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Let’s Talk About The Elephant In The Room

So, remember that awesomely amazing, super secret, incredible project I have been mentioning for close to two months? Well, here she is!

This amazing baby elephant (and she is a baby, she is actually about the same dimensions as a newborn elephant is!) is 30 inches tall, 44 inches tip of the trunk to the tail, and 47 inches from ear to ear. She weighs 35lbs, and her name is Cutie Pie. My manager’s daughter named her after seeing a photo.

This baby took me about 50 hours, 38 skeins of Lion Brand Hometown USA Circus (which is discontinued and not even on their website anymore!), and 23lbs of polyester fiberfil to make. She has been my biggest nightmare and my greatest joy.

It all started when I was harassing Stacey (from Puppet Pie) to make a series about craft fairs, shows, and face to face sales on her blog. And, like a good friend, she did. I was complaining to her about my lack of views, sales, and general interest at the fair I did last December. And, she had a brilliant idea. My logo is an elephant, I got started by making elephants, my elephants are my specialty…so why not make a display elephant?! She has an 8ft blue, fuzzy wall that draws attention to her display when she is at shows. And she said that I needed something to do the same, to make me unique, to give people something to remember me by. And apparently, being the crazy crochet lady with the giant elephant is it! So, I got to work.

I took my normal elephant pattern and just made it 4 times larger, pattern-wise, not directly (directly, it is actually 7.5, almost 8 times larger). I used Hometown USA because it was so bright, and really, really, really discounted. And, it was a very thick yarn, so I could use an N hook, which made my life SOOO much easier.

And I started crocheting…and crocheting…and crocheting. It started as something I worked on for a few hours each week, and about 2 weeks ago I realized that I was not on track to complete it…so I hunkered down and busted my butt to get her finished.

And she was worth every single penny and every last hour. She is my new pride and joy.

  A giant ear.

  It took me and Chris both to stuff her butt.

  This is two boxes of fiberfil in her.

Don’t mind the belly hair.

Once partially stuffed, it was so large that I had to sit on the edge of the couch to keep working on her.

Shaping the trunk got to be way too difficult, so it involved me standing on the couch or the floor, depending on which side I was working on.

 She’s getting there

Elephants are really creepy looking without ears. 🙂

Sewing on the ears Thursday night.
  And here she is, Miss America!

  She is so ridiculously awesome.

Baby got back.

This was my view out of my review mirror…
  She came to work with me and sat on our cost accountant’s desk all day. She was a super hit, everyone adored her!

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The Pain of Mohair

As discussed in yesterday’s post, I have serious yarn problems. Part of the lot of 111 skeins that I got off of EBay, was A LOT of vintage yarn…seriously…the manufacture date on some of this yarn was the early 70s. And there was one beautiful gem in the lot…a few skeins of Lion Brand Imagine, Norwegian Woods. Now, Imagine still exists, but it is now an acrylic / wool / nylon blend. But, back in the day, Imagine was an acrylic / mohair blend.

Man, if you have never felt a mohair sweater, scarf, stuffed animal…you are really missing out on some amazingly soft, fuzzy yarn. But, if you have worked with it…you understand why it was discontinued. This stuff catches on everything. It is a nightmare if you make a mistake, because there is a pretty darn good chance that you are not getting that yarn separated from itself. I cannot even think about how much pain I went through with this yarn trying to correct minor errors.

Lion Brand does make another mohair, Moonlight Mohair. It is actually more mohair, less acrylic, even softer, and easier to work with. It has definitely come a long way since Imagine.

But, let’s get back to the Imagine yarn, with it’s pretty blue/gray/brown colors. For anyone who knows me, you know that I am all about earth tones and neutral colors. Being pasty white, I do not have much of a choice in the matter, so luckily I really like them.

In my boredom and frantic rage to create things for the Funky Finds craft fair last December, I started throwing skeins of anything soft that I could find in my travel bag and worked on scarves, hats, blankets, whatever, anywhere I went. Well, not knowing what mohair was or how hard it is to work with, I threw this in there before a long road trip once. What I also didn’t realize was that due to the small gauge of the yarn, I needed a really tiny hook, which made it all the more painful.

I started working on this scarf. It had a beautiful pattern, initially. But, I kept finding all sorts of mistakes and errors and having to frog large portions of the scarf. So, I did what any good yarn worker does…I turned my mistakes into a pattern and pretended like it was supposed to look like that. The pictures do not show the difference too well, I need to take better ones, but the ends of both sides of the scarf are more open, light, pretty. The rest is a solid piece, HDC, I believe. Life was much easier once I stopped trying to be fancy.

mohair scarf

kids scarf

winter scarf

Kid’s 40″ Mohair Scarf

The problem then, was that I had not used nearly all of this yarn. I still had so much…and I did not want to do anything else difficult with it. So, I went back to an old familiar, as I always do when I am at a struggle fro what to make. The result was the cutest, softest, cuddliest elephant ever. He is tiny, just 3in tall, but man oh man is he sweet. I am actually a little afraid that this guy will sell. Which would be great, he deserves a loving home, but heartbreaking to have to part with him. I left him blind on purpose…I just could not find a yarn for his eyes that did him justice. Everything just looked wrong…so here he is, in his blind, fuzzy splendor. Gawk all you want. I am quite proud of myself on this one.

amigurumi elephant

mohair elephant

3″ mohair elephant

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Getting Organized

So, if you haven’t realized by now…I have issues. A lot of them. I am borderline OCD (I say borderline because I have never been diagnosed, but I am quite sure I am fully OCD) about a lot of things when it comes to organization and planning. I will actually have full on panic attacks when plans fall through or things are not planned out. But, only when it involves work or money. I am pretty laid back when it comes to going out, vacations, food…but for my day to day work, or anything involving money – like paying bills, I am almost crazy when it comes to organization. Maybe one day I will show you my super crazy excel spreadsheet that covers all of my monthly income, expenses, when it was paid, balances…it is crazy.

Well, as I was sitting around my house yesterday, thinking about this upcoming craft fair on May 2nd, I realized that I do not have nearly as much made as I had thought. So many of my pre-made items are for adults, and adults will definitely not be my target audience at the children’s festival! And so much of my stuff is winter! I am all set and ready to kill some late fall / early winter craft shows…but May in Southern California? No one is going to buy a scarf or gloves! And adults will not be shopping for themselves when they are in an area dedicated to kids and playing! I need to focus on stuffed animals, kids clothes, dress up clothes, that sort of stuff. Which I have known all along, and I was set on the “I am doing okay there”…until I looked at the count. How I will ever be ready, I have absolutely no idea. So, after spending about 10 minutes freaking out and nearly convincing myself that I should cancel, Stacey’s voice popped into my head again…make a plan. Write it down. Get organized. Be realistic. She actually wrote an entire blog on how to do that exactly…and it is worth a read, if you are like me at all, and get easily spooked.

So, I made a plan…and it looks like this.

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My plan is actually quite flexible. My personal days are all days that I have stuff scheduled and probably would be limited on any work I could actually do. And of course, given that my shop isn’t exactly doing amazing with sales (which you could totally help fix!), all of those days that are dedicated to Etsy orders are available to help finish up work from the day before.

So, while this plan will not 100% put me where I wanted to be, there aren’t enough hours for that considering I work full time, and so much overtime, it will put me much closer. And, it quelled the panic attack some. So, now to just make sure I stick to the plan and kick out a whole bunch of really awesome stuff in the next 2 months!

Wish me luck!

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Sorry all you people with the snow…

Sorry for all of you people out there snowed in and the like, but I actually got a slight sunburn this weekend. I was a little excited about the 75F sunshiney beautifulness that was my weekend. On Sunday, I spent about 2 hours in the morning playing with my awesome new lightbox, taking product photos. Unfortunately, my mannequin body does not fit in there, so the mannequin photos are still just up against a wall, but we at least had the common sense to put up some sheets first. So the background is consistent and not hideously ugly. But yes, this lightbox is the greatest purchase I have ever made. It helped so much, the colors on my products are actually showing as the actual color! No more off yellow or blue instead of purple. Things look vibrant and fun! And I think it helped a lot.

I have been listing like crazy the last couple days, and will continue through the next two weeks. I am trying to get back on track for my 2015 goals. So, after this week, back to photographing and editing on Saturdays. I will still continue to write up draft listings the weekend in advance and then just chuck in photos after they are edited. This allows me to keep listing new products each day, or at least a few days a week. I would rather not have 35 items expire on the same day. I am also trying to do better with listing only ready made items. The made to order items can be such a headache. I will keep the more popular ones around, but I am thinking that for most of the items, like scarves and such, once it sells, it sells, and I will not relist it as made to order, unless I actually get more of that yarn in. It is too big of a pain in the butt to try to remember the hook size, the measurements, exactly what I did to replicate something unless it came from a pattern or I wrote down the pattern.

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Revamped this listing. Both these yellow and neon pink ones are ready to ship, by the way!

6 Elephant Butts

Revamped this listing. Both of these guys are ready to ship.

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Added the green, brown, charcoal, and maroon scarf listings.

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Speaking of patterns I write!!! I am working on something top secret right now. I CANNOT wait to share it once I am finished!!

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And The Elephants Have It!

So, anyone that has ever met my younger daughter, knows that in our home, the elephants have it. Some little girls love puppies, some love kittens, some love owls. Owls actually seem to be the thing right now actually. My kid, nope, she loves elephants. The bigger and muddier, the better. She even told me, at one point, that she wanted to work for a circus and would even pick up the elephant poop, as long as they let her be near them. There you have it, she was 7 at the time, and instead of wanting to be a pop star, princess, or teacher, she wanted to be the elephant pooper scooper. 🙂 That’s my crazy kid.

Anyway, I digress…my girlfriend found out she was pregnant, and of course, when trying to decide on a theme for her nursery, the first thing she did was come to me and ask me what I can make to make it really special. Well, at the time, all I had really progressed to was elephants to appease the small one. So, I suggested elephants. I would work on a few different style blankets. I started with the simple amigurumi elephant, leaving off the feet of course…and after some trial and error, attached it to a small blanket I had made. I had seen loveys all over the place, and they were just the coolest thing to me. So, I made an attempt. Granted, I feel that if I were to make another one now, it would be about 10,000 times better, but I was quite proud for my first attempt.

Elephant lovey
ElephantLovey1

ElephantLovey2

ElephantLovey3

ElephantLovey4

Additionally, I worked on finding a pattern for an elephant granny square. I found one that I absolutely loved, it allowed for the ear to be floppy and everything! I went and found the softest acrylic yarn I could imagine (Hobby Lobby’s brand I Love This Yarn!), and I started working ton my very first granny square, and very first granny square blanket. Now, I love this blanket. It is beautiful, soft, and incredible. I am so proud of this. But man, did I learn that I absolutely despise sewing together granny squares!

This blanket now graces the nursery of some little girl on the other side of the country, and that makes me so proud and happy! I cannot even begin to describe how great it feels to see your work out there, and know that people love it. The woman who purchased the blanket told me “The work is beautiful.” That was the most amazing thing I had ever heard. You never quite feel like your work is good enough. And I truly, truly am in that group of people…I feel like no one could ever love my work! Others are so much better! And yet people seem to like it, and it makes me proud.

This is quite possibly my favorite thing I have ever made. I do plan on making another one for my daughter one day; maybe a large one to grace her bed when she is a little older.

Marching Elephant Granny Square Blanket

Elephant1

Elephant2

Elephant3

Elephant4

My friend ended up going with a different theme for the nursery after finding out she was having a girl. Elephants were not feminine enough for her. And that is quite alright, the blanket went to a good home, and I have faith that the lovey will one day. I never give up there.

On a completely other note, if you haven’t yet, you should check out my instagram and Facebook pages; they are updated almost daily. And definitely check out the shop, you never know when you will come across the perfect item.

Either way, I appreciate you taking the time to be here and read through this. I know how much it pains you all. Have a good day!