Tuesday, September 30, 2008
One of the most mysterious, exhilarating and beautiful months. We have a whole 31 days. The colors begin to pop from the trees and plants. The air gets a crisp bite to it. Halloween and dressing up!
Because October is such an extraordinary month, I will be setting my goals a little higher!
Pushing myself and Red Marionette.
My goal is to reach 95 sales this month. This is the most aggressive goal I have set for myself yet. (Which is 19 more than I have right this second.)
I am very excited about this goal. I have been striving to reach 100 sales by my Etsyversary (January 8th) and if I surpass it... well, I dont know what I would do, but id be very happy!
I want to get to 850 hearts. Which is about 130 more than I have right this second. I have been averaging 100 to 120 new hearts a month. As long as I keep getting them that means more exposure and people seeing my product.
Here's to beautiful October and a successful last quarter of the year!
I just dont want to.....(insert action here)
Even in the most important times.
It irks me cause I am doing it right now.
I have a show coming up on the 18th and I just introduced some great new designs in my sneak peeks a couple of posts back. I really am excited about them! Truly!
Have I worked much on them? no.
Eh... I just dont want to right now.
Half of my head says "WHAT?! Shouldnt you be sewing til you cant feel your fingertips and your butt is asleep from all of the sitting? You have a show in 18 days!"
The other half of my head says "I really want to finish this book and watch that movie that I got from Netflix that has been sitting for three days. Oh, and I kinda just want to lay here for a while. Staring at the ceiling."
It is a fine line pushing oneself to finish something when the muse isnt ready. I did that for a show back in June and now I cant stand the thought of making more of the handbags/tote bags that I popped out at that time.
I still have some, probably enough to get through the rest of the year, but I still dont even want to consider making more. Not anytime soon. I burned myself out on it forcing myself to finish them.
Not creatively healthy.
I am sure ill canoodle myself in to working on them tonight. I just wanted to share the way im feeling because I KNOW I am not alone in this thinking. Sometimes it happens and its healthier not to force it along.
Squirrels, Penguins and Bears v.2 here I come!
Monday, September 29, 2008
How wonderful this month has been! September goals were blown away!
Recap: September goals were make it to 60 sales and 700 hearts on Etsy.com
As of today my sales are up to 71 and I have 725 hearts!
I want to thank everyone who made this month the best yet!
I appreciate all of the support and feedback. You readers are a wonderful group of people who made this happen!
(and to be completely honest, the 71 sales were as of a week ago! No sales the last week of September so that makes me even more chipper that September was great! 23 sales in three weeks!)
I am greatly looking forward to October as I will be attending Circus McGurkis in St. Petersburg, FL on the 18th and also the Little black Box promotions will be circulating through the crafty community. With the coupons I included with the little promos, I am hoping to draw some sales. http://www.thelittleblackboxes.com/ On sale now for September!
I have come up with some fun designs I hope to debut in the next couple of weeks. Plenty of time for Holiday shopping!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Ohhh here they are!
The NEW Business cards! They went to print on Friday.
Cleaner, and so much more than just owls on the back.
The original design for cards that I had was all owls on the back which was before I had expanded so much in to other animal designs. Also it was more of a vintage look with the older paper. Ive cleaned that up a lot.
My items are still vintage inspired in a lot of ways but really not so much anymore. So my tagline changed.
Now I have a Bear, A Cat, An Owl and A cow on the back of the card.
I only ordered 1000 of the cards. I have gone though nearly 1500 since I ordered cards for the first time in the spring. I like promoting with them and had done a lot of card swaps.
I dont want to be stingy with them, but there is no telling if the card swapping ever helped. So I will use them for promo things like the Little Black Box or other team related things. Also its nice to have a huge stack for craft shows. Not just sending cards in orders!
It is my personal preference to keep only my website on the card. My other cards have my redmarionette.etsy.com on there but since then I have acquired www.redmarionette.com and just linked it back to etsy.
Clear and concise was my goal. Fun yet clean. Im sure the design will change once I am out of this next 1000 cards. Ill have more animals, I may want to change the layout to include my name and other contact information. But for now I think this suits my needs! :)
For my birthday my best friend gave me the high end knife scissors I never trusted myself to get. THANK YOU!
She was the nudge that was needed. They are absolutely wonderful! I found myself using these little puppies in my cutting batch last night quite frequently. I need to get used to them more as since they are so sharp I tend to oversnip things. Making the pupils of the eyes smaller than they need to be because I CAN! hehe!
You never know the difference until you try and I am sure with a wee bit more practice I will be able to snip things perfectly!
Here is the batch of cutting I did last night and the night before.
Top center is penguins, brown below that is squirrels. Red in the center are foxes. The brown below the squirrels is bears. The bottom is gingerbread men. The multicolor are bears, bunnies and squirrels in fun shades!
I made a forum post the other day and asked people if they preferred natural colors or fun colors for animals. The general consensus was fun colors! So here I go!
When cutting out my animals waiting to be stitched, I make them into little "packets" The back of the body and then all of the tiny felt pieces on the inside and then the front of the body. Felt tends to like to stick to itself so everything generally stays easily sandwiched until I am ready to stitch. While they wait I do put them in sandwich baggies in case little pieces fly free.
I work on them in batches at a time. All Eyes, All noses, All pupils, so I can keep the thread color the same. It is more efficient to work in batches.
I wish I had a machine to do the cutting for me though, that would be wonderful! :)
Friday, September 26, 2008
She put a call out to people in the general area who may be interested in attending an intimate but FUN handmade show.
She had been maxed to capacity and suddenly one had to bow out.
What does that mean for any of you people in Central Florida willing to participate?
Well.. it means you can email me or Jen at our respective email addresses to discuss. She is off on a wonderful fabulous stellar vacation the next two weeks so I get to be her assistant! yay!
My email is email@example.com
We are looking for a crafter in the areas of: Fine art, home decor, adult clothing, pet items, or sculpture. Or if you have something so totally unique you think I HAVE to see it to believe it, go ahead and whip it on over.
We are covered in the childrens, jewelry, soap, stationary, dolls, and purses areas.
It will be enough space for one table (You would probably have to provide). There will be door prizes, snackies... (you know that technical term hor durves?), and a collective of handmade shopping experience IN TOWN.
As well as all of the wonderful things mentioned above, some of the vendors will be having discounts! I know, I can barely contain myself.
So, if you think you might be interested in being the lone last little vendor we need, please email me ASAP.
This will be a home show so it will not be advertised aside from our little mouths flapping, blogs, networking, etc.... So If you are interested in participating we will hope that you pass out fliers and tell everyone you know (No, not the dude on the street corner... it is her HOME afterall) We ask that you send your invitations to people you know directly.... and friends of friends count. As long as we know where they sleep at night... just kidding.
No, really. :)
Thursday, September 25, 2008
It was a particularly crisp and cool morning this morning. That bite of chilliness in the air. (Well chilly for Florida at 65 Degrees)
I love this time of the year. I have missed the fall color change for 6 years now due to living in Florida. One of these days I will get back up north to see the glorious colors.
I love the smells and foods that become prominent this time of year. Pumpkin, Cinnamon, Cranberry, baked breads, hearty stews.... Fresh turned earth, crispy leaves, fresh damp air.
Can you tell im already wallowing in it? WALLOWING I tell you! :)
This is the time of year I also get excited about making things. I have been full force into the Holiday products already, but there is a switch that flips in my head that is ingrained somehow this snap of colder weather makes me go into craft-robo lady. I want to make things... NEED to make things. It is a drive that I love feeling. Perhaps as humans some of us have it from back in the day when colder weather signaled stocking up for the winter, preparing, feeding, mending, getting ready for many days indoors in harsh weathers. Perhaps.
Either way I am excited about what this turn towards the holidays brings. I have had some great customers purchase holiday items already from my store. I hope many more return! I have new ideas in the works and I cant wait to show you all!Christmas is my favorite Holiday and Autumn is my favorite season so be prepared to see a really happy Ms. Red Marionette tootin' around with crafts inspired from those things for the next few months!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
For those of you that dont know what it is: www.thelittleblackboxes.com
or http://blackboxreviews.blogspot.com/ for their blog.
It is a box of goodies. Samples, coupons and some full sized items all sent in and collected in one special box, that is to be sent out to the masses who purchase them!
GREAT for stocking stuffers!
For the Month of September I had sent in coupons for a nice percentage off of a purchase as well as Iron On Appliques with instructions for use. (They can be used on ANYTHING - Onesies, Tote Bags, Jeans, Home Decor...anything!)
I am excited as I have donated items for October and November as well. I hope that this brings in a breath of fresh air to my Etsy shop!
Octobers box should be a doozie. I sent in Brooches, Finger Puppets, Magnets and Pins as well as mirrors. Weee! I cant wait!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I know there are "red" Squirrels (which to me look brown) and Gray Squirrels (which look salt and pepper) But since I do not have that kind of luxury with felt as nature has with her way, they are gray and brown.
They will be holiday ornaments
This is the BEAR version 2.
The square bear I have in finger puppets didnt translate well to ornaments so here is the NEW and Improved version.
He might even get a scarf like Ned the Moose has... Shazam!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Saturday was day one of a two day Craft Show I was very excited to be attending. It took place in DeLand, FL.
I had everything packed and ready to go last night. Very prepared and was in a great position with my product, layout, etc. I felt more than ready.
An hour drive ahead of us and armed with a mapquest and a Jeep full-o-stuff we started off at 6:05 am. Mapquest lead us in the wrong direction and after some backtracking and my well placed sense of direction (Thanks Dad!) we discarded the map and found where we needed to be.The setup was good. Fairly smooth and not too hot. Quite the quaint little downtown area. A rather small town. Smaller than I expected.
A quick walk through the block that we were situated in showed vendors of handbags, orchid plants, etched glass, stained glass, photography, two jewelry booths, carved gourds, lemonade vendor, and a local newspaper.
I will be the first to admit I had never attended this show before, nor had I known anyone that had. The investment in booth fee was managable enough for me for a two day show I had no hesitation in signing up.
Red Marionette is high quality items of a whimsical nature. I know my product is for a certain type of person. Someone who can appreciate the funky nature of it. A lot of what I do is hand sewn and time consuming. This did not seem to be the show to "get" that, unfortunately. We found that DeLand is entirely the wrong Demographic for my business.
First shot out of the door this morning was a senior citizen who took one look at an ornament and said "$8.50? People in this town cant afford that!"
It was forboding.
The day was full of passerby's who wouldnt even set foot in the tent. Those who did, raved about the work, and purchased something. Those I can count on my two hands.
The constant struggle with wind and dark clouds passing overhead quickly was tough. As I have mentioned a lot before, I chose beauty over functionality for my tent. It is linen. NOT waterproof in any way. It will sift the rain for you, though! :)
So, I have to take the threat of rain seriously. One small smattering of sprinkles during the morning and we made it through fine. The forecast for the afternoon although only 30% chance, seemed to loom. (I felt like a monkey half of the day having to hold on to the rafters of a shimming tent, even with the cinder block weights)
Our neighbor to the left had three small sales. Our Neighbor to the right was the free newspaper.
I had never agreed with people leaving shows early. Had. Past Tense. When a quick phone call to check on the weather channel indicated the dark clouds were heading our direction and the wind picking up even more, we had a discussion. Try to muscle it out and potentially damage the tent and the product? OR... Cut our losses and head out an hour early?
As a business person sometimes you have to make decisions that you know you arent entirely comfortable with.
We had already decided due to the size of the town, the turnout, the sales and feel we were getting from the show we would not be returning next year. Our decision to leave early was a tough one for me as I never agreed with leaving early. I edit that now to, "Dont leave early because sales are bad."
Leave if you feel your product or display could be damaged or ruined. Absolutely.
We also decided it would be in our best interest to bow out of the show for Sunday as the chance of rain is near guaranteed.
I am aware this may keep us from attending the show next year but as already discussed we do not think this is the venue for us in the future.
In review our time at the show was a great learning experience for Mr. RedMarionette and I. We need a more specific venue focusing on HANDMADE Arts. (And need a way to waterproof the tent!)
There were some great artists, it was just not the right venue for Red Marionette.
We were fighting the wind from mid-morning on.
This was the best shot I could get of the tent without the tablecloths flapping around in the wind too much.
The Banner I had professionally printed right down the street and I was very VERY happy with how it came out!
Here are a few photos of the entire display.
Mr. RedMarionette chilling out in the back corner! Whatta Wingman!
You can see the Christmas Tree table display as well as the stockings all hung in a row on the clothesline. The back table is a 6' table of goodies!
Closeup of the Christmas Tree display with Boo-Boo Bags and Clutch Purses.
Back table display closeup.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Well Ladies and Gentlemen readers,
I have bad news for the day.
I know all of us are feeling it, and I have been trying to absorb it for a while now, but I think the time has come that the rise in prices will be felt in my shop.
Heh, get it? Felt? Boooo I know.
A while ago I mentioned in a blog how felt had gone up by a third at a store I visited. So I switched stores, thinking it was just that one.... Nope. The cost of Sheet felt has indeed gone up by a third! It boggles my mind.
I try to keep costs down as much as I can but business is business, unfortunately.
I wish I could send little felt creatures to all of the people in the world who want them and we would all rejoice and be happy. Play with our felt animals and not have to worry about money.
Reality is I cant keep making them and digging into the profit.
Every business goes through this.
As of September 22nd, I will be raising the prices in my shop.
Not a lot... stop crying. Here's a tissue.
Enough to cover the new increase in supplies and the like. I will also be announcing it in my shop announcement when I return from the Show I have this weekend. Until then, take advantage if you plan to.
It is a sad day for me.
I shall eat a cupcake and continue on.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Awww look at my newest brain child.
My best friend suggested I make a snowman and I sketched him up today at lunch. This evening he was born.
His little arms are dark brown stiffened felt. They look black in the photo for some reason. He has coal eyes and buttons and a little orange carrot nose.
He will either have a red plaid or a green plaid scarf.
I havent thought of a backstory for him yet, but as soon as he is listed on etsy he will get a nice little snow and cold related background :)
It is that time of the year again, Ladies and Gentlemen!I will be putting most items in my shop on Inactive Friday evening thru Monday Morning. I am attending a two day Craft Show in Deland, FL this weekend (Sept. 20th and 21st) As always if you see something you want, please dont hesitate as it may not come back to Etsyland.
It never fails that there are things that permanently go home with someone and never will see Etsyland again. If anyone has their eye on something in particular, now might be the time to snatch it. 92% of my items are one of a kind. (I just threw that out there but MOST of them are)
Here is a little "insider trading" information for you all:
I dont have any immediate plans to make more tote bags anytime soon, hint.... HINT.
Hope you all have a stellar, wonderful and flabberjabberific week!
I have 5 days til the first show of the season! Weee!
I do get a little jittery. Mostly from anticipation, not nervous. I feel I am in a good place. I have several tubs of product and will have a nice full booth. What makes me jittery slightly is this will be a two day show! I have never done a two day show.
And the forecast for the weekend is scattered thunderstorms.
My tent may be pretty but it isn't water proof/resistant or anything. It is linen.
So I am bringing some plastic sheeting to throw over the product if I have to (though lets hope I don't have to)
It gets me a little nervous. Once November and December roll around the likelihood of it raining is less. And cooler. Yes, it is also supposed to be 90 degrees this weekend. Bah.
So hopefully I can keep myself from worrying too much about rain through the week and keep on track with making more items and my etsy store! :)
Thursday, September 11, 2008
You can see photos and information on them at her blog http://always-amy.blogspot.com
I had printed out color coupons that I designed and stapled them to my business cards to send in to her. I think I sent nearly 200! That was a lot of stapling that night. :)
I received an order from Salina, Kansas last night! I immediately emailed Amy and told her about how the promos were a success! YAY!
Never be scared to stretch your wings and contribute to swag bags or promo items. You never know what will happen!
AlwaysAmy on Etsy http://alwaysamy.etsy.com She is still accepting items for her bags that she is distributing around town.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Today I wanted to talk about a couple of upcoming doodads and just little mishmash stuff.
(I love fun words!)
I do have a craft show coming up.
I will be in Deland, FL on September 20th and 21st for the Rivertown Craft Festival. If you would like to come say HI, I will be in the annoyingly fun and bright circus tent.
Id love for people to come introduce themselves! This will be a rather large show and it will be til 4pm both days! As is normal practice for me, and you all now know I will be putting MOST items in my Etsy store on inactive.
If there is something you feel you cant live without but are waiting, It might be sold!
Dun Dun DUN!!
Nothing like a little marketing strategy there! :)
I also thought I should share my Craft Show Schedule with you all in case you wanted to come say HI at a later date! For those of you that are planners like me.... here they are!
Rivertown (Deland, FL) - September 20th and 21st - 9am to 4pm
Circus McGurkis (St. Petersburg, FL) - October 18th - 9am to 4pm www.circusmcgurkis.org
Homosassa Seafood and Arts Festival (Homosassa, FL) - November 8th and 9th http://www.homosassaseafoodfestival.com/
I do have a home show on November 15th in Orlando, But it is by invitation only as it is at someones home.
Atomic Holiday Bazaar (Sarasota, FL) - December 14th - 12 to 6pm www.atomicholidaybazaar.com
So as you can see I am all over the map of the middle of Florida through the fall. I would be absolutely flabergasted if someone from Etsy came to say Hi or check out the shows!
Spread the word about handmade and all that jazz.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Well not really. I'm not terribly woeful I just wish there was more hours in a day to make things!
I wish I could be that evil scientist that you see in the cartoons with a big castle and they just putz around and make things all day. No worries about food or bills...all of that is just magically taken care of. In my world I would have a minion too to help. I don't think I want a minion like Igor, I wouldn't mind a Cabana Boy Minion. Hmm.
And I don't think I would be very evil. I could have that creepy maniacal laugh though and I could make weapons that shoot felt animals at people. A cannon. Yes.
I should have drawn hearts and stars and glitter coming off of the back of the bunny as it projects forward.
But it was only a 2 second post it sketch. No biggie.
My whole original reason for posting this was that I wanted to update everyone and commit myself to the goal that has to do with Scarves and Magnets.
I know I have talked about them for a while. I even had photos of the scarf prototype up months ago. The fickle lady that is Time has eluded me again.
After my show in September, if I dont sell very much and have to remake a lot, then I will start working on Magnets and Scarves.
The magnets I intend to sell in sets of three. I want to try Bunnies and bears and owls and mooses. We will see what actually lends itself well to the clay. Sometimes little appendages sticking off of the body arent that safe and secure. If anything I do I want my items to NOT be fragile.
At least that sounds like a good plan. If I sell out of a lot of things I will definitely need to spend time on restocking and then try new things later.
Priorities, my dear Cabana Boy.
So we will see what happens. I sold out of Mooses Ornaments... Moose....last night so I will need to make more of those soon. Whodathunk that would happen?!
Ned has been very popular. :)
Monday, September 8, 2008
It is the amount of sales I reached today! 50!
I am celebrating as it is my halfway point for my goal for the year.
I am aiming for 100 sales by my Etsyversary at the beginning of January.
Lets break it down....
Rounding up slightly there is about 17 weeks before my anniversary on etsy.
I need 2.94 sales per week if I shall continue at this rate.
Oh lets just say 3 sales a week!
Or 50 sales all at once. That would be cool, too.
Today seems to be one of those days. :)
I have a little sigh of relief today. I have come to the long awaited conclusion that I am in a good place for my show on the 20th. I have a lot of stuff done and will have a good deal more completed in the next week and a half.
A lot of the stuff that isnt done yet is nearly completed and needs finishing stitches or final seams. Yay!
I have a bajillion ornaments complete and done.
I have quite a few clutch purses nearly done and need to do final top seams on those.
I have 6 more stockings to make and some more market bags to applique.
I will be putting most of my inventory from Etsy on inactive for the two day show.
Dont get me wrong, It will still be a mad dash to the finish line for getting things ready for this show. But at least it wont be a crying, spitting, cranky, slightly verbally violent, and dispondent tantrum throwing next week and a half! :)
Here is the pickle.
I want to sell a lot at the show on the 20th/21st cause the 20th is my birthday and it would be great to make some stellar sales to save up for next years plans that Mr. RedMarionette and I have going on. (Yes, that was a bad run-on sentence.)
But on the other side of the bun, I dont want to sell too much that I dont have enough for the other 4 shows of the fall.
I calm myself with the fact that I do have time in between each show (4 weeks) to restock sold items.
Its exciting to not know how the outcome will be! I will be taking photos to share with all of you wonderful people too!
Yes, its a scary word.
I have been scared of sewing with zippers....well, I still am. I ordered some off of Etsy.com to try making zipper pouches with little appliques on them....
Dun dun DUN! I can see the whites of your eyes.
I fiddled with some zippers this weekend and came to the conclusion that no matter how stubborn I am that a normal sewing machine presser foot does NOT like to play nice with a zipper.
I ordered the correct presser foot this morning. Then I have to be patient. Which I am NOT good at, to try again on something that seems horribly complicated and intimidating.
I have a new respect for people who sew with zippers.
Thats enough of my rambling today. Have a swell Monday!
Friday, September 5, 2008
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Look at all of the little eyes!!!
This is my 4' tree I will be using for my Booth Displays!
Awww look at how cute they all look together!
The Octopus on top is a deep royal purple, wonder why it looks black. Hm.
But I have Whales and Bears and Bunnies and Owls and Foxes... thats all you can see in this photo.
Oooo I am so excited!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
And HERE they ARE!!
Photos of the giveaway item! It is Doris the Owl Clutch.
Doris loves toast. It doesnt matter what kind of bread as long as it is toasted. I have asked her if she wants Marmalade or Peanut Butter on her toast, she never does. Dry and Plain.
Someone get her a glass of milk, please?
Please excuse the poor photos, I took them late tonight so there wasnt any sun! :(
This will be my 100th post.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Oh I know how you all love sneak peeks and WIP photos. Here are some ive worked on over the long weekend.
Dale the frog, as suggested by my Step-Father!
The Stuffed animal is a Pocket Animal exactly like my Pocket Monsters. He has a pocket "mouth" where his tongue attaches. It can be rolled up and tucked into his mouth as well.
These are basted animals ready to be stitched around the edges.
These creations are entirely hand stitched. I have one pocket monster that I created and machine stitched around the outside of it, but didnt care for the look of it so all of the next ones will be hand stitched.
Kyle is the flame monster. The Swampy monster and Bunny havent been named yet.
Here is a new batch of clutches ready to be sewn together. All of the animals have been hand stitched to the clutch. Now I need to finish them up!
Here is another shot of the handful that are all waiting to be stitched up. The only ones that do not have appliques are the Birds and the Beans clutches as I think the fabric alone is adorable.
I have also worked on Ornaments this weekend as well! Kitties, Penguins, Foxes and Bears with angel wings!
For those of you that don't read my blog on a regular basis. Now you know.
I had moments of temptation where I would scan pages of fabric on etsy....But all in all I think I did very well. I used many items I had. I spent less time (and money) in stores! On Friday I figured my restriction was up (I had a coupon that was about to expire for Michaels) I needed a few refills on some items and realized that the price of felt ( 9x12 pieces) went up buy a third! A THIRD?!! Wow.
Back to my original train of thought, one month helped my pocketbook so much that I will try another restriction for the month of September. I have to get a few more colors of thread but then after that, its kaput for September!
I am proud of myself.
I am shocked I made it!
As the rules were before if I really truly needed something to complete a project, I would take it before the committee (Mr. RedMarionette) and state my case. Some situations where I am just out of luck to finish a project until supplies are refreshed....he understands. So if something REALLY had to be done, he could do an intervention for me. :)
Same rules will apply for September!
So we will see how this goes!