Friday, November 16, 2012

It's Official

I meant to write this post yesterday….but “work” got in the way!  Silly work

Anyway, as the title above states – it’s OFFICIAL!!  What’s official you ask?  Well my ETSY shop is up and running, with product listed as of Wednesday evening!!! 

Finally figuring everything out, and having the time to post some hats for sale was such a big, exciting, RELIEF! 

No online sales just yet, but I’m going to try my best this weekend (in between finishing some gifts, picking up and packing for Thanksgiving) to photograph a few more finished products, and maybe even start a few more.  I’d like to get to a “stock” point where I can post 1-2 new items every other day or so….

Until I see how sales go, I’m a little hesitant to jump in with offering custom orders.  If you haven’t all noticed just yet, I work insane hours at my “real” job, and don’t want to catch myself in a jam where I can’t get requested order ready, especially this close to the holidays.

For those of you who haven’t thought about it just yet, I realized on my way into work this morning that we will be driving home for Christmas exactly 5 weeks from TODAY!  Forget panicking about being ready to head home for Thanksgiving in 5 days (not including today), Christmas is a little over 5 weeks away.  I know, I’m terribly sorry for any panic I just caused you.  Please take a deep breath and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with your families and friends J

Sorry for the short post, but between work and the fact that the little amount of crocheting that I’ve done this week has been on gifts, I have no fun pictures or silly process stories to share!

But, please, SPREAD THE WORD to anyone who’s looking for a unique holiday gift to give, or a little something for themselves – is open for business, with new items added all the time!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Good, the Bad, and the UGLY

They say that when you have to give bad news, you should give good news as well (a bit of a silver lining right?) – so that’s sort of what I’m doing today, but I’d rather start with the good news (so the I’m not cranky for the remainder of my post)!!!

My good news is that I got to leave work ON TIME yesterday, and while it took me longer than usual to get home (almost 1 hour total), I was able to devote the entire evening to crocheting!
 I even had an unintentional, little autumn theme last night!

Bad news -
Option 1:  Have you ever ran out of yarn before you completed a project? 
Option 2:  Ever been trying to use up yarn from your stash, and find yourself having to purchase more of the stash yarn color in order to complete the project? 
I’m 99.99% positive that any and all crafters reading this have had both of the above scenarios happen to them one time or another (or multiple times)…am I right?

So I ask, have you ever had this happen to you? 

The yarn came from my stash, and while it wasn’t a complete skein it definitely looked to be enough for an adult man’s hat.  The tail is all that’s “left”, and the pink line indicates how much of my last.row I have left….

Really?!?!  I mean REALLY?!?!? COME.ON!!  Okay, I’ll buy another skein and make something else with it once those last 2” are finished, but still…..FOR PETE’S SAKE!, right?

The “ugly” part of today’s post is less ugly than it was an hour ago (lucky you)
Today is DAY FOUR of me attempting to understand and properly set up my ETSY account to charge and pay sales taxes as legally pertinent.  While ETSY provides lots of links and information, 90% of it was either useless, repetitive, or claiming that they can’t “offer tax advice”.  Last night I spent a little bit more time on the Maryland Comptroller’s website, which ‘thanks’ to a very limited amount of information provided upfront, I found the state of Maryland about as helpful as ETSY.  At Jonathan’s suggestion, I emailed the appropriate email account for the license I believe I will need (email vs. a phone call 1. Because it was after hours and 2. It proves a paper trail).  The response time was great – they emailed me back around 9 a.m. this morning…..and did nothing more than direct me back to their website (via a broken link)… Seriously, it shouldn’t be this hard right? 
I finally bit the bullet, and called the 800 number that was provided to me in the email for “additional information” fully expecting to spend about an hour on hold with an automated system.  The “good” is back because an actual person picked up after the 2nd ring and they answered all of my questions for me within 10 minutes – it was a Tuesday miracle I tell you!  To keep this long story from getting any longer, I know what license and registration number I need to sign up for online tonight (no fees either, yea!!!), and then *fingers crossed* I may finally be able to post to my ETSY store - and feel good knowing that I’ve done everything right!
I know that I kind of, sort of now know what I need to do, but I had planned to ask for any advice and/or suggestions from my blog readers, so I’d still like to do that.  Anyone who’s reading who has an ETSY shop, and charges/pays state sales tax (esp. anyone in Maryland), I would LOVE any suggestions, tips, rules, requirements, etc., etc. that you could pass along!  I was very surprised to find out how difficult posting to my shop was going to be, but so many out there have successful shops, so I just know that some of you reading this have got to have some answers or suggestions for me…please???

I leave you today with wishing my beautiful Momma a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!  She’s more than awesome, and I can’t wait to be home for Thanksgiving next week so I can see her :-D

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday progress

I hope that everyone has been enjoying their Saturday with family & friends. I've been wide awake since a little after 6 am - this is what happens when I pass out at 10 pm on a Friday night.... Either way, been a fairly productive day so far! The picture above was taken pretty early on, once I'd had enough caffeine to operate my iPad. As you can see, last night was not as I had planned (again, that's what happens when you pass out at 10 pm), but today was a new day, right?

Just snapped this photo - as you can see I've made four woman's hats, one teen hat and that adorable mini sized hat will be a gift!!

Hope to officially launch my ETSY site tonight :-)

For now, I supposed at least an hour or two should be dedicated to housework!

Friday, November 9, 2012

My New Process

It's been discussed in the past, that I'm not exactly "the best" when it comes to finishing projects that I begin.  And in all reality I believe that ALL crafters have a hidden closet full of WIPs that once out of sight, are also out of mind so that they can pick up a new skein of yarn and start the next project that's already in their head, guilt-free.

While I’m being honest about my crafty process, I’ve also always had a difficult time making multiples of basically anything.  This includes making a scarf with a special stitch/pattern, or a blanket as a gift, loving the pattern, wanting one for myself, and never starting it again!  Same with anything in pairs like mittens.  I made a pair of mittens early last year that I LOVE, but I’ve never once started another pair – for myself or anyone else.

As you can imagine, this is possibly the biggest reason I have never sold my finished products on ETSY or otherwise.  I mean selling hats, scarves and gloves means that I actually have to make more than one of them at a time!!!  I mean if I wanted to actually make a profit!

Now that you know all of this, you may be wondering how I was able to make 8 hats over a 7 day period, or how I was able to have 16 adult hats, 3 children’s hats, and 2 baby hats ready, along with multiple cowls when I sent my first shipment to Vermont.

The answer is really simple – variety!!  I don’t pick up a skein of black yarn and just make black hats until the skein is gone.  Switching colors relieves the monotony, and since hats are such a small project to complete (around 1 hour 15 min for an adult hat) I am able to think about  my next color combination one hat in advance without the kind of crafty timeline to end product that creates the hidden closet of WIPs!

Naturally I take this one step further per the photograph below:

(if anyone is wondering, the purple hat with be a girl's hat, the aquamarine will be an adult hat, the aran tweed with be for a baby boy, and the autumn harvest colors on the far right with be a unisex adult hat)

As you can see, last night I started 4 hats!  No….really, it’s a good thing!  See, I’ll basically work each hat through the applicable number of increases, add a stitch marker, set it down and repeat!  I never (at least yet) go past 5 before I finish what’s started.  I think it really works well for my brain, and here’s why:

  1. As mentioned above, constantly switching colors allows me to not get bored with what I’m making
  2. If I spend one night “starting” all the hats, then all the hard part (i.e. the correct counting on the increases) is already done.  Anyone who’s crocheted a basic hat knows that once you’re done increases, and proper measuring,  the double crochets in a circle are as second nature as breathing!  This means that tonight’s crocheting will be SUPER easy!  After the busy work week I’ve had, nothing sounds better today that having an extra easy night of crocheting when I get home
  3. By the end of tonight I’ll have 4 finished hats.  And for those of you who I know are thinking it, yes I’m aware that if I worked each hat from start to finish, I could have made 2 last night and 2 tonight with the same end result.  But I find it more fun this way, and guess what, as long as I do finish them in a timely manner, it should matter to no one J  Every artist has their process right?

Anyway, I’m now counting the minutes until I’ll be home again (210 until I leave work, ~255 until I’m actually home)….yes I got out a calculator and did.the.math!

I hope that you’ve all enjoyed a little additional insight unto my journey to recent selling of my crafties!

Here’s to a craft-filled weekend!

Monday, November 5, 2012


I've been a busy bee over the past couple of weeks.  As I mentioned in my last post, I have been working towards an upcoming project that would also bring a bit of an announcement… well, crafty blog friends, and other respective readers: I have officially sent my first shipment to Equilibrium VT!

Equilibrium VT is my sister-in-law Jessica’s new business venture in Brattleboro, VT!  Jessica and her boyfriend Jake have rented a warehouse space in Brattleboro where they have created a multi-platform venue, aiming to provide space for those seeking to live a more healthy, happy and harmonious life (something the whole world could use right??)  Within the space they have Superfresh OrganicCafĂ©; The Healing Arts Sanctuary;  a large flexible Room for hosting original art, yoga and movement classes, small concerts, black box theatre, etc; and, of course, a Gallery and Marketplace – where by mid-week they will showcasing and selling some creations by your very own Crafty Holly Louise!

Here's everything tagged, before packing.  Many group/individual pictures were taken prior to tagging, but the photographs were taken with my camera vs. my iPhone for my own tracking purposes.

This has proven to be extra exciting for me as I’m not only totally excited to get involved with this family venture, but for all of the times I've talked about my goal to start up my ETSY shop, it’s never happened.  Now, I still don’t have a fully operating ETSY shop, but this really feels like a big step in the right direction.  I've been very focused over the past six weeks on making things to sell.  For two of the six weeks we were not in town and shouldn't really count towards the work I've done I’m now totally focused on what it takes to balance FT job work, housework and my “crafty” work! 

Just based upon the feedback I received on Facebook from a few pictures posted yesterday evening, I’m doing some serious thinking about starting up my ETSY shop at least through the holidays for those who don’t live in New England (and I hope that you find this as exciting as I do!!)  I may or may not be able to do custom orders through ETSY at this time, but I’d love to get a sense of the interest in being able to purchase hand-made goods by someone you know as you venture into this Holiday Shopping Season.  

For those of you who are unsure, here are a few more "sneak peeks" of the things I look to continue to see for the foreseeable future:

Adult Hats

Woman's Headbands

Friends – let me hear what you have to say!

P.S.  Anyone reading this who lives in the Brattleboro area, New England or will be traveling to either in the coming months, should 100% check out the awesome things that Jessica and Jake are doing at Equilibrium VT!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No really.....

I’m here I’m here!!  I’ve also been crocheting like a mad woman as I prepare for my next crafty adventure (more on that coming soon…)

As you can see, my Monday nights haven’t changed.  I’m still addicted to watching Dancing with the Stars.  This picture was from 2 Mondays ago – Jonathan was out of town, so I was taking over the coffee table a bit while I had a few hours of “yarn-A.D.D.” (this, of course, would be when you keep starting new projects, say hats, just so you can see how the yarn is going to look J you know what I mean, right?)

We all know that last Friday was “I Love Yarn Day” – here was my set up on Friday evening

And, if anyone was wondering, 7 days + a full time “non-crafty” job = 8 adult hats!

In non-crocheting crafty news, here is a wind spinner that was made and gifted last week: 

I will have more news to share in the coming weeks (has it really been a MONTH since my last post??? oye), but until then I will continue to read about your crafty adventures, and will try to do more than post bi-monthly photos updates in order to convince you all that I’m still here and still crocheting!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Weekend "Failures"

I hope that everyone had a lovely, last “official” weekend of summer last weekend!

My weekend “failures” as I mentioned above, were only failures because the weather in Surfside Beach, SC was FAR TOO NICE to be indoors crocheting!!!!

We spent part of Saturday, Sunday and Monday on the beach, soaking in some beach-y sun (far superior to poolside sun, if you were wondering) and playing in the waves – it never once rained all weekend!

I LOVE all of the brightly colored beach houses with stairs straight onto the beach!

Dinner on Saturday night - Dead Dog Saloon, Murrells Inlet

I <3 the beach!!!!!

On the Pier

Here’s a picture of what I attempted to crochet…

Keep in mind that I’d already started this before we left on Friday afternoon.  Crocheting in the convertible with the top down is impossible at 75 MPH (from the passenger seat – don’t worry Jonathan was driving!) and when I tried to crochet on the screened in porch on Saturday morning it was too humid and my fingers were instantly sticky.  I know….first world problems, right?

Anyway I finished up the crocheting on this single loop cowl last night while listening to President Clinton’s speech.  I used some TLC yarn from my stash (don’t remember the name of the color off hand) and my J hook.  Still need to measure it before I sew together (one of many reasons it’s not sewn yet)  I started my next cowl as well, and am thankful that I can use my K hook so it goes a little faster!! J

Any guesses as to what I’m up to these days?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Smile A Minute!

Last week’s trip to Central NY, included time at the New York State Fair!  Each year that Mom and I get to attend, the trip becomes more and more about seeing the friends we have made from all over the country, and spending hours at a time chatting with each of them!

Here are just a few shots to recap our time in Syracuse

Walking across the bridge from the parking lot to the fairgrounds

Mom and I

Lake at the National Park within the Fairgrounds

2012 Butter Sculpture - Olympian themed

2012 Sand Sculpture

Also appropriately Olympian Themed

I’m also proud to say that 50% of the yarn I packed was used over the weekend!  Not 50% of the actual yarn, but I used 2 of the 4 skiens to make 2 gifts for some very dear friends from Oklahoma City.

Here are Carma and Nancy at their booth with the Single Loop Cowls that I made them (something light weight, but offering of some extra warmth, as needed, for the short winters in Oklahoma)  We discovered this year, that Carma and Nancy first attended the NY State Fair to sell their hand crafted gold jewelry just one year after I first went with my parents to compete in the State Level dance competition!  I couldn’t tell you what year the first pieces of jewelry were purchased, but it was with in the first year or so that we found them, and I’m almost positive it was a “name” necklace with my birthstone!  We now spend many many hours at their booth every year catching up, seeing what’s new (both with them and their jewelry), and ordering new jewelry.  This year they’ve branched out into making more jewelry with silver – like the beautiful bracelet with blue jade that I’m wearing to work today!

To say that Mom and I love them and their jewelry would be an understatement!  They are amazing woman, and truly are “ARTISTS”!

Anyone who is reading this that lives in or near Oklahoma City, or plans to visit the area, you should DEFINITELY go to A Jewelers Art to see, and maybe even buy, a piece of their artwork!  You won’t be sorry!

Back to my Single Loop Cowls – here at are at the hotel right after I finished them:

Each was made using THIS pattern, but with a single strand of worsted weight yarn, and a K hook.  I forgot to measure them, but when looped, they come just down to chest….I’m guess that they are between 30” and 36”.  This is the first time that I’ve made cowls with a twist in them.  I’ve seen many pictures on patterns online this way, but never fully understood why you would do this.  I started playing around with a finished one before sewing it together and realized that putting that twist in means that it lays perfectly about 99% of the time w/o having to futz with it too much!  Will definitely continue to “add a twist” in the future!

Tonight I’m headed home to pack for our weekend trip to Myrtle Beach!  Lots of travel projects and yarn coming with me this weekend as well – hopefully a fun update next week will come of it!

Safe travels to anyone who is traveling this final official weekend of the summer!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Olympian Crocheting

As Olympians challenge themselves every 4 years; whether making the Olympic team, a new personal best, World Record, Olympic Record or most medals won by a single Olympian, I found myself on a crochet journey over 16 days of being glued to my TV screen.  A journey that I am sad to say is not yet complete.

I started crocheting THIS blanket about a week prior to the opening ceremonies.  The night of the Opening Ceremonies, I sat crocheting with excitement for the upcoming two weeks of sporting events that are rarely televised other than once every 4 years.  I really loved how the stitch looked, and true to my overachieving, day-dreamer tendencies I found myself thinking of ALLLLLLLLLLL the amazing things I was going to crochet, finish and blog about during the Olympics.  I mean, I was going to be sitting here there every night for 16 days – the possibilities seemed endless.  Just 12 hours later - the morning of July 28th, after a good 3 hours of crocheting during the Men’s Road Race in Cycling, reality set in.  In all honestly, reality banged on my front door and all but bitch-slapped me because I was OUT OF MY MIND to think that this “simple baby blanket” of single crochets and skips was going to be easy……

Here was my progress around July 25th or 26th.  “Isn’t this going to be the most amazing baby blanket ever”, I kept saying to Jonathan while I lovingly ran my hand over the unique, blush texture”

Here we are after the first weekend of the Olympics - somewhere around July 29th, and a solid, additional 5-6 hours of crocheting.  That Monday morning I felt horribly defeated.  I’m a fast crocheter.  With the number of hours I’d already put in by now – I’ve had other blankets DONE, or at least close to done (not looking like I just started).

The following week I started to lose steam.  We also spent the weekend of August 4th celebrating our 1 year Wedding Anniversary, so I had slightly less time to crochet that a usual weekend

I still plugged along though whenever possible - here’s where I was on August 4th

For those who are wondering, the blanket is being crocheted with a Caron One Pound in Cream and my favorite K hook.  I did make my base chain 34” vs. the finished product of 30” listed on the pattern – this meant I was aiming to crocheting “up” 34-inches…..somewhere around a completed 20-25” things really started to feel like I was crocheting backwards.  I’d crochet and crochet and crochet, chain-1, turn, and crochet and crochet and crochet for HOURS, daily and I STILL hadn’t made it to 34”.  By the second full week of the Olympics it became obvious that not only was this blanket going to be the only thing I crocheted during the 30th Olympiad, but it finishing it by the Closing Ceremonies was worthy of a Gold Medal!
Funny side note:  One night after work while we were watching the Olympics that I announced to Jonathan that I would NEVER make this baby blanket again!  Jonathan immediately sounded  offended and hurt that I wouldn’t want our child to have the nicest, warmest, snuggliest blanket that I could make him/her.  I promptly reminded him that there are other patterns out there – our future children will not be without.  Since then I have given some thought to the possibility of being a more patient woman when I’m pregnant (probably not likely), or having 9 months to work on it vs. 1 month, or as my Mom reassured me, my baby blanket that she crocheted me is hopefully still safe in her craft room and I could use that ;-)

Here was my progress by 8/12 – I took this photo the morning of the 13th to show “ALL” that I did during the London Olympics.  I also had to purchase a 2nd pound of yarn the morning of the 12th – I believe that all but about 2” of what you’re looking at above is a full pound of yarn!

I’m still working on it.  I finished the 34” – I’ve fully crocheted the first two rounds of the border – I’m less than ¼ of the way through the final scalloped round of the border – I’m exhausted.  I’d planned to finished crocheting on Saturday so that I could block it on Sunday.  Then I just wanted to finish before it was dark on Sunday to block.  By Sunday evening I was going to be happy with blocking it by Tuesday evening.  I’m leaving tomorrow night around 10 p.m. to go to Syracuse for the weekend, (I’ll be leaving straight from downtown after work to have dinner with Jonathan and then be dropped off at the airport) I’m not touching this cream monster until I return next week. 

Yes, it’s beautiful – I still love how it looks but I’M.SO.OVER.IT

Oh, and it has to be ready to be gifted on Wednesday the 29th.  I know.  I’m a bit of an idiot for refusing to touch this blanket until I return next week – I will no doubt be up until after midnight on the 28th finishing the border, weaving in ends and blocking, and then up long before I should be to weave in my ribbon, photograph and wrap….but you know what?  I just don’t care anymore.  I’m sick of staring at Cream

I currently have a couple of scarves that I’m working on – as something easy and mindless.  I’m about half way through the first one, thinking about making them both cowls – will post photos when they are finished – they are my travel projects for the plane tomorrow night and the hotel over the weekend!

On a happier, silly note – note only did Jonathan and I celebrate our 1 year wedding Anniversary back on the 6th, but today is our “8 year datin' bananaversary"!  

Here is the “oldest” photo of us that I can quickly find – New Year’s Eve 2004 – just 4 months after we started dating

Our Wedding Day – August 6, 2011

I believe this is the most recent photo of us to date – May 20, 2012 – spending this much time with the same person really is the fastest way to look back and say “wow!  We were babies!!” 

That’s okay though – here’s to more years and Disney trips together than one could possibly count!




And that concludes today's photo tour