Monday, November 23, 2009

Giveaway: "Denim" Purse

To celebrate Thanksgiving Day this week (and the kickoff of the Christmas season), I'm holding my second giveaway! This time around, I'm giving away this groovy purse:

You have one week to win it -- this giveaway ends on November 30th.

I've crocheted the outside of this bag from fuzzy denim-colored yarn that's a mix of acrylic/mohair/polyester. It has a nice ribbed pattern, and I've lined the bag with actual denim. The top flap fastens with a loop around a bright red- and pink-striped plastic button that says "Be happy" in purple letters.

This bag is 9" tall, 9" wide, and 2" thick. The strap is 2" wide and 39" long. That gives you plenty of room to carry around your stuff, but isn't so big and bulky it'll get in your way all the time.

How can you win this bag, worth $30? There are three ways:

+ 1. Leave a comment here listing your favorite item from my store, , and either your email address or your blog so I can contact you if you win.

+ 2. Follow my blog. Leave a comment here letting me know you're a follower, plus either your email address or your blog so I can contact you if you win.

+ 3. Post about this on your own blog. Leave a comment here with a link to your blog post, plus either your email address or your blog so I can contact you if you win.

This means you can be entered up to three times!

Enter by midnight on November 30th! I'll draw the winner on December 1st, announce who it is here, and contact them to get their mailing address.

Sound good? I hope so. Be Happy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Santa Hat Pattern

I just added my original pattern for baby/child Santa hats to my store! It's in my Crochet Patterns section (obviously). This pattern is really easy, perfect for beginning crocheters. If you can chain and work a double crochet stitch, you can make this hat! This pattern has instructions for five sizes: 0-3mo, 3-6mo, 6-12mo, 12-24mo, and Child. I also include the directions to make the pom-pom.

I've been selling my crochet patterns quite a bit lately. I love the idea of someone taking my pattern and making something of their very own with it -- it's like getting to be a teacher, in a way. And since I also love making up my own crochet patterns when I can't find one for what I want to make, I'm sure I'll be adding more patterns to my store in the future.

If you order this pattern now, you'll have plenty of time to make one or two of these before Christmas, even have your kids' portraits taken in them if you want. I also sell the already-made hats in my store if you don't feel like making them yourself, and if you don't see the size you need, contact me because I love making custom orders.

Up next week -- a giveaway!

Monday, November 16, 2009

"101 Things You Didn't Know About Jane Austen" by Patrice Hannon

I picked this up on the bookstore's bargain shelves a couple months ago, thinking it would be basically a list of 101 random facts about Jane Austen, one to a page or something. I flipped through it a bit, saw it was more substantial than that, and figured for less than $10, I couldn't go wrong.

Turns out, this book is a little bit biography, a little bit literary analysis of Austen's works. The only purpose the 101 facts seem to serve is to break up the book into readable chunks, and they're not even presented as "facts," but more as topic headings. Here's a sampling:
5. A family member meets the guillotine
25. Arrested for shoplifting!
59. Why are there so many clergymen in Jane's Austen's novels?
As you can see, this book covers a wide variety of material, and in only 230 pages. For the casual fan of Austen, like me, it's a great way to learn more about the author and her books. Those who are avid Austenites would probably also enjoy it, particularly if they want to know more about the author herself, but don't have time for a lengthy biography. I enjoyed the bits of literary analysis the most, undoubtedly because I minored in English and still love delving deeper into books than what an initial reading gives you.

101 Things You Didn't Know About Jane Austen: The Truth About the World's Most Intriguing Literary Heroine is a fairly easy read, and enjoyable even if you haven't read all her novels yet (like I haven't). It's not engrossing, however, and it took me over a month to read it because I kept getting sidetracked by other books. But because it's broken up into 101 little chunks, it's perfect for picking up whenever you have a few minutes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Turkey Treasury

I got a treasury today! I call it Turkey Tots, and it's full of turkey-themed wearables for kids. Hope you like it! Remember, it'll only be available for viewing for a couple days, so check it out while there's still time.

Also, my Free Shipping offer will end tonight, so if you've been putting off taking advantage of that, don't wait much longer.

Friday, November 13, 2009

FREE Worldwide Shipping!!!

I'm offering FREE shipping to anywhere in the world this weekend! Today through Sunday, you pay no shipping, no handling, just the list price for each item. If you were thinking of getting something from my shop, but hadn't gotten around to it yet, now would be a good time ;-)

I'm doing this as part of a team promo put on by the Busy Moms of Etsy team. Click here for a list of all the shops participating and the deals they're offering.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cranberry Orange Tea Bread

This is a great recipe for the holidays, when cranberries are readily available in the stores. I've had this recipe for several years -- I have no idea where I got it, maybe in an advertisement or something. It's also found here at It says to make it as a loaf, and I've done that, but this time around I made 24 mini-muffins and 6 regular muffins. This doesn't rise a lot, so fill your muffin cups almost to the top if you make those instead of bread.


2 cups flour
3/4 cup dried cranberries OR 1 cup whole fresh berries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cinnamon apple sauce
1/4 cup butter or margarine -- melted
1 egg
2 tsp grated orange peel


Combine flour, cranberries, sugar, and baking powder in large mixing bowl. In separate bowl, mix together remaining ingredients. Blend applesauce mixture into flour mixture until just combined. Spoon batter into greased loaf pan or muffin tin lined with paper baking cups. Bake at 350F 45-50 minutes for loaf, 16-20 minutes for regular muffins, 12-16 minutes for mini muffins, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing loaf to cool completely on wire rack. Loaf makes 12 servings.

I use whole cranberries because I like things that are tart and tangy. If you prefer sweeter bread/muffins, you'll probably want to use sweetened dried cranberries (like Craisins) instead.

I made the 24 mini-muffins to send to a friend of ours who is serving in Afghanistan right now. Happy Veterans Day! I can never say 'thank you' enough to those brave soldiers who have put their lives on the line to defend ours, both in the past and today. You are my heroes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Spice of Life?

At a craft show I did a couple weeks ago, a fellow vendor stood inside my booth and said that she prefers to focus on one kind of craft when she does shows so that her booth "doesn't end up looking like Wal-Mart." I can only assume this was a not-so-subtle hint that my booth looked like Wal-mart because I do not focus on one kind of craft. Just like in my Etsy shop, when I'm at a craft show I sell crocheted hats for the whole family, journals, scrunchies, wash cloths and dish scrubbies, instant canteens, sachets, and Christmas items.

I have two reasons for not focusing on one specific kind of craft:
  1. I like making different things! I enjoy crocheting, collaging, sewing, and painting. Why limit myself to only one kind of craft? Why miss out on the pleasure I could get by plying all my trades?
  2. I want my shop to have a little something for everyone. Maybe you don't need a new winter hat, but you do want a new journal. Maybe you don't need a journal, but you do need something to carry your water bottle in. Or maybe you want a hat for your grandson and a journal for yourself. And so on.
But I'm beginning to wonder... am I wrong? Would it be better, business-wise, to restrict my store (and craft show booths) to just crocheted items or just journals? Maybe just baby/child-oriented things?

I put it to you, Gentle Readers. Do you think it's a better idea to sell only related items, say things made of yarn, or jewelry, or artwork, etc? Or is it better to have a variety? Is variety no longer the spice of life?

And if you shop at craft shows or on sites like Etsy, are you more likely to buy from a person who sells a whole lot of variations on a single theme, or from someone who makes many different kinds of things? Or is it a silly question, and you don't care one way or another?

Leave me a comment with your opinions -- I'm really interested to know.