Saturday, March 29, 2008

Latte Neck Cozy Part 2 - Riddled With Frustration

Well let's just say that I started this "new" project...over two months ago. The Latte Neck Cozy was supposed to be my pride and joy! Yet I find myself battling procrastination. The problem is that it is taking too long to complete. For some unexplainable reason, the neck cozy is not coming together as I expected. Literally, I have taken it apart and started over 3 times.

The first time I started over, I was 3/4 of the way finished. That is before I realized that I was crocheting in the wrong direction! Meaning... when I tried t pick the project up and begin where I stopped the previous night I began crocheting on the wrong side of the cozy. What the #@%$#%^%? So I unraveled the entire thing and began again.

The second time, I kept dropping stitches! Granted this is a different type of yarn - it changes widths throughout the skein ranging from less than 1/4 of an inch to 3/4 of an inch. But I didn't have this problem the first time, so why now? Needless to say, I unraveled the neck cozy again.

I have started the project AGAIN, but with little progress. I am no longer excited about my Latte Neck Cozy. This is a really simple project - I cannot believe I am experiencing such difficulties. Aaaggghhh!!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Kaleidoscope Style Promotion

Check out the feature below on Kaleidoscope Style. If you decide to purchase an item from this great Etsy shop make sure you reference "TABIHATS" to receive a 10% discount off the cost of your order. Additionally, to sweeten the pot, If you purchase from TabiHats and reference "KALEIDOSCOPE" you will receive a 10% discount off the cost of your order.

This is how it works:
  1. When visiting Kaleidoscope Style, just put in 'TABIHATS' in the message to seller.
  2. When visiting TabiHats, just put in "KALEIDOSCOPE" in the message to seller.
  3. The shop owner will send a revised invoice!

Happy Shopping!!!

Confessions of a Craft Show Organizer

I just had an opportunity to read the greatest article published in the Minnesota entitled "Confessions of a Craft Show Organizer" by Patricia Hoskins. This wonderful article discusses the different types of craft shows, the pros and cons of each, what you should expect from a craft show and how you can get involved. I'm definitely filing this one away for future use!

The author, Patricia Hoskins, owns Crafty Planet in Minneapolis and is one of the founders of the hugely successful annual craft show, No-Coast-Craft-O-Rama. Crafty Planet is an independent craft store dedicated to fiber crafts - knitting, sewing, fabrics, patterns, etc. Their brick and mortar location holds classes for beginners and advanced crafters alike. Not to mention the online store offers a wide variety of items to satisfy all of your shopping needs.

After reading the article, I found the list of resources contained at the end to be extremely helpful. For your reading pleasure, I have inserted that section below. To read the article in its entirety, follow this link:



Craft show directories

ACE Guide: Predominantly "traditional" craft fairs; good commentary on the included shows (fees, what price ranges sell best, etc).
FestivalNet: A bit more comprehensive, but full access requires a subscription.
Midwest Art Fairs: Focused exclusively on the Midwest region; quite comprehensive. Full access requires a subscription, but your local library may carry the print version.
Indie Craft Shows: Specifically limited to listings of "indie"/alternative craft fairs.
Sunshine Artist Magazine Directory: In addition to the listings, there's a nice archive of articles on topics of interest to craft vendors.

Local indie craft shows (the Minnesota area)

These are my favorites, but of course there are lots of other opportunities locally and regionally:

No Coast Craft-o-rama (typically in December)
Craftstravaganza (typically in April)
Handmaiden Minneapolis (quarterly)
Crafted Together (first annual in May 2008)

Craft business information & networking

The Switchboards: forum for "creative women" to discuss all kinds of business and creative topics.
American Crafts Council: An association promoting fine and contemporary craft.
Crafts Report: a trade journal targeted to the fine craft artisan, but chockfull of business tips and information

To discover additional resources, read the article in its entirety, by following this link:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Welcome to Kaleidoscope Style

In this week's feature I would like to direct your attention to Kaleidoscope Style. This great Etsy shop features fun, colorful felt accessories designed by two sisters from Germany - Katrin and Ina. Katrin moved to the US about 10 years ago, however, last year after a visit from Ina, the duo started their felt accessory line. Both sisters take credit for the designs found in their Etsy shop Kaleidoscope Style. "Now that she [Ina] is back in Germany, she sends me care packages with the pieces she creates there. I then use her designs to finish them into pendants, bracelets, necklaces…all kind of things." Many siblings have trouble spending the day together without aggravating one another, but not these two. Katrin wistfully looks forward to the day that Ina will be able to return to the US to resume their working relationship.

When asked to describe their craft style Katrin responded, "We like to have some fun with our designs! So we are happy with anything we create that puts a smile on our faces. We also love to work with lots of colors and patterns." When visiting their Etsy shop, the wonderful colors evoke happy feelings within me. I'm sure you would feel the same.

Katrin has been creating for longer than she can remember. Even though she has "meddled" in various types of crafts throughout the years, her first love is jewelry and accessories. Both Katrin and Ina find creative inspiration in everything they come in contact with. "We can be inspired by the movies we watch, our childhood or even by the materials we buy. Often I also think about possible designs while sitting in the dark holding my baby girl until she falls asleep. And my sister loves to design in front of the TV."
As a fellow crafter, I can certainly relate. I have been inspired in the middle of the night while sleeping, while in the shower, or in the midst of other creative people. Isn't it funny how creative people can be inspired by what seems to be mundane?

Presently, Katrin is a fulltime stay-at-home mom. This affords her the opportunity to spend a lot of time engaged in creative exploits. While Katrin would not classify her crafting status as a hobby it is not quite a fulltime job...yet. "For my sister, it is still a hobby, but I’m the one keeping up the shop and doing all the promoting." You can learn more about Katrin and Ina as well as their adventures in creativity by visiting "Cuteacious". Or simply visit Kaleidoscope Style the next time you are in the mood for a little accessory shopping.

I will leave you with one word of advice from the creators of Kaleidoscope Style ..."Just keep on doing your thing! You really have to stay on top of it and invest a lot of time promoting your shop. The customers won’t be able to come to you if you don’t put yourself out there to find."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Recycled Materials

I know I have been talking about utilizing recycled materials. Well, I finished several change purses, one of which is now listed in my Etsy shop.

So I thought, what the heck, I'll post here on my blog and share at least one of my favorites with you. This little change purse is made from 100% recycled wool.

The design is a beautiful red, green, and cream floral pattern. The same color scheme were used to create the checkerboard trim around the top of this cute little purse. Additionally, I have lined the change purse and added a snap to hold in all of the goodies.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Introducing Tats n' Knits

Have you ever been simply amazed by the work produced by extremely talented individuals? So amazed that you could not be satisfied until you had a better understanding of their work?

I experienced this recently when I saw the beautiful tatted pieces created by Pamela Quevedo. For at least 30 minutes, or so it seemed, I clicked on page after page, picture after picture, of the tatted pieces for sale in Pamela's Etsy shop - Tats n' Knits. Until that moment I had never been exposed to the art of tatting that dates back to the 19th century. After a quick Google search, I learned that tatting is a technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace constructed by a series of knots and loops (Wikipedia). Quite interestingly, tatting can be used to make lace edging as well as doilies, collars, and other decorative pieces. The lace is formed by a pattern of rings and chains formed from a series of lark's head (or half-hitch) knots, called double stitches (ds), over a core thread (Wikipedia).

Thankfully tatting was not a mystery to Pamela whose designs, elegantly showcased in Tats n' Knits, are often inspired by other artist's metal worked jewelry. "...mostly my designs come from vintage patterns reworked in 'my' style." A stay-at-home mom to two little girls, Pamela has a passion for edgy, modern, Gothic and vintage all rolled into one. "I've been crafting since early childhood, knitting, crochet, sewing and drawing. Tatting is simply the most recent craft I've taken up."

Looking at Pamela's designs, I was surprised by the fact that she has only been tatting for a few years. Tats n' Knits is bursting with necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other intricate pieces. "My children are my full time job, luckily they allow me time to tat every day." Honestly, I don't know how she does it all!
Whenever I feature amazing artists, I always ask, "What advice would you give to fellow crafters and Etsyians?" To this Pamela responded, "I don't know if I'm the best person to give advice, but the one thing I know is, if you make what you love making, then it doesn't matter how much or little you sell. I enjoy what I do and I've been lucky enough to find customers all over the world who do too!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Camera Difference

Let's just say...words cannot express my excitement! A few months ago, my digital camera went on the fritz. I was panicked about how I would be able to take pictures of my new hats and other children's accessories for my Etsy shop - TabiHats. Not to mention, I was worried about getting great shots for my blog.
Since the demise of my camera, I began purchasing and using, to my chagrin, disposable cameras. Let me just say...All cameras are NOT made equal! Even though they both proclaim to be 35 mm cameras. There were times when I would borrow a friend's camera to take pictures as well, but not as often as I would have liked - you know, it comes to a point when you feel guilty about borrowing something over and over and over again. Therefore, I would breakdown and purchase yet another disposable camera.
A few times, I used the kids digital camera. Definitely an improvement over the disposable, but I still was unable to capture the type of shot I desired.
Not any more! Last weekend, I purchased a Canon 580 digital camera and I am officially in love. There are so many gadgets that I am still learning how to use the camera. (Sure reading the instructions would be helpful, but I am a little too impatient.) I accidentally deleted pictures off last night - but that's alright - I have a new camera! It has been difficult to contain myself! At random times, I just whip out the camera to take random shots. Yes, I sound like a little kid - well I feel like one.

Now, getting back to "business." Let me just show you the difference... The picture at the beginning of the post was taken using a disposable 35 mm camera. The picture in the middle of the post was taken using one of the kid's cameras. The picture to the left was taken with my new Canon 580. Amazing difference!
  • The colors are vibrant.
  • The picture is clear.
  • The image is sharp.

Just wait until I figure out how to use all of the gadgets. My pictures will soon be unbelievable!

Monday, March 17, 2008

TabiHats Retail Sales?

This spring my goal is to locate children's boutiques who might be interested in carrying TabiHats children's accessories. This is my first venture of the sort and find that I am somewhat nervous about approaching local business owners.

While the worst they could say is "No" they could also say "Yes". In my humble opinion, a "Yes" is probably even scarier. A "Yes" opens the door to many currently unanswered questions. Questions like:
  1. Do I offer items on consignment?
  2. Should I price differently?
  3. Will I be required to maintain a specific amount of products within the location?
  4. What happens if something is damaged while on the premises?
  5. Am I responsible for setting up a special display?
  6. Should I set up a special display?
  7. How do I collect money for items sold?

I would love to hear from sellers of handmade products who have successfully established this type of arrangement. What advice would you give to a newbie?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Meet Jennifer Ladd

Needlework is a broad term for the handicrafts of decorative sewing and textile arts (Wikipedia). This definition immediately puts me in mind of Jennifer Ladd who makes handmade bags, purses, and baby items in the online shop that bears her namesake - "Jennifer Ladd".

A former French teacher turned stay-at-home-mom Jennifer opened her Etsy shop in December 2007. When asked about selling online, Jennifer cheerfully stated, "I am LOVING the experience!" Her handmade bags, purses, and baby items carry a common theme - bright colors and funky patterns. "I strive to pay attention to all the details of my pieces, such as adding cool linings or surprise ribbon accents to the inside pockets." Yet Jennifer admits, "I also love simplicity, sleek lines, and modern design." When asked, "What inspires you?" It was no surprise when Jennifer responded, "pretty colors and pretty patterns." This is evident in the various completed projects - baby booties, purses, bibs, etc. I could not help but laugh when Jennifer went on to say, "when I see beautiful color combinations, my brain does a happy dance."

I learned that Jennifer has been sewing for longer than even she can remember. "My mom says I started when I was 3 - I think she's exaggerating!" Amazingly, Jennifer learned to sew by watching her grandmother and then replicating what she did to make clothes for her dolls. Let's just say, I attempted to learn to sew in my 7th grade Home Economics class and have yet to produce anything close to the beauty and perfection of the items found in Jennifer's shop. Speaking from personal experience, Jennifer possesses a natural talent.

"My dream job was to run my own business and sell my handmade items." Now that Jennifer is a stay-at-home mom she will have the opportunity to turn a former hobby into a successful business. Although, Jennifer's first love will always be her daughter whom she and her husband adopted last summer from Vietnam. Visit her personal Flickr site at to see this proud mom's bundle of joy.
You can admire and purchase Jennifer Ladd designs online at or if you live in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area at:
  • The Paper Boat Boutique
  • Milwaukee Fasten Collective
  • Milwaukee MoCo Market
Jennifer's advice to fellow crafters and Etsy Sellers... "Have fun with what you are doing. Don't get so caught up in the sales and the hearts and the money that you stop having fun. We have the best job on earth! Enjoy creating!"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Latte Neck Cozy

I am working on my next project for mom or possibly big sister, aunt, or cousin. As I stated previously, I have this unnatural affection towards neck cozies - which I have yet to determine the appropriate name. Neck cozy? Scarflette? Neckwarmer? Help! Because I see these terms used interchangeably, I'm not sure.
Anyway, I am using a Lion Brand Yarn called Bolero. It is both a thick-and-thin all-wool yarn. According to the Lion Brand website Bolero also "works up quickly and felts beautifully." Just a few other facts about Bolero:
  • Weight Category: 6 - Super Bulky: Bulky, Roving Yarn
  • 3.50 oz./100 g (55 yd/50 m)
  • 100% Wool
  • Gauge:Knit: 6 stitches by 8 rows = 4" (10 cm) with US #19 (15 mm) needles
  • Crochet: 4 sc by 5 rows = 4" (10 cm) with size Q-19 ( hook

The Bolero yarn comes in a variety of colors; however, I have chosen the "Latte". Latte is a beautiful mixture of cream and brown. I cannot wait to finish this project. The beauty of the yarn alone may cause me to keep the neck cozy for myself! Not to mention it is incredibly soft and thick.

The 100% wool fibers will felt if washed by machine in hot water; therefore special care instructions are required. Bolero requires hand washing in cool or warm water; dry flat and not by machine. Additionally, no bleach or iron.

If you use Bolero yarn, share your project. To be featured on TabiHats feel free to comment your name, contact email address, and project type for approval.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Meet Peacoxcreations!

I am pleased to present to you "peacoxcreations" - baskets, babies, and beyond. A quaint Etsy shop founded by Patti Cox-Charles. When talking to Patti, I was interested in the origins of the name of this Etsy shop where you can find handmade christening gowns, handwoven baskets, hats and scarf sets, and more. A brief inquiry revealed, "The name "peacoxcreations" comes from P. Cox, [Patti's] first initial and last name before she remarried"

Patti, the "P" in "peacoxcreations" describes her style as eclectic. The lover of many crafts, this fiber artist always has several projects going on at one time. "I've loved crocheting and knitting for many years, but I consider pine needle basketry my favorite art form." Patti is inspired by the beautiful things she finds around her - a claim not everyone can make.

I asked Patti if she creates full time or if her passion is a hobby. Her reply... "It's a hobby. Since some of my crochet projects, such as the christening gowns, and many of the baskets take me up to (and above) 40 hours to make, I could never do this for a living." All I can say is... amazing! Patti began crafting almost 60 year ago - longer than most of my blog readers have been around. Including myself! She caught the crafting bug from her mother and admits to an insatiable desire to create things.

You can learn more about Patti on her blog at A must read - Patti's blog contains tidbits about family, friends, and crafting (not necessarily in that order). Oh, yes... It's also about writing her book!

When asked, "what advice would you give fellow crafters?" Patti eloquently responded, "Love what you do; life is too short to do otherwise." Visit this fantastic Etsy shop - you'll love it!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Neck Cozy/Scarflette/Neckwarmer

I had never seen neck cozies also known as scarflettes also known as neckwarmers until recently. Now that's all I have been thinking about is creating one.

In honor of my new found passion, I am sharing the first of many. Quaintly named "Cedar Rose" after the color of the yarn, I have been tickled pink since I completed this little number. It buttons on the diagonal with two wooden buttons.

Made with Patons "Nuance" yarn, this neck cozy/scarflette/neckwarmer is comprised of multiple textures. The yarn itself contains: wool, acrylic, mohair, and metallic thread! I absolutely love this yarn and cannot wait to make another piece using it.

If you make neck cozies/scarflettes/neckwarmers let me know via comment or email. I would love to feature your design on my blog.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Shop Advertising - PennySaverUsa

As new business owners we are always looking for opportunities to promote our shops and businesses. The old adage promotes spending money to make money and we all know that advertising can be expensive. So what do you do if you are a small business? A start-up business? A home business? Or a business with not a lot of cashflow?

If you are like me, you search for any and every opportunity to find free or as close to free advertising as possible. TabiHats sells only handmade products for infants and children and is forced to compete with large retailers like Macy's, Gymboree, Gap Kids and Limited Too. Who sell similar, but might I add NOT so unique and NOT so cute as TabiHats. To survive advertising is essential.

My latest find is PennySaverUsa.Com who provides many advertising services...some of them free. Both registration and ad creation is quick and easy. Once approved your add goes into a search database. I just set up my first free ad today and await approval.

1. - After a quick tour of their website, I learned that is part of the Harte Hanks PennySaverShopper family, the world's largest shopping magazine delivered via US mail. The PennySaver has been a household name in California for over 37 years. Delivered to Over 9 Million Households. Their web site ( offers numerous promotional opportunities whose readership is audited by Media Audit, Houston Texas, one of the largest syndicated research companies in the country.

The PennySaver offers multiple products to introduce your business to potential shoppers. According to the website, "Getting our readers to your web site can be increased dramatically by making use of our marketing tools." For more details, click here.

If you decide to try this advertising medium come back and comment on your experience.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

TabiHats Boutique

Tabihats will begin officially selling products from its new site...TabiHats Boutique. Now, you will be able to purchase TabiHats unique, handmade knit hats, hair accessories, mittens and more from both my Etsy shop and the site - Tabihats Boutique.

As you can tell this site has undergone some construction. Hope you like the new look. Nevertheless, this site will continue to be dedicated to arts and crafts, with a heavy focus on needlework. Not to mention anything of interest to handmade artist - from promotions, to new shops, to new products. In addition, if you would like to be a guest author for TabiHats the blog, feel free to contact me via email at