NEW Products!!!!

2013-12-01 07.49.10Last night, we released our first piece of furniture. This has been a line we have wanted to add to the shop for some time. We just needed someone with the time and abilities to produce the quality furniture we wanted in our shop. Robert and I have no woodworking abilities, so we knew we were not the answer. So we waited on a solution. Last spring, my daughter, her husband and granddaughter number four (BTW, granddaughters number 6 and 7 will be here early in 2014—–7 granddaughters!!!!) had moved back to California. In September, my daughter joined the business by making beautiful tutus for little girls. We talked often about our dreams for our thriving Etsy shop, over Sunday dinners. We talked about our goals and plans for the future. One Sunday, over a plate of BBQ’d ribs and potato salad, my son-in-law offered to make the furniture. When he arrived at the house with his sample, we were delighted it with it. It was well constructed, very strong and as cute as could be! I couldn’t wait to sew some bedding for it. 

As I worked along with my normal sewing for the shop, I found it hard to commit any time to making bedding. The days passed, then weeks. I felt bad, as I really wanted to get these darling beds into our shop. I spoke with my daughter and asked her what she thought about making the bedding. She was on-board! Hooray!

So, as of today, you will find the beginnings, and only the beginnings, of our furniture line. We have lots of plans to expand the furniture line and bedding choices. If there is something in particular you think we should add, or you would like, add a comment. YOU are the reason we are in business. We value your comments!

http://www.etsy.com/shop/ItsSewSusan

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Dreams to Reality

2013-01-12 04.24.52Don’t you love January? I do. It is the time for setting goals and planning. I don’t do resolutions. I never keep them. I need something more tangible, with steps to carry out my goals. From these beginning steps, I find great motivation. I love all the ideas swirling madly in my mind, putting them on paper and making sensible plans to meet them.

Last week, Robert, Skylar and I sat down for our annual planning meeting. We pulled out the notes from last year’s meeting to see what we had achieved, what we wanted to move over to this year’s goal list and what new goals we wanted to accomplish. It was very exciting! In 2012, we introduced the American Girl/18” Doll Birthday Party. We offered the Tee Shirt Decorating Party, Tutu Making Party, Fairy Wing Decorating Party and the Headband Decorating Party. We added Party Hats to our shop and, after a request from a customer for Little Girl Fairy Wings and Tutus, we decided to added these to our shop, as well. These have all been a great success!

This year’s doll donation was bigger than 2011’s. We gave more dolls and many more outfits with each doll. We also included a tote for each doll. My earlier posting tells all about this highlight of our year.

After moving several items from our 2012 goal list to 2013’s we were ready to get all the whirling ideas from our heads to paper. I am sleeping better now because it is on paper. We don’t want to divulge too much here, but let me say this: If you have a little girl’s birthday party in your future, you will want to start following us! We have some great things planned. If the little dolls in your family ever get hungry, well let’s just say, you will want to keep an eye out for this new line. We will also introduce clothes for Bitty Baby! We love her and we feel she needs her own It’s Sew Susan wardrobe. And, last, but not least, ummm, hmmm, do I tell you? Let’s just say, if you enjoyed this posting: https://itssewsusan.wordpress.com/2011/11/ you will definitely want to stick around!

The brainstorming is so exhilarating. Planning it is motivating.  At age 13, Skylar had a lot of wonderful ideas, which we are implementing, too. It has been fun giving you a sneak peek at just a few of our 2013 goals. I am so inspired! My mojo level is very high. Off I go to turn these goals-on-paper into a reality!

“Making little girls smile. This is why I sew.”

Susan

Merry Christmas to 12 Little Girls from YOU!

2012-12-19 07.28.38

Thanks to our wonderful customers, we were thrilled to have been able to donate over $1000 in dolls and doll clothes this year! As you may know, we take the first 10% of our gross sales and buy dolls to donate. Throughout the year, I sewed clothes to send along with the dolls. The dolls had 5 outfits, a leotard/swimsuit and Skylar made a tutu for each, as well. Robert is very involved with this project, too. He shopped all year to find the right 18” dolls. In addition, he researched and selected the charity for our donation. This year Toys for Tots was our recipient. Last week, we all worked to package the dolls and outfits into carrying totes for the girls.  On Thursday morning, Robert and Skylar delivered the gifts to the Toys for Tots Distribution Center.

It gave us great joy to wake up this morning, knowing 12 little girls were opening up dolls and doll clothes donated by you and us. Little girls that may not have received anything without this donation.

None of this would be possible without the support of our customers! It is a highlight of the year for us. This is our second year in business and the second year we have been fortunate enough to gift dolls to deserving little girls. Last year, through the Rocklin Moms Group, we donated dolls with outfits to Love, Olivia. We look forward, with your help, to donating even more dolls next year!

Jammin’ ‘Jamas

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWe are so excited to add more PJs and sleeping bags to our shop! We now have ELEVEN different sets, many with matching sleeping bags. Do you remember receiving PJs on Christmas Eve? I sure do!!! My kids ALWAYS got new pajamas on Christmas Eve! Wanted those Christmas morning pictures to sparkle, you know. Some years I bought them, some years I made them. My youngest son, now 22, still hangs his head at the mention of Christmas PJs. You see, in 2009,  I made everyone flannel penguin print PJ bottoms and red tops. However, in the moment of  “let’s take this over the top” I appliqued 10″ penguins to the shirts! What a good sport he was! He even let me capture a few pictures! Do notice the position of his arms! Ha Ha!

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You must grab some PJs for your doll’s Christmas morning! If your dolls have been longing for a slumber party or movie night, these are too 2012-12-18 07.32.22perfect!
If ordered today, the USPS says you will received them for Christmas with Priority Shipping!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/113570443/pajamas-for-american-girl-dolls-and

Joyous Holidays!

Susan

Surprise, Surprise!

FSCN0016Do you wonder what we’ve been up to? Creating, of course. I’m telling you, with our three creative brains, there is NEVER a lack for ideas. We also get e-mails from our customers asking if we can make something special for them. This is always fun because we love taking their ideas and making them a reality. That’s what happened right after Thanksgiving. We received an e-mail from Meredith with a special request for something we’ve never made before. Her idea sounded like it would be so much fun. Our artistic mind started going, we searched for the basics with our suppliers. We could do it! We were so happy to make these for Meredith. The picture to the left is a hint. If you are thinking doll tutus, we’ve been making them for 1 1/2 years. Want another hint?  “Fly ” on over to our shop, for the rest of the story. Click here: www.ItsSewSusan.Etsy.com

Baby, It’s Cold Outside……..

Here in northern California, we are still going back and forth between hot days, in the 80s, and cold days, in the 50s. It’s hard to know how to dress for a day outdoors. The evenings are definitely cool, so, even if you start out in something light, you need some warmth in the evening. A couple of weeks ago, we headed out to Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm, in Wheatland, CA. It was a great day, which started out warm but, when the sun went down and we found ourselves eating fresh-baked apple dumplings with ice cream, we definitely needed something warmer around our necks! I had a light scarf around my neck, but was wishing for something warmer! All this made me think of a warm, cute and easy fashion accessory for your 18” doll. You know, they get cold in the Autumn, too. So I’ve put together this little no-sew tutorial for you.

This would be so much fun to do with your granddaughters the next time they visit. As you know, we are very busy developing 18” doll birthday party ideas. Thinking this would be a very easy craft for the younger girls to do at a doll-themed party.

So….let’s get going….. First thing you’ll need is some fleece. I purchased a 4” strip of 60” fleece. At first, I was looking for small scaled prints, but in the end, I decided I like the large prints better. You can’t really see the pattern, but I like the indistinguishable all-over pattern best for a scarf. At this point, you have a choice of widths. All the scarves shown here are 4” wide, however, Robert feels the dolls look like they are being choked by the finished scarf. To me, it looks warm and cozy. So, you decide…either 3” or 4” wide will work just fine. At my local fabric store, they are very careful to straighten the edge before cutting your piece, so the most difficult part is already done for you..

                                                   Cut the selvage off both ends.

Cut 60” length in half, making two 30” pieces. If your length happens to be a little longer or shorter, no problem. This will give you two scarves. Set one aside or make it along with your granddaughter, for YOUR doll.

You do have a doll of your own, don’t you? The little girl inside each of us still loves dolls. Your granddaughter will have more fun playing dolls with you, when you have your OWN doll! And, you will have so much fun dressing her up!

            Clip into the short end every ½” apart and 2” deep. No need to measure. Just eyeball it.

                                                  Repeat on other end.

Wrap around your dolls and admire. Don’t they look warm and snugly?

We’d love to see pictures of your dolls with their new scarves! Send them to ItsSewSusan@comcast.net and we will post them here.

So there you have it, our first craft for your 18” dolls. We hope you enjoyed it, but most of all, were inspired to make these up. What about helping you daughter/granddaughter to make these for all her girlfriends for Christmas? Maybe even matching sets…one for the little girl and one for the doll? For a little girl version, I would start with a 12” width and use the entire 60” length. I would still cut the ends at ½” intervals, but make those cuts 4” deep. Enjoy!

“Making little girls smile. This is why I sew.”

~Susan

200 Strong and Counting! Let’s Have a Party!

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Yes, that’s the count. As of today, I have made 200 tees for your 18″ dolls! That is very exciting to me. And, for those who like milestones, that is 600 hand-sewn snaps! Just the time spent sewing those snaps adds up to 30 hours! Some kind of statistics, huh?

Most of  these tees have gone out for parties. We are now doing a large business in birthday parties! This is so much fun! We love being a part of a little girl’s birthday dreams! Our parties are totally custom….mix and match….have it your way. Whether the party is for 5 or 20, we are here to help you! Some of the tee party ideas this year?  For the party in the slide show, the girls decorated tees and fairy wings. At another party, the girls decorated tees and denim skirts with fabric paint.

Girls and dolls in matching outfits. . .no decorating required. Aren’t they the cutest? Matching shirts, matching jeans and matching flip-flops. Darn, these are cute.

There are lots of options.In addition to tees and wings, we have tutus, leotards, jean skirts, leggings, jeans. . .any combo of these would be a great party.And for the weak at heart, we even offer a simple headband party. Whether you want headbands for the dolls or matching headbands for the dolls and little girls. These are sure to be a hit when the girls get to decorate them!

These are also great ideas for Girls Scouts, clubs, Christmas Parties and New Year’s Eve get-togethers.

Keep your eye on ItsSewSusan.Etsy.com.  This week we will be adding party hats for your dolls. In the weeks to come, we will be adding more themed parties. I can’t get to them fast enough. If you have a party idea for us, enter it in the comments below. Instead of visions of sugar plums dancing through my head, I have visions of doll parties twirling over my bed.

The Sound of Little Girls Laughing…..

Were you excited to hear the 2012 American Girl of the Year was a gymnast?  Frankly, I was rather ho-hum about it.  A gymnast? Really? I had no further interest until I started writing this article. Why did this change for me? When did my mind progress from thinking boring to imagining little girls giggling?

I began by  taking a good look at McKenna on the American Girl website. Very cute girl. Love the carmel color hair. Love the twinkling blue eyes. Love this picture of her. But a gymnasts? Looking at the accessories, I liked the balance beam, but as always I ask, “ $85.00 for plastic?” again, “Really?” This lead me to looking around the internet. Still not sold on the doll, but wanting to explore less expensive alternative accessories, I searched Google with “tutorials homemade balance beam.”  I headed to Youtube. I really liked these giggling little girls:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmgSdbf4pNg&list=HL1325432795&feature=mh_lolz

As I watched, I remember tumbling with my sisters, friends and I did in our front yard many years ago. We would do somersaults, cartwheels and log rolls for hours. Like many of you, I have often lamented that today’s kids spend too much time in front of the TV, computer or latest game system. I have told others of the fun we had playing on our grass, all the time wondering why I never see this today. As I watched these three girls using their foam balance beam, I thought of the fun we would have had with a balance beam. It also reminded me of one summer when I signed up for tumbling in Summer School. Those were the days before budget cuts, when Summer School was for fun. Along with tumbling they offered crafts, art, sewing, cooking…..a real  myriad of exciting classes.  I remembered later taking gymnastics in high school, and really enjoying it. We had a balance beam, trampoline, horse, bars and several other apparatuses. Flying around from one to the other was exhilarating! I felt myself warming up to McKenna. I felt very sentimental as I watched the following videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxseYJv_ZN0&list=WL91D592B19FEA1805&index=2&feature=plpp_video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO6YiDobGKI&list=WL91D592B19FEA1805&index=3&feature=plpp_video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKdBhuN_Oe8&list=WL91D592B19FEA1805&index=5&feature=plpp_video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxNyf9y-mPA&list=WL91D592B19FEA1805&index=4&feature=plpp_video  (video is very dark, but you’ll get the idea. I love the simplicity of this balance beam, created by an 7-9 year old)

Each of the videos show the fun to be had for both girls and dolls, but more importantly, the enjoyment physical activity McKenna introduces to young girls. We’ve all heard the statistics. One report, says 30% of our kids in the USA are overweight. You’ve heard it. We sigh with concern, but don’t know how to change it.  Have you ever tried to force an eight year old to ride their bike, skate or do calisthenics when they’re not into it? Good luck! However, a new doll full of life and activity may do the trick. I can see little girls acting out the tumbling and gymnastic moves, with their dolls. Before you know it, they will be on the grass spending hours tumbling with their friends, toning up their bodies by getting the exercise.

I love McKenna! She has reminded me of a fun time in my life, when I enjoyed my neighborhood friends, while getting tons of exercise. She will introduce little girls to a different time in life when we played and ran for all we were worth. When a neighborhood baseball game or hide ‘n seek were an everyday activity. Perhaps we will again hear the sound of little girls laughing, as they do somersaults on the freshly cut, green grass.

In the comment section below, please share you thoughts on McKenna. I would love to hear any ideas you may have for creating some great accessories and playthings for her.

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The Sac Etsy Team is have a FUNDRAISER for Andrea Edes a fellow Etsy shop owner and designer of Spirit Becomes Art artisan jewelry.

Having just received medical clearance to return to job-hunting after a recent total knee replacement, she had a household fall on December 17th and broke both legs. Not only is she not able to put weight on both legs for at least six weeks, she has pretty much run through her savings these past few months. Additionally, she requires assisted living care and it is not covered under her insurance. Due to the extent of care she will continue to require, her estimated cost for the remainder of the six weeks is $2,500.00. This amount is an extreme hardship.

The Sacramento Etsy Team will be donating items in our Etsy shops for Andrea. Please search under the tag “fundraiser Andrea” for items donated to help Andrea with her unexpected out-of-pocket medical expenses. All proceeds from the sale of these items will be donated to Andrea. Thank you for your support.

ALL PROFITS FROM THE SALE OF THESE GROOVY TEES WILL BE DONATED TO ANDREA’S CARE.

Click here to purchase:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/77753280/feeling-groovy-tee-shirt-for-american

Andrea, those of us at It’s Sew Susan hope you are “feeling groovy” very soon!

Meet Felicity’s Family

 It is always exciting to discover another doll lover.  I had a real surprise this week, when I found one  among my own family. In the picture, you see my  new son-in-law’s sister’s family. May I take a  moment to tell you I love my son-in-law! Dan and  Heidi have been married about a year and a half.  He is  such a wonderful man and cares so much  about my  daughter. I am so happy to have him as  a part of  our family. They are missionaries in  Cambodia, so  we don’t see much of them. I miss  them terribly.  But, I digress………

I was reading my daughter’s Facebook, when I saw  a link to this picture. To my surprise, there was  American Girl doll Felicity’s family! Here is what mom, Kirsten, had to say about these great costumes:

We got these costumes together for Halloween this year, because my almost-five-year-old daughter really loves the Felicity American Girl stories. She loves acting out the stories at home daily and thought it would be dreamy to dress the part too, especially if the rest of the family joined her! 

I agreed to costuming the family as Felicity’s family (which to me meant any kind of Colonial dress, since Felicity’s family was a bit wealthy). It was a little more challenging than expected for some of us. Madeleine’s costume I found at a consignment event for a few dollars. Dad’s costume was easy, since most of it was made up of pieces from his traditional Scottish costume. I simply bought a $3 pair of wool pants at a thrift store and some elastic to create breeches. My costume consisted of a mob cap bought off Amazon, a purchased apron, a thrift store skirt, half a pillowcase, and a shirt I wear frequently. Jack was the trickiest. I couldn’t find thrift store items for him and it seemed that no one sold costumes his size for the colonial time period. I finally found one through Amazon and bought his had at a local museum. 

Madeleine has the Kirsten doll I had when I was a girl, which is now a vintage doll that has been around since 1988. This is currently the only American Girl doll we own. Madeleine also really likes the Felicity doll and we are both disappointed that both Kirsten and Felicity have been discontinued. Madeleine really likes both Kirsten and Felicity’s stories, because she is enthralled with pioneer and colonial life and all the chores from those time periods. 

Such a great idea for all of us to tuck away for next Halloween. If any of my followers dressed as an American Girl family, I would love to see the pictures!

Count your blessings……

Susan