Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's Always a Balancing Act!

Learning to balance life... how do some people do it so well?  All I can figure is... they have to be so very well organized and compartmentalized! Otherwise, something we're expected to do well - suffers!

Some of you already know and some don't, but my sort of organized house was turned upside down when I had to replace my heat pump in January. The workmen tore out stuff in every closet and cabinet looking for a place to install a new air return. To make matters worse and to try to save a little money in this nasty, blood sucking economy, I dropped my home phone with a large corporate carrier and signed up with Vonage... here was another mess caused by more workmen who had to come and rewire a my phone lines so the rest of the phones in the house would work with my Vonage box. WHAT A MESS!!!

To be totally truthful, my entire house was a "craft room" before that! With yarn, pattern books and other craft supplies strewn through every room in my little house! Also, UFO's (unfinished objects) EVERYWHERE! Ahh, but I could still find things prior to all the workmen tromping through my house like a herd of bulls in a china shop! Right now, to say the very least... my house is pretty much an obstacle course, requiring some fancy maneuvers to get through some of it!

I still have a full-time job, by God's good grace, so reorganizing and restoring order during the week is almost impossible! Doing the "what has to be done" chores are all I can manage Monday through Friday. My Lil' Bits (horse's name) has to be fed and watered twice a day.  There's the bathrooms, kitchen and laundry, too! Now, it's spring time and yards have to be mowed and shrubs have to be trimmed! Then... there's the "online life" of Etsy, Twitter, Facebook and blogs to keep up with! I want to know... IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE WHO CAN DO ALL THESE THINGS WELL - ALL THE TIME? LOL!

Not complaining! I count my blessings every day! I still have a job, a house, a horse and a place to keep her. I'm still able to feed her and and physically able to do the yard work, myself. My 100,000 mile plus vehicles are still running and... I can some how, with God's help, pay my bills and make ends meet.

To make a long story very short... after a nasty divorce several years ago, I fought and struggled very hard to keep my little place in the country and to keep up with the things that must be done as the owner and still do. I love my little place - it is my sanctuary! I believe I'd just shrivel up and die if I had to move back into a suberb housing development or worse - an apartment!

So, if you can read between the lines, you already know that I have to spend my weekends restoring order, reorganizing, cleaning my house, in addition to yard work, and... try to keep up with my "online life!" My crocheting is what's suffering right now. There's simply NO time for it! It's going to be that way until I can put this house back in order. The good news is... I will have a "craft room" when it's done! The bad news is - it will be the last room to be finished. Maybe by then, I can do a better job of this balancing act!

Free image provided by

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The SPIRIT of LinkLove

People have been letting fans post to their wall and leave their fan page links for a long time and you can look at that as a kind of link love. But never has it ever been more successful than now! You can grow your fans and followers faster than you can imagine! It just works because folks have to fan your page to post their links and get to the other links, so they can fan/follow/add there, too - which gets them more fans/follows/adds! Plus... you will discover some amazing artisans, crafters and Facebook friends while doing it! I just could NOT do without some of these wonderfully talented, totally caring and helpful people!

I have to tell you that Deb A. Hall with Zur Designs had an absolutely brilliant idea when she thought of adding a place for everyone's links on her fan page discussion board! You see, posts to the WALL eventually get lost as more posts get placed and most folks aren't going to take the time to search older posts for your links. A click on the "Discussion" tab and another click on the appropriate topic to post the appropriate link, and you can post your fan page, Twitter, Blog, Esty, Artfire, Website, etc., links so everyone can find you and fan/follow/add/bookmark your links! Right now, it's the best way to FULLY connect to like-minded people.

Ahh! But I need to tell you about the SPIRIT of "Link Love!" Most of us don't have some kind of magical ability to increase our fans and followers on our own. I asked my fans to tell me in their own words to define the spirit of "Link Love." I wanted to know what they think it is! NOT what they think of it but, what they think the spirit is all about! How they "work it" etc. Are they fanning/following/adding folks or are they waiting for it to happen to them, first? Do they fan/follow/add back? Do they post links on a page's discussion board and fan/follow/add all there? Or, do they just post their links? These are the comments I received...

Terri Riley: To me, "Link Love" is a terrific way to network with other people who love handmade items (over big box:) AND to fan/follow as many of those shops as I can. The rewards will eventually follow because if you help others get what they want/need it will come back to ya!

Hazel Wollbrinck: I am posting links, fanning, following and adding all that are there :) It's really fun looking at all the different shop's. You find thing's you didn't even know were out there :)

Pamela Duthie: Its a great way to let my existing fans promo themselves to all my other fans, a great way to find new shops and get new fans (who hopefully like my work) I fan everyone on my page then when I have time pick someone elses page and fan all their fans.

Paula Miotello: Its a lovely way of helping someone else along your way and vice find some amazing sites with exquisite work that you would not normally see and hopefully make some fun friends with likeminded interests...everyone wins!

Kris Whitman: It is networking with "Like minded people". I love it because how many times in our lives do we find or meet up with people who think like we do? I have yet to meet anyone on here that is not gracious, complimenting and genuine.

Jennifer Olive Coleman: It's a great way to spread the word about many shops and get them more exposure. After I fan a new page, I check for their discussions tab and follow the links there, found so many wonderful artisans!

Maria Cook: It's a way for us to 'support' one another and it makes us feel good to help others. Love everyone's 'comments'.

Elfie Morgan: In the short time since the LINK-LOVE caught on, I've had the great privilege of meeting so many wonderfully talented artisans that I doubt I would have found on my own. I am in awe of some of the gorgeous creations I've seen and I am very excited about networking with such supportive, kind and uplifting people. I have fanned all those on my Discussions board and many, many other boards too :) LINK-LOVE is a win-win situation and I truly believe we will all have a great year ♥♥♥

Meredith Laskow: I love it because it's completely non-competitive. Everyone supports everyone else, including people we might not otherwise meet. I've seen some GREAT shops!!! I take the slow road. I visit every shop and every blog. I don't have a blog but have visited all of yours. (I'm still not on Twitter.) Unfortunately, I haven't had a block of time to seek out new people, but I try to fan everyone who visits me within 24 hours and post on their discussion board....

Janet O'brien: It's name says it all! it is a Link of Love, we are all linked through our creativity, our passion for the things we make, our interests in others ideas etc..supporting one another and sharing is what is all about! Make new friends and having fun! Thanks for all those who are on board and the ones who don't, what are you waiting for!

I couldn't put it any better myself! =) Great comments from some really GREAT "Link Lovin' gals!!! =)

The fine folks who are participating in this "Link Love" REVOLUTION have a place, in their "Discussions" for folks to post their links. Most of us are also keeping a "List" of other fan pages who are participants and that list is still growing! So while you're at some one's page posting your links and fanning/following/adding all the links that are there, you click on the list which will take you to more pages for more of the same!

To be totally honest, "Link Love" does take some time and work on your part. It's NOT a free handout and a way for you to gain fans and followers without reciprocating the SPIRIT of "Link Love" to others! If your numbers are low, GET BUSY fanning/following/adding others' links in addition to posting yours on their page. And PLEASE, FULLY connect to people fan/follow/add ALL their links because you MISS out on so much if you DON'T! Remember folks can "un-fan, un-follow and un-add" you just as easily as they connected to you in the first place!

A little "Link Love" advice...

1. Always return the fan to those who have fanned you and fully connect to all of their links! If you are a "Link Love" participant page, return the fans/follows/adds of new posts as soon as you can and REMIND your fans to come back and fan/follow/add the NEW POSTS. This is SO very IMPORTANT for newbies trying to grow their numbers!!!

2. Get to those other pages on the "Lovin List"!!! Don't be overwhelmed!!! Take ONE link at a time on ONE page at a time as you have time! If you get in a hurry, NOT ONLY will FB lock you out from posting but MORE IMPORTANTLY... you'll miss a link that could make a big difference in some one's online presence and yours!!!

3. READ, READ, READ!!! Please read the "Topic" under folks' "Discussion" tabs!!! Some pages have ONE place to post your links. Others have a topic for each link. When you get in a hurry and DON'T READ, you end up posting in the WRONG Topic and your link/links get lost!

4. Most importantly... HAVE FUN WITH IT!!! There are so many talented folks out there with so many beautiful items and/or GREAT pages that you would NEVER discover on your own! Think of it as an ADVENTURE!!!

5. There will always be the person out for gain and NOT in the SPIRIT of "Link Love." They may fan you, just to get fanned back and just to get access to your fans, the "Lovin List," etc. Let's NOT punish the many for the crimes of the few!!! Although it can be very, very discouraging, DON"T let these people get you down! There are way too many good people who ARE in the SPIRIT to help you do exactly what "Link Love" was done to do!

I hope this sums up the SPIRIT of "Link Love" and tells you what you need to know! There are a bunch of us "Link Love" participants who will help you all we can and we're happy to do so! We've been there! So GET BUSY!!!

One last thing... I WANT TO KNOW WHEN YOU HIT A BENCHMARK OF 100, 200, 300, etc., fans/followers, etc.! So please post it to my fan page WALL and we'll throw a PARTY for you with lots of cheers to your accomplishment because you've worked so hard for it!!!

Lovin' the "Link Love" for all that is and could be!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Not an afghan! Would he like a Crocheted Quilt? What?!!!

Yes... it's a strange title and it was even more of a strange undertaking for me. It was DEFINITELY a challenge! And I love those but, I'd never made a crocheted quilt. Hadn't a clue how it should be done even if it had ever been done! But I had an idea, so I experimented and developed my own version of a crocheted quilt.

Let me digress for just a minute so I can explain to you just how this "challenge" came about...

A friend of mine at work (she also crochets) gave me SEVERAL big garbage bags full of all kinds of weights, colors and odd balls and skeins of acrylic yarn. I was over joyed to get it! You know... MORE STASH! Heh!

Sorting through it, I recognized some of it as discontinued, like Caron's Dazzle Aire, etc. Almost all of the scrap pieces of yarn was just in huge knotted messes which took me days and hours to untangle but I hate to waste this stuff. It's like gold – getting more expensive all the time! There was not enough balls, skeins and/or scraps of any one kind to make anything of a significant size. So, I knew whatever I decided to make, it was going to be "patch work" or small projects. Now you know where the pin cushion and fridgie material came from. Heh!

BTW, my friend got skads of this yarn from her boyfriend, whose grandmother had to be moved into a nursing home. This was my friend's boyfriend's grandmother's yarn. My friend still kept several huge plastic tubs of this yarn! Please don't think for an instant that she gave it all to me! Oh no!

This grandmother must've had a house like mine - just chock full of stash! But, MORE on MY stash at a later date. Back to the reason for the blog!

I was overwhelmed for a few days with ALL this ODD yarn. There was bags and bags and bags of scraps within bags of odd skeins and half skeins! I want you to understand that this was a bunch of yarn! What on earth was I going to make with all of it... or most of it... or part of it?!!!

Then I thought it would be nice to make something for my friend's boyfriend since this was HIS grandmother's yarn and maybe my friend could contribute to the process and make it that much more meaningful for him. I asked her about it... She thought a scrap afghan would be nice for her boyfriend... (I know I rolled my eyes at that moment. I had made so many afghans, so many scrap afghans... BORING and certainly not enough of a "Challenge!" Then I suggested a "Crocheted Quilt"... wondering why I opened my mouth and said that when I had no idea at that moment how I would do that!!! LOL! Open mouth and insert foot! But, then the good Lord often takes the ridiculous and hideous and turns it into something marvelous!

Starting with the smallest parts... I first made some tiny squares but I wanted a unique way of putting them together. I wanted some dimension! So experimenting... I ended up joining four tiny squares in just one corner, joining only two at a time and overlapping the pairs into the four, then connecting the four with joining trim. The four tiny squares complete one small square which is turned into nine small squares which make a block (whip stitched together). The finished piece ended up being nine blocks long by seven blocks wide. But I said "quilt"... right?! Each block of squares has a fully crocheted one-piece back which is a big solid granny square in either soft white or black. My friend helped make the backs of the blocks. There's a light side and a dark side to this quilt! Each block was attached to the rest, then finished off with a big fat crocheted yoyo in every corner (either black or soft white)!

This thing is sooo heavy, too and it's just yarn! But, it's heavy like one of MY grandmother's old-fashioned quilts made with cotton batting instead of synthetic polyfiberfil. I love her quilts! In the winter, when I was little and she'd put me to bed, I could barely move under them but, I was so warm. =) I still have and use all the quilts she gave me. =) Sorry! I digress again!

Whew! I thought I'd never get this piece finished once I started it but, I met the challenge! =) My friend said her boyfriend loved it and he took it to show his grandmother what had been done with her left over yarn. I thought that was kind of neat! I hope she was pleased!

My friend says her boyfriend keeps the quilt on his bed. That's a good place for it! LOL! Better than keeping it on a conference table where I spread it out to get pictures of it.

Projects like this one, I do NOT repeat. They end up being real one-of-a-kinds for me. ROFLOL! Can you blame me?!!!

More photos at this link.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baby Shoe Winner & Runner-Ups

The prize was 10 pairs of baby shoes...

The challenge was to tell me in 100 words or less "why I love handmade..."

The winner (chosen by an objective 3rd party) is Heather of Dalkullan Jewelry... Here's why she was selected...

"I love handmade because it's something made with care and thought, by someone who enjoys what they're doing. A factory made article is just a cookie cutter assembly line thing, with no individuality or uniqueness.

Having worked in a factory, I know firsthand just how it feels to do the same repetitive task over and over again. You start to feel like a machine. But handcrafted things are an expression of individuality and creativity, both by the maker and the person who receives the article.

I'd like to win the 10 pairs of baby shoes for my dear son Sean and his lovely wife Laura, who are expecting their first child this August."

These are all of Heather's links. Please join her on Facebook as a fan, follow her on Twitter. Most of all, visit her Etsy shop for some gorgeous fantastic handmade jewelry you'll surely want to wear!

Facebook business fan page:

Etsy shop:



A little background on Heather...

"I've been interested in making things with my hands since I was a little girl. My dear Aunt Hildur, who ran the Dalkullan Swedish Import Store in Chicago, for which my little Dalkullan Jewelry is named, taught me to knit, crochet and do needlework when I was a little girl. After she passed away, I found the first piece of embroidery I ever did, a little blue bird sewn on card stock with sewing thread, in her jewelry box.

My dear Mother taught me to sew, and I made many of my own clothes in high school. Although I majored in physics, I also took classes in art at college, and worked in oils, acrylics, and watercolors. Later I took up woodworking, and then wood carving. Finally I discovered the thing I like best, making jewelry. So many things to learn, so many techniques, and of course, working with beautiful beads, gemstones, and shaping and soldering metals. Not to mention having fun with a torch and hammer. And in the end, you have a new piece of jewelry! How great is that?"
There are also three runner-ups for the baby shoes...

They are... with their comments to follow...

Joanna Brady-Head
"One reason i love crocheted baby items is the tactile pleasure of good yarn... so soft... like a hug. Another reason that i love crocheted baby items is because i love that "personal" touch! i know that crochet means "Handmade -- made by actual hands!" And to me, handmade means a lot of love goes into it... what more could you want surrounding a baby?"

Susan Logsdon
"My daughter is expecting my first grandchild this December -- these would be SO cute! she is one of 5 -- count them - FIVE - women I know who are expecting between Oct and Dec '09! Sure would save my fingers/wrists to win these! (they are all so cute but those little boots are TOO cute!)"

Christi Spangler
"Hi! I crochet too (I make reusable tote bags) and I love crocheted items and any handmade items. My son is having his first child in December and I would love to have my first granddaughter in a pair of soft pretty handmade baby shoes. Thanks for having the contest!
There were more comments that were great! Visit to read more. CONGRATULATIONS, LADIES! I look forward to getting to know you a little bit better.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cafe Handmade Feature

A first for me... kind of proud about it. It will only be up for a day, if you're interested.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cora Paige Project

Okay... if you have a shop on Etsy, you may be familiar with this charity where you put up something in your shop for sale and send the proceeds to the Cora Paige Project. Where do we send the money? Does anyone know? I can't find anything in the forums on the where or how. I'm hoping we can make a payment through PayPal...

Here's the kicker... it's for a charity but, PayPal and Etsy still took out their fees. Personally, I don't think that's right!

Your thoughts?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In need of "hearts" for your Etsy Shop?

The past few days on Twitter have proved to be good with Etsy Shop "heart" requests. I've even gained a few hearts for my own shop – which is a good thing, considering I started out with 25 this week. Still... can you believe it?! I see some folks with over 750 hearts and they've only had their Etsy shop about one year. How did they do it? Hmmmm?

Your thoughts? Any suggestions for the "heart" - less folks? Course, if you just don't like a shop or their craft/s in it... why would you "heart" them at all?