I didn't realize how long it has actually been since I posted anything. It's amazing how fast time really goes and how much happens in a few short months. I kept meaning to post, but just never got to it. Minnesota's winter dragged on with cold, snow and slippery conditions. It was still snowing at the beginning of May! We bought an investment property, did a lot of painting and such and moved our college-aged son into it (a really big change and new phase of life). He landed a summer job with the city (hallelujah!) after a long stretch of unemployment. All 3 vehicles needed repairs within the same 3 week period for a cost of a few thousand dollars. The day job has been insanely busy and everything that could go wrong, did. Usually I'm a pretty upbeat person and life has really been pretty good, but it really did seem like a long, tough winter.
Instead of working on my Etsy and Artfire shops, I spent the winter knitting some custom ordered afghans. I tried a couple new patterns/stitches, and they turned out really well even though they took a lot of time. Although the actual stitches weren't hard, I was making these afghans larger than normal, so it took me awhile to figure out how many stitches to cast on to get the width I wanted (math was never my strong point). So--there was a lot of trial and error but I learned a lot.
I also did a few items to put in my sister's consignment shop in Ft. Scott, KS called Little Luxuries. If you live in that area, check it out. She sells antiques and collectibles too.
I've been making some of the headbands and hats with flowers for babies and they sell quite well at craft shows. I've listed them in a Bonanza.com shop http://www.bonanza.com/booths/BrendasCraftStore because I feel they're not totally handmade and Etsy and Artfire are supposed to be for handmade goods. They're more like taking parts and reassembling them into something different. Taking a skein of yarn and creating an afghan or a sweater is what I think of as handmade. I've been following a lot of forum conversations about how cheap mass produced items are starting to take over eBay and Etsy, and it seems to be true. It seems like everything I look at on eBay is coming from China or Hong Kong. Whatever happened to the average person just trying to clean out their house and sell their stuff? That's really what I want to buy--not some cheap crap from China. And Etsy started out as a site for artists and crafters doing handmade goods to sell their wares. Now there are tons of stores selling mass produced items and trying to pass them off as handmade. I'd like to make a plea to everyone to support those who truly make their own items and ignore the cheap mass produced stuff. You'll get a much better product in the end even if it costs a little more.
I'm going to try and spend the next few months making small items to list on Etsy and Artfire. And I also promised my son I'd make him a tshirt quilt. I've never done any quilting, so I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. I'll try and post some directions or things I learn as I go along. Wish me luck!
I'll leave you with a couple of thoughts about work and life. Quite awhile ago I read a good article on what makes great employees. My workplace has had a lot of personnel changes lately, and I thought some of the points in the article were very appropriate for all aspects of life, not just work. The article stated that great employees ignore job descriptions and think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities and do whatever it takes to get the job done (no saying "That's not my job.") It also stated that great employees follow processes, but remarkable employees find ways to make the processes better.