Thursday Shop Talk

I’ve been busy the past few days making some new items for the shop.  I actually have more to get in to the inventory, but time is limited to spend time taking photos, cropping them and getting listings set up.

~*~*~ shop now at http://www.byhookandbyhand.com ~*~*~

New cup cozies and wash/dish cloths are now stocked in some bright colors for the spring/summer season, head on over and see what you think!

Also, between now and midnight, Saturday 5/20/17 you can save 17% by using code BIRTHDAY17 at checkout!

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My Status: Over Achiever

I think I have commitment issues, but not how you think because I’m not talking about relationships. I mean to life, as in work for example. My schedule has me working every day this month with the exception of 2. The best part of this is I signed up for all of those days. Call me crazy, I get it and own that one. But with bills to pay and Christmas not that far off, making the most of having 2 jobs seems like a good idea. When the alarm clock goes off each day I wonder about my sanity, what the heck was I thinking???

My allergies seem to be on over achiever mode as well. I will admit that I did not take my meds the past 2 days because I was busy and just plain forgot. This is making me miserable now and might lead to a sinus infection. Meanwhile I will likely keep the tissue company in business as the pollen count is 10.1 out of 12 today. ARGH!

Up to my eyeballs in drug names, classifications, multiple systems of the body and how they all interact with one another on levels I never cared to know, I thought it might be fun to sign up to participate in the walk to end Alzheimer’s because one day weeks from now I could have slept in, and we certainly don’t want to break the routine of up at 4am. Just what I need to be doing in the middle of studying for a state exam so I can pass medications at the facilities where I work.

Overly busy? Yes I am! Ah but hang on to your knickers, I’m not finished!

b1b2My shop is still managing to release new items! This is due both to my sister is able to crochet things, and the fact that it is therapy for me and keeping me somewhat sane. Rather than taking in 100 stray cats, or searching for places to bury bodies, I’m binging NCIS on Netflix in the evening while sipping wine and hooking things to sell.

Yes, I still sell Avon, though not as actively pursuing it as I have in the past. I’ve let my team go for now and just sell to friends, coworkers and family. It keeps me in makeup and skin care so it is a win for me. Not that I wear much makeup these days, when you are in menopause like a boss and doing very physical work it is absolutely pointless to bother putting on much more than mascara. Even then I often come home looking like a drunk raccoon from sweating it down my face, but I try!

3-plantsOn a sad note, I managed to kill Abraham, my one air plant. He has been replaced by 3 new ones that are yet to be named. Suggestions are welcome!

Okay, enough chit chat, this chick has to get her ACE inhibitors and BETA blockers memorized. Y’all have a marvelous day!

 

Sporting Pink & White Cheetah Jammies

Last night we finished the last episode of Blue Bloods on Netflix. We divas are huge fans of the show so we started at the very beginning and watched each season, a few episodes a night, over the past few weeks.  Once we finished, we were a bit bored.  Boredom and the Diva Den are not a very good combo.

3 of us are into Pokemon GO, so we went out hunting them, after dark, around midnight, after a thunderstorm, on our street. Because? Well a Pikachu was in our vicinity and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to catch one! My niece was in shorts and a jersey, sis was wearing white jammie pants with tiny, navy blue hearts and navy blue top, also navy slippers.  Me? The fashionista that I am, wore a black jammie top, baggie pink and white jammie pants with black cheetah print on them, black slippers with giant, hot pink bows on them (Hello Kitty baby!), what can I say, I looked hot of course! Our neighbors already think we are a bunch of crazy cat women, why disappoint. We did not get the Pikachu though, too bad.

20160730_103020-1And now? Same jammies, bed head, with my pink, Hello Kitty coffee mug full of my favorite daytime beverage, and a colby cheese on wheat toast sandwich.  I know, you are jealous, but not everyone can be this sexy and cool. Just embrace your own inner freak and it will be okay. (those spots are not on the top, but on the mirror, which I clearly need to clean!)

I’m on day 2 of 7 off in a row! I need this break, not only to crochet and work on items for my shop, but to physically recover from working this job. My 53yo body cannot take a lot of that for an extended time without some chance to recover.

Now that the delivery has been made, I wanted to share the custom order By Hook & By Hand made. We were a tad nervous about how it would turn out in the earthy tones, especially for a baby blanket, but we were very pleased. The new mommy was too! Delivered in person, I got to meet and hold the little man who will snuggle in this blanket for many years to come, and see it in his room which is very close in color to the green in the blanket.

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Coming soon, another Bavarian throw, a new baby blanket, more wash clothes and scrubbies, a poncho, and one very cool Halloween throw.  Hoping to get a lot accomplished while off these remaining 6 days. Boo is working on the Halloween one at this writing, and I’m hooking the Bavarian.  Coffee and hooking, the best therapy ever! Time to get to it, this day is slipping away fast. Y’all have a great one!

 

Hooker Shop Talk

Hooker Shop Talk is going to be my new heading for all things related to By Hook And By Hand, from what I’m currently working on, ideas for future items, newly released items, and anything else crochet related that strikes my fancy. 

13680871_1076108255808031_8434021617286095772_nThis morning we released cotton face scrubbies.  These are made from 100% cotton yarn that is left over from making wash cloths.  Often there isn’t enough for another cloth to be made but plenty to make a scrubbie or two. Not fans of wasting precious yarn, we decided to make scrubbies with the left overs.  These are so simple to make, I can usually hook 5-7 in a 1 hour television program, with breaks to eat popcorn and sip wine.  I know, this is the life!

Why use these cotton scrubbies?

We were purchasing makeup remover wipes to the tune of $5-8 a pack for 30 wipes. With 4 women in the Diva Den this means we spent a lot of money on something we were throwing away. We also bought those cute little cotton circles or squares for our eye makeup removing. I decided to give these a try and I’m hooked (no pun intended). I have a hook in the shower that I use for my cotton, crocheted wash cloth and I stick the scrubbie over it too. Machine washable, I simply toss it in the laundry after using it and grab a new one each day (I use each one twice a day, once in the morning and evening). Cotton breaks down in the landfills very fast because it is natural plant fiber, so that is a plus when it is time to toss these in the trash, though based on others sharing their stories these and the wash cloths last for years.

While making them it dawned on me these make terrific little hostess gifts at your direct sales spa, makeup, or skin care product parties. They also are perfect as stocking stuffers or teacher thank you gifts. If you haven’t made the switch to handmade, cotton wash cloths and scrubbies, why not do it now? Check out the shop for these and other items!

Marvelous Musings Over Coffee

Hot cup of fresh coffee on the wooden table and stack of books tI have had a lot on my “decisions to be made” plate of late.  With too many irons in the fire some things just need to be trimmed from my life and time in order for me to pursue other things where my passion resides.

Anyone who knows me is aware I LOVE direct sales.  At one point I was a consultant/representative for 7 or so companies.  That was narrowed down to 4, 3 of which I basically keep so I can purchase things at a nice discount for myself.  I share them at times, heck who doesn’t like a nice commission check when one has bills to pay, but they are primarily to get a good deal on things I use.  The only one I ever really worked to any degree is my Avon business.

Now that I’ve launched my Etsy shop, By Hook And By Handalong with my sister, I really don’t want to mess that much with the Avon.  It was good to me, had a team of 52 at one point before I let that all fall apart while racing around the country side on a motorcycle with a 1%er (hey, it was that crazy time after the divorce, we all make mistakes).  I love the products etc, but just don’t want to pour the amount of time into that it takes to build a solid income, time I would need to spend away from home.  I’m moving my customers all to online ordering and mailing out brochures and samples periodically.

My passion is my crochet shop.  Hooks and yarn are like therapy to me, even with custom orders and deadlines, I LOVE to crochet.  And with 5 sales already, while having limited inventory, I see the higher earning potential doing something I absolutely enjoy.  Higher potential being that I can do this truly from home.  Avon and other direct sales rock, but you have to go out and do parties, recruit, sell etc. All good and fine if you aren’t working a full time job that is kicking your tail physically, then want to go out and ‘work’ another job.  I put in my work week in 3, 12.5 hour days, pick up an over time shift a week, sometimes more, so the last thing I want to do is get out there and try to do parties etc.  I want to relax, and hooking things soothes me.  If I can make money on what I crochet, well it is a win/win to me. Hooking just doesn’t feel like work!

Being home means spending time with mom, and that time we have is growing shorter with each passing day. I can crochet my heart out while we talk, sit out on the deck, in front of the fire place (when it is cold), and if she needs to be at the infusion center or doctor, well my hooker bag goes along for the appointment and I keep right on crocheting there too.  It simply makes sense to pour myself into what I love and grow this business.  I’ve started a blog for the shop in case folks are interested in seeing what we are up too.  We’ll also share links to patterns we find so other hookers can enjoy making things, so feel free to follow those writings. And feel free to share it, we love that!

I cannot yet share what the other decision is, but will when it is time.  But prayers for the success of that would be much appreciated!

Well, off to work on the custom order, it is nearly finished and will be delivered next week.

Y’all have a fantastic day!

 

WE ARE OPEN!

As mentioned a number of times over the past 4 weeks, my sister and I have an Etsy shop, and NOW it is open!  We were going to wait until next week when we have a few more items, but we have a yarn habit to support and frankly we are just pretty excited about it.

SO, we invite you to check out our shop, By Hook And By Hand and let us know what you think!  Many more items being released in the next week to 2 weeks, but that gives you a taste of what we will be making!

 

Friday Coffee Musings…

Close up of cup of coffee with pink roseIt is FRIDAY BABY!!! And I’m off, for 3 wonderful days that will have wonderful weather to enjoy.  In fact, MARVELOUS weather!  I’m sitting here at my desk with the window open, breeze gently blowing and drinking my favorite beverage, coffee.  Life is simply amazing! The last time I was off 3 days in a row, well I was sick and in bed so that doesn’t really count for much outside of sleeping.

I slept in today, 10 hours, 12 minutes of deep, restful sleep.  That too was outstanding and energizing.

UntitledLast step of the current hooker project is putting the border on this gorgeous baby blanket, then blocking it before it goes up for sale.  Blankets 5 & 6 are in production, as well as ruffle scarves, washcloths, baby booties and some other items.  Once we have the suggest minimum of 10 items the store front will go live.  Seriously, who wants to shop a store that only has one or two items? Um, no one really, I’d keep walking by that one in any mall.  Same as online, if you don’t have things to browse, you won’t get much business.

Being away for a few days sick really made me miss my sweet old souls at work.  It was good to be back, and even better to be told by them how much they missed me.  My one dear lady, after assisting her with her morning routine, said “oh Martha, I don’t know what I’d do without you!”, which made me feel so good inside.  We don’t make much, but you cannot put a price on that appreciation right there.  Sure, I could cut corners but then I would not be providing the level of care they deserve and pay for, and God sees what I do/don’t do regardless.  I do answer to the Highest power, after all.  Brings home the “whatsoever you do to the least of these” concept when someone depends on you for simple things like using the bathroom, bathing, getting turned over in bed, dressing etc.

Mom and I had coffee this morning, in our favorite arm chairs in the living room.  I love my off days for this, we talk about everything under the sun, one would think we’d run out of things to say!  Then it was off to run errands and have lunch.  I often look back over my shoulder down that road of life, the one that is a one-way trip, and see now that 6 years ago when my life fell apart, it was a blessing in disguise.  I’d prayed to get out of the lifestyle I was living, just didn’t imagine when I asked God to change the hubster’s heart so we could break free of it and I could be done with the swinger crap, that it would get changed in a way that meant I’d be released to pursue better things.  That blessing was spending my mom’s last years with her, sharing daily together our frustrations, smiles, laughter and making memories. While talking this morning we touched on the fact that when mom reaches the end stages with this cancer, it could get messy.  She wants to remain at home, with hospice caring for her here rather than in a cold, sterile hospital or in a care facility.  I realized then that my ending up getting my CNA certification and state level certification was no accident.  This was never on my employment radar, I even balked against it, yet now cannot imagine doing anything else.  When mom’s time grows really short, she’ll need the very kind of care I’ve been trained to provide.  My niece is also state certified, and my sister is the top dog of a long term care facility and hospice nurse.  One could say we’ve got this, it’s handled.  Who knew when God dragged my sorry butt kicking and screaming down this road into the health care field that one day in the not so distant future it would be needed most on the home front?  He works in mysterious ways sometimes.  For now, all is pretty good, but we know each day is bringing it closer to the end when along this road will come a bench with her name on it, and she’ll take her place there to wait on the bus from Heaven, and we’ll keep walking on without her. I don’t think about it or dwell on that.  I’m not in denial, it simply is not time to be dealing with that. We’ll cross the bridge when we arrive there.

Well those projects won’t hook themselves, so I’m off to join my cat, all stretched out and relaxing on the bed, with my yarn, crochet hook and another cup of coffee!  YOU all have a marvelous afternoon!

Tuesday Coffee Chat (Back From The Dead)

Yes, I am alive, and even well.  Almost anyway, maybe 85% but that is enough to get back up on this horse called LIFE and ride like I stole it!  What better way to do that than join in with Rory Bore at Ink Interrupted for the Tuesday Coffee Chat!

How’s it Hanging?   
Tell us about one of your favourite hangouts.

Easy peasy, one of my very favorite places to hang out and chill is my room!  Seriously it is without a doubt my best spot for thinking, planning, writing, crocheting, praying, meditating, recovering from illness….I’ve made it my nest of sorts and it is my place to just BE.

My music is handy when I’m working there, and my desk is by the window so when it is warm (will it ever truly be spring and warm again?) my window is open, breeze moving the curtains as it whispers across my skin, birds can be heard singing and kids laughter as they play in the neighborhood.

Another favorite is the deck, because I love being outside in the park like setting we have here.  Me, a book or crochet project, under the trees or watching for deer to cut through the yard in search of food.

 

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Both of these places are my havens, places of refuge that I enjoy.

Where do you like to hang?

The Crazy Cat Lady Is Also The Happy Hooker

I’m on to another wonderful hooker project, and getting close to the finish.  This one was featured on my Instagram account last week, and is one of the more popular pics there.  I LOVE this pattern!! Bavarian crochet looked so complicated, and frankly the written instructions freaked me out and were difficult to grasp.  Then I found this outstanding video tutorial and it all clicked for me.  This blanket will be for sale soon, in my Etsy shop.  Stay tuned for details once the shop launches!!!

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I made this one for my grandson, and thinking I will do another for my shop as well:

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