When the Muse has left


In Greek mythology, the muses are daughter’s of Zeus and the inspirational givers. These breathtakingly beautiful women inspired and encouraged men to create. Most of the time, I have no problem with ideas. In fact, I usually have so many ideas that I cannot keep track of them all. But sometimes, ever so occasionally, my muses leave and I am left in a funk with no idea of what to create next. Have you ever been there? Hopefully, these tips will help you find your muse once again!

Go for a walk. It may sound basic. Too basic to be helpful maybe. But oftentimes, I find inspiration in nature if I just take the time to appreciate it. The way that butterfly’s colors mesh together, or the sound of that bird mixed with the cicadas, or maybe the texture of the bark of that tree.

Exercise. What? This has absolutely nothing to do with your brain and finding motivation again. Well, you are only partially wrong. Endorphin’s, my friend. Wonderful endorphin’s are released into your brain while you are exercising. Plus, it doesn’t take a whole lot of brainpower to move your body, and while doing a seemingly mindless activity, your brain is free to wonder. Cue the creative juices!

Get on Pinterest. A majority of my ideas come from pinterest. Here’s the kicker, don’t look for ideas on your particular craft. Chances are, you’ve already seen most of those anyways. Just peruse. Check out home decor, search for cute animal memes, research Christmas gift ideas. I think you’d be surprised at where this will lead you.

Ask someone else. There are three ways that I like to involve others in my crafting process.

  1. Straight out asking. I have had several conversations with my mother, in particular, just coming right out and asking her “I need ideas on what to make next, what you got for me?”
  2. What’s on your facebook wall? If your friends are anything like my friends, then they are in the habit of posting cute things related to your craft on your facebook wall. Take note, this is what they find interesting.
  3. What are the kids playing with? One year for Christmas, I made some crocheted dolls for my kids. Not only are they still playing with these dolls rather fervently three years later, but I have gone on to specialize in making dolls for my business.

Go shopping. Yes, it is quite therapeutic, but you can also get ideas from what big time stores are putting up for sale. These items have been tested, marketed, and proven to be successful.

That’s only a few ways that I have found to combat the dreaded Crafter’s Block. What do you do? I would sure love to hear some more!

Interviewing Family Bugs Designer, Sarah


Hi there, my name is Sarah, I am an avid crochet-er and I see my crochet to supplement my husband’s income. While I prefer to design patterns because of the short-term involvement and long-term pay-out, I also enjoy creating custom work for my fans. I am very good at interpreting and creating easy-to-read patterns, and all of my work involves lots of pictures for further ease of understanding. My goal for each and every pattern is to create something aesthetically pleasing that even the most beginner of crochet artists can follow. Crochet is a beautiful and relaxing art, and I believe that everyone should be able to appreciate and enjoy the process.

My customers are of utmost importance to me, and I freely provide my personal email to create relationships and quickly resolve any issues that may surface concerning my patterns. I am ashamed to admit that some of my earlier patterns were a bit archaic and sloppy, but I am quick to fix any and all glitches as soon as I know about them.

There is nothing more comfortable and perfect than finally getting a chance to sit down on my couch with deliciously fuzzy socks, my legs crossed under me, a smooth cold hook in hand, with some beautiful yarn, popcorn (or even better frozen M&M’s), and something wonderful on netflix. Maybe my computer is next to me for pattern-writing, maybe I’m just creating for the joy of it. That’s a perfect night right there!

Some day, if I ever build up the courage, I will contact a cute little boutique and offer some of my work for sale there. Or better yet, find an antique store that will let me set up my own little corner of the store! During the summer, my mom took me to this perect little shop, and it would be so much fun to set-up a space with her (you should check her out on etsy as well, she makes CUTE monogramed towels and pillow cases that are just perfect for gifts, LetterMeCute).

The best part of crochet-ing is the therapy and relaxation the repetitive stitches offer. I also love bringing joy to other people in the form of my patterns and finished products. The worst part of crochet-ing is having to rip out the last 10 ROWs for the 15th time, because I just can’t get the structure to come out right. Overall though, I can definitely say that crochet is my favorite art-craft to experience!

A Crafter’s Prayer


Dear God and Creator of all things,

You are the master craftsman, able to create the most beautiful landscapes with some of the most breathtaking colors. Fitting together the entire world as an intricately woven tapestry of perfection. Creating life itself to flow and ebb throughout everything. Any talent that I may entertain, came first from You and Your magnificence, oh LORD! Anything that I may create is pale and simple compared to the magnitude of Your own creations. Even my greatest work of art, is but a speck of sand. After all, You created even the tools that I use, the colors in all of their vibrancy that I could not ever hope to mimic, and the mediums that I sloppily slather together in a vain attempt to achieve “cute”.

Thank you for giving me the talent of crafting. There are so many who do not possess the ability to craft even the simplest of projects, and yet You had the care and consideration to gift me with such an ability. Also: for the joy that You created within me for crafting. It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication for me to develop this talent that You have gifted me, and without that pleasure, I would not have had the will to do so.

It is not always clearly evident as to how I can use this talent, so I ask that you please show me. Allow me the clarity to see where my abilities are needed and to know how I can serve You better. There are opportunities that You have created, chances for me to shine my light as not only a crafter, but as one of Your precious children. I ask that you please show me those outlets, and give me the ability to recognize it as such. You have given me my crafting talent, and now I ask that You show me how to glorify You all the more with it!

In Your Son’s most almighty and ultimately creative name that I pray,

Amen

 

5 Necessities to Selling Crochet Online


There are so many articles and advice and tips on so many different blogs about how to start an online business and what is needed for doing so. It can be very overwhelming to wade through all of it.While I don’t profess to be a “know-it-all” when it comes to such things, I do know exactly what it takes to sell crochet online. After all, I’ve been doing it for almost 5 years now🙂

  • Basic Knowledge of crochet. You don’t have to consider yourself an expert to start selling your work. The only thing I knew how to make well when I started was hats…and I’m sure that someone could argue that I couldn’t even do that very well. But I did continue to educate myself and learn more to become better. Basic knowledge of the craft you are desiring to sell is a necessity to selling it, though.
  • Good camera. You don’t need a top of the line DSLR camera, an iphone works just fine these days. But a requirement for selling anything online is quality photos for your listings.
  • The tools to crochet with. Again, you don’t need a giant stash of yarn, or a plethora of hooks. But you are going to need at least one skein of yarn and one hook to make the crochet product you desire to sell.
  • Internet access. To manage your internet business. Not necessarily at your place of resident. If you are willing to put in the time, you can go to McDonald’s for an hour to get all of your online work accomplished.
  • Computer. Whether this is a laptop, desktop, tablet, phone…something to access the internet world and list your products online.

Really, those are the only things that you need. Anything else that may be considered are extras that can certainly make selling online easier, but are not requirements to make it happen. Take a deep breath, you can do this!

DIY Doll Display


I am getting ready to participate in my fourth craft show. Every year it seems that I have a different set of crochet creations to display. The first year that I participated in this craft show, my business had just started, and I hadn’t established a niche and frankly I wasn’t even very talented. I had a huge inventory of odds and ends, a TON of hats (like really, there were a lot of hats), and I managed to turn a profit. While several of those first hats are still around (and have been given to my mother-in-law to sell in turn), the focus of my crochet business has changed. I no longer advertise the creation of products such as hats, blankets, scarfs, etc. Now, I sell crochet patterns, and the need to sell items has diminished greatly. I now use the local annual craft show to get rid of the excess inventory that I’ve accumulated over the previous year due to the designing process. This year, I have dolls. I think I counted upwards of 15 finished crochet dolls (each very unique and one of a kind), patterns for most of them are available in my etsy shop. But with these, I needed a creative and clever way to display them.

I searched. I scoured. I consulted. And I came up empty. How could no one have already created a perfect way to display crochet dolls at a craft show before? I brainstormed. I experimented. I succeeded! Maybe not the most creative and original way to display my dolls, but with the limited resources and funds that I have available, and the “simple streamlined” feel that I am aiming for, I am very pleased with what I have come up with.

The supplies needed are not much, and can be found at wal-mart or any local craft store:

  • Dowel rods
  • Hot glue
  • Yarn or paint in desired colors
  • Good scissors or knife for cutting the dowel rods
  • The dolls that are going to be displayed (for sizing)

That’s it! Really, you don’t even have to use the yarn or paint if you don’t want to. I’ve seen several “raw” displays that are very chic. So, you gather up all of your supplies, curl up with your electric blanket on the highest setting available, turn on netflix for a Psych binge (before netflix removes it in just a few weeks), and create these perfect doll stands!

  1. Cut two pieces of dowel rod that is the length of the doll’s feet to armpit.
  2. Cut two pieces of dowel rod that is the width of the doll’s chest.
  3. Cut two pieces of dowel rod that are just long enough for the doll to rest her arms on.
  4. Glue all of the pieces together as shown. Make a rectangle, and then attach the two shortest pieces to the same side.
  5. Wrap with yarn OR paint as desired.

img_2365And there you have it, perfect little stands for your dolls. These stands use the doll as a counterweight, and they actually lean quite perfectly. I am going to be setting mine up on a bookshelf, so that I can create interest and height. I have used the bookshelf several years now, and love how the lower shelves are perfect for children’s viewing pleasure (since my target is little children and their parents).

Creatives…Selling Their Creations!


You are a creator. Everyone is. It doesn’t really take much. Sometime, somehow, and somewhere in your life you created something. There’s a lot of different things that you could have created: A beautifully arranged bedroom, a schedule of events, a perfectly constructed block tower, messily painted toenails (or fingernails), a jumbled-up bookshelf, a comfortable nest of pillows and blankets…or if all else fails, you created dust from the dead portions of your skin flaking off in microscopic amounts. But probably, if you are reading this blog, you are much more of a creative creator than others. That is a beautiful thing, and it is worth mentioning and celebrating.

Did you know, that you can sell your creation? Did you know that it really is rather easy? Uh…correction, those of you who are creative can sell your creations…the thought of buying a bag of dust is rather repulsive and vomit-inducing, actually. But I am going to give you 5 simple steps to creating your own creative business!

CREATE YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITIES. You create beautiful pieces of work, whatever it may be. So, take it one step further and create the opportunity to sell your work. How? Talk about what you do to others. Demonstrate what you can do, donate, gift, offer, show-off! Don’t be shy. Take the leap and invest in yourself, you are worth it!

BE PATIENT AND PERSISTENT! Possibly the most frustrating and discouraging thing to encounter when selling your creations is lack of interest. Remember: It takes time. No big business is an overnight sensation. Keep working at it. It often takes several days, weeks, and sometimes even months before a new crochet pattern of mine even starts getting views, much less generating revenue for me. Be patient if your products are not getting sold left and right, and be persistent in continuing to work and reminding people that you are still around as a business.

ALWAYS MOVE FORWARD. If you aren’t moving forward then you are moving backwards, there is no sedentary position here. Create a plan for what you are going to do to actively seek after your goals. And not a “what am I going to accomplish today?” kind of plan where you are flying by the seat of your pants, but a weekly, monthly, and maybe even yearly plan, where you set goals and then the steps require to meet those goals. And then do it!

BE ONLINE. It sounds pretty basic, but can easily be overlooked. You have an online business, so have an online presence. Utilize all of the social media platforms, and remember to keep a unified presence. Your store should be selling, your blog should be informing and attracting, your social media should be growing your brand and steadily increasing traffic to your shop. It all works together like a well-oiled machine.

CONNECT. You want customers, obviously! That require connecting with them on an authentic level. Create and use an email list. Share testimonials of people who have happily used your creations. BLOG! Use your own creation, be proud and show-off what you took so much time to create. Don’t beat around the bush when it concerns what you do and what you want in return for it: Yes, you made something, now you want to sell it, does this lady over here look interested?

None of those steps are difficult, are they? I bet you can do it as well. Simple, yes, but easy…not always. It’s gonna take work, it’s gonna take dedication, and it’s gonna take a lot of determination and gumption. But I believe that you can do it!!!

 

How To Sell Your Craft In Only 20 Minutes a Day…


It may not seem like a lot of time…20 minutes. Especially when compared to the 1,440 minutes that make up an entire day. However, you can get quite a lot done in that short amount of time. A load of dishes. A bath. Paint your toenails. Color a picture. A brisk walk. Vacuuming a room. I don’t know, whatever else you like to do. What if I told you that you can increase your craft-selling business by spending just 20 minutes a day working? It is very possible if you stay focused and utilize that time with “income producing activities”. What is an income producing activity? To put it simply, it is anything that you do to produce an income for yourself. If you are short on time, but really want to sell your handiwork, just spend 20 minutes a day working on it, and I bet you’ll get there faster than you think.

  • MONDAY: Research and gathering supplies.
  • TUESDAY: Create the product.
  • WEDNESDAY: Photograph and list (or market) the product.
  • THURSDAY: Write a blog post, facebook post, whatever (probably about the product).
  • FRIDAY: Record the numbers for all weekly sales, taxes, official boring but necessary stuff.
  • .SATURDAY: Analyze how the product is doing, and maybe advertise.
  • SUNDAY: Rest, enjoy the “day off”
  • MONDAY: Repeat the process

It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, effort, or resources to sell your hand-made crafts. Although some crafts do take a bit more time to create than others (like crochet…I can’t create a new crochet pattern in 20 minutes a week). How do you like to spend your time working on your craft? Have you found a great way to break up your available crafting time?