Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pricing Is Hard

With a craft fair coming up at the end of this month -- not to mention that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day this year -- I am beginning to freak out a little bit. This week, I've been working to turn out a few necklaces made of these beads:
I love these beads and I get tons of compliments on the necklace I wear. But this week I've become painfully aware of how much work they are. First I have to make the beads from clay; second, I have to bathe them in brown acrylic paint to give them an old, worn look; and third, I have to wipe and then sand off the paint.

All in all, it's a time-consuming process. And while I love they way they look, these beads make a simple statement. So I have no idea how much to ask for them! There are all sorts of books and articles about how to price your jewelry, but in the end, it comes down to this question: What will people pay?

I have a feeling that I'll be making this decision at the final moment!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Purse Knitting

 This sock has seen a lot of doctors. 

Oh, there's nothing wrong with the sock. It's just the project that I carry around town with me so that I can knit whenever I have a few extra moments. Because of breaking my leg earlier this year, I've spent a lot of time in doctor's offices!

I used to get a lot more purse knitting done, but then I got my iPhone and discovered Bejeweled, which is an incredibly addictive game. When I first got hooked on it, I emailed my friend Dori, who had been playing for a while, saying that I had a "little Bejeweled problem." She replied: "Oh, there is no such thing as a LITTLE Bejeweled problem!"

I really want to cut back on the Bejeweled, though, because the knitting really is a better use of my time!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Bit of Beading

When I am really stressed, I find that following a pattern to make jewelry is relaxing.
I've put these little bracelets together over the past week, using a pattern that I Xeroxed from a book a while ago. I think that the pattern may from Hip to Bead, but I'm not sure.

Why so much stress? Well, it goes without saying that work is stressful. The continuing cuts to education funding makes each year harder than the one before.

And then I have yet another health problem. I mean, really, wasn't breaking my leg in April enough? Apparently not. I had a CAT scan a week ago to see if I had a concussion (smacked my head into the mantel while cleaning -- doesn't everyone do that?). The concussion was mild, but it turns out I have severe arthritis in my right jaw. And I am nowhere near old enough to have such a severe case.

For some reason, that news really upset me. But I've begun physical therapy and it is feeling more manageable. A friend says I should use it as an excuse to go to a milkshake diet ... which is tempting!

The bracelets are a simple right-angle weave with 2 x 2 squares, embellished with fire-polished glass beads. They helped. And they have fewer calories than a milkshake!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Another Baby Blanket

The gift-knitting extravaganza continues: 
One of my co-workers is expecting a baby in January, so I "had" to start a second baby blanket of the year.

I'm going with a quilt-type look, just plain squares. I finished my last baby blanket in August (also for a co-worker) and it was a log-cabin design. I'm doing mitered squares, which I have done a lot of. I just love them and find that they are fairly mindless.

I'm using the same yarn I did for the last blanket -- Lion Brand Jiffy -- which I love for its thick and sturdy qualities. It has the added bonus of being stash busting --unless I find that my left-over yarn isn't enough and I need to "invest" in more Jiffy.

Mindless knitting does have its drawbacks -- i.e. boredom -- so it's a good thing that Keith and I recently began watching Breaking Bad!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Loving that Noro

(It is tempting to start out by apologizing for my gap in blogging, but that is SO boring that I'll assume that you assume that I am indeed sorry.)

There has been some knitting, but not much to say about it. I am still churning out gifts. This is my third Turn a Square Hat by Jared Flood. The colors in the photo seem to have a purplish tint; in reality, the solid yarn is black and the variegated is gray and blue. I do love watching the color changes in the Noro.

It took me a long time to understand what anyone saw in this scratchy yarn -- but now I do. It's a good thing the yarn is too scratchy for me to wear against my skin or I'd be tempted to invest a fortune in Noro yarns.

I should have taken some photos last weekend when my daughter was visiting from Washington, D.C. It's so amazing to watch her turn into a fabulous adult person who I would want as my friend. She and her brother are applying for grad school next fall, so it's going to be a long winter of waiting to hear where they will end up!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Due To Technical Difficulties

When I got back from my travels this summer, my scanner would not cooperate. I had all these great sketches, and no way to get them digitized! Back to school time is always hectic, so it took a while for Keith and I to figure out the problem.

So, in the spirit of better-late-than-never, here are a few of my favorites. The first one is from Madrid:

I drew this sitting on the steps of a little Church on a square near our apartment. I worked in the mornings while sipping my coffee and nibbling a chocolate croissant. It is a very typical apartment building from the older sections of Madrid. Those wrought iron railings are everywhere and give the city an elegant feel. I had a lovely soundtrack while drawing: the morning services a the church!

This next sketch is from Copenhagen:

This was the first castle that my daughter, Rachel, had ever seen, and it was so much fun to share that discovery with her. The wealth contained in these castles resonated strongly with both of us -- how can the few have so much when the many have so little? Nonetheless, it is magical to walk the halls of history and have the people and places jump of the pages of history books.

And I have to add that sketching has added depth to my travels. I really see something when you draw it. The experience is more important than the final product!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Same Hat, Different Color

Yikes! I did not blog at all last week. Just one of those weeks. Lots of work. Spent time with family. Who knows where the hours go?

There was some knitting, though.

This is yet another Turn a Square Hat by Jared Flood. Again I'm using the yarns called for in the pattern: Cascade 220 (black in this case) and Noro Silk Garden in a gray/blue colorway. At this point, I am not at all tired of knitting this pattern, so maybe I really will be able to knit four more!

However, I have enough gift projects that I'm going to need some tv/videos. A friend keeps encouraging me to watch Breaking Bad. A long time ago, I watched the first episode and it was just too dark for me. My friend says it's worth it. Have you seen Breaking Bad? What did you think?