Blogger Spotlight - Recap!

Alright, I confess! I've been a lazy, bum ass blogger this week! Normally I spend a little time over the weekend, preparing posts so that during the week, I can just click "Publish!" But, I didn't this last weekend, and it's left me feeling like I didn't do my homework for class on Monday! LOL I thought to myself, "Self, how can this still work?" And I came up with something! (This is kind of a big deal, because a lot of times, it's easy to get stuck on the problem, instead of the solution.)

I've been doing my Blogger Spotlight posts for a few weeks now, so I thought a recap might be in order. Some you probably know, and some maybe not, but I hope you enjoy them all!

  • Warm Fuzzies - Her stories are so adorable, and full of character (not to mention her photography and her stuffies rock!)
  • Betz White - (Whose new book is ironically titled Warm Fuzzies! LOL) Makes the yummiest recycled sweater goodies!
  • Girl on the Rocks - Karrie's patterns are wonderful for destashing, and she's a serious Whiplash competitor!
  • Wee Wonderfuls - Hillary's blog was the very first craft blog I ever visited! I continue to read, she's got the cutest stuffie & embroidery patterns, check out her freebie section!
  • Crafty Bits @ Planet June - June has got to be one of the sweetest bloggers I know! And she makes the cutest fuzzy amigurumi pal patterns!
  • Posie Gets Cozy - Alicia is such an inspiring talent, her blog is so lovely both in words and images.
  • Keep on Knitting in the Free World - Star is such an amazing artist! Her eye for color is impeccable, and I love how much she plays around with her spinning!


Quickie Pick-Me-Up!

I've been feeling a little blah lately, so I decided to work up a quick new product for my Etsy store - cashmere button bracelets! I'm very proud for a barely-there effort (what can I say, I think it might be a recurring sinus infection, maybe?) Anyhoo, these are my first three, and I've got them listed at 9.50$ each. Is that too much? I can never tell what's right when I'm pricing a product for the first time. Once I spend a little more time making multiples, I'll get a better idea; but right now I'm so doubting myself! Can I just add though, that I looooooove cashmere! LOL It's yummy!


WIP Wednesday - Bamboo Clapotis... again!

WIP Clapotis - SWTC BambooI was so excited to get past the straight section on my bamboo Clapotis, that I spent most of yesterday knitting feverishly to get there. I totally understand what other knitters are talking about when they mention how bored they are with the middle of this project. It's a little boring, and a little tedious, but oh SO worth it to muscle past! (I thought it would be fun to play on the fact that it takes "forever" to get through it, with this picture! LOL)

I normally wouldn't post 2 weeks in a row about the same WIP project, but I thought this was a wonderful exception, considering how much progress I've made on it in the last few days! I'm into the decrease section, and hoping it goes as quick as the increase section did at the beginning (like 2 days, as compared with over a week for the straight section!)

WIP Clapotis - Closeup

I absolutely love the yarn (SWTC Bamboo in Intensity,) and I'm rWIP Clapotis - Overvieweally gaining some confidence reading knit patterns. I mentioned before, but sometimes they really look like a foreign language to me! So, it's good to feel like I can get through what feels intimidating.

It's looking like I might finish it with 2 balls instead of 4; so I'm trying to figure out what to do with an extra 500yds of super-soft bamboo! When I was winding center-pull cakes at the start of it, the yardage seemed ridiculous, but I'm really appreciating it now. I've only had to join a new ball once so far!


Get Real Monday

So spring is finally starting to show her shy little head around here, so it must be time for Spring Cleaning! Randi started the trend with her Get Real Monday post, but how could I not join in on communal cleaning? LOL For those of you who don't know me very well, when I get irritated or upset, I clean. Like a mad-woman…. Not every time, which would explain the current state of things, but I find it comforting. I'm one of those "Everything has it's place," kind of people that goes nuts if I'm living in too much clutter. And, truth be told, I've been living in too much clutter lately! So, I knew I had to jump on this bandwagon!

My biggest trouble spots right now are my pantry, my floors and my craft room. The craft room isn't terrible, but ever since I cleared most of the clutter out, there's been that last little bit of it, I can't seem to decide what to do with. Do you know what I'm talking about? That last little tiny bit of schmutz that you don't want to necessarily throw out, but you don't really know where it should go permanently, either.

My floors are a constant battle of dog hair and tracked-in mud this time of year. It's been fairly nice in Chicago lately, but wet spring here isn't much of a surprise. So, dirt and tumbleweeds of dog hair cover my kitchen floor (wow, that's embarrassing!) But we just got a new vacuum (Oreck baby! It rocks!) and it's been great for keeping the carpet clean, I just need to get in the habit of running it over my tile as well.

And, the pièce de résistance is my pantry. Right now, it's filled with snacks, cereal and dinner options; but lunch is another matter. I've been terrible about eating a good lunch, because I've been so lazy about clearing my pantry out. I've been eating breakfast more lately (which is significant for me because I'm really not a morning person, and have always preferred coffee,) and I've been making an effort to make better dinners… Good consistent lunches seem to elude me though, and I want to rectify that. (Ok, so I'm not brave enough to post before photos, but at least I'm finally brave enough to tackle it!)


Etsy Showcase Spots

No new Blogger Spotlight today... I had a very unmotivated week, what can I say? But I did manage to snag 2 Showcase spots on Etsy (finally!) They sell out fairly quickly, and I've tried at least twice with no luck. Woohoo! Today and Sunday, my tsumami kanzashi flowers & sets will be featured on Etsy's Showcase, which is a neat little advertising widget. They used to buy outside advertising for the Etsy Showcase, but I don't think they will be for this round.

I have yet to see if it's a good adverstising route for me, at 7$ per spot (which lasts for 24 hours.) But, I'm trying to really get my store and products out there; and it's really a much harder task than I first imagined. I tried to push some sales with The Sampler last month, but I don't think I made any sales from it. I did make 3 sales in March so far, but I can't seem to tell if they were to Sampler subscribers. Hmmmpph.

If you have an Etsy store (or any online shop,) what have you done to promote it? Is there anything that boosted sales more than expected? Anything really NOT turn out like you thought? I'd REALLY appreciate thoughts & suggestions here... I seem to be in a bit of a rut lately with my store. I hope I make a sale or two from these Showcase spots!


WIP Wednesday - Bamboo Clapotis

WIP - Bamboo ClapotisOk, so I'm not done knitting my Razor cami yet… but I just couldn't wait to cast on for my very first Clapotis! I feel so behind the rest of the crafty community when a lot of knitters have made a few of these! Well, I can finally see why, though! It seems a lot easier than it looked at first glance to me, which I guess is because all that text looks like another language to me most of the time. A language I can't read or understand, I might add… although I seem to be doing pretty good on this one! I've just started the straight section, and I'm still on my first ball!

Anyhoo, this is SWTC Bamboo in Intensity on size 6's (Knit Picks Options Circs.) I just started the straight section, but it was nice to get past the increase section. For some reason, it felt like it was taking forever to get past. The bamboo is sooooo soft, I wish I could put a little patch on the screen so everyone could fondle it as much as I do. (Ok, that sounded a little weird…) But seriously, if you haven't felt bamboo yarn, hit your LYS and go touch some!

WIP - Bamboo Clapotis Closeup

It was my sister who turned me onto bamboo. She had a small skein of silk, and she put it in my hands. Then she yanked it out and said, "Feel this!" while she placed a tiny skein of bamboo in my hands. And I knew instantly I had to make something from bamboo. Then, there was a nice article in IK Spring 07 comparing different bamboo yarns, and I knew it must be fate. So then, I had to pick what color(s) I wanted. Kpixie had a better price than YarnMarket on SWTC Bamboo, 13$ instead of 13.85$ each. But I still had trouble deciding which color. I decided to email Kpixie and ask which (of 2, Azul or Intensity,) had more aqua in it. I sent the email on a Saturday, so I thought I'd be waiting all weekend; but they got back to me right away!

It turned out to be my husband that helped the most in picking the color, (he thought the one I eventually picked was prettier than the other! LOL) But I'm really glad I chose a colorway that's a little different for me, because it had a lot of medium dusty blue in it, and I think it's going to go wonderfully well with jeans!


Under the Weather...

Ick… I've been feeling kinda sick the last few days. Nothing too unbearable, just a general feeling of, "I don't wanna do anything but park my butt on the sofa, watch tv and knit!" So, I started my bamboo Clapotis this weekend (look for wip pics tomorrow!) And, not really much else… which felt both good and bad at the same time, if that makes any sense! My husband was very productive, which was a little bit of a switch for us, because normally I'm the one power cleaning on the weekend. Oh well, there will always be more for me to clean, right?!? Hahaha! Here's my weekend comforts, advil for the aches, tea for all of the icky congestion and an adorable J. Crew catalog. Isn't she cute peering over her sketches? LOL


Ok, so the real point of this post was to ask (that is - beg, bribe, grovel) for tips and tricks for self care! What do you do when you're feeling down, so that you can feel better and get back to a more motivated mood? I love bath products, and usually I'd make them myself… but due to my aforementioned mood, haven't gotten around to a new batch of bath bombs yet! (I'll be perfectly honest here, it's been a couple weeks since I even cleaned my bath tub!) What do you do to find peace when the world starts to close in on you? What simple treats (or activities!) make you happy? Any special comfort foods or beverages? Please share! I'd be eternally grateful!


Blogger Spotlight - Keep On Knitting In The Free World

I first found Star's blog through her Fiber Friday posts on Craftster. When she posted her Tiffany handspun with pearls, I knew I had to get in contact with her! She also had some amazing yarn with sea shells spun into it! I knew they'd sell fast, (and they did!) so I wanted to see if she'd be interested in a personal trade with me. And she was! We're actually working on items for each other right now, but I knew I wanted to feature her blog her on mine! Her handspun is gorgeous, and she also has an awesome Etsy store. I'm in awe every Friday, and each Friday she has something new!

Consistency has been a real focus of mine over the last couple of months, and I really admire how consistent Star is with her craft. It's hard to do anything over and over again, consistently I think. You go girl! LOL I also really love how much she plays around with different things.
Colors, textures, bits & bobs to add in, there's always something new on her blog! I love how much fun her yarns are, and I'm so glad we decided to swap with each other. I can only hope she likes what I'm making as much!

I've really enjoyed featuring different blogs every week, but I'm not sure if I've accomplished what I set out to, in that I wanted to share my favorite blogs, in the hope that you might too! But, I haven't gotten that many links to new blogs (or ones I already read,) so I'm not sure how long I will continue with it. Got an opinion? I'd LOVE to hear it! I wish I had more time to look for new blogs and bloggers, but starting a new store is very time consuming, and I just don't have the same amount of time to surf around that I used to. Pretty please leave a link to your favorite blog, or yours! Pretty, pretty please with a cherry on top???


My March Sampler!

Ok, so I'll first confess I was planning on posting a sewn FO today, and have only barely started it! I'm not telling what it is yet, though; instead I thought I'd share my March Sampler goodies that came yesterday! I love the fabric bundle from Reprot Depot, and the Sugar Lily card (up front.)

My March Sampler!

It's been kind of a scatter-brained week for me... I just can't seem to get my act together and get everything I want to finished. Like calling my sister (Jenn, I'm sorry! I don't mean to ignore you!) and writing a few emails... I just can't seem to get to a few things that are actually important to me these days. Hrmmmmph. Hopefully next week there will be a sewn FO, and I won't feel so mentally absent!


WIP Tuesday - New Store Stuff!!!


When I saw this cashmere online, I knew I had to buy some. It was gorgeous, and came in a bunch of different colors. Thing was, it was 15.95$ per yard, for every color. I knew I couldn't afford yards & yards of it, so I settled for 5 1/8 yd cuts in my most favorite colors. Yes, the online fabric store I use cuts as small as 1/8 yd. (WoohoO!) Very helpful when you need a swatch in your hands before you decide to buy 20yds for drapes. Yes, I said 20 yards. That's 60 feet of fabric 5 feet wide. Literally, a river of fabric! And, no… I haven't made
the drapes yet! LOL

Cashmere wristlets WIP

Anyhoo, back to the cashmere! I loved it, so I was hoping buyers would like it too. It didn't quite turn out as as I'd imagined, though. At first I was going to seam the cashmere, to cover the raw edges. Then I tried it, and found the cashmere very thick & hard to turn inside out. Take two was much more successful, I sewed ribbon down the middle of a 1" strip of cashmere, and then "pinked" the edges (pinking shears are just scissors that cut a zigzag.) I sewed on velcro by machine, and snaps by hand to finish. I think they're lots of fun, and I'm really excited & proud to offer them in my Etsy store. I'll be listing new sets all week, watch my sidebar for the newest listings! (Gotta love that new Etsy widget! Etsy guys, you ROCK!)


Etsy Spotlight - The Fuzzy Bunny

Handspun Yarn from The Fuzzy BunnyI was first introduced to Fuzzy Bunny handspun yarn in the Sweat Shoppe Swap (rnd2, on Craftster) last year. I was lucky enough to get not 1, but 2 skeins! One in lovely watercolor blues & purples, and one in a super fun southwest colorway, with blues pink & oranges. I knew I had to have more, and my Mom's birthday was coming up.

So I ordered 2 skeins of custom handspun in pinks & oranges to match the knitting needle roll I made. The price was great for the yardage, and the communication was as well. I got exactly what I wanted, and she even wrote me a sweet little card! After I tried spinning for myself, I have a new respect for those that have a talent for it! It's tricky!

Handspun Yarn from The Fuzzy Bunny

There isn't yarn in her store right now*, but if you're looking for quality handspun - email or "convo" her for custom quotes. You won't be disappointed! She does have cold process soap, lip balm and duct tape wallets available now, though. I love the paper she wraps the soaps in! Oh, and shipping's FREE! Gotta love free shipping! Maybe I'll have to think about that for my store!

*Edited to Add - YES, she does have yarn in her shop now! Go and buy it! LOL


Blogger Spotlight - Posie Gets Cozy

Alicia's blog, Posie Gets Cozy, is amazing! Her latest project, the Ripple Blanket, has spurred a huge online community to ripple and de-stash, all at the same time! I'm not very good at crochet, otherwise I'd probably already have started one for myself! LOL

Her posts are truly heartwarming, and they really captivate me. I've always been a visual person, so when I started reading a blog with multiple paragraphs per post; I knew she had a special quality, that I both admire and aspire to. Don't get me wrong, her photos are GORGEOUS! But her words are so touching and personal.

I should say positively personal, because I sometimes struggle with feeling like the personal things I share on my blog are too "fishing for sympathy/compliments/attention" or negative. I try and keep things happy & light, but life doesn't always go along with those plans! I don't want to come across as a whiner, but I think there's a balance in between not sharing anything negative, and sharing too much. Alicia's found a balance, and it's refreshing for me to see (that it can be achieved.) Go check her out, and the Ripple-along! (She's also one of the judges for the Softie Awards! Good luck Wee Curvy Kitten!)

I'd also really love to hear what you're favorite blogs are! I'm always looking for new ones to read, and it's a little tougher now that I don't have time to Google for them! Who's your favorites? How bout yours? Link them here! Pretty please?!?!?!


Oh. my. GOSH!!!

Josephine She's HERE!!! And I'm so excited to introduce you to Josephine, my new Blythe doll! She's an I Love You, It's True; and I do love her! LOL She took a long 3 weeks to get here, but it's my own fault for trying to buy a doll from Hong Kong during Chinese New Year! Well, the wait is finally over! I can already tell she'll be addicting as others have said... I'm scouting scale Vespas on Ebay right now!

She's sporting a tiny tsumami kanzashi flower snap, made with 3/4" petals. I tried to fold 1/2" petals without any luck, but the 3/4" is do-able. It's not quite as tiny a flower as I'd hoped for, but I think it still looks cute, and isn't too big for her head. I'll probably add these to my Etsy store, once I get a few more products done & listed. Up next is more cashmere ribbon wristlet sets, and I may decide to list them ala carte as well, although that hasn't worked as well as I'd hoped with the flower snaps.


Josephine She's even got a beautiful kimono! (Which only took 3 days to get here from Japan!) And just look at the wonderful tiny tsumami kanzashi! The hair clip cinched it for me, I knew I had to get it for her, and it ended up showing up before she even arrived! It's the Harmony & Peace outfit from Takara, and I just think it's adorable! The socks & shoes were kind of a pain to get on, though!

I'd have to say, the only thing I was a little disappointed with, was that her hair isn't very curly. In her stock picture, the ends of her long blonde hair are nice & curly, but my Josie's are just wavy, and a little limp! Not to fear, she needs a shampoo anyway (it's a little greasy too!) So, I thought I'd set the ends in curlers, whenever I get around to it. (Heh, like that means anything other than not soon!)

The minute she came out of the box, I decided she'll need sand-matting too, the glare she puts off of that forehead could blind somebody! (I shouldn't talk, because it's really my five-head that made me fall in love with Blythes.) I already want another so I can customize with a mohair reroot in TIFFANY BLUE!!! (Of all colors, what'dya think I'd want? LOL) Of course, she's not the only one... I want a short & curly brunette, and a long & straight redhead!


Etsy Spotlight - Pearl & Marmalade

I started doing a Blogger Spotlight this year, and thought to myself recently that doing the same with Etsy sellers I like would be fun too! I've personally bought from these sellers, so I can tell you with confidence that their quality and service are both great! Without further ado, here's the first installment!

Secret Admirer Hounds cards from Pearl & Marmalade

I don't really remember when I first found Pearl & Marmalade on Etsy. At first I just "hearted" them, and kept them in "My Favorite Sellers" section. But then, I saw their Secret Admirer Hounds cards (via Design*Sponge,) and knew I had to have them! Actually, I knew they had to go to my MIL Robin. One of them had a Tiffany blue Boston terrier on the front, and it was fate. Except when I clicked through to their store, I was very sad to find they were already sold out. Ok, so I emailed them and asked if I could get a custom set, and I waited. It took about a week to hear back & they apologized for the wait, but I was just ecstatic to get the news... I could get my custom set of 12, all Tiffany blue Boston terriers! The price was very reasonable, too! (Email me for the price, they were a gift and I don't want to go announcing it! LOL)

They're in Chicago too, which I love! I'm all about supporting local small businesses! They're starting to include letterpress into their store recently; and I ADORE their first (letterpress) card A Startling Life. With foliage, birds and an Emily Dickinson quote, it's simply elegant. I really think it's classically beautiful, and I can't wait to see what else they do next! (They actually have relased a second letterpress card set, Honey Bees. I'm just a tard and didn't notice til a minute ago! LOL)


Cashmere Ribbon Wristlet Set - SOLD!!!

Tsumami Kanzashi Flower Snap Set

I'm very proud to say I finally got a cashmere ribbon wristlet set listed in my Etsy store! It seems like it's taken me forever, but February wasn't very cooperative when it came to getting work done. Oh well, it's done now! Or rather, started now, because I have half a dozen more wristlets to make flowers for, and plans for half a dozen more color/ribbon combos! LOL And.... it sold already! Like an hour after I listed it! I'm so happy!

I find that creative work for me tends to breed ideas, and while that's great, I don't always have the time to satiate all those ideas. I'm pretty good at remembering things, though; so things have a tendency to get locked away in "the vault" so to speak. And every once in a while, I'll resurrect an idea from languishing at the back of my brain, and it gets to see the light of day. Those are great days. My Femme Fedora for Whiplash was a rescued idea. Come to think of it, I should try and dig a few more out this year. Shake the dust off, and be able to cross a few more off of my To Do list. Yes, yes.


As Time Goes By...

Well Happy Bloggerversary to me! I've been blogging for a whole year today, and I can barely believe it! It's gone so fast, and seemed so short! In a good way, but it seems a little surreal. I'd struggled for days trying to pick out a name for my baby blog and Etsy shop. I consider myself quite creative, but I really wanted a name that could house all of my crafty endeavors; even though I knew I wanted to focus on kanzashi flowers initially. I'm kind of craft ADD - I like to try all sorts of crafts and do all sorts of different things, and I didn't want to pigeon-hole myself with a name like Sew Insane or Kanzashi Kari. I like both sewing and kanzashi flowers, but knew I'd be doing more.

It's funny though, I never would have guessed I'd try (and enjoy!) spinning*; it seemed so time consuming I wondered why anyone would bother. But now I know why; and it's for the same reason that I like to make things for myself. It's that I have total control when I make things. Design differences, functional differences, or just changing my mind mid-project are all completely up to me! And sometimes the options can be daunting, but I know what will work best for me, and I get to serve that interest every day. I know, I'm really lucky; and it's mostly because of my husband, Jamie. He works very hard so I can find my bliss, and I'm very lucky to have him too! As well as the opportunities he helps to open for me. Thanks Sweetheart!

*There's been a few other surprises, like diving into Blythe ownership, wanting more items off Etsy than I'll ever sell (LOL!) and finally finding some peace amidst the chaos I happen to call my life. Color me surprised! I can't wait to see what'll happen this year!


Blogger Spotlight - Crafty Bits @ Planet June

June's blog, Crafty Bits @ Planet June is a great source of inspiration to me. I found her through Whiplash, and her great projects including a denim hair band, autumn bracelet, crochet & satin evening bag and quilted tea cozy are just a few of my favorites!

She's also been working on fun fuzzy crochet animals and you can buy her patterns for fuzzy bears, bunnies, chicks & lambs here. There's a contest on her blog to find a new animal for her next fuzzy crochet pattern; and the winner gets the pattern of their choice! I'm rooting for fuzzy fox next! LOL The contest end on March 10th, so go vote!

And June, don't think I missed your Fimo R2D2!!! I can't wait to see it when it's finished!


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