Thursday, November 26, 2009

Go Ask Alice

GoAskAlicePoster I'm finally ready to reveal the pieces I made for this awesome show! I decided to make the Queen of Hearts, Alice, and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. I envisioned the Queen of Hearts as a nasty sea monster who captured Alice:

The Queen herself is vaguely heart-shaped, and she has heart-shaped pupils and suckers, as well as heart-shaped jewels on her crown.

I based my Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum on the John Tenniel illustrations from Through the Looking Glass.

I actually used my owl pattern, enlarged, for their general shape (Alice also uses my owl pattern, but much smaller), and then I just added arms and legs. I was really nervous about embroidering the faces since I've never made anything remotely human-looking before, but I am rather pleased with how they came out.

I decided to also make sailor hats for Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, to more closely tie them to the Queen of Hearts piece.

IMG_4032 And here's the whole gang together:

I've long been a fan of Alice in Wonderland (I even wrote my undergrad thesis paper on the tale, because I'm that nerdy), so I'm more excited than usual to be participating in this show. Many, many thanks to Cimmi for curating! If you're in the Santa Barbara area, please go check it out (and take lots of pictures!). Visit the Paul Cumes Fine Art Gallery website for more info.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Introducing Owlets and Froglets!

Two of the items debuting at No Coast this year are owlets and froglets. I shrunk my usual owl and frog patterns by 30 percent for the new critters. Not only because shrinking my imps and yetis by 30 percent last year was so successful, but because tiny things are endlessly adorable, no? Also, given the still less than stellar economy, I figured the more items I have at a lower price point, the better.

Well, enough rambling, on with the pictures!



So, how much smaller is 30 percent, exactly? For comparison:



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Busy Bee

There are only 16 days until No Coast (ack!). Which means it's officially the time of year when I put most of my life on hold to sew pretty much every spare moment. My sleep, house, and social calendar all suffer. This year is a little extra stressful since my pieces for the Go Ask Alice show are due close to the same time as well. Yikes!

I've been carving out windows of time wherever I can to get some sewing done. I sew in my craft room

Photo 17

at friend's housesIMG_3950

even during my lunch break at work!IMG_3987

It's amazing what just an hour here or there can do for both my sanity and my productivity. Tomorrow, I'll post some pictures of what I've been cranking out. For now, here's a sneak peek:


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No Coast, Here I Come!

So last week I was happily (and very thankfully!) un-wait listed for No Coast. Which means my typical month of manic stitching sessions begins. I will make as many plushies as I possibly can before the big event. Which brings me to the real reason I'm posting today. Given that I have limited sewing time (22 days! Ack!), where should I focus my energy? Which critters do you like best? If you were coming to the show to buy a critter (and I sure hope you are!), what would you most hope to see on my table? I've installed a handy little poll below, so you can anonymously let me know what you think. If you choose "other," please do leave a comment on the post explaining what the "other" should be.

Thanks so much for your participation!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Etsy Wish List

As much as I hate to admit that the Christmas shopping season is pretty much upon us, I can't escape it. My Etsy wish list is about three miles long, but here are a few things that not only would make a lovely gift for yours truly, but just might satisfy someone on your shopping list as well.

Etsy finds 11-7-09
From left to right, top to bottom:

  1. Mini Christmas Tree Adhesive Fabric Wall Stickers / Decals from Love Mae. I've struggled to find a nice place to put up the Christmas tree ever since I moved in with Jon, not to mention I think our menagerie might wreak havoc on any tree. But this wall decal set is such a lovely and creative alternative!

  2. Poppy Pins from Modest Maven. I have a slight obsession with hair accessories, and I especially love any accessory that has a vintage pin-up girl feel to it. These pins are so delicate and pretty, and would look great whether worn at the office or out on the town.

  3. Soft Collection of Snow print from Wool and Water. I don't really need nor have any room for more wall art, but this print is irresistible. The colors and the mood of the print are fantastic. Plus, I really wish I had that girl's coat!

  4. Silver Oval Framed Branch Earrings from Sweet Fairy Boutique. Love the simple branch motif. I'd pair these with simple jeans and a tee for an understated look.

  5. Partners in Slime Dragon Snail polymer sculpture from Eirewolf Creations. I'm such a fantasy and fairy tale geek, and these adorable sculptures are so different from anything else in my little collection. It's amazing how expressive they are, and yet they're only about 2 1/4 inches tall!

  6. Blue Snow Cashmere Jacket from Idea2Lifestyle. I've been on the lookout for the perfect new winter coat for about a year now. This one probably isn't warm enough for harsh Minnesota winters, nor would it fit over my bulky sweaters, but it's so cute that I've been on the verge of ordering it anyway for the past six months. . . .

  7. Feltscape from Hibou Cards. All of the feltscapes in this shop are absolutely adorable.

  8. Fawn Pin from Decoy Lab. I've had a special weakness lately for fawns, foxes, and squirrels. This little pin is so adorable, and I love that it's made from bamboo. This shop has some pretty fantastic woodland-themed clocks as well. The one I had been coveting sold, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed they'll make more.

  9. The Guardian from Naughty & Nice. I know, I know! I should really stop looking at wall art. But there's something about this mixed media painting that really captivates me. If I could afford the price tag, this would already be hanging in my house.

  10. Pewter toned Antler Stag Hair Pins from The Sparrow's Nest. Honestly, the only thing that's kept me from purchasing from this shop is that I can't decide which hair pins I like best! These, the lovely birch ones, or the moss-covered twigs? Maybe Santa will be nice and bring me all three pairs (nudge, nudge).

  11. The Cat and the Moon Skirt by Zoe Chen. Isn't it darling? I love most of the clothing in this shop. Unfortunately, I think it's sized for slightly more petite ladies than myself.

  12. Lose Lose original painting by Melissa Moss. So melancholy and sweet all at the same time, this woman's artwork is fantastic.

What about you? What are you putting on your holiday wish list?

Monday, November 2, 2009

October Goal Recap and November Goals

(image: Modish Biz Tips)

Happy November, everyone! I had an awesome October. I apologize upfront that this post is not only rather lengthy, but rather boastful as well. But hopefully not in a bad way; I just want to really celebrate my successes this month after a summer spent feeling kind of down about my business.

So, here's how I fared on my October goals:

  1. Organize my fabric shelves. Status: Almost complete.
    I have only one shelf to go. Sadly, I saved the worst for last. But: one shelf! I can do it!
    1B. When done, photograph my room in pristine condition and share online. Status: Incomplete.
    For obvious reasons.

  2. Make at least 6 plushies. Status: Doubly complete!
    I made 12 plushies this month. 12 (and 3 more are cut out)! That's probably a record for a month in which I wasn't preparing for No Coast (still sad/angry. Deep breaths, move on). Two of these plushies have landed in my Etsy shop, two more will be added this weekend. Where did the rest go? Read on. . . .

  3. Approach 2 new shops about carrying my work. Status: Doubly complete!
    I sent 4 inquiry emails. Within 24 hours, one of the shops replied with a definite yes! (Still waiting to hear from the others.) That pretty much made my month. Wholly Craft in Columbus, Ohio, is now carrying some of my frogs, owls, wee imps, and unicorns. I actually just sent the package today (pic below). So, many of the new plushies I made went to Wholly Craft, while the rest (aside from the 4 that will be in my shop) went to I Like You here in Minneapolis to freshen up the inventory I already had there.

  4. Complete at least half of my pieces for the Go Ask Alice show (due November 20). Status: Incomplete.
    But, the deadline was extended. Not that that should be an excuse, but I still have a little over three weeks before I need to ship my pieces, so I'm not sweating. Yet.

    Total Accomplished: 2.75 / 4.5. (Though I'm tempted to count my double completes as 2 each. . . .)

(We're on our way to Wholly Craft! Yippee!)

"But Jessica," you say, "you only really completed half of your goals. How can you say October was so awesome?" Well first, Plushroom Soup received AMAZING blog love in October, which further made my month. I am so thankful to all the lovely bloggers who took the time to write about my critters—even if it was just one sentence—or post a few pictures and a link. You guys are awesome!

Second, I received my first international sale! I sent my zombie giraffe to a really sweet woman in the UK, who gave me this feedback:

Just got this and it is FANTASTIC! The arm
magnet is really strong and the detailing and
finishing are wonderful. Real value for
money. I am SO pleased with it. You should
be making a fortune with these. My daughter
loves geekery (her Twitter name is Zombie
Giraffes) and says there is nothing to match
this in UK stores like Forbidden Planet.

And third, on the nitty-gritty side of things, I also finally accomplished some really basic things that should've been done (eep!) a year ago.

  1. I registered my assumed name with the state (I did things backward and got my tax ID when I first started selling) and tomorrow will place the legal notice in a local paper that makes that certificate super official. I'm proud (and relieved!) that I finally accomplished that. Now I'll be able to open a business account at my bank, which will make Plushroom Soup super uber official.

  2. I created an account on I don't know if that will drive much traffic my way or open up any opportunities, but at least I've finally declared myself an artist in Minnesota and put my name out there as part of that community.

And, on top of everything I did for Plushroom Soup, I also made a million bajillion baby gifts for expectant friends. My sewing machine could probably use a tune-up after everything I put it through in October!

Though, as mentioned, I'm still sad/angry about being wait-listed for No Coast, it appears it was rather a blessing in disguise, being the kick in the pants that spurred me to finally contact other stores, put my name out there more, and treat my business like an actual business. And those activities in turn spurred a major productive streak for me, one I hope to continue in November. So, on to November goals, shall we?

  1. Finish and ship my pieces for the Go Ask Alice show.

  2. Send out at least 2 more inquiry emails to retail stores/art gallery boutiques. (If any of you know of an awesome store/gallery in your city that I should contact, please let me know!)

  3. Finish organizing my fabric shelves, take pictures of the craft room, and blog about the process.

I'm going to leave it at that for the month, because the most important thing is completing my Go Ask Alice pieces. I'd like to think that I can still make some plushies for the Etsy shop this month too, but I don't want to commit to that given the Thanksgiving holiday at the end of the month that will eat more days (no pun intended) than I usually realize.

Hope you all had an amazing October as well, and here's to an amazing November!