The Gift

” Where are you going?” I asked as she walked by me.

” I think I need to bring something,” she said to me, ” like a present, a gift for Natalia.   Is there a mall around here?”

” I wouldn’t worry about it,” I said, snapping a photo of her,” you ARE the gift.”

” But she designed my dress and I think it’s soooo beeeootiful!” she said,” don’t you think?”

” Yes, I do, ” I paused, ” in fact, I would say, she already has a gift. Designing dresses at age 4 is definitely a gift. ”

by Natalia, age 4

We both looked at the drawing and compared the details on the drawing with her dress.   “So, what do I bring her? ” she persisted.

“How about you bring her your smiling self, maybe unlimited hugs and attention? ”  I suggested, ” I think she would really appreciate that.”

” Oh yeah, I can do that!” she said.

****Update**** Natalia now has her doll!  Go here to see the rest of the story…

 

Mirza

by Mirza, age 5

” Beep, beep,” his blue lights flashed, then his black eyes blinked, twice.

“Hello,” I said, warmly, ” how are you? ”

After a long pause, he slowly said, ” I am Mirza.  I speak English, German, all Neo-Latin languages, Russian and Hindi, Sino-Tibetan languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese, Semitic languages and Bantu languages.” And then he added, ” I am fine.”

” Wow, that’s impressive.” I nodded. ” tutto bene, allora?”

“Si,” and then he said, ” Italian is not your best language. What other languages do you speak?”

” Uh, a little French and Mandarin,” I quickly added, “but they are also not my best languages.”

He nodded.  Then he looked down his arms.  “What am I holding?”

” They’re called nunchaku, I think. ”

I watched him study them.  He said,  ” Nunchaku is a traditional Okinawan weapon consisting of two sticks connected at one end with a short chain or rope.  It was popularized by Bruce Lee in his movies.”  And he added quietly, ” cool. ”

He struggled a bit with them at first, but within five or maybe ten minutes, he was skillfully swinging them around his head and behind his back, as he danced around the table and even kicked a few times.  He narrowly missed my head twice, and after the third time, I caught a nunchaku in mid-air and said, “look, you’re going to promise me one thing,”

” : : ”  (His eyes blinked twice.)

” You will only use them for Good,” I said, ” and you will never hurt a soul. ”

” Those are two things,” he said.

I raised an eyebrow.  “Okay, promise me those two things.”

” I promise.”  He then added, ” you do know that my nunchaku is made of yarn and felt?”

I blinked at him twice.  He’s a smart one, this Mirza.

Samantha the cat


by Paige, age 5

“One.  Two.  One.  Two.”

“What are you doing?” I asked the little colourful cat strutting on my table.

“I’m practicing.  One. Two. One. Two.”  She began humming as she kicked her legs.

“Practicing what?” I tossed some fabric scraps into my wastebasket.   Man, my studio gets messy fast.

“I’m practicing my Act,” she said, looking at me, “you know?  The one I’m going to do as a surprise for Paige.  I want to knock her socks off!”

“Oh,” I smiled, “okay, let’s see it.”

The cat began.  She sashayed along the length of the table, picking up some speed as she neared the edge and then twirled and slid back to center stage, all the while humming what sounded like Mack The Knife.  Then she hopped up and down a couple of times before attempting a front aerial and crashing down onto her head.   I ran to her, picked her up, and asked if she was okay.

“You know you don’t have to try so hard,” I said, smoothing her tail, “just be yourself.  Paige is going to love you no matter what.”

She looked at me a little sceptically, shrugged and then nodded.  She hopped up with a smile.

“ Like, who can resist my irresistible charm? ”

Mia’s birthday

” Hello there, ” I said.

” Who are you? ” he asked, his eyes trying to focus on me.

” A friend,” I answered as I helped him to sitting position.

” How did I get here? ” he looked around my studio, in wonder.

” Mia,”  I said, ” made a drawing of you and it was sent to me.”  And I showed him the drawing.

By Mia, age 5

He looked at it for a long time, slowly understanding that this was what he looked like, before asking, “Is Mia a friend?”

” Oh yes,” I said, ” she is your best friend. ”

He began to shudder, perhaps from the cold, so I wrapped a scarf around him.

” Is that better?” I asked.

He nodded. ” I’m actually shaking because I’m feeling excited. Where is Mia?” he asked.

” Mia will be excited to see you too,”  I said,  ” it’s a bit of a journey for you, but hopefully it won’t be long before you two connect. ”

” A journey?” he looked nervous.

” Look at it as an adventure.  I mean your whole life now, ahead of you, it’s an adventure!”  I smiled at him.

He carefully put his hands together and said, ” Okay, I think I’d like some of that.”

Where Princesses Dream

by Maeve, age 7

One of my earliest memories was begging my mother to draw The Pretty Lady.  With pen or pencil in her perfectly manicured hands, my mother would start by drawing out an oval shape and then add swirls that became luscious lashes around almond shaped eyes followed by a small dainty nose and mouth and finished with long wavy hair cascading down or swooped up in a bun, with tendrils down the sides of her face.  I demanded this drawing over and over again, until finally one day, my mother, much exasperated, said no, she was tired of drawing The Pretty Lady.  So I began.  I drew the same princess over and over again, putting all my little girl desires into those drawings.

I don’t have any of these drawings from my childhood.  My mother didn’t think they were worth keeping, not until I was in my teens and drawing more “seriously”.  Then she insisted I start saving the drawings.  They’re somewhere in the archives (my dusty crawlspace), mottling away.   I am sorry that I don’t have any of the earlier drawings – of the princess.  Maybe that’s why I like children’s drawings so much.  Maybe that’s why I want to make softies out of them.

Maeve's princess doll

Upon further inspecting her drawing, Maeve realised that she forgot to colour the eyes (blue) and mouth (pink). Her mother reassured her that I’d be able to handle that change.

The Other Talented Softie-Makers

Listen.  Do you hear that?  It’s the chatter of happy crafters, excited and ready to custom make plush creations for children (and anyone) with a drawing and a wish for a cuddly keepsake.

These softie-makers are independent craftspeople, located in the United States, Canada Australia and Europe, who are ready to deal with you directly.  They have their own websites, pricing, payment methods and turnaround time.  I hope you visit their websites and send them your drawings for quotes.  Because it’s time to spread the joy!

To find them, click on  the link to The Other Talented Softiemakers

Update

Image

Dear people who have written me or sent me a drawing, do you feel like I’m ignoring you?

563.  Five hundred and sixty three.  563.  That’s how big my wait-list is.  Are you shocked?  And I only make 4 softies a week!!   563 divide 4 is 140 weeks, or two-and-a-half years.  Please do not send in a drawing, asking if it can be done by April (unless you want to make me laugh).

So, things are going to change.  (They have to, don’t you think?)  Next Thursday, on March 1st, I will have a list of other, independent and talented softiemakers on the website, who will be happy to meet you and see your drawings, and make your softies.  Some of them are from Australia, so if you’re Australian, this might appeal to you!

As for me, I’ll be sitting here, holding my head, and contemplating my next steps.

by Chad, age unknown

I will make my way through the wait list in my systematic way.  I expect some of you will have made other plans or changed your mind or even forgotten about Child’s Own, and I promise that I won’t be offended.  (For now, I have stopped answering new quote requests, because it just seems meaningless.)

by Gabby, age 7

The wait-list includes people who e-mailed between January 17 and February 22.  If you sent in a request around January 17, then you will hear from me within the next couple of days.