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June 29, 2017


Since 2004, I've been incredibly grateful to be a professional artisan, hand crafting luxury — and more recently, expendable — goods.

One of the awkward challenges of this path has been the frequency with which I've encountered a common misconception: that artisan goods should cost less than mass produced goods specifically BECAUSE they're hand made (because they're home-spun, imperfect, and/or made from materials any resourceful person could obtain.)

What people forget to take into account — very innocently, I believe — when they think this way, is that hand made goods that are priced fairly (covering time spent, materials costs, and unique skills, without undercutting pricing "to be nice," as a favor, or stemming from a lack of confidence in product, self, or sales potential) will always cost more than factory-made products due to:

1) Labor Costs — Factories are automated and can perform the work of hundreds of hands in a much shorter time than a single artisan ever could, even w...

April 23, 2017

This sly little imp was sold yesterday on Facebook. Thanks to everyone who visited the Bear Collectors Anonymous Facebook group to catch BEAN's appearance in their Great Worldwide Online Bear Show.

I'm so happy my first piece in a really long time was wanted. You might think I'm confident every piece will sell since I've been doing this so long, but you'd be wrong -- every listing sees me biting my nails with anxiety about how my work will be received. I don't lose sleep over it or anything. I don't cease to function. I don't need, like, therapeutic intervention over it. But I do feel worried, and I think maybe that's a natural part of being a creative person professionally, to worry about whether one's audience is still watching, and still willing to buy.

I had lots of fun interacting with fellow bear makers and all those sweet collectors again, especially in this sort of venue where things happen in real time. Thanks to fabulous bear artist and long-time friend Kim Russell for invi...

April 22, 2017

Potbelly Bears branding, version 2017, is finally complete -- yeehaw! While I love immersing in the graphic design work that consistent branding demands, it's a relief to be up-to-date across website, print, and my wildest, fondest dreams.

For 2017, every Potbelly Bear will come with this version of my branding, including business card, hangtag, and Certificate of Authenticity.

I used to wonder if it even mattered to provide this paperwork to my customers; it felt uncomfortably self-important to issue a "Certificate of Authenticity" for something little ol' me had made. Over the years, though, I've had more requests than I can count for re-prints of these documents because they'd been lost, or not included when one of my pieces was resold. So clearly,they matter a lot! It's a real pleasure to design them, and provide them for my customers. If you've lost your own Potbelly Bear paperwork, feel free to contact me at any time for a replacement.

April 21, 2017

Skill level: BEGINNER

Bear 🐻 making — it's happening. Pro tip: These wee fingertip brushes make clearing mohair from seams a breeze. They're called "nap riser" brushes, and you can find them in the "Teddy bear making • GOODS" section of my Amazon Associates store by clicking right here.

About my tutorials
These "trade-secret" tips & tricks are original and posted just for you. Pins, links, and shares warmly welcomed! You're free to sell what grows from viewing these tutorials. Please don't repost or reprint them, though, or claim them as your own. Your respect and understanding are appreciated. Happy creating!

April 4, 2017

Early Bird is a hot processed soap scented with citrus and other yummy essential oils. With orange zest and coffee grounds, it smells like a bright, happy morning. I'm still perfecting my original soap recipes -- and my labels and my website and all the FDA stuff that need doing -- but I hope to be selling botanical apothecary goods as Soapfinch some time in the next few months. Wheee!!

March 31, 2017

This soap batch, overcooked to its death, was a major new recipe fail. Trimming off the crumbly ends and beveling the edges, though, revealed this gorgeous interior, marbled with nutmeg and ground coffee. Plus, with cocoa as an ingredient, it smells like mocha! Just a few tweaks to recipe, aesthetics, & technique, and this one might turn out a winner. The experimenting continues...

March 29, 2017

Did you know veggies can regrow from their stumps? I was surprised to learn this a while back, and even more surprised by how fast they sprout. These scallions -- as tall as their papery skins at the start -- added inches to their height in just a few days. Amazing.

At some point, regrown vegetables need to be retired, since without the nutrients only soil can bring they lose vitality over time. Until then, through multiple rounds of growth, though, they bring delicious flavor and pretty garnish to home-cooked meals, and make a handy, and supremely easy to maintain, kitchen garden item.

March 29, 2017

A pothos clipping in a sea-glass-filled Mason jar... chunky beads made by a local artisan... a sparkling, faceted crystal... and a frog prince — the whimsical, cheerful sill of my studio window. #luckyme

March 18, 2017

Today, I was tickled and surprised to find hundreds of likes for my Polyvore set, above. I was tickled because it always feels good to be liked (especially for how my design brain works.) I was surprised because I usually get, maybe, 3 or 5 likes per set -- or for an especially unique set that's been on-site for a while, I maybe get 12 likes over the course of a month. Or year. :)

Peeps had not only liked my set in droves, but also sent messages of "Congrats!" and "Good job!" So I dug around to learn why, and I was flattered to discover that Polyvore itself had chosen this a "Top Fashion Set" for the day -- so fun!

I don't Polyvore to be popular -- though, as I wrote, it's always nice to be noticed. The truth is, I play stylist & designer there because it's easy good fun and it's fantasy, and because (as I wrote a few posts back) it gets my creative juices flowing in a way that's non-pressured and free.

Do you Polyvore?

March 17, 2017

I'm still having fun with soap making, with a mind toward selling (hopefully sooner than later.) My business-to-be is called Soapfinch, and my plan is to name products after birds -- or birdy things like eggs, nests, or sounds. This cut loaf (above) contains yogurt, beeswax, oatmeal, and honey, so I'm thinking of calling it "Honeybird." It's unscented except for the divine, tangy smell of its natural, kinda delicious ingredients. Ahhh... :)

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I love sewing, soaping,
nature, reading, people, birds, Disney, coffee, & fleece
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Musings and messes and magic and fun... the happy scrapbook of a creative, grateful life.

Sometimes I link to resources that I use personally and thus feel comfortable recommending to others. I participate in the Amazon Associates program, so when you purchase using my links I may receive a small percentage of the sale (at no additional cost to you.) Thank you for helping support indie artisans!  I will only recommend what I know and believe in; never just to be compensated. So when I write that I use and love something, you can trust that I really do.

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© 2018 Shelli Quinn | Shelli Makes Studio

*Not affiliated with Disney/Pixar