Friday, March 28, 2008

I just can't...

That's right.... I feel like the lion in the picture. I usually love to blog each week on the carnival topic chosen by EtsyBloggers Team members. It is not the fault of the person who is hosting and chose the topic either. I have been struggling with this all week. I would get an idea half formed and then realize it fell short of the mark. I can not think of a single prank I was part of in the giving or receiving end to tell about. I feel like such a dud.

I do want you to know that the EtsyBloggers are a great group to be a part of and I encourage you to read other posts in the carnival and even take a look at the archives for some awesome topics and writing.

If you have an April Fool's Day story you would like to share feel free to use the comments to do so. I would love to read them and have a laugh.

PS - has a fantastic photo gallery and I get to see a new picture everyday on my Google desktop. That is how I found this guy.

Update-I submitted this post earlier for the blog carnival and just this morning (3/29) finally thought of a prank that was great. At least I thought so.

Growing up my son had a best friend and they were always doing some kind of joke with each other. This was especially true with Christmas gifts. One year Sean called and asked if I could make sure that Jimmy's stocking had a chisel in it and if I could please make it a very small one. I complied. On Christmas Day Sean showed up with a gift for Jimmy encased in concrete in a 5 gallon bucket. I don't even remember what the gift was. I do remember the look on my son's face when the chisel in his stocking made sense. Sean watched as Jimmy spent more than an hour to get his gift with the small chisel and a hammer. If I remember correctly, please remember I am getting old, Sean got a gift wrapped in what seemed like hundreds of layers of duct tape the next year.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday Already?

Too many of my days end with I was gonna do this and I was gonna do that. This is not to say I get nothing done but the days don't seem to live up to the grand plans they or I start them with.

I did check out a new website for selling online. It is Silk Fair. I like a lot of the features that are there for sellers. The site did seem to be a bit slow but everything I played with worked. It does allow a mix of commercial and handcrafted but you know that is just the way things seem to be these days. Even the big site (Etsy) that started as a handmade site has moved to allow commercial item that fit in certain categories such as supplies and vintage.  I figure if you don't keep your eyes open to new things you may miss something great.

We had a great time with the granddaughter last week and I am going to end this with one of my favorite pictures of the week.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Going Green

Looking for a green subject for this weeks blog post I wandered around Etsy window shopping. It is something I love to spend time doing. The range of things available there never ceases to amaze me.


Back to the topic for this weeks blog canival of the Etsy Bloggers Street Team. One of the things that everyone tends to get way too many of is plastic shopping bags. There are many shops that sell items made from them and their use keeps them out of the landfills. You can find plarn for your own projects. Plarn is the word for the yarn made from cutting the bags for crocheting or knitting. I learned that this week. I found crafters making lots of things with plarn. A search for plarn or plastic turns up lots of things like change purses, business card holders and of course bags. I think I found the cutest bag ever when I discovered this one-


Who says green can't be cute?



Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maybe a Bigger Backpack?

We have company at our house this week. It has been a busy bunch of fun. I will share photos later but for today I realized this kid may need a bigger backpack to get a few things home. She is flying back to mom and day on Saturday so she can be home with them and little brother for Easter. It is not much for but she came here packed very full. We have picked up a couple books and a pair of shoes and a couple outfits. I am thinking that a new bigger backpack that she can carry on the plane may solve the problem.

Friday, March 14, 2008

So Thankful!

Just like making a sale is still over the top thrilling for me, getting feedback on Etsy feels the same if not slightly more intense. My buyer was pleased and so am I. The feedback left for me was from a Canadian and I am in the US. I think this may make me the number 1 seller of hemstitched headbands in the world. If you can find another I will publicly acknowledge my mistake here on the blog. If you are wondering what all my fuss is about look here.

If you would like your own headband I have some in all three of my shops. The prices are the same in all three stores. If you are a huge Etsy fan I am willing to move something from Blujay or Ecrater to Etsy and list it for you. However I will not move from Etsy to the others as that would be fee avoidance and that is bad bad no no.

Here are some of the current offerings-

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Prairie Roots

Each week the Etsy Bloggers Street Team does a blog carnival. A street team on Etsy is a group of members that share something in common and use team efforts to support and promote team members and their shops. There are teams for geographical locations, types of art or crafts or different social connections. As you can tell from the name you have found your way to the blog of an Etsy Blogger member. At more than 300 strong our goal is to create buzz and promote our shops, each other and Etsy.

A weekly blog carnival is one of our events. A blog carnival is a group of blog posts gathered together with links in one place and works kind of like a table of contents for the week.

The theme this week is “Cultural Leanings”. The ideas is to blog about how you integrate your own heritage into your work or how you are attracted to another culture - like Celtic knotwork, African art, island themes, renaissance, etc. Or how your culture/heritage/upbringing influence you in some way.

I did quite a bit of thinking about my post for this week. I really searched for an answer to where my influences come from. My heritage is mostly German and Irish as near as I know. Most of the family history seems to imply that my ancestors were part of the migrations from Europe to the United States in the 1800's when millions of others came to this country as well. I am grateful they came but as far as influence from them I don't think so.

I feel more connected to the pioneers in my family. Most of them loaded the wagons and came to the midwest prairies to farm. I have so much respect, awe and admiration to anyone who was able to do that. I think it is where my frugal nature comes from. I love to use things until they are worn out and then see if they can be brought to life in something new. This was a way of life on the prairies of Kansas where is could be very hard to have the cash for store bought goods. The quilt block you see here fits that theme. It is a family quilt made in Kansas possibly 70 or so years ago. I have heard that my grandmother who had 12 children and was too busy to quilt provided the print fabrics from worn out dresses and other women in the family with fewer or no children made the quilts. The entire quilt is hand pieced and hand quilted and no two flowers on it are the same. I treasure this quilt for its beauty and as an small example of the women I am descended from.

Here you can see a sample of my crafting in a rug I made for my home. I bought some polyester crochet thread one time thinking it was cheap and I would knit it into lacy washcloths. However what I found on making a sample was that the polyester thread irritated my skin so I knew I couldn't use it for that purpose and sell the cloths. I have always collected old sheets, table cloths and clothing that can no longer be worn for rag rugs. Over the years I have crocheted a lot of those and was looking for a new idea. I came up with crocheting my own rug base and then cutting bias strips to latch hook onto the base. This is what you see here. It is my new bathroom rug and I love the way it turned out. It is made from that crochet thread I couldn't use for washcloths, old sheets and some of those "I can't believe I bought this even if is was on the $1.00 a yard table" kind of fabrics that had been in my stash for years and never used. It is thick and soft and almost tickles your feet when you step on it getting out of the shower. It was one way that I was able to use things that could have been thrown away and have given them a new purpose. I get a great sense of pleasure and satisfaction from this type of project. I feel as if I am carrying on traditions by creating these kinds of things and they are worth the time and the energy to make and use every day in my home.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Catching Up

Catching up is what I will need to do the rest of this week. Last week I posted about 2 goals. One of them was to cut flannel for baby blankets and burp cloths. That goal was met and now I need to get the flannel to the hemstitching machine for the stitching that makes it possible to do a crocheted edge on them. the other goal was to photo and list more headbands that I have completed and that didn't get done. My easily distracted self started organizing when I realized what a mess my sewing room and cutting table was when I started working on the flannel. So in my distraction I pulled everything out of the closet in that room and got is sorted and neatly into labeled boxes. The yarn and crochet thread went back into the closet boxed and all the fabrics went under the cutting table.

It was a good week however because I sold another headband on Etsy. It is always such a wonderful surprise to get the email telling you of a sale. I hope that someday I will have had so many sales that the new may wear off but for now every sale is such a thrill. This sale was for a black and white headband that you see on the left and in fact I have sold 2 of them and I made 4 so tomorrow I will relist and see what happens. I cut the fabric for these and then hemstitched them and crocheted the decorative edge and ties. The ties are long enough that you could use them to tie around a ponytail if you really wanted to get your hair out of the way. I have gotten positive responses on them including an invitation to 2 craft shows because they are different. I consider that a nice compliment.

As I said before I hope to get more of them listed on Etsy this week. In the mean time if you want to take a look I have some in my blujay and ecrater stores. You can find the links for those shops right here on the blog. I keep my pricing the same in all three shops so you can just shop where you are most comfortable.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Night Owl or Early Bird?

I have been trying to create a pattern to my days so I can accomplish more of the things that I want to get done. I go back and forth between saying I should get up and be productive first thing in the morning and waiting till evening or even night to get started.
My own choice if I could completely set my schedule would be a slow start to the day. By day I mean after the sun is up not anytime after about 3 am like my early bird husband. I love getting up and reading blogs and forums with my coffee. I could really spend an hour or more doing this. This is also the time I check my shops, see if any of my favorites have sold and update the announcement on Etsy to say that I logged in that morning. My google reader has about 600 feeds on it. Thank goodness you all don't write every day! Next is getting showered, dressed and getting something to eat. After that I do housework type chores for awhile. I like to spend some time in the afternoon with either needlework or reading and sometimes a nap but not every day. By late afternoon I am planning dinner and getting it ready for when Jim comes home from work. We spend a couple hours after dinner watching TV and usually I have a project to work on then and after that he is off to bed early because he gets up in the middle of the night by choice(silly man).  Somewhere between 8 and 10 I find myself back at the computer like tonight seeing what is new in blogs and forums for the day. After this I am ready to start creating something. This is the time of day I like to play with materials, look for inspirations, plan new projects and so on.  I would be happy to work on these things till 2 or 3 am. The problem with this is that the light sleeper in the house would be disturbed by the sewing machines running and other noises so I find that I have to wait until he is at work for those kind of things.
What I would like to know is how others fit creative time into their lives? How do you fit it in if you have a job or children or husbands or wives or partners or households to manage or any or all of these things? I would be interested to know what you do to feed your creative side and still do that day in day out normal stuff. Your comments may help some one like me look at things in a new way.
Please share. Your comments are welcome.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

First Spring

I lived within 10 miles of the Pacific Ocean for most of the first 34 years of my life either in southern California, Guam or the San Francisco Bay Area. None of those places had anything like you would call spring.
With a new set of orders from the Navy we found ourselves moving to Utah in September of 1989. We bought our first  house in Murray and it had many fruit trees in the back yard. These included apricot, plum, peach, cherry and apple. The previous owners had a good sized garden and all these trees and it was one of the reasons we bought the house.
As winter was turning to spring that first time I kept an eye out back on those trees. Watching for the changes each day as leaves and flowers came out and the fruit started to develop was wonderful to me. Where I came from things didn't go dormant and then come back to life so I really did find the process fascinating.
The tree that stands out in my mind that spring was the apple tree that was the oldest and largest of them all. Watching the leaves come out I remember thinking, "So that is apple green". Seeing the color in real life rather than a crayon box or paint chip made it so much more beautiful. Nearly 20 years later I can still recall that first real spring and the beauty of my backyard.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Goals This Week

I have known for a long time that I am the type of person that needs deadlines. I do well with them and not so well without them. When making deadlines I need to have ones that are committed to doing something for some one else. As an example I state in my online shop on Etsy that I will ship your order in one to three business day after your payment is received. That is a commitment I cannot and do not ignore.
In trying to create guidelines for myself I thought if I laid out goals on a weekly basis I may force myself to report to you how I did on managing to meet them. So with no more procrastinating on my part considering it is Tuesday already here we go.
headbands flannel
I have 2 major to me things to get done. The first is to get this assortment of headbands photographed and in shops. The second is to get at least half of this flannel cut and hemstitched for blankets so that I can get edges crocheted on them. The baby blankets will go to my sister in California. She owns and embroidery business in Ventura called Creative Stitches. It was her idea to offer them to her customers to have baby names and dates put on them. We have had positive responses to them so far so I need to get more done and sent off to her shop. I may put some extras in my online stores as well. It depends on how many she wants for her shop.
There are the plans. I will let you know this weekend how I did.

AZ to UT to CA to UT to AZ pt 2

Part 2 and the final part of this trip. I got to spend a day in Utah with all my kids and grandkids before heading back to Arizona on Saturday the 23rd. The grownups in the group tend to be more serious and sometimes downright grumpy when I come around with a camera. The grandkids however are not a problem. Playing with them and taking pictures is a lot of fun. The point and shoot camera I was using gave me a lot of problems with red eye and without a tripod focus was sometimes an issue. In these snapshots I am collecting memories rather than trying to be a great photographer.

In case you can't tell below are the grownups not wanting their pictures taken.
Now on to more cheerful faces and examples of the joy of visiting in Utah.
Kaleb, the youngest, born in October and doing just great!
Kaycee, the oldest, hard to believe 4th grade already. She keeps busy with school, gymnastics, basketball soccer and now piano lessons.
Posey who lately has decided that anytime anyone is going anywhere she should be going too.
Jordan who is doing fantastic his first year of school.
Hunter, also known as Buddy by his parents and sister, who loves all things about trains.Tristan with one of the sweetest smiles and attitudes of the bunch. He loves to play with anything with wheels and of course makes the appropriate engines noises when doing so.

There you have it. A fun trip with lots of food, visiting, miles in the truck and coming home to a warm place with dog and husband that I was really starting to miss.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

AZ to UT to CA to UT to AZ pt. 1

Map image

From the 13th to the 23rd of February I got the chance to do some traveling.  I flew from Arizona to Utah to meet up with my daughter. She drove on this trip (and did a great job!) and I got to go along. Her children were also on the trip leaving their dad at home. The first day we went as far as Mesquite where a family member has a house that we could stay. Thank you Grandma Connie!


Continuing on the next day we got to Ventura where my mother and sister live. We managed to get together with some of my nieces and their children for a barbecue. I enjoyed seeing all the kids together.






Spending time with my nieces and sister was great too. Kristi is a good cook and the food for our meal was sooo good. No offense to anyone else who contributed food to the meal but Michelle's Brownie Trifle was the hit of the evening for most of us.



Besides getting a chance to kick back and relax as you see here Cindy and Michelle took a trip to Hollywood. They had hopes of getting to be on The Price Is Right but with the holiday on Monday the crowds were just too big. The girls did do a bit of site seeing and had a nice lunch with my mom, Kristi and me watching the kids for the day.







There is a small town close to Ventura named Fillmore. In the center of town you can find a small train museum and winery. Cindy and I took the kids there to check out the trains. Hunter is a huge Thomas the Train fan.



Joslyn also know as Posie enjoyed the garden of the winery and kept finding little places for her to hide.


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