Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to take a moment this morning to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

Life is hard, but there is always something to be thankful for. I hope today you can find that something, and stop for a moment to thank the higher power for putting that thing(s) in your life.

Remember, you may be that thing to be thankful for in someone else's life, even if it's just for the smile you share with a stranger on the street today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stitches is over. . . :(

Well, Stitches East has come and gone. Did you go? How was your experience?

Two friends, Yarn Mama and a new knitter, and I all went down to Baltimore on Friday. It was a good time. The weather cooperated and permitted a walk to Inner Harbor for dinner, as well as a quick look around again on Saturday afternoon.

Yarn Mama and I both took classes on Friday afternoon. She took a class on swatching (the EVIL 5-letter word!). My class, Introduction to Brioche, was very interesting. While I was thoroughly confused at first, I was able to do the stitch in the end. I was even able to utilize two colors to make the pattern look very different. The instructor, Nancy Marchant, really knows her stuff. She has a wonderful website which she shared with us to help as we continue working with the brioche stitch and it's many variations: I will definitely be starting a project with this fun stitch, and exploring her website soon!

Then we entered the MarketPlace --- the large room full of lots of yarn and yarn-y stuff!! I purchased a gorgeous skein of Tess yarn called Twinkle Toes ... a surprise to knit up for my mom, who for some reason nicknamed me "twinkle toes" a few years back (I think cuz I'm a bit clumsy). Also picked up a nice heathered grey skein of Cascade superwash for a hat I've been commissioned to knit -- an old-fashioned stocking hat.

Really, Stitches was just as good as last year in terms of variety, selection, etc. So why am I not oozing post-Stitches excitement? Well, this year I had a strict budget -- for my business and for my personal stash. The skeins I mentioned above... that's all I bought (plus a silicon de-pet-furring roller). Oh yes, I fondled and oogled, and scored a few sample knitting and crocheting mags, but I didn't get to just run amuck and buy wily-nily as I did last year. It kinda sapped a little of the fun out of the experience. *sigh* Guess I'll save up for wily-nily spending next year, hopefully my first year at Rhinebeck!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stitches East Conference

Lately it seems like time is constantly taking me by surprise. I looked at my calendar and realized that Stitches East is only 8 days away! Road trip to Baltimore with two friends, a night away from home to relax and knit, and tons and tons of YARN -- I can't wait!!!!!

I'll be taking only one class this year... an introduction to the Brioche stitch. I am a little nervous about it, especially since every time I've read anything about that stitch, it usually involves dire warnings about how difficult it is. But it's pretty, and I want to try. My grandfather said you need to learn one new thing every day --- I've decided that Brioche can be my thing for Nov 7th.

Of course I'll be headed to check out the Marketplace, too. There are a few vendors I'd like to return to from last year, despite the fact that I haven't yet used all my yarn purchased at last year's Stitches. Hey, that's what "stash" is about, right? Buying the perfect yarns when you see them, then waiting for the skeins and hanks to speak to you, and tell you just what project they'd complete perfectly. Besides, the call of all that pretty yarn is just irresistible!!!

Are you going to Stitches? What classes are you taking? Are you going to look for anything in particular from the Marketplace?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gina's new Etsy shop

a good friend of mine, Gina, taught me to knit awhile back. She's an amazing knitter!! Her specialty seems to be all the most difficult-to-knit items -- intricate lacy shawls and teeny-tiny baby clothing. I have occasionally carried her work ... the itty-bitty knit hats and baby booties in the shape of animals ... in my booth at various craft shows.

Now Gina has a store of her own! Stop here to look at & purchase her beautiful lace work, baby items, and more!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Only 65 days until Christmas!!

Yikes! For real?!?!?! I didn't believe it, so I counted the days -- and it's true!! Only 65 days until Christmas!!

So what are you waiting for? There are loads of cute, fun, or functional items in my shop that would make great Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers. How about a stuffed, knit snowperson, a fabric bookcover for your favorite reader, or a smiling cotton coaster set? If you need to be a little more frugal this year, there's always the bargain bin, where everything is 25% off! I'll be adding some warm and cozy shawls, and pretty new jewelry items soon, too.

And if you don't see exactly what you're looking for, consider placing a special order. Any orders placed before Thanksgiving are guaranteed to be delivered before Christmas!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Too cute!

I have seen around.... at shows and on the bags of various knitters ... these adorable little mini-swatch pins -- almost like you began knitting an itsy-bitsy tiny square, then left it on the needles.

Well, this morning I was checking out Ravelry (if you STILL haven't signed up, you simply must do so! For knitters and crocheters, it is the COOLEST resource/network EVER!) and saw an add for a shop called "Mi-KNIT-ures." Click on the link and what do I find? The adorable little pins, of course!! They are so cute, and come in a variety of colors! What a neat stocking-stuffer idea for the knitter in your life! Or yourself! Or both!! :)

Monday, September 29, 2008


I've never been tagged for a Meme before. Heck, I don't even know what "meme" means! But... I just posted my first post in literally months last week, and today I'm going back to read what's been going on in the lives of my fav bloggers. YarnMama tagged me for this "one word" meme so I'll give it a try :


You must answer the questions using only one word & tag four others.

1. Where is your cell phone? desk
2. Your significant other? work
3. Your hair? blonde
4. Your mother? Jersey
5. Your father? injured
6. Your favorite thing? chocolate
7. Your dream last night? weird
8. Your favorite drink? martinis
9. Your dream/goal? peace
10. The room you’re in? lobby
11. Your hobby? knitting
12. Your fear? mistakes
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years NOW? south
14. What you’re not? awake
15. Muffins? corn
16. One of your wish list items? peace
17. Where you grew up? Pittsburgh
18. The last thing you did? reservation
19. What are you wearing? bracelets
20. Favorite gadget? cell
21. Your pets? ranbunctious
22. Your computer? laptop
23. Your mood? distracted
24. Missing someone? yes
25. Your car? dirty
26. Something you’re not wearing? lipstick
27. Favorite store? yarn
28. Like someone? lots
29. Your favorite color? purple
30. When is the last time you laughed? yesterday
31. Last time you cried? saturday

The only part of the directions I can't follow is the tagging part. See, there are plenty of blogs I follow, but only a handful belong to friends whom I actually know personally, and YarnMama tagged most of us already. So you'll just have to be happy with reading my answers. Hey, if you haven't been tagged, consider it done! Now it's YOUR turn! :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

On cooler weather and current projects

Jacket weather took me by surprise -- being pre-occupied makes you much less aware of your surroundings until shivering sets in! But this morning felt so crisp and fresh..... It makes me want to cuddle into a warm sweater and sit on my balcony and knit. I'm thinking a nice soft blanket. I don't have a pattern in mind yet, and most likely I won't select one but just knit as I feel, perhaps some random striping. I have nearly 2000 yards of lovely soft wool in ice blue and chocolate brown. A surprising color combination, but they are beautiful together!

Some projects other than the blanket I feel coming on are pending first:

  • As the holidays are fast approaching (ack! where does time go again?!?), I will be working to stuff and "dress" some knitted snow men and snow women. I'll also be making sure to have a wide selection of warm and cozy scarves and hats for the winter months. Some will be posted soon to my website (I hope!).
  • Another important current project is a dog blankie. I received an order last week for a custom "quilted" blanket for a dog, and just bought fabric for it last night. The request involved chocolate brown and rust fabrics -- the rust has tiny ivory dog bones printed all over!
  • Finally, I will be sewing together some more paperback book covers/carriers. I still have some cut and ready to go, but had been waiting until after a few craft shows to actually assemble them. Now it's time -- stock is getting low and there are more shows on the way! The covers make great stocking stuffers, but we'll discuss cute stocking stuffer ideas a little later on.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New dates

Just a quick FYI ... selling at the retail space in the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Elsmere earlier this month worked out pretty well. I signed up for two more days this summer: July 17th and August 19th. I'll be set up and ready to sell by 8:30am, and am permitted to remain open until around 3pm.

In July, I'll be unveiling a new item!! It's a secret, but I'll give you a hint... it's a great gift idea for someone who's earth-conscious or anyone who tries to "live simply" to save our earth. Stay tuned... maybe I'll post a picture hint soon.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

To all who may travel this weekend (in spite of the HUGE price of gas), may your trip be safe and fun. And to those smart enough to stay home (not me, I'm afraid), have a relaxing weekend without worry, hassle, or care!

My summer resolution is to be more present on my blog, so.... let's hope I can rest & brainstorm blog ideas enough this weekend to keep me going!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Sadly blog-absent

Yes, that's been me lately. Sadly absent from my blog. It feels lonely. You feel abandoned. I'm sorry.

I don't know what's happened. I began the year with very good intentions to blog at least two times per week. Somehow I've gotten so caught up in life and work and schedules that I just never seem to find my way here to blog.

Or when I do, I just can't think of what to blog about. I need to work on this. Until I figure it out, here are a few pictures of my booth from Old Dover Days this past Saturday. All morning and for the first part of the afternoon, the weather was very not-conducive to shopping and browsing. As a matter of fact, it was gross and chilly. At least, until about 2pm when the sun finally came out and warmed things up a bit. Then it was a much happier place to be. :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Old Dover Days

Just a quick note today about my first show of the season. I was just accepted into the crafts portion of Old Dover Days, a celebration of the city of Dover on May 3rd (next Saturday). Hope you can come out for all the festivities (and to shop at my booth, of course!).

I will have my Smileville Bears, some summery wreaths & door decor, jewelry by Dawn (my sister), soft and comfy blankets, fabric book covers, and more! Also will be debuting my smiley/frowny coasters.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I've been up to...

finishing several projects. Yippee. You know how much I like finishing (NOT!). But... the closer I get to my first show of the year (right now the one at the VA Hospital on June 6th), the more I have been thinking "I need to finish some of the items I have started."

So here are some pics (as most are still works in progress):

several fabric and knitted blankets

a slew of paperback book covers in various fabrics

a herd (??) of bears --- Smileville Bears, that is --- preparing to be stuffed and assembled

Monday, March 31, 2008

Smiley Coasters -- an update

Well, after several attempts, I realized that the idea for a set of four "emoticon" coasters really wouldn't work.

I successfully made a frowny coaster, but the "mad" one didn't look mad, and I couldn't get my head around how to crochet a "surprised" face when the entire coaster is done in the round..... I'm not even sure I can explain why it didn't work. Suffice to say the attempts have been frogged and re-created into more smilies and frownies!

I did list several sets of the coasters today on my Etsy site. They will be available in sets of 4 coasters -- your choice either all 4 smiley, or 2 smiley & 2 frowny.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Earth Hour

The environment has always been a concern of mine. I have recycled in every place I've lived (in college I used to take long walks and collect all the cans I found and bring them to the recycling center). When I visit the shore in NJ, or the beaches in DE, I get really sad because the water isn't quite the blue it should be. And one of my first decisions as I opened Smile Creations Crafts was that I would re-use packaging and boxes when shipping purchases to my customers. Recently, thanks to a program called Just Faith, I have renewed my commitment to preserving the earth and leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible. And that renewed commitment brings me to Earth Hour.

March 29th (next Saturday) from 8-9pm is Earth Hour .....

What is "Earth Hour?"
(taken from the event page) "Earth Hour, run by WWF, the conservation organisation, is a global climate change initiative which calls on individuals and businesses around the world, to turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday March 29 2008 between 8 pm and 9pm.
The aim of the campaign is to express that individual action on a mass scale can help change our planet for the better.
The event itself will clearly demonstrate in participating cities, the connection between energy usage and climate change, showing that we as broader community can address the biggest threat our planet has ever faced."

Earth Hour began in Australia last year; this year it is a truly global event with over 9,000 businesses and 130,000 individuals worldwide signed up to participate. I signed up, and I hope you'll consider doing the same. Turning off our lights for an hour is a small price to pay to try to preserve our world for our childrens' children.....

Please use this link (my personal Earth Hour page) to learn more and sign up. When you sign up, you'll get a page, too, to forward to your friends and colleagues and track the impact that you, as an individual, can have.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Smiling coasters and a new retail opportunity

I have created something totally new... A smiling coaster! Recently I wanted to make something for a friend of mine... something that would make her smile even when her day was rotten. And so I picked up a crochet hook and a skein each of yellow and black cotton, and created a smiley!

Thing was, her smiley turned out a little big (kinda a smiley on steroids). Now that I had calculated out the pattern stitches, I wanted something a little easier to fit on a desk... so I shrunk the smiley just a tad, and now I have a smiley, perfectly sized for a coffee mug or glass of iced tea... (this pic, by the way, is a VERY good example of why you should never take important pics with a cell phone!)

Bad pic aside, I will be adding some of these happy little circles of absorbency to my Etsy site soon (just need a day or two to make some more and take better pics), so stay tuned. Also, my mom suggested that I expand my smiley idea to make an "emotional" set of coasters... four coasters, each with a different expression. The variations may take a bit longer to figure out, but I'm working on it. I think we'll have angry, surprised, and sad to the happy smiley, but who knows? Once I'm happy with the emotional lot, I'll post their pics here, too.

And before I say goodnight, an FYI (that explains the other half of my subject line for today) --- The coasters will make their first "show" debut in June at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Elsmere, DE. The VA Hospital has set aside a space on the second floor (outside the canteen) where selected vendors can sell their goods. I have been working with the manager for a while now, and just today got confirmation of 5 selling dates (I'm going to try to add more later). As of now, I will set up "shop" at the VA Hospital on the following dates: June 6, October 23 and 24, November 5, and December 18.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's official....

Stitches with Style, our LYS here in Newark, DE, will be hosting festivities for WWKIP Day! Hope to see lots of you there again this year, and to meet new faces, too!! The fun starts at 10:30am and lasts til 4pm.

Yay!! Thanks Linda!

Monday, March 10, 2008

All you knitters and crocheters, mark your calendars!

Remember World Wide Knit in Public Day from last year? Remember, fellow Newark Delawareans, how much fun it was to gather at Stitches with Style and share projects with friends (and make new friends!), and then to converge on McGlynn's for lunch?

Well, mark your calendars because WWKIP Day is back! And.... the updated website states clearly that WWKIP Day is always the second Saturday in June. So June 14th it is (who's bringing the cake, my birthday is the very next day!?).

My calendar is marked; luckily I am not applying to any craft shows for that weekend so I'll be where ever the party is! Stay tuned; as details (such as whether Stitches will host again this year) become available, I will share them here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Another show confirmed!

The schedule is growing.... I just received notification today that I've been accepted into Art on the Green, an annual show organized by the New Castle Hundred Lions Club. I will be selling knit toys and wearables, as well as pinecone wreaths (both general and season-specific).

Location: Battery Park, New Castle, DE
Date/Time: September 27th (it's a Saturday) from 10-5pm. (The rain date is October 4th since it's an all-outdoor show.)
Booth Assignment: I'll be booth # B19.

In other news, I have been hit by the sewing bug. That's right, except for some special-order items (which I will keep knitting until they're completed and delivered), I'm setting aside the knitting needles for awhile to give my sewing machine some love! I think this mood shift was brought on by a spending day with my sister last week, with fabric and notions spread through the house, altering clothing that we no longer wear into fun and funky pieces we WILL wear!

At any rate, keep an eye out, because I've got a couple of cute "quilted" blankets nearly done (that should be appearing on my web site soon), as well as more paperback book covers in new fabrics, and perhaps some new placemat sets for spring......

Friday, February 29, 2008

First craft show scheduled

Happy news for Friday.... I got a phone call from the DuPont Country Club, confirming my space in their annual fall craft fair!

The fair is on Oct 5th, in the DuPont Country Club on Rockland Road. Five-six rooms of the club are used for the fair (it's a big show with lots of vendor variety); I was lucky enough to secure a spot in the Crystal Ballroom and Terrace (the largest room). Look for me in one of the wall spaces.

I will be selling knit toys (pumpkins, bears, and snowpeople), knit clothing (scarves, hats, gloves, shawls), and some seasonal pinecone door wreaths.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thanks for making my day!

Wow, what an honor! I woke up this morning and was reading my fav blogs, and found that ReluctantMango has nominated me for the "You Make My Day" award!!! Talk about making my day....!!! It puts a smile on my face to know that my musings, ramblings, and ideas are things that someone else looks forward to reading. Thanks, Mango!

For anyone who hasn't yet seen a blog tagged with this award, it's given to blogs that bring you happiness, inspiration, and generally keep you coming back to read more, and more, and more. The recipient's only task is to pass along the good vibes by selecting blogs that make his or her day.

Before I list my "You Make My Day" award winners, I want to say that the blogs I have listed in my "I read, I recommend" section are the ones I always look forward to reading. Some have already been awarded the "You Make My Day" award by other bloggers, and all of them have earned my blog love! Here are five more blogs I check frequently.... thanks to all of them for making my day!!

SouleMama - She just has a way about her that soothes me whenever I'm upset, grounds me in reality, but a reality full of love and sunshine. I especially love the way she shares her children, and finds fun ways to involve and stimulate them creatively.
The Daily Coyote - Amazing pictures and stories about a coyote living with a woman in Wyoming.
The Wooster Collective - Funky street art from around the globe.
The Heathen Housewife - She's been knitting a huge incredible blankie for a year and a half (she just finished it), and documenting it's progress every "Blankie Friday." I'm inspired to begin a project this large (and actually see it through to completion!)
CraftLeftovers - A variety of neat crafty patterns and ideas -- good to get the creative juices flowing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Show Schedule 2008

Well, it's that time of year, and I'm starting to apply to art and craft shows in the tri-state area. Based on last year's show successes, I'm focusing on the summer/fall months. Which means once taxes are done (ick!) and my show applications are in, my focus will be on building up inventory to get me through the season.

Of course, as soon as I know which shows I've been accepted into, I'll post them in my show schedule on the right. Hope you'll plan to come out to one, or several, and say hello!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What's the number one reason I love knitting so much??

There is never a bad time to knit (well, except church services and parent/teacher conferences... there have been many discussions among knitters on this topic)!

But there really is no other hobby that seems quite so productive (yes handheld video games are portable, but you can't wear them when you complete a level), that can go quite so many places. I learned to knit because I had a long train commute to work -- it was perfect! Once I learned to knit, I simply chose projects that required only one ball of yarn at a time and used short needles to avoid poking the commuter next to me. Many knitters keep a sock project on hand especially for waiting in line at the post office (not much is smaller than a sock project). I keep one in my car so that when construction brings traffic to a halt, everyone around me is cursing in their cars while I calmly knit away on my current project.

Not only is it portable, but knitting is also a form of meditation. Choosing a simple, repetitive pattern can be like repeating a soothing mantra, while choosing something more complicated can refocus all your attention on the task at hand and force your mind to release whatever has been causing it to jump around through hoops.

Knitting offers a wide range of flexibility as well. If you like a challenge, there are many many stitches, techniques, and pattern types that you can try out. If you like to be productive and don't feel like struggling, there are plenty of beautiful items that can be knit using only the most basic knit/purl stitches.

Best of all, I find that knitters (and crocheters; I do both and am not prejudiced against either one!) are some of the nicest people in the world! I had a stranger on the train offer to help me when I was struggling to make an i-cord for the first time, and never until I knit was I able to walk into a group of people and instantly join the conversation. Knitters love to share... share yarn, stories, projects, successes.... you know you've found a knitter when someone comes up to you and touches your hand-knit scarf and comments on the fiber, or colors, or incredible workmanship.

Now that I knit, I find it difficult to comprehend someone not wanting to knit! :) Once you learn (lucky you--- I have a beginner's class starting on March 12th that you could take!), you have an ultimately-portable, productive, and varied hobby. There is always something new to learn, and there are dozens upon dozens of books, magazines, web sites, and yarn stores with patterns and resources and smiling faces ready to help you with your next project.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope that you take time to celebrate with someone special today... hug a friend, call your mom, take some serious play time with your kids, snuggle with your partner. Make sure the people closest to your heart know how important they are in your life.

I wish you and all the important people in your life a great Valentine's Day!

PS... if you're one of those who feels that Valentine's Day is just a "Hallmark holiday," I found you a link to the legend of St. Valentine.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Well-traveled bears living in Smileville....

Well, the rumors are true. There are bears from far and wide traveling to live in Smileville!

Mac and Lani hail from distant places in the western US. These two adorable bears have become fast friends as they share their exotic experiences, and their nostalgia for friends back home.

Mac, a deep blue bear, sports a winter white scarf all year round. It reminds him of the cold Alaskan days, living in a land covered in snow year-round. Until he moved to Smileville, he never jumped in the ocean without feeling very very cold! Now he swims as much as his Momma and Poppa bear will let him, in the lake at Smileville.

Lani, whose "fur" is a turquoise blue with hints of yellow, misses the warm sunny days in Hawaii. Her lei of white flowers was given to her by friends before she left the oceanic island paradise. She misses Hawaii, but is a very adventurous bear and is enjoying all her new experiences in Smileville. She was very excited when a few weeks ago she got to see (and taste) her first snow!

Both these bears would love to go home with a new forever-friend. If you'd like Mac, Lani, or one of their new-found friends at Bear Bash to come home with you or someone special, visit the Smileville Bear section of my website, or send me a bear request via email.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Beginner's Knitting Class

Here's a flyer for the beginner's knitting class I'll be offering. beginning March 12th. Please read the flyer for all pertinent information.

Class size is limited so that I can concentrate on every single person, so sign up now!!

If you have your own group of 5 or more people, contact me about the possibility of scheduling a special class for your group.

PS -- To see the flyer in detail, simply click on it; it will open a larger version in a new window.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thank you

Just wanted to say thank you to the people who went back and took my knitting class survey. I got great feedback and some additional ideas that I'm working to incorporate into my plan.

Congrats also to Jen who was randomly chosen from among the respondents to receive the 15% off coupon to Smile Creations Crafts!

I've decided to schedule the first knitting class for sometime early in March. I'll be designing a flyer (with my Mom's help -- she's great at that stuff!) and will post it here next week at the latest.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Anyone ever used a light box?

Recently another small craft business owner shared that she had purchased a light box, and that it has made taking photographs of her work infinitely easier. I've read a few articles on the topic in some art/craft magazines, but I'm still a little skeptical.

I'll admit it, the photographing of my work is the part that I HATE the MOST! My problem is that despite spending time to set up the shots, getting them as well and evenly lit as possible, and taking multiple shots, I end up needing several hours with PhotoShop to get them really clear and sharp. And what's worse is that good photographs are a must to selling online and successfully applying to craft fairs.

I've read that light boxes are good for eliminating shadows and that they help keep the light even on all parts of the object. So does that mean that if I invest in and use one, I won't have to spend hours at my PC fiddling with the photographs? I'd love to know if others have had the same troubles that I have, and if a light box helped.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Join me in welcoming my sister to the 21st century

That's right, my baby sister just joined the blogosphere! She has started a blog for her photography business, Innovative Photography.

dawn elizabeth (my sis) is based in southern NJ, but has traveled as far as Curacao (an island in the Carribbean) and NY for photo shoots. She and her associate, Dennis, shoot weddings, portraits, senior portraits, and more. Her on-location portraits (photos taken in a setting of your choice, rather than in a studio) are fantastic!

Every so often she lets me model for her (always fun!) as she tests out new lighting or posing ideas. Here are some samples of her work, starring me!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Knitting class survey update

I must admit to being a bit surprised and bummed out -- I only received one response to my knitting survey (thank you, whoever you are since you chose to remain anonymous!). I have presented my ideas to several friends for their feedback, but I had hoped for some input from my readers as well.

I will probably leave the survey open for a few more days, in case you've been wanting to answer but just haven't had the time. I know well how hectic life can get at times!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Easter is coming ... sooner than you think!

Easter this year is just about as early as it can be... March 23rd. It's practically right around the corner! With Ash Wednesday the first week of February, now seems to be the perfect time to start planning your Easter decor and gifts. And a great place to start is with Smile Creations Crafts.

How about an adorable macrame duckling for your front door? The ducks are carefully knotted of strong yellow cord by Dennis and then adorned with feathers and flowers for a festive, unique look.

Not into ducks? What about bears? Our Smileville Bears are soft and cuddly, sure to bring a smile to anyone's face! And the best news about the bears? There is one just perfect for that special person in your life... musician (Rupert Bear plays the drums), aspiring lawyer (Bradford Bear wants to be one, too!), carefree baby (Sally Bear is still in diapers, and the twins Tootsie and Toby wear bibs so they don't spill all over themselves), just to name a few!

Thinking you'd like a more practical gift for a new baby this Easter season? What about the baby wash mitt and burp towel set cross-stitched with butterflies and bunnies by Maryann? Made of soft terry cloth and edged in yellow gingham, this will bring a smile to mother and baby at bath time!

And there's more! A sunflower pillow, cheerful sunflower napkin rings, crochet halter tops, bright & fresh flower pins.... visit my web site today and see all that Smile Creations Crafts can add to your Easter celebration!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

3 more days...

Only three more days to take my short survey about a potential knitting class and be entered in a drawing for a 15% off coupon to Smile Creations Crafts.

Click here to take the survey today!

Monday, January 21, 2008

NEW!! Hand-crafted wooden yarn swifts

A while back, I asked my dad to create for me my own yarn swift. I have lots of lovely skeins of yarn and my hand was getting tired winding them into balls. So.... my dad (who is an engineering genius and loves tinkering with projects like that) managed to come up with a great yarn swift!

It's made of wood and sits on a small turntable which spins on steel ball bearings. The eight arms each have several dowel holes drilled into them to make the swift very customizable --- it'll accommodate skeins of yarn from 40" up to 104".

Here is the flyer that I've put together to show the swift and how it adjusts & disassembles. If you're interested in ordering a swift for yourself, you can email me at or visit Stitches with Style in Newark.

* Please be aware that it can take 6-8 weeks for delivery of your swift as each one is created by hand upon receipt of the order.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

To Teach or Not to Teach

That may seem a strange question given my post from Sunday about how important it is to learn something new every day. However, I'm asking anyway. During the past 6 months, I've had a handful of people approach me to ask about knitting lessons. I had never before considered it, although I have taught before and am confident I could successfully help others discover how wonderful knitting is.

It's something I'm seriously considering now for the new year, but I'd like your input. If I offered the following package for a set fee, would you take the knitting lessons? If not, what would you change?
*four one-hour-long sessions (one each week for a month)
*a book (that includes some how-to as well as a few starter patterns)
*needles and yarn for two small projects
*two help-me sessions during the month (a few hours where I'd be available for extra help if anyone needed it)

Please take a second & click here to complete my short survey about offering a knitting class. Even if you already know how to knit, I'm interested in your thoughts on this idea! As an extra incentive, I'll select one lucky respondent to receive a coupon for 15% off any item in my online shop! The coupon winner will be chosen on January 27th, when I close the survey.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Heeeeeere's Rupert!

Say hello to Rupert Bear, the musically inclined toddler in Smileville. When he was just a tiny cub, he loved to find sticks and rocks and use them to "play music" on his momma bear's pots and pans. She tried to find another toy that he liked that was quieter, but nothing seemed to keep him as happy as making noise.

Just last Christmas, she gave in and got Rupert his very own drum! He is so happy! It's the perfect size to carry with him to Bear Bash (the daycamp for baby bears in Smileville), so he doesn't have to hunt for sticks and rocks anymore. The best days are when the teacher bear at Bear Bash lets him play music for all his friends after lunch!

If you'd like Rupert (or one of his other friends at Bear Bash) to come home with you or someone special, visit the Smileville Bear section of my website, or send me a bear request via email.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I'm in Stitches

Stitches with Style, that is! Beginning this week, some of my handcrafted items will be on display (and available for purchase, of course!) at Stitches with Style, my LYS (Local Yarn Shop) in Newark, DE.

Right now there are knit stuffed snowpeople and a few of the Smileville Bears ready for adoption. Soon I will be adding some fabric book covers (They are sooo convenient: just slip your paperback into the cover, use the integrated bookmark to keep your place, grab the handles and go!). And custom-made wooden yarn swifts will be available for special order (more on these a little later).

Stop by Stitches, say hello to Linda and crew, fondle the pretty yarns, and check out my stuff!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Learn something every day

My grandfather shared that wisdom with my sister and I when we were very little -- that you should learn something every day to stay young and fresh and continue growing all your life. As I get older, I tend to notice more that I am still learning every day and I marvel at it, especially the lessons that find you when you least expect them. Sometimes silly trivia, sometimes earth-shattering truths, it doesn't matter as long as you learn.

Today what I learned falls more into "hey, that's convenient to know" and so I thought I'd share. I was paging through a jewelry design book of my sister's (as you may or may not know, she designs and creates all the jewelry that I sell at Smile Creations Crafts) and found a little chart tucked at the bottom of a page --- a chart all about the lengths of necklaces.

Personally, I know what a choker is, and that's about it. Sure I measure and dutifully note the length of every piece she gives me to sell (and post it with the online entry for the piece), but I can never visualize where it will fall on a person until I actually put it on. But even still I have difficulty with how to describe to someone else where it falls on me?

This chart helps soo much with that!! And so, with thanks to Crocheted Wire and Bead Jewelry, here is a condensed, Patience version of what I learned today from that chart:
There are 7 basic acknowledged lengths of necklaces.
* Collar -- 12-13" -- multiple strands worn snugly around the neck
* Choker -- 14-16" -- slightly looser than collar; sits just above the collarbone
* Princess -- 17-19" -- sits slightly below collarbone; looks great with high necklines
* Matinee -- 20-23" -- fits into the "V" of most V-neck shirts; hits high on the breastbone
* Opera -- 28-34" -- hangs into the cleavage; can be doubled for choker
* Rope -- 40-45" -- versatile (I like to double it, with one loop like a choker and the other hanging more like a matinee length necklace)
* Lariat -- 48" or more -- ends are left unattached for knotting or to be wrapped around the neck

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy 2008

I hope everyone had a happy celebration to ring in the New Year! May this year bring good things, fond memories, and friendship.

My new year's resolution: to re-find time and post more often. What's your new year's resolution??