Monday, December 28, 2009

הקאפקייק הציוני

כל כך הרבה נכתב לאחרונה על קאפקייקס, אותן עוגות אישיות חמודות בזיגוג קרמי חמאתי ונימוך. יש מיני חקייני קאקפייקס מקומיים שמתרגמים את העוגה החמודה למאפין בציפוי קרם דליל ובלה. אחרי שאכלתי את הדבר האמיתי בלונדון הבנתי שמדובר בפריט חמדה שכשהוא טוב הוא נהדר וכשהוא רע, אלוהים ישמור.

בכל מקרה, קמתי ממיטת חוליי לקיים הבטחה. ביום חמישי נסעתי לשוק האכרים בהרצליה כדי להעמיס אבוקדו וגבינות עיזים ונתקלתי שני ילדים נחמדים שחילקו טעימות לדוכן חדש של קאפקייקס. הטעימות היו טעימות, ולכן בסיום ענייני הלכתי לבדוק את הענין מקרוב ונתקלתי לתדהמתי במראה הבא.

Nadine Cupcakes
מצלמה סלולרית, חושך בחוץ, תארו לעצמכם כמה טוב זה נראה באמת

הטעמים מגוונים, הבסיס ברב המקרים שוקולדי (פרט לטירמיסו הקטן, שהתחפש לקאקפייק) וטעים והקרם כמו שצריך להיות - סמיך, נגיס, מתוק במידה, טרי ויפה. הבטחתי להם שאם יהיה טעים אני אחרוג ממנהגי לכתוב באנגלית ואציין אותם לטובה בבלוג, וכך אני עושה (בתקווה לקבל שוחד שמן בביקור הבא שלי). הבעיה היחידה היא המחיר השערורייתי של העוגות - אחת בעשרים, שלוש בחמישים, חמש בתשעים. בכסף שהוצאתי על שלוש חמודיות יכולתי לקנות עוגה משפחתית ולקבל עודף (אחח, הייתי מאד שמחה לגרסה גדולה של הקאפקייק שוקולד עם קרם תות. הייתי טורפת חצי ממנה עכשיו וחצי אחרי ארוחת הערב). מה שכן, הם באמת טעימים להפליא. אני חושבת שאם הם יורידו את המחירים הם יוכלו להפוך ללהיט. אפילו חיברתי עליהם שיר קטן:

קאפקייקים נחמדים עם קרם תות
כל כך טעימים, שבא לי למות

Nadine Cupcakes
שני הילדים האלה הם אנשי מכירות כל כך טובים, אני צריכה לדבר עם המנכ"ל שלנו שיציע להם עבודה

אקיצר, הקאפקייקים של נאדין, לכו תטעמו ותביאו לי כמה מתנה. אני חולה ומסכנה ונואשת לעוגת שוקולד.

עדכון - החבר'ה מנאדין עדכנו אותי שבעקבות מה שנכתב כאן, הם יורידו את המחירים החל מיום חמישי הקרוב. אם טרם תכננתם לבקר אותם השבוע, זאת סיבה נהדרת לרוץ! תודה וכל הכבוד לכם חבר'ה.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sick sick sick

I got a flu vaccine. I got a swine flu vaccine. And now I got a cold.

I have custom orders to work on, but I can't smell the glue not to mention cut anything. I have tons of work at the office, with a very strict deadline, but I can't go to work. I also have a new guide I'm working on, which I cannot write. But I do have a sore throat, a bad headache, fever, coughing and a stuffed nose. Tonight I woke up at 3am and started vomiting. I am not a happy camper. Hell no.

On top of this mess, Pinky and Mini Me are sick as well. It breaks my heart seeing the little ones so miserable. They are so small you see.. What a world, I tell ya.

Pinkesh and Bickesh dying on the couch
Illustration shot

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The many bags of Mini Me

Just like her mommy, my Mini Me has a many shoes, bags and accessories to choose from. Someways it takes her half an hour to decide which bag fits her outfit best.

Which is better?

Someways she just grabs the closest one, throws her keys and wallet in and runs out the door.

Off she goes

It is pretty annoying to get home from a long day at work and find your doggy spooning with your new sneakers.

Excuse me!!!

When she goes out, she likes wearing her high heeled boots with a little sequined evening bag.

Sequined evening bag

When it's her turn to take the doggy out, she usually wear sneakers and a large messenger bag, with enough room for plastic bags (for doggy) and magazines (for her).

Walking the dog

Doggy is always cheerful after a nice walk.

Here puppy!

My Flutterbutts usually get tired after a long shoot, but sometimes I find them sleeping in piles. When did Pinky get in there? I honestly have no idea, but sssshhhh!!! Don't wake them up.

Some go to work and some..
If you want a mini me of your own, click here

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

These boots are made for walking

What do you get when you take one woman and have her work on a major product release during the day and custom puppet orders at night? One very hungry and very busy woman.

That is why I was shocked to find myself making a new Flutterbutt in the middle of the night, when I should have been tucked in bed and snoring peacefully.

But I wanted to make her, and so I did - a teen, with a woolly purple flower shaped barret and a purple sweater (I bought both months ago and was waiting for winter to use them), a short skirt and the fuchsia pompom boots I bought on eBay a couple of weeks ago.

Sweet Pea's boots
I seriously need to get me boots like these

Sweet Pea
Holding one of the lovely balloons Junie sent me

I photographed her against a Brussels sprout Christmas paper I bought in Urban Outfitters. There is no end to how pleased I am that I managed to bring it home from London in one straight piece. I was sure it will be ruined in my suitcase.. I wanted to shoot with an opposite color background, to make her pop. And she sure does!

When Mamisha saw her, she cried out "Ooh, peas!" and so I decided to name her Sweet Pea.

If you like peas too, you can buy her at my shop. I promised Mamisha she will be hers if I don't sell her within a month, so you better move fast! When my mom wants something, she usually gets it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yes I can!!

Lately, I have been discussing the issue of declining custom work with my fellow artist, who shall remain nameless. I was telling her how I declined a custom order for making an owl puppet a little while ago, and she said I should never turn down an order just because I am afraid of making it. When I told her I never made a bird puppet, she said "so?you'll learn". After that discussion, I decided I will start saying "yes" to orders that scare me.

When a lady asked me to make her a custom Flutterbutt in shape of her brother, I was horrified. I can't sew, I have no masculine shoes at home, I can't make a mustache! It was clear the order scares me, and that I must accept it, so I did.

The customer wanted me to portray Mr. Brother during his ski vacation. She asked for a blue parka and a scarf. I was planning to work on him on Saturday, since Friday was full of Hanukkahish and other pre-planned activities. The first of which, was going to a clothing swapping party (where each participant brings a bag of cloths she doesn't want and everybody can look for something new. Very ecological, and so very 2009!). After locating a sexy evening gown with a sequined snake, a completely new purple skirt and stylish black skirt-pants, I decided I'm tired of looking for cloths and decided to pick up some leftovers for puppet supplies. That was when I found a single blue ski glove, which I immediately recognized to be the perfect material for my tiny ski coat.

It took me two hours to sew the little coat, and let me tell you – it almost drove me nuts. I was miserably sticking needles into myself, curding the rough parts I could hardly get the needle through, and sewing tiny fingers to make sleeves. I thought it is going to end in a total disaster, but once I was done (including stealing Pinky's holiday shoes. I promised to buy him new shoes on eBay ASAP), added a scarf my mom knitted and of course a mustache, I had to admit it to myself and the world – this must be the cutest Flutterbutt ever!!

I mean, just look at him – how cute is he??

Custom made Flutterbutt

The parka is asymmetrical, with writing on one sleeve and a single wide aqua stripe on one side. The inside is partially padded, to keep Mr. Brother cuddly and warm. Can you tell how hard I worked on sewing this?


Do you need a new brother, mother in law, or friend? I can make one for you, in various sizes, with or without a mustache!

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Hanukkah article is on The Storque!

I wrote an article about the holiday for Etsy's official blog, The Storque. I think it turned out quite lovely, and features some wonderful artists from the Etsy Israel Team (not to be confused with the ISART team).

Happy Hanukkah everybody!



Thursday, December 10, 2009

A gift of a guide and a romantic couple

This week was blessed with custom orders thanks to being on the Gift Guides. Unfortunately, one of these customers bought the original item instead of asking for a custom listing, and so the Gift Guide, dozens of hearts, and almost 2000 views are all gone. But I must not complain, it really was an amazing week.

Huge jump in views, now it's down again

All I can hope is that all the people who hearted this item will see it sold and heart the relist as well. BTW, I offer express shipping, so you can still get your purchases in time for Christmas Eve.

Back to this week's orders, another fun project was making a custom made married Flutterbutt couple (Puppet Mobiles this time). The couple are look alikes of the customer's brother and sister in law. I loved the photos she sent me, and Mr. Flutterbutt was definitely a challenge, since none of the ready made glasses I had at home fit. Eventually I made him little glasses out of my Bluetooth headset plastic wrap. He also got a nice aqua colored feathery tutu and a sky blue satin tie. His gorgeous wife got a tan complexion and a complimentary strapless peach dress decorated with a big beautiful sequined gold heart.

Both mobile cords are decorated with Czech glass, plastic, glass, lampwork, stone and some of my late Grandmother's rose quartz (for luck in love) beads. I have to say, they looked very much in love with each other since the moment I completed my work. It truly was love at first foam!

Custom made Flutterbutts

Monday, December 7, 2009

Custom made sister

Thanks for being in the Gift Guides, I got some last minute custom orders for Christmas.

One wonderful lady asked for a look alike Flutterbutt of her sister who turns 30 on Christmas. I have to say I was very excited when I heard her description - professional dancer with long legs, short dark hair, big blue eyes and a huge smile who loves mini dresses, Converse shoes, and long dangle earrings. Is that a dream Flutterbutt to make or what?

Since the last thing I watched on TV before starting to work was an old Project Runway rerun, I was very excited to start working on her dress already. Though I have to admit, that it was fun making her nose.

I made her a double layered mini skirt, reminiscent of the dress she wears in the photo her sister sent me. I used an under layer of black satin with a lace trim. On top of that I added a golden sheer organza bustier with gold trimmings and a thin black satin belt. It was designed to mix well with the colorful Converse All Stars I had for her, to help her stand up (she is not a Puppet Mobile). The final touch was adding long dangley emerald colored rhinestone earrings.

So here she is, waiting to meet mer mommy. I hope mommy will love her Mini Me, as I love mine!

Merry Christmas to both sisters!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why on why my sales have die(d)

Traditionally, November and December are excellent months for my Etsy shop. I am not a full time Etsian, and my items appeal to very certain audiences (which I like to call "silly grownups", like myself) so I don't aim to sell 300 or even 30 items a month. A 10 sales month is great for me. A 16 sales month is excellent.

But this November was my worst ever (in fact, it was the worst sales month of 2009). I also got very few new item and shop hearts. Less than half of my usual rate. I have to wonder why.

This is what I've come up with so far:
  1. My short vacation cost me a week of promotions.
  2. I did not invest any money in paid ads this month.
  3. Etsy's SEO "improvements" cost me my Google ranking - it plummeted from 3/10 to 0/10 which effects my search engine result.
  4. In previous years I did some trades that showed up on my sales total. I no longer do that.
I am not quite sure what to do about this. There is a limit to how much I can invest in forum promotions, I already do too much of that. I want to spend less hours on this, not more. As far as the ranking goes, I contacted Etsy support after reading articles on the site and they just directed me back to articles I already read, which probably means there is nothing I can do.

I want December 2009 to be the best sales month I had this year. I want it to exceed 2007-8 sales rate for December. My last international shipping date for Christmas Eve is Sunday 6.12.09 which doesn't leave much time, as far as Christmas gifts are concerned (of course I offer express shipping that arrives in 4 workdays, but still).

Since I hardly had any revenue in November, I cannot invest in paid advertising now.

I find it hard to believe my shop suddenly fall out of taste, so I don't consider that as a possible reason. Perhaps my recent diversity in item categories (Flutterbutts, jewels, cards, headbands, and so on) has a negative effect?

Your thoughts, comments, ideas and of course - purchases are most welcome.

Update - is it possible the name Flutterbutt turns people off? Recently I found some nasty websites using this term. Maybe it is not as cute as I thought. Should I change it?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

I just finished calculating the expenses of my trip to London. All in all, it was not that bad. I mean yes, I did spend almost twice as I planned, but that was pretty much expected. Considering everything, I am very pleased. Very very pleased. Very very very pleased indeed.



Pachelbel's Canon (a favorite tune) in Covent Garden (a favorite place)
with Nifty (a favorite person) on a wonderful vacation (my favorite pastime)


I forgot to tell you about the Moctezuma exhibition I saw at the British Museum. It's running till January, and I recommend visiting it if you are near by. It is not as big as I hoped it would be, and it skips a lot of historical facts and stories surrounding the occupation of Mexico (not a single word about La Malinche or how Cortés exploited the Aztec mythology to bring down the great ruler) but it is still striking in beauty and very exciting to watch. You really get a taste of the loss when faced with the greatness of this long gone empire.

Pinky at the British Museum.
He was so excited to see the Rosetta stone


I was especially stricken by the remarkable gold jewelry, which was used in ritual and to symbolize the ruler's relationship with the gods.

These tiny gold embellishments were probably parts of
greater pieces of jewelry worn by the nobility

Ritualistic mask used by the priest when offering (sometime human) sacrifice. The base is actually a human skull and the tiny pieces of Lapis were individually fitted

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Weekend Sale - 20% off on my entire shop

Everything on Raisinlike.etsy.com is 20% off (or more)!!

Sophia and Lailah the angels

♥ All prices already revised (the original price is listed in the item description)
♥ Sale ends on Monday the 30th
♥ Last international shipping date for Christmas Eve is Sunday 6.12.09
♥ Want your purchase gift wrapped free of charge? Let me know

I have

Christmas and Hanukkah gifts (including stocking stuffers)
Greeting cards and stationery
Puppet mobiles, puppets and art dolls
Headbands and jewelry
Etsy Sales Fairies
מדריכים בעברית לפתיחת וניהול חנות באטסי

Sarah the hand puppet is on sale too

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Walk a mile in Henry the 8th's disgusting shoes

I am a person who prides in changing her mind.

Till the age of 20 I was strictly against dying my hair. By the age of 21 I had purple hair. Going to London last week I swore to myself I will not buy anything with trendy nits and ended up buying a black nitted mini skirt. I could give you endless further examples, since after all - if you do not change your mind about things throughout your life, you are not fully committed to living (IMO). But there is one thing I will not change my mind about and that is the ugly, common, disgusting invention of the Crocs shoe (if you can call this abomination a shoe).

So you can imagine my dismay when I opened the "Henry VIII and His Wives Paper Dolls" book I bought at Benjamin Pollock's toy shop in Covent Garden and found my favorite king wore them!

I feel like throwing up

It is well known that the fat, foul-smelling, sick, and furious old king had once been the most beautiful prince in Europe. When he was young, he was considered fashionable and well groomed. So why the hell did he wear Crocs even then? Did he wear it while traveling on his private jet and change it to bejeweled loafers when he got off? Shame on you Henry! You might as well had composed "Green Crocs" as far as I am concerned.

Getting sicker by the minute I am

Do us all a favor, Henry, pretend you're Glenn Carter - and walk like a man.



More headbands (and a special offer)

I recently added more handmade headbands to my shop, I just love making these.

Just look at my beautiful redhead model, how she wears them in style. She looks like a fairy I think. Buy my headbands and your hair will look like hers as well!

Snow White headband


Pink headband
Pink rosy butterflies headband

Special offer for my blog readers - write "headband galore" on your Notes to Seller during checkout, and get 3$ off your headband (refund via Paypal after you pay). Wee!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sweet memories of London

No one can spend four straight days just shopping and drooling over Glenn Carter. Obviously, I had to eat every few hours to keep my strength!

Apart for my main food supplier, Pret a Manger, who had a very nice big branch right across the street from my hotel with the loveliest sandwiches and fresh made sushi (not to mention, soy milk cappuccinos that were pretty hard to find elsewhere) I had some other wonderful meals on the streets of London.

Nifty and I (and Pinky and a whole lot of meerkats) met for a fun day on Covent Garden, which started with a highly recoomended full English breakfast at Diana's Diner.

video

We then headed to the Covent Garden market building itself, where Pinky and his new meerkat buddy (who has since then been named Sunny, since in Africa meerkats are nicknamed "sun angels") found lots of treats to stare at (Pinky can't eat carbohydrates, he's training for a new ballet).

One of the above photos is focused on the right thing, not sure which is which though

After some shopping, we decided it's time for a cupcake and headed on to the tiny Ella's Bakehouse, that offers a small yet beautiful collection of cupcakes. I chose red velvet (my first!) and Nifty took a lemon raspberry cupcake. Both were deliciously moist and fresh with a delicate creamy topping. Not to mention the sweet sugar flowers and sparkles covering them.


Obviously, meerkats can eat as many carbs as they please

We ended the day making toasts at Punch & Judy, my favorite Covent Garden pub. I had a lovely pear ale that was a perfect refreshment.

The guys giving my ale a little sip

Here are Nifty's notes of the same lovely day.

The following day, I went shopping on Carnaby St. and had high tea at Liberty, which is a very luxurious department store that opened back in the 19th century. Tea was absolutely outrageous, with a pot of beautifully scented black tea with rose petals, traditional finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and rose petal marmalade, and assorted cakes. It was so tasty, and so abundant I took half of it back to the hotel with me, being too full to try everything on house.

I wish I could have clotted cream each day

On Tuesday night I met my friend, who planned a cool night out on the Soho pubs for us. Unforgettably, I was so tired of the day I had I asked her to come to my hotel instead, so we ended up eating at Giraffe which was okay, but not as good as the company.

At noon of my last day, I went back to Covent Garden to spend some time at my favorite place (and buy some jeans). I was horribly hungry, but decided to listen to my inner child and have cake for lunch. I started at the colorfully lovely Candy Cakes coffee shop. I bought an espresso and an apple-raspberry cupcake, which didn't taste as good as it looked and the topping was way too sweet for me.

How sweet is that? Very very sweet

So I had no choice but go back to Ella's and try another cupcake, this time - the wonderful lemon-raspberry one Nifty had two days earlier. It was simply wonderful. I have no idea why local cupcake makers (Which I can count on the fingers of a single hand) pride themselves on exchanging the original cupcake toppings with cream based ones. I for one love the original whipped butter and sugar based toppings and could eat them all day everyday (till I die of acute heart failure that is, from all the sugar and fats).

Some more sparkles powder for my nose

After all that, I went back to the hotel and bought some cheese, cake, and pastry to take home on Tesco's supermarket. Then I bought some extra Christmas special sandwiches on Pret (chicken, stuffing, and cherry sauce with watercress) and headed to the hotel to pack my bags for the trip home, with a burning desire to diet once I get back home.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

So many shoes, so little time

Hiya all! I am back from my long due vacation in London, one of my favorite cities in the world.

I had several goals traveling there - do only what I want, meet up with friends, see Glenn Carter perform in a musical, and shop for shoes and cloths. And let me tell you - it was a complete success on all counts, and getting back home is both happy and hard. London is so tourist friendly and equipped to handle the huge amounts of people roaming it, and getting back to the land of undependable public transportation and zero manners is difficult. I am trying my best to maintain my cheer and not become bitter and that is hard, especially since my car battery is dead, which annoys me tremendously. But we are here to discuss shopping, so let's get on with it!

On my way to London I met a woman on the train who told me I must go to Oxford Circus H&M cause they just received the Jimmy Choo collection. So I did, and let me tell you - you have not seen a wrestling match till you've been to a Jimmy Choo collection launch. There were fences within the shop, and the longest lines to simply catch a glimpse of the shoes and try them on. And I have to tell you - they were ugly. Plain black high heel gladiator sandals and the most horrific flat short studded cowboy boots you will ever see. It was funny watching the cat fights though. On the way back to the hotel I saw this girl on the tube holding 6 bags of Jimmy Choos.

Amazon women killing each other over ugly shoes at H&M

I knew exactly what I was looking for in terms of shoes - flat, dressy, and comfortable. The shoes I saw on day 1, however, were not what I was looking for by any means.

Boots and cherry shoes by Irregular Choice at Top Shop


Pointy male and female shoes at Office

On Tuesday I headed on to Carnaby St. where I was planning to visit the Irregular Choice shoe shop. What a sweet sweet street that is, full of fun and love and all sorts of balloons and with the loveliest boutiques.

Can you detect which is the blogger and which the moose?

Two lovely looking boutiques

Outside the Irregular Choice shop

I must have died and gone to shoe heaven

That shop was all I expected it to be (apart for the sour face sellers, the least pleasant I met while in London). As I expected, most outrageous designs were in high heels, which I didn't even bother trying on. I went directly for the flats and ended up buying these and these.

After looking everywhere for flat Oxfords and not finding any I liked (I found a massive amount of high heeled ones and flats that look like jazz shoes, which I cannot stand) I decided to buy these boots on M&S. I was surprised by how much I liked them, since they were so me at age 20, but hey - when you fall in love you have to follow your heart, n'est pas?

video
My shoes enjoying London