Archive for ‘May, 2014’

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I had an interesting experience of what started as a blog that turned into a website-blog hybrid. I started looking into a blog to share my projects, to connect with people, and to have topics that have perma-links for people to click on to get more information about my products. Though I enjoy using Instagram to share my crafts because it’s quick, it is not simple to share information, particularly giveaways, across different forums because it’s not ideal for others to link back to just a photo.

wordpress-logo-680x400After researching different blogging platforms, the two main choices were WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org) and Blogger. Though both sites offer free services, I picked WordPress for many reasons. First reason was because WordPress is geared more towards businesses—enabling you to upgrade to your own website address: gal-pals.com versus gal-pals.wordpress.com, and you can easily move your site to a self-hosted site for complete design control (on WordPress.org). WordPress also has more customizable capabilities and better professional looking web templates that they call, Themes. Furthermore, WordPress has a great Search Engine Optimization where your site is ranked higher in searches.

The power of WordPress is in that you can run your website for free without having any programming experience and no hosting fees. These are great features for start up businesses because it minimizes huge web design costs. I do have to admit that my website wasn’t entirely free because I paid for a few upgrades which is completely optional. Because I have OCD design tendencies, I upgraded to have my own web address and a premium template that had a better layout that was more suitable for my plush toys. I also ended up having to get customizable coding capabilities because some text was unfortunately covering up the entire home page images in the mobile format. This required a little computer programming to remove the unwanted text. I easily got the code from the company who created the template. They were very helpful and can assist you with problems that you may encounter without any charges.

I had bought the domain name gal-pals.com a while ago when I was planning out Gal-Pals with the idea to build a website in the future.   I wasn’t ready to pay the thousands of dollars to build a website yet. After I discovered that WordPress allowed you to have your own web address, the blog quickly turned into a website. This was exciting news to me.  With no programming experience, I designed my own site easily.  Now, I am able to manage the website and design what I want and make as many changes as I want without having to pay someone a ton of money for every little change. Furthermore, keeping fresh content and updating the website is as easy as uploading a new picture.

Here is the link to how to get started on WordPress.com.  The start up guide is easy and well explained. I should mention that you do have to have some photo editing knowledge to crop photos so they will fit into the frame of the pre-set template Themes. I use Adobe Photoshop, but if you don’t have this, PicMonkey is a popular, free photo editing website. Otherwise, take quality photos, crop it to size, add some color and text if you wish, and upload onto your site. Have fun with the freedom to design what you want whenever you want.

 

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My Upside Down Pals (above) were inspired by the vintage topsy turvy dolls. These dolls have 2 heads and 2 bodies where one of the characters is hidden beneath a long skirt.  I was first intrigued by these toys because of its clever dual identity and the potential to tell a good story.

When I’m creating the double sided dolls, my intention is not only to spark storytelling, but also to help children understand the concept of opposites.  My Little Red Riding Hood was made to share the classic tale and also to teach children not talk to strangers.  Below is a picture of the Potty Pal that’s in my Shop.  On one side is a baby in diapers, and on the other side is the “Big Girl”.  There are endless possibilities on how a child would play with this doll.  One of the underlying reasons I made this toy was to help promote potty training conversation in a non-stressful way and to visually demonstrate to the child that they don’t need diapers because they’re a big kid now.

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ImageTopsy turvy dolls are rich in American history with the first one dating back to early 1900s.  They were made during times of slavery on southern plantations. Below is a picture of a topsy turvy doll made in 1901:

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There’s a lot of speculation on the original reason why these dolls were made.  According to historicalfolktoys.com, they were given to white children to pretend master and servant.  Some say that they were given to black children to role play their mothers who took care of white babies during the day and their own at night.  Others say that the dolls were given to black children so that they could hide the forbidden black doll when the plantation owners were around.  Topsy turvy dolls were mass produced in early 1900s, and then various companies such as Vogue started selling patterns called, Topsy and Eva Doll.

In the future, I would love to explore more opposites in life and translate them into dolls.  I enjoy making these interesting toys that tell a good story.  I’m hoping that these special features will make children want to connect with my toys, and in turn, become fond childhood keepsakes.  ❤

 

Check out Upside Down Pals, Little Red Riding Hood featured on riftcut.com

Vintage topsy turvy doll image was found on Ebay.

 

 

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