Sunday, May 5, 2013

"To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak." ~Hopi Indian Saying

 Three years ago I registered my daughter at a local dance school. We were new to the area and just mostly blindly picked a studio that seemed nice. It was one of my best decisions ever. To see how she has grown and blossomed is amazing. I love watching her dance and I think she is perfection.

We love everything about McKinney Dance Academy. The owner, Miss Dari, and all of the teachers are just the best.

In chatting with another dance mom I discovered that the competition team was looking to raise money. I happily offered a toy to be auctioned. It's just a little thing I can do to give back to a place we love so much.

She has removable pointe shoes and tutu and glittery eyes. Do you expect anything less from a glamorous ballet monkey? :)

Bluebird of Happiness

I've made many toys out of socks but this was a wonderful first for me. My client had socks from her own childhood and wanted a precious keepsake toy to give to her Mother. We discussed many options and she came up with the super sweet idea of a bluebird.

I really love the before and after.

And the adorable after...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Basket Bunnies

I wanted to make a toy that would be perfect for spring. I wanted to try a new design or to tweak something I already had. I wanted it to be cute, quick, and I wanted to be able to offer it for a lower price point.

Two words... Basket Bunnies.

So simple and so so adorable. To me, they are very classic. I could imagine our parents and grandparents having sweet little toys like this.

Oh, I just love them so much. I hope you do as well. The perfect Easter Bunny for your loved one... no fuss, no mess, no long term commitment. Just snuggly cuddles. :D

Sunday, February 10, 2013

He's her lobster!

*clap* If you were a Friends fan, or just alive in the 90's, you know all about lobsters in love.

That well-known reference was the inspiration for my latest custom made toy. My sweet client ordered this lobster for her fabulous Texan boyfriend. He is her lobster and I hope he likes this little guy. Who knew a cold crustacean could be so cuddly and adorable!?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Start as you mean to go on

That is certainly a motto for this year. I started the year doing numerous projects around the house, including a total craft lair cleaning and re-organization. 

It is so very easy for our work spaces to get cluttered and out of sorts. Especially if you are busy and move through many projects in a short time frame. I know I tend to put stuff away "just enough" to be able to grab my next supplies and off I go! But I certainly couldn't start a new year with that kind of chaos. It is a joy to work in a clean, smartly arranged area. And I do indeed want 2013 to be filled with joy, crafting, and lots of success. 

We have hit the ground running with new orders (and some inquiries/suggestions of new ventures, hmmm. Somethings to think about for sure!).

Right before Christmas I received an order for a platypus, so she was first in the queue after the holiday hustle and bustle was over and done with. I finished her today and can't wait to get her off to her new family. I hope they love her as much as I do. :D

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bad Crafty Blogger, Bad!

I know, I KNOW! I vanished. It's been almost 2 months since my last blog. That is unacceptable.

I had orders, oh so many adorable little friends to make. I'll catch you up in the next few posts but I have to share my last holiday order because I just want to die from the cuteness!!

Just look at her sweet little face! The flower! *swoon*

I cannot wait to see the photos of her with her precious little girl <3 p="p">

Did you know that sock monkeys have been around since the late 1800's? When I started making sock toys I actually refused to make monkeys because they were everywhere and I felt they were just too common so I focused on other animals. I'm so glad I changed my opinion on this classic toy because they really are wonderful.  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A chicken on every blog.

Have you noticed how HOT chickens are these days?! They are everywhere! We've talked about getting a few ourselves for the backyard. So how could I put off making a sock chicken prototype??

The sock I used wasn't very stretchy so I'm hoping I can make the next one a bit more chubbified.

I just love her so much and my chicken loving friends have given her an overwhelming thumbs up! 

Remember the little reversible egg/chicken toy that I made? I tried another one as a bunny and it is SOO cute! I'm definitely going to have to get a bunch of these made before Easter.

Don't forget about our October Sale.... 15% off your entire order and if you spend more than $80, you get free shippingHoliday Discount! Most of the prototyped toys are not listed on the custom order page so you might not see what you want. All you have to do is  Contact Me.

Fall is nearly here! I love fall, though we don't get a "real" fall here in the south. lol I had plans to attend a local craft fair but they fell through. I was making these little toys just to have something to sell and I was hoping to make a few big sales on custom toys. I plan on making a bunch more, all different colors and patterns.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shop and save!

It's October first. There is a nip to the air (even here in Texas!) And it is time to start thinking about your holiday shopping. Holidays are quickly approaching. We have only 85 more days until Christmas!!

As promised I've set the website up with a coupon. For the fabulous month of October you will get 15% off every toy you order. And for those of you that have a big shopping list, there is also free shipping on all orders over $80!

Just use this link to get started :D

Speaking of holidays... I stumbled upon a pretty cute idea for Easter. I was thinking of a chicken (hen) then thought of eggs and then of course of cute fat lil baby chicks when suddenly I wondered if I could do a reversible toy egg/chicken so kids could switch it back and forth depending on how they were playing. Here is the result...   My husband suggested doing an egg/bunny too. One of our facebook fans commented they these would be perfect Easter basket stuffers, and I think she is right. I'm going to to play around with the details a bit... maybe little feet for the chick.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm not trying to scare you

but... Christmas is less that three months away!!  EEK!  

Okay, I know what you are thinking, "OH MY GOSH, can't we just get through Halloween before we have to think about Christmas?!"

Yes, totally... but kinda not. Because honestly depending on the size of your shopping list you might really need to get started. I have zero clue what I'm going to do this year but I know I should be thinking about it very very soon!

If you are going to order handmade items from me or from the many other super talented artisans online or even locally you really should start making plans. Hand crafted items take a bit longer to make but the impact and quality are so worth it. 

To help with your holiday planning I will be adding a coupon code on October 1st. so make sure you check into the facebook page for that. :D

I've been really throwing myself into work lately so I have a new toy or two to show you.  

Many of you might know, I was born and raised in Central Florida and lived there until I was 30. One of my friends from high school ordered two very beachy toys recently and I just love how they turned out. I do have a favorite though and he will eventually get his own listing on the custom toy page for sure.

It's the cutest stingray ever. :D

This toy is modeled after a Great White and I am so so in love with the final product. And I am going to try to get more of this sock pattern, it fits the shark so perfectly. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Life threw off my groove

I really was cruising right along. Then my daughter had surgery, which I talked about a bit. Well, about a week after we came home I started feeling "off". List of symptoms aside it turns out that due to stress, crappy sleep/eating I developed a lovely case of Shingles... yea, that rocked.... said no one, EVER!

It was miserable. I was miserable. lol Obviously I didn't sew. I didn't blog. It was just UGH.

So I'm back and trying to finally begin work on an order I should have already completed. I made a new template, sewed the body, cut the excess fabric, and really looked at it... It's a complete fail. This was actually a first. I've made mistakes, have thing I want to tweak for other toys, etc. But to fully fail where I have to run to the store for a new sock, that has never happened until yesterday.

But today, my friends, today is a NEW day! And I'm going to show this sock who is in charge. *fingers crossed*

Did You Know?: Giant Arctic jellyfish have tentacles that can reach over 118 feet in length.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hack Attack!

My children recently met a local "no-makeup" clown and juggler at a library presentation. They thought he was the coolest ever! 

He gave the crowd tips and advice on how to juggle so my son wants to try. He came home and googled "hacky sacks" and then promptly decided he didn't want to pay the prices he was seeing. So he puppy eyed me and begged me to make a set for him.

So, I give you the first ever Unofficial SMT Hacky Socks. lol Free and lifetime repairs and replacement, can't beat that. ;)

Having a crafty mom really comes in handy at times... Since I recently made this for my daughter's dance recital, a few juggling balls aren't too big of a request for my darling first born.

I have to say that I really do like crafting for and with my kids (even when I get stressed and think it's 'All going wrong!!' lol) and I hope that they will keep these memories and special moments in their hearts forever. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We are moving slow today...

No, not because of lack of sleep. Because the "my favorite animal" reveal is today, did you guess it? 

My most favorite, adored, cherished animal in the whole world is... *drumroll*  A Manatee!  Seeing these giant sweeties is one of the things I miss most about Florida, where I was born and raised.  HaHa, I just found this. It's pretty perfect for me.  Yep, now I totally need a rainbow manatee!


Our next slow moving friend is a new toy design prototype. This little guy generated a lot of facebook traffic. He is pretty adorable and the plus side is no slime! 

Now I think I will make a few adjustments to the design. He body will be slightly longer. I might make the eye end of his stalks a bit bigger and roundier. Just little tweaks. This snail, just like the new Whale are lower price point toys. I want a wide range of prices so that there is something for everyone, regardless of your budget.  I never want price to keep someone from being able to have or give a special gift. We can work within your price range and even do payments. I'm flexible. :D

We do have one more toy to share to catch up on our backlog but I think I will wait and stretch that out just a little bit longer. And I need to get to work on some new designs!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Well, I HAD a plan.

For blogging regularly, especially catching you all up with recent designs and toys. I had a plan... and then my daughter started not feeling so well. I wasn't worried about it at first but it didn't go away. We were on the fence of taking her in and she took a turn for the worst.

We took her to E-Care, still hoping it was nothing serious. It took quite a few hours and a CT scan for the Dr. to decide that it was indeed appendicitis. Her appendix pointed the wrong way (apparently she is one of 10% of the population that has this) so it threw off where her pain presented. 

We ended up in Dallas at Children's Medical Center. Long story short, surgery, recovery, home finally. PHEW!

So now, I owe you guys a blog post... with photos! I aim to please.

One of my facebook friends asked if I'd ever had a request for a dolphin... so of course I had to try. I LOVE IT! I think he is just perfect. Can't get much more dolphiny than this :D

My happy little Whale is a new prototype. I realized that after I took the photos that I meant to make little arm fins for him and I totally spaced on it. But really I think he has a super cute cartoonish quality and doesn't really need them, but I can add them of course. Look at that face, isn't it precious! And the water spout.... how can you resist that!?

Do you have a favorite animal? Ironically, I've not made a sock version of my favorite. I wonder if you can guess what it is? :D

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Well, THAT takes the wind out of your sails.

cute? yes.  tech wiz? not so much
So here is the deal... I'm blogging more, working on my site, trying to get more traffic, etc. because soon I'm going to have a contest. A free giveaway contest
"YAY, Michelle, you rock. We love you!" *crowd noise*

So yesterday I decided to do a little sprucing up of the ol' site. I changed out some of the older toy pics on the Homepage and added a photo and some more info to the ME! page. I was so jazzed about those changes and feeling so good about myself that I thought... "Hey Awesome, you should look at what the new blogger upgrade options are!" And I thought that sounded like a fabulous idea. I'm going to mention here that at this point it was about 12:20ish pm and I'd been working on my site for a while.

Do you see where this is going? Well if you've noticed that my blog no longer looks like the other pages of my website you might indeed realized what I did. 

See, I thought I was just previewing the new template options when in fact I had actually upgraded... without saving my previous code. So poof, it was gone. I nearly cried, big fat tears. I was smart enough then to just GO TO BED (wish I had done that a few minutes before, huh? lol).

The plus side is I was able to delete some crazy old widgets and gunk that were hanging around and added in some new, really sweet stuff like easy share buttons.  Please tell me that someone else out there can relate to a bonehead move like this. I can't be the only one.. right!?  

Friday, August 3, 2012

New, New, New!

WOW, I just realized there are a LOT of toy photos that I haven't posted here on the bloggy side. I get so caught up on the facebook page for Sole Mate Toys that I neglect this part and that is not cool. 

I think I will split this up over the next few days so that I don't have to squeeze a million things into one insanely long, photo heavy blog post. Spread around the awesome, sounds like a plan to me!
I love collages! Great way to smush in ALL the poses and angles without dragging it out in individual shots.

So WAY back in March I received a toy request for a Gorilla obsessed little girl. You know how I LOVE a new toy design so of course I was excited! Here was the result...
Isn't it cute!? I love the nose. LOVE!

Still in the Way Back Machine.... In April I got to do a First Birthday gift for the sweetest little peanut. Her mom wanted a giraffe, no other restrictions, just a giraffe. I did one years ago, you can see a photo of it here on the homepage . It was huge and very realistic... as far as sock toys go, that is. This time I wanted to design a more youthful toy so I tried a baby-ish giraffe.  Here are some facts about baby giraffes that I bet you might not know....  
  • Gestation period is 15 months
  • Interval between births is generally 20 months
  • Life expectancy of 25 years in the wild
  • A baby is generally 6 feet tall and will weigh about 150 pounds at birth
  • A baby will fall approximately 6 feet during birth before hitting the ground
  • A baby will begin nursing within one hour
  • A baby will generally also begin walking within one hour
Is that not one of the cutest things you've seen recently, or what!? Ok we will pause here for now, in the upcoming posts you will get to see some of the fabulous new toy prototypes I've been making. I have lots of big ideas coming your way. :D

Thursday, August 2, 2012

In Living Color!

And in a total departure from vintage....  Modern Modern Modern. Crazy patterns, Bright colors, FUN.

This is total my sock toy approach. I love big and loud! I was recently attacked the the store by all of these new wonderful socks and they forced me to buy them. ;) Okay, I may have a bit of an addiction. But I just can't pass them up when I can see how amazingly they will be as new toys. I'm weak I tells ya, WEAK! Look how fabulous they are though....

Had to grab the blues, boyish colors are harder to find.

Hearts, dots, zebra, stripes!!! Yes, please!

They are just begging to be animals, how can I say no? 

And this is where they live when I bring them home. Isn't it cozy. So when you order a toy I come and stare at the 'Wall Of Sock' and pull out all the options that might fit your color preferences. I also have a cart of bits and pieces. I save everything, never know when it will come in handy. :D

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How far we have come.

Years ago, shortly after stumbling into the "sock toy" world, I happened upon these books and I just had to buy them. 


This one, published in 1958

And this one from 1974

The 1958 one is especially hilarious, just looks at the cover. Woot, now we can make toys for bazaars AND shut-ins!  Apparently, back in the day, cuddliness wasn't the highest priority. The instructions for this bunny tell you to add "broom straw" for the whiskers. How would you like to snuggle up to that at night?

The crafters of our past were also not concerned about the mental health of their gift recipients... there is no other word for this puppet but terrifying!  

We won't even get into some of the vaguely racist toys included. EEK! It really is amazing to see how much has changed,not only in the design style but also the sock options and crafting supplies in general. In reading through these books basically your choices were a plain, dark colored dress sock or a red heeled sock. Not a lot of variety, to say the least!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How we do it.

One of my online friends recently wrote about how she balances her Work At Home time and her job as a Mom. It is a great read and it inspired me to share how things flow around here. Please read her post here:   Laura M. Talley

Now with me, things are a bit more loosey goosey though I'm sure that is not a surprise to most of you. ;) I think that with a craft business it bleeds over into all the other parts of our lives... a LOT. I can't really work set hours, I work all through the day. Some days I only get a few minutes in between errands and other family obligations. Other days I get to work straight through until my head and eyes just cannot take one more minute. 

I have a craft room but I rarely work in there. It is a lifesaver for all my supply storage though. I mainly sew on my couch, in the living room. I watch tv/movies to keep me focused so I don't get up and wander around aimlessly. The up side to working in the common space is that I am available for questions, school help, and just all around needs. The down side is exactly the same... some days I feel like the second I pick up a needle I have a kid or a dog in my face. lol 

But for now, it works. I'd love to see and hear how other people are blending work and home. Did you have something you thought was going to be a perfect set up only to have it totally fail? What do you do if you have a deadline and a sick kid or other family drama that will not let you work? 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kristen Bell would love this post

Sloths are about the sweetest thing ever and I had the pleasure of making one for a recent order. If you are confused by the title of this entry then you must watch this video, it is hilarious and adorable.

Maybe I should make her a sloth and get famous! ;) 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How bout them dawgs?

Ok, so really just one "dawg". This toy was a great lesson in humility for me. I've certainly completed more complex designs but for some reason this little bulldog just put me right in my place. I have to be honest, he is not my favorite toy. I think I could have done better. Sometimes the first editions just don't turn out the way I want them, the way I picture them in my head. It's a good reminder that I'm not always in control of these socks and the creatures they become. At times they just have a mind of their own. lol

I've warmed to this little guy the more I look at him, I'm seeing more sweetness and less of my own mistakes. He was ordered by a friend for her daughters friend so he hasn't made it to his final home but I think he will be well loved.

How many clicks does it take

to see the cutest girl owl ever? Just this one!  I just loved the first OWL I made so when one of my dear friends ordered a girly owl I was so excited to make it. And, honestly, I think the end result was so much cuter than I pictured at the start. She is probably my favorite toy at this point, of course as an artist I often love my newest creations the most until the next one. lol

She is so super sweet with her pink body with cream hearts. I love the way the eyelashes worked and I think they give her that extra girly pop!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New New New

I've been so amazingly lucky lately, I've had fabulous clients and opportunities to create a ton of new designs. 

This toy was designed for a special boy with bone cancer. The body of the butterfly is decorated with metallic and plain bones. The blue and white of the wings are colors associated with sarcoma awareness. 

These three toys were created for a baby nursery. They were inspired by the super cute decorations the Mom already has in the room. The fabulous feedback I've received has been wonderful. 
I've added What A Hoot and Hedge Fun to the website.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Animal Party

For this order I was able to dust off a toy design I haven't used in a while, a Dinosaur. While sewing him I worked up a few tweaks to the future design and a whole new style of dino... I can't wait to try it out and see how it turns out!

A blue, spotted Jurassic Party

A fun, bright colored Kitty Kitty

A super sweet fuzzy Cuddly Puppy

The whole adorable crew! :D

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Double the cuteness!

I've just finished an order for the two cutest baby girls I have ever seen. They are just perfection and deserved super cute toys. Super squee dragonfly babies.

Aren't they precious? I hope they are much loved just like sweet E & P.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Are you a gleek?

If you don't know what that means then you probably aren't. gleeks are die-hard fans of the popular tv show glee! And this post is for them.

Look what I found last night.....

Supply is definitely limited, right now I have two rainbow and one pink/black. I could go back and grab the remaining ones but there weren't many. So if you want a super rare Sole Mate Glee Toy you need to act soon. :D

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"Now I will believe that there are unicorns..."

That line is from The Tempest by William Shakespeare. There may not be unicorns in Arabia but there are unicorns at Sole Mate Toys!  

A very dear friend needed a special toy for a gift but it had to be a unicorn... and purple! I started with my standard horse design but realized it needed some tweaking to be fabulous. So I added a new leg style, a magical horn with glittery thread and long wonderful yarn hair. The sock used is a glittery purple and black design and it came out wonderfully.

The photo really doesn't do it justice. I can't wait to hear how much his new owner loves him. Apparently the recipient has stated she doesn't like sock toys so my friend bought this to prove to her wrong. I hope it works!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Do Androids Dream of Electric (Green) Sheep?

I'm not sure about that but I know I do. And if I can dream it, I can create it... well I can try at least And so, without further ado, let me introduce you to Shirley the Sheep

There would be some changes if I made her again for a client but overall I'm super happy with how she turned out. I think sheep are just adorable and I'm partial to the black faced ones. 
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