Sunday, October 13, 2013

No Soliciting Painted Sign

Now that school is back in session, it means that kids are being told to sell things - which means lots of door to door "will you please by this, and this, and this?" every few hours every day. Last Monday I had a breaking point - FOUR people throughout the day came to my door, trying to sell all kinds of things that I have no interest in nor the money for. It happened to be a hot day, where I wasn't fully clothed and I was feeling very pregnant, so me peeling myself off the sofa while dogs bark like crazy and rush to the door (waking my toddler in the meanwhile) just so a mom of a child could once again plead their case to me was quickly becoming very irritating.

My solution came to me in a facebook reply - that supposively, these kinds of people are supposed to listen to No Soliciting signs. Whether they would or not, I quickly decided that it was worth the chance that it would work. I took to Pinterest and decided to combine a few cute ideas, then ran out to the store and bought the supplies. Last night, while watching my way through my netflix que, I painted this up. Since I was tired and watching tv, it's clear to see that not every line is quite straight, but maybe that makes it more eye catching.

I also added "and the baby is sleeping" at the end as 1) it's already true at times and it'll be truer later and 2) most people don't want to deal with a tired mommy that just had her baby awoken by someone trying to sell her something. If you're not going to listen the rest (and the Beware of Dogs sign I have in my window) then for your own self-preservation, listen to the baby sleeping part and stay away!

Anyway, here it is, slowly being surrounded by pumpkins (I have three giant pumpkins to put out there after I carve them...probably tomorrow.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Homespun Dream's Week 6

Another week's blog post is up - matching brother hats, 2/3rds of a triplet set completed and a fuzzy baby polar bear!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

H.D.'s Week #2

Check out my new post from my newest blog - lots of pictures and an adorable little toddler "elf!":

Homespun Dream's Week #2

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

New Blog

I decided that this blog is a wee bit too crowded. Between my sewing projects, crocheting, business posts, other craft projects, cooking and baking, that it was just hectic.

I took one of those out and made a new blog for it instead. Check out the newbie blog here: Homespun Dreams and feel free to follow along!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Crafts: Growth

I just finished an order that I'm super proud of.

Not only do I love the product in person (I haven't even managed to watch this movie yet and I think these things are so freaking cute and want to make my baby one!) but I used to make adult hat versions of these early last year.

If you look at the hat item from last year and the one I just made tonight, there's a huge difference.

Last year's:
Minion Hat


Seriously?? Can you see it?

I've grown a lot as a crocheter. I've gone from something basic to something that I'm really proud of. I'm so excited to see how much growth I've gone through in a year. With each order, I get a little better. I get more creative as each week goes by. There's times where I'm laying in bed at night, all cuddled up with my pregnancy insomnia, and crochet ideas are floating through my head. How can I elevate this? How can I make this better? What stitch can I use to get the exact, very difficult, look that I want?\

This little guy just sold, he's a custom order for another little December baby (2014 kids all around the country are going to be decked out in crochet wear at this rate! For two months I've only been selling to December Baby mommies because they've kept me so busy!)

Next up on the crochet list - a quick newborn hat for my own December baby (it's true - I haven't made him any hats yet! I know, bad mommy!) and then back to the orders. The next one I'm really excited about - it's a big order including a Santa stocking cocoon, a Hungry Caterpillar set and two matching brothers' ribbed cable winter hats. This is from a customer who's bought from me twice before and keeps coming back - her baby is going to be so ready for his photoshoots!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Craft: Milestone!

Hit a huge milestone today! I just got my 17th order since joining Storenvy, and I've now crossed the $500 mark in sales! Over half of that is just since this past June, and $100 of it is just from this month. All in all I've sold over 25 hats. This isn't including the 15+ custom order requests currently sitting in the request book that I'm slowly making my way through each day.

I'm trying to keep track of how the business is going so I know how to continue to improve and what does best. So far it seems to be heading in the right direction, as it's continuing to do better all the time. I've become much more in demand, receiving custom requests multiple times each week. I'm doing well enough to make custom orders worth my while without having to raise any of my prices. My crochet items are all still under the majority of etsy prices, while having the same great quality. While I'm sure I could get even more sales on Etsy, I've decided to stay on Storenvy and do customs for now. I'm also hoping to get to a few flea markets and craft shows at some point when I have enough down time to start building stock. Right now I'm just trying to stay on top of these custom orders. I always feel like I'm falling behind no matter how fast I work! Mainly because each order includes multiple hats usually, so it takes longer to get through one and then through the next in line.

But I must say, I'm really enjoying it! While custom orders make for stressful, overwhelming moments at times, it's very satisfying. I've been getting great reviews and many of the custom orders I have now are repeat customers who were very satisfied with their other purchases from me. That means the most to me - getting repeat customers! It means that not only does my stuff look good enough to get orders, but they hold up in person and please those who are buying enough for them to continue wanting more and buying more. I've had more people sharing my business on their facebooks as well, which means my facebook site is growing in followers again as well.

My fingers are sore from working on two custom orders all day today (One that has five of the same hats and another that's a hat, diaper cover and suspenders set) but I'm sure I'll still be up a while longer working away at them! It's 1 AM now, better get back to it!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Pinterest Cooking

A quick update in some new recipes I've been trying out, courtesy  of Pinterest:
This Bacon wrapped Chicken with sour cream was pretty good. The length of cooking was a bit annoying, but it made the house smell great. The bacon, however, never got any kind of crispy due to the sour cream mixture on top, which meant eating limp bacon. It was great flavor, but really lacked texture. It was also extremely salty, between the slow cooked bacon and the cream of chicken (even with lower sodium). It was a bit like eating a flavored salt lick at times. The sour cream mixture seems off - you can't really taste the sour cream because the cream of chicken is overwhelming.
The concept of this idea is awesome, but it needs some fixing up. Next time I'd use half the cream of chicken and the same amount of sour cream. I'd put it on the bottom and sides instead of the top so at least some of the bacon has a chance to crisp up and give some texture. I'd cook it longer without the foil on. I think I'd also skip the slow cooking, since it made everything so salty and a bit mushy and cook it higher for a shorter time.
These were great. To my surprise, Bill loved them, even though they're not his typical thing to like. I figured I was making them mostly for me, because I love sandwiches that deal with french bread and tomatoes grilled up.
What I'd change about it: While the taste is great, it's lacking meat. It just seems like, with those components, there should be something meaty in it as well. I think some shredded chicken breast between the cheese and tomato would make this even better.
I made this yesterday, using mild sausage instead of spicy. It tasted really good, but it was still spicy. Not too spicy, my toddler loved it, but this preggo could not handle it and heartburn stuck with me all day. But, if I wasn't pregnant, I wouldn't change that part because it had just the right amount of kick. I could NOT find Monterey Jack cheese, so I had to use cheddar and Monterey Jack combined. While it tasted fine, I think it would have been better without the cheddar. I also would add a little something else, maybe jalapenos (obviously not while pregnant) or something with a bit of added flavor to it so it's not quite so one tone. As a whole though, this was really good and SUPER filling. We couldn't eat more than half a plate at a time and it really stuck with you heavily afterwards. It would be a great winter meal.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hat Store is back in Business and...

Last year, my hat business did quite well. In just a few months, I had about 400 followers and made about $250. Not bad for just starting out. But when I got pregnant in November, I shut it down. I opened it briefly for charity work after my miscarriage, but shut it down a little afterwards. Ever since reopening it a few months ago, it was never the same. I lost over a hundred followers and had very seldom orders from all the months I had it closed. I decided I'd just be okay with that, it was a fun run while it lasted and I could try doing craft fairs and flea markets later on to reopen it eventually.

But then, something awesome happened. I got pregnant again, which is a blessing in itself, and with becoming pregnant and one time showing off a few hats I had made baby in my baby group, my store blossomed again. Just in the last two or three weeks, I made almost $100. I am currently working through $250 in orders, and the orders are still coming in frequently (I usually get 2-3 a week). This means three things: 1) my store is running and getting business again, and even more than it got last year with 400 followers, 2) I have multiple repeat customers who not only continue to buy my hats for both their babies and others, but they spread the word about me and rave about me online and 3) I'm going to be able to fully fund preparing for this baby just on my hat business. It's SUCH a good feeling to be able to make some money as a SAHM, and enough to actually pay for all of baby's needs, including a car seat, baby carrier, crib mattress, clothing, and other necessities.

Not only this, but I get to see babies due at the same time as our little boy wearing my hats that I custom made for them! How neat will that be?!

Here's some of my latest works:

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Creating Minnie/Gender Reveal Decorations!

I've been crafting every day for about two weeks now, preparing for Katie's birthday party. Like last year, it's very craft heavy again, but this time it's much more. I have so many fun ideas on how to incorporate her party with the gender reveal finale and have everything Minnie and Mickey too.

So far, I finished my Mickey garland. I'm still debating adding tulle poms on every other Mickey head to turn them into Minnie's, but we'll see. I like how they look now too. The black ones are for the front room, which will be exclusively Minnie themed, and the pink and blue ones will be in the second room, which will be pink and blue themed with Minnies incorporated.

I don't have pictures of the black ones, but they're exactly the same. 

With that done, I stopped at Party City and Walmart and grabbed a bunch of stuff for goodie bags! I only made four so far, as I also ordered a few things off of amazon to go in them and each one takes a few minutes to put together. I just need to grab my big blue and pink lollipops to stick in there yet! I just checked though, I don't have pictures of them yet, but I will once I have more made!

Next, I started the huge labor of Minnie Ears. I decided to hand make a set for everyone coming. Thank goodness for Pinterest! I bought a large stack of black felt, foam paper, headbands and lots of hot glue and started cutting circles for days. Once everything was cut, I started gluing and burning my fingers. As of this morning, I used almost all my supplies and got half of them done. While these aren't perfect, I love the idea of the foam paper, which really makes them stand up perfectly. However, each pair of ears cost one whole stick of hot glue!

Sticking with the Katie and gender theme, I made a set of blue pom ears and a set of pink bow ears as a way of everyone showing their guess of the gender to add a little more fun. Of course that meant I had to make mine special, so I got some felt that's new at the store and incorporated it into my pair, and made a special blue and pink pom to go with it.

Team Blue:

Team Pink:

My pair: 

Most of the headbands so far:

Now I have half of the headbands to go yet, and grabbing a few more decorations.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

#2- all finished except for legs!

I worked SO HARD yesterday on Lollo #2, trying to finish it before Easter. I managed to get farther than I thought, but she sadly remains with no legs. Instead of struggling and failing, I did all I could and decided that I would pause on the hexagons and decorate the bear. I rather she be missing a leg or two than to have the whole bear crocheted but with no eyes or pretty decorations.

She now has her arms (the hands are praying/holding flowers and are connected by a button), she has a bouquet, two butterflies, a cross on her chest, big glitter wings with fuzzy yarn outlining it, a bow that I won in a contest (Katie wore the second one today on Easter), wing earrings, eyes, and a glittery bow with a large wing on the flower stems. I love how she's shaping up. I brought her along today to do the Elizabeth stuff and to my surprise, even my dad and grandfather said how great it looked (these are not men that typically glance at any craft or teddy bear, so it was nice to hear.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lollo Update

Good news - Lollo now has a head and ears.
Bad news - Lollo now has a head and ears and Katie LOVES her. She took one look at Lollo with her head and ears attached to that egg shape body and she went crazy. It was so adorable that I had to hand her over and pray that it would be a quick cuddle. No such luck. Twenty minutes later, she's still over there hugging the limbless teddy bear. I just don't have it in me to take Elizabeth's bear away from her, so meanwhile I'm skipping forming the face and just working ahead on the limbs.

I would love to get this done before Easter so that we can take it with us when we visit Elizabeth. So far this Lollo has gone by faster than the last one and with less problems, but I don't know how fast I can prepare baked goods and food for Easter AND also crochet limbs all day, plus the white glitter wings. We'll see, my fingers are crossed.

The two Lollos:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lollo #2 day 4 - Body Finished

#2's body is now done! 

It's coming along nicely, and the perfect size. Just cuddling this easter egg shaped body is fun! It's drastically smaller than #1, which I was pleased with as I wanted this to be pretty small. I have no idea if this is closer to the size of the pattern or maybe even a bit smaller, but it'll be the perfect size for what it's intended for. Pictures below show #2 against #1 to compare sizes.

Was hoping to get the head done today, but it's been so busy that I only managed to do one hexagon of the head! Hopefully tomorrow will see many more motifs. I'm eager to experiment with this Lollo's eyes, since it doesn't have to be childproof.

Yep - this body is just a little bit bigger than #1's FOOT!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lollo #2 - Day 3

So far, my experimentations with Lollo #2 have been successful. I'm currently working with my larger hook (3.50) and made the first two rounds of the body. The 5th round of the motifs have been changed from a double crochet to a single, and I'm sewing them together from the inside. This bear is definitely much smaller! I'd say it's probably half the size, which is great. I'm really liking how to looks so far, I can't wait until this petite bear starts to shape up more!

As I type, Katie has grabbed her Lollo, pulled it in her chair with her and began to cuddle. She drags him around everywhere and gives him big hugs. I love that she still enjoys him so much, she usually doesn't cuddle much with any of her stuffed animals (and she has a lot!).  I tried to steal him away to make a comparison shot of him and #2's size, but her little hands grabbed onto him and pulled him in close! Oh well, I'll have to do it when #2 is more built up!

Here's how #2 is doing: