Wednesday, December 7, 2011

First, loving the buttons... I haven't even opened half of them yet (20lbs is a LOT of buttons!), and my cup already runneth over with awesome buttons.

However, this post is not another one about buttons. This post is about the recent evilness of Paypal.

The in case you don't know, Paypal recently tried to screw over 200 children and their families who have fallen on hard times and were, very generously, going to be given a bit of happiness from strangers this Christmas from the founder of Regretsy, April, and the forum members of You can read about the entire thing here. Something many of you likely don't know is that this isn't the first time Paypal has tried to f*ck with people trying to help others... After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the forum members of got together and accumulated over $30,000 to donate to the Red Cross. Paypal pulled a similar stunt of freezing the account and then gave the owner of the SA account no choice but to refund all of the money (though, fortunately, Paypal did not keep their fees that time). You can read a detailed story about THAT situation here.

Truth be told, I've been pretty irritated with Paypal myself for quite awhile now. I've considered it an unfortunately necessary evil largely due to the incestuous relationship between Paypal and their head honcho, eBay, as well as their very obvious 'deal' with Etsy (funny that Etsy doesn't offer the option to have a Google Checkout [now Google Wallet] payment or Amazon Payments or any of the other dozens of Paypal competitors).

Many, many people closed their Paypal accounts over the last couple of days because they had had enough of the evilness that is Paypal. Unfortunately, I can't be one of them if I want to continue to do business on the internet. Because people are weary of using checkout options they aren't familiar with, or because it takes more effort to pay other ways, or because they don't want to have to re-establish themselves with another online payment processor, I have to use Paypal.

And here we come to the more important part of my post: I hate how much power Paypal has and I want to do something, however small, to try to take some of that power away from them. There is a damn good reason anti-monopoly laws exist and Paypal is a good example of that reason.

So I am setting out to introduce more people to the other options they have available to them. I'm going to start offering various promotions over the next few months for those who use Google Wallet to make their Etsy payment. I encourage other Etsy sellers to do the same.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Buttons, Buttons, Buttons...

I shouldn't be blogging right now, but I need a bit of a break!

So, today, I bring you a post about something I started pseudo-obsessing over a couple of years ago: BUTTONS! It all started when I needed some buttons for these awesome and easy Mary-Jane-esque crochet slippers. I made several pairs as gifts Christmas 2009 and didn't have any buttons. Which was when I realized how crazy expensive buttons are. Which was when I checked eBay and found the 10+-lb auctions...

Buttons by the pound are a hot commodity, apparently. I did figure out though that I shouldn't be paying more than $3 per pound when I was buying more than 3 pounds at once. If you're patient, it's more than possible to get several pounds for that price (and we ARE talking about a random assortment of buttons here where there is no guarantee you'll get any duplicates or certain sizes or colors and you'll need to rifle through them yourself... It doesn't matter if they tell you that, if you considered the buttons MSRP it would cost 10x what they want - MSRP was decided with people getting to choose cards of specific buttons!).

I got lucky and a woman nearby on craigslist had 12 pounds of buttons (some of them sorted by size and material!) for sale. Since then, I've still been on the hunt for more buttons. eBay has been a disappointment though... There is NO reason that 2 lbs of buttons should cost $15 to ship, FFS. Those would very likely fit in a USPS Small Flat Rate box which costs $5 to ship (and USPS provides flat rate boxes for free, so I call BS when someone charges more! Bump up your price, not your shipping costs, if you want more $.)

Getting to the point (can you tell I'm procrastinating? :P ): I found an awesome deal on buttons in bulk online! There's a local small chain of art supply stores called Dick Blick's ( here in the L.A. area. I'd forgotten about it for years until I found their chalkboard paint. My grandpa was a very talented artist and LOVED Dick Blick's for his oil pastels, charcoal, canvas, exacto knives, balsa wood, etc. (he was a retired very-very-very highly desired machinist and was amazing with his hands!).

Well, Dick Blick's happens to sell buttons by the pound at $2.99/lb. It's their "always on sale" price. And shipping for 20 lbs (yes, I'm a nutter :P) cost only $8! They're on their way to me now from IL via FedEx Home. All of the photos I've posted in this blog post are customer photos of buttons they received. Lots of variety in size, color and even shape!

If I ever feel the need to buy more bulk buttons (and with nearing 40 lbs, I don't think I will anytime soon, haha), I won't bother looking anywhere else.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Double Pom Pom Hat

I picked up some Loops & Threads Charisma from Michael's today since it was on sale for $2. I've been wanting to make a new hat as a prop for holiday photos and I wanted to use my pom pom maker for it.... So I made this double pom pom hat.

Pre-Pom Pom

Pardon my strange expressions!

Double Pom Pom Hat
Yarn: Super Bulky
Hook:  6.5mm/K
Size: Should fit an adult woman (obviously ;P) or a child 4+ (there's some stretch to it!). For adult men, I'd recommend a larger hook or adding 4-6 stitches to each row.

Rnd 1: 40 hdc around - 40 sts
Rnd 2 19 hdc, inc, rep - 42 sts
Rnd 3: 20 hdc, inc, rep - 44 sts
Rnds 4-16: hdc around - 44 sts

The pom poms were made with Clover's Large Pom Pom Maker using white Caron One Pound and the Red Charisma from the hat. I just put both strands from the prom pom and put them through the corners of the hat and tied them tightly.

I imagine that using worsted weight, a 5.5mm hook, and doing something like this would likely work as well:
Rnd 1: 68 hdc around - 68 sts
Rnd 2: 33 hdc, inc, rep - 70 sts
Rnd 3: 34 hdc, inc, rep - 72 sts
Rnds 4-24?: hdc around - 72 sts

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nerd Dollz

I don't normally do this, but I found this Etsy shop when I was browsing "Supernatural" things (talk about going down the rabbit hole... It all started because A Dog's Life Animal Rescue posted a Groupon, that charity coincidentally being one that Jared Padalecki endorses [I chose the charity as the one I wanted to donate some of my ebay proceeds to since it seemed cool and I <3 my dog... and then see that there is a random Supernatural connection to it, haha]).

I digress.

I found this shop, NerdDollz, on Etsy. Normally, I see something like this and am a bit "meh" about them, but not only are these dolls seemingly very well made and designed, but they are realistically priced. (I am NOT a fan of overpriced sh!t on Etsy... it, IMO, goes against the community feel). I am very tempted to buy myself an early present of these:

How awesome are those?! And they're just, like, $70 for all 3.

Also quite fabulous is this:

Yes, that is Ezio Auditore from Assassin's Creed. Cute, right?

Think of a nerdy character and this shop seems to have it! Star Wars, Harry Potter, Kick Ass, Avatar, Shrek... even Twilight. And I'd imagine the seller is open to suggestions as well.

I've seen other amigurumi (though not Sam, Dean & Cas) and am seriously inspired! I'm going to have to see if I can make anything nearly as cool (maybe as gifts, but also maybe just for me). And if & when I am unable to (whether it be skill or time lacking), I'm going to have to pay the awesome Shannon Nix from Shawnee, KS to make me some!

Speaking of fantastic crochet nerd amigurumi, I also wanted to plug's ami patterns... She, too, has an Ezio that is awesome:
Pattern and video tutorial found here.
Creative and crafty nerds are so fun!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Castle Crashers Etsy Treasury

To honor craft Castle Crashers fans, I created a treasury.
Check out the awesome-ness here: Castle Crashers Treasury.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Holiday Season is Almost Upon Us!

Also, hat season! My busy-ness has only increased for some reason as the year starts to wind down. Weddings, wedding gigs, holiday photoshoots, and hat orders galore. :)

Currently, when not working, I'm working on revamping my Castle Crashers Knight hat. When I first wrote the pattern, I had never made a hat before. I also hadn't written many patterns at that point. And I have made slight modifications almost every time I have made another hat for someone on Etsy... the eyes and "knobs" in particular.

I was also inspired to make some hats of animal orbs from CC, though unfortunately I haven't made any yet as the person who wanted Rammy changed their mind. :( BUT that doesn't mean I won't be coming up with some more patterns for them!

I imagine this post is a bit boring and I apologize for that! I'll blame my busy few months some more and the cold that I'm getting over. ;P

Something else to look forward to: some dog toy patterns and probably a sweater/hoodie or two. I intend to make some things to donate to a local shelter AND I'll have some Italian Greyhounds to design for soon! Our friends are moving back with their dogs who are used to Phoenix winters and will likely enjoy some sweaters! :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Star Lights

Solar Star Lights from
Two posts in as many days? What?! :P

I have been trying to find another light source for our living room for awhile now and haven't been having much luck. Right now, we have 4 star paper lanterns up in the corner above the couch (hanging from the ceiling), but the room is pretty good sized and really needs more light than that. We often turn on the light above our stairs (which is on the opposite side from the stars) when we need more light, but that only sort of works.

We also don't have a lot of wall to our living room since the downstairs floor plan is fairly open. Something on the ceiling might be nice, but we have about 6 feet of lower ceiling and then it's a really, really high ceiling for the rest of the room. It would also potentially be costly to do something like recessed lighting, besides the time and effort it would require.

White Organza Star String Lights on Amazon
I'm considering putting some strands/strings of lights up on the one wall to solve this problem, but don't want anything boring or too low so that people would potentially hit their heads ('cause neither of those sound desirable, right?). I came across some star-shaped lights via google. Now, the ones I found are actually solar and for outdoors (obviously :P). Which I now also really want 'cause they would be a fabulous light source for our deck, which is another place I'm looking to glam up.

Continuing my search a bit, I looked on Amazon for some star lights. I found these: White Organza Star String Lights. Now I like those too! Not for outdoors, obviously, but they're cute for indoors, no? But I can't help but think that I could probably make something like those. They are, after all, just organza on frames covering lights. (Just got an idea to, if I attempt this, make some ornaments like those too 'cause that would be pretty neat!). Maybe use something like pipe cleaners, floral stems or toothpicks for the frame...
Ben Light's Star Light Minis

And from that, I went to searching along the lines of "DIY star lights" and came upon This Blog Post (modhomeecteacher at about making star light covers out of manila envelops, which was nabbed from, which posted from's article about making paper stars for Christmas ornaments (okay, I imagine that was a bit exhausting to read, but I wanted to give those blogs credit for leading me to the tutorial!).

Ben Light's photoset on Flickr shows photos of a few stages, as well as a template to make your own. Awesome, right? And I figure any paper would likely work, not just manila envelopes. I have quite a lot of different types of paper due to my origami lucky star addiction, including some white vellum. Not only do I think they could be cool for Christmas time, but if they turn out well, they could solve the problem I have in my living room! And, really, for that matter, possibly work outside on the deck as well. Though I would probably try covering them with Mod Podge Outdoor and have them under the awning if I put them outside...

Template here
I suppose you could also modify this pattern for non-light purposes, too. And I will report back when I try any of the crafty things I've talked about here. Let me know if any of you make any attempts! I'd love to see them!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My first "real" wearable!

I have made my first wearable! (hats, scarves and fingerless gloves don't count :P). I had been wanting to make a baby shrug for awhile now but had been intimidated by the patterns I found. But I wanted to give Kami something handmade for her first birthday (her other gifts being books) and had already made her plenty of hats and an afghan.

LionBrand's Flutter Baby Top
So I made the pattern on LionBrand's site for the Flutter Baby Top (ravelry link). It took me about 5.5-6 hours to finish, but was pretty easy to make. I imagine if I was making it for a smaller baby it would have taken 4.5-5 hours instead, but I made the 12-24 mos size (I hope it fits her! You never really know without measuring).

You work it up in practically one piece, which is really nice. And I will be using that "style" of making shrugs & sweaters as a foundation for others as well! I imagine you can pick any stitch and work it up in the same way and get some fun shrugs.

I've otherwise been working on some granny squares for Share a Square. I didn't make the first deadline, but will probably send the 15 I have out tomorrow anyway since it seems they're short. :(

Friday, August 12, 2011

Share a Square

It's been a busy month! (I feel like I've been saying that in nearly every post... But it really has been a busy YEAR for me for some reason!). I just finished up 11 Hello Kitty amigurumi and 5 Keroppis for Kami's birthday party next week, so that's a load off. Plus, I had photos from a wedding I shot last month to go through and edit - another huge load off my shoulders.

Now, I have a Rammy hat to make, a cupcake hat, and an owl hat. And, naturally, I'm busy with all of this when I discover "Share a Square" (Facebook, Ravelry), this fantastic group of crocheters who make hundreds and hundreds of granny squares and give the afghans made from them to children who have cancer. I really, really want to make some squares and send them, but I haven't got the time right now. :( First deadline is 8/26, which I likely won't make, but there is a second deadline 10/26 that I'm hoping to be able to make. It's really awesome to see all of these people working together to do something special for these kids and who doesn't want to be a part of that?

So anybody who crochets, or knows someone who crochets, check out those links and see about sending some granny squares! Every square counts! And not only is it a nice way to do something for someone else, but a great way to use up that Red Heart Super Saver yarn that you have from when you first started to crochet and have since moved on to softer fibers. ;)
Some fun smiley face granny squares made by crochetdiva on

I actually found the Share a Square group on Ravelry while looking around at fun granny square patterns. That smiley face one by SmoothFox is pretty cute and seems like it would be simple to make. Find her pattern (for free) on Ravelry here (but remember that SaS squares need to be 6x6 and not 7x7!).
Made by Petra Kotrysova

Besides the smiley face, I also really like this Hello Kitty granny square. It's one I imagine a lot of people haven't seen before and would be happy to see in their afghan (or bag or scarf or hat or...).

And, lastly for today, here's one that I would obviously like: SmoothFox's Star Square. It isn't free, but it's only $2.50, which is a fair price, I think. I definitely intend to crank out a few of those to spread the star love, haha. And I have some Red Heart SS from a friend who gave up crocheting that will work perfectly. :)

Now I wonder if I could come up with some granny square patterns... Maybe something nerdy?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A bit of everything...

Wicket making friends with another small dog at the Simi Dog Park
It's been one of those months where I look back and think "What exactly did I DO this month?" and mostly I just remember hanging out with people and taking Wicket to dog parks and such. I know I must have done more since it seems I was so busy, but it's a bit of a blur (and no, I wasn't drinking - much! :P).

I did list some things on ebay, deciding to branch out from just friends/friends of friends & etsy, so there's something.

And I worked on some Monkey hats! I made one intending to give it to my nephew, but then realized he probably already has one and then decided it would be cool to gift to Kami. :) And then I 'had' to make one for Hannah too ('cause, y'know, one cute baby in a monkey hat is great and TWO cute babies in monkey hats is SUPER great!). I also want to make some pacifier plush and intended to send a plush banana with the monkey hat, so I have one of those lying around now, unloved. Will have to do something about that!

Monkey and Banana (and the banana is a rattle!)
Just in case anyone is wondering, I do have this hat up for sale here on Etsy. :)

I have also been working on some designs for other animals because it's really just too fun. Unfortunately, it's not really beanie weather though, as it's now July and 90+ degrees (F). Bah! It's fun coming up with (mostly just drawn out) designs, though. I can't begin to explain just how happy I am that I can not only READ and FOLLOW crochet patterns now, but I can write them too. When I was in my late teens, I was always intimidated by all the abbreviations and terms and didn't even do more than a single crochet stitch and rectangular things. Now, I'm able to visualize what stitches and such work best to create a variety of shapes. :)

Some time has also been spent coming up with baby geekery because I'm really not sure there is ENOUGH baby stuff for the geeks & nerds of the world out there. And that just ain't right.

Oh, that's something else crafty I did this past month! I went through our wedding photos and some other photos and got prints! (it's only been 2 years now...) And I intend to mount some of them on wood and frame the bigger ones (will post how the wood mounting works out!). It was helpful to compare a professional quality 8x10 to a Costco 8x10 too. Costco's are pretty damn good, just FYI. The Bay Photo print looked incredible, but the differences were the type that could 1: be improved by editing just a bit differently and 2: barely discernible without looking for the differences with another photo right beside it. And for the difference in cost (a 20"x30" was $8.99 at Costco... 8"x10" was $1.50 versus $3-4... 4"x6" was $0.13 versus $0.25), I'm not sure how often I'll get the smaller prints anywhere but Costco.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

New Baby Hat Design - Fox

I have a few designs sketched out for various types of hats and finally had the chance to crochet one. :) I give you, the baby fox:

This hat is available in my etsy shop and can be made to order. :)

I have also made several more "newsies" hats in a variety of colors and textures. Pattern for this hat is available on Ravelry.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Store review, non-acrylic yarn

I think I've mentioned it here before that I wanted to try to experiment with other types of yarn (I generally stick with acrylic and dabble with cotton occasionally). Well, after searching for quite awhile on the internet, I found a site that had a pretty good deal on bamboo yarn (eco-friendly, anti-bacterial, soft - win-win-win!), They have a couple of types of bamboo yarn for $8.99/3 balls or 1 ball for $3.99. The variety of colors is nice, the site's navigation it easy, and they processed and shipped my order pretty quickly. I recommend them if you're looking for an easy to work with vendor!

I have yet to actually work with the yarn as it's always difficult for me to use up something cool that I have (seriously, it's silly, but it's the "But if I use it for X, what if I want to use it for Y instead? I won't have any if I use it!" type of thinking). It is pretty ridiculously soft and silky though and seems to be pretty durable.

And I just ordered some huge cones of cotton yarn off eBay in neutral-ish colors, tobacco, crocodile and pink (which is a very, very pale pink). 8lbs of cotton yarn is coming my way from NC! :) I look forward to making baby hats with them, as well as some other things.

A couple of weeks ago, I broke down and ordered from Ugh. Anyone who has ever ordered from them knows how LONG it takes for them to process even the simplest of orders. But I like their Sensations Rainbow yarns and couldn't get some of the colors in-store. At least I got free (turtle-slow) shipping and didn't have to pay the outrageous fees they charge!

Sorry that this post is a bit boring. Since finishing up the owl hats I needed to finish late last week, it's been a whirlwind of activity over here! I finally got to meet my cutie-pie nephew and hung out with my SIL & her husband a bunch while they were in town, as well as seeing some friends who just recently moved back from out of the country... And I was a crochet fiend Saturday night trying to finish up some play food for my friends' daughter, Emma (cupcakes, fried eggs, a couple more cookies). Naturally, I can't find my 32oz bag of polyfill, which I needed for the cupcakes, so I had to run to Joann and grab another (40% off coupon FTW!).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

PATTERN: Stargazer Lily-esque Flower

Inspired by all the crochet flowers I've seen on Pinterest and wanting to make some flowers for a friend's daughter, I made some stargazer lily-esque flowers. :) I made this first one in purple because it's my friend's favorite color AND because I had both next to me after finishing another friend's purple owl hat.
Stargazer Lily
Center: 12 sc into magic circle (could also ch2, 12 sc into 2nd ch) Fasten off.
Inside of petals:
Attach yarn to 2nd st of circle, ch10. Fasten off.
Attach yarn to 4th st of circle, ch10. Fasten off.
Continue attaching yarn to every other st of circle, ch10. Fasten off.
Outside of petals:
Attach yarn to first st of magic circle.
2: Sl st into 2nd st (where your inner petal is), tr 3 times into ch, dc 2 times, hdc 3 times, sc into next, sl st into end, sc into next, hdc 3 times, dc 2 times, tr 3 times, sl st into base of petal, sc into magic circle.
Rep 2 for all petals, sl st to join.

I used a 4.5mm hook and worsted weight yarn (Red Heart Super Saver Yellow, Caron One Pound Iris, Lion Brand Pound of Love Lavender) and made a flower that is about 5" from petal tip to petal tip.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Pinterest & Fun and simple Hawaiian Flowers

So after seeing how fun and useful Pinterest appeared when my SIL, Beth (Paired Hearts/The Wondercraft), and Jesyka (Visual Vocabulary) were using it, I requested an invite of my own. 24 hours or so later, I was invited to join. It's a fantastic tool to organize inspiration boards of images! Where was it 2.5+ years ago when I was planning my wedding and had to create folders on my computer to organize images (favors, hairstyles, wedding dresses, etc.)?!

I've been enjoying creating boards and pinning things, like inspiration for crochet projects, design ideas for the house, "No Evil" figurines (I collect them), photos of wolves I like... I sent my husband an invitation to join too, and he's enjoying using it for things like design ideas for painting miniatures (D&D, tanks, etc.), reference photos for work/other projects. All in all, it's pretty darn cool!

And you can follow others' boards when you find people who have (a) board(s) you enjoy.

So, while I was looking in Google images for cool crochet things, I found these Hawaiian Flowers by Sarah London (and her blog, which has been added to the list of blogs I will follow!). She added the pattern in 4 parts as a mystery motif, but I've grabbed each of those and you can find them below.
Note: ***NOT MY PATTERN***
Written in British/Australian crochet, so double crochet is the American single crochet, etc.

Hawaiian Flowers by Sarah London
Chain 1, work 12 double crochet into ring, join with a slip stitch into first double crochet.
Fasten off.

Join a new colour into any double crochet, chain 1, work 1 double crochet  into the same stitch, * work 1 double crochet into the next stitch, chain 11, 1 double crochet into the same stitch, work 1 double crochet into the next stitch, chain 1, 1 double crochet into the next stitch, repeat from * around, omitting last 1 double crochet into the next stitch and join with a slip stitch into the first double crochet.

Join a new colour into any double crochet, chain 1, work 1 double crochet  into the same stitch, * work 1 double crochet into the next stitch, chain 11, 1 double crochet into the same stitch, work 1 double crochet into the next stitch, chain 1, 1 double crochet into the next stitch, repeat from * around, omitting last 1 double crochet into the next stitch and join with a slip stitch into the first double crochet.

Work a round of double crochet in a contrasting colour as such:
Work 9 double crochet up one side of the petal, chain 3, work 9 double crochet down the other side of the petal, work 1 double crochet into chain 1 space of round two, continue around, join with a slip stitch to end.
Fasten off.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Softening Acrylic Yarn... Can It Be Done?

Now, before I begin, I should say that I generally steer clear of acrylic yarn that is scratchy or otherwise unpleasant for my projects, even amigurumi. However, there are those times when you need a particular color that just can't be found in any other type than Red Heart Super Saver (for less than $way-too-much).

I've looked before and seen things like "run it through the washer/dryer with fabric softener" and "it can't be done!". I've tried the fabric softener trick and it made my project smell like fabric softener (bah) and didn't necessarily soften it much. Recently, I have encountered the suggestion of using shampoo and/or conditioner.

Fortunately, I found some Red Heart Super Saver that was soft enough (it does depend on the colorway and lot for some reason), but I intend to try some of the scratchy stuff I've received from friends & eBay lots and see how well it works!

UPDATE: I hand-washed a skein and a swatch of Red Heart Super Saver yarn in white with shampoo (Suave Tea Therapy or some such... cheap stuff I happened to have and not use) and conditioner (Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Moisturizing Conditioner 23 fl oz (700 ml)). The end result was significantly softer yarn. I'm definitely not saying it rivaled some of the softer yarn I've bought, but it did get rid of most of the crunchiness. The annoying part was drying it though. I ran it on medium heat in my dryer for about 45 minutes and it was still quite moist. Air drying is the way to go, I think.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm free!! Well... mostly.

This past week and a half has been an especially busy one for me, but now I feel like I can relax a bit more. Last night This morning, I folded my last origami lucky star for my clients, Simon & Becky. I have been folding 600-700 stars a day for the past 10 days to get them done asap, which meant staying up until the sun came up, sleeping for 5-6 hours, and starting up again (with a few breaks for eating, showering, and taking care of my dog, Wicket).
My 10lb shih tzu, Wicket, standing on the papason
chair with the 20,000 stars

The 20,000 stars took up a lot more room than I originally thought they would (I assumed they would fit in a Large Flat Rate Box from USPS), the 40 tightly-packed ziploc bags filled with 500 stars taking up 10"x19"x19". Fortunately, I found the nearest to perfect box I think I could find in our garage; It was 12"x19"x19" and I am so glad I happened to save it! This morning, 9lbs and 14oz of box & stars were picked up by my mail carrier and off they went. And for only $15! :)

I realize this isn't crochet related, so my apologies for that. But I am SO RELIEVED to be done with those! I have really been wanting to work on some designs for baby hats and such and I couldn't when I had that massive order to fill. I think it goes without saying that I won't be folding any origami lucky stars again for awhile, haha. It is fun that I can now say I've folded well over 40,000 stars in my lifetime though (I've previously had several "large" orders of 4,000-6,000, plus the 6,000+ stars I folded for my own wedding, plus the dozens of smaller 100-2,000 orders).

But there is no rest for the wicked, apparently. ;) I received an order for another Castle Crashers hat a couple of days ago (it's so fun to be global... my creations crossing the ocean is just too awesome!), and a friend of a friend wants a set of owl hats. And then I need to talk to my SIL about possibly selling hats through her business, which means making "stock" (plug for especially anybody in Austin, TX: The Wondercraft. They have a boutique run out of a fantastically renovated Airstream trailer. :) Oh, and SIL's direct shop: Paired Hearts. She is an awesome artist and is fantastically stylish!).

I also received a very generous gift of a sewing machine from my MIL, Sally, for my birthday! It arrived yesterday and I'm excited to play around with it (I've never owned a sewing machine myself, having just used my mom's when I was younger). Fun little anecdote about that: She saw that I had a sewing machine on my Amazon Wish List and wanted to get me one that was a bit nicer. Apparently, Grandma Bilodeau (Sally's MIL) gave Sally her sewing machine 30 years ago and so Sally wanted to go with tradition and give HER daughter-in-law a sewing machine. Cute, right? I'll definitely be keeping that tradition going, though I've got a few decades yet before I can, haha. :)

 Y'know, I think I've just decided I need to change this blog a bit. I am so much more crafty than just crochet. And I want a place to blog about ALL my craftiness without being OT.

Friday, April 22, 2011

More baby hats! Plus PATTERN: Bunny hat

I believe the last thing I was talking about making on here was the owl hat I was making for Kami. Well, I finished it! I was able to give it to her last week while at a friend's bridal shower.

Pretty sure I mentioned that it was inspired by another designer's hat, which is why I don't really feel right posting the pattern (I don't know how close it is to hers - I don't know what hers looks like - but I did look at photos of her design and try to create a pattern using it). There were some aspects of it that I really, really liked and will be mimicking in other hats, like the braids on the earflaps (made shorter for little ones just in case!) and the cute bits hanging off the ears.

Of course, it all helps that Kami is just so darn adorable. I mean, look at that little face! :)

I also made a little pink bunny hat with a face on it for my other friend's newborn daughter, Hannah, but didn't get a photo of it (yet? hehe). And... then I made another one, out of cotton this time, for my nephew, Orion. It's pretty simple, as one would expect a bunny hat to be, but I like how it turned out!

You can get the pattern at a discount if you like my facebook page and then click here (Regular Price is $1.30, Discount makes it $1):

Friday, March 25, 2011

Crochet Pattern Organization

I have no idea how everyone else organizes their patterns (maybe just on computers?), but I wanted to share my way. :)

For months (like, 12!), I was storing my favorite patterns on my kindle, mostly in PDF form. But the text of the PDFs was always too small, so I had to turn my kindle horizontal. Plus, at the time, the kindle didn't have their "collections"/folder option, so it was a PITA to organize them with all of my other ebooks. I also have a "Crochet Patterns" folder on my laptop where I have them saved into categories. And, of course, there is Ravelry.

But, and maybe I'm just old-school, I do enjoy having things like patterns in physical form. It's nice to be able to flip through my patterns and especially nice for when I don't have access to power (e.g. when the power went out last year while I was crocheting some play food and my laptop battery was crap and would die after 10 minutes without being plugged in and my kindle wasn't charged...).

So, how do I organize my patterns?
In this:
My crochet pattern binder!
It's a smaller 2" binder, measuring in at about 7" x 8" that I picked up at Office Depot for about $4. I'm still trying to figure out what type of cover I want for it, so excuse it's boring blue-ness! Inside, I have a bunch of those free patterns you can grab at Joann and Michael's and some 5"x7" and 5"x8" index cards where I print out or write out patterns.
Pocket has lined paper for notes & lists
(back pocket has free patterns that are for knitting - inspiration, mostly)
My "Home/Kitchen" section

My "Holiday" section, shown to show the design I use for the index cards
I only just today added the tabs! My binder was a mess before, but I hadn't found any dividers that would work all that well (A-Z is pretty useless). My index cards are the larger ones too, so I had to find something larger than them while small enough to fit my binder.

A project that I can't WAIT to finish so that it gives me more free time is an order I am fulfilling for 20,000 origami lucky stars. I'm about 8,000 stars in now, but I need to devote about 4 straight hours a day to folding them, minimum (that's about 500 stars a day). Why am I mentioning this here? Well, I ordered the paper from a printer (no way was I printing 500 sheets of paper here at home! WAY cheaper and faster to use a professional). And I had that paper pre-cut to be 5.5"x8.5". Ever 100 sheets of paper, there were cardboard sheets. Not only am I able to upcycle them, but they were just about the perfect size!

So I opened up photoshop and quickly made some colorful tabs with the sections I figured I'd need and printed them out onto an index card that hadn't printed correctly (yay for more recycling). Cut those out and taped them onto the dividers (glue would have likely been better, but I wasn't that patient). And voila!
That last one, Afghans, was one that I sort of forgot about when I was designing...
So it gets the handwritten treatment!
I want to do something with the blah brown-ness of the cardboard, but, like the blueness of the cover, it's got to wait until I decide what I want to do with it. I'll probably just cover the cardboard with scrapbook paper on the fronts.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why are baby's hats so darn fun to make?

I've finally started on the Owl hat my friend wanted for her daughter, inspired by one she found online. I have several photos to go by and am really trying to recreate the hat as best I can. So far, I think I've done pretty darn well! And I'm not sure that it makes sense that people are trying to sell patterns for similarly designed hats for $5-10! IMO, patterns should only be sold if they required a bunch of frogging to design/create because, otherwise, it was easy enough to figure out that most anyone should be able to do it! If one really wants to charge for their pattern and it's pretty easy, make it a couple bucks at most! Or, at least, allow people to sell items they create with the simple pattern if you must charge them $10 for it.

I don't mean to be a tease, but I'll post my pattern (for free) when I am done and can post some photos along with it. Stay tuned!

Also on the agenda, a couple of stegosaurus hats for etsy customers. It's seemingly a hit among moms with boys, despite it being pretty darn cute on little girls too! (if a dinosaur can be blue and orange, why can't it be pink and purple?). I'm working on a green one with dark brown plates (spikes?) and then on to a light green hat with orange plates. Hmm, green seems to be the color of choice.

When I'm done with these, I'm totally itching to come up with some more! I want to make a bee hat and a flower hat, but will likely need to start focusing more on just bunny hats first. Fortunately, baby hats work up pretty quickly (2-3 hours for me, generally), but I still need to figure out colors and such! I also imagine that most people would prefer natural fibers to acrylic (honestly, I would LOVE to be able to  work basically solely with fibers like bamboo and silk, but it's just too $$$ :( ), so I will probably look into at least getting some more Peaches & Creme yarn in colors other than ombres and white & ecru.

Speaking of cotton yarn - anyone out there have any luck dying it? A few months ago, I wanted to see about naturally dying cotton yarn with things like dandelions & strawberries, but never got around to trying it.

Also, how about "tarn" (yarn made from t-shirts)? I have a rotary cutter and a self-healing mat and am itching to try to make some, but don't really have any shirts I want to cut up! (unfortunately, we've donated quite a few of my husband's old t-shirts over the years!) I guess I need to hit up some garage sales and thrift stores to find some...