Last 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!
The weather has started to warm up. The tulips are blooming and Easter is almost here! This is my second favorite time of the year. Such a feeling of anticipation….baby chicks, fresh strawberries, bar-b-ques, trips to the beach, 4th of July fireworks……I can’t wait.
With the excitement, comes the realization that my dolls are anticipating summer, too. They have been rooting through the piles of fabric and supplies, wondering what new outfits they will have for summer. We have lots planned and have just begun listing our summer pieces in our Etsy Shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ItsSewSusan)
First is our listing for a Super Sensational Swim Party. Whether the party be in your backyard pool, the community pool, the lake or the beach, each doll needs her new swimsuit and plenty of beach toys to make the party special. Whether your choice is purple, pink or lavender, ruffled, classic or tankini, we will make the perfect swimsuit for your doll. See our listing here:
No swimsuit is complete without flip flops! In the next day or two, you will find a wide variety of flip flops listed in our shop. These are handmade by Susan in our Northern California Studio. Our flip flips are called HEIDIS by It’s Sew Susan, in honor of my youngest daughter, who loves flip flops. We both love being barefoot. My daughter, her bridesmaids and flower girls were all barefoot for her wedding. If the truth be known, we would never wear a pair of shoes, if we thought I could get away with it. Since you can’t, flip flops are the next best thing!
Other additions this summer will be beach towels, beach bags, more theme parties, chef hats and aprons, prairie dresses with sun bonnets and…….oh ……wait……. I’ll save this one for a while, but let me say, my son is sharpening his saw, and buying wood.
Don’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!
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!
We 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!
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 perfect!
If ordered today, the USPS says you will received them for Christmas with Priority Shipping!
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.
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.
Finally, I am able to take a moment to catch you up on what has taken me out of the loop this summer.
One of my daughters, and her husband, of two years, live in Cambodia, working at a children’s center. Actually they, along with other friends from our area have worked there for five years. The middle of April, they came home to have their first baby. Sweet little Moriah was born, on June 2, after 30 hours of hard back labor. Though a long delivery, everyone is healthy and adjusting to their new live. I am excited to have my fourth granddaughter!
Now, I am eagerly awaiting the birth of my fifth granddaughter, Ellie, my son’s second daughter. She was originally expected on August 17th, but doctors are now saying it could be much sooner.
My daughter, and family, will be returning to Cambodia sometime in September. We have been working hard looking into alternatives for them in Cambodia. The village, in which they live, is an 18 hour round trip bus ride to Phenom Penh, the closest city. With a baby???? We are trying to see what we can do to limit the number of trips and the amount of stuff they need to haul back on the bus.
I’ve made some cloth diapers for them to try out. No way can box after box of disposables be hauled to the village! Then there is the hand washing. Did you know laundry soap is a huge majority of water? No point in hauling water on a bus! So we are experimenting with laundry soap, which is much cheaper to make, also. Next, we are experimenting with bar soap. I do LOVE pretty, fragrant handmade bar soap, but with 10 bars, shipped, costing about $80, I shudder every time I buy it. Then, I have to get some of it to Cambodia, because I do like spoiling my daughter! I plan on sharing our experiences and some pictures. We are no experts, but you might enjoy our fun and, who knows, maybe you’ll give some of these a try. (Follow our blog, so you don’t miss a thing.)
I’ve sewn a couple of outfits for Moriah. Today, I am finishing up mother-daughter dresses for them to wear to a wedding. Next, my first smocking project. I am making a Dedication Dress (just like a Christening Dress) from Australian Smocking and Embroidery Magazine. Through the years, I have met some fantastic people online. One of them is Jan Boyd. She is coaching, guiding, teaching and encouraging me through this endeavor. Check out her beautiful work at her blog, http://janssmocking.blogspot.com/ . You’ll know I couldn’t ask for a better teacher.
Heidi and I also have plans to try some cheeses before they go back. In their village, they have goats, cows and chickens, but the goats and cows aren’t milked! The goats are food and the cows are labor animals. In fact, my daughter and one of her friends were trying to milk a cow and the kids at the center thought they were abusing the poor cow!
So, as you can see, I have meandered a bit from my sewing studio, but only for a time. ItsSewSusan.Etsy.com is open and you can shop all you want. I really stocked up before they got home in anticipation of spending lots of fun time with my kids. I have been dreaming about new clothes for your dolls. I’ve bought some great new fabrics, but my time has been spent loving and enjoying my family while they are state-side.
The old adage “Time flies when you’re having fun” couldn’t be more true. I was at my sewing machine today, whipping up some tees, when I realized we started our little corner on Etsy one year ago this month. A year! Already????
I opened my shop because my dolls had too many clothes. You see, I had been sewing for them non-stop for several months. It was great entertainment and brought me so much pleasure. But really, how many outfits does one doll need? I really didn’t want to stop sewing. I was loving the creative outlet. The dolls were wild about every outfit I made. I was having too much fun!
To alleviate the guilt of buying yet more fabric for clothes to add to their crammed closet, I opened an Etsy Shop. I talked Robert into taking a few pictures, and off I went. Now, if this was really going to be a cover-up…..cough, cough….I mean, business , I’d better start acting the part, after all, Robert is not easily fooled. Better yet, I needed to “fool” myself into thinking this was all legitimate. I attended a few Etsy Labs, listed a few more items and by June I had sold one item.
Then came July! You guys bought 30 items from me! From one to 30 in a flash! I was in business and having a blast! Except, I couldn’t keep up with all the e-mails, shopping, planning, picture taking, listings, mailing, learning AND sewing (I work a real job, too, you know.) I had not planned to make many sales, but here I was on the cusp of being a small business owner. How would I fit all of this into my already busy life? I didn’t want to let this go. I was having too darn much fun!
I talked with Robert and Skylar. I knew they were both excited about my success, but would they be willing to help me? I needed some serious commitments here. I was delighted that they were more than happy to be part of It’s Sew Susan. Robert jumped right in. He immediately took over all the photography and editing, packaging and mailing your orders. Next he started airbrushing beautiful double fairy wings to match our tutus. He also got the idea to silk screen and apply graphics to the tees. In addition, he runs to the fabric store to grab more needles, just the right color thread and has even picked out fabric for us. Skylar started out by making tutus, along side Robert and me. Next, she became the wardrobe manager. She dresses the dolls and does their hair for the photo shoots. In addition, she is taking an online fashion design class. I am excited about her interest in design!
It has been a busy, busy year! We have sent packages to 30 of our 50 states, a US Territory, and Canada. We were featured on Karen Mom of Three Craft Blog in February. Our Scarlett O’Hara dress was featured on a blog in June. In addition to Etsy, we have sold 18” doll clothes at Farmer’s Markets and Craft Fairs. Did I say we’ve been busy?
What does our second year of business have in store for us? I have created a few of my own designs, which will soon be listed on Etsy. We will also expand this blog to include fun dolly crafts and projects for you and the kids to make for your dolls. We are also going to be refurbishing some American Girl dolls and selling them. AND….drum roll, please…..We are launching our own website THIS Month, to mark our one year anniversary! This has been Robert’s major project. We are expanding our line beyond the limits of “handmade” on Etsy to included many of the fun accessories and dolly toys you see in our pictures. We’ve been shopping and that means lots of surprises for you!
As the year rolls on, we will have more ideas. Our creative juices never stop flowing over here. We hope you are as excited as we celebrate our first year and kick off year number two!