Drowsy Aurora

Little dolls. Big characters.

#BlogFuel "My Story"

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Today I stumbled upon a post on Instagram with the hashtag #blogfuel and decided to check it out. Turns out it's a challenge of things to post (which I avoid in general because I'm terrible at posting every day, and most challenges aren't business related, which isn't inspiring for me and my brand). The thing with this particular challenge that made me interested is that it's for bloggers. I've been trying to focus my Drowsy Aurora brand on blogging this year (along with my Kickstarter and all that, of course!), so I've decided to take this challenge on. If I can eat Paleo for three months, surely I can post a photo everyday for the rest of the shortest month of the year!

Okay, so technically it's the 9th, which is "behind the scenes," but I thought that starting with "my story" would be more fitting for a first post.

Where to start...

My name is Abby. Basic enough, right?

I currently live in a little city called Ely--named after the eels in the surrounding swampland or "fens", and is pronounced as such, "eel-y"--in England, near Cambridge and about two hours away from London. We have a good selection of shops on the high street, a few grocery stores to choose from, a train station, and soon we'll have a movie theater, which I'm incredibly excited about (we have to drive nearly an hour to get to the closest one right now). I'm not British. I'm not attending University here. How did I get here?

I don't say it much because of what he does and I strive to have my own identity, but my husband is in the military. I'll leave it at that; just know that it's because of his work that we live in England.

We moved here fall 2014, which feels like ages ago. Two and a half years already? So much has happened and so much I still want to do before we leave here. Because of my husband's schedule I haven't had the chance to travel nearly as much as I'd wanted to. We still have another year and a couple months before we move back to the states, so there's time. But I'm sure it'll fly by as fast as the past two and a half years.

I'm an artist. I've been artsy and creative all of my life. I bring that creativity to everything that I do. I of course started Drowsy Aurora focusing on felt dolls, but as many creatives that I've met, I've also created things using other mediums--painting with acrylics and watercolors, paper mache, sewing by hand and machine, knitting/crochet (okay, I get frustrated and bored with this one, but I do have a couple HP scarves I've made), photography, digital art, and perhaps my other biggest love: cooking.

My father-in-law once said I cook the same way I craft. When crafting I rarely use patterns, save for basics that need to be consistent, like the base of a doll or a coffee sleeve. When cooking, I have...basic guidelines for meals, and go by taste rather than exact measurements. If it's something like a cake or pastry, I'll definitely be more exact about the recipe. Crafting I go by sight and feel, cooking I go by sight and taste. I make it up as I go and just know when it's right. 

Originally Drowsy Aurora was going to be handcrafted fabric flowers, for wedding bouquets and the like. Well, I might not have chosen that name if I had opened that shop instead. I created the flowers that my bridesmaids and I used, as well as a bouquet for a friend's wedding. Oh goodness, that was a while ago...

Suffice it to say that I would be in a very different business if I had done that. I wouldn't have made the geeky artsy friends that I now have, and who knows where I'd be! 

Is my life all crafting? It certainly feels like it most of the time. It feels like all I do is cook, clean and craft in my waking hours. I do have a little bit of a life though. I love to workout--weightlifting mainly, though I'm trying to add running to my routine because I hate cardio as a rule. I also don't intend to be a power-lifter or look like one, so I need to mix up my workouts. I'm also involved in a women's Bible study on the local military base, and try to get involved in a few things here and there to keep me sane. I'm going to start playing on the worship band soon, which I'm looking forward to. I haven't really played any instruments since college *coughs-FIVE YEARS AGO-coughs*, but I've been itching to get my musical creative side going again.

Whew! Well, I feel like that touches the tip of the iceberg of who I am. Be sure to follow me to find out more!

Watercolors are fun: Kickstarter campaign prep

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The last time I used watercolors was probably as a kid. I honestly don't remember using them, but I'm sure that I did at some point, since I've always been artsy. In the last few years I've fallen in love with the modern watercolor paintings (you've seen the watercolor tattoos, right??), so I decided why not? I'm artsy. Worst case scenario I spent $5 on some watercolor supplies and wasn't good at it, right?

Why the sudden urge to paint? I'm working on my next Kickstarter campaign. It's going to be a way to launch my nursery line--it'll help me gauge interest too, so I can see if it'll be popular before I invest hundreds of dollars into it. It'll launch in the Spring, actual date to be announced once I get things on track and have a better idea of timelines.

I'm not pregnant, nor am I trying to get pregnant in the near future. However, I have a nephew and a few friends that are either pregnant or have a little one, so I'm inspired. There are a lot of cute nursery decorations and bedding, don't get me wrong. But I've noticed a lack of cute nursery decor that's also geeky. Most people have to make things themselves with fabric from Spoonflower or wherever to get something that fits the modern nursery style as well as be geeky.

I think modern nursery styles are absolutely adorable and chic, and I think they need some more geeky styles! I plan on making a Doctor Who style, Harry Potter style, and a mermaid and narwhals line to start. I'd love to add on some others if it's as popular as I hope! 

The current plan is to make bibs, blankets, and throw pillows, as well as mobiles and cute hanging banners. I'm excited to see it finally coming together! 

A Miniature Baby Shower

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This weekend I helped with a friend's baby shower. Her husband is really tall and she's really short, so we've been joking for months that she's going to have a giant baby. Perhaps influenced by my obsession with miniatures, I told her we should have a miniature baby shower. She loved it, so it happened! I took charge of the food, while some other friends did decorations and helped with this and that.

In researching miniature parties, I didn't find many things. I would have thought there would be more blog posts--this is 2017 after all! So I decided I simply must write my own, even if I didn't bring my awesome camera. Seriously, I apologize for the photos. 

The full spread of food

The full spread of food

We had to have bright colors as part of the theme, so Cassie went with a cute rain showers theme

We had to have bright colors as part of the theme, so Cassie went with a cute rain showers theme

Miniature plates and cutlery!

Miniature plates and cutlery!

One of the activities we had was to write a message on a diaper for the mom and dad to use later! I think it's an adorable way to remind them at 2 am that they have friends that care and bring a little smile to their weary faces.

One of the activities we had was to write a message on a diaper for the mom and dad to use later! I think it's an adorable way to remind them at 2 am that they have friends that care and bring a little smile to their weary faces.

Mini burritos and taquitos, mini cheeseburgers (sliders)

Mini burritos and taquitos, mini cheeseburgers (sliders)

Okay, I have to say that the little burritos were my favorite food for the day. I've seen the hamster eating a mini burrito video more than once, but I knew I wasn't going to put quite that much attention to detail into each one. (If you haven't seen that video series, stop what you're doing and watch that and come back.) So I went to Pinterest, and thankfully found this blog post. I followed the recipe, but omitted the onion (too many people aren't fans, and there would be some in the salsa too), and used my own taco seasoning recipe. I also had the smaller tortilla shells to make them smaller, but unless you actually need to make them TINY, I suggest using the 8" shells like in the recipe to make them more substantial and actually use up the filling (I had a lot left over since mine were so small).

For the taquitos, I used the same filling, but used corn tortillas. They weren't as fun as the burritos though, and understandably not as popular.


Taco Seasoning:

1 Tablespoon chili powder (use paprika or just less if you don't want it as spicy)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro (you can use more oregano or parsley if you don't have this)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Add all ingredients into a mason jar or similar container, shake, and store until needed!


Just look at those adorable burrito butts! The original blogger posted a similar photo. I know why!

Just look at those adorable burrito butts! The original blogger posted a similar photo. I know why!

The cheeseburger sliders are easy enough to figure out, but I want to say that I used Montreal steak seasoning in these, which made them taste amazing! They do cook really quickly since they're so thin, so keep that in mind when you're baking/cooking them. Also make sure to take into account the amount of shrinkage of the meat when measuring how big you'll make them. I reccomend using 90/10 or better.

Miniature corndogs

Miniature corndogs

We used frozen mini corn dogs, which you can buy, but those don't have the popsicle sticks. I found little 3" ish sticks from a craft store. Heat up the corndogs just enough so they're not frozen, but not too much or you'll burn yourself trying to get the sticks in. After you get the sticks in, you can heat them more if needed.

Miniature PB&J sandwiches! Pretty self-expanitory.

Miniature PB&J sandwiches! Pretty self-expanitory.

Miniature vegetable tray

Miniature vegetable tray

Okay, from just the photo this looks like a regular veggie tray. But the cucumbers are about the size of a quarter, to give you a better idea of the scale. I used pickling cucumbers, baby sweet bell peppers, baby carrots cut into quarters and the ends cut off to square them, and regular broccoli cut down a little extra small.

The Greek yogurt ranch dip I made wasn't my favorite, so I won't post the recipe I used for that. 

Miniature cracker tray

Miniature cracker tray

These are seriously adorable and I have to tell you a little story about the joys of living abroad when planning a party like this. This project was taken on by a friend, and the cheese was easy enough. Our commissary (store on the military base that has US groceries imported) normally carries mini pepperonis, but they were out. They didn't have the mini Ritz. She had to go to like three stores to find the crackers, and didn't have any luck with the pepperoni because, well, I guess it's an American thing to have miniature pepperoni. Plus British pepperoni sucks. Sorry guys. 

Anyways, she ends up getting regular pepperoni and cutting them out! Dedication right there.

Petit fours on a cute tiered stand

Petit fours on a cute tiered stand

Okay. I love making cupcakes. I love experimenting with flavors and ideas. I've made chocolate lava cupcakes, horchata cupcakes, Bailey's cupcakes... and I fully intend to make a ton more fun flavors in the future. I have a love/hate relationship with cake-pops because they're a pain to cover. That being said, I knew that making petit fours for the first time would be a challenge. 

They were.

I tried to use a hack of melting a can of frosting and covering them that way. It worked as a base coat, but I would not recommend using it if it's all you're using. It doesn't harden as much as an icing for a petit four or cake-pop should, so you can't touch them to move them or anything. I do like it for getting better coverage of a lighter color like white though. 

I used a homemade icing for the top coat. Okay, you're supposed to make a legit royal icing, but it was late at night the night before the shower and I had been struggling with them for the past two days, so I wasn't about to make egg white fanciness, and I didn't want to buy the stuff to make it the alternative way. I just used powdered sugar and milk and it turned out fine! Oh, I did add a touch of vanilla too, but not much since I don't have the clear variety. 

Sprinkles fix the rest. Also--the bottom edges aren't the prettiest, so the cupcake liners help create the illusion of being fancy AND cover up my mistakes!

Boxed Cake Hack
I will also say, that if you're in a pinch and don't want to/don't have the time to commit to making a cake batter from scratch, you can hack a box mix. Add an extra egg (extra egg white for me, since I was making a white cake), a splash of vanilla, use milk instead of water, and softened butter instead of oil. Don't mess around too much if you don't know what you're doing since it's a science to bake a cake, but this way is a really easy way to make it taste better!

Miniature chocolate chip cookies

Miniature chocolate chip cookies

These were another project taken on by a friend. Obviously you could use cookie cereal or some of those boxed mini cookies if you'd rather, but if we're real here, homemade cookies just taste better. If you absolutely cannot make cookie batter yourself, you can still use the premade refrigerated dough if you want. She said she used about 1/4 teaspoon of batter for each of these, baked them at 325f for about 4 minutes. Pretend that your oven is a TV for a couple minutes so you don't burn them. It may sound silly, but seriously, I do that all the time when I bake cookies. It's fun to watch them melt and caramalize!

Miniature cheesecakes with chocolate ganache

Miniature cheesecakes with chocolate ganache

I used a new recipe for these. I wouldn't recommend it since I had to come up with a ganache to fix them when they were done! Use the Philadelphia cream cheese recipe if you don't have a favorite. If you do want a ganache still, it's super easy! You take some dark chocolate and add it to a bowl. Heat some heavy cream on the stove until it JUST starts to bubble. Pour the cream over the chocolate and cover for five minutes. WAIT until the five minutes are over, then stir. 

I used a mini cupcake tray to bake them in, and decided to keep the paper liners on for easier serving.

These ones aren't miniature, but someone made adorable shower themed sugar cookies

These ones aren't miniature, but someone made adorable shower themed sugar cookies

Miniature Coke cans

Miniature Coke cans

Christmas Sale Interview: Waxspurts Candle Co.

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Last feature! Well, for this sale, anyways. As part of the changes I plan on making to Drowsy Aurora in the coming months, I hope to be doing more blog posts. We'll see what kinds I end up doing as we go. :)

The shop:
Waxspurts Candle Co. 
Morristown, NJ USA
Ships internationally
20% off your purchase

etsy.com/shop/Waxspurts
facebook.com/Waxspurts
Instagram: @waxspurts
NOTE: for some reason the code won't work for her shop. Please use code XMAS2016

Here we go! What's your name?
Veronica Franc 

How would you describe your shop?
Waxspurts Candle Co. specializes in fandom and literary inspired hand-poured, eco-friendly soy candles in mason jars and wax melts. Waxspurts was created by an English teacher/mental health therapist that attempts to portray the calming feeling of a good book and a fresh scent in each handmade candle and wax melt. 

How did you come up with your shop name?
[SPOILERS for Harry Potter if you haven't read/seen them all]

There is a scene in Harry Potter where Draco Malloy catches Harry spying on him on the Hogwarts Express. He uses petrificus totalus to paralyze Harry and covers him with the invisibility cloak so that he will return to London on the train undetected rather than allowing him to arrive at Hogwarts. Harry is saved by Luna Lovegood, who only notices he's there because she sees the wrackspurts in his head through her spectraspecs. She says, "Wrackspurts. Your head's full of them." I was inspired by that scene because 1. The plot would be totally different if not for Luna, who is usually underestimated but so valuable. 2. It made for the perfect pun! 

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
Cold: Java chip frap or sweetened iced green tea
Hot coffee: skinny vanilla latte
Hot non-coffee: salted caramel hot chocolate

What's your preferred social media for your shop? 
Instagram. I find that my followers are much more active and interactive there! 

Okay, so you're crafting. What do you have playing in the background?
Broadway musicals or Disney soundtracks. 

What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?
Popcorn or chocolate chip cookies.

Yum! What's your favorite way to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work?
Bubble bath by candle light or hot chocolate and trash TV or a good book. 

What's your most underrated geeky product that you wish would sell more?
Disney scents and 8oz jar candles. 

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
I'm looking forward to expanding my business and appealing to a wider audience. 

Christmas Sale Interview: ThunderCrafts

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There still a little more time to shop the Multi-Vendor Geeky Christmas Sale, and be automatically entered into the giveaway. There are a ton of really fun and geeky items you can win, all by doing your shopping at participating shops with the coupon code. Save and win? Can't get much better than that, right?

The shop:
ThunderCrafts
Grayslake, IL, US

Ships internationally
15% off your purchase
www.thundercrafts.com
facebook.com/Thundercrafts

Let's start with a simple question. What's you name?
Marina Stevens

How would you describe your shop?
My shop is full of metal-focused jewelry; some girls love gems, I love the shine of metal and my shop reflects that.  

How did you come up with your shop name?
My focus on metal made me think of Thor, the God of Thunder, and his hammer Mjolnir, and it kind of spiraled from there. I decided "ThunderCrafts" had a geeky vibe to it (which is me!) and allowed me to make what I wanted and have it still fit in with the shop name. It also got me an awesome logo drawn by my mother!

I do really like your logo! You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
In the summer, a coffee Frappucino and in the winter, a vanilla latte.  

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
My shop is unfortunately just a part time endeavor for me. My day job is a Teen Librarian at a public library. It's pretty awesome actually. I get to buy all the video games and graphic novels for teens and adults and sometimes I get to read geeky books on the clock!  

That doesn't sound like a bad gig at all! Okay, so you're crafting. What do you have playing in the background?
Usually I'm watching TV, which can be anything, but right as I type is Blacklist. Soon to be Luke Cage. Sometimes I have on whatever my current audiobook is. 

What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?
I don't usually eat while I craft, but my favorite snack in general is these things from Graze called banana shortbread dippers. It's delicious banana shortbread with a caramel dipping sauce.  

If I liked bananas, that would be delicious. Ha! What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?
I love doing custom stamped bracelets. It's really neat for me to see the things people request to have stamped on their bracelets. I like to try and figure out what it means and where it comes from.  

What's your most underrated geeky product that you wish would sell more?
My "Mostly Harmless" cuff bracelet. I want everyone to be wearing a Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy bracelet!

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
I can't wait to start making a wider variety of stamped items and to see my business grow into a full time endeavor.  

Christmas Sale Interview: The Turning Tradesman

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Today's the last day of the sale! I have just a few more features to share with you, so stay tuned and do some shopping between posts. Be sure to go back to the original post for the list of shops and, of course, links to make everything easier.

The shop:
The Turning Tradesman
Chicago, IL, USA

Ships domestically
15% off your purchase
theturningtradesman.etsy.com
facebook.com/TheTurningTradesman
Instagram: @TheTurningTradesman

Let's get started! Name?
Matthew Gornik

How would you describe your shop?
Hand turned wood items offer a unique gift for those how appreciate old school design and craftsman ship. 

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
Black coffee.

Can't mess with a classic, right? What would you say is your preferred social media for your shop?
Instagram, because some times a picture is worth all the description you need.

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
My shop is my hobby, I am a new product development engineer for semi-truck parts.

What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?
Magic wands, they are fun to make and each one allows me to try new techniques in my trade.

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
To continue to create a hand made products that will last generations and could even be something passed down.

Christmas Sale Interview: The Scarlet HandCraft

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There's a giveaway happening right now, and it's super easy to enter! All you have to do is do your Christmas shopping at participating stores using the coupon XMAS16! You'll be automatically entered to win some fun, geeky prizes.

The shop:
The Scarlet HandCraft
Montreal, QC, Canada
Ships internationally
20% off your purchase
TheScarletHandCraft.etsy.com
facebook.com/TheScarletHandCraftShop

Instagram: @thescarlethandcraft

What's your name?
Roxanne Andujar

The short version, how would you describe your shop?
Well, my shop is just anything crochet inspired in all the geeky goodness that's out there. I get influenced by a lot of TV shows, video games and anything that I really love and would buy items from. 

How did you come up with your shop name?
It's an inside joke between me and my husband. At the end of the day I liked it because it sounds like a new Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Curse of The Scarlet Handcraft!! :P

What's your preferred social media for your shop?
Instagram. I found that the community is more supportive and your pictures get to more people.

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
My primary job is being mom of two little humans. But when I'm not doing that, I'm 100% focused on my shop.

What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?
It's funny because I concentrate so much that I forget to eat most of the times. But I love to have a nice cup of green tea with me.

What's your most underrated geeky product that you wish would sell more?
My Legend of Zelda Cushions...

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
I just hope that eventually I can make it a full time job and be able to go to craft fairs and continue to be happy making what I love.

Christmas Sale Interview: The Ramen Empire

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There's just a little more time left! You can support handmade while saving a little this holiday season. There are plenty of geeky items in the 30+ shops taking part, but you can use the coupon for the not-so-geeky items too! And did I mention there's a giveaway too? Visit my earlier blog post for the full details.

The shop:
The Ramen Empire
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Ships domestically
10% off your purchase

etsy.com/shop/TheRamenEmpire
facebook.com/TheRamenEmpire

The hardest question: what's your name?
Catherine Hoag

How did you come up with your shop name?
I'm a gamer nerd and love all things Japan! So this was always a fitting name for my guilds in online gaming. I thought it was a perfect and quirky fit for my Etsy store since many of my items are video game or anime themed. 

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
Caramel Latte! Mmmmm!

What's your preferred social media for your shop?
Facebook, its fun and has the most options.

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
I also work full time in a call center...not nearly as fun as Etsy.

You're crafting. What do you have playing in the background?
I hate to admit it, but I stream reality TV in the background. I like it for the noise and that I don't really have to pay that much attention to it.

What's your favorite snack to munch on while you work?
PICKLES!!

What's your favorite way to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work?
I love binge watching either murder mysteries, anime, or another great show! Unwinding with a book in bed is always nice too. Maybe toss a drink in the mix, why not!?

What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?
I love doing the glitter decal orders. Ummm, they're glitter; need I say more?

Christmas Sale Interview: Team Neville

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The Multi-Vendor Geeky Christmas Sale is nearly over! Use the code XMAS16 at over 30 shops for your discount. Ends Nov 30th!

The shop:
Team Neville
Grand Rapids, MI USA
Ships internationally
12% off your purchase
TeamNeville.etsy.com
Facebook.com/teamnevilleetsy
Instagram: @teamneville

How would you describe your shop in a nutshell?
Custom hand stamped geekery. Lots of fandoms!

How did you come up with your shop name?
I think Neville is the least appreciated character who deserves a ton of credit for being brave and loyal. [Harry Potter]

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
Cider or a soy latte.

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
This is my main gig but I also babysit for extra cash.

Okay, so you're crafting. What do you have playing in the background?
I like to listen to Jane Austen books on tape. Or early 00'/ punk and hardcore music. 

What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?
Grilled cheese sandwiches. I usually eat really healthy but they are my guilty pleasure.

Yum! I love grilled cheese, though lately I feel like I have to have a salad afterwards. Lol! What's your favorite way to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work?
Take a bath and read.

What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?
I like making necklaces with book quotes, because they are all a little bit different, and I make a lot of necklaces related to books I am reading at the time.

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
I love being my own boss because I can be at home with my 2 year old. I look forward to getting to spend time with him.

Christmas Sale Interview: Starry Nights Media

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Have you heard about the sale? If you haven't, you've been missing out on all the fun! You can use code XMAS16 at over 30 geeky handmade shops through the end of November (yes, it's nearly over, so don't wait!).

The shop:
Starry Nights Media
Fort Myers, FL, USA

Ships domestically
15% off your purchase
etsy.com/shop/starrynightsmedia
facebook.com/StarryNightsMedia
Instagram: @starrynightsmedia

Let's get started! What's your name?
Taylor Joyce

How did you come up with your shop name?
Starry Night by Van Gogh has always been one of my favorite paintings and when I started my shop most of my paintings were based on this painting style. 

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
A strawberry-banana smoothie, I do not like coffee. lol

What's your preferred social media for your shop? 
Oh gosh, probably Facebook because of the many groups I have been able to join. But I love Instagram as well. 

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
Currently I have my shop full time and am a stay at home puppy mom. I am lucky enough to have a studio at my house. I also go to different festivals and conventions to sell my art as well. 

Okay, so you're crafting. What do you have playing in the background?
Lately I have been binge watching the last seasons of The Flash and Arrow. 

What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?
My go-to snack to munch on while I work would be fruit, trail mix or BelVitas, or if I'm having a bigger work load chocolate covered pretzels as a treat. 

What's your favorite way to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work?
Hanging out with my husband and puppy, play some video games or watch a good movie/tv show. 

What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?
Lately it has been my Starry Night painted sculptures. I first painted a blank DIY Pop figure and since then have done a Storm Trooper Helmet and craft pumpkins and skulls for Halloween. 

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
Doing more festivals and conventions. I love getting to actually meeting people who are passionate about the same things I am. 

Christmas Sale Interview: Small Obsession

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It's hard to believe that the sale is nearly over! November 30th is the last day to use the universal coupon code XMAS16 at over 30 shops. They're all handmade and all have some geeky items for sale!

The shop:
Small Obsession
Jacksonville, FL USA
Ships internationally
20% off your purchase
www.smallobsession.com
facebook.com/smallobsessiondotcom
Instagram: @
smallobsessiondotcom

First things first: what's your name?
Kelly Shipman

How would you describe your shop?
It started with me trying to make geeky things for myself that were better quality than the stuff on eBay. It has spiraled into a family operation, with my daughter helping on the creative side and my son doing packing and shipping. 

How did you come up with your shop name?
From the meme that said "I have a small obsession with Doctor Who. It's bigger on the inside." 

What would you say is your preferred social media for your shop? 
Facebook, because I spend a lot more time sharing funny posts on my shop website than I do pushing sales.

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
I work full time for a home health agency, and sometimes take the shop on the road to comic cons.

Okay, so you're crafting. What do you have playing in the background?
Probably a movie or Netflix. We *may* have worn out 4 copies each of The Princess Bride and The Wizard of Oz at my house. 

What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?
Jammie Dodgers!!!

What's your favorite way to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work?
Actually being creative helps me relax and de-stress. So I turn on a movie or an old season of Supernatural, make a pot of coffee, and make some jewelry. 

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
I love having people come to me and show me something they bought last year and they still love it. I want to make more geeky friends (really, you can come on my FB page any time with funny fandom memes or just to squee about the latest episode) and would eventually like to be able to do the shop and cons full time. 

Christmas Sale Interview: Shea Crazy Soap Company

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So many deals, so little time! There are just a couple of days left to shop this year's Multi-Vendor Geeky Christmas Sale. You can use the coupon XMAS16 at over 30 handmade geeky shops through November 30th.

The shop:
Shea Crazy Soap Company
Arlington, TX, USA

Ships internationally
20% off your purchase of $15 or more
sheacrazysoapco.etsy.com
fb.com/sheacrazysoapcompany
Instagram: @sheacrazysoapco

Starting off. What's your name? Tell us a little about your shop.
Sheena Fratto. Shea Crazy Soap Company specializes in handmade Soap, Bath and Body products. Our favorite ingredient is skin-loving Shea Butter and it can be found in most of our products.

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
Honestly, it depends on the season. During the summer, it's ALWAYS the S'mores Frapp....I will seriously stalk their website to see when it will be released! LOL! Then I move on to Pumpkin Spice Lattes or Frapps during the fall and Peppermint Mochas or Frapps in the winter.

What's your preferred social media for your shop? Why?
Business-wise, I would say Facebook. I tend to join in on a lot of FB auctions and sales, so it's a great way to keep your eyes out for good deals. But I have a lot more fun over on Instagram. I don't keep things strictly business over there, so you'll see some personal photos of my life and some side hobbies (like craft swaps) mingled in with behind the scenes and product photos. It's definitely the place to be if you are interested in learning more about the person behind my products. ;)

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
I do work on my shop full time, but I'm also a stay at home mama to 2 awesome boys.

You're crafting. Do you have something playing in the background?
Generally IHeart90s on IHeart Radio. It gets me dancing around the soap kitchen.

That sounds fun! What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?
I don't do much munching while I'm making the products because I want to keep that area clean. But while I'm working on product labels, editing photos or updating things on my Etsy or social media, it's all about Dr Peppers and Elf Fudge cookies.

What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?
I'm a Disney fanatic, so I would have to say my favorite is the Poison Apple soap. Each one is handpoured to give it the creepy skull face effect that you would see in Snow White.

I do love the way those turn out. It's the end of the year, which makes many of us start thinking about the future. What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
I'm always trying new recipes, products and designs. Inspiration can strike from anywhere, and I love designing a new product or succeeding at a new technique that I never thought I would master.

Christmas Sale Interview: Rainy Day Geekery

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The Multi-Vendor Geeky Christmas Sale is nearly over! Be sure to take advantage of it while it's still happening. You can use code XMAS16 at 30+ geeky handmade shops through the end of November. 

The shop:
Rainy Day Geekery
Tacoma, WA, USA
Ships internationally
20% off your purchase
www.rainydaygeekery.com
facebook.com/RainyDayGeekery
Instagram: @rainydaygeekery

Basics. What's your name?
Kristi Langdon

How would you describe your shop?
My shop is an always-evolving source of geeky, nerdy, and fandom-based goodies. I try to offer different themes and designs, while also adding new types of offerings and switching out the types of products (such as different jewelry offerings or new travel mug options).

How did you come up with your shop name?
Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I am surrounded by gorgeous nature but we also get our fair share of rain so I went with "Rainy Day" for my inspiration. I make different types of "Geekery" so the name came together. 

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
I'm near Seattle which has made coffee snob, so I prefer a small local shop for really good coffee, but my current favorite is iced white chocolate Americano with no cream.

Yeah, I'll agree with that. Though iced coffee isn't done well here in England, so Starbucks is always my go-to for that!
What's your preferred social media for your shop?

Facebook because I feel I can really connect with real people. Although I like Instagram because it's fun to see so many awesome photos and people's kids being kids. 

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
I work full time also, and try to balance home life with a crazy toddler.

When you're crafting, what might you have playing in the background?
There's almost always something on Netflix--usually a show I have seen so I don't have to watch it completely. Currently I'm re-watching Firefly and Parks and Recreation. I love audiobooks too, and listen to those if I start watching TV instead of working.

What's your favorite way to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work?
Bath bombs are the bomb! Otherwise I enjoy crafting or reading a book.

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
I love all my customers. I'm hoping to have more of a connection with people who buy from me so I can become their go-to geekery shop for all things vinyl.

Christmas Sale Interview: Notorious Nikki

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It's nearing the end of this year's Multi-Vendor Geeky Christmas Sale, but there are still a couple more days to take advantage of it! You can use the code XMAS16 at 30+ geeky shops for your discount, now through the end of November. You can also be entered to win some amazing prizes just by using the code! 

The shop:
Notorious Nikki
Las Vegas, NV USA
Ships internationally
$15 off your purchase of $50 or more

NotoriousNikkiArt.etsy.com
facebook.com/NotoriousNikkiArt
Instagram: @
MystixWolf

How would you describe your shop?
Definitely unique. There is something for just about anyone and everyone, whether you're geeky or "normal". I specialize in geeky though.

How did you come up with your shop name?
In high school, I asked my dad what a good word that started with an "N" that best described me for my creative writing class. He said "Notorious", and when I started making my items to sell, it just kind of stuck. I like it though. I wouldn't change it for the world.

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
....I work at a Starbucks, ironically. I've always ordered hot tea or hot water, because I carry tea bags on my person. I don't like/drink coffee. It tastes like dirt to me.

Oh goodness, isn't it blasphemous to work at Starbucks and hate coffee? What about snacks while you work? What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?
I don't usually eat while crafting. If I do, it is whatever is in my pantry or fridge. I love fruit though and cookies. 

Okay, so you're crafting. What do you have playing in the background?
I could be listening to music, watching Netflix (or Crunchyroll, Funimation), sometimes I am even going between crafting and playing one my many games. Very rarely is there silence while I craft.

What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?
That's a toughy. I suppose my favorite would be my mini canvas works, whether they are the ornaments or the magnets. For some reason small tedious things are my favorite...like painting on bottle caps.

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
The interesting people I will meet. Finding out what interests them is what helps myself and my business grow.

Christmas Sale Interview: Nerdtastic

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This next interview is with a good friend of mine that I've had a lot of fun with over the past three years. We've helped each other with our businesses and supported each other whenever we had those inevitable frustrating business days. One of the most recent collabs we've done is still available in my shop!

The shop:
Nerdtastic
Alsip, IL, USA
Ships internationally
25% off your purchase
www.nerdtastic.net

facebook.com/FeelingNerdtastic
Instagram: @nerdtastic42

Alright, the toughest question: what's your name?
Amanda Mayer

How would you describe your shop in a nutshell?
Nerdtastic centers around being a handmade pop culture shop where you can find gifts ranging from stamped jewelry to fandom themed cosmetics.

How did you come up with your shop name?
I started using the word "nerdtastic" when making products for my wedding three years ago. When I decided to start my handmade shop, the phrase carried over because I like my work like my life: nerdy and fantastic.

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
I suddenly feel the same pressure I do to make a decision at the counter. STOP PRESSURING ME. When in season, pumpkin spice latte. When not in season, white chocolate mocha (no whip, half calf, soy milk). And when I just want something to drink, the berry refresher.

Haha! My bad. Those all sound yummy!
What's your preferred social media for your shop? Why?

Despite its difficulties for business owners, Facebook still gives me the largest range of tools to communicate with my followers. Instagram is a close second... who can resist all the beautiful pictures of nature, inspirational quotes and fuzzy kittens?

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
Currently, Nerdtastic is my second (or maybe third since being a mom/wife is a job in itself) job. My day job is software quality analysis. Basically I make sure our engineers don't break stuff when building new features for customers. I enjoy troubleshooting problems which oddly sometimes comes into my jewelry design (seeing an end result I want and working backwards to figure out how to make it happen). I digress, though. My goal in 2017 is to make Nerdtastic a full time job after my son is a year old.

That sounds so exciting! I wish you best of luck on tackling that transition.
What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?

Trail mix or Ben & Jerry's ice cream I'm hiding in my basement freezer so the kids can't find it... fifteen minutes of work equals one spoonful of ice cream. It's my own reward system to stay focused.

I like that reward system. Speaking of treats, what's your favorite way to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work?
What are these words that you speak of? I do get a massage once a month to try and help bring down the stress. I'm also a fan of a daily walk and chilling on my back porch as weather permits.

Jealous! I could totally budget a monthly massage for ...work reasons, right?
What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?

Any of my beauty products. I love coming up with new scents and art to represent our favorite nerdy things.

Last one. What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
Reaching my goal to be a brick and mortar boutique that ventures around to different cities following the Wizard World convention train. That's the goal I had when I started Nerdtastic and that will be victory (in my head) when I reach it.

 

Christmas Sale Interview: Nerd Knitting

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One more interview for the day! This time I've interviewed a fellow UK shop. 

Be sure to use code XMAS16 when you shop for your discount! You'll save at 30+ geeky handmade shops.

The shop:
Nerd Knitting
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Ships internationally
16% off your purchase
etsy.com/shop/NerdKnitting
facebook.com/nerdknitting
Instagram: @nerdknitting

How would you describe your shop?
A place to find unique gifts from a variety of fandoms.

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
Raspberry and almond slice and a green tea.

What's your preferred social media for your shop? 
Instagram, as I can quickly share cool pictures of new items. 

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
I'm a full time primary and special needs teacher and run the shop as a (very time consuming) hobby.

Okay, so you're crafting. What do you have playing in the background?
Some light TV on Netflix: Community, Parks and Rec. etc.

What's your favorite way to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work?
Reading with a cup of tea, and cuddling my various animals.

What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?
Anything from The Walking Dead or Z Nation as I love all things horror and zombie.

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
Expanding the range of dolls, and possibly running a stall at a fayre/con one day.

Christmas Sale Interview: Le Fabuleux Geek Boutique, LLC

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Happy Small Business Saturday! Well, one of them. I'm pretty sure it's so unofficial that it's celebrated every Saturday in November, depending on who you ask.

You can use code XMAS16 at 30+ small businesses worldwide--there are shops from the US, UK, Canada, and France participating in this year's sale! Read on for a little interview I did with one of the shops.

The shop:
Le Fabuleux Geek Boutique, LLC
Lavonia, GA, USA

Now ships internationally!
$5 off your purchase of $20 or more
etsy.com/shop/LeFabGeeks
facebook.com/LeFabGeeks
Instagram: @LeFabGeeks

Introduce yourself! Tell us your name and a little about your shop.
Ashley Egan. We make handmade soy candles inspired by the geeky, nerdy, freaky, & passionate things in life from comics to books to TV & beyond! We hope to expand to include bath and beauty products soon!

How did you come up with your shop name?
I'm learning French and have always loved the language, so I thought it would be a unique and elegant way of making our shop stand out.

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
If it's Autumn then a Pumpkin Spice Frappe. If it's not Autumn, a Caramel Frappe (or any Frappe really).

Okay, so you're crafting. What do you have playing in the background?
We put our Pandora account on shuffle and get a wide mix of music but mostly classic to modern rock. Sometimes we'll watch TV or a movie depending on our mood.

What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?
Cheese.

What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?
Our "Want To Play A Game?" candle, because the marbleization process is beautiful to watch (but messy).

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
We are a very new shop, so we are mainly looking forward to building our following, making more sales, and expanding our product line.

Christmas Sale Interview: McGibbon Made

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This feature is a shop I've only recently started working with, and I hope you're as excited as I am to get to know her a little better!

Be sure to use code XMAS16 at the geeky handmade shops participating in this year's Christmas Sale.

The shop:
McGibbon Made
Rochester, NY USA

Ships internationally
Gift with $15 purchase
etsy.com/shop/mcgibbonmade
facebook.com/mcgibbonmade
Instagram: @mcgibbonmade

What's your name?
Megan McGibbon

How would you describe your shop?
Full of fun, creative and sometimes quirky, pop-culture and geeky inspired creations of all kinds. I focus on the topics that spark my creativity so that I make the best product possible. 

How did you come up with your shop name?
A brainstorming session with a friend helped me come up with a name that sounded good and wasn't too specific (so it would continue to be appropriate for all of the new crafts I may expand into). The fact that it was alliterative helped seal the deal. 

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
It depends on the season! Well, I love hot drinks year-round so that might be a lie... But I really enjoy the Tazo teas and cappuccinos. 

What's your preferred social media for your shop? Why?
Facebook! I think that right now it's the best platform for interacting with your audience. You can not only sell your items, but you can also keep those people up to date on progress, events, new items, sales, etc. 

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
I dedicate time to the shop mostly at night and on the weekends, when I'm not at local festivals or conventions. I'm also a stay at home mom to soon to be 5-year-old twins, so life is busy.

Okay, so you're crafting. What do you have playing in the background?
Music! Crafting is one of the best times to turn on my custom I Heart Radio station. If it's night time and I have control of the television, I'm normally streaming a show on Netflix - my currently binge is American Horror Story. 

What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?
I actually try not to eat while I'm working (big disappointment because I'm a total foodie) because of what I make; I can't risk crumbs/grease/etc. But, it's pretty typical for me to have cocoa, coffee or tea with me while I'm working. 

What's your favorite way to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work?
Crocheting is actually my go-to productive way to relax. It's been such a great thing that I can sell the items I make. If I'm on a strict no-working policy for the night, I can be found reading (I do this a lot) or doing jigsaw puzzles. 

What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?
Decals of any and all kinds. My favorite right now are the bar and business ads that I make. I love making them because it's something that not everyone can or does do, and there's nothing better than spending time brainstorming, designing and perfecting a new idea and bringing it to life. 

What are you looking forward to the most for your business?
The year to come! My favorite aspect of having a handmade business is being able to meet new people, shops, and collaborate for special events. I love being surrounded by like-minded people who love all things geeky and really appreciate handmade. 

Christmas Sale Interview: kreative studios

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I've been working with this next shop for a few years now. Not only does she run her own shop, she's my distributor for my other shop, Nerdisan Boxes, since I'm living in England for a couple more years. 

You can use the code XMAS16 at her shop or any of the other 30+ shops participating in this year's Multi-Vendor Geeky Christmas Sale!

The shop: 

kreative studios
Cripple Creek, CO, USA
Ships internationally

20% off your purchase AND a gift
shopkreativestudios.etsy.com
facebook.com/kreativestudios
Instagram: 
@kskreative

Let's start with the basics. What's your name?
Kristen Start

How did you come up with your shop name?
Asked for help from friends! Needed something that wasn't specific to what I started with (knit/crochet hats) because I knew I'd want to expand. One of my friends suggested "Creative Studios," which seemed like a photography studio to me, so I changed to a k (coincidentally, my business has the same initials as I do) and made everything lowercase to keep my brain from frying with "kreative" misspelled - for some reason, with it lowercase, it doesn't bother me.

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
Butterbeer Frappu...however you spell it! Or a secret menu one that looks simple and delicious.

Do you have your shop full time? Or do you do something else too?
Shop part time, part time day care assistant/office help for my local Parks & Recreation.

What's your go-to snack to munch on while you work?
Whatever I have on hand... which is generally cookies.

What's your favorite way to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work?
Netflix & crochet.

What's your favorite geeky product to make and why?
Oh gosh, you had to ask?! Right now either rings or crocheted toys... because I love them.

Christmas Sale Interview: Jedi Lizzy's Geek Boutique

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Black Friday! Have you found any good deals yet? Here's one you can use whether you're home avoiding the crowds (like me) or waiting in line to checkout with that awesome toaster oven that you've been wanting...oh wait, we were supposed to be shopping for gifts today, right? Whoops... Nothing wrong with a cheeky gift or two for yourself!

Use code XMAS16 at 30+ online handmade shops, all with geeky items! Offer expires Nov 30th, so don't wait! There's also a giveaway you can automatically entered into JUST by using the code at select shops!

The shop:
Jedi Lizzy's Geek Boutique
Blue Springs, MO, USA

Ships internationally
20% off your purchase
etsy,com/shop/jedilizzy
facebook.com/jedilizzy

Alright. What's your name?
Elizabeth ET Robertson

How did you come up with your shop name?
Jedi Lizzy is my screen name for gaming. As a huge Star Wars fan and cosplayer, it was an easy pick.

You're at Starbucks. What do you order?
Grande Mocha Frapp.

What's your preferred social media for your shop? 
Facebook. I understand it the best and use it for auctions and promotions. 

Is your shop your full time job?
I am a stay at home mom to 3 geeklings and do my work at home. I also set up booths at conventions to sell my items.

You're crafting. What, if anything, do you have playing in the background?
My Pandora's Disney station. But it will soon change to a Christmas station.

I don't think I could function without Pandora Radio. Ha! What's your favorite way to relax and unwind after a stressful day of work?
Hanging out with my husband and kids. Either going for a walk catching Pokemon or enjoying an episode of one of our favorite TV shows.

What are you most looking forward to for your business?
Expanding my crafting to new items and vend at more conventions :)