Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thoughts on Creating and Selling

I've said it before that I don't make it a secret to anyone (including my employer) that I want to make a living as a creative. I have given this thoughts of thought and done a little research and planning. My ultimate goal is to have this started by the time I graduate with my art degree. That's set to be spring of 2013, so it may seem like a lot of time, but we all know it isn't.

After evaulating my priorities recently, I found that I really do have spare time during the day to work on creating. Before doing this, I thought I had no free time at all. I'm still not making a dent in my projects and probably never will, lol.

After posting yesterday about the knits I made, they were picked up and she is very pleased. The feeling that came from that made me glow. Yes it was great getting paid to do something I love, but more important, I made someone happy. And already, I have someone asking if I can make an adult-size version of the cabled hat.

All of this is making my dream seem more real to me. I have always been hesitant because lets face it, working for yourself is a risk. However, I already tried to live the way my parents wanted me to, and that didn't work. I wasn't truely happy and ended up getting laid off from my job. That event coupled with the challenge of finding a new job in my field in this economy is what led me back to school. The only work at the time I could find was waiting tables. Not exactly where I want to be the rest of my life. Yes, I did enjoy working in restaurants in the past, but the stress of it is not what I want. During the years I either was in the kitchen or serving, I drank a lot. It's what everyone did anyway and was a good way to blow off steam. I have since stopped drinking completely.

Ok, I got a little off tangent there.

In doing research on selling items, I've read some books on that topic. The part where I am unsure of is how to create a brand. I don't know if I want to sell under my name or create a name. What do I want to focus on? I have a love of all fiber work, so how to I include that in my brand? I am sure I will end up selling on Etsy eventually (I'm considering sometime this winter or spring, eek!), but do I also want to sell at local craft fairs? Do I want to keep stock around my house, or should I make as things are ordered? How about designing? I do enjoy that, but my knowledge of computer programs is pretty basic. What would I need to know to put together a pattern?

The bookkeeping part will be a breeze for me. The first time around in college, I majored in accounting for a couple years before switching to human resources, so I do know a few things about how to keep books. If I have questions, my best friend is currently getting her accounting degree and I know she would help out.

One thing that I have started today is writing down the patterns I've been making up. At some point, I doubt I will be able to recall every detail about them.

In addition to the knits I did recently, I also designed a crocheted mohawk hat last spring. Here it is in all it's glory on my best friend. She saw one and asked if I could make it. There really weren't any free patterns out there for them, so I just started stitching. (I totally stole this from her Facebook, so Jen, if you're reading this, thank you!)

So these are the questions I need to start answering and getting to work on. One thing I for sure have decided on is that anything I sell has to be to the standards of something I would buy or make for myself.

Feel free to weigh in. What kinds of things do you look for when buying a handmade item? Do you buy things that you can make yourself? (My answer for the last questionis that it depends on quality of the item and free time I have.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Knitting for a Baby

Today I finished the commissioned items for an old classmate's baby (and business). I haven't given them to her yet because she is still in the hospital. I cannot wait for her to see them in person. I sent her these photos and she was pleased with them.

Finished Commission

I already showed one of the pods being modeled by a stuffed horse and here the two of them are together.

Finished Commission

She also wanted three hats, two of them the same style and the other a unique twist on a cabled hat. I am not going to lie and say this one was easy. I pretty much made up my own pattern after thinking over how knits are constructed. I also have to state that I still consider myself a beginner and that I am so proud of how all of these items turned out. This was my first time designing something and really encourage anyone who wants to try out something new to do it because it is so worth it! I did also make up the design for the basic beanies but they are just stockinette in the round, with decreases. Nothing to write home about, ya know.

Finished Commission

Finished Commission

Finished Commission

I will be making a larger version of my cabled design for myself. I know not everyone who reads my posts is into knitting, but I will share instructions for this design for anyone interested. Thank you to Krista for your excitement as I've been sharing these. In addition to this pattern, I am still working on a modification of the headband I made and will share that as well once it's done.

I still have some sewing projects to share with you and also need to get to work on my goal that I set over at Raccoon Creek Quilts. If you haven't heard, Candi is hosting a monthly challenge and for October it is to finish a UFO. I stated that I want to have my quilt top done from the KQAL. I have until Monday to do this and if I work on it tomorrow, I think I can do it.

I hope everything is having a great weekend!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival: Halloween Reveal


This is going to be a huge reveal, as I already showed you all what my wall hanging looked like before it was bound. However, we all know that binding is like icing on the cake and just pulls it all together!

Finished Halloween Wall Hanging

This piece was not intended to be this large. I originally was going for a small table runner, but then I went crazy fussy cutting center sqaures and it just evolved. The finished size is 17" by 85"! And while I'm calling this a wall hanging, there isn't a wall in our house that it really will fit on, at least without removing the other decor. However, I still am in love with it and will find a place for it.

Finished Halloween Wall Hanging

Finished Halloween Wall Hanging

I've been practicing free motion quilting every week and this is the first large piece I've done any sort of this quilting on. It is not perfect but I am still proud of it. And I also got to experience sewing through my finger, which I know happens to the best of us.

Finished Halloween Wall Hanging

On a side note, this is my 50th post. I can't believe I've had that much to say!

Finished Halloween Wall Hanging

Finished Halloween Wall Hanging

Thank you for checking out my contribution to the Blogger's Quilt Festival. Be sure to check out the other bloggers and feel free to link up something yourself.

Eek! I'm a Celebrate Color Finalist!

I plan to post today about my quilt for the festival, but first I need to share that my Swedish Weaving is a finalist for Celebrate Color! I don't want to pressure anyone to vote for me (but I would totally love it if you did, lol). Here's the link to the voting on Rachel's blog. There are some great projects in all of the categories to drool over.

See you later today!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Think Tank

I'm taking a quick breather to type out some thoughts and link up at Making Rebecca Lynne for her Thursday Think Tank.

I've been plowing through some projects, and will be sharing them over the weekend, but most importantly, I've been knitting up a storm to get the baby things done for my old classmate. She had her baby this morning so my deadline is here. I managed to make two hats today and started on the third. After that, I only have one more of the baby pods to make. My goal is to have this done by Saturday. I am hoping to have a little time to make a surprise for her, but that's depends on how long it takes to figure out the pattern for this last hat. She wants a unique style and I am making up my own pattern for it. I've frogged it a couple times already, but I think I now have it down.

Other than that, I did do some sewing and have been planning out too many projects. I also got the huge lot of Minature Quilts magazines that I won on eBay in the mail. I need to look through them to see if there's anything I want to make up eventually. I do want to get in on the Doll Quilt Swap on Flickr next round, so they may be a good resource for me. If there are any issues I don't want, would any one be interested? I maybe could give some away if there is interest in that sort of thing. The dates on the issues range from the early 1990's to mid-2000's and there is a variety of traditional piecing as well as paper piecing in them, from what I've noticed after flipping through a few issues. Let me know if you might be interested, otherwise I will probably list the ones I don't see anything in on eBay and resell them.

I can't think of anything else right now. I thought I had more, but I guess I'm drawing a blank after knitting for hours today.

I will be back to show what I've been accomplishing either tomorrow or over the weekend for sure, as well as showing off my finished Halloween wall hanging. Then I will need to tackle my ever-growing list of projects and try to finish up the WIPs I have going.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Misc Items

I did finish the binding on my Halloween wall hanging/super table runner. Like I mentioned yesterday, I'll post the finished piece this weekend for the Blogger's Quilt Festival. Even though it's not what I intended to make, I love it. After thinking about it today, I have enough fabric to make a piece that will fit on our table, so I'm going to whip one up in the next couple days. It will be just one fussy cut block on each side, so it's reversible, and will finish at 17" by 17". The large piece is 17" by 85".

I was accepted to participate in the Color Wheel Charm Swap hosted by From the Blue Chair. I've been waiting to get into a swap and most of the ones I know about are currently in the making/sending phase or waiting until after the holidays. I got assigned yellow-green and picked up these two fabrics, one dark and one light.

Yellow-Green Choices

The dark is from the Victoria and Albert Museum line, which I have a couple other fabrics from myself. I had to stop myself from buying other prints from this line, but will definately go back for more now that I know there is a shop in town that carries them. The light is from Marmalade by Alice Kennedy for Timeless Treasures. I had a hard time finding a light yellow-green that didn't have too much of another color in it. Hopefully this one passes for light to the other participants. If not, I did see some DS Quilts prints that could work.

Finally, I stopped at a quilt shop that I hadn't been to before. It was one on my list of stops to hunt down fabrics. I didn't see any that I liked at this particular one, but they have an amazing wool room. I pretty much could have bought one of everything. I told myself I could buy just one pattern and kit to make and even though I really wanted either one that had bunnies or one with bees, I decided they were a little too spring, so I picked a Thanksgiving themed one. I will be going back for the others as my budget allows.

New Project

New Project

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Tale of the Table Runner That Became a Wall Hanging

Remember my Halloween table runner? I really had planned to make it the proper size for our dining table, which seats four people maximum. Then I cut out the fabrics and completely blocked out my intended size. I can't help it that the Ghastlies fabric is so amazing that I wanted to fussy cut a bunch of pieces and that the motifs are huge. If you've seen this fabric in person you know what I mean.

Halloween Wall Hanging

Halloween Wall Hanging

So.... I now am making a Halloween wall hanging. A super long wall hanging at that. I would love to tell you that I finished it today, but since I was intending to make a smaller item I only bought enough bias tape for that. At this point, I could make some but I really don't have enough of any appropriate fabric to do that and since I have to go to the store anyway... well, laziness is winning here.

Halloween Wall Hanging

Halloween Wall Hanging

Halloween Wall Hanging

I did finish the top and the quilting today, however. I'm glad I practiced stippling last week just to get a feel for it and found it was easier to do on a larger space. Easier, but I still have a long way to go before it doesn't look eh. I also learned the hard way about speed and keeping my fingers away from the needle. Luckily the needle just went through my finger and did not break off inside. I will spare any more details or photographs of it. Let me just say that it didn't hurt when it happened but does now.

Halloween Wall Hanging

Maybe one day Chad and I will have a table large enough for this piece to lay on. Until then, it will have to grace one of our walls.

I should be able to do the binding tomorrow after I go to Joann's but I may wait to post the final outcome until the posting of the Blogger's Quilt Festival this weekend. I think this is going to be the only thing I will finish quilt-wise for this.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday is for Cooking

I'm far from being a food blogger even though I do love to cook and bake. I do every single day and rarely eat out. Chad loves this and I've even been able to get him to try things he wouldn't otherwise just because I made them.

Sundays tend to be the day where I do the bulk of my cooking and the day I do all of my baking for the week. Because of my schedule this just works out and this way I can have food for Chad to eat when I'm not home. Today I thought I would share some of the food I made since I have spent most of the day in the kitchen.

I only have one photograph because I didn't think of taking other photos. Luckily, the recipes I used are from other blogs and they have good photographs to go with them. I just grabbed my cell phone for a quick snap.

Vanilla Scones

These are favorites in my household:
Vanilla Bean Scones (a copycat of Starbuck's scones but way better, in my opinion)
Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad
Alfredo (I served it with cheese tortellini today)
Cinnamon Bread (I make two loaves a week because this is perfect for breakfast. I also have made some changes from this recipe because we like it a little sweeter.)

I also usually make some sort of yeast bread but I had a lot on my plate already. I know I could post all the time about the food I make, but you see, I don't really follow recipes unless it's from someone else. I cook by instinct most of the time, which is something I learned after working as a cook in various restaurants for 8 years. I'm not sure how much interest there is for just a photograph and no way for me to convey how it was made so it could be reproduced.

Anyway, I hope you had a great weekend and were able to spend it with your loved ones and doing something you enjoy! I'm off to wash a sink full of dishes and squeeze in some sewing time before bed.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Today didn't really go as planned. I don't normally plan much for the weekend unless I have a deadline or other people want to do something. After looking over my massive to do list for today, I managed two things. At least they were the more pressing items.

Ceramics Class

I am done with my project for ceramics. This is just a few of the pieces that I had to throw on the wheel. We had to make 20 pieces and there had to be at least two cups, bowls, plates, jars, vases, and pitchers. The remaining eight could be any of those types. I found I enjoyed making bowls and jars more, so I did four extra bowls, three extra jars, and an extra vase which was intended to be a jar. Don't ask, but I can tell you that I know ceramics is not really for me.

All that's left with these is to let them dry so they can be fired, glazed, and then fired again.

Intwined Carrots

Today I also finished cleaning out my garden. I wanted to give my carrots some more time before it starts freezing every night, but they really didn't grow much more. I thought these two were an interesting pair.

I learned a lot this summer with my first garden that will help me plan over the winter. First order of business is having Chad make my space larger. He think twice the size will be fine and I'm trying to talk him into making it four times the size. I think it will come down to how much time I have next summer to take care of it. I think I may have to take a couple summer classes so I can graduate when I want to and that will reduce my free time greatly.

Tomorrow will be filled with the remaining tasks from today. I have some cleaning, cooking, and then sewing to do.

Friday, October 21, 2011

FMQ Practice 2

I have to make this short and sweet today as I have to zip off to work shortly. Some days I really don't like working five days a week, but I have bills to pay and I do like what I do.

It's Friday so that means sharing my free motion quilting practice! Cindy is awesome for hosting this every week. This week we are sharing our take on Slate Tiles. I also tried The Wave again and did a sample of basic stippling. I have never done it before and intend to use that type of quilting on my Halloween table runner.

FMQ Practice

For a first try, not so bad, if I may say so.

FMQ Practice

So much better this time!

FMQ Practice

Ugh, some curves are too pointy and I did cross over in spots. I think it may be easier on a larger piece though. That may be a lie I can tell myself, right?

FMQ Practice

My only issue with the back came up when my bobbin ran out. Lesson learned: always have a full bobbin.

I also finished the first baby pod. Here, it is modeled by my assistant since I don't have any babies around here. One down, four more pieces to go!

Finished baby pod

Have a great weekend, everyone! I am going to fit in some sewing time, as well as catch up on blog reading and emails. Until next time!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

I have a lot on my plate all of a sudden with school. There was a group project that was due today, some catching up to do with my online class, way too many pieces to throw on the wheel for ceramics (including some dreaded plates and pitchers), and now I have to put together a presentation as a requirement for my art degree. I have a month to get it done, but it requires a lot of thinking of where I am now and where I want to go in the future. This is all good though and to be honest, I have been thinking about this more and more without this. The intimidating thing about it will be speaking in front of the entire faculty of the art department for 20 minutes. All about myself and my work too. I know I ramble on here, but in person, I live up to the Midwestern stereotype of personal modesty. I will get through it though and breaking out of my comfort zone has always proven to have good results.

I mentioned awhile ago that an old classmate approached me about knitting some things for her. She is due to have her 5th child any day now and also has a new photography business so some props were requested. She wants three hats and two pods. Now before this, I had no idea what these pods were, so for those who also don't know, here's a photo of one.

I've been working on a pod since yesterday and am halfway done. The goal is to have all of the pieces done by the time she gives birth, or my personal goal, have them done by next week. I plan on carrying my needles with me everywhere just in case I have time to work a bit.

Baby Pod WIP

Because I don't have much else to share, here's some photos of my babies from earlier today.

Jameson and Angus


Linking up to Rebecca for TTT.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In Which Life Gets In the Way

My grand sewing plans were cut down when I had other things come up that took up most of my afternoon. Sigh... I had a fantasy that I would be finished with the top of my Halloween table runner today, but I only managed one block.

Because I like seeing in progress posts from others, I figured I would share this little bit I did manage.

Halloween Table Runner

There will be four other fussy cut blocks from the Ghastlies to go with this one. My revised goal is to have it done (!) by the end of the weekend.

Monday, October 17, 2011

First Knitting of the Fall

Despite having a (long) list of to-do's over the weekend, I put my focus on knitting. I wanted to finish this item because a woman at work expressed interest in having one so I told her I would work up a sample. I have had this headband bookmarked since last spring anyway, so two birds, one stone.

Cabled headband

Cabled headband

I hope she likes it! She wants one in purple, so if she approves, I will be whipping one up for her in that color (as well as for me, he he).

Halloween table runner pieces cut

I also made some progress on the table runner I'm going to make for Halloween. My goal is to get it done this week so it has some time to be on display this month.

Anyone else do some creating over the weekend?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Afternoon in Buffalo River State Park

After last weekend's visit to Maplewood, I got the urge to visit another state part this weekend. This time, it was Buffalo River, which also happens to be a 15 minute drive from me (versus the hour it takes to get to Maplewood). Buffalo is smaller and has less trails, and the biggest reason I don't think of it first is because it is flat. Just a whole lot of prairie with a river and trees. I do love it there though, but Maplewood has the advantage of having hills to climb and lakes. You do tend to appreciate a hill or two when all you see is flatness around you day in and day out.

But I digress. We had a great afternoon walking around. Angus jumped into the river for a bit (and also ended up with a tick, which Chad found today, so it was nice and plump...inner shudder over here). I really want to continue taking them with me, so I'm going to have to get Frontline for them. I hate hate hate ticks and don't want them to get sick from them. I'm loving reconnecting with nature and the only downside is that I am craving having land of my own to discover on a daily basis. Or at least live in the country so I can pretend the surrounding land is mine.

Enough chatter. I'm going to mostly let the photos speak for themselves again. I won't be going to the park again for a couple weeks because they are opening them up the rest of October for hunting. I don't own any blaze orange and have no desire to get shot, so I think it's best to stay away from anyone with a gun.

Also, I don't know what most of these plants are (very sad and something I plan to remedy soon).

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

See, flatness as far as you can see. I do like the color of the prairie grass against the blue sky though.

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

This is lichen on a large rock that is left from when this area was under the water of the glacial Lake Agassiz. The colors did not translate too well thanks to the bright sun. It's a pale mint green on a light ruby rock.

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Why yes, I do like to take self portraits.

Buffalo River State Park


Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Buffalo River State Park

In addition to the tick, Angus was also covered in cockle burrs. Pretty in a picture, but a pain to remove from a dog.

I hope you enjoyed my little trip through the woods! I didn't get much done as far as projects go except for a little knitted item. I hope everyone had a great weekend and that it was spent doing something you love!