halloween fun.

this weekend opposite of far will be joining the fun at the irvington halloween festival!

stop by my booth for masks, dolls, animals, and more!

october 29th from 9-5:

INDIEana Handicraft Exchange :: with the Irvington Halloween Festival

 This event, sponsored by homespun: modern handmade,  will be held on Saturday, October 29, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in the Irvington neighborhood, in conjunction with the 65th Annual Historic Irvington Halloween Festival. This event will be held outdoors and the 30 IHE vendors will be in a large white tent set up in the lot between Tiqueables Antiques and Midwest Scooter on the south side of East Washington Street, between Ritter and Arlington Avenues.

don’t miss this show!!

’round here.

as you may know, i have been a super busy girl lately- cutting, sewing, packaging, and sending up a storm! i am still reeling because it all happened so fast- last friday night i decided it was time to post the masks…and by the end of the weekend i had more orders than i knew what to do with! i have found my rhythm, my balance, and my happiness in success this week, though it has been a challenge-  and i still find & collect stress here and there like it’s my JOB, but that ugly bugger will never leave me alone, i just have to deal!

half- HALF of today’s shipment:

frankie is impressed

so impressed, she could eat the tablecloth!

do you see my new banner up there? well, my very talented friend callie designed that for me! she also designed my new business cards (which i should have by the end of the month), my new etsy banner, my new link button, and my facebook photo! i LOVE the work callie has done for me! if you are interested in contacting callie to design a unique logo, business card, or other goodies for your business e-mail her at: schlemmermediadesigns@gmail.com

thank you callie!

i took another lola break on saturday. actually i took most of the day off to catch up on stuff around the house- boring stuff like laundry, dishes, tidying up…and not so boring stuff like baking, cooking, cleaning up the yard, and planting garlic! the lola part was the best though! mike and i took her out to dinner and had a blast! we sure feel lucky to be “auntie” and “uncle” to that little lady!

highlights of our evening with lola:

lola singing a “money song” after dinner, lola seeing herself in the mirror with the owl mask on, and lola insisting on trying the salsa “mone”, and “mone” and “mone” even though she  was burning her little mouth!

(the money song goes like this (so you can sing along): “money, money, mo, mo, mo, ma, ma, money, money, ma, ma, mo!” <repeat>

saturday night mike and i had a mini-date in our backyard. we had a fire in our new-to-us chiminea. (thanks gretchen & ken!) we love having fires- we find it so relaxing. it makes us slow down. we chat and we also sit in perfectly comfortable silence. it feels so nice to be close, snuggling by the fire and just together-without distraction.

mike loves playing in the fire! he kept adding dry leaves to get this effect!

yesterday i worked my butt off! i have some pretty cool orders to send out today- 8 of my fox masks will soon be seen around…LONDON! and another little fox will be found in ALASKA in a few days! i have also sent masks to: california, south carolina, west virginia, indiana!, boston, new york, connecticut, georgia, texas, pennsylvania, alabama, north carolina, chicago, ohio, oklahoma, oregon, and tennessee!

i love the thought of my masks bringing smiles to peoples faces all over the country (and in europe too!) they have been ordered by entire families so they can all be foxes for halloween! so cute! i hope i get some photos!

so…this morning i am taking it slow to catch up a little here and remember the importance of simple things like- breathing, eating, sipping tea, and enjoying a moment. i have a LOT of work to do today, so i need to fuel up so i can get through it all without knocking myself out. tomorrow allison comes to town again (we are SO lucky!) and i want to be able to enjoy her time here!

my delicious breakfast: hot tea in my favorite mug, red grapes, and my homemade pumpkin turnover!

okay…back to the grind! at least my days are filled with doing what i love! stay tuned for stuffed fox dolls- my new addition to the *opposite of far* family! (i was planning him in my head this morning while waiting for mike to wake up! he’s gonna be GREAT!)

see all those masks? (20, to be exact) they will ALL be sewn, trimmed, and shipped out TODAY! yikes…better get to work!

busy me.

i am in the midst of making, processing, and sending almost 30 mask orders!

i. am. very. busy.

but all this business is making me feel very accomplished and so very happy. but also quite frazzled and a little out of touch. today i was running around like someone had pushed the fast-forward button. then i took a break to play with little lola, and i began to breathe again. i laughed and put my feet in her sandbox, slowly walked through the leaves, read books about babies, sang songs about doggies and soaked up all her sweetness! kids are oh so good for reminding us to slow down and enjoy the little moments. listening to the way she currently says “bottle” (like she’s french) and laughs real, hard belly laughs at silly games we make up just re-fuels me… and it makes me stop and breath it all in right now- because in a few days she will say “bottle” differently and she will laugh at different games. so, for a few hours today i left my crazy busy house, i put the internet away and just played with my little friend.

there will be more of that- taking breaks to play. i need to remember that balance i speak so highly of!


custom orders available.

near & dear dolls are made with lots of love and care, but sometimes they need to be made with some special little kiddo in mind. if you have a little in your life and want an even more special doll for them, just ask! i can accommodate most requests and would be happy to work with you  to make a doll that can be your little one’s favorite companion now and for years to come!

to see some of the custom orders  i have made in the past, check out the page in the right hand column titled “custom dolls”

**get your orders for the holidays in now while i still have time!**

in the air.

the dogs were in the backyard pacing and whining. i was curious about their strange behavior- these were not the excited whines associated with squirrel/bunny/cat sightings…these were worried whines. so i ventured out back to investigate. and i got a happy surprise: there were 2 hotair balloons being readied for take off right behind our house! there is something magical & dreamy about hot air balloons. i like them.

animals everywhere.

opposite of far presents:

animal masks!

nathanial fox, lucas owl, and leah raccoon!

the little kiddos in the picture above are our nephews nathaniel and lucas and our niece, leah. we gifted leah with the masks for her big 1st birthday last weekend and mom, lori reports: “Aunt Jessica gave the kids her new handmade Animal Masks this past weekend. They are LOVING them!! So adorable, soft, and comfy – Leah won’t wear a headband, but she loves trying to put these on herself. These are a great addition to our dress up box – but they don’t stay in the box long! Leah is also loving on Sara, one of Jessica’s Near & Dear Dolls. Check out her entire etsy shop – plus Jessica has some pretty cute mask models :)” (posted on facebook)

thanks you gorgeous little ones for being the sweetest *opposite of far* fans around!

raccoon mask!

slip on this sweet little felt mask and suddenly you become a super cute & sneaky raccoon!

raccoon masks come in gray&black, gray&pink, or gray&purple combinations

owl mask!

slip on this sweet little owl felt mask and hoo-hoot until your heart’s content!

owl masks come in combinations of brown felt with added color to fit your personality!

(pink, purple, yellow, green, blue, or all brown).

fox mask!

slip on this sweet little felt mask and viola- a fox, you are!

fox masks come in either orange or red with white cheeks

these little felt masks are soft and comfy for babies, kiddos and even adults! they add extra fun to dress up and imaginary play any day of the year… and make for the perfect halloween costume too! you can place your order at Opposite of Far on Etsy!

conduit press feature.

i was recently invited to answer some interview questions for my friend Talia’s blog- conduit press. below you will find the entire interview, in case you were dying to learn a little more about what makes me tick!

big, big thanks to talia for interviewing me as the first artist in her special “collective feature”. i feel so lucky to have found talia and the other collective members!



Collective Feature : Opposite Of Far.

Today I’m honored to feature a new friend and a fellow crafter, and of course, a fellow member of our local Collective. Today I share Jessica of Opposite of Far and her Near&Dear Dolls as well as Captain Hoo and Wondery Bunny! Let’s get started!


In your words – who are you, what is your business/what do you  make?

My name is Jessica Near, my business is Opposite of Far: modern handmade for hipster kids. I make plush dolls (Near&Dear Dolls) and animals (Captain Hoo & Wonder Bunny), felt masks, and children’s accessories. Using a variety of fabrics, trim, ribbons and buttons allows for every Near&Dear Doll, Captain Hoo, and Wonder Bunny to be one-of-a-kind! I make the dolls in male and female (because boys need dolls too!). They come in varying shades of skin, hair, and eye color, and different hair styles- they appeal to any and every child. The outfits are always different and each doll comes with one accessory or removable piece of clothing. Doll accessories/clothing include hand knit scarves, purses, skirts, pants, hats, mask, etc.



What road brought me to Bloomington and Opposite of Far…

Oh, a very long and rocky road brought me to Bloomington, Indiana! Perhaps the more important answer is what kept me here in Bloomington! See, I’m a mover, always have been. I settle in just enough to pick up and move on again without looking back. But in while in Bloomington visiting friends, I met Mike. Ah, Mike Near. We met and he held me here.  Even when I was ready to pack up again, I stayed because he held my heart tighter than anyone was able to before. I still have ants in my pants to change scenery and set out for new adventures-but building a home, community, and life here with Mike, has a far stronger pull than those measly pants-ants! Now my pants are antsy to snuggle into this town, grow roots rich with family and friends, make new adventures, etch new memories into my heart, and build traditions- right here- with Mike Near, in Bloomington (or wherever he is, really)!


And what brought me to Opposite of Far, you ask- a  long love for sewing, crafting, and making children smile! I have been making plush animals for about 5 years- which started late one night when I was suddenly inspired by my obsession with owls, a stack of super cool tea towels, and my drawings/designs! Those plush owls turned into a business called *bunny, beans & alicat* (with my friend Angela Harding). We made animals (and other crafty stuff) together for a few years until life got a little too joyous to squeeze in a business (Mike & I were getting married, I was finishing school, Angela was having a baby!) Once our lives settled down (a bit) again we separately started sewing and creating again. My new crafty obsession was designing & sewing dolls! I needed a name for my new business so I turned to a fond memory- the first time I talked to Mike on the phone: “So, Mike Near- Near, N-E-A-R? As in opposite of far?“  So, my business (name) is inspired by my husband and my new last name, and I love it! I am taking Opposite of Far very seriously and hope to be truly successful doing this thing that I’m pretty good at and LOVE! I see this business as an opportunity to help support our family while also being able to stay home with out (future) children. Opposite of Far has also catapulted me into this wonderful world of people making beautiful things! I love being part of the local artist/crafter world- I have never been happier!

What’s your inspiration for Near&Dear Dolls and your cute little animals?


My inspiration comes from everywhere and in different forms depending on what I am in the mood for. Visiting the Farmers Market, inspires me to plant, grow, harvest, store/can/freeze, bake and cook. After a concert I feel inspired to find more music that stops me in my tracks (and maybe learn to play an instrument!).  While playing with friends kids I feel inspired to create traditions for my future family. A trip to an antique mall or flea market inspires me to re-decorate my house. Lowes (or any nursery, garden or plant section) inspires me to re-create our front and backyards. During a little drive on a pretty day, I feel inspired to photograph everything in sight- everything is beautiful! Reading my list of favorite blogs I inspires to write, read, share, and gush over the simplest joys in my life. After spending time with my crafty friends (the Collective and others) and after I have attended a show/market I feel inspired to design & sew Near&Dear Dolls and other creations. I am truly astounded by people who have talents I do not,as well as  people who share my talents- singer/songwriters, musicians, chefs, woodworkers, farmers, writers…the list goes on and on. I am simply inspired by other people!
I feel most inspired, though, when the seasons are at the peak of their changes. Especially right now-the mornings are chilly, the colors are vibrant, the afternoons are sunny and warm, the evenings are clear and the traditions are plentiful! I love having our windows open, even when it is a wee bit chilly for open windows! The sun, breeze and fresh air just completely invigorate and move me! Fall traditions stir something special in me- apple orchards, pumpkin patches, snuggling in under blankets, bonfires, brisk walks, long-cooked meals, changing decor to match the colors of the trees, family & friend time….it all makes me thankful, present and happy.

{sorry readers, I’ve let this get long, but I just couldn’t cut all the beautiful things Jessica was sharing with us}

Let’s be more specific then;) Can you give me your Top 5:

Etsy Sellers (non-local, dolls & animals)
1.Goodbye Blue Monday
2. Simpli Jessi
3. Lori Nichols
4. ninon
5. Timor Handmade
**I chose non-local, dolls & animals because, well, I make dolls and these little shops inspire me. AND- I heart every single local artist I know and just can’t choose my top 5! :)

Blogs I read every single day
1. Enjoying The Small Things
2. Bleubird
3. Dig This Chick
4.  A Beautiful Mess
5.  Design Sponge
**And, of course, Conduit Press has a special place in my heart!

1. Beck
2. Bon Iver
3. Adele
4. Mumford & Sons
5. Avett Brothers

Where do you see yourself and Opposite of Far in the next 5 years?

In the next few years I plan on adding to my line of dolls and animals. I have designed doll clothing and accessories that would be included with a doll and would also be available in sets sold separately. It would be wonderful to see children playing with my dolls, adding to their collection of clothing and accessories and cherishing them as a fond childhood companion. I would love to see my Near&Dear Dolls (and other creations) in shops all around the country! I would also like to continue doing shows & markets- I really enjoy the interaction with other artists as well as shoppers.My husband and I are hoping to have at least one child in the next 5 years, and we  look forward to seeing how my business balances and evolves as our family learns to do the same!

And one last question before I let you go, since this is a Collective Interview after all – what’s your favorite part of the Collective, and of course, what could be improved?

Finding like-minded women/artists who empower and inspire me. Simple as that! I love the constructive advice, sharing, encouragement, support,  and comradery-I feel so fortunate to have found this group! I think we make each other better artists. The only thing I think could be better is MORE of it! Once a month isn’t enough for me. Even though we are all very busy, I think we could make more time for craft nights, learning experiences, sharing, asking of and sharing advice, etc. I think we could have different “events” planned throughout the month so each person can have as much or little of the Collective as she wants, and more of us would be involved in planing. Let’s work together to make this a TRUE Collective, with each person adding more to the group than just attendance once a month!

Thank you Jessica for taking the time to answer my questions and as always, be a friend. You can find Jessica writing on her blog and posting amazing photographic evidence of her inspiring life, and on Facebook with her business and of course, her shop. Locally (in Indianapolis) you can find her Near&Dear dolls at homespun:modern handmade and nurture. And she’ll be selling her wares this holiday season at the Irvington Halloween Festival (Oct 29) and Bloomington Handmade Market (Nov 12).

don’t miss this.

this friday homespun: modern handmade will be hosting a mini show on Friday, October 7, from 5-10 p.m. at the Harrison Center for the Arts, in conjunction with the First Friday gallery openings. We will have 32 vendors in the gymnasium, plus live music.

although i will not have a booth at this show, many of my crafty friends will be there! don’t miss this opportunity to support local artists and get some early christmas shopping done!

for more information about this show, visit INDIEana Handicraft Exchange!