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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!

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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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Funky Finds – My First Craft Fair

Well…my first craft fair was a bust. 😦 Unfortunately, it was really rainy and awful the days leading up to the fair, it was raining the morning of the fair until about 10 minutes before it started…so that really hurt foot traffic. Plus, there seemed to be a lot of looky-loos walking around…people not interested in buying at all. Most of the vendors I spoke with didn’t even make their booth fee back, myself included. There were a couple vendors that did really well, but for the most part, the only sales people got were to other vendors.

We had two versions of our booth set-up…our initial morning set up, and then our set up after our friends arrived with some baskets and the like…and all of her creativity and design abilities. She definitely helped more than I could dream of.

My younger daughter ran around in her Halloween costume for a few hours, but then it got to be too warm, so she changed and we stuck the costume on the carrying case for our EZ-Up. The costume definitely brought a lot of attention to the booth, with several ladies talking about getting custom clothes and costumes done for their kids and asking for cards, so here’s to hoping that pans out.

I learned a valuable lesson about set-up; do not put your most expensive items out front! People kept walking by and looking at my cashmere scarf and leaving immediately after seeing the price, so we swapped it for a  cheaper scarf and then people would actually come into the booth. However, I was definitely overpriced for the market. There was another knitter / crocheter who is definitely a hobbyist, and not running a business, that was selling hats and scarves for about half of what I was; but hers were all acrylic, made of red heart super saver and the like; mine are wool blends and made from much more expensive yarn. So yea…definitely not my crowd. Everyone loved the stuffed animals, but would scoff at paying $10 for a  stuffed animal. I heard a lot of “I could get this at Walmart for $2!” It took some effort to hold my tongue and not respond with great things like, “And just imagine the little kid who made it probably got a whole $0.02 for the entire day!” People definitely don’t seem to see the skill, time, or money involved in crochet. They just think “yarn is cheap” (which it really isn’t, depending on the yarn!) and that anyone can make this stuff. I had about 5 ladies who ‘crochet’ (they can make a blanket with a straight single crochet all the way across and back) look at my daughter’s costume and comment with “that’s not that hard, I could make that” or told a friend who was inquiring about custom orders “don’t bother getting her card, I will make it for *insertchildnamehere*”. On the plus side, no one was obviously taking pictures, so I don’t actually think anyone will be studying too hard to replicate the costume. Not that I think anyone could. There are definitely people talented enough to do it….but I am not sure I could replicate it exactly. I made it up as I went along and stupidly did not write anything down about it!

Anyway, enough venting about how horribly rude people are at fairs. I did have a good time though, I definitely feel like I got a lot of exposure, I made a few vendor friends, and I found out about a few more fairs I want to do. I did sell my ten F-Bombs to my friends for their Christmas order. I also sold an octopus finger puppet and some toddler multi-color fingerless gloves. And I got the experience I needed to feel more confident about the fair I am doing in May; it is a MUCH larger event and I was slightly terrified. I now have my “inventory goal” list and am working on that after I finish the last of my Christmas orders.

No more vending plans until May. Then I have the Soka University International Festival in Irvine, Ca on May 2, then the BrewBQue in Norco, CA on May 30-31. I am really excited, and I feel like I will be much better prepared. And realistically, after that, I am going to focus on Halloween costumes, since that was my big seller this year, and then Christmas items. I have to be a lot more prepared next year, as I want to do several Christmastime craft fairs. 🙂

Anyway, I will be photographing and listing all the inventory that wasn’t already up in the shop this weekend. So keep an eye out! There is some really awesome stuff in there! Have a fantastic day!

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Almost Ready!

So…it is that time of year, the time of the craft fair. And while I was not prepared and ready to do too many of them, I am presently in mass chaos mode to get ready for the one tomorrow. It is my first, and I am sort of terrified! For anyone who doesn’t know me, I am absolutely awkward. I do well with dogs, I do well with little kids, I do well with yarn…I do not do well with people. I constantly feel like I am annoying them, or that they don’t get my jokes or humour. So, the thought of trying to sell to people face to face has me sweating bullets and sick to my stomach…I seriously have barely eaten the last three days, I am so nervous. Luckily, my fiancée, his younger daughter, and our best friends will be there to help…and they are all quite socially capable and fun to be around. So, I am hoping to maintain the quiet, mysterious, crafter’s aura, while they wow people and sparkle them into the booth. I am so, so, so grateful to have them all.

Funky Finds

I made Chris get up with me at 4am to do inventory and freak out about things that aren’t 100% finished. All of the stuff on the pillows to the left still need the ends sewn in…luckily that isn’t TOO long of a task, since I am stuck on a twelve hour day at work today. Everything else is ready to go…though that creepy rainbow bear might have his face cut off and be sold without a face. It is really the creepiest face I have ever seen. I also have one more elephant that is in pieces, he is ready, just needs to be sewn together…so yea…I have my work cut out for me tonight. Maybe I will just let them work the fair and I will take a nap.

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I have been so stressed out lately, trying to find a place to move to next month, trying to figure out how we are going to afford to move to a house with a yard that my dogs desperately need, working two jobs, figuring out how I can afford to quit one of them, trying to get the Etsy shop going, and preparing for this fair. I am utterly exhausted. And my poor doggies must think that I hate them. I have barely spent any time with them or played with them in over a week! I am such a terrible momma!

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Redesigning a Pattern; Amigurumi Toddler Weights

So, Pinterest has been a marvelous source of ideas, inspirations, patterns, and challenges. Not every link works; actually, I would say that a good 25% of the stuff I pin does not actually lead anywhere. But, sometimes, I find stuff that is just too much cuteness to handle, and I have to give it a shot.

I made this Toddler Weight Set after seeing Lion Brand post a link to a free pattern. The pattern is great, easy to follow, easy for those new to amigurumi, like I was at the time. However, I saw one fatal flaw. I absolutely despise trying to sew pieces together. So, after about 15 failed attempts, I finally figured out how to work modify the pattern to work for me. Yes, it took way more tries than it would for most people, but hey, I was tired. So, I did the first portion of the pattern (rounds 1-10), then I moved on without fastening off or anything, just kept going to the middle portion of the weights (rounds 1-8), and then reversed the first portion of the pattern (rounds 10-1). I will elaborate.

 But first, here is the pattern as originally written and posted by Stitch11, which is an awesome, awesome site/blog if you have never visited. 

 

Round 1: Magic Circle. CH 1, 11 HDC into magic circle. Pull ring tight. Join to first HDC. (11 HDC)
Round 2: CH 1, 2 HDC into each HDC around. Join to first HDC. (22 HDC)
Round 3: CH 1, 2 HDC first HDC. 1 HDC into the next HDC. **2 HDC into the next HDC. 1 HDC into the next HDC. Repeat from ** around. Join to first HDC. (33 HDC)
Round 4: CH 1, SC into each stitch around. Join to first SC. (33 SC)
Round 5: CH 1, SC into the back loop of each stitch around. Join to first SC. (33 SC)
Round 6: CH 1, HDC into each stitch around. Join to first HDC. (33 HDC)
Round 7: CH 1, SC into each stitch around. Join to first SC. (33 SC)
Round 8: CH 1, In the back loops only-  **SC DEC, SC into the next stitch. Repeat from ** around. Join to the first SC DEC.  (22 stitches)
Round 9: CH 1, HDC DEC around. Join to first HDC DEC. (11 HDC)
Stuff end before moving on to middle section
Round 10-17: CH 1, HDC around. Join to first HDC . (11 HDC)
Stuff middle before moving on to other end section

Round 18: CH 1, 2 HDC in each HDC around. Join to first HDC DEC. (22 HDC)
Round 19: CH1, In the back loops only- **2 SC in first HDC, SC into the next HDC. Repeat from ** around. Join to the first SC (33 SC)
Round 20: CH1, SC into each stitch around. Join to the first SC. (33 SC)
Round 21: CH1, HDC into each stitch around. Join to the first HDC. (33 HDC)
Round 22: CH1, SC into the back loop of each stitch around. Join to the first SC. (33 SC)
Round 23: CH1, SC into each stitch around. Join to the first SC. (33 SC)
Round 24: CH1, **HDC DEC. HDC in to the next HDC. Repeat from ** around. Join to the first HDC DEC. (22 HDC)
Round 25: CH1, HDC DEC around. Join to the first HDC DEC. (11 HDC)
Round 26: CH1, **HDC DEC. Repeat from ** 4 times. HDC in last HDC. Join to the first HDC DEC. (6 HDC)
Stuff end before closing.
Round 27: CH1, **HDC DEC. Repeat from ** around. Join to the first HDC DEC. (3 HDC)
Fasten off, leaving a long tail to close the small hole at the end.

So, I don’t know if my way is any easier for you. But, for me, it is so much simpler to try and attach fewer things. I am still trying to figure out how to make my elephants without having to attach a ton of things. Maybe it is inert laziness, or maybe it is just the fact that I am really awful with the whole concept of embroidery! Either way, here are two versions of the same awesome item for you.

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