Funky Friends Factory Blog

Sew your stress away!!!

Posted under A day in my lifeBlog on 2018-05-29 02:50:26

I have to admit… even though I am a very happy and upbeat person, just like everyone else I struggle sometimes with too much on my plate and the stress that comes from it.

 TOTAL over-load gets me down!

Pauline McArthur early days - some soft toys

In those situations,
I turn to my sewing machine!

Sewing soft toys works like magic to snap me out of it!

I get totally focussed choosing and cutting up gorgeous fabrics, carefully pinning the pieces together with a gazillion pins so the pieces don’t slip as I sew, then making sure the seams meet up perfectly. Then I turn the toy right-sides-out and it looks so cute it makes me smile!!! 😀 I can’t wait to stuff it…

toy-stuffing dog soft toy

Then reality hits and I HAVE to stop because it’s got dark outside
and I need to eat dinner!

It sounds a bit dramatic but there have been times in my life when sewing has been a lifesaver for me.

Like when I moved to Australia.

Not only was I dealing with the challenges of living in a new country, I also had to go back and re-sit my qualifying exams all over again if I wanted to work as an Optometrist (even though I had 4 years of training and 10 years experience!) The thought of sitting exams all over again totally freaked me out. It was so long since I’d studied and every time I picked up a textbook my brain just ‘went to sleep.’ After a few months of trying really hard to study, lots of tears and some serious soul-searching, I eventually decided NOT to do the exams, which meant I would NEVER work as an optometrist again.

Leaving the career I worked for my whole life was a major decision for me and I had to work out a new career path!

I decided if I couldn’t work AS an optometrist, I would work IN an optometry shop instead and try and do something “crafty” that I really enjoyed on the side.  That job wasn’t stressful… but I was bored out of my mind –  which for me is actually also stressful!

It would drive me crazy, sitting there waiting till closing time, because no one came in most afternoons. S0 I kept my mind active (and myself awake!) by taking my patterns to work so that I could pass time in the afternoons. Once I’d finished my work for the day, I could cut out fabric pieces to sew together when I got home.

sewing toys for charity


I had so much fun sewing soft toys for my friends, family members and co-workers!

But most importantly, sewing was a wonderful escape for me!

Sewing helped me through a very stressful time. Focusing on something creative that I really loved helped me to relax and stop worry that I was ‘wasting my life away’ in a mind-numbing job!

I could actually enjoy going my boring job knowing I’d be able to keep my sanity doing something really meaningful to ME.

What a difference it made! I was in a good place (mentally, if not physically!) which made everything WAY more tolerable and I was definitely more patient and compassionate towards others. I even made it my mission to make getting spectacles a stress-free, even exciting experience for every customer!!!

I felt energised instead of

totally drained!

Pauline McArthur soft toy sewing pattern designer Australia snake


I realized sewing soft-toys made me HAPPY and I could create that same feeling and experience for other people!


And that’s what I have been focusing on for almost 2 decades with the Funky Friends Factory, which has grown into something way bigger than I could ever have imagined and has touched so many lives besides mine…

It’s still quite mind-boggling for me! 🙂

This year I challenged myself to think about what I can do to make sewing soft toys even more FUN which has led me to my biggest project to date – The Sew Many Funky Friends Club – an online Club specifically for people who want to have FUN sewing soft toys!



The feedback I have had so far has convinced me that people are finding this is a wonderful group to hangout in and escape from the daily stress of our lives and bond over our shared passion for sewing plush toys! 😀

The Club will be opening again soon, for a short period of time in June, for the next intake of new Club Members. I will be having LOTS of fun sew-along activities to celebrate so you can come and check out the fun and be a part of our group of fun-loving softie-sewers!!!


Stay tuned by subscribing to the newsletter! You will receive all the announcements coming soon as well as ALL the fun sew-along activities!


Meanwhile, as we wait for the reopening, I want to hear from you!  What have YOU been doing lately to de-stress that’s ‘JUST for YOU’ to keep you sane when things get crazy?

How long has it been since you focussed on doing something fun that you really enjoy – TOO LONG?

Pauline McArthur
. .
Till next time…
Happy Sewing,



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  1. Thank you Pauline for sharing this. I have enjoyed sewing since I was a young girl in Arkansas. My grandmother was my inspiration! With her hand embroidered quilt square to crocheted dollies she played a big role in my love if sewing today. I have made my girls’ dresses , and even sewed an outfit for my son when he was a baby!!! I now keep myself busy with things for my grandchildren and students I work with in my work as a parapro in a multi needs classroom. I love teaching the older kids how to sew by hand and using a sewing machine!! Your patterns are wonderful and so cute!!! Thank you for all you do when you’re “de-stressing” and for sharing your talents with us!!! Dianna D

    Comment by Dianna Dingler on May 29, 2018 at 3:43 am

  2. Hi Dianna! Thanks for your lovely comments! I can just picture the fun those kids would be having sewing their own softies! xxx

    Comment by Pauline on June 14, 2018 at 12:29 pm

  3. I’m very similar to you! Sewing destesses me! I could sew all day every day. I started off sewing when we moved as well. I was sewing scrub tops, kitchen items, pillow cases, etc. Then I discovered the teddy bear/memory bears. I was hooked and then branched out to other critters. As I was looking for different critters, I discovered your site and it opened up a whole new level for me! I have a business and do a lot of craft shows and have a lot of great response to my Funky Friends creations. Thank you so much for literally opening up a passion that I never knew was there!

    Comment by Melanie Kloster on May 29, 2018 at 4:14 am

  4. Hey Melanie, I loved reading your story too! And I had a peek at your website too – that spotty Dachshund is adorable! 🙂 Thanks for all the nice things you said, I’m glad your Funky Friends have been so well received! 😀

    Comment by Pauline on June 14, 2018 at 12:27 pm

  5. Hi Pauline. I am a midwife in South Africa. I have always made toys since I can remember. I have huge inner child. I crochet and sew toys as a hobby. My motto being wool and material are much cheaper than a psychiatrist. Making beautiful toys and the joy they bring has been one of the happiest things in my life. Being part of FFF has helped me so much over the last few years of my life. Every time one of the animals are complete it is like birthing a little child. Putting something of myself into every one of them and then seeing the joy the bring to young and old alike. Thank you for creating the most beautiful babies for us to make. You touch lives every where. My sincere gratitude, please never stop designing them for us who dont have that particular talent. Lots of love from sunny SA

    Comment by Carle Schmidt on May 29, 2018 at 9:50 am

  6. Hi Carle, you may not be aware but I am orinally from SA and have a number of family members and friends still there in sunny SA!!! It warms my heart reading your comments… this crazy thing I do has touched my life and the lives of others in ways I never could have imagined and it’s LEKKER to know there are some people in SA enjoying them too! 😀

    Comment by Pauline on June 14, 2018 at 12:24 pm

  7. Hi Pauline, I was looking for a pattern (yet to be found ) and came across your FB page which led me here. I am so pleased to read your blog and why you started Funky Friends Factory. I have made Mitch but have no photos handy well I made two for our Grandsons. I must come back and keep up with your blog :). now to get back to pattern searching 🙂

    Comment by Janet McCay on July 15, 2018 at 6:34 am

  8. Thanks, Janet!!! 😀

    Comment by Pauline on July 15, 2018 at 5:04 pm