Think, what have you done?

The Sweet Boy and I ate Chinese Buffet for Memorial Day (what is more American than 5 buffet islands full of various stir fry items and soups?). The fortune cookie at the end of dinner revealed the little guy you see above.

"Your problem just got bigger. Think, what have you done?"

I'll tell you what I've done. I've totally ignored that the picture below consists of more wool than I'll be able to spin up this summer (I'm slow) and I bought more tonight.

Hello, my name is Erin and I'm a woolly batt addict.


Very Excited

I sat down to make some jewelry today. It was the first time in over 3 weeks that I've sat at my craft table for more than packaging up items to ship off to people. I was very excited about the necklace above. I've had the square things (pieces of old slides?) for a while and recieved the lockets this past week. I had no idea the two would go together, but they did and now I'm pleased to introduce you to "Window to my Heart". I'll sell them as is and the buyer can put a picture in the locket of their true love, pet, favorite food, Johnny Depp. Whoever. It's up to them.

Some of my other necklaces I came up with today are pictured as well. I love love love sitting at my craft table and not drawing blanks.

Up For a Trade?

I have found that trading on Etsy is one of my favorite activities. I feel like it's taking a step back in time to a place when you used to barter your goods for the wares of others. I always have a ton of stuff to make jewelry and I don't always have a ton of money to spend, so it only makes sense that paying in jewelry can be a good thing.

I've received many great things via trade (some pictured here - click on pictures to go to Etsy shop) and have not been let down yet.

If you are interested in trading, there is a list of Etsy shops that are open to trades here: http://etsytraders.blogspot.com/ but I'm not sure how often it is updated. Some shops list that they are trade friendly and you can find many threads in the Etsy forums about it.

So if you are short on funds but not on goodies in your shop - check out trading. I know you'll find something you want.


Immediate Action Needed

What is wrong with me? I have a cabinet full of this:And yet, I continue to use the drawer full of this:I went shopping today (with my reusable bags because I'm not going to let one bad experience at the check out get me down) and came home with bulk items that needed storing in the freezer. I started to reach for the disposable baggies. WAIT, stop. What was I doing? Not using plastic bags at the store only to use them when I got home? How many of us are doing this. Raise your hands, I know I'm not the only one.

I reached for the cabinet of my beloved Tupperware, found 4 containers that will work in the freezer, and packaged up my stuff. I love my Tupperware and am not sure why I don't use it more often. I've been given it as hand me downs, bought some when it used to be in kiosks at the mall, and now I get it off of Ebay. It lasts forever and if it doesn't, they are sure to replace it for you, and it really takes a beating. You can store almost anything in this stuff and yet, I continue to use plastic baggies. I can't promise that it will be an immediate change, but I'm happy to say I didn't use the baggies today. See below? Aren't you proud?

Beer and Steak

I started a forum thread in the Etsy forums last night about all of the sugar coating that goes on. Yes, there is a time and place for being nice and I'm not a mean person, but enough was a enough and I started a thread about it. Obviously, I wasn't the only one who shared those feelings and quite the jovial and lively thread was hatched.

The gist was that so many people post about how they have only had umpteen sales over the course of the year and they are closing, or how they don't think they have good items and would like input, etc etc etc. The "everyone is nice and good" part of me wants to believe that these sellers honestly think this, but after some research and further reading, I think the "boo hoo" threads are a GENIUS marketing tactic.

I decided to just throw it out there that if I could get a few sales, I could buy some beer and steak for Memorial day grilling. Instantly, I sold the necklace above. I've thought about taking a picture of me with my beer and steak on Monday and emailing it to this purchaser. Yes, she knew I was joking - we were all joking about the new and very successful marketing tactic we had witnessed.

But I have to say, next time I see a homeless guy with a sign that reads "need beer money", I think I'll give him a dollar. At least he's being honest.


Not Sharing the Cheese

I happened to come across a box in my mailbox today. One very special box that I have been waiting for. It was my needle felted pear from FoxGloves. I bought it as a conversational companion to Pasquale Jr. - also from FoxGloves. Along with the pear was my favorite cheese, brie! How did she know I needed some needle felted cheese? I lined them all up for a picture and Pasquale Jr. was not on his best behavior and didn't want to share the cheese with pear. We'll have to work on playing nicely with others.

The weekend is finally here. Memorial day has been a LONG time coming. The last paid holiday I had from work was in January. That is far too long to wait. I have many plans, all of them good, and all of them relaxing (except for the family reunion, but what are you going to do about that?). Hopefully I'll have many new pictures of some wonderful goodies that I'll create come Monday night.


Being Lazy

"Buy Handmade" buttons from BauerDesigns.etsy.com

I haven't crafted or created in days. I really need to. I'm having symptoms of withdrawal. I want to sit down and make some jewelry, but I have so much already! I want to sit down and knit, but for some reason, I haven't been patient enough for it. I really want to go out and get my hands dirty in the yard, but I've been too tired.

All has not been lost. I did participate in the AREtsy Street Team chat last night. It was a great chat. Much was talking about and a lot of beers, penguins, hearts, and any other item Etsy deems worthy to make an icon for were flung around the virtual "meeting" room. There is an AREtsy website (other than the blog) in the works, talk of having items at a craft fair in Washington, ideas for promoting more, and so on. I'm excited about what the summer holds for our team and look forward to being a part of it. Oh, and I'm a bit of a geek and volunteered to help lead the group. I just can't be a part of something, I have to help lead it. I've always been that way. So under the wonderful guidance of our founding leader, TheTwistedPurl, we're moving full steam ahead and getting our team members out there.

I do have plans this weekend to get some stuff done. I will finish the scarf that I've been working on since October so I can start another one. I'm a bit tired of looking at the same yarn. I'm going to stick mostly to acrylic yarns for the craft shows. It's more affordable and craft show attendees seem to like it. I'll save my fancy, wool yarns for me, for gifts, and for my Etsy shop. Heck, maybe I'll even start a new scarf and finish that. Then I'll have 2 new scarves to add to my fall show stash.

Okay, I'm motivated now, I'm off to do some promo item searching on Etsy. My favorite items are found above. from BauerDesigns. I've bought them a few times and send them out with orders. I need to do something like that but with my shop name.


Saturday Rambling

I got some goodies in the mail today! In fact, finding the oversized package from one of my favorite Etsy artists made me skip (yes, skipped) back to my house from the mail box. Inside of the package I found 2 new batts, a beautiful skein of yarn, and some bonus goodies.

I *heart* Hobbledehoy.

I've finally photographed all of my new necklaces and will be able to post the rest of them over the next couple of weeks in my Etsy shop. Go check them out - you know you want one. You might ask me why I have been using antiqued brass on most of my necklaces. Well, it looks the best in my opinion, but I'm not so in love with it that I couldn't make any of my necklaces in other colors. If you want something in silver or copper, let me know and I'll happily make it.

Now that I've given you two good things to write about, I do have a gripe. I went to the store today to do my big shopping trip of the month (this trip includes canned goods, boxed goods, cleaning supplies, etc). I get to the check out, load up the belt by grouping things in order of what make sense to bag together, and then I put my reusable bags at the end of the register. This just confused the checker. My gripe is that we're encouraged to use these bags and even the big ol' super center that occupies many intersections in my town sells them, but it's sooooo hard to use them. I often have to bag my own stuff. Okay, this is fine, but can I get some savings for that? Any one remember the concept of Sac-n-save (or whatever it was called).

Any tips on using these eco-friendly, super adorable reusable bags? And speaking of market bags - go check out Punkinheads bags (seen at left). They are great for going grocery shopping.


An Etsy Fave Branches Out

One of my favorite Etsy shops and bloggers recently posted about bloggers helping bloggers. She discussed the concept of PIF (pay it foward) in a blog and applying it to this method. What is this method you ask? Well, it's basically the "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" method. I'll feature this seller and they will, in turn, feature me in a blog post. It's a grand idea but I think I'll just take it one more step in a different direction and just blog about her because I love her shops (both of them).

Dancing Mooney and MooneysMarket are two of the better shops out there. Dancing Mooney has some great jewelry at very affordable prices (perfect for today's economy). I've purchased a pendant from the shop and every time I have it adorning my neck, I get a compliment. There is really something for everyone - earrings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets, and one of my favorites, collage art and ACEOs. You can see some of her lovely earrings above.

Just in case her jewelry isn't fabulous enough, she's recently started selling soaps. Over at MooneysMarket you can find all kinds of soaps in all kinds of yummy scents. Her prices are better than many soap shops on Etsy and she even has a sampler pack which is my favorite way to try out multiple scents and get the biggest bang for my buck. Some of my favorite listings from her shop are Eucalyptus Mint Soap, Warm Sugar Goats Milk Soap, and Pink Grapefruit.

So RUN, don't walk, over to her two shops and enjoy what she has to offer.

When I Grow Up

I've recently stumbled across the blog of a friend of mine from college. She went on after she graduated to go to grad school for Music Therapy - that's something I used to think I was going to do. Well, that or Musicology (I'm still torn on that one). Some times I'm fine with where I am. In fact, most of the time I'm happy. I love working in the arts, love crafting and love my garden. However, sometimes I feel like I'm not doing what I want to be doing or what I wanted to be doing when I grew up.

Going back to school would be quite easy provided I lived in a locale that had a music program with a good grad school. Unfortunately, I don't. There are programs at UT Austin that I would do, some at University of Toronto that look good, some at TWU and East Texas A&M that look good... but not here.

The sweet boy has 2 years left of school here in Fayetteville - that gives me time to think on this.



I haven't sat down and really made anything in well over a week. I finished a custom order this past weekend, but that didn't count (in my opinion). I've got so many ideas, so many things I want to do, I just need to find the energy.

Yesterday was spent in the garden and today was spent at work being pulled in about 58 different directions. Emails and phone calls needing IMMEDIATE responses. By the time I made it home from Jazzercise, I was beat. And speaking of Jazzercise, I could hardly even kick or jump or sit up to save my life. I must just be tired today.

It's probably a good thing I'm to tired to think as that will force me to knit up some scarves for the fall craft shows. If I had more brain energy, I'd be tempted to make some new wire wrapped earrings or another bracelet. I suppose I'll just list items all week that I already had made up. Like the earrings you see here.


My Other Hobby

Who said I wouldn't have time for gardening and jewelry making. I proved today that you just need one afternoon to get the garden ready to go. I took this afternoon off seeing as how I worked for 6 hours last Monday after already working 9 hours during the regular work day. I figured that this afternoon was almost a fair trade.

My plan was to photograph every bit of jewelry that still need to be photographed. Leave it to my camera batteries to put a stop to that. They went kaput and the back up batteries have gone missing. So, out into the garden I went. After three hours of tilling, raking, getting weeds out of the soil, labeling plants, digging holes, planting plants and water, I have my veggie garden ready to go.

Oh, but why stop there? I decided my little garden needed a walk way. I wanted to put one in it last year, but my dad and I were in a hurry when building the plot, that it got overlooked. Not this year! I gathered up what rocks I had (not many, mind you) and a board that was begging to be put into the garden, and into the ground they went.

I planted tomatoes, peppers and eggplant around the footpath and I'm quite pleased with my little 8'x8' plot. I still have an entire corner for planting and I'll have to put some thought into this. Can't plant just anything and I'll be darned if I let the squash woo me into planting that again (I lost that battle last year).

Now I'll just be left to water, keep the bugs/blight away, and maintain my garden leaving plenty of time for crafting.


They're Here!

I have listed some of my necklaces into my shop tonight. They are brand new, never before seen in Idyll Hands' Etsy shop. I made these for my most recent craft fair and liked them so much, I thought I'd offer them to my customers. Keep your eye on the shop as I'll be adding more almost daily for the next week.

In other craft fair news, I finally completed the application packet for the Bella Vista Arts and Crafts Festival taking place in October. They were very particular about what they wanted pictures of and such, so I had a hard time getting that together (we won't even get into the artists statement that they wanted). Thankfully, PunkinHead handled the application for The Clothesline Fair, so I didn't have to worry with that one.

I was featured on the front page this week. Proof found here:

I haven't sold a bracelet since hanging out there for about an hour one morning, but I did sell 6 pairs of earrings yesterday. Coincidence? I think not. My earrings were not featured, but I find it hard to believe that people can resist them once they see them. I certainly can't. I'm dying to sit down and make some more to replace the sold ones, but I desperately need to finish a custom order of 3 bridesmaids bracelets. Work first, fun later.


Digging My Heart Out With a Spoon

Ever since my first time to watch Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, I've had a crush on Alan Rickman (I think it was the nasty line about digging Robin's heart out with a spoon that hooked me). He plays the bad guy SO well and, as we all saw (come on, admit you watched it and loved it) in Sense and Sensibility, he plays the luvable nice guy even better and looks quite nice while doing so.

Yes, Alan Rickman is tops in my book.

Thankfully, I'm not alone. I found the coolest shop on Etsy called IHeartSeverus. Why, yes I do! And if you aren't a fan of Severus but still secretly wished that Hogwarts was a real place and that someday you'll get the acceptance letter, then that shop is still for you. They have customized acceptance letters, diplomas and more.

Harry Potter fans, hold on to your wallets and run over and see what there is to see.

WARNING: If you haven't read all of the books, please note, there is a HUGE spoiler in this shop so enter at your own risk.


Spanker Creek Arts and Crafts Fair - a review

I made it to the end of another craft fair in one piece, although, the tornado warning in the town the fair was in on the night we set everything up had me questioning if one piece was even an option. I should know better. Arkansas has proved itself to be the tornado capital of the US this year and Thursday night was no exception. Many people lost their houses, some lost their loved ones, and all I was stressed about was a silly tent at a fair. I really do have a lot to be thankful for.

Like - candy apples!... Ladies in ill-fitting overalls with rubber boots to match... HUGE St. Bernards that shed more than any cat I've ever owned and our linens for the booth tables just happened to be perfect pet hair magnets... Neighbors who should keep their traps shut because no one wants to hear it... Hand painted Snoop Dog teeshirts (not really hand painted, but I'd like to pretend that everyone had to be juried to get in just like we did)... and some amazing Oakly knockoffs for $5. Yes, Spanker Creek Arts and Crafts Fair was a fleamarket with dogs, caramel apples and some great people watching.

I suppose the only way to know this was to try it out for ourselves. I'm not sure I'll be doing any spring show in this area again as I'm sure they are all similar to what we experienced. I'll be putting my time and energy, and God knows I put a lot of both into this one, into fall fairs only. Please, someone remind me of this post next spring when I start talking about doing another spring fair.

I didn't do horribly - I sold some bracelets, saw some great members from my Etsy Street Team, AREtsy, and got to sit and talk with friends and family. Oh, and if we had not had to go to the fair, Punkinhead (my sister) probably would not have produced the AMAZING sign for our trio of crafters that you see above. Thankfully it wasn't a total waste.

I'll be looking forward to posting what did not sell in my shop later this week - so please check back for some new items.