026::and even more doughnuts


I've been toying with this idea for a very long time now, but never had ample time to test it out, especially how it's going on the chain. After lots of experimentation, I am so pleased to finally have some doughnut necklaces for sale in the shop!

025::have yourself a happy holiday


happy holidays from the shop of worldly delights! I hope yours is filled with everything awesome and happy and delightful. I'll be taking a break from sewing, crafting, and blogging for a week or so while I spend time with friends and loved ones. If you do happen to order from the shop, don't worry. I'll continue to ship every day the post office is open so you can get your cute/kawaii fix asap.

cheers!

Laura

024:: doughnut mania

large doughnut keychains:: regularly $9, on sale for $7
mini doughnut keychains: regularly $7, now $5.50
It's been a pretty stressful few weeks here in casa de Worldly Delights. I can't believe I actually finished my holiday shopping and shipping, so I've had a lot more time to concentrate on crafting and making some last-minute custom orders. One of the cutest things I think I've been making recently are these doughnut keychains. They're so sweet! I love being able to make "confections" and not being able to eat them because they aren't edible. But they sure are a feast for the eyes!

For the month of December, all doughnuts are on sale! The larger ones which are regularly $9.00 are $2.00 off, and the mini ones are $1.50 off. That's more than 20% off! Within the next few days, I'm hoping to get a bit more time to experiment with making some doughnut pins and necklaces. By the time I get it all figured out, I'll be decked with dozens of doughnuts! 

023:: ornamental

fox ornament set
matryoshka ornament set
narwhal ornament set
owl ornaments
bunny ornament set
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Let these darling little ornaments adorn your tree this holiday season!

As always, I use quality felt that's a blend of wool and synthetic fibers. The felt is so much softer and sturdier than regular ecofelt that you can find in large craft stores. I support other Etsy sellers and small businesses by buying my supplies from them.

Of course, I accept custom orders. Just email me to check what colors and styles are available! :)

022:: Happy Shop-aversary!


One year ago, I opened my shop on Etsy. And I have lots to be grateful for. Here's a little something to celebrate these happy days :)

021:: Cupcake Bunnies on Parade

cupcake bunny keychains:: get them here!
Aren't they sweet? These little cupcake bunnies are sure to cutify any old set of keys! You can use them as zipper charms as well and adorn your bags, your hoodies, or anything that has a loop!

In other news, I've been concentrating on getting the shop stocked up for the holiday season, but it's proving to be harder than I thought especially when all I want to do is cuddle in a couch, cover myself with blankets, and sip Lady Grey tea while reading comic books. But I must be vigilant! 

020:: Matryoshka Madness





Buy them here

Whenever I go supply shopping, I tend to purchase a few yards of fabric whether I need to or not. And since I've decided a few weeks back that I won't be making bows to sell anymore, I have scads of cloth just waiting to be used. That's a good thing because these Matryoshka plushes need lots of shawl options to  showcase each of their personalities and style. 

These little plushes can be used as decor to brighten up an office space, a bookshelf, or a nursery. They're also great as toys or mini pillows for little pets and tots. I've also used these plushes as pin cushions to keep me from losing my pins and needles. 

Because 100% of these dolls are handsewn, I spend a lot of time looking at them and thinking about what their names are and what their favorite pastimes or foods are. It's a lot of fun molding a personality while making these darlings. It makes me feel so much closer to the products of my craft. 

019:: pin me


I. AM. SO. EXCITED.

I finally finished off the huge pile of felt that I've accumulated over the years. Instead of heading out to the closest craft store to replenish my supplies, I decided to up the quality of my wares by upping the quality of the felt that I work with.

I am happy to announce that as of today, all my felt goods will be made of a softer, sturdier, smoother felt than the ecofelt ones you normally find in huge retail stores. The new felt I use is made of a blend of wool and synthetic fibers, and comes in a huge array of colors. Even more exciting than that, I now exclusively buy my felt from other Etsy sellers! 

There are still items for sale in the store that are made of ecofelt or a combination of ecofelt and wool felt. During this transition period, all items made with wool felt will have a little blurb on the description about materials, which is not a problem because I can't get over how soft and silky this wool felt feels! I am in love with it.

Leave it to me to gush over something as silly as felt.  

018:: Foxes in Bandit Masks

Bandit Fox Keychain
Can you guess where the idea for this fox keychain came from? Fantastic Mr. Fox of course! In fact, I think the whole reason I am enamored with foxes is because of that amazing movie. And now, I just want to plop on the couch and watch the movie.

In actuality, I've had a bandit fox design planned out for months now, but when I first made it, I wasn't too pleased with how the mask had come out. Plus, back then, my stitches were still a bit uneven and messy. Fast forward 6 or so months later, and voila-- a perfectly adorable rascal who will steal your heart away. 

017:: my workspace




I live in an itty bitty house, and I was able to convince my sweet husband to give me the small second bedroom as a workspace. I initially used this room as my mini library and office when I was writing my thesis last year, but then after all that, I decided I needed more "me" space.

Right now, half of this room (not pictured) is comprised of my clothing and accessories area. The other half is my desk where I sew, blog, edit photos, embroider, write letters, do accounts, etc. I store all my wares in a shelf close to most of the fabrics I've accumulated throughout the past couple years. I often wonder when I'll actually get to use it all...

Behind my desk, I set up a small work table where I pack goods, cut up fabrics (much more space!) and draw up patterns of my creations.

Though my work area isn't as pristine as those featured in articles, I love working in it. I can spend hours and hours in my room, listening to music whilst dreaming up cute ideas. I love the superhero posters and commissions I've hung up on the walls. I love the bits and bobs of materials and decor sprinkled all over the place. It's a space I feel safe and welcome in. It's a place to call my own.  

016:: Fall and Halloween-Themed Goodies

Feel that crisp chill in the air? See the beautiful tones painting the trees? Smell the warm and spicy aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin? Autumn is here. Match it with these cute Fall and Halloween-themed delights!

Pumpkin Matryoshka Keyring// Cutify your keys or zipper loops with this dreaming Matryoshka doll keyring. The warm colors of her dress and hair and the cinnamon brown accents remind me of a pumpkin!

Falling Leaves Pin// Make a statement and wear it. This wee Matryoshka doll pin is completely hand stitched, down to the very last leaf.

Pretty Skull Bow// Skulls are pretty chic. Wear these pretty (not scary) skulls in your hair!

Batty Bow// This bow is both batty and starry.

Black Cat Pin// A cute black cat can only bring you good luck. Pin this darling on anything that needs added charm.

Of course, I also have a bevy of scarves to choose from!

015:: Matryoshka Ornaments


The days have been flying by here in Chateau de Worldly Delights!  I've been extremely occupied making tons of pre-ordered Matryoshka doll ornaments. You may not think it, but these little cuties take a long while to create. But I'm really happy to be stitching away. It's quite relaxing for me, and while doing so, I get to listen to podcasts and radio shows.

I can't believe I only just discovered Ask Me Another, a puzzle game show on NPR. I'm kind've glad that I did, though, because now I have tons of episodes to listen to while I'm sewing!

I also can't believe that it's already October. Just a couple more months before Christmas! After I get done with this huge order of ornaments, I'll be sure to stock up some for the shop, but if you want to snag yourself some without waiting for them to be listed, let me know

014:: Real-life inspiration is Real, Yo.

available here
This kissing deer necklace is one of , if not my number 1, favorite piece I've ever made for the shop. The idea for the necklace spurred from a slightly embarrassing point in my relationship with my then-boyfriend, now husband, (prepare to gag) when we named each of our kisses. I had once rubbed the tip of my nose against his and declared it our "deer nuzzling kiss." It stuck, and now, here it is made tangible.

I've switched to using a different kind of felt, which I purchase from other etsy sellers, (If you're curious, email me, and I can give you a list of some sellers) and I have to admit: I can't go back to regular eco-felt. I now use a blend of eco-felt and actual wool, and the end material is much sturdier and easier to sew with. I really recommend it. 

013:: Cutting costs on packaging


A huge goal of mine for the shop is to provide affordable and  quality items. A huge way in which I've managed to keep my costs down is by scrimping on how I package my wares. I've bought many an item from small businesses wrapped in layers and layers of exquisite fabric, tissue papers, or ribbon. Lots of sellers use pretty bags, wrapping paper, and professionally-done stickers too. And I am definitely not against that. It's lovely to open a package and find a beautiful present waiting for you to savor it.

Being the perfectionist that I am, I make sure that the way I package my goods is also appealing. I love the idea of wrapping them up so the buyer can open it like they would a gift. I do, however, also want to make sure that the buyer knows they're purchasing handmade items, and how I package reflects that homemade style.

I've recently run out of tags that I use to label my pins and bows. Initially, I used a bunch of construction paper I had lying around because it was there, and it was free. I invested in a small stamp kit with my shop name on it, and made around 200 tags using that. Because I hand-cut and hand-stamped each label, they all looked slightly different from each other. And I really liked the message that sent out.

In the above picture, you see the current tags I'm using. I recently scored (for free) rolls and rolls of medium-weight navy paper. The paper itself is textured with stripes on one side, which gives it a bit more dimension. I immediately thought to use gold for my shop name, and I found a neglected bottle of gold craft paint, looking lonely in my paint bin.

A couple of hours later while watching You've Got Mail, I had 250+ labels scallop-cut and stamped, and I didn't even need to leave my house for supplies.


012:: New this week! a treat for superhero-lovers

whale clip/pin

Pretty Skulls Bow

X-men keychain

Superhero keychains
**Though I haven't had much time to craft this week, I managed to sneak in making and listing these goodies. Clicky click on the captions to be redirected :)**

Why does it seem like there isn't enough time in the day to accomplish everything I want to do? So many ideas, so little time! I'm glad I finally got some time to make some superhero keychains, though! I have to admit, I love making up new names and alter egos for each of my superheroes! It's half the fun of making up a new design.The blue-haired gal is Adelie, who, I imagine, is some sort of academic-- perhaps a graduate student who has a weakness for cold chocolate milk. She's a fashionable crime-fighting lady!

While we're on the superhero strand, I finally got my butt in gear and made some spare X-men keychains to sell. I made a couple for my own use, but thought I should share it with the world as well. Making those are a bugger since I have to cut the inside part of the circle instead of placing the red "negative space" over the black, which just doesn't look right to me. I'm getting better at making them, however. 

011::Matryoshkas on Parade

Matryoshka keychains

I learned how to sew when I was in fifth grade. Nothing intricate, just handsewing plush animals cut from pre-made patterns (I chose a whale) and an apron made from coarse cloth (I botched mine fabulously by sewing all sides of the pocket shut).

To save myself from pricking my fingers to numbness while for my apron-sewing assignment, I begged my mother to teach me how to use her antique sewing machine (all metal, non-electric, the good stuff). She spent most of her patience helping me sew straight hems, but I was too stubborn to stay put and practice. So in the end, I relented to hand sewing all the assignments.

And the hand sewing continued for years after that home economics class. In high school, I decided that I wanted to start making my own clothing. I tried my mom's new sewing machine that time, but I was still too stubborn to sit down patiently and practice sewing in a straight line. So, of course, I went back to hand sewing and pricking my fingers.

Only recently have I actually sat myself down and taught myself how to sew with a machine properly. And only recently have I actually decided to start learning proper hand stitching techniques. And I'm addicted! I can't believe I was so stubborn to learn this when I was younger! I can't stop stitching, stitching, stitching!!!

010:: Pictures paint a thousand words

original photo

after editing
Last post, I talked a bit about how I've been recently editing my photos before listing. In the 10 months that I've been on Etsy, I've learned a lot about how to make my wares look prettier. I used to just take a photo of them against any flat surface I could find. First, I took photos of them on top of my work desk:


I thought at the time that photographed like this, my wares looked fine, but since my desk was really tiny, I couldn't take photos of my scarves or other larger items. Then I thought that having my products against cuter backgrounds would work better. So I started photographing them against different fabrics with adorable backgrounds:


The problem with this is that the backgrounds kept on competing with my items for the viewer's attention. There was simply too much going on in each picture, and I needed to only showcase my items.

I like photographing during the daytime when there is a lot of natural light available, since it's the best. The first picture with the sleeping deer is what I usually end up with using my not-so-fancy point and shoot camera. I tweak it a bit using GIMP, and it usually takes me less than two minutes to fix them up so they look like how they actually do in real life.

My editing is very simple, but I feel that it works better now with my aesthetic and with my shop. I start with the image and brighten it up until the background is a true white. Depending on how much light there was to begin with, I may have to play with the contrast and such. Then, I add my little blurb in the bottom, and voila-- a perfect picture. 

009:: updates of late

Sly Pete Fox Plushies

I was planning on getting a lot of sewing done this weekend, but due to an impromptu-best-friend-visiting adventure, everything was set aside for a moment, and I don't regret not stepping into my sewing room all weekend one bit.

But it's back to sewing today, and boy do I have a lot of work ahead of me. I'm really behind on listing and such because I was betting on getting photos of all the scarves I've made over the weekend. Though I'm bummed that that'll have to wait, I'm secretly glad that it didn't happen anyway since it's been blistering hot for the past three or four days already. It would have been murder donning a scarf even for a few minutes.

What I HAVE been working on is editing my photos for listing. Though I never thought I would take to it, I really do quite like a clean, plain white background that showcases my items. I don't have a fancy setup for taking photos like this, and my house walls are cream-colored, so I make do with sheets of white paper and a lot of lighting to get the effect I like.

I've also started adding little cute phrases to my listings, and they're mostly what I think about the items themselves while I'm making or taking pictures of them. I chose this lovely font-- The Only Exception-- which is also the same font I'm employing for my shop banner. I am trying to get a more unified look for the shop, which means revamping my business cards and packaging, something I am really excited but also afraid to do since I have next to no experience in graphic design. But it's a challenge, and those really fuel me!  Happy Monday!

008:: touchy thing, repricing is


In the past weeks, while researching about ways on how to improve my shop, I've often come across the issue of pricing merchandise. When I first opened my shop back in November, I planned on selling items that were both quality-made and affordable. I kept cost low by trying to get my supplies as cheaply as possible and completely neglecting to include labor costs in the final price. I saw my shop as more of a hobby and very rarely, if even, factored in how much time I was spending making items, taking photos of my wares, editing them, and marketing.

Because I was treating my shop like a hobby, I think a lot of people thought I wasn't taking my shop seriously. For instance, I originally priced this galaxy bow at $3.00, but after calculating the true costs, I should really be selling it for at least $4.00 in order to make a profit and cover the maintenance of my sewing machine and other materials like thread, needles, and such.

Along with changing the prices of my items to include skilled labor costs and overhead costs, I've also started to edit my photographs to make them all look uniform and share a common motif/theme. Hopefully within the next couple months I will be able to get matching business cards and new packaging, which is always exciting for me. 

007::geek thrills:decoupage x-men heels








My current outfits have been lacking in the geek department lately, so I thought I'd geek things up a bit by making some comics kicks. In truth, I've been wanting to do this decoupage project for a long time now, but just didn't have the time to sift through my piles of unwanted comics for the right images. That took up the most time in this project. Oh, and the waiting.

Comics Decoupage Heels
What you need:
Mod Podge
cut-out images of your favorite comic book
brush
shoes
slightly damp rag/paper towel

1. With the rag, clean the surface of your shoes.
2. Using Mod Podge, start gluing the images onto the shoe, working in small sections. Once the shoe is covered with images, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge above the images and wait for it to dry before starting on another layer.
3. I painted 3-4 layers of Mod Podge on my shoes, waiting for each layer to dry before applying a new layer. And then I left the last layer to dry overnight before wearing these puppies out.

*I wasn't entirely pleased with how these shoes came out. I think next time I'll cut the images out in panels, instead of contouring with the shape of the characters. But I still LOVE these shoes. Total X-men lover all the way.

006:: I don't wanna regret never even trying.

It's been a really difficult year for me.

Last year, after I graduated in May, I set out to look for a job that would utilize the skills I had worked so hard to hone in graduate school. I haven't been lucky. 

Now, I can posit that the reason for my underemployment is the crappy state of the economy, or the undervaluing of a liberal arts education, or perhaps the misfortune of living in the middle of nowhere.  I can also blame society for the pressure it bears down on the importance of a career as the measure of one's success in life. And I did. I spent many hours juggling economic theories on productivity, statistics on the rate of employment as it related to specific areas of specialization, and articles about the value of college and postgraduate degrees. I thought about how all these were related to each other and how changes in our culture about education may have influenced where I am now. And I came up with lots of ideas, but in the end, all this worrying and idea-conjuring just made me miserable.  

So, I decided that instead of worrying for the perfect job to come along, why not at least try to make that perfect job for myself? 

I am giddy with excitement as I type this. I've decided to spend more time focusing on my etsy shop, and I'll be launching tons of newly-made Fall items starting next week. You'll see some popular items return to the shop and some new designs too, I hope!

I've been reading up on different ways to operate small businesses and I am taking the plunge to try some of those ideas. I know it will be hard work, but I am willing to try to pursue something that I am passionate about, even though I didn't go to school for that. It's not just physically hard for me to do this, but also psychologically since the stigma of not having an academic position or one that has an actual recognizable title still nags on me sometimes. But it's exciting. And definitely worth a shot.

005:: awesome find | fabian ciraolo







I'm always surprised when friends send me links to contemporary artists' blogs or portfolios, because it seems as if they know exactly what I would fall in love with. My friend Chris pointed me to Fabian Ciraolo perhaps for his awesome re-imaginings of popular 80's cartoon characters like She-Ra, Jem, and like shown above, some of the members of G-Force from Battle of the Planets. But after perusing Ciraolo's other illustrations, I found other illustrations that hooked me for varying reasons. 

Take for example illustrations 2,3 and 4. I absolutely adore the collages in the background that supplement the subjects. I love the small, barely hidden suggestions that make one almost doubt what the subject seems to be about at first glance. Then, you got the starry, space-like aura of his works. Just totally rad.

004:: (wax) paper hearts


I don't usually get a lot of time to craft everyday, and when that happens, I try to devote a few minutes to learning new methods and using new materials. I found the idea to make these wax paper hearts from one of Martha Stewart's books (but you can see the same instructions and photos here). Initially, I planned on cutting star shapes instead of hearts, but since my crayons didn't melt as nicely as I thought they would, I settled for the easier-to-cut heart shape.

I'm not sure why mine didn't turn out looking as smooth as the instruction photos. I'm guessing that it's because I used the generic-brand crayons that came with my Hello Kitty mini coloring kit. Or maybe it was because I didn't have my iron on the right setting. I obviously need a lot more practice.