Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year... 2014 already?

Happy New Year!

I kind of feel as if my knitting has slowed down quite a bit this year, especially right after the middle of the year.  In June, we got our puppy, Sandy, and also I opened up an Etsy shop (KimzKraftKorner)and then opened another Etsy shop (KimzKnits).  Tennis season and some house remodeling projects filled up more time in the fall and then, next thing I knew, it was time for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And here we are... December 31st!


I am working on some socks.  Not much progress. The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Hand Dyed Yarn from my Mom's Stash. Thank, Mom!

Check out that cool yarn bowl!  I bought this for a Christmas present for myself.  Donna from "TwinMountainPottery" on Etsy made this.  I told her I liked the looks of one of the bowls she had sold.  I liked the shape and design and size.  I pointed out a number of items in her shop to show her what sort of glaze or finish I liked and I asked her to surprise me. The bowl works great!  I LOVE it!

I worked on some sewing projects this weekend. Some for Etsy, some not.  A few weeks back, I had fun sewing with fleece.  Here are a few photos for you! 

Bad lighting. Sorry. This is a Hello Kitty flannel blankie with a pink minky backing. 

A NASCAR pillow for an Etsy custom order. 

Here are some other random photos to catch you up!

Sandy in front if the tree. 

Our first Christmas in our newly remodeled great room. 

Wishing you all the best in 2014!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Misty Morning Walk

Photos from a beautiful walk today.  

In the distance, a huge mass of ice in a rock crevice. 

More ice.  

Looking north. 
The mist came and went as we walked. 

Looking west through the tunnel and into the mist. 

Ice along the sides of the river. 

Looking east. 

Looking south. 

Looking west again this time through cacti. 

Looking west. 

Looking north. 

Sandy had a blast. 

Looking east again. 

It was a great start to the day!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Etsy Update

A few months back (late June to be precise), I shared that I had opened a shop on Etsy.  I decided to call my shop "Kimzkraftkorner" because it kept things wide open... not just knit things but things I crochet or sew... what ever tickled my fancy.  I wanted to call it "Kimskraftkorner" with an "s" but apparently that name was taken by someone previously.  I liked that it was more similar to my blog name. Oh well!

I have been having a really fun time with my Etsy shop. At the encouragement of a friend on Ravelry, I opened a second shop to sell my knitting patterns.  I am calling that shop "Kimzknits".  I was encouraged to open a second shop just for patterns or else buyers might be confused. For example, if I had a pattern for a hat listed next to a completed hat, some one might think, "Wow, a hat for just a few bucks... I'll buy that!," but then be disappointed to only get a pattern download and not a completed hat!  It's a bit of extra work to have two shops but I am not complaining.  Things are going pretty well and, since I have a full time job, it's plenty busy.

My sales goal for "Kimzkraftkorner" was 50 sales.  I only recently set that goal when I was approaching 50 sales and I was optimistic I'd hit that mark before the end of the year.  I got sale #50 and #51 on Sunday.  This appears to be the end of the Christmas rush for me.  The sales goal for "Kimzknits" is a dozen pattern sales by the end of the year... just two more to go and I'll be there!  "Kimzknits" has just been open for a few month.   I really went into Etsy with no expectations; I was just HOPEFUL some one would find my items and like the looks of them.  I have been very surprised along the way by a lot of things.  One thing that has pleased me the most is folks who have come back for more orders... proof that folks are pleased with my work.  Another thing that surprised me is how much fun I enjoy working with buyers, especially on custom orders.  I've had folks contact me asking for pillows with a particular theme... butterflies, dragonflies, NFL teams, NASCAR, owls, French poodles... fun!  I encourage buyer to look at "fabric by the yard" on Etsy or I help them find fabric to match their desired theme.  If not Etsy, then other fabric sources on the Internet.  It's very fun to help folks design their custom pillows to their specifications.

I was most excited when an Etsy seller contacted me and asked me to add a pouch or pocket to a pillow where a hot or cold pack could be inserted. What an excellent idea!  I had to make a few prototypes and the first was an epic failure, but I kind of have it figured out now. The lady with the idea loves her pillow!  The mini-pillow I sewed to be a hot or cold pack is filled with rice and can be chilled in the freezer or warmed in the microwave oven.  I'll show you some photos here:

Recently, another lady asked me for the same type of pillow for her grandmother.  Nice!

The most surprising thing about Etsy is what a supportive and social community it is. I was on Etsy for awhile before I discovered an area called "Forums" where folks discuss various questions.  Sometimes the treads of conversations are just chit chat... "Woo Hoo!  I just got my first sale!" and then folks will add to the discussion... "Congratulations! Here's to many more sales!"  Others will ask questions about how things work on Etsy... "How do I refund someone if I over charged for shipping?" and fellow, more experienced sellers will jump in and give a helpful explanation of the procedures.  I just did not imagine a place for selling would be such a positive, upbeat, and supportive environment. 

I am glad I finally took the plunge!  For years, I've gone to craft fairs and said, "I can do this! I want to do this!" but I always talked myself out of it... for fear of failure. fear of wasting money.  This summer I just said, "Go for it!  Don't over think it! Don't over research it!  Don't hesitate... just figure it out as you go along!"  And that is exactly what I've done.  For the first few dozen sales, I think I learned something new each and every sale. 

There have been a few stressful moments along the way. Just this week, a lady in Ohio was getting a little panicky that her package had not yet arrived.  We looked at the U.S. Postal Service Tracking information and it looked like the package had gone to Cincinnati, gone to her home town to be delivered, and then back to Cincinnati!  I could just imagine my customer trying to pack for a trip and hoping a last minute Christmas gift  she'd ordered on line would arrive on time.  I was so happy today when she sent me an e-mail to tell me the pillow had arrived and she loved  And I was very relieved and very pleased.

I hope by sharing this it doesn't sounds like I am going on and on about how well I am doing... bragging.  I am just excited and wanting to share.  It's something very exciting going on in my life and fulfilling in a fun and unexpected way.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Exhale! And "Bubble Gum Socks"

I hate to admit it, but something about the holiday season makes me grumpy. It all started the night before Thanksgiving when I found myself at the grocery store. The Salvation Army bell ringer was at his post outside the store and I rememered I had two one dollar bills and a few coins in my pocket. I crammed my cash in the red kettle, hoping it would cheer me up and get into the spirit of the season, while I thinking to myself, "Why on Earth am I so FREAKIN' GRUMPY?" I wrote it off as PMS, but this feeling has been haunting me for two weeks. Bah Humbug! It occurred to me yesterday that the last month has been filled with all the "have to dos" of the holiday season and I was not enjoying anything I was doing. Not cooking or baking or sewing or knitting. Nope, I wasn't enjoying any of it. They all felt like CHORES. Why even yesterday as I was driving to the park to take Sandy for walk, I had a list running through my head of all the things I needed to hurry home to accomplish. Even taking the dog for walk yesterday felt like a task to scratch off my list. Wrap Christmas gifts, make pillows, go to WalMart to get cleaning supplies, clean bathrooms with said cleaning supplies, do laundry, make lunch and dinner, address Christmas cards, walk dog, give dog a bath after getting muddy on said walk, and so on. I was even invited to a party last Friday but I just did not want to go... once again, it felt like an obligation and I was over it. So yesterday, when I was nearly in tears after the dog walk and the dog bath, I sat down on the couch with Sandy and I just knit and knit and listened to the TV.

The project was not to list and sell on Etsy, it was not a gift, there was no deadline. It was just a pair of socks. Just knitting. Just for fun. It was exactly what I needed. Sandy is a GREAT knitting companion by the way. I stopped to make lunch (a double recipe of chili) and I threw a roast in the Crock Pot for dinner. I still got the laundry and dishes done. The "have to dos" will be there for me tomorrow. Life is good! Ahhhhh. Here are my socks. Yarn from my mom. Thanks, Mom! Bernat Sox in a colorway called "Hot Tamale". Ummmm, what were they thinking? I am renaming this yarn "Bubble Gum" because it reminds me of bubble gum ice cream? Do you remember that ice cream? 

I used 3.00 mm needles for these socks (trying something new... ordinarly I use 2.75 mm needles) and I cast on 52 stitches per sock. This yarn, to me, seemed a little plumpy, hefty, squishy, so I thought the needle and stitch combination would work well. I think the leg portion is about 60 rounds after 10-12 rounds of ribbing. The foot portion is just 31 rounds after the heel gusset decreases. I think I have been knitting the foot portion a bit too long sometimes.

So there you have it: Bubble Gum Socks

Wishing you PEACE and JOY this Holiday Season!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Exciting News!

I have a little exciting news to share.  I have my pillows on display and for sale in a store!
Long story short... I spend a lot of time at a store in Canon City, Colorado... it's called Words of Life: Bee Inspired.  The front 2/3 of the store is a great gift shop and bookstore and the back 1/3 of the store is a yarn shop.  The yarn shop used to be next door and has changed hands a few times in the past few years, but now Ann owns both the gift shop/bookstore and the yarn shop. The yarn shop is now called "The Yarn Shop at Words of Life." 
I brought in one of my pillows the other day and left it at the shop for Ann to mail off to a friend along with some other items.  Ann's been so busy she hadn't mailed the box off yet but it turns out folks visiting the shop saw the pillow and wanted to know where they could get one. Ann and I got to talking and she said she'd allow me to have some pillows on display and sell them on a consignment basis.  How fun is that?   

Ann cleared off a nice shelf near the very front of the store since the items are new. How nice is that.  I have eight pillows on display in a variety of fabrics. 
I made labels so folks would know the pillows are locally made and used a safety pin and some ribbon to attach the labels to the pillows.  Wish me luck! I am excited!
"Words of Life" is located in the Historic Downtown, 615 Main Street, Canon City, Colorado 81212.