Category: Etsy


New Hair Color Chiyogami Doll Well, everyone… If you have been to our shop recently, you might notice two little dolls who are quite out of the ordinary!  Based on some of your feedback, I decided to start adding additional hair colors to our origami dolls.  Right now there is only Blonde (Marielle) and Redhead (Sherona), but this will also include our first Brunette as soon as the brown crepe paper gets here…   They are both in the hinasama style with chiyogami kimonos.  I sat down and thought long and hard about who my buyers were and why they would be interested in our dolls in the first place.

If purchasing for a project, why not have a doll that looks like you?  I do not think I will ever have the time to offer personally customizable dolls for everyone, but I want to offer enough of a variety that people do not feel limited by the doll’s appearance.  I have no doubt that our traditional black-haired models will continue to dominate both my production and my sales, but options never hurt anyone!

I am currently on the market for different color cardboards for different skin tones.  I am really picky about what paper I use and I have yet to find something thick enough and pretty enough to get the job done.  I am also playing with wire to try my hand and making little glasses for dolls to wear.  Eventually, I want to be able to make a “Christina” doll that looks like me!

If you are interested in buying, you can purchase the dolls on Etsy or on Zibbet.

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Future Directions

Hi everyone!  As my little adventure into Etsy selling becomes mildly successful (42 sales to date!), I have to consider new directions I can take my shop.  Although I think my pendants and earrings garner me endless compliments when I sport them, it has become painfully obvious that they are much harder to sell on an online marketplace.  I do not know if this is because the jewelry market is so over-saturated, or that the photographs really cannot capture how vibrant and pretty they look in person.  On the other hand, I have had a surprising success with my origami dolls!  I have been having at least one sale a week (and each “sale” usually consists of more than one doll).  I want to introduce diversity in my products to appeal to the largest possible audience.  And so, I am putting that decision into your hands.

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If I was a man and I liked wearing a suit and tie, this image would be me!  I have been so busy with everything this past week, I have not had a chance to do much aside from a little twittering here and there.  I love folding paper and maintaining my online shop, but when my “real” profession gets in the way it can make for some messy situations…

I was blessed with several orders this week.  (Yes, you definitely read that right!  6 dolls, a pendant, and a potential custom order of earrings!)  So while the crafty-side of me is jumping for glee, the practical side of me that is burdened with grading exams, teaching classes, and doing my own research is groaning.  I am a terrible multi-tasker.  The business is good and if I can sustain everything, then it will be a nice supplementary form of income come summer.  But man…  finding time to package, mail, restock, twitter, facebook, and blog is no easy task!  I do not think anybody realizes the kind of work that goes into maintaining an etsy shop until they are in the thick of it!

But do not get me wrong — this is wonderful!  After several months of small sales or no sales, this sudden explosion is welcomed with open arms!  I blame the cuteness of the origami dolls (and the lower price point) for bringing new audiences into the shop.  I am also trying to expand my enterprise by opening a shop on zibbet (http://www.zibbet.com/umeorigami), but that deserves its own separate discussion.

I just keep telling myself that for every essay I read, I can dawdle around folding for 10 minutes as a stress reliever.

Some new items in the shop though, so if you haven’t seen them, give them a look-see.  I have redesigned my etsy banner so any feedback on our “new look” would be awesome.

Shiori Ningyo Bookmarks

Here is another photo of my new bookmarks that I finally listed! (Sora, Tamiko, Yuuna)!  I was so pleased how they came out that I took a trip to Michaels a few days ago and picked up more cardstock and ribbon to make more!  The stack I bought was “Far East” inspired, and although I hate how Asian countries are often lumped into one amorphous entity when these kinds of products are sold, the paper was textured and quite pretty so I could not resist.  I guess this is one area where my ideological leanings show, but it bothers me when all Asian countries are treated as the “same” when there are a lot of signicant differences between them.

Anyhow, most of the paper is inspired by Chinese designs so I have decided to take the sheets that are more China-specific and create bookmarks with origami floral arrangements.  For those papers that are more abstract and ambiguous, I want to use them for the Japanese Shiori Ningyo (Bookmark dolls).  I think I can offer three bookmarks together as sets for $11.00 a piece and still make out okay on costs and time.  When I get some of the new designs finished, I will post some photos!

Origami In Grey Treasury

Yay, my work has been featured in another treasury, this time by Nivule Designs (Thank you!) All of the works featured are lovely, so please go and give it some views before it expires in a few days. It originally featured my Vocabulary Vixen earrings, but they have since sold and it is now featuring my origami pendant, Bookworm!

etsy treasury grey origami

Family of Japanese Chiyogami Origami Dolls

Well… I posted that first batch of six dolls and I am incredibly pleased to say that five of them have already found happy homes!  This is the largest measure of success I have had on Etsy by far!  So with that, I decided to create more dolls in more colors and styles… and now I present you with the little army who lives in a plastic box on my coffee table.

I went from having dolls in kimono and dolls with kimono and haori jackets to including smaller ones in a style called “hinasama” and then bookmark style “shiori ningyo.”  Since I had so much success with the first kit I tried, I bought a different kit to learn how to make the bookmarks that you can purchase here: Amazon.  The instructions are in English and Japanese for those who cannot read Japanese, and it comes with all the supplies you will need to make four bookmarks.  You can see two of the ones I made from the kit in the image above, and I have been applying the diagram to all sorts of paper to make bookmarks in vibrant colors and styles!  The good thing about this is that you can be creative with your background, or add die cuts and all sorts of scrapbooking embellishments to personalize your bookmark.

I have been having a blast folding these between teaching, grading, and researching!  It is such a therapeutic and relaxing process and each one has his or her own little personality. I’ve even taken to naming each one… Such a geek!

For the life of me, I cannot figure out why Etsy (and Artfire) sellers are so determined to “plug” their way to the top.  In a market flooded with handmade goods, the one link I am most likely going to avoid is the person spamming my Twitter or Facebook homepage with self-promoting “PICK ME, PICK ME, PICK ME, [insert shop link here]”  Maybe it is because it feels good to interact with real people with real creative pursuits, but the spam-culture that we have all settled into is really starting to grate on my nerves.  Don’t get me wrong–I love learning about new products and additions to everyone’s shops, and the occasional reminder about a great item that needs some exposure doesn’t bother me either… I love hearing about creative processes, frustrations, and (get this!) even about what you are doing in your day-to-day life!  But the thoughtless self-promotion needs to stop.  Comments on this blog are moderated, so I often will delete those that are mere promotion and do not correspond to the content of my post but I cannot moderate Twitter and other platforms.  It seems like I am not the only one concerned about this as Vanessa over in the Etsy Storque has a great post about spam on Etsy entitled, “How Not to Spam While Being Active Online.”  A fitting title!

I think the nicest ways to use social networking is to be social.  period.  Some of the best exposure to my shop has been through My Craft Corner — a community of crafters that functions the same way a Facebook would, but for this niche group.  I’ve made a lot of friends through their forums (people creating work very different from my own!)  Of course, Twitter and Facebook have been invaluable tools to get my name out there, but I really hope that those people that have been kind enough to fan me do not regret their decision!  In person, if someone asks me about a pendant I am wearing I am always careful to chat up the work and the process before whipping out my business card and thrusting it into someone’s face…  We should all try to extend the very same courtesy online!

I guess the recent bout of spam on this blog has just gotten to me, so I will step off my soap box now.  I know 95% of the people I meet are not offenders, it is just that measly 5% who gives a bad name to Etsians everywhere…  (You know who you are!)

Bookworm Etsy Treasury!

How Exciting! My Vocabulary Vixen earrings were featured in an Etsy Treasury today by Heather King Photography. She was kind enough to provide a screen cap for me to share with everyone here.

Please, give it some love!

Japanese Chiyogami Paper Dolls

Chiyogami Paper Doll - Masami Detail

So I am finally adding another product to the shop: paper dolls.  Although they definitely involve folding, I guess you wouldn’t consider them “true” origami since they do require a fair bit of glue and a tiny bit of cutting.  Nevertheless, they look cute!  I saw them being sold in the origami section of the grocery store near me, and on my latest trip to Michaels, I came across a kit from the company Aitoh.  Needless to say, I picked up the kit and was on my way to making flat, cute, chiyogami people.

The kit (which you can buy on Amazon), shows you how to make eight dolls in three different styles and comes with all of the necessary goodies to get started.  I was surprised that the paper was such good quality!  So now that I have “mastered” the technique, I can apply it to some of the paper I have laying all around my apartment.  The diagram is pretty simple and I am confident that I can modify it into some different poses as well.

I like the dolls for several reasons.  They make an awesome addition to any Japan-themed scrap-booking project, great package and card embellishments, and (for my purposes) fun fridge magnets.  I am in my kitchen more than anywhere so I figured it would be a good place to display them…  I’ll be adding them to my shop as well, but I encourage you to check out the kit if you are interested in making your own.

You can purchase the boy pictured here (Midori) or a girl in a pink kimono (Mariko).

EDIT: Midori is now being featured on TryHandmade!

Shop on Vacation for the Holidays!

Like most people, I too enjoy celebrating the Holidays!  I flew back to Pennsylvania to be with my family, but it leaves me terribly removed from all of my origami.  So I have put my etsy shop on vacation mode until I return on January 1st.

Most of my work can still be viewed on my Flickr account, so if you see something you would like me to hold for you for January 1st, please let me know on here!  Looking forward to debuting the new year with some new items!