Saturday, August 28, 2010

Amazing Talent...

I saw this guy, Kenny Muhammad, on "Stan Lee's Superhumans" tonight. He's got an absolutely astounding talent, and I was insanely impressed by him. He's known as "The Human Orchestra" and he beatboxes...but in a completely different way. He's actually creating numerous sounds at the same time...

The performance starts at about 61 seconds into the video, so just skip ahead to that if you want.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

LOST: The Complete Collection

So, ever since the final episode of "LOST" aired a few months back, I have been waiting for something that I saw in a commercial during that episode.

The entire series, in one gigantic, awesome, super, amazing, special boxed set.

Well, it released today...and good old Amazon had it on my doorstep when I got home from work.

I had a gift card for $25 to Amazon and the set cost $150. I know, pretty expensive, but I had been planning on getting it for a while so I had been saving some extra cash for it. All in all, it's not a bad price really. The first five seasons of "LOST" on DVD alone are $170...throw the sixth season in and you're at about $ really the boxed set saves some money.

Anyways...what an amazing set. It comes with all kinds of cool stuff...and 38...yes, thirty-eight...discs of "LOST" awesomeness.

The best part?? There is a chapter that has been added that shows what happened on The Island after everyone made it off. I can't wait to watch that.

Here's all of the stuff, in one giant picture...

Almost Done With The Puppet Order...

Tonight I put what is basically the start of the finishing touches on this large puppet order. I now have all the arm rods and one puppet completely done, and the second puppet basically just needs to be put together now. His body and head are all set and attached, his legs are made but not attached. Only the arms need to be made, and I should be able to get him done by the end of the day tomorrow.

So that's the good news.

The bad news?? There's still nobody interested in my other Dart puppet that I have listed on Ebay. That's alright, if he doesn't sell I'm going to be making another puppet to put on Ebay for sale in another couple of days, so maybe I'll just hold Dart back for a few weeks and then list him again.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Lions...

I watched the Lions preseason game the other night...and I have to say, I was REALLY impressed with the first team offense.

Stafford had poise in the pocket, delivered the ball like a rocket, and ran the offense virtually flawlessly. He looked GREAT back there...dare I say, he looked an AWFUL lot like a certain Number 18 that hangs out down in Indianapolis when he was running the no huddle. Had I watched the game and NOT known that it was Stafford back there, I would have never guessed that it was a second year QB.

Jahvid Best?? Wow. Absolutely electrifying. The kid's got speed and moves. Might he be that running back the Lions have looked for since #20 abruptly retired??

Megatron...what more is there to say?? Calvin Johnson is a freak of nature, and he made a couple of All Universe catches that make you realize how good he really is. One in particular, coming across the middle, ball thrown a bit behind him, but he made the adjustment and came down with it...was literally awesome.

Now look...I'm not saying that they are going to be a playoff team...but I do think that they are going to be FAR from that 0-16 two seasons ago. I'm honestly really looking forward to the season for them.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Piranha 3D

So, I went to see the movie event of the summer today...and loved every second of it!!!
"Piranha 3D" was campy and hilarious, filled to the brim with gore and guts...boobs and butts.

I had a blast watching it, and think that if you go into it with the right mindset (that it's intentionally campy and that it's not really scary at all) you'll have a blast watching it too!!!

A Bit Disappointed

Well, my puppet didn't end up selling. I had what I thought was a promising lead near the end but the customer decided they would rather have a different color puppet. I was okay with that. The customer told me they would contact me today to work out the details of a custom puppet.

Well, I never heard from them today. I don't know if the price that I threw out there scared them off or if they decided to go another route altogether.

Either way, it's a disappointing for him not sell...especially considering I think he's an amazing example of my puppets.

Oh well, he's listed on Ebay again now, with a bit different price points. A lower starting bid and a lower Buy it Now will hopefully entice someone to give him a new home. I also have come up with a new bonus for using Buy it Now. Now you can still get the accessories or I can add legs to your puppet for no charge.

I also have a puppet store on Etsy now. Etsy is a site that is kind of like Ebay only it's designed for selling handmade things at fixed prices. I have a Dart listed there for $55 right now.

Hopefully one of them will sell.

On a better note, I am 2/3 of the way finished with the order for my first customer. All 13 arm rods are done and the first of the two puppets is finished. I will be able to finish the other one in the next few days and hopefully by the middle of next week I'll be able to ship the order out.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Not So Much Luck With This Puppet...

So I reformatted my auction style to make it more attractive and have the video of the puppet in action embedded so that viewers didn't have to go to another page to see the video.

I also adjusted my prices and gave a bonus for the Buy it Now.

And the result?? I've had only about 1/3rd of the amount of viewers that I had for the first auction.

I don't know why people aren't looking at this one like they did the last one, but it simply isn't getting the hits that I would have liked.

Maybe I priced it too high?? You would think that even if it was priced too high people would still look at it to see what it's all about.

There's still a few hours left, but it's looking like it's not going to sell. If it doesn't, I'll be relisting it tonight with probably a $5 lower starting price and maybe a $10 lower Buy it Now price, but with everything else the same.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Another Three Day Weekend...

Due to the fact that Cathy and I haven't really had a real vacation this summer, we have been taking a couple of days off here and there.

This weekend we took another day off in conjunction with our regular days off to get a nice three day weekend.

I don't think we'll really do anything...but it will be nice to not have to go to work for an extra day!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Tonight I got a great e-mail.

The gentleman that bought Dart on Ebay wants another Dart for his daughter. And he wants a Paddy for himself. And he wants 11 extra arm rods.

Basically, that one $33 sale on Ebay that was my first puppet has resulted in a fairly large order being placed.

I have proposed a price of $155 including shipping for the entire order. I didn't realize at first that he wanted two more puppets. I thought he only wanted one and the 11 arm rods, so I suggest $100 shipped for that and he said that was fine. I haven't heard back from him on the $155 price point, but I think he'll be okay with that.

Another thing that made me really happy was that the buyer thought that the sale price that he got Dart for was much too low for the quality that he is. He said that he wouldn't hesitate to pay $65 for Dart with legs...and that is about what I was hoping to be able to sell them regularly my idea for my price works out pretty well with what a customer thinks.

He said that he likes them because they are extremely full of personality and they come in at under $100 which he said is important.

Basically, he really loved the puppet...and that makes me extremely happy.

I went ahead and ordered a couple of other colors of fleece tonight. If I hear back from him soon, I will be able to get started on making them as soon as the fabric arrives...and then I'll have three puppets sold!!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Stan Lee's Superhumans...

So I watched a show on History Channel tonight called "Stan Lee's Superhumans." It's about a guy, who just so happens to be the World's Most Flexible Man, goes out and finds people that have...well...superhuman abilities.

The show tonight was great. First we met a guy that I've seen on History before, who has the fastest trigger finger in the world. Let's just put it this way...the guy got two shots off out of a single action revolver so quickly that you only heard one shot. Less than 1/10th of a second between the two shots. Next, we met the world record holder for saunas. He easily withstood temperatures that would cause other humans to burn. After that, we met a Shaolin Monk who was just amazing. They broke large sticks all over his body and he was unfazed. He then demonstrated his power when he punched. The finale was a "One Inch Punch," made famous by Bruce Lee. When it was done, his one inch punch generated enough power on the crash test dummy that they were using, that if a car allowed that much force to transfer to a body, the car wouldn't be allowed to be sold by the NHTSA. Crazy. The final guy was a high diver that jumped from 35 feet up into a 12 inch tub of water. When he lands, he feels four tons of force. Amazing.

The show was pretty impressive, and I'll definitely have to try and catch it again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another Puppet Sale...

I listed another puppet on Ebay today. I finished him this afternoon.

My updated auction listing, hopefully, should bring more interest in the puppet. The video of Dart is now viewable directly from the listing, you don't have to go to a separate page. The listing is more professional looking. The Buy it Now bonus is in place.

I decided to go with a Buy it Now bonus of a free arm rod (for a total of two with the purchase) and a choice of a free shirt. Those two items would be $12 if purchased separately, and hopefully will be a good thing to draw in some people to use Buy it Now.

I'm hoping that this one sells like the first one, and maybe even faster!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

First Puppet Delivered...

My first puppet got delivered today. The feedback on Ebay was very positive, so I think that the buyer was happy, which makes me feel...well, relieved I guess.

I'd been anxious ever since I sold it about whether or not the buyer would really like the puppet. I don't know why, because I felt that it was a nice puppet, but I guess you never really know what other people will think.

I'm really glad that Dart arrived safe and sound and that his new owner likes him.

Now, in the next two days I'll be getting another puppet up for sale, finishing some clothes for the vampire puppet, and then starting on a new design.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So, today I purchased a domain name through GoDaddy for $10. It got me the name that I wanted, with a .com and everything. Right now, it's just set up to take you to my blog. But I think I'll be running the majority of my sales through my blog and Ebay, so that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Basically, as of right now, if you type into your address bar, it should take you right to the blog.
I'll be listing another puppet on Ebay in the next couple of days, and I'll be trying some new things with the auction and the pricing to see if it gets me closer to the sale price that I was hoping to sell at. I'll have a link to it on the blog as soon as it's listed.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Some New Puppets...

Even though I've been making puppets, that hasn't stopped me from looking at others to collect and buying some really cool ones that I find.

I found one good one a few weeks ago and put it on my Watch List on Ebay. Unfortunately, about two days later the auction was canceled. I contacted the seller to see if they were going to relist it, and she contacted me to let me know that she was but with a Buy it Now. I waited a few more days and finally found it again, with a Buy it Now that I felt was more than fair. The price of $75 included free Priority Mail shipping.

A few days later, a HUGE package arrived at the house. A quick check of the postage showed a price of $ my free shipping ended up being over 1/3rd of the price of the product.

When I opened it, I almost felt bad that I had gotten it for such a good price. The builder had spent quite a bit of time and effort putting together this wonderful puppet. I love it.

His name is Sigfried.

He's made of fleece, foam, that awesome pink and purple fur, and some feather boas. His craftsmanship is great, and I think he's got LOADS of personality.

The lady that sold him to me told me that she had to pack him up at night, because her kids were upset that she had sold him. But not to worry, she was busy working on a new puppet for them to enjoy.

All in all, I think that Sigfried was a great purchase. He's unique, cool, and fits into my collection well.

Also, as many of you know, I have a puppet from Luna's Puppets as well. I think Kevin does great work, as Medium Pip is an amazing puppet. I check his Ebay quite often to see if he's got anything for sale on there, and he had a couple of new puppets that weren't on his site before listed. One was Mars, a space mutant. I contacted Kevin to ask him a bit about Mars, and he mentioned that it was a VERY difficult puppet to build so he didn't think he was going to be making any more of him. Of course, I had to place a bid.

I ended up winning the auction, and as I type this Mars is on his way to his new home in Michigan. He's got blinking eyes, and some really cool looking skin. He'll be a perfect addition to Medium Pip. I still plan on getting a Lenord from Luna's one of these days...maybe some time this fall...or maybe for Christmas.

Anyways, here's a picture of Mars.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Oh Yah, I Forgot...

Here's the absolute final of what Dart looked like...legs and all.

Puppets by Jeff Blog is Live...

So, I created a Puppets by Jeff blog. I also have a Puppets by Jeff YouTube account. And a Puppets by Jeff Gmail account.

Basically, I put everything together to get the puppet selling together correctly. I will probably post most everything that goes on that blog over here as well, but lots of the stuff that I post here won't be over there...that one will be ONLY puppets. None of my other random thoughts or ramblings.

Here's the first video from the Puppets by Jeff YouTube account. It's a tutorial for how to use the arm rod that comes with the puppets.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Tonight I completed the entire sale of my first puppet. I finished the legs according to the customer's request, got them attached to the puppet, and then let the customer know.

He responded quickly thanking me and sent me the payment. All total it was a payment of $41 for the puppet, the additional legs, and the shipping.

Not too bad. I still would have liked to get some more out of the puppet, but for a first sale I don't think it's too shabby.

I have been speaking with a professional puppet builder via e-mail and he has been giving me some tips. I think that in the future I will add legs to a puppet for anyone that asks, but the cost will be higher. I'm thinking more like $15 to add legs.

I also may really think about including a stand with my next puppet and adding a bit to the price of the Buy it Now and the starting price. Stands are easy for me to make, but they are really nice, and including one with the puppet would complete a "package" for the puppet. The customer would get the puppet, the arm rod, and the stand all for their Buy it Now price.

I'm not sure on that yet, but it's an idea that I'm thinking about. I am also entertaining the idea of including the stand with the Buy it Now ONLY. Basically, a nice incentive for someone to use Buy it Now. As soon as there is a bid and the Buy it Now goes away, then the stand would need to be purchased separately.

Overall, I'm really happy to have gotten the first puppet sold. It's a good confidence booster. Now, I just await the feedback from the customer. I'm nervous that maybe he won't like it as much as I hope...but time will tell on that.

Love and Marriage...

So, lately, I've been watching old episodes of "Married with Children."

It's amazing how a show that's as old as it is now can still be so consistently hilarious. I find myself laughing out loud regularly during every single episode.

The whole thing is just great...and Al Bundy might be the funniest character that's ever graced the small screen. He's just great as a character, and Ed O'Neil plays him so well.

They show it on TBS really early in the I generally only get to catch it when I'm on days off and can stay up really late...but, it's worth it. They don't make comedies like this anymore.

My New Puppet Design...

I've gotten the other design down pat, so I figured it was time to start working on some other designs so that I have two or more different looks that I can create and sell.

So...with that, VLAD!!!!

Vlad is a young vampire. He has a problem, though. He's hemophobic. That means he's scared of blood...the sight of it, the thought of it, everything about it just really creeps him out. Because of this, Vlad isn't very accepted by most of his kind. He still likes to dress up like a classical vampire, but he simply can't bring himself to have anything to do with blood.

Vlad uses the same body as the other puppets. The same arms and the same foam for the body as well. However, his head is quite different. It's large and oval shaped instead of frog like.

I'll be working on a really cool shirt and cape for Vlad over the next few days...and hopefully he'll be done by the end of the weekend.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My First Puppet Sold!!

My puppet sold on Ebay today. It had a bid put on it with about 2 hours left.

It only sold for $25, so I'm a little bit disappointed by that. On the plus side, the guy that bought it did put in two bids, so he obviously felt that it was worth more than $25 and his bid limit must have been higher than the $25...unfortunately, nobody else ended up bidding so it sold for $25.

The person that bought him is the person that contacted me about adding legs. So I'll be making up some legs tomorrow and adding them to the body, which will get me another $8 for the puppet. So the total of the sale will really be about $33...which isn't too bad.

I wish some other people would have bid on him. I think part of the problem was my hosting. It was really spotty with the images showing it's possible that quite a few people viewed the auction but didn't see any good pictures at all. So the next one that I try to sell will be put up with an Auctiva auction so that photos and videos show up in a very professional looking fashion.

Like I said, I'm a bit disappointed that he only sold for $25...but for a first sale, it's not too bad. I have fun making them regardless. I will be listing another one that is very similar soon, but I'm thinking about maybe selling it as a "package" with the stand and two arm rods and putting a bit higher Buy it Now on it and seeing if it ends up selling.

Saving Some Money...

I've been doing some things to cut back on some monthly expenses lately.

First off, I canceled the mobile internet service on my Verizon account. I haven't used it at all since I got the iPod Touch. I used to use the mobile internet to keep track of sports scores while at work...especially NFL scores during the season because several of us are in the same fantasy football league. But the airport has free Wi-Fi, and the iPod can connect to that. The iPod also has a nicer looking user interface for the the scores, so I've really only used that since I got it. I think I had used a total of about .67 megabytes since I got the iPod, yet I'd been paying $10 a month for it.

I also canceled the insurance on our phones through Verizon. Both Cathy and I take really good care of our phones, and we are far enough into the contract that if we did manage to break a phone we could probably just buy a new one off of Ebay for less than the deductible and hassle with the insurance. That is another $10 a month that I won't have to worry about paying. So that's $20 a month worth of savings solely by canceling some things that I didn't really need through the cell phone service.

The biggest thing that I did, however, was finally getting around to going with Cathy to visit her car insurance agent. She goes through AAA. I had been going through Progressive. I thought I was getting a pretty good deal at $456 every six months. That works out to only $77 per month with the installment fee. I didn't think that was too bad...until I talked to the AAA agent. Through Progressive I had about the lowest possible coverages...high deductibles and low dollar amounts for pay outs in case of an accident. The AAA agent suggested I go with better coverages and lower deductibles, and that brought the price to $582...per YEAR. So with better coverages and lower deductibles, I actually am going to save about $350 per year. Not too shabby. That's roughly a $30 per month savings. The best part?? Cathy also got a $200 a year discount because now we have two vehicles insured through the same agency. She also lowered her rates by a couple hundred by switching from broad coverage collision to standard. So all together we ended up saving around $700 a year. Not bad at all.

So, with just those couple of quick changes to things that I've been paying, I saved myself about $50 per month. I am still debating the motorcycle insurance right now. I haven't gotten the bike out at all this year, so I'm thinking of just canceling the insurance on it. I figure I won't be getting it out at all seeing as the summer is half way over now. That would be another $20 per month, for a total of $70 per month that I'm saving.

That doesn't even include the fact that I'm saving about $30 by paying off the Meijer and Walmart cards. Overall, I'd say I've cut my monthly expenses by about $100 in the last couple of weeks. That's pretty cool!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One Day Left...

I'm down to the final 24 hours of the auction for the puppet. There haven't been many more lookers in the last couple of days, and there isn't anyone else watching.

I'm now hoping that he sells at all. It doesn't seem like he's going to. I mean, if the people watching him were really interested I would have thought that one of them would have bid by now just to make the Buy it Now go away on him.

Oh well. I guess if he doesn't sell, I'll just relist him and hope that he sells the next time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's Shark Week...Time to Celebrate...

It's that time of year again. The time of year when people should gather together and spread joy.

That's's Shark Week 2010.

I am looking forward to this year's week, because it seems (at first glance) that it will probably be a bit better than last year. Remember, last year almost every new episode seemed to paint sharks in a light that made them look like ruthless killers that we should all fear and hate.

I'm sure there will be a good share of that again this year, but it looks like more of the new shows are going to be dedicated to studying the actual animals...instead of looking at past attacks.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

No Sales Luck, Yet...

It's been a couple of days, and my puppet hasn't sold yet.

It's had about 40 views, and it has three people watching it. The best lead, however, might have come tonight. I got a question from a buyer who said he would be interested in purchasing it, and paying a bit extra, if there was any way that legs could be added to the puppet.

I let him know that for an extra $8 on top of the final price of the puppet I could add two legs to it that would match the material that his body is made from.

Hopefully that is a fair price, and who knows, maybe the buyer will snatch him up at the Buy it Now of $45 and add the $8 for the legs.

I guess having the legs option should have been something that I had all along. I guess I never thought that legs would look that great on the design, but after looking at it closely and seeing where they will be mounted, I think it will look pretty good.

The nice thing about having the leg option is that, like the nicer body option, it's something that can be attached to many of the patterns that are available out there. I already have two different heads that will work with the body and the legs that are "optional."

In fact, I've got a head finished in one of the other styles...and I'll be making a body for it soon...and I think everyone will like it!!!