Sunday, January 31, 2010

Up On Deck: Some This'N'That

Once again Thoris Designs is feeling the Etsy love and has been featured in another Treasury. I'd love for you to take a moment to leave a comment there for the lovely curator, Dori Jenn, who also makes some really beautiful and unique jewelry. See Serendipity Treasury here.

I'm really taken with her Galaxy Necklace 3.

I think it would look just smashing with one of my strapless summer dresses that I'm always wearing when the weather warms up. I easily could have spent all night adding photos to this blog of all my favorite items she's got in her shop. Truly lovely. And even though she's based all the way in Israel, she's got fantastic shipping prices.

Also, I've listed another hat. My Amethyst Violets Fleur d'Lace Beanie turned out just stunning. I knitted it as a gift for my friend that did some modeling for me this past Autumn. It's based on the same design as my other Fleur d'Lace beanies, but knitted with two strands of yarn instead of one for an extra snuggly fit. I love how the bulkier knit made the lace design stand out more. To make it extra special, I designed and crocheted a two-layer flower, each flower having six petals and then beaded it in a variety of green glass beads and fixed it with a silver-tone safety pin.

Of course, the hat turned out so well I didn't want to give it to Jen Darling, but I did anyways and she loved it, and so did everyone else. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Really. Also, I had to share it with all of you so you can buy one (you know you want to) from me and look as stylish and gorgeous as Jen does. Best part? I can make these in just about any color. Good times all around.

I'd love to hear what you think.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Seasonal Snowflakes

I remember the magic of being taught how to cut out my own snowflakes. How easy, and yet rewarding it was to carefully fold a piece of paper and then cut tiny shapes out. My inner perfectionist, always hard at work when it came to crafting, even as a child, loved to try to make infinitely more delicate and complicated snowflake designs.

I have to admit now that I haven't taken the time to really make some great cutout snowflakes, but I still love them and anything else that has to do with snowflakes at all, really.

In celebration of this wonderful little natural geometric phenomenon, I'd like to share with you a few of my favorite snowflake inspired items that I've found on Etsy.

Winter - 5 Cards and 5 Recycled Brown Kraft Envelopes

These beautiful greeting cards by Interrupt Designs are eco-friendly and perfect for sending off a sweet greeting to friends and loved ones.

Whimsical Snowflake Gingerbread Cookies

These sweet gingerbread cookies by Just-Iced would be great gift or treat for Valentine's Day and look absolutely scrumptious. I love that the snowflakes are decorated with bright colors and not just the usual blues and grays that are so commonly used for snowflake designed items.

Floating Flakes Irish Coffee Mugs

And to finish it off, what would be better than a cup of decadent hot cocoa served up with whipped cream (and maybe some good Irish Whiskey;) in these gorgeous engraved mugs by Daydream Designs. I even love the name of their shop.

There's something magical about snowflakes, especially in their unique and perfect geometry, formed out of the tiniest filaments of ice crystals and falling down from above like magic. At least, like magic until you're stuck in your house because all that magic is three feet deep outside your door.

But it's humid and "warm" in Western Washington, so I can enjoy the beauty... from afar.

Some Great New Items

Just a little update concerning some new merchandise. It's great to get a few new items posted and not just renew the others or relist ones that have sold.

As part of my "more holiday merchandise" resolution, I just knitted this gorgeous Valentines Kitten Cowl in Ruby Pink.

This yarn is so impossibly soft, it feels like a new kitten, silky and irresistible. You just want to wrap it around your neck the way you put a kitten under your chin when you give it a good cuddle. I found this yarn at a local vintage and thrift shop that I just adore. The best part about buying some of my supplies from them is that all the money from the store supports housing and food charity work in this country and many others. Even all their employees are volunteers and work for free! How wonderful is that?

Next up is my new Charcoal Teddy Bear Beanie. This hat was knitted as part of my first wholesale order (more resolutions that I'm actually sticking to!) to the boutique I mentioned in an earlier post. I just love the way it turned out.

The customer requested that I leave the tassels off for concerned parents. Personally, I prefer the tassels, but I think the hat looks just as cute without them. This hat is a medium weight and super soft with all that gorgeous "fur" fuzzing it up.

Another hat that's a part of the wholesale order is this wonderful Chocolate Brown Bear Teddy Bear Beanie.

Also knitted without the tassels, but still adorable. I also knitted these two teddy bear hats with slightly shorter ears and I really like the way they turned out. The beautiful acrylic yarns all go so well together and were made by the same manufacturer. I love using yarns made by the same company for a project like this because you get great continuity with the color.

I'm sure you noticed that I'm not using one of my usual adorable models (my kids), but that's because this hat is knit in a large infant/smaller toddler size and both my kids have heads way too big to fit. I know, I've really got to get access to some tiny tots for these size hats!

So, that's what's new today. I have another hat I have to edit the pictures for before I can post it, but I think I'll save that for another post.

Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Featured in an Etsy Treasury!

I'm so excited! I just received a convo letting me know that my Lovely Legwarmers were included in a Treasury. This is the first time I've been featured in one and I'm just so happy about it.

I hope you'll take a moment to go view the Treasury and take a look at all the other wonderful items included in it.

View The Treasury Here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Give Away: The Vintage Pearl

Everyone loves a great give away and I've come across a really great one today. The Vintage Pearl is a great little business that creates some of the most beautiful, hand-stamped sterling silver jewelry and keepsakes. I just love these baby spoons. Aren't they adorable?

The Vintage Pearl is offering you the chance to win their new Bitty Blossoms Necklace. This would be a wonderful gift for a friend, that doting grandma (if I win, I'll be giving it to my mom with my kids' initials stamped on it;), or for yourself.

You can also have another chance to win a $50 gift certificate to The Vintage Pearl's website shop by visiting Little Birdie Secrets. They've got all the information you need to enter.

Have fun and good luck!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Look What I Found: Annie's Eats

I think it's pretty obvious that I'm a huge fan of cooking. Maybe not as obvious as it should be considering I haven't reviewed or posted any new recipes lately, but that's about to change.

In honor of bringing back the various cooking themed elements of my blog (and posting regularly) I thought I'd feature this awesome blog I just (literally) found while using Stumble!.

Annie's Eats is a marvelous blog dedicated entirely to recipes. While a number of these recipes look to be on the non-recipe side (see Chocolate Waffles and Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie), there are also many healthy options that are sure to be a great addition to your family meal planning.

I'm really excited to try out the Eggplant Parmesan and, for breakfast, the Fruit Bruschetta. Don't those just look phenomenal?

I've already got my grocery shopping list made out for this week, but I'll be sure to add some of these to my next meal plan and let you know how they turn out. Maybe not the fattening ones, though. Got a new eating plan to stick to this year.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Help A Good Cause and Maybe Even Yourself

Fantastic blog Cool Mom Picks has teamed up with Etsy to help raise funds for the Children's Heart Foundation this Valentine's season.

Here's where you come in: Visit the Cool Mom Picks Valentine's Design Contest post to learn about this great contest.

To enter, you'll have to design a Valentine's Day card that is all line art so that it can be printed out and colored by children to give to their friends. Size and quality rules are all neatly listed in the post and everyone that enters will get their shop hearted by Cool Mom Picks. How great is that?

The winning cards will be sold in the Etsy shop as PDF downloadable files for parents to purchase and print for their kids.

This is a great way to donate your time to a charity that does a lot of great work for children in the USA and also to help yourself. Feel good, do good, get good stuff! It really doesn't get much better than that.

[my entry]

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hope for the New Year: Welcome to Twenty-Ten

As part of my New Year's resolution, I really want to be focusing on growing my business. Part of this is participating in the Etsy Bloggers team (like I mentioned in the previous post).

One of our requirements for membership is participating in the Blog Carnival, which is a great way to direct traffic to your blog, and hopefully through that, your Etsy store.

I missed the deadline for this carnival, but I'm going to participate anyways as sort of an exercise. Get in the swing of things, as it were.

The topic I chose for this carnival is (drum roll please):

Now that 2010 is here, what do you have planned/look forward to/hope to accomplish this year?

A great question, considering that for the first time in years I actually took the time to think about this and have already started implementing a number of my plans.

I'm really hoping to separate all my business finances from my personal finances. I've started by getting an EID (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS, which was surprisingly easy and fast considering I had to deal with a government agency. With that I'll be able to open a bank account in my business' name.

I've also been approached by a boutique in the midwest that's interested in selling some of my knitted items, so I'm getting ready to start wholesaling. That's a lot of work and I've been doing a lot of research. Thankfully, Etsy has a number of great forum threads and resources that I have been a huge help on pointing me in the right direction. Check out this great forum thread for a lot of great wholesaling resources.

Something else I'm hoping to accomplish is learning how to sew. I've done some over the years on other people's sewing machines, but now that I have one of my own I'm really hoping to integrate a number of sewn crafts, namely costume items, bags and purses, and childrens and womens clothing, into my merchandise.

One more major thing is that I'm hoping to be better prepared for holiday shoppers by making sure I have gift-friendly items in my shops.

That pretty much covers everything I hope to do with my business this year. It should keep me very busy, which is great. Hopefully it'll also pad my pocketbook.

I think I'll keep my personal resolutions to myself ;)

Featured Etsy Blogger of the Month

Time is rushing by! I've been running this blog and my Etsy store since October and things are starting to get easier to organize. To celebrate, I'm going to start (finally) participating in the Etsy Bloggers, an Etsy street team that I joined ages ago but just haven't had time to work with.

So, without further ado, I'm proud to present Nico Designs. Besides having an adorable Etsy store, Nico Designs also has a fantastic blog with a number of great tips and tricks for sewing a variety of projects.

A recent post of her's I really liked reading was Using Japanese Patterns. I just got a snazzy new sewing machine for Christmas and have been stocking up on all the various supplies I'll need and I really think that trying some of these gorgeous patterns for my daughter would be a blast.

If you haven't heard of Nico Designs, you should head right over to her shop and take a look around.

I just a adore her Isabella Crib Shoes. Aren't they adorable?

I know. I love them too.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Items and A New Store

I finally got around to moving all my non-knitted hair clips and jewelry to their own store! I'll be adding all new clips and jewelry soon, as well as purses and clutches and a few other items. I hope you'll check out Vicious Queen on Etsy.

Also, today I listed four new items. The first item is my new Dinosaur Hat. This one was knitted from wine red and amethyst purple yarns. The eyes were sculpted from pearl and gold polymer clay and were designed to look a little more feminine that previous eyes.

Here's the Plum Purple Fuzzy Teddy Bear Hat. Knit from a chunky acrylic yarn and a strand of violet fur yarn, this hat is super warm and extra cute.

I've also started making brooches that can be bought separately from cowls. The two I just listed today turned out quite nicely, I think.

Visit Thoris Designs on Etsy to see these and other great items.

Painted Wine Goblets

I've been blessed to have met some truly wonderful women over the past few years of my life. I haven't even hit the thirty mark yet, and I have to say that until I reached my twenties I never had much luck meeting other females that I could be friends with.

Now I have some amazing women friends and we all share a love of wine. When we get together it's a constant and hilarious battle over who's glass is who's and we're always snagging each others wine and no one knows (or seems to care) if they're drinking from the wrong cup.

In honor of our wine-loving ways and to reduce confusion, I decided to paint up some wine goblets for myself and the three friends that I find myself sharing wine with the most as Christmas gifts. I've never painted glasses before and only had a vague idea of what I was doing, but as you'll see, the results were pretty fabulous and it was very, very easy despite being very time consuming.

A lot of the directions I found surfing the web tried to convince me I needed special acrylic paints designed for glass, but I'm stubborn and was convinced the multitude of paints I already owned would probably do the job. I was right.

First off, I went to the local thrift store and found some nice wine goblets. It only cost me a little over three dollars and I loved the glasses I got. Perfect for my piratical sugar skull theme.

I laid one of the glasses on a piece of paper and traced around it to get an idea of how big I wanted my images to be. I then drew out all the pictures on paper with a pencil in nice bold lines and then cut the images out so they would fit into each of the glasses.

I then washed each glass and dried them thoroughly to make sure they were all shiny clean for painting. I didn't want to tape the template images into the cups, so I stuffed them with packing paper to hold the images in place.

The next step was just to paint directly over the lines of the images in the colors I wanted using very tiny brushes. This part was very hard at first. The inside images weren't pressed completely flat against the glass, and the depth perception factor was a little wonkey, but I stuck with it. Once I had some of the basic black-line work finished, it became easier.

Once each of the glasses were painted with their skull images, I turned them around and painted each one with my friends' nicknames. I painted a little phrase that reminded me of them on the base of the glass and then flipped them over and, using a coordinating color from the main images, completely painted the underside of each base.

I let the glasses dry overnight and then baked them in the oven for thirty minutes at 300 degrees. I placed the glasses in a glass baking pan and in the oven before preheating and started the thirty-minute timer. Once the thirty minutes was up, I turned the oven off and let the glasses cool without taking them out. This way they wouldn't get heat or cold shock and shatter.

The glasses turned out beautifully. The only thing I should have done differently was, I should have baked them upside down. When I went to take the glasses out of the pan, the paint on the bases had stuck to the pan and I almost had a panic attack thinking it would ruin the paint, or even worse, break the glass. A little patience and some wiggling got them out, but it was a close thing and my glass suffered some paint chipping around the edges.

Otherwise, it was a grand adventure and I think I might start making some more of these and selling them in my Etsy shop in the future.

If you've never tried painting glasses, I highly recommend it. They make great gifts.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Featured on The Storque (Again!)

I've been getting some lovely press lately, and just wanted to share that I've been featured in The Storque on Etsy again.

This time it was my Lovely Lacy Legwarmers for Girls and Tweens with Flowers in Wine Red and Leaf Green

I'm going to have to say that I think my beautiful daughter has something to do with all the feature-love I've been receiving. She is a lovely girl and a fantastic model.

Just look how adorable she makes these legwarmers look!

Thank you so much, everyone, for helping make my shop a success. I can see that it's going to be a rewarding climb to the top.

Later tonight I should be blogging about my first attempt at painting some wine glasses. Hopefully the pictures turned out.

Oh! I almost forgot. Read The Storque article, Etsy Finds: Warm My Heart, where I was featured. Thanks!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Give Away Winner's Choice

Staci J, the winner of my very first give away, hosted by the lovely ladies of Little Birdie Secrets, chose my Black Leather and Hot Pink Silk Rose Fascinator as her prize!

I'm so excited to be shipping this out to her. Stay tuned for more opportunities to win.

Don't forget to follow me on my Twitter, and to become a fan on Facebook for exclusive content and give aways!

Today's Give Away: Flirty Aprons

I know, I've been blogging a lot about Today's Give Away, but who can blame me? They've been having some really fantastic give away's that I would just love to win and blogging them gives me more chances to win. I'm a greedy pirate, it's true, but I'm okay with that.

This give away is one that I actually need. I suppose I don't need a completely adorable $30 apron, but I do need an apron, and why not a sexy, flirty one?

Which brings me to Flirty Aprons. The winner of their give away will receive an apron of their choice! That is just so great, because I want this one.

They're just so beautifully made, and I'm really into the whole double-layered fabric thing. Sometimes cleaning up and cooking for the kids destroys my clothes, and I really don't have enough decent outfits to be changing my clothes repeatedly during the day.

So go check it out. I've won a few different give aways on Today's Give Away and would love to win another, but I guess you deserve a shot too.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winners, Features, and Good Times All Around

I'm pleased to announce that the winner of the first ever Thoris Designs giveaway, hosted by the lovely ladies over at Little Birdie Secrets is Staci J!

Staci seems to be experiencing a run of great luck lately, and has won a number of giveaways, but mine is the latest. She even ran a sweet little entry about her win on her blog. She's got a beautiful family and I'm so glad that whatever item she chooses as her prize will go to a great new home.

More good news! I just got a convo from my Etsy store that my Black Leather and Hot Pink Silk Hair Clip with Black Velvet Tulle and Feathers Rose Fascinator was featured on the awesome fashion blog Chateau Bizarre.

All this coverage is really, really exciting for me. I feel great being able to see the return on all the hours of hard work I've been putting into promoting my business. One step closer to being the career-at-home mom I want to be. Being able to incorporate my kids into my job is amazing.

Thank you, everyone, for everything. It means a lot.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Today's Give Away: Prague Gypsy Tote

Today's Give Away is giving away an adorable tote bag.

Visit their website to enter to win. I did! Last time I entered one of their give aways I won $35 of Avon makeup. Awesome!

They're also hosting give aways for WeeSqueak Shoes: Fun Shoes for Kids. The winner will win one WeeSqueak's adorable squeaky kiddo shoes!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Julie & Julia: When Movies and Cooking Collide

This isn't a blog about the rest of my "normal" life, or about movies (which I also love, but only watch while I'm knitting these days), but it is a blog about crafting and cooking, and viola! two of my loves have collided in the new (new to me, because I have neither the time nor the money to go see a movie at the cinema) movie Julie & Julia, starring the superbly talented Meryl Streep and one of my favorite new actresses, Amy Adams (isn't she adorable?).

I loved this movie. Really. So much that I had to blog that I loved it. What an inspiration to all of us out there, struggling to realize a dream that we may have given up on. And the food! Oh, the food! I'm so hungry right now! I've never read Julia Child's cook book, but I've always loved seeing her on television and have always meant to pick up a copy of her book. Now I must do it.

Obviously, blogging my adventures with Julia's cookbook is out of the question (great idea done already), but once I get the book I'll be sure to share how much fun I'm having with it. Mmm. Butter.

PS - Aren't I clever? I just found the original blog that started it all, created a nifty little button, and linked right up to the first entry. I've been too poor to buy a new book to read for months; now I'll have something to pick up and read. How fun.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Dino Hat Listed

I got the chance to make one of my adorable dino hats with crochet eyes instead of the usual polymer sculpted ones. The Dark Sage Green and rich Chocolate Brown look great together! And doesn't my litle X-man make a great model?

Click on either of the photos to get taken to the listing for this hat and my Etsy Store.

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