I opened my Etsy shop early August, 2019. My last post remarked it was going well, but few orders were placed. As of April 2020, the shop is now established and orders keep coming in, despite our self quarantine during the Covid-19 crisis. Treehouse Felt Flowers has been my saving grace during the pandemic. Every morning I have a goal of making flowers. For gifts to friends during these hard times. For Easter baskets. To cheer kids doing schoolwork at home. For Mother’s Day. The orders have gotten smaller in flower quantity, but bigger in meaning. I have been challenged to make flowers I’ve never dreamed of making. Treehouse Felt Flowers on IG is approaching 2000 followers. Without this small business, I would feel more isolated. Without this small business, I would feel more stress. Because of this small business, I have a goal and purpose each morning. Thank you to everyone who has placed an order, or liked a post. It means so much to me. Astrid
Felt Succulents…the gateway felt flower
Felt succulents, my gateway felt flower. About 3 years ago, I began making felt ornaments for my Halloween and Christmas trees. I loved looking online for ideas for ornament patterns, and that was where I began to see some beautiful work from other felt artists. When my daughter asked me to make her a felt flower wreath, I asked her where she got the example photo from. She said Target. I was amazed Target had felt wreaths for sale! I had no idea there was an interest in felt flowers! I began to explore more examples online and found a whole community of talented people making art with felt. And so I was hooked. My first felt flower attempt was when I was back east, spending time with my Mom in Hospice care. I had brought felting supplies with me to help pass time, but did not bring a glue gun. So I hand sewed petals together and made my first rose. Which looked a LOT like a succulent. Around that time I discovered Benzie Design, and their precut felt ovals for making succulents. Again, I liked the results and kept going.
As I made more and more felt succulents and flowers, I got the idea to make all the flowers for my wedding. Succulents were (and still are) very popular for weddings, and being the person I am, I wanted something different. So I stopped making succulents and concentrated on flowers. But that's another Post.
Fast forward 2 years, and my dear friend asks me to make her a felt succulent candle ring for a hurricane glass for her dining room table. I hadn't worked with succulents for several years, and had forgotten how much fun they are to make.
I look back now on these simple little flowers and succulents I started with, and see how far my persistence in improving has taken me. I hand cut every piece and petal, and use pastels, fabric markers and embroidery to add texture and detail. I hope to keep improving and creating these little pieces of soft art.
So my point? Start small. But start somewhere, with something you think you may love. And persist. You will get better. I can't wait to see what I'll be making 2 years from now.
Opening an Etsy Shop
I have had my Etsy Shop, TreehouseFeltFlowers, open for almost a month. So far, so good. Not a lot of orders, 8 to be exact, but enough that I am able to see how things work. And I know what I need to do to keep improving the Shop.
I had read many articles about opening a Shop on Etsy. After doing my research, I found the amount of information and advice online overwhelming. I delayed opening the Shop because it just seemed like one had to know so much, have so much stock ready, have all the paperwork/bank accounts/advertising budget all lined up...and I was just not ready. But like many things, sometimes you just have to jump into it and see where it takes you. So that's what I did.
Knowing what you want to make, the time it takes for you to make the item(s), and a reasonable price to charge are a few of the essential things to decide before starting.
I decided to put a variety of items up. Single Stem Felt Flowers. Custom Christmas Ornaments. Wedding Bouquets and Table Numbers. Custom Flower Arrangements. Halloween Wreaths and Ornaments. I thought I could appeal to a larger audience if I offered more. We'll see how this idea pans out. I have gotten orders for flower stems, custom arrangements, custom ornaments, and a wreath so far.
I find the custom orders interesting, challenging, and a time drain. At this point, I'm still learning, and I don't mind spending a lot of time designing a custom ornament of someone's favorite pet. But I have a feeling once I hit on the right formula of what works for me on Etsy, custom orders may disappear.
If asked what the most challenging thing is so far, I would have to answer shipping and SEO. I am still navigating the Etsy shipping policies and prices.
A huge aspect to continue exploring and researching is SEO, Search Engine Optimization. This is the process of using key words or labels to enable Search Engines like Google to find your site. I have SO much work to do along these lines.
My conclusion after one month: I've had fun! I get a thrill out of each order. I get excited about each package sent to a new customer. I wait expectantly for a good review. And I want to keep going. I see why people say you can spend as much time working on your Shop as you do creating your product. For a retired person, opening the Shop has been fun, a learning experience, and has kept me busy and happy and able to create flowers and felt ornaments for sale. Which is what I love. I'll update in six months. It will be interesting to see what I learn over the holidays!
Trying Something New
I received a very welcomed request from my son's girlfriend last week. She asked if I could possibly make a felt name banner for her nephew, Leo. Leo is turning 2, and loves the Jersey Shore. I was thrilled to say "yes!" immediately and get to work on something I've not done before. I've made ornaments, but never letters, not a hanging banner. I started by selecting a simple alphabet font, and used graph paper to draw the letters. I wanted them to be about an inch in diameter when finished, so I made them 1 1/2 inches on the graph paper to allow for sewing seams and stuffing.
Next came conversations about what Leo liked at the Shore. Crabs! Waves! Beach pails and shovels! So many ideas! It was so much fun to look for ideas and create ornaments to attach to the banner.
Assembling the letters was easy. I used a basic blanket stitch, being aware of needing to add stuffing to hard to reach areas!!
Last was to figure out how to hang the letters and creatures. I picked up a 1/4 inch rope, which worked perfectly. I hot glued a small felt pocket on the back of each letter to allow them to easily slip on to the rope. I sewed the creatures/ornaments to the letters, so if they ever wanted to remove them for Leo to play with, they could be cut off without damage. And after a while, it was done! I really like the way it turned out.
I mailed the package this morning. I'm so excited to see if Kevin, Emmie and Leo like the banner!
Quick update: Leo liked the banner! Here's a few photos of Emmie and Kevin giving it to Leo on his 2nd birthday.
The key to realistic-looking felt flowers is dimension. Dimension, or depth, can be achieved with adding shape by seaming, or folding the felt, or by shading. I am always amazed at how realistic felt flowers can look, especially knowing that they started as a flat piece of felt. I use an old flatiron hair straightener to put creases in petal. Watercolor paint, fabric markers, and pastels all can be used to heighten the illusion and make the flowers look real. The color gradation on these lilies is from pastels, and the small dots are fabric marker. All combined, they really make the flowers look real! What do you think?
Felt Basics: Greenery
Choosing the colors to use for felt projects is one of the first and most critical steps in the process of creating your own felt flower arrangements. Each color combination has its' own beauty, from deep jewel tones or soft pastels to monochromatic palettes. Some may think any shade of green can be used for leaves and filler shapes such as spiky green "lavender" and round green "dandelions", but choosing colors for your project includes picking shades of green to use to compliment the colors in your arrangements. Lately I've been using Benzie Design's Sage/Blue Spruce felt colors for my greenery. The colors go well with my current fall palette of rusty oranges, deep purples and bright crimson. Using two colors, especially two with such similar tones, adds depth to the project.
I try to make a LOT of greenery at one time so I always have enough to use in arrangements. I also need to keep enough on hand for Etsy orders. It's a simple process to make this bi-colored Eucalyptus. I cut squares into 3 sizes: 1", 1.25". 1.5". Each square is cut into a circle, then a thin 3" green wire is glued to the bottom center of the circle. Pressing together the felt forms the leaf shape. The leaves are sorted by shade and size, ready to be attached to a main wire "vein".
Creating with felt
I have always loved working with felt! I remember learning the blanket stitch on felt in Girl Scouts many years ago. Over the years I have used felt to make custom gift bags, ornaments, and book marks. A few years ago I discovered flower-making with felt, and I knew I could have a lot of fun recreating lots of my favorite blooms.
The more flowers I made, the more I wanted to make! I got engaged, and decided to make all the flowers for my wedding out of felt! The result was over 1100 flowers made for garlands, banners, centerpieces, embellishments and for my bridal bouquet. Every flower in my bouquet reflected a memory, trip, or family member. As an homage to all the ornaments I designed table numbers out of felt and used embroidery and beads to embellish the pieces. I loved the results.
When the wedding was over, I found myself wanting to continue making custom flowers so I decided to open an Etsy shop and offer custom flower work for those who may be interested.