Thursday, July 18, 2013

How to Cast on Stitches for Knitting : Learn to Knit Series - Video 1

Do you want to learn to knit? Knitting is not just for grandmothers anymore! Knitting is a hip art form of expression through our love of fiber, and it has been on the rise for about ten years in the younger generations. I learned to knit about five years ago, and I want to teach everyone I know how to knit. I was really excited to learn to knit, as I fell in love with the yarns first. The plentitude of beautiful fiber out there will sway you, it’s guaranteed.
Some benefits of knitting:
1. Knitting is meditative, calming, and stress free- once you get the basics down.
2. Knitting can be done anywhere. I earned my B.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan, and if you ask anyone who knows me, I knit during lectures, riding in the car on long road trips, while I was studying, in the dentist’s chair….. literally anywhere. No worries about hauling huge supply suitcases- just two sticks and some yarn, and you’re ready to take your art project with you anywhere!
3. Knitting is VERY EASY. There are only two stitches to learn, and then you can knit anything under the sun. Everyone I teach is always shocked at how easy it is to knit.
4. Knitting is FUN.
5. Knitting has been passed down from generation to generation, and is one of the oldest textile based art forms in the world. Think of the Irish Aran sweaters used to identify sailors washed up on shore. Crazy history behind this art form, and you’re about to become part of that history!
The first basic is casting on. Learning how to knit begins with a simple slipknot and this step of getting the stitches ON the needle before you can jump in and begin knitting. So watch with me, pause as you go, and get busy!
Let’s Knit!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Create a Facebook Page and Banner for your Business

 Hello darlings! Have you seen the Facebook pages everyone has made for their business, and want to know how to set one up yourself? Let me walk you through the 4 minute FREE process to set up your business on one of the biggest social networking platforms out there!

Setting up a Facebook page for your business is free, it's easy, and in this short screencast, I'll show you not only HOW to set up your Facebook page, but also a fast and free way to create a professional looking banner for your page.

You'll first have to go to your personal facebook page, open up the "like pages" option, and choose the green "create a page" button! Facebook will walk you through the process from there! I'll also show you how to use the free photoediting and collage site PicMonkey to create a professional looking Facebook banner for your business page.

Now go out there, and start collecting likes on your new Facebook page for your business or cause!

Find me here:

Thursday, July 11, 2013

How to on Etsy - Opening a Shop, Fees, and Listing

How do you open a shop on Etsy?  How much does it cost?  How do you list something on Etsy?  I've created a great How To video for you to learn these "how tos" on Etsy.

Do you make something handmade?  You can sell it on Etsy!  Have a ton of vintage dresses?  Sell them on Etsy!  Like to make papercrafting supplies, but could never use them all?  Sell them on Etsy!  Etsy is a user friendly online storefront that allows independent business owners to sell handmade, vintage, or craft supply items through their marketplace.  There is no better place to start your eclectic shop than right on Etsy!

This video is a screencast how to video.  How to open a seller account on Etsy.  I go through and explain the basics, including how the fees on Etsy work, how to list an item, and some tips and tricks for stocking your Etsy storefront.  It's great fun, and I'd love to be the one to walk you through the basics today!

First off, I'll show you how to login or register, and open up an Etsy seller account.  After we do that, I'll explain the fee schedule behind Etsy which is as follows:
Listing: 0.20 /four month listing + 3.5% transaction free + 3% + 0.25 credit card fee.

After you get a basic understanding of how the fee schedule works, I'll walk you through a new listing- beginning with choosing your category of handmade, vintage, or supplies.  Reselling of commercial items on Etsy is strictly prohibited. 

After you choose your listing category, you'll then choose an item category!  Then it is a simple process of adding a title, description, pricing, and shipping cost!  Voila- you've just listed your first item, and for the low cost of 20 cents: started your very own internet storefront.

Finally, I'll show you some great examples of successful Etsy shops- in all three categories.

Best of luck, and have loads of fun!

Monday, July 8, 2013

What is Etsy???

Want to know what Etsy is all about? Curious as to HOW to use the site, or WHAT you can find? Many folks have asked me- "What is Etsy?"  This video is a short tutorial, showing navigation of the Etsy site, how to use it, what you can find, and how to narrow your searches.  Give it a shot, and find a great one of a kind item!!

Etsy is a great site to find fabulous handmade, vintage, and craft supply items, and this tutorial will help you answer the question of "What is Etsy?"

Take a gander with me through the screencast of how to navigate the Etsy site!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Gastronomically speaking.....

I've been cooking up some delicious little bits lately.  I've spoken alot about gardening, knitting, sewing, and general craftasticness, but these last few meals, including some fresh goodies from the garden, were worth a share! :)

I made this tonight:

Lightened up "Lasagna" in 20 minutes:

Rustic Tomatoes/Sausage Sauce
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage (if you can find a turkey variety, this will lighten up the recipe even more)
fresh or canned diced tomatoes
2 cloves sliced garlic
1 cup mixed fresh herbs (I mixed in some fennel seeds with some fresh basil, thyme, and oregano).
Salt and Pepper

Serve with:
1/2 lb. orzo pasta- cooked to al dente
Low Fat Ricotta
Freshly grated Parmeson

I also made a couple recipes from the latest Cooking Light:

Potatoes with Garlic and Kale

Cucumber Salad with White Wine

Penne with Tomatoes, peas, and fresh herbs

I couldn't help but share!  Are you drooling yet?  I was.  And then I went back for seconds.  and thirds.  If you make it yourself, there are no calories, right?  Don't worry- I worked it off with all the P90X I've been doing for the last two weeks!

Seriously.  You'd laugh if you saw me walking around with my sore butt and trying to lift my shoulders.  The workouts are working, I'm eating clean, and I'll be donning my Wonder Woman outfit in no time flat.  :P

Call me crazy.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Digging in the Dirt. Garden Update #2!

I've planted, weeded, tilled, weeded some more, thinned......and still I'm only halfway there.  But here are the June 13th pictures of the garden so far!  I'll let them speak for themselves, because I have a tomato/pepper/onion bed to dig, a melon bed to dig, a corn bed to dig..... and all of those to plant.  :)

Happy Gardening!!!!!  Mine's not perfect in appearance, but the plants are happy and thriving, and there is work to be done!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Digging in the Dirt : Garden Update #1

Is there much to update?  At the moment, nothing really.  Mostly plans.  Loads of plans.  Insanely optimistic plans.  Plans, that, in my head, look just like this:

Martha Stewart Perfection

They include something like this:

Pole Beans, Martha Stewart Style.

And even this!!!

Not me.  I'm not that perfect.  Trust me. 

So far, I've planted these organic seeds:
1.  Kale
2. Spinach
3. Beets
4. Kohlrabi
5. Lettuce
6. Bok Choi
7.  Peas

 One small hurdle.  Did I mention I only have a corner lot within city limits?  That's me.  So, in between the Cedar, magnolia, and pine, and spruce trees on the property, not to mention a house, garage, and driveway smack dab in the middle of everything, I need to make big garden veggies in various smaller beds that I've reclaimed from the lawn.  My secret weapon this year?

My Earthwise Eco Friendly PLUG IN Tiller. 

This thing chops.  It dices.  It tills.  It cuts through grass and sod like butter.  Excepting the hauling of a big orange extension cord, I couldn't ask for more.  It is lightweight, and I don't have to figure out how to put oil or fuel or mixes of the two.  (Which is why I still have yet to use my weed whacker.)

I'll take photos.  The peas and Kohlrabi are already sprouting.  I'm expanding the garden space to reclaim about 4000 feet of lawn to use for my corn, melons, peppers, and tomatoes this year.

I'll either end up this season as a bad ass guerilla gardener, or a complete and utter laughingstock of the neighborhood.  Wanna take bets?

Watch this space.  Good or bad- I'll share my story.

Organic Gardening Tip of the day:::  RABBIT REPELLANT
Cute and adorable?  Yes.  Nibbling on my lettuce.  Nope.

1.  Go to local Barber Shop.  Ask for their hair.  I'm not kidding.
2.  Dump a cheap spice bottle of cayenne pepper into bag of hair.
3.  Sprinkle this (to rabbits) noxious mixture around seedlings.  ESPECIALLY your bean seedlings.  They can devour all your work in one night.

I swear.  They won't nibble.


ETA: 3 hours after publishing this post, I managed to till up 5000 square feet of veggie beds.  I also managed to get the tiller wrapped up in chicken wire (which it took 30 minutes to cut apart from the tines), get a big 'ole rock wedged in the tiller (which I beat out of the tines unceremoniously with a shovel), and got stung by approximately 14 ants.  Like I said, not quite as glamorous as I seem.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Travelling Boneyard Shawl - A knitting update.

I got on the plane to San Francisco on the 2nd, and cast on for this lovely shawl.  I have had this gorgeous handspun wool/mohair blend sportweight yarn sitting around since the dawn of my knitting obsession, but I could never find THE project to show off it's gorgeousness.  It is a smidgeon itchy, a bit old fashioned, and a simple design.

I found the pattern through ravelry here, written by Stephen West. It is simple-- starting at the neck, and increasing 4 stitches each right side row.  Knit in stockinette, and adding a garter ridge every so often for good measure.

It was a marvelous travelling project.  Mindless, hard to mess up.  No charts.  As a matter of fact, I had the pattern memorized after the 5th row.  750 yards or so of sportweight yarn on size 8 needles later?

We have a lovely scarf/shawl.  Only two flights across the country, several long trips on the San Fran public transit system........ and no blocking.  I considered blocking, but was afraid my chocolate lab would mess it up.  I really would like some of these......

I do have a little yarn left over...........  a matching set of fingerless gloves, mayhap?

Hooray for finishing something!!!!!!

For those who are interested, these are in the works.  Details to follow.

Malabrigo Maxima meets the Cable Needle

Cascade Quattro in Garter- ready for her lace border.  :)
Noro Kochoran gets mitered.
As you can see, I've been knitting most of my evenings for the last month or so.  Very enjoyable, this meditative practice of turning string into garments with two pointy sticks.


Friday, May 10, 2013

A month away from writing......a vacation........and a project!

Sometimes, too many ideas is worse than not enough.

There are a thousand ideas in my head.  And I don't know which to focus on.

Anyone else?

Is this or that worth my time as an independant designer?  Should I start a new line of more productive items, more "mass-produced" yet still handmade?

I'm in a quandary.  That's why I haven't been writing.  The ideas won't cohere to any logical pattern.  They just bounce around in my head and off of each other without rhyme, reason, or cogency.  So I thought I'd take a step back.

But the ideas still do their thing.

Write a novel!

Screenprinting!  That could be for you!

Custom knitting!

oooooooooh.  You should make purses!

Should I plant enough veggies for a market garden?

Oooooh.  I need a sod remover for the garden.

crap.  Did I take pictures of that fabric for that order yet?

I really should be knitting more bulky cowls for the shop.

I wonder if I should invest in a sock knitting crank machine?

Should I be writing a novel?


*points up*  It's ALWAYS like that.  Even when I'm working on one project, fifty others are migrating around in the idea box.  I try and be mindful of this (*ohmmmmmmmmmmmm*), and truly enjoy what I'm working on at the moment!  Never truly happens.

I DID go on vacation.  San Francisco and I got along just fine!  (the food was FABULOUS.)

I DID start a new knitting project while riding around the Oakland/San Francisco area public transportation, and on the planes to and from Michigan:

The Boneyard Shawl with Green Handspun Mohair/Wool Blend

The pattern for the shawl was memorized after the 3rd row, and it's just waiting for me to sit still for longer than 3 minutes to finish the border.   More pics of the finished shawl later!  (if I can stay focused long enough to remember to do so.)

So there I am, in a nutshell.  My thoughts and ideas are driving me batty.  I don't know how to grab one.  Stick to it.  Stay there.

Any ideas?


Wednesday, April 10, 2013


So.  I'm trying to streamline the shopping experience and breaking up my SewEco shop up......

I'm currently transitioning all of my hand knit items out of Sewecological and into my shop that I've created for knitwear here:

The idea is to create a more refined shop for the knitwear, so that the handknits don't need to compete with the upcycled wonders in SewEco! :)

Check it out?  What do you think?


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wow! And *blush*

Guess what?  One of MY scarves was featured in this FABULOUS magazine!!!!
Read the full issue for free here!
The Magazine itself is a wonderful ode to the modern homesteader, with some fantastic articles on small livestock like goats, beekeeping, and even a feature for kids on the homestead.  The magazine is free, online, and available in PDF form to save the articles!  I'd never read the magazine before, but I will be in the future!  The reason I discovered it, was that a customer sent me a message in my Etsy shop, asking about the featured scarf, and she led me to the magazine itself. 

Here is my scarf, on page 26--

That's me!  The Green Scarf!  OMG!  *faints*
So, thank you to From Scratch which has a mission statement I can 100% stand behind:
Makes me want to get out there and till up the gardens early--- but I suppose I should wait for the ground to thaw up here in Michigan.  *sad face*  So, go check it out- it's really a great publication, and I'm so excited to be featured in it!!!! 


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pinterest and Polyvore Promotion

I'd like to show folks HOW to utilize the various shopping and social networks available out there to maximize your visibility across the internet.......

And, this is assuming that you, dear reader, have NO experience with such things.  (Which is not true for many of you, but may be for some........)

NOTE==== you can click on ANY of the photos in this tutorial to blow them up if the writing is too small for you. :)

First up:  PINTEREST!!!!!!  
Other than being my very favorite site to use, Pinterest has a dedicated set of users, all pinning and re-pinning away.  You can set up your account, and then spend HOURS browsing and pinning to hundreds of boards that you organize according to what's in them.

For example--- I have my etsy items on various boards, but I also have a Yoga board, a gardening board, recipe boards, even a board dedicated to Bento lunches!

Here:  take a peek:

But, since we are working on promoting our Etsy shops, let me show you how to pin an item from your shop.  Etsy has a "pin-it" button on every item listing page--- let's use it!!!!!!!  (But first, did you create an account?  Do that first.)

This will open a window, where you choose which board you'd like to pin to, or you can create a NEW board right there in the pop-up.

The site is VERY user friendly.  Get to know it, organize your boards, follow your friends, and enjoy the promotion to your site each time someone repins your item, or clicks on that pin which will send them directly to your etsy store.

Here are GREAT articles discussing how to further your pinterest/etsy connection:

Next : POLYVORE !!!!!!!!!!!!
Polyvore is a site where you can create "sets", basically collections of things set up as an outfit.  Now, if you sell anything you can wear--- clothing, accessories, jewelry, shoes--- Polyvore is an untapped wonderland of possible visits to your etsy shop.  It is a bit more work, and a little less user friendly than Pinterest, but you may find that is well worth your time to put together an "outfit" once a week.  I'm brand new to the site, so I don't know all the tips and tricks yet--- but I thought I'd share what I've learned so far:

First, create an account.  Then--- HERE is the secret ingredient to getting your item out there--- you'll need to install the "clipper" to your bookmarks toolbar.  Like this (Make sure that your bookmark toolbar is open by going to "options" and making sure the bookmark toolbar is checked) :

Now that you have that, all you need to do is click on that "clip to polyvore" from any listing in your shop.  Let's do a scarf, and then we'll make an outfit to match it. :)  Type in any tags you want shoppers to find when they are looking to make their own sets.

Voila!  Your item will now be saved in your profile, under "items".  Next, we need to "create a set".  This is the fun part.  Basically, you drag stuff over to your board to create an outfit using your item in the outfit.  You can always crop and change the background of the items as well - play with that.

Now I start searching for items already on Polyvore (or add more items from my friend's etsy shops to complete the outfit!), and drag those over too:

Bada bing!  Now your item is part of a collection.  More bang for your buck?  See that "pin it" button up there?  Do it!  :)

It does take a little bit of time to start this, like anything, you'll have to play around with it and get used to how the site works.  You'll be a pro in no time!  Read this article on the Etsy blog for more:

That's all I can type up for now, but I promise to cover StumbleUpon and Wanelo soon--- I need to play with it more before I can give you a good tutorial.  Now go-- Pin it!  Clip it!  Set it!  :)

Let me know if you have questions, and I'll be glad to accept requests on further tutorials! :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Upcycled Boot Tutorial

Okay, this can BARELY be called a tutorial........ but have you SEEN these boots yet??????

Boots for sale at

I've really, really, really been wanting a pair....... but the price tag is a bit steep for me at the moment.

So, what do we do when we WANT something, but we're broke?

WE MAKE IT!!!!!!!

Hopefully, you've got a pair of old boots lying around.

1.  Now, the boots above from LuxuryJones are full length, slit down the back, and folded down.  THEN embellished.  I didn't have a pair of full length boots I was willing to sacrifice on a first attempt at this, but I DID have a pair of beat up old ankle boots I got at Goodwill last year for $3.  I also had a bunch of belts that *ahem* didn't quite fit anymore, due to.....well......pie.    I gathered all my "junk":
Ankle Boots, Lace Scarf, Buckles, belts, brooches and old jewelry.

2.  I played with everything.  There were some pretty ugly ones before I decided what I'd do.  I cut the lace scarf in half.  I chose a magenta belt for one boot, and a leather rope belt for the other.  I chose some brass jewelry (one for each boot), and a couple of brooches.  I even grabbed a charm from this etsy shop - it says "marches to the beat of her own drum".  (I thought that one a clever addition to the boots.)

3.  Once I decided on the "junk" that would be added to the boots, I had to decide on HOW to get it all on there.  The end choice?  HIGH temp hot glue.   I know, I know.  A woman and hot glue gun.  Watch out world.  I haven't worn these yet, so I don't know for sure that it will hold up, but I will edit this post if anything goes astray with an edit.  Promise. :)

....a.  First, I glued the scarf around the boot.  Since these were ankle boots to begin with, I didn't need to fold them or anything.  I just glued the half scarf how I wanted it draped all the way around the boot.
.....b.  I put the necklaces on.  Since I put the belts OVER the necklaces, and secured them down, they didn't need glue.
.....c.  Belts.  Glue on belt, belt on boot.  Like I said above, not much of a tutorial, eh? ;)
.......d.  brooches and charms.  I tied on the charm and secured the knot with glue, and pinned on the brooches.  I didn't commit to the brooches by securing them with glue, because I'm not sure I like them yet.  (like the Art Deco Rose?  I made it.)

and...................... voila!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My very own hobo/boho boots.  I plan to wear these with a skirt I'm going to make sometime this week, of which I'll try to post a tutorial as well.  I want to make a brown corduroy circle skirt with a tied waistband.

I'd love to see your boots!!!!!!!!!  Link below, or just ask questions!


Friday, March 8, 2013

I'm big in Japan........maybe.

So, what's the news with your shop?

Oh, I'm so very glad you asked.

Did you know that I'm huge in Japan?

Or, technically, I MIGHT be!?

Here's the story.  So, way back in October, I got a message from a fashion house in Tokyo.  They were wondering if I'd offer a wholesale discount on sweaters, because they'd like to feature them in their runway shows starting March 11th.

*faints*  *hits head on floor*


So I stitched 6 sample sweaters for them:
Two samples of my Weasley Monogram embroidery on British wool sweaters
I'm just about dying waiting for the show and the photos that the organizer will send of MY sweaters on the runway.
The Classic Fred and Ron
I mean, how can I possibly contain my excitement?  A little lady from Michigan makes a sweater, which is shipped to Tokyo, and appears in a RUNWAY show?  For boutiques and shops there to place orders from?  Which I will then receive from the organizer and I quote "have three months to finish the order and ship it out".........  UM YES.  I'm having a hard time sleeping.
Two more sweaters.  I offer them here, you know.

So that was the first thing.  THEN!!!! I had a wonderful customer contact me via Etsy, and ask if I could make her a hat to cover her Necomimi headset.  My first question was "I'm really not that hip, so could you explain what a Necomimi headset is?"

Apparently, they are HUGE in Japan.  And with geekery folks and techies. Biofeedback cat ears that move with your emotions:
Necomimi Store

So, I did a search, found the specs for the dimensions of the thing, and WHAMMO!  Knit up a hat for her.  Turns out, I am the ONLY one in the world who makes them.  :)

My hat, modeled by Tracy, a fabulous customer.  Available here.
Have I sold one yet, besides the original?  Well...... no.  BUT!  Last night, the company who created the Necomimi headsets, Neuroware, PINNED and promoted my hat on facebook.  Oh boy, says I.  This means I'm going to be huge in Japan.

Again, as in all that I create, I never know what will be a hit, and what a time-sucking masterful pile.  But at least there is HOPE.

So here I sit, hoping.  I'll keep you updated.  Unless nothing happens, and then I'll leave you wondering, as I drink bottles of wine on the couch, watching old episodes of Dr. Who.


Edited to Add:  Nothing happened.  I'm NOT big in Japan.  :(  No more sweaters were ordered following the fashion show (to high of a price point for the buyers..)  And apparently, the need for Necomimi headset hats is not a very big niche.  More like a niche of .......... 1.