In the last six months or so, the girls and I have become obsessed with getting a bunny. We pop in the pet shop any time we're near and check out all of the sweet little bunnies. And I always take a picture of our favorite bunny and text it to Crafty Papa in an attempt to guilt him into agreeing to get one. Here's the cutie I texted him last week... So, the bunny obsession led me to create a bunny doll. And because Bella is always making bunny related crafts (while I was sick she made me the cutest paper bunny in a shoe box!), I've named this new doll "The Bella Bunny".
Her head and body shape are basically the same as the dolls in my shop. But her arms and legs have been altered to be more bunny like and instead of felt hair, she has big bunny ears. The ears are lightly stuffed and quilted so they stand up but aren't stiff and are still soft enough to flop. They're backed with a super soft textured (think terry cloth) fabric so they're as soft as a real bunny's ears! She has a sweet embroidered bunny face and is wearing a tiny removable dress.
Of course, there was some trial and error in coming up with the pattern...especially those big ears. I'm giving away my test version of Bella Bunny to one lucky reader. Her ears are a little (or a lot) wonky, and her limbs vary from what I ended up with in the final product but she's still totally lovable. To win the bunny above, simply leave me a comment here telling me what gift you're most excited to give this holiday season. I'll pick a winner on Sunday and announce it on the blog.
The gift I'm most excited to give this year are the dolls I'm making for my girls. They've been begging for one since I started making them but I've been in "shop mode" so they've had to wait. We do a fairly modest Christmas and I like for their gift from us to be handmade if possible. So, they're each getting a doll that looks like them and a ruffled tshirt that matches their doll's dress.
If you read even a handful of craft-related blogs, you know that holiday gift guides are "the thing" right now. Crafty Papa and I went to dinner (alone!) a few nights ago and started discussing the fine line between a gift guide and a gift grab. I know, I know, not exactly the kind of romantic conversation you expect for a once-every-three-months or so date night but we both had strong opinions on the subject and actually were in agreement which almost never happens.
So, here's my opinion - and it may not be popular, but I'd really love to hear your opinion too...
I think in general, far too many craft blogs have sacrificed meaningful posts for PR and marketing. It's all sponsors and giveaways and free stuff...and I don't think all blog authors are totally honest about how they stumbled on the product they're reviewing. Buying something on Etsy that you end up loving so much you feel compelled to share about it is very different from someone paying you to review their product or sending you a freebie in exchange for you saying nice things. I'm opinionated...very opinionated...and I like to hear real opinions and feedback. How honest and meaningful can an opinion be when it's accompanied by cash or product?
I got several requests in my Etsy inbox from people wanting a freebie from my shop in exchange for a review or feature in their gift guide. I opted not to do any of them. I'd much rather have someone buy one of my dolls or bags, love it, and genuinely want to share about my shop with no strings attached. Sure, some of the blogs could have been good marketing for me but I guess it's not the style of marketing I'm interested in. And I couldn't help but question how many of these requests came about because the person wanted to give one of my dolls or bags as a gift but didn't have the budget to buy it.
I've seen a few gift guides this season that are so blatantly a gift grab, I couldn't believe crafters actually responded. Literally, "Everyone send me a bunch of stuff, I'll decide what to blog about and what not to blog about, and then I'll give everything to my friends and family and even tell you on my blog who I'm giving it to." If you're truly doing the gift guide to support artisans and not yourself, why not donate the items to charity? Or give some away to the readers who support you and your blog?
As I said, I know my opinion won't be popular with everyone and I really would love to hear what other crafters think. And speaking of gift guides, I'd like to share a few Christmas gifts I've recently purchased on Etsy that I love. Not paid sponsors or freebies, just well made items that I'm excited about giving.
Mini I Spy Bags I bought these to go in the girls' stockings and they're just too cute! I love the small size, making them easy to throw in my purse or keep in the car. And even though they're tiny, there's still a long list of treasures for the girls to find.
Pippy Scarf Ok, I bought this for myself and I've already worn it. And I live in California, at the beach no less, so I don't really need a scarf. But this one is so lightweight and definitely more of an accessory. I love all of the colors in it and definitely plan to get another one in a different color scheme.
Donut and Cupcake Soaps We're giving these to my grandma for Christmas. Random, huh? She has some ball and heart shaped soaps in her bathroom that the girls love. Every time we visit Matea talks about wanting to use the ball soap. So I let each of the girls pick a fun novelty soap for great grandma's bathroom and they look so realistic, I think grandma's going to be confused!
This week has been CRAZY. Getting back into the groove of things after having all of last week off has been hard. I wasn't really sleeping in last week, but having the option of staying in bed for an extra 20 minutes was nice. Only two more weeks of school and then three weeks of mornings of luxury!
I was also frantically preparing all week for The Stitch Market Boutique last night. Then I woke up sick yesterday morning...like room spinning kind of sick...and thought I might not make it to the event. Lots of Tylenol, rest, and Gatorade later, I was feeling better and looking forward to seeing some of my sweet baby dolls find new homes.
I didn't take any pictures during the boutique but trust me, the house was packed! Lindsey's holiday decorations were super fun and cute and I think my dolls looked adorable all lined up together, if I do say so myself.
This morning I've been working on lots of updates in my shop. All bags have been marked down 25%! No coupon code or calculating needed, prices have been updated within the listings to reflect the discount. I've also been adding new dolls including these two cuties. I have a few more babies to list but my eyes are tired and my head is pounding so I'm going to take a break from the computer. Check back over the weekend for more dolls and don't forget to take advantage of the awesome bag sale!
Tomorrow night I'll be participating in The Stitch Market Boutique in San Luis Obispo. That means I'll be closing my Etsy shop sometime tomorrow afternoon and reopening on Friday. So fair warning, if there's something you love, you should buy it now:)
I've been working on lots and lots of new dolls including some new hair styles...a short pixie cut a la Crafty Mama herself and a cute little bob like my sweet (not really) girls have. Oooo, and also some dark skinned dolls that are beyond adorable! My hope would be to sell every single one of them tomorrow night but realistically, you'll probably see some new little cuties in my shop on Friday.
I've been really lucky to have tons of custom orders this holiday season but that also means I've been totally swamped, working about 25-30 hours a week in addition to my full-time mom duties. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to January:) I'll be taking custom orders through December 8th and then I'll politely have to say, "No soup for you!". Have I mentioned while I sew I've been watching Seinfeld from beginning to end?
If you're local, stop by and see me tomorrow night at The Stitch Market Boutique (email me for the address). The hostess has a beautiful home and there are several talented vendors participating.