Tuesday, March 29

Patience is genius...

...as French naturalist Comte de Buffon once said.

While I'm patiently waiting for my fabrics (at this point I even welcome a letter from customs!) I have been sorting through old sketches and developing new designs. I aim to add a tunic to my shop collection soon, well as soon as fabrics arrive.
I made a summer top for myself in vivid colours. I made the drawstring tunnel with a bit of satin I had left over. I like the versatility of this top - dress it down with jeans or cargo pants; or up with a cropped black jacket and slim skirt.

I used this same pattern albeit with a feather light cotton eyelet to create my snow white pajama set, which was featured recently in my bloggy friend Kristin's treasury. Note the new wig for my mannequin :)

I have known Kristin for over two years and I am constantly amazed at how she effortlessly juggles work and family and consistently creates art even while moving from one city to another! One of my favourite items in her shop is this vase:

Meanwhile our comfy couch for the reading room has arrived. As many of my readers have requested pics I hope to post some really soon!

Take care everybody,

Saturday, March 26

Why I joined Etsy

print by the olive bird on Etsy

Recent changes on my new selling venue Etsy have led to animated discussions in the forums. Some of my readers will know that Etsy is rolling out individual homepages for UK, Germany, France and Netherlands. I have mixed feelings about this, because part of the attraction of joining Etsy was the international flair the site presented and the feeling of being part of a huge global, crafty community.
I also liked the fact that everyone everywhere saw the same frontpage - always a topic of conversation between me, my international friends and customers. Moreover, my stats show that 70% of visitors to my shop are from USA. Followed by UK, Canada and Australia. Italy and Germany tie in fifth place.
I tested the local (Germany) homepage, and the front page items on there is made up of just a handful of European sellers (not me) over and over again picked by admin. Sounds a lot like DaWanda to me (where I am gradually phasing out my stuff), where favouritism is the order of the day! Plus the German version of the Storque (blog) leads out of Etsy altogether! On the flipside there are US sellers who market to Europe extensively, and will most likely become invisible once European buyers set their language and homepage preference. Most of my teammates feel exactly as I do. We've put in our two cents hoping that we will be heard by the powers that be over there in Brooklyn, NY. I'm just glad I've built a strong connection to my US customers and the USA in general via my blog! Here's hoping I won't fade into obscurity...

Wednesday, March 23

Back to (regular) work & how to deal with the customs office

Hi all!

after a short break of soaking up the sun - hurray for spring - I was summoned to the customs office to pick up a much awaited fabric parcel. That's the downside to importing things from outside the EU - you never know if and when any of the stuff you order is going to arrive safely at your doorstep or is destined for a spot check. The letter mentioned specific opening times as well as what documents to bring along. Here are a few pointers for anyone else having to deal with customs:

► be punctual, as there will be an onslaught of people as soon as the doors open
► take along a copy of the invoice, description of items in the parcel, proof of payment and your ID
► bring along $$$
► take along a large pair of scissors (or craft knife), since you will need to open the parcel for inspection
► remain friendly regardless of how...intellectually challenged the officer may be

I went home with only one parcel and am wondering as to the whereabouts of the others. Time will tell, I guess. Well, after pre-washing/drying the fabrics I set to work immediately. Here are a few shots of the work in progress. If you wish to see a small section of my work space take a look at the blog of Etsy Germany Street Team where I'm featured on today.

Check out the finished item here.

Sunday, March 20

It's Euro Week on Etsy

From March 21st - 27th Etsy will be celebrating European art and artists with special home pages full of products from throughout Europe, craft events held in major European cities, information for doing business globally, and much more. All Euro Etsians are encouraged to curate treasuries, as these will be featured on the front page. Here's my contribution. It's all about  "spirals"

Wednesday, March 16

Giveaway winner and another chance to win!

First of all, I'd like to thank everyone that entered my giveaway for playing along! Since it didn't generate much interest I gave each one of you a bonus entry! Look, all of the entries fit into this little rose print box ;-)

Anyway, this indicates that my French Knickers obviously aren't a popular style, so I will be concentrating on developing other styles in my shop. I had actually hoped more readers would let me know their favourite style in the comment section, but maybe they misunderstood the rules. Oh well. Let's move on: here's me picking the winner. I hope the video works - it took forever to upload, and it's not easy filming and fumbling for the paper slip at the same time, since I'm actually right-handed!

And the winner is...a blogger by the name of  Kasai! Congratulations! Here's what she wrote:

Hi Duni,
I love your Floral Pajama Pants, it looks cozy for a good night sleep.
March 09, 2011

L ucky Kasai will receive a handmade pair of French Knickers. But wait!! There's another chance to own something handmade by me. Check out my feature on A little Etsy Love Blog.
Nancy, one of the contributors did an awesome job on writing up this feature, and I love how she colour-coordinated my sleepwear in those collages. Head on over there for your chance to win one of my handmade cosmetic pouches!

until next time ~

Sunday, March 13

Beautiful lilacs

Many thanks to Mary for including my organic cotton sleepmask in this lovely Etsy treasury. The lilacs and lavenders are very calming to look at - especially after having just finished my sewing frenzy...

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, March 8

GIVEAWAY *WIN* handmade French Knickers in YOUR size!

Hi everybody!

here's your chance to win a handmade pair of French Knickers in your size! Yes, that's right! I will make one for you in either small, medium or large just like the one you see in the picture! These are made from pure cotton and trimmed with black eyelet lace and a cute polka dot bow!

Here's how to enter:

1. For one entry go to my shop and let me know in a comment which item you love most!
2. For an additional entry you can tweet about this or share it on your Facebook!
3. For 5 more entries please join my mailing list (see subscription form in the right column)! Your benefits: free shop updates, special shipping deals and discount coupons! NOTE: I totally respect your privacy and will NEVER disclose or sell your email address to a third party.

*update - you only need to join my mailing list once (equals 5 entries). You won't be getting a confirmation, but rest assured that I can see your email address through my account with the subscription service!

This giveaway is open to everyone around the globe. Giveaway ends Tuesday 15th March. Don't forget to let me know where to contact you should you win!

Thanks for playing along and good luck to all!!!

Saturday, March 5

Wednesday, March 2

Coming up for air

Hello friends!

Just like these crocusses pushing up through the hard soil to reach the surface I am pushing away the swathes of fabric to take a breather, and to enjoy what little sun we are forecast to have today! If you have been reading along you will know why this blog has been collecting dust. Oh, how I miss blogging! How I miss reading your blogs!
Fulfilling a wholesale order really opened up my eyes and also made me come to a decision. Basically, without the man-power I am not ready to accept such orders. There are only so many hours in the day and I only have so much energy. I still have a long way to go and the order deadline is March 15th! My daily routine now starts and ends with sewing.  Instead of cooking (no time) I have ordered the delivery service too many times these past two weeks which makes for a really unhealthy diet. I have not unfurled my yoga mat lately either, however, I have made a committment and I will wrestle through this until the order is completed! Strangely enough I have been approached by a couple more wholesale customers after the initial one, all of which I sadly had to decline, because presently it is in no way realistic or feasible. After working through the second lesson of my online business course I have made another decision concerning my OOAK bags. Although I am passionate about designing and making bags, mine are extremely time-consuming, and to be honest not very  marketable due to their highly unique nature. I simply do not have the time to start a marketing campaign for them.
Since I seem to be generating a lot of interest on Etsy, I will first and foremost concentrate on building my sleepwear shop , developing products to reach a wider market until I'm established enough to consider hiring part-time help. I do know of two professional seamstresses who are currently on parental leave and who might be interested in working on an hourly basis from home in the future.
Before I sign off, NO, I have not forgotten the French Knickers giveaway. Steady on...it's coming, it's coming :) 
Off now to catch some of that sunshine (as long as it lasts)! I miss you guys! Take care,