Thursday, January 29, 2015

Smelling Roses

My goal for February, besides finishing more stuff in the basket, is to take new photos of all the wares in my Etsyshop. I think when it comes to online selling photos are key to sales. I am not great with the camera but I think I have a fairly good sense of composition. Now if I could figure out how to use my camera to it's full potential... My big dream is still to be featured by a great photographer.

About two years ago, I thought I had it all - that I was right on the brink of fame. This ridiculously famous photographer had agreed to take some pictures of my dolls. She has made many a doll maker quite famous by taking one or two truly amazing pictures. Then POOF, the sweet deal went away.  Funny how life sometimes goes.

Can't cry over spilled milk. Must keep going. And always when you get a chance: Stop and smell the roses! I was sewing a few doll dresses and head scarves with roses this week. Then I saw this cloth rose in my studio and took some photos of my own. Too bad it didn't really smell. But NEVER underestimate the power of the imagination. I think little Ulla got to smell the sweetest rose ever in my studio this morning...She insists!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

No Hedgehogs Here

I have always wondered whether there are hedgehogs in the USA. I just checked on Wikipedia and apparently they are not native to the Americas.

From Wikipedia:
"A hedgehog is any of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae, which is in order Erinaceomorpha. There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genera, found through parts of Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand (by introduction). There are no hedgehogs native to Australia, and no living species native to the Americas. Hedgehogs share distant ancestry with shrews (family Soricidae), with gymnures possibly being the intermediate link, and have changed little over the last 15 million years.[2] Like many of the first mammals, they have adapted to a nocturnal way of life.[3] Hedgehogs' spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated rodent porcupines and monotreme echidnas."

Booh! I love those prickly critters. When I was growing up in Germany, our neighbor always took some in for during the fall months as a rescue operation. Frau Possmann would catch the little fellers and weigh them on a special scale. If they were under a certain weight, not sure how many grams, she would keep them in a box in her garage and fatten them up. That's how many neighborhood kids got to pet and touch them. I swear they are the cutest little things.

Have you ever seen or touched a hedgehog? Well, even if you haven't you can still enjoy pictures or this really cute hedgehog fabric. I even made a bonnet to match. Little Wilhelmina was elated when she saw it. She has been reading about Hedgies and decided it's her favorite animal - despite the fact that chances she will ever meet one are pretty slim here...

I am thinking of making her little toy hedgehog to carry around in her pocket.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Blue Birds Jumper

Another unfished piece in my basket was this cute little blue birds jumper. You know, sometimes I cut out pieces for a dress, and it just so happens that I don't cut out all the parts. For example, I forget to cut out an arm piece or a pocket or whatnot...In case of this jumper dress I had cut out the apron part but forgot the top. You really don' t want to get to the end of a piece of fabric and find you have random pieces of dresses laying around. Waste not want not, right?

So little Willow was happy I did finish this particular dress, and she got to wear it. She loves the freedom of arm movement one has in such a dress.

as demonstrated in this picture...

I am definitely getting to the end of this lovely cloth. I bought it many years ago when a customer asked me to purchase some for her custom doll's dress. I liked it so much I searched all over the Internet to find more of this sweet fabric. It came in two color ways: blue and pink. I have never found another bird fabric I liked as much as this one. I like the tiny birds, the color, and the quality of this quilt fabric. Almost as cute as the birds that are playing in my front yard around our birdfeeder that my daughter has had trouble keeping full of seeds. It's a constant feeding frenzy out there.

Makes me hungry watching those little guys.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Basket Case...

So I have this little basket of unfinished projects in my sewing room. Mostly it is full of little dresses and doll clothing items that I cut out long time ago. You know, when you kind of get ahead of yourself. You think you can save time if you create more than one of the same item at a time. But handmade business just does not work that way. It is still handmade and really all this leads to is little baskets filled with stuff you didn't finish.

My goal for this year is to finish everything in that basket. Maybe if I finish about 3 pieces of clothing a day I will get through my basket by the end of July or so?

I put together this sweet little garden girl dress this morning. I thought I was completely out of that fabric. Turns out one last little dress was hidden in my basket. I was glad to find it. Voila! Here it is. I love that fabric! Takes me back to the time when my kids where little and helped us in the garden. They still help but are probably less enthusiastic about it than when they were toddlers. Back then digging was a great adventure. Now it's more like: "Do we really have to go weed the garden, Mum?"

Oh well. I do look forward to the gardening season. Can't wait for this long cold winter to end, get out the rake and shovels... Will my teenage garden helpers be there to help?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Good Day

It's been a really great day for me today. I am so happy to report that I had 3 sales in my Etsyshop. I am so very grateful and hopeful for the rest of the month. You know I was laying in bed last night saying a little prayer for my shop. And it worked! The power of prayer and positive thinking are truly amazing!

Some sweet little dolls for Valentine's Day are wrapped up and on their way to New York. I hope they will bring much joy to whoever receives them. They are tiny bundles packed with love.

Another wonderful thing that happened today is that I received a package with Tibetan Lambskin for making another doll. It is so pretty. I am very excited about making a new doll with that style hair. Remember my little Nicki doll?

She turned out such a beautiful little girl. So I am hoping to create another doll with amazing pink curls like Nicki's hair.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bossy Bunnies

I am finally getting caught up with paperwork. Not exactly my favorite thing to do. I'd rather be sewing and creating new dolls. My tiny studio needed some major sorting and cleaning action. I finally got it all picked up. Who can tell? After a day of sewing there are stacks of fabric, patterns, and thread all over the place again. What is your secrete to keeping your studio clean and organized? Please, do share if you have one!

I have been kind of obsessed with making bunnies this year. It seems way too early. A peek at the calendar tells me I got until April 5 or so. But I love Bunnies. I just couldn't wait to make bunnies. I had a few requests for bunnies over the summer.  Bunnies are so sweet and soft. You can always use one by your side.

The problem with bunnies is that you can never have just one. Once you sew a bunny you have to make another, and another. At first they didn't have faces. They were sweet and soft and all was well. I just kept going with the bunny bodies since they were just too much fun. But then they started begging me for eyes and mouths. How was it possible? How did they manage to speak without mouths?

Before you know it your studio flows over with bunnies. And they are getting all bossy. Not so sweet any more, eh? If they keep it up I will lock them in the drawers until April. I really need to focus here. Doesn't Valentine's Day happen really soon? What about St. Patrick's Day? I love shamrocks and green...

Friday, January 9, 2015

Slow Start

It's been a very slow start to the year so far. So much so, that it's become the theme of many a thread in the Etsy forums this month. All I can say is: Thank god for my other job! What is going on with that website? Or is it me?

I added the cutest Valentine's Day items. I listed some of the most adorable little bunny dolls. I worked on my tags and SEO. In previous years my sales from December always continued into January. January used to be a great month for me. Not so this year it appears...

The cold weather in Colorado is not exactly helping my mood either. The house is an icebox and cold drafts are keeping me from typing much on my laptop. Brrrr.

I am glad for two things though. You have got to focus on the good things:

1. that I have my other job and get to leave the house and see the kids at school. I had my first day of substitute teaching of the New Year yesterday. It was awesome and I had so much fun.

2. I can go to the Etsy forums and commiserate with other sellers. That's how I found this cute blog by Stacey and her uplifting post for today. If you are an Etsyseller and feel a bit downtrodden today you may want to check it out too.

Unfortunately creating this cute little bunch of bunnies has left me with hands that ache really badly. Some form of carpal tunnel syndrome or something. Oh well, I will give it a rest for now. Looks like people are not ready to shop for Easter at the moment anyways. I even started a sales event  in my Etsyshop this week that will last for another couple of days.

If you have any other ideas on how to improve sales for me, please leave me a comment!