they are such a good idea. I'm sure your nephews will love them too.

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    1. Thank you, I am so glad I have relatives to make them for.

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  22. What a great gift! It is much easier to make something out of love than thinking about how much it costs! I don't know how people who hand-make and sell things do it!

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  23. This is such a wonderful idea! I have a 5yr old birthday coming up in march and I would love to try something like this.

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  24. That is just the most wonderful idea... I bet they just loved it.
    I've been on that side of thinking as well : selling my quilts. But after counting everything, I would be selling pieces for hundreds of dollars. That seems insane to me.
    Like you, I'm afraid of making my hobbies my livelyhood.

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