Saturday, January 28, 2012

Blood on the Materials List?

When I was learning to sew in the late 90s there was an old saying I heard about hand stitched items: It wasn't complete until it had a little blood. I was in my mid-teens, so I took it quite literally. Working on cross stitch I would always smile when I accidentally poked myself, drawing blood. I remember thinking to myself, at least now it's complete when I'm finished.

Being a hand crafter on Etsy, I do a lot of hand stitching. Almost all of my bows have at least some one on one time with a needle and thread, and I've always been extra careful. When I do draw blood, I'm careful to not get any on the item I'm working on at the time. Instead, it's usually wiped on my jeans. Those that pass through with my hands unscathed always makes me happy: one less opportunity for my thumb and index finger to become a pin cushion.

You see, I've never liked thimbles. I can see the logic in them, and the value, but they're just plain uncomfortable for someone who uses their fingers to feel where the needle needs to go. Those few times I used a thimble on my index finger, I would instead use my middle finger to feel. Being less dextrose than my index finger, it always managed to get injured more. So I put the thimble on my middle finger to protect it, and discovered myself once again using my index finger to feel. I even tried it on my thumb, but found that I couldn't pull the needle through the material with my thumb so covered.

I haven't used a thimble since, but I have discovered that a band-aid makes a great substitute. ~ouch~

Recently I've been working on a new dress for my daughter the past few months, here a little and there a little. I took my time, knowing it would be too big for a little while. It was with this dress I discovered the absolute pain that comes from drawing blood with the dull end of a needle. That's also when the dress became "complete" according to this age-old mantra.

Or was it?

Does it really mean your bodily fluids have to smear onto the item somewhere? That you have to injure yourself before an item can be "complete" rather than just "done"?

I think I've had it wrong all these years. Maybe it was my morbid teenage head, or maybe it was just stupidity.

Or maybe it was not fully understanding "Hand-Stitched"

{Hand-Stitched} has become more than just a needle driven by something other than a sewing machine. {Hand-Stitched} means that, blood or not, a part of you get puts into that item. A part of your soul, and your very being gets stitched alongside that thread pulled by that sharp needle.

If you are one of those lucky enough to have a 
item, and not an item hand made to 
fill a daily quota for pennies a day,

Treasure it.

Keep it close.

And know that someone,
took great care to make that item 
just how it is.

Monday, December 26, 2011

It's a new year

New year, new sources of motivation, new stuff for my shop, maybe even a new pattern (or two). It's an exciting turn of the years, and I am very much looking forward to it.

First off: 
{New year}

Um, I think that's obvious. It is, after all, the last week of December--New Years has a tendency to follow close behind. But what to do with it? Make resolutions you know you won't keep? Let yet another year slip past? Or brush off all the crap from last year and make a fresh start?

{I choose to let go} 

I opened a shop on Etsy this past summer. I'd like to say I did everything I could to bring business in, but the truth is, I didn't. I was networking for a while, but then stopped, because I wasn't seeing any sales from those likes, and I missed seeing posts from friends that got buried under posts that I didn't read. While Etsy is on my blog, I haven't promoted it on my blog hardly at all. I did a bit of advertising on blogs and on facebook, but have yet to see any sales from it. I stay active in the forums on Etsy, and I facebook. So far, not so good. 

But I am brushing myself off (after I have a good cry of course), and making a fresh start...

...With a new line!

{New Sources of Motivation}

Two words: Kids and Holidays

{New Stuff}

My Etsy shop will soon host my Korker bows, and I am also introducing new collections!
The first items are already beginning to be listed, and more items will join them as soon as they're finished:
Valentine's Day is already in full swing for crafters (we make it a habit to be 3-6 months earlier than the rest of you. I'm usually 3-4 months early). We start planning, ordering, creating, crafting, photographing, and editing long before decorations show up in Target. And next up is every girlie girl's favorite: Valentine's Day. 
{As if we girls needed an excuse to wear pink}

Shortly after, and usually crafted simultaneously with Valentine's Day, is Easter. In all honesty, I have no idea when it falls in 2012, March, July, or somewhere in between, but I've already got a few things up my sleeve, thanks to my son (remember that New Source of Motivation from Kids? Yep. New source for creativity too)

So far, my "other" bows are still in pieces. Ends are sealed, bows are folded and pinned together, they only await my needle and thread to finish them off and turn them into beautiful Bow Ties! After all, who says bows are only for girls? These bows are for both :) Even for Mom! So far I only have a selection of Spring Greens, but I have no plans of stopping with only 3 color patterns.

We'll see what else I can come up with :)

As for a New Pattern? We'll see. My Diamond Sands Shawl is still awaiting completion before I write out the pattern and send it out for testing. I might get lucky and finish by the end of the year, which will make me very happy :) Aside from that? Who knows. I would like a lacy poncho...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Give oh give away!

Busy happenings everywhere! One shawl test should be almost done, another is about halfway through, both with corrections being made, and meanwhile I'm happy and excited and looking forward to when the patterns can go live on

Meanwhile, in the past month I dived off the deep end, so to speak, and started listing some of my bows on etsy! That led me to create a facebook fan page, and go hog wild trying to network, all the while, hoping to make a sale (still hoping).

But my fan page finally made it to 25 people (and boy did that take a lot of work!) so I'm celebrating!

Now it's your turn to work.

Here's what I'm giving away:
one of my as yet unlisted new ribbon flowers, available in black and white damask, or satiny pink stripes.

So here's what you do:

- A like on my fan page will get you an entry into the drawing.
- Share my page with your friends, and for every friend that likes me, you'll get an extra entry 
(your friend needs to tell me who sent them)
- If you still want better chances to win, comment below and tell me what your favorite season is, and why. Now hope over to my fan page, and do the same thing for another entry!
Drawing will be held at 9PM, Pacific time, July 26th. That gives you a day and half, so get crackin'!

Want more giveaways?

I'm giving away my new mini ribbon flowers, which are so new I don't even have pictures yet! There're about 2 inches in diameter, as opposed to 3 inches which is pictured above. I'll be sending a surprise bow with every $15 spent in my shop. Spend $30, get 2 bows! Special orders count too, so contact me (convo) if you don't see exactly what you want! This will run until 9PM Pacific time, July 31st. For special orders, as long as initial contact is made before then, you'll still get your bows!

Have fun! Good luck!
And Thank You!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Testing, testing

My hooks have definitely getting getting their miles in these past few weeks. Excitement has been mounting as projects are closer and closer to being finished. Regrettably, the only one that is finished, is not mine. I'm testing a hat pattern for YuLian on ravelry. It uses lace weight yarn and an H hook, which really takes some time to get used to.

The pattern itself is very well-written, and really makes me want to go back through mine and re-write them a little bit, and the chart is very clear and easy to read.

Probably the worst thing about this hat was the time it took away from my Rose Garden Shawl. A few weeks ago I finally hashed out the top edging, so I've been continuing work like a mad woman trying to get it done, and then I go and check the forum for pattern testers. Actually it came at a really good time as I was just getting ready to add in the second skein of yarn. Instead I used that second skein for the hat, then used the tail end of the first skein for the double-thread section of the brim.

So here's what I did with the Wood Lily Hat:

I followed the pattern exactly (so strange for me to say that as I change them so often), tried it on my head, and I think it would have fit okay if it weren't my thick hair. So for row one of the brim I added a few extra chains here and there, just for a little extra ease. It ended up being a ch2, ch2, ch3 pattern. the next row was as written, and the following row I switched to a G hook. I also did continuous rounds, rather then the rounds joined with a slip stitch, (don't laugh) so that I didn't have to keep track of where my row ended. I also did the crown row 5-6 repeats for the 23" size (I made 20.5") because on the first try I think the hat was confused as to whether it was a beanie or a beret.

Here are pictures:
Before the row 5-6 repeats, diameter was about 9 inches un-stretched

 Look, it matches my cyclamen! :)

 My first lace weight soaking in water. I was so excited I don't think it soaked for 10 minutes!

 Next time I do something like this, remind me to block it on a balloon. I ended up with a crease.

All done! 
Can I just take 
this moment to say that 
I love it when 
my hair is straight? 
I don't think 
I could pull this off 
with my hair in its natural, 
and crazy state.

Other excitement is bursting as my Flutterby Shawl gets closer and closer to going live. I'm aiming for this time next week, but it really depends on how fast my testers can get their last rows in. Ravelrs are already buzzing about it and it gives me the warm fuzzies.

 More excitement comes from my Rose Garden Shawl

As I mentioned above, I just hashed out the top edging, which has been plaguing me for the past few months or so. 
I remember it was Thursday, 2 weeks ago. I finished the pattern on a little sample I had crocheted just for the edging, stretched it out on the carpet, pinned it, liked it, and immediately began to write out the pattern. I was so jittery with joy I could hardly think straight. Then I printed it, almost full to bursting, and handed it to a friend of mine who has agreed to test it. 
I'm absolutely thrilled, but wish she would hurry up. 

If you're reading this and you would like to test, 
let me know in a comment below. 
The more, the merrier!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Date Night in a Box

A few weeks ago a bunch of women got together for a Relief Society meeting and focused on relationships--those with the Lord, our family, and our spouse. We did speed friending, which was lots of fun, and we also made Date Night in a Box.

What is Date Night in a Box? 

Well, it started out as Date Night in a Can, but the boxes turned out far cheaper, especially when you need 40 or 50 of them, which we did. So the person in charge of the boxes found these cute colorful Chinese take-out style boxes. Tied to the handle, my box has a little poem:

Sweetheart Notes
This little book has a purpose for you, 
It's use should be shared between two.
Simply write a love letter, a poem, or note
To the one you adore, love, and often dote
Then, hide this page for your sweetheart to find
And wait for a reply that will tickle your mind.
Remember, be creative and have fun
You have only tour loved one's heart to be won.

Tied with it are a bunch of black sheets of paper that we can write our notes on.

Inside it gets really fun! A few of us came up with a bunch of ideas for free or inexpensive date night ideas, the most expensive being $24. Some of them require a bit of travel, some encourage you to stay home and take advantage of what you have at your fingertips. All of them will be fun.

So here's what you do:

* Create a list of date ideas. They can be any price range you're comfortable with. 
Make sure that each date has all information needed for that date: location, website, hours, season, etc.

* Print that list, cut it out, and this is where creativity comes to play. 
You can simply fold the pieces of paper, 
do some other creative thing with them (like making fortune cookies out of them using felt and wired ribbon),
or do what I did.
I rolled them up. Then, using my daughter's unused teeny tiny rubber bands that are smaller then my pinkie (probably why they're never used!), I secure them so that they don't unroll. This way they stay nice and tight. You can stop here if you what, but I took it a step further:
I took strips of narrow ribbon about 8 inches long, and tied those around the rubber bands.

* Then I finally decorated my box, and called it done!
All I need now is a date!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Craft fairs

With Spring usually comes Craft Fairs, 
and we crafters always hope for good craft fairs, 
especially to start off the year. 

Saturday's Craft Fair:

It was terribly fun to sit with two friends of mine, and fellow crafters, and share the experience, and the better part of the day. This craft fair was at a school that was on the very extreme edge of town (there was NOTHING south of it). We supported the arts, as this fair was a fund raiser for the marching band. Too bad the marching band didn't show up, at least not that we saw. Live music would have been nice, but what can you do? On the drive to the school we saw no signs advertising the fair, and as a result of the lack of word spreadage (spreadage? is that a word?) There weren't that many people that came in, so most of our business was from other vendors. A few people who had students in the family came in, but not many. I forgot my camera, so I don't have any pictures yet. I have to get them from my friend, who took pictures for me. I'll add  them in when I get them though.

All in all, a slow craft fair (to the point where some crafters packed up 2 hours early!) but a profitable one. I think I've found a happy combination of items to sell. And through a little bit of variety and a lot of hard (but fun) work, I can make a few dollars to buy more yarn and ribbon, and support my addiction. Oops. Did I write that?

The three of us now have plans for more craft fairs, 
maybe even a major fair later this year, or next. 
It all depends on how things go. 
Here's Hoping!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Busy Beads

So I finally got proper motivation to actually sit down and write out one of my bead patterns. Usually there're hand written or computer diagrams that only I would be able to read. Mostly because I don't have one of those fancy pattern writing programs, so I had to find alternates. Those alternates consisted /, \, and * to represent bead strands and crystals. I didn't do written directions, those all belonged in my head, and if it got more complicated that just /, \, and *, then I took pictures as I went and called it good.

This motivation called for something else. Something better. Something that someone else would be able to easily understand (at least I hope so), because someone else would have to understand it.

So I got out my beads, found some colors that both coordinated, and that I had enough of (hey, I wanted it to look good since I was going to take pictures as I went), and got to work. It was only after I got halfway through that I realized I was patriotic with my red white and blue.

We can have Christmas in July right?

Sure hope so.

I took me forever to write and format this thing because I kept forgetting I needed to work on it! Oops. I am what they call a scatterbrain for good reason.

It was eventually finished, and posted for sale, but then the laptop that had the file PDF saved on it tried unsuccessfully to fly, and was lost. Woops.

So now I just have a picture. sigh.