25 September 2014

'Fun Of The Fair' by Melanie McNeice - Book Tour & Giveaway!

Doesn't this cover look so fun and inviting?! I thought so too! It's Melanie McNeice's latest soft toy book offering; Fun Of The Fair and today is my stop on the book tour to celebrate it's upcoming release next month with a giveaway for one lucky reader!  

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!!!!)


When did it go from hobby to full-time business?

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!!


Your new book is just delightful! How did you come up with the theme?

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!


- - - - - - - - - - GIVEAWAY - - - - - - - - -

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! 

72 comments:

  1. Ohhh those toys are adorable. Although I have a sewing room I have found that I need to keep the room organized, fabrics are folded and back to their place, patterns on the drawers,scissors on their place...

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  2. I am a list person, I have a daily list, weekly list, things to get done sometime list, sewing to do list, presents to buy list. I even have a packing list already written which I use whenever I go away. Thanks for a great giveaway, i love the elephant design. x

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  3. I am already a happy Bloglovin follower. x

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  4. Was looking at this briefly on Amazon but did not realise it had seals!! Definitely on the list.......... mmm I'm really good at organised chaos at work but the only thing at home is lists! I like the bullet journal method at mo.

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  5. I have to say That I Love the Melly and Me toys they are awesome and very easy to sew. Good luck to everyone in the draw.

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  6. My top tip for keeping your sewing room tidy is to store everything in your husband's shed, workshop, etc, and when they are full ask him to install loft ladders and voila, loads more storage space LOL. My hubby is very patient!

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  7. Also following you on Bloglovin.

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  8. I love this books ideas and pattern theme. I use labels on everything to keep it organized along with plastic storage/craft containers from several stores (JoAnn's, Walmart and Ikea).
    Thanks for the opportunity to participate in the give away!
    tomdcranford@yahoo.com

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  9. How cute and adorable, I love to sew and finding time can be difficult but I have found that if I sew a little bit every day the other stuff manages to get done because I feel better.Sewing is my therapy.

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  11. What darling patterns. Thanks for the review and for hosting the giveaway.
    My organization tip is "rolling carts". I number each drawer then I have a
    list of what is in each drawer. It is a great way to keep track of all
    sorts of tools, embellishments, buttons, ribbons and small craft items.

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  12. Que lindo !
    Nunca vi nada parecido aqui no Brasil
    São muito alegres e perfeito para alegrar as crianças.
    Parabéns !

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  13. FOLLOW ON BLOG LOVIN' !

    msstitcher1214@gmail.com

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  14. HI, such neat patterns!
    HINT: You must have many of these darling creatures, why not drape a large piece of netting/knotted fine roping to the corner of a room and display them pinned to it! Thanks for sharing!

    msstitcher1214@gmail.com

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  15. Great patterns!
    I'm a list maker - I have lists of lists!!! not sure how organised I am though!!

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  16. I love Melanie's designs! I'm not very organized when I am sewing a project but, when it's finished, I resort all my fabric scraps back into their bins and then tidy up the sewing area so I'm ready to start something else. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  17. I follow you on Bloglovin :)

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  18. This is an adorable book. I have 3 young grandchildren who love animals and I'd love to make these. For keeping organized, I use an iPhone App called Awesome Notes. I'm able to keep track of where EVERYTHING is and when ANYTHING happens. I actually have a timeline starting from the year I married in 1976 listing important dates and events so I can remember those, plus I have a folder that is called "WHERE IS IT". When I'm putting something away in a place that seems logical at the time, I enter it in there and I can just use keywords to search for it later when I invariably forget where I put the object. Works like magic!!

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  19. This is a very well presented book - the colours are so appealing. The main thing I can say about organisation is keep calm. I find that if I panic about what to do and when, it just makes me more confused. If I sit down, stop doing everything for a few minutes; collect myself and just 'be', I can then think clearer and be more productive afterwards.

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  20. Fab book! At the end of each working day I write down the key task I want to achieve the next day and this keeps me organised and focused.

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  21. One thing I've alwayd done as a married young lady is only handle household mail and paperwork once. It may sound simple but it will be a timesaver, especially when children stsrt school. Open mail immediately and discard the junk. When the kids come home from school with papers to be signed and returned, sign it and put it in their backpack. It works!

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  22. Love the animals. I follow the adage, a place for everything and everything in its place. Nothing wastes more time than looking for something all over the house. I get distracted easily and always find more things to do as I look around.

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  23. I follow you on Bloglovin.

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  24. I think I am in love with this book :) Melly and Me were some of the first patterns I fell in love with when I started sewing!

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  25. Ooooh these stuffed animals are Adorable!! Book is Awesome!!

    Think my Sewing stuff is better organized than my Kitchen..most of the time! giggle... I use plastic bins, and labels on them. I have a few stacked plastic drawers sets too. & smaller ones for thread, etc. Gues am semi-organized huh? Works here tho...lol

    Congratulations on your soon to come Wedding!! October is grrrreat month to get married! (We did!)

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  26. Am already a Follower too, thru Bloglovin & Email :)

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  27. I am a follower by email! I make it a point to go out to my sewing studio 2 hours (sometimes more ��) every day. I keep projects in plastic baskets and always leave a post-it note in the basket with where I left off - just in case I can't get back to the project right away.

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  28. I stock up on school supplies every summer. I place sewing patterns in those plastic, clear pencil pouches and have them organized in colored binders by children's, women's, accessories and so on.

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  29. I follow you already on bloglovin

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  30. I am a real list person. I have daily to do lists and I keep a big family diary where all appointments, deadlines and even menuplanning gets recorded. As for sewing I have found this year that both ALYOF and FAL2014 have really kept a clear focus in my sewing. That and only participating in 2 BOMs ;)

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  31. I have a lot of lists, that helps me to keep up with things!

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  32. Would love to win this book. I am making fabric baskets for my scraps and I have lots of shelves and drawers. But I am still not orgsnised!!

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  33. I am already following you on Bloglovin and am always looking forward to your posts....I tend to have innumerable lists on things-to-do, half-finished projects, X-mas projects, DIY projects (for hubby to carry out), wish-lists, must-read book lists, film lists....and the list goes on....and on.......and on.....I guess it comes down to being a virgo. Anyway, the book seems lovely and would sooooo much love to win it......
    Btw, with your wedding coming up next month, it comes as a surprise to me that you have the time to be involved in so may things. I am sure you will be needing a good few weeks' rest after it....

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  34. As for organizing....it's a must in our home. We have 6 kids, all sharing space, so we do regular purging.....going through closets, bookshelves, toy boxes and the like and make regular trips to donate our excess. It always feels nice to simplify however we can. Thanks for the chance...drooling over this gorgeous book!

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  35. I follow on IG, pinterest and twitter, but have tried multiple times to add you to my bloglovin' feed with no success. Will continue trying. ???

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    1. Got it to work! Following on bloglovin' now too! :)

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  36. I've finally organized my fabric by using the comic book boards and I found bins that fit nicely. So nice!

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  37. oh my, these are so adorable!! I have my fabric stored on comic book boards in an ikea bookshelf... and a huge pile on the floor that needs to be stored. Just this week I found the blog "clean mama" which has daily cleaning checklists. My house is suddenly clean! I hope I can keep it up, but i don't want sewing to take as much of a backseat as it has taken this week.... sigh... can't do it all!

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  38. I am definitely a list person- it helps me stay organized and on track.

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  39. I have a magnetic white board on my fridge. It helps a little bit.

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  40. I'm trying to think of some good organizing tips, but the truth of the matter is that I am terribly disorganized.

    I guess the one I do that is a little organized is I make google spreadsheets to make lists and keep track of things. Then since it's Google I can access those spreadsheets from any device.

    (tute-bot = christine)

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  41. I try to keep everything organized by thread/color, ribbon/color, fabric/color. I have drawers that I keep my ribbons and threads and other things like that. I have tubs filled with fabric by color. I keep lists and pictures of all my fabric. I have a shelf that I keep baskets on with currently working projects and when I buy fabric and thread for specific project I put in basket labeled with project name. I use ziploc bags to keep scraps in that are big enough for another cut, by color of course. I also keep all my quilting magazines sorted by name and date and keep lists if there are certain quilts that really stand out that I want to make. After that all I need is time to sew, I currently have a lot of project baskets for birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas gifts. Thanks for the chance to win this book. I like to make toys for the kids and my MIL just passed away and I like to take her scarves and clothes, and buttons to make stuffed animals in memory of her for her grand and great grandkids. This book would really help make a variety since there are more than 1 child within some of the families. Thanks again.
    ncjeepster@aol.com

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  42. I follow you via bloglovin' https://www.bloglovin.com/ncjeepster
    and email and more...
    ncjeepster@aol.com

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  43. I keep a notebook with fabric swatches and patterns I use them with . I number them and keep the main projects in a small tote with the number on it.So if I have to stop a project I have everything together to complete it

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  44. For me it's lists, there's nothing more satisfying than striking a line through some task on a list!
    Thank you for the chance.

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  45. I'm a new follower through Bloglovin' :)

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  46. I have a lot to study - I study medicine - and I make often lists: they gave me mental order :)

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  47. I follow via bloglovin as Chiaralps

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  48. Lists list and lists and if all else fails write a list of lists :)

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  49. I am now following you on bloglovin - if you wanted to look at my blog it is

    http://60degreesofinspiration.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/wedding-tortoises.html

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  50. I love lists to keep me organized but I love boxes to keep things tidy.
    Fabric boxes are fun to make and fill.

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  51. Keeping organised - love it! I put each project I want to work on into a plastic container with the fabric and pattern and anything else that I need for it. Keeps everything for that project together and that way I can keep count on the number of projects I am working on before starting more.

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  52. I use lists to stay organised. Some apps help too :)

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  53. Best idea I've come up with to keep organized is to put everything away when I'm done using it.

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  54. I'm not very organised, but lists usually keeps me on track!

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  55. Lists, and not starting too many things before finishing others. Also, doing the things that are nagging at me that I tend to procrastinate doing. I find that if I finish a couple of those each day it gives me more space to think. sarah@forrussia.org

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  56. A list always helps, but then sometimes I forget where I put the list :) One tip I found for myself is I try to never put a project away that has an issue. If something needs to be "ripped out" I try to do the ripping before I put it away. It's easier to come back to a project that is ready to go instead of needing fixing :)

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  57. I am horrible at organization - a by-product of ADD. That being said, I can often tell you where I left something, it just doesn't make sense. The thing that works best for keeping me organized is lists. In an effort to not lose them, I keep them all in one notebook, and I always know where it is. I have long term lists, short term lists, work lists, personal lists, etc. But if it's on the list, it gets done (eventually).
    Thank you for the giveaway - I'm so excited about this book!

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  58. I try to take my embroidery floss with me on long car trips and wind them on the thread cards to add to my floss stash.

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  59. I try so hard to be organised, but sometimes it all gets away on me. It is important to have a place for things, so you have somewhere to actually put items and find it there again. I group things that I use together and store them together, like my cutting mats, rulers and rotary cutters. My threads are stored in boxes but type then color, easy to find what you want. Fabric, well, that is always a problem...loads of ideas but not one solution that covers everything!

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  60. My tip: clean up as you go (i.e. put things away as soon as you are finished with them!). Of course, things have to have a place to be put! This is such a beautiful book - I adore softies and these are just divine!

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  61. Putting things away as I finish with them and always in the same place so I can easily find them again.

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  62. I am really not an organised person so don't think I'm very qualified to give advice...if you want procrastination techniques though, I am a pro! This book looks so gorgeous, would love to win it!

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  63. Notebooks. I have a notebook were I write to-do lists, a notebook where I keep a record of what happens with a sick family member I'm helping with, I had a notebook where I wrote down everything I ate when I was trying to figure out what made me feel sick, etc. 3-ring binders are good too. I have a three-ring binder with knitting patterns, another with recipes I've clipped, another with piano music, etc.

    jhunsberger (at) gmail (d0t) c0m

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  64. I've been following you via email, but wasn't sure if that counted, so I now follow on bloglovin too.

    jhunsberger (at) gmail (d0t) c0m

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Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments.
I love reading each and every one. I try and respond to questions in the comments so other readers can see as well. Best wishes, Jessie