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Making a Comeback

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Hi guys! Long time no post! I tried hard to focus solely on my studies & take a break from crafting, but I’ve come to realize I am just as passionate about this as I am about my career. Crafting is my outlet – I need it to survive. So I am determined to get back on the horse and spend some of my free time rejuvenating my blog and my Etsy.

This weekend, I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to go about doing this. First, I decided I will not be crafting unless it is going to serve a purpose. Graduate school has made me very conscious of time and time-constraints. I have very little time and a lot of constraints! If I’m going to successfully craft, particularly to sell, then I need to be crafting for the sole purpose of selling. I’m pro at making things for myself and then never wearing them – I have bins of cowls and headbands and hats that I thought I loved, but then never actually wore. What a waste! If I can’t enjoy my items, then I want to make things that other people will. I would much rather purchase something amazing that someone else has made than make something for myself – I think there’s an aspect of novelty and fun that way, something you don’t get when you’re going through the development process yourself. I’ve always failed at making things for myself, it’s just taken me an unusually long time to realize that.

Some things I’ve been working on this week:

The Bow Headband by NorthThirty-Fourth:

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The Turban Ear Warmer by This Ninja Creates:

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And the Urban Slouchy Beanie by Little Things Blogged:

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I hope to have new stuff on my Etsy starting something this Spring, so be on the lookout!

Thanks for reading!

 

An Extended Vacation

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Hi guys! I know it’s been forever & I know I keep saying this will stop happening – but who am I kidding! I’m a student, & life is always insane!

I graduated from college in May & moved home to live with my parents for the summer. At home, I got a full time job & pretty much did that for 4 months, while packing & getting things ready for my big move 8 hours south for graduate school! Now, the time has come for me to make the big move, & unfortunately my MASSIVE craft collection can’t come with me.

My apartment in my new hometown is tiny. Like so small, it doesn’t even have a real closet or a full-sized fridge. That’s right, I’m going to have to survive with only a mini-fridge for a year. Yikes! Anyways, the lack of a closet or ANY storage for that matter makes it really difficult for me to take my bins & bins of yarn, embroidery thread, sewing machine, craft books, etc. with me. I can’t even begin to tell you how sad this makes me.

Ultimately, I hope to get a two bedroom apartment I can afford & keep the rest of my years in graduate school. That way, I’ll have a bedroom AND a craft room… & a living room & kitchen, which I’m not really used to having in separate places either!

I also feel the need to apologize for my lack of crafting & blog updating this summer. I’m not really sure what happened. For the first month of summer, I remember being so elated at being a college graduate. I sat in the sun & tried to tan ['tried' being the keyword], I read lots of books, I crocheted, & I bugged my dad to help me clear a space for my sewing machine. I was so gung ho about having 5 whole months off! Then I got a job, & all that went out the window. All I did after that was sleep, eat, shower, & work. & now, it’s suddenly September & I’m moving out of state in a few short days. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! Hell if I know.

 

One last thing – On August 5th I had almost 600 views on my blog! That’s super crazy for this blog, especially because I haven’t been updating it. Over 400 of the views were said to be brought here by Facebook, but my Facebook page hasn’t been getting much traffic lately so it couldn’t have been from there. Many of the views were only for my one post, the Sharpie Mug post, which isn’t all that uncommon, but typically if people are brought to the blog they look around a little & other pages [home & about] get some hits. I guess I was just kind of confused & wondered if this is a common thing. Was it some sort of spam? Could someone have linked to my page & I have no idea? Am I just worrying too much when I should just be enjoying my small spike in views for a day? I know. I can’t help it.

 

Thanks for reading guys. I’m taking my knitting needles & crochet hooks with me to graduate school, but no yarn. That means I have hope that some crafting may occur at some point this year. Otherwise, I’ll see you in a year, when I have a new apartment & ample space to frolic & craft in!

A SMASHing Update

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I’ve been meaning to do a post like this for awhile, since I’ve had my SMASH book for about 8 months now. I have to say, I’m not that great at updating it – but I’m getting better! It’s actually really hard to get used to picking up business cards or saving receipts, or other things that are normally inconsequential & trash-worthy. But I think I’ve succeeded at SMASHing most of the important things that have gone on this year.

First off, this is what my SMASH book looks like:

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I had to get one those nifty bands to hold it all together, or else it would look like this:

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Some sample pages that don’t need any explanation:

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I didn’t actually go to New York this year, but when I got hooked on tiny crossbody bags, I had to downsize my wallet & found these things still in my old one from my two trips to NYC in 2011:

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Things I’ve accomplished or experienced since starting my SMASH book:

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I had to document the only accident I’ve ever been in. Except this was a hit & run that happened while my car was parked on the street overnight, so I guess technically I’ve still never been in an accident [& I hope to keep it that way]!

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So that’s what I’ve got so far in my SMASH book. I enjoy it, but every time I see someone else’s beautiful book I’m like ‘damn, I suck at this!’. Oh well – the point is to be “messy & beautiful” [which is perfect for me since I'm so bad at scrapbooking]!

I also finally gave my best friend her Christmas/Birthday present which means I can post about this beautiful infinity scarf I made. I’m so jealous – why is it that I can make adorable things for other people, but not for myself? I just don’t understand. But it turned out beautifully & she loved it, & that’s what matters. :]

CowlLong

 

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In other news, I went to a grad school interview in February & got accepted! The funny thing is that this place was at the very bottom of my list when I first applied, but a lot can change a. after you’ve gotten lots of rejections & b. after you visit & fall in love. I really loved it there – the area, the program, & the people – & am fairly certain I’m going to commit to attending soon.

Oregon State Logo

 

Beavers

 

I also got waitlisted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which basically means they liked me & I was qualified, but that they liked others more & wanted to offer their open spots to them first. My being accepted or rejected hangs on how many of the people they originally accepted choose to accept the offer.

US-Madison Logo

 

 

 

Either way, the wait is finally over. All the work & lack of sleep & lack of crafting & anxiety was worth it. I’m going to grad school! YAY!

 

I hope Spring has come early where you are as it seems to have here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s beautiful & sunny out today, even tho it’s still only 40 degrees out.

Happy Crafting!

 

 

One Year

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Last week sometime marked the one year anniversary of my having this blog. It’s hard to believe I’ve already had it so long and I doesn’t seem like I accomplished much – but according to my “Crafting Resolutions”, I actually did a lot of what I had hoped!

These were my resolutions for 2012:

1. Buy circular knitting needles & learn how to use them I actually don’t think I’ve done a post on this, but I did purchase some circular knitting needles & start a project with them!

2. Practice hand sewing

3. Buy a sewing machine, practice using it My beautiful Singer 160.

4. Sew something from a pattern I sewed my first item in this post.

5. Make a sweater

6. Complete the two blankets I have started crocheting

7. Write knitting/crocheting patterns  I made things with my own patterns here & here.

8. Start a shop on Etsy My Etsy.

9. Knit & crochet for myself  These last two are pretty self explanatory.

10. Always enjoy what I’m doing

So it looks like I reached most of my goals. I knew the sweater was a long shot [I'm an instant gratification kind of crafter], & I’ve given up entirely on one of the blankets, so that was never going to crossed off the list – & hand sewing… Yikes. That is why I bought a sewing machine.

Overall it was a good year of crafting. I have yet to make an actual Etsy sale even though I opened it in June, but I know that it’s my fault. I’ve been really busy and haven’t been very vigilant about promoting my shop – I’ve also done a lot of crafting for friends & family that has taken away from doing things for my shop. Just a few things I’ll have to work on in 2013.

This year, I want to:

1. Finish lots of existing projects, including:

-My parents granny square blanket [it's too cute not to finish].

-My dad’s Rams scarf

-My mom’s shrug

2. Refrain from starting new projects without finishing others first!

3. Sew more

4. Make a sale [hopefully more than just one] from my Etsy shop

5. Become a more successful knitter

6. Work with higher quality yarn

7. Complete a project using my circular needles

8. Try new crafts

9. Purchase a physical item from another Etsy seller, not just patterns

10. Say ‘no’ more often

Bring it on 2013!

 

Some other things that happened in 2012 since the last time I wrote a decent post:

WisconsinI traveled to Wisconsin for a research conference & did an oral presentation of my work.

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HairNewI donated my hair to Locks of Love for the third time in my life.

Christmas Tree

New YearsI celebrated Christmas & New Years at home with my family

 

And after a long crafting drought thanks to Grad school applications, I’m finally working on stuff again. I’m currently making headbands in my school colors – several months later than I wanted to [since our football season is now over]. Regardless, they’re cute & I can’t wait to start selling them on Etsy.

Headbands

 

I’m also making myself an oversized scarf in forest green, taking my inspiration from these picture I found on Pinterest:

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I’ll keep you updated on the progress of that one.

 

Lastly, many thanks to everyone who has stuck with my blog or who has visited my blog in my many months of absence. Stick around – there will be more to come!

 

 

 

 

Alive, but barely.

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I just wanted to do a quick post to let anyone following this blog know I am, in fact, alive. This has been the busiest semester of my college career, and I simply haven’t had enough time to be crafty. It makes me really, REALLY sad though, because my blog is getting more hits than ever before. Just know that I do keep an eye here, and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, you can still leave a comment and I will respond promptly.

Life for me has been especially crazy because I’m currently applying to graduate school. I don’t think many people know just how intensive that process is, so I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m applying to 11 Ph.D. programs & I’m drowning in all the work I have to do between those, school, research, and various other activities. With Christmas coming up, I’m realizing just how busy I really am, because I haven’t been able to make the Christmas presents that I was hoping to. So, it’s looking like most of my family and friends won’t be getting gifts. At least, not until after Christmas, because I will likely have A LOT more free time during Christmas break [if I can get all my grad applications done, as I plan to]!

So, in short, life is absolutely insane right now & I’m really missing my crafty outlets for the stress. Hopefully next semester will be much less crazy, since all my graduate applications will be complete & I will just be waiting to hear back from them.

In the mean time, don’t forget to check out my Etsy shop here. I still have many items for sale that are ready to ship, which means that my busy-ness won’t get in the way of the speed of shipment. You can also like my Facebook page here.

Thanks so much for checking out my blog! Keep checking back – there are bound to be updates sooner or later! xo

New Listings on Etsy!

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I’ve posted 4 new listings on my Etsy page in the last few days, so check them out, if you will. I would appreciate it very much.

Fall & Winter are right around the corner, & I’m loving making cowls/infinity scarves for that time of year. They’re some of my favorite accessories, so I figure other people probably love them as much as I do.

The bright, floral colors are a great addition to any Fall/Winter wardrobe, since people often get down & depressed on the coldest & darkest days of the year.

Check out the new listings here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/theyarntotell

Dani

 

DIY Sharpie Mug

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There’s a trend going around the world of craft blogging right now, especially on websites like Pinterest & CraftGawker, & that is the DIY mug, decorated using only a sharpie, which you set by baking it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. I’m a coffee-holic, & can never have enough coffee mugs in my life, so I was determined to give this one a try. So, after going through some trial & error, I wanted to do a sort of “review” on my experiences with it & how well it actually works.

I had seen this project done with both a regular Sharpie & a paint Sharpie, but the first thing I tried was an original Sharpie & mugs I found at the dollar store. There are various how-to’s & reviews of how this went for people out there on the interwebs, but this was one of my favorites because her creations are just so darn cute.

 

I drew my inspiration for the design from this blogger. I just thought it was so gorgeous & I’m really not that creative usually. It actually turned out pretty good considering that I have no hand-eye coordination or talent when it comes to drawing or creating anything with a paper [or ceramic] & a pen. So I stuck it in the cold oven, turned it on to 350, waited til it got up to temperature before timing it for 30 minutes, & then turned off the oven & let the mug cool in there.

After letting it cool & then leaving it to sit on the counter for a few days beyond that, I had my mom hand-wash it while she was doing dishes. Immediately the ink became cracked & faded. I also tried using it for my coffee & found that where my lips touched became faded very quickly as well. Not so great. I was pretty disappointed.

 

I was determined to make this work somehow, so I decided to try another technique I had found by Wild Olive, which involved using a Sharpie Oil-Based Paint marker instead of a plain Sharpie. I actually used the same mugs, I just used a Mr. Clean bleach eraser to get my previous designs off of them, which wasn’t very hard to do. I also chose to brush rubbing alcohol onto the cleaned surface & let it dry before attempting my new designs, because after doing some research I found that that’s something you do when using actual ceramic paint to make it stick better. I created a similar design to the one I had originally done in regular Sharpie, as well as a text quote that read “All if fair… In love & War”. I put it in the oven for 30 minutes on 350, & as far as I can tell, this technique works much, much better. The Paint Sharpie is made to be used on things like this [it even says so on the package] & it’s really obvious. Not only is the design more opaque, but it looks and feels a lot more permanent & professional. I created mine a few weeks ago while at home with my family, & just recently used the text one for my coffee. I had no issues hand washing it the first time around, but only time will tell.

Overall, I would tell you to not even waste your time trying to use a plain Sharpie on a mug or other piece of dinnerware. If you’re truly interested in creating a personalized work of art that has the potential to be used and stand the test of time, spend a little bit of extra money on a Sharpie Paint pen, or other similar pen. It works MUCH MUCH better! 

 

After my failed experience with the original Sharpie, I got super interested & almost obsessed with finding something that would work & be mostly permanent on ceramics. What I really wanted to find, but had hardly any luck with, was the Porcelaine paint that I have heard such good things about. I found a little bit at Michaels, but it was all on clearance, which means mostly cleared out, & they didn’t seem to have any more of it. BUT, on that note, they had other ceramic paint [Delta PermEnamel] on crazy clearance [like $.79 a bottle] & I went a little crazy & bought TONS of it. I also got a few starter kits that came with surface conditioner [basically rubbing alcohol, which is where I learned that trick I mentioned earlier], a bunch of small pots of color, & glaze. It was air dry, so you didn’t have to bake it in the oven, but you have to let it dry for 21 days before use. So I made some fun mugs with that paint, & hope to create more & possibly sell them on my Etsy.

 

 

 

I hope this post was helpful for anyone considering trying out the DIY Sharpie mug idea, or anyone interested in getting into ceramic painting! It’s so much fun & not a super expensive hobby to take up. I really enjoyed learning something new, & I hope you give it a try as well!

Dani

 

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