The Holidays and Self Care

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With holiday season being in full swing, it’s really getting crazy out there. We had to go to a big box store today, and it was nuts! Cars cutting in and out as we drove there and back, people just being stupid with their shopping carts, and people just walking through the parking lot regardless of cars. I swear people lose their brains during the holidays. Now for the rest of us that are attempting to stay sane, this busy-ness can suck the life out of us. It’s very important that we practice self care year round, but right now especially. So, what do you do for self care? Perhaps a nice bath, or savoring a cup of coffee? And of course, we also have the option of treating ourselves to a little something, or perhaps you are still dropping hints to a significant other. Either way, here is a list of my top 10 things that I love. A couple of these things I have a rep tag for, so I will post those details in there, for full disclosure. Other things in the list as things I just love, and really are not in any particular order. πŸ˜€

10) Cold Brew Coffee: I have been trying to find a good cold brew coffee option. I recently cut out most of the sugar I drink, but coffee has been my Achilles heel. I need my coffee. Enter Cold Buzz Coffee. I had been grinding my own beans, steeping and then straining, but this brand comes in little bags! It’s like a giant tea bag, but for coffee. I simply put the bag into 2 cups of water (or in my case, 2 bags in 4 cups of water), and put it in the fridge for 24 hours. Then pull out the bags, and it’s ready to go. I have the Mocha flavor right now, and it’s awesome. I am hooked on this. It’s also not a bitter/strong coffee, so I don’t need nearly the same amount of sugar for the dark beans I was using. That means 2-3 cups of coffee for the cost of one of the dark ones. πŸ˜€

9) Interchangeable Needles: Some of my favorite interchangeables are the Karbonz brand. I love the smooth metal tips that really get into the stitches as I am working them. Too often I find the wood variety are just too dull, and it makes it awkward to work decreases. These glide right through and have been a joy to work with. The beauty of having a set of interchangeables around, is that they have a range of sizes, with this one going from a US 2.5 (3.0mm)to US 10 (6.0mm). Most of the fixed circulars I have, are in my most used sizes. However, there are numerous times when I need a different size for cuffs or a new project. US 4 tends to be the one that I have trouble finding around the house. lol

8) Sock Sacks: I came across these bags from Wuthering Sheep recently and the artwork on them is fantastic. They have a drawstring to keep your items safe and sound, and even have a center divider that is a zippered pocket. It’s such a great design! I love that I can slip my cable needle, tape measure and a couple extra stitch markers in there, and they are safe and sound. I’m always annoyed when I through them in the bag with the sock and everything gets all tangled.

7) Pattern Holder: This pattern holder from Knitter’s Pride folds up to keep your pattern safe when you are not using it, but also acts as a stand when you are. It also has strong magnets to keep your pattern in place as you work, and comes in a variety of sizes to suit your needs.

6) Mega Wool Winder: This is another Knitter’s Pride product and is a must have. If you are doing a lot of yarn winding, and like to use larger skeins, then you need this. I also use it for my regular skeins too, and it works just as well. The big difference between this and other ball winders is that there is a much larger gap to allow for a larger cake of yarn. The post that secures the yarn you are winding is much farther away from the caking area, and does not get caught.

5) Shower Steamers: I love these little beauties from Young Living, because they just give off their scent as you shower. I personally love the eucalyptus, especially during this time of year. They really help to open my air ways and clear my sinuses. And it works during my normal shower time, without have to worry about an extra time commitment that maybe I do not have that day. This is one of those areas that I mentioned, where I am a rep. I am working on growing my business with Young Living, and if you are interested in joining, you can join me here.

4) Bags/Purse: Here is the other one where I am a rep, because, really who can resist a great bag or purse. I have one for my photography equipment that I absolutely love. It’s the Pilot 2.0 from Kelly Moore Bags, which is unfortunately out of stock right now, but is absolutely worth getting when it comes back into stock. Until then, there are a lot of other wonderful options. The Collins 2.0 Tote is another one that I absolutely love. Honestly, all of her bags are wonderful. The quality is fantastic, and I have never been disappointed in a single product. The link to the site is my referral code, and I always appreciate if someone uses it. πŸ˜€

3) Tea: I’m an equal opportunity hot beverage drinker, and like my Tea as much as I like my coffee. One of my favorite places to buy from is Republic of Tea. I have a couple favorite flavors from them. First is Peppermint Chocolate. It’s not a heavy flavor, but adds just that nice touch of scent and flavor to make it a lovely cuppa. I actually just reordered it, and bought the bag of 250 bags. haha! My other favorite is Double Chocolate MatΓ©. This again, is not a heavy flavor, but it is delicious. The smell of chocolate is there, and it’s also a caffeinated tea, which is even better. πŸ˜€ The nice thing about Republic of Tea is that you can also join their loyalty program and spend your points on some free things.

2) Chocolate: Now, since I have cut out sugar I have needed to find a treat replacement. The great thing about these is that they are amazingly good, and I actually like them more than the sugar variety. The calories are still there, so you can’t completely pig out, but it’s a bit more guilt free…and did I mention delicious? hehe These are the Russell Stover Sugar Free Pecan Delights. And yes this is a huge bag. It’s nice to be able to get yourself a nice treat from time to time, and just let yourself drift away as you savor a couple goodies.

1) Yarn: Of course the top pick has to be yarn. One of my favorite dyers is Miss Babs. I have loved every single yarn that I have tried. If you ever go to a fiber festival that she is at, you will find that she is crazy popular. There is usually a massive line to her booth. I have spent over an hour in line before to get her yarn. But, lucky for you, she has a great online store! So, no waiting in line. πŸ˜€ This is also the reason for the Mega Wool Winder at number 6. Miss Babs offers skeins that are massive. For example, her Killington line, which is a sport/light worsted yarn comes in 700 yard skeins.

That wraps up a quick 10 of my favorite things. I have a lot of things that I like, so it was fun to compile this list. It’s quite a variety! I hope you all remember to take time for yourselves over the next couple weeks. Perhaps start knitting something for yourself. And remember, there is nothing wrong with popping an IOU into a box with an almost finished item. πŸ™‚

Hand knits going up for sale

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I am currently plowing through a bunch of knitting to get some hand knits listed on my Etsy page. My goal is to list only high quality knit wear on my page. I won’t be using any acrylic (even though I do love acrylic for a lot of purposes…but people frown upon it), and it will always be a product that feels nice on the skin. I will also be listing only items made with my own patterns. The reason for this is that there is a lot of confusion when it comes to pattern copyright. People assume that if you are not allowed to benefit from someones pattern, that it means you can not sell finished goods that you have made from said pattern. That’s actually not the case. You can not copyright the final product. You can only copyright the words on that page. So, you can not sell my patterns to someone else, nor should you give them to someone for free. However, the finished products are yours to do with as you desire. But, that confusion means that if I use someones patter that does not understand the finer details of the copyright laws, I could find myself in hot water, even if I’m not doing anything wrong. And no one has time for that. That means I’ll play it safe and if it’s my pattern, I’ll use it.

One of the biggest issues with selling hand knits online is that you really can’t make your money back. It darned near impossible. For example, the scarf that I have listed on Etsy right now is up for $120.00. It sounds like a lot, and it is. However, it took me 21 hours to knit. If I were to try and fetch an okay wage, of say $7 an hour, that would be $147.00. Then I have the yarn to account for. After the basic expense of yarn, I’ll be making approximately $4.50 an hour. Not a lot, but really when you are self employed, every little bit helps. I may or may not list socks for sale. I have not decided. That’s even less of a return. They would be listed for about $50.00, which makes my profit margin pretty tiny. Right now, I am going to list products based on my profit margin, because looking at it based on an hourly wage is just downright depressing. lol

But, enough of the nitty gritty of what will be listed and pricing schemes, here is the first product I have listed. It’s a Dragon Scale Scarf, made with 100% Merino Wool that is an absolute delight to have against your skin. I have one just like this for myself, and I adore it. It’s soft and squishy and holds up really well. It will need to be hand washed and laid out flat to dry, but it’s worth it. Of course, there is also the option of using a fabric refresher of some sort to keep it going longer between washes. πŸ™‚ I like to do this, personally. The color of this is a light/medium heathered grey, which adds an extra layer of interest to the look. Did I mention that I adore this yarn? I have 6 more in the works to be listed. But, as I said, it takes 21 hours of knitting, which I have to fit in at various times, so it takes a while to complete. Because of that, they will only be listed as finished products to make sure that I don’t impose extra deadlines on myself. I do need to also get designs out the door.

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Be sure to subscribe to my blog, if you would like to get updates on blog posts, and shop updates. Whenever I update the pattern shop here on the website, or my Etsy shop, I will put up a post about it to keep my followers informed. I am currently getting ready for 2020, and have my goals list started. You should see a lot of things coming down the line over the next couple months, as I really get moving on these things. I have a whole line of wood burning ornaments that I’m starting to get out. They are a seasonal gnome line up. Each season will have 6 gnome ornaments to choose from. I can’t wait for you to see them! I’ve been working on the winter set for the last couple weeks. I think I almost have the design worked out. I just have one ornament to change. And, as always, these have been hand drawn by me. However, they are hand drawn on to a template, so that each set is identical. I have so many goodies in my head planned, and I need to start getting them on to paper!

Thanks so much for reading. I can’t wait for you to see what is coming.

Etsy Shop Update

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I have finally managed to get upstairs to my desk long enough to finish off a bunch of woodburned ornaments. I managed to get 9 listings posted onto my Etsy shop today. Each one will be made to order, and will take 1-2 weeks to ship. But, this is the best way to control my inventory and supply count. If I get a larger number or orders for something specific that starts to come through, then I will gauge whether I want to have a supply on hand. Each ornament will have a hole drilled in the top, and will have a string attached to allow for them to be hung right away. Some of these have painted areas for a pop of color. I decided to just do a splash of color, but not color the entire design. I hope you love them!

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Tree1

snowman

santa

coffee cup

cat

butterfly

Christmas Sheep

Anchor

Shop updates, pattern revisit, and projects done

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Hello! I have decided to re-do my pattern for my Diamonds at Sea socks. This was my first pattern to be released, and let’s just say it was pretty rough looking. It was not up to my current standards. With all these changes that I have made (a complete rewrite of the pattern), it was in need of testing. Back when I started, I didn’t realize the importance of testing, so I never did it. Turned out I had a huge error in the pattern that testers would have noticed in a heartbeat. I am hoping to re-release this pattern in January. Up next, I will be finishing a rewrite of my Winter Storm socks. These were also an early pattern that has had some better looks, but I need to re-knit those socks for better pictures. The current ones are not very good at all. I do have much better pictures for my Diamonds at Sea socks, though:

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This has meant that my other designs took a bit of a back seat. I am hoping that I will be able to get some solid work done between now and the new year to get a few things into testing in January. Christmas is approaching quickly, which has me a bit stressed out, but I really only have a couple things to do. Only one thing is being knit, but I need to get that into the mail by December 1. I did manage to finish something for me, though.I decided to make a tree skirt for the tree. We needed a new one, because ours was spot clean only, and we have cats that like to chew on the tree and then barf. lol So, I made a new one, using acrylic yarn that is machine washable. Yay! This design is the Hexagon Tree Skirt, but Bethany Dearden. I absolutely love it. πŸ˜€

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I also made a gnome for my husband. It’s called Gnome de Plume, by Sarah Schira of Imagined Landscapes. Her gnome designs are absolutely amazing. I am in love with this little guy. I put some weight in his bottom to make him stand up a little better on the shelf. I’m in love with his cute little beard. You can even see the tree skirt in action in this post. πŸ˜€

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I hope to be putting up another Sock Basics post soon, and hopefully I will have more design updates shortly.

Thanks for reading!!