New Beginnings

I've always seen New Years as a time for self reflection rather than celebration. I guess that is my introvert coming out, or staying in. We were going to go to Columbia this morning to see some friends and stay the night up there. Mike and I both were up late feeling miserable for different reasons. He had to help his Mom change a tire yesterday in the cold and wore himself out while still just on day 3 of the stomach bug and I ate too rich of a dinner for my tender stomach to handle. So we ended up canceling and here I am. I will probably post later this evening with some rambling reflections but I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope you celebrate or not whatever is most appropriate for you.

I love this print from mdsdesigns. It really reflects how I see the start of a new year. Time to look at things and think about change while still a happy and free time.


Entrecard Ads

I haven't been dropping as much this week since my home modem is so much slower than my work one. By not as much that means I've been averaging 100 a day rather than the 300 I usually get during my lunch hour at work. I was explaining the dropping system to someone this week and they said that is sounded too much like work to them. For some reason I find the dropping process soothing and I enjoy checking in daily on so many of the crafty and other blogs I've discovered through entrecard.

I've found that most people get an average of 20 or so clicks by advertising on my blog whereas I seem to get fewer than that on other people's blogs. I am having someone make a new button for me to use on entrecard and possible Project wonderful ads since I know the one I have is not all that clickable. I am really not a graphics person at all and the person I had make my banner for me seems to be out of business. Today was a banner day since I had advertised on Art by Paul Baines and received almost 100 clicks from his blog, the most I've ever gotten from an ad. Top Cat Creations got almost the same number of clicks through to her blog, the most anyone's ever gotten from my widget. I try to advertise on at least 15 widgets a week. Here is the widgets I've got the most bang for my entrecard point bucks in the last month:

Widget shown on # of clicks
Art By Paul Baines 95
Contrariwise Jewelry 61
Thyme2dream 58
Jenny Karlsson Design 43
my beautiful creations 20
Steam Powered Rings 14
Alteredevents 12

Let me know how your entrecard experience compares!


To Fringe or Not To Fringe?

Some of you may have noticed the little poll on the right corner inquiring about your deepest and most intimate feelings on fringe. Many of you may have never given a second thought to fringe but it is something I've been thinking about more than usual lately. My Uncle Jack got me started when he asked why I didn't put fringe on more of my scarves. Apple Jack, as he is affectionately known in our family, is one of my biggest fans and supporters both in life and my knitting business. He's brought me many sales from his co-workers at the funeral home he works at and he tells everyone who compliments his scarves where they can get one of their own. He told me that he gets the most compliments on his brown tweed scarf which he attributes to the fringe on it.

That got me thinking about why I haven't been doing as many fringed scarves lately. Honestly I don't really like the process of fringing much. When I finish a scarf I like to move on to the next project and stopping to do fringe annoys me for some reason. I like the way it looks in most cases and it adds a nice design element when I am using a plain or simple stitch on an inexpensive scarf. It also tends to photograph well and as I was reviewing my sold items I noticed that I have a higher number of fringed scarves sold in my early selling history. Some designs don't need it but I am really wondering how you feel about the necessity or look of fringe. Even if you have no strong feelings I'd like to know that.

I'll probably be doing a number of polls in the coming months as I research what designs to focus on for the coming year. They are quick and painless and will take far less time than reading this post about the fascinating topic of fringe. I know I always stop to do whatever poll is being featured in the blogs I read just to help a fellow blogger out whether it is something I care a lot about or not.

Under My tree

I was obviously a very good girl this year and wanted to share my haul with you. I gave my husband a wish list of jewelry on Etsy and for the first time ever he chose the most expensive item on the list. I actually put it in there thinking that there was no way he would get if for me but I thought it was stunning. It is the gorgeous necklace above from MAKUstudio. She also sent along some lovely raku beads I can't wait to use and a fun magnet. She has a whole range of items some surprisingly affordable and some downright decadent.

Mike's family tends to go the safe route so I had the pleasure of spending my gift certificate to yarn.com this morning which was great fun. I bought some things I normally wouldn't be able to afford without any guilt, not to mention they are having one hell of a year end blow out sale. I got some non wool fibers in my traditional bright colors since I've had a number of people let me know that they have wool allergies but would like a unique scarflette of their own. I'm particularly looking forward to working with a soft linen that is normally $24 which I snagged in 2 colors for $9.99 a piece.

My Uncle Jack got me book one in Barbara Walker's treasury of knitting patterns. This really is the premier work and the one all others use as a foundation. You will never find it discounted, not even on Amazon, which discounts everything, trust me I've tried. Even used they will rarely knock more than $2 off. It's that good. I've been devouring it as much as I can when I haven't been asleep the past few days.

My Mom got me some clothes, including a gorgeous red cabled jacket from Coldwater Creek, which will be great fun to wear. All in all I'm very happy with my "take" and I hope you all got something to make your day.

I promise to have some real content coming soon, including a post on picture taking that I've been thinking about the past few days.


Handmade Holidays

As I've discussed in earlier posts I spent a lot of time working on trades for family members this year and shopping on Etsy. Most of these handmade gifts were received well and were appreciated. For some reason I didn't have my camera handy for most of the festivities. I stole a few pics from my sister in laws flickr page but I've got nothing from my family. My mother in law really liked the custom portrait of everyone's favorite poodle from beccasophie. And Kai really liked his Day of the Dead shirt and i-pod holder made from ties that I got at the Big Ass show. Anh loved her scarf and wristcuff I made her and the pink skull pouch. Her comment was my favorite of the weekend when she opened it she said "You know me so well Aunt Paige". We spend a lot more one on one time with these kids so I would hope that I would be able to pick out what they like. My sister in law seemed to like her bag of handmade goodies also and her son Graham liked his handmade train crayons even more than the weird space creature I got him.

My sister's girls are not as open to original designs but I think that they enjoyed the variety of my gifts. They have a much more name brand mentality and when they got an American Girl Doll knock off instead of the real thing this year there was some grumbling. I really try to show them that to be one of a kind is better than being just like everybody else but they are growing up in the West County world and they only see me so often.

Little Typhoid Savannah gave the gift of a nasty stomach bug to everyone in the family so Mike and I have been in bed the past few days and feeling incredibly miserable. I'm starting to feel a bit better so hopefully it won't ruin the rest of my time off.


Season's Greetings

I just wanted to wish a Merry Christmas to all who celebrate since I will be pretty busy the rest of the week. Today is my last day of work until Jan. 5. One of the great perks of the community college, we get lots of holiday time. We'll be celebrating with Mike's family tomorrow. They are total pagans and celebrate on Christmas Eve. Then Christmas morning we'll head to the farm to be with my fam. Not all of my siblings will be there but it will still be a nice little gathering. So however you celebrate I hope you have a few moments of peace this holiday season. I love the holiday card above from LaurieCoyleDesigns. It says perfectly what my wish for all of you is!


Blog Love

I'm seriously dragging this morning and damn is it cold out, but I got a nice pick me up when I discovered I'd been tagged not once but twice with the Blog Love Award. KAT over at Candles Crafts and Whatnot put it nicely when she called the award "stunning. It really is a very well designed and thoughtful award and I'm thrilled to be recognized by my fellow bloggers and crafters. Simply Charming in SC is another blogger that I've discovered through Entrecard and it has been a joy to read all about her crafting adventures in SC. Blogging really has opened up a lot more doors for me and I'm so glad to know that there are others out there going through the same things I am.

There doesn't appear to be any rules associated with this award so I'm just going to share the Blog Love with a few other blogs that I highly recommend you check out:

1. Kala Pohl Studio
2. My Art and the Mom in Me
3. Contrariwise Ramblings
4. Rose Works Jewelry
5. Jealousy Design
6. Simply Shiny
7. Success Bound


Happy Hanukkah

I just wanted to wish a Happy Hanukkah to any friends or family who celebrate it. I had forgotten how early it started this year. I haven't gotten my New York nieces and nephew's gifts in the mail yet. But it lasts 8 days right. So if I get them in the mail tomorrow hopefully they will have it by the last day at least. If you want to learn more about the holiday there are some interesting facts here.

The lovely card above is from MAE. She also has some great Christmas and Kwanzaa cards so you can stock up now to cover all your bases next year.


Last minute Shopping

I'm not doing a Friday gift guide since if you waited this long to start shopping you're kinda out of luck as far as Etsy's concerned. You could go to the Shop Local and enter in your zip code and then contact the seller to see if they'd be willing to ship it priority tomorrow. In all likelihood it would make it to you by Wednesday. That is how I found the adorable vintage Babes in Toyland soldiers seen above from Calloohcallay's shop here in good old St. Louis. You can also try looking in the expedited shipping Gift Guides or do a search for expedited to see if someone can get something to you super fast. My scarflette has been picking up lots of views the last few days so you wouldn't be alone. I found this lovely metal candleholder that way. Baconsquarefarm says in the shop announcement that they are doing expedited shipping until Dec. 21 so you might still have time to get a really unique gift from them.

Speaking of my scarflette I had my first NPB (non-paying buyer) who checked out Wednesday. I'm so glad I raised the quantity to two on the scarflette that is in the GG's since I knew I had more of that yarn left or I would be really POed. I sent her a gentle reminder that you have to go all the way through checkout to pay with Paypal and put a link to the checkout tutorial in the Storque with no reply. So I followed up with an invoice to her e-mail address and no reply. I guess I need to wait until tomorrow to cancel the sale and get my fees back since Etsy says that you have 3 days to pay. I had a confused buyer once who just needed a little help to navigate the payment process through Etsy but this is the first time I've been seriously not paid and ignored. She was a new buyer on that day but she has 1 feedback so she obviously figured out how to pay someone.

My only issue is whether I give her negative feedback or not. I know you have to leave the negative feedback before you cancel the sale. I've heard people say that a NPB has turned into a real buyer so they say not to leave negative feedback to turn them against you. But if no one leaves negative than it defeats the purpose of having feedback since they will continue to rip people off and won't be punished for it. Enough of that rant. Enjoy your last weekend to shop before the holidays!


My tools of the Trade

Every knitter has their ideal knitting needles. I know some people love shiny metal needles, some like bright plastic needles, but my money is always on wood. I love the smoothness and feel of them in my hand. I have now found my perfect needles at Knit Picks. The new Harmony wood straight needles are like nirvana in needle form. I got a few pair for my b-day and they have a nice sharp point and are smooth as butter. Not to mention that they are gorgeous to look at, see above. I will definitely be getting myself a full set once my Big Ass Craft Show money comes in.

Another tool that is a pretty individual chose is stitch markers. I don't use them all the time but I like them for lace in particular to mark changes in pattern. I have some pretty beaded ones that are lovely but just not all that functional in my book. I don't want the beads to catch on my yarn or get in my way so I tend to use plain old plastic ones from Clover. They are nice and flexible and come in lots of sizes for different needles. And if I loose one it's not going to break my heart like a pretty set would.

Row counters come in high tech form now and can be digital or manual. These are used to keep track of what row you are on in a pattern and are necessary for complicated lace or cable stitches. I favor the low tech version myself. I like the good old plastic Coats & Clark row counter. It can attach to your needle or I will sometimes loop it to a piece of yarn and wear it around my neck. With this little guy you don't have to put your work down to mark a row or pick up your digital counter.

I have multiple tape measures since they tend to hide in every crack and corner of my house. My favorite and the one that surprisingly I can usually find is my sheep measure from lantern moon. My nieces also like to play with it and pull the tail. My husband got if for me for Valentine's Day one year and it was a very thoughtful and fun gift for me.

Every knitter has their favorite stitch pattern guides. The standards are from Barbara Walker which I have one used copy and I've asked for others in the series for Christmas this year. I also have the Vogue Stitchionary books but my first and most well worn stitch pattern book is The Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns. It has a really nice mix of cable, lace, and traditional stitches all in one edition. It is also very reasonably priced for a new knitter to experiment with.

So these are my favorite tools of the trade. What tool can you not live without and do you have a coveted tool that you would love to add to your repertoire?


Things I love

I got inspired yesterday by some blogger out there in the blogosphere to do a list of things I love. I then decided to add some visuals of Etsy items that I have either bought or bought something very similar to from the same seller. If you click on the picture it will take you to the item for sale. (Soy candle from Nettiescrub, windchime from Botanicraft, buttons from Paratu2, crayons from art2theextreme, beads from BrookO, soap from pegasussoaps, guitar clock from portzcustomclockz.

I love getting into a cold bed next to my husband's warm body. I love the carefree smell of patchouli and how it reminds me of the calm of a new age shop.

I love stomping through crisp fall leaves. I love the sound of wind chimes on a front porch and rain on a tin roof. I love feeling like I've made someones day a little easier. I love getting to the end of a long talk with my Mom or my sister and feeling like there is nothing left to say. I love a good cry when I haven't let it out in a really long time. I love starting a new knitting project.

I love finishing a book and trying to figure out what must have happened next. I love meeting up with an old friend and feeling like you just saw them yesterday. I love running my hands through a basket of vintage buttons.

I love going into an empty yarn shop and having the place all to myself. I love putting a sushi roll in my mouth and having it full with all the different flavors and textures all at once. I love when the first bite of ice cream hits the back of my throat in the summer. I love coloring with my nieces.

I love the feel of my husband's head when he first gets a hair cut. I love listening to a favorite song over and over again in the car by myself. I love the way some words just sound right next to each other. I love bright colors all mixed up together.

I love the first drink of soda in the morning and I used to love the first puff of the day the most. I love helping someone realize that they knew the right answer all along. I love when I make my husband laugh out loud. I love discovering a new favorite restaurant. I love cracking open a new handmade soap.

I love listening to my husband play the guitar in the basement. I love organized chaos. I love my Uncle Jack's pumpkin pie heated up with a scoop of real whip cream.


Save The Children

The small businesses selling children's items that is. I have been reading about the unintentional effects of the new law that was passed recently, CPSIA. You can read a lot more about it on the Etsy forums, see here to start. It appears that just about every small business that sells children's toys or clothes is likely to go out of business after Feb. 10, 2009 unless something is done to rework the law. This law's intention was to protect children, good idea, by having toys tested for lead. However, the mandates are so stringent that there is no way for a small business to be able to afford to have every item sent off and tested by a government lab.

It makes me really sad for all these sellers. I can only imagine how they are feeling. You have a shop all set up, supplies bought, and then you are told you can't sell. I would be totally devastated if this were to happen to my craft.

I e-mailed my senator and congressman last week using the form letter found on the Help Save Handmade Toys in the USA website. They also have a link to find your congressman and senator's e-mail address. Couldn't be more simple than that and who knows maybe it could make a difference. There is also a lot more information on the Save Handmade Site by Cool Mom Picks. I put a link to their website with the cute bear.

Unless some concessions are made sellers like LittlegirlPearl will unfortunately not be able to sell her adorable outfits. And we'll have to buy all of our toys from the big toy companies instead of such fun and colorful play things like GoldtoneDesigns seen here.


Blog Reader's Special Offer

In honor of the scarflette above being featured in the expedited shipping Gift Guides on Etsy I'm going to give my blog readers a little special shipping deal. If you spend at least $20 in my shop until Monday night at 9:00 p.m., let's say Central time since that's my territory, I'll upgrade you to priority shipping for free. I'll also throw in a free gift, a wristcuff or headband of my choosing, if you have a preference between the two please let me know. Just put a little note in the message to seller when you check out through Etsy letting me know that you are a blog reader. I can't promise you will have it by Christmas but I will do my part and get it to the post office right away.

I got a few pics taken this afternoon despite the wind knocking down my mannequins every 30 seconds. I will be posting this scarf tomorrow. It is one of my new favorites. It's the same yarn from the Lindbergh show vest. Since I didn't make the sleeves I had more than enough yarn left to make this beauty. Hopefully I'll recoup some of my yarn cost. Noro Kurayan costs a fortune but it is some of the prettiest yarn ever made.

Fail Weekend

This is how my weekend has started. Hopefully it will get better soon!


Friday Gift Guides: For Fun

I don't know about you but I love giving goofy gifts just for the fun of it. These gift ideas may not "have a purpose" or "be appropriate" but that is what makes them all the more fun to give. These are gifts that will be remembered after the socks have all lost their mates and the body lotion has all been used up. I don't think of them as gag gifts but more like gifts that bring a smile rather than an obligatory thank you.

The artist Anamano has lots of great art that I think falls into the for fun category. She has a whole series of prints she did while waiting in the doctor's office waiting room. The picture above is in this series. Her digital prints are vivid and wildly creative and will definitely garner a reaction.

Kill Taupe is another artist that creates art with an attitude. The angry broccoli is my favorite idea. There are other statements this magnet comes with that can express your mood for the day. He has some other magnets and stickers that would make great stocking stuffers or last minute gifts for your quirky girl friends.

It was really hard picking just one thing from bencandance's shop. It is full to the rafters with fun and unique gift ideas. I love this magnet that will get a laugh from the right recipient. I also love this eat meat charm bracelet. Growing up on a cattle farm this would be a perfect gift for someone in my family!

I have coveted an abitabite's fabulous prick pin cushions for awhile. She has also added the Zombie Uterus to her collection of pin cushions for the crafty girl with an attitude. You will have to check out her shop to see how she uses felt to create a masterpiece that really does have a function.

A great accompaniment for the monster uterus would be OrionStar's Bitch Away spray. It is also a fun yet functional gift as it will scare away cramps and painful muscles with it's blend of oils. She also has some other blends that will help with sleep and headaches if that is your poison.

If you have a The Big Lebowski fan on your list than spamberly's "The Dude Abides" framed cross stitch would be the perfect gift. She also has a "Craptacular", "end the douchbaggery", and many other fun and inappropriate sayings for just the right person.

I absolutely adore this Artsy Fartsy Poopsie Doopsie Plushie from artsyfartsyfooladi's shop. She has a great sense of whimsy and I am tempted to buy it for myself. As a sufferer of many digestive abnormalities this is a great way to express myself in humor.


Custom Knits

I've heard my sister in law and others talk about how they really don't like the constraints of custom projects but never really understood what they meant until recently. I've been getting several custom requests which I actually love, don't get me wrong. I just sent off a custom cold weather headband in wool to a fellow blogger and crafter Ollie McKay from Ollie McKay's Chic Boutique. I enjoyed working with her and I hope I came up with what she needs to keep her ears warm on her cold winter walks in style. I took a picture on my cluttered dining room table seen above. I also had fun making a few wild little girl scarves for a colleague's granddaughters. These projects were fun and relatively quick and easy.

The project that I have hanging over my head that is causing me some concern is an order for bridal attendant's jewelry for a super sweet bride to be that found me on Etsy. I'm making wire bracelets with sparkly citrine and silver beads and some simple earrings to match. I'm going to have my friend Leslie help me with the earrings since that's her thing, not mine. I had the bride pay 25% down to cover my upfront expenses for beads. I have all the supplies I need now but I'm feeling a bit paralyzed by the pressure. I want them to be perfect since they are going to be for such a big event. I know that I need to get going on it but it's not procrastination stopping me, it's perfectionism. I have the vision in my head and I know it is want she wants so I need to do it. I think I will get one done and then e-mail her a picture for her to approve before I do them all. Creativity not confidence is my speciality.


What I Learned About Craft Shows

I survived my first real craft show season. I know that 3 big shows is not a huge deal to many crafters but it was my first true experience in the field. I have learned a lot and want to record some of it for my own reference next year and maybe someone else can get something out of it too.

  1. I learned that I can probably handle 5 shows if spread out by a few weeks. Especially if a few of them are the boutique style where I don't have to be there the whole time.
  2. Indie shows are the way to go for me. These are designed for a younger more urban target market that seems to like my designs and generally has dispensable income for higher end purchases.
  3. Make more neutral and black scarves. All of my black scarves sold at Mad Art Gallery. I love working with vibrant colors but I really need to have something for everyone and some people really like wearing darks and black.
  4. I should continue to expand my lines with all different price points. I want to continue to come up with innovative designs and have some items at the lower end so that everyone has something they can buy.
  5. Prices should be clearly marked and consistent. I made the decision this year to have 2 different price points on my scarves instead of having individual prices on things. This made it hard since there were some scarves that I was charging more for on-line, but it made shopping my booth much easier. I decided that it was worth it but I really need to think about the issues of having different prices on-line and at the shows.
  6. Too much is not necessarily a good thing. I always brought all of my merchandise to the shows but I found that over filling my quilt racks and table actually overwhelmed shoppers. If someone was interested in a different color I could always get out the plastic tubs with the rest of my inventory and let them look through them. I sold a bunch of scarves right out of the tub.
  7. Always have a mirror, the bigger the better. This should be obvious if you are selling jewelry or wearables but at every show I did I had other vendors asking to borrow my nice big mirror I bought at Big Lots for $4.
  8. Keep my inventory organized throughout the year. This is a big one. I spent a lot of time organizing and reorganizing my inventory this season. As I'm finishing things, instead of just putting it into the nearest plastic tub, I need to keep them separated by type. This will also make it easier when I'm looking for something that has sold on-line.
  9. Keep my inventory list updated all year long. I need to keep the Google documents spreadsheet that I created for the last show up to date to keep record of what I have and what has sold at any given time.
  10. Renew my Propay account. It paid for itself the first day of my first show.
  11. Shows that allow you to set up the night before are much less stressful the morning of. After rushing to the site and unloading everything and then setting it all up I was exhausted the first day of Strange Folk. Lindbergh has you set up the night before which makes that first morning much more relaxed.
  12. If you can't set up the night before than at least pack up the car and be ready to go. Have the mapquest directions printed out and read through carefully. Try to get a good night's sleep. I'm always amped up and have a hard time settling down so try a beer or glass of milk.
  13. I should do one local show. I had several people in the office and whatnot that wanted to go to a show but didn't really want to travel the distance. I should find a small St. Charles show that has a low booth fee next year for the locals.
  14. Let people know where I will be. I had at least one person come to the show because they saw on-line that I was going to be there. Hopefully people will come back to the shows next year expecting me to be there which will also be nice.
  15. Bring tons of business cards. I ordered 1000 cards before the season started and I'm down to a few hundred left. I know of at least one big sale that came from someone seeing me at a show and then going to my Etsy shop soon after. I should also mention that I used my cards as price tags and wrote info on the back. Next year I want to print little labels to stick on the back with the price, fiber content, and washing instruction typed out.
  16. Start an e-mail list. I am going to bring a sign up sheet next year that people can put down their e-mail if they like. I will then send out a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter. I will entice them to sign up by giving them some sort of coupon they can use on-line.
  17. Research the shows ahead of time but have room for the unexpected. I was actually signed up for a different show on the weekend of the Big Ass Show. When I got the e-mail suggesting I apply I signed up on a whim and it sounded like it would be a good venue so I went for it. Luckily I was able to get my money back from the other one.
  18. Make friends with the organizers and keep a smile on your face even if it's painful. The last thing you want to do is to be seen as a trouble maker by the organizer, especially if it is a juried show.
  19. Make friends with your booth neighbors. When I got to the Lindbergh show I noticed my neighbor had her display blocking my entrance to behind my table. I first asked her if I could move it over some but I then just rearranged things so I was able to get out on the other side. If that was not an option I would have had to push it more and had her move but it would have made for a painful 2 days. And come to find out she has been in that spot for many years and I will be doing the show next year in the same space so making an enemy right off the bat would not have been worth getting an inch more of wiggle room. I think you really have to choose your battles. Sometimes it may be worth it but in that case it just wasn't worth it. And in some cases you need your neighbors to watch your booth while you slip to the bathroom so having a friend is a good thing.
  20. Wear your product. Again this should be obvious but I found that when I wore wrist cuffs or necklaces they were even more understandable and people bought more.
  21. Take off work the Monday after. I work full time and this year I took the Thursday and Friday off before my 2 first shows. If I stay organized I think it would be better to have the Monday after to regroup and reinventory.
Feel free to add your own suggestions! I'm always looking for tips on how to improve my shows.


My inventory

Just a forewarning I'm feeling a bit hormonal tonight so I may be discussing more personal topics than usual. So I was talking to Mike this weekend and I said another knitter didn't have the inventory that I did. He said that she probably had a life instead. I laughed knowing that it was probably true. Not in the way he may have meant it though. Two years ago we were trying like crazy to get pregnant. I went off my medications and lost a bunch of weight all in the pursuit of what I thought I was supposed to want. And at the time I really did want it. Then I ended up in another depression and all of a sudden I just couldn't find the energy to pursue what was supposed to be my most important goal. I beat myself up thinking there must be something wrong with me, that I should be doing everything I possibly could to become a mother, but I just shut down. I ended up back on my meds and gained back the weight. But I somehow came to a point where I realized that just because I think I should have a baby and everyone else thinks I should have a baby, that doesn't mean that I should have a baby.

Whenever people ask if we are still trying I say that if it happens it happens. This is true but we really aren't doing what we would have to do to make it happen at this point. I just don't think I have the emotional or physical energy not to mention the financial commitment to make it my 100% goal. I know adoption is an option which I would be open to but Mike is not really open to it at this point. We love our nieces and nephews and spend as much time as we can with them. We have jobs we like and hobbies we are passionate about. And luckily we like being with each other. A few weeks ago I had a moment and I started crying and told him he should leave me while he was young enough to find someone else he could have a family with and he told me that there was no one else he could ever be with. I know I really am lucky in many ways.


Big Ass Wrap Up

So the Big Ass Art and Craft Show turned out to be a big ass deal indeed. I don't know what my "take" will be but it appears I probably made more than I did at Strange Folk which was my best show so far. I was dieing to total up my receipts before I left today but I was given the impression from one of the mafia that I would be overstepping my bounds so I backed away. I didn't want to worry about my camera today so I didn't bring it so I only have a few other pics from yesterday to show. I bought a new purse and made some great trades at the end of the day when everyone was packing up their stuff.

After checking off my inventory it seems my $30 scarves were the big hit. This is very reassuring since they are my favorite to work on and I spend the most time and thought on them. $15 scarves were the next biggest seller. Scarflettes were not as big at this show, which I think is because I wasn't there to explain and promote them. They also had them spread out throughout the place in different displays, and most people are too shy to take something down from a display on their own. I sold a bunch of wrist cuffs and bracelets and a few headbands and barrettes as well. I only sold 1 necklace but I think it was because they had them buried at the bottom of a basket. I guess whoever was setting up the displays was not impressed with them. I really love making the knitted necklaces and using my cool beads and pendents, but they just haven't taken off like I had hoped. I'll keep listing them on Etsy and see if I can find a market for them since I really think they make a statement.

I traded for the yellow skull tee and the cookie bag with Evil Little Girls. I traded for the eye plate with Sacred Space. I traded for the screenprinted pillows and purple umbrella with Bird On a Wire. I bought the Asian girls bag from Hoags Bags. The other things I bought are likely gifts so I didn't want to display them here.

I'm seriously debating applying to join the St. Louis branch of the Craft Mafia. It looks like my best venues are going to be indie shows and the mafia sponsors most of those shows. They say they aren't taking applications right now but I can submit a request on-line. It feels a little cliqueish to be honest, but I really liked the girls I talked to today and I made trades with several different mafia members.

I can see pros and cons for joining. They help promote each other's work on their blogs and websites. They organize and work the craft shows. My introvert side is afraid it would be too much pressure but my business and social side sees the advantages. Who knows if they would even accept me but it is something to think about.

My Etsy shop is feeling a bit naked. I will be listing and bringing things back from expired all week to get it looking full again. Next weekend I will have to do another photo shoot to get some other items ready to go now that my shows are pretty much over for the year.


Mad Art Gallery Show

I went down with a friend to see how the Big Ass Indie Art Show was going and things looked great. I took a few pics but I will probably bring my camera again tomorrow. I have to go down to work for a few hours tomorrow and get my inventory back home.

I think the model thought I was a freak since I kept taking her picture every time she changed outfits. They had 3 live models and lots of mannequins all over, many of them outfitted in scarves. The displays looked great and they integrated everything in just like a boutique. I was very impressed. It looked like I had done pretty well last night. I didn't count up the receipts but there were a bunch in my envelope so we shall see.

If you are in the St. Louis area they will be open on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. I got a bunch of gifts while I was there and I saw a bunch of other stuff I'm thinking about gifting to myself. You should definitely check it out if you can.


Friday Gift Guides: For Mom

There really is no lack of gift ideas on Etsy for women and girls. Jewelry is by far the top category. Shopping for the Mom that has everything, such as mine, can be a little trickier though. If your mom collects something you can use that as a starting point and do a search for that type of item. There are plenty of sellers who cater to the young hipster but there are also many sellers who are geared more toward the traditional or the fun loving Mom. Here are some of my favorites that would be a good starting point for Mom shopping:

As always I strongly believe you can find artwork for anyone on your list on Etsy. Above is a gorgeous original watercolor by fellow St. Louis artist Linda Hammelman. She has a shop full of florals, stilllifes, as well as some abstracts. You can get an original piece of art to hang on mom's wall at a very reasonable price that she will think of you whenever she admires.

I don't know about you but my mother is a total bag and shoe whore, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree so they say. Miabaggali is one of my favorite bag makers on Etsy. I bought my favorite bag of all time from her which I've actually started reusing again recently. She also makes Fun and cozy fingerless Scroogies™, which would make a great gift idea for Mom or anyone else for that matter. I'm a knitter and I've been tempted to get them for myself!

As I mentioned jewelry for Mom can be found in abundance on Etsy. Basilthecat is one mom approved place to start with. I bought a little frog locket from her over a year ago that my Mom wears almost every day. She makes her jewelry from recycled pieces she picks up at thrift stores. They have a very old wordly feel to them while being very unique and new.

Moms always love bath and body products and Etsy is home to thousands of great soap makers. One of my new discoveries is natures luxeries. She has a gift basket that is full of indulgent products. You can choose from her long lists of scents, which includes CANDIED CHESTNUTS, GARDENIA, ,BANANA NUT BREAD or my favorite CEDAR & SAFFRON.

Handmade pottery is a favorite of mine and dgordon has some gorgeous pieces at amazing prices. This set includes nine trinket plates for only $100. You could gift some of them to Mom and keep a few for yourself!

Pandjcrafts is another local crafter that I discovered through Entrecard. She has some fun rag bags and HOMESPUN RAGGY QUILT CANDLE MAT & COASTER SETs. I like this red gingham print and it would make a perfect gift wrapped up with a handmade soy candle.

I was happy to be Collo's first sale on Etsy recently when I bought some cards that I absolutely adore. She also has some lovely decoupaged boxes and bowls that I would fill with other items from the list for a perfect gift presentation.


Win Your Life... Organized

Some of you may remember I blogged once about my good friend Tiffany, see here. She is the professional organizer extraordinaire of Your Life Organized, and has helped me in the past to organize my craft room and other projects. She is celebrating the month of January being the Get Organized month by having a contest. If you are in the St. Louis or Illinois areas you really should sign up. Here is a little more info about it:

In honor of Get Organized Month, Your Life Organized will select one room to win the New Year New Room Contest. The winner will receive free hands-on professional organizing services and a $100.00 gift card from The Container Store to be used in your new room.

Nominate yourself or another deserving person by completing the online application form below and submitting three photos of the room you want organized.

Deadline for nominations is January 31, 2009.

Winner will be chosen by the public and Your Life Organized on February 10, 2009.

Tif is the least judgemental person I've ever met and she won't bat an eye even when confronted with more yarn than one person could ever expect to knit in two lifetimes. If you have a spare room that you hide in shame or want to create a sanctuary for your craft I highly recommend that you entire the contest. How cool would it be to start the new year with a new room just for you.

(c) Lenox Knits, 2009|Created by NSD