"In the faraway Planet of Ozzin, there lived the Kakadonks. Shigu is the first of its kind to make contact with the people of Planet Earth..."
Okay, the story's not quite done. But, I can at least tell you the story behind this story.
The Kakadonks is the product of my weekend wonderings. Over the last few years, I've been seeing handcrafted softies on the web and admiring them. I've always loved soft toys. I've been collecting them since I was a kid (but had to leave behind many of my toys when I got married), although I've never purchased an 'original' softie.
Since sewing isn't exactly one of my strong suits, I didn't really think of creating soft toys based on characters that I've been dreaming up. Well, not until the last few months anyway.
So, over the weekend, I decided to challenge myself.
My 3 year old boy is someone who inspires me to explore parts of creativity that I've never explored before. He gives me reason to be continually playful and silly. That's why I decided to start off my brainstorming with him in mind.
One of the things that we do at home is to create our own songs. Sometimes, using 'popular music', we invent our own lyrics. Or, we just sing anything that comes to mind. We also play a lot of word games. And yeah, including inventing our own words.
Recently, a couple of the things that my boy liked to say are: "Kakak!" and "Donk!" When asked what he meant by the words, we couldn't get a straight answer. Later, we noticed that he often said "Kakak!" in relation to being happy, silly (positive), or funny. For example -
Me: "Look, you've got a pirate chocolate moustache!"
The 3-yr-old: (laughs loudly) "Haha. Kakak!"
And, "Donk!" often came with something mischievous, silly (negative), or naughty.
Me: "Ei. Don't jump on the dog. He might get angry and bite you."
The 3-yr-old: "Oooh. Donk!"
So, when I started sketching one of the characters that I had in mind, I thought of my boy. And his two crazy words.
Enter the Kakadonks.
When I completed my first soft toy prototype, I turned to my boy again and asked what he wanted to name the first ever Kakadonk. At first, he wanted to call it "Cammy the Kakadonk" (based on his name). Later, during dinner, he just came up with: "Shigu!"
So, yes, here's the result of a collaborative work with my three-year-old son:
Shigu is made with recycled fabric (an old swaddling cloth when my 3-yr-old was just a newborn), felt, and ribbon. The stuffing is also recycled, from an old knitted poncho. He is completely hand-sewn.
And I need sewing lessons. Among other things. 😀
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.