Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Once A Month Challenge

Another blogger posted a challenge... to make a purchase from another crafter's Storenvy shop once a month. My first thought was "oh, man, we have this bill that needs to be paid, and the checking account is running low, and we have to buy so much stuff for the grad party, and I haven't had many sales from my own shop lately to help with finances."

The more I thought about it, the more I thought I really should take the plunge and commit to the challenge. I have been accumulating funds in my SavingStar account, so I cashed in on that, depositing enough money into my PayPal account to fund a few months of small purchases. So, what to buy?

My middle daughter is expecting our first grandchild in October. We just found out that it will be a baby girl, so I wanted to get something for her. I have seen that a fellow crafter who makes adorable and practical monster toys (many of her items double as storage bags) had branched out into sensory blankets - little cuddly blankets with varied textures and ribbons. Oh, yes... babies love little ribbons and tags hanging out of toys! I looked around her shop and found just the right little cuddly for "Pumkin" (temporary nickname for a late-October baby)!
Since my daughter was visiting last week (for her little sister's graduation), I was able to give her the gift. She loved the blend of different materials, and how it was just the right size to put in a purse or diaper bag. So, with one gift, we have a bunch of happy people... I'm happy that my daughter likes her present. She's happy she got a present. Baby girl will be happy to play with cuddly blanket, and a crafter is happy that she made a sale through her Storenvy shop!

That got me thinking of reasons why the challenge to purchase one item a month online from a crafter is such a good idea.

Reasons for shopping handmade:
1. You make a crafter happy! When you purchase something from Target or Walmart, the cashier doesn't say "Oh, you bought a cute t-shirt! That makes me so happy!" When you make a purchase from a crafter's online shop, it is "Happy Dance" time! Participating in online craft groups, I always see posts saying "I got a cha-ching!" or "I made a sale!" Purchases from crafters' online shops go toward paying for kid's braces, saving up for a family vacation, or maybe even just putting groceries on the table. It's a big deal to that person.
2. You are getting a unique, one-of-a-kind product. You can find stuff in Storenvy shops that you just can't find in a big box store. And you can shop in your pajamas! (Well, maybe you can do that at Wal-Mart...) When your gift is opened up at a baby shower, or bridal shower, you don't have to worry that somebody else got them exactly the same thing! It is handmade, with love, not mass-produced.
3. You can get things customized. Many of the items made by crafters can be personalized with names or your choice of colors. I can't post a picture yet, but one of my recent sales was a custom order for a little girl who loves unicorns, pink, purple and purses...and I was able to combine all of those for a very special gift!

So, where do you begin looking? Here are a few of my friends' shops:

Lu and Ed is the shop where I bought the blanket for my granddaughter. This shop has adorable little toy monsters, Mon-Stor bags where kids can store their toys, pajamas, or stuff they need on a long car trip, and the adorable sensory blankets like the one I got!

The Craft Penguin does some cool string art pictures, and she can make custom signs. Her "State Love" signs, with an outline of your state, and a heart where your city is located, would be a great gift!

Sudzy Bums makes a wide variety of soaps. Cute little shaped soaps, scented bar soaps, body butter, gift sets, party favor sets... just lots of fun stuff!

Wilde Designs has a mix of products from magnets to bookmarks, earrings to stickers, bobby pins to buttons, leaning toward the geeky side.

Black Rose Essentials has a lot of bath products (body scrubs, bath bombs, salt soaks) in some of the most amazing scents!

And then there's my shop: Penguin Place Cute little stuffed animals, American Girl doll clothes, hats, scarves, afghans and so much more!

So, would you join me in the Once A Month challenge? If you have a baby shower, bridal shower, or birthday party coming up, consider looking through Storenvy Shops to find that special gift. Looking for something in particular? Let me know, maybe I know a crafter who can help you out!


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Look out, June! Here I come!

Kenny Giraffe & Tutti-Fruitti Elephant
It's hard to believe it's June 1st already. June of 2016 has a lot in store for my family
  • Youngest daughter graduates from high school
  • Middle daughter will announce the gender of her first child (my first grandchild)
  • Oldest daughter will graduate from her hospital residency program
  • Hubby and I celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary
  • I hit 55 years old (which gets me the Senior Discount at Michael's craft stores!)

Since there is so much going on, I am trying very hard to keep organized... so that means LOTS of lists. Shopping lists, menu lists, to-do lists, project lists, custom order lists.

Putting some of my lists out in public view helps me to keep plugging away at them. I love being able to cross things off lists. Maybe that's why I'm loving the whole "bullet journal" thing!

June Must-Do items 
  1. Write long-overdue letter to uncle who isn't on the internet to see family pictures - DONE
  2. Make another mini-giraffe, taking good pictures to illustrate pattern
  3. Plan Grad party menu - DONE
  4. Shop for Grad party - DONE
  5. Survive Grad party - DONE
  6. Set up delivery for penguin mittens order - Contacted customer, no response. Will try again.
  7. Do a new giveaway on my Facebook page - DONE
  8. Use up bag of blue scrap yarn (starting weight 20 ounces)
  9. Restore craft room to guest room status (by June 8) - DONE
June Projects
Kenny Giraffe
  1. Kenny Giraffe - DONE
  2. Red/Purple Sock Monkey
  3. Sea Horse - DONE
  4. Plane 1 - DONE
  5. Plane 2
  6. Plane 3
  7. Soft Serve Cone - DONE
  8. Hungry Caterpillar cocoon set - DONE
  9. Shark
  10. Elephant - DONE
  11. Farm Mat Square 1 - DONE
  12. Veronica crochet-along
  13. Mini-Giraffe
  14. Owl Obsession square
 
Plane #1
P.S....It's a girl!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Penguin Pail Revisited

For a while, I got away from making up a list of items I wanted to accomplish each month. I think it was during the craft show season, October - December, when I was taking custom orders and kept bumping other projects out of the way. 

I started back up last month, making up a calendar for April with a checklist for tasks I need to accomplish each month (bills that need to be paid by a certain date each month), my current WIP (works in progress), and outstanding orders. I also made up a generic list of items I would like to do each month to stock up for fall shows... a Giraffe, a pattern from One and Two Company, an item from my Ravelry queue (my "oh, that's so cute, I HAVE to make it" list). 

April went pretty well. I finished some big projects, like this farm play mat.

So, I'm back with a "Penguin Pail" bucket list for May. My goal for this month is "clear the lists and start the second half of 2016 with a clean slate!" We'll see how those plans go...I have a craft show on May 14th at the Holland (NY) Tulip Fest. If I get any custom orders from that show, this list gets bumped! 

So, the list! 
1. Finish Penguin Gloves (custom order) DONE 

2. Finish red & purple sock monkey ("if you make it, I will buy it order, for October show) (started, but undid it, because it was turning out huge. Will try again in June with a smaller scale pattern)
3. Start Hungry Caterpillar baby cocoon set (order for baby due in October) - well, since I only said "start", yes, I did start... I printed out the pattern... DONE
4. Test translated pattern for mini-shark (written in German) - DONE!
5. Finish BB-8 doll (probably 50% done, but all the little medallions are tedious!) DONE!

6. Finish one Owl Obsession square - DONE

7. Try new Giraffe Pattern - DONE (well, close enough... developed my own giraffe pattern) (and had such fun that I made two more...)


8. Lose two pounds (in my yarn stash, that is!) DONE - started with 168, down to 163.6... as long as I don't do any yarn shopping this week! Final weight of stash... 159.8#
9. Finish projects in basket by chair so it's not overflowing - DONE
10. Pull yarn for a new farm play mat (for my craft show table) - DONE
11. Pull cotton yarn for Fish Scrubbies (another "if you make it, I will buy it" item) - DONE !
And the fish was so cute, I tried making owls too...

12. Update blog - DONE!

There is a giveaway coming in the next few days (it's there now!) on my Facebook Page. First I need to make the item I will be giving away. I'm going to make a hedgehog and name him Waldo. Then I will have a "Where's Waldo Going?" giveaway! I'm trying to come up with the base rules. So, keep an eye on my page!

Now, back to projects!  

Can't wait for a giveaway to get a hedgehog? There are five currently listed in my shop! <<< (clickable link to my Storenvy shop!)
(Oops, down to four now... Rocky is on his way to California!)
Baby shark, #4

The basket by my chair that I would like to work down!

 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Yes, I'm still here!

Wow, it's been a while since I posted!

I took a break from Penguin Pails and just focused on finishing up special orders in the past two months. There were some challenging orders:

 
Baby Dinosaur for order

I got a picture of a dinosaur stuffed animal and was asked if I could make it. There wasn't a pattern that I could tell. Google image searches on the pattern only turned up results in a foreign language (maybe Portuguese?) So I did a lot of measuring and experimenting and came up with the dinosaur above.
I got an order for a Dr. Who scarf, with a link to the official BBC pattern. 19 feet long... 50 stripes...912 rows. That took a while! 
Also got an order for another Mike Wazowski. He was fun to make! Love those big, floppy arms and legs!
One dinosaur led to another... when I posted pictures of one dinosaur I made, I got an order for another one!
Once the orders died down, I decided to try a new project, just for fun... I pulled out some fun fur yarn and started making hedgehogs!

Once the fun fur ran out, I tried something even more fun... using up yarn scraps!


Hedgehog for fun! 



 All of the hedgehogs are listed for sale in my Storenvy Shop: Penguin Place Crafts. In fact, I have over 200 ready-to-ship items listed there!

So now I am finishing up a few WIP (works in progress) and gearing up for a couple of spring craft shows. Once I see what's selling and what I need to restock, the Penguin Pail may be back...

Happy Crafting!
Elaine

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The November Penguin Pail

Wow, it's November already. This is going to be a crazy month! I have craft shows three of the four Saturdays, and will have company the other weekend! Craft shows usually result in custom orders, so I need to keep my list short this month.

Finish Spider! I have the body made, just need to finish the legs. Working on such a narrow tube isn't one of my favorite things to do... so I procrastinate.
DONE



Make Minnie Mouse Hat! The lady who wanted a Minnie Mouse hat for a one-year-old promised to be at my 11/7 craft show to pick it up. DONE


Make colorful fish lapghan. It's an out-of-state custom order, which I can send back with my Thanksgiving company, if I get it done on time! (started... bottom fin and first 6" of blanket)
About 8 more stripes to go. This will be an adult size blanket.

All the pieces done as of 11/24/15. Just need to sew them on!



Ten Catnip cat toys: this is a new category I want to add to my craft table. They will work up quickly and use up scrap yarn. Done - Made up a few catnip mice, too, and sold one at my last craft show!
8 Down, 2 to go.


Three Dryer Monsters - a new design I'm working on to use up some wool yarn.

Complete any custom orders that come in
Black headband - Done
Green Snake - Done
Purple striped snake - Done
Two Minions -Done
Two airplanes - Done
Mike W. Hat - DONE




New orders:
6 Catnip toys  DONE 


1 Infant Hat DONE 


Thursday, October 1, 2015

The October Penguin Pail

Well, I didn’t do very well in September… finished 7 of 12 items on my to-do list. 


"Of Mice and Monsters"
So, it is October… Two craft shows (17th and 24th). Two outstanding orders on the hook now. Three other “if you make this, I would buy it” projects. Two pages of design ideas in my notebook. I need to make definite goals so that I don’t get overwhelmed!

(1) Finish “Of Mice and Monsters” custom order (15 small critters for birthday part treat bags) - DONE! I made some extra so the mom would have a choice.
(2)Finish spider (picked back up 10/29/15)
Making progress... just needs legs!

(3)Finish hammerhead shark - got all the pieces done on 10/24, just need to get it all sewn together and adjust the tail fin a bit.

DONE!




(4) Turn one of my rough drawings into a new design - DONE
Got an order for a purple pig... so made it up as I went along.
 
(5) Make two more motifs for stained glass hood
(6) Make four owl motifs for blanket
(7) Cast on baby blanket with Italia yarn - DONE - I did a "Crazy Cat Lady" display for our church's Trunk or Treat for Halloween, and I took my knitting along!


 October 18 Update - Well, the bad news is that I am not making much progress at all on this list.

The good news is, the reason I'm not making good progress on the list is because I'm getting so many custom orders. 
Made up this cow for a custom order and got an order for another one with a matching pig!


I got orders for two matching monster hats to look like a monster toy I made.
And another custom order... for a Pig Monkey! 

10/22 - I'm back to working on the Hammerhead shark in the evenings, have about 3 hours of work left on it. I've started work on another custom order in my to-go bag. 


October 27 update - Now that I've finished the shark blanket, I just might get my Penguin Pail accomplished after all... I still have some custom orders to work on, but the few items remaining on the Penguin Pail shouldn't take all that long...
Another custom order... a Snowman Basket
 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The September Penguin Pail

Okay, I aced August. Now, as school starts, Mom's Taxi service will be making more runs, I will be sitting in the bleachers for volleyball games, and fall craft shows start up. It's going to be busy, and  I will probably start getting orders that might keep me from finishing up items… so I want to clear my WIP. So, here is my "Penguin Pail" for September


  1. Finish horse scarf (just needs ears sewed on and mane added) DONE
  2. Finish tool kit (hammer and screwdriver done, pliers half done) -
    DONE                       
  3. Finish Spider (just started head)
  4. Finish Dinosaur (just started head)
  5. Add price tags to the basketload of finished items DONE
  6. Add above-mentioned finished items to my inventory spreadsheet DONE
  7. Scrap Bag Challenge revisited - 2 pounds, 11 ounces of scrap yarn to burn through - DONE!
    Beginning of the scrap bag challenge
    Finished off the scrap bag with these!
    These three popped out of the scrap bag this week!
      September 10th, one third of the way through the month, and the bag is down to 1 pound, 14 ounces!
  8. Make another fish lapghan, documenting my work better so I can publish the pattern
  9. Sew button on Snowman cup cozy (last item that needed buttons sewed on sat on the table for two weeks) DONE
  10. Finalize details on commission for Owl Obsession order - colors, size, etc.
  11. Make Elegant Knit Crown for customer - DONE! 
  12. Develop new pattern for striped giraffe in a smaller size (first attempt was an epic fail, I ended up with what I am calling "Punk Pony")
September 30 update...
 Well, things got busy with a couple of custom orders. I ended up ripping out the work I'd done on the dinosaur (#4), didn't do anything with the spider (#3), and only got as far as the back fin with the new fish lapghan (#8). Customer is still debating colors for her Owl Blanket, but says she doesn't need it until next fall. So, all those projects will roll over into October, as I work on an order of fifteen mice and monsters for birthday party favors. Fall craft shows are beginning... so I'm hoping for a bunch of new custom orders! 

7 down, 8 to go in my "Of Mice and Monsters" order