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Saturday, November 12, 2016

New Name ........New Start

Yes I changed my name .........again.  I just keep trying to find my identity.  Let's see if this time I am on the right track.  Just need to get somthing in the shop to sell.  Maybe a teddy.........




Friday, November 11, 2016

That's the way the cookie crumbles

I understand business.  I understand having a brand, a logo, an identity.  I have done my research about being unique but recognisible.  If you have followed me of late, you will know I have not been productive or even sold anything online.  Basically, I know it is a fear of failure.  My nightmare is I proudly send an item to a buyer, and they scrutinise it and decide to send it back because they see a fault in it that I did not.  But I want to sell online.  And very very slowly I have set up an Etsy shop, started on instagram and am trying to keep my blog alive - Facebook is my downfall - I have 48 friends.  Don't laugh.  I am just a bit agaist everyone knowing personal stuff.  But I know Facebook is an excellent way to promote your business.  I know I need social media, but it take ages and ages to keep it up to date.  Well for me anyway.

So here is my dilemma.  As much as I like this name "Little Me Handmade" and I had a real vision for the brand and identity it is with great sadness that I will have to abandon it.
This year a new doll maker has stepped up and is actively selling on Etsy and regularly posts to instagram.  Thast's how I discovered LittleMeClothdolls.

This is a dollmaker in Australia (East Coast - I am Southern Australia) who has chosen a name so close to mine it is obvious there may be confusion.  I don't want to be mistaken for her, and I am sure she does not want to be mistaken for me.   But surely she did a search before she chose her name to see if it was too similar.  Yes, I did have my name first, on Etsy.  But I have not been active.  She is.
She makes cloth dolls and related stuff.  My name is not registered or copyrighted, I just thought it would be a good name for my handmade items and it related to the things I liked when I was little,

To be honest, when I wanted that name and searched, I found a Little Me business, but it was children's clothing - not dolls.
So I thought I could use my name to make dolls and teddies and stuff.
Now there is another dollmaker with the name Little Me.  If it were not dolls that would have been okay.  If it was not Australia, that would have been okay.

So my only option is to find a new name.  It's not that simple.  I don't want my name - it's too ordinary.   So keep your eye on this space.  There will be some changes made.

Monday, October 24, 2016

To sell or not to sell

 s.s
 So here is my dilemma.  I have dolls that I did not sell at the markets and I think I will put them on my Etsy site.
They are just calico (muslin) cloth and felt with safety eyes.






 They are quite cute and easy and quick to make now I have worked out the fastest way to put them together.  I just don't know how Etsy will work.  Some people don't have much traffic or sales, and the reality is that I would be very happy to just make and sell dolls online.  But, but, but will this be a successful venture.  I won't know unless I try.  If you have some experience with Etsy and advice, it would be much appreciated.
This little doll is a vinyl OOAK by doll maker Margaret Leonard here in South Australia.  I purchased this dear little elf at the Hahndorf doll show, but despite how cute he is................I don't want him.  Not at all.  So I will have to sell him too.  I may have to put him on Ebay because I did nto make him and he is not anything like I make, so he is not for my Etsy shop.
This mermaid I made in a class with Pam Grose from Western Australia.  She is about 60cm long with a wire armature and collon lycra skin painted in acrylics.  She is also not my knid of doll.  Learning the techniques was a great experience and Pam Grose had to be the most relaxed and friendly dollmaker I had ever met.  She is amazing and talented and so willing to share what she knows.
So now I just need to make the time to list these items and release them to someone else who will appreciate them.  When I have worked out the listings I will share the links


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I may be back .............again .....I think

Hi everyone - anyone who is still watching and waiting.
I have been missing for quite a while.  But life happens and sometimes you have to take a break and regroup and decide what is important and what you need in your life.

I have always tried to keep to subject and always add a photo with my posts.  This time I will just do a "talkie".  Without getting all personal, I will just say that there have been a lot of changes in my life, sort of the rug pulled out from under me stuff.  It was not an illness or an accident, it was just unavoidable change of circumstances which I was unprepared for.

The last 15 years I have happily played around with doll making and working with my husband and having lots of free time to do as I pleased.  Last year our business had to shut down, we sold our house and moved to the country.  Malcolm and I had to find jobs to earn a living and I was miserable.
Well I was miserable but in the midst of all that, I decided I could sell my dolls and teddies at the local market to make some money.  It was my saviour.  Admittedly, I sold my stuff really, really cheap.............really cheap, just to get a sale.  But you have no idea, how wonderful it is for you to make something, put it out for the public to see, and people tell you how clever you are and how beautiful your work is.  Then they give you money for it!!

All the other stall holders are so kind and friendly.  If you are reading this and have ever wondered if you could sell at a market, you must try it. And it is one of those situations where we can all help each other.  My first day it became very windy, and the wind was nearly blowing my tent down.  Wal across from me saw my problem and offered me his side panel to attach to the tent.  He saved the day!  One of the other stall holders fell in love with one of my dolls, and she was the first to buy from me.  That was such a kind gesture for a newbie.

 I have to say, I was so lucky, I just put all my dolls on a display table, put up a few banners and it took me about 10 minutes.  Some of the other stall holders had to arrive and hour earlier to set up because they have so much stuff.  I think because I had a unique item to sell I was accepted very quickly, I was able to work 2 markets if I wanted to, but I kept selling out of stock.  I couldn't make things quick enough, especially the types of dolls I make.  And the teddies I sold were all jointed so it was a lot of work and I really struggled to keep up.  But despite that I loved it.  I would be sewing up teddies or little cardigans while I waited for someone to stop and look.  I never had a day where I did not sell anything, and believe me, it was nerve wracking because I didn't even have the money for the stall site ($20 per day)   - so I had to sell something, and I always did.

I really want to thank each and every person who bought from me, because at that time those purchases literally put bread on the table.  I am truly thankful.

But the reality was that I was not earning enough.  I applied for work locally, but at my age I am starting to be overlooked for the younger ones.  It is not supposed to be like that and many would deny it, but I know my age was a factor.  I did not even get to the interview stage.  So I tried a long shot and found work 2 days a week back in the city.  We were living one and a half hours drive from the city, but I could do that just 2 days a week.  Long story short, I got more days work and I could not do the markets and the travel back and forth became a nightmare - Malcolm also had work in the city.  So we made the decision to come back to Adelaide and start all over again.  I am still working 4 days a week, and no time for dolls or bears or markets ............but I have to nuture the creative side of me, and I am going to start making again.  I have my etsy shop and I will be setting up sales very soon.  My ultimate plan is to get back to making and selling (on line) and then if I am on the right track, give up my day job.  I don't know how long it will take me, but I am going to try.
Wish me luck

Friday, June 19, 2015

CREATIVE BLOCK a place you don't want to be

I have to admit it now.  I have been struggling for weeks with creative block.  It is a terrible place to be.  But the reality is that at some stage, for whatever reason, some artists stumble into this place where we are frozen.  I don't even want to call myself an artist.  I can call myself a doll maker or crafter, but do crafters' get creative block?  It's not even about being creative it's about doing the thing.  So why, when I am 'in demand' with my market stall and needing to replenish stock, that I have 'lost it' ?  I have my 'studio' set up very efficiently.  I have my fabrics and lots of patterns.  But I have not been able to go into that room and start making stuff.
I thought maybe I should try a whole new tactic and maybe do art journaling.  You know, you get a blank page book and just paint, draw, paste, colour with no limits.  It seems like fun.  Could not do it.
Got the book.  Got my pens, pencils, glue and paints and did nothing. Nothing.  Could not even draw a doodle.  The fact is I have never done a journal.  I occasionally wrote in a diary when I was a teen, the usual frustrations, boys, school, friends.  Not volumes and volumes.  And as a doll maker, I would scribble a design on a piece of paper.  Work out the pieces and throw the sketching away.  I am not a sketcher.  I can't draw.  I did go to a couple of  art classes and found out I could draw a capsicum, but as for scale...............when I had to draw 3 things in the same place, they were so out of scale I gave up in embarassment.  So I just can't do that stuff.
I was a little heartened when I found Jennibellie's blog.  She is a wonderful art journaller, and she makes little videos and talks about art and life.
Please  go to visit her blog  at     jennibelliestudio.blogspot.com/
When you get to the page you will see she has a whole piece relating to creative block and the one thing you can do to address it.   I also found a video piece she did about being all right where you are.
I suspect she is going through some tough stuff too and at least she is proactive.
There is also another site I found on wiki-how   Overcome-Artist's-Block
I have also found some inspirations from author Keri Smith.  She talks about giving your work your personality here  keri smith .  She has written quite a few books and I need to make time to explore her ideas further.
She also suggests having a wish jar.  That is the next thing I will do.  Try the wish jar


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Amelia and the Volcano

This is a story about little Amelia, who lives at the base of a Volcano in a town called Mount Gambier in South Australia.  The volcano is very famous because it has the bluest water ever seen.  Lots of scientists have visited the volcano to see the blue water and test it to find out why is is so blue.

Amelia lives here because her mummy and daddy are teachers at the high school and she was born in this town.  Luckily the volcano is no longer active, but it is a very very cold place to live.  Not cold enough for snow, but very cold and damp.

So poor little Amelia sometimes gets a very bad cold. She tries to stay happy and her mummy and daddy look after her very well.  But she sometimes misses her Nannies and Grandpas, and all her uncles and aunties and cousins, because they live so far away from Mount Gambier.  She would love to see her family visit with her, especially when she is sick.
So last week Nannie Pine decided to go and visit her, because not only was little Amelia sick, but her daddy was sick too and her mummy was very worried about all of them.
So Nannie Pine drove 
499 Kilometres from her home to Amelia's house.
It was very exciting, and Nannie was so happy to see Amelia and her daddy and mummy.
Nannie helped to look after Amelia and soon daddy and Amelia were feeling much better and mummy was happy too because having Nannie there was a big help.

Only problem was Nannie did not have any time to make dolls or teddy bears for a whole week.
But Nannie was very happy to see Amelia and visit with the family.
Now she is home again
Nannie seems to have a bit of a sore throat today......


The giant Crayfish at Kingston halfway between Adelaide and Mount Gambier


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

All quiet on the home front - NOT!

Oh my, it has been nearly a month since I posted.  To say I have a lot going on is a bit of an understatement.  My idea to have a market stall has created a dilemma in that I am able to sell my dolls and bears, BUT I can't keep up.   I have sold so much, a lot of my cloth dolls that have been locked away in dark drawers for years!  So much that now I have run out of stock to sell.  How embarrassing   ;-(
People coming to the markets are lovely and their kind comments really make me happy and give me confidence I am on the right track.  I enjoy the markets.  I make things, I show them, people see them and if they like them they buy them!  It has taken a few weeks to know I have the right products at the right price.  Now I have to start making multiples of the best sellers.  This is all so new to me, but as I am no longer working in an office job, this will have to be my new job.  I have applied for office work, but I have not even been to an interview.  If the world serves you lemons, make lemonade.  So if you are out of a job make dolls!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Surprise Surprise Surprise

Well, quite a while back I started working on a doll for a challenge in our doll club.

see On My Table

Well I made this!!

She is meant to be steampunk, but I had a lot of trouble finding steampunky things, so she is just a bit turn of the century.
And it seems I finished the Barbara Willis fairy................

The doll face on this fairy is a circle of stretch cotton fabric, needle sculpted nose and mouth with tiny black beads for the pupils.  This is a very tricky technique, it is very easy to make an ugly kind of big nosed crosseyed face.  But I think I managed a pretty face.  I prefer pretty.  A lot of people like the ugly, unusual, quirky looking faces..............but I do pretty.......










And finally, my doll with the knitted outfit, that I have not seen for 2 years.  She has been travelling around town with some other dolls showing her style to select groups.  I have to say, she has been very well looked after.  As have my other dolls.  Thankyou Christine for looking after my girls so well.



Sunday, April 19, 2015

The week that was

So I decided to open my Etsy shop, and I had a Saturday craft market at Port Elliot, and the Hahndorf doll and bear show was on this weekend.

Follow this link if you would like to see some gallery pics of past shows



I actually enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the markets.  I always take projects to work on , I am always stitching a teddy bear or embroidering a dolly jacket in between customers.  People have such kind comments and there is no pressure to reach a sales target.  If they love it they buy it, if they do not, they move on.  Admittedly, my prices are very low. I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that people don't expect to pay a lot at the markets, but they really appreciate a bargain!  I factor in that the materials at the moment have cost me nothing and it is just my time and incidental costs that I want to cover,  At the moment, I guess you would say I am not making anything from my sales.  (I just spent my income at the doll and bear show).  But it is more about having my work acknowledged and appreciated so I know I can make a business from my craft, part of the future plan.
Aliyah (pictured)  has found a new home with a lovely customer and I had to  take down my doll for sale on Etsy because she sold at the market.


I also had a big surprise today because the Cloth Doll Club returned a couple of dolls I had lent them for display.  There is the little one in the foreground of the picture below, and two others.  You cannot imagine my surprise when I saw the dolls I had made and forgotten about!  Tomorrow I will show you pics of these girls.  If you scroll down to the post made in 2013, you will see the makings of a doll which was to be part of a challenge.  Wait till you see what I made. I am still in shock!

Till tomorrow then ......





Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What a difference a day makes.


Well, it has been many many days since I updated this blog.  And I have missed it.
But I was forced to focus on full time work and none of that complicated doll making stuff.
I was happy enough to dabble with the occasional quilt and knitting.  I love knitting.
And in the past couple of years, we sold our house, relocated to a small country town, closed down the business that was sapping our finances and souls, became proud grandparents and decided to focus on considering semi retirement.
Now, it is not really retirement, it is just getting back to an easier pace of life.  I love our little township.  The locals are so friendly.  Everyone you speak to loves where they live too, and I am slowly integrating into the community.  I am not going to work in the rat race anymore, so I decided to make a commitment to sell my craft. More about that tomorrow.  For now, lets just say this is a whole new start for me.  I was going to shut down the Art Doll Designs blog, but making the changes will just strengthen my plan to move in this new direction. Hey I even set up a market stall!  I will be at the Port Elliot market Saturday and the Goolwa market Sunday.  Just putting it out there........



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