Saturday, July 30, 2011

Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Children's Famine in the Horn of Africa- Knitting Projects

Last Wednesday started pleasantly by meeting my fellow teachers at a local bakery and catching up on each other's lives. This is a tradition that began years ago but it has become something to look forward to. One would think teachers wouldn't want to see each other over their short time off but it seems we share more interests than teaching. Many are crafters and bloggers and despite the various ages we have real friendships. We love to hear about the summer adventures each of us are having and the little vacations our families are taking. One of the ladies is pregnant so we are all involved in her baby's progress week to week. School matters come up sometimes because the recent budget changes have caused job losses and necessarily new assignments for some teachers. We support each other. Today's meeting was the first one I attended for a couple of weeks because I have had a seriously sick cat. He is progressing great so I allowed myself to be gone for several hours today. We met near a craft shop so two of us went over afterward to see what they had that was new. I promised myself not to spend money (or at least not  much). I found a new kind of yarn by Bernat that promises $30,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure from the purchase. Visit Bernat Yarn  to learn more about how they help various charities.How could I resist buying it? It was a clever new yarn that looked fun to knit and it also donated to a favorite charity.

You may know, if you read an earlier blog, that my sister in Maryland had a mastectomy in April. Our mother also had breast cancer so it is a charity that is close to my heart. I listed a pink bracelet on my etsy shop at that time with a donation of all profit to Susan G. Komen. You can see it here My cancer awareness bracelet.

When  I came home with my purchase I completely ignored the crochet project I was working on during our chat at the bakery, and I got out my brand new pink yarn, read the directions, and got started, of course I adjusted what I was making to my own pattern. I was planning how I would feature this as an item with proceeds going to SGK. Since the yarn manufacturer had already donated  I could add even more by donating the profit from my project. I was well into the knitting when a news report came on the TV about the Children's  Famine in the Horn of Africa.
Two million children are at risk. I was reminded of the money I spent on a delightful pastry and special coffee this AM when we met to talk.  Think how that money could have been better used for a child who was starving. Shaking off guilt and determining to just move forward I came up with a plan. My mind went to the possibilities of getting the word out through this blog and my etsy connections. I began planning a treasury on etsy that would feature only shops that have an item that has proceeds going to charities and maybe I can convince some people to feature the children if they don't already have a charity in mind. So the next step is to post a discussion thread on my teams asking for only items that give the profit to charity. From those items I will create a treasury that will be seen by many people , this will encourage sales on items that give up the profit and even people who don't buy will be reminded of the fact that they can help and they may donate to a charity of choice.

Knitting and crocheting are hobbies for me . Over the years I have made many prayer shawls and donated them to people needing a blessing for something in their lives. Making things for charity comes naturally. The etsy shop was created so I could keep enough funds coming in to keep up my hobbies. I feel something handmade is twice blessed. Once in the making and once in the giving.

If you are a beginning knitter or crocheter you might give some of your practice projects to the local animal shelter. I am told dogs love to have hand knit blankets. The softness of the blanket protects them from the cold damp floor and it is infused with the human smell from your handling it while creating it. They don't mind missed stitches, unevenness or even unmatched yarns. If you are an animal lover consider this.Knitting love for animals.

I hope that reading this you have been reminded of the blessings you have and some ways to share your bounty. Many etsy shops have the giving attitude. If you buy an item from one of these shops you can be reminded every time you look at the beautiful handmade creation that you are blessing and giving someone in need. It seems like a win-win scenario. Show the world you care today and leave a comment to encourage others to do the same.

Here is a treasury featuring artists who are donating proceeds to many important causes. Find a beautiful item or two and give to a great cause.  Giving-treasury

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friday Favorites

I would like to start posting some favorite items here each Friday so you can see some of the great talent from etsy click here to see Friday's treasury.

Friday's Treasury

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Facebook,Games,Etsy,Blog,What is Next?

It started so innocently I started a facebook page to catch up with my high school friends before our 45th reunion. I was unable to attend because it was after school started and I would be teaching.Facebook was a great experience and I reconnected with some wonderful people.Soon  facebook grew with my former students becoming friends. Later I added a facebook page for my classroom so my present students could keep up with assignments. Facebook became a part of my life.

At first when I started facebook I thought people on the games were wasting their time. I ignored all game requests. then one day I went to Farmville just to see what all these seeeming normal people were spending time on.I began building a virtual farm. It was fun and time consuming. It was especially fun on snow days when everyone was home and we were sending virtual pets to each other and I was building a bigger farm. I learned some things about economics that I never would have learned in real life because I cannot afford to gamble the assets in real life.

The next adventure in the techno sphere was to open an etsy shop. I had discovered etsy for buying some Christmas items on, so I was familiar with the site. My crafting friends at school sat me down and showed me how. My friend Bev had a shop called The Square Grammy. She features crocheted items she makes:
Like this great applique and cute little  amigurumi
Cool Dude Sunshine Embellishment/Applique
 like this adorable bunny 
Easter Bunny Amigurumi

We created my shop name together and when my photos were under par Becky got out her good camera and we learned together how to improve them. She has been photographing all of my jewelry items.
To my surprise my items started showing up on treasuries, which means someone (a curator) had chosen my item along with 15 other items to feature for people to view.
Suddenly I decided it is wiser to spend time on etsy than on virtual games. Reality won again.
I discovered treasury making as you can read on a an earlier blog.Now I can be a curator. It is like window shopping. Pick out your favorite items in  a theme or color and post it for the world to see. To learn more about etsy shops and promoting my shop I joined teams. Teams are groups of people who have something in common and they have discussion pages that have threads discussing everything from the weather to tips on selling or creating. Some of the teams are very formal while others are very friendly. Two of my favorite teams are Baby Boomers and Blogging Grannies. I have met some wonderful people on these teams and it enriches my life to interact with these people. I will feature some of these people on future blogs.

Speaking of blogging, - most of these teams people were discussing how it is essential to have a blog to promote your shop, however most of the people discovered they were continuing to blog because it was a great outlet sort of a variation on journal writing. I have begun to follow a lot of blogs and it is an informative and varied experience. My venture into the blogphere has been interesting. Today I was fortunate enough to be featured on a Blog created by a new friend in the Blogging Grannies Team.  She did a wonderful job promoting my shop.
Boomer Babies Upcycles
This is a wonderful article.

What is next? My friend Ruth is Tweeting now and she has suggested I try that. It seems I barely get one skill set started when I jump into the next one. I think I should learn more about what I am doing on my blog  first. No promises though. I certainly didn't master the other things before jumping forward.

Who would guess that the grannies of the world are immersed in the techno sphere? I bet more of us are living out there than most people would guess.I admit it never would have happened with out the encouragement and help of younger people, my son ,daughters in law and younger teachers from school.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Make some time to view this.

I found this on another blog. I almost didn't view it because it is 19 min. I am grateful I did. It has much to say about Creativity especially as education affects it. As a teacher and someone who holds creativity in high regard I think it is worth watching. I hope you leave comments afterward.

Life's Artistry

Today I was helping my friend Ruth set up her blog. This is truly the techno inept encouraging the equally inept. I confess I needed help setting my own blog and still rely on my DIL to help me out occassionally.

 We spent a long time coming up with the name of her blog considering the purpose and fumbling through the set- up over the phone. The purpose of the blog is to speak about life as a retired  mother of a handicapped child (grown but living at home)and fitting in time to create. She has an etsy site she would like to promote too  .

Ruth and I  talk frequently about the art of life' balance, keeping things in harmony and how this is more art than science. We both do many crafts and artistic pursuits. She is braver and goes right for the hardest projects while I prefer things that show immediate gratification.We have similar taste in color and we rely on each other when making choices in design for our homes and art projects. She is trained in the arts while I am self trained.

The other thing we have in common is our relentless pursuit of getting this "life thing" balanced. Time management, and organization are challenges for both of us. We often call each other to encourage or otherwise force each other forward on projects whether it be an art project or a closet that needs cleaning. We both have other disractions stealing our interest and time. It is really good to have friends who keep us honest with ourselves about our own issues and bad habits. This is what we are.

Life is an art, a balancing act and an experiment which sometimes needs tweeking on a minute by minute basis. I am learning there are no rules except the ones I make (just like design). It can be colorful or dull. I can stay inside the lines or draw my own. Just so it is pleasing to me. When it isn't pleasing I can remake it or adjust it to make it more pleasing.

We decided her blog should be LIFE's ARTISTY, I hope you will go and read her blog and follow. I guarantee you will laugh and maybe occassionally mist up a bit as you follow her life as a newly retired baby boomer whose life is dominated by crafting and caring for a grown handicapped  child.

I hope as you work on this project, called life ,you will gain by reading our blogs and enjoying the beauty we create in spite of life's many challenges.

Follow Ruth's blog at:

Here is an example of her work

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Where Did June GO?

Teachers live in the fantasy that they have summer . (People think we have 3 months) In reality we have a few days in June, all of July and a few days in August off. This year I didn't plan a house project. Usually I have a room I tear up an re-do which keeps my house in chaos. This year I decided to give myself a break. I want to craft and coupon and save some time to visit my sister in Maryland and help her out.

Here we are July 5, How am I using this precious time? I did get my skylight replaced in my garden room so it doesn't leak out there every time it rains. This allows me to arrange the furniture in some fashion other than to avoid the leaks. It is amazing to see the possibilities once that restriction was removed. That room isn't finished but usable now.I want more time to craft.

 I have crocheted some scarves and I am quite pleased with a pattern I made myself. I have many items to photograph for etsy and I really want to spend some time cleaning up the look of the shop. I want to really look at which items sell and maybe remove some items that don't show interest. I belong to some teams now that give my shop some exposure so I really want it to show beautifully. I am excited because my items are featured in several treasuries a day. I love having time to do the projects I want to do and I have discovered bead embroidery I want to try next. I looked it up because I kept seeing items on etsy that I like made this way. My friend Ruth is teaching herself how to do bead weaving. I am not sure I have the patience for that. She made a beautiful necklace. I will see if I can get a picture of it to show here.

The goal of couponing isn't getting very far. I am not sure I have the interest to follow through. I do cut and file them and I watch my favorite blog. I am more aware of good buys and so I haven't given up on it but I will never care enought to get extreme. Maybe once I get one of those deals that brings me an item free I will get excited. I would love to hear comments from people who do this successfully, maybe it will renew my drive to cut and coupon.

I would like to do a give-away on my blog. I need soem more followers to make this work. Give me some feedback about how to do this.

My summer visit to my sister Linda, in Maryland  neeeds to be coordinated so I can begin accomplishing my desires in this short vaction time. This needs to be coordinated with my other sister Sharon. I think we want to travel together.

Summer is short but that is what makes it special!