Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Poncho=done, and a birthday full of yarn and beads (and food)!

Well, my last poncho is done. OK, not really, I still have to weave in the ends. But it's 99.9% done. ;) I am worried that my littlest niece will be totally swimming in it, since it seems to be almost as long as she is tall! *gulp* I'll find out on December 11. Here's a picture of it without the collar, since I hadn't done the collar yet when I took this pic:

poncho for katie WIP 11-28-2010

My birthday was on Saturday. I had a wonderful day, thanks to amazing friends and family and my incredible hubby. I got lots of phone calls, e-mails, and Facebook wall wishes.

My husband got me yarn for my b-day, and lots of it! It's all cotton bamboo from Yarntopia Treasures. Here is a picture of the various colorways:

yarntopia treasures - all 3

The one on the left is called Electric Blue, the middle one is Posiedon (their spelling mistake, not mine--sorry, part of my job is editing, I can't help it!), and the one on the right is Dreamcatcher. He got me 5 skeins of Electric Blue, and 1 each of the others. The yardage is pretty good. About 420 yards per skein, fingering weight. Not sure what to do with them yet, but I will figure that out when I'm not so tied up with Chanukah projects. :) Love, love, love the yarn!

My in-laws got me a subscription to Stringing magazine, which I like to use for beading inspiration. One of my friends got me a rice cooker, which we desperately needed (and are, in fact, using right now!), and a book called "Crafting Jewish." My sister made me 2 gorgeous pairs of earrings. Lots of loot for me.

And then there are the presents I bought for myself! My husband and I went bead shopping on my birthday. First, we went to Beads of Westchester. I hadn't been there for a while. I bought some nice things--a bunch of Swarovski bicones in cool colors I hadn't seen before, a strand of green magnesite nugget beads, some pretty blue fossilized something-or-other beads (I had them write down the name of it and then I lost the card they wrote it on, of course!), some faceted onyx rounds. The ladies there were very nice, and it was an enjoyable shopping experience.

Then we went to Michaels. Not such an enjoyable shopping experience. I bought some more Swarovski bicones (at slightly better prices) and some Swarovski flower beads that were on clearance...or so I thought. They were with the clearance beads. There were many of them with the clearance beads, carefully organized. There were many other beads on clearance as well, and almost none of them were marked. My Swarovski flowers were also unmarked. When we checked out, the saleswoman insisted on charging us full price, without so much as sending another employee over to look at the clearance section. Grrrr. I bought them anyway, because I am a sucker for little Swarovski crystal flowers, and because I am not so good at being frugal.

After that, we went out for dinner to a local Argentinian/Italian restaurant. The food was amazing. My husband had fettuccine bolognese, and I had paella. The paella had lots of lobster in it. I was so happy! Then came dessert: a big cappuccino, and tartufo. Ohmygoodness it was heavenly.

The holiday sales are over in my Etsy store, unless I decide to come up with another one sometime soon. Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale was relatively successful. Not bad, really, for a shop that doesn't have a heck of a lot of items in it yet. The stitch markers have definitely been the biggest sellers. I made some new ones yesterday, but I don't have pictures of them yet, so I'll just have to keep you in suspense.

I ordered some beads from an organization in Israel, and they shipped out today! They are ceramic beads made by needy elderly people in Jerusalem. I am happy to support this wonderful charity, and I hope to make some really nice things.

I have so much jewelry that I've made, and so little time to get it all listed! It won't happen before the holidays, for the most part. D'oh. I will do what I can, though.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Poncho (almost done!), Black Friday/Cyber Monday Etsy sale, my birthday, and more

Happy Black Friday, everyone! How was your Thanksgiving? We had a good time at my sister's. I ate too much, of course (that's the whole point of the holiday, right?). And yes, I did go shopping today, but only for about 45 minutes during my lunch break because I had to work. It was absolute mayhem (the shopping, not the work!), but I survived. :)

I'm almost finished with the poncho for my littlest niece! Here's a picture of how it looked a few days ago:
poncho for katie WIP

I'm now on the last row of the edging, and I still have to do the collar. Easy stuff. I should be done with it very soon. Then I get to start on my nephew's Chanukah gift, which is a surprise, so I won't be able to post it here! How sad. But hopefully, the payoff will be worth it!

I am really starting to worry that the ponchos will be extremely huge on my nieces. I'd forgotten just how small the girls are, until I saw them yesterday...I know they'll grow into them, but I want them to be able to wear their ponchos right away! I'm an impatient auntie. Well, I'll try to get a picture of them all poncho-ed up at our family Chanukah party on December 11, even if the ponchos are huge.

I have to make more stitch markers! I'm having a big sale over at The Smiling Turtle Etsy store for Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, and I've already sold a few. I'm selling the stitch markers at such low prices right now that I'm not sure I'm making a profit at all, but...My loss, my customers' gain, right?! I'll figure it out eventually! ;)

Right now, I'm offering free shipping on everything, plus a 10% discount if you enter the code CYBERMON at checkout. (Please note: that's CYBERMON, short for Cyber Monday. Already had a little confusion over that today.)

Here are some of the newer stitch markers that I've made:

I also have some other new flower beads to play with, so there may be more flower stitch markers in the near future. There may be some flower earrings, too. Hmmm.

My birthday is tomorrow! I'm so excited! I get like a little kid about my birthday. I don't get very upset about that whole being a year older thing. I just go, "Ooooh! Presents! Cake! Yippeeeeee!!!"

When I went to Stitch & Bitch on Wednesday, my friend D had baked me a flourless chocolate cake for my birthday! (I can't eat wheat, so flourless chocolate cake is my favorite treat!) What a sweetheart. She also gave me a card from the whole gang. 2 of them weren't there, probably because of the holiday.

My mom and grandmother gave me presents yesterday: a renewal of my subscription to Interweave Crochet, and a big blocking board! I have been in need of a blocking board for some time. I know you can make your own, but that would've been a big project to undertake in our not-so-big apartment. Also, I really needed a folding one. Maybe now, I will actually block things like my Queen Anne's Lace Scarf? We'll see! I'm still feeling a little intimidated at the thought of all those pins...

I've recently had items featured in 3 great treasuries on Etsy. Here are the links if you'd like to see them:
Goth-a love it! Black Friday Sale Items in Black!
Red ripe berry colors found on Black Friday
Gifts for everyone on your list

And I guess that's it for now! Please stay tuned.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My new light box, leaf earrings, stitch markers, and poncho progress (or lack thereof)

I did, in fact, start the poncho that I mentioned in my last blog post. I'm still not finished, though. I haven't had so much time to crochet...I've been really busy with the Etsy store. I'm still trying to master the art of taking good photographs of small stuff like earrings and stitch markers.

I made a light box a few days ago:
light box

It ain't pretty, but it does the trick. I bought 2 desk lamps--1 for each side--and my pictures are coming out a lot better. I used this tutorial to make it. I can now take photos during non-daylight hours, which is nice.

I bought a whole bunch of props yesterday, so we'll see what I come up with. ;) I've already taken photos of earrings on gift bows, which was fun. I can really only do that with the smaller earrings, though. I also took a lot of photos of earrings hanging on a wine glass (but you can't really tell it's a wine glass from the photo), like this one:
silvery multicolor leaf earrings

And yes, these earrings will be for sale very soon (I just need to take some more pics, calculate a price, write a description, and all that jazz).

Here's a photo of the inside of the light box:
light box inside

Like I said, not pretty, but it works.

I also made new stitch markers this weekend. You can check them out in the stitch markers section of my store. I've got new butterflies and some flowers. I also re-made some that sold. I'm running out of certain beads, so some of the markers may have to be "discontinued" soon, unless I can find more somewhere.

I'm hoping to finish the poncho this week. I need to start my nephew's gift, and make something for my sister and bro-in-law. I'm lucky our family's Chanukah celebration isn't until 12/10...Chanukah actually starts this year on December 1! I'd really be scrambling if we could get everyone together during the holiday.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Finished Seraphina, my studio, and a piggy friend

Henceforth, I have decided to combine my crochet blog and my handmade jewelry blog into this blog. It's time to consolidate. Hopefully, those who enjoy reading about my crochet won't mind also reading about my beading endeavors!

First, some crochet goodness: I finished the Seraphina's Shawl for my grandmother!

Seraphina's Shawl - FINISHED

I am so, so, sooo happy with the way it turned out. What an awesome pattern. I hope she will love it. It's my present for her for both Chanukah and her 95th (!) birthday.

Meanwhile, I've also been hard at work on my beading. I made some new stitch markers - some new Heart Bumpies, and a cute flower design using clear glass "tulip" beads, green seed beads and purple seed beads. The latter aren't listed in the store yet. I'm running out of the beads for the Heart Bumpies and the Butterfly Bumpies; can't seem to find inexpensive, small bumpy beads anywhere. How depressing. So the next 3 or so batches may be the last.

I read somewhere that blog readers might like to see pictures of a crafter's studio. Well, mine consists mostly of our ottoman (and the floor around it)! My bead stash is usually kept in my husband's office, which you don't want to see. Just trust me on this one. Anyway, here is my "studio," complete with our friend Abbey the pig:

my beading studio - ha ha

Abbey is shown above modeling some earrings that I made the other night. She's such a good model! See below for more proof of her modeling potential:

Abbey the pig wearing a piggy pendant

Here she is wearing one of my polymer clay pig pendants. We just couldn't resist. America's Next Top Piggy, here she comes.

Abbey is one of a bunch of stuffed animals who usually sit next to me on the couch while I'm beading or crocheting. She is a Lubie.

I need to get started on my next poncho! This one will be for my 3-year-old niece, using Lion Homespun (what else?!) in colorway "Antique." It's sort of a dark purplish pink. I hope I will find some time to start it tomorrow.