Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's New?

As summer comes to a crashing end, I am sitting here thinking about all that I didn't do.  We started a garden last year and had pretty good results.  This year, it seems as if we did nothing outside.  I don't know what we did or why we didn't spend time in the garden.  I think part of it is that we walked 4 miles almost every day, Michael was in preschool the month of July, we tried to spend time as a family, and probably the biggest issue was the crazy anount of mosquitos that we had in our yard.  Oh, and child illnesses, including Lyme Disease for Miss Eva Rose.

When I think about our garden, I am kind of diappointed.  We did get a ton of tomatoes, but we also got some sort of blight/fungus that is killing them now.  I am trying to save as many tomatoes as I can so that we can enjoy some garden fresh tomatoes.  We did have a decent amount of cucumbers, which we didn't have last year.  My carrots are finally at a point where they can be eaten, albeit small.  the best part about the carrots is that they came from seeds as did the beets and the radishes.  My next step is to pull up all the lettuce, spinich, peas, and other things that are no longer doing well, and plant a second crop of cold weather veggies, like more peas, carrots, beets, greens, etc.

I still have lots of projects to work on.  I started a scarf for one of my sisters.  Hopefully it will be something she likes and something useful.  She is going to be a sophmore at UMASS Amherst and will be working in the barn (I think) and I am hoping that it will be warm and useful for her as well as something that she will like.  I have a few other knit gifts as well as sewing gifts planned.  I am hopeful that I can actually get a schedule going so that I can complete some of my projects!

I know it is still August, but it is the end of August.  I am trying to plan for the winter months so that I can feel productive and enjoy the time in the house vs being able to go out.  I want to use my tiem to create, plan my garden for next year, learn more about herbs and aromatherapy, and maybe even kick start an shop.  We'll see how things work, but I definitely don't want this winter to be an unproductive season, nor do I want to hate winter.  I need to find a way to make winter more fun and enjoyable.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Selling What I Make?

I have long thought about selling things I make.  I think I would really enjoy making money, even just a little, from something I created.  Then my fears step in, my anxieties, my doubt.  Am I good enough?  Are the things that I make good enough quality to sell people?  Is anyone interested?  Are there too many people doing the same thing that I am doing.  Will I be a total failure, a total flop?

Yes, I have major self doubts, some that are real and some that are probably more in my mind than anything else.  Yes, I need to make sure that what ever I make, there is a calling for.  I often go to craft fairs for multiple reasons, one of them being to scope out what others are selling.  There are so many jewelers out there.  There are so many people doing all the things that I like to do.  I haven't found my niche yet, and I don't know if I am able to think outside the box enough to create my own little niche.

I have a couple of friends that sell on and I am really interested in doing something like this.  I just e-mailed a friend that is jsut starting her own shop.  She got me interested again instead of just thinking about is a side thought.  How nice would it be to actually make money doing something you love?  Granted, I am totally aware that what you love may end up being what you despise when it becomes your job, but I really want to do something I love, not just something I like.  Is this it?  I don't know, but I'm not sure that I should discount that this may be something I would enjoy, maybe just a little side thing to enjoy and make a little money at the same time.

My next goal is to find my little niche.  What will it be?  I can only hope to figure out!  I really need to find something that I will enjoy yet something that is different and something that attracts people to want to buy things.


Monday, August 15, 2011


Yes, I know it's still August and Christmas is far away, but I always put off my Christmas list until the last minute and then I never have any time to make people things like I want to.  I am not wishing away summer, but I know how time flies and I know that I need to start planning so that a) I know what I want to make people, b) I can afford it, and c) I have the time to complete all I want to make! 

When I started this blog, I had a goal of not going to big department stores, but shopping at smaller local stores and trying to make my own things, from food, to clothing, to gifts, etc.  I haven't really been able to really follow through with that goal, but it still remains a goal.  One thing I really would like to do, which would essentially be a huge help to meeting the goal of making my own things, is to have a work station where I could leave things set up, like my sewing machine or a jewelry project, or anything else that I was working on.  Once my brother in law leaves, which will hopefully be soon (we can all hope), I hope to move some things in the basement and get a work station set up so that I can leave my sewing machine set up, have an area to work on jewelry projects, maybe even scrapbooking/paper crafts, or even my aromatherapy stuff.  I have most of my supplies organized, just no place to actually work!

Once I finish this post, I am going to start my Christmas list so that I can hopefully plan out what I want to make people and have goals set to finish projects.  My first priority is my husband and my kids.  I have been wanting to make a picture quilt for my husband for a long time now.  I have bought some material and even the special material to put through a printer to print the pictures on.  I think I have even printed some old pictures from before we were married ( I had printed them before we were married, that's how long I have wanted to do this).  I also want to make all 3 kids something special from me that I have made.  I would like to make this an annual tradition.  My absolute favorite gifts/cards are things that my husband has made me and I want my kids to treasure things that are handmade and mean something not just some thing that was bought at a store and made in China.  I also want to make special things for special people in my life.

I am really hoping that I can plan things out so that I can get projects completed in time for Christmas.  It will really feel good to give handmade special gifts that will hopefully mean more than jsut something I picked out from the store, especially since I really enjoy making things.  Hopefully I can also get a spot to work out of so that I can be a little more productive!


Thursday, August 11, 2011


I've been talking a lot about getting myself organized.  Well, I finally attempted it today!  I feel a little guilty since I spent time cleaning and organizing most of the day letting the kids watch a hefty dose of Caillou.  The guilt that I feel about letting the kids watch tv definitely competes with the satisfaction of putting together and organizing my crafts.  I still have a ton to do, and a ton to clean out and donate (which I so don't want to do because I love each and every supply that I have bought for the different crafts that I love) since I no longer have any room for everything I now own.

The first thing I started with is organizing my material and my yarn.  Holy craft supplies, do I have a ton of yarn and a decent supply of fabric.  Right now I have my yarn sorted by fiber content.  I have a couple of small boxes of cotton yarn separated between color and neutrals.  I have a large and medium size bin of yarns that are mostly synthetic, and a large bin of yarn that is mostly 100% wool with some blends thrown in.  All bins have more than one project in the works in them, plus I have a decorative bin in the living room with projects in it  Now I can go into each bin and know what I have for yarn in what type of fiber content instead of trying to find it all mixed in together.

My material has been organized by either fabric content, color, fat quarter, or pattern ie holiday, child, etc.  I have a decent amount of fabric that has mostly been bought for different potential quilts.  I have a couple bins that have material set aside for different possible projects that have been planned, but not started.  I have a bin of patterns, plus a bunch of patterns that are in my closet, and a couple by my bed.  I have my box of thread and notions all together, but I'm sure that there is more sewing stuff that needs to get organized.  I do have a decent bag of material and yarn that I am going to donate.  Now that I think about it, I should probably keep a large piece of blue striped fleece and give away the ugly green fleece that I bought for some unknown reason.

I still ahve the rest of my craft supplies to go through.  I have a ton of rubber stamps and paper crafting supplies.  I loave to make cards and scrapbook, but I just don't have the time.  It is going to be really difficult to get rid of some of the things that I will be purging.  I may call a friend and see if there is anything that she wants when I decide to get rid of things, if I can bring myself to do it!  I also have my jewelry making supplies that I should go through and see if there are any beads that I can't see myself ever using.  I doubt it as I am usually pretty picky on what beads I buy.  Maybe if I can get my supplies in order, I can start making things again.  Maybe if I can get a spot cleared out, I can start a project and leave it up, instead of having to always clean everything up and then having to take the time to take it out again and clean up again!

My goal is to set aside and area of the basement for a small table or desk.  I am hoping my brother in law leaves soon since he is staying in our basement and making it more difficult to actually be able to get down there and craft.  Even my husband doesn't feel like he can get into his woodshop and do things.  I am hoping to move a drop leaf table that we have to another area for folding clothes,  I am hoping that it will open up an area to have a desk or table or even a make your own desk out of a countertop and file cabinets to set up my sewing machine, and have space to do my paper crafting and jewelry.  maybe then I can also think about selling some of the things that I make if I have a space to set up and do some nice work.

I still have many supplies that I don't have room for, but will not be getting rid of.  I have a small kiln, that had bought for glass fusing and other light projects.  I have all my wood working supplies including my carving tools and my lathe.  I can't believe that I haven't touched any of that since probably before I was in grad school.  I am looking forward to have some time to create and if I can get organized, maybe then I will be a little more able to create more often!

I do still have the rest of the house to organize, but this was a huge start and really needed to be done so that I can get to the other areas of the house.  I think the next area is going through the kids toys.  I have a few that I am getting rid of, but I'm sure that there are more that I can either get rid of or put away and pull out later after I swap out other toys!  I also did semi organize the kitchen, but again, I need to do more.  I am also going to get better at planning my menu for the week and sticking too it.  I have been menu planning , but the problem is I don't always follow it.  I am giving myself a pat on the back for starting to get organized, but there is still so much to do and then maintain!