And all the pipe cleaner animals stood erect-- a fierce wall of nylon and wire defiance--
with one voice they exclaimed, "We shall not be silenced!"

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Why Dog Grooming is a Profession

There is a reason that people are employed to groom dogs, and I'm about to tell you why.

Here's our cute, sweet, adorable little dog Maggie at the height of her cuteness:
Doesn't she look so cute an fluffy that you just want to hug her? Yeah, well the cute fluffiness comes at a price. It has to be constantly combed to reduce tangling, and she is a woodchip magnet when she goes outside.

A few days ago, my hubby had the bright idea of giving her a quick haircut. My parents had given us pet clippers from a while back, and we thought it would be quick if we used the clippers with cutting guides. Well it turned out that Maggie's hair is very deceiving, and wouldn't cut very easily. Plus she squirms a lot and won't hold still when you try to cut her hair. She thinks you're playing a game.

Thirty minutes and a few frustrated sighs later, we gave up, and poor Maggie looked like a total hackjob.
We didn't even try trimming her head. Her body was so uneven!

You can imagine our utter embarrassment when we brought Hackjob Maggie into the Grooming Department at Petco with our tails between our legs. The groomer was really nice though. She laughed at our horrible grooming job because Maggie looked so silly, and reassured us that she had seen way worse, like people hurting their dogs in grooming accidents. We told the groomer to do whatever she could.

She called us an hour later and told us Maggie was done, and commented that Maggie's a "real bullet." We found out later that they had to take a few breaks because Maggie was so squirmy.

The groomer did a great job, but it is so funny how skinny Maggie's body is now. She's like an owl... under all that plumage is a little itty bitty dog. Her face looks better though. Neater. We bought Maggie a few shirts to keep her warm at night, and she doesn't seem to mind.

We're getting used to how she looks, and we've learned our lesson. With Maggie, grooming is not a luxury, it's a necessity for keeping her happy and clean, and reducing the number of woodchips on our carpet. $30 every 4-5 months is totally worth it! I totally understand now why there are "professional" groomers out there!!

Something tells me we're not going to hear the end of this for a long time...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Another Blog Feature - Made For You Blog

Fuzzington has been featured in the "Made For You Blog" by dreamlandcrafts! I especially like this blog feature because it doesn't feature just my items, but a little about me too! You can see my short bio on the feature, in case you're curious:

Dreamlandcrafts' blog is pretty cool because she features sellers from all around the country and around the world, and her entries are categorized by location!

Dreamlandcrafts has some cool things in her Etsy shop, particularly her handmade dreamcatchers. I had one above my bed as a kid... Here's one of her many dreamcatchers:

Thanks again for the feature!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Made My Own Lightbox!!

I love the outdoor pics that I take of my Fuzzies and post in my shop, but there is a certain time of the day where the sunlight is just right to get good pics. Generally it's between 4-5:30 pm, when the sun is starting to go down. It seems that's the best time to get indirect natural light is as the sun is going down. The next best time is early in the morning, like 7-8 am. Unfortunately, my day job cuts down on my opportunities during the week to take pictures, and the weekends are usually booked. So, how do I work around this? With a lightbox!
I've been meaning to make my own lightbox because I really like the idea of having the flexibility to take pictures whenever I want, plus the pics look professional in a different way. I found some instructions on this site that were really clearcut, with lots of pictures for reference:

You can buy a manufactured lightbox for around $100, or you can make one for a fraction of the cost. Since we're all crafty, creative, DIY types, why would you ever want to BUY one?

So here we go on my journey of making a light box!
Here are the materials I bought for the box. Overall I shelled out about $30 for everything: $10 for the foam board, $12 for the shop lights, $3 for the masking tape, and $5 for the lighbulbs (does that add up to 30?).

(Cute little Maggie's always wondering what I'm up to)

I couldn't find "daylight bulbs" as specified in the instructions, so I got "full spectrum" bulbs instead, hoping they'd have the same effect. Next I cut each of the large foamboard pieces in half. My first try wasn't so good, but it got better:

Then I placed the pieces together just to make sure they would fit together. I'm notorious for mis-mearuring things and screwing projects up:

Like they talked about in the instructions, I cut a flap on the side and on the top so I could peek into the box with my camera from different angles if I needed to. You can see, I've taped four of the sides together already with the masking tape.

Taped the bottom side on, and viola! The box is complete!

(Gasp! Is that a picture of ME? I look so proud of myself, don't I?)

I attached the shoplights to the box and turned them on! Looks beautiful!

I then took some test pictures with all of my Fuzzies. I had to play around with my camera settings a little, but here's what I ended up with:

I had to do a little tweaking in photoshop to get the colors to pop a little more, but you see overall how it looks! I'm thinking of adding one more shoplight to get more lighting power.

I'm really excited with the results! It's definitely a different quality to the photos... they look like they've been taken in a studio, and the colors are certainly more vivid! I'm not sure which style I like more. I still love how my Fuzzies look in an outdoor setting... gives them more character. Someone on Etsy suggested using both types of pics.

It turned out the lightbox was a lot easier to make than I had anticipated! I'm still experimenting to find the optimal combination of camera settings, lighting angles, and photo software to get the optimal pics, I'm already very happy with the results I've gotten so far! Certainly glad to have options in photographing my items now. What do you folks think? Hope this helps anyone thinking about making their own lightbox!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another Blog Feature! Feathered Friends Mementos

Fuzzington was featured in the Feathered Friends Mementos blog today! YAY!! Thanks so much Heather (jinx1764) for the feature!

Heather's Etsy shop features handmade bird-related items. It's nice to meet other people who have a love for birds like I do. I've had a pet lovebird named Happy for about 8 years now, and she has been my buddy, my roommate, and confidante over the years. Here's a pic of my birdie eating some corn:

You don't realize how much personality birds have until you actually get to connect with one! They are smart, loving, and super-expressive. Happy has her own little cage in our bedroom to sleep in at night. Usually she's very content in her main cage during the day, but like clockwork, once 9pm rolls around, it's CHEEP-CHEEP!! CHEEP-CHEEP!!! It's bedtime, and she wants out of the main cage and in to the bedtime cage. So cute... And when I say, "Good Night, Happy," she'll respond immediately with a cute little chirp.

Anywho, for that reason, I'm glad there's someone out in Etsyland like Heather who is promoting our feathered friends! I especially like this item of hers:

I'd love to get one of Happy. Maybe when I get more funds from sales. In the meantime, here's a link to her Etsy shop:


Friday, February 20, 2009

New Friend and a "Gift Exchange!"

My personal philosophy has always been that being positive and friendly will open doors to opportunities and experiences that you wouldn't normally encounter. Being nice, or paying someone a compliment doesn't take a whole lot of effort on one's part, but it's amazing how a small compliment can really make someone's day. That's what I love about Etsy; the people that you meet through Etsy are so encouraging and positive that it makes for a fun environment to start a business in.

Well, last night, this philosophy earned me a friend, and a "gift exchange!" I was in the Etsy chatroom last night, and saw some familiar faces. One was Casanovax2. Now if you're like me, you're probably wondering what a Casanovax is. When I first met him in the chats a few weeks ago, I remember asking him to explain it, and he kindly clarified for me that his name was "Casanova X 2." Duh! I felt so silly for not having seen it.

Anyhow I was looking through his shop and posted one of his ink drawings, La Guitarra (see above), in chat. Somehow the friendly expression on the musician's face really drew me (no pun intended) to the piece. He thanked me and I mentioned to him that I wished he had more items in his shop because I really liked his art. Casanovax has some really cool abstract looking ink drawings.

(Shameless plug - here's a link to his store: ).

Now, I'm by no means an art expert, but I used to be an avid art museumgoer, and I thought that Casanovax2's artwork was very reminiscent of Picasso's later works. I commented to him on the similarities between his work and Picasso's. Turns out Picasso is one of his idols and he seemed to be very flattered by the compliment! He told me he was impressed by my art knowledge (what little I have anyway) and that no one had ever said that about his work.

You know what he did next?

He offered to GIVE me a piece of art as a GIFT to express his gratitude for my appreciation! WOW!!

I was so flattered! That was so nice of him! I know how long art can take to produce, and I didn't want him to just give me something... I felt that at the very least I could give him something in return, so I offered up one of my Fuzzies as a trade. He told me that he wasn't looking for something in return, just wanted to give something as an expression of friendship. At the end we agreed that we weren't doing a transaction on Etsy, such as a trade, but we were "exchanging gifts." =)

So I chose La Guitarra and he chose Charlie the Chocolate Mutt! I'm glad he chose Charlie as Charlie is one of my fave Fuzzies. Casanovax will be giving the Fuzzy to his daughter as a present. Hope she likes it!

Yeah, I'm totally stoked. Made a new friend, got to exchange artwork.... I'd say it was a good day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My New Tea Wallet

One of the coolest things that I've ordered on Etsy is a TEA WALLET! What in the world is a tea wallet? Why, it's a wallet to carry teabags in! I purchased mine from craftysteph's Etsy store. She also sells handmade incense that's really cool! Out of all the tea wallets I saw I liked this one the most because of the super-cute fabric (reminds me of a tea garden) and this tea wallet has two layers of pockets (I just really like how that layout looks).

I received it last night, and her packaging was adorable!! I highly recommend buying from her shop if you find something you like! It was a great buying experience! I stuffed it with green teabags from Trader Joes this morning, and showed it off to all my co-workers when I got to work!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Promotion Ideas

I've been trying to think of new ways to promote Fuzzington (as if I'm not trying a lot already with twitter, facebook, myspace, flickr, craftster, etsy chat, etsy boards, oh and this blog!). Ideas seem to be popping into my head everyday, and I've been writing them down in my Fuzzington journal. I'm starting to realize that I've got lots of ideas, but just don't have the time or energy to do it after a long day of work!!!

My latest promotion idea that I really like is to make an instructional online video on how to make a simple pipe cleaner animal. The one I have in mind is this really cute butterfly that I came up with a few days ago. It looks really good, and it's fairly simple to do. Plus, by doing a video I can put a face to Fuzzington, my face. I don't think anyone really knows what I look like... I can also put it on or youtube... I think people would like to get a glimpse of my craft and how fun it is to work with pipe cleaners.

Some other ideas that I would love to do, but just don't know how to do yet:
1) Craft fair
2) Sell at a local store
3) Pass out business cards or flyers (to just anybody?)
4) Make promotional items and pass them out
5) Blog giveaway for promotional item

Any tips out there? I'm sure a lot of you have experience with this!

BUT, my biggest problem right now is that I don't have enough product!!! Gotta get working on those!!! Promotion is no good if you don't have items to sell!!

We shall see what happens in the upcoming weeks!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fuzzy Valentines Day!

Here is my hubby's Valentine's Day present! It is a pipe cleaner Maneki Neko! He stands about 2 inches tall and is made of white pipe cleaners, with a little red, yellow, and green felt for the accents, and a little bell. I used a sharpee marker for the dark parts of the yellow spots. His eyes are plastic beads. I bought a little wood disk from Michaels for $0.89 and painted it with red acrylic paint, and glued the cat to the wooden base to make him look more like those Japanese statuettes.
For those of you who don't know what it is, from Wikipedia:
"The Maneki Neko (招き猫, literally "Beckoning Cat"; also known as Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, Money cat or Fortune Cat) is a common Japanese sculpture, often made of porcelain or ceramic, which is believed to bring good luck to the owner. Maneki Neko can be found with either the right or left paw raised (and sometimes both). The significance of the right and left raised paw differs with time and place. The most common belief is that the left paw raised brings in customers, while a right paw brings wealth and good luck, although some believe the opposite. Still others say that a left paw raised is best for drinking establishments, the right paw for other stores."

My husband is a business owner, so I thought I'd make him a Maneki Neko to help keep him going during the bad economy. I wasn't sure which paw was more significant raised, so I just raised both of them!

My hubby generally hates cats, but I think he loves this one! =)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Cool Project with Paint Color Samples

Here's a super cool and easy project that you can do with those free paint color sample cards that you find at the hardware store (or the hardware section on Wal-Mart), courtesy of the Go Make Something blog ( I picked up a few at Wal-Mart the other day and had a ball with them! Here's a picture from their website:

Definitely something fun to do on a rainy day, and with all the rain we've been having here on the West Coast, you'll have plenty of time to make them!

On a Roll in February!!

Wow, we're not even half way through with February yet, and I've already had 4 sales! That's really good for Fuzzington! Let's see...

Tabitha the Witch Dog is going to Portland, Maine. She's one of my favorites because of her costume and little broom. I really should make more costumes for my Fuzzies.

This holiday ornament is also going to Portland, ME along with Tabitha.

I also got my first INTERNATIONAL order!! From Liverpool, England. This certainly was the first time I had to ship something to an international destination. Did you know you can't get a delivery confirmation for a shipment to England unless you get express mail, which costs $28, as opposed to $4 for first class mail??!! Eesh! Well appropriately, this little guy is traveling "out of this world" and going to Liverpool:

And the 4th order is the custom order that I did earlier in the month, Winnie and Molly!

I'm having a lot of fun with making more strange Fuzzies, like the alien. I think I'm going to try to make a purple or pink elephant next...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fuzzington: Where it All Began...

This entry should also be called "I Love Martha" as in Martha Stewart. I have deep respect for that woman to have built an empire on crafts. She's making millions off of what we love to do best.. crafts. And for that I admire her.

I also have to thank her for being the spark of an idea that became Fuzzington. And Hobby Lobby. And I have to thank Cox Communications for their Digital Video Recorder (DVR), which is like TIVO. Oh and the DIY channel for playing Martha Stewart's craft show.

So it started like this: When I moved in with my husband after we got married, I was amazed at how many cable channels he had! One of the channels was the DIY channel, and it had all sorts of crafts shows on it. When I was a kid, I loved crafts shows, but we didn't have cable and we could only get them on PBS whenever they had them. So I was in heaven when I found the DIY channel! I started watching the Martha Stewart Crafts show because I had heard so much about her, but I had never seen her at work. She amazed me with her professionalism and pristine neatness in making crafts (although I like to be a little more freestyle in my crafts than her). I started recording her shows on the DVR and watched almost every episode. There was one show that did these adorable little dolls made of muslin and Martha said that the patterns could be found on her website at So I went to look it up and started browsing around, and I stumbled upon a site about pipe cleaner animals. And they were SO CUTE and AMAZING! I didn't know pipe cleaners could be so cute (hence the tagline for my shop). I was intrigued... but I didn't have any pipe cleaners. I marked it down as something I would have to try one day.

Fast forward three months, and I was in Chicago for a wedding and I was staying with my brother-in-law and his family. My sis-in-law (his wife) is also a crafting fiend, and she decided one day to take me to Hobby Lobby. Oh... my... god... can I just say, Hobby Lobby is the bestest hobby store in the whole wide world! I wish we had them here in Southern California... Hobby Lobby kicks Michaels' butt anyday!! Anyway, Hobby Lobby also happened to be having a sale on pipe cleaners. WOW--they had a wide selection of pipe cleaners: thick ones, fluffy ones, striped ones, feahery ones, in all sorts of colors... I didn't know so many types of pipe cleaners even existed! So I bought a few packs to see where they would take me. When I got back to her house, and I was putting the pipe cleaners into my suitcase, I suddenly remembered something about pipe cleaners... what was it... OH! Martha! So I looked up the website again to see how they were done. I decided to try my hand at making a tiger based on the techniques that were shown on Martha's website. It actually came out pretty good in my opinion. But the biggest test was to see if my 2-yr old nephew could understand what it was. If he could identify what it was, then maybe I had something. I showed it to him, and his face lit up and he said, "Fuzzy!" And he loved it! I thought, These are really fun! Maybe I have something here!

My pipe cleaner animals have become a lot more sophisticated since that first one. I started making more pipe cleaner animals, and I found that ideas and techniques just came to me as I practiced and practiced more. It got to a point where I would decide to try something out, and I could picture in my mind how the pipe cleaners needed to come together. I think there are still a lot of artistic juices that are just waiting to be tapped for future Fuzzies!

In the meantime, if you want to try out your own pipe cleaner animals, here's the link to Martha's page.

On her page, you can learn to make these cuties... they're super fun to make, and kids love 'em! As Martha would say, "It's a good thing." Enjoy!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

100 Hearts!

I received my 100th heart on Etsy today! This is very exciting! There are other Etsians out there with hundreds and thousands of hearts, but I think the 100th heart is a good milestone.

I remember when I first joined Etsy, looking at one of my now favorite shops, Woollyton, who was also in San Diego and sells the cutest polymer clay kawaii charms. She had something like 350 hearts, and I didn't even have one. I remember being so astonished by the high number of hearts and sales she had made in just a year! I thought I would never get that kind of popularity!

While I'm not quite as popular as Woollyton, and still can't figure out how she's managed to get so popular (although her product really speaks for itself), I'm really happy with the progress that I've made since last October. 21 sales! Not too shabby for 4 months...

I might as well put in a shameless plug for Woollyton in here. Make sure you check her out at

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Great Etsy Refresher - Etsy 101

To all you Etsians that follow or happen to stumble upon my blog, here is a great refresher course that I found online for your shops! Modish has compiled a list of cool resources on the Web that talk about how to make good Etsy shops.

I know you all have perfect shops, but it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves of what sells! We could all use sales! =)