Author Archive

Today, I received a copy of Sew Liberated that I had ordered from Interweave back when they had their “Broken and Distressed” book sale.  When I first received my shipment, they had forgotten to include that book.  The order had taken so long in the first place because I had ordered it before the Canada Post mail strike.

So, today, it was a nice surprise to receive it in the mail.  The book consists of different patterns that include patchwork.  There is clothes (a neat skirt, a retro looking apron), household items (patchwork on linens) and fun bags.  The bag that jumped out at me was the market bag.  It’s probably due to the fact that I’ve harvested 9 (yes, 9!) zucchinis from my community garden plot.  I also have lots of cherry tomatoes (although the kids are eating them faster than I can pick them LOL), beans and peas that are ready.  I picked a green pepper and two cucumbers.  I even made some pesto with my basil last week.  Ah, I am in gardening heaven!  If only I had a great market bag to carry those fresh veggies…;)

 From daisypatchdesigns

Strawberry knit crochet set of 5 children toy food red green
Strawberry knit crochet set of 5 children toy food red green Strawberry knit crochet set of 5 children toy food red green Strawberry knit crochet set of 5 children toy food red green Strawberry knit crochet set of 5 children toy food red green Strawberry knit crochet set of 5 children toy food red green
These handknit and crocheted strawberries were featured in CarlaDyck’s Foodie Treasury.  Her Treasury also features local Winnipeg WEST team handcrafters.  Kinda makes you hungry 😛

Now that the warm weather has set in, I am finding it really hard to pick up those knitting needles.  I also have to life-sized dolls that I can dress (aka my kids LOL), so I am having a great time finding sewing websites.  Among my favourites these days are the following:

MADE: There is a great sewing pattern for kids’ shorts.  My son is a slim size 6 so I used her tutorial to adjust the pattern by tracing a pair of his shorts.  I used “scrap” fabric that I had hanging around as a prototype and it worked wonderfully.

Everything Etsy: 101 sewing tutorials for summer – lots and lots of different projects to try!

Ruffles and Stuff: I love the photos and the projects on this site.  Great tutorials on how to make ruffles!

The Craft Blog: From the Canadian Living website, it features all sorts of different projects, not only sewing but also knitting, crocheting and much more.

What are your top picks?

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I just received an email from Lion Brand Yarn featuring the following Harry Potter patterns:

Wrapped Wand Knit Capelet of Invisibility
Wrapped Elder Wand
Crochet Resurrection Stone Ring
Crochet Resurrection Stone Ring Knit Capelet of Invisibility

My son is a bit too young to watch Harry Potter, but he loves superheroes and magic, so he may enjoy the wand.  It is simply a dowel wrapped with yarn.  If you wanted something really knarly looking, I would use a tree branch.  The capelet is really cool looking too.  I bet you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to pull that off. 😉

Ever since I opened my Etsy shop, I’ve been combing the Internet for ideas on how to market my shop for free.  I’m not ready to put some cold hard cash into marketing just yet, although this may change in the future.  I think there are plenty of creative ways to promote your shop without shelling out any dough. 

Here’s what I’ve done up to now:

Free business cards and return address labels through Vistaprint

Although this option is not quite free, if you play your cards right, you can get free products and pay only for shipping.  I put my shop’s website address and my contact info on the front.  I did not yet have this blog or my Facebook page when I first ordered these so I write that information on the back.  When I send out an order, I include a few cards for the buyer to share with others.

Facebook and Twitter

I have my blog set up to automatically post my blog entries to both of these social media sites.  I must admit that I don’t often get a chance to update each of these sites individually which is something I’d like to do more often.  I’m still trying to get a hang of the best way to use Facebook to promote my Etsy shop.  There is an Etsy application that you can use on Facebook which displays your new listings.  I’m still trying to figure out Twitter and how to best utilize this tool. 

Re-listing items and adding one new item per week

Back in May, I tried listing one new item per week, and then renewing listings so that I had a new listing everyday.  By using Craftopolis, it makes this task easier and I find that with the updated listing tool on Etsy, it is all that much quicker to list new items. 

My next steps:

  • Try to blog everyday and hold one giveaway per month;
  •  Try a Google Ads through a free promotion I received;
  • Update my Facebook page more regularly;
  • Promote my products on other websites;
  • Visit like-minded sites and leave comments;
  • Tweak my photos;
  • Make more items.

We’ll see how all of that goes.  Hope it’s not too much of a tall order 😉

So what do you to promote your Etsy shop that has worked well with you.






I receive the FaveCrafts newsletter via email and was surprised to see the subject line: 174 days until Christmas.  As if I didn’t have enough to do, that I have to start worrying about getting things done for Christmas? LOL

I understand that some people go nuts for Christmas.  I even have some friend who have a “Christmas in July” party, complete with a cooked turkey.  I’m not too sure where they find that at this time of year, mind you.  I also can’t imagine cooking a bird in this heat, but idea is fun.

Our summers are so short and mosquito filled that I just want to make the most of being out in the nice weather.  The only creativity I can muster when it hot out is dedicated to sewing summer outfits for me or my kids.   I don’t know about you, but 174 days does not send me into a tailspin.  However, I do have those unfinished knit Christmas stockings I need to get to before December…

This evening, after a very busy day at the park, my kids and I went to water the community garden.  Boy, were we in for a treat!  Lo and behold, there were some hot air balloons being set up for flight in Whittier Park, right next to our community garden patch.  Instead of helping me water, the children decided to go check out the hot air balloons. 

Well,  they had a prime seat.  I wish I had my camera…I’m sure it’s a moment in time that they will never forget (and nor will I ;).  They sat as close as they could safely be, right beside the hot air balloon that was slowly being filled and slowly raised up.  The whole process probably took about half an hour (I managed to water and plant a few last minute seeds while this was taking place).   They actually got to see people climb into the basket and wave “aurevoir” to them as the hot air balloon slowly ascended into the sky. 

What a beautiful evening!

When we moved in to our house, there was a small patch of strawberries growing in the garden against the garage.  Unfortunately, there were a couple of large trees in our neighbour’s yard overshadowing the little garden patch, so after trying to grow vegetables in that area, I finally gave up and decided to go the container gardening route and let the strawberries go wild.  Well, after 6 years, the small patch now spans the width of our one car garage.  This week, I picked one large bowlful of strawberries every day.  You can’t find anything more local than your own backyard.

As an ode to my plentiful strawberry patch that has made my children and me quite happy this week, I knit up a set of toy strawberries with crocheted calix.  Here are photos of the real thing and the not so real ones. 😉  Can you tell the difference?




If you like this set, it is listed in my Etsy shop:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/77045677/strawberry-knit-crochet-set-of-5

Mention that you saw this on my blog and I’ll ship it to you for free.

I checked out my backyard garden and the plants are looking  great.  Some of the seeds I planted last week are actually coming up.  I think we had a good mix of rain and hot weather in the past week that were just right to make things pop out of the earth.  Here are a few photos for your enjoyment. (Please don’t look at the weeds. 😦 I’ll try to get to that this weekend…)  The upside down plant is an experiment.  I’m trying to grow zucchini in the “topsy-turvy” planter.  We’ll see how that goes.

Summer is finally upon us.  So far, it’s been a mix of gorgeous sunny days and cold rainy ones.  I anticipate that this is what our summer will look like.  I started thinking about things to keep my kids busy and to get them to stop watching tv.  This may prove to be a challenge seeing my husband is leaving for Africa for a month to attend his sister’s wedding but I figure that if I’m prepared, it should be okay (famous last words – LOL).

Keeping in mind that I have a 5 year old and a 2 year old with different levels of abilities, here are my top picks:

  • playdough
  • helping to bake something
  • drawing, colouring, using stickers
  • “painting” with bingo dabbers
  • painting and decorating rocks with poster paints
  • visiting the library

During my daughter’s naptime, I will have more flexibility to do more involved crafts with my son.  I love picking up craft kits from the dollar store.  I found lots of great ones last year in anticipation of going to the cottage.  He is hooked on making God’s Eyes so I think more of these are in our future. 😉

So what do you do to keep your kids busy on rainy days?