Monday, January 30, 2012

Embracing a new idea and medium, way to go purple.

So may things have passed across my desk that I just couldn't wait to add this new item to the roster.  A few weeks ago I started working on a project trying to combine poms, lanterns, and ribbon into the same mobile. This item has been a work in progress, but here's a bit about it.
The biggest Paper Lantern Mobile Yet! This new mobile will measure approx. 24"x36" and include 10", 8", 6" lanterns as well as 8" pom- poms in coordinating colors. Tied with coordinating ribbon this mobile will be the statement piece for any toddler room. I'd love to hear what you think about these new items. Feel free to comment or shoot me an email if there's anything you might like to see next!  For months I've been asked by prospective buyers about combining paper lanterns with another popular trend, pom-poms.  I have to admit I was a little weary.  I like shipping my mobiles fully assembled, simply open the box and hang. I have been worried about how tissue poms would travel.  Well I'm putting those worries on hold.  Starting now, I will not include mobiles incorporating tissue pom-poms.  Check out this listing on my Etsy shop for more photos and information.

So January has brought new projects and more orders than expected.  I want to take a minute to say thanks to everyone who stops by this blog, and the shop.  Without you I would just be doing this for myself, and lets face it... doing things for others is always more fun.

Now that January is over it looks like purple is moving on as well.  I have a lot of new projects to share and I think a quick tutorial or two next month.  I wonder what will inspire me next?

Check back soon for new listings and more process photos!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

No rest for the weary...

Once again this month I bring another Purple story.  I'm still not sure anyone is actually reads my little rants, this month about purple,  Oh well.  Here goes nothing...

So far your are aware that Purple has now entered my color pallette and that I have already learned so much about my business and myself this year.  Well, I have to admit a few new items poped into existance during the past few weeks that are sticking around as well.  They just happen to be purple.

  I have been approached by a few mothers who are holding birthday parties at venues with high ceilings. They have been interested in ordering mobiles but have no place to hang them, so here is my answer! Paper Lantern Flower Bouquets with coordinating Chair and Table Decorations.

Bright, Fun, and Whimsical Paper Lantern Flower Bouquets and Table decorations are great for any nursery, birthday party or special someone. These bouquets are a great addition to children's birthday party. If you have a venue with high ceilings these arrangements are a great way to add color, height, and whimsy without the need to hang. Spruce up the head table with one or two arrangements and add intant color. Bonus, give away each "flower" to a guest and they can use it like a wand or place it in a glass at home to remember the occasion. Use the ball jar for leftover candy or keepsakes from the party. Another mother was looking for a way to designate the head table, so adding a simple lantern in the birthday girls favorite color to the back of the chairs was a great response.

So I finally posted these additional items and so far the response is slight but positive.  It was funny the day I posted these items my husband came home from work, opened the door, took one look at the dinning room table and said, "Photoshoot?"  I guess he's beginning to understand, sometime I have to take a little bit of time and set up a shot.  But sometimes Max wakes us an hour early and I still need time to clean up.

Ain't learning grand?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Where Was I?

h yeah!  Purple. Well, I'll get to the purple...

This new year is bringing many surprises and lots of work.  I have been giving some friends a hand by watching the little ones a few days a week.  I have never been so tired; oh and I forgot to mention Max and I where sick the beginning of the week.  So we took a brief break from the shop and the blogging world in order to spend time playing and healing.

Now that the coughs are gone and the weather is turning colder for some reason this color purple has walked through my door, plopped down on the table, and has decided to stay. Purple has invaded the mobiles: and it looks like its here to stay.  I have started trying to include a few process photos.  Remembering to take pictures in the middle of a project should be easier. 
I tried setting up the tripod by the desk to remind and have everything "Instantly set up". That plan bombed. I guess I like to spread out while I work, I found that the tripod was really just in the way. 

I've really tried to keep in mind my process this year.  I have the type of personality that likes everything in it's place and I actually operate better when I allow myself a little bit of "set up time".    I lay everything out, all the parts and tools. I even made myself a jig a few months back to expedite my process a bit.  Then before I know it, my project is boxed up and ready for it's trip to the post office.

My office is always a disaster area when I've finished a project. I find that if I take the extra 15 minutes I take at the end of the project the easier it is to start the next one.  Sometimes circumstances, like Max or dinner, don't allow that time and I find myself playing catch up the next order that comes in.

So far, paper lantern mobiles are by far the most popular item in the shop. This month I have sold seven different mobiles, ranging from a lighted paper lantern mobile, pictured, to a simple set of set of replacement lanterns for a mobile sold a year ago.  This year has been busier than I could have imagined.  I'm not complaining, just realizing it's time to bring my A Game, kick the sniffles in the butt, and get down to business in business and real life.

If i find that I get an extra 15 minutes at the end of the project after clean up, I'll post a little bit more about what I've learned from that project.

I can't wait to see what bit of learning the next purple project in January will bring.  Oh yes, this month is now officially dedicated to the color purple.  Don't worry, there's only 10 more days in January, there can't be too much more... can there?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Color Purple

Not the movie, funny.  I find that so far this week all of my projects have involved the color purple.  Plum, wisteria, violet, lavender, lilac, heliotrope, whatever the shade I think I have touched it.  I guess the new year is pointing me in a new color direction.  Truth be told I have never been a fan of purple, I'm not sure why, but that was another blog post...

Maybe this little shot of additional color is a push to be inspired like it did my previous post.  I have noticed that I have been neglecting the blogoshpere and my attitude towards it.  Looking back on past blogs I noticed a few trends. 

1. I doubled the number of blogs I post per year, every year, since my first year blogging in 2009.

2. I have been using this blog to share completed orders and projects, and the odd cupcake or cookie photo. However nothing I have shared has truly been inspiring or truly part of my life or myself.

3. I was not entertained, educated, or truly inspired by any photo, project or post written on this blog.

As someone guilty of posting without really trying I would like to take a minute to say..."ooops!"

So I, like many other people posting "stuff" on the interweb at the beginning of the year, call them resolutions if you like, I am trying something new.

This year I hope to bring tutorials, process photos, and true stories about my projects and the little bit of imagination I am trying to share with this world.  At least this can be a place I find my imagination and have the chance to share it.  Everyone loves show and tell, but this time I would like to start telling and not just showing.  So instead of cramming all of the projects I have been working on this week into one post I plan to share them all one by one.  A highlight of items is no longer needed, no longer an afterthought, a true idea.  So here goes... I hope someone listens.

My first touch of purple this week is brought to you by Wisteria:

A few days ago I was contacted on Ravelry, a knitting community, about selling some of my stashed yarn... A first for me. 

I love to use Ravelry, its a great place to keep track of your yarn online.  I can store all of my yarn's information, how much it cost, where I bought it,  dye lot, color, and amounts.  Knitters tend to call this stock of yarn a 'stash'.  Yes, yarn can be like crack for some. 

Well I was approached by a very nice lady who started a hat and scarf and wanted to add a set of mittens and ran out of yarn.  She was able to enter in the name and dye lot/color information and found me.  I was lucky enough to pick this up at Webs last April.  I have used this wisteria colored yarn on cupcake hats and plan a toddler sweater at some point.  I was happy to share with a fellow knitter, good karma helps the world go round. right?

So this little skein is wrapped up and ready to ship at the end of the week with the rest of my orders.  Check back for the next color purple and process photos... lantern mobiles!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

new year, new start

Time for telling stories and a little bit more from and about the storyteller. 

First the Story:

First off: My husband calls me the ex-workaholic, I like to call myself a multitask-er.So in 2011 when I became a stay at home mom I jumped head first into my new role as wife, mother, and homemaker. Then when my son was about 3 months old and we were beginning to settle into a rhythm, a friend noticed I had made a few cupcake hats for my nieces.  This is where the real story begins.  My first customer, my first order, and the Etsy store was open.

I was tasked with two hats, soon I received another order and then another.  I found I had made half a dozen cupcake hat designs and was starting to enjoy myself and I wondered what else I had to offer. I started to think about the time it takes to knit a hat, even an infant hat, at least a couple of hours.  How would I find the time to create an inventory based solely around knitting.  It just didn't seem like a good plan, so I headed back to the drawing board.        
 I had received several compliments on the design of my sons nursery so I started adding what I made for him.  Low and behold my most popular item soon became my paper lantern mobiles.

The first 6 months were incredibly slow, but then again I had Max to keep me busy. I sat for a few months with only a handful of items available on Etsy Mostly anything I had been asked to make by a friend or family. So I faced myself with a challenge. My goal would be: Listing 50 items on Etsy, Build an inventory.  I worked slowly on adding items, and spending time with my family.  However one or two orders a month didn't seem to add up to too much.  So the shop went on the back burner and I spent time traveling with my family and preparing to move to a new town.  Then August Hit: 8 orders in one month, I thought it was a fluke. But no, somehow my store was receiving traffic. I still haven't figured out which source did it, or where I was featured, but I was and there has been no looking back.

By far my busiest time was leading up to Halloween. I decided to List the costumes I had made for Max, and see what happened. I had the best time and was so inspired by custom order requests that I came up with several new designs and a passion for 2012 season.  Soon I had time to straighten out my receipts and make patterns for all of the costumes I had made.  I learned on the spot about making tutu skirts, fairy wings, and hats.  After a lot of reading, test runs, late hours, and massive failures I finally perfected a few new skills.  I made enough during Halloween to afford a few fancy child sized manequins and a small but useful serger.
I found that the seasons didn't really stop, they just rolled over each other.  I skipped Thanksgiving completely and found that December kept me busy with custom sacks.  I did take some time to learn a little bit more about how Etsy operates.  My small but loving family decided our Christmas would be completely handmade or homemade and I am proud to say that we did 90% of our shopping through the Etsy Website.  I experienced first hand how other shops communicated, shipped, and dealt with customer service.  Each transaction gave me insight into how I wanted to grow to operate my business.  I have taken notes and made lists.  I want to strive to put out quality items that inspire the world.  Or at least a few happy thoughts.

So to sum up my year:  my shop has received 15,571 overall views, it has been favorited 842 times, I sold 70 total items, participated in 3 giveaway/reviews, and enjoyed every minute.  I look forward to what the new year brings.  Hopefully I will finally build up an inventory and you will see me at one of the local crafts shows.  I have plans for new features to the blog, but thats a story for another time.

Here's to 2012!