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

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

Blanket section is done! 

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.
Mandala Madness & Pop Tarts blanket - WIP Wednesday 4/4/18
Other goals are to get more exercise in, work down my yarn stash, do some promotion of my Etsy shop on a daily basis, 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!

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! 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Decidedly Different December

After cleaning the craft room for company in November, I am feeling a wee bit overwhelmed with all the stuff I’ve accumulated… unsold craft show inventory, so much yarn, so many patterns that I just have to do!
So, I want to try something different for December… weekly goals. Each week in December, I want to do the following: 
  1. Finish a WIP (starting the month with four: Tool Belt, Play Mat, Owl Coaster, Blanket Bear)
  2. Make one item with crochet cotton
  3. Make one item with variegated yarn
  4. Pull one skein from my Ravelry stash and make projects until I finish it off
  5. Try one new pattern
  6. List three items on Etsy
  7. Finish a Christmas present
Let's see how I do each week! 
Week 1 - December 1 - 7 (4 of 7 completed)
#1 Finish WIP - was working on orders, never got around to this
#2 Item with Crochet Cotton - Yes, manger set
#3 Variegated - I took a bag of variegated yarn to my craft show and ended up making 4 turtles! Two of which sold and didn't come home with me... but here's a picture of one I finished!

#4 Finish off one from stash
Random number generator picked this yarn for Goal #4

#5 Try one new pattern - working on a Nativity set (which also fulfills #2, as it is made with crochet cotton!)

#6 List three items on Etsy - Oops, not this week!
#7 Christmas present - Got busy with an order for three Christmas bulb garlands, and didn't work on presents for my own family... but maybe I can count this, because the order is a gift?

Week 2 - December 8 - 14 - Yup! 7 out of 7! Yeah!
#1 Finish WIP - YES! Tool belt completed!

#2 Make an item with crochet cotton - YES! Nativity Set #2 - already sold, too!

#3 Variegated Yarn - what else? Another turtle!

#4 Finish yarn from stash
I pulled this yarn, a slate blue.
And made an owl and a turtle.

#5 New Pattern - Making an elephant - DONE

#6 List 3 items on Etsy - DONE - Actually listed 7 or 8 items! Check it out!

#7 Christmas gift - 90% DONE - but it's a gift, so you don't get a full picture!
Full picture, now that it has been received! 

Week 3 - December 15 - 21 (7 for 7 this week! Oh, yeah!)
  1. Finish a WIP (Current WIP: Play Mat, Owl Coaster, Master's Blanket Lovey)
  2. Make one item with crochet cotton
  3. Make one item with variegated yarn
    Cute little turtle!
    In my Etsy Shop
  4. Pull one skein from my Ravelry stash and make projects until I finish it off
  5.  Try one new pattern.
  6. #5 Tried a llama pattern!
    In my Etsy Shop 
  7. List 3 items on Etsy 
    ...and an owl!
  8. #4 This is the yarn that Random Number Generator picked for me.
    It says "Hedgehog" to me
  9. Finish a Christmas present

  10. Made a hedgehog... (#4, can't get pictures in the right spot!)

Week 4 - December 22 - 28 (accomplished 6 of 7)
First... Finish a WIP (current list - owl coaster, Master's blanket, fish hat, Christmas vest #1)

Second... make one item with crochet cotton
I've made 5 of these in different colors...

Third... Variegated yarn
Done... I call her Taffy the Turtle! 

Fourth... Finish off a stash yarn
Random number generator picked this for my use-up... Red worsted weight.
Started Quinn The Owl with this yarn, but got side-tracked making Christmas presents.

Fifth... New pattern... done... see the blue coaster above!

Sixth... Three Etsy listings... yes, and more...

Seventh: Finish a Christmas present... yes, finished three more by 12/31, but can't show them yet!