Sunday, January 27, 2013

Angry Birds Birthday

Like most 5 year olds, my son is obsessed with Angry Birds. So of course he had to have an Angry Birds birthday party this year.

This was a fairly easy party to execute, much easier than his Super Mario party last year. We started off with his collection of Angry Birds plush birds and pigs

 
 I purchased the 40 piece Melissa & Doug cardboard block set

 
The kids split into two teams, one team would build the structure while the other team threw the birds to knock it down
 
 
Last week I made the Angry Birds masks out of felt, Ayden was the only red bird, but the kids could choose from the Egg Bird, Yellow Bird, Blue Bird or Piggy
 




 
This was an easy party because I didn't have to do much directing, I just let the kids play with the blocks and birds, while I was able to visit with the adults (for once). I didn't leave the adults out of the fun tho. Ayden has several sets of the "at-home" game that we set up on the tables, I think Grandma and Grandpa had just as much fun playing !

My good friend Emily from {Every Second Counts Cakes} made the chocolate cupcakes!
 

 
 

 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Angry Birds Felt Mask how to

Angry Birds Felt Mask

my son is going to have an Angry Birds birthday party here in just a few weeks.  I always make some kind of dress up hat, mask, costume piece for the take home favor. I had an idea to make masks like a couple of different birds. Ayden of course wants to be the only red bird.... this is how I designed and made this cute mask!

I already make masks for my shop for the halloween season.

So I started with the basic pattern that I use for these masks


Traced it onto paper

Rounded the top to the shape of the bird I was making

Added the feathers to the top

Sketched the eye brows and make a pattern piece for them, I did the same thing for the beak piece


Cut them all out


Then cut the pieces out of felt in the corresponding colors

With yellow thread I sewed around the beak edge (not the edge that will attach to the mask)
with black thread I sewed the eyebrows into place on only one layer of red felt

Sew the two red layers together with red thread. Sew the elastic between the layers of felt at each edge by the eye. I used a piece that was 13.5".  My traditional masks that are in my shop are two pieces of ribbon for the ties, but since this is for a birthday party I decided to use elastic
I also sewed around each eye at this step, and clip the eye holes to be a little bit larger/rounder




Pin the beak around the edge of the nose. this can be tricky, use as many pins as you need to to keep it in place. pin the center first then work down each side until it is all pinned

Sew carefully

You can use this photo to create your own pattern. You  may have to play with the size

And there you have it!  It was quick and easy...now to make 20 more!








Saturday, January 5, 2013

3 years and 700 Etsy sales


On January 6th, 2010 I listed my first items in my Etsy shop. I had just lost my job 3 months earlier, was having no luck getting a new job right away and feeling very nervous about my future.

I was asking God for some guidance, tell me what to do! That's when a friend introduced me to Etsy. I wasn't sure at first...who would buy my stuff?  But I couldn't get it out of my head, and I took that to mean that God was telling me to go for it.

So I did.

I did not get my first sale until February 1st, and it was my cousin who made that first order. She purchased three stuffed animals.  I am posting the photos of these animals, there are the pictures that I used in my Etsy shop, and I can hardly believe I sold anything with photos that looked that this!

There they are. my first order. Who knew what kind of changes I would be making over the next three years! By my 50th sale in March (3 months later!) I had been taking the Etsy virtual classes and learning that the quality of my photos were extremely important, using only natural indirect light... this bunny was #50!


By August 2010 I had reached my 100th sale!  This brown dog continues to be one of the most popular animals in my shop. I have sold countless brown dogs made from this simple vintage pattern. Using my three year old son as the model for the first time, he proved to be a great salesman....and became my model for most of my stuffed animals and several other products in my shop.


Business was flying along, and I reached my 150th sale in October, just two months later. Tutu's were selling well both online and at craft shows, this was before the market was over saturated with tutus.  I have recently stopped making them, because I was constantly being asked to lower my price on them and I just didn't enjoy it anymore. My personal policy to myself is that they day I stop enjoying what I do,  I will close my shop. Luckily I just stopped making tutus.


I learned that Halloween would be my busiest season of all and quickly hit sale #200 in November. Cotton fairy wings are another product that I have dropped because I stopped enjoying it. At first my unique design was popular and a good seller, but over time, as tutu's became less popular so did the wings. So I made a business decision to stop making them..... more time to focus on stuffed animals.


More wings came in at sale #250 in February 2011. At this pint I was working as a tax preparer for my local H&R Block office, so I slowed down production a bit, but still plugged away on my little sewing machine


Sale #300!  I was so excited! This emerald green peacock mask was that milestone sale in May 2011, a month after my first tax season ended and I was back in my studio full time.


In August 2011 I reached #350. Kicking off the Halloween costume season. This is small Toto and felt weaved basket that were an accessory to the Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) costume for girls.


A month later,in September, full in Halloween season I reached #400 with my most popular costume. Red Riding Hood


It only took another month to reach #450, just a week before Halloween, with these ruby red baby felt shoes.



November 2011 I reached #500 with the most popular gift for that Christmas season. The pink dinosaur. who knew the pink t-rex was in such high demand?  I still love to make these dino's in every color of the rainbow.


Another Christmas friend made the milestone at #550 in December 2011.  These cute pups are a fun variation of the popular brown dog, that I make in endless color combinations



 #600!  In March of 2012!  by this point I am half way through my second tax season and applying for the job I have now at the orthodontics office. Even tho I was making sales like crazy and sewing 50+ hours a week, it was not making enough money to stay at home. So I cut my production time down to just evenings after my kids are in bed. I don't blog as much as I used to, and I don't promote on social media as much as I had. I just keep up with the full time job and full time studio and full time mom!  But I am not surprised at all that another dog reaches this milestone for me.


It took until September of 2012 to reach #650, that is 6 months compared to the normal 1-3 months per milestone. But I have to do what I have to do.  These pirate hats are a very popular item in my shop all year long, not just Halloween!  I always think they turn out to be the cutest thing!


And this brings us to current. The 3rd  anniversary of my shop is tomorrow :: January 6th :: and I am only 4 sales away from my 700th Etsy sale. Now this does not include the hundreds of items I have sold locally at craft shows and markets. But for Etsy....I am pretty darn proud of my Etsy shop.
The question is..... Will YOU be that 700th sale?

Go check it out!     www.bynichole.etsy.com





Wednesday, January 2, 2013

An Angry Birds Birthday, getting started

It is that time a year again when it is time to plan my kids birthday parties. Ayden will be 6 in February and this year he wants an Angry Birds birthday.

and you know me, I can't do just any old party with any old party decorations...... so I have been pinning a board for several months now to get ready for this.

Unfortunately I haven't pinned much:

See for yourself

I'm a little bit stuck. Being a single mom now I don't have a lot of extra cash to put toward two birthdays just 2 months apart, especially right after Christmas. So it's time to start getting creative........

I AM open to suggestions if you know anything that is amazing and awesome and worthy of my party!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Back from Vacation!

Sew Cute etsy shop is back from holiday vacation
with a few new additions
 

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