I'd Rather be Craft'n

Because there is nothing better than HANDMADE

Feeling buggy?

I have a confession,,,,my craft room is a mess.  I mean i do try to keep things straightened up and organized, but when I have works in progress I have stuff scattered all over my table.  The other night I was actually trying to pick up and straighten up my table when I got to my drawer of clay. While picking through whats scrap, whats open, and my still sealed packs, the red and black blocks just called to me.  It is springtime after all and well, I was feeling buggy!

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I was feeling a bit “Buggy” the other night so I began creating this army. They all just came out of the oven….not sure what I’m gonna do with them yet…..but I think it might turn out cute!

I did a bake after assembling my little swarm and then it was glazing time.

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The finished product? Well, I’m not really sure what I am going to do with all of them, but I believe I maybe be off to a good start.   I believe this will light up a little girls spring dress!                                                                   11013171_1572728892981460_3730789377528467776_n

I have the perfet model in mind, and as soon as I can get some time, I will be taking pics and then probably will put them in my Etsy shop.  Have a good day everyone.

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Slowly building a inventory

Yes I know it”s been more then a few days.   I was never good at getting my homework done on time at school, I guess somethings carry on to adulthood.   Never the less, I have made it back to my desk and I have to report that although I have not written in a couple of weeks, I have completed quite a few projects.   My new craft room is nearly complete!  I have all my sons things gone, walls painted, carpet steamed, and most of my things moved in and set up how I think will be practical.   I will have to admit I still have much of the closet in that room to tackle but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day right?  Also, I have completed and listed a few more bracelet sets in my Etsy shop.  When I first lost my job a couple of weeks ago, I kind of went through a few stages.  At first I was happy to be out of there ( I worked in a prison for crying out loud!),  Then I was kind of bummed about how things happened there.   Then I was worried about what to do now….I don’t know, I guess most people go through all those emotions.  Anyway, I think I have finally found my happy place at least for now and am going to be scheduling my work time throughout the day with my shop so no more time will be wasted.  I mean, I guess if I am going to try to work at home I better put the hours in just like I would at any other job….right?.  So here’s a sneak peek at what I have been creating so far.  Today I am planning on a few coil wrapped bracelets (at least 4}, and I am going to be taking a class in wire wrapping jewelry.   Still nothing big going on in my shop, but I’m not gonna let that discourage me, I’m still learning the ropes, and I don’t have much in there at the moment anyway.  Slow and steady as she (or I} goes.  🙂

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Life changes

Last week due to circumstances that I could not change, I lost my job.  It’s one of those things I really never saw coming, But sometimes, THE COMPANY comes before the value of a good employee.  Either way I now  find myself unemployed, which is a place I haven’t been in a very long time.  Another change that I really didn’t think would move me as much as it has is that myself and my husband are now empty nesters.  My youngest son has moved into his own place.  Now, it’s not far from home, but just the fact that he has moved out, taken all of his stuff and his room is now empty kind of leaves an empty place in my heart.  Anyway…..I am planning to really be  re-organizing, painting, and creating my dream crafting room/studio” with the extra room I have just acquired ;} ” and turning out some really nice stuff for y’all.  I’ve been working on some really pretty bracelets and matching earrings, and I have some more ideas that I haven’t had time to play with up untill now,  I am going to consider this time off my time to really make a go of my Etsy shop,  If I can ever figure out the YouTube thing, I may even look into posting some tutorials.That’s gonna be a whole different project though.

,  Has anyone out there ever had to just start from scratch again?  I am in my early 50’s now and although I suppose its way too late to figure out what I want to be when I grow up, I sure would like to find a way to make a go out of my little online shop.  If perhaps there is someone, any words of encouragement are welcome.   If by chance anyone has found themselves where I sit now, please….follow along, comment, and lets share ideas of where we can go from here.

Stay tuned, I’ll be back in a few days to show you all what I’ve been up to.

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Crafters block?

I don’t know what else to call it.  Crafters block?  The Etsy blues? Lazy?  I have been trying different approaches of getting the few items that are in my little store seen, and I suppose my items have gained a few more looks.  Nothing as of yet though has sold.  Now I know these things take time, and I even think I have read somewhere one time that it take something like 250 views to sell one item sometimes.  Point is, if nothing is moving I don’t see the point of making more of the same.  I have completed a Christmas afghan that I made for my house this week, I added a couple of pics,  and I am very proud of it.   It is the first thing in a long time that I have made for myself/my house and not for someone else.  But my brain keeps spinning….What to make?  What do people want?  What do people need?  What can I create that I can actually begin to build a business on?  My mind comes up with tons of ideas, but what is a person to do when she piddles in lots of little things but is a master of none of them.  I love to crochet, love my clay, spinning wool is just fascinating to me, jewelry making is interesting, but I am still learning that.  I just can’t make up my mind what to focus on.  So, I am a bit idle with my Etsy store for the moment.  After finishing my afghan though I have no other projects in progress and a few days off work to decorate my house for Christmas, and browse the internet for some inspiration.  Have a good week everyone.

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A full Thanksgiving

This week has been a full week indeed. Along with trying to gather and organize my Thanksgiving supper, I had a full week of overtime at work also.  unfortunately that leaves oh so little time to write. It is with a feeling of guilt that I post today, that I trulydont have anything to post 😦  But since I promised myself that I would not neglect this little blog anymore I found it necessary to at least write something, and to let those who are kind enough to read, follow, and even comment on my posts that although I may be a few days late, I do plan on posting something wonderful (at least in my mind it will be)  within the next few days.  Please hang in there for me.   Thanks

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Some Etsy research

So I have been doing a lot of reading and also browsing information sites about Etsy on YouTube this past week, and have come across some pretty encouraging ideas.  I am going to note here first that I have lazily posted a couple of things on that site over the past year.  My tiny shop opened in Feb of this year and I have yet to sell a thing, but as I said when I started this blog, I really do want to turn that around and begin to make something of it.  So, as I said, I have been doing a bit of research on why perhaps my store hasn’t even really gotten looked at let alone have I sold anything.  So, the first ideas/tips I ran across was about keywords.  I’m sure most everyone knows what those are, and I have heard about them myself, but really haven’t put much thought into all that when I opened my shop and began listing. Simply put, keywords are what people type into a search when they are looking for a certain item.  Having a desire now, to really make a go of my little business  has put me into an exploration to try new things.  After reading and watching a few video tutorials about keywords, I went back to looking at my ads.  As of last month I have had a total of 34 views of my items.  34!!  Since last Feb!  I really hadn’t thought about that much until yesterday, but honestly, that’s pretty sad for 9 months!   But see….I really wasnt giving it much though, wasnt trying, I just figured I’d put a few things up there.  At this point I started studying my ad…the keywords to be specific, and comparing what I had there to what I had learned so far, and I have to say, I have done thus far a pretty sad attempt at those.  Lets take my Kitchen Angels for example.  In my item description I have 3 words…3!  I have 140 characters to work with and after I put 3 words I still had 96 left.   For my Kitchen Angels I had in the description: Kitchen angel, decorative dish cloth, and magnet.  I didn’t think much of it then, but now….thats pretty sad.  So I sat down and started thinking, then typed into google…kitchen angels, and found TONS of other items, similar, but not quite like mine. This is good right?   So watching and studying the keywords people used to describe their items I started brainstorming my own.  So from Kitchen angel, decorative dish cloth (I don’t know why I used 2 words for dishcloth there either) and magnet, I upgraded my words to words like:  Kitchen Angel, Kitchen Towel, Kitchen Magnet, Dishcloth, Fancy Towel, Kitchen Decoration, Christmas Dishcloth, Christmas Decoration, Refrigerator magnet, Christmas present……you get the idea?  Hopefully those words will help at least bring more people to see my items, and then at least I have a better chance of selling.  I mean you can’t sell anything if no one sees it right?  Another thing I read, and can’t believe I didn’t think of was following other Etsy sellers.  How simple is that??!!  I mean if I would follow someone who had maybe 1000 other followers on Etsy, well then every time I list a new item, that person I followed would see what I listed and so would all their followers, and if their followers happened to maybe like one of my items then guess what?  Right, it gets passed down again.  So I tried that right away also, I started looking at items that pertain to mine, and started liking/following/favoriteing things I liked and guess what?   Remember I told you I had 34 total views since last Feb?  Well I got 10 views last night, just a few hours after I followed a hand full of people, AND I even got favorited a couple of times too.  No…sadly I haven’t made a sale yet :(, but hey, it’s a move in the right direction!  Anyway, I just wanted to share that little tidbit of information I learned the past couple of days.  As of the date writing this, it is 11/15/14.  I really don’t have this post scheduled to publish until next sunday, so I am hoping before posting this I can give you an update on how this is working for me, and If it is looking good, it will give someone else some encouragement in knowing that WE CAN ALL SUCEED in our endeavours!

 

A quick update before posting this week.  At the beginning of this post I had mentioned that since last Feb, I had a total of 34 views total.  After a seriously rethinking my tags, and trying to follow more of the heavy hitters on Etsy, this week I have had a total of 13 views.  Now that isn’t exactly earth shattering, but considering 34 in 9 months compared to 13 now in a week, it’s something to build on anyway.   Have a good Thanksgiving everyone!  I’ll talk to y’all next week 🙂

 

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Is baking a craft? (Cinnamon Rolls)

I live in Tennessee, and the weather down here usually doesn’t really drop until around mid Dec, or early Jan.  It gets chilly, but not really what I would consider COLD,  Well, this morning it is 28 degrees and as a former Chicagoan that’s cold even to me!  So what is one to do on a cold morning such as this, when everyone in the house is still asleep under their warm blankets?   MAKE CINNAMON ROLLS!  I have started the coin pouches that I wrote about last week, and I planned on completing them this morning which I will, but this cold spell has just put me in a  “I wanna bake” mode.  I have combined many cinnamon roll recipes that I have found on the internet over the past couple of years until, I think I really have put together the perfect mix of all of them. My family absolutely loves waking  up to the aroma of these!  So I will try to share with you what I have put together.  I still am new to blogging and/or writing online so this will be my first attempt of listing any kind of tutorial/recipe so please bare with me.

For the dough I used:

1 cup of milk

4 TBS of butter

about 3 or so cups of flour (it can be different at different times…I don’t know why, but about…)

1 1/4 teaspoons of instant yeast ( I use instant so I don’t have to proof it)

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

To make the dough put the butter and milk in a sauce pan and warm it slowly just until the butter is melted, then turn off the heat and leave it on the burner to keep just slightly warm.  In a stand mixer (that’s what I use anyway) combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar, and the salt.  You can mix it all with your paddle attachment, but I just use my bread hook for the whole thing. Add the egg and milk  to the dry mixture and mix until thoroughly combined.  Add the remaining flour a little at a time, just until you see the dough beginning to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Once you have a soft ball of dough continue to  let it knead for about 5 minutes.  After kneading, place your dough on a lightly floured surface and let it rest for about 10 min.

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While your dough is resting, go ahead and make your filling.  Here is what you will need:

1 cup of brown sugar (I prefer brown, but you can use white)

1 to 2 TBS  of cinnamon depending on how cinnamony(is that a word?) you like yours.

1 stick of softened butter, I melted mine this time,

The filling is easy enough to make, just whisk together the brown sugar and cinnamon and have the softened butter ready to spread on the dough.

After the dough has rested, roll it out into a rectangular shape and spread the butter entirely over the top, from end to end.  In my case, I put the butter in the microwave to soften it but I left it in too long.  I just took a brush and brushed it over the top.  Once the top has been totally buttered down, go ahead and spread your sugar/cinnamon topping over that.  (Have I mentioned there is nothing low cal to this recipe?)

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Now, starting with the end closest to you, roll the dough into a log, and then pinch the edges closed.  I find that if my fingers are wet the dough sticks better.  Then slice into individual rolls.  I use sewing thread to cut through my dough, it makes nice clean cuts without a mess.  Place the rolls onto a greased baking sheet,  I like to use parchment paper, it’s so much easier to keep from sticking and NO CLEANING THE PANS!

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Go ahead and preheat your oven now to 350 degrees, cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 min or so.  My kitchen was cold this morning so it took a bit longer.  Once risen bake for about 20 minutes or until golden on top.

While the cinnamon rolls are baking go ahead and make your icing:

2 cups of powdered sugar

3 TBS melted butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

1-2 TBS  milk

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Now all the ingredients I gave for that icing is approximate, you may adjust it anyway you like. I have seen these recipes with orange, or almond extract added also.  I haven’t tried that as of yet, but it does sound yummy!

When the rolls are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool down about 5 min or so before glazing them with the icing.

OHHHH they make the house smell so good while they are baking!!  I hope you try out this recipe, and LOVE it!

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Improving the look of my little shop

I really must thank my son Alex for the great job he did fixing up my Etsy banner this week.  I have been stressing about the look of my shop now for about a month, and this week, with help from him doing the banner, and myself finally taking new pictures of the items I have up there, I think it’s really looking nice.  You can have a look here.   I have been kinda stocking up on the angels, firstly, because it’s getting close to Christmas and they make great gifts, and secondly, I just think they look so dang cute up on the fridge!  The next items on my agenda will be a few more coin pouch sets to balance out what I have so far.  I realize, or should I say that I have read somewhere, that a person attempting to open a little online shop like this, needs to make one thing,  stick with it, fine tune it, perfect it, and make it stand out over anyone else’s one thing. But my dilemma is that I am not sure exactly what it is I am wanting my one thing to be…..AND…..I mean, come on….it says “idratherbecraftn”… craftn to me means more than one thing!  I realize it’s too late to fill my store with Christmas gifts. I have just procrastinated and neglected the store for too long to catch up in time.  I am however, looking to spring.  I do love making my little angels, and I plan on making a few more in a variety of colors, and then adding to that….something….I’m not sure, but putting together sets of something that may or may not include the angels. I do defiantly want to make more items for the kitchen, perhaps some crochet dishcloths and scrubbies to match the angels, or even add some towel toppers.   Heck, I don’t know, I’ll just have to browse some patterns.  That’s  where my mind is seeing myself going next anyway.  Time will tell.

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Angels in my shop

The past couple of days I have really been giving thought about taking my love for crafting to the next level. I am not a computer geek, nor do I have training in photography….But ya know what? I’m gonna put my big girl pantys on and learn. I think my little 6 item Etsy shop with be my first real overhaul. My goal for this week will be to overhaul my little 6 item Etsy shop. I have a few of my little kitchen angels listed on there and a couple of coin purse/key chain sets which I think look really nice, and I have sold quite a few of them here at home, but on my Etsy shop, not a one. I have a few “admires” but thats about it. It really hasn’t bothered me much, but I really do want to roll up my sleeves and do something with this shop. I mean it’s really close to the new year, maybe I can make this shop my early resolution. I don’t have a photoshop program but I have been told that the site Picmonkey is a free site that you can use to edit pics and make banners, but since I have been at work for the past 4 days 😦 I havn’t had time to explore and try anything. I would show you my boaring ugly Etsy shop too, but thats another challenge I will have to tackle, because I don’t know how to put that little button into my blogging pages yet….lol. I DID however accomplish some crafting over the past few days. How did I do that? Well thats easy, its cause Idratherbecraftn! I’m gonna leave a few pics so I can show you the “now” pics that I took of my little kitchen angels when I was in a hurry going to work. I am hoping tho, that later this week on my days off, I will be able to sit down and transform these darlings into beautiful images that I can proudly show in my shop. Not to mention the transformation my shop is also needing.  If anyone reading this can please tell me how to add a link to my shop here, would you PRETTY PLEASE leave me a comment?

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I WOULD rather be craft’n

Hi everyone,  As anyone who might stumble across this blog, it’s pretty evident that I am NOT a very disciplined person.  I decide I am going to start blogging about a project, then I lose interest in the project and that also leads to losing interest in the blog,  I have held onto the title of this website because I have always told myself in the back of my head that I AM eventually going to do something with it.  Well, today I have decided I AM!

I am going go lay it out there for anyone who is or has been where I am.  I am a 51 year old married woman, love my family, and as far as my job goes….well lets just say, I HAVE GOT TO FIND SOMETHING ELSE PLEASE! When I first started working….back in the day, if you didn’t have an exact “career” you could still find some pretty decent places to work, but times they have changed. Pay hasn’t moved in years, and the boss knows it, and knows they got ya by your….well you know. Anyway, as I have thought on what I wanted to do with the next 15 or so years…of work that I have left before retirement, I have decided….I may  be an old dog but I intend to learn some new tricks.
There is a whole world of internet opportunities out there just waiting to be discovered in almost every imaginable category one can think of. And my thoughts are….I WOULD RATHER BE CRAFTN!!! I mean why not? There is certainly the opportunity to sell things, plenty of media to get your product seen. It’s all a matter of learning right? So….

My plan is to journey out to find my own way. NO! I am not quitting my job. But, I’m not looking for another one…I am going to create another one. A blogger I am not, but I intend on learning.  This blog, as I learn it, is going to help me along my journey.  I hope maybe it can inspire others who would like to venture out and perhaps be their own boss someday.

So….I have decided I am going to craft for a living.  There!  Craft!  For a Living!  Just like that!
Craft what you ask? Well….Thats gonna be part of this learning experience right? I like to do many crafts, I enjoy kitchen decor crafts, crochet dish cloths, decorative towels, perhaps crochet baby items….I don’t really know, but I’m going to do a bit of research for the next few days and narrow a specialty down to one….one that I can master. And see if I can make it to take off. Crafts make great gifts, beautiful home decor, and just generally make people feel good. They are not a necessity, but something you can treat yourself or your best friend to. I’m going to give it some thought and make a decision here in the next day or so .

I might be starting a bit late in life, but I think, in a way,  this is the best time.  The kids are grown now, life has slowed down a bit, and I have a better vision of what it is I am aiming for I think. Anyway, I hope perhaps my blogging….or learning to blog about this I might meet some new friends along the way here, perhaps pick up some insight from some of you, and who knows…maybe inspire some to come along with me. Time will tell.

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I'd Rather be Craft'n

Because there is nothing better than HANDMADE

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