Thursday, August 6, 2015

Nolan is Here!!

As you know I have been hosting a virtual baby shower on my blog for the last couple of months in anticipation of my baby's arrival.  I was really hoping to have one last game for July.  Baby Nolan was due August 17 but it was becoming apparent that he would most likely be early.  Nevertheless at the end of July I had the last game pretty much mapped out and the giveaway ready.  The game was going to be "guess the mommy's belly size" and the giveaway was going to be a Blankie BeBe from my new BeBes for Boys line of dolls.   One is a superhero and the other is done in a monster fabric.  These two are for Nolan.



July 25 was my last day at work and I planned to get the game up on the blog that weekend.  I was really looking forward to at least a week off with no work and no baby, but Nolan had other plans for us.  That night at 2:00 in the morning I rose to go to the bathroom.  When I finished peeing I felt a bit of a trickle of something that did not seem like pee.  I had a feeling it was my water.  I went to wake up Adrian and he proceeded to tell me that it couldn't be my water because it should be more dramatic.  I told him it wasn't always so.

As we sat on the bed discussing (arguing) about what constituted a "water break" a large gush flowed out of me and all over the bed.  Obviously there was no more arguing!

I tried to get ahold of my Mom but she didn't answer.  Adrian called our doctor and she also did not answer.  We were a little frustrated.  So Adrian called his Mom, and his family went over to the hospital to meet us.  His sister called our original doctor.  At first we were not happy about it because we really wanted to get ahold of our doctor.  I had planned a natural water birth and already things were not going as planned.

I was having no pain or labor of any kind.  We waited only about 10 minutes at the hospital before our original doctor arrived.  We went into a labor room and he examined me.  More water and blood were coming out and I was still not in any kind of labor.  Nolan was doing fine but the doctor recommended a c-section as I would not be able to have my water birth because of the risk of infection.  I knew there were options to avoid a c-section, which I really didn't want, but the options included risks as well as intensive monitoring, which I also didn't want.

Also I was not quite 37 weeks pregnant which meant that Nolan was technically pre-term.  We decided to go ahead with the c-section.

Nolan was born around 5:00 Sunday July 26.  He weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce and measured 21.5 inches.  For being nearly 4 weeks early he was a big one!


I wish I could say everything has been peachy keen but I'll tell you what having a baby is hard work no joke!  I hated being in the hospital, confined to a bed.  I have hated the recovery from the surgery but it's getting easier.  Breastfeeding has been very difficult as we learn what works and then the next day it all changes for no apparent reason.  I can see why many moms give up on it!  But I will not because I know how important it is for my little guy.


But my word the emotions involved!  I love him so much sometimes it hurts.  As frustrating and challenging as it is sometimes all I need is one look at his face and one smell of his baby smell and I don't care about anything.  



I miss sewing and I don't know when I will ever be back to normal as far as BeBe production goes but I'm trying to take it one day at a time.  For now I wanted to let you know there will not be a final game/giveaway for the virtual baby shower, obviously because the baby is already here!  However I will think of something fun we can do very soon to make up for it.

I did have a bunch of Blankie BeBes finished and ready to go in the shop before Nolan came.  Luckily between feedings I had a chance to get them uploaded yesterday.  Check them out in the shop here.  There is just about every color I offer as well as one in the ethnic skin tone.



Thank you all for following along during my pregnancy journey and I hope you will stick around as the real journey begins!  

Monday, July 13, 2015

How to Make a Flower Planter out of Tea Tins

I thought I would share a quick tutorial/project I completed this morning.  Recently I have been trying to improve the atmosphere of our apartment with plants.  The problem is the downstairs of the apartment is very very dark.  This is great for keeping the house cool during the Mexican summers but it is a killer for plants.  On my last plant shopping trip I asked for plants that would do well in almost 100% shade.  I bought a few suggestions and within a few days one of the plants was already turning brown.  I don't think the man realized when I said shade I meant near darkness.

So that plant has been moved upstairs to my sunny studio and seems to be doing much better.  The cacti have stayed downstairs but I'm worried about them.  I had two that were not even in decent planters yet and I was getting really tired of looking at the beer and pop can they came in.  Well, while I was organizing some things around the house I found these cute tea tins that I was saving for something because of how much I like the look of them.  I wondered if I could turn them into planters.  Here's what I did...


First I punched holes in the bottom of the tins to allow for water drainage.


Then I glued the lid to the bottom of the tin to allow the water to drain and not make a mess.  I used a silicone glue that is appropriate for metal.


Even though it is a fast drying glue I let it dry over-night just to make sure it was on their securely.


Then I added some rocks to the bottom of the tin to aid in the drainage, the dirt, and the cacti.  Ta-da!


They are sitting on a shelf in my bathroom where there is an abundance of sunshine, especially in the morning.


Now I just need to paint the ugly shelf and find another tin for the third cactus.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Thalita Dol Review

Remember back in February when I shared with you one of my favorite doll artists, Thalita Dol?  Well a little over a month ago Thalita approached me about a possible trade.  Now normally I don't do trades, because BeBe Babies is a large part of my income, but when an artist I truly admire and covet contacts me I cannot say no!

I don't know why it never occurs to me to contact the artists myself.  It would be a great way for me to actually have a doll collection again.  I think it's a mix of feeling self-conscious that I will be rejected and also that I just don't think about it.  Whatever it is I never do it and would like to consider it more in the future.

Anyway so because shipping takes so long to arrive to Mexico I finally received my box today.  I was in the middle of meditating when my roommate yelled upstairs that my package arrived.  Everyone knows I've been waiting anxiously for this package.  It's a good thing I'm not great at meditating because I heard him right away and ran downstairs because I knew just what it was.

I made myself finish my daily meditation before I opened the box.  This made meditating even more impossible, but I made it though, and then jumped up and took some photos so you could live the excitement with me.

The box was so cute!



I opened it from the bottom to avoid destroying the front.  His name is NoĆ©.


He is a heavy little guy.


And sooo sooo sweet¡  I just love his little face and his skinny little legs.  I couldn't be more thrilled.  I can't wait for Thalita to receive her BeBe.




If you would like your own Thalita Dol check out her Etsy shop or Facebook page.

Monday, June 29, 2015

BeBe Babies Virtual Baby Shower Game/ Giveaway 2!

Well gosh you guys I really didn't want this to be posted at the very end of the month but I'm trying to learn to go with the flow better seeing as though soon I will have a little one upending everything.  The theme of this month's giveaway is MONSTERS!  I have loved monsters since I was a little girl and decided it was the perfect theme for Nolan.  The reason being that Nolan and I are sharing half of a room and I would like to enjoy my space as much as I would like it to be cute for him.

I have been spending the last couple of months putting most of my energy into making our room cozy, comfortable and cute.  It's coming along but there is still so much I would like to do.  Again I'm trying to remember that a living space is a work in progress and not stress out about it too much.

Well today I finally made some major progress by getting his monster mobile put up.  I still want to make some more strings of stars for it but for now it's almost done and at least it is up.  That's all that counts!


The mobile hangs between his changing table and my rocking chair.  The monsters were made to match a fleece blanket that I also made for him (you can see it in the changing table).  


One of the monsters is on the fat side which is skewing the mobile.  I'm not sure I mind it but I will be adding more stars and maybe try to balance it out a little.


The fatty.


Adrian also put up some shelves which we were able to move Nolan's things too.  Some of these things were given to Nolan by friends and family.  Seeing them makes me very happy.


Now on to the game!  I'm not a huge fan of baby shower games but I remembered one game my family always played that I thought was hilarious and fun.  It's the poopy diaper game!  Normally tiny cloth diapers are made up and one is pinned to each of the baby shower guests.  Inside one of the diapers is a poop!  The person who gets the poopy diaper is the winner.  I thought this game would be really fun for everyone.

One of these diapers is poopy!

How it works: Let me know that you want to be entered into the game.  You have until July 3 to let me know.  On July 4th I will pull a diaper out of the basket for each person and open them.  The person who gets the poopy diaper wins!

But wait there's a catch!  Baby showers are about family/friends and fun so what would a baby shower game be without sharing the love?  Therefore the ONLY way your entry will be accepted is if you share this giveaway on your favorite social media network.  It could be Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.  All you have to do is share the post and let me know where you shared it with a link or tag.  You can let me know on Facebook, in a comment on this post, or email me at bebebabiescom@yahoo.com.

The prize:  Going with the monster theme the winner of this game will receive one my newest designs in my BeBes for Boys line.  The Monster BeBe!  You will get to choose between green or teal.  Here's what they look like.


Stay tuned, there is still one more game/giveaway left in the BeBe Babies virtual baby shower.  Hopefully I can get it done and posted before Nolan arrives!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How to Make a Market Bag with Mexican Oil Cloth

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time you know that I have another shop called Mexican Fabric and Fashion.  My boyfriend and I run the shop together and it is a passion of ours.  We are hoping some day it will sustain us full time.  The difficulty I have with running two very different shops is that I don't have as much sewing time as I would like to devote to the Mexican shop.  We are in the process of setting up an extra work area as I will be hiring someone very soon to help out with the BeBes, and hopefully the Mexican shop too.

I spent today working on a project that has been sitting here waiting to be done for quite some time.  Mexico has a huge selection of oil cloth that is used here for many different things.  I was smitten immediately by the material because of it's color and variety, but my boyfriend, and his family, balked at the idea.  Apparently it is not considered a very hip or desirable material by Mexicans.  In fact they consider it kind of a poor persons material.  It's so strange how we view our own cultures.



Well despite what they said I bought myself some with the intention to offer it in our shop, as well as make some cool bags from it.  It's sat here for quite some time but today I spent a good part of the day making an extra large market bag.  Tomorrow I will be headed to the supplier to get another contrasting color to make a smaller sized bag with a different pattern.

First of all this bag is huge.  I intended it to be big but didn't really intend it to be this big.  I'm not sure how practical it is but I still really really like it.  If you would like to make your own bag, check out our shop for the materials.  For now here is how I made it...

You will need:
-approximately 2 yards of each material (buy it here)
-all the necessary sewing tools (scissors, thread, pins, sewing machine, etc)
-ruler and tracing pen

1.  Cut 4 large rectangles each 20 by 23 inches.  You will have 2 of each material.


2.  Cut 4 strips.  Ideally you would only need two strips of 63 inches by 8 inches, but most likely you will not have 63 inches of uncut material.  So what I did was cut 2 strips, 21 by 8 inches, and 2 strips 43 by 8 inches.  I then sewed the small one to the big one to make two long strips of 63 by 8 inches each.  If you are like me and sometimes you are bad at measuring (I am always bad at measuring) make your strips a little longer because you can easily trim them later.  You can't however add material if they aren't long enough.  


3.  With right sides together take your larger square (the strawberry material) and pin your strip to it.  Make sure you line it up to the seam where you sewed the two strips together.  Sew the strip all the way around the strawberry material on all 3 sides.



4.  Take your other strawberry square of material and sew to the other side of the strip with right sides together.  Turn right side out.



5.  Follow steps 1-4 and do the same with the other large squares and strip.  This will be the inside of the bag.


6.  I took this photo to show you that the two bags are exactly the same, however you will not want to turn the liner bag right side out.  When you finish sewing it put it directly inside the strawberry bag.  Adjust it so that all seams align and then pin it inside, starting at the seams.



7.  Pin all the way around the top, folding the material down approximately 2-3 inches.  



8.  Before sewing the top you need to make the straps.  Cut 4 more strips, 2 of each material  approximately 36 by 5 inches long.  This is a personal preference and you can use your flexible measuring tape to decide your own strap size if you would like.  Again make them longer if you have any doubts because you can always cut them smaller later.


9.  Fold the sides of the straps in until the ends meet and/or the strap measures about 2.5 inches wide.  Pin them carefully, measuring as you go to ensure that the strap is 2.5 inches the whole way.  Pin all 4 strap pieces before sewing.



10.  Once you have them pinned seperately put one strawberry and one gingam wrong sides together.  Sew them about 1/4 an inch from the edge removing the pins as you go.  When you finish sewing both straps lay them on top of each other and trim to the same size.


11.  Pin the straps to the top of the bag.  I pinned mine 4 inches from the first seam on the side of the bag.  You can pin them and try it out to see what you like best.  Just make sure you measure so that you place them in the same position all the way around.  Insert the strap approximately 2 inches inside the bag.  Once you have them pinned measure the straps to make sure they are the same length on both sides.  Adjust them if they are not.  


12.  Sew around the top of the bag.  I sewed over the straps twice to reinforce them.  

And voila!  Your extra large market bag is ready for use!  This bag is so big it was a little difficult to get a photo of however I made several more smaller sized bags that are available now.  If you are interested in making smaller bags just reduce your proportions on the instructions above.  These smaller bags finished are 15x15x4 inches.





Making market bags out of oil cloth means that they can easily be wiped out, as the fabric is waterproof.  The material is flexible and folds up fairly easily.  They are also reversible!  These bags would be great for the beach or pool.  If you are not interested in making your own buy yours in our shop here.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

How to Know When to Raise your Prices

Pricing is hard.  I get asked all the time how to price handmade items correctly.  You can find all kinds of different online calculators that can help you get an idea of how to price your items.  Here is a great one on Etsy and here is another one with less explanation.  The problem with these calculators and methods is that they don't take into account the specific market you sell in.  Some may say that doesn't matter but I think it does.

Either way the number one thing you must be doing if you are running your own handmade business is tracking your sales and expenses.  You must know what you are earning.  If you find that you are not earning the wage you want to be earning, or if you find that it has lowered over time, it is time to re-examine your pricing.

I have been watching my profits closely for months and have realized that while my work hours have increased my profit has not increased at an equal rate.  I've come to realize that the cost of importing most of my materials, as well as the artistic evolution of my dolls, have resulted in a lower profit margin.

Why am I telling you this?  Well because I've decided to raise the prices of my dolls.  I want my customers to know why, as some have followed me for many years, and have become accustomed to my pricing.

The evolution of my dolls has resulted in spending more time per doll.  When I started out my dolls were pretty basic.  Here are a couple of examples.



I still love these older dolls for their simplicity but today my dolls are much more detailed.  I spend much more time researching expressions as well as painting details that are just right.  Here are some recent dolls.



The problem is my pricing has not changed in the last nearly 8 years.  In addition to the extra time I am putting into the dolls, I also am now importing most of my supplies from the US.  This has increased my expenses quite a bit, and while I do need to look into lower cost supply options, the reality is that right now it's not possible.  

So as of today my new pricing scale for one of a kind dolls will be:

1”-5” $70 
6”-10” $80
11”-21” $145
22-26” $170
27”-32” $195

This of course is a rough estimate and is subject to change with custom orders or extra details.  Also this only applies to one of a kind dolls as my pricing on my play dolls will not change at this time.

The other topic I want to mention that I eluded to above, is that many online pricing calculators do not take into account the market you are in.  While the calculators can give you a great starting point you also need to take into consideration what others in your market are doing.  Especially pay close attention to other makers who have as much time and experience as you do in your market.  While you shouldn't base your pricing on other people, if you see that a similar maker is way over or way under your pricing you might take that into consideration.

For example I feel that in the one of a kind doll market my prices are on the lower end.  I see very similar sized dolls, with similar work involved, starting at $200 and up.  I would like my prices to be a little more comparable.

Anyway I hope this advice has been helpful and I hope all you loyal BeBe fans will understand the reasons for the increase.  


Friday, May 29, 2015

And the Winners are...

The first winners in the BeBe Baby virtual baby shower giveaway are Angelica and Thalita.  Congrats ladies!


Stay tuned for next month's game and giveaway.  Below is a work in progress shot of what I will be revealing...