New Year, New Beginning

If you saw this previous blog post you’ll know that I recently undertook my first venture into wholesale.  There were a lot of things I learned during the processes and a few surprises too.  The most significant of which was the realisation that I have effectively been selling masks in my Etsy store at wholesale prices for the last year.

I was surprised to find that Seed were going to sell my masks for $29.95 each. While I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to do this, it was a bit of a wake up call for me.  I couldn’t help wondering why they were happy to charge that much when I felt like I couldn’t.  If customers were happy to pay this price in Seed, surely they would be just as happy to pay the same amount, knowing that they were supporting a small handmade business rather than a large corporation?

Raising prices is actually something I have been considering for a while now, mainly because I would love to take the next step and begin to approach local toy shops to see whether they would like to stock my masks.  I haven't done this yet because I can’t afford to lower my wholesale price, and I can’t ask retailers to sell my masks at a higher price while undercutting them in my own Etsy store.

All of this has left me feeling very conflicted.  I need to raise my prices but I feel really bad about it, I feel like I’m cheating people by doing so.  I’m worried that I’ll be out-priced by cheap versions of the same thing on Etsy, I’m wondering how I convince people that what I’m making is of better quality and that it’s worth what I’m asking for it.  I feel rather like I’m saying that my time is worth more - that I’m worth more - than what I’m currently asking - and for me that’s an uncomfortable place to be.  But at the same time I also want to make a success of my business and I can’t do that if I’m cheating myself.

While all of this has been difficult to work through, I am glad in a way to have had my hand forced.  I am happy to have finally made a decision that I have been putting off for months and months.  It feels like a gamble, and I’m afraid that it won’t work, I’m afraid that customers will say ‘No, I’m not paying that - it’s not worth that much’, not only because I don’t want to fail, but because it would leave me feeling foolish for having had the audacity to believe that I - and my products - were worth more.  

So having babbled on and on for quite long enough now, here’s what I’ve decided to do:

I am going to review the prices of all of my felt dress up masks.  They will be priced between AUD$19 and $24 depending on how detailed they are and how much work goes into them.  The new prices will come into effect as of January 2nd. So, consider this fair warning - if you were thinking of buying, get in quick before the price rise!

As an added bonus, I will be running a sale between Boxing day and New Year where you can get an extra 20% off with the code SWEET - this discount code will work for patterns too!  Please note that all orders placed during the sale will ship on January 2nd as we're going to spend New Year canoeing down a river, camping, reconnecting with nature and generally getting very grubby!

Finally I’d like to thank each and every one of you for all your support this year - whether it’s as a customer, a reader or a friend.  I couldn’t do it without you and want to wish you a very happy, healthy and joyful New Year.

Stop Waiting.

So often I find myself waiting.

Waiting for the perfect moment to do something or say something. Too often I find that that 'perfect' moment never comes.  I know that this will likely be the case and yet still I hold out, waiting for it.

I am gradually learning (though more slowly than I would like) that it is nearly ALWAYS worth just doing something. It might not turn out exactly as we imagine but that's part of the beauty.  I had been wanting to start my little crafty business for such a long time but I felt like there were so many things that needed to be perfect before I would be ready to share it. The problem was that no matter how much work I did I never seemed to get any closer to being ready.  The more things I did, the more things I discovered that needed doing.  It was like opening a can of worms. Eventually I simply heeded this very good advice: Stop waiting, just do it.  And I'm so glad that I did.  Because there's no such thing as perfect.  It's a constant evolution and the journey is just as rewarding as the destination, perhaps even more so.

On a much smaller and less significant scale, we decided this weekend to stop waiting for our home renovation to be finished and invited our friends over for dinner amongst the mess and despite the inconveniences.  Unsurprisingly we had a whole lot of fun and enjoyed ourselves enormously.  I've got no pretty pictures to show you because the house really is a disaster, but I've got a whole new bunch of happy memories to keep me smiling through the week.

It's little moments like these that reinforce the message for me; that there may never be a perfect moment; there is only NOW and the longer we wait the less NOW we have.

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Blogging for Introverts

One of the things I noticed while I was home, catching up with old friends, exchanging news and sharing our hopes and dreams, was how I felt when the conversation inevitably turned to this little website of mine.  The sad truth is that I felt rather embarrassed about it.

When friends tell me that they've read my blog I have absolutely no idea what to say to them - I tend to just squirm uncomfortably in my seat.  What I want to say is that I'm immensely gratified that they've taken an interest and that they are being so kind and supportive; but I simply can't get past the terrifying realisation that they've effectively read my diary.  I feel so exposed.  

So why am I doing this? What keeps me writing despite these feelings?  Why on earth would an introvert choose to write a blog?!

Well, surprisingly for me, I find writing rather liberating.  I love having the chance to share my thoughts - something I'm usually quite shy about doing in person.  I also find that taking the time to sit down and figure out exactly what I do think about something is strangely relaxing.  Blogging gives me a chance to be alone with my thoughts, to reflect on the things around me and make sense of them and I find it energising and reassuring - it's almost like a form of meditation.

I like the connections that this blog can bring - connections with people who have the same interests as me, people who I never would have met in real life.  I love being able to skip over all the small talk and get straight to the things that matter.  I even like that moment of sheer terror that I always experience right after I hit 'publish' and I especially like reading comments and hearing other peoples opinions on the things I've been thinking about. 

The more I think about it the more I think that blogging is perfect for Introverts; It's a way of connecting with people while simultaneously spending time alone; It's a perfect chance to reflect and it gives us an opportunity to think before we speak (or write in this case).  

Of course, reflecting too much can definitely be a bad thing - there are certainly times when I look around and see all those talented people out there - wonderful designers, talented sewers and compelling writers- and wonder what on earth I am doing and why I believed, even for a minute that anyone would care what I have to say. But then I remember what a wonderful, kind and supportive sewing community we have in this online world and I stop worrying, because really it doesn't matter; I'm doing what I love and I'm doing it for me and if other people get some pleasure from it too then that's just an added bonus.  

Incidentally, I had a lot of fun one evening while I was away, taking personality tests with my family (for ourselves and for each other - with hilarious results!) on the 16 Personalities website.  If you haven't done it yet then take a look, we thought it was pretty accurate and I think I even learned a few things about myself.  I came out as INFJ incidentally - just like one of my heroes; JK Rowling - I always knew we would be friends! ;)

What about you? Would you consider yourself to be an Introvert or an Extrovert?  How do you think it helps / hinders you in what you do?

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Gumnut Dress Pattern Launch! (and ANOTHER giveaway!)

It's time!  Time to send my baby (erm, dress pattern...) off out into the world alone.  I'm so excited to be able finally release this pattern. It's been a whole lot of work to get to this point, let me tell you!  One day perhaps I will be able to do this full time but until then it's a lot of late nights.  Not that I'm complaining; I have had so much fun designing this pattern and I have learnt so much over these past few months.

I'm so proud of this dress pattern and I hope you'll love it as much as I do.  What's not to love really; Twirly skirt, comfy knit top, huge pockets for collecting treasures.... Cute enough for parties, and comfy enough to wear all day long it's the only dress pattern you'll need this summer! 

Thank you to everyone who signed up before the pattern release.  I'll be sending out your free copies shortly.  Sorry to those who missed the deadline.  But don't despair - the pattern is now available for purchase via Craftsy and also in my Etsy store.  

By happy coincidence today is also Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day!  So, to celebrate the launch I'm giving you another chance to win a free copy! I have 2 free Gumnut Dress PDF Patterns to give away.  To enter simply leave a comment below. I blogged yesterday about some of the things I love about sewing; How about you - why do you love to sew?

If you follow me on Instagram then you can have an extra entry, just leave two comments - easy peasy!

If you're new here why not take a look at the Patterns and Tutorials page - there are lots of free patterns that you can download instantly!  Or scroll down the side bar for some of my favourite blog posts.

Winners will be chosen at random and announced on Monday 11th May. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

UPDATE:  This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you everyone who left a comment.  I really loved reading them all and hearing your thoughts.  Winners were drawn by random number generator.

Winners of the Free Gumnut Dress pattern were:

Comment #4: Cheryl

Comment #88: Cherie

Congratulations ladies! Please email me at so that I can send you your prize!

Sorry to all of those who didn't win.  I've very grateful for your kind words about my Gumnut Dress Pattern.  If you would like to purchase a copy you can do so via Craftsy or Etsy for just $9 USD. 

Gumnut giveaway competition winner #1
Gumnut Dress Givaway winner number #2

Gumnut Dress Photo Shoot

Gumnut Dress Photo Shoot
Gumnut Dress Willow and Stitch
Gumnut Dress Willow and Stitch
Gumnut Dress Willow and Stitch
Gumnut Dress Willow and Stitch

We had such a beautiful afternoon down by the creek yesterday.  It was one of those heavenly days where the sunbeams turn everything gold.

The girls had so much fun playing in the bush.  Running, jumping, twirling, turning their skirts into butterfly wings, feeling like princesses and playing like tomboys! What could be better?

Pattern release is set for Wednesday 6th May and I can't wait!

What will your story be?

Who am I?

Where is the meaning in my life? What is really important?  How can I make a difference in the world? These are all questions that I have been thinking about a lot recently.  There are a lot of things in my life recently which have been steering me towards these questions; the death of my grandmother, my sister's impending first baby, the role I have with my own children, the ways in which becoming a mother has changed me, these first steps that I am taking towards doing the things I love and starting my own business,.

This is me with my granny when I was about 6 months old.

I have always known that my Granny Olive was a pretty special lady.  I have also known for a few years that she wrote a book about her life experiences.  I'm not sure why I never asked to read it until now.  I think it was a combination of my failure to realise that getting a copy was as simple as asking my mum to email it to me, and my own self absorption in my busy life as a new mum.  I regret it so much now.  I have just finished reading her story and I wish so much that I had read it years ago, there are so many things that I would have liked to talk to her about, so many questions I could have asked.  It really started me wondering what my story is going to be? What will I have to show for my life by the time I (hopefully) reach old age?  What lessons will my own grandchildren learn from me?  Will they be proud of the person I was, of the things I have done?  Will they see a life lived with love and compassion, a life lived with courage, strength and joy?  I hope so.  It's so easy to keep on plodding through life, to get bogged down with day to day tasks and forget to stop and look up, to look around and appreciate how lucky we are to be living in this moment.  We could all do with taking a little more time to notice the special moments in every day, talking a little more time to consider our actions and think about how we can enrich the lives of those around us, of those we love.  I don't believe that living a meaningful life requires doing remarkable things - I think it is more of an achievement to do ordinary things in a remarkable way.  

What do you think?

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My new Etsy Store is open! Roaaarrrr!

I'm still working on setting up the pattern shop for this website, but in the meantime, I'm very excited to say that I've got an Etsy store up and running!

These super cute little animal masks are up for sale and I hope to soon have the patterns for them up too so that you can make them yourself if you would like to. I'm also planning to have instructions on how they can be made without a sewing machine so that you really will have no excuse!

I'm starting small (literally) while I get the hang of this new software for pattern making, not to mention all the other things that I need to learn about, but I've got some very big ideas so I hope you'll hang in there and keep coming back to see what I'm up to.

I can't tell you how happy I am, to feel like I'm finally on my way to doing what I love, on my way to living my dream and doing the thing that I've been wanting to do since Ella was born 4 years ago.  There have been a lot of late nights recently, and a lot of anxiety and insecurity of course, but more than anything else just an overwhelming feeling of excitement and satisfaction.  I have spent way too long wishing for a change but not making the effort required to enact that change. Of course there is always the fear of failure, but really, when it comes to things like this the only failure is to not try.  Perhaps I won't succeed, perhaps I'll decide that this isn't what I want to do after all, but at least I'll know that I gave it my best shot. There will be no regrets and I will be free to follow another dream.

The strangest thing is that I've discovered that I actually LIKE the fear which has been holding me back all this time, I really do like it - it's exhilarating - it's like jumping off a cliff - because it really is true that you can't experience one extreme without the other; yes there is fear but there is also elation, and it's wonderful!

Thank you for stopping by.  Go and do something that you're afraid of!