Friday, July 31, 2009

July Goal Status


I'm at last happy to report that I fared better than usual this month with my goals. Let's break it down:

  1. Complete and turn in application for this year's No Coast Craft-o-Rama. Status: complete.
    The deadline is actually later than I first thought (August 31 instead of August 1), but I'm trying to be better about not procrastinating, so I went ahead and did it!

  2. Host a giveaway on the blog. Status: incomplete.
    Oops. This one fell through the cracks this month. I have a really fun giveaway planned in my head for when I can unveil one of the new projects I'm working on, so part of me just wants to wait until then. Then again, doing two could keep the momentum going on any buzz the first one conjures. Or it could just oversaturate the market. Anyone have any thoughts/advice about this?

  3. Work out pattern design for two new plushies. Status: complete.
    I unveiled work in progress pics in one of my Thoughtful Thursday posts; both photos in this post are more finished versions. I still have more planned for each of these designs, which I hope to unveil very soon. But my goal was to just work out the pattern design, which I did, while also managing to have tons of fun doing it!

  4. Submit some plush for consideration in the next issue of Stuffed: A Gathering of Softies
    (deadline: August 15). Status: complete.
    'Nuff said.

  5. Sit down with
    an accountant/tax advisor. Status: incomplete.
    Is anyone surprised this didn't happen yet?

    Total accomplished: 3 / 5.

I feel really good about my progress this month. Here's to continued momentum and success in August!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday - Hine

Most of you are probably already familiar with the amazingly talented Hine. She makes awesome stop-motion videos for They Might Be Giants, illustrates, sews, and is an all-around super awesome crafter. I adore her little needle-felted vignettes, like this one:

© Hine.

I've admired Hine's work for quite some time, but her prices are just a little out of my league. Until now! This summer, Schmancy Toys in Seattle has been releasing exclusive, limited runs on plush by great artists. The latest release was Hine, and the price was so good I had to snap one up. My little banana slug arrived today:


I've named him Edgar, and every time I look at him he makes me giggle a little.

If you're not familiar with Hine's work, you should be! Check out her Flickr, her Etsy shop, her blog (in Japanese), and her stop-motion animations.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Christmas in July Sale!

I'm having a Christmas in July sale over in the Etsy shop! Until August 10, all
items in the shop ship free to addresses in the United States and
Canada. But wait, that's not all! For each order over $25, I'll throw
in a free alpaca or horse sewing pattern (print version). Just let me
know your preference in the Notes to Seller field when you check out.
For orders over $50, I'll throw in one of each pattern!

And remember: I take custom orders! So if you have a yen for a creature you don't see in the shop or you want something in a different color, just let me know.

Happy shopping!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mortal Plush: I Am Not Your Toy Opens!

© Licorice Tree / Tobiah P. Mundt.

© Licorice Tree / Tobiah P. Mundt.

The Mortal Plush show opens tonight at the Art Whino Gallery in National Harbor, MD. I am so excited to be part of this show—so many of my favorite plush artists are participating. If, like me, you don't live near the gallery and can't make it to the show, I encourage you to check out photos of the show on Flickr. Many, many thanks to Tobiah for including me in this lovely show and for posting so many awesome photos!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday - Creative Burst

As mentioned in my July Goals post, I always have tons of ideas bouncing around in my head. I've been really energized lately about making these ideas a reality, and this week I started on two of them.

The first is a unicorn. Sure, I could've just thrown a horn on my existing horse pattern and called it good, but I wanted my unicorn to be less cutesy, more stately and elegant. So I started tweaking the pattern into a new shape—elongating the face and neck, narrowing the legs, and giving the creature a little more movement.


Once I have some workable pattern pieces, I sew up a prototype. I usually make my prototype out of a cheap muslin or flannel, but I thought it would give you a better picture of my process if I sewed this one in my usual fabrics.


This is the part of pattern design that is always a little frustrating for me. I'm not a natural at drawing, so I go through a trial and error process before I can replicate what I see in my mind's eye. As you can see, I didn't get the legs quite right this time. So I've started pinning the legs into the shape I want, and I'll go back and tweak my pattern pieces accordingly.

Uniproto close
The head could also use a little more work; I'd like to shorten the snout just a tad. I'm really excited about the possibilities in this piece, though, and should have it finalized by the end of the month.

The other project I this week has been in the works for a long time; it was one of my original ideas when I decided to start Plushroom Soup. It's still very early in the planning stages, so I can only share this small sneak peek:


I wish I could share more with you, as I'm practically bursting trying to contain my excitement about this one. Stay tuned!

Last, I'll leave you with a screen capture of a treasury I'm featured in:

Picture 3

Many thanks to Harvest Moon by Hand for featuring my Ginger Pup along with all these other great MN artists!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July Goals

(image: Modish Biz Tips)

I am pretty excited about this month. I am finally putting some fun goals on the list, and I can't wait to get started on them. For July, I hope to accomplish the following:

  1. Complete and turn in application for this year's No Coast Craft-o-Rama (deadline: August 1). I have done this amazing and super fun show for the past three years, so there's no way I won't cross this one off the list!

  2. Host a giveaway on the blog. I haven't had a giveaway since last fall, so I'm due again. Since summer is such a slow time for plush artists, this will be an easy and fun way to drive some traffic to the blog and get my name out to some new customers. I already know what I'm going to give away; I just have to think of a fun contest!

  3. Work out pattern design for two new plushies. This is the goal I'm most excited about. I've had so many ideas bouncing around in my head for ages, but they keep getting pushed to the back burner so I can focus on the drier aspects of business. But it's summer, things are slow, and I'm starting to feel good about my current inventory. So I'm going to finally tackle at least two of the plush designs in my head.

  4. Submit some plush for consideration in the next issue of Stuffed: A Gathering of Softies (deadline: August 15). The second issue of this new magazine just hit newsstands and features quite a few of my favorite plush artists. Since this is the only magazine dedicated entirely to softies, it has great marketing potential for plush makers.

  5. And last, but not least, my ever-present goal of sitting down with an accountant/tax advisor. This shouldn't be so hard! Mostly, I just tend to be lazy when it comes to the side of business I find most boring. Someone just might need to light a fire under me for this to get done. . . .

Good luck to everyone this month!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday - Etsy Plush Wish List

Most of you know that Etsy is a wonderful online marketplace filled with amazing, talented artists. I can get lost for hours exploring all the handmade goodness. I wish I had the means to support all of my favorite artists, but instead I'll have to settle for telling you all how awesome these people are. Next time you need a gift, whether for a friend or for yourself, consider shopping at Etsy instead of a big-box retailer. The items on Etsy are lovingly hand-crafted by individuals or very small businesses. You'll get something totally amazing and unique in addition to some really good karma for supporting independents.

Below are just a few of my current faves. If you like what you see, please click the links, explore the shops, and tell others!

Miss Blueberry Pie Deer Plush © Follow the White Rabbit.

Beef with Broccoli © Cutesy but not Cutesy.

Bronson, the Monster Plush Toy © Happycloud Thunderhead.

Mini Marshmallow © Scrumptious Delight.

Custom Little City Hoop © Little Pink House.

Jackalope Feltidermy © Girl Savage.

Zombie bear
Zombie-Bear Traditional Jointed Teddy © A Little Stranger.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June Goal Status


Whoa, where did June go? I'm astounded by how quickly the month has passed; it was a whirlwind! As usual, before I post my current monthly goals, let's see how I did last month.

  1. Sit down with an accountant/tax advisor and talk about best practices. Solicit advice about accounting software. Status: incomplete.
    Again. Why can't I motivate myself to do this? I know it's important (some would even say it's what separates hobbyists from true business owners), but oh how I hate this stuff. How many times will I recycle this goal before it gets done? Someone kick me in the pants already!

  2. Make 6 pieces of inventory; 3 for the Etsy shop, and 3 to start a
    stockpile of readily available inventory. Status: partially complete.
    I fully finished 4 pieces (you can see some of them in progress in the picture above). One is already in the shop. The other 3 need to be photographed, 2 of which will go into the shop. The other 2 pieces are so close to done, but I ran out of the right kind of safety eyes. D'oh! I will likely embroider their eyes instead, while I place and wait for an order of eyes. And, lest you think I was a total slacker this month, I did complete lots of other things; they just weren't for Plushroom Soup. I made 2 baby shower gifts this month as well, and started a third.

  3. Start new weekly feature on blog. I admit that this is a bit of a
    cheater goal, as it's already done! It's all about small victories,
    though, right? Status: complete.
    Every Thursday, I've been blogging about things I'm thankful for, things I find inspiring, or artists I love. I'm proud of myself for posting faithfully every week so far. My writing isn't as strong as I'd like it to be, but it helps to get into the practice.

    Total accomplished: 1.75 / 3.

Getting a tad better, right? Also, this wasn't a goal last month, but I did find out that I got accepted for the show I applied for in May, so I'm counting that as an additional success.

Maybe I'm too much of an optimist, but I've got a good feeling about July!