Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday through Cyber Monday Sale

If you're in the mood to start your holiday shopping today, but don't feel like dealing with throngs of people at the malls, this is your lucky day!  Today through Monday you can receive a special discount in my SusanNeedlehands Online Boutique without even leaving the comfort of your own home.

Just enter the coupon code BGBFCM2010 at checkout and you will receive a 15% discount on your entire purchase!  And don't forget to let me know if there is a charity of your choice that you would like the proceeds to go to.  The list is below.

Thank you and Happy Shopping!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Etsybloggers Woodland Fantasy Treasury

Do you love the idea of being able to walk in the woods, even if you live in the big city like me?  Come on over to Etsy to check out these wonderful handmade items by the EtsyBloggers Team.  Maybe you can even start your holiday shopping early!

Before Thanksgiving Scarf Sale

In an effort to reward all early holiday shoppers, I am having a Before Thanksgiving Scarf Sale in my Etsy shop.  Place your order before November 23rd and you will get $10 off all scarves!

Come check out the huge selection and variety of beautiful, soft, elegant scarves hand knit out of the finest quality boutique yarns.  You won't find scarves like these at the Gap or any other clothing store.  The lucky recipient will love his or her scarf even more because it is handmade and one of a kind.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guest Styleboard by Linda

It is the (purple) evening of the day...

This Kaboodle Styleboard features handmade and vintage items from some of my Collaborators team members.

The vintage necklace is in Kelsi's Etsy shop. Kelsi organises our monthly challenge.

The Blackberry soap is from Patricia's Etsy shop.

The handmade necklace is in Dina's Etsy shop.

The lovely hand knitted scarf is in Susan's Etsy shop

The 5"x7" painting, "Evening" is found in my art shop and the sunset greetings card is in my card shop.

To leave a comment on this Styleboard, click here.
Once there you can promote it on Twitter and Facebook.

Guest Post by Linda

Three Collaborators Team members' shops

Have you visited Hamna's Etsy shop?
Her shop is full of Handmade clothing and costumes for adults and children
Just look at these marvelous dresses!

 Now for Shelly's shop. Shelly knits and crochets ponchos, hats, scarves, shawls and accessories.
Take a peek at her  purses & felted bags.
Finally today, let's look at this shop: 
SusanNeedlehands Handmade Knitwear, Home Decor & Crafts

This morning I went on a bike ride. You can see I am using a water bottle carrier - and it came from this shop! 

Friday, August 20, 2010

CIC Team Gift Exchange

The other day, I received this lovely package in the mail.

It was from my Etsy CIC teammate and leader, Linda.  Knowing that she makes beautiful art, as well as greeting cards, magnets and other items, I could hardly wait to see what was inside.

Linda took all my hints about what I liked (blue, useful items, kitchen and household goods) and put them together in finding this lovely little iris trivet.

She also included one of her fabulous cards, the blue cat print.  It makes me smile every time I see it, the cat looks so old and wise.  I'm really enjoying this team gift exchange--it helps us get to know one another and appreciate each other's gifts and talents even more!  It also goes to show that a gift need not be big and expensive to be thoughtful.

If you have a moment, please go check out the other wonderful items made by the Etsy Collaborators in Cahoots Team.  I'm sure you will find the perfect, unique gift for a friend or loved one.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Showing Off my LovMely Headband

Just wanted to show off my new LovMely turquoise feather headband.  She does beautiful work!  You can see more of her lovely pieces and shop for them here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Search for Mail Boxes Etc.

Today's mission was to get Linda's water bottle carrier (like it? You can get one like it at my shop) shipped off to England.  Linda is one of the leaders of the Collaborators in Cahoots team I belong to on Etsy, who makes lovely greeting cards and other interesting art items.  You can check out her card shop here and her art shop here.

According to Google Maps, I had the choice of walking to the post office downtown, or 2.2 miles to the Mail Boxes, Etc. in a part of town I had not visited yet.  I chose to visit the unvisited.

View Larger Map

First, the directions had me go uphill, only to then go downhill, over dirt and gravel roads and that was just the first part.  Upon arriving (probably 45 minutes later) at the street, I realized I hadn't written down the address or phone number of the shop, and it was nowhere to be found.

I walked up the street and started asking.  First, a guy who worked at the sporting goods shop who was setting up a camp tent display outdoors on the grass:  "I just moved back here after being away for three years, but I think it used to be across the street by that blue roof over there..."

Next, a girl pushing carts at the Safeway (yup, that's inside the Safeway--you know you're on the road to Mt. Bachelor when there's a ski lift inside the grocery store): "Sorry, I just moved here a month ago.  Let's go inside and ask the manager."

The manager: "Nope, never heard of a Mail Boxes, Etc. around here."

Finally, having resigned myself to the fact that my quest for postal services would have to be put off until tomorrow when I am back downtown for my yoga class, I decided to stop in at Baldy's BBQ for lunch (having read online that they have the best ribs in town), even though it was only 11:20.

Lunch was goood, but even better was the fact that the waitress knew where the Mail Boxes, Etc. was!

After my yummy lunch of ribs, garlic mashers, and coleslaw, I was ready to reembark on my original mission.  I followed the waitress's directions, and sure enough, there it was, hiding behind the U.S. Bank being newly constructed in front of it, the Mail Boxes, Etc.

The very friendly staff got my package marked for customs and posted for me.  Mission accomplished!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Etsy for Animals Team Guest Post

Michele from Etsy for Animals put out a request for people to tell their cat or kitten rescue/adoption stories and she decided to publish my story about Noah.  You can read it here on the Etsy for Animals Team Blog, and while you're there, be sure to look around and learn more about the team!

Thanks Michele!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mother's Day Treasury

One of my CIC teammates, Dina, made this beautiful Mother's Day Treasury on Etsy, displaying various items both useful and beautiful.

If you want to show mom you love and appreciate her, maybe there's something here for you?

Please visit this link and click on all the pictures to see if there is a gift with your name on it.

Be sure to leave us a comment if you have time.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Rainbows Galore Treasury

Just letting you know about this great Etsy treasury featuring vendors from the Etsyveg, Veganetsy, and EFA teams.

Can you spot my item?  Do you think it would be useful for anyone you know?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Featured Artist - Linda Williams

Linda Williams is one of the founders of the Etsy Collaborators in Cahoots Team.  An English artist, she shares her lovely visions of the world through many modalities--painting, greeting cards and photography.  

I find her acrylics, with their bright, bold colors displaying the vitality of nature, to be thrilling, reviving my spirits after a long day at work...


...while her watercolors provide the perfect balance of restful calm, giving me yet another wonderful repose after the hectic daily whirl.

So which do you prefer--Linda's bold acrylics or soft watercolors?  Write in and share your thoughts!

To purchase any of these lovely items, please visit Linda's shop.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lucky Green Treasury

Green was not my favorite color growing up.  In fact, it was more on my "colors I don't like" list.  I think it was because green was my younger sister's proprietary color.  Yes, we all had colors in my house.  Mom liked orange, Nancy's was yellow, I was Blue Sue, and then there was Green Jeanne.  Not sure about Dad, but if I had to guess, I'd go with blue for him too.

The fondness for green kind of snuck up on me and accumulated gradually without my conscious awareness--Frankenstein, the Loch Ness Monster, Godzilla, so many interesting myths and monsters I had been intrigued by since childhood; the English and then Irish landscapes on trips abroad;  and then there was Shirley, my late roommate, who especially liked army green and showed me it didn't have to be a color associated with war or manly fighting men.

Indeed, green may just be the most peaceful and feminine color of all.  The color Mother Nature paints for us in so many ways, in so many places.  I think living in gray, concrete LA makes it hard to remember that green is really the richness of life, our source of oxygen, nourishment, and beauty.

Please take a moment to remember and appreciate Mother Nature by visiting this Lucky Greens Treasury created by my Collaborators in Cahoots teammate, Valerie.  Click on all the items (in the link, not on my picture here) and feel free to leave a comment saying what items you liked.  Or, enjoy it with a Guinness and friends on St. Patty's Day!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Etsy CIC Team Styleboard #1

Etsy CIC Team... by susanneedlehands

I just made my first styleboard on Kaboodle to help promote my fellow Collaborators in Cahoots team members' items.  Just click on this picture and it will take you to the real one where you can click on the pictures and go straight to their Etsy/Artfire shops!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Adventures in Networking

For my final examination of areas in my life in which I have fallen out of love with my old ways, I look at how things are going in the world of Etsy

As soon as I picked up this book at Borders, I realized that I was no longer enamored with my normal going-it-solo route.  So I started looking for Etsy teams that I might fit with, and found, well ... several.  As of right now, I think I am a member of eight teams (you can find the list in over there in my sidebar).

Scrambling to try to get "networked", I added people willy nilly, left-and-right to Facebook and Twitter.  I have now signed up to Stumble and Tumble, Flicker, Shutter and Kaboodle.  Someday I hope to actually learn how to use all of these services, and get my contacts organized (thus my fiddling around with TweetDeck today).  Ahhhhh!!! In an effort to make my life simpler, I have totally complicated things--as usual!

What was that I said about falling out of love with Wonderland in one of my previous posts?  The Cheshire Kitty might as well put a blindfold on me and spin me around and around and throw me out into the forest.  I'll be wandering around on these platforms for a looooooooonnnnnng time.

Going Non-Profit on Etsy

Hmmmm, I wonder why it took me so long to come up with this.  Something had been feeling wrong to me about trying to make money off of what I love (arts and crafts) and I couldn't put my finger on it until this morning.  I just realized that what I really want to do is use my Etsy shop to raise money for organizations and turn it into a 100% non-profit.

The question is, how do I do that?  When I looked for information on Etsy, this is all I found:

Charitable listings and shops

DOs and DON'Ts > Shops and listings > Charitable listings and shops
Etsy understands that members may wish to participate in fundraising for charitable organizations and causes. Charitable fundraising is subject to many laws, and unfortunately, there exist unsavory people who may attempt to take advantage of your good will. Therefore, for the protection of our community, Etsy has established some policies regarding charitable listings and shops that use charitable fundraising as a promotional tool. Members participate in charitable fundraising at their own risk.
  • Members represent that any charitable fundraising complies with all applicable laws.
  • A seller who promotes that their Etsy shop engages in charitable fundraising on behalf of a recognized tax-deductible charitable organization (for example: 501(c)(3) status or equivalent with the IRS, similar legally-recognized non-U.S. charitable organization) must receive appropriate consent from the charitable organization.
  • The seller must include clear information about the organization and donation details in the listing and/or Public Profile.
  • Listings created solely to solicit for donations are not permitted. All listings on Etsy must be for a tangible item available for sale.
  • Members must comply with all policies, including Etsy's Community and Conversations policies. Members must not send unsolicited donation requests.
  • A charitable shop involving multiple people must comply with all applicable rules concerning collective shops.
Members who do not comply with Etsy's policies may be subject to review, which can result in suspension of account privileges and/or termination. If Etsy removes an item listing for violating Etsy policy, the seller is still obligated to pay the listing fee for that item. Suspended or terminated members remain obligated to pay Etsy for all unpaid fees per our Terms of Use.

So, where do I begin?  Do I start by making contact with the organizations?  What do I do about taxes?  Anyone with any experience in this area, please help!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The ADD's of Creativity

How do you use your creative energy?  Are you a poet, painter, potter, or just perplexed by the thought of making something?

Throughout my life, I have dabbled in many different venues of self-expression, seemingly as an act of survival by creativity.  Swinging from vine to vine, I have grasped on to one lifeline after another in the jungle of arts and crafts.  If I try to tell this story in order, it goes something like this:

Music - I started taking guitar classes when I was in the 3rd grade.  (Never did break that resting pinky habit!)

I also played cello in junior high, something that I sometimes think of resuming, but when?

I haven't done much with it lately, but it's nice to know my guitar playing inspired my nephew to pick it up later on when he was old enough to hold a guitar.  He now has a room full of guitars and music equipment--quite the little rocker!

My niece was also curious about the object as a baby, but has since found other creative interests to hold her attention such as beading, handcrafts, etc.

I went so far as to dabble with a 4-track recorder, electric guitar, and midi keyboard after being inspired by Beck and other 90's indie music artists, but it has since fallen by the wayside...

Next up on my creative journey was probably poetry.  I think it all started with the Hallowe'en poetry contest in 6th grade.  After winning that with the likes of this:

How can you blame me, I figured I must have a talent for writing poetry.  Whew, gives me the shivers and not in a good way!

I even went so far as to take a creative writing class when I was on Study Abroad in Stratford-on-Avon.  I mean, what better place to write poetry than the possible birthplace and town of Shakespeare himself!

That creative outlet comes and goes.  Every once in a while, a poem still sneaks up on me...

Drawing was another way to indulge my fantasy world.  I remember taking a class at the Olive Rec Center (when I wasn't in gymnastics or basket weaving) and learning that I could draw things from real life as well as from my imagination.  I still have my drawing notebook from high school art class, and pick up the pencil now and again.

Painting, just an extension of drawing.  Sometimes I get in the mood, and other times blank canvases sit in the back of my closet just dreaming of their day in the sun.

Fashion design was another art-related interest.  I remember designing a horrific dress in collaboration with several friends during Mr. Mathias' math class one day in 7th grade.  He caught me with it and said, "Susan, if only your math was as good as your drawing... oh wait, it is."  I used to play with my Fashions by Me kit for hours and hours, making outfits from all kinds of gaudy material.

Later on, this gaudiness became a reality (for better or worse) in making costumes for my high school dance production shows.  The thought did cross my mind to go to FIDM after high school, but when I saw the price tag, I high-tailed it over to the local community college instead!

Speaking of dance, this one was a real life saver.  I was always so bad at P.E. in elementary school and junior high (awful hand-eye coordination and depth perception due to my bad eyesight and growing up not knowing whether I was really left- or right-handed), that when it came time to choose an athletics class for high school P.E., I saw Dance on the list and thought, "Well, at least it doesn't involve anyone throwing balls at you" and signed up for that.

I was hooked.  Here was the first time I was able to express myself in public (even though the audience probably had no clue what I was trying to communicate) without being shy and reserved.  I could use my budding seamstress skills, hairdressing, acting, and dancing and never once had to say a word to the audience.  My creativity was fully unleashed for the first time.  In fact, it ended up being my (first) college major, which later on shifted to English/Creative Writing, and then finally to Religious Studies (the B.A. I finally finished).

And lest I forget to mention, teaching is probably my most creative endeavor yet.  That one started way back when I was lining up all of our stuffed animals into a semicircle and teaching them things on an imaginary blackboard.


Later, in junior high and high school, I tutored some of my friends in math, but it wasn't until I was in my mid-20's that I finally realized this was my calling in life.  Now I've been in the classroom for 10 years and still feel that every day presents an opportunity (if not dozens) to use my creative and problem-solving abilities to the fullest.

From crafting interesting and provocative lessons to shifting your teaching angle on the spot when you see kids aren't getting it, and now, learning new ways to use technology in education, this is my ultimate love and challenge.

So there you have it!  The story of my creative life in a very large nutshell.  Hope you enjoyed coming along for the ride.  Now it's YOUR turn--what inspires you to create and what venues does your imagination come to life in?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Falling in Love

The Safe Place by The Little Fox on Etsy

This post is supposed to be about how I fell in love with crafting and creating; however, I think I've pretty much exhausted that topic in previous posts here and here.

Instead, I feel the need to revisit those persnickety goals I came up with not so long ago (has it only been two weeks?), and check in on the progress (if any) I'm making towards them.
Goal #1 - To prioritize my time in order to balance work, shop, recreation, and my many interests:

Hah, now I realize what a pipe dream it was to think I could cut 12 hours from my work schedule.  Since I set that as my primary goal, my mind has been consumed with ideas of things I could do for work, things I want to learn about teaching and technology, and wanting to work on our class and student blogs.  It's almost as if the thought alone made me feel guilty, like I need to work overtime to make up for even thinking of abandoning my students.  Or really, I just love teaching kids and want that to be the priority over crafting and trying to sell my wares.  Could it be???

In fact, I didn't do any shop updates this week (since putting together my Valentine's Day Scarf Sale for the month of February last weekend), and you know what?  I don't feel bad about it at all.   To be brutally honest, I'm kind of glad I didn't have any sales, or I would have had to wrap the items, package them up, get to the post office (not a thrilling place my past few experiences) and get them in the mail, all on top of parent conferences at work.  I know, I know, this is sooooo not good P.R. for my shop, but I have to say it.

I did up my meditation time and that seems to be helping me not feel like it's imperative that all things must get done--NOW! Somehow, I wonder if this is what helped me decide to reprioritize my time back to teaching.

Didn't get any exercise in, because I was feeling sick again.

Goal #2: Taking the time to organize and put things away
Goal #3: Finish up projects that are already out instead of starting new ones

I did clean up the living room.  Now I'm down to one little pile of papers on the couch, but the dining room table and rocking chair are no longer being used to  hold up stacks of stuff!  I also put away most of my "in progress" projects and am down to just my regular knitting bag by the couch.

Overall, I think it was a very good week.

I guess what I'm saying through this little diatribe is that I fall in love over and over again with different parts of my life, in cycles.  Sometimes I am in creative/making things with my hands mode, and sometimes I am in research/educator mode.  And sometimes, just sometimes, I clean up the house a little bit!

(Of course, there are people I love too, but that will be another post to come....)

Jim Warren on Planet Perplex
Can you find the 7 hearts in this picture?

So, what about you?  What are YOU most in love with in your life right now? 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Valentine's Day Scarf Sale!

Whew!  I just spent about two hours updating my shop by pulling together all the red, pink, and purple scarves for a special Valentine's Day Scarf Sale!  Please check it out and let me know what you think:  Is it too much of the same color for my front page?  Or do you like the similar colors look?

I'm thinking about doing this again in March for St. Patty's Day with all my green scarves....  So what do you think?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Knitting "The Amazon" Multi-Green Scarf

Now, as I've said before, I have a rather short attention span when it comes to making objects of the knitted variety. I prefer to make scarves on my big needles--loose knit, skinny and measured from one knee to the other to know when to stop (or when I run out of yarn).  Because the yarns I use are generally expensive to begin with ($8 up to $30 a ball/skein), I try to make a scarf using one or two balls of yarn.

Once in a while, I combine the odd balls of yarn left over from other projects to make a "bohemian" style scarf such as this scarf in my shop.  Last week, a potential customer saw the Bohemian Greens and wrote to me asking if I could make a much wider, longer multi-greens scarf.  The exact request was to make a scarf like it that was 6" wide and 9-10 feet long.

So I got my supplies together.

I started out with a lovely variegated yarn, but after knitting a swatch with it, it was feeling like it was too complicated to mix with the others, so decided to leave that one out of it.

Then I put my yarns in an order I thought created a pleasing contrast of texture and color from one to the next, and made a sequence of the eight different yarns.

I had to decide how many rows of each color to do, based on how much of each yarn I thought I had.  It's always hard to guesstimate with a partially used ball of yarn, but ended up going in this ratio:

After working on the scarf for 5-6 nights, it was finally finished!  Hard to photograph a scarf that is 10+ feet long, but here are a couple of pics.  They are somewhat blurry because I think my camera's autofocus is having a hard time defining some of the fuzzy textures (and I'm no good with manual focus!).

I was going to name this one "Jolly Green Giant" for obvious reasons, but decided to go with the more subtle, but no less true, "The Amazon". 

Hope you enjoyed my story of making this warm, fluffy, humongous scarf.  Please write and tell me what width and length you prefer your scarves to be!  Thanks!!!