Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just Stuff

Well, folks, its been a while since I've updated the ol' blog. Its been a fairly quiet and uneventful summer around here.  I've taken a nice break from everything in order to just enjoy friends and family for a season.  I basically did no craft fairs this spring/summer season.  I had some health issues that really prevented me from loading/unloading all of my stuff on a routine basis.  Plus, it wast just too hot to sell crocheted items.  Can you imagine shopping for a hat or scarf in July?  Especially with heat indices of 110+- NOT!  However, I think the break was good for me not only physically but also creatively. I finally picked up my hook and yarn a few days ago and hammered out a very cute shawl in a few hours!  It was so nice to crochet just for the fun of it and without any deadlines, etc. 

I have promised myself that this year I will make some things for myself.  I know, I know, I've said that I'm going to do that in the past but this year I intend to keep this promise to myself.  I've been having good success with my low-carb lifestyle and I've lost 18lbs so far so I want a few new pieces to celebrate!  Of course,  this means new yarn!  You guys will have to keep me accountable once in a while by asking me if I've made and kept anything for myself.  Are you up to the task?

All-in-all things are going well here.  My daughter is getting ready to start school- I only  have 2 more years left to home school her.  She may finish this year if she really pushes herself but I suspect it will take 2 years, lol.  She just got her driver's permit a few weeks ago so that's done.  My son is graduated and working at Endura Products full-time.  He loves his job and I'm proud to say he is a very good worker.  Both of my kids are sweet, thoughtful, and kind individuals.  I am so happy with the way they conduct themselves and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to spend so much time with them through home schooling.   I wouldn't trade that experience with them for any amount of money or material wealth.

Well, that's about it for now.  Nothing too exciting but I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm still around in the blogoshpere.  I hope to be more active in posting but I make no promises, lol.  However, I am out there reading lots of other people's blogs and being very inspired by them even if my own is neglected.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

The 3 C's: Crocething, Carbs and Curls

Well, I've not really spent a great deal of time crocheting for the last few weeks.  I found that I just needed a break plus our AC went out and it was just too HOT to be working with yarn.  However, I have been looking at new patterns and making a list of projects that I want to start, soon.   I'm already booked to do a craft show in November.  I was so excited to get the invite in the mail because I truly loved the venue after going for the first time last year. 

Carbs:  Well, I have finally decided that I need to get back to eating fewer carbs and more protein for better health.  I've been away from that way of eating for almost a year now and I am paying for it.  I am also planning to start exercising again.  I had a knee and foot injury last year that really put the brakes on my previously vigorous exercise routine.  I am essentially starting all over again with my weight loss efforts so this should be interesting.  Sure do wish I could conquer this battle once and for all.  Wouldn't that be a dream?

Hair!  I have recently discovered this wonderful forum dedicated to people who have or want to have long hair.  My hair is really growing and its been wonderful to chat with others who understand the specific needs of caring for long hair.  If anyone is interested the website is www.longhaircommunity.com.  On to the curls...I recently purchased a Caruso Steam Setter for curling my hair.  I LOVE that product.  Its a safe, non-damaging way to get curls.  It uses steam vs. heat to curl the hair so the hair benefits from the moisture on the ends.  I'm still practicing with it but so far I've gotten some pretty decent curls that hold for about a day without any styling products.

Well, that's is about as exciting as life gets around here these days.  We're just hanging out and enjoying friends and family this summer, which has been really nice.  Hopefully, all is well with all of you.  Till next time......

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Recently, a very good friend of mine told me about her seven-year-old grandson.  She asked me to pray for him because he is extremely ill.  He was born pre-mature and as a result of that he now suffers many complications where his health is concerned. My friend told me that for some time after the birth of her grandson they were uncertain if he would survive.  She told me about how they could hold him in the palms of their hands after he was born.  He's a real sweetie and a fighter, too.  I  think he gets that from his grandma; she has been battling stage-4 cancer for some time now.  This particular friend is such an inspiration to me and I was glad to pray for her and her family.  I have had the pleasure of working next to this lady for 8 years now and I can tell you that I always come away amazed by her and her remarkable attitude and faith.

Well, one night while I was trying to go to sleep I was suddenly struck with the idea to crochet something for this sick little boy.  My daughter has been doing some amigarumi lately and I thought that that would be perfect. Amigarumi is the Japanese art of crocheting small animals, dolls, creatures, etc.  I was so excited to ask her the next morning what she thought about my idea.  I was thinking these little animals might be a perfect gift for taking along on trips to the doctor's office and hospital.  They are small enough to hold without getting in the way of any types of treatments or care that the little guy might be going through.  My daughter loved the idea as much as I did and she already had the perfect animal worked up, a tiny little lion.  I decided to try my hand at amigarumi, something I swore I would never do, and crocheted him a hippo.  Amazingly, I really liked amigarumi!

I gave the new toys to my friend last week and she tells me that her little grandson instantly loved them.  He was just thrilled with them and didn't want to put them away.  I am always happy to hear when people enjoy my work but there is just something special about making a child's life a little happier.  It's so incredible to me that some string, a hook, some stuffing and some safety eyes, and a little time can alleviate some of life's pain for another person.  Imagine what could be  done  if we threw all of ourselves into helping others in life.  I have been inspired to give this more serious thought, that's for sure.

Sweet thank-you note from my friend's gandson.  How precious is this?  Very!  It is I who shold be thanking you, Cole.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gearing Up

Whew, it's almost the middle of March!  Where has the time gone to?  Spring is officially here in 12 days so that means it's definitely time to be kicking into high gear in order to be ready for craft show season.  I am already beginning to feel that familiar anxiousness that wells up inside when I begin thinking about my table, display, inventory, etc. before the season gets underway.  Will I have enough items?  Will the items I do have be marketable?  Will people like my work?  Does my table look professional?  Shoot, do I look professional for that matter?  The list of questions goes on and on and on.  In fact, I was exhasuted yesterday and was looking forward to an early night with some good sleep. But, alas, it was not to be.  I dreamed all night long about sewing together this purse that I am working on!  What???  Yeah, I make the mistake of looking forward in the pattern before I went to bed only to discover that I did not understand something in the fianl stages to complete it.  Well, I guess my mind would not let go of  not understanding what to do next and so decided to help me work it out vs. sleep.  UGH!

Any of my fellow artists out there feeling the same way?  If so, what do you do to keep the stess of the craft season in perspective?   

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What a Difference!

A pratice picture of Olivia's origami work.  Using the lightbox really gives it a clean look with great lighting.
Ok, so I've been thinking about my Etsy store and how I can improve the way my products are displayed to potential customers.  I love taking pictures but an expert I am not and on Etsy you have to compete with a LOT of great photographers.  I listened in to one of the forums that Etsy did a few weeks ago and taking pictures of your products was one of the topics.  The session was quite informative as well as humorous as the speakers gave some hilarious examples of what not to do.  One thing you should NEVER do is place your wonderfully crafted work and photograph it on your floor.  Really, they had to tell someone to not do this?  Apparently. 

I heard one of the rather well-known shop keepers discuss how she managed to take great shots of her work.  She said that she shoots into a lightbox the she made herself.  Mentally, I made a note to google how one would go about such a thing.  Well, finally 2 days ago I did some research and found that a lightbox is very easy to construct and it's something that can be done very cheaply!!  Like almost free since most of the items most of us probably have around the house anyway. 

Here is the link that I used to build my own lightbox: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Inexpensive-Photography-Lightbox

I'm still playing around with the lighting and practicing some shots but I can tell you from the practice pictures that I've already taken it is a HUGE improvement over my previous pictures.  Now we know the secret of those wonderful Etsy photographs.  Who knew it was so easy?  And hopefully by presenting my crocheted work in a better light will make a potential customer into a paying customer.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is there such a thing as crocheter's block?

We've all heard of writer's block, right?  That experience when writers are at a standstill  on what to write about or how to express accurately what it is they wish to communicate to their readers.  Well, I find myself experiencing the same conflict as the writer with writer's block, only my struggle is not with the written word but with crocheting.  I am stumped!

I have tons of fabulous yarn, a plethora of patterns, and every crochet hook under the sun.  Yet, I lack inspiration for my next creation.  How frustrating to have, at my disposal, all of the necessary tools to create anything I want and yet I have no ideas. I walk into my work space, open my containers of yarn, look at it, get discouraged and walk away.

After some reflection I think my struggle comes down to  this question: Do I crochet what I like or do I crochet to meet market demand?  Frequently, what I like is not what is in demand in the marketplace and as a person who wants to sell crocheted items could be a bit of a problem.  For example, cowls were very popular this winter season.  I look at those things and think, why?  Why would anyone want something like that around their neck?  Do I have the ability to make cowls?  Sure, but I have no desire to make them.  Could I have made money by selling them?  Probably, but what if I didn't sell any and got stuck with 7 cowls that I would have to store somewhere until I could find someone who would appreciate or want them. 

I asked my teen aged daughter her opinion on what she thought I should do.  Make for market demand or make what I love?  She said, "Mom, make what you like and just put it out there, if someone likes it they will buy it."  To which I replied, " Yeah, but what if I get stuck with all of this inventory, what do I do with 12 baby blanket if they don't sell?"  She says, " Mom, you can always use those things for gifts."   Well, she has a point there, and I do love gifting people with crocheted items.  I then replied back to her with, " Yeah, but I have so many items, what would I do with all of them once I ran out of people to give things to?"  She just shrugged her shoulder and said, " Mom, just do what you enjoy."    Who expects such wisdom from a 16 year-old?  She is right and I know it.  If I allow my art to become merely an avenue for revenue then I will  no longer find joy in crocheting and that would be a real shame.  Crocheter's are always connected with the idea that their items are lovingly made for people, and rightly so.  I think I will take my daughter's advice and do what I enjoy.  Although money is useful and necessary, it is not everything. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What's in a Quilt?

Here is a wonderful excerpt that I found from a quilting book that a dear friend passed along to me.  Even though the topic of the excerpt is quilting I truly believe that the same sentiment applies to not only crochet but to all forms of art.  This passage come from the book entitled, "The Standard Book of Quilt Making and Collecting"  by Marguerite Ickis.  Now, on to the quote:

Then with the completed quilt on the re-finished antique four-poster bed she can run her fingers over the glowing stitched surface and remember the past as did one great grandmother back in Ohio.
That kindly, ancient lady reminisced as she passed her work-worn fingers over a quilt she had pieced together while her family was growing up:  "It took me more than twenty years, nearly twenty-five years, I reckon,"  she told me softly, " in the evenings after supper when the children were all put to bed.  My whole life is in that quilt.  It scares me sometimes when I look at it.  All my joys and all my sorrows are stitched into those little pieces.  When I was proud of the boys or when I was angry with them.  When the girls annoyed me or when they gave me a warm feeling around my heart.  And John too.  He was stitched into that quilt and all thirty years we were married.  Sometimes I loved him and sometimes I sat there hating him as I pieced the patches together.  So they are all in that quilt, my hopes and fears, my joys and sorrows, my loves and hates.  I tremble sometimes when I remember what that quilt knows about me."