Friday, June 11

A little bit of this and that

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Hello friends!

oops, I did it again - that is, not blog for weeks on end. At this point I'm probably writing into the void, bar for the handful of exceptionally loyal readers who have stuck with me throughout the years. Know that I appreciate you so much ­čĺĽ

So while my poor blog has been collecting dust, I have been busy dealing once again with new rules and regulations affecting my small business. In fact, in the past 3 - 4 years it seems like the powers that be have been targeting small businesses - especially online businesses. I finally had to loop in my tax consultant, because the whole process is quite complicated. As the new regulation goes into effect next month I've sadly had to "lower my sights" businesswise. It's kind of depressing actually, but I'm not throwing in the towel just yet. I love my shop, my products and of course my fabulous customers!

In a nutshell, this basically means that I will be shipping my goods primarily to the following countries:

GERMANY, USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, JAPAN, NORWAY, SWITZERLAND, SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA 

I may be able to ship my goods to:

ENGLAND (with reservations), LATIN AND SOUTH AMERICA, SELECT ASIAN COUNTRIES

I may be able to ship my goods to:

AUSTRIA, if you use one of those companies that provide delivery addresses in Germany close to the border and are able  to pick up the goods from there.

Finally, I won't be able to ship my goods to: EU countries outside Germany

The latter must seem especially confusing and not wanting to get into the nitty-gritty, trust that I have gone through all options available to me ­čśö

If your country isn't listed - contact me at my email and I will check if I can ship to you!

All of this comes at an unfortunate time, because my own website plus Etsy have propelled forward in the last pandemic year and I was actually hoping for a repeat this year. Now with having to cut important shipping destinations I will really need to up my game locally.
As if that wasn't enough to deal with I will also have to primarily source my goods locally too. Thankfully, I have been carrying popular acufactum fabrics for a while now and they are based right here in Germany. Below are some new fabrics that I have received recently. They are certified oekotex® cotton fabrics at 58" wide. 





Except for the fox one, all are available both at my website and at Etsy.

In other news...

This past Monday I received my second vaccination. So far I only have a sore arm and felt a bit tired the next day. I am so relieved. I have decided to keep wearing my mask while grocery shopping, though, out of courtesy for those that haven't had a shot yet. It is slow going in Germany, as there aren't enough vaccines available. sigh.

My beloved sewing machine of 12 years broke down a few weeks ago. Ugh.  I'm still deciding whether to get a new one or bring it to the repair shop, which is actually a bike repair shop, but the guy does sewing machines on the side. I will have to make a decision soon, as it is really weird not being able to sew!
Plus I'm still suffering slightly from "creative block". I'm putting it down to being cooped up at home for 14 months. I miss those garden days . I always found inspiration there. Speaking of garden, we have started picking up where we left off in our garden again, however it's a bigger project than we initially thought! So, no pictures as of yet. 

While browsing the internet I came upon this art site and suddenly I felt the urge to paint again. I haven't held a paint brush in probably over ten years...
Anyway one art site led to another and another and basically I'm now passionate about mixed media art. I know I'm very late to the game, but I am just happy it sparked my creativity again, even though it's completely different to sewing ­čîł
I have been circling Dina Wakley's Mixed Media Art Journal for a while and finally bought it. I was intrigued by the various painting surfaces - watercolor, canvas, burlap and kraft paper - inside and wanted to try out some new techniques. I bought some basic art supplies (that was fun!) and also unearthed the swag bag I once received while attending the KreativMesse. I hadn't even opened some of those crafty things and now they will be put to good use!


Hopefully I can show you some stuff I've done with it in the near future. I know the burlap is tricky. We'll see what I come up with. 
Thank you for reading along. I hope you are all doing well. I know these past months have been so tough for many of us. Take care! Love ~



Sunday, February 21

Crafting a little felt bunny & shop news

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Hi everybody,


what a turbulent start to the new year. On top of pandemic fatigue (yes, it's a thing).

We've been in a partial lockdown since January and by the end of February it will be one year that I've been sheltering at home with the occasional trips to the supermarket. Plus earlier this month we were hit by a massive snow storm - which, if you have been following my blog for some time - you will know is quite unusual. My area is known for rain, but not snow or subzero temperatures. We were completely snowed in for an entire week, and I'm just glad I had the foresight to stock up on food.

I remain hopeful that with more and more people getting vaccinated there will be a shift by the end of this year. Until then we will still need to remain cautious and follow the hygiene guidelines including wearing a mask.  

Needless to say the international trade fair that I used to go to every year won't be taking place this year. Instead there will be a digital version. I am curious how that will work out, and I truly hope it will be better than the zoom meeting I had the other day with about twenty other people - one guy obviously had his laptop on his coffee table, because we were looking at his knees the entire time haha. Don't do this.

Anyway, on to the purpose of this blog post. If you have been following me on instagram you will have noticed that I've barely posted anything crafty. Truth is that I've been feeling unmotivated and seem to have lost my creative mojo. I was really unhappy about it and tried to combat it by going through diy magazines, looking for inspiration online and I even bought a few sewing/crafting books to get me going. Thankfully one of these books reignited my creative spark! 


Making Marmalade (this is what the bunny is called) by illustrator Simone Gooding is a sewing book that uses wool felt and quilting fabrics. It looks simple enough, but don't be fooled - there is a lot of handstitching involved and some of the steps aren't explained - it is assumed that you have basic sewing knowledge. So if you have made dolls/animals before and especially doll clothes, this book is for you. For beginner sewists it is not.



The projects are divided into seasons. The main project revolves around Marmalade and corresponding seasonal outfits, plus an adorable baby bunny (see above). I appreciate that there are large photos of the finished projects as well as close up pics throughout the book. And Simone's illustrations, of course, are lovely. I just went ahead and made a few projects regardless of the current season, with a few changes here and there to suit my taste. Marmalade measures about 12 inches. You need a lot of patience sewing doll clothes this small.





Instead of glass eyes I simply stitched the eyes with black embroidery yarn. I used cream colored and white felt for the body and exchanged some felted items with my favorite fabrics. I especially love how the sweet pillow and quilted blanket turned out. You don't require a lot of fabric for these projects - all of the fabric I used here are from my remnant bin! One of the best things about this book - the patterns at the back of the book are all actual size!
Now that my creative flow is back I will be continue making outfits for bunny (I think there are two outfits left) and I also have spring/summer craft ideas lined up. Can't wait to share :)

Note: this is not a sponsored post or book review. 

In shop news...


As mentioned in my previous post I have been waiting for fabric deliveries longer than usual due to the pandemic. Thankfully this spring collection by acufactum is now on its way to me. Just looking at these fabrics makes me happy. The details are adorable. Honestly I can't wait for Spring!


Easter post card in soft pastel green from April Rose 


Well that's it from me. I hope this post brings a spot of cheer to your day! Stay safe and healthy and let's do our best to look out for each other.



Sunday, November 29

Final Post in 2020 plus Fabric News & April Rose

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Hi everyone!

2020 is coming to an end and what a tough year it's been for all of us! Especially these last few months have really taken their toll, as I was anxiously watching the US election. My brother and family live there so it does affect me. While I am truly relieved at the outcome and eternally grateful for everyone that came out and voted despite the pandemic, I'm only cautiously optimistic as Joe Biden hasn't been sworn in yet. Even as I write this the current occupant of the White House is implementing destructive policies - honestly, Jan. 20th cannot come soon enough! If you want to know what totalitarianism looks like - check out my childhood home of Hong Kong. Within just one year this vibrant, efficient and sometimes quirky world city has turned into a police state! Ordinary, hard working citizens can and are being snatched off the street for arbitrary reasons by the new "special police". Ring any bells? Hong Kong is officially dead and I can't even begin to describe my screwed up feelings. I'll save that for another post. Top this off with the turmoil in the US plus the raging pandemic (the vaccine will probably only be available to the general public mid to end of next year) and a wannabe dictator vying for the position of chancellor in the election here next year - is it any wonder that my anxiety levels are through the roof?

Sorry, I just needed to vent. Better move on to the pleasant part of this post...



I'm not sure if I've shown these before, but the latest fabrics by Tilda are all about sweet roses in mauve, mint, warm orange and sand. There are some cute buttons to complement the range.

***
Some lovely Christmas fabrics from German company acufactum have arrived recently. I'm happy to say that most of these have sold out, but they are on back order and should be back in stock mid-December!






In the card department I have a lovely range of postcards with Christmas motifs and all sorts of useful items for gift wrapping from Krima & Isa


And last but not least there's a wonderful collection of retro inspired Christmas card sets with a "Keep Calm" motto from my lovely friend Siobhan at April Rose. These are exclusively available in my shop. Each set contains eight cards with two designs to easily mix and match and included white envelopes. 

If you're wondering I have temporarily switched off the English version of my shop, because there is a bug that needs to be fixed. I do, however, ship to countries outside Germany. Simply drop me a line if you're interested - duni.buesken(at)gmx(de).



For those who wanted to know - after nursing little Sumi back to health she's is doing much better now, even with just one eye. This makes me happy and I'm so proud of her!

Finally, I just wanted to let all of my long time readers know I appreciate and think of you, even if I may not drop by your respective blogs that often. Wishing you all the blessings of peace and the spirit of love this Christmas season and let's all remain hopeful for the coming year. 
(p.s. I have been receiving loads of spam comments, so I have turned off comments for this post)





Sunday, August 2

New arrival! Card range from April Rose

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April Rose


Hello lovelies,
as I mentioned in my previous post I had been collaborating with my good friend and illustrator Siobhan from April Rose on a new card range. Well, they've arrived fresh from the printers in the UK and are now available in my online shop! The range is a "Keep Calm" series that includes ten original designs in Siobhan's inimitable vintage retro style! I absolutely adore these. The cards are made from FSC certified 300 g paper and have a wonderful matte finish. Here are a few examples...


Apart from the craft-themed cards, there's one for people who love to bake, garden and more. Check them out and all the other cute items at Duni's Studio. 
As mentioned, the regular postal service from Germany to USA and Australia is still suspended, but with cards it shouldn't be a problem, because I can send those as documents. Just a heads up - there are a lot of shipping hold ups currently regardless of where you live, so expect a longer wait time. If you have any questions about these cards or shipping simply contact me at duni.buesken(at)gmx(dot)de.

For readers wondering how my sweet little cat Sumi is doing. Well, it's been touch and go for a while. She's just skin and bones now despite feeding her enriched food several times a day. The trauma of losing an eye seems to be a bit much for an 18 year old. She had been recovering in a room, which I had decked out in blankets and pillows and my heart simply soared when she finally left it on her own almost three weeks after the surgery. It's slow going, but she's learning how to navigate with one eye. Poor baby. My deep wish is that she improves daily and lives out her life as happy and comfortable as possible.

In the meantime, we have been steadily working on turning our garden into a low-maintenance one. We didn't realize when we started this project that it was going to be so time consuming! Then again, it's not like we're going anywhere what with the second wave of the pandemic sweeping through our country. We're keeping our fingers crossed that we finish the big jobs by the end of this year and maybe next year we can start on the fence construction. I admit, I'm not very adept at gardening and the big jobs mostly fall on my hubby's shoulders.

I will end this post with a picture of my handmade cat - which I had to sew twice, as the first one resembled a mouse ;-). Wishing you all a happy Sunday and stay safe wherever you may be in the world.

 

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Sunday, July 12

Acufactum fabrics, April Rose sneak peek & Life lately

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Hortensientraum

Dear blog friends,
just wanted to check in and say hello. We're halfway into 2020 and what an absolutely challenging year it has turned out to be. The pandemic is raging on and most of us are still self-isolating. Especially people who are naturally sociable have a hard time dealing with this. Do reach out to people whom you might feel to be suffering at home alone. Luckily we live in the digital age where it's easy to engage in "face-time" via phone. While I haven't seen any of my friends in person since March, I'm grateful they are all healthy. Same goes for my family members who live in different parts of the world. I try not to dwell on the fact that I might not see them in a very long time.

On top of everything else, we had to rush my sweet little cat to emergency surgery ten days ago. Right up to the moment she was her normal active self, the next moment she was obviously in deep pain and I discovered blood was coming out of her left eye. Turns out a tumor had been growing inside it, which couldn't be seen from the outside. Sadly, her eye had to be removed. What a traumatic experience for all of us, but especially Sumi. She is eighteen years old now, that's eighty-eight in human years, and recovery is taking longer than usual. The first few days I had to feed her by hand. I liquified some chicken with broth, but she would only eat a teaspoon. Thankfully, over the last few days she's been eating more. Also, I had to administer antibiotics. Catmoms will know how difficult this is. I tried every trick in the book. What finally worked was placing the pills in a small container with her usual dry food. Leave them in for at least 72 hours. They will take on the smell of the food.
I then cut them in half and stuck them in the tiniest piece of cooked chicken. This didn't always work on the first try, though. She's doing better today. She's walking around slowly, getting used to navigating with just one eye. My poor baby :( Needless to say I haven't slept well and I'm a bit frazzled from watching her 24/7.

Needless to say all my sewing projects are on the back burner and I'm done sewing face masks, but I couldn't resist this special request for a kid-sized mask with a Hello Kitty patch. I'm (still) a big fan myself. This really is the last one though!



I am grateful that I am able to work from home. The only times I leave the house with my mask on and keeping the required distance from other people is when I go to the post office or grocery shopping. Thankfully, the personnel and other shoppers are sticking to the guidelines. Also, for those who are wondering - I pack my products with disposable gloves on.
For those who have been waiting for newsletters/fabric updates - production has been moving slowly or even halted. At this point I can't say whether I will receive my orders this year or not.
Please bear with me!

Luckily a few fabrics from German company acufactum arrived here last week. These fabrics are all 145 cm wide (58 inches) and are certified oekotex R standard 100% cotton. These fabrics feature the most adorable, whimsical details illustrated by Daniela Drescher. You have seen the popular Pippa & Pelle summer fabric in my previous post. I know it is still early, but check out the winter version. The snow-covered cottage is so cute. And can you spot the little mouse?



Coming from acufactum later this year is the new Winter Collection featuring fluffy sheep, winter grass, cut-out ovals framing sweet children plus dots in a subtle cream, light grey and taupe colorway. I sell these fabrics in units of 25 cm (10 inches), but if you buy more I will obviously leave the fabric in one continuous piece. Btw, regular postal service to USA and Australia is still suspended, unfortunately. However, I have had success with shipments to USA using an international courier service, if you are willing to pay the increased shipping fee. Email me, if you are interested.

And last but not least, I have been collaborating with my dear friend Siobhan of April Rose Illustrations on a new post card series! After final touches have been made the designs are now off to the printers. The cards feature the inimitable style unique to April Rose products. So excited for these and can't wait to share soon! I will reveal this much...it's a Keep Calm series. Here is a sneak peak.


Thank you for reading along and I hope you enjoyed this post. And I truly hope you are taking good care of yourselves, your families and communities. Take care, until next time!

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