Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Etsy Store, non-thrifting, and making gifts

I have been trying to add stuff little by little to my Etsy store. It's such a great tool, and I don't feel that I am taking full advantage of it, yet. I put 2 bears (well one is a mouse) on it, one of them being a Christmas one I recently posted about that I didn't think I had time to relist on eBay. The other is an Anime style mouse.

Etsy Mouse

I haven't been thrifting in quite a while, and have been so tempted to go to the Goodwill Outlet where you can buy stuff by the pound, but I am not letting myself since my house is filled with stuff (mostly baby things) that doesn't have anywhere to go till the baby's nursery is remodeled. I have always had a penchant for collecting vintage toys whcih I will now be using to decorate the nursery. Sadly, we have an old house with lath and plaster and, I am sure, lead paint, which all has to be torn out of the baby's room before it can get redone and DECORATED! I am not allowed to do any of the demolition, since I am not supposed to be around the lead paint, so I have to impatiently wait for it to get done by others....I did promise myself that I would go thrifting when my living room is clear of all the plastic storage tubs, though.

I didn't go so far as to take the HANDMADE PLEDGE that so many people have, but I did pledge to myself that I would make at least half the Christmas gifts this year. I am making super cute aprons from vintage patterns for all the girls/women on one side of my family. Sadly, I have found it very easy to shop for the patterns, fabric and trims for the aprons, but not as easy to actually get started on them....And I am running out of time. I am also doing a custom bunny rabbit for someone in trade for a video ipod nano for my husband's gift, so I can count that as part of my handmade Christmas. Next year I hope to go Handmade (or at least thrifted) all the way.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas Bear on eBay

I got a little bit of a late start this year on Christmas bears. I have 2 that are done, one of which is already up on eBay. Hopefully, I will get the other one listed today. You can see the one I have up already: Toddy the Christmas Bear

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all those in Blogland! I took a break from the computer, and it was wonderful. Now I'm in a panic about making some Christmas Bears. If I don't get any done soon, I won't be able to sell, pack and ship for Christmas, and that would be a wasted opportunity. So I'll have to get off of here and actually go do some work. I did make this little Indian kitty cat and Pilgrim mouse for Lisa of QD Patooties' Softie Thanksgiving Day Parade. As is normal for me, I got it done very last minute and had to take pics late at night in my laundry room. I will try to post some better pics here later as you can't see the mouse very well, and he is soo cute. I designed his pattern just for this Parade, and luckily it was great on my first patternmaking try. For size reference, the cat is 3.5 inches tall ( 9cm ).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Reusing and Recycling

So, I have always been a recycler. When I was younger it was mostly because my family was poor enough to have to shop at Goodwill before it was cool. Also, whenever my family went on trips to the outdoors—hiking etc., my dad would always take big black plastic bags to pick up other people's litter.

In bear making I use a lot of recycled materials and vintage fabrics that would probably end up in a landfill somewhere if they didn't get used. But I have decided to make a concentrated effort to reuse even more. Lately, I have been taking apart vintage stuffed animals (ones that are missing an ear or something, so I am not ripping apart a perfectly good stuffed animal) and reusing them. The partially done pink bear in the picture is an example. It was an old 50s pink poodle originally. It is very slow work invoving lots of seam ripping, trying not to breathe old stuffing and make to much of a mess, and then gently cleaning the usable fabric pieces. The downside of this is that you don't get very much fabric, maybe enough for two mini bears for all the work you put in. The upside is that you can get some super cool results. I love how this bear is turning out.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thrifting, Goodwill and $20

So garage sale season is definitely over here in Oregon, so I have had to revert to thrift stores. I seem to spend more money in thrift stores than at garage sales or even rummage sales. I made a money limit for myself. I am only allowed to spend $20 on stuff that is not actually needed, things like fabric, sewing notions, fun stuff etc.. I also can spend that money only if I actually have made that much recently, for example selling a bear, selling vintage stuff on ebay etc.. This system actually works great to alleviate the guilt of buying too much fabric or bear fabric. If I sell a bear, then I used up some supplies and thus need more ;0)

So my last thrifting trip: Goodwill, Total Spent 50-something dollars. But, I didn't go over my limit. Mostly I spent money on maternity clothes, which I needed, so don't count. Here are a few of the goodies I got:

This item hangs on the wall, and I think had a glass holder for a candle originally. I will probably try to find something that will work.That way, I can hang it in my bathroom for a candle. I was thrilled to find this and it was only $2.99.

These vintage ornaments are the most perfect shade of red ever! I love them, and they were $2.99. I probably won't resell them because I wouldn't make much, plus I want to keep em for my tree.

Last, but not least is this little dollhouse stove kit. I don't know exactly what I will do with it, but it was too cute to resist. This one was only $1.99

First Machine sewn bear!

Ok, the little guy is not actually done (his body cavity is still open and I might redo his arms as I don't like them), but I am soo excited because this is my first finished machine sewn bear. I have actually worked backwards from a lot of bear makers. I started out making micro mini bears, ones that were an inch tall from head to toe. Then I started making bears that were a little larger because I liked the idea of being able to use dollhouse size props with them. So all I have ever done is handstitch my bears, with super teeny tiny stitches (my great grandma taught me to handsew and embroider when I was a girl), but as the bears get bigger, it has taken longer and longer to sew them. Then I put so much time into them that I have a harder time letting them go. So I decided that I was going to start machine sewing larger bears. Of course the materials and techniques for sewing larger bears are quite a bit different from miniature bears. I also found that using larger versions of my mini bear patterns just didn't turn out that great. I actually threw a few heads out before I came up with a pattern that worked. And TA-DA! here is the result. He doesn't have a name yet, and I haven't figured out what his props will be, in fact this bear might even be a girl, not a boy. I just haven't figured it out yet. But he's done and the big plus is that he can even stand on his own-yay! So now I have to decide if I want to just stuff his body with fiberfill or weigh him with some steel shot. ANY IDEAS?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Halloween, Christmas and ......Valentine's Day?

So, I got an invitation from Teddy Bear Review Magazine to do a Valentine's themed bear. I have never sent them anything before. I have been in Teddy Bear & Friends magazine a couple of times, but not Review. I am having a hard time thinking of Valentine themes, since my brain is soo excited about Halloween and Christmas (my two very favorite holidays). I created a Halloween cat, lucky is her name. She was going to be for eBay, but I just can't part with her. This has actually been happening more often lately. I just can't seem to part with my bears.
Anyways, have way too many ideas for Halloween and Christmas, but I will just have to lay them aside while I plan out my valentine......
So far I am thinking....a little nurse for the broken heart, Queen of Hearts... Umm that's it so far. I'd probably better just get started on the bear and then go from there.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Trying to get work done...

I guess I am not so great at this blogging, yet... I have been trying my best to get alot of work done, in my house, on my bears, and on misc art projects. I have a craft room that I am scared to go into. I know I have all sorts of bits and bobs to use and get ideas from that I can't actually access. I am expecting, so while I was super sick for three months I had an excuse. Now I don't. I do feel very happy with myself every time I get some little thing done, a new bear on eBay, getting more work done on my website (which is still under construction), or putting something new in my shop on etsy. I did put a bear on etsy, the first. It is a little pink and brown vintage panda.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

My 1st blog!

This is my first blog ever! I feel like I should have a cake with candles.
This blog is mainly going to be about bear making, but I will be throwing in some other stuff every once in a while, like crafty things and vintage finds.