I had the pleasure of "meeting" Jessica on Etsy after discovering her shop and all of its beautiful dolls!
My name is Jessica Near. I live in Ellettsville, Indiana (just outside of Bloomington- home of Indiana University). My husband Mike and I were married last June after dating for 3 years. We met through mutual friends, which is wonderful because together we now have a great group of friends we call family! Our little home is full of love with our two dogs- Milo and Bruce, and a kitty- Frankie and we hope to add children to our little love nest as soon as we can! We are trying to get pregnant and we are also planning to adopt in the near future!
A little about me and what I enjoy doing: I love to sew, knit, embroider, draw, paint, and build. I feel inspired and creative everyday! I basically love all types of crafting and creating. When I am not in my studio creating dolls or some other piece of art, I enjoy being outside- gardening, walking, hiking, playing with my pups, and reading while lying in my hammock! Above all else, I love spending time with my husband, pets, family, friends and their children.
I have spent most of my professional life working with children. I have worked as a kindergarten teacher, Nanny and Preschool teacher. I love working with children- they teach us more about life and living than any adult could! I most recently worked at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis as a Research Assistant. Now I am working on recovering from 2 back surgeries while pursuing my dream of making toys, accessories, and clothes for children full- time!
My Etsy shop is called Opposite of Far. The shop name is in honor of my new last name. When I first met my husband, Mike Near, I asked, “Near, as in opposite of far?” Now we use that phrase to “spell” our name all the time! I wanted my business name to be clever and playful but also a little sophisticated- so it would appeal to both children and adults. Check out my shop.
Right now I am focusing on making dolls. I make girl and boy dolls in unique fabrics. I use white toned fabrics for Caucasian & Asian dolls and brownish fabrics for African American dolls. Each doll has hand embroidered eyes, nose and mouth. I add fun little accessories and details to make every doll special. Some of these details include hand knit scarves, bow ties, hair bows, pockets, kerchiefs, ruffles, buttons, and more! I scour fashion blogs and magazines for ideas and I am constantly sketching new outfits.
Other items I make include stuffed owls, bunnies, elephants, rhinos, and many other animals in various sizes, child-friendly paintings, mobiles, bows ties, and hair bows, and some clothing and other accessory items. I will be adding some new and different products to the shop this summer! Be sure to keep checking in for new items.
I have been making and selling toys for children for almost 4 years now. Until opening my Etsy shop, I had only sold my products at art markets and local stores. This winter I was ready to expand onto the internet, and being a huge fan of Etsy, I was excited to become part of that artist community! I will still continue selling at art markets and independently owned stores. I would like to expand to stores in other parts of Indiana as well as some neighboring states. Art markets are so fun because I just love the interaction with children and adults that fall in love with my pieces of art! It warms my heart to know that something I made is being hugged and loved somewhere! Expanding to Etsy means sharing my art with even more people- in the U.S. and even abroad!
I make African American dolls- which the reason I was found by Rachel and featured here on her blog! Another reason my shop is unique is that I make boy dolls which are not easy to find. I consider my shop unique because I strive to make one-of-a-kind items that will last a lot of loving from little kiddos! I completely design my own patterns and I use different fabric combinations for every single doll and animal. I spend time shopping in flea markets, garage sales, and thrift stores to find unique vintage fabrics, buttons, ribbons, and other materials. I also use clothing, napkins, tablecloths, sweaters, sheets, and I shop fabric stores for remnant fabrics. With a collection of fabric like mine all of my dolls and stuffed animals truly are one-of-a-kind!
I will soon be adding accessories for the dolls. This collection will include clothing pieces, purses, costumes, and jewelry. I try to add little details to each doll to make him or her extra special, but soon little doll owners can dress up their dolls to suit their own styles.
I would like to mention that I am willing to make custom dolls. The specifications I can accommodate include gender, hair, skin and eye color, and basic clothing colors, and accessories (pockets, hair bow, bow ties, etc). Because my fabric is an eclectic mix, I can usually accommodate a general color combination but possibly not exact. For example, I can take a request for denim shorts/pants/leggings/skirts and a certain colored top. Another example would be “an outfit in pink and greens-skirt and top and a hair bow”. Please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or at my Etsy shop if you are interested in a custom doll!
GIVEAWAY ITEM: One doll of the winner's choosing.
WAYS TO ENTER: 1: Becoming a blog follower and leave a comment telling me you did so. 2: Post about the giveaway on Facebook and tell me you did so via a comment. 3: Post about the giveaway on your blog and leave me a comment telling me you did so. 4: Visit Elizabeth's Etsy shop and tell me what your favorite item is.
WHEN, WHERE, and HOW: Enter up to four times on this blog post from now until noon on May 13. A winner will be posted on May 13. The winner is responsible for setting up an Etsy account and contacting Jessica to claim her prize. Special thanks to Jessica for supporting kids of all colors by making beautiful products!