Invincible! – Well, Almost

Excited, that’s what I am. I had two sales this week. I sold two purses that were a special order..that’s two wonderful things in one sweet package.

Two of the five bling purses I had for sale are gone off to someone who wants them..asked for them..requested them.

Two sales is good and when someone asks you to do something specific for them that raises you to the level of couture: you will so have to make an appointment to speak with me in the future – unless you become one of my posse, my crew, my entourage.

Even if you don’t sell your stuff, it’s really nice to have people ask you to make something for them. Especially if you’re a knitter and you’re going to have a stockpile of things – because that’s what happens when you knit: things get made. It’s good to have a place other than your own to put them. It is that much sweeter when someone is really to give you some legal tender.

Of course, that comes with responsibility – I will soon be posting an interview I did with someone on Etsy who – get this – has had multiple sales every day for more than a month. You read right, EVERY DAY, multiple sales – as in more than one, more than two. Looking at her shop and reading her interview has given me some ideas to help boost my sales as well as promote the handmade movement. (You know i multi-task whenever I can!)

The interview will be up on this site in short order and I am sure you will find Leanna just as inspiring, creative and modest as I do. In the meantime, my day is pretty clear except I am going to tackle the stash in my office. It’s down to three boxes – remember it was about six – I am going to try and get it down to (gulp) zero to one and that one box will go in the basement with the rest of the stash. I know, I dream big.

Just Another Manic Monday – The Chicago Top Ten

The talent continues here in Chicago – good thing because the only way a Chicago sports teams can win a game is by playing each other. Nice to know we have other artisans who aren’t letting us down. Without further ado (and in no particular order) – this week’s Chicago Top Ten:

MId-Century Mod Clock by Chicagoish
Paris Clock Musee D’Orsay by Rebecca Plotnick
Noctuna Chicago Earrings by Toujours Tu
Chicago Marshall Field’s Earrings by Ambient Light Photo
Sitting Pretty by Little Lady Company
Need More Yarn Pls by Knitoramaa
MIdnight Blue Studded Sack by rjeanmarie
Mocha Cappuccino Soy Teacup Candle by ecram1
Margarita Lime and Sea Salt Soap by Epically Epic Soap
Immaculate Madeline by DueSorelle

There’s art, something knitting related (purely coincidental, I assure you) spa products, and jewelry. There’s some really interesting stuff out there. If you want to give someone a shout out, send me a note and I will take a look at their shop for a possible mention. Gotta give a shout out to the locals that will make my shopping easier for me and easier on the environment!

It’s been a rough week. The list of celebrities who left us was long and if you live in Chicago, we have to add John Calloway to the list. Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Billy Mays and John Calloway – There is an interviewer, a sidekick, a promotions person, an actor and a singer.
There’s a new show in Heaven.

A Lot of Things Different

So yesterday I went on…and on…about trying some new things. I was going to do the yarn dyeing and I was going to try my hand again at making stitchmarkers this time making them with Mr. Honey because he likes that kind of thing.

Well, maybe he doesn’t. I’ll tell you all about it right after this photo of the end results:


It started out innocently enough. I made a very good dinner and asked him if he wanted to see the idea of the stitchmarkers I had and he came bac
k with ‘sure.’ So, I showed him and showed him the part I needed his help on. He made one and looked as if he wasn’t happy with it and then I asked him: “Would you like to see the written instructions?” Oh, the look.

What? I didn’t mention there were written instructions?

I printed them out and he read them over and made some grunts and noises and we put together a couple of markers he announced it was frustrating and since this was ‘my thing’ it wasn’t a frustration he needed.

How could I have been so wrong? Perhaps, I wasn’t. Read on.

I certainly understood the frustration and so I asked him to just talk me through it and I would learn the part that was giving me fits.
He did that….after making about four more markers.

Huh?

Mr. Honey (and other Mr. Honeys around the globe, I suspect) has this habit of making noise about something being frustrating or hard or something other than the easiest thing in the world and when given the choice to leave it alone, will not leave it alone less their card and membership from the Testosterone Club for Real Men be revoked. When I reached for the tools he moved them away from me and gave the gruff order for me to ‘start lining up words.’

Of course I did what I was told and it was maybe twenty minutes later he showed me his tricks and left me with the instructions to do ten more before I came to bed.

I did my before bed homework and when I came downstairs, he was at the table tidying up those that I left imperfect. He had split the pile in two: acceptable and not so much and declared when he went to the Testosterone Temple (Menards) on the morrow, he would get me a set of the proper tools I needed and one of those trays where I could keep my beads and supplies in order.

So what will happen with the completed stitchmarkers? The ones declared really good will go on sale in the shop. The ones that are flawed will go on sale in the shop as flawed with a price reduction – because Mr. Honey’s definition of flaw means he didn’t do it himself and he could tell mine from his. My definition is: None of them will snag yarn, they are fully functional, the wire is not as pretty. And they will be called Mr. Honey Stitchmarkers. He got a kick outta that. Get this, he thinks we should offer to personalize them.hu

Do I know my Mr. Honey or what?12804

In The Early Morning Rain

I am not disciplined about much. My discipline tends to come for exactly as long as it take to accomplish my goal and then leaves. Since my new goal is to not have to dip into the funds controlled by Mr. Honey and to rely on myself – I think I will have to be disciplined for quite some time. Part of that discipline is to spend the first hour of every day promoting Knitter’s Restaurant and also designbcb on Etsy.

Now, I have to do this while remembering and staying true to the main purpose: whatever else this might be to someone else, it is a knitting blog to me. So, whatever else is going on in terms of ad space and sales and all that stuff – within these frames it’s just you and me and that craft we love so well.

It is with that in mind that I make my confession:
I’m thinking I want to give dyeing yarn another shot.
I’m going to make some more stitch markers.

I know, these confessions will not stop the world except for the teeny-weenie little fact that I have no talent in these areas. My first hand at dyeing everything I dyed turned out to be orange – even if it was supposed to be pink.

And in the world of stitch marker, I can pull together some pretty ones, but I can’t handle the little tools to make the wire part look pretty.
But, I have a plan to improve my skills:
I will stick with single colors and just hope for some natural variations – after all, not everything is supposed to be variegated.
Mr. Honey has agreed to do the little detailed stuff on the stitch markers. He loves doing that kind of detailed stuff so he gets to have some fun with me. Since this is part of the goal that will keep my hands out of the combined till, he’s happy to help. (it’s not that I’m high maintenance – I am so not – but he’s much more…frugal…than I am. I’m only frugal about yarn. He’s frugal about EVERYTHING!)

But I am going to give them both another shot. Who knows? It could be another bridge to the shop but it definitely is another pathway to fun – and if your business can’t be fun, maybe it shouldn’t be your business.
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Unconditional Love


Are you like this? You get so excited when you start a project and you can’t wait to see how it turns out, but then you get to almost the end and you just want it to be over? Or, you start another project before you finish the current one and when you get back to the second project – you’re not as excited about it as you were?

Tell me, it’s not just me. Who wants to be alone in that? I finished ‘the color purple’ afghan – which is my name for it, not the name of the pattern. If you know someone who really (i mean really) loves purple. Then this is for them. I was so excited to get this off the needles. I don’t know why. It wasn’t as if it took that long. I started after we came back from St. Louis and finished it early this morning. But that’s just how I get – I am glad to see them come and go. There are some afghans I make that I’m very sad to see go – I must make one of those for myself so the separation anxiety isn’t so bad.

This is what I’m working on now. I put it on the needles sometime last week and I (obviously) haven’t touched it since. I shouldn’t say I’m not excited about it – cuz the more I look and feel the softness of the yarn (I Love This Yarn) the more I want to stop writing and go work on it. The pattern is pretty interesting as well. The only question is whether I have enough of this color yarn to make it. I might be a little short on it – oh my, I may need to go to Hobby Lobby – gracious me, whatever shall I do?

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Tribeca! – WWKIP – The Yarn Store

Warning: this post can cause a yarn orgasm – I’m just saying!

Get something to drink. This will take a while.

I loves me the yarn! Y’all know I don’t even have to have a reason to buy yarn, I just buy for the same reasons I buy CDs and books – I’m a little obsessive about those things that I am interested in.

One of the activities we had was a secret pal swap. We filled out a survey and it was sent to our swap partner so they could get us something from $20 -$25 and we were to exchange our gifts at dinner. My swap partner (Lynn) mentioned she wanted ‘knit jewelry’ – decorative stitch markers – so I headed over to Etsy and In Stitches and Sunnshine and purchased the following:

She got stitch marker bling! Maybe a dozen and a half stitch markers that could go on all sizes of needles. I was worried she wouldn’t like them, but she did.
On my survey, I said the only thing I was really interested in was…come on, now, take a guess, YARN. I said I would probably like either sock yarn c
uz I never buy it or perhaps a natural fiber like a bamboo, or chunky weight because I don‘t have enough of that. So I was imagining I would get one, maybe two, little skeins of yarn because it’s supposed to be $20. We were sitting at dinner – this is Lynn sitting across from me. When the time came to exchange gifts, I pulled out this pitiful looking plastic bag. Lynn, on the other hand, pulls this out:
As I explained to Mr. Honey that evening on the phone – at no time did the words ‘tote’ or ‘bag’ enter my survey (I went back and che
cked) I mentioned yarn – and it was supposed to be just $20. This is the yarn tote (that’s it’s name!!) made of corn husks and purchased from Wal-Mart. Now, I would clean Lynn’s car with my tongue just because she got me another tote bag – but
there was something inside it:
Let’s all say it together: YUUMMMMYYY! So, now not only would I clean the car – but I’d throw in the tires, too.

So, the night we arrived in St. Louis, we had an appointment to go to a LYS. I did not go. Yarn stores are not my thing-even as much as I love yarn – I tend not to want to spend a lot of money. I go t0 my LYS because I can get bamboo needles on the cheap. That first night, I spent the fours hours to myself finishing my hat, watching reruns of NCIS, and rolling around the king size bed in my hotel room.

But the next morning…the owner of Knitorius opened her shop early for us and she had some coffee (which I don’t drink) juice (which I do and did) and some of the best pastry I ever had. She also had a 15% discount on all our yarn purchases. I thought to myself I would buy maybe one little skein of yarn just so I can say I was a good sport and while everyone else was downing acrylic I would stay above the snobbery and purchase a natural fiber.
So I put this in my cart:
The room in the back of the store has all the clearance yarns (they were nice enough to tell us that, but I have a feelin
g they may hide it from the general public unless forced.)

I don’t know what you see: but I see a nice trim to a hat or pair of gloves or a shawl. It’s ribbony and soft. So, there, I should have been done. But then I sat down in the back room to finish off my hat and talk to some of my peeps and there was this cute little basket of hand dyed yarn from a loca
l fiber artist. Her label says – get this – dyeabolical yarn – isn’t that cute? There was a color scheme that caught my eye and before you know it – my first ever potential purchase of sock yarn was in my basket. It made the cut and here it is:

I should now be done…officially finished. Not only did I buy yarn at a LYS, I purchased a skein of yarn (albeit 200 yard +) for $24 and it was sock yarn – every yarn commandment I have, broken in one luscious, colorful ball. I should have left the store and gotten in the van… and that’s what I started to do – except on the way I passed these: 400+ yards of natural fiber for just $15 each. It was all I could do just walk away with these two cuz there were about 4 in the basket in some beautiful colors and I settled for these two – with no idea what I’m going to make with them, but I am almost certain it will involve a cable.

We’re not quite done yet. On the way back to Chicago, we had a White Elephant yarn swap. You put a skein of the most hideous yarn you own in a bag and put it in the pile and you select another bag someone else thinks hold the most hideous yarn they own. I did not take a photo of my hideous yarn – and it was bad – but I did take a photo of what passes for hideous to someone else – and when you see it, you’ll know right away why I am the most excited about getting it (no, it’s not Caron by the Pound or I Love This Yarn – that would have been too good): Fun Fur – in a color I already own..and a really cute skein of some other eyelash yarn. This photo does not do it justice. It is black with sparkliness in it. Again, I see cuffs to a black pair of gloves and Fun Fur scarves sell like hotcakes at our craft sales.

So here is the family portrait of my St. Louis yarn family:
Happy family – Nice Trip
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So, What’s Up With the New Look?

Here’s the deal: I’m falling in love with the business side of knitting and writing.
I have to fall in love with it because my bank account is getting lower and if I have to start in on the joint accounts, Mr. Honey is going to have a problem with it. It’s taken ten years to go through my funds and I think he’s in the habit of thinking of our money as my inheritance instead of something he needs to budget for while he’s walking the earth. So, I have to look at the background stuff.

I’ve decided to add Project Wonderful ads after weighing whether or not I wanted to sell the ads on my own. I would keep more of the money if I sold the ads myself – but that would be because I have to do all the work – including the marketing. Project Wonderful gives artisans the chance to advertise – sometimes for free and they do all the heavy lifting. I think that’s a fair trade off for the space. Leaving me more time to do writing and knitting – which is kinda the whole point.

I also like the 3 column layout. It seems more..what? Grown up? I think more grown up. But don’t worry..I’m just as immature as ever. So we’ll see how it goes. I mean, come on, I’ve already received five ads and I just put the ads up this afternoon. (If you follow my blog, grab some free ad space…if you know someone who has a shop, let them know there’s some free space available. )

I’ve also designed a cute little gift certificate and will offer them on this site for my Etsy shop. And get this – they all come with a 20% bonus – a $10 gift certificate gets $12 worth of merchandise, etc. etc. etc. That should be live in a day or two.

But now, back to the knitting–Here are the latest two babies in the stable and one of them is a special order – where they both were but, silly me, put the wrong sequins on one of the bags so I had to make another one – that’s ok, cuz it’s cute and the correct one is made – I just have taken it’s mug shot yet. Did you catch that? A special order – gads! how happy can a girl get?

Yes, I know, you still want to see the yarn and the yarn tote. It’s coming up, I promise. I am not teasing you. It’s just I’ve been doing some other stuff (like promoting the site and stuff) it will all come back to normal very soon and then you’ll see the yarn. If it’s any comfort to you, I haven’t seen it myself in almost a week and it’s right in the next room!

I’ve Been Missing You – WWKIP – Part II

I know you’re really anxious to see the yarn I purchased when I was in St. Louis as well as the yummy yarn I received from my swap pal – Lynn – and it is gorgeous! But before you think I have turned my back on my trusted, tried and true acrylic yarn, I want to show you the hat I made. I started it at about 1am the morning I left and finished it in the yarn shop Sunday afternoon. I would have finished it on Saturday, but I forgot my darning needle and Mary Ann was good enough to let me borrow hers.

Isn’t it just the cutest thing? Acrylic yarn was talked about – and not in a good way, except by me – but when people touched the hat and remarked on how soft it was, I was proud and loud when I said ‘$2.70 a skein for over 300 yards – and it’s acrylic!’ Didn’t change anyone’s minds – but that’s ok. No one changed mine, either.

I was surprised at how quickly it came together – especially knitting cables on a fast moving train! When we pulled into the station, I knew it would be finished that day – and it would have been except, as stated, I forgot the needle. I tried to close it off by other means, but it wasn’t to be. But that’s fine. It was finished before I got back on the train and I started another project – a scarf to match the hat. But I wasn’t really feeling it and instead I started another afghan that evening. An afghan that is almost done. I also have a second afghan on another set of needles.

Guess what? I had my first special order. Someone asked me to make two different versions of my bling purses and I finished those up yesterday after doing much of the work on Sunday. I will take the photos of those. She asked for the purses to be chocolate brown – one with varied sequins and one with a corresponding sequence with the chocolate brown – I chose gold – and it is so pretty. She has a remarkable eye – I never would have thought of that combination. Can’t wait for you to see them!
1/23/04

The Calling – This Week’s Chicago Ten

It’s another Monday, so that means another round of the top ten Chicago finds from handmade artisans…so here they are – in no particular order – the ten items that caught my eye this week:

Historic Ballparks by Geministudios
Dreamscape from Life’sAnExpedition
Baha’i Temple from Liam Parkinson
Poncho from HappyKatt
Loop from Burntone
Vegan Bath Bombs from Brisil
Orange Crush from NickPaul
Night in the Forest by Fantazerova
Destash from SpinSpanSpun
Lace Hoop Earrings from Ellejewels

There are artists, knitters, spinners, glass blowers and jewelry makers on the list. No matter how big a city is, it’s amazing to find so much talent in one (albeit huge) spot. From this list of ten I could almost complete my Christmas/birthday shopping.

Side note, if you’re ever in the Chicago area, you must pay a visit to the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette. Whether or not you are a person of faith, the building is a wonder and the grounds are magnificent.

After All – Go Win Some Prizes!!

How badly do I want you – my peeps – to win prizes in the EAOC contest? I’m taking you more than half way home.
Each link in this post leads to a store you need to create the phrase that pays ‘summertime barbeque.’ All
you have to do is click the links and list the stores and submit them to Virtuous Creations at vc1@bellsouth.net. and we’ll let you know the prize you’ve won. Now the catch is, I’ve only done some of the letters you need – you need to scour the stores to get the rest, but I’ve done most of the work for you.

It can’t get much easier than that! Well, it could, but come on, you should do some of the work.

You will have to go looking through each shop and you will some great work out there – and of course, that’s the whole point of these kinds of contests – to get folks to see the work and perhaps buy a thing or two.

And there are some wonderful things to see. I cannot believe the talent out there and you won’t believe it when you see it, too. I go around saying I have only three talents: i can knit, i can write and i can sing – but wait until you see the talent shown in the shops. The jewelry, the fine art, man, God inspires! There’s pottery and bath products, too. With graduations, proms and weddings – you should make a list of the things you’ll want to buy!

I know you want to see the yarn I bought in St. Louis, especially since I spent the money I spent to buy the five skeins of yarn I usually spend to buy a little of 20 balls of yarn – but you know for me to break the rule, it had to be some kind of yarn. I think you’ll like it when you see it. You would have seen them today, but there was the mother to end all mothers of a storm today. I was out there because we had to turn on the pumps, but there was no taking photos today – even though I thought I would take one of the storm – I had to be practical and do some control so the house wouldn’t flood. As it was, I didn’t think we get the Cubs game in but the rain let up just in time. I will get the photos of the yarn and the hat up as soon as I am able.

Right now? It’s 5 in the morning and I’m going to bed. Happy hunting in the contest. I want to read that one (or more) of you won some really terrific prizes!