The book features six ridiculously cute fairground inspired animals, all of which I'm dying to make! You can expect to see loveable lions, mischievous monkey's, sweet seals and more.
Melanie states that the patterns are suitable for all skills levels, and although I've not had the chance to sew one up myself at the moment, I think they would be very straight-forward to sew.
Each pattern has very helpful step-by-step instructions that even a very novice sewer could tackle, along with helpful tips to keep you on track. You can also hop over to tutorial section on Melanie's blog where she really goes into some detail for toy making techniques.
Before I was contacted about this book I wasn't aware of Melanie and her hugely successful company; Melly & Me. If you have been living under a rock, as I clearly have! Melanie is multi-talented business women who has created over 100 sewing patterns, designed multiple fabric collections for Riley Blake Designs, travelled across Australia teaching sewing, author to five books, all while running her Melly & Me online shop, oh and looking after her family with two children! Yowzers, I'll have a glass of what she's having! ;-) now I know you want to hear more from this wonder woman don't you? Over to you, Melanie...
How did you start your sewing career?
Well I always say that it was my sister who MADE me!! :) About 10 years ago my sister, Rosalie Quinlan, was already a successful pattern designer and it was when I was home with my baby/toddler children that she persuaded me to start sewing. I had always believed that I didn't have a creative bone in my body after working in Insurance and Information Systems, but she convinced me it would be a great hobby to overcome my feelings of "lack of accomplishment" and boredom. I took to quilting overnight and purchased a sewing machine 24 hours after she started me trying - It was love at first stitch! I think it was about 6 months later that Rosalie started her attempts to convince me to start designing. I kicked and screamed for a while, but eventually started my hand at original designs - the rest is history! (thanks sis!!!!)
I think somewhere in the first two years the tide suddenly turned very quickly. It went from a lot of fun and just a hobby business to fund my growing fabric addiction to a full time focus. That said I did put a lot of effort into getting my name known and promoting Melly & me. We even went to the "International Quilt Market" in the US in an attempt to expand into the international market. I think even when it was a hobby I took it pretty seriously and was fairly determined to make a go of it.
You have accomplished so much; from starting a successful sewing pattern company, teaching, designing fabric, writing books and more! – how do you manage it all?
Well that is an awfully good question! I think being a work-a-holic helps, haha! I have just added part time study to the mix and am finding time management pretty hard at the moment, but I seem to always get it done. I am a pretty driven and self motivated person so I think I just always make the time and make it work. I am also a compulsive over-comitter which gets myself in trouble - but I look at this as a positive at the end of the year when I see how much I have achieved. Loving what you do helps tremendously - you always find time to do things you love and that excite you!
What do you enjoy most about your creative job?
I love the feeling of anything new coming to life! Whether this is a new book being published and finally available, a new toy created in the studio, or new digital artwork for that next fabric collection! I just love seeing something fun and new coming from nothing. I love it most when those creations make people smile - I think that is my business plan - to make people smile!!
Actually at the time I came up with this theme I was playing around with some "Fun Fair" based fabric designs for a possible new fabric collection. The fabric collection was never completed and was never meant to be, but it birthed the ideas for this book!! This book was instantly in my mind's eye and it was almost effortless to put together as I could see all the designs so clearly in my imagination. You can actually find the digital artwork that I had been playing with for fabric as decoration within the book!
What big things do you have planned for the future of Melly and Me, can you share?
I am actually looking forward to seeing what the future might bring!! I am just starting work now on my next book which will be available in about 12 months or so - another toy based book with 10 "fantasy" themed projects which is super exciting!. I am always working on the next fabric collection and the next pattern design, but outside of that I am looking for that great new idea to branch into something challenging and new! I am not sure what it might be just yet, but I am hoping some new journey and direction for Melly & me will be just around the corner!
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Melanie sounds like an sewing and organisational dream! This makes makes me want to get my butt in gear, and with my wedding happening next month I need all the organising help I can get!!
With that in mind, for your chance to WIN a printed copy of the book sent by the publishers at F + W Media, simply leave me a comment on this blog post with any tips or ideas you follow to keep organised? It can be sewing / or non sewing related. Anything!
For an additional entry you can follow me on Bloglovin for all blog updates! Drop me an additional blog comment to tell me so I can count the extra entry.
Competition closes Thursday 9th October 2014. Best of luck!