Blythe On A Budget: Swapping Fabric

Written on March 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Article with tags:

Shopping for July 17th

At a lot of fabric stores, there’s a minimum amount (usually a metre [or a yard] off of the bolt or a fat quarter) that you have to get. And it’s usually quite a bit compared to how much fabric you realistically need for making a doll dress, unless you plan on making several matching articles of clothing (in which case, you can dress your dolls like sextuplets or sell the other multiples). Most people (for those not sewing things for sale), you end up with a lot of excessive fabric since you only needed a small part of it. What to do with all that extra?

Swap it!

I’ve seen some people putting together fabric bundles and offering them up for trade/swap or offering them up for sale. It’s a win-win situation, really. You can get fabric that you didn’t previously have (and not dress all of your dolls in identical clothes) and save some money instead of buying even more fat quarters and having even more fabric that you’re not using because you’ve already used it for a dress or two.

Don’t just offer up your scraps, people don’t want little scraps or shivers or fabric that can’t cover their doll. So if you cut your pieces efficiently from the original fat quarter, you can easily offer your extra fabric up for swap! Be sure to include information about the fabric like what kind of material it is, care instructions (if you have it) and even include a photo of the fabric with something for scale (a penny or a ruler works well!) so someone can see if they would like to use that fabric.

And remember – swap safely!

Did you like this week’s Blythe On A Budget? Have a suggestion for a new article? Let me know here!

Question of the Week: What’s your craft of choice?

Written on March 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Question of the Week

There’s an immense amount of talent in the Blythe community. It’s not just in the photography, but there is a lot of photography involved in this hobby as well. Any day that I log onto Flickr, I’m bombarded by beautiful photography, photos of newly sewn clothes, customized dolls in beautiful colours and knitted and crocheted things.

Everyone has a lot of talent in the community. Some people even do several types of crafts, like sew and knit. Some people design beautiful resin things (think pullrings and jewellery!). People do great things in this community and it makes me happy seeing all the pretty things that people make.

What’s your craft of choice?

For me, I mostly crochet and knit things. I will occasionally sew as well (because buying dresses can get awfully expensive after a while!). But beyond that, I would say that my ‘craft’ of choice would be blogging. It’s something that I can do when I need something to do or just to take my mind off of things. Plus it means that I get to share my thoughts with the world and, for, I produce new content to share with all of you about the Blythe community.

Interview with Heather of Claribari Blythe and Giveaway!

Written on March 25, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Featured, Giveaway with tags:

I had a blast interviewing Heather! You may know her better by her username, Claribari, or even by her Etsy shop name (Claribari Blythe). There are a few important things you should know about her: she designs fantastic headbands and she loves Blythe. She also sews and is this week’s addition to the March Talent Showcase so I’m really excited to share with you the interview she did with me!


Hi Heather! What can you tell us about yourself?
I am a 25-year-old wife, mother, and Blythe-lover. I have a degree in music education, but I have never had a job teaching. I work as a kitchen specialist at IKEA, and I absolutely love it! My hobbies have always revolved around the arts; I enjoy sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music.

How did you discover Blythe?
I first discovered Blythe in Willynillywaterlily’s blog. She makes amigurumi creations as well as Blythe fashions. I started reading her blog to follow the cute ami stuff, and I kept seeing this CREEPY looking doll. After a year or two I became fascinated with said doll, looked her up, and then obsessed over buying one until I finally did. I fell in love with my Cassiopeia Spice the moment I saw her, and now my hobby is an addiction!


What was the first thing that you made for Blythe?
The first thing dress that I made for Cassie was from the Puchi Collective’s free patterns. I made her two little “Blythe Party Dresses.” The one is a little loose, and the other is almost too tight; but not bad for being made before Cassie even arrived!

Where do you come up with the inspirations for some of your designs?
I started with a very ‘destash’ mentality! A lot of my flowers/buttons/etc are remnants from my scrapbook supply hoarding. Some of the plastic headbands come with their own flair (the black and white flowered one, for example) I will soon be making my own little cabochans from Sculpy. One new headband that is in the works was literally ‘dreamed up’ while I was trying to fall asleep.

Funky Steam-Punky

How much time do you spend working on your shop?
I spend as much time as I can working on headbands, but my timing is sporadic at best, due to being a new mommy to my 3-month old daughter. I am hoping as she and I settle into more of a schedule that I can devote some more time at regular intervals!

What’s the first thing that you think when you see your headbands in someone’s Blythe photos?
This just happened the other day, actually. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I just stared at my computer screen and thought, “I made those!!!” I’m really glad people enjoy them and think that they are well-done. My biggest fear was that people wouldn’t like them for some reason once they saw them in person! I kept checking to make sure they fit my girls over and over to be sure.

Blythe Headbands Collage

What would you say sets your headbands apart from the others that are available?
The plain plastic ones are not unique in any way, but the ribbon wrapped and decorated ones share a style all my own. Stacie of Blytheblu is one of the only others I know who does ribbon wrapped bands and her charms and decor style are her own, as mine are my own. It is mostly color selection and materials that set them apart. I love to make a ‘mess’ with all of my ribbon and charms and then just mix and match until I like a combination. I think it makes my husband crazy!

What do you think is the hardest and easiest parts of owning your own business?
The hardest part is keeping track of expenses and setting prices. I tend to just buy supplies like crazy and then hubby has to remind me to calculate those costs out of my profit. I find it really difficult to add the price tag to an item, and will sit starting at the screen debating between fifty cents or so! The easiest part is coming up with fun things to put in the shop. The dreaming part is all too easy sometimes.

Sweet Cassie

What kind of plans do you have in the future for your Etsy shop, Claribari Blythe?
In the future I would like to offer sewn items as well as the headbands, but I think my sewing needs to get a bit better. I would love to do t-shirts and/or dresses that mirror some of my headband designs. If hubby and I ever manage it, we want to design and build Blythe furniture as well.

Thanks so much for doing this interview with me! What kind of advice do you have for someone who’s also juggling between family life and Blythe crafting?
Thank you for interviewing me! If you are a crafter, shop owner, and parent, juggling everything is hard! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get to do things when planned. Usually you can find another opportunity to work; during naps, staying up a bit later or getting up a bit earlier, or if your spouse will help you out that goes a long way. Biggest piece of advice: Be okay with doing things in stages, because interruptions happen!

Headband Giveaway!



Heather is offering up one Pac-Man headband to one very lucky winner!

You can get up to sixteen (16) entries for this giveaway draw and you can enter until Saturday April 2nd 2011 at 11:59pm Pacific. The draw will be held on Sunday April 3rd 2011 and the winner will be announced on Remember to use a valid email address for all comments. If you win, your email will be forwarded to Heather for arranging shipment of the prize.

Please only use one email address per person, those using multiple email addresses for more entries will be disqualified.

Mandatory Entry: Comment below about the interview with Heather! Do you have any questions for her? This is worth 1 entry into the giveaway.

Bonus Entry #1: Tweet about the contest! Please retweet the following once per day from your public Twitter account! (If you look below, there is a box for you to include your Twitter username, if you do, I can easily verify your bonus entry!) Each tweet is 1 entry into the giveaway for a maximum of 9 entries into the giveaway. Please comment below to tell me that you’ve been tweeting (1 comment per tweet!)

Check out the @blythelifecom interview with Claribari Blythe for an awesome headband giveaway and interview!

Bonus Entry #2: Follow Heather’s blog RSS feed! This is worth 1 entry. Comment below to let me know that you’ve followed her blog feed!

Bonus Entry #3: Blog about the contest! Be sure to include some details about the contest and include links to, this interview/giveaway page and to the Claribari shop! For 1 blog entry, this is worth 5 entries into the giveaway! You must comment below with the URL to your blog post.

Blythe On A Budget: Sharing the Hobby

Written on March 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Article with tags:

It doesn’t cost you anything to share the love of Blythe and it can even help you gain another Blythe-friend (or convert a friend into a Blythe-lover).

Not everyone is instantly attracted to Blythe at first. Some people say it’s something about those weird giant eyes, others will say that the pink (or some people seem to think that’s red) chips are very off-putting and even evil looking! And I’m not telling you to try and convert just anyone into a Blythe-lover, some people just aren’t born that way (sadly), but it doesn’t hurt to try to introduce the dolls to someone else.

This is a ‘budget’ kind of tip mostly because you won’t be the one spending the money. Your new-found Blythe buddy will be.

EBL sisters Of course, you get to benefit as well from introducing a friend to Blythe. Not only will you (hopefully!) get to see stock dolls that you haven’t already seen before, even custom dolls from a customizer you’ve never seen the work of up close and personal, and maybe even get someone local to trade dolly clothes with – you also get the fantastic bonus of having a new friend who will actually understand what you mean when you say things like ‘gaze correct’ or ‘boggle’ or ‘putting hot glue to her eyes’ (for some weird reason, my boyfriend still thinks I’m weird when I say the one about the glue and gets a little bit concerned…).

But not to worry, it’s not entirely self-centred (for you) because your new Blythe-convert will not only be introduced to one of the best dolly communities around, they’re also likely to be persuaded into taking more photos, learning new crafts (everyone seems to do some dolly sewing at one point or another!) and just getting to know more people. Plus your new Blythe-convert will have something in common with you. If that’s not a fantastic reason to introduce someone to Blythe, I don’t know what is.

Just be sure that you don’t scare off your target too early. You’ll want to explain a bit about the history of Blythe (don’t overwhelm them about the different molds until they’re ready for it – but do explain the small differences between Kenner Blythes, Takara and Ashton-Drake Galleries), maybe talk about what stock dolls your dolls are (or a little about customizers/customizing). You don’t want to scare them off! Newbies are sometimes easily overwhelmed and scared off, so don’t start talking about ripping off scalps and shaving pieces of plastic for ‘gaze correcting’ – they might just going to run away from you or think you’re some kind of crazy person (or both).

Doll Blogging Part 4: Themes, Templates & Design

Written on March 21, 2011 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Article with tags:

Part of the fun of blogging is having a blog that stands out from everyone else’s, so today’s installment of the Doll Blogging mini-series is to go over colours schemes, templates and themes (yes, there is a difference!) and design tips that you can use to make your blog really stand out.

Colour Schemes
One of the most basic colour schemes is to have a white background with black text, I use this on It’s consider basic because many people use it (including many professional websites) and it’s easiest for those who may have visual disabilities to view. Of course, you’re not limited to just using black and white and you can use other colours as well.

A lot of colours go well together. If you take a look at a colour wheel, you can find colours that generally go well together quite easily. Colours that lie opposite of one another are complementary (eg. blue and orange; red and green; yellow and purple/violet), primary colours are red, blue and yellow, secondary colours are violet (purple), green and orange. The colours you pick will reflect on the general feel of your blog and writing. If you customize Blythe to look gothic or dark, you might want to go with a darker colour scheme. If your dolls are constantly wearing cute things with lace and pink, you might want to go with a lighter colour scheme (perhaps pastels?).

It’s important to use colours that are different enough to ensure that your visitors can read the text (what’s the point of them visiting your blog if they can’t read it?). So things to avoid would be any neon colours on a white or black background, a light colour text on an even lighter colour background. You want to make things easy for your visitors to read because you have a very narrow window of opportunity to convince your visitor to stay and read your website – if they can’t read it, they won’t stay and they probably won’t be coming back.

Themes and Templates
Themes and templates are generally interchangeable on some places on the internet, some people think that there’s a difference while others think that the words are pretty much the same thing. And, to be honest, they’re kind of just the same to me!

Themes and templates exist to make the whole layout-designing process a lot easier. For those who aren’t web designing-inclined, you can use a template or a theme to make your blog reflect your personal style without really having to make it all yourself. They are generally precoded layouts and all you really need to do is follow the instructions given by the person who created it.

Most layouts for WordPress are referred to as ‘themes’ while many for Blogger are referred to as ‘templates’, so there may be a small difference in them after all (although not that great). If you have the know-how, you can replace the images used in the precoded layout with an image that you created yourself. However, if you’re not comfortable with touching the coding, I would suggest that you leave it alone or make sure that you save a copy of the original and work off of a copy of the coding (just in case something goes wrong!).

Templates and themes are available in both free and paid versions. Free versions are generally fairly simple, most designers don’t generally offer a lot of technical support with them (and if they do, it’s usually the same information provided to you in a Read Me file, or something like it). Paid versions can range a lot if price. Very basic paid-for layouts may be under $30, but fully customized to your very liking can go up to several hundred dollars (definitely not a cheap option!). However, paid-for layouts will generally get you a lot more technical support.

General Design Tips
No matter if you decide to go with a theme or to tweak a template to your liking, there’s a lot of things beyond that layout that you should consider doing (and not doing!) when creating a website. Things like music, javascripts, flash images, etc.

A lot of people like music and a lot of people like internet. But not everyone likes them together. If you absolutely must have music on your website, you should have controls that are easily visible to the visitor for them to stop it and start it. It should also not automatically play when anyone visits your website. Your visitor may already have music playing or have their volume turned up with no music playing (and not expect to have music suddenly blaring at them). Also, having music auto-play will make your site load slower! And in this day in age where everyone wants faster connections and the information now, they’re not going to want to wait for that.

Javascripts and Flash images are great. They are. They make things pretty, animated, occasionally interactive. They also make your site load slowly. Very slowly. Some people have Javascripts disabled, some people cannot view Flash on their computer. In other words, the majority of the design that you decided to go with for your website cannot load. And what’s the point in that if it’ll take a long time to load and it can’t be properly viewed as you wanted it to be? I’m sure your Javascripts and Flash images look great, but they have a time and place for everything and that place really isn’t your dolly blog (besides, you should be showing off photos of your dolls instead!)

If you haven’t already, be sure to read parts one (The Introduction), two (Names & Hosts) and three (HTML). In two weeks, on April 4, 2011, the conclusion to the mini series, Part 5 (Promoting Your Site), will be posted.

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