Monday, March 31, 2008

I am ready :)

Looking forward to a few days in Mexico and basically taking 1 whole week off for my own pleasure and relaxation.
Batteries are running empty and need to be recharged with some fun and new impressions.
Have a blessed week!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Some Sunday Jamming

YouTube video "Heaven"
A link to a youtube video of Los Lonely Boys. A contemporary rock group, hispanic origin and great blues/rock performers, even though their hit song "Heaven" sounded a bit like country at first to me, but it was such an ear-catching tune, I had to google the band.
For more info, you can check them out here
As a Roman Catholic from the South of Germany I have an affinity to Holy Mary statues, rosaries and small reminds me of my own childhood and makes me feel at home.
Even though my adult version of Catholic faith has changed over the years, but that's not subject of this blog:)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The grass IS greener on the other side

We live outside of the city limits and rarely anyone has a tiny yard, but rather a nice size piece of land. So do we....but why does everyone have blooming bushes and greener grass then we do?
I have not yet solved the puzzle. Sid has put down bags of bermuda seeds onto the ground to jumpstart our meager grass to grow thicker and healthier, but so far there are only few sprouts coming up. Our fescus sawed dried up last year after putting days of hard work into getting a lusher lawn under the big shade trees.
So today I strolled around in the yard in search of at least one spring plant. This is what I found (pic above). And if I just knew why all the dry fall leaves gather up on our lawn (even though I bag them up all the time)...
In my attempt to take pictures of my just finished patchwork skirt I was not delighted about the look of the background either.
I think I need to work on my back props, now if I just had that magic green thumb.

(available here)
Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

So, is this just another consumer blog?

Well, I hope NOT.
So I spend most of my days making hats and sometimes clothes. I don't call myself designer or artist. A crafter is what I am. I don't strive for euphemisms. No need to upcycle myself:)
Compared to the work of a physician or nurse who are highly valued in our society, why would I think that I am significant? Selling more stuff to people?
I was thinking about this long and hard.

Ok, so here is my product. A hippie tam "snood" hat. A tangible item. A useful item. It shelters from cold weather.
But someone may say: Just go to any large store and buy it there, what's all the heck about a handmade hat?
Now I need to come back and reply: I have made this hat without electricity, without a machine. Because there is no crochet machine. It has been done by hand with a primitive hook.
And may I also add that I am an adult, no child exploitation was involved in making that hat, no hazardous fumes. I am selling in this country where hardly anyone remembers how to make things themselves anymore. Self employed. And I don't need to follow trends, I am free to make it in any color I want. Pink may be the color doctrine of the season, but I have the freedom to use my own color scheme. If my customer loves reggae, I will make one for her/him.
Being able to provide all-day items like hats, made by hand seems like a lost life style. It's just a small atom in elemental life, but just like cooking your own meal, growing your own veggies, walking a few minutes instead of parking right by the entrance, it brings us back closer to our own true human nature.
We weren't given wheels, but legs, hands, not machines and brains, not conformism.
It's also in opposition to the all-mighty brand names that make items desirable. Yes, in the world of big biz, PurpleSage Designz, is a nobody. And I cherish each customer who decides to buy one of my products instead of reaching out to a well-known prestigous brand.
Handmade in the USA or any other so called "industrial" country is a healthy counter- development. Less consumerism of use-once-toss-tomorrow items, valuing environmental-friendly skills and having the mom&pop businesses back in our lives will contribute to a happier healthier life.
Oh, and let's not forget, adorning ourselves with fancy head gear and pretty colorful clothes is part of the human nature and can be found in any ancient tribal society. Or, just watch the birds:)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chaos -- Unclutter my house, unclutter my head

I refrained from posting a picture of my craft room, the crime scene. The rest of the house actually has more of a bare design, with minimal clutter. My craft room is a pack rat's paradise turning into a nightmare because the time to find my supplies takes away from the joy over collecting more and more treasures (new and used for recycling.)
The cosmic chaos is a nice symbol.
I found this valuable organizational tips here
(Exerts from the article by Maria Gracia)

A: ACT - Don't put it off until later. If you want to do it, act on it now.

B: BREAK IT DOWN - Anything you have to do is easier, if you break it down into manageable parts.

C: CONTAINERIZE - Separate and organize your things by storing them in see-through, plastic containers.

D: DELEGATE - You don't have to do everything yourself. Delegate to work associates or family members. Use an outside company to outsource some of your work. Or use technology to your advantage, by delegating to your answering machine, your computer, etc.

E: ELIMINATE - Get rid of clutter--both physical and mental. You'll breathe easier and feel a sense of freedom.

F: FILE - Don't let that paperwork grow into a mountain. File it away in an appropriate place if you need to refer to it again.

G: GIVE - Give the things you no longer use or love to a favorite charity organization, a family member or a friend. There are many people who will be thrilled to receive your gifts.

H: HOME SWEET HOME - Find a home for everything you own, and keep it in its place. When you need something in the future, you'll know its 'address.'

I: IDENTIFY - Before putting items in boxes for storage--or when you're moving--be sure to identify the contents by labeling the outside of the box. Identify papers in file folders, by clearly marking the tab of the folder.

J: JUDGEMENT - Use your best judgement to prioritize your life. Be sure you're spending the majority of your time on the important stuff.

K: KNOWLEDGE - Knowledge is power. In order to effectively organize something, be sure you're using the organizing systems that will work best for you.

L: LISTS - Make lists for things you have to do now, and in the future. Master Lists and To Do Lists will help you get things done. Packing lists will ensure you never forget something again when you travel. Shopping lists will ensure you get everything you need at the mall. Telephone lists will remind you of everyone you have to call this week.

M: MOTIVATION - A huge part of getting organized is motivation. Once you're motivated, there's no limit as to what you can accomplish. Get motivated by designating pending rewards for your accomplishments, involving family members or friends in your goals, and by making getting organized a game. And definitely stop by the Get Organized Now! Discussion Forum for lots of inspiration and motivation.

N: NO - It's so easy to get stressed when you have a million things to do on your plate. If you're beginning to feel burdened with too much to do, learn to say NO to some of those things.

O: ORDER - Rather than living in clutter and chaos, vow to live a more orderly life. You'll know where everything is, and you'll complete whatever you start.

P: PLAN AND PREPARE - While spontaneity every once in awhile is fun and perfectly fine, having a good plan and effectively preparing, will help you reach your goals and deadlines, so you can enjoy maximum accomplishments.

Q: QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY - It is much better to have a few treasures that you love and enjoy, rather than having lots of things you don't particularly care for. Always think quality, over quantity, and you'll simplify your life. Of course, this doesn't apply to money!

R: REMINDERS - Use little reminder devices throughout the day to help you stay on track. Alarm clocks, timers, e-mail reminders and sticky notes are all excellent memory joggers.

S: SELL IT - Why not make some money by selling some of those possessions you no longer want? Try a rummage sale, consignment shop or an online auction company.

T: TOSS - If you don't want it, and you can't give it away or sell it, toss it. Make room for the things that you really enjoy, or that make your life easier.

U: UNUSED SPACE - Don't forget about the space in your home or office that is often forgotten about, such as wall space for shelves or hooks for hanging, or space under the stairs.

V: VISUALIZE - Picture how wonderful your life is going to be when you're organized. Then strive to put yourself in that picture every day.

W: WRITE IT DOWN - Don't try to keep everything you have to remember in your head. Simply write it down and refer to it when needed.

X: X MARKS THE SPOT - Place an X next to each item you accomplish on your To Do List. At the end of the day, add up your x's and celebrate for getting so much done!

Y: YOU - Don't forget to make time for YOU. Remember, an appointment with yourself--time for you with no interruptions--should be one of the most important appointments in your day.

Z: ZONE IN - Really define what you're trying to accomplish, so you have a clear picture in your mind.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Proud mama of new tams

Hi there, it has been a while since I had a bunch of new hats for sale. The above irie-inspired visor tam is already taken though because it was a custom order for a very nice repeat buyer.
So last night I sat up and finished them all. Unfinished projects bother me when they keep piling up.
We had to exchange our cable for the internet service all throughout the house and things seemed to take forever, but, just like a proud mama I can finally show off my new stuff.
Available at
my Etsy shop
my website

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Looking forward to our vacation

Sid and I have been under the weather for a while now.
The weekend didn't happen as planned and we didn't drive to Shawnee's Arts & Craft Fair. It was an overall cool cloudy weekend with some sunny high lights, but the forecast of rain made us change our plans and just take "time out". It's a strange feeling when you are not really sick, but you don't feel like a "powerhouse" either. And your body sends you that message to take it easy or it will go into strike mode. I am a big believer in listening to body messages.
Great news is that we got our tickets to fly to Cancun, Mexico and stay at a nice hotel close to the beach for a few days.
A typical tourist vacation package nevertheless. But, I have done my fair share of back pack traveling throughout my life in Europe. For me this is actually a novelty. The convenient way of vacationing. So we''ll be the the typical American tourists, haha.
After camping in the Rockies and train riding through Germany we may actually enjoy it. My first trip to Mexico ever. I was thrilled to visit Spain when I was still living in Germany. I love tropical sceneries and I am a sucker for palm trees. Yep!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Instead of "Oh Crappy Day"

I uploaded this beautiful video.
Tommy James & The Shondells: Crystal Blue Persuasion
I can't see myself complaining about the rainy weather, week-end fluke of a cold and just in general a not so great day.
Enjoy the peaceful music and pictures. It will make you smile.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A simple good Friday

Today is an ideal Friday:
Shipping done by early afternoon
Lots of sunshine
T-shirt and cardigan
Lucky Friday at the thrift store
Outside projects (see above)
Dinner at our favorite Chinese buffet

I am easy to please, apparently:)

On a biz note it was my first time today attending a live (online) meeting at the Etsy Labs (Treehouse meeting) on the subject alchemy. Kind of cool actually. The concept. The casuality. Regardless of the outcome of the brainstorming on Alchemy custom requests.
I opted in with limited availability to custom requests.

Wishing everyone a great weekend.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How NOT to get frustrated with selling on Etsy

(Work in progress, patchwork tiers for a new gypsy style hippie skirt)

I have been thinking about this Etsy topic for quite a while now, today is the day to write it down.
You may take my advice or leave it, I am no preacher by no means, and everyone's opinion is subjective. I like Etsy, it has been a great selling venue and I left Ebay after a long selling period when I realized that Etsy was a better market place for me. The transition started in June 2007.Until today I have had over 400 sales. And 33 sales in my supply outlet.

What has worked for me?
***Even though I love to list on Etsy, I don't consider Etsy my business, but as one part of my enterprise. A healthy distance to the venue you are selling in, is a good start.
***Some sellers do get sales by posting in the forums, but if you don't watch your time, you may waste hours in the forums without really getting anything accomplished. Set some time aside to go into the forums to read up on topics and site changes or just chat, but keep it short and sweet, always remember that in order to sell, you have to have handmade items first.
***Don't expect Etsy to be a playground where everyone will play nicely. Coming from Ebay I have learned to grow a thick skin. Etsy is a selling venue first, a community hang out second. There will be controversy and maybe instances which may seem unfair at times as well. Put your big girl/boy panties on and deal with it. Or walk away for a while. As we are all different there will never be complete harmony among its members. And quite frankly I like to see when problems get addressed.
***Sometimes you may seem invisible, but frequent listing of new items has really kept me busy. Being not one of the lucky Etsyans who get featured on the front page or in treasuries I have resigned to the fact that some "looks" just appeal more to be displayed than others. But sales won't necessarily be effected. So, it may be just an ego thing and honestly you shouldn't worry too much about it. I also don't advertise hardly on Flickr, MySpace, Facebook and all the other new places popping up every day (even though I have established a few accounts that rest in peace:). I just don't have the time nor the desire. If you think this is the route to go, sure, why not, but it's not a must. Many successful sellers have proven (and I am not talking about myself, but sellers who have sold way more items) that listing a great product will actually do the trick. There are only 24 hours in each day, a fact we just can't change, use every hour wisely.
***Take it easy. Don't check your sales every 10 minutes, a watched pot never boils. Don't be too desperate. Strangely enough desperation seems to "smell" and make slow selling periods even worse. What is a turn-off in real life seems to be true for internet selling as well. Make new items, have fun with new designs.
***Explore your options. Have your own website, maybe a few selling accounts on other venues. Depending on just one site may be crucial if you ever have your account suspended (in error or for violation) and it deprives you of new selling experiences.
Enjoy Etsy, but no need to have your life evolve around it. You walk away from a real life job every evening, walk away from Etsy after your work is done. You wouldn't want to lodge at your work place either, would you?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

We need to "get out there"

And I am not talking about a cruise or the internet either:)
But into the real life sunshine and events>>>t-shirt weather in Oklahoma, hurray!

I have shifted to some warm weather designs because I am playing with the thought of doing my first craft shows this year. Coming Sunday will be an Art & Craft Fair in Shawnee, OK, and we'll go to look on. It's not too far to drive and we will have fun just looking around. That way I can easier decide if this is a way of vending for me.

I made this cute little toddler blouse the other day. And I think it's sweet. Maybe I will get into sewing more now that it starts to warm up. I'll see how well I will be doing with clothes.
I am about to list a few more other tams on Etsy and my website, check them out, the links are located at the left of my blog.

So far the new year really didn't present itself in any outstanding way for us, it's been work, cold weather and staying at home a lot. We are so ready to travel and have some fun.
We are in the process of planning a short spring vacation to Mexico. Searching for blues festival tickets in Oklahoma (Tulsa used to be great, but we couldn't find any info for 2008) and check out some craft and art festivals which we found with this website

The whole online advertising and socialising sites and communities like Etsy are fine, but get boring after a while. Inspiration comes from the real world. I like being online, but the longer I use the internet, the more I see the importance to shut it off for a while and go outside and live.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Creating frenzy

What I have learned from completing my taxes?
Well, one fact is: I have way too much material and unfinished inventory.
This bothered me to the extent that it triggered a lot of energy to make new things. Loving this feeling:)
Above are only a few new tams that I have listed on Etsy today.

And I have uploaded a lot of sweet vintage aprons and some sewing patterns to my 2n etsy shop Retrochicboutique.

With snow storms still all over the country I also listed another warm patchwork scrap hat on my website Purplesagedesignz

That's not all. I have finished my first little girl peasant top of all the sweet clothes I am planning for my next project. Blumenkinder (flower children). I already registered the shop on Etsy, but I am not sure yet if I should test run them in my main Etsy shop first.

I love to create, and with sticking to my new schedule of creating first, marketing second I hope I will have a busy spring and summer season.
Off to enjoy my weekend. It is an amazing Saturday evening outside, with temperatures in the mid 50s.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Crafter or Salesperson?

I have been pretty busy between attending a funeral, cleaning house and spending time with the family. Breaks from "living online". Sometimes I wish my work would just end there after finishing my hats. The joy and dilemma of selling online. The "salesperson part" is the one I enjoy the least. Especially these days with all the requirements to "put yourself out there"...onto Flickr, myspace, IndiePublic, forums, yahoo groups, squidoo and all the new places that pop up every day.
I have decided to do no more then just tend to my lovely blog and list my items on my website and Etsy. Time will tell if this will be the right decision, but it feels right for me.
I will try to attend craft fairs and shows this year as well. Back to good ole' old fashioned selling.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

If there was no electricity ?

How could we live these days?
I had 5 minutes notice that the electricity would be shut off this morning. Ok, I said to myself, I will survive.
My crochet hook doesn't need power. I picked up my yarn and hook, moved to a seat close by the window and sat quietly. I enjoy quietness.
After half an hour it got cold in the rooms. Oh yes, the heating system runs on electricity.
I longed for a hot cup of coffee, no chance, stove and water heater run with power.
I went outside to play with our dog. The march sun was nice, but it was chilly in the shade. I washed my hands when I came back in, and realized that our water pump ran with electricity.
There is always only a small reservoir left, so, be careful how much you use.
I sat back down and finished my hat.
It was very quiet, no refrigerator buzz, no heated air came out of the vents, no pc noise, no tv, no music, no news, no phone.
All I had were candles.
After 2 hours the power came back on...and I have to admit, I was relieved. Can you really go back to the simple good old life style from one minute to the next?
No, not really. You have to have wood to burn, an oil lamp to light, and an attitude that goes with it.
I sure would like to learn how to live without though. With emphasis on LEARN.

Monday, March 3, 2008

And the beat goes on...

This Sunny & Cher song was in my head when I rushed back from the accountant appointment, taxes are done . A milestone every time in March, to move on with life and just go back to the routine. I love my routine.
This warm brown and dark red tam is a hat design I have done very often over the years, and yet, it's still fun to crochet.
Available on my website Purple Sage Designz

Spring is on my mind! What is better to express my longings for a nice warm breeze then with a lavender doily cotton tam?
Available on Purple Sage Designz

Color...I am crocheting "out of the box" these days. I love unusual color combinations and a bit of boldness.
Rust and dark citrine tam...available at my Etsy shop

I still love the Irie color combo and have made this Jamaica inspired tam.
You can read more about it in my Etsy shop

First tornado warning ...and winter is NOT over yet

It was a stormy Sunday night, with tornado warnings, severe thunderstorms and all the weather turmoil that Oklahoma has to offer. Very early in the beginning of March, and tornado season has arrived with a bang.
We sat and watched the local weather channel with Gary England for many hours, trying to stay calm but yet prepared if we had to take measures to go into shelter. I just wish we had a storm cellar, we really need to invest into a shelter function within our house. I watched our huge trees and as much as I love them for shade in the summer, they are scary so close to the house during storms.
And today we are supposed to get snow again. Right now the wind outside is fiercly gearing up for a little bit of snow storming.
I just hope I will make it to Hobby Lobby and the tax accountant before we'll get snowed in again.
As long as we don't have any damage, power outage or lose our cable, we are just every spring is crazy dangerous weather season here.