Procrastination station: 31/01/13

I seem to be a day behind this week, thanks to Auckland Anniversary on Monday. Never mind! Onwards to the procrastination.

The blog I’d like to share today is from¬†a Kiwi blogger – her tagline is “life style blog of a crafty one”. If you’re looking for an inspiring crafter and a sneak peak into life in New Zealand, pop on over to Adventures of Alex O & Co – even better if you sign up to follow the blog by email, you’ll get a gorgeous dose of crafty goodness in your inbox whenever the blog is updated. I love Alex’s designs, she is a true craftsperson and it is always a pleasure seeing a blog update when they come through.

Enjoy!

7 days of crafty (28/01/13)

I’m one day late with my planned 7 days of crafty post, with good reason I think. Today was a public holiday so it is only now that I’m feeling in a Sunday frame of mind!

So today we celebrated Auckland Anniversary Day – the sun shone, there were plenty of boats on the harbour and the bush behind our house was filled with bird song. Beautiful! And way better than being at Day Job! ūüėČ

So the next 7 days of crafty goodness will not e too exciting. I’m working on a crocheted baby cardigan for a friend who has a baby due in a couple of weeks. Here is how the week is shaping up:

Monday: baby cardigan
Tuesday: baby cardigan
Wednesday: baby cardigan
Thursday: baby cardigan
Friday: crocheted ring bases
Saturday: day off (phew!)
Sunday: crocheted ring bases

Anyone game to share what they are working on this week?

7 days of crafty (20/01/13)

Here is my to-do list for this week:

Monday: Finish donkey softie
Tuesday: Order business cards
Wednesday: Work on crocheted rings – aim for three ring bases
Thursday: Sew up ring bases; buy more decoupage glue
Friday: Decoupage sewing desk
Saturday: Decoupage sewing desk; start work on next crochet softie
Sunday: Decoupage sewing desk; finish crochet softie

Looks like a busy week ahead for me – what’s on your work bench?

Reaching out

Here goes my first attempt at a short blog post – wish me luck! (I just put my headphones in to get my in the mood, turned on my Ipod, shuffled and the first song to come up was¬†Baby Got Back. I feel like I’ve won a prize, this is one of my all¬† time favourite songs. Hopefully a good omen for brevity, although this introduction is not a good start!)

One of my goals this year is to increase my online activity. The frequency of my blog posts is irregular, and everytime I go to post on my Facebook page, I get a touch of performance anxiety. It hasn’t stopped the Facebook posts, it just slows me down a bit – which is ludicrous for a person that has so much to say.

So how to deal with this? My first plan of attack is to build on the number of Facebook followers I have – at the moment they’re predominantly family members (bless their cotton socks) and as such, I feel like every time I post I’m speaking directly to my Mum, uncle, cousins, etc. They’re all hugely supportive and wonderful – they just hear it all the time from me anyway, so I worry I might sound a bit like a broken record to them. With that in mind – anyone who is Facebook inclined, please feel free to jump on over to www.facebook.com/byhooknz, and “like” (but only if you actually like what you see of course).

Next strategy is to learn from the masters – this weekend I’ll be dedicated to finding likeminded crafters from around the world with a Facebook presence, and liking up a storm to see how they go about it. Soooooo – anyone reading this who is a Facebook officianado (or simply wants to boost their own page’s numbers), please feel free to comment below with your Facebook address and I’ll go and have a squiz at what you’re up to.

Finally, to help with the frequency of my blog posting, I’m going to trial a schedule to blog 3 days per week, as follows:

  • Sunday – “7 days of crafty”, a new WIP post I plan on starting to help me plan the week ahead
  • Monday – Handmade Monday. I love participating in this weekly link party, so this is an easy post to lock in.
  • Wednesday – Random post on something on my mind. This will require a bit more discipline, but (keeping brevity in mind) I know I can do this!

Rightio – I’ve written it down so it is now true – see you all on Sunday (or on the Facebook pages you leave below)!

Crochet babies of doom

By hook or by crook stall - Devonport Craft Markets

What an exciting blog post this sounds – I hope I can live up to your expectations! I recently purchased a second-hand book from a fantastic local second-hand store, called Junk & Disorderly. I am in love with the place … Continue reading

The long lost pin cushion

My last post here was All quiet on the craft front at the end of September. Now almost a month on, I’m reflecting on what I have achieved – sadly, nothing much that is exciting! Oh I have definitely been crafty – trying out¬†a few new ideas but mostly doing what I find hardest… amassing a pile of stock for sale at the markets. I have to say that while I¬†am proud of and love each item I make, this is not¬†my favourite thing to do which is probably why I has taken me so long to get around to selling at markets.¬†For the baby beanies I make, I’ve been delighting in¬†every individual colour combination, for the tiny¬†crocheted flower attachments I enjoy¬†imagining the possibilities of where they will end up and what combinations their eventual owners (right word? I think not but never mind) will come up with. But because I know my patterns inside out, there is not a lot of creativity outside of colour combinations that goes into these items, and my mind starts to wander. This is great news for new products – I’ve come up with several new ideas this week alone while I’ve been making hat after flower after hat. BUT I’m now getting to the point where I am going to have a rather ecclectic collection of goodies at my market stall and am a bit nervous that this will confuse the market goers.

This morning I read a post that really resonated with me over at Knitrun4sanity that spells out eloquently how confusing it can be to have so many ideas whizzing around and not enough hours in the day to implement them. Well said! And on that note I’ll get onto the real point of this post – the long lost pin cushion! Back in August I started work on an idea for upcycled pin cushions – I had a gorgeous wee salt dish that came to fruition without too much drama (yummy, still pleases me to gaze upon the finished product), but the napkin ring presented a few more challenges. Firstly I was bored with the green felting wool so had to wait until I could get to the store and buy a different colour. Then I got sidetracked by the markets. Then I thought I had figured out a new way (fabric instead of wool for the cushion part – fail). Then the napkin ring went into a project bag, which went into a box and remained “lost” for a few weeks. Last week I finally uncovered it and finished the project – phew! Delighted with how it turned out – what do you think?

Napkin ring upcycled into a pin cushion

Napkin ring upcycled into a pin cushion

All quiet on the craft front

Well after I burst onto (or perhaps off!) the Nz craft market scene, it has all gone rather quiet on the craft front around here. I had a week in (R)Adelaide for a Day Job conference, and then a weekend and week recovering from a hectic fortnight. Inspiration and activity have both been low but I can feel the creative energy regenerating. Good news!

Today I attended a baby shower for an old university friend. I received an incredibly cute Dr Zuess themed invitation and knew immediately that I could make the perfect gift – a Dr Zuess onesie with a matching(ish) beanie.

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I am really loving that lemon and grey colour way at the moment and thought it perfect for a little bubba, gender unknown. I also whipped up the wee card with the pram (perambulator – great word!) which tickled me as well. Then all wrapped up in brown paper, tied with a decadent black bow and voila! A perfect, homemade baby shower gift xox

To market we went

Well the big day has been and gone. It got incredibly hectic over the last 48 hours – nothing like the added pressure of Day Job kicking in at the worst possible time. Here’s a brief (I’ll try, honest!) diary of how it all went down:

Thursday PM – this was supposed to be baby beanie night in the production line. It was not to be. It was freezing here and my hands just couldn’t hit their hooking rhythm. I managed to make two hats in the time I was sure I would be able to knock up at least 5, and went to bed in a serious funk.

Friday AM – Woke up still feeling funky (not the good kind). Emailed the organiser asking if it would be ok for me to downgrade from the 2.4m table I originally requested, to my own 1.2m table. She said fine – I felt instantly better.

Friday PM – My plans of shirking from Day Job early were thwarted – phooey. Didn’t get home, fed and watered until 8pm – double phooey. Funky feeling starts up again – cue procrastination. 9pm I get a fire under me and the production line cranks into gear. Finally get to bed at 2am (!! never again !!) feeling satisfied with my efforts¬†– this is proven by falling asleep instantly and sleeping solidly until 6am.

Saturday – Market day – Wake up at 6 and start putting the finishing touches on everything. This means writing up the prices, packing my market box and loading the car. I cannot believe it when it’s 8.25am (market starts at 9!) and I’m about to set off. I don’t know where that 2.5 hours went.

Get to the market in a few minutes and set up – Toni-maree the market organiser is LOVELY and soothes my nerves instantly. My neighbours are also very kind and friendly, and I’m relieved to see there are others still setting up. My table comes together quickly (glad I practised!) and I’m ready to roll. So is the wind – it is absolutely howling by 10am. It helped build camaraderie I think – everytime a big gust rushed in, we all held onto our gazebos to prevent lift off, amid much hilarity. Here’s how my stand looks – note, a bit skimpy at this point because everything I couldn’t hold onto was likely to blow away in the wind!

Despite the wind, the punters roll in. I’m excited to see my ring-ins show up while it was still sunny, and my friend fell in love with the lemon and grey fingerless gloves. She buys them – my first sale!! A few other punters drifted past,¬†a couple stopping to check out my goods. They don’t buy – instantly I’m worried that I’ve got my price point wrong. The weather is steadily worsening and the flow of punters slows to a trickle. Thankfully I have had a couple of buddies show up to keep me company, and of course my lovely stall neighbours to chat to. A lady comes and buys¬†the cute-as-a-button Dr Zeuss One Fish Two Fish onesie – I’m delighted as I’ve now made back the money on the stall. My last sale is the bargain of the century waterfall crocheted scarf for $10, purchased by a lovely lady. I wonder if she felt sorry for me because of the increasingly nasty weather.

By 11am some of the other outside people are packing up – the weather is looking decidedly grumpy and the rain clouds are rolling in. Between the oncoming rain and the foul wind, a lot of the other stallholders have left and it is really just Janice (I wish I knew her company name so I could plug them), Otello’s, Cachecol,¬†Blackwoods Bakery (I think) and I left.

We finally packed it in at the scheduled closing time of 1pm. I am knackered – in fairness, definitely more because of the mad panic last night than the rigours of the market today – but really, really proud of myself. This was a huge personal goal for the year and I’m so chuffed to have ticked the box. So thanks for having me Birkenhead Artisan Market – I’m hoping to be back in November and December, and in the meantime have also applied to hit the Devonport Craft Market in early November. I am absolutely fizzing with ideas on how to better dress my stand and feel like I could even be ready to start up a Facebook page for my efforts to try and drum up a bit more business.

And you know what the first job is? Making a plan for the next 6 weeks so I don’t end up hand stitching at 2am again next time around!

Tomorrow Day Job will take me to Adelaide, Australia¬†for a week. I’m presenting at a Tertiary Education Conference with my boss and strangely I’m really looking forward to it. Now that the market madness has subsided, I can focus my energy on something else for the next few days.

Hope you’re all well and the weather is better for you, wherever you are in the world.