Friday, October 31, 2008

Billie Holiday- Hot Off the Design Table!

I always enjoy designing a character I haven't done before. I had someone ask me recently if I have ever done a Billie Holiday, the soulful jazz singer from the 1950's.

So.....I got to work, and here she is! She stands a mere 4 an 3/4 inches tall, and you know what? I sort of wish I had a dress like hers! (I love the dresses from the 1950's, and 1940's also!) Maybe that is why I like the old television series" I love Lucy" so much...Lucy wore the neatest dresses. ( I can't imagine doing laundry in them though...)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Apple Pie

There's nothing like going apple picking! Somehow the apples picked from an orchard seem to taste far above anything from a grocery store. I drove to Indiana recently just to visit my parents, and the kids wanted to go apple picking.

Oh, the apples were huge...and so tasty! I hated peeling all of the ones we picked , but I learned the best thing is to get it done. I also went ahead and made apple pie filling and put it in freezer bags. I figured then when I got the craving for a good apple pie, all I had to do was pull one of those out of the freezer, thaw, and bake in a crust.

That's just what I did yesterday. I baked two big Dutch apple pies....and today every last crumb is gone. Why? Four teenagers live here- need I say more? Next time I had better make more!

Monday, October 27, 2008

New (and confused) to Etsy?

If you are new to the world of Etsy, you may be a bit timid or unsure about some things. That's o.k., we have all been that I think about it, some of us may still be there even after being there awhile!

If you have questions about it, and you aren't too keen on posting questions in the forum setting, the perfect solution is to contact a mentor.

Etsy has a long list of nice "Etsians" who are ready to fall all over themselves to help you, answer your questions, and maybe even give just a word of encouragement if you need it. You can contact them directly just by looking at the categories of their specialty and clicking on their name. You can send them an email and most likely in no time get an answer your question or dilemma!

So don't hold it in, ask someone- ask as many questions to as many mentors as you like! Remember, those mentors are on that particular team, (myself included), because they want to
help. You will feel better, I guarantee it!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finding Beauty in the Beast

Beauty and the Beast by Debbie @ Uneekdolldesigns

Opposites do attract....Have you ever noticed this? The things that bug you the most about someone will most often be their greatest strengths...Hmmm... that is so true if you think about it!

Think for a moment of someone you know- a spouse, a friend, one of your kids. or a co worker.

Let's say they are, too talkative at times- to the point where you have a hard time getting a word in edgewise. Yes, chatty people can get on your nerves, yes they talk way too much at times, and yes, they forget to breathe and let you say something too. That is annoying for sure, but.... Chatty people are outgoing, often friendly, and often make good salesmen!

How about someone who is headstrong and stubborn? One thing is for sure, you won't find them caving in to pressure under most circumstances, and they know how to get what they want.

What about someone who is bossy? Someone who likes to be in charge often makes a good leader and gets things done. You find them being in charge at work or other places because that is their strength- annoying as it may be, to be given orders by them!

There are also people who are shy, quiet, and don't speak up. Yes, that can be a problem. But think how nice it is to be around someone who isn't alway blathering all the time, and will listen to you while you blather! Many times I have found that while quiet people say little, when they do speak , it is usually deep and meaningful.

Then there are those who cry at the drop of a hat, and there are some who rarely shed a tear.
Cryers can be very soft and tender hearted, whereas stoic people are often level headed during a crisis and often get things done with cool thinking. That has been my observation, at least.

My point in all of this is that the next time someone really begins to bug you, try to look at it from a different angle. Those things that are so irritating may just be the very thing that makes them special too. Looking at the plus side of a perceived flaw in someone will help you realize that there's usually something to appreciate about them by the same token.

Now, I am off to go chat and annoy my quiet husband so he can appreciate my outgoing personality.......

Monday, October 20, 2008

Getting by With Less-Make Sure it is Worth it!

Who couldn't stand to economize a little bit more to save money? I know I could always use a few more ideas myself.

I do look for ways to save all the time, but I am also careful not to be ridiculous about it. Let me explain:

My sister and I were discussing saving money and she told me a story about how she went to a friend's house one day. This woman was a strong believer in being frugal.
My sister said she watched this woman after everyone had eaten their fill of ice cream, go around and put the uneaten portions back in the carton. Ewww! Just think how flavorful that next round of ice cream would be at her house! In my view, that is going too far to save money, and it's plain disgusting! LOL

I have heard of other ways people think they are saving money, but some ideas make me wonder if it's worth the trouble.... such as :

1. Unplying the two ply toilet paper - makes no sense to me...wouldn't you use twice as much then to get it to do the job right?
2. Washing out plastic ziploc bags, aluminum foil and such things meant for disposal- seems to defeat the purpose of using them...after all, isn't that why you use them, for the convenience of NOT having to wash them? That's what Tupperware is for in my book! (smile)

3. Cutting open a tube of toothpaste or lotion bottle to get a tiny bit that is left. Honestly, is it really worth the hassle to do that to save maybe a few bucks , if that , for the entire year? Not to me!

4. Going from store to store to store and just getting the specials...that's ok if they are located right next to each other , or are on the way to where you are going- but it isn't saving anything if you have to drive out 20 dollars worth of gas to go collecting the bargains.

5. My pet peeve- people who buy something on sale and brag how cheap it was, put it on their credit card, and take the next 3 years to pay off the purchase. They end up paying over 100 dollars for a 10 dollar bargain that way. Not good! My method is if I must charge, never charge more than I can pay off when the bill arrives- otherwise going to a sale is pointless...

I am sure plenty of you could add more things to this list. I think being careful with one's money is a very wise thing to do. You should try and strive hard to live within your means. You should look for ways to save money and make do with what you have. Give up some things you don't really need have if it means you can pay your bills first.

But, my final thought is frugal, but don't take the fun out of living. Saving money won't last long, if you don't allow some room for something you enjoy while being frugal, at least once in a while!

So remember, make sure you do what you can, but try to allow a bit of breathing room for something pleasurable while being savvy at cutting corners! You're more likely to stay with it if you do!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Have You Visited 1337art Yet?

I like to feature other sellers from time to time, and today I am featuring 1337art found at

If you are a book reader, or know someone who is, then you should take a look at the selection of unique bookmarks that this shop carries. Like this one called Teatime:

With these bookmarks, you won't need to use scraps of paper to mark your page, you can be cultured and stylish while reading!

1337art also carries numerous other items such as ACEO cards, charms, supplies and magnets, and affordable jewelry such as these super cute pine tree earrings:

And take a look at this copper penny look bracelet: (It would make a "centsible" gift!)

These items are just a small sampling of what this shop has to offer in the way of hand made gifts, so why not go take a peek over there and see what else you might find !

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

I finally got this set done! I was surprised how tricky it was to create the dwarfs...I guess because they were so short (3 inches tall), it made it hard to maneuver around...but I managed!

"Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work we go......."


Snow White is hoping Sneezy uses the hanky, and not her skirt!

Feels good to get a big project done, doesn't it! Now off to the kitchen to make some banana bread!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Is This You Too?

Ok, please tell me I am not the only one with this problem. ...

I think, "I am going to sit down and make such and such..." and I do sit down for awhile...but then I feel the need to get up and start on another task. And in the middle of that, I think of something else I have to do so I go do that . Pretty soon I have a bunch of almost done things...ha!

I do finish things, but in short blocks. I am not one to sit down and stay at something for hours on end...not even two hours on end, unless you are talking about sleeping!

I can't even sit down and watch a 2 hour movie without feeling the need to get up and go do something else for awhile. I wonder if it comes from just being a mom of four? When kids are little ( or even teens as mine are), you have to multi task all the time- maybe that is the reason, I trained myself to be that way!

At any rate, I have found a workable solution. I take the things I know I must get done, whether it be laundry, creating, cleaning the bathroom, etc. and I do it in spurts of a certain length. Let's say about a half hour-not too long, not too short to stay at something. Then, I "reward" myself by doing something that I like- read a book for 15 minutes or half hour, or go type on the computer (a real time eater if you let it!), go eat a cookie or drink some hot tea, go ride a bike around the block and get the idea!
I think it's a good idea to have tasks that need getting done, but intersperse them with more likeable tasks so that you aren't doing it in a way that feels like drudgery. If you have a little reward here and there to indulge in, you are more likely to stay at it.

Now, I just looked at the clock and realized my time is up on the computer...better go and fold that laundry!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Bit of Rambling....

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep,

"What was I thinking??" she said-

So she's through raising sheep,

They're too hard to keep-

She's decided to be a lawyer instead!

Ok, now that I posted that, I wanted to share my working buddy- Buck the Hyper Dog...

Not really- as you can see, he doesn't run around too much. When I am working on the computer , he lays nearby. If I go to another room, he follows. It is sort of nice to have such an ardent admirer...I think. At any rate, he's a Humane Society special, and he knows about 10-15 word meanings-commands. Pretty smart dog!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Old Curiosity Shop

Well, I have done it now! I have decided to extend my business ventures and in November, I will be a vendor on Lollishops. (A new and upcoming website where there will be all kinds of pretty things for people to buy.) My new shop's name will be , "The Old Curiosity Shop", after one of my favorite author's books.

It has an official opening of November 28th, but on November 15th there will be a sort of pre opening ...most likely to get the word out before the big one!

I am truly looking forward to this, I love what I do and finding another opportunity to expand is exciting for me, as I am sure it is for others who find ways to do more of what they love doing!

Keep on creating out there and don't stop finding ways to have fun with what you enjoy doing!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Few New Things

I have had a fairly productive past couple of days. Here are a few of the new characters I made...

Lady jane Grey in Royal Purple

Scarlett O Hara Visits Rhett Butler

William Shakespeare-stands 4 and 3/4 inches tall

We'll see what this weekend brings~ More to come!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Take a Trip at Any Time!

Anyone that knows me for very long, knows that I love to read.

Not just anything, of course, but I do have my pet favorite types of books. If you look at my list on the side of my blog, that is like a drop in the bucket to what I enjoy reading, but at least it sort of gives you an idea of what I do like.

I went on a book buying binge about 5 years back. Maybe it was because Brian, (my husband) gave me something I have always wanted, (besides a house that was clean for at least one hour!) , library book shelves. Yes, oak shelves that reach from the floor, almost to the ceiling. And it has always been a dream of mine to have a library that had exactly the books that I personally put there. And now, it is a reality!

I think I like books, especially classics, so much because I never got to go to a library when I was younger. Don't ask me why- other than my parents didn't really see reading fiction as being one of those things that were of great importance to one's development. But, I fell in love with the library at my school, even though it was so small that you had to go outside to have room to change your mind....

At any rate, books are one of the best forms of entertainment I can think of. You can envision the characters, put faces on them without the preconceived ideas that you get when you have seen a movie. Movies based on books kind of spoil it for me.(That's another story!)

If you have books, you can go just about anywhere, and for a long period of time. It's an escape, and an education -more so if you read quality literature . There are also, admittedly, a lot of gobbledygook novels etc. out there too. So, reading is also kind of like become what you feed off of!

These days , if you are having to cut back on traveling, going out to eat, and maybe cutting out what you deem the luxuries in life, then remember to take a run over to your local library, or used book store. Find yourself some quality books, and take a trip to wherever you want to go, or learn how to do something new from them . A book will take you just about anywhere, and you won't even have to leave your couch or soft, comfy chair!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rainy Day Accomplishments

Well, it looks like fall weather is beginning to hit us here in Illinois. It drizzled all day, and I felt I had two choices...sleep because this weather makes me feel drowzy, or be productive.

I chose productive because no matter how badly I want to, I can't seem to take a nap for long stretches at a time, and besides, napping makes me feel worse. Besides, days like this seem to be made for sitting by a picture window, watching it rain, and creating something in rhythm with the sound of raindrops hitting the window. (That sounded rather poetic, didn't it?)

And since I know you are dying of curiousity as to what I designed today, here it is..


Blacbeard the Pirate, and.........

Queen Elizabeth I in Winter White............

I also made a William Shakespeare, and have gotten started on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but I'll have to wait on hubby to do some sawing on the clothespins so they will be short enough!

All in all, a pretty productive day. Who says we need fair weather to have fun?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It Really is Therapy

Some people think I am joking when I say that character designing is therapy for me because I have four teenagers at home. Am I joking? No. There now, that was blunt and to the point, wasn't it? (smile)

Don't get me wrong, my kids are great and I love them dearly and am proud as any parent can be. But anyone who is a parent knows that when they get that age where they are wanting to be an adult, but just aren't ready to handle all that it entails, well, let's just say it is hard to have smooth sailing. My husband is better at handling things calmly because he says he remembers being a teen and doing all kinds of things and making it through. I told him the worst thing I can remember doing was maybe scratching on the window of our pastor and his wife's window at night to scare them. Hubby thinks I am holding back, but it's true...(smile)

Anyway, I have found that it pays to have an outlet of sorts ... a little something where you can be in peace and do something that takes your mind off of the awesome responsibilities that we have in life ....something fun, where you can express yourself a bit.

(Does that explain why I made an Attila the Hun character-because I have teenagers in the house? )

I encourage everyone to find that niche that helps you get away from it all for awhile. I am a firm believer that everyone , and I do mean EVERYONE, has talent (s) of some sort . Use them, don't hide them. Take some time out every day, no matter how short, to do something fun and hopefully creative. You will probably find out that it really is good therapy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Affordable and Adorable

So you say you are on a tight budget, and aren't we all? What do you do when you have a gazillion people on your list to buy gifts for, but you don't have a lot of cash to spend? You need to go check out PiecesofMePendants :

Who couldn't use a lovely pendant for a one of a kind necklace, bracelet, or even an earring set?

To find out a bit more about the artist behind these designs, let's listen to Lisa in her own words:

"My name is Lisa and I live in London, Ontario, Canada, which is located about 2 hours from Detroit. For the past 10 years I’ve been doing accounting, which usually is among the least creative things one can do and decided I wanted, no, needed a change.

I’ve been doing a variety of crafts just for fun since I was a little girl and have always enjoyed the creativity involved.A bit of creative inspiration got me working with scrabble tile pendants. I find creative energy and inspiration in many of the things around me.

Some of my pendants use high quality chiyogami and other art papers and I simply see a finished design in my head when I’m out looking for new supplies. Others are my own designs. These designs are mostly experimentation; I start out with a rough idea and play with it until I have something I like. Often they’re simply a result of how I’m feeling at the time.

I often listen to music while creating and I think I frequently draw inspiration from the lyrics and melody of song, which influences the design. I also have a new pendant designer who is also an Etsian that I work closely with in ideas and design, she is amazing.

I have a home studio that I work out of .I love old movies and vintage/antique things. I like the history of things, knowing that they had a history before me and wonder who owned them and what they’re story is. I love that my pendants are part of that now. I’ve sold pendants all over the planet and love the idea that someone in Australia or Russia or Sweden, or Idaho is wearing one of my creations."

If you have a moment to spare, you should go visit Lisa and see if you can find something that catches your eye. I would be willing to bet you can't get away from her shop without finding several items, if not more, that will be just the ticket for someone on your list...maybe even for you!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Jumbo Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every once in awhile, I find a recipe that is so good, that I just about throw away all the others I have for the same thing. This chocolate chip cookie recipe is such a one...At first, when I put the dough on the cookie sheet, Hubby was quite doubtful- there was this big glob of messy looking dough, and it looked to him like a big disaster waiting to happen...I proved him wrong- these chocolate cookies are the best we have tried...we admit it....and the secret? (Shhhh, it's the melted real butter and extra vanilla!)
Anyway, give them a try and see what you think. I highly recommend using real butter for the flavor of it.


3/4 cup melted butter
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 pkg. chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Stir sugar and melted butter together until creamy and blended.

Add vanilla, egg, and yolk and blend well.

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl and add to sugar mixture.

Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Add chips, stir gently- drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto baking sheet....about 2 inches apart.

Bake 17-20 minutes- be careful not to overbake-they should be a little golden brown around the edges

Why I am I sharing this recipe ? Because you never know when you will need that little extra something that comes when you share something this delicious. with others.......
Who knows? Baking and sharing these cookies could get you a raise , get you that new couch you have been begging for, make your in laws become civil again, or gain you some loyal customers who will buy everything you have in stock just to get a free sample with thier could happen!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Fun of Having a Business

There are a lot of things to be said for having a business. One of the fun things about being on Etsy is you meet some really great shop owners who go out of their way to be nice. That happened to me recently when I met Karen, a shop owner from the beautiful country of Canada.

Karen had asked me to do a commissioned project for her- a replica of her two friends on their wedding day. And what fun it was for me too! Karen gave me a more than generous supply of real human hair extensions to use in the project. I admit I have never used real hair in my character designing, so it was an interesting challenge for me!

It turned out to be a fun assignment, and it turned out just about as well as I could have hoped for using a clothespin base! I enjoyed dealing with Karen so much that I had to let others know about her shops at Etsy:

Her first shop is Chippewa Charm . It is a shop that carries a wide assortment of little treasures , supplies, and vintage goodies.This shop carries hair extensions of real hair that are perfect for the doll maker who needs quality hair to make her creations special , along with hair pins, vintage supplies , and more!

Her other shop , VintageFairRetroRare is a fun place to browse for that certain vintage treasure you just may be looking for and stumble upon. That is why I have always liked antique malls and other similar always feels like you are on a treasure hunt and you never know what you will come across ! (Take a look at this vintage, sunny yellow, pear tree napkin holder!)

If you are a dollmaker in need of some supplies for your dolls' hair or otherwise, or you like looking at vintage and are on the lookout for that special item that you can treasure, then come browse Karen's shops. You will be treated warmly and may just end up with a few special things to boot!

Started Shopping Yet?

Have you started your gift list for all your friends, strange and not so strange relatives, co-workers, and all the other people in your life ? Well, I have decided to feature from time to time a few snazzy gift ideas to help you in your quest to find that perfect gift!

For the younger set on your list, why not check this out...

What are these? Grumpy fruits and vegetable plushies ! What younger one wouldn't love to have a grumpy squash, or tomato, or maybe even a pear? You could even buy them for your assortment of different expressions so he can use them to let you know what kind of mood he is in before you ask for that raise!

You will find these fun plushies at SappyMooseTree:

For a special gift that most anyone can use, why not consider this beautiful wooden pen from Craftiness? They have a wide selection of pens and writing utensils and lots more that you won't find anywere else, and they are purely elegant ! You might even get more letters from your loved ones if you get them a pen this beautiful!

Another fun idea for a gift is this Elvis Presley tissue box cover by Halwane:

Did you notice where the kleenex pulls out? How cute is that ! There's bound to be someone on your list who could use a creative cover for their tissue box! This item will make the ordinary a little bit snazzier! (And this shop has lots more covers to choose from!)

Finally, if you have a few of those hard to buy for folks that say they don't need anything, (then I would be willing to bet they are secretly pining for something to keep their feet warm and toasty this winter...) which is why you need to take a look at Pawfelts:

This shop has a wonderful selection of the toastiest looking felt wool slippers / socks you have ever seen! (And you can even ask for a different color if it is available .) You can't miss with buying a pair of these for someone on your list. Even if they live in sunny Florida, they're bound to get cold feet once in a while with the air conditioning running!

Stop by these shops and see what all they have to offer, you may just end up crossing a few names off of your list!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Just a Few Things I Have Learned So Far...

I admit I was a bit uncertain going into this selling and creating venture, but I am glad I did. I have learned a lot and I love going into other blogs and forums just to soak up some of the information and ideas that people have.

Now, I do not label myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination...but if you were to corner me and force me to share some of the things I have learned, I do have a small list of accumulated tidbits:

1. Be polite at all times and to everybody- that means no rude comments or snippiness to customers or in forum chats to fellow sellers (Remember that how you talk in public forums will reflect upon your business.)

2. Be patient, be patient, be patient.....Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your business. It takes a while to let others know you are takes time for the word to get out. Every connection you make, every sale to a satisfied customer is an opportunity for others to hear about you. (Word of mouth is one of the best ways to advertise!)

3. Don't cheapen your work by not pricing it where you are getting a fair compensation for your skill and time. You usually aren't helping yourself by having drastic reductions in your prices just to make a sale...

4. Keep track of your sales and costs etc... you will need good records for tax purposes!

5. Don't force creativity...if you hit a dry spell, walk away and do something else for awhile. It helps to get away and do something totally different until your creativity kicks back in.

Those are just a few things I have personally learned, and I am sure from time to time I will post more as the tidbits of wisdom as it comes to me...(smile) but in the meantime, I plan on being open to learning from my mistakes and hopefully become all the better for it!