Saturday, 12 June 2010

birth of Moonlight the Moon Gazing Baby Hare

Not that very long ago a special little baby hare was born. Gentle as the soft, caressing wind, quiet as the glistening of the stars - baby hare Moonlight came into the world .....

Araballa gets to meet all the babies and she is particularly taken with young Moonlight. They have been sharing stories about the stars in the night sky ....

but before you hear about Moonlight's taile I wanted to explain to Arabella how I make the babies. Arabella was so excited as she'd only ever seen me do bits and pieces, with stuff lying all over the place in separate bundles of this and thats waiting for their time to travel to the next stage and never followed a baby from start to finish in one piece.

I'm a member of the esteemed etsy team Artisans Gallery. It's a juried team of artisans of distinction, vetted by peers for excellence in design, skill, presentation, integrity, and customer service. I'm very thankful that I was nominated and invited to join and hope to live up to my very talented peers.

The Artisans Gallery blog always features a diverse range of work by it's members. One of the posts that I love reading about is the Work in Progress where it shows an artisan producing one of their works in a few informative steps.

So here I am explaining to Arabella, my rescue rabbit, about the birth of Baby Hare Moonlight -

Not that long ago I was on the floor with all my materials spread out amidst the tracing paper patterns of my real size baby hares. One of the patterns was at an angle, overlapping another hare, looking up to the stars and I immediately knew that I had my moon gazing that I had been longing to make for nearly two years.

I opened my pad and placed the two patterns on top, making sure not to adjust their position. Ten minutes later I had my new pattern. I laid it over some fabric to capture the best pattern overlay for the body position and pinned and cut the shape out, leaving a generous edge. I did the same for the other side, flipping the tracing paper pattern over.

I then lined up the pattern, insides facing out. I held the material up to the windows to align the design as this was a 'same pattern each side hare' and then pinned the material together.

I stitched both side together on the machine, making sure Arabella didn't try to bite the electrical cable. I have all my electric cables wrapped in big plastic sleeves except my small appliances that I move around such as my sewing machine and hair dryer. They are tucked away neatly out of rabbit's way when not in use. All rabbits are drawn to electric cables like moths to a light so I sew with one eye on Arabella and one on the material.

I leave a gap at the bottom to turn it inside out, or should that be outside out?? I snip the material edges before I do the turning, especially on the curves, otherwise the material will not lie flat. I have to be careful not to snip thru the stitching, it's happened a few times!

Then I end up with the picture above - of the baby hare body .... (whew!! - still here??)

Next I add their eyes. My real size baby hares all have brown eyes (so far). I also give them a white felt backing. real hares and wild rabbits have a white patch around their eyes.

I read somewhere, not that long ago that some prey species have the white patch to reflect sunlight from their eye area, therefore giving them a better chance of not being blinded by the sun and of seeing their predator better in daylight.

So my felt patches are cut out by hand and even though I use a pattern they all turn out slightly imperfect.

My real size babies are now getting an oval shaped patch under their brown eyes to give them more 'wonderment'.

I use a small very, very sharp scalpel to slit the fabric after I have held the eye and patch to the face to ascertain the best position. Sometimes that takes a few minutes of moving it millimetre by millimetre and me moving my head side to side (Arabella nods - she's seen this alot!)

After they have their eyes on they start to become very expressive. I can already see how very gentle little Moonlight is. I start to get names flit thru my mind as I finish the eyes. Some stay, some go. I write them all down on my sheet of names paper.

The smaller baby hares have different coloured eyes and this really brings out their personalities, as too the baby rabbits, baby squirrels and baby felines above.

Then comes the stuffing. This can take a while and a few cups of tea. Arabella loves to come into the bedroom when I am doing this on the floor by Wesley's den. Wesley and Arabella aren't friends - they had a huge fight after I took Wesley home from the rescue so they each have half the house.

But when I am stuffing the hares I sit on the carpet next to Wesley and keep him in his spacious den and Arabella comes in to explore under the bed, rip at my raffia sewing box and tear the clothes on the floor. She also makes sure to 'chin' everything she can reach!
Rabbits have a scent gland under their chin and the mark their possessions this way. I've been chinned a couple of times! (Wesley re-chins after Arabella has gone!)

By the time I have sewn up the hole at the base the baby hare usually has a name and part of a story. I get sentences flitting thru my head about their life. I also collect sentences that I hear in my every day travels. And I cut out printed sentences that I find useful and keep them in a small pocket of mutterings.

Then the baby comes to the computer with me as I have a very special hot cup of tea, sits by me, looking at me, and I spend about an hour writing their story. After writing I re-read it and make any adjustments to the flow.

little Moonlight would like to tell Arabella her story -

Little Moonlight is entranced by the night sky and every evening she gets rather excited as dusk falls and the sky beings to come alive with many little diamonds glistening away.
She always likes this quiet time and spends nearly the whole of the night gazing up, her big eyes rarely blinking.
She asked mama where her name came from and mama said that the night she was born a single beam of ethereal moon light gently fell on her as she opened her eyes for the first time.
Mama knew that was a very special little baby.
Moonlight knows all the biggest stars now in the galaxy and is busy memorizing the smaller ones and their placement.
She has a big notebook and every morning there are many new pages of notes with lots of little scratchy stars drawn in!

Moonlight loves to sit comfily on a chair and every dusk she will appreciate a view to the sky so that she may watch the beautiful diamonds sparkling away.

and this is Baby Hare Rania, she's in The Cat's Miaou in Edinburgh for sale

Rania is the most beautiful baby hare ever and she enchants all those who meet her.
Her mama knew she was very special when she was first born as her eyes sparkled like deep, rich jewels and she smiled warmly at everything and everyone.
She is a very fast learner and extremely intelligent, getting A+ in all her tests. She makes friends easily and many in high places are fascinated by her wisdom and beauty. She always makes sure to impart small words of wisdom to them and hoping for good changes.
She has always wanted to improve the conditions of the countryside for the animals and bring positive change so she recently opened her consulting business to liaise with the humans, Rania Baby Hare Consulting for Furs and Others.
Things are going very well and she has had 2 Bills pass thru parliament already – the Full Year-Round Protection for Hares of All Kinds Bill and the Driver Awareness and Adherence to Slow Speed and Give-Way to Road Crossers Bill and she has many more planned.

Rania loves to study and work on a high shelf and would appreciate the window being open so that she may meet with her many contacts and make new ones.

and this is Baby Hare Snuggle

Snuggle is a dexterous and fit youngster and he has spent many hours on his mountaineering techniques.
He was born with the whitest of white coats unlike all the other mountain hares and with the longest ears! Goodness! There was talk that his father may have been a brown hare from the meadow because of his ear size, or an artic hare because of his white coat but his mother would hear none of it.
She told Snuggle to be proud of their length and to use them wisely and to show his gleaming coat with pride.
And ofcourse he does!
He listens so carefully on the mountain tops to the howling winds, the snow bunting chirps and the ptarmigan foraging. And he washes his coat daily to reflect the sun when there is no snow around so that anybody with unfriendly intentions will be temporarily blinded!
Mama taught him well because he is not afraid of being different.

Snuggle loves to keep fit and every morning he will be off for his climbs and runs so would appreciate an open window. He loves to rest after this on a shelf with white books (for some privacy).

so, I said to Arabella, only a couple more names and stories to go ....

...but I could see her no-where,

though in the silence of the night I could hear a faint snoring ....

sometimes even the shortest of explanations can become a odyssey!


  1. Moonlight is beautiful! (As are all the other baby hares - do not want to slight anyone!) I know you know about the rabbit making rice cakes in the moon.

    I really enjoyed hearing about your process - there is a "Process Pledge" badge for quilting blogs and the people who post it agree to discuss how they came up with their designs. Your post reminded me of it.

    Purrs and hugs to you, Arabella, and Wesley -
    Katie and the cats

  2. Wonderful! I loved this post! The creative process is always so much fun to read. My favorite picture is all the precious ones a the end. A giant hare snuggle!
    Hugs to you all my friends.

  3. Love your process, and I LOVE the finished results! I am so tickled with my bunnies and baby hares, they always bring me joy no matter what kind of day I have :)

  4. Wow, that's a lot of work, but they are all so beautiful ... what a lovely job you've done with them gazing up into the stars. I love them all, but the white one, Baby Hare Snuggle, is my's difficult to decide. As I said, they are all very lovely. You do such nice work. Great job :-)

  5. Amazing and
    they are really cute!!!!
    Never saw that they are so tall,
    makes me want to cuddle them:)

  6. These are a true work of very dear and precious! Just wonderful!

  7. thank you Katie, very interesting to hear about the process badge! I love reading about how things are done.

    it was a nice snuggle Shell! thanks,

    thanks Meghann, glad they are still bringing happiness :)

    thank you Doris. I think there is one for everyone. Moonlight is definitely my favourite though

    thanks Michelle! my small baby hares are hand sized, unlike these real size ones.

    thank you Patty!


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