Thursday, January 31, 2013


I have dropped the ball on blogging. Big time.

A lot of my fav bloggers have stopped I think it has influenced my writers block. That, and I have been avoiding learning the new version of Photobucket. I don't like it.


Since I have forgotten everything I wanted to blog about, I'm just going to post some photos from each month as a faux catch up.

Here's January:

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1. I have been "tutoring" (helping) our friends kid Matthew with his homework once a week ever since September. He's hilarious!

2. Love my noodlebug!

3. I also love my red clogs.

4. An afternoon at the MOMA.

5. I started working out, in order to lose a few before our trip to Thailand (more on that later)

6. Hanging with Jane.

7. I've fallen in love with Uniqlo.

8. I do a lot of cuddling with my bug.

9. At the carwash...

I took a break in January from the shop. After the Holiday Renegade Show and my disastrously late shipping of the family's gifts, I needed it. I ended up sending them out after new years. Oops. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Birthday Love...

My lil sis Maloree gave me my gift at Thanksgiving so that she could give it to me in person. Love all of it!

(I used the lunchbox as a mini fridge to keep my Dr Pepper cold during Renegade.)

(Yes during my time working on stuff I was back on the sauce.)

(But I'm off of it now so don't worry!)

Grandma Coates sent me her famous bread. Mmmmmm. She even grinds her own wheat! 

My fav sparkling water...

A rainbow the day before my was actually a double rainbow, but you couldn't see the other one from this angle.

A rainbow in December???? So awesome.

Hanging out with some of my fav people...

(can you see our Christmas tree?)

Birthday peonies.

I made this decadent, rich, and oh so delicious cake for myself. It took forever, and was totally worth it.

Filled with mousse and topped with ganache.

Perfect for breakfast.

Packages from family that include fabric, vintage miniatures, and crafty stuff? My family rocks!

I may have bought myself these beautiful blocks. After sorting through the box, Danny says "You can't make anything with these, they're worthless!"

Whatevs. I can totally make stuff with them.

And I may have sort of ordered these yummy embroidery supplies for myself too.

And this, ohhh this. THIS is a map necklace of San Fran. From my BFF Nan. I looove it!

Noodle bug (you know she has like 300 names, right?) was SO excited that it was my birthday that she rolled around on the floor like a crazy person!

There may have been catnip involved.


33 ain't so bad!

Friday, January 11, 2013

the one percent

In November I had my very first bad customer experience. It shook me to my core, made me want to give up what I do, made me feel so terrible, and gave me anxiety at night.

I've been torn about writing about it on the internet.

But she plagued not only me, but my husband, my other customers and a fellow etsy seller. So I'm telling my story.

On a Saturday afternoon, as my husband and I were out enjoying the day, I got an etsy message from a buyer that was interested in a "Little Red" doll. I messaged her back saying I didn't have one made up, she would have to order a custom doll, and could I please get back to her on Monday- I don't work on the weekends.


I got back to her on Monday and we started to plan. She was very picky, very demanding, and kind of rude. It was the week before Thanksgiving, I had other orders to get finished before we flew home. I wanted to get her order sent out before we left because it was shipping to France and it was a Christmas gift for her mother.

On Wednesday she messaged me asking if I would ship using registered mail instead of Priority, it was cheaper. And please refund her the difference asap. I said no, I only ship Priority, we agreed on the shipping method and price before you agreed to pay for the listing.


She demanded that I fully refund her money since I never explained that to her. I said no way, it's a custom order that I've been working my ass off to get finished to send it out in time. She said that I was not like "normal" etsy sellers that offer registered mail (not true) and that I shouldn't of charged her in full anyway, all the "professionals" only charge a deposit.

(Have you ever, in your life, only paid a deposit on an etsy order? Especially for a custom one?)

Then 5 minutes later- "If you don't refund my money now, I will open up a case against you on etsy and paypal."

At this point, I was elbow deep in stuffing, and in tears. I was frantically reading all of the etsy policies seeing if I was in the wrong, if she could legitimately open up a case against me, etc. I called my husband in a panic.


He said "Just refund her money."

Are you kidding me??? After all this?? No, she was going to get her doll whether she liked it or not.

He said "Do you want to be done with this right now, or never? It's not worth it."

He was right.

I wrote her back, told her that I would no longer do business with her and I refunded her money. In full.


As we were sitting around the table with Danny's family after Thanksgiving dinner, I got a message from her asking if I "had calmed down and that she would like a photo of the finished doll because now that she understood my policies she was fine with them and she would like to buy the doll and please message her back asap because she is in front of her computer right now."

I was livid.

I listened to my husbands wise words of "Do not contact her back. Put your phone down."

The next day, I got another message.

"I am going to have to tell (the other seller) why you won't do business with me. You are but a simple seamstress that makes patterns from Artists. I am an artist but have no time to make dolls. I only buy dolls from artists, never from seamstresess, only original work."

I ignored her again.

I contacted etsy to let them know that she was harassing me.

She wrote a terrible review on etsy, for all to see.

Etsy won't remove it, because the content of the feedback does not break any rules. Since there wasn't an actual sale, she shouldn't have been able to leave any sort of review in the first place. The only way to get it removed is if SHE asks them to remove it.


The other seller is now having a tough time dealing with her.

I won't disclose her situation, it's not mine to share.

Customers of mine, please note:

(all of you apologize for being "annoying" or emailing me too much. YOU are not annoying, or demanding. YOU do not email me too much. In a typical "picky" customer situation, around 15 emails are exchanged.)

Just to clarify about the nature of her pickiness and demanding:

In the 6 days that I was in contact with her, we exchanged 59 messages. That's almost 10 messages a day. That's excessive.

Even though it went on and on, it's over. She can't hurt me anymore. And in the end- the doll went home with somebody that will cherish her, study the details, and love her forever. She was sold with Gramma Wolfie- I'm so glad I sold them as a set! They belong together.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Renegade Holiday Show!

Ever since the summer (and the first) Renegade show that I did, I have actually been working full time at this self employed business of mine. It's a dream come true! I've learned a lot of lessons in these 6 months, 99% of them positive. What it takes to "work at home" (hahahaha), getting everything ordered and stocked so that I can power through an entire month without having to buy anything, etc, etc.

New labels from my fav label company. Check her out here. 

Before I could start on anything new for the show, I had to make 5 sets of beards and mustaches.

Lesson 436: These take WAY longer than they should for the price I am selling them for.

Customers always (sometimes) want "in progress" photos. In progress progress looks, well, unfinished. And paying customers don't want to see you wasting time.

Lesson 327: Do not send progress photos even if they beg.

But I will show you some "in progress" photos of the 5 sets of Sleepover Pals I made for the show:

All cut out...

Lots of little arm balls...(that sounds weird, hu?)

And the finished pile 'o pals!

So, it took me just as much time to make 5 sets of mustaches sets as did 5 sets of sleepover pals.

Lesson 280: Time is money. Work smarter, not harder.

 The Tag-a-long Dolls were the first to go last time, so I wanted to be prepared. There were 5 more that didn't fit in the shot.

I sold every. single. one. before 4 o'clock.

Lesson 869: People LOVE the dolls that you make. Spend more time making what you want to make!

I wanted to make some cute ornaments, so I made some houses...

...some gnomes...

...some apples...

...and pears.

Of course- also on my list of ornaments to make were squirrels, mushrooms, bunnies, hedgehogs, matryoshka dolls, and cats.

Lesson 645 and 328: Make ornaments waaaay before Christmas, and, there's always next year.

From the moment the summer Renegade ended, I have been plotting my shared booth design. After this one, I only have one more thing to tweak, and then I think it's perfect.

I need to make a new sign, like out of actual fabric. But the paper worked wonderfully!

I bought a 10x10 tent, and 3 "walls", and 2 LACK side tables from Ikea. 

The swings were a last minute addition by my brilliant husband. They still need some design work, but I love how they added display space (that's not some flimsy rack or a heavy bookcase)




These little foxes went pretty fast. I wanted to make many, many more, and so did the people who came back later to buy them, but they are completely hand sewn and take forever. So they are priced high, and I only had time for 2.

As always, hair clips are a must. People love them!

Secret: I hate making them.



I wanted to get custom stickers made for my bags, but I waited too long to order them. So I ended up stamping them all with the stamp that I already had. I like it better, don't you?

And now, onto my fav booths...


Amazing globes.


Such cute japanese bows.


These cats. OMG. Their display was top notch. Her husband built a fruit/veggie stand to house all of her plushies. She also makes crinkly bacon and chicken wings rattles for babies. So cute!

That grey one came home with me. 

I always have to stop by the Wool Buddy booth. And buy something. 


This birdie necklace kills me. If I wore large necklaces...

Tako Fibers. LOVE her. She is so friendly! And makes such cute crewl kits!

Which several family members got as gifts! Yay!

This display was also amazing. Museum amazing.

About that one percent....

...I'll tell ya later.