Thursday, September 29, 2011

Working My Butt Off!

Happy Friday everyone! Oh wait, no, today is Thursday. Hahaha I'm all confused. That's what happens when you work from home, and every day can be a potential work day.

Here's a little update on my biggest monster making week yet. I started cutting up 34 fake fur body forms, and I've been trying to work in a way to make it more efficient. I started my 'assembly line' method on the monsters that have the long skinny arms and legs this week. I have 19 in total (after this morning's final count).
 


This is what I've accomplished in the past 2 days! I'd say it's pretty awesome. 2 sets of bodies, and 8 legs & 4 horns to match.

My process, once the bodies were all cut up, is to cut and sew all matching legs and arms, once that's done, I chose a nice contrasting face and then finally, horns in a different colour as well. This entire process took me about 8 hours (give or take an hour). I know, that seems like an incredibly long time. It probably is, but I took tiny breaks to see why my cats were being so annoying, to stretch out my back (gets sore after multiple hours hunched over a sewing machine), and washroom breaks (can't forget those!). Keep in mind that I had nearly 20 guys to work on. In my business plan, I've said that I could do 20 monsters a week (that's 5 a day), and this is pretty close to that. So really, so far I started these monsters on Sunday night, and worked on them for a few hours on Tuesday, then Wednesday and today we're Thursday. I spent last night from 7:45 pm until 11:30 pm turning all the arms and legs right side out, and started stuffing them. I decided it was high time to be comfortable, and I put on my favorite spy show, Alias, to watch while I work. If I can get these done by Sunday, then I'd say yay for me!! :)


Here I am cutting out horns for my monsters

More furs!


These are my next project. These guys have arms and legs built into their bodies, they just need faces and horns.

This is me!! I thought I'd show you who I am, and you can see my living room in the background.

This orange fabric is so gorgeous! It's going with a deep purple body, and kelly green horns. It'll look awesome when finished.

That's it for me. Time to make breakfast, put on a good moving and get to embroidering faces and stuffing limbs. But once this is all done, I'll be so happy. I'll have a whole bunch of monsters for the upcoming fair, and for the store, Tah-Dah!, and on to the next project.

Cheers!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wildcard Submissions

Hello everyone. It's Monday. Most of you hate Mondays, and I'm indifferent. Seeing as I work at home, Monday is the same as Sunday (all stores close at 5 pm). :-) Haha no really, it's fine.

Anyway, I got a call on Saturday whilst I was shopping for ribbon from Le Nichoire, and they informed me they extended their artist submission deadline to October 7th, and since there was still room for art to be sold at their auction in November, the woman, Lindsay, hoped I could still participate. Well Monday turned out to be a very productive day. Not only am I am to participate, but I got TWO paintings done! Now my part is done, I hope someone buys them because the proceeds go to help rehabilitate a wild bird and put it back into the wild. Not bad eh? And I get a tax credit for the paintings I've sold. I'm pretty confident that people will just *LOVE* my work.

The new deadline to submit art is October 7th, and anyone from any country can participate. Here's the link: http://www.lenichoir.org/wildcard/

5" x 7" watercolour painting of koi fish ©Curious Little Bird & Melanie Audet

This koi painting I did as an 8.5" x 11" sketch in my bigger sketchbook, and I really loved it. I had originally intended to turn it into a painting for my place, but I never got around to it. Someday. Since Le Nichoire wanted original work, I thought I'd do something I hadn't done before, hence the koi. Pretty aren't they?

Below is my interpretation of Old Man Winter. :)


5" x 7" watercolour painting - Old Man Winter ©Curious Little Bird & Melanie Audet

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tah-Dah! is now carrying Curious Little Bird plush!

Good morning fellow readers! Today is Saturday, and I finally have photos of my plush at the store Tah-Dah!.

For the past 3 weeks I only had 1 plush, and it seemed that folks were iffy about buying it thinking since it was the only one, was there something wrong with it? The owner, on the other hand, thinks slightly differently. She tells me "oh, just one left? Ooh I should buy it!" Well I took the lonely plush home and replaced it some owls, and the two horned monsters I made.







I have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks. There are a lot of folk out there who Christmas shop early, and Sabrina, the owner of this shop, advised me to stock up her store by mid-October. Good plan! Christmas should be a nice time of year to make up some of the money I haven't made during the month of August and part of September. There's also the Old Skool Craft Fairs coming up in October and December I want to participate in, so lots to do!

For information about Tah-Dah!:

Store selling only handmade objects made in Quebec

155, rue Jean-Talon Est
Montreal, QC H2R 1S7

Their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tah-dah-Boutique-Galerie-M%C3%A9tiers-dart/415018220081?ref=ts


I hope you can check it out! :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rwarr, it's Thursday!!

Meet Thursday! He's a very cute monster, he's purple, furry and has striped legs and arms. He's probably one of the most colourful monsters you're going to find, and that makes him even more special! He's made from the very last bit of stripey material that I own, so you can be assured you're getting a one-of-a-kind doll that no one else will ever own. Thursday wants to be your best friend, will someone take him home?








He measures 13.5 inches from horn to the tips of his legs (34.29 cm) and 13 inches from arm tip to arm tip (33.02 cm). His body measures 6" tall and 4" wide (15.24 cm x 10.16 cm).

Thursday is made with purple fun fur, yellow felt and striped cotton fabric. His face is embroidered on. This means he's safe for all ages.

To view my other works, please go to http://www.curiouslittlebird.etsy.com

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hops & Hoos

After so long, I finally have some new plush to show off! These ones took a while to do, what with all the appointments I had last week, and my friends coming into town for a few days, I couldn't do much, but they're done! Hooray!

Hops: Little Bunnies!

Belle the bunny

Erol the bunny

Lemmy the bunny (probably the cutest of the bunch!)

Pinky the bunny

Winky the bunny

Hoos: The owls

Cherrie the owl

Polly the owl

Rizzo the owl

Squarey the owl

Violet the owl

Half of these are going to the store Tah-Dah! here in Montreal, but if you love any of them and would like to buy it, please let me know via email (link is on the top right of the blog window), and I will post it on Etsy for you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

It's been a crazy few weeks...

So much has happened since September has started. For one, I didn't get rejected for my business idea when I presented it to the selection committee on the 1st (yay), but that I was asked to do some research into the use of plastic safety eyes with Health Canada, as well as lowering my production costs so I can make a higher profit margin (and ultimately get approved after my 2nd presentation in October).

I suppose all plush makers know that plastic safety eyes (see image below) are unsafe for babies up to the ages of 3 years.


According to Health Canada, http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2011-17/page-5.html:

 An eye or a nose — other than those made entirely of felt or another soft textile material — that measures 32 mm (1 1/4 inches) or less in its greatest dimension and that is attached to a doll, plush toy or soft toy must meet at least one of the following requirements:
(a) it must not be capable of being gripped by a three-pronged claw hook as illustrated in Schedule 4; or
(b) it must not be capable of becoming detached when it is tested in accordance with Schedule 4.

Also...
Eyes and noses on dolls, plush toys and soft toys that are 32 millimetres (1.25 inches) or smaller in their greatest dimension must be solidly attached in order to reduce choking, ingestion and inhalation hazards. This type of component is tested by freely suspending a 9 kilogram (20 pound) weight from it for a period of 5 minutes. This requirement does not apply to eyes or noses made entirely of felt or other soft textile fibre material.
 
It's just insane, because in my presentation, I specifically said that my target market was women ages 25-45 with a salary of $30K, and men in the same age group with a salary of $45K. Somehow, the selection committee members got it in their head that I was going to be selling these to small children and made comments about the eyes I used. To add insult to this, it's illegal to state on my Etsy shop that these toys are not intended for children under the age of 3 due to choking hazards, and this is what the Health Canada inspector wrote to me in an email:

"Please note that your products would probably be considered as toys that are likely to be used by children of less than three years.

On the webpage: http://www.curiouslittlebird.etsy.com, in the section titled "curiouslittlebird's Shop Announcement." the following warning was found:
    "Please note that most of my plush have small parts and are not recommended for pets or young children due to choking hazards"
This warning must be removed from your product labelling and/or advertisement because it is in contradiction with applicable requirements.  The CCPSA, through its Toys Regulations, prohibits  the manufacturing, importation, sale and advertisement of toys that are or are likely to be used by children of less than three years of age and contain a detachable small part.  You will find this requirement in section 7 of the Toys Regulations."

I think everyone who is reading this blog and making plush should inform themselves about the Toy Regulations of their country. I got a rude awakening with this information. The problem I'm facing is how can I market my plush to adults and NOT to young children?? Make my dolls more plush art?? (any comments on this subject would be greatly appreciated).

For now I'm trying to work on being a little factory here. :) I have to mass produce a ton of the same dolls to 1) stock up my Etsy shop and start making sales 2) stock up Tah-Dah! in Little Italy (they only have 1 plush of mine right now). For some reason this week seems to be the week of appointments, and plush my friend Alecia is coming into town from Edmonton, so no work will get done while she's here.

I'm sorry I haven't blogged sooner. :) I've had a lot on my mind, and not a lot of exciting things to show you. Oh, well, I DO have some finished plush I can photograph!

All designs are copyright © Curious Little Bird.

copyright © Curious Little Bird

copyright © Curious Little Bird

copyright © Curious Little Bird

copyright © Curious Little Bird

copyright © Curious Little Bird

copyright © Curious Little Bird

copyright © Curious Little Bird

copyright © Curious Little Bird


I found it quite humorous that despite using the same pattern for these little foxes, depending on the kind of material used, the outcome is quite different. For example, the first 3 are made with plaid cotton/poly mixture, and therefore kept to the pattern, the blue striped one was made out of fleece (and the stretch of the fleece is going horizontal) leading to make a very cute fox which everyone seems to prefer, and the last one is also made out of fleece, but I didn't realize the stretch was going horizontal on this one hence the reason why it looks so tall and skinny! Hahaha They turned out unique just like people. I still find them cute. Do you?? :)




Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

It's the day after labor day, and I'm wearing a white t-shirt!! I don't care about the whole "don't wear white after labor day rule" !!! :) Does anyone know what this signifies?? In Canada and the US it signifies the end of summer, and supposedly white doesn't retain heat as well as darker colours. Go figure.

I went to my cousin's wedding on the weekend in St-Georges, Québec, about 1 hour south of Québec city. I live in Montreal where all the little stars are grouped on the bottom right.


The wedding was alright, if a bit dull. Unfortunately it was an entire church service with a 5 minute bit that had to do with the couple getting married. Not really a wedding in my eyes. I noticed a girl showed up in a backless lacy black dress halfway up her thighs, wearing huge gold earrings and a gold chained 'belt' with velvety black anklet boots. Not much class there. Even her hair made her look like a hooker!

I have a few new little monsters I'm working on!! Here's a little sneak peek of them all cut up, and ready to be put together. I am making them out of faux fur blankets (pink) and a coat (olive green) that I found at Value Village (a used clothing shop). They have the same face as my first white furry yeti, Maurice, but a smaller, different body. I think they'll look fantastic!! :) I have a light purple fur like the pink one, a deep purple with a shorter pile, and some fantastic brown fur that's sooooo soft!! Stay tuned!!

These guys are going to need names?? Any suggestions?





I love to get comments, so if you have any name suggestions for these two guys, let me know!