My Shop

Sunday, October 30, 2011

With a Little Help from my Customers

A while ago, I wrote a blogpost about learning to say no.  In the midst of trying to start my little business, there have been many voices other than my own seeking to define what my business should be.  I appreciate that so many care enough about me to share their ideas.  I say, "Keep the good ideas coming!" Don't be offended if they don't all come to fruition.  Some ideas will naturally resonate with the vision I have in my head as to where this whole thing is heading... Some will not.

Here's one idea that did really hit me as a fun one that I wanted to pursue.  A woman contacted me via my Etsy Shop requesting that I make her some hippos in colors other than the blue that I was offering, to give as party favors for her son's Hungry Hippos themed birthday party. She told me it is going to a Hippo and food themed party and they will be collecting food for a local food bank - WOW!

I cannot tell you how fun these were to create.  My whole family fell in love with them instantly.  And while I do not condone bogarting trademarked materials, we are just calling these inspired by Milton Bradley's Hungry Hungry Hippo Game...   So, I hope you get a chuckle out of my new Hip and Happy Hippos!  I sure did!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sewing Season

I think it is safe to say that sewing season is in full-swing!  It always sneaks up on me, but it cannot be denied that about the time the fabric store starts really pushing Halloween prints, it is time for me to sharpen my needles and get to work!  Luckily, the weather has turned colder, so I don't feel guilty for shunning the now absent sun to sit and sew.

 First there was the impromptu Halloween Party that forced me to throw together a super-hero costume in half an hour, and then the party at church where we unveiled the official "state" costume for the year. 

Here's little red riding hood!  Now, it's time to get those thanksgiving turkey table favors put together, Christmas stockings and possibly P.J.'s for the family... That is if I don't think of something else to make  first...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Saying No

I started writing this post about a month ago when I was in the midst of getting ready for a huge craft event that was going to be the kick-off event for my business.   My focus then was going to be on saying no to those people and things that were standing in the way of me meeting my objectives.  Then, my baby got sick (very sick) and I did too.  I realized then that I was focusing my "no's" in the wrong direction.  I still believe that one of the key phrases every business owner must learn to say is no.  And funny, it is important for mothers to learn as well.  I am, among other things, both.  Of course, I am a wife and mother before I am an entrepreneur and I must remind myself of that fact from time to time.  I adore my children.  I love them more than life itself, and sometimes when I get caught up in things that really don't matter, I need a reminder as to where to aim my "no". 

Time just melts through my fingers when I sit down to sew.  I really need to get a clock for my work area, because I lose all track of time when I am creating.  I do not have unlimited time and in my heart I know it.  My seventeen year old twins will graduate from high school this year, my oldest daughter will graduate from college, and my baby will be off to Kindergarten next fall.  Time is slipping away from me with my children as well!  Sometimes I just need to stop and remember what my grandmother used to tell me all the time when the older kids were little, "It goes by really fast!"  I would say "I know Gramma, I know."  I had NO IDEA!  And so, sometimes, I have to say no to my list of projects and spend time with my not-so-little-ones. 

I love holding my little girl's hand when we're walking and feeling its soft pudginess in my hand.  I close my eyes and try to capture those moments.  On the rare evenings that all my kids are home for dinner, I mentally dance in the music of their laughter.  These times are quickly coming to an end.   So, even though I know I will fill my little shop with all kinds of goodies soon enough, sometimes I have to say no and just BE with my family.

There is a strange thing that occurs when people find out that somebody they know can sew:  they bring out all kinds of unfinished projects and they are just sure that you'll be willing and able to complete them for them.  Here, I am learning to say no.  But if I do say yes, I truly mean it and I am happy to do it.  I read a quote once that said something like, " Asking a friend who sews to do your mending is like asking Michelangelo to paint your garage."  I like that.  I need to defend my sewing time by saying no to other projects from time to time.

I have been overwhelmed by the support I have gotten from friends, family and total strangers as I have started this business.  There are so many good ideas and suggestions swirling around in my head as a result of all these generous people.  I am learning, however, that at the end of the day, I have to find my own path.  Here, I have learned from my teenage son: He had a band and I remember that all of us would make well-meaning suggestions as to how he should run the band and what music they should play.  He would smile and tactfully nod and then, in the end, do what he had in mind in the first place.  I am really coming to respect his wisdom.  When one is involved in a creative endeavor, there are so many voices swirling around in one's head.  To say no, even to some good ideas is vital at times to make something authentic to one's vision and self.  I am learning to do that.

The bottom line: nobody can be everything to everybody.  When I was younger, I thought I could be the exception to that. Now, I am beginning to know better. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How This Little Piggy Gets to Market

Well, it's official!  I am in business.  I finally placed 100 little pieces of my menagerie of little creatures in my Etsy shop.  Among those items up for sale is a little piggy finger puppet.  I thought it might be fun and kind of informative to show you the journey pink felt goes on to become such an adorable little creature.

First:  I cut out about a million little piggy pieces: cloven hooves, bellies, snouts, and ears.

Next:  The bellies and snouts are sewn into place and then the eyes and other features are embroidered on the face.

Next:  This is the step that makes me smile every time.  Placing all of the little appendages where they are to go.  Because of the nature of sewing the thing together, the arms and ears are placed inward and it looks like the piggy is playing peek-a-boo! Very cute.

Finally:  I cut the whole thing out, turn it right-side-out, snip a gazillion stray threads, a bit of trimming up, and we're done!

Before we go to market, a sample of each design must undergo a stringent product analysis and quality assurance to determine its playability and durability by our expert QA Department.