Friday, December 31, 2010

My Stuff has NEVER made it to Alaska before!

I love to make crochet items for people I know. 

And, let's be honest,

I'm also quite fond of making crochet items that then sell for cold hard cash.

So, when those two loves intersected recently, it was a lovely late Christmas present for me.

Monday night, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine.  I met her through my husband, (she and her husband had been friends with my Eric for years and years) and liked her immediately.  The limited interaction that I had with her convinced me that she was "my kind of person", but it took awhile for us to get around to lining up our schedules to actually spend some time together.  (Interestingly enough, the catalyst for all that was when we found each other's respective blogs and started commenting there.) Over the summer, we were able to get to know each other more, and I found that I enjoyed her company every bit as much as I had thought I would. 

And then, as things go sometimes, she moved across the country, from Utah to Michigan, and now we interact mostly through our blogs again.

So, when I got an e-mail from her regarding this scarf, which she wished to purchase for her sister-in-law (in Alaska!), it was a real treat for me. 

Then, when I woke up the next morning to find that she had written about the scarf on her "write-about-one-good-thing-about-every-day" blog, it was like Christmas morning all over again. 

Yet another example of how crocheting brings good things to my life. 

(Thanks, Heather.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Yarn Review--Red Heart Super Saver

salu 12-10

Let me just say that, I love Red Heart Super Saver yarn for afghans.  Furthermore, I have yet to find a more economical yarn than Red Heart Super Saver.  But, that age-old adage definitely applies here, and when you buy Super Saver yarn, you get what you pay for.

To illustrate and just for fun, I'll share a little exchange my husband and I had a week or so ago.  We were running errands together around town.  I had just dropped off some mustaches that I'd made up, and in the exchange, I'd picked up some more yarn from my supplier.  As I brought it back to the car, Eric picked it up, felt the softness of it, and said, "So this is what you use for the mustaches huh?  It's pretty soft."  Then, with surprise, "Oh, it's red heart."

To which I replied, pointing to the label, "It's red heart soft.  The red heart I usually use is red heart sandpaper." 

All joking aside though, I use Super Saver yarn for the vast majority of my afghans (though I use it for none of my baby blankets).  Super Saver comes in a full rainbow of colors, you absolutely can't beat the price, and although the texture is a little rough when compared to many of the other yarn options out there, I've found that once I've washed any of my super saver afghans a time or two, they soften up considerably. 

In short, Super Saver yarn is very welcome in my yarn stash, and at a price of around $2 for a giant no-dye-lot 8 oz skein, it's my go-to yarn for any of my big afghan projects. 

Here are some of the deets:

Type: Red Heart Super Saver
Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic
Weight: Worsted Weight
Care Instructions: Machine wash warm; tumble dry; do not bleach; do not iron; dry cleanable
Places you can purchase this yarn:  Pretty much anywhere.  I tend towards Wal-Mart, just because that's where I find the best price. 
Price: Around $2 to $2.50 per 8 oz skein

And because I get a kick out of seeing them all together, here's a little collage of some of the afghans I've made using Red Heart Super Saver yarn:
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Monday, December 20, 2010

just one of the perks

Last Sunday, I got a little treat.  
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A little over a year ago, I gave one of my neighbors a sweater and hat set just like this for her soon to be born baby girl.


Remembering how quickly infants grow, and how they spend most of their time covered up with blankets anyway, I purposely made the set in the 12-18 month size, figuring that it would fit the baby perfectly the next time winter came around.

(That would be now.)

So, you can imagine my joy when last Sunday, as I was sitting in church waiting for our services to start, I looked back and saw this mother carrying her almost one-year-old baby who just happened to be wearing "my" hat and sweater.  It was the first time I'd seen it on her, and I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say that she looked absolutely adorable.

Yet another reason I love to crochet.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I found my round tuit

Remember when I wrote that I was going to decorate my toddler's room with a bunch of beautiful Waldorf stars that I acquired by trading my crochet things?

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Well, I did it. 

I used fishing wire, and hung the stars from different lengths around the curtain rod.  I absolutely love the effect, and now being in that room is even more of a pleasure now than it was before.


Friday, December 10, 2010

It's all Grand! And it's all Green!*

My husband's favorite color is green.

(Actually, in his heart of hearts he likes black better, but that's a different story.)

So, when I got the message that I was included in this treasury and had a little look, it made me think of him.

And Christmas trees,

and spring,

and the Wizard of Oz.

Maybe green should be my favorite color too.

(but let's be honest, green will never beat out yellow for me.)

Here's the treasury:
(click on the picture to see it big and clear, and to learn more about any of the items.)

salu 12-10

*In case you were wondering, the title of this particular post comes from
the song "One Short Day", from the Broadway Musical, Wicked.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

coming soon: aunt charlotte's hot chocolate bar

I'm gearing up for my winter photo shoot for the etsy shop.

That's really just a fancy way of saying that I'm going to be seeing many of my nieces and nephews in a few weeks, and I'm going to bribe them to wear my hats and stuff while I shoot pictures of them.

Taking photos for the etsy shop is one of the banes of my existence.  (That and coming up with tags for my items.  Who's with me on this one?)  I'm not a confident photographer, and yet, I've seen firsthand that the better the picture, the more sales I get.  I've toyed with the idea of getting an arrangement with a professional photographer where he/she takes photos of my items and then I let him/her keep samples of whatever they want, and I imagine that at some point I will at least try that out.  It hasn't been my biggest priority however, and so it hasn't risen to the top of my "get this done" pile yet. 

However, last summer I tried something new.  I took a bunch of hats to our annual family reunion, and had a little photo shoot with my family members there on the mountain.  I was pleased with the results, very pleased, to be honest.


The kids enjoyed putting on the hats and posing for me, and I rewarded them with bubble wands, further cementing my "favorite-or-at-least-one-of-the-favorites" aunt status. 

So, for Christmas this year, I'm hoping to do more of the same.  Hopefully, I'll be able to convince some of my siblings and their spouses to get in on the action as well this year, since I have more grown-up accessories this time around, and I think my shop is getting a little heavy with Charlotte and Eric photos.


As for my payment/bribe/reward this time?  I think bubble wands might be a little less appreciated in December (and where would I buy them anyway?), so I'm leaning towards setting up a little hot chocolate party--with hot chocolate, whipped creme (that you spray out of the can, of course!), chocolate sprinkles, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate shavings, cinnamon, candy canes (for stirring and then flavoring the chocolate), and perhaps some (but probably not all) of what is suggested here.  Thinking back to my childhood, I'm just sure that little Charlotte would have loved to participate in something like that.  (Heck, I'm pretty sure that big Charlotte is going to love it as well!)

So, we'll see how that all comes out I guess.  At the very least, I think it will make a good memory for a group of people that I love, and whether I get some good pictures or not, a good memory is never something to take for granted, right?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I probably won't be able to send her to Harvard, but every little bit helps

I spent the weekend making this custom hat:

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. . . and a few others that are the same base color but with different flowers and trim.

I was planning to finish those up and get them photographed and posted here and on, but then on Monday, a company where I do some contract work was slammed with orders, and so I've been busy working on their inventory.  The work isn't all that creative, since I make the same item (a crochet mustache) over and over and over again, but I have to admit, it's really nice to be crocheting something for compensation without having to take pictures, choose etsy tags, write up a peppy description, post it to facebook, get an order, package it up and send it out.  Of course, the latter method is more rewarding on an internal level, but sometimes it's nice to get paid for just crocheting, without having to do all that extra stuff that goes along with the etsy shop. 


I actually have a day job where I earn part of the money that pays our mortgage and keeps our heat on, so I'm able to put any crocheting money I earn in my daughter's education fund.  It may sound weird, but I've really loved watching the balance in that account climb by $10 here and $10 there because of this little crocheting windfall.

I think back to when I was ten years old, and my mom was teaching me how to crochet by helping me make my very own manta*.  Selling my "wares" was the furthest thing from my mind back then, and probably rightly so.  Now though, thanks to the internet, and some very inventive people out in Brooklyn, NY, I can do just that.

Lucky, lucky me.

*Most people would call this a poncho, but my father always called them mantas, which is a term he picked up while he was living in Chile while he was a Mormon Missionary there. So, that's what I call them too.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Yarn Review--Caron Simply Soft

As I've thought over how I might review the yarns that I use most, I've decided to start with what is probably my very favorite yarn, in terms of value for the price, which is Caron Simply Soft.

I use Caron Simply Soft yarn for most of my children and infant hats, basic scarves, and baby blankets.  As the name implies, it's softer than many yarns, which makes it ideal for these projects.  The 6 oz skeins come with the benefit of a no dye lot option, which means I can buy them in 2-3 skeins at a time, rather than feeling the need to buy out a whole die lot anytime I'm starting a project.  Best of all, my local Wal-Mart carries it for $2.97 per skein, and will special order any colors that they don't stock, if I just call them.  (I've learned that it's best not to call in December though--those people are run ragged in December, and I end up spending a lot of time on hold.).

So, with that overview, here are some facts for the "drill down to the meat" people:

Type: Caron Simply Soft
Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic
Weight: Worsted Weight
Care Instructions: Machine wash, warm gentle cycle. Machine dry, low heat, delicate cycle
Places I've Purchased this Yarn:  Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, JoAnns, Michaels, Mary Maxim (on-line)
Price: Ranges from $3 to $5 per 6 oz skein

And, now for the more visual oriented people--here are some pictures of things I've made using this yarn:

salu 12-10

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

stars and sun on a cloudy winter day

Thanksgiving weekend was great.  I ate, laughed,played with family, and participated in a trade event on Friday and Saturday, which resulted in some really fun trades.  Rather than put up another collage of what I'm getting, I thought this time, I'd just highlight two of the trades that I'm most excited about.

I'm adding this Waldorf-inpired star to my collection.  This will be my fifth one, and I'm planning to hang them from fishing wire from the curtain rods in my little girls room.  Originally I was planning to attach them to the window, but we've been in cold/flu/cough mode around here, which is also humidifier/vaporizer mode, which means that the windows in the bedrooms have a fair amount of condensation on them.  So, I'm thinking that hanging from the curtain rod is a better plan than trying to stick to the window.  I'm hoping to get that project done this weekend, so perhaps I'll have pictures to show off soon.  We'll see.

Waldorf Star made and sold by Harvest Moon by Hand

Next is this lovely dress, made and sold by SewOriginal.  I'll be getting it in a size 3T, in hopes that when it gets warm enough around here to wear a fun springy dress, my little girl will be just the right size for this one. 
Sew fun!
(I know, my puns are just amazing, aren't they?)

As for crocheting, I've been working on some Christmas gifts for my sister (as in, my sister is giving them to some of her in-laws).  Hats & scarves mainly.  As I've been putting together the color combinations and sizes that she needs, I've been making a few extra of each (with some variances for colors) to list in the etsy shop.  I've found that some of my most popular items have been things that I've created based on specific requests from customers or family.  Win/Win!

So that's what I've got for today.  I'm hoping to do a post with some brief yarn reviews soon, listing some of my favorite yarns, and what I use them for.  So, you'll definitely want to stay tuned for that.