Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday - Cyber Monday

Black Friday is here already!  How did it get here so soon?  It's been busy around here, tuxedos other uniforms given out and sized for my daughter's school concert and symphonic bands (as well as some of the choral groups) a major health crisis in my family (I still have many hospital visits in my immediate future, but with luck and faith and good health care all will be well soon.)  yesterday my daughter participated in the Tournament of Bands All Star Band in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade.  The family members that were well enough all gathered at my brother's house yesterday for a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.  And, so, that brings us to Black Friday.  The closest to shopping center's I got to today was visiting my bank to sort out my bank card - it was blocked due to someone getting/using it without my knowledge or permission.  But the bank was quiet and all will be well there.  I got some of my shopping done today - much of it on Etsy!  This weekend I have made shipping free on everything in my shop.  If you are one of my facebook friends or if you read my blog you can use this coupon code to get an additional 20% discount. FBBlackfriday2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Etsy, sooo many choices!

Just out of curiosity I did an open search on Etsy - under "all items" I did not put in any search terms and clicked Search.  As of the time I'm writing this there are 11,669,654 items listed for sale on Etsy.  Repeating the exercise for shops yielded 1250 pages of shops - 10 shops per page = 12,500 shops.

There are so many items, so many categories, so many shops to choose from there is truely something for everyone there.  If you are shopping it could be overwhelming to find just the right thing, but with patience and an open mind you could find just about anything you might want, at least in the Handmade, Vintage or Supplies categories.  The prices range from $.10 to $100,000 so every budget is accounted for. 

All that said, as a seller on Etsy it drives home the point that Etsy is easy to get lost in, and that it is really incumbant upon each seller to find their own market and let the people who would most appreciate your offerings know where you are.  This is the journey I am on, where are the people who would love my work and how do I find them.  FaerieCon is a good start, I'm also thinking of going to the MD FaerieFestival  I would love to the the PA FaerieFest but that will have to wait until my kids don't have their final band competitions on the same weekend.  I am happy to announce that 4 of my dolls and a feature article will appear in an upcoming issue of Art Doll Quarterly!

Who knows what else will follow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fantasy made real at FaerieCon

After "dangers untold and hardships unnumbered I fought my way to" ... wait that's a different fantasy story. But, there is a connection.
It's hard to believe that nearly 2 weeks has passed since I was preparing to pack my car for FaerieCon. There were many challenges I had to overcome to get there, and many things I was hoping to happen. The hardships were of the mundane car variety (timing belts – ugh) and the normal challenges of getting last minute projects done, and reworking booth set up for the umpteenth time… In the category of hopes – being profitable is always on the list but there were a lot of more personal dreams as well. This focuses on that area …

Wendy Froud ( ) one of the creative minds/hands behind the movies Labyrinth, Dark Crystal and one of the creators of Yoda (some of you may have heard of that little film franchise it’s called Star Wars) has been making dolls since she was five. She is one of those artists you (well I) fantasize about meeting and talking about dolls with since I started making dolls. I have loved her work and the work of her husband Brian Froud for longer than I can remember.

Wendy & Brian have been featured artists at several of the FaerieCons that I have attended/been a vendor at. Yet actually meeting them and talking to them had eluded me for years. This year that dream came true. Wendy, with Brian at her side, stopped at my table the first night of FaerieCon. I believe I managed to talk like a sentient human, and avoided gushing at her like an overwhelmed crazed fan. I have seen many a fan fall apart when their idol/muse is actually in front of them.

Wendy was as charming and personable as every report of her I’d ever heard. She had some complimentary things to say about my work and table, as well as my dress (which is why she stopped to talk to me in the first place) The next night at the Bad Faeries Ball (vendors on my hallway stay open through the balls) Wendy was shopping for some fabulous silk creation across the hall from me at Reyen Designs ( ) when I beckoned her over to my table. I told her that her feedback was so important to me that I would like to give her a present. She said “really?” and I told her to choose something from my table. To which she said “REALLY???” when I said “yes!” She did not hesitate; she knew exactly which doll she wanted, which resonated with her. We discussed how my daughter, when much younger, did not want me to sell my dolls but that I could allow them to be adopted by appropriate families. Wendy touched my arm and said she feels exactly the same way about her work.

On Sunday morning we had 2 more connections, one was a short word as we passed in the hallway. The second on Sunday and final of the weekend was quite lengthy. We were waiting to have Dancing Hands, the Faerie Goddess Mother put Fhairy Strands ( )in our hair. She gave me some great advice regarding how to display my work and how to view my creativity in regards to the world outside of FaerieCon, and so many other things.

Dreams do come true.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Inspirational people in your life…

Many of us have people who influence us directly or indirectly in this life. Parents may be among THE most influential people in anyone’s life. Parents teach us many things sometimes well sometimes not so well, they teach us how to walk and talk, how to cook and do laundry, how to care for each other (or not) how to love and hate, how to learn …

My mother has taught me all of those things (well except how to hate – she’s really bad at hating) one of the things my mother taught me that few people can boast is how to be creative. I get antsy if I don’t have at least one creative project going and like my Mom I rarely can just sit and watch TV without something creative to do with my hands. One of my Mom’s favorite mediums is wood, she’s a carver or a whittler. She’s been carving since I was in school (and I don’t mean college). She also sews and knits and cooks among other things. I’d like to share some of her work. There are some of the pieces of hers I happen to have knocking around in my studio. Some were made for me to sell at craft shows, some were gifts. I hope you appreciate them as much as I do.

Mom if you read this you have always and will always inspire me!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's June already???

How did we get to June already?

I don't know about you but it's been a crazy spring around here. The weather has been insane - cold and wet and then suddenly hot & humid like August, now it's nearly perfect outside.

On the inside, inside of me that is, I am coping with an injured shoulder which has impaired me in unexpected ways. My sister, a regular sports enthusiast and athlete had very similar symptoms to mine which had me in a panic as my pain did not abate. She just has shoulder surgery and has her arm in a sling attached to her abdomen and it will stay there for 6-8 weeks - NO activity with that arm that would mean moving it from that position. In a state of near panic I finally caved in and went to an orthopedic doctor. I was relieved to find out I did not tear my labrum as my sister had, I just have bursitis. Unfortunately I still have pain and some limitations in the movement of my right arm (at least if I listen to the pain signals when I do move it), but no surgery required is a good thing. Now all I have to do is regularly do the physical therapy exercises and take the meds.

One of the unexpected limitations I discovered last night. I'm in the final stages of a new batch of earth spirit dolls! They are all sewn together and only need to be painted, given hair and totems/accessories. I was trying to stipple paint them yesterday only to discover that the rapid small movements of my hand to achieve the desired paint effect causes pain. Well, I pushed on until I’d finished the base coat of paint on 6 goblins and mercifully was forced to stop for a meal. They are still waiting for me in the studio, as are a dozen or more brownie/spirit dolls. I’m thinking about experimenting with some natural sponges to see if I get a similar effect.

While watching a Cirque du Soliel DVD the other day I was inspired to start a series of acrobat dolls. The aerial acrobatics with hoops and silks were mesmerizing and I can’t wait to start some new dolls using those props. I wonder where that will take me …

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring ? I see the signs

What signs of spring do you look for?

Warm weather, crocus & daffodils blooming, shorts & short sleeves starting to appear ... ?

We have had a few warm days, though they always seem to be followed by a cold day or a week of cold & damp days.  I have faith eventually it will be warm and then too hot and we will all be longing for cool weather again.

Wildwood is next weekend.  That tells me that spring is well underway. What is Wildwood?  Primarily it is a shore town in New Jersey.  But if you are part of a group that competes in the Tournament of Bands/Tournament Indoor Association it is 4 days of constant practicing & competing in that shore town. My oldest child is in drumline and the jazz band.  This means she will compete in 2 categories that weekend.  I wish her & them well & hope that as a chaperone we all have a safe and fun weekend.

Spring also saw me doing demonstrations of medieval style illumination at Glen Cairn museum - during their Medieval Fair in February and at their Sacred Arts festival in April.  Both days were great fun, I spoke with many people some who had an idea what I was doing and some who had no idea anyone still did such things. My table was next to the demonstration of a reconstruction of a Gutenberg Press.  When the day was done I got a chance to watch the Gutenberg Press in action.  It a great a day that I can share knowledge and receive knowledge, especially if it's in a beautiful place.  There was also a monk doing a Mandala - it was just stunning.  I did not get to watch the final ceremony but I heard part of it, and I did get a small bag of the colored sand.

Now that it's warming up a bit it's time to take on some outdoor projects.  As I sit here writing I can hear a neighbor reconstructing his deck.  Maybe we will get around to a similar project this year.  We have some fence and exterior wall painting to do this spring/summer.  Maybe we will also add some insulation to the walls of our 150+ year old home.

I think the best part of spring is that my studio (which is unheated) is warm enough to work in and I can start moving all my art supplies back out of my dining room and into the studio.  A little spring cleaning is needed but the creative juices are starting to flow and it's time to start making new things.  While I'm in transition back to the studio I have completed a few new necklaces and I am working on a series of earth spirit dolls.

What signals spring for you?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Think Pink

Valentines Day approaches, but what does Valentines Day really mean? Valentines Day can be very emotional for some people and meaningless to others.  This season I'm focusing my energies and thoughts to how to better love others, rather than looking at it as merely a romantic holiday between me and my husband.  So, the question of how to do this keeps coming up ...

As Valentines Day approaches pink stuff seems to be everywhere.  When I see pink makes me think of Breast Cancer, which makes me think of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. So, in honor of thinking pink, and of my resolution to make it a more meaningful season, I've decided that for any pink items sold in my Etsy shop between Jan 26 & Feb 14th I will donate 20% of the proceeds to Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Life is full of patterns and I am in the beginning of a new phase of a cycle I seem to have embarked upon a few times before.  Let's see how long it lasts.  What is that pattern? Due to a variety of circumstances I find I can't stand having long hair anymore so I opt for a dramatic change.  I usually keep the shorter - higher maintence hair cut for a while then let it grow out, it gets long, I wait till it's long enough to cut a ponytail for Locks for Love and cut it off.  Well there's a ponytail in my purse right now waiting to be shipped out & for the first time since I was a preschooler I have curly hair.  How did that happen?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Masterwork challenge

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that I am a member of the Art Dolls Only Team on Etsy.  They have a variety of challenges to keep the members inspired and working.  The one I just completed (albiet late) is producing a doll inspired by a painting by a master.  I chose to do a doll based on a figure from a John William Waterhouse's The Crystal Ball painted in 1902.

Here are some pics of the finished doll.

And one of the doll next to a print of the painting ...

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year = new posts

I rarely make New Year's resolutions, as like most people I struggle to keep them.  This year I am hoping to start off on the right foot and keep up with more regular posts to this blog.

Since my last post I have seen the winter concert season come and go, with an unnecessary amount of drama in getting the kids outfitted.  (I am one of the uniform co-chairs of the music boosters).  This year's crop of new band members are unusually small.  We had a lot of tuxedos in the 40-46" range and a lot of boys who need sizes in the low 30s and even some in the 28" range.  Due to new systems in the Delaware school systems POs take AGES to process, and despite starting 6 weeks before the concerts we finished all the concerts without any word that they POs for the new tuxedos had even passed the school district hurdles much less the state level.  That meant I had the "pleasure" of trying to temporarily resize a handful of pants from 35" waistbands so that they would stay on kids with a waist measurement under 30".  As we finished outfitting all the academic music groups (bands and choral ensembles) we got to start over with the marching band uniforms.  Why deal with marching bands in late December?  Because we were taking the WP Marching band to Walt Disney World over Winter Break!  I got to experience Disney World for the first time chaperoning 50some high school kids. 

While I was daunted by the idea of going to Disney World over Winter Break (most crowded time of year) with 72 people, it turned out to be a great experience!  While there were low points (16-18 hours sitting up in bus seats while we headed to and from Orlando, FL on the way back feeling distinctly UNwell, there were a lot of wonderful moments.  Many of the other chaperones had been to Disney several times and were generous with thier time, friendship and knowledge of the parks.  When not actively chaperoning our specific charges many of the regular music boosters who were chaperoning stuck together and made sure I got the most from my first trip to Disney World.  Thank you to all of you! 

Now I am home and 2011 is underway.  I hope to list new items in my shop more regularly, to post to my blog more regularly and to complete all the planned and unfinished projects on my to do lists. 

Just a couple more pictures: me & my favorite Muppet (OK so Sweetums was not actually posing for pictures or signing autographs he's still my favorite so I posed with his picture.  And last but not least, some of the band moms and the new "Band Mom Bag."