Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May - Bingo Board

For the month of May, I made myself a Bingo board: 
Some of the blocks on the board are sales goals: 
Beat my Worst May Sales ($0)
Beat my Average May Sales ($44.25)
Beat my Best May Sales ($65)

Others are beyond my control, such as getting two Etsy orders and two Etsy reviews, but I can promote my shop and send a note with orders asking customers to come back and review their purchase. 

I have a bunch of CAL (crochet-along) projects on my list for this month, and a few big projects, since I will be riding shotgun for a long multi-state trip (lots of crochet time!). 

I will be doing a giveaway on my Facebook page for this month. Guess which row will give me a BINGO first... if you get the right answer, you get a $15 credit toward anything in my inventory. If more than one person chooses the correct row, I will use random number generator to choose the winner. 
Here's a link to the giveaway

I found out that One & Two Company will not be doing a May CAL, so I changed that box to "25 Egg Scrubbies"...I will be participating in a Swag Bag promotion, and need to have 25 small giveaways ready by mid-May.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Taco Blanket

I was cleaning up around my chair and picked up the remnants of a Caron Pounder skein of Sunflower. I had pulled it out to make the blanket for a Master's Blankey lovey (which just sold from my Etsy shop last week), and didn't put it back into my yarn stash. I have been kicking around the idea of making a taco blanket, so I started to wing it...

I used a K hook and two strands of worsted weight yarn held together (for my second taco blanket, I went up to a bigger hook, I think it is an N, and the blanket has a better drape. Two 7-ounce skeins of worsted weight yarn gave me a blanket about 38" across) I think I had about five ounces of the Sunflower and a pale yellow. Basically, I worked until I ran out of yarn, and ended up with a baby-sized blanket. I was at 12 dc between increases when I ran out.

Row 1: 8 DC in Magic Ring
Row 2: DC increase in each stitch  (16)
Row 3: DC, DC increase, repeat around (24)
Row 4: DC, DC increase, repeat around (36) (I broke the pattern of putting one more DC between increases here, because the blanket seemed to be cupping inward)
Row 5: 2 DC, DC increase, repeat around (48)
Keep going, adding one more DC between increases, until your circle is the size you want it to be.

When I got up to 4 DC between increases, I started staggering the increases. For instance, for (6 DC, DC increase), I would do three DC, then my increase, then start counting 6 DC between. At the end of the row, instead of ending with an increase, I would have the 3 leftover. This keeps your circle from having definite points.

Hamburger Row:
With two strands of brown (one dark, one a little lighter) and K hook, DC in one stitch, 3-DC cluster in next stitch (I would count out the number of stitches to my next increase and place a marker there, so I wouldn't have to worry about counting for clusters AND counting for increases.

Lettuce Row
With two strands of green and K hook, 2 DC in one stitch, 2 TR in next, repeat around.

Cheese Row:
With 1 strand of orange and H hook, slip stitch around a stitch between hamburger and lettuce. Chain 4, slip stitch to the next stitch in same row. Repeat around.

Tomato chunks: Make 15-20 to place around on meat & lettuce layer. I used one strand of red and an H hook.
Chain 2. 3 HDC in second chain from hook. Chain 1, turn.
2 HDC in first stitch. Chain 2, skip one stitch, 2 HDC in last stitch.

Sour Cream:
With two strands of white and K hook, join with a slip stitch to the lettuce layer. SC, HDC, DC, 2 TR, DC, HDC, SC, Slip stitch. Finish off and tuck in yarn ends. Repeat at random spaces around circle.
Second taco blanket... I used a burnt orange boucle with the brown to make it look like taco meat & cheese together.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April - Hoping for better

I just realized it was April 4th, and I never put up an April post outlining my plans. Probably because March was such a miserable month, I was in a funk.

I had two craft shows in March. Both had record low sales. 😞 I had a few Etsy sales, but not enough to make up for the bad craft shows. It ended up being my worst March ever for sales.

Fortunately, my average sales for April are lower, so I won't have to work as hard to beat my lowest month, average month, and best month. I've had three sales already, which gave me a new high total for April, and the month isn't even half over!

Since I don't have any craft shows planned until fall, in April I want to focus on getting more items listed in my Etsy shop. I'm shooting for 100 new listings this month! Here's my progress:

1. Rag rug
Link to Rag Rug in my shop
2. Sunny Yellow Dishcloth
3. Chicken Butt Potholder
Just in case you're curious to see what this one looks like!
4. Angel dishcloth
5. Striped Elephant
6. Black "Chicken Butt" potholder - sold 😁
7. Little Pink Cupcake
8. Purple Penguin Gloves
9. Sleepy Dinosaur
10. Blue & Yellow Chicken Potholder
11. Rosie the Unicorn
12. Updated Ocean Playset listing with new critters
13. Sleepy Dinosaur #2
14. White chicken potholder
15. Chicken Rug #1
16. Chicken Rug #2
17. Cat Potholder automatically renewed... oops
18. Hedgehog automatically renewed... oops
19. Gingerbread Man
20. Superhero Doll
21. Spunky the Unicorn
22. Dancing Girl Doll
23. Pterry the Pterodactyl
24. Chicken/Egg Set Listing
25. Soap on a Rope Bags
26. Pizza Potholder
27. Bunny Lovey
28. Monster Pants
29. Taco Blanket

I'm only doing one CAL (Crochet-Along Challenge) in April, but it's a cute one!

Blanket section is done! 

And done...heading into Etsy shop soon! 

I also want to finish up the Pop Tarts Blanket #2 that I'm working on, get another section finished on Mandala Madness, and two motifs for the Owl Obsession blanket. (Nope on all three accounts... did a few more rows on the Mandala Madness, 0 on the Owl Obsession, and still have five small skeins of yarn to go on the Pop Tarts blanket)
Mandala Madness & Pop Tarts blanket - WIP Wednesday 4/4/18
Other goals are to get more exercise in (I'd give myself a C on this), work down my yarn stash (A on this), do some promotion of my Etsy shop on a daily basis (B on this), and keep up with housework... same old stuff that's always on my list.

So, here's hoping for a successful April on multiple fronts!
I made up this grid of 25 items to make, and have been working my way through it. When I finish an item, I move through the boxes, spelling out the item I just finished, and make whatever I land on.

Pterry the Pterodactyl

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Road Map for March

I love finishing up projects. But, when I finish a project, I get to start a new one. That's where I run into trouble! Do I start something to use up the scrap yarn from the basket next to my chair? Start something really cute, that I'm sure will sell? Start something to replace an item that has sold already? The options are pretty much endless, and I probably spend too much time debating!

So, on a Sunday afternoon as my husband drove us out to lunch, I worked on sketching up a road map for March. The idea is that I will start in one corner and see how many times I can March around the block. 

I had fun coming up with the street names. I already have several lists on my Google docs to-do list, of "Cute Items to Make", "Scrap Yarn Projects", "Replace Sold Items" and "Hot Sellers". I put in a "street" for cotton thread, since I have so much of that to use up. "Least Lane" is where I will pull the yarn in my Ravelry stash that I have the least yardage of, and finish that up in a project. I put in the "outer loop" so that if I am blessed with any custom orders during March, I can work them into this little game! 

So, my "rules" for this month: 
Start in one corner (WIP Way). I move to the next street by either completing an item, or spending half an hour on a project. 
I think I'll end up going around the loop three times... but we'll see! 
Project 1: I started on WIP Way and finished Tigey.
Then, I went down Trendy Trail and worked on butter lambs, since they are very popular in this area around Easter! Here's the Etsy link for one of the smaller lambs.

For Completion Circle, I used up a little ball of scrap yarn to make a cute little finger puppet that looks like a marshmallow bunny... and had so much fun with that one, that I kept on going through Scrap Box Blvd and made a whole set! They are listed on Etsy too!

I rounded the corner of Owl Avenue by making an owl with leftover yarn from previous projects: 

And I cruised down Cute Court by making a Pop Tarts Baby Blanket! I think it turned out great! 

With the next stop being Wild Card Way, I started another Pop Tarts blanket... got in half an hour's worth of work on that, so my next stop is Replacement Road. Since I sold a butter lamb this week, I think I'd better make some more! 

March turned out to be a discouraging month. Both craft shows were below average in sales, one of them setting a record low for that location. Overall sales also set a record low for the month of March. 😞
I played with some new patterns, like a baby sloth. Then I used a double strand of yarn to make a mama sloth.
I made Pop Tarts to get a play food listing up on Etsy.
I got an Etsy custom order for a moose... Without that order, March sales would have been horrendous, instead of just pretty bad (half my average)!

I think April will be all about getting more items listed in my Etsy shop, and working down my stash to make best-seller items for my fall shows. Hopefully I will have a better April than usual (shouldn't be all that hard, considering average sales for April are $34!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Fabulous February

January was a good month. I got a lot accomplished. I had fun with my new yarn winder. I maintained my weight loss. I took my vitamins and supplements, and my knees are feeling the best they have in years. Sales were lower than average (January is typically a slow month, with no craft shows. It wasn't my worst January ever, but fell below average sales), so I would like to step things up in February by doing more Etsy listings. Maintaining my weight is good, but continuing with my weight loss is better. I need to be more diligent in limiting snacks, and get back to the dreaded exercise...
Some of the projects I finished in January

So, here are some goals for Fabulous February: 

I frequent a crafting website called Ravelry. That's where I keep track of my yarn stash, my projects, my patterns, etc. During the Winter Olympics in February, they are having the Ravellenic Games, where you can win a virtual medal by completing tasks during the time frame of the Olympics. I will be "competing" in five categories:
Alpine Afghan (any size blanket)  - Cupcake Blanket - DONE

Sock Hockey (footwear)  - Slipper Design - DONE

Added bonus: these finished off about 8 small balls of yarn from my scrap box! 

Toy Bobsleigh (stuffed animal / toy) - One & Two Company CAL - Parker the Polar Bear - DONE - Finished 2/16

Aerial Unwind (undoing a project to reuse yarn) - frog pink sweater parts - DONE

WIPs Dancing (finishing a project started before Olympics) - Master’s Blankey lovey - DONE

Other CAL / Projects
Croch-Eh CAL - Lumberjack Moose 
Isn't this the cutest moose ever?

Finish sets 3-4 of Mandala Madness 
Working on the last row of set 3

Finish 3 Owl Obsession squares 

3 Butter Lambs for spring craft shows - (DONE - but 2 sold already)
Focus on getting in more steps / exercise - log 10 exercise sessions in February - oops, let this goal slide! Only got 1

List 28 new items on Etsy - DONE - and then some!
1. Pumpkin the Mermaid
2. Fifi the Mermaid
3. Little Pink Ninja
4. Green Cupcake Blanket
5. Sissy Squid
6. Butter Lamb (sold within 24 hours)
7. Bunny Cuddler
8. Butter Lamb 2.0
9. Chubs the Giraffe
10. Butter Lamb 3.0
11. Owl Basket
12. Blue Bunny
13. Green Owl
14. Sleepy Striped Owl
15. Soft Blue Owl
16. Multi-Color Owl
17. Butter Lamb #4
18. Penguin - Royal Blue
19. Penguin - Lime Green
20. Penguin - Peach
21. Penguin - Hot Pink
22. Penguin - Yellow
23. Penguin - Cornflower Blue
24. Master's Blanket
25. Parker the Polar Bear
26. Tissue Pouch
27. Horse Scarf
28. Dakotah Cowl
29. Purple Cupcake Blanket

Make enough scrap yarn projects to get two boxes & one bag down to one box! DONE
I would like to work this down enough that the bag on the left and box on the right fit in the middle box.
(This was going pretty well, until I pulled more colors to work on Chubs the Giraffe and added about six cakes of yarn to the collection!)

Chubs the Giraffe used up a bunch of scrap yarn!
This used up one cake of yarn from my scrap bin... but turned into a six-legged squid rather than an octopus... because I ran out of yarn with two legs to go!

Reduce stash by 2 pounds - DONE - even though I received two bags of yarn, and bought four skeins that got added to stash, I'm still down two pounds overall! 

2/7/18 WIP Wednesday

A ball of variegated sock yarn was calling to me to make an owl! 

Let the Games Begin! My five planned entries for the Ravellenic Games! 
Finished the Master's Blanket lovey!

WIP Wednesday 2/14/18
Mandala Madness, Mr. Moose and Parker the Polar Bear

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

I'm starting 2018 on the right foot... 

  • I lost over 40 pounds in 2017. Still have a ways to go, but feeling much better! 
  • I feel like I'm better organized than ever.
  • I caught up on orders and presents by the end of 2017 (with less than an hour to spare)

The weekly goals of my December post really helped, so I'm playing with that again for January... with a twist... adding daily and monthly goals, too. I'm trying to use my bullet journal more! 

Have Bible time in the morning (getting better)
Stick to Trim Healthy Mama eating plan (yes, about 90%)
Take vitamins and glucosamine supplement (yes - and knees are feeling so much better)
Get at least 5K steps (lost sight of this goal)
Have kitchen sink cleared by Wheel of Fortune time (did pretty well, maybe 2 misses)
One Owl Obsession motif (found project back, but didn't start)
One Scrap Bin project (did well with this one!)
Finish one WIP (Aced it!)
One restock or best seller item (accomplished this!)
One Cotton Thread project (maybe 3 out of 4 weeks)
Use one pattern purchased but not yet used - DONE (Quinn)
1.5 sets of Mandala Madness (Almost finished with set 3!)
Reduce cotton thread stash by 8 ounces (Done)
Reduce overall stash by at least one pound (down 4 pounds!)

Week 1 - January 1 - 7
My Work-in-Progress Wednesday picture
2nd from the left is a Scrap Bin project
2nd from the right is a cotton thread project
Last one on the right is a pattern purchased but not used
One Owl Obsession motif - Oops, didn't do this one! 
One Scrap Bin project 
Another turtle from the scrap bin! 

Finish one WIP (Master's Blanket, Quinn Owl, Virus Shawl, Fish Hat)
Finished Quinn! 

One restock or best seller item  (scrap yarn turtle also counted for this one!) 

One Cotton Thread project (started Virus Shawl 1/1)

Week 2 - January 8 -14
WIP Wednesday
Rainbow Unicorn, Yoda, Fish Hat, Virus Shawl, Master's Blanket

One Owl Obsession motif 
One Scrap Bin project 

Patchwork Pup finished off some scrap yarn! 

Finish one WIP 

Finished the unicorn! 
Started "Mandala Madness"

One restock or best seller item - made a turtle
One Cotton Thread project - plugging away at the shawl 

This week's WIP Wednesday pic. Making progress on everything. Slow, but sure! 
Done with Yoda I am! (Also finished the pink virus shawl, but it needs to be washed/blocked.)
Looking over the month, I finished 21 projects, including four orders. I used up about 4 pounds of yarn from my stash, and a lot of polyester fiberfill, as the completed weight of all this month's projects comes out to a little over 13 pounds! 

GiGi the Gigantic Giraffe helped to make a significant dent in my scrap bins. She weighs close to two pounds! But, I went through my plastic pretzel jars of scrap yarn and pulled about a dozen large balls of pastel colors to finish her up, so my collection of scrap yarn nicely wound into cakes is still pretty big: 

The fish hat polished off some scrap yarn, too! 

I had fun restocking some best sellers like mermaids and turtles. 
January was a great beginning for 2018... 

Now, on to Fabulous February!