25 June 2008

back next week!

It's that time of year again, folks. Time for dance camp! We're leaving in a few and will be back next week. The shop will be closed until July 2nd. Hope you're all having a fantastic summer so far!

20 June 2008

seriously batty

favorite new bats

Thank you all for your kind comments regarding my last post. I appreciate your understanding, sympathy, and support. I apologize if I can across as whiny or anything of the such. I'm not having any sort of crisis really, existential, identity, or otherwise. It was just a bad day because I've been frustrated with the way I've been running things here. I realize that in order to do the things I want to do and take this in the direction I want it to go, sometimes I will have to say "no" to people, and I hate doing that. I have to also not feel bad about not updating the shop as frequently as I would like. Some folks update their shops once a month, and that's okay. I have to learn how to be okay with that myself. Most of the major changes I need to make are within myself really.

Back to the point, however, thank you all for your great advice and thoughtful suggestions and sharing your own experiences. Now that I've come out from under the mountain of softies I've been buried under the last week, I am able to get around to responding to you all individually as well, so I'll be emailing you. Thank you all. Some of you suggested I start making patterns, which is something I have been meaning "to get around to" for far too long, so while we're away at dance camp next week, I will be able to finally work on that. Because you know what? I think it's a great idea and am excited about the prospect of sharing that with you all. I also have a few more ideas that are reinvigorating my interest in softie-making, but I'll get to those later. All in good time. All I can say for now is that I am extremely psyched about them and firmly believe they are excellent ideas that will get me past this funk. I think you'll be excited about them, too.

For now, I have a batch of bats going up in my etsy shop shortly, so please do check it out if you can. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

17 June 2008

sometimes

Some mornings I wake up feeling excited about the projects I have lined up and awaiting me on my work table. I get into the swing of things at the studio fairly easily, losing myself in my work until it's three or four in the afternoon and I realize that I haven't had lunch yet. I finish things, photograph them, and feel a sense of satisfaction as I color-correct the images before I post them onto Flickr and then the blog. I even get little surges of hope and promise when I think of the things I can do with this, the places I can take this softie-making venture, a book or two perhaps, so many new designs to work out, patterns I'd like to publish, so many wonderful things I can do if I just pursue those options.

Some mornings I am not so enthusiastic and optimistic about this all. I make the mistake of checking Flickr as I have my breakfast and see that a way more popular and almost "legendary" softie-maker has once again beat me to the punch. While I spent the last week or two up to my eyeballs in mice and bats and bunnies, working on more of the same, this person has come up with a new design, and not just any new design, but the same animal I have been sketching and planning and dreaming of making and in a very similar construction. It's as if they lifted the pattern out of my imagination. Granted, it is their own style; had it come from my hands, it would surely look different. But that's not the point. The point is that in this industry, as with any creative field, if you snooze, you lose. Time is always of the essence, and sleeping on what you know is a great design is going to cost you. I have been so stupid. I keep trying to take control of my shop and make what I want to make, but I end up making the same old stuff because it's "what people want." I respond to what people most request, but it seems like this last batch of softies fell short of the mark, which I shouldn't take to heart or be discouraged by. It's not a big deal. It happens. That's life. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

What is a big deal is how I have been feeling about doing this for much longer because I gotta be honest, I am not so thrilled with the way things are going. Right now, I am thinking that I really have to go back to school and get my Master's or possibly even go for a PhD so that I am not the only person in Cambridge with only a *gasp!* B... F... A.... I want to do more than this. As it is, I finally came to the realization that I made a huge mistake in pursuing art as a career. I feel as if I had been lying to myself my whole life and finally woke up to the truth. I don't want to ever do illustration again. I don't want to do graphics and color-correct images all day or do freelance design crap. There is nothing wrong with that line of work, but it is not for me. I keep trying to convince myself that it is, but it's not. Neither is working at an office answering someone's phones, playing the role of the file monkey. So what do I want to do? I have been thinking about that a lot lately. For the last two years, I thought this was what I wanted to do, and for a while, it was going in the right direction. Am I calling it quits too soon? Or have I done all I can with this? I feel like there are so many more options to explore with this, but I maybe I am not working hard enough at this. I failed myself by not making this particular softie sooner, and this is not the first time I have done this. It happened before when I was thinking of making little space aliens that come with their own spaceship. Great idea, right? I slept on it, and someone else beat me to something that was too similar for me to go through with my idea without looking like a copycat. I frigging dropped the ball big time there. Am I mismanaging my time? Well, I must be, if not I would have finished that design much sooner. Should I even bother going through with my version? Maybe, but I feel a little strangely about it now because I feel like my vision has been tainted and informed by theirs and I will be paranoid about the possibility that someone out there will think, "Oh, look, she made a turkey or an otter or an elephant. Psh! Whatever! So-and-so made one last week and it was SO much better." I am trying not to be jealous, and I love and respect this person's work, so I certainly don't begrudge them their successes. I am telling myself, "Just do you. Just do you." The words feel a little hollow at the moment. I'm wondering why I should continue doing this if I don't seem to be doing it on my own terms and keep coming up short of the mark. As I have said before, I try to make people happy and keep the shop stocked with the items I get requests for, but I am not making myself happy by regurgitating the same patterns over and over and not allowing myself to work on the new stuff that I need to work on if I want this venture to succeed. So what to do? I'll think of something. In the meanwhile, the next update is still scheduled for this Friday, and it's going to be bat-astic. (P.S. - Puns still make me happy.)

13 June 2008

who's your batty?

new bats 06:13:08

Hey there! Just dropping by to let you know that the next update will be much sooner than I had originally anticipated. I have scheduled it for next Friday, June 20th @ 3PM EST. After that, things are going to get really quiet around here. We'll be off to dance camp then Western Mass then maybe a quick visit to NY then we might actually go on vacation (which I would really really like to do). I'm hoping to include a new design in this coming update, so keep an eye out for that. I'll post about it here once I have the prototype done. Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

11 June 2008

meet sparky

Sparky

Every now and then, I make a toy that I personally fall in love with. Not to say that I don't love my other softies, nor do I mean to toot my own horn and be all, "My softies are the shizznit!" Just that every now and then, I make something that I can't help but look at and think, "Awwwww! I'm so happy I made this." Sparky is one of those softies. Maybe it's the color combo or maybe it's the way he wears that deer print. He is one of my faves. Just look at his sweet little face! Hope you all love him too.

10 June 2008

meet binky the bat

Although I wasn't able to finish all of the bats that I have (some half-sewn) on my worktable in time for yesterday's update, Binky was ready in time and is now up in the shop. He is a little on the floppy side, but he has a ton of personality and is eager to make friends.

I have to say, the bats just might be my favorite softy to make simply because I love detailing their faces, and Binky has quite the charming little face, if I do say so myself.

09 June 2008

now in the shop

The owls are up, and there are a couple left. Also, there are a whole bunch of other good things available at the shop now, which I will be blogging about over the week. Right now, it's sweltering here, and I am getting a little punchy, possibly because I need water. So I'm calling it a day. Hope you all had a happy Monday!

08 June 2008

here we go!

new mieces for monday's update

Mieces for tomorrow's shop update. Please tune in at 3PM EST if you are interested in them.

These are not 100% finished yet; I still need to attach their little bows. However, it is super-frigging hot here right now, and the thought of ironing out strips of fabric to make the bows is not especially appealing - not in the least. I think it's best to work on that later tonight once it cools down a bit and attach the bows to the mice as I photograph each one individually for the update.

I know that I mentioned to a few people that I would have bats in this update, but to be honest, I am not sure if I will have the bats finished by tomorrow. Right now, they are all cut but awaiting to be sewn, and I still have one more piece to finish before I can move on to them. I do have one bat that is done, so that one will be going up for sure. That might be the only bat in this update. But that means that the next update will be sooner that I anticipated and will include a few bats. So hey! Not such bad news after all.

Thank you all for your kind words regarding the post before last. I appreciate all of your comments, and your support and encouragement mean a lot to me. Just want you to know that I am not discouraged or disheartened by that thingy. I just get a little frustrated because I really do try to keep up and make people happy, and all I ask for is a little patience when it comes to stocking the shop. I know that I have been a bit of a slacker when it comes to keeping up with the blog, but that's because I have been working. Making these fussy little toys takes more time than people sometimes realize. That said, I think I am going to stop making the mieces and other button-jointed softies for a while. It's really hard on my hands, and they are time-consuming to produce. This opens a window of opportunity here - I can finally make some of these other designs that I have been kicking around. Hopefully, this will also allow me to finally get these patterns I have been talking about for way too long done. As I promised you all, good things are a-coming this way!

07 June 2008

yay for owls!

In my shop on Monday, at 3 PM EST.

05 June 2008

...and we're back!

Soooo, long time no blog. There have been reasons for my brief leave of absence here - good reasons, in fact. Sometimes life gets busy. I hope that people will understand that. Unfortunately, when the choice is between spending my time making stuff or spending my time blogging about making stuff, actually making stuff wins hands-down. Hence, I have neglected this here blog. And perhaps I have neglected you. I'm sorry about that.

I have been thinking about doing commissions again. However, this time, there will be set rules, both for myself and the customers. The last time I did commissions, things got a little out of control. I took on too many for the time period (right before the holidays, when I was also making things for craft fairs and trying to keep the shop fully stocked), I wasn't as speedy as I would have liked to have been with them, and I under-quoted prices for projects that ended up having tons of bells and whistles. To be fair to all parties involved, I am going to come up with a pricing guideline and a few basic rules, as well as a strict schedule for myself. More info to come on that later. Please remember that right now, I am just thinking about it. Once I come to a decision, I will announce it on here ASAP, with all the rules and pricing info.

Also, I wanted to discuss shop updates. I was trying to update every other week, and for a while that was working. I don't think that this is going to work in the Summer, what with all the family obligations and travel and yes, some time off to myself so that I can rest my wrists. So I'll be announcing shop updates as they come along, as I get stuff ready and finished. The next shop update will be Monday June 9th at 3PM EST. After this one, the following will probably be in July, but I am not sure when so I am not going to promise any set date until I get a clearer idea of that myself. Going forward, I will be better about announcing it on here as well as my email list, but please bear in mind that the announcement will only come a few days before said update. I hope this doesn't inconvenience anyone, and to be honest, I don't see how it could. If you miss out on one update, the next one is never too far away. As it is, the shop has been pretty well-stocked for weeks now. So even if you miss the update on the day it happens, please do drop by and check out the shop from time to time.

By the way, just wanted to say one more thing. One of the reasons why I closed the comments on this blog a while ago was because it started to become apparent that people weren't considering the human being behind the machine, meaning no one was taking into account that the things you see on this blog are made by a human being who invests time and energy and creativity into making them. I have feelings too, and a nice comment goes a long way and can even encourage me. The comments are open now, but if someone is going to leave a comment to publicly shame me for not keeping up with the blog or updating the shop or whatnot, please note that I will delete it. I am not a huge faceless corporation with tons of employees and an assembly line. I am one person trying to make everyone happy. If I don't make you happy, well, I'm sorry, but you can address me personally at the email address I have provided on my blog sidebar and not make it a point to leave me a public shaming within the context of my own blog. I appreciate your eagerness about updates, but really now, no need for scolding messages, especially when you don't even dare sign your name onto said message. Best to scold anonymously, I know. Anyhow, like I said, I try to make everyone happy, but the truth in life is that sometimes that is just not possible. If I do make you happy, please stick around folks, there's lots of good stuff coming this way....

P.S. - You know what? I am really annoyed actually. I am only saying this because it really pisses me off when someone basically accuses me of lying. If there is one thing I am not, it's a liar. Dear Anonymous at 4:44 AM, I would have emailed you personally, but you know, you chose to remain anonymous. April 25th did indeed fall on a Friday, so when you say it was not an actual date, I have no idea what calendar you may be consulting, but you are wrong here. In fact, I even posted on here the same day that I updated the shop. I have no idea why I choose to defend myself here other than to refute the implication in your original comment, which I have taken the liberty to delete, that I lied to you or anyone else. I cannot believe that you even implied that. Seriously. It's one thing to reprimand me for being remiss or slackerly, but don't call me a liar.