01 Dec

End of Year Clearance Event

End of Year Clearance Event

Hi awesome people! After wringing my hands and twisting my brain for the past few days I finally came to a decision about Bewhiskered’s holiday season. You see, I was sick for two and a half weeks and it put me WAY behind on the Winter Collection. I knew that realistically by the time I finished it old Saint Nick would have done his thing and been long gone.

So I came up with the idea of having an end of the year clearance event and offering a discount on all the Ruggles who were already created. Even a couple you haven’t seen before. That way I could make room in my inventory box for some awesome new Ruggles to debut in the new year, and you can get a sweet deal on some awesome Ruggles for under the tree.

Thus the End of Year Clearance Event is born, and will go until the stroke of midnight on the 31st.

Happy Holidays Y’all!

endofyear

26 Oct

Tie Breaker!

ERMAGERD! We have a three-way tie!

After 26 votes we have a tie, which means you get to vote again! Woot!

The overall winner was the Arctic Fox, so look for the Ruggle version of this guy in my upcoming collection.

arctic-fox

Now, on to the second round of voting! You can only choose one this time, and the poll will close Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 10am EST.

Break the tie!

  • Narwhal (61%, 11 Votes)
  • Timber Wolf (22%, 4 Votes)
  • Snow Leopard (17%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 18

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The Narwhal would be a brand new Ruggle, while the Snow Leopard and Timber Wolf have been Ruggles in the past. Here are their Ruggle versions:

Snow Leopard Ruggle Wolf Ruggle

22 Oct

You suggested, now let’s vote!

You suggested, now let’s vote!

I asked across all my social media for you to give me ideas on what you wanted to see in my next collection, and you came through big time.

I have two open spaces in the collection, so here’s how this works. You vote in the handy-dandy poll thing-a-ma-jig, and the top two vote getters will be in the next collection. You can vote for as many as you like. The poll closes Monday, October 26, 2015 at 8am.

A couple of notes:

  • if you don’t see your idea, it means that either it was a copyrighted character and I’ve made it into a more general idea (i.e., Snowman vs. Olaf) or your idea is already slated to appear in the next collection (yay!).
  • If an idea has (flat) beside it, these Ruggles won’t have stuffed heads. They will be completed flat like normal Ruggles’ bellies. In other words, they will be more blanket like, but shaped like the normal Ruggles.

All that make sense? Great! Get to voting! If you have questions, just ask. :)

Which Ruggles should join the Winter Wonderland collection?

  • Arctic Fox (12%, 13 Votes)
  • Snow Leopard (9%, 9 Votes)
  • Narwhal (9%, 9 Votes)
  • Timber Wolf (9%, 9 Votes)
  • Dragon (8%, 8 Votes)
  • Penguin (7%, 7 Votes)
  • Octopus (5%, 5 Votes)
  • Rhinoceros (5%, 5 Votes)
  • Pitbull (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Girl Leopard (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Bassett Hound (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Snowman (flat) (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Snowshoe Bunny (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Flying Squirrel (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Beaver (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Poison Dart Frog (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Koala (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Opossum (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Bear with big teeth, an ox tail and spine ridges (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Gingerbread Man (flat) (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Fall Colored Leaf (flat) (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Kangaroo (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Dolphin (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Buffalo (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Donkey (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 26

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Thanks for being awesome!

26 Jun

Announcement and Sale

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Here it is!

The big announcement I’ve been talking about for weeks!

Pardon me if I overuse exclamation points, but I am so stupid excited to be able to finally share this with you! Introducing Themed Collections! These lines of Ruggles will be available for a limited time, and share a common theme. You can also choose from a Classic Collection of Ruggles which will be available year round.

I’ve been working like mad on the new collection, and I hope to have it ready for everyone by the middle of July.

Each collection will have about 10 Ruggles including a mini and at least one giant. They will all be ready to ship, so no waiting weeks for Ruggles! And of course the bellies will still be personalized.

I’m so excited and these collections are going to be EPIC!

If you have any comments/questions or concerns I’d love to hear from you!

With this amazing new adventure comes a small goodbye – Bewhiskered will no longer be taking custom orders. I know customs have been a favorite for many of you but I know you’re going to love these new Themed Collections even more!

Last but not least, there are still a few Ruggles in the shop, and I’d love for them to find new homes before the new themed collection starts taking over the shelves. That means it’s time for a sale!

Everything in the store has been marked down 20%!

Oh, and one last thing. If you subscribe to my newsletter, I have all sorts of free exclusives I’m working on just for you, plus you’ll get exclusive sneak peeks at the new collection! :) Use the handy form on the right side of this page to sign up.

20 May

Art Ruggles! Installment 2

Art Ruggles!

I have three more art Ruggles to share! I’m still amazed that so many artists have agreed to do their take on my creations, and I love them all. I’m on the hunt for more artists to participate in this ongoing project, so if you are an artist, or know one who might be interested, please let me know!

First up is Emily of Emily Paige Smith Illustration. Emily is an amazing artist, and I’m blown away that she even returned my emails. This is my winter dragon, in her eyes. I know, right?!?


winterdragn

Next is Tad.  This one makes me smile every time I look at it. I also kind of love the idea of putting a horn on a hippo.

bewhiskered

And lastly for this installment is Chelsea of Crafteroni and Cheese. She makes super cute things and decided to draw me, surrounded by my creations. I think she captured my spirit perfectly.

Ruggles by Crafteroni and Cheese

Want to add works by Emily, Tad, and Chelsea to your own collection? Visit them here:

Emily: http://cryptostore.storenvy.com/

Tad: https://www.behance.net/tadlambert

Chelsea: http://crafteroniandcheese.storenvy.com/

Stay tuned for more Art Ruggles and look for the magnet, sticker and postcard versions to show up in future product packages.  :)

19 May

Exposing my (website) Backend

Exposing my (website) Backend

Way back in the day, I taught myself HTML so I could build a personal page. I didn’t really keep up with it and lost touch with innovations around the Dreamweaver days. When I started bewhiskered, I was using Etsy as my storefront. After a couple of years on Etsy, I decided that the way that platform was going wasn’t the way I wanted to go. So I needed a standalone website and e-commerce solution.

After doing a bit of research, I decided a WordPress site would be the way for me to go. Then all that was left was figuring out the e-commerce side of things. I’m not a hugely profitable business so I needed a solution that was free or very inexpensive. I initially landed on WP e-commerce, and used it for about a year. To get it to work for me I also installed the WP E-Commerce Weight & Destination Shipping Modules plugin and the Gold Cart for WP e-Commerce* plugin. I still wasn’t entirely happy with it, but it worked well for about a year or so.

The second storefront plugin I tried was MarketPress*. I didn’t install any additional plugins for it, and used it for about 6 months.

Still not completely satisfied I went back to the drawing board, read up on some other platforms and landed with Woocommerce. For me, Woocommerce is perfect. You can dig pretty deep into it customization wise, or use it right out of the box. Setup is simple, support ample and it just plain works. The Woocommerce related plugins I have installed now are:

For the WordPress side of things, my theme is Fruitful and here are all the plugins I use:

For businesses just setting up their websites, I wholeheartedly recommend WordPress with Woocommerce. I don’t suggest you go down my list and just install everything. That would be silly since what works for me may or may not be what works for your products and aesthetic. Plus there are probably better plugins that do the same thing or have an interface that makes more sense to you. In general, each time I’ve wanted to do something, and found a plugin to do it, I’ve tested two or three before landing on the one I’m currently using.

What I suggest is that you start with WordPress and Woocommerce. Then find the theme that has the look you want, the post types you want, and support for e-commerce. Setup your main pages and store. In that process you’ll run into problems you want to solve. When that happens, search for a plugin solution or Google it to see how others have fixed the same issue.

You can also watch the excellent step-by-step video tutorials WooThemes provides: 101 Video Woocommerce Tutorials

Before you know it, you’ll be up and running with a website that looks and works the way you want!

exposingbackend*These plugins are premium, and will cost you money.
**This one is out of date, but still working for me. I’ll probably look for an updated version soon. (ETA: tomorrow I’ll be trying out two of them. Ultimate Social Media Icons and Floating Social Media Icons. I’ll update the list when I decide which one I like better.) (update: After trying a butt load (or, you know, about 8) other plugins, I decided to stick with the outdated one. If it stops working, I’ll worry about it, but for now it works and I like it best.)

06 May

Sweet, Sweet Summertime

Sweet, Sweet Summertime

Ha! Who am I kidding? As a stay at home Mom, the only thing sweet about summer is that I might get to sleep in a little later. The problem with summer isn’t the heat, it’s the bored kids and lack of schedule that have me (and most of my other SAHM friends) wondering when school starts up again one week after it ends. Not that I don’t love spending time with my boys of course. What I don’t love are the whines that inevitably crop up when I need to run an errand. I’ve learned that if the errands are interspersed with fun outings, the whines are reduced. Notice I didn’t say eliminated. ;)

To that end, I’ve had a system for the past couple of summers that’s worked well. I wrote fun activities on popsicle sticks and put them in an empty mason jar. When we decided to do something for the day, the boys would take turns pulling a stick from the jar. It worked okay, but there were problems with it. Some of the activities needed to be scheduled in advance, or couldn’t be done on rainy days, for instance. So this year I’ve updated my system that allows for greater flexibility. I’ve made myself a Summer Fun List.

summer fun list

My plan is to take all of the activities that used to be on the popsicle sticks and simply list them out on this sheet. That way, when we decide it’s time to do something we can choose something appropriate to mark off the list. If it’s something that needs to be scheduled and planned for, we can decide to do the planning on one day and the activity the next. You get the idea.

My best friend and owner of Jennifer Jade Creations took it a step further because she’s a lot more organized than I am. She chose a schedule with a theme for each week day – Make It Monday, for instance, will be the day they make a craft or bake something; Thoughtful Thursdays are for trips to the library, etc. I love this idea, I just know that I’d never be able to implement it.

summer fun schedule

Both of these sheets are available as free download printables. I’ve also included a list of 100 summertime activities to get you started if you don’t have your own already. Bonus tip: if you want to use them again and again, cover them with a piece of clear contact paper. Once they’re encased in the contact paper, you can use dry erase markers. I’ve used this method a lot for things like chore charts and such and it works great. :)

 

clicktodownloadI hope they help keep the “but what can we DOOOOO?” whines to a minimum for you this summer.

summerfun

23 Mar

6 Things to Know About Security Blankets

6 Things You Need to Know About Security Blankets

Whether you want it to happen or not, your baby will probably choose a security item at some point in their first year. Here’s what you need to know about them.

1. What is a security blanket?

A lovey, woobie, security blanket, transitional or comfort object is just an item that provides psychological comfort. It helps to give a sense of security and safety, especially in unusual or unique situations. They help make the transition from the familiar to the unfamiliar easier.

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2. They aren’t just for nighttime.

Nighttime is a scary place for little kids. Fear of the dark affects upwards of 73% of children aged 4 – 12. Having a familiar object associated with safety and security can help ease the transition into bedtime. But that’s not the only way a security blanket can help. They also can help children be more comfortable when faced with meeting strangers or a new and unfamiliar location or situation. It can also provide a bridge to Mom when you aren’t around, and make leaving them with a babysitter that much easier.

bedruggles

3. They aren’t just for children.

It’s more common than you’d think for adults to carry their love and need for comfort objects beyond childhood. Even if it’s not entirely socially acceptable to admit sleeping with a stuffed animal, or tucking away the last bit of a childhood blanket in your purse during doctor’s visits plenty of us do just that.

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4. You can influence what your child chooses as a security blanket.

If you don’t want your child to accidentally end up forming a deep attachment to the scary clown toy Aunt Elmira gave him, you can gently encourage him to bond with an object you choose. You’ll need to do it before he’s 6 months old. To learn how, read the blog post I wrote on How to Introduce a Security Blanket.

hugs

5. Backups only work if you rotate them regularly.

If you want to keep a second security blanket in reserve in case your child’s gets lost or damaged, you need to rotate them regularly. Otherwise when you find yourself in the situation of needing to give them the backup, they’ll know it’s a fake immediately. The two should be used as equally as possible to avoid this, so switch them out every week or so to ensure they look, feel, and smell as identical as possible.

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6. You don’t have to fight your child to have them give it up.

Unlike pacifiers, security blankets cause no emotional or physical harm so it’s perfectly okay to let your child grow out of the need for it on their own.

5thingssecurityblankets

And One Bonus: the best security blanket?

A Bewhiskered Ruggle, of course. ;)

I’ve heard of kids latching onto one of their Dad’s old fraternity shirts, one of Mom’s slips, a nondescript plastic dinosaur, and a silk dress sock. What’s the wackiest or most embarrassing thing you’ve seen or heard of with which a child developed a security attachment? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

20 Mar

Happy Spring!

Happy Spring!

Today is the official first day of Spring! My sinuses have been telling me Spring is coming for a week now. The weather here in Georgia swings wildly in the Spring, so we have gorgeous days of 70* weather bracketed by gloomy rain and 50*. Today is one of the gloomy ones.

With the Spring Equinox** (or Vernal Equinox if you prefer to be more correct) comes a new Whisker Solstice Ruggle! When I think of Spring I think of flowers, which leads me to think about animals named Flower and there’s only one that really pops out, right?

This is Flower from Disney's Bambi for any heathens who may not know. ;)

This is Flower from Disney’s Bambi for any heathens who may not know. ;)

This squee worthy Mini Skunk Ruggle is perfect for all little stinkers* and will come with a spring themed re-useable snack bag OR you can choose to have a flower necklace appliqued around her neck like the one pictured here. :)

mini flower skunk ruggle angle by bewhiskered

Each Mini Skunk will be $45, with $5 of each sale going to Trio Animal Foundation. This nonprofit organization takes the lost causes – the animals everyone has given up on – and gives them a chance. They pay the medical bills and get them into foster (and eventually) forever homes. The work they do is some that very few people could manage without going “climb into a bell tower and take out most of humanity” crazy. I will warn you that some of the abuse cases they tackle are graphic. So if you visit their blog or Facebook page you might see such things. But their mission and work is one of the most deserving I know of, and I’m happy to be able to help them do it, in whatever small way I can.

taf-logo

Back to the cute! The Mini Skunk Ruggle is available in the shop. This means the Winter Solstice Love Bunny Mini Ruggle will soon disappear. The bunny will stay available through March 26th, but after that you’ll have to order a full size custom to get a similar bunny.

How stinking cute is this?

How stinking cute is this?

I chose the skunk over another idea I had for another reason as well. When I was little, my brother and I lived for Looney Tunes on Saturday morning. We were the two kids glued to the TV, sucking down bowls of sugar bomb cereal and laughing hysterically at the antics of Bugs, Roadrunner and the rest of the crew. My Dad had this thing he did where he would grab me up and kiss me all over and say nonsensical things in a Pepe le Pew voice while I squealed and made a half-hearted attempt to get away. To this day Pepe and Penelope are favorites of mine. I couldn’t resist making my own version of him!

I am ze locksmith of love, no?

I am ze locksmith of love, no?

I’m also introducing an add-on item for Ruggles! This snap toe can be added to any Ruggle and will allow you to snap your friend securely to a car seat or stroller, or have them hold on to a pacifier. Since this is an add-on item you’ll put it in your cart along with the Ruggle you’d like to be snap-able. If you order more than one Ruggle, and only want the snap toe on one, just let me know which in the notes to seller on checkout.

snap toe mini skunk ring by bewhiskered

Since the circumference when snapped is no more than  6″ for safety, the snap toe comes with a plastic link like the one pictured (of course the color and bumpy parts vary a bit) which allows you to attach your Ruggle to a car seat or stroller that might be a bit thicker than the toe itself can handle.

May your Spring be sneeze free, and thanks for being awesome!

 

*So sorry for the puns. I couldn’t resist.

** What’s an Equinox/Solstice anyway? The Equinox is the day where daylight and night are as close to equal as they ever get – each lasting approximately 12 hours. The Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, and the Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year.
17 Mar

Motherhood

My sister is pregnant which leads me to spend a fair amount of time reflecting on my own experiences with pregnancy and newborns. Quite frankly, it’s made me a bit wistful.

The other day, after running an errand at the mall, I sat down with my youngest and we enjoyed soft serve ice cream cones. It struck me, all of a sudden and like a boulder, that my sister had this to look forward to. As a first time Mom, she would be experiencing all these little joys soon herself. The smile on her child’s face and the giggle as they get ice cream on their nose trying to get the last bit out of the bottom. The quiet peace of enjoying an afternoon in the company of something so incredibly adorable and loved, you almost can’t believe you helped make it.

There are other things she has yet to experience. The mind numbing frustration that comes with trying to leave the house with kids. Those times when you want to just get. something. done. and your child wants to watch the lights sparkle in the store window for what seems like hours. Pulling them away results in wails that make you feel like the worst parent in the world until another Mom catches your eye with the sympathetic look that lets you know we’ve all been there. Watching the same episode of a favorite TV show or the same movie over and over and over. And over. And over.

The time you lock yourself in the bathroom to get a few minutes without the constant barrage of “mommy, mommy, mommy” only to be sniffed out in minutes which leads to wailing sobs for you to open the door. The realization that you will never again go to the bathroom or take a shower without an audience. That moment when the books “Go the F*ck to Sleep” and “You Have to F*cking Eat” make you howl with the laughter of shared experience.

But it’s the quiet moments that make it all worth it. The summer nights chasing fireflies way past bedtime just because they’re there. That first smile given just to you. The first time they say “I love you” without prompting.

Those moments change as your child grows. I’m at the stage where I get notes telling me I’m a great Mom from my oldest and get to watch my youngest laugh when he gets ice cream on his nose. Having a pile of warm bodies in the bed with me on a Sunday morning as my kids both talk non-stop about whatever thing it is they’re into right now and we plan our day.

Sometimes it’s all so much it’s overwhelming. Most of the time I don’t even notice time passing and the days drag on while the years speed by. But sometimes I can remind myself to really enjoy this parenting gig. To slow down and take a moment to really enjoy my boys. Those are the magical moments. And then I have to remind them to take their hand out of their pants and the moment’s gone, just that fast.