Sunday, December 30, 2007

Snowgirls and Elves

Ok, now that I got all the bad luck and karma wrote about, here are some pics of my latest dolls at ebay. I somehow managed to get more dolls done! They were finished before Christmas but I didn't have time to get them up. My first snowgirl of the season is Miss Snowy Flurrette. For a full view of her go to the ebay link.

Here's Sparkle another snowgirl:

This is Trudy. I also have 2 boys at ebay, Nibs and Pip.

I thought I'd get hooked on making the snowgirls but it's the elves I'm really enjoying. I have 4 more I'm working on. Look for Jack & Jackie Frost, a mad hatter elf, and a snow queen elf. These guys are some much fun to make I'm not working on any new patterns (bad girl!). I was working on the gift bag doll but lost steam on it so I'll probably go back to the wall fairy I was working on last summer.

Hope you all have a very happy New Year!!!!!!

Dreams of a better new year & karma !

Wow, after rereading my last post just call me Debbie Downer. This blog was supposed to be about my dolls and the business and here I am moaning about being miserable. That only makes me more miserable.

I believe in Karma, not just the 'My Name is Earl' kind, doing good to make up for past bad stuff. I believe that what you put out in the universe, in your life, comes back to you. I've been thinking about all the bad stuff that's happened this year and how it made me even more pessimistic than usual. I've been moaning about the small and the big, totaling it up like a sales reciept. Could this be why more keeps happening? With all this wallowing and claiming I must have broke a mirror or worse to have this string of bad luck, am I calling more bad luck to me? I know with agoraphobia and depression being happy and grateful are pretty impossible but changing the way I think has got to be my new years resolution. When something bad happens no matter if it's as small as a pencil breaking or as large as ... (leaving it blank, use your imagination!, I've got to remember it's all a part of life. Crap happens. The post office and ebay don't raise their rates just to hurt me; my dog doesn't poo on the floor everyday to spite me, she's old and can't control herself; and appliances and other stuff breaking happens. Most everything around here is old so it shouldn't be a surprise when it happens. The big question is, even if I try to change a part of me will always be pessimistic, so can my karma really change for the better?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Nightmare of November Continues into December

I was hoping that this month was going to be better but it's not. Here's the run down on what's been going on so far.

1. Did get the dryer finally fixed but had to try a new guy. He seems ok but does charge more. Fingers crossed that he didn't nick the dryer belt or do anything else. I know I'm such a pessimist!

2. Was so excited when I finally got new end tables, a coffee table, and a leather lazy boy. It was all expensive stuff but saved a ton as the store was closing. I've been putting off getting new furniture because the cat tended to scratch everything ( he died so that was no longer a problem), my oldest dog (15) has accidents that include both ends, and the other 2 dogs race around and jump on the furniture. The lab also has another problem, he has the need to 'cover' over the Spice's pee accidents. She got stuck when I was moving furniture to clean and peed on the floor. Murphy not only peed on the spot, but on her, and the new leather chair! Didn't see him but as the other dog is small we knew it was him. Cleaned it up and used odor remover. Guess that wasn't enough because he did it again yesterday. Ready to have a stress induced break down.
3. Then there's Paypal shipping. For 3 days I had trouble printing postage. For one customer I had to retype her entire address because they wouldn't ok it. After 9 times and 3 days it finally went thru. Dial-up is a pain put this made it even more aggravating.

4. The cold I've had since the beginning of Nov. is playing come and go. One day I feel fine and the next it's back. I'm wondering if it's just allergies again.

5. I'm working on 3 elves and 3 snowgirls right now but it seems every time I get started on them something comes up, DOGS-PHONE-COMPUTER-HUSBAND-SHOPPING-HOUSE-MAIL-DOGS.
6. I've really got a case of over stress and it's causing the bah humbugs. I did get the outside of the house decorated but nothing is up inside. I also dread getting the mail each day cause there might be another Christmas card. I'm just not in the mood to send any.
7. Joined in one of my ebay group's Christmas ornament exchange. Made sure to finish the gift and get it plus some extra tatted wreath pins in the mail before the deadline. Haven't heard from my exchange partner and she hasn't bothered to post that she got mine. Guess she's too embarrassed to admit she got her gift but never send one.
8. Found out for sure that Kodak won't fix my camera and can't find suggestions on how to fix it. Don't know whether to see if a guy in Pittsburgh who work on cameras can fix it or not. So , so, so upset over this. It's just another example of our throw-away society when you can't get things fixed.

Managed to get all five of the tree toppers up but no nibbles yet. I find it amazing when I see other doll makers getting $200, $300, even over $400 for their cloth dolls. I need to find a group of people who like my work!

Here are a few pictures. For more go to my store from the link at the right side of the blog.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nightmare of a Month

Wow, I'm so glad this month is finally ending and HOPE next month will be better!

It all started with a cold I got at the beginning of the month that just won't go away ( Probably from one of the Halloweeners we got this year). Every time I start to feel better it comes back the next day. It makes me so tired I'm having trouble finishing anything. I cut out 5 tree top angel/fairies, 2 elves and 2 snow girls right at the beginning of the month and am still working on the tree toppers (haven't started the others yet). Three are done, whoo hoo!

I'd post pictures but that leads me to my next headache. My so easy to use Kodak camera quit working Thanksgiving morning. The lens won't extend. Seems this is a problem with this type of camera. Wonder if house dust causes this? It sits in it's dock ready to go all the time. Maybe I needed a camera cozy! I'm trying to decide whether to have it fixed, buy a new one, or learn to use the husbands complicated dig cam. It's so frustrating that the camera broke because I'm always SO careful with it. It never leaves the house & never has been dropped. I HATE STUFF BREAKING!!!!

Speaking of stuff breaking there's my clothes dryer. It was working fine, dried 3 loads but when I put in the 4th, POOF! Broke! Worse my regular repair guy isn't answering his messages. That was on Monday and I'm still waiting. This Monday I call someone else. It's so cold out but I'm hanging laundry outside and in the basement. Not looking forward to hanging all the whites tomorrow! I know, I know I could take them to the landro but I hate to sit around in there. It's hard to breath when I don't have a cold but now I'd be a runny mess from all the steam.

Then there's our sewer. It started backing up into the basement drains the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Got the drains cleaned out and then yesterday they started again. Thank goodness I have a great sewer guy who came back, fixed it and didn't charge me again. We have to have them cleaned out every fall. It's either that or cut done trees (NEVER!).

One of the ebay groups I joined is doing an ornament exchange. I got someone who sells primitive embroidery so I'm doing a slide charm ,unsoldiered cause I haven't taken the time to learn how to yet! I finished it this morning and I really like it. I wraped it with rusty wire and added 2 rusty snowflakes and a bell. At the top I put torn strips of plaid homespun and narrow vintage looking tinsel garland. I also plan on making a folded envelope to put it in and will send a few of my tatted wreath pins. Gotta get it in the mail by Sat!

I'm off to see if I can join another halloween group at eBay. It's the one I originally wanted to join but they weren't taking new members at the time, now they are. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dreams of actually finishing things!

I'm trying to move on to making things for Christmas to put up on eBay but have come down with a nasty cold that has sapped most of my strength.

I'm working on 5 tree top angels at one time. Last night got most of an Americana one done. The others need dressed, they all need hair and faces done. I really like making these and hope they'll sell. I saw a tree top snowman on eBay yesterday that looked just like the pattern I had printed in Soft Dolls & Animals. I'm thinking about selling the snowman I made for the magazine. I am filling too many Rubbermaid tubs with dolls from magazines and patterns.

With no Joann fabrics local any more it's become harder to find what I need. I bought some great vintage looking thin tinsel at and some rusty bells and wire. I'm having a go at folk art prim dolls. This is so new for me. I've cut out 2 snow people and will sew them when I get the toppers done. I also have 2 cute elves to sew up. Don't know if I'll even get to the snow fairies I planned on making. EBay has so many fairy makers, mostly sculpted clay.

I'm finding it interesting finding how folk art designers are staining fabric. Some use tea or coffee with vanilla or cinnamon, some actually rub spices into the dolls for a grungy look, and a few are using dye or watered down paint. I prefer tea or natural dye. For the Americana doll I quick dyed the fabric with cutch bark that I bought years ago. It's a great color but leaves an odd smell. I think I'll spray her with some tea to cover it. I have a box of natural dyes I had planned on using to dye ribbon and pearl cotton to sell but never got around to. Every summer I take some white fabric cut into quilter's quarters and have fun dying it.

It's time to get back to work. Hope to finish at least 3 of the dolls by Saturday!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Searching For the Perfect Group~

Are you like me and have been searching for the perfect doll making group to join? Just when I said I was leaving most of my Yahoo groups I signed up to join 3 more! Two are pending so I have to wait to see what happens there. One is a local Pittsburgh group and even though I won't be going to monthly meeting it would be cool to be a member.

This time I have to be cruel, I have to try them out and if they're not right get out before I feel I have to stay. Yahoo groups are so easy to and then can take way too much time. I can't be involved any more with groups that expect full participation, no must sends, trades , or must participates. Of the five eBay groups I joined last week I'm ready to leave one, maybe 2.

I find it hard to leave the groups I've joined all because of a graphics tag group I belonged to ages ago. This was before Gmail and my email wouldn't handle the large volume so I had to leave to stop the bouncing. The moderator of this group had a set email to those who leave that was so mean and just down right rude that I now break out in a sweat whenever I leave a group hoping never to come across another leave message like that again. I used to make up being ill but now I just admit I'm too busy to stay. Some one should start a web site with excusses to use when you need to leave any group!

Hope you all had a fun Halloween! I had trick or treaters for the first time in 2 years!

I'm way behind with sewing again having spent too much time on this group fixation I've developed. I had planned on posting 3 baby dragons in a cage on eBay this weekend but I've yet to finish cutting them out. I did get a new pattern from Back Porch Pickins. Yes I do buy other people's patterns! It's the only way for me to learn new techniques other than take online classes. Tonya has great prices on rusty stuff and tinsel garland. She also doesn't over charge on postage. Makes me realize just how bad my web site ordering needs updated!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Here's a pic of my latest Halloween doll, a ghost bride. I really like her and hope you will, too. Look for more on here at my eBay store where she's for sale.

I know I'm a few days early but I may not get back here on Wed. A few things I posted for Halloween on eBay have sold. I also joined some eBay groups in hope that adding their names would help get me more exposure. I'm alos getting out of some of the yahoo groups I belong to. There's just not enough time for them all. First to go was the Paint Shop Pro group. Next will be the altered art groups. Here's a list of the 5 ebay groups I now belong to:

1. HA31, Halloween Artists Gathering - Thay also have a web site. I'll link to it when I get on it.

2. SEHA, Society of Ecletic Halloween Artists

3. Dare to Design, I thought this was a group for fellow pattern designs but it seems to be a group a person who makes bead spiders started. Not much activity other than her posts.

4. ADSG, Art Doll Scuplture - Not sure I fit in here. Most make fairy and fatasy dolls from clay.

5. EFFA, Fareyzine - Not sure I fit in here either.
Can't believe there's not a Christmas doll group. In fact there's not many Christmas groups. I thought about staring one but don't know if I want the hassle of moderating even if I limit the membership. There's a dragon group and a thread bear group. I should join these, too.

Here's another of my new dolls. She's a vampire queen. Wish I could have gotten a better picture of her. All the black makes her face photograph badly, you can't see her nose. She's on eBay, too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Nightmare of a Month

I could have done without this month.

First my husband decided to take a trip to Michigan for 9 days. I was all excited thinking I'd have so much time to finish the bag doll pattern, make some things for Halloween, and catch up on some projects around the house but life had other plans for me. The Sat. morning he left started out well. I was working on tidying my sewing room while my 15 year old springer spaniel slept. When I heard her moving I went to check on her and found she was having trouble standing. Thinking it was just because she was on the bed I lifted her off and carried her outside, that's when I realized she couldn't keep her balance. After taking care of her all day I was sure she had a mini stroke. My Mom came to stay to help me (Love Ya Mom!). I refused to take her to the vet knowing he'd just suggest putting her to sleep so I feed her Rice Dream milk with an eyedropper, got her to drink pedialyte, and barely slept so I could get up when she tried to get up. Amazing but by Wednesday she was walking on her own again and eating (as long as it wasn't dog food). When my husband got home he was surprised she had improved so much. We had been on the phone everynight talking about her. She still has a slight tilt to her head but no other problems. She's even eating her Iams again.

While I was so busy taking care of her, my cat died. He was the same age and hadn't been in good health all summer. We had been talking about having him put to sleep but decided to put it off until after the trip.

Next 2 friends died. Both of cancer but still it was a shock. This week will be the 20th anniversary of my fathers death. He died way too young of a heart attack.

In between all this pain and grief I've been making Halloween items for my eBay store. I've got mini crochet teddy bears in ornie cones, small mohair bears dressed in Halloween prints, some witches, and a cat. Here's a close-up of one of the witches I made:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Info on New Pattern!

I'm finally about half way done with the new pattern, even the directions! Some changes have happened along the way and I'm sure there will be more but I thought I'd at least post pictures of the face and some more info about it.

First there will be 2 versions of the doll. Most of my patterns do have 2 versions because I can never decide which I like best and rather than release them as 2 separate patterns I just combine them. One will have legs and the other will not. That one is called a gift bag doll. Her skirt is made full and tied closed at the bottom so you can put a gift inside. Of course it can just have a bit of crumpled tissue in it for display.
The pattern will come with a face I've printed on my computer and sealed with matte acrylic spray. All you will have to do is paint or color in the face! So easy!!! Here are pictures of the face painted the same except for the eye color. I haven't added the eyelashes yet on the first picture so you can see that all the black is the printed face, nothing more was drawn. I painted the eyes and mouth. The next one has the finished faces with the spray I use to seal them.

This week I'll decide on the hair. I'm gone thru 3 different yarns and even feathers but I think I'm going to use my always favorite, the baked yarn curls. They look so pretty and are easy to make.

I'm also planning on working on the clothing. I've changed this a few times, too. At first I had 2 completely different styles for the 2 dolls but then I realized that what I really had were 2 completely different patterns so now I'm working on combining what I like best of both into 2 slightly different styles. I'm using a lot of tulle.

Hope you'll come back in a few weeks to read more!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Two-Headed Dragon Finally Done!

Wow! I can't believe it's been so long since my last post. I've been busy with sewing, tatting, gardening, and the eBay store.

I'm most happy that I finally finished the 2-headed dragon. I thought I post a few pics of him. Since there are 2 heads there must be 2 names. Salix & Solix are the dragon's names. The rider is Sage Hawthorne Sumerset. I know, what a mouthful! But I really like choosing the names. They're up at my eBay store right now. If you want to see bigger pictures follow the link in my link section to my store and click on dragons.

I have a smaller dragon I'm finishing up. It's peach and yellow. That might be a hard one to sell but I fell in love with the fabrics. I still can't decide whether to make a larger doll to hold him or to put him in a chest. That will keep him from being finished for a while. Sorry no pics of him until he's done.

Have been ignoring the doll pattern I should be working on. Have a bad case of the lazies and just can't talk myself into working on it. I wonder if this is a bad sign and that I shouldn't bother to finish it because it will be a bad seller? or have I found yet another excuse?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Paint Shop Pro & Art Slides

I swore I wouldn't rejoin any of the graphics groups I used to belong to but I recently rejoined the Masters Paint Shop Pro yahoo group. I spent/wasted years doing nothing but making graphics using psp and putting them on web pages to share. There were many days I did nothing but make sig tags and was online looking for graphics and tubes to use. It became insane as I started to hate making the tags and other grahics but felt I had to do it to stay in the group. That's when I finally left. That was a little over 2 years ago.

The reason I decided to go back for a short time (I really mean it!) is to help me with some altered art projects. A year and half ago I bought everything I needed to make art slides but I just can't seem to get around to making the paper art to put in them. Then there's the book that I also want to do but again I just can't seem to get my head thinking that way. That's the great thing about groups that use Paint Shop Pro to make and share graphics, they get you thinking about pictures and layers. I'm hoping this won't backfire on me but since I plan on leaving in Oct so I can get ready for holidays sales I guess I won't waste too much time.

Last week I sold one of my cloth dragons and riders at my ebay store! I really like making them with the riders. I'm finishing a two-headed one. The dragon is done but I still have a little to do on the rider.
Here's a picture of Marigold Meadowton and Mataria. Mataria's face shape is based on the dragon from the movie Eragon. Marigold has a bag with scrolls and wired gemstones.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Summer Dreamin'

Hard to believe it's June already. I had planned on having my new pattern done by now but I got side tracked by the tatting book again. Last night I got out the doll and decided to slowly get back to work on her. Today I'm working on the head. I'm making a few so I can get pictures of various steps without having to stop so often. I really like having color pics of most of the steps but it does slow down the process.

To celebrate Summer I thought I'd post a pic of my favorite crochet mini merbear. The tail is fabric but I crocheted the bear body, headband, bracelet, the fringy skirt, and her top. The 'seaweed boa' is crocheted from a fuzzy yarn (it's draped over the rock). I even made the seashell throne she sits in!

This is the second merbear I've made. I sold the first at my ebay store. I plan on putting this one up for sale this month.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Store's Back Up!

I finally got the eBay store, ,up and running again last week. I never should have shut it down in the first place. I love the new colors I used now that I've lived with them for a week. I was so worried they were too dark I made new ones in various colors to try out. I love them all so much I'm thinking about changing colors every season.

I found a web site that has so much great info for people who sell at eBay who want to use HTML to enhance their auctions and stores. The person who runs it goes by the name Shipscript and is a great help! I love the Pretty Borders Coder! It's a lot of fun to play with!

Updates on past posts:

1. Never heard back from the doll magazine. Guessing even though they say they'll accept submissions by email, they don't. Not sure what I'll do with the pattern now.

2. Haven't been in the mood to sit and sew, so the newest pattern is going nowhere. I can report that I've been working on my tatting book again instead. This has been being worked on for over 10 years now. I get tired of all the tatting the samples require. Half of the book has been written but I need to decide just how many patterns to include. Barb at Handy Hands told me I should have about 15 but since this book needs to be in color and there are 4-6 pages of directions with diagrams per pattern I'm tempted to stop at 10. I have 8 samples done, number 9 is almost done, and 10 is drafted.

3. Taking a small break from the Barnes & Noble group. It's just not as good as when it was a class. I've been so busy with the store and the tatting that I haven't had time to fit in writing. Another problem I have with the club is that it's for regular fiction, though that hasn't stopped all the fantasy writers from joining in, but what I really want is a club for mystery writers. Maybe one will start this summer.

Hope you'll have a look at the new store!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

One Dream Coming True

At Last I'm finally ready to reopen my eBay store! I thought I might as well wait until the new postage rates came but then I decided to make new graphics. This is a big problem for me because I love to make them but then can never decide which to use. I really should change them monthly to use all of them. I have graphics with various colors of backgrounds but always stay with my little sewing girl. This time around I thought I'd go for an antique look but then decided that was too boring so I did a whole series in brown and pink. It reminded me of candy but I changed my mind and made them in turquoise and brown. Here's a small preview of the logo and one of the other graphics:

Notice I'm now offering a monthly giveaway! With postage costs going up I thought this would make a great free gift.

My plan is to have most of the store up before the weekend. I'll get a link here to it when it's up. Hope you'll stop by to shop!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Few Dreams-

I still haven't heard back from the doll magazine. I'm beginning to think when they say to email them, it's better to send a snail mail letter. That way they have something in their hands and may remember you and it. If I don't hear back from them by May I think I'll see about turning the pattern into an online class. Maybe I'll add more flowers to choose from.

Finished the directions for the felt bears. Still need to do the pattern pieces but that's easy. I'm going to contact Soft Doll's & Animals magazine about them. Kelly has printed 3 or is it 4 of my patterns? SD&A doesn't pay as well as the doll magazines that were around in the 80's but they're really nice to deal with.

Finished the practice body for my new doll pattern. I like to work out the pattern in muslin until I get it how I want, then I move on to the pretty (and sometimes expensive) fabrics. I've been making doll gift bags for years now and decided to turn it into a pattern. This style of doll doesn't have legs. Instead the dress skirt is full and you tie the bottom closed with a ribbon (after putting the gift inside). It's 2 gifts in one! I know not everyone wants a doll with no legs so I'll be including a leg pattern. I'm thinking I'll do 2 dolls for the cover photo, one with legs and one without. The black and pink fabric for one and black, pink, and orange for the other. This is the fabric I bought last year at a quilt show. It was an expensive pack of quilt quarters but I had to have it for these dolls. I plan on starting the fun sewing next week!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Seems Like a Nightmare

Still waiting to hear from doll magazine about the flower fairy pattern. I hate to be seen as a pest but it looks like I'm going to have to email them. I should have 2 weeks ago just to see if she got the original email I sent.

After dealing with magazines for more than 10 years I know some editors take months to make a decision while others let you know right away one way or the other. This is the biggest reason I stopped sending patterns to magazines for the longest time. It's so hard to wait and then find out, no they can't use it right now but maybe later or if you'd be willing to make a few changes we might consider it or it's perfect except for the color. It makes me crazy! Another nightmare is when they purchase all rights to the pattern but you never see it in print or if they did print it they never bothered to sent you the free issues you are supposed to get. But here's the worst, I sent tatted bracelets to a magazine for photographing and while they had them, they were bought and closed down. I never got paid or the bracelets back!

Oh well, wish me luck!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dreaming of Fairy Bears & More

I didn't realize it had been so long since my last post. I have been busy writing the directions for another pattern, working on a tatting book I started over 10 years ago (and just can't seem to finish!), and yes, I'm spending more time than I need to working on stories I have no intention of ever trying to get published.

Here's a pic of the fairy bears-

They're made from Kunin fuzzy felt. I love to work with this felt. I know most people prefer fur but when your making a small bear and then sewing or gluing decorations to it, I found that any of the Kunin felts are better to use. I mean really, why waste some expensive mohair fabric? I haven't decided whether to try to get this published in Teddy Bear and Friends or go to Soft Dolls & Animals. I'm thinking the felt will keep the teddy bear magazine from being interested.

Have you noticed that the only good teddy bear mags are from Australia? Filled with great patterns and info, why don't we have one like this in the states? I'm really unhappy with the magzines that are published here or should I say lack of. So many went out of publication. I miss McCall's Needlwork and the doll magazines published by House of White Birches, then there's The Cloth Doll, and even MiMi's Let's Talk about Dollmaking. So sad they're not around anymore.

I mentioned the tatting book that's been driving me crazy for over 10 years. I just can't seem to stick with it. I guess one of the reasons is all the tatting that has to be done. I like to try each pattern at least 2 times to make sure I've got the thread amounts right. When I'm tatting up big doily size pieces it takes me forever to finish them. My shoulders and wrists start to hurt so I have to put it away and then I don't get back to it for another year. I only have 3 more pieces to tat then I can add them to the directions I'm already written. I did all the graphics in my old Paint Shop Pro soft ware. I love this program, well at least I love my old version 7. I never bothered to get a newer one to load on the new XP computer so when I need to use it, I fire up the old win98. Which also explains why I have no pictures or graphics to post here. They're on the old computer and I'm on the new.

I just can't stop the writing. It fills my need for a hobby. I have 3 stories going right now (same as always, can't work on one project at a time.!) All I need now is for Barnes & Noble to start up a mystery club (fingers crossed, hope, hope!). I mostly read mysteries so that's what I'm writing except for the time travel one. That one is so fun because I'm writing it from the main characters point of view, well actually she's telling the story. I read a book called 'Him, Her, Him Again, The End of Him' by Patrica Marx and loved this style of writing. Maybe all this fiction writing will help me with my directions for my patterns, at least what I'm telling myself!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Dreaming of Writing-so many books, so little time !

I know I should be working on my latest pattern but I started getting involved with Barnes and Nobles' book clubs and they've become my latest excuse not to. Here's the link: I did take the free classes they used to offer. I guess they decided this new format would be easier to do. I pretty much lurk and read posts in many of the clubs but I'm mostly interested in the writing clubs. Since so many of my hobbies have ended up as part of my business, taking the writing classes they used to offer and now these book clubs are something fun for me to do.

I enjoy reading and will read almost anything. I'll even finish books I don't like just to learn what it is about the writing I don't like. There was a time when I even gave up reading because I had read too many books I didn't like. These were best sellers but I really couldn't see why. I would find that the first book the author wrote was good but those written after weren't. It seems like so many writers pen series of books about the same characters and I was finding that they would repeat things from the previous books or even the same book over and over. It began to seem like filler so the book would be bigger. I won't name the authors who put out my fire for reading. If you want to discuss writers and books you love and hate go over to B&N's site.

I have J.K. Rowling to thank for reawakening my need to read. After hearing so much about the first Harry Potter book I bought a mid-sized paperback of the Sorcerer's Stone and was so pleased with her writing I started to read and write again. It was great to read something that didn't have things over explained or over described. I've enjoyed the rest of the series, too.

I read a lot of mysteries but don't have a favorite author or series. I prefer the cozy style to the PI or cop mysteries. My favorite book is 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. I wish Harper Lee had written more but this one is so good I can understand her reluctance to write another.

I was at the library yesterday and picked up a few books even though I have shelves of ones I still haven't read. I love to go to the local libraries for books, magazines, DVDs, and my favorite- the annual book sales! I've been known to buy so many books that when I get home I find I already own some of them but just haven't read them. I havn't read them because I keep going to the libraries to check out the new ones. I tend to go to 3 of my local libraries to browse but I love how I can get books from libraries all over the state sent to my favorite one so I can pick them up to read. This has lead to long lists of books to get and read! With the snow and extreme cold temps we're supposed to get all this week I'm glad for all the books and magazines I have to curl up with! All I'll need are the dogs, a warm afghan, and a cup of steaming hot chocolate hazelnut coffee.

I am catching up on hand sewing right now. It's amazing how many ufos (unfinished projects) I have. Between various embroidery, quilting, tatting, and all kinds of sewing projects, I have enough to stay busy for a year without starting anything new. This morning I was sorting thru some of the projects when I came across some things (2 jackets, 2 pairs of shorts, 4 cloth book covers, and 5 purses) I had cut out but then put away because I started on something else. After finding all these projects I decided not to even look at the stack of dolls in various states of progress. I'm going to try to finish one of these ufos every 2 weeks. I decided on 2 because 1 week just didn't seem long enough. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by everything I tend to put everything away so I don't have to deal with it, but now I've decided it's time to finish stuff or get rid of it. I have a feeling when I reopen the ebay store, I'll be selling off a lot of excess sewing and crafting supplies!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Removing a Stitch

I decided to close my eBay store for a few months. It's funny, nothing had sold for over a month until last week after I made the decision. I thought about changing my mind and keeping the store running but really hate paying ebay all the fees while making just enough to cover them. So the decision is made, it will be closed at least until Easter. I may reopen then or just put some rabbits up for auction.

I've done pretty well selling on ebay but I do hate the way they're always raising fees and just plain messing up the site for the sellers. You'd think with all the tons of money they've made off of all the sellers they'd be a great business to work with but they really aren't. Just go to the community boards and read all the posts complaining about problems. Last fall they stopped sending me the emails that let me know when something had sold. After a few days of not getting ebay mail I finally checked at the site and found 5 orders. This went on for over a month for me and there are other people, sellers and buyers, who are still having this problem.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Still Stitchin'

I can't believe how much work I have done on the flower ladies pattern! I guess it just took having some quiet time to spend at the computer. It's amazing how much you can get done when the phone isn't ringing, people aren't at the door wanting to visit, and you just let the major housework go. All I have left to do are the directions for the hat, hair, and the wand; then tracing and scanning the patterns.

I'm already thinking about my next pattern. Last night I went thru some of the many design ideas I have and hope to make a decision by the time I'm done with this pattern. I draw ideas on note paper & scraps of paper then keep them in folders with pictures and other things that inspire me. I also have 3 cork boards with ideas pinned to them. Last fall I finally decided it was time to get a little organized with all this paper so I got an accordion file. I labeled sections mermaids, angels, fairies, other fantasy, prims, animals, and misc. This helped a lot but already I need a larger one as I found an old tote with more things that need filed.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Finally Some Stitching

I finally got started on the directions for the dolls I finished last year. I'm at least a third of the way done!! Yay!!!! This always takes me so long because I like to have photos or drawings for most of the steps. Having to stop to take digi-pics slows the process. I use Paint Shop Pro to edit the photos and to make the line drawings.

This pattern has made me realise that the best way to do a new pattern is to make one doll without stopping to write the directions. It's OK to make notes of amounts and anything unusual but just get the doll made. That way if I decide it's not coming out like I planned I haven't wasted time with the directions and don't feel I have to stay with what I've written. I learned this from the B&N writing classes/book club I'm involved with. One of the instructors, Marta, told me to just write without editing to get the story told. This works perfectly for designing dolls, too.Here's a photo of the finished dolls. Right now I'm calling them flower ladies but that could change as I finish the directions.

Another decision to make is whether to self-publish the pattern or try to sell it to a magazine. I only know of 2 that publish cloth doll patterns but recently I read about an online magazine. When I first started designing patterns for magazines they bought all rights and paid anywhere from $150 to $450, now it's not that good though it may be better for well-known designers. Another choice might be to turn it into an online class. I've got some research to do!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Dreaming of Thread (& Other Things)

After enjoying so many blogs I decided it was time I took my writing to the web. Here I plan on talking about the dolls and patterns I'm designing and how slow it's going (or maybe how fast, but that's doubtful). I'll also let you know what else is going on with my business and my dreams for it. And then there are my hobbies that overlap my business. It seems like every time I learn something I want to turn it into a business. Whether it's making something or designing patterns for it, there's not much left in the hobby only category.

Since this is a blog about me, my business, and my hobbies, I'll be writing about a lot of things. Having no children you'd think I'd have plenty of time to sew, write, and design but no it's not like that. My 3 dogs, cat, and husband fill much of my time. I have trouble getting back to work once I've been interrupted. The flow kind of goes away after stopping and starting multiple times. Like right now, it would be nice to write more but the dogs want out yet again. That means I'm done for now. I hope any who pass this way will come back again!