Wednesday, 30 January 2008

no promoting today

Having an etsy shop isn't just about the crafting. I think I probably spend more time actually promoting my shop and getting people to just look at what I have. This involves my flickr page, this blog itself, adverts on project wonderful, promoting on the forums, and my myspace page. That's a lot of work. And you need to keep up that promotion work to get those buyers coming through. But you know what? I don't feel like it today. I didn't do it yesterday (lovely dinner), and I won't do it tomorrow because I'm away for work and will be crafting from my hotel room. But you know what? That's okay. This journey is about fun. It's about becoming a better crafter. It's about creating fantastic products. And if, for a few days, I just don't feel like spending hours online promoting my store, that's fine. Because I never want to get to a stage where Moose and Bear is anything less than a pleasure to work on.

Oh, and I did get a sale yesterday. So I am doing fine for cash right now as well. :)

Monday, 28 January 2008

calm after the storm

Yes, after being so worked up that I was never going to be able to keep up with Moose and Bear's popularity, I have realised that in all honesty it was a bit of a freak run, and normality has resumed. And I am quite happy actually. I am sitting in my nice Ikea lounge seat, legs crossed, some amigurumi on my lap and some new "dudes" to stitch together. No stress, just relaxation and enjoying my crafting for what it is - the chance to create something and enjoy the process. I have plans this week for working on a new plushie design (think multicolour!), so hopefully I'll have that done by the weekend. I've ordered heaps of new yarn, so I can continue making octopi in every colour, although I really want to make some owls as well. My little black crafting book has todos on every page right now, but it's inspiring, not imposing. Just the way it is supposed to be.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

gorgeous blog, gorgeous brooches

Joyful Abode has this pattern up for the most gorgeous Valentine Brooches.

I think I wil try and whip some up and pin them to my bag before Valentines. I have to say, just about everything on her blog makes me scream with jealousy - the beautiful design, the great photography, the yummy food. Not fair! Jealousy is a form of flattery, isn't it? :)

almost stressful

IMG_3803, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

Crafts are supposed to be relaxing right? Right now, I don't feel relaxed. I set myself a goal this year of 3 sales a week. This week, I got 5, which is fantastic, but has actually made me feel really stressed! I have been feeling very much that I have nothing in my shop and I have been mad crafting to replenish stock. I know, who thought I would ever be complaining of too much success?? And even by posting this, I know that I will have no sales now for weeks!

Perhaps a reason why I feel stressed is because I decided that I really wanted to make another octopus - they are extremely cute after all. Unfortunately that whole 8-legged thing is a bit of a pain in the ass!! I always underestimate how long he takes to actually make. But once he's finished, I completely forget because he looks so wise and blue. Definitely one of my favourites.

Another excitement this week was my felt purchase from Paper and String. This is a great example of how flickr really can work for promotions - I love paper and string's page on flickr, went to her blog, and then proceeded to buy some lovely felt from her store. It's a shame that the boyfriend has taken all the best colours I bought and is currently turning them into a monkey plushie. He is actually doing very well at his whole "I want to build monsters" thing.

I sold "dude" this week. That's the last one of the "original moose and bear" crew - the plushies that I really felt represented moose and bear's aesthetic; I actually felt a pang of sadness that I will have to pack him up. I know, be strong and remember, this is supposed to vaguely be a business.

It's Sunday - I'd love a tea and some cake. Yum.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

it's all go-go-go at moose and bear!

It really has been a busy couple of days at moose and bear and really really exciting. Last week someone convo-ed me about doing some consignment work, which was hugely flattering. I've done a bit of research (thank you to everyone on the etsy forums who puts up with my inane questions), and the general consensus is that it can sometimes work, and sometimes not. So I'm guessing I should do it this once, and see how well I like doing it. I've got to make up 10 plushies - a mixture of swearing and non-swearing - and send them by mid-Feb. That shouldn't be too onerous.

I also received my moo cards this week. As you can see, I got quite a range. I like them all apart from the bottom three. I imagine that the first time you get moo cards is a bit of trial and error, but I'm pretty pleased with these. Now I just have to suck up the courage to start talking to people about my shop!!

Actually, the cards are out of date. I made a big sale yesterday - 3 items to one seller! And, pity the poor seller, I had only just put my prices up a couple of hours ago. I had received feedback that my prices were too low and were probably putting off sellers, so I put them up, and lo and behold, three things gone! I was actually in a state of shock, because I logged in and my shop looked empty! It was fantastic. So goodbye to Steve the Robot, George the Octopus, and the cute little matryoska dolls. I am most upset about Steve, because I kept
meaning to writing down the pattern I thought up whilst making him, but now he's in the mail. I guess that pretty much makes him OOAK. Cool.

I've been making a lot of felt recently, so the last couple of nights I've been getting back into my amigurumi. I was planning on making a two legged blobby monster. Only, when I finished him, he looked more like a penis. So now I don't know what to do. I think he's fantastically cute, but would people really want a blue penis esque plushie in their lives? Oooooh. Design-wise, I think it's back to the drawing board unfortunately.

Monday, 21 January 2008

my boyfriend sews

IMG_3717, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

Oh yes he does. Last night he sat and concentrated very hard whilst sewing his very first plushie. No pictures of it yet, but I'll post them as soon as I get them. He made a very cool 3-D owl. It was very cute to watch, but for some reason he does army sewing which means doubling up the thread. Fine with normal black cotton thread, unnecessary with gorgeous yellow embroidery thread that I just bought yesterday!!! Today he sent me an email of how he wanted to make another monster today. So sweet. Although now he's going to want to become a Moose and Bear partner, rather than employee. He does most of my photography and copy writing at the moment - hey, he's got a degree in marketing, he should!

I listed this adorable little green guy today, right after I left work early to post my latest sale. It's always a nice feeling posting something off to pastures new. I always worry though that buyers will be upset when they get my stuff. I remember one buyer, just before Christmas, bought three different things from my store. I didn't hear anything for ages, and then I got the best feedback ever - things were "ridiculously cute" and "perfect gift" - I was walking on clouds all day after that! I love the buyer-seller relationship that happens on Etsy - I also logged in, not to find a sale, but a message from someone saying that they thought my stuff was adorable. Almost as good as a sale! I'm also getting more and more into the forums, building up relationships, knowledge, passing it onto other people. It feels good to do that.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

naughty naughty!!!

IMG_3721, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

Yes, this guy is a little cheeky!!! He went on sale today, but I actually made him a couple of weeks ago whilst stranded in a west yorkshire hotel room. I think he has a very cute cheeky face to go with his naughty mind. I think I'm going to make some more like him but maybe with some more positive messages. On another note, I am getting rather bored with my limited felt repository - John Lewis, which is my cheapest local shot, only has pretty rubbish colours, so I'm thinking I have to go online pretty soon to stock up. Pink, green, a not great blue, yellow, and black does not creativity encourage.

On another note, this little guy sold today!!! I am still at the stage when a sale is reason to celebrate - a little sad I know. It makes all the myspacing, flickring, and etsy forum posting worthwhile. Woo-hoo!!

And finally (just like the news then), tonight should be interesting, as Ori has deciding that he is not just chief photographer, but he wants to design and make his own monster tonight. I think he wants a promotion.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Latest in the Monster/Bunny line

IMG_3725, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

This little green guy is the result of some late night Friday crafting. Whilst Ori was out playing basketball I watched Lost in Translation and sewed up this little guy. Ori think that his eyes are weird (I am having a really hard time finding cheap, suitable buttons right now. The ones I prefer are 25p each at John Lewis, which is ridiculous!), but I quite like them actually. Until I get new thread, I won't be able to use the other 4 colours of pastel that came in the bag unfortunately.

I didn't do any crafting today, instead taking lots of photos instead. I cold easily take out some sewing now, but I'm actually enjoying not doing something, which is odd. Aside from this post, I am pretty much ignoring Moose and Bear today. Instead, I'm reading (On Chesil Beach, so far very good), drinking G&T, and relaxing. Tomorrow, I'll sew like a maniac, I'm sure.

Friday, 18 January 2008

lost in translation is craftastic

I am a huge Lost In Translation fan. Everythin about the movie is just wonderful and perfect, but I had forgotten that Scarlett (who's character, does she have a name?) is knitting a scarf in the movie. Even more bliss.

Okay, off to bed.

custom plushie

IMG_3679, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

I finished this guy late last night. He is about a foot high, and took a lot longer to sew up than I thought. Anyway, he is the custom design I made for the little boy who is having migraines, so I hope he likes him. I'm pleased with how he's turned out - I think the little bandage is really cute.

Etsy is up and down for me. As I said earlier, I have had an exciting week with potential consignment and this custom order, but my actual store is not selling so well. I get lots of views and hearts, but not buyers!! I am doing lots of promotions and myspacing etc, and I know it takes time, but I guess I want some more Etsy love!! Otherwise, my pile of little monsters just grows and grows. At least they have each other for company.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

My First Custom Order

IMG_3623, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

Yep, that's right, I got my first custom order. I'm really excited about it. Bascially, I have to make up this little guy here, but larger, and with a different message. It's been commisioned by a mum who's little boy is having really bad headaches. I should have it finished today and mailed off tomorrow - pictures coming soon. Because we've built up a bit of a relationship whilst we've been emailing back and forth, I'm also going to throw in a little mini plushie as well. I just haven't decided what that one will say. Maybe nothing actually.

Moose and Bear has had a busy couple of days. Although no other sales, I've been contacted about doing some potential consignment work for a gallery shop in Newcastle. It's the first time I've been asked about this, so it's very flattering. I'm not sure how it will work out, and I'm currently putting together my brochure. And by brochure, I mean copying my Etsy page into a different format. Pricing is one of the most difficult issues - they are asking for 40% commission rate, which might push the price of my wee beasties up! Then again, I've had feedback on the Etsy forums that prices could be doing with being raised a dollar or two. That's not 40% though! Some people have good things to say, some don't...

I've also signed up for my first ever craft fair!!! April 21st (I think!) in Morningside, Edinburgh. I'll be there with my coterie of beasties. It could be amazing, it could be completely disheartening. Time will only tell.

I also got my moo cards - very exciting!! Some came out better than others - well, it was my first try. I can't wait to start giving them out and leaving them in coffee shops etc. I think that next time I will make a special flickr folder for pictures that have been edited to fit the moo shape though.

Right now I'm really feeling inspired to do some embroidering, a la subversive stitching stylee. I'm going to pick up some aida today along with more filling for my plushies. And I'm trying to plot ways of getting to the new HobbyCraft that has opened in Glasgow. Damn not having a car!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

weekend of crafting

amigurumi matryoska dolls, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

If anyone reads this, they will know that I love starting a project, and hate finishing. I have done numerous personality quizes are work which tell me this, but nothing provides more evidence that my work in progress bag, which is always filled with small parts of crocheted things to be. This afternoon I sat and sewed together a couple of things, including finishing off this set of three russian dolls. They had been sitting in my work in progress bag for, well, before Christmas. Yes, that's bad. I saw them in a Japanese crochet book, but the pattern that was there didn't work out, and I had to rethink it myself. Very simple, but gorgeously effective. They are now on sale on Etsy as of about ten minutes ago.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Ain't He Just So Cute?!?

IMG_3603, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

I really really love this guy!! He's one of the creations from last week's craftathon in my hotel room. I really want to make more with different embroidery on the front, and maybe some mean ones as well!!! I was worried when creating him that getting the stuffing even would be a pain, because he's quite small, but actually, he worked out great. He just fits in your hand. I'd like to make one for my desk at work, but right now this little dude has gone on sale on Etsy.

Have to admit that I did absolutely no crafting yesterday. [Hangs head in shame]. Between getting home from work late (missing a flight by 10 mins - argh!!), and spending some quality time with my boy after not having seen him for three days, it didn't seem right. I did draw out some designs in my sketchbook in the airport lounge - that might count, right? ;)

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Steve the Amazing Crocheted Robot

IMG_3607, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

I really love this guy. I saw a knitted robot with a similar shape, so decided to see whether I could crochet one instead (being completely unable to knit!). I did it in the round, and I think he turned out pretty good. I used cotton yarn which I love working with, but doesn't have a lot of stretch so I can't decide whether it is good for plushies or not! Anyway, he's up for sale on etsy, so we'll have to wait and see what the public thinks!

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Proof I have been crafting the last 4 days!!

IMG_3631, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

Yes, I haven't actually had any pictures up of the last 4 days of crafting, which made it slightly less interesting to read about. But here is evidence of my work!!! I actually have to say I really love these guys. "Feed Me" and "Dude" were the new designs I made in the hotel room, and George the Hot Pink Octopus I have been making for a while. I thought that sewing the legs together would be a complete bitch, but it actually wasn't too bad. Oh, and Steve the Robot is a personal favourite. They'll be put up for sale soon, but right now they are keeping me company whilst I type!

george the hot pink octopus could be yours

IMG_3632, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

Before I head out for a few drinks tonight, I put lil George up on Etsy. He's that cute he can't last long up there!!!

Day 5 of 100!

not too happy, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

Another day, some more crafting. Although today's involved a three mile walk across Edinburgh, which was rather nice. The two best wool shops are on opposite parts of the city centre, so I walked from one to the other to compare cashmere for the snood I want to make. I didn't end up getting either - maybe tomorrow!!! As for actual crafting, I've not done much so far, just sewing together a few more bodies from the body bag whilst Ori took photos of my latest monsters. I'll do some more after I've uploaded this lil fellow to Etsy. My monsters are doing well on views, but I need someone to puck up the courage to buy buy buy!!

Friday, 4 January 2008

days 2, 3, and 4 of crafting

oops, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

I have been having a very busy couple of crafting days actually. Wednesday was spent finishing off 8 legs of a hot pink crocheted octopus. I haven't sewn them together, given my antipathy towards actually finishing off a toy! But they are now lying in my "body parts" bag - alongside an unfinished duck (last night), and an elephant "desk pet". Maybe I'll actually finish them off tomorrow. Last night I was staying in a hotel room for work, and I got the chance to actually create some of my new designs from my notebook. I made two new monsters which I absolutely love, and I'll get pictures up of tomorrow - bright yellow felt can't help but bring a smile to your face! And today I did actually start putting things together, finishing off my crocheted robot that I made at the beginning of the week. I'm really pleased with him - I should be putting up a pattern for him in my etsy soon, as well as the little robot man himself.

Talking of etsy, this little guy was listed today. Hopefully he won't be here long!!!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

lester went up for sale today

lester's a yellow elephant, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

I made Lester the yellow elephant just before Christmas, and listed him on my etsy today. I have to say he's one of the cutest amigurumis I've made so far, and when I get a chance, I'm going to cook up some brothers and sisters for him, the little sweetie.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

monsters to be

monsters to be, originally uploaded by mooseandbear.

These are the monsters I'm working on at the moment. One of my new year crafting resolutions is to work more in batches, so I've made up 5 or 6 of this guys in stages, and today I'm stuffing them up.

Day 1

The first day of many! I'm trying to complete the 365 days of crafting pledge that many fellow crafters have also signed up for - 2008 is going to be a good year! Today I've sewn up a couple of my latest swearing amoebas that will be posted onto etsy over the next couple of days. I'm determined to make Moose and Bear a success this year!!

Right now I'm working on my swearing amoebas, and I've got a cute litte crochet robot to sew together. I've stockpiled some felt so I'll be making some new monsters from my sketchbook later today as well. Yeh!!