Thursday, February 25, 2010

Super Cute Recycled Goodness

I came across SoSheSews the other day in the Etsy Fora and am thoroughly pleased with her very cute, very practical and very recycled selection. Her diverse shop offers wallets, clothing, bags, coffee cozies, hair pins and more!

Here's a little blurb from her profile about why she sells on Etsy:

"I am really interested in re-use, particularly in the garment industry and see it as an opportunity not only to save resources and avoid contributing to inhumane industries, but also to promote one-on-one trade where the buyer deals and interacts directly with the craftsman."

Her creations are made from fused plastic bags, recycled and repurposed fabrics and other whatnots. I wish I could one of each of the items in her shop :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wise Wednesday - The Art (or science?) of Pricing

It's been a hot topic on Etsy recently (well, I mean, I guess its almost always hot topic huh?) but pricing can be a very difficult thing to tackle. This post is filled with the things that I find most important about pricing and I think everyone, especially every Etsy seller, should know.

First, you can't do everything. And when I say everything, I really mean: your product cannot be quickly made, cheap and of the highest quality. You can do maybe two of those three things, but not all three and you shouldn't try. This will reflect in your pricing.

If you have a quickly-made product that is cheap, it won't be the most high quality piece. If you make a very high quality piece that was made rather quickly, it won't be cheap. If you make a cheap, high quality item, it won't be quickly made. You see what I mean?

Make sure your decision on which two features to focus on (whether you make it consciously, or your craft makes it for you) reflects in your pricing structure.

There are so many different ways to price items, and you really do have to find one that works the best for you. I've heard some people settle for a simple calculation of "Three times the price of the materials" I've heard some people research the price of other similar items, I know some people have very lengthy equations that they use, or they download a pricing template. The equation I find that works best for me is as follows:

Hours Spent on Piece x Hourly Wage = Labor

Cost of Materials + Labor = At Cost

At Cost x 2 = Wholesale

Wholesale x 2 = Retail

If you decide to use this method, I can send you an excel spreadsheet that I made that makes this easy for me, you enter in your hourly wage that you will charge (make sure its fair, come on, do you really want to be making less than minimum wage?), you enter in the cost of materials and how many hours you took to make it, then it calculates everything else out for you. Trust me, it can be a bit scary or at least eye-opening at first to see how much you really *should* be making, but you have to know what your work is worth. If you don't believe in it, no one else will.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Learn to Knit Day 8 - Help with a Common Issue

One of the most common issues that newbie knitters face (myself included, long long ago when I began) is knitting too tightly.
Karin was having some troubles with the lace knitting I taught you about here because her stitches are too tight. To loosen up your stitches, really you just need a lot of practice knitting, you need to be able to realize that your stitches will not randomly fall off the needle if you loosen up your loops and let the stitches breath some. Its like learning how to drive, once you realize that the road will not jump out from under you, you can relax and enjoy the view a bit more. Knitting is the same way, it takes practice, patience, and the realization that you need to let go some :)
If you find that you continue to knit too tightly and it seems that there is nothing you can do about it (like my mother (hi Mom!)) then I suggest moving up a needle size or two. This will help the yarn breath because, for instance, if you are using a worsted weight yarn and size 8 or 9 needles, moving up to a 10 1/2 will allow the yarn a bit bigger gauge and it won't knit up so tightly naturally and you don't have to do anything about it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Make up your mind weather!

Its a rainy, gloomy day here in New Mexico. I wish the weather wouldn't play games with us like it does, one day its sunny and gorgeous and spring-like, the next its cold, gray and wet. Make up your mind weather!

So here are some sunny pictures to help us all think of the coming spring :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flashback Friday - Pets

This week's theme for Flashback Friday is old pets. The cute pup below is known as Charlie, Charles, Chuckles, Chuckie, Chucks, and many other variations. He was brought home after I spent a morning volunteering with a local shelter at a mobile adoption at our grocery store.

He's been a huge part of my family ever since. Needless to say, my Dad wasn't too pleased when he came home and saw that my mom and I had brought home another dog...while he wasn't home...BUT. In our defense, he and my older brother had been on a ski trip and pretended that brother had broken his leg to make my mom worry. So, its not exactly an even trade, I think we got the better end of that deal :)

Anyways, this cute little terrier-ist has such a personality I can't even begin to describe all of his quirks and characteristics. Primarily I suppose, he is fairly aloof. He doesn't need anyone. He will come to you if he wants attention (which isn't often) and he is stubborn as a mule. (My mom says he gets this from me, I have no clue what she's talking about ;)). He is also supremely afraid of loud noises like thunder, bombs or gun shots.

In this picture (above) we were on a camping trip when a thunder storm showed up. We have to give him little downer pills so that he'll calm down and won't try to hide underneath the carpet (which isn't entirely possible). He's a little neurotic.

And I love him :D

He lives with my parents now, and their dogs, I wanted to bring him down to college with me as soon as I found a place that allowed pets but when the time came I just couldn't take him away from the only home he's ever known. I couldn't separate him from his best friend and brother (who I'm sure I'll talk about in the future) and now his new sister (who will also get her own post I'm sure).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just listed...oh wait...just sold

I listed this green hat yesterday and was going through my routine of showing it to my Facebook Fans and Friends, Twitter, etc and by the time I blinked (well, almost that quick) it was sold! And the pictures don't even do it justice!

Luckily I have enough yarn to make another so if you missed your chance at this great slouchy beanie, there's another one coming! And I can always make them in colors of your choice too ;)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I have a confession to make. I like food. I really like food. I am particularly fond of salty popcorn, spicy tea, carbohydrates, and sweets of all sorts. I really enjoy organic goat cheese with a glass of dark red wine, or a semi-sweet biscotti with rich, spicy hot chocolate. Food is a big topic with me, I love to cook, I love to eat, I even enjoy going to the grocery store and doing my foodie shopping.

Here are some phenomenal and adorable Etsy Finds that incorporate food into your accessories.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Learn to Knit Day 7 - Button Holes

This week's addition to the Knitting Lessons is in response to a request from fellow blogger and Etsy Shop owner Karin.

She asked if we could perhaps learn how to incorporate buttons holes into our knitting and this week I'm going to show you how using techniques you all already know! I will be showing you two different methods, one that I prefer for smaller buttons that is a little easier to "blend in" with your knitting and one that I use for larger buttons, or projects where you want to be able to see the button hole (like sweaters, etc)

Ok, for the smaller button hole all you have to do is knit to where you want the button hole to be, and YO then K2tog like I showed you last week. You only have to do it once! See how nice and petite that hole is? (you almost can't even see the hole its so small! but trust me, its there)

The other method uses only BO and CO. Knit to where you would like the button hole, BO as many stitches as you think you need, then continue knitting. You're going to have a hole on your needles that'll look like this:

On the following row, knit to the hole and cast on the same number of stitches that you had bound off, continue knitting in the pattern you chose.
I'm not giving you a specific project this week, because I'm sure many of you are already coming up with your own ideas for pieces you'd like to create. If you are wanting to practice the button holes on a smaller project, I suggest wrist cuffs (bracelets, basically) or a neckwarmer (a shorter scarf secured with buttons around the neck).

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Little Valen-cation

As I told you in this post, I went away for the weekend for a little mini-vacation. We left Thursday and headed up to the Southern Colorado mountains for a weekend of relaxation and refreshing.

It was wonderful, it was quiet, away from the daily grind, away from people, just us, the pup, and a bunch of snow.

There were naps to be had.

Smiles to be shared.

Views to be ooh-ed and ahh-ed over.

And, of course, more snow.

What did you do for the weekend? Anything special?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Flashback Friday - This One I Remember!

The last time I participated in Flashback Friday I said that I should eventually post one that I remember, so this week I am!

This photo was taken in December of 07 (clearly it doesn't get cold here often), it was the second time I had been out hunting with my friends and although we didn't catch anything this time, we had fun!

I can tell you that the black sweatshirt I'm wearing, I had had for.....oh.....probably five years and just got rid of it this year (very sad occasion). And I can tell you that the jacket in the background I had had for two or three years and still have it :) I also still have those jeans and am wearing that belt as I type this (I wear it everyday, actually). The shoes, however, have bitten the dust.

Since we had seen no rabbits on that day we were aiming at random cans and cacti while testing different shooting positions. We were out at a place called Box Canyon, its a popular place for rock-climbers, off-roading, picnicing and camping. There was no one but us out there on that day so shooting wasn't a problem.

If you'd like to participate in Flashback Fridays, check out ChristopherandTia's Blog!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Guess what? Vacation! Matt and I are taking the weekend off, leaving this afternoon towards the mountains of Southern Colorado and I am so excited! Finally a break from everything! Just my man, my puppy, my yarn and me in the mountains of Southern Colorado.

This is a view from where we'll be :)

I'll have current photos when I get back, I promise!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wise Wednesday - Writing Product Descriptions

This week's post is written by the very generous and talented Kelly G. Stafford. She has contributed to SillyLittleLady's Wise Wednesdays before teaching you how to write an online bio here and here. Kelly G. Stafford provides marketing and communication services for small businesses. From a long line of artisans, crafters, creators and entrepreneurs, Kelly appreciates all things unique and handmade and understands the challenges of promoting your work while trying to do what you love.

A product description is an opportunity to describe your product and what makes it unique. You know that you have a great product that has been carefully designed and lovingly created, but others will not if you do not communicate it.

A product description is comprised of three basic components: the purpose, the physical characteristics and the technical details.


The purpose should detail what your product does and how will it enhance your customer’s life. Will it warm them up on a cold blustery day? Will it bring a touch of elegance to an otherwise nondescript outfit? Will it brighten up their favorite room?

Physical Characteristics

The physical characteristics’ portion of your description should create a mental image of your product. Write with the assumption that no pictures of your product exist and you are solely dependent on words to describe it. Is your product quirky, sleek, elegant, sturdy, irreverent, bold, whimsical or charming? Is it fuzzy, smooth, lustrous or opaque? Is it dandelion yellow, cerulean blue, strawberry red or jade green?

An online thesaurus,, is an excellent way to quickly find descriptive words and an online resource for colors is Wikipedia’s List of Colors,

Technical Details

Succinctly outline what materials were used, the size of the product (include both metric and U.S. measurements) and the process or techniques utilized. Accuracy is of paramount importance.

Writing and Editing your Product Description

Using this basic outline, start writing. In the beginning, do not worry about the cohesiveness of the copy, grammatical errors or sentence structure, just write. Once you have your initial thoughts down, start reviewing and editing. Move sentences around. The actual order of the purpose, the physical characteristics and the technical details in your product description are dependent on the product itself. What sequence is logical for your product? Pare it down to the essentials. Read it out loud. When you hear the words spoken, does it fit your vision of your product?

In conclusion, do not underestimate the importance of a well written product description. While the internet has created a global marketplace to showcase your wares, you are also now competing with sellers around the world. Carefully chosen words have a dramatic and lasting impact.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday Learn to Knit Day 6 - A Simple Lace Pattern

For this week I am teaching you a simple lacy looking pattern that is great for scarves :)

I hope you found some gorgeous, soft yarn that you are looking forward to using because this is our first apparel project!

Ok, here we go. Cast on an odd number of stitches in the width that you want your scarf to be (usually somewhere around 21 stitches if you're still using the needles we used for the washcloths). Cast on more for a thicker scarf and less for a thinner scarf.

Knit the first row as I taught you in this post.

The first stitch of the next row: Insert your right hand needle through the stitch as if to knit but don't wrap and simply slip off the left hand needle onto the rhn (right hand needle) leaving the yarn behind the work. This is called Slipping the Stitch Knitwise or sl or sl st.

Before the next stitch, wrap the yarn around the rhn from back to the left around the front and to the back again as if you are wrapping it around the needle on a knit stitch. This is called a Yarn Over or YO.

Now, insert your rhn into the next TWO stitches on the lhn knitwise. As in, take the right hand needle and insert it through the second stitch as if to knit and then through the first st as if to knit so that you have both sts. Wrap the yarn around the rhn and remove the sts as if you were simply knitting one. this is called Knitting Two Together or K2tog.

For the remainder of the sts on the lhn, continue to YO then K2tog across.

At the beginning for each row, sl the first st knitwise and YO, K2tog to the end :)

When the scarf is the desired length, knit one more row then bind off as shown in this post.

I can't wait to see what you all make!

Monday, February 8, 2010

One Outfit, Two Ways

I was looking around for a photo of a celebrity or some super stylish woman that I wanted to emulate in this post today but couldn't find anything that sparked my fancy so instead I decided to put together an outfit that I would want to wear :)

This is an outfit that I think one could wear when its colder (shown on right) as well as when its warmer (shown on left). I took the same basic outfit (top and shorts) and styled them according to the weather, keeping with cooler blues and turquoise for colder weather and brighter yellows for spring time!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Inspired by Bueller

As part of our 80's themed recruitment week we held a movie night last night. We brought a few 80's hits and voted on our favorite to watch. We ended up watching one of my favorites: Ferris Bueller's Day Off. How many of you love this movie?

Today's finds are inspired by the carefree movie:

The leopard print vest, although this one isn't vintage, it sure does emulate the one Ferris wore (by storyofthings)

Sloane's white leather fringed outfit, boots by yosemitevintage and jacket by rockinrubysvintage.

Cameron's Red Plaid Newsboy, this one from enchantedfuture.

The dog-embroidered necktie worn by the Economics teacher (this one from TRUECOLORSFORYOU)

Principal Ed Rooney's Flip Sunglasses (these from carolsdreamboutique)

What are your favorite trends or movies from the 80s? Please feel free to share in the comments :D

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday Learn to Knit Day 5 - On Wednesday...

First of all, I sincerely apologize for not posting this yesterday! This week has been and will continue to be, crazy because it is Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical Studies' recruiting week here at NMT, and I am the recruiting officer so I have been incredibly busy!

This week I'd like to share one of my reader's projects with you, her name is Karin and instead of making dishcloths, she decided to be a little more creative, check out what she made:

Isn't that just adorable? I thought so :) Click on over to her blog to read more about it. (and don't forget to visit her adorable Etsy shop!)

Next week I will be showing you all two more stitches and we will be using these stitches to create a scarf! The scarf should knit up quick and easy and the finished result will have a lacy appearance, aren't you excited? So as far as yarns go, I suggest you simply find a yarn that you love, make sure it is soft enough to around your neck, on your face, etc. You don't *have* to get new needles, but you are more than welcome to (although if you do get new needles for this project, I suggest going up sizes instead of down sizes) if you decide not to get new needles, try to make sure that the yarn you get isn't too large for the needles you already have. Most yarn companies and sellers on Etsy suggest a needle gauge for the yarn, its on the label. So, double check that before you purchase!

Please feel free to send in pictures of your own finished projects (I don't care if you're a little behind, just starting, or keeping up with all of these posts, you can share whenever!) or your questions or comments :D

I'll see you back here next week to learn more knitting techniques!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Organic Love

With the coming commercial holiday all kinds of mushy stuff is in the air and the shops. If you are considering something simple but sweet for your honey (or yourself ;)), one of these organic cotton tees from neenacreates would be a great idea:

Organic cotton is MUCH better for you and your planet than typical cotton. Most cotton is produced with the use of many very strong pesticides that not only kill the insects that harm cotton but also the good, useful insects like spiders and bees and ladybugs. These pesticides get into our water when it rains or the fields get watered and also when the cotton is washed prior to use. Some of those chemicals are bound to stay on the cotton so that tshirt you're wearing could be seeping icky chemicals into your body.

So, organic cotton = better cotton. Its soft, it breathes, its good for you and the environment :D

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