Friday, March 20, 2009

Free to a Good Noggin

Just a little Monday post....
Most of us are going through tough times, but there is always something we can do to help others. The smallest act can inspire hope. I came across a story about a man in Grand Rapids, Michigan who crochets hats and gives them away to people in need in a most interesting way. (The way he gives being interesting, not the way in which people are in need - right.) I love that t
his story comes out of Michigan, the state currently with the highest percentage of unemployment.

One of my aunts sent me a link to an article about a website called ABC recently covered the back-story of this website. It offers the opportunities to help a neighbor, an example from the article:
"Heroes have sent a World War II veteran back to Pearl Harbor for his 90th birthday. Several people chipped in to get a bike for a boy with down syndrome. For a girl whose house burned down, heroes gave her a dress and shoes for her senior prom. A boy with terminal cancer got a chance to meet his basketball idols."

Some people request simple things that might brighten the spirits of a loved one. I found a post from a woman requesting cards or sugar free candy to be sent to her elderly mother. Sometimes the smallest things count in big ways.

I hope this funny picture gave you a smile. I think that dog has a good head deserving of a hat. Actually, it's amazing how contemplative that dog looks as it wears such a funny hat. I'm impressed. You can find this hat and more dog items (even some people items), at BeanTownHandmade's etsy shop.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

A few green things in honor of St. Patrick's Day...

A necklace I made for my etsy shop, but ended up keeping for myself.

My first "real" finished knitting project.

My husband Jack and our dog Annabelle on a green lawn...a stretch I know.
It can be hard to get everyone to smile in group pictures.

I am so excited to have finished my first knitted dishcloth! I learned to purl, purl 3 together, and yarn on. The website, was so very helpful to me! I've also had a few friends help me along the way. I have been addicted to the knitting and crochet community, - it's where I found the free pattern for the dishcloth. It's called Little Shells Dishcloth #019.

I did goof up along the way by somehow switching the "right" side with the "wrong" side. I tried to repeat this at the end to create a similar border and make it look symmetrical. I'm constantly learning from mistakes.

Here is the dishcloth in it's natural habitat. Shhhhh, be careful not to disturb it......

In a pizza dough update, we finally got away from calzones and made actual pizza with my home made dough. What a breakthrough! I discovered that spreading the dough to a circular shape is more challenging than I expected. I don't know who first introduced the term rustic to food, but I owe them a big "Thank you!" We used canned pizza sauce, broccoli and mushrooms on my side and sausage and mushrooms on Jack's side. Broccoli on pizza is one of my favorite things!

I just may make another double batch of dough today. I love that it can be left in the fridge overnight, or frozen for up to a month. I have been trying to get better at meal planning and so far, pizza dough has been very motivating. Those carbs get me every time! The recipe can be found in a previous post and here.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Etsy Updates

I know I usually write about food and cooking, but I have been excited about some crafty things lately. To give a brief update on the topic of food, I made another batch of pizza dough, doubling it this time. Half went to a chicken basil calzone recipe which my husband Jack tried out, and the other half went into the freezer for a future pizza - maybe this weekend. If it's good, I'll be sure to write about it. In the meantime, here is a picture of a crocheted pizza from skymagenta.

Some of you know that I have been making beaded jewelry and selling it on an online marketplace called etsy. This is a site that specializes in handmade and vintage items. It's a community that I enjoy being a part of and love to support through my purchases. It's like going to an art/craft/antique show anytime you like - what could be better?

I am almost ready to post a new necklace and I thought I would show it here first just for fun. Terrariums are really popular on etsy right now and that was my inspiration.
I found some fuzzy green beads that I couldn't resist buying. A woodland theme emerged from there. The necklace is about 38" long. I need to make a shorter version with a little gnome pendant. Ha!

I need to play around with the mushrooms a little more before I'm ready to list it in our shop, StasiaTart.
I share the shop with my friend Heather, she has some amazing vintage inspired pieces. Here is a link to our wares on etsy.

I guess my cat was feeling a little neglected during the "photo shoot".

Yesterday something very exciting happened, One of my pieces was on the front page of etsy! I have a cropped picture of what the featured sellers section on the front page looked like. My avocado green necklace is in the first column, third row down.
This really helped improve the traffic to our shop. Yesterday we received 279 visits, many from other countries including Israel, Finland, Russia, Latvia, Argentina, Kenya and more. A tool called google analytics provides this fascinating information for us. I have much to learn about how to use it.

In other crafty news, I am learning to knit. I tried very hard to resist learning a new hobby, but failed.
Do I really have time for another hobby? I guess I'm about to find out. With a little help from friends, I have picked up some needles and inexpensive yarn and brought a little more fiber into my life. Thank you to Becky for lending me "Vogue Knitting: Quick Reference" and thanks to Kathryn for introducing me to your amazing knitting aunt and her fabulous craft night. Oh and you also introduced me to Thank you!

I am about to start a scarf, wish me luck on this next adventure..