Thursday, January 31, 2008

Every day is different

I am pretty much stuck at home today, without 4-W-D. Yesterday I had set my mind on spring crafts and was going to retire my thick yarns until next fall, but life in general and the weather are just so unpredictable. I sold about 6 hats within a few short hours.

I started a shopping bag made with recycled grocery plastic bag and it really was a struggle first since it's a completely new medium to crochet with. It doesn't have any give like yarn and I have set the half-finished bag to the side for now and I am back to make new hats.
As always, I use my own patterns and construction methods since I have crocheted for so many years, but I got inspiration and ideas on how to prepare the plastic yarn at

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Time for Creativity

If you have experienced a very good sales time before Christmas you may (or may not) encounter a slower phase at the beginning of the year. Even though my sales keep on coming in it's not comparable to the pre-holiday sales. It takes some time to adjust because a business owner easily gets used to effortless selling. The crafter may actually embrace the slower time as it sets time free for new creations.
I have taken a sketch book and wrote down my random ideas that pop up in my head constantly. Usually I don't realize most of them, but have made a list of new things to try. As I am pretty much emphasizing on one handmade product (hats) it may be fruitful to broaden my designs for an all-year-around buying audience. These days (it's still January and winter has not left us yet) I have come up with new crown designs, it's a blast to leave the conventional paths and just experiment with shapes and embellishments. The picture shows a large tam with ornamental crown pattern. I love this more elaborate style and it's a pretty addition to solid unisex tams.
I'll be happy to share some recycled projects soon, besides new summer hats.
Browsing the internet for some business advice and help for small business owners, I have come across this article which talks about "Five Things To Do When Sales Are Slow":
For further reading check out

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Work in progress -- Spring cotton doily tam

Preview of new designs: tams based on vintage doilies, created with strong cottons but with a delicate and breezy feeling. Translating the playful doily into the tam design with no further frills.
Spring is in the air today and Sid and I went on a little road trip through rural areas of neighbor counties. We were daydreaming about getting a small piece of land by a river or with a pond and create a close-by weekend getaway, totally secluded and 100% country. Actually we'll look into the market this coming week and see how much our dream would cost and what's out there.
After all, right now is a buyer's market and what can be more substantial and of lasting value than land. I see so many possibilities of organic gardening and growing a lot of our own food.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Slow and Introspective Days

Hello friends, I have a lot of time on hands these days. My beloved little Saturn gave up on a cold night and needed to be hauled into a repair shop with a wrecker because there was "no spark" anymore. This left me pretty much stranded at home.
The last quarter of the month is usually a slow month for every business, so, orders were scarce and I had the chance to round up all these unfinished projects. I finally kicked myself in the behind and listed them in my Etsy shop. More to come as I have procrastinated taking pictures for the whole month of January. It was a much needed break after Christmas, but it's time to fire up again:)
This afternoon I will attend a Native American sweat lodge ceremony and pray for a good year.
2008 started in a weird way for me, not really bad, but a little bit on the bumpy side. I just had another big dentist bill in the mail box yesterday. And this doesn't include the upcoming teeth extractions yet. And my little Saturn will cost me some $$$, too.
Our son moved from Idaho back to Oklahoma and started a new job. He stays in my hubby's craftroom which has been quickly transformed into a little bedroom. Well, Sid's computer equipment and desk has been moved to our bedroom for the meanwhile. Clint will look for his own place once his paychecks come rolling in. I enjoy having him at home. A tansitional phase for our family these days.
I need to think spring and start sewing again since the demand for warm tams will get less with each month. But our low temperatures make it hard to develop this energetic "spring fever".
There is a life without a car. But it's a hobbit's life at home more or less, but coming from Germany where I did not always own a car, it's not such a big deal. And it has been promised to have it ready by Monday anyway.
Slow days can be a blessing if you embrace them and just let life take its course.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thrifting versus Ebay

So I am receiving all kind of packages these days, USPS, FedEx, UPS, and they all contain vintage aprons. It's amazing how different the feeling can be when you open the package, from "wow" to "wish I'd have never spent a penny on that one". Since there are more to come, I will just see how successful my bidding adventures will turn out overall. What always amazes me is that the thrift-stores are at the pulse of trends, it never fails. The 2 or 3 aprons that hang there are priced very high, and the shape isn't pristine either. Usually they are gone in a flash though.
A hot trendy vintage item is hard to come across. Off to making my own aprons? Yes, I think so. Some of these very old faded aprons will serve me as templates, this saves time and I don't need to prepare a pattern. I wish I knew what the next trend will be, so, I would get ahead of everyone else and buy the items now, cheaply, because, boy oh boy, trendy vintage can cost a buck!
(The above picture shows a pile of vintage aprons that I am very happy with)
Well, I found tons of great stuff at "my" thriftstore in town. None of the finds is probably a trendsetter, but everything is useful for future projects. (And some coolio clothes that just need to get tossed into the washer and look amazingly good)
- vintage serger thread cones, 5 big bags, poly and cotton, all different colors, a huge saving even though it was not half-off day.
- Macrame cord, will be used for bag and belt projects, I cannot knot:(
- crochet book with amazing patterns, 1970
- sewing patterns, very nice
- ribbons and laces, some craft ribbons to package my products, looks so much nicer than the Dollar store ribbons
- 80s sweater with batwing sleeves, wow, what a cool thing, I hope this trend will come back.
More skirts and tops, I think I got the first batch of "new" arrival T-shirts and blouses for this season, because it's still freezing and cold. Strangely there were no decent sweaters but a few.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Finishing my last winter projects

It's cold, but winter will hopefully leave us soon. I still have many projects that just need a few finishing touches. It's really time to get them listed or I need to store them until next fall.
This is a small collection of my new neckwarmer creations. More to come:)
After a very relaxing weekend it's time to get into gear again.
I was bidding on Ebay and I felt a bit like old times, when I was full of excitement to buy or sell on this auction place. Luckily I won several auctions, but some just went outrageously high. I had to pass. What did I buy? Will show and tell when the packages arrive:)

Martin Luther King -- "I have a dream"


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Digitally painted portait

of my daughter. Sid spent many hours digitally painting a picture that was taken around Christmas. It looks awesome! I really hope he will be able to make his dreams true: a Photography and Digital Art business once he can retire from his workplace.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Now what is so cool about aprons? Honestly, I don't know, but I love them. Do I wear them? Occasionally. I see them as a "fashion" statement away from the smart biz clothes and "polished" look that the media, style advisers and make-over shows try to push us women. An apron is something my grandma, my great-grand- mother and later my own mother used to wear daily over a simple slip or for protection over their sunday outfit...and I swore I would never be caught in one of them if I could help it. There goes the saying "Never say never". What used to be in my young eyes a symbol of female oppression (a woman's place is the kitchen and the house only) has become a sweet accessory for those women who don't need to emancipate themselves anymore. They bring back a useful piece of garment and enjoy the look. An apron skirt over a pettiskirt has been very popular among hippie mamas before the kitchen apron had its comeback for a broader audience. And the pockets just make it so convenient.
I have added the link to this very hip, informative and picture-rich blog
to my favorite websites.
I will soon share pictures of my own hand-sewn new aprons and some vintage aprons lots that I won on Ebay.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Need a lift up? Watch this video

No further comments on the movie "The Secret" which is not really my taste, but I love the quotes in this little video sequence, fast, to the point and confirming what we have known all along before someone has put it on celluloid or into writing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thoughts based (or supported) by a business article "Learn to love yourself first"

Interesting article from
a web site by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs which covers a lot of interesting and valuable topics.
Here is an excerpt from the linked forum article above:
1. Your business cannot grow any faster than your personal growth.

If you don't like who you are or your picture - you may need to work on whatever those self-esteem issues are first because they will keep coming up over and over again and keep holding you back and hurting your opportunity for success with your business. These things go hand in hand together. We have all had our own personal growth journey and challenges to gradually develop our own level of confidence - and confidence sells in business. People sense when you are confident and passionate about yourself and what you do - and they gravitate towards confident people.

Also, the more you develop personal confidence the more you will be willing to try new things and take a few risks to get the word out about you and what you have to offer. If you're serious about having a successful business maybe it's time to stop protecting and guarding your current level of confidence and self esteem and start looking for ways to improve it and grow it. Confidence is attractive and draws people to us - both in business and in our personal life.

2. The world of business is not the world of the childhood sandbox.

Remember when the kids were little at the park and the moms would sit nearby and make sure the kids all played nice? Well, in business this isn't true.

That doesn't mean we want to be mean-spirited or take advantage of anyone on purpose - it does mean yes, people will make decisions about people based on their appearance sometimes - it's human behavior. You can say that's unfair but this is business - not the sandbox at the park. It's a reality. You can rebel and tell everyone that it's not fair - and you might even be right - but it's like trying to push a river upstream.

I've noticed that many moms on some of the networks put their “momness” first before being a business owner at times. They want to level the playing field and make everything nicey-nice as if competition and marketing didn't exist and they were sitting near the sandbox trying to get everyone to behave. Except this is business not the sandbox. You might admonish something "unfair" or "not nice." You might even silence our comments temporarily - but you won't change us because this the business not the sandbox.

You can say "I can't do this" or "I'm afraid or uncomfortable to do that" and "people shouldn't judge me for this" but excuses are not attractive in business. And you might be totally right that it's not fair - but we still will get an impression about you. If you’re online to do business – be businesslike.

3. When you feel "beat up" take a break.

Years ago I left my marriage - I was unhappy, felt like a failure, broke, overweight, lost my job - my life was a mess. I made the amazing decision that I only wanted people in my life who were supportive and wanted my highest good. When I look back on it - that was pretty audacious and nervy. Who in the heck did I think I was to have supportive people in my life? I'd never had that before. And I was 34. Not a kid. Well, it didn't nothing changed immediately but it gradually led to more positive born of confidence – not fear or feeling unworthy. Loving myself led to feeling entitled to more good in my life. And that has made all the difference.

Breathe. Learn to take care of yourself first. Learn to love yourself. Then your business success will follow. (End of quoted article)
A home-based business has certain pitfalls. Being a woman does not make it easier.
Self-love (not to be mistaken for narcissm) is essential for our lives, and consequently for the business we run. No matter if we wear a business suit and have a CEO title or if we portray that indie crafter/artist who occasionally create their masterpieces in pjs.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Weekend Video -- Enigma "Return to Innocence"

So beautiful, New Age Music at its best. My favorite Enigma song is "Sadeness", but I refrained from posting the video here. Some Catholics or Christians may take offense, as art can always be easily misinterpreted. Being a Roman Catholic myself I think it's a masterpiece, but not every reader may share my opinion.
Working on a guide for hat styles (tams, crowns, beanies, bonnets and their history) to be added soon.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Been shopping -- New inspirations

I have finished my wholesale order and a few more of my best seller hats, it's time for new OOAK creations. and a bit of ME - time, a silent New Year's resolution I came up with, pampering myself, the body & soul, not the working machine of the pre-holiday madness.
So, I gave myself 2 half days off to go shopping. (I had been to Stage for new summer tops already after Christmas, so I was not really after new ready-to-wear clothes made in Vietnam).
I got my thrills at the thriftstore: I carried 4 heavy bags out of my favorite 2nd hand goodwill store. Superb quality linen skirts, more skirts and dresses, a great load to upcycle and repurpose. Yeah. Notions, buttons, 70s crochet mags, new corduroy fabric, ribbon...Oh Happy Day:)
At Hobby Lobby: Simplicity patterns went on sale, and even though I don't follow commercial patterns they are very valuable in creating certain fits and styles. And I really liked what I saw, especially the new "project runway" patterns and the styles designed and advertised by Ms Ali. Those would look cool in vintage double knit, or just hippie cotton and hemp as well. I have to admit, I gave the Hobby Lobby cashier a hard time, I purchased 120(!) patterns and caused a major problem when I reached a critical sum of identical items purchased. An error message popped up at the cashier window and only with the help of the store manager was I able to check out. Mind you, Hobby Lobby has a new policy of only 10 patterns per customer per visit, well, they let me have them after all.
Here are a few designs that I will use as inspiration, and inspiration only (no products for sale made with commercial patterns as this is violating copyrights). You can find the patterns at a great price at my supply store, check it out.
Visit Retrochicboutique to find these new patterns later this week.
And finally at Hastings where I got 2 issues of interweave crochet and a used book with lots of ideas to reconstruct an outdated wardrobe "Cheap Frills".

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008

Fantasy -- Earth Wind & Fire (live 2007)...Happy Friday

to you guys with a day job outside of the home.
For me it's a Happy Friday as well: After suffering through a split tooth with root canal infection, stomach problems due to penicillin and anti-inflammatory meds I feel relieved from a crucial painful time. I didn't write about it in my blog, assuming that nobody wants to cringe over my ongoing dental odyssey. So I talked about my skirt and did business as usual. I am not sure if blog readers want to know about the not so positive times in our lives...I am on the fence with this one. I question 24/365 positive and happy people, guess it's just my realistic nature, but then again, do I want to know about all the problems anyone may have? I need to give this more thought.

Feeling still a bit weak, but loaded with new energy I searched Youtube for 70s classic soul and came across some fabulous Earth, Wind & Fire videos. Fantasy had always been one of my favorites by this wonderful band, I owned all their vinyls back then. I first chose an original 70s performance, but the mouth movements were somewhat off. So I found an actual new video as they performed live on a German TV show. I even recognized some of the original front guys. But it took me a few minutes to figure out that the guitar player with long braids was Maurice White. Or not?
I missed the live concert when they performed in Bremen, Germany, hopefully one day I will get a chance. They are older now,
but so am I:)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Windy and cold on January good day for outdoor pictures

I have finished this sweet corduroy skirt today and asked my companion to take pictures of me modeling it. Not the best idea on a windy afternoon. But I love how the skirt came out, huge bottom spin, nice recycled corduroys and a vintage lace at the bottom. I guess I need to go back to pictures on my dress form to list this one. I am tempted to keep it for myself but it's too big for me in the waist area (the fabric bustles too much in the back when I pull it flat in the front), it's definitely a nice larger skirt for mamas in the plus size range with a bit more to love:)

If you are interested you can buy it here.