Wednesday, 11 January 2017

F.A.Q's



I have received several messages this week and I thought it was about time I updated my frequently asked questions page so you can find everything in one place.

Are your order books open?

Unfortunately my diary is full for 2017 so I am not taking on any more custom orders at present.

How can I get my hands on a Little Sugar Plum doll?

As well as custom orders, I also make around 10 dolls and dolly dress-up clothes each month which I sell at market nights. These cannot be personalised, but are ready to post. Ideal if you have a birthday coming up, or you just want to add to your collection. I have a designated website just for market nights. www.littlesugarplums.bigcartel.com. Market nights are held on the last Friday of every month at 9pm.

What is a Market night?

For full details, please see my previous blog post, What are Market Nights?

I really want a personalised doll. Do you have a waiting list?

Yes I do! If I ever have a cancellation, or realise I can squeeze in an extra custom order, I contact the next person in line on my waiting list. Please note that once I have emailed the person at the top of my waiting list, I will give 48 hours for that person to reply and make payment.  If I do not receive a reply to my email in that time, I will go ahead and contact the next person in line. If you receive an email and have changed your mind and no longer wish to place an order, please let me know.  I won't be offended.  My time is precious and it will speed up my admin time by not having to wait 48 hours before contacting the next person, allowing me more time to get on with other orders and spend time with my family.

To add your name to the list, please fill out the form by clicking HERE.

How much are your dolls?

The price of my dolls depends on the outfit they are wearing and how detailed he/she is. For example, a doll wearing a dress or twirly skirt will use twice the amount of fabric as a regular skirt (and will take longer to make) so will therefore cost a little bit more.  For my list of prices, please visit my website HERE.

I am looking to CE mark my dolls. Can you tell me where you buy your fabrics?

In a word, no.  I buy my fabrics from a wide variety of places and have spent many hours of my time researching them. Each fabric has to have a certificate to confirm it's safe for using in toy making and I have had to pay for many of the certificates, so I am a little protective over sharing my resources!  If you would like to find out more regarding CE certification, including purchasing EN71-3 certificates, I recommend visiting the CE Soft Toy Support Network group on Facebook.


What sewing machine do you use?

I currently use two sewing machines;  A Brother SE-400, which is the USA equivalent to the Brother Innovis 950/955, and a basic Janome 2032. The Brother is a sewing and embroidery machine. If you would like more details on the Brother, I wrote a blog post about importing mine a few years ago. The post can be found here.

Do you recommend your sewing machine?

Yes!  I love them both.  They do exactly what I need them for, so I'm more than happy to recommend them.

What app do you use to edit your photos?

I use a variety of different apps including Pic Monkey, Instagram and A Beautiful Mess.

How long are your lead times?

I usually advertise lead times at 4-5 weeks, although I aim to post orders out sooner than this where possible. As soon as you have paid the balance for your custom order in full, I then order in your fabrics.  This part is beyond my control and can take up to a week depending on the company I purchase from, especially if ordered on a friday/weekend. Most of my suppliers are pretty good and post out within a couple of days. I then need to cut out all the pattern pieces which takes a few hours, before sewing up and stuffing (another 2-3 hours).  Then her clothes need to be made and her face needs to be embroidered by hand before photographs are taken for my records (and to show you before posting) which can only be taken in good light during the day.  Every doll I make must have a declaration on conformity for CE certification, so then it's over to the laptop to write that up. Then I have to package up your doll and take her to the post office. I usually try to visit the post office on a Monday/Tuesday once I have several dolls to post at once. It's simply not feasible to  visit the post office every day.  It is quite a distance, and although I do give each order my individual attention, remember all this is happening alongside other orders also, as well as looking after my home and family. Lead times may also take slightly longer during the school holidays when my children are at home. I never rush orders and take my time to ensure they are perfect for you.



Tuesday, 10 January 2017

What are Market Nights?

A market night is kind of like a virtual craft fair. I run them on my designated market night website at 9pm on the last friday of each month to allow customers who may not be able to get a custom slot to purchase a ready made doll. Most items are ready to post.  If a particular product is marked as "made to order", a time frame will be given in the product description. I usually make around 10  ready made dolls as well as dress-up outfits are available for customers to purchase, so you can build on your dolly's wardrobe too!

Market nights are advertised a few weeks in advance on the Events tab at the top of my facebook page.  Please feel free to invite your friends and family to join :)  and if there's a particular item of dolly clothing, or a type of doll you are wanting to buy, hair or eye colour, etc, please post it on the event wall and I'll see what I can do!  I will post sneak peeks of the dolls that will be available on the event wall too... sort of like an exclusive access VIP room for all you market nighters!




RULES / HOW IT WORKS

MARKET NIGHTS ON BIG CARTEL 
Unlike Facebook market nights, there will be no magic word given. On the days leading up to the market night, you will be able to go over to the website and see the dolls, prices and descriptions. They will be marked as "COMING SOON" and therefore will not be able to be purchased until the market night evening.  On the night, at around 8:45pm, I will put the website in maintenance mode.This will allow me to work on the website behind the scenes, and set all the dollies as AVAILABLE. At 9pm, I will take the website out of maintenance mode and the website will go live, allowing you to add the products you want to your basket. If you're online just before 9pm, keep refreshing your page until the dolls are "live" and available to purchase. 

Since I can't schedule a post like on Facebook, I will be going by my watch which may or may not be out of sync with some of you by a few seconds. All purchases can be paid for with PayPal and all major credit/debit cards are also accepted.  PLEASE NOTE that putting things in your basket DOES NOT make them 'safe'. Someone else can still buy them, so be sure to check out quick!

POSTAGE & PACKING
Ready made dolls will usually be posted out in the next 2-3 business days providing payment has been completed. The cost of postage by Royal Mail recorded delivery is £4.95 (within the UK).  If you prefer to use Royal mail's special delivery service this costs £8.00. This service will be charged if purchasing two or more dolls for maximum insurance.  Please let me know when you send me your email address before I send your invoice if this method is preferred. If you are outside of the UK, please also inform me of your location when sending your email address so that I can adjust the postage charge. A quote will be obtained from the Royal Mail website. Postage for smaller items such as dolls clothing costs £1.95 and will combined for two or more items. If you are not happy with the prices I charge for postage then please do not purchase. P&P is more than a price of the stamp... It's my mailing envelopes, cellowrap, printer ink for labels, care instructions, etc plus fuel to the post office and back. You are welcome to collect if you're local to Northampton - NN1).

If you're new to my market nights this probably sounds very daunting but they are super exciting and very popular with my customers. Good luck and Happy shopping!

2017 MARKET NIGHTS

This years market nights are scheduled for the following dates:

27th January
24th February
31st March
28th April
26th May
30th June
28th July
25th August
22nd September - BIG ELF MARKET NIGHT
27th October
24th November
15th December (TO BE CONFIRMED)

FACEBOOK MARKET NIGHTS
It is rare now that I will do a market night on Facebook, as the admin side takes ten times longer. But I will leave this here just in case.  A few customers prefer this method, but most prefer the website avenue.

First of all you will go over to my Facebook page. I will post a 'secret word' on my timeline at the advertised time.  This is usually around 9pm when the kiddie winks are all tucked up in bed sound asleep so you can shop in the comfort of your living room with no distractions!  After I have made the announcement, the first person to comment with the secret word under a photo will win that item.  Any  comments posted before I have made the announcement will be deleted. This includes edited posts.  I always set a scheduled post so that it runs on Facebook time to avoid any disagreements regarding time.

If two or more comments are submitted at the same time on the same item, the winning buyer will be the person who's comment notification comes through to me first. These are emailed to me and will have the time on them. The final decision of the purchaser will be determined by Little Sugar Plums and the decision is final.


An email address must be PMed to complete the transaction straight away along with your postal address.
Once the market night has calmed down (you will be surprised how incredibly busy it gets my end with PM's and comments flying here there and everywhere!), I will send out invoices.  Payments MUST be made on the night. If the invoice is not paid within 24 hours of the market night (unless agreed with me prior to the market night), I reserve the right to offer the doll to the next comment. Invoices are usually sent out within 1 hour (by 10pm), but please bear with me if it takes longer. I am only one person! :)

PLEASE NOTE:

I DO NOT take responsibility for your news feeds not showing you my posts. If you really want to purchase something from my market night then I suggest following the steps below to maximise your chances of getting the doll you want. I will not accept rudeness on my page from people when they don't get the doll they want. Anybody who does so will be promptly blocked from my page.
1) Use a PC or laptop to access my Facebook page rather than a mobile device. They're far more reliable. But have your mobile next to you too.
2) Sign up for notifications. Just hover your mouse over the 'LIKE' button on my page and select "Get Notifications" and "see first". When I post the secret word, this should come through to all of your devices straight away.


3) Pick out the item(s) you want to buy from my preview album and keep it up on your screen in the minutes leading up to the start time. As soon as the notification comes through to your phone, you'll be ready to type the secret word in on your PC. Hit enter and then refresh your screen to see if you're the first to comment. If you are, congratulations! You've won! Please send me your email address as soon as possible so I can send your invoice over. This must be done ASAP.

Please ensure the address registered on your Paypal account is correct as this will be the address I will be posting you doll(s) to.


Monday, 9 January 2017

Happy New Year!

It's been sooooo long since I wrote a blog post!  I know I say it every year, but I really am determined to post more regularly this year!  Last year was manic with orders and I'm determined to keep my head above water this year and throw myself into my work and grow as a business in 2017.  I have lots of exciting things planned for this year and hope that you will follow me along the way.

I'll start by saying Happy 2017! I know, I know, we're already two weeks in. It's been so hectic here at LSP HQ and I haven't been able to start back as quickly as I wanted to as Amelia was only at school two days last week, and the weekend just passed,  I had planned to work through, but this was scuppered when I went up to Bolton for the weekend for a family party. But now I am back and happy to be sewing up some absolutely beautiful custom dollies.  My customers have wonderful taste in fabrics!  I also managed to give my sewing room a big clean and put up some new pictures on the wall; One of which I was very lucky to receive from Emma Vallis over at My Tiny Gallery as part of the Secret Santa I took part in with the wonderful ladies of Sparkle Showcases over Christmas.



My first Little Sugar Plum of 2017 was this gorgeous Melody Mermaid.  I haven't made any mermaids for a while, and this one caught the attention of lots of you over on my Facebook page and I have received lots of requests for them, so I will be adding a few to my market night on 27th January (put the date in your diaries ladies!)



This was made for a gorgeous little girl's 2nd Birthday and is her third Little Sugar Plum doll.  
I think she likes her!




I'll be back soon to show you some more pretties.

Wishing you a healthy, prosperous new year.

Aimie. x

Friday, 13 November 2015

Christmas Eve Boxes



It's only November but I am itching to get started on Christmas planning! The shops have all got their decorations out, and you may have noticed a slightly festive update to my facebook, website and blog heading (courtesty of the wonderful Artwork by Angie). I just LOVE this time of year. The excitement, the build up, Christmas movies, cosy nights in by the log burner, gift wrapping, christmas carols and songs on the radio and in the shops, the look of joy in my children's eyes on Christmas eve night.  It's just all so magical.

 For several months now, I have noticed Christmas themed handmade items creeping into my Facebook newsfeed by some of my favourite pages which got me thinking about this years Christmas Eve hampers.
For the past three or four years I have made up a Christmas eve box for my little and not so little ones.  My Children are age 5 and 15, so it can be difficult catering for the large age gap during the rest of the year, but I haven't had any problems so far at Christmas and my eldest gets just as much a kick out of finding the big present on the front lawn that falls from Santa's sleigh every year on his way to Australia than my youngest does. Although he has grown out of the believing stage, he still finds magic in it.  He must get it from me!  We usually time the present dropping with the International Space Station passing over our house.  You can get the times for your local area online.

My favourite Christmas eve boxes by far are by the wonderful Jess over at Danderoar Designs and Leanne at Made 4 Keepsake

Danderoar Designs
Made 4 Keepsake

A Christmas decoration to hang on the tree are great for Christmas eve hampers as they don't take up much room. Personalised ones are a great touch.  I just love these ones from The Banner Boutique.

The Banner Boutique


Pyjamas are the staple item that I put in my Christmas eve boxes every year and Made 4 Keepsake also has some beautiful personalised ones this year. I love the baby grows too!



Made 4 Keepsake

Before they put on their cosy jammies, give them a nice bubbly bath - with some festive gingerbread scented bubble bath maybe.  Last year The Body Shop had these cute penguin sponges which are great fun for kids to wash with. This year they have robins, owls and bears. Be sure to clean behind your ears kids!  Santa will be checking!

Hello Freckles The Body Shop Christmas Polar Bear

Click for enlarged view

I usually put in a Christmas movie. I do try to put in a new one each year.  Last year was Disney's Santa Buddies.  There are so many to choose from and Christmas DVD's can be picked up fairly cheaply this time of year, especially some of the classics.


Last year I put in a sachet of hot chocolate and a little mug each.  I will probably re-use the same mugs this year as we put them away after Christmas, but the Emma Bridgewater addict in me would love to get my sproglets one of these each. A half pint one for my Son and one of these baby mugs for my Daughter.

Personalised Joy Star Baby Mug                 
Emma Bridgewater
If these are a little out of your price range this year, Designs by Nikki have some beautiful Christmas mugs too which can also be personalised. These also make great teacher gifts.

Designs by Nikki

Tesco have bags of Christmas tree-shaped marshmallows at Christmas time, so I put a bag of those in to go on top of their hot chocolates.  Be sure to have some squirty cream in the fridge on Christmas eve!  You can't have hot chocolate without squirty cream!

I spotted these delicious looking marshamallow snowman treats on Instagram yesterday which would be great to Christmas eve boxes. They are by Maple Molly's. There is actually a competition running on their page at the moment to win two of these, so hurry over!  The competition ends on Monday 16th November!

Maple Molly's

When it's time for bed, it is time to put out the mince pie and milk for Santa (and carrot for Rudolph of course!).  What better way to do this than with a engraved board from The Laser Boutique.

The Laser Boutique
We have a chimney in our house for Father Christmas to gain access, but for those of you who don't, a Santa Key is a nice idea. I love this one by Grumble Bums Crafts on Etsy.

Santa's Magic Key, Santa Key,Christmas Eve Box Tradition, Father Christmas Decoration, Stocking Filler Handmade,With Holly Ribbon.
Grumble Bums Crafts

While you're hanging the key of the front door, don't forget to sprinkle some magical reindeer food on the lawn so Santa's reindeers will find your home. I made these reindeer food bags recently, and I should have more in stock around the beginning of December. They're great as they can be used year after year (just refill with porridge oats and bird seed).  Keep an eye on my page over at Little Sugar Plums for stock notifications.

Little Sugar Plums

And of course, a Christmas Eve box wouldn't be complete without The Night Before Christmas bedtime story when the children are nestled all snug in their beds. There are lots of different versions of this story by different authors, but this is the copy we have in our house. I love how traditional it is. 



I hope you have fun building your Christmas Eve boxes and have a magical Christmas with your families.



Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Easter Gift Ideas

 Hello!

It has been so long since I wrote a blog post. I really struggle to find the time to be honest, but this year I have set myself a goal to blog more, and I hope you will support me by commenting below to let me know you are seeing my posts.

As it's Easter in a few weeks, I thought I would share some gift ideas. There are so many beautiful crafts in my newsfeed at the moment.

You may have seen on my Facebook page that my baby Easter bunnies have made a reappearance for 2015. They were a huge hit last year and I hope they will be as successful this year, with the introduction of my new plush bunnies too. These are available to purchase in my Etsy shop now and are selling fast.

 
Pink Easter Bunny
 
 
One of my favourite pages on Facebook is Blossom's which is run by a lovely lady called Jenna.  She makes beautiful felt items, and a particular favourite of mine are these twiggy tree decorations. I had the pleasure of receiving one in a recent giveaway and they are of such a high standard and really beautifully made.
 
 
 
 These are available to order on Blossom's Etsy shop for a limited time, so get in quick if you want to order some!
 
Another favourite of mine is Tilly and Sage who are selling these gorgeous personalised Easter hampers for children. I LOVE the milk bottle. They are available to purchase now in their Etsy shop
 
Easter Bunny personalised children's hamper
 
 
Next up are these pretty clay Easter decorations by Rustic Tag House I love the bright spring colours. They would look lovely hanging on a twiggy tree. These are also available to purchase on Etsy in time for Easter.
 

 
 
I recently bought a twiggy tree birthday banner set from Blueberry Crafts and it is BEAUTIFUL! I really want to add this Easter bunting set to my collection. This one is available in blueberry craft's Etsy shop. The pastel colours are so pretty.
 
 
 
Echo Designs make the loveliest of plaques. I am lucky enough to own one myself. These Easter ones can be personalised with your own choice of wording making a great alternative to eggs and they're calorie free! Available now on Echo designs website AND if you sign up for their newsletter, you get 15% off.  But hurry! Offer ends at midnight on Friday!  
 
easter - edith heart
 
 
For more feltie loveliness, pop over to The Banner Boutique. Cath's banners and sew your own kits are just gorgeous. My Daughter has one and it just brightens up her room. It's so beautifully made.
 
 
 
I hope you all have a wonderful Easter and enjoy the time with your families.
 
 
Spring wishes
 
Aimie

Monday, 23 June 2014

6500 likes Giveaway!


I was trying to get some sewing done over the weekend and my Daughter, Amelia, just would not give me a moments peace. So I told her she could design a dolly for Mummy's market night and asked her to pick whichever fabrics she liked from my stash. She delved into my box of felt and came out grinning holding a sheet of bright red polka dot felt that has been in there for years! I bought it ages ago because I liked it, but couldn't find a use for it! Great. Thanks Amelia! She then got her stool from the bathroom, reached up onto my shelf of fabrics and pulled out some green toadstool fabric. All I could think about was my mum saying "red and green should never be seen"! But I was given my orders. That's what she wanted and she also insisted on blue socks!

 
I was apprehensive whilst cutting it out, but the more I sewed, the more I began to love her and her quirky style!  The end result was this spotty dotty toadstool dolly, aptly named "Dot". Not  a bad designer for a four year old after all!
 

 
 
As I reached 6,500 Facebook likes on Saturday, I figured a giveaway was well overdue as I didn't do one when I reached 6000.  Amelia's dolly design gave me the idea to run a Design Your Own Dolly competition and the winner will receive one dolly in their chosen design (or as close as possible). So without further ado... Here's the competition rules:

TO ENTER:

1) Pop over to my Facebook page and LIKE the competition post which is pinned to the top.
2) Design a dolly using the free colouring sheets on my Facebook page.
3) Scan, (or take a photo of the picture if you don’t have a scanner) and EMAIL it to me at littlesugarplums@hotmail.co.uk along with your child’s name, age and the address where you would like the dolly posted to, should you win. Mark the subject line COLOURING COMPETITION. I will then upload the photos into an album on my Facebook page and the winner will be the picture with the most likes.

Feel free to share this fab giveaway with your friends and family, but as per Facebook rules this is not a requirement of entry.

TERMS & CONDITIONS

1. The giveaway will close at 8pm on Monday 14th July.
2. The competition is open to all children aged 12 and under.
3. ONE ENTRY PER FAMILY
4. The winner will be chosen by my Daughter Amelia. This will be announced as soon as possible afterwards.
5. The winner must claim their prize within 48 hours or it will be redrawn again.
6. Postage within the UK is included. The prize can be posted outside the UK if the winner covers the additional shipping costs.
5. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with, sponsored by or endorsed by Facebook.
6. Upon entering this giveaway you release Facebook from all responsibility.
7. Email addresses will be entered into our database, however you will be given the option to opt out of any future emails from Little Sugar Plums if you do not wish to receive them.
8. If anyone is found to be abusing the competition they will be disqualified from the competition. Please remember this is for children. Please play fair.
9. Please allow 4-6 weeks for the dolly to be dispatched from the close date.
10. Prize does not include embroidered personalisation.

11. Little Sugar Plums reserves the right to revise the terms and conditions at any time.
 

Colouring sheets can be printed here.
 
HAPPY COLOURING SUGAR PLUMS AND GOOD LUCK!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Pencil Case Tutorial

This past weekend has been quite awful. My Husband's Grandad died in the early hours of Sunday morning and at the same time, his shop was broken into so he had to go back into work at 1:30am having just half an hours sleep. He didn't get home until 5:40am. He was absolutely exhausted. They say bad things come in threes and this weekend was no exception. I had a bit of a nightmare on Saturday afternoon too. My Son, Oliver (14) went swimming with his friend and both ended up a victim of theft when their locker was broken into and their belongings were stolen. Luckily Oliver had nothing valuable in there. He had left his phone at home. But his friend's trainers were taken along with a small amount of money and Oliver's bag containing his school books(?!) was also taken. Why he had his school books in there I don't know. I'm not going to question the mind of a teenage boy! I suspect laziness had something to do with it though.

Oliver's school planner was in his bedroom from Friday when he was doing homework, and I assumed his pencil case was with it. But no... 8:30pm on Sunday night, he informs me his pencil case was also in his bag and therefore he didn't have anything for Monday morning. Grrrrr!

So I raided my fabric stash and found this cool Pac Man fabric by Timeless Treasures.

I did a bit of searching on the internet and found this lovely pencil case tutorial by Ann Kelle. I'd never sewn a zip on before and i'm not sure I used the correct zipper foot, but it went on OK. Hurrah!
I love how I'm still learning new things in the sewing world every day.

The end result was this...



I lined it with some green kona which I also found in my stash which happened to coordinate with the little ghosts. Lucky! Oliver loved it too so more Mum-points for me, well he grunted. But i'm sure that translates to he likes it! :) I might make Amelia one next as she starts school in September.

Hopefully now the three things are out the way, this week should run a bit smoother. :) Happy Monday everyone.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Spring Market Night




SPRING MARKET NIGHT

This month’s market night is all set for 9pm on Friday 30th May. This month will be a little different. The market night will not take place on Facebook. It will be located in my Etsy store. I am trying to find a happy medium for my customers, and for myself. I have had a few people say they don't like the way everything sells out so quickly on Facebook so they feel like they don't have a chance of winning and they don't like having to wait for a secret word, which is the only way I can run market nights on Facebook to make it fair for everybody. So I've decided I will list everything in my Etsy store to give people more of a chance. I will still post a preview album on Facebook and will also blog with photos of this month's dolls, so watch this space!

 HOW IT WILL WORK

You will need to register with Etsy prior to the market night if you wish to purchase anything. The link is at the bottom of this email. All items will go live at 9pm. Please keep refreshing your page on the seconds around this time. Since I can't schedule a post like on Facebook, I will be going by my watch which may or may not be out of sync with some of you by a few seconds. Please note that items you place in you cart are not ‘safe’ until you have checked out and somebody else could still purchase it, so be sure to check out quickly. All purchases can be paid for with PayPal and all major credit/debit cards. If you receive an email with a receipt for your purchase, you have been successful in buying the item you wanted!

 I hope you find Etsy user friendly and I'd love to hear your feedback after the event.

 If you would like any further information, please see the events tab at the top of my Facebook page where I will be happy to answer any questions.

 Good luck and happy shopping!
 
https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleSugarPlums
 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Easter Market Night


 
 
 
This year's Easter market night will be taking place tomorrow evening over on my Facebook page. A preview album will be posted an hour or so before so customers can browse. I will then post a secret word at 9pm which customers must use to purchase the item(s) they want.
 
I will have seven dolls for sale as well as my NEW limited edition baby bunnies. Please see below a sneaky preview for all my faithful blog readers!















 
I hope you like them! So many hours have gone into making them and I am now exhausted!
Be sure to be on my Facebook page at 9pm to tomorrow if you would like to buy anything above. I will also have some dress-up clothes which I am currently working on.
 
Thank you for your continued support.
 
Aimie. x