Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hair Clip SALE! Fall Promotional Sale

As a promotional for my new site on
Facebook, I'm offering a discount through my Facebook site. Valid now through September 1st!

Monday, August 17, 2009

American Girl Doll Slippers

Julia loves her new American Girl doll, "Ruthie," recently acquired for her birthday, and her grandma and I have been making clothes and accessories for her. The cute green plaid flannel jammies were made by Grandma, and I thought Ruthie needed some fuzzy little slippers to wear to bed.

I used my baby shoe pattern that I previously posted about, and shrunk it on the scanner. I left the back part of the pattern off and curved the top down to meet the sole. I cut another strip of wool felt to make the back strap and needle-felted natural wool roving for the fluffy trim and in the footbed to make them nice and cushy.

If only I could make them in my size - they look comfortable!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Little Love Bird Hair Clip or Pin Brooch

Sweet little love bird is made of chocolate brown, golden brown, turquoise and apple green 100% wool felt with a needle-felted top knot. Layered hand-cut and hand-embroidered felt flapper measures about 2 inches from beak to tail feather.

As a hair clip, little love bird will enclose a 1.5 inch snap clip and is also available as a French barrette or pin brooch.

Swedish Dala Horse Hair Clip or Pin

Traditional Swedish Dala Horse in red, yellow and blue wool. The body of the horse is 100% wool felt with details needle-felt using 100% merino wool roving.

Available as a hair clip or pin brooch, Red Dala Horse measures about 2 inches from nose to rump. It encloses a 1.5 inch snap clip.

Partridge 'n a Pear Holiday Hair Clip Gift Set

I've been focusing on some new holiday designs and here is one of the first of my new holiday line.

"On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree....." Well, not a pear TREE, but how about a Partridge AND a Pear? This lovely, unique gift set is made of 100% wool felt in lovely green, brown, and yellow with golden brown needle felted merino wool details.

Each pear and partridge are tiny works of art - the details are hand "shaded" with tiny wool fibers, so each set will be unique. Each measure between 1.5-2 inches and will enclose either 1.25 or 1.5 inch snap clips.

Also available as French barrettes or pin brooches. Please indicate your preference in the notes at checkout. Gift set will come in a gift box ready for gifting.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Needle Felted Ball - Jingle Frog!

Ribbit! I had a blast making this fun wool felt project. I imagine there must be a faster way to make wool felt balls, but I just figured out a way to make them on my own, and built up some arm muscles in the process.

I was envisioning a baby toy or rattle for the frog, so I scavenged the house for a large jingle bell, and found none. I had some teeny tiny jingle bells, so I put 3 tiny bells inside an aluminum cap for cloth-covered buttons and began winding wool roving around and around. Occasionally, I'd tuck wool fibers in using my felting needles, tiny, barbed needles used to mesh the wool fibers together into a felt.

When it would get a bit lumpy, I'd stop wrapping and begin needle felting, jabbing the needle repeatedly and rotating the ball as I went to ensure an even felt. I did this about 3 times before I wrapped the ball with green roving (I used a natural wool roving for the center as it is cheaper than the dyed wool).

After felting the green roving evenly, I formed little green balls for the eyes and attached them, then created little balls of the same, slightly darker green wool for little warty spots on his back. A bright yellow ball of fluff was added for the eyes, then a chocolate brown for the center of the eyes. I decided I wanted him to have a protuberant nose, so I sculpted a mass of green wool to his face until I had a gradually sloping face.

Lastly, I twisted some chocolate brown roving into a long string and needle felted it in place as the mouth. It rattles quite satisfactorily, and even rattles continuously if you roll it across a table because the loose bells inside the button cover tumble as it rolls.

I'm not sure who I'm going to give it to yet, or if I'm going to sell it, but it was fun to make!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to Start a Hair Clip or Bow Business - The Best Felt and Hair Clip Supplies

Whether you only make hair clips and bows for your own daughter or you want to sell them online, going to Michaels and Walmart (or JoAnns, or wherever) for your supplies can get old, and EXPENSIVE.

When I first started my online business, I went to Michaels and Walmart for my supplies because I wasn't sure how my business would grow, and I didn't want to invest a bunch of money all at once. However, I would find that the supplies I needed were not constantly available, and I was paying for the "middle-man" mark-up, and all the extra packaging that went along with it.

Maximum savings is always achieved in BULK. Storage is definitely a factor - where will you put all your extra supplies? My office is a bit over-crowded, much to the chagrin of my lovably OCD hubby. So investing in a storage system is a good idea.

The categories of supplies you'll need are as follows:
❀Raw Materials

Assuming you already have the tools you will need for crafting (good sharp scissors, needles, etc.) your next basic materials will be your raw materials and hardware.

What kind of hair clips/bows will you make? Basic craft store felt is easily available (and pretty cheaply) at the craft store, but it is not very durable. Recycled and synthetic vegan felt is also available, but I haven't researched where to purchase that particular type of felt. I find that 100% wool felt is my choice, but there are also some excellent wool blend felts available in many lovely colors.

Some sellers on Etsy have done the bulk purchasing for you, and offer reasonable prices, but you are sometimes limited by quantity. However, it is a good option for someone starting up.

My favorite suppliers of felt are right here in the USA, small businesses with awesome customer service, and very fast turn-around. Weir Dolls has lovely felt, and also low shipping costs.
If you request it, they will send your package via first class mail, and refund you the extra shipping charges. I always go here first to save on shipping. Their color options are not very wide, but they have a decent selection. You can also find thread, wool roving, fabrics and other great supplies here while supporting another small business.

My second choice for felt supplies is another USA small business.
A Child's Dream Come True has a great selection of lovely wool felt, roving, you name it, but the shipping costs are a little high. When I need felt, I make sure I purchase many squares at once to spread the shipping cost out over a larger number of squares. If I need just one square of felt, I would use Weir Dolls.

Hardware choices are many, but I go for simplicity in ordering when I'm looking to purchase my supplies. You also want to make sure you aren't buying some nasty lead-coated metal clips or something.

I went through the expense of having these hair clips XRF tested, and they have been certified lead-free. I sent 3 sizes of snap clips and 3 sizes of French barrettes from Trimweaver and each came back as having NO LEAD at all. They offer bulk discount on hair clips, ribbon, and many other supplies.

After you've made your lovely creations, and are fortunate to have a sale, how are you going to package and ship them? I started out using some little boxes from Oriental Trading, but they were a bit irritating because I had to fold and glue them before I could mail out my packages. I discovered craft boxes from Paper Mart to be the best deal I've seen. You'll need a place to store them because they come in bulk, but the plain brown kraft jewelry boxes are 100% recycled content, and make packaging secure and gift-ready.

Bubble mailers from places like Office Max and Walmart are ok if you want to pay a bit more, but we're talking about something your buyer will potentially throw away - so I wouldn't want to spend too much. There are instructions online for making your own bubble mailers, but who has time for that??

I found Shipping Supply Co. has excellent prices and you get it FAST. The only problem is storing a huge box of bubble mailers. If you can work out where you will store your supplies, this place is a great one-stop for your shipping supplies.

Hopefully my trial and error will be helpful to other mommies wanting to start up a hair clip business, or just make fun clips for your family and friends. Happy crafting!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I ♥ Etsy

Not only do I love selling my felt creations on Etsy, but I confess to spending a decent portion of my sales supporting the other artists on the fabulous marketplace! You can find ANYTHING on there, and the best part is that each purchase directly impacts a single artisan and their family. I feel great after each expenditure, knowing that my money is supporting a small-time business.

Most recently, I purchased decor for the "play room," which is currently bursting at the seams and needing storage overhaul, but one project at a time, right? The Disney theme began at an auction last year for the Make A Wish Foundation at which my first live auction participation also became my first live-auction purchase (I prefer to consider it a WIN).

An original Cinderella lithograph and segment of film from the Disney movie Cinderella coordinated gorgeously with the already blue walls.

I found a lovely photograph featuring the castle at Walt Disney World in Florida (someday I hope to actually see it in person...) from Steve Allat.

So the pair look lovely framing the play room window, but the walls are lacking. Enter vinyl wall decals!

I'm excited to receive this castle decal to decorate the wall above the guest bed in the play room (the room does double-duty I'm afraid... my apologies to those guests who are not Disney fans. Actually, if you dislike Disney, perhaps you aren't a welcome guest after all!!) from The Overloaded Noggin.

I also can't help but purchase adorable clothes for my daughter, whose closets are already full and bursting, but I can't resist a good sale! My most recent acquisition (which I am soooo excited to receive) is a darling autumn outfit from Candy Stick Lane. I'm planning on her wearing it for Thanksgiving, and any other function between now and the Christmas season. You won't find a nicer Etsy artisan or a cuter shop than Renee at Candy Stick Lane!

I could fill my blog with photos of the myriad of adorable children's clothes on Etsy, and perhaps I will once I'm finished purchasing ALL OF THEM! But I would feel a bit remiss if I never showered myself with Etsy treasure once in a while, so here are a few of my own little pleasures purchased this summer.

I have quite a developed and oft-indulged addiction to reading (hey, if you have to have an addiction, at least it is one that helps my brain rather than deteriorates it, right?) which prompted my hubby to get me a Kindle for my upcoming 30th birthday (ouch - I just admitted that in print....). Every new toy deserves its own accessory, so I found this awesome padded purse/bag dedicated to my Kindle and accessories from Borsa Bella.

Adding to my summer wardrobe was also high on my Etsy priority list. I've made a few purchases from Ahpeele for various seasons of style, and I love the quirky fun and super comfy tees. This particular shirt has been one of my favorites all summer.

Another awesome tee, which incidentally, I believe led to me getting CARDED the other night at dinner, an occurrence which has not taken place in I can't remember how long, is printed by rainbowswirlz.

Fun, soft, and whimsical, I couldn't care in the least that it may be a bit juvenile; I♥ this shirt!
(BTW - this is not me in the photo, if it were,
I could totally agree with the waitress that
carding was absolutely necessary)

So bohemian and comfortable, I love sliding my feet into these wonderful sandals by Sandali. They fit as if molded for my feet, were very reasonably priced, and the rich lovely color goes with everything. I fully expect these sandals to last forever, they are so well-made.

A peek into my shopping habits on Etsy - I hope you've enjoyed it! Now get out there and shop!!!