It's that time again! Hurrah! Softies for Mirabel begins today - and it's our THIRD YEAR - imagine that! Perhaps you would like to be part of this great project? Perhaps you would like to do something wonderful for some wonderful kids? It's easy. Anyone can join in. Read on to find out how!
Softies for Mirabel is our annual appeal to benefit the kids supported by The Mirabel Foundation. We send word out via the internet, inviting people like you to make a soft toy (or two!) The toys are gifted to the Mirabel kids as part of The Mirabel Foundation's Toy Drive.
Q What is a softie?
A softie is a soft toy. You might prefer the word plushie. Or even just soft toy. But we say softie. You can view the softies from the 2007 and 2008 appeals here.
Q. Who can participate?
Anyone. Anywhere in the world. Individuals, school groups, craft groups, the whole gamut. As long as your softie reaches us by December 10th 2009.
Q. How do I send my softie? And where to?
- Allow PLENTY of time for your softie to wing it's way to us if you are an international contributor.
- Include a stamped, self addressed letter sized envelope with your softie so we can acknowledge receipt super quickly. If you don't do that we may not be able to let you know your softie arrived safely.
- If you could upload some images of your donated softie to our Flickr Photo Group that would be great - then we can all see who is on the way! I'll be photographing some of the softies too - but not all - so if you want yours published make sure you upload it yourself.
Please mail your softie to :
SOFTIES FOR MIRABEL
C/- Meet Me at Mike’s
63 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
Q What happens to my softie then?
We will look after it. We will display all the softies we have in Mike's Fitzroy shop window from 1st December until 10th December. Then The Mirabel Foundation will pop in to collect them all on the 11th December and take them to Mirabel HQ to be distributed. Each softie will be carefully matched to JUST the right child. Did you know that Mirabel now supports over 700 great kids. Imagine if we could make a toy for each of them. How great would that be?!
Q. What materials/methods can I use to make my softie?
You can knit, crochet, hand-sew, machine-sew, amigurumi, repurpose, felt – whatever you like.
Q. Are there any child-safe guidelines?
We would prefer no buttons, bells, ties and other choking hazards. Any toys we get which DO have safety issues will be given to older children. But try to keep them as safe as possible so that we can distribute them as easily as possible (without too much sorting). PLEASE don't attach your swing tags to your toy - we just have to go through and take them all off again. By all means include info about your craft business with your submission if you would like to.
Q. How many softies can I make?
As many as you like! And thank you for wanting to do that.
Q I'm not sure my softie will be good enough.
Don't be silly. As long as it's tightly sewn up and you made it with love it will be just perfect.
Q. Who else joins in?
Crafters from Australia and further afield, elderly people, kids, school groups, mums, dads, artists, accountants, writers.... lots of different people who care about kids and making a bit of a difference.
Q. I saw a softie in a book/magazine/website. Can I use the pattern/idea for my softie?
I think you can. We are not selling these softies or using them for any commercial gain. So go wild. Use someone else's free pattern, one from a book, or make up your own! But don't take credit for someone else's design. That is just not on.
Q. Where can I find free softie patterns?
The Flickr Group : please add your suggested free patterns to the discussion over there
Softiemaking.Com : a great site all about making cute toys
Sofies Central : A softie portal
Craftzine : Search for Softie or Plushie
Craftster : Search for Softie or Plushie
Q. Can I see what other people have made?
Again, check the group photo pool If you are in Melbourne - you can visit the window between the 1st and 10th of December. Day or night - they'll be peeping out at you!
Q. I don’t have a digital camera or a Flickr account. I don't really use the internet like that. Can I still participate?
Of course! It’s fun to see what everyone has made, but not necessary. The softies will get plenty of exposure in Mike’s window, too. Just pop a note on yours if you haven't photographed it, and we'll do it for you AND upload the pic to Flickr!
Q. Um. What IS that Flickr thing?
Flickr is a free site where you can upload and store digital images. It's easy to use and quick to open an account. You will like it. It's a bit like Picasa or Photobucket.
Q. When are the deadlines?
You can start sending your toys ANY TIME from today.
Deadline for display in Mike’s window: 10th December 2009
Deadline for Christmas Appeal: 10 December 2009
Q. Who will own my softie?
All softies will go to children supported by The Mirabel Foundation, who range in age from birth to 17 years old. Softie recipients are anonymous, to protect their privacy.
Q. What is The Mirabel Foundation?
Mirabel is a wonderful organisation that supports the children of families affected by substance abuse. They do amazing, important work, and we try to support them in our own small crafty ways! Mike's is located in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and we see all sorts of addiction issues on our street every day. We think that you should always try and do something about issues that are in your very own neighbourhood. Having said that, this is a global issue – affecting children from all walks of life.
Q. Will the toys be auctioned again this year?
No. They'll go straight to the kids who need them most.
Q Why is that?
We think it's about providing kids with someone to cuddle. This is a person to person hand-made appeal.
Q How can I donate money to Mirabel?
We would encourage you to make a donation within your budget directly to Mirabel here.
Q. How can I help spread the word?
- Perhaps you have a craft group, school group or social group that might like to make toys together! Plan a 'Softies For Mirabel' crafternoon! Be sure to tell us about it too - add the details to the discussion over here.
- Make a 'Softies For Mirabel' poster and upload it to Flickr or put it up somewhere in your community. It should link to www.meetmeatmikes.com
- Perhaps you have a softie pattern that you have designed that you might put on your blog or website for other people to use.
- Perhaps you might spread the word via your own internet contacts or site?
- A Softies for Mirabel button is under construction as we speak - keep your eye on the blog and Flickr for the code v soon.
Edit :: Update on our progress here!
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