Flower Girl Dress by Whimsy Wendy

Flower Girl Dress by Whimsy Wendy
dropping petals... one by one.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I'm famous!...the interview

Giggle! Here's a link to my interview regarding the toy store, China and my tutus!


Neat thing is, the store has been selling my tutus, better than ever!

Can you belive how serious I am?

Monday, December 3, 2007

My White Elephant and the Sugar Coated Pumpkin

Greg, the girls and I had a heavenly weekend indoors, watching the world swirl by. We were lucky to be on the inside looking out at the first snowfall/ storm of the season. It gave us the okay to be just a little lazy and play lots of games and watch movies. I even took a break from my sewing machine!

My exception to the weekend indoors, was venturing out to a friend's house on Friday for our traditional once-a-month evening of BUNCO! The evening was beautifully hosted by two group members that put on a Bunco soiree to celebrate the upcoming Christmas season, capped off with a White Elephant gift exchange. Look what I ended up with...

However this "exquisite" piece of art wasn't supposed to come home with me. After a fun filled evening tossing the dice, I pleasantly said my goodnight and thanks and artfully scooted out the door, pretending I had my newly acquire gift in tow. (Secretly I had stashed the glass swan in the hostess's Christmas decor on her coffee table). Wiping my hands clean of the item, I went home giggling of my fortune to be rid of the offending item.

This is what I awoke to the next morning.....

Not only did the swan return to my home in its full glory (loaded with old Halloween candy), but Santa paid a visit to my home, in addition to a number of various Holiday decor swindled off of a friends porch.

I am currently trying to come up with some sort of retribution.

On another neat note, I took this picture Sunday morning after the storm had passed. This pumpkin looks like it's been dipped in egg wash and super fine sugar. Isn't that beautiful.

It looks good enough to eat!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

To China... Or Not To China

I was on my way home today, after a morning of dropping off various invoices and picking up the dry cleaning, and made my last stop at B J Beck's Toy Store in Cedarburg. It was busy! Shoppers, lots of delivery boxes.....and..... a reporter and camera man from Channel 6 news. They were there to interview Jane Beck regarding toy shopping patterns and habits and what has changed since the "China scare".

Well doesn't fate have a way of playing its hand. Two minutes later, I am being interviewed as both a toy shopper as well as a small goods manufacturer. We'll see if it makes it on the news tonight, but it really brings up a good point. Where are our children's things being made? What quality standards are they following? I want to know that my girls' toys are safe and sturdy and reliable.... Just like my clients want to know my products are clean, safe and reliable.

A few weeks ago, I had a interested client contact me, asking where my fabric was manufactured. (I am assuming they wanted to make sure it was safely manufactured stateside).

I did a little research with my supplier and sure enough, my tulle is 100% Made in the U.S.A.. Additionally my supplier writes,

"It is 100% Nylon, which the federal government recognizes as being inherently flame retardant. Caution your customers to ONLY purchase Nylon tulle! Polyester tulle is sometimes treated to make it flame retardant, BUT the chemical used may be a carcinogen, and potentially more harmful than the flame itself.

Our factory has been manufacturing tulle since 1926. We are the largest TULLE maker in the USA. That is why we can STOCK 65 colors of tulle and 42 colors of iridescent tulle: we have the distribution that can absorb the yardage needed to sustain such a huge inventory."

I really do feel much better about supplying a product that is made under strict guidelines and monitored closely and so glad I double checked; especially because I make these things for little children.

Any thoughts? The temporary and easy solution... buy handmade.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Headache Day

I can't shake this migrain coming on. Uuuuuggggghhhh! Ouch - the one thing I did get accomplished today was this adorable custom tutu ordered by an aunt for her neice. It turned out beautifully. I added an extra layer of ribbon to enhance the light pink and white tulle.

Doesn't it make you smile?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

I Love My Eye Candy

Sometimes, creatively, I get in a rut. To compensate for those gray days, I have a rather large collection of cut, torn, taped and stapled loose sheets ripped from various books, magazines, internet sites and newspapers. It's not pretty and according to my husband is a bit of an eye sore.

I think it is beautiful. It's inspiration in all sorts of words and shapes and colors. It is filled with pictures of various crafts I'd like to tackle, decorated rooms to copy, furniture whose shape turns me on, exotic locations I'd like to visit. The first hundred pages or so, were neatly placed in a series of blank-page books. The next five hundred or so and jumbled into a somewhat hunter-orange plastic folder that gets my heart beating when I find it under my yards of stacked fabric.
Why am I bringing this collection of "eye candy" up? Well, taking a quick break from tutus and crowns and wands, I found a number of ripped out pages that talk about making things from recycled products. It reminded me that last year, in a creative spending spree, I hit a number of local thrift stores and bought all of the 100% wool sweaters I could find. I washed them at home in my sewing machine on extra hot, twice. Then I dried them to a crisp in my dryer. Ta-da! Instant wool felt.

Remembering my stash, I pulled them out today and whipped up a pair of nifty, warm and darling wool mittens for my littlest imp. She loved them and I think the woolen red pom-poms really added a cute dimension.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Life List

My family and I just got back from a school spaghetti dinner night. It was one of those warm and fuzzy evenings where all seems right with the world. Of course, that only lasts for a fleeting moment, but I had always dreamed of being in this place in my life. Two beautful daughters, an involved husband, faithful dog and me - super mom, involved with school, a business, neat home and woman with flair.

Now, you and I both know that this isn't very realistic. I have always lived in a bit of a fantasy world, however, just for a few minutes tonight I felt as though I had accomplished something off of my life list. Everyone should have a life list. You know what it is. A list of all the things you want to accomplish or do before your life ends.

Some items on my life list include, but are not limited to:
  • travel to Manchu Pichu
  • selling things that I make to complete strangers and have the love them!
  • live overseas again/ or have a posh apartment to visit regularily
  • revisit my old home in Tokyo with my girls and show them around
  • make enough money to truly suprise my husband with a trip
  • learn to juggle
  • teach a class, but I don't know what
  • keep in shape and have killer arms (girls know what I mean)
  • travel around the Greek isles on a sail boat
  • have a great, healthy family that loves each other and stays tight
  • master chess
  • relearn one of my languages (French, Japanese or Italian) to a passable level
  • take an art class
  • master the stock market
  • understand the stock market
I know some are really vain, some are manageable, and some... well I haven't even dreamed them up yet. But I guess that's what life lists are about.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Too Little Time - So Much To Do!

Hard to believe Halloween is over! This month has been chuck full of birthdays, out of town guests and a trip to Chicago (let's not forget the Day of Candy). So much to do, so little time. I really need to buckle down to get ready for the holidays and boutiques coming up.

I finally had a moment to try a couple new things that I've been meaning to do... Firstly Brown is becoming a dominant color in my tutus. At first I thought they'd be too sophisticated for little ones, but the demand is obviously there. My pink and brown combinations are as hot as the little ladybug designs. I think it's because the grandmas and moms who are buying these as gifts, love chocolate as much as I do!

Today, I submitted a few more tutus to Etsy with the Brown in mind. This time, I paired Chocolate with pale tourquoise to get a really fun and fabulous look. Check it out! Doesn't it make you hungry - I'll be sneaking into my daughters' candy soon.

Next, a friend of mine came over with a very simple design for fleece scarves - I got so excited and carried away with the number of variations I could do, I went out and bought about 10 yards of colorful fleece. Here are my first variations of adult scarves.

The best part about them is they can be color coordinated to suit school colors! They would be great for sports teams and cheerleaders - Should be lots of fun. Now I just need to figure out how to photograph them to make them really stand out!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Underwater Princess Tutu Costume/ Contest

I am so excited! I've been getting ready to enter the Etsy Halloween costume contest and I finished the costume today. I'm not sure how I came to my final design but my girls definitely had major input. Anna's titled it "Under Water Princess". I pulled out all of my tulle colors in blues and greeens that don't sell well on their own and found this wonderfully rustic green cotton for the waist. There are over eight layers of tulle that have been individually cut with shears so they look like flowing seaweed swirling in water. I also hand sewed on these beautiful strings of greenish beads to drape down like coral/ seaweed too. I really think it pulled well together. I capped the tutu off with a starfish wand and a beaded green 'seaweed' crown.

I hope I get some nice feedback from the contest. It is the first time I've used this style of waistband and was really pleased on how good it looks and fits.

These days I've been sewing like a nut trying to get all of my Halloween tutus finished so I can begin to focus on the Holiday Boutiques that start next week. I feel like I've been spending more on materials than I've been making lately, but hopefully the payback will be worth it. (I could NOT get my hair done, but this girl has limits!) The good news is that my Etsy sales seem to be solid and steady. Thank you!

Until next time!...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Monkey Cupcakes Swinging in the Trees

One of the coolest things about being a mom is being able to come up with creative ways to celebrate various events throughout the year. It probably drives my girls nuts, but I can't stand buying store bought items for birthdays and Halloween. If they can dream up an idea, I do my darnedest to put it together on my own. I have always felt I am cheating when I cut corners. That's probably why I am nuts half the time.

But I digress... I really thought these monkey cupcakes came out so well I had to post them. I had originally gotten them off of another blog and have unfortunately not been able to find her address for credit. But the ears and mouth are various Nilla Wafers and colored gels dot the eyes and draw the mouth. So easy but clever!

Then we had to come up with goody bags. I can't stand those things. They are always filled with unnecessary junky toys (probably from a country overseas with a reputation for tainted toys). However, being that this is my daughters birthday, we compromised. We made these cute little bags with left over paper we had around our craft room. The monkeys are just circle shapes cut and glued together. We really had fun putting these together. We filled them with little bags of snacking crackers and cookies, gum and her favorite candy. At least they'll be eaten.
To cap it off, tomorrow we are going to the skating rink for a party with her class. I hope my knees hold up. The party's "piece de resistance" will consist of a beautiful monkey cake (pictures to come... It still needs to be frosted tonight).

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

They Don't Make Them Like They Used To...

I had a hard to believe experience the other day. I went through THREE sewing machines!

I was finishing up an order for a boutique and my new (Made Overseas) sewing machine took a digger. No problem, I said to myself and I pulled out my back up. Apparently my back up didn't appreciate being set on a shelf in my studio for over a year, left to defend itself from dust and neglect. That too refused to work!

So from the recesses of my sewing closet, I pulled out the "Norge", Grandma's Singer Sewing machine - the one most people leave in their storage rooms, basements and attics waiting to get rid of it at their next garage sale. Lo and behold, my lovely sewing machine fixer-man (my savior many times over) has let me on to the fact that I own a gem!

Not only do I have an original all-metal Singer Sewing Machine, but it's a "feather weight" which makes it very valuable. I had him lube it up and now it is a perfect back-up for me and the stitches... they are beautiful. It's not fancy, and my girls think it's funny looking, but can this machine sing! Thanks grandma!

I've been in my workroom all day, getting ready the rush on Halloween Costumes. Didn't want to post my mess, but loved the colors of all of my stock tutus, wands and ribbons made. Isn't it fun eye candy!

Looking at these pictures make me want to revamp my studio. Next big project - recreating my work space...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Tutu Picture Show!

I can't belive my luck. A friend of mine (and her sister) has some darling little girls, just the perfect tutu size. Anyways, my little girls are a little too big to model for me anymore, so yesterday, I met them outside on a gorgeous day to try some new (and old designs) on them. I traded some product for pics and think they turned out so cute!
Still can't figure out how to turn my photos, but will work on it -

I was also able to get some feedback from one munchkin on my new petticoat tutu design. I love it! (see blue and white design) Would love to hear back from anyone - i am bringing it in to a boutiuqe next week. We'll see if any orders come out of it.

My orders for Halloween Costume tutus are going really well. Looks like I'm going to be doing my late night sewing for a little bit. I'll put on my favorite tunes and hide in my studio for a couple hours tonight after everyone is asleep.
So happy the weekend is here. The weather is going to be beautiful! Maybe I can put my sewing machine outside on the deck.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Selling to A New Store

One of the hardest things for me to overcome, is approaching stores to purchase my products. It is so unnerving to think of rejection, but what a life lesson it is. I've never been skilled at selling (that's my husband's area of expertise), but because I really believe in the things I have been making, and they are MINE, I sell a little stronger, a little better.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with a darling boutique in my area and I KNOW my tutus, wands and princess gear will be a perfect fit. I just need to remember to put on my selling hat and shed my creative hat for the meeting. That way, my emotions aren't so invested. It's hard to differentiate.

So.... today, I am going to head down into my studio and come up with a selection of tutus, halloween costumes, wands and a little magic to wow the boutique owner.

Also on my To Do list: take Cece is gymnastics, hit the bank, drop off books at the library, come up with dinner, take Norman to the vet, schedule a tune up for the car, load more products on my Etsy store site, list items on Ebay, start girls' costumes and plan both girls' birthday parties. That's Mondays for you.