Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I was blessed with some wonderful customers this winter, and am so thankful for their support.  I was asked to complete many custom orders for Christmas!  I am truly blessed here all the way around with family, friends, good health, and prosperity.  I am so grateful, and so aware that things could be very different if a anything had gone differently for us this year.

This makes me keenly aware of how others are struggling these days, as well, and so I will be donating all of my in-stock hat and scarf sets to our local thrift shop.  Ten percent of my gross sales from the holidays will also go to the local food bank. 

This means that I will have to get busy on some new items!!  So visit here and my shop often over the next few weeks for new stuff and new designs!

May you have a safe and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Let It Snow!

We woke to a solid blanket of snow this morning, which produced smiles throughout the house.  Although I have revelled in the warm November (which can be one of the most depressing times in these parts), I must admit I am ready for the white stuff's arrival.  It's time to switch gears to all those winter past-times:  skiing, skating, drinking hot cocoa, reading, watching movies, moving snow, and cursing the plow driver.

I'm in the spirit of gift giving deeply now.  My CreateCrochet Team members on Etsy have so many beautiful options!  Our blog now features gift guides, too.  The current guide is TOYS!  It's worth visiting just to see the brain slug amigurumi!  FOR GIFTS:  http://www.createcrochet.blogspot.com/!!

This weather is perfect weather for crocheting, of course!  Right now I'm working through a large tote bag order a friend has graciously requested for her Christmas giving.  We worked together by email to choose custom colors for each one, according to the recipients' tastes.  Each one is going to be unique and way cool.  Until my yarn order came in, I worked on a few holiday items, including a new hat and scarf set and some tree ornaments that can double as small gift bags (for gift cards, jewelry, money, etc.).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you all safe travels and lots of good food over the next week or so - I am so thankful this year for a great family, wonderful and inspiring experiences, and friends like you!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Open House A Success! Etsy Sale Continues...

My first "event" was slow, but successful, nonetheless.  It's nice to feel like I've had an official start.   Thanks to Mom, Joyce, Cathy, Carla, Norah, Felicia, Adele, Tammy, Kathy and Meri for your moral and monetary support, and for showing up.  A big thanks also to my DH Peter, Ruth, Eric and Ethan for helping out so much to make the house a welcome place for guests.  If nothing else, the house looks GREAT, and we'll eat well for the next couple of days!

I learned that I can pull something like this off, although it was much more work than I thought it would be, and that the things I make are generally appealing to people.  Everyone who came did buy at least one item, which was gratifying.  I've taken a number of orders for things in specific sizes and colors, so I'll be keeping busy over the next two weeks and more.

I have a few items still on discount on my Etsy site as part of the CreateCrochet Team's weekend event and continue to list new items.  At least one online sale this weekend from the shop would be nice.  I think the top sellers have worked up a large following of people who buy online.  Thankfully, my Facebook page has helped quite a bit to keep me in the minds of my friends and family for gift orders!

For tonight, I'm exhausted and am going to go crack open a beer before turning in. 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Home and Online Open House Today and Tomorrow, Plus Etsy Team Sale!

The Crafty Nature Lady's Open House
Friday (TODAY!) 5-7 pm and Saturday, 3-7 pm

CreateCrochet Team Weekend Sale on Etsy!!
search the keyword "crochet10percent" on http://www.etsy.com/
You won't believe the variety and talent, and reasonable at 10% off.
Make sure and check it out!!
For a sampler, you can also go to the CreateCrochet Team's blog page:  http://createcrochet.blogspot.com/.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Open House Almost Here!

Friday, November 13th from 5 to 7 pm and Saturday, November 14th from 3-7 pm at my house and on my Etsy site!  10% of proceeds will go to my local food bank.

Since my last post, I have been preparing for this weekend's open house in between work, a quick-moving cold/flu illness, kids' school activities, soccer, keeping up my Etsy site, cats, yard work, cleaning and home improvement.  I'm a little panicky at this point, yet excited.  I've already gotten an order from someone who won't be able to come to my house this weekend.

Thank goodness tomorrow is a holiday and I have the whole day off from my day job.  We'll be paying a bit of respect to veterans, and then the extra time will allow me to do a deep clean of the first floor, pass out announcement cards to neighbors and friends I haven't run into yet, take product photos and create Etsy listings, and tag all my stuff.  Maybe I'll even get a few more things completed for sale.  Maybe.  The boys have sworn to help out, since they'll be home tomorrow all day, too, and I've allowed them to have two friends stay overnight tonight ;b.

SO... I've put an announcement on Facebook, Etsy and Ravelry, and plan to repost on Thursday night.  I've got a guestbook and labels for all my items (applying tonight, tomorrow and Thursday), card signs for the tables with prices, a reminder about placing orders, and order forms (will print tonight).  I've got tablecloths for the display tables, and the food all figured out (grocery shopping Thursday night).  I've got candles to make the place smell good and look inviting.  The boys have cleaned off the front porch.  Must decorate...need a receipt book...put that new bookcase together...figure out how to hide our old worn couch (all Wedneday)... hope the new curtains for the front porch arrive on Thursday and put those up...shelve books we want people to take away with them as a bonus... get cash for change...  my mind spins and spins!!  Thursday night is going to be a late one, I'm thinking.

But I'm SO excited, too!  I'm finally taking a definite step toward making my dream a reality.  After this I'll be looking for local craft shows and farmers' markets I might take part in on weekends here and there.  Wish me luck...  and BUY SOMETHING PLEASE!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spectacular Colors Inspire to No End

Last week I spent two days amidst a very inspiring fall landscape, full of mountain views and fall color patchworks.  It is one of the most colorful autumns in recent memory in the northeast, and I am soaking it in. 

Autumn is my absolute favorite season.  The crisp fall air, chilly nights and cool days call for the cushy sweaters and sweatshirts that I love, and it's not too hot to crochet!  Many of our days have been rainy, which makes watching those soccer games a challenge to one's stamina and dedication.  But it seems to me that the moisture and cloudy light makes the leaf color appear more vibrant.  Of course, those warmer sunny days are much appreciated, too!  We've had a few hard frosts, and we might just get our first snowfall tonight.  "Oh, the times, they are a changin'......."

Friday, October 2, 2009

This Otter Keep Someone Warm

Whew!  I've finished the otter afghan as far as I could possibly get it before I needed to donate it for the zoo's auction.  The edges are finished, but the border of otter footprints that I had intended to include aren't there.  I'm offering to create a pillow/storage case with an otter on it at a later date.  I'm really happy with it, though.   The colors really worked out better than I thought they would when they were separate panels.  This project took nearly 70 hours of work since September 1st or thereabouts, and kept 12 plastic bottles out of a landfill and/or off a roadside by using Caron EcoSoft yarn - 100% post consumer recycled plastic.

Now on to create wine bottle holders and wine glass tags for Tug Hill Tomorrow's November event, along with items for my open house, and to finish a friend's baby blanket.  Taking a breather until at least tomorrow to let my hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder recover from all that work!   

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Create Crochet Team Keeps Me Going!

Over the past two weeks, I've made it a habit of regularly checking into the Create Crochet Team's group forum on Etsy every day.  It's been wonderful to be in daily conversation with people who have the same passion for crocheting.  I've learned so much from each of the talented crafters there, who range from beginners to veterans - new stitches to try, great color combinations, and ways to apply crochet that I never would have thought about. 

Yesterday was the last day to submit entries for the group's September pumpkin challenge.  Check out all the great ways these talented people went with the pumpkin theme!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Projects in Full Swing

I really felt stalled there for awhile earlier this week.  I had some back pain flare up and I ended up losing sleep, so less motivation.  Fortunately, healing and sleep has helped me over the last two days, and I am glad to say I'm making progress on all fronts!

I am SO happy to have finished the water panels for the otter afghan.  They look really neat, but just seemed to me to take forever to do.  The result has me thinking of using the technique for bags and other afghans, though - when I don't have urgent deadlines.  Last night I finished the first green panel onto which I will applique cattails, and hope to finish the second tonight.  Then it's only the "clam" panel and I can put them all together.  Very exciting!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Been Busy and It's All Good

The past week was a blur.  I finished and mailed a purse order (SALE!) that sold as a result of showcasing it on my Etsy site.  The sale is a definite boost to my confidence.  I also managed to finish the first of two water panels for the otter afghan, and make a small DS/card deck/small items bag for my son's friend that he can wear on his belt.  Think I'll make more of these to sell with an option of a long shoulder and/or shorter wrist strap.  Great for kids and BOYS.  Boys are hard to crochet for!
It's a change of season, and my mind is spinning with ideas and projects.  Other than the auction items, I must begin in earnest on things for my planned holiday open house (date undetermined as yet, but likely shortly before Thanksgiving).  I'm thinking many easily whipped off items that will be popular as stocking stuffer gifts, like cowl scarves, hat and scarf sets, the little bag mentioned above, spa sets, etc.  Also a couple of larger items that I've had listed for sale, but have not moved, like the Bloomin' Baby Blanket and market bag sets.

Makes my day:  Today I've already received compliments on my peach short-sleeved sweater that I am wearing to work - the first clothing item I've dared to wear in public.  It's perfect for days like today - cool but not cold - and is SO soft.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Row Here, A Row There

Long periods of time to crochet have been nonexistent these last few days, much to my frustration.  There's so much going on - school open houses and orientations, shopping for school clothes and supplies, birthday parties, soccer practices, etc., etc. scattered at intervals.  Up, down, up, down, go, go, go...

The only way I get any crocheting done in these times is to settle for a row now, a couple of rows later, even a half a row before it's time to go again.  Though difficult because of the stop-and-go, I am seeming to accumulate stitches on a regular basis.  Keeping things neatly folded next to the end of the couch where I usually sit to work helps.  I'm almost done with the gray rock panels for the otter afghan already.  Mercifully, I decided on a zigzag popcorn pattern rather than a fabric full of popcorns!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Afghan Under Way - Thinking Otters!

While I wait for my Knit Picks order to arrive so that I can continue working on the tablecloth project, I have begun a new afghan that I plan on donating to our local zoo for their auction fundraiser. It's inspired by their newly completed otter exhibit!

I'm making panels representative of the otters' world - gray rocks, wavy stream water, wetland grasses and cattails, and clam shells. The border will have dark brown otter footprints on a tan background. I'm very excited about this project because it's a fun original design and I have a chance to do something good for a great local cause. Our zoo is truly a jewel in our community.

This year, I'm also contributing a fancy black clutch purse to our local day care center for their auction, and an undetermined item for our local land trust's auction. I'm hoping that at some point some custom work and purchases at my web site might result. In any case, I'm having a great time making unique, inspired creations.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Camping and Crocheting

Last week we went on vacation to our annual tent camping spot in the mountains by the pond. To be honest, I was kind of dreading it. Camping is never exactly easy, so it's not as if we were going to spend much time resting. The whole week before we left I would look around the house and fantasize about all the things I could get done with the boys off on a trip. I'd get that sofa recovered, that afghan made, that woodwork painted...

But there was no way I was going to not go on this trip, so I resigned myself and packed up. The week was really wonderful for me, much to my surprise. I had relatively mild allergy reactions to the fire smoke and pollen, and I really enjoyed the fresh air and fun. I mostly hung around camp, but did manage two canoe trips and two visits to a nearby natural history activity center that my boys loved.

I had finished my book by the fourth day in camp, so began again crocheting six-sided blocks for the tablecloth I have in progress. I have to say that I loved crocheting by my warm fire, listening to the breeze in the trees and the loons calling. My yarn stock stayed at my side in a plastic bag so that no camp dirt would be incorporated into the design, and I worked away peacefully in the folding camp chair, tea in the cup holder. I finished five blocks!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Getting Ready to Learn

Today I will register for a continuing education seminar at our local college. It's a half day next month, inexpensive, and right up my alley. Successful Arts and Crafts Marketing. Perfect. I had considered registering for a longer, more in-depth entrepreneurial business course, but it seemed to be much more than I would need in order to learn how to run a booth at craft fairs and make sure I'm not breaking any laws! I'm very excited to be taking this step.

Also, I plan on holding an open house/reception at my home for friends and family as a kickoff for my business. I've got to get started on some holiday stock - gift bags, ornaments and the like. This also has me very excited and inspired. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tablecloths for the Holidays

I've decided to offer at least one lace tablecloth for sale at my Etsy site for the holidays. As an example of how yarn speaks during a project, and how creative projects evolve, I started making a baby afghan for a friend and realized that the pattern is too lacy for my taste. (I prefer making baby blankets with high contrast and lots of texture for the baby to enjoy.) The yarn I am using is a sport weight off-white organic cotton from Knit Picks that I am currently totally in love with. It's SO soft. I am making the six-sided motif with a 5.00 mm hook, so the blocks are quite large.

As I was working, I got thinking about the tablecloth I started last year for myself - of number 10 cotton crochet thread. Very small blocks. Will take me 20 years to finish. Why not make a tablecloth out of this??!! And, voila. The project has emerged. I could sell it - perfect for holiday time! So here goes...

Friday, August 14, 2009


I picked up a crochet hook about four summers ago, and now I can't help but crochet madly late into the night while chuckling along with Letterman and Craig Ferguson! This has progressed to having flashes of potential projects while I'm at my day job, color combinations and stitch patterns floating in front of me while I work. I dream in yarn and patterns. 
So for now I daydream about owning my own yarn and design shop while writing grant applications to government programs, taking phone calls, and reading reports, seeing crochet stitch and color combinations on the pages as I write. This is really becoming an overpowering urge. Yikes.