Must be in the genes

May 10, 2016 Leave a comment

Mother’s Day was this past Sunday, and I recalled ballet lessons when I was very little and living in Japan. I must have been about 3 or 4. As I twirled around with the other toddlers in our leotards, Mom (who is Japanese) and some other mothers sat at tables and made dolls.

These dolls still grace her home in large glass cases, and these photos were taken with a smart phone and hardly do the real things justice.

Mother and daughter

Samurai

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Being Mother’s Day, many of us older kids have problems with trying to come up with unique gifts. What do you give someone who has everything they need and want? Of course, we give flowers and chocolates, but what is a meaningful gift?

I found a pattern here. It was perfect for trying my hand at making an Amigurumi Kokeshi for my mom. Kokeshi are Japanese dolls. According to wikipedia, their design originates from Northern Japan, and they are traditionally handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The body has a floral design painted in red, black, and sometimes yellow, and covered with a layer of wax.

Although I strayed from the traditional appearance a bit, I managed to make a little Kokeshi for mom for Mother’s Day. It does not compare to her elaborate creations, but it did put a smile on her face, and that’s all that matters.

kokeshi

Happy making!

Passion, stress, and other goings-ons

May 2, 2016 Leave a comment

passion

I found the image above this morning on Simon Sinek on Facebook, and shared it as my Monday motivation.  I realize I haven’t had any new posts on this blog since JANUARY.  I have my reasons.  Mostly work, school, family stuff, and crocheting.

Due to my work and school schedule, I’ve changed my Etsy shop’s “promoted listings” to max out at $0.02 per promoted listing.  This means none of my listings are being promoted.  This is okay with me at this point.  I make very few sales on Etsy, and my monthly promoted listings bill runs $15-$35 per month, if not more.  Most of my sales come from craft shows, and the Etsy shop is a great link for my business cards – it gives potential customers a place to go if they want to make a purchase in the future or if they pass my card along to a friend.  But I don’t have the time (nor desire) to heavily promote it.

Speaking of craft shows, my husband and I attended the Phoebus Spring Fling on April 23 in Hampton, VA.  Our booth was well stocked and we met a lot of people, including two owl crazies like me, and one fellow crochet addict.  That’s what I love most about attending the shows.  Meeting people and talking about our craft or about owls.  🙂  Selling is nice too, but the contact is the best!

I’m nearing the end of the Spring semester of school, and finishing up on school-ish things and preparing for an anniversary vacation and the wedding of my husband’s son coming up in a couple of weeks.  Summer semester begins in June, and really, all I do is study, crochet and workout in my free time.

springfling

I’m getting excited about the Newport News Fall Festival of Folk Life coming up October 1-2, and have some projects in mind for the coming months.  I think I have plenty of owl pillows, so I want to focus on more Americana type items as well as maybe some toy cats, dogs, bears, etc …  Lots to do.


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I’ll try to post more during this coming year.  Yarn is great.  Creating is my passion, but I have to work to support it.  I want to crochet but I need to work to crochet.  Catch 22.

-Kim

Holiday decorations with K-cups

January 9, 2016 Leave a comment

I like to recycle, and although I enjoy the convenience of k-cup individual coffee and tea (and now soups, hot chocolate, etc), I dislike the wastefulness.   I keep the empty and washed out used k-cups and have tried to think of creative things to do with them.

Here is one project.

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Paint the k-cups with gold spray paint.

Using red paint and a stencil, paint letters to spell MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Leave three k-cups plain gold to place one in front, in the middle and at the end of the decoration.

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Once the k-cups are dry, decorate away.  Above is an example.  Since the space was a little crowded, it’s out of order, but you get the drift.

I am trying to think of more projects to use k-cups in making cool things.

What have YOU created with used k-cups?

Happy making!

-Kim

Nothing is really work …

July 9, 2015 1 comment

I’m on my lunch break at my real job, and browsing through my Hooked On Whimsy Twitter Feed, when I see this:

I chewed on that for a while.

It’s true, isn’t it?

When I go out for a jog in the morning, that’s WORK.  I would rather be at home, just getting up and sipping my coffee.

When I am in my office at my job, that’s WORK.  Although I am efficient and professional in my duties to my employer, I would rather be crocheting or working on some creative project.

When I’m crocheting, that’s NOT WORK.  It’s what I want to do.

During the past few months, I’ve been reading and reading about how to be successful at selling handmade products online.  I found this very informative “Quit Your Day Job” series article on etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/quit-your-day-job-midwest-crochet/22605971015.  I have also been reading about how to effectively use social media.  I’ve been reading people’s blog posts.  I’ve been looking at the type and quality of work other crafters (not just crochet) sell.

After all of the reading and studying I’ve been doing, I have come up with some goals for the next five years:

  • Improve my skills by using new techniques in fiber arts, which mostly means I will expand and perfect my crochet skills.
  • Create a separate etsy shop and sell patterns for my original designs.
  • List at least ten new items in my etsy shop each month.
  • Attend at least one craft fair each year.  (This year will be my third year participating in the Newport News Fall Festival of Folk Life, and I plan to keep going unless they say no.)
  • Engage in conversations with other crafters and creators in my social media networks.

Seems like a lot for someone who works full time and is enrolled in a Master’s Degree program.  But I want to see a road before me that leads to a place where I am doing what I love for my full-time job.  And for people who sell crocheted and knitted items online, that could mean 70+ hours per week.   I don’t mind the hours.  I currently work 40 hours a week at my JOB, and then another 20-30 hours per week at home crocheting.

The “J.M. Barrie” of the quote mentioned was an artist:  an author and playwright.  Although his list of works is long, he gained the most fame from the character and related stories of Peter Pan.

Some people have predominantly logical and practical ways of approaching life.  Me?  I’m a dreamer.  Always have been.

But with a little logical and practical preparation, I might also, one day, enjoy a full time job that isn’t really work.

Go … make something!

happy

Getting ready for another fall festival and other random thoughts

July 6, 2015 Leave a comment

I read other people’s blogs fairly regularly, and decided that I need to be more consistent with my own.  Not that I think anyone is really interested in what I’m thinking.  But, I am interested in sharing what’s going on in my head, and maybe writing it all down will help with the information overload stewing in my brains!  Plus, maybe some of  my ideas will spark your own! 

iusb_760x100.15435685_ttkgI just love the Newport News Fall Festival of Folklife held the first weekend of every October in Newport News Park, Newport News Virginia.  This will be my third year participating and the festival’s 42nd year.

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According to the Newport Nephonepouchws Parks, Recreation and Tourism website, the festival is “Southeast Virginia’s biggest traditional craft show features over 200 vendors, traditional crafts and trades, folk entertainment, food vendors ($), and children’s activities.$10.00 per car parking fee. See below for 2015 Applications for the Juried & Marketplace Area (handmade crafts), Heritage Area (traditional craft & trade displays and demonstrations), and Country Store Area (“farmers market” items including canned goods and fresh produce).”

So far, I have mostly made owl pillows which I also feature in my Etsy shop.  I close my shop during the festival, and after the festival ends, I deactivated the items on Etsy which sold during the festival.Although I would idIMAG2442(1)eally like to sell only on Etsy, it is a difficult thing to do when my budget is limited and doesn’t allow me to pay for Etsy’s promotional services.  I am relying on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, and to some degree, Instagram.  Of course, shares on Facebook are helpful, and I really appreciate it when a follower of my shop’s Facebook page shares a photo, or when a friend of mine shares one of my shop shares.  (does that make sense?)

My goal is to finish 30 more pillows between now and the festival (which will give me an inventory of about 85 pillows), and also to make a few dozen washcloths, phone pouches, and little pumpkins.  It helps that I love to crochet!

pumpkins

I ordered a set of tunisian crochet hooks which should be arriving today, and I want to make more phone pouches (like the one pictured above, made with “Autumn Stripes” variegated acrylic yarn by I Love This Yarn, available at Hobby Lobby).  I want to make them using the Tunisian Knit Stitch, instead of single crochet.  I think the result will be a more polished look for the pouches.  I am also considering using the Tunisian Knit Stitch on a rectangular owl pillow for a “knitted” look.

Meanwhile, I am also trying to diversify the “Whimsy” on my Etsy shop.  I’ve been considering creating whimsical stencils for painting on fabrics and introducing whimsical, fashionable scarves and accessories.  I’ve also been thinking about creating whimsical embellishments to take it a step further, and am very interested in trying out Mod Podge Molds.

I really like the Mod Podge website.  So many crafty ideas!  My head might explode!

SAM_1889

Categories: Uncategorized

Second Fall Festival for second sweet success

November 3, 2014 1 comment

This past year, I crocheted about 60-70 owl pillows. I mixed it up a bit by using the same general pattern and making penguins, cats, cows, bears and pigs. But most of the pillows are still owls. I just love owls.

This is my pre-show stash.

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Here are some photos from the 2014 Fall Festival of Folklife in Newport News, Virginia which took place October 4-5. My husband and I had a fun time talking to visitors and vendors alike, and we are hoping to do it again next year!

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First festival sweet success for Hooked On Whimsy

October 8, 2013 Leave a comment

On October 5-6, my Etsy shop, Hooked on Whimsy set up shop at the 40th Annual Newport News Festival of Folklife.

Hooked on Whimsy tent

My boyfriend and I went to the Fall Festival last year and despite the chilly, gloomy weather, we enjoyed the craft vendors, the beautiful handcrafts in the marketplace and the juried areas, the heritage craft offerings like iron works, pottery and quilts, and of course, the festival food and live outdoor concerts. After our visit, and much thinking, discussing and praying, I decided to apply to be a crafter. I submitted my application with a CD which contained three images to 1) depict how I would set up my exhibit with the examples of items I have made, 2) detail the quality of my work, and 3) depict me actually making one of my items. I put it all together in an envelope with my $10 check and dropped it off before the deadline at Newport News Parks and Recreation.

Several months passed before I heard back that my application was accepted. What a delightful day that was! I dropped off my check for the $150 marketplace crafter fee and began to crochet like a crazy person.

Inventory:

After making about 40 owl pillows, I decided to make the smaller owl magnets, in order to offer items in my craft tent that appealed to all budgets. The pillows are $20 each and the magnets are $3 each (the same as my etsy prices). I also made mid-range items like snowmen, Christmas tree, and jack o’lantern toilet paper covers, and my happy little pumpkins, and pumpkin card holders.

Owl pillow

Logistics:

The festival only provided the 10′ square tent space (and electricity too, if requested and necessary). That meant I needed a tent and some long tables. Fortunately, I am blessed to know people who own 10′ tents, so I borrowed a tent from a friend. My church approved my borrowing of two eight foot tables, and another friend loaned us a smaller table. I added a couple of camp chairs, a borrowed cash box, and my display cases, and we were in business. In addition to the logistics of set-up, a friend of mine volunteered to help “man” the booth for us to give us a break on Saturday to grab a bite to eat and walk through the festival to see the other vendors. Her presence was pretty awesome, and it gave us a much needed break.

Appearance:

The Dollar Tree was the place to shop for some plastic table coverings. However, after this first festival, I will be investing in some heavier flocked and durable table cloths. The plastic ones blew in the breeze, and I wanted them to hide the totes I was storing underneath. I also picked up a couple of owl stakes from Michaels, and ordered a banner and business cards from Vista Print (I just love Vista Print!) We also picked up some cookie sheets from the Dollar Tree and affixed them against the display case to show off the magnets. This worked very well, and at a dollar each, was a great (cheap) way to display the magnets.

Entrance of our tent

Setup:

We went to the festival the afternoon before opening, and set up the tent (with banner) and tables. We were hesitant to leave products overnight. The next morning, we arrived at the festival at 7:20 a.m., dropped off everything else, parked the truck in the vendor parking area, and took a tram back to the festival area (nice service). We spent the next couple of hours fussing over how to set up the products to draw people into the tent. I think we did a good job because our items definitely drew people. Next year, I might include some small shelves to place outside the tent area, which is what I noticed a neighboring vendor of ours did. Boy did they attract a lot of people with their setup – I’m going to have to try that!

Happy owl owner

Overall, we had a good time. It was tiring, but fun. I told my boyfriend that if I had a dollar for every time I heard “That is so cute!” in the tent, we would be bazillionaires! I think the key, though, was that we went in with no expectations for the first festival. If I sold enough merchandise to recoup the cost to come to the festival, I would have been satisfied, but would probably not come back. We did very well, and we are definitely planning to return to the Newport News Fall Festival of Folklife in 2014 (God willing!).

Categories: crafts, crochet, Holidays
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