Colour coordinator: the cute and cuddly creations of Mimi and Rufus

Cathie Wedekind lives in Auckland with her husband, one of her daughters, and two teenage grandchildren. Home doubles as production headquarters for her range of babywear and toys, Mimi and Rufus, and having recently retired from full time employment as a commercial project coordinator, Cathie is looking forward to spending more time designing and crafting her products.

mimiandrufus.felt.co.nz
 

 

 
What do you make?
Mostly items for babies and children; clothing, bibs, rattles, quilts, toys, and the odd bit of whimsy!

What’s your earliest memory of crafting?
I was invited to a friend’s house to play one afternoon when I was three or four years old. Her mother sat us down on the floor and left us alone with scissors, needles, thread, and a large tin of buttons to make button necklaces. At some point we must have become bored, as I decided in my infinite three or four year old wisdom that my friend’s fringe needed a drastic trim, and she decided that my dress could be improved with a big hole cut out of it! Funnily enough I didn’t get to take my necklace home that day!

Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
No, however I’ve taken various night classes over the years: cane work, raffia hat making, calligraphy, and folk art painting. I also taught myself cake decorating and floristry which resulted in many orders for wedding and birthday cakes, and also wedding bouquets. I haven’t used any of these above skills for a long time because I’ve been too busy sewing and knitting – in which I am also self-taught.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I like to work with natural materials: cotton, linen, and woollen fabrics. My favourite tool is my rather ancient and second-hand Bernina sewing machine. It has been a real workhorse over the years ploughing its way through everything from curtains, ballet costumes, ball gowns, and crafts.


 

 

 
Tell us about some of the techniques involved in producing one of your pieces:
Typically I start with a mental picture of what I’d like to make, and then begin drafting patterns. For something simple and flat like a bib, the pattern can often be successful on the first attempt, but the more ‘dimensional’ objects, like toys, can be a nuisance as you won’t know how they’ll turn out until they’ve been cut, sewn together, and stuffed! I have had to go back to the drawing board four or five times before I felt that I had recreated my original vision.

What inspires you?
Much of my inspiration comes from the birthday and Christmas presents I have made for my four children, and five (soon to be six) grandchildren, not to mention the things I have made for other family and friends. With so many birthdays to craft for I’m always looking for new ideas. I find it difficult to imagine not always having one or ten crafting projects underway at any given time. Last year I joined the Preemie Knitting Club. In between my crafting projects I knit for them. If I’m sitting quietly and knitting, I find an idea can pop into my head for one of my own projects which is helpful, but the biggest bonus is making something for the little ones in the NICU.


 

 

 
Describe your workspace:
Our main bedroom has an ideal nook which fits my sewing table perfectly. Realistically though, my creativeness tends to spread throughout the house! My always growing collection of fabrics (and my husband’s grumbling about it) necessitated the wall-to-wall shelves I use to house most of my fabrics. Unfortunately, I’m not the ‘tidiest kiwi’, as one of my daughters will tell you. She kindly spent hours untangling and winding all my ribbons and trims only to discover them a couple of months later returned to their birds nest state. She was not amused.

Five words that describe your mind:
Cluttered (like my sewing space!) pensive, curious, eclectic, and evolving.

What is the best feedback you have received from a customer?
Quite a lot of people don’t think to place feedback on my Felt page, so it is always lovely to hear from my customers, particularly when the item is a gift and they share with me their stories about who will be receiving it.

‘Your lions are absolutely gorgeous. So beautifully made, and the colours and textures are exactly what I was hoping for. The big lion is for a baby boy due on the 10th, and the little lion I have put with a book about a lion, for the soon to be big brother.’


 

 

 
What are you currently listening to?
At the moment, whatever the builders next door have on their radio!

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
Anything and everything by Enid Blyton and A.A. Milne. I have always loved the stories and the illustrations.

What are you reading now?
The Little Yellow Digger, by Betty and Alan Gilderdale as requested by my 22 month old grandson whenever he comes to visit! I have rather a large stack of books on my bedside table which I am slowly making my way through.

A favourite quote:
‘How beautiful a day can be / when kindness touches it’. A line from the poem “How Beautiful”, by George Elliston.

Tell us about your pets:
While our children were growing up we had three cats and three dogs. Now, we often find ourselves taking care of our children’s pets while they’re out of town. Frequent guests include two mischievous loveable Golden Retrievers and one quirky and equally loveable Wheaten Terrier.

What would your advice be for those starting in the crafty business?
When I began crafting, I sold my creations by approaching local stores, through friends, and at various craft markets. I like the way you can list something on Felt to see if it sells before you commit yourself to spending a lot of time and money producing something the market just isn’t ready for.

I would encourage those starting out to read the Felt blog because it has excellent tips for getting started, pricing, photography, etc.


 

 

 
Why do you think it’s important to buy handmade and/or locally made goods?
You know that they’ve been made with love, care, and attention, and every piece feels as though it has its own personality. I also think it’s important to support local artists.

What was the last handmade item you bought, and what attracted you to it?
I bought a Bee Nail from Ironweed, here on Felt. I bought it as a gift, and found it hard to part with it once it had arrived!

What’s in store for the rest of 2019?
I’ve been trying for some time to design and stitch together a fabric doll with removable clothing, but I’m rather stuck on the design of the face, which I think is important to get right! Who knows, I might even end up going back to some of my old crafts!


 

 
Prize draw!
Cathie has very generously offered a beautiful prizedraw set for one lucky Felt reader (see above)! The set includes a pair of lovely merino leggings sized 3-6 months, a cheerful yellow crown teething ring, and one of Cathie’s adorable giraffe rattles – so cute! Just leave us a comment below telling us what you like about Cathie’s story and her lovely creations, and you’ll be in to win.

The draw closes at 5pm on Monday 29 July and is open to New Zealand residents only.

18 thoughts on “Colour coordinator: the cute and cuddly creations of Mimi and Rufus

    1. In this age of the catch phrases of mindfullness and wellbeing you are true evidence of those words in action.In addition the giving you do of your time and of your skills to others eg family,friends and charity shows a content lady whose love of life and positivity shines through in her creations.All the best Cathie for your future endeavours and thanks for the smiles that your gifts spread to others
      Regards,Kaye.

  1. An inspirational story to read. So good to hear the enthusiasm and positiveness that came through as you spoke. Tempted to investigate getting started on something myself that I might be able to sell.

  2. What beautiful creations! The attention to detail and workmanship looks amazing. I absolutely love the lion, it’s gorgeous. I’m a knitter but can’t sew to save myself so I’m totally in awe of your range of talents and recognise the time and effort that would into your work. I related to the space for ideas that is created when you give yourself time to sit and knit quietly 🙂 Hope the builders next door are finished soon!

  3. Love the description of your mind as ‘cluttered’ and ‘eclectic’ – often the way for creatives! Trying to dig through the ideas can be tough. Would love to win the prize pack the colours are divine!

  4. I love your description of your workspace, and how it takes over the house! I’m exactly the same when I start with a craft or project. It just can’t be helped!
    I also really love the autumn tones you use in your creations 😍

  5. Such beautiful hand crafted creations. I try myself to be creative but struggle with 2 wee ones and time. Its such a great stress reliever sitting down at the sewing machine or teaching myself to knit.

    1. Knitting can be such a stress reliever. The methodical working of the needles is quite therapeutic, until you drop a stitch and only discover it a few rows up! Good on you for teaching yourself to knit and sew even with two wee ones.

  6. I would so love to be more crafty, but I’m all fingers and no grace! But what an inspiring person you are! I love how you talk about buying locally almost gives the item you buy a personality, when something comes from so far away I feel it looses its ‘back story’, it’s connection. I brought some dribble bibs for my first baby and when my second came along I couldn’t find any other bibs that matched the quality or care of Cathie so had to order more for number 2! I get SO many comment on them and tell everyone to come on to felt, such an amazing platform for buyers and sellers.
    Your quote is going to be my quote of the week for next week!! Kindness, it’s what we all need. Thank you 🙏

  7. Thanks Keren for your very nice comments. So glad you recommend Felt to people. You are right, so many talented artists we have here in New Zealand.

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