Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Save Boobs!!!

Well it has been a whirlwind week so far. I officially started part time at my J O B on Monday. That in itself is the weirdest feeling ever. School started yesterday and that was pretty weird too. As I was explaining to my feels like someone died and my brain hasn't caught up with the absense. I feel like next week my life will go back to normal and I will work full time at the job I have been at for nearly 9 years. It isn't going to happen though and I have to keep reminding myself.

School is a whole 'nother weird feeling. First of all I am going to Lane Community College and when I was in my junior year of high school I transferred to Lane's adult high school program. I ultimately received my high school diploma at Lane. The program no longer exists which is a shame because I loved it! I went on to attend Lane for a couple more years taking college courses but never finishing any degree. The point I am getting at is many moons ago I spent several years at this school.

Being on campus has brought back a whole lot of memories good and bad. I remember eating in the cafeteria with my now ex-husband. I remember working out in the gym with my cousin who I rarely see any more. I remember selling Mary Kay in the cafeteria (I know crazy right). I used to wheel this giant suitcase of cosmetics all over was (and still is) slightly embarrassing. Lucky for me I am going to have two more years to create some new hopefully good memories....

On to other things.... The Plushteam is having a fundraiser through the month of October to raise money for breast cancer awareness. This is a special cause as my own Momma is in remission from this terrible illness. I am thankful every day that for now she has beat this killer. I knew I had to contribute something to this event.

My piece is dedicated to my Momma.

I brainstormed for quite some time before committing and creating what I did. I didn't really think of how I felt but after finishing the "girls" I realized my piece came out kind of angry (and maybe a little funny) which is kind of how I deal with stuff that makes me angry, like my Mom being sick. I hope you like my is available for sale in the Plush team shop along with a bunch of other awesome booby creations!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Today is THE Day

Today is a really big day for me. After working at the same job for nearly 9 years today is my last full time day. Maybe that doesn't sound as huge as it is because it isn't my last day altogether but the thought of not having to be here full time is amazing to me. It makes me want to cry. I don't think it has hit me at all yet though because my eyes are bone dry. I thought I would have that last day of school excitement of cleaning out drawers and not doing any work but really it feels like any other day.

It is kind of funny though that our computer systems were down for most of the afternoon due to construction workers out front hitting a line or a power surge or something. That type of occurrence rarely happens but when it does it normally heightens every ones excitement: "will we get to go home?" "how long do we get to play solitaire and wander the halls?" but for me it just made the afternoon drag by. I actually would have rather been doing work so the time would have passed faster.

I had all these plans for a super celebration tonight and while I still will celebrate my lovely monthly curse hit me this morning and it has made me feel like not being seen. The thought of sweat pants and my new recliner sound much more appealing. The occasion must be marked really is a big really is the end of something big and the beginning of something bigger. I am sooo ready...I am more ready for this change then I have ever been ready for something in my life.

School starts next week! Oh boy oh boy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Learning Etsy

I thought I might make a post about my tips and the things I have learned about selling on Etsy (for anyone wanting to give it a try or those that are struggling). I wanted to do this because recently I was reading in the Etsy forums Business section where I spend most of my time and I read a topic with tips for creating a successful Etsy shop. Someone posted a like to a seller on Etsy called Crafting Success that sells tutorials on all sorts of craft/business topics (twitter, etsy, you tube, etc). It got me thinking about why I have never purchased any sort of book/tutorial. It is obvious from this seller's sales they do pretty good at selling this information. I guess it just surprises me that people PAY for this (I am not trying to knock this seller or anyone that does purchase tutorials like these).

The point I am trying to make right up front is I just think that people feel there is information or secrets they have to pay to learn. It is just simply not the case. If you have the time and know where to look you can find all of this information for free. When you are starting a business, especially one you are trying to profit or live off of, thinking about all expenditures is very important.

This is my number one tip above all else: Think About What You Purchase For Your Business!
Don't make rash purchases in the name of increasing your sales. The slogan "you have to spend money to make money" is true but only if you spend the money in a well thought out constructive way. And how do you know it is constructive? Make sure that you can measure the benefit of the purchase. Make sure you have searched for the best possible price for the quality. Keep track of what you spend and what you make that way you can justify buying promo items or how to books. If you see yourself spending all your profit on things you might not need at that moment cut them out or source a cheaper supplier.

Okay now that that is out of the way here are my tips for creating a successful Etsy shop (please note I do not consider myself an expert and I too am still learning/improving):

1. Read the Etsy forums! Like I said above I spend most of my time in the "Business" section but there are many other topics to explore. I can't even begin to tell you all the free information that has actually helped my shop increase sales.

2. Renew you listings! This works especially well for me because I have a hard time keeping a large stock in my shop. If you want a more comprehensive explanation of what renewing means and how it can benefit you please visit the Something Blue Blog. Her post titled The Esty Experiment is awesome! And free!!!

3. Most suggestions you will hear over and over are "make sure your shop has great photos, informative descriptions, complete policies and a catchy banner". My tip to make sure you have done these things right is to look at your shop like you are the customer. When you shop for something online, or especially Etsy, what do you look for in a listing? I look for:

- good pictures where I can see the item from all sides (and inside if it's a bag).
- what size is it?
- what is it made of?

Things that immediately turn me off:

- very few items listed (which translates to me as a poor selection)
- bad pictures (especially blurry or the product is displayed on something dirty or distracting)

4. Join an Etsy team! This is a great idea to help you find people that have been there and done that. There are teams for just about everything and every location. I am a member of the Plushteam and have learned more than I could ever imagine from them.

5. Social network! Ok I will admit I was slow and dragging my feet on this one too. I still don't use these sites (twitter, facebook, myspace, etc) to their full potential and I know it. Part of my problem is I don't have time to be on them and I don't have a fancy Internet phone so I can't do it at a red light. The last thing I want to do after work is sit on my home computer social networking. However every now and then I come across a great idea that reminds me why these sites can be such a benefit.

I am not going to write a lot about social networking because like I said I don't do it enough but I read this post in the Etsy forums a while ago and I have saved it to try in the future. I wanted to share this info just to make the point that there are many ways to use these sites if you know how....aaaaand there are plenty of people that will share their info with you for free.

The post is by Haut Totes and involves a Twitter promotion. I love Haut Totes posts because she has a wealth of info and shares it freely. Another great one by her is entitled "Yes You Can!!" and is about this very topic (tips for success on Etsy).

For now those are my top tips...I hope this has been beneficial to someone! And if you find yourself purchasing a tutorial more power to you and congrats to the seller. I just thought I would point out that there are so many resources and people out there that are sharing a wealth of free info and we should all be so thankful. I know I am!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day Off With Blythe

I have the day off... Here is Blythe in her new boots and tights. And in front of a new in-progress backdrop.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Witchies are Coming....


As it turns out I did not come from a crafty family. It seems like the credentials for being a crafter/creator these days includes having a crafty family. Many craft books, especially those that interview several crafters, tend to tell the same story again and again; crafty upbringing, art school, etc. I am not one of those people. My parents were about the most opposite from crafty as they could get. My Dad liked cutting down trees and my Mom was a huge van of Velveeta cheese.

Somehow I was born with the craft gene though because as soon as I could hold a pen I was drawing, writing, making zines, sewing and sculpting. So it has come as a big surprise to find my mother finding craft AFTER me. Her and my step dad have been creating what they first referred to as "garden art". Being the snob I can be I told my Mom not to call these creations "art". To my surprise "garden art" is more of a theme then any ones opinion.

This weekend my parents did their first craft/garden show. I must say I am proud of them. It doesn't sound like they really sold much but it is fun to see my Mom see what it is like to be the creator and not the helper. There's a lot of stress putting something you have made "out there". I don't know if they will continue making their recycled glass garden sculptures but it is nice to see them doing something creative and DIY.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I really like doing miniature dolls so when I was getting this little guy Ashton ready to list on Ebay I decided to make a backdrop that would look like an actual baby nursery wall. Well then I wanted to make pictures to hang on the wall. You can kind of see them in the above picture but I think I hung them a little too high because you can't see the higher one completely...although it does look pretty natural I think.

The pictures are made from popsicle sticks, acrylic paint, clear plastic, paper and scrapbook embellishments.

All of the other props in the pictures (crib, toys, etc) I already had but I did make him the pillows and blanket because the set I made previously was very girly. Anyhoo I had a lot of fun making this little "stage" and I have already thought of a bunch of things I would like to add (like a floor and more furniture). I am wondering if this might be a new obsession...

Plus I got some paper to do the other side of the "wall" (which is just white foam board). I am going to make a backdrop for my Blythe. I found the cutest paper at Michaels yesterday. Mainly inspired by the fact that my Blythe received her new tights and shoes in the mail yesterday. I should have some new pictures to post this weekend.
Oh and I have Friday and Monday off from work so expect a lot of new things happening!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Customer Service Rant

Maybe it's because I work in customer service that I notice rude customers even when I am away from work. I would like to wager that working at an insurance company in a customer service role might be one of the worst customer service positions out there (right up there with bank, post office, dmv, etc.). The funny thing is I used to work at the post office too. I don't know how I ended up at these jobs. I never set out in life wanting to be in this field.

As a matter of fact if you knew me when I was growing up (heck if you know me now) customer service would be the last place anyone would expect me to be because I hate people...okay I don't hate ALL people but you will catch me saying I do on most days. Usually I will mutter it after being yelled at on the phone while other times I will scream it as I walk through the door after work. And all this anger and hatred has wore me down.

It's funny how society as a whole recognizes that verbal abuse by a spouse, parent or anyone in life can wear a person down until they feel the way they are being told they are (stupid, fat, ugly) but the same people will unleash on customer service reps, cashiers, etc. It really is sad. Some of these people, myself included, work in these positions for years....imagine the effect on someone.

I didn't mean to write such a downer post but after hitting the craft store on my lunch break and watching a women bawl out a young cashier because a pad of paper was on sale and didn't qualify for the coupon (which would only be a difference of about a dollar) I was well feeling down. I always want to say to these people (the yellers) "do you really think this young girl gives a flying fig about your paper?", "do you think with her minimum wages she goes home at night and frets over your discount?", "she doesn't even make the damn decisions!". Do people really not get this?

I would never yell at a customer service rep (ok once I did get a little heated at Comcast but that's another story and a torn up backyard). I would just like to beg of you people out in the public remember that when you call your insurance company or you go to the craft store it is a human being you are talking to. A human being that probably has nothing to do with the company's decisions and doesn't really care anyway. They are trying to make a buck, feed their family and not go postal in the process. There is a reason it is called going postal by the way...and it's not the stiff, scratchy uniforms and the smell of pee (although that might be part of it).

PS...I am soooo excited to be starting school.... :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flickr Tuesday

So I would like to be one of those clever people that has blog series/posts like "Flickr Friday!" or "Savings Saturdays!" but lets face it I am just not able to plan such things in advance. I also can not save a fantastic find until the day it would be appropriate...I just don't want to. Sooooo I am pretending it is Flickr Friday today on a Tuesday.

Recently someone added me on Flickr as a contact and I must admit I rarely investigate people that add me on Flickr, Myspace or Facebook (unless I think I might know them in real life). But for some reason I was checking out this person's contacts and there were some damn fine ones in there! Like Cally Jane Studios...I mean for crying out loud I could hardly find a favorite picture. Aaand I can not figure out if she actually sells these wonderful illustrations so I will be asking for sure! I did find her blog though.

And oh my good lord! I almost died when I saw these bears by Little Scruffs. More pictures and info can be found on her website here.

I waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant these two!!

It just kept getting better. Look at these amazing, tiny wood dolls by DandelionFair! I thought they were clay at first which didn't seem as intriguing but as soon as I realized they were wood I jumped for joy! There is just not enough wood dolls/toys out in the world. My favorite is this little mermaid. Christine their creator has a blog too which is when....hold the phone....I realized I have seen this artists work before! I remember her bears! There is nothing like rediscovering a favorite artist. And now I have just spent the last hour going through all her pictures and deciding which dolls I would buy should a money tree sprout in my front yard. I bet you want to see too??? Well then head to her website for adoption info!

Loooookie at this cat!

To keep the mini theme going I then found these amazing miniatures by PetitPlat. They remind me so much of re ments but of course are better because someone actually hand makes them. Lucky for us she has an Etsy shop where her creations are also made into earrings and rings. How cute is that?
And to get you in the Halloween spirit here is another one. Oh and did I mention she has a blog and website too?

Alright peeps I have to stop! No more for today or I will get nothing else done. I like doing this though so maybe I will make it a feature...but it won't be on will be whenever I feel like it so there! :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back to School

Well the cat's outta the bag and I can finally announce it to the world. I am going back to school!!! My first day is Sept 29th. I will be finishing up my transfer degree at Lane Community College and then heading to the U of O to get my teaching least that's the plan. I never like to commit 100% cuz you just never know but I would say with 99% certainty that's what will happen. Boy am I nervous!...excited...but soooo nervous!

So what does a 27 year old do when going back to school? Buy cute accessories! I am waiting anxiously for this adorable pencil/pen holder. I bought it on Etsy from Kukubee. I figure I might as well buy cute stuff now because the next few months and years are going to be tight financially. I also stocked up on ramen and mac and cheese ha ha. Isn't that what college kids eat?

Wish me luck...this is going to be a big change for me....

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ebay Days!!!

I started a new ebay campaign on Monday to hopefully try to reel in some new customers/contacts. Because I came back from the doll show with so many dolls I decided to list one each day on ebay at a low 20% off the retail price. I don't know if this strategy will work but here goes! Sooooo check my ebay account each day to see who has been listed. The three below are already running.

And if you have any other ideas on how to find new baby doll lovers let me know!! :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dolls 4 All Show Recap

Well peeps I was hoping to make a post yesterday but my camera died last night and I had pictures to share. The Dolls 4 All show was pretty awesome. While I didn't make much I still sold enough dolls to pay for our vendor fees and trip expenses. We got to meet a couple new friends from Doll-Fan as well as see some old friends. One thing that is always the best about these shows is getting to see other artists work in person that I have admired online (oh and buying goodies). I did find a bunch of stuff I wanted but was good and only bought myself one thing.

Sara Lanzillotta of Devout Dolls was there which to me was beyond exciting. Oh how I wanted to buy everything on her table! If money was not restraining me I would have! But as it was I only purchased a new dress for my Blythe doll. Isn't it adorable!? Now she needs tights and new shoes. Sara also has an Etsy shop where you can buy Devout Dolls.

The table next to us was also full of treasures I wanted to bring home. But with my Mom constantly reminding me of "not spending my profit" I didn't get anything. The table was full of Laura Hacker's sasquatches. They were the most unique sasquatches I have ever seen. They also had some very cute brightly colored sock monkeys for adoption. You can find Laura's work on Etsy at The Love Tree.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Road Trip...Mom...and a Blurry Camera Phone Teaser

In a few short hours my Mom and I will be hitting the highway. We are heading up to Portland for the Dolls 4 All doll show tomorrow. The show is from 10-4 but they let early birds in at 8:30. This is in the AM people! I haven't done this show in a while but in years past my Mom and I would get up at the un-Godly hour of 4 am to be on the road by 5 am. Set up is at 7 am.

When I used to make reborn dolls I always did well at Dorothy's Dolls 4 All shows (there are several other show times/locations in the northwest). The last show I did was the first time I tried the show with my BeBe Babies. It was the Puyallup WA one which entailed getting a hotel and working two full show days. It was a bust! I sold nothing and came back with a very large negative funds hanging over my head. It has taken me this long to want to try again. But the BeBes are better now right? The dolls actually have ears this time...oh and noses!

I am giving Portland a shot and if all goes well and I come back in the positive I may try Washington again. The Washington show is bigger and a bit grander in my experience but like I said more expensive to attend.

This is why to spend the least amount possible on the Portland show we would rise at 4 am to avoid renting a hotel room. Luckily this year we shall be shackin' it up with one of our oldest pals Amy. She lives a mere 29 minutes (thank you mapquest) from the show. That way tomorrow morning we can get up at 6 am instead of 4 (although still early, for those of you that don't know that is what time I get up everyday anyway).

Last night I did my practice set up at my Mom's (forgot my camera) and packed everyone up. Look at my table! Makes my fingers hurt thinking about all the sewing I have done over the last few weeks.

So if you are anywhere near Portland Oregon tomorrow...and you like dolls (oh and I have safe ones for kids too) then come on by the Kleiver Nat'l Guard Armory at 10000 NE 33rd Dr Portland OR 97211 between 10-4 (or 8:30 if you want to pay to be an early bird). See you tomorrow!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


I have been pondering change a lot lately as big things are coming down the pipe for me soon. It's nothing I can talk about just yet but let me just say I have been a bundle of nerves and battling dizzying nausea.

Anyhoo I have been really enjoying reading this blog the past few days. It's just so funny and the office commentary is so similar to my daily life that I can't help but love that someone is getting to say what I don't have the guts to. I have always wanted to have a similar blog as there are so many daily office annoyances I would love to rant about. But alas I am too much of a chicken that my ranting will lead to my firing. I am afraid I would not be able to keep things so unspecific.

But today I thought I might give it a shot. I thought I might rant about work...or at least an issue that is a bit relevant to life right now for me. Change. People freak when things change. I am no different...I am freaking let me tell you, but my freaking is not the same as other people's reaction to change. I get all sick to my stomach and nervous while some people call their insurance company and make up stories.

First a little background. My department at work made a big change earlier this week that affects a lot of people. So far everything that was supposed to happen to make this transition seamless has happened. To my surprise everything is going smoothly for all involved. But there will always be those special people that will throw a stick into the spokes when in reality if they just waited things would be fine. So this is how the conversation went:

Me: How can I help you?
Customer: I called *new company* and was told that unless I stand on my head and scream "I love Satan" they will not help me and this is a company you are making me work with so you should do something about it.
Me: Hmmmm that doesn't sound right

(at this point I just want to hang up...yes I am exaggerating on what the person actually said but trust me it was just as silly)

Because this person is on the phone and wanting me to do something I must resort to taking their info and complaint to research. I will then spend my time looking into it just to find out the that person was over exaggerating and the issue was resolved prior to them calling me. So why are they calling? Why the big stink over something that really wasn't a problem? Because people don't like things in their lives to change and when something does they go blind with fear. There is no reasoning with these people because you say, "hi can I help you?" and they hear "I am going to murder you".

And so I beg of you special people give change some time before you start losing your mind and calling me to complain. It will all work out...deep breaths...1,2,3 and all that.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In Case You Didn't Know....

Maisy is not the only furbaby in my life....

This picture cracks me up because he looks like he is trying to look tough when in reality he was trying to sniff the camera. He sure is getting old...still surprised he is kickin'.

Little Ole Me on MYM Blog

I did this interview awhile ago for the Meet Your Maker blog and they just let me know mine is up. Yeah me! And yeah MYM!