Friday, May 29, 2015

May's ePattern: The Spring Shell Beanie

Since I am photographing the process + illustrating each pattern with these images, I am finding it takes a lot longer to get these patterns polished up + ready to publish.  So I am planning to list one a month.

 Spring Shell Beanie Crochet PATTERN Instant Download from Etsy

This month's pattern is the Spring Shell Beanie, inspired by these granny squares.  

It begins with your basic granny square but then continues to increase and build upon itself until you have a cute, simple + breezy beanie.  I love the way the shell pattern is highlighted against the backdrop of one's hair (depending on the contrast between the beanie color + one's hair color).  

This pattern makes the perfect spring hat as it allows the breeze to cool your head while also keeping you warm against any chill or dampness.

This month you can get $2 off your purchase with coupon code: 1Pattern4Me


Who will you make a hat for + what color will you make your Spring Shell Beanie?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

May Art Walk 2015


This was probably our slowest Art Walk yet - which surprised us!

But then again, this was our first time doing the first Art Walk in May.  There was also a baseball game the same night so we think there were a lot of people there and not walking the blocks.  This is also the first year it has started at 5:30 instead of 6pm.


EJ took a late nap so we didn't get there until 5:20 to set up.  Luckily hubby arrived about 2 minutes after me.  Niki, from Thistle and Bees, was also there by 4:30 with her mom to stake out our usual claim.  Apparently her mom had to inform another participant that she was encroaching... :-P  Which, to me, was a good sign that we had such a great vendor turn out we would have a great customer turn out.  But it was definitely slow to start.


My first two sales were back to back at 6:20pm for a pair of headbands (1 shell-stitch, 1 double-stranded) + another double-stranded headband.

My best seller all week!

Then it was 1 rose shell hat an hour later, more headbands, 1 pair of hot mitts from a repeat customer at 8:40pm and another pair of headbands (8:54p) before we closed up for the night.

We ended up staying the whole time, leaving by 9:15pm instead of 8/:30 like I was originally planning in order to get EJ home for a late bedtime.  Poor girl was finally in bed by 9:45pm (instead of 8pm).  

I'm excited to see what next month brings.  So many people were already talking about coming to next month's since they couldn't make it this time.  Let's hope so!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone for your support!  Thank you for visiting, shopping, sharing + collaborating with me to make this a reality.  I always close up shop on Cloud 9.  :-)

Next, I'll be posting about the Naturally Crafty Trunk Show I had only TWO DAYS later!  It's definitely a different niche + I loved meeting so many new friends!  What's your favorite part of selling or shopping at a physical art/craft show?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Free Pattern for "Scrap" Bracelets

It's become a signature of mine: chain crocheting bracelets + hair ribbons out of long yarn scraps leftover from a project.  There's just something in me that can't see scraps go to waste.


Perhaps it stems from the same anxiety as running out of yarn in the middle of a project that makes me hate to waste any "generosity" of leftover yarn.

I even sent a handful to my cousin who posted them on Instagram:

Scrappy braceletes sent to Kelsey | Knittedhome.etsy.com

So if you're looking for something to do with your scraps, try on a bracelet or two... or four... depending on how much leftover (or bins of) yarn you have ;)

Crochet Bracelet from yarn scraps - free pattern | knittedhome.etsy.com

Crochet Bracelet from yarn scraps - free pattern | knittedhome.etsy.com

Crochet Bracelet from yarn scraps - free pattern | knittedhome.etsy.com

Crochet Bracelet from yarn scraps - free pattern | knittedhome.etsy.com


Crochet Bracelet from yarn scraps - free pattern | knittedhome.etsy.com


Ch. 30.   Join ends together with a single crochet.  

1 Single crochet + 1 slip stitch + fasten off.



How do you use up your scraps?

A photo posted by @steadystatefibers on

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Weekend = Gardening Weekend

This weekend the Downtown Farmer's Market hosts a 3-day long sale at the Market.  It is primarily focused on selling flowers, thus promoting it as Flower Weekend at the Market.  But I have also found that Memorial Weekend has become our "Plant the front yard" weekend.

Saturday

was the Naturally Crafty Trunk Show so no gardening happened.

Sunday

I shopped the Farmer's Market this year instead of the greenhouse down the street from us.  I feel like the pocketbook definitely thanked us (though we did skip the mulch this year) and the window boxes turned out better than last year, in my opinion.


I dragged my mother-in-law to the Market with me while Hubby + Father-in-Law worked on the addition while EJ napped.  It was absolutely wonderful to get down to the Market after so many months away!

I even had the chance to plant the flat of snapdragons along the walk before EJ woke up from her (2h!) nap.  Hubby + Father-in-Law went on a materials run as soon as we got back from the Market, and my Mother-in-Law went back out for compost for the garden while I planted.


She ironically arrived with the compost just as EJ was waking up.  So she got EJ ready to come outside while I finished the walk + they played while I planted the window boxes.

It has been such a dream of a weekend to have so many people working so smoothly on all our different projects!


Monday

After the parade, I got the compost moved + and planted the tomato + bell pepper seedlings from my dad!






I had hoped to also seed the beets, kohlrabi + green beans but I ran out of time.  Hopefully I'll be posting about their planting next Monday :)

Hubby + my father-in-law got most of the porch roof shingled!  Hubby is planning to finish the remaining few rows + flashing tonight.



What an exhaustive but highly productive weekend!  I'm happy to say that I spent the last 2 hours of the evening crocheting on my Fan Shell lap blanket (class coming soon!) while watching the latest Game of Thrones episode with Hubby.


What do your Memorial Weekend Traditions consist of?  Do you plant flowers or have a tradition to beautify your front yard every spring?  Did you do everything you had planned for your holiday weekend?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Another Art Walk Season!


I'm feeling a little nervous but more giddy + excited that this summer's Art Shows are finally starting!  Physical shows are my favorite parts of summer (minus the veggie garden, the evening fires, stroller walks,… ok, I guess I like a lot about the warmer months) because they allow me to get to know my customers + see what they are drawn to.  It also allows them to provide effortless feedback in what they would like to see me improve upon or create next.  I love constructive feedback!  

Freebie 


This year I will continue offering a free scrappy bracelet (free pattern coming next Wednesday!) to all who stop by my table as this has been my greatest success in drawing customers in.  Who can resist a fun freebie?!  I've already got a fun new idea made up for the winter holidays….

Packaging


I've spent all day Wednesday + Thursday last week trying to get a new aspect of my take-away packaging designed + laid out for print.  Why do label alignments have to be such a pain to tweak?!

I'd also love to have white + blush tissue paper at the ready in a portable "packing station" with these stickered bags, but I don't see that happening for this Art Walk.  Perhaps in June or July…

Marketing

The Facebook event has been responded to + sent out to all my local friends; and posts on my Facebook Page have been drafted + scheduled to remind the heck out of all my said local friends ;-)

You might even see a few Tweets + Instagram posts!

Teaching


I'll also be working the teaching angle more -- so many people come by and say (or think; I can read it on many faces), "I/my grandmother could make that" and I always want to interject, "Yeah, but will you/she?"  I admit I used to be one of these browsers at many craft fairs -- but then after having been behind the table, I've realized I won't make "that;" I don't have the time!  And this has always stuck with me since.  Not only are you purchasing from someone who has already made the item (it's sitting right there!), they have already experienced the trial-and-error to make the best version of this craft AND they saved you the time invested!  Not to mention you are SUPPORTING them + their chosen craft.  What could be a better reason!?

I hope this year more customers + browsers will remember this nugget of wisdom when they attend their art festivals + fairs + shows this year:  Sure, you could make it; but will you?


What are you preparing for this summer?  If you are cultivating a customer-producer relationship, what do you wish your customer knew?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fewer Posts + Longer Articles?

I heard it on a podcast + then read it again in another blog post how Google SEO favors longer content + regularity.

Bloggers are posting less frequently.  And it is most likely due to the amount of time it takes to compose such incredibly long + worthwhile content.  This is because Google has changed their search algorithm to favor long-form content.  But in order to keep up a blog's posting frequency, bloggers are dropping their updates to once a week.

I can't say this is my preferred format.  

I have been reading blogs for many years + before I became so busy with adult + family life, I loved checking my favorite blogs for a new post.  Even if it was just a quick picture + a short caption to check in and say hello.  You know, before there was Instagram + Facebook.

So even though I struggle with posting regularly three times a week (and a lot of Monday posts get deferred to Tuesdays), I have no intention of dropping down to one massively huge article a week.  Especially for SEO purposes.  Sure, it is nice to increase your reach to new audiences, but if you start to "optimize" too much, then you lose your purpose + your original focus.  And mine has always been to connect with like-minded friends.  Specifically, this blog's purpose is to connect with like-minded friends who are also interested in the workings of Knittedhome.

I do enjoy exploring + sharing what goes into making this blog tick for all my blogging friends who have asked for this content, but otherwise I don't feel I am a Master Blogger by any means.  Perhaps this is why I enjoy short posts that allow the reader a peak into someone else's life.

What are your thoughts on bloggers becoming more like authors of long articles?  Do you feel long-form blogs are becoming your favorite reads?  If you're a blogger, which do you prefer to write?  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Free Printable "I'll Like You Forever..."

This is one of my mom's + my favorite quotes from the famous book she used to read to us at bedtime.  Though looking back on it, I don't know how much I would enjoy nearly crying every time I put my daughter to bed.  

However, it truly is an inspirational reminder to love your children + love your parents while you have them.

I'll like you forever, I'll love you for always Quote  |  knittedhome.etsy.com

This year I decided to make + frame this quote for my mother this Mother's day.  And since I didn't see the type of quote layout that I was looking for when I searched Etsy, I decided to make a downloadable one available to my blog readers for free.

You can download it HERE.

If you'd like to support me, you can purchase it and/or send friends over to my Etsy shop to purchase the digital download.

What did you give your mother for Mother's Day?  Have you experienced this book yet?

Referral + Affiliate links help me bring you valuable content without ads.  I recommend products + services that I use myself or that come highly recommended by peers.  
Any sponsorships that you see in my sidebar are handpicked by me because I believe in their products + services and think they could benefit you.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Maybe this Morning is my Mother's Day.


I *embarrassedly* kept wishing that I would just get a couple hours of me-time on Sunday and resented that no one would give it to me.

This morning is like a sweet morning from a dream.  Hubby crept out of the house to work (thank you for taking out the trash + recycling, Honey), I slept in another 30 minutes to awaken peacefully and realized that little EJ is still sleeping peacefully in her crib. (!?!?)  Since this is a first in 13 months, and I miraculously have the energy to take advantage of it (and not sleep in with her), I crept downstairs to treat myself to a hot *quiet* cup of coffee before the day begins.

Thank you EJ for your first Mother's Day gift:  The gift of a quiet morning before starting our day :)

What did you get from your little one(s)?  Or what did you get for your Mother?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Why You Should Take Your Small Business Seriously

When I came up with" knitted home" it was the first name that truly felt as close to RIGHT as I could get at the time.  I already had a good stack of inventory ready to be listed on Etsy but without a name, I couldn't get started (though looking back, I could have taken all my measurements + written all my descriptions in a word document to copy + paste later).  I know I hurried that brainstorming session a bit more than was probably best, but I'm happy to say the name has stood the test of time and I still love it.

Lesson: don't be afraid to brainstorm.  Write everything down to be organized later when you feel motivated + inspired. Creativity isn't linear.


I still love this name so much, in fact, that now when I'm feeling ready to buy my domain name and it is already taken (!?!?!) I feel quite offended.  Even though I know I shouldn't because I should have bought it back in 2010 when I first learned how to buy domain names with GoDaddy.  But fear held me back + now I regret it.

Lesson: don't be afraid to buy your domain (you can always let it expire).  


If there's one thing I've learned working with successful-out-of-the-gate handmade businesses, it's that they built all their necessary business pieces (name, logo, style, personality, focus) from the get-go and didn't wait until they felt "big" or like they had "made it" to start developing these key elements of their business.  

This is something I definitely did NOT do because I didn't feel like anyone would take me seriously (big mistake!  If you don't take yourself seriously, why should anyone else??)

Lesson: Treat your biz like a business.  Create all your biz elements right away + polish them later.


I guess the take away is don't be afraid to jump in head first and get started.  I'm not saying quit your job + take out a loan against your house (unless you've already run the numbers and know it'll pay off), but if there are small investments you can make to show that you + your biz are serious, it's worth paying for in the beginning.  Don't wait to gain a following only to find out your domain name/unique niche market is taken.

Don't be afraid to jump in HEAD FIRST | knittedhome.wordpress.com

What sparked your biz name?  What hard lessons did you learn in the beginning?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Give the Gift of Handmade: Mother's Day edition

Give Handcrafted Gifts: Mother's Day edition  |  Knittedhome.wordpress.com

For those of us who struggle every year to find the * perfect * gift to express our love for our mothers, I've rounded up a few of my favorites from gifts given in years past as well as a few of my own favorites now that I get to celebrate as a recipient.  ;)

Hot Mitts

If you're going to give your mother something for the kitchen, it might as well be bright + full of personality so she doesn't read too deeply into your gift ;)  But really, who doesn't love extra thick, durable, washable + SPUNKY new accessories?

Everyone whose every used a pair of these hot mitts has raved about their quality + personality.  You can read about their upcycled construction here.

hot mitts |  knittedhome.etsy.com

In the Bath

If you can't afford that massage + spa package, why not bring the spa to her everyday?  The soap saver not only gently exfoliates + scrubs, but it uses her favorite soap to the last bubble!

Homestead soaps is by far my favorite + only soap I use now for my dry (eczema) skin.  It is with her bars in mind that I designed the soap saver to fit around perfectly.

 Soap Savers  |  Knittedhome.etsy.com

Coasters

On the patio or in the living room, let's not only preserve our surfaces but also bring some personality to our drinks.

 Pink Coasters  |  knittedhome.etsy.com

Tuck in a personalized mug from Shutterfly with a pack of 4 coasters.  A similar mug was well received this past Christmas by my own mother and new-grandmother....

Throw Pillows

What an easy way to update a home + bring some luxury to your mom's favorite space!  Perhaps its her bedroom that needs a little luxury?  Or a comfy chair that needs a pop of color or texture?  These pillows are certain to fit the bill!  I can't stop loving mine already :)

Flowers!

I used to think, How boring.  Mom must be so tired of getting flowers every year.  But now that I'm a mom and I'm all about beautifying my property - I don't think I could ever get sick of flowers.  You just need to be creative in the presentation:

Annie planting her Mom's new flower garden 2013  |  knittedhome.wordpress.com
I cleaned up + planted flowers for my Mom

I recently read online that someone's Mother's Day tradition is to buy the flowers together + plant them as a family.  I know what I want to be my tradition now...

If you don't have a lot of space or time, a planter is always nice, too.

For my friends in the southern hemisphere...

Cowls

Keep your mom warm + stylin' as the weather gets cooler.  I know plenty of ladies who don't enjoy the large cowls for many reasons.  These minis are perfect for the woman who wants a warm neck without all the weight/extra fabric.

crochet shell mini cowl  |  knittedhome.etsy.com

These are so new they aren't even listed in the shop yet!  But feel free to email me if you're interested + I can ship them out as early as Thursday 5/7 morning!

Blankets

And my favorite gift that I've given countless times to my mama...  the throw blanket :)  It has a special place in my heart because I like to think she is snuggled up + wrapped in my love.

Some years I've made her a fleece tie blanket, and other years I've worked weeks on a crocheted afghan.  But I'm happy to say they still get plenty of use from cold nights at the football stadium to naps on the couch.

watermelon Granny Chevron blanket  |  knittedhome.etsy.com

Do you give your mother a handcrafted gift?  What has been your favorite gift to give?

Referral + Affiliate links help me bring you valuable content without ads.  I recommend products + services that I use myself or that come highly recommended by peers.  
Any sponsorships that you see in my sidebar are handpicked by me because I believe in their products + services and think they could benefit you.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekend Update

I wrote this post Monday during morning nap, but I didn't have pictures of the raised beds so it had to wait until Tuesday.  Sorry to keep you waiting!

This weekend I finished clearing 2 of our 3 raised beds.


Hubby picked up cement to pour the porch supports later this week tonight.

He also surprised me by painting the patio table.  It came out the PERFECT shade of teal/turquoise/blue!!  I can't wait to see those chairs done! ....


EJ had her first taste of ice cream.  And LOVED it!


What highlighted your weekend?

Friday, May 1, 2015

How to Get Started on Etsy

I certainly don't consider myself an expert by ANY means, but with more friends looking to start their own crafty businesses either through a blogging interface or an Etsy shop, I find myself repeating some very important ideas that I think any online entrepreneur should know.  So here are my tips to anyone looking to share their talents with the world.  



1.  Start a separate bank account NOW. Whether it is a national bank with sign up incentives like "$100 when you open a new checking account for one year," or your local credit union, you want a separate account so you can track if you are losing or making money.  Plus this is the account that you use to pay all your shop expenses (supplies, listing fees, taxes, shipping, craft show entry fees, etc).  It also ensures that you won't be dipping into (and thus NOT feeling guilty about) family funds for your hobby/job investments that may take some time to make a return.
I have mine with my local credit union and even have a debit card tied to the account which makes it super easy to purchase supplies online or in store!

2. Use the Etsy shipping tool.  You will save a great deal on your shipping costs with their lower rate.  I love offering free shipping now because of it.  Also print your shipping labels at home and have your postman pickup your packages (if they are light/small - be kind to your mail carriers) from your house.  This has been a huge relief for me with a little one at home.  Not to mention it could save you on driving costs. 

3. Calculate your shipping AND materials costs when figuring out what to charge for shipping.  How much does the box, wrapping material, thank-you note, AND postage cost to ship each item?  Individually as well as in small groups?  Think of someone buying your large item plus one or two smaller items.  Do the smaller items add a lot of weight or could they squeak by with only adding $0.50 to the total shipping cost?
Once you've figured out your packaging, can you buy your supplies in bulk?  If you have an amazon prime membership, this would be a great way to put it to good use (Free 2-day shipping!)  

4. Use all 5 pictures: overview (the entirety of the object/s), close-up for texture, alternative view (back/wrongside, etc), in use, and if you need another idea: show a picture of it in production (think "behind the scenes") or all wrapped up & ready for shipping (this is a great picture for the holidays).
There are plenty of tutorials out there on making your pictures top-quality so I won't go into that; but it is VERY VERY important that your photos ARE top-quality if you want to stand out and make the sale.  The best part is you don't need an expensive camera (I use my Samsung Galaxy S5) or professional software (I use Preview on my Mac or PhotoEditor on my phone) to get great images.
I've also discovered Canva for adding fonts to my images to turn them into graphics.  This makes a great Listing Image.


5. Pricing is probably the hardest part of selling your work.  Consider your materials cost, your hours to make the item, as well as the time it takes to promote/photograph/list your item for sale.  Here is a great article on pricing your work without undervaluing yourself.  The biggest mistake newbies make is to UNDERprice their work.  Don't be afraid to charge what it's worth for you to make it!  Remember: You enjoy making something that someone else would rather pay for (so they don't have to make it themselves) therefore you're doing them a favor!  Keep this in mind when you're pricing your work or someone says, "my grandmother/mother/whomever could make that."  Yeah, they COULD make that, but will they?
If you're worried about your price coming out too high, see if you can break up your item into smaller pieces - i.e. one main piece with a few of the smaller pieces that are needed to "complete" it and sell more of the smaller add-ons in larger (and different numbers of) quantities so as to keep your price points low in your shop if that is something you're worried about.

6. Are you offering customization?  size, shape, color, personalization, different material(s)?  rush shipping?  Biggest mistake is to offer TOO MANY CHOICES.  There was even a TedTalks about it.  Think about how your customer (or you) like to shop.  Personalization or ordered + done?  Especially during the holidays are you looking for complete customization or hitting the "buy now" button and being done with it?  (no assembly required?)

7. Join Forums, read the Handbook + subscribe to Etsy Success Newsletter.  Read whatever you can get your hands on to improve your knowledge of selling online in general.  You can also follow my Pinterest boards on Blogging, Freelancing, and tips for your Etsy shop.

8. Reach out + don't be afraid to ask questions.  You just might find a mentor who can help you avoid some of their own mistakes and get you on the path to success a little quicker.  Shoot me an email or leave a comment below.  I love to help out fellow entrepreneurs!

9. Marketing!  It's time to create a Facebook Page for your Etsy shop (use your shop's name and create it's url the same: facebook.com/your-shops-name) to make it easy for people to find you.  Same for Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest & Google+.  I use gmail for my shop's contact so that links up with Google+ pretty easily for me.   Trying to update across all these social platforms can seem VERY overwhelming.  Luckily there is a nifty little tool, ifttt.com, that I LOVE to use.  It automates all my post updates via "triggers."  Aka, I list a new item on Etsy and it shares that to Facebook & Twitter via the "Recipes" I have saved.  You can check out more tools I use here.

10. Is writing a blog right for you?  Do you have the time to commit to a blog?  Or would you just keep it in your back pocket to jot some notes down + slap a picture up once in a while?  Be up front with any potential readers what your plan is (regular posts 5 days a week or 1 every quarter?  Knowing why you blog will help focus your content + approach).
If not, try social media outlets to stay connected with your clientele via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.  Don't try to do them all right off the bat.  Use one until you feel comfortable with its platform before adding another to the mix.  (This is where IFTTT can come in handy to keep your presence on the other platforms updated.  Read more about other blogging resources here).  These social media platforms allow for more concise + regular check-ins without as much expectation from your readers as a blog might.

What did I miss?  What advice did you need when you were first starting out?  Please leave all your wisdom in the comments for our friends who are just embarking on this exciting journey :)

Referral + Affiliate links help me bring you valuable content without ads.  I recommend products + services that I use myself or that come highly recommended by peers.  
Any sponsorships that you see in my sidebar are handpicked by me because I believe in their products + services and think they could benefit you.