That sounds like an awesome recipe and the eggs are mad cute! By the way, vaseline can't be organic because it's a petrochemical (derived from oil) and not plant-derived.
The reason your balm is "melty" is because it is almost half liquid and vaseline isn't very "solid" to begin with. Adding more or harder solids (vaseline, beeswax, e-wax) will help your balm to harden.
Unless the thread is making funny loops on either side of the seam or is breaking all the time the tension is probably fine.
It could be that the material you are using doesn't play well with the feed dogs (the grippy things underneath the needle that move the fabric). Lightweight and slippery fabrics often don't. You could try stiffening the seam with a thin strip of stabilizer.
Stabilizer comes in iron-on or sew-in and tear-away or permanent formulations. Iron-on stabilizer has heat-activated adhesive on one side. Tear-away stabilizer is meant to be removed after the seam is finished. Just like the name says, one you've sewn the seam you can very gently tear the stabilizer from the seam. Baking parchment works well for this too.
To use tear-away stabilizer, cut a long strip to the necessary width and line it up on the underside of your "fabric stack." The two pieces of curtain material should be on top of the stabilizer. Sew with the stabilizer against the feed dogs.
It is true that different needle sizes are better for different fabrics. If the material you are using has a very fine weave or is very slippery, a smaller needle will probably work better.
Great idea. The commercial paws are too expensive for what they are and surprisingly uncomfortable. Mine have a weird ledge in the leather sole that cuts into the worst place on the ball of my foot, but now I think some new dance shoes(?) are in my future.
If only I could make my own reinforced toe jazz boots...
For pieces with sterling plated components and more complex metal work, you could definitely raise the prices. Underselling can lower the percieved value of a piece, and I, myself, was not expecting such lovely work from a relatively low price. However, for the shell necklace, five pounds seems about right.
It seems a tad pricey to me, but there are obviously reasons for this. I would say definitely pay yourself more than minimum wage. Pattern drafting, construction, and hand sewing fall under the category of skilled labor, and you deserve more compensation for your time and effort!
As per pricing, if the product fills a niche, it will sell. I've seen many similar items as of late, however I am not sure of their pricing. How is your pincushion different from the others? Is it in the construction: the quality of the materials, the sewing techniques? Make sure to stress these attributes to help a customer justify the price by raising the perceived value of your product. Detailed photographs of the pincushion may help with this.
Another good way to think about pricing strategies for these kinds of items is to take the old model:
Cost + Profit = Price (variable)
And change it around slightly to a more realistic model:
Price (fixed) - Cost = Profit
There is obviously an upper limit to what consumers will pay for an item. This means that by minimizing cost, you can maximize your profit. Of course, it is up to you to apply this to your individual product needs, whether it be less hand sewing or cheaper materials.
Also, have you considered selling these as kits instead? I imagine a lot of potential customers are rather crafty types themselves but may not have the time or ability to draft, source, and produce such an adorable object. Another reason for this thought is that it seems like the production of each pincushion is rather time consuming for you, which is driving up the cost. Perhaps you could just do some of the more technical sewing (such as the ruffles on the "cupcake paper") and leave the rest to the customer. Of course redesigning this product as a kit would necessitate additional packaging and documentation design but this is a one-time wage cost and would be a marginal materials cost for each kit you make.