Monday, April 30, 2012

Teaching Time for Toddlers Tuesday--Flashcards

I had written about some of the learning time activities that I do with Catherine before.  I try to take at least a few minutes everyday to teach her something.

These are the bug cards we have.
Don't let the butterfly fool you--
there are cockroaches and earwigs
and other scary looking bugs in this set.
Flashcards are still a big item right now.  I have a couple of sets that I picked up at the dollar store and a few sets from a consignment sale.  She is getting pretty good at recognizing the different pictures.  Generally we start by going through a stack and I say the name.  Then I give her three cards and ask for a specific one and we work through the deck.  If she is still interested I bring the cards to the table and lay out a bunch and then ask her to find specific ones.  She does especially well with the animal and bug cards.

While I am thrilled that she seems to be grasping the names of things it is frustrating me that she doesn't seem very interested in saying too many of the names.  (With the exception of the bee, she loves to say BEE!)

We also have all of these.  Some of these cards are
kind of . . . wonky.  For example, the "house" has a
observatory complete with a telescope attached to it.

This week I am going to use the same method that we've been using with flashcards while introducing foam letters.  We, well, mostly I, sing the Alphabet Song regularly and I try to spell out names of things for her frequently so I believe it is about time to (begin to attempt) to make some connections.

I am going to try to make "Teaching Time for Toddlers" a regular Tuesday event here on my blog.  I will share what we've been up to and I'd love to see all the wonderful things that you do with your toddlers.  This could be a wonderful opportunity for us Moms to see what others are doing.  So, I am going to give hosting a link party a shot!

PS: This is my first time hosting a link party, so I'd love if you'd help get the word out!
During nap-time I managed to put together a button (it's on my sidebar) but I haven't 
figured out how to do a scroll box to make it easy to grab. UPDATE:
Thanks to an extremely helpful comment, this has been remedied!
Also, feel free to link up a brand new post or one that you wrote a year ago 
or both--as long as its somewhat relevant I am interested in seeing it!

Crochet Kindle Cover (or a Clutch)

Since the craft show this weekend was such a bust, I had plenty of time to work on a new crochet project.  I had seen this free Lion Brand pattern before and wanted to give it a try.  Technically it called the "Perfect Purse"; however, I believe a better use for it is as an e-reader cover.

I used Caron Simply Soft yarn in Pagoda and a size G crochet hook.  (This color is absolutely beautiful in person, but I am having a difficult time photographing it.) I followed the bulk of the pattern exactly--with very few deviations.  I used a slip stitch to bind the sides and altered the button a little.

My Kindle fits in perfectly.
Here's the button variation that I did.  I'm not in love with
it, but I like it a lot better than the original.

The lacy flap is so pretty.  It really adds a nice touch.

While I am very happy with the way this turned out I think I am still partial to my own hot pink case, so this one just might end up in my Etsy store one day soon.  (Unless my sister is planning on getting an e-reader soon, because this color is so her!)

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Craft Fair ReCap

Well, the Craft Fair I've been prepping for is over now.  Sadly, I'd say it was a bust.  I sold one thing!  ONE.

Oh well.

While I am disappointed I am not discouraged or depressed.


Because it was a pretty universally slow weekend for all of the vendors.  Towards the end of the show I learned two factors that I believe contributed highly, if not entirely, to this.  First, that it was the same weekend as the Annapolis Nautical Flea Market--just mere miles away.  Second, that our fair wasn't as widely advertised as it should have been.  These two things I believe explain why vendors and their family/friends out-numbered regular customers a hundred to one.

While I didn't sell much of anything it is comforting to know that it wasn't because people weren't interested in my stuff.  On the contrary, I received lots of compliments and admiration from other vendors; they, like me, just weren't there to buy things.

Three items that received a ton of attention were my lacy scarf, Mr. Monkey, and Mr. Elephant.  I eventually took the elephant down from his perch on the top shelf and put him front and center on the purple baby blanket.

Many people also stopped to look through my pot holders.  So many people commented that they had a loom as a kid, or that their kids have a loom now, but their pot holders didn't have the pretty patterns that mine did.  (Like my Houndstooth pattern!)

It's a shame that this craft fair didn't go particularly well, it certainly had potential.  The area was nice, there were lots of high quality vendors, plenty of places to set up--both indoors and out, and there was also food and a moon bounce.  Oh well, live and learn, right?  I am still planning/hoping to be a vendor at other shows, and I can only hope that I (and others) will have much more success.

PS: Check out what I made while I was there--since I had plenty of time on my hands.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

I am nervous and super excited about vending at the Craft Festival this weekend.  (If there are any fellow Marylanders out there, I'd love to see you at the Anne Arundel County Fair Grounds!)  As I write this I still have a bit that I'd like/need to finish but since preparing for the Craft Fair has been a major part of my week I thought that would serve as a theme today. UPDATE: Today (Saturday) was super dead--I think because it was cold.  There is lots of cool stuff, please come check it out!

I am attempting to pack boxes without wrinkling, smushing, wrinkling, bending, or in any way harming any item.  Of most concern are the handmade cards and to some extent the rose broaches--otherwise everything should be pretty resilient.  However, I really want to at least arrive with everything looking perfect!

I picked this up at Goodwill.  I'm not exactly sure what it's original purpose was, but I want to take off the loops and put on hooks of some type and turn it into a scarf tree.  (Anyone out there have any ideas what it was for originally? My thought was Beanie Baby holder.)

I am still working on some of my signage.  Right now, my thinking is that I will put them in basic black or silver picture frames, I just need to hunt down a few more--I might need to make a quick trip to the dollar store.  I am hoping that this makes the signs stand out and look somewhat classy.

I made these cute little business cards using Google Docs and my Sizzix.  I used high quality cardstock from my scapbooking and card-making stash.  I used a couple of different colors and these two dies--which came in the same set!  They might be somewhat simple, but I am pretty happy with how they turned out.

I still need to plan what I am going to wear.  UPDATE: I chose poorly for Saturday--cute outfit, but not warm enough.  It was cold!

Ok, so I couldn't make it through seven takes without some pictures of my girl!  Yesterday, while I was trying to be productive, she was being a silly little monkey climbing on everything.  These are from when she was climbing (and jumping) on the ottoman.  

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Paper and Glue = Handmade Cards

Butterflies and flowers dominate--perfect for Spring!
In today's fast paced world of cell phones, video chats, texting, and all-around instant connectivity greeting cards might seem a bit old-fashioned and slow.  But it is so much fun to receive something in the mail!  We all love getting something personal amidst the bills and junk.

Sadly, I must confess that I am horrible at remembering to send cards even remotely on time.  (A skill both my Grandma and Mom have mastered.)  I always have the best of intentions, but they don't don't seem to make it to the mailbox.

I do really enjoy making cards--which you would think would help me to be better at sending them out!  At my first craft fair back in November I sold a (surprising) number of my handmade cards, so I've been putting a few together for the upcoming fair this weekend (I'd love tips, comments, personal experiences, etc).  I thought that I would share some of these creations today.

I used high quality cardstock for these cards.  I designed a simple block with all of my information for the backs--which was something I found recommended on various sites to help promote yourself.  I have a Sizzix Sidekick which I love and a stash full of great papers.  I have a few of these awesome paper stacks that are adhesive on the backs so after I cut all I have to do is stick them on--these are really great for some of the die cuts with small pieces that can be difficult to glue.  They can be a bit pricier, but they are worth it.

I think that this might be my favorite one of the bunch.  
Flower Power!

I love playing with the same die cuts and similar papers--
the finished effect is quite interesting.

This one is just plain fun.  There are quite a few different
papers glued to the background to make this one work.

A much simpler, and less busy, version of the one about it.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

I would like to go to the beach.

I am a big fan of entering giveaways all over blogland.  There are so many neat things out there!  One really cool blog is Etsy Giveaways and it is just what the name says--a blog full of giveaways of just Etsy stuff.  I recently won a really cool prize over At The Picket Fence, this beautiful necklace by Tahra.  I love it!  It is a little darker in person.

Speaking of jewelry, I have a pair of earrings that I've decided to call "The Forever Backwards Earrings".  They are super cute little hoops with a pink rhinestone encrusted bow on one side.  However, I guess the angle of my ears is wrong because if the bows are pointed in they look backwards, but if I point them out they still look backwards.  Anyone else have a problem like this?

See what I mean?  In the first picture the decoration is pointed towards my face, but the other way the bow is just being put into my hair.

Yogurt, peach, and strawberry smoothie=YUM.  I was hoping that Catherine would like this so that she could get some more nutrients into her little body, but sadly she didn't.  However, I am thinking this wouldn't be such a bad way to start everyday for me! (This giant cup is less than 200 calories!)

Have you heard of  If you wear glasses you need to check them out right now.  They are running one of their specials where first time customers get a free pair of glasses.  You do have to pay shipping and handling and if you do any lens upgrades those can get expensive--but I have a pretty basic prescription and I ordered a pair last night and my total was less than $8.  I wanted something different from either of the two pairs that I have (both which I really love) so I chose this pair:
(Yes, there is some pink in this pair!)  I've never ordered glasses online before, but this just seemed like too good of a deal to pass up.

If you've ever been to craft fair either as a vendor or a customer, I'd love your feedback on my It's Craft Fair Time Again post!

These fish magnets were in Catherine's Easter basket.  I need to learn the names of everything... I just know all the easy ones.

For more 7 Quick Takes go here

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's Craft Fair Time Again!

My table at my first craft show--after some things sold.
I will be a vendor in my second craft fair in just a week and a half.  I consider my first one a success--I had a great time, met local crafters,  and made enough money to cover fees, materials, plus a little extra.  Even with the first craft show under my belt I am a little nervous about this upcoming show.  This one is quite a bit larger and is two days long.

I feel that I have a decent amount of stock--I've been pretty busily crocheting various items lately--of course, there are a few more things that  I'd like to make.  I have slowly been going back through everything to make sure there aren't loose threads anywhere, nothing is bent or smudged, etc.  I want everything to be perfect!

I am (hopefully) borrowing a table(s) from my in-laws.  I still am having trouble coming up with a (super cheap and good looking) way to utilize vertical space.  Luckily, I do have an indoor space reserved, so I don't need to worry about tents, tarps, and such.

I've put together a plan for business cards.  I am also making price tags and signage this week.  So far I do not have a big sign with my name on it--a common blunder according to Chris--so I should work on that.  (Maybe another project for the Sizzix?)  I did add my info to the back of many of my note cards this time, something I didn't do last time.  I was looking at bags on ebay--I thought a cutely decorated bag could be a nice touch--but wow, ones that can be decorated are expensive!  I don't think that I am ready to make that kind of financial commitment.

I've been scouring the internet for applicable tips and helpful information.  I am sure that there are things that I am overlooking and these are potential pitfalls.  Keeping that in mind, here are some questions for you:

Have you participated as a vendor in a craft fair?  How was your experience?  Do you have any tips that you'd like to share with a newbie?  What did you wish you knew ahead of time?  If you had to be there by yourself how did you manage basic human needs (i.e., eating without being rude to potential customers and restroom breaks)?  As a customer, what where things that drew you to a particular booth?  What were things that turned you away?

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

All Seasons Crocheted Flower Scarf

You might have noticed that I love crocheted flowers.  (I've made numerous broaches, added them to hats and scarves, and even tried a lace pattern) They are just so cute!

I came across this pattern by a fellow blogger for a scarf, which is almost exactly what I was looking for this time!  I made a couple of small changes. (I just had a slightly different vision than the creator--she did a fabulous job!)  The biggest difference is that instead of having two pretty much separate chains between flowers I slip-stitched in each chain on the way back down.

(And, oh my gosh, I finally picked up some tapestry needles to help in the tedious job of weaving in my many unfinished ends.  It helps so much!   If you don't already have some get them!)

These all season flower scarves look great loosely wrapped around the neck a couple of times.  Or you could use them as a belt or a hair band.  In a future project I might try using crochet thread, since I liked the way my first project with crochet thread turned out!

And believe it or not, but all of these yarns are 100% cotton and I found them at my local Dollar Tree!

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My entry into Craft and Tell @ Cherished Bliss is sponsored by Appliances Online and the Bosch Washing Machines

Friday, April 13, 2012

7 Quick Takes on Easter Friday

ONE The lack of posts this week is because I haven't been feeling great.  I'm still hoping that Catherine and Peter don't catch it.  Catherine is going to be especially happy that I'm feeling better this morning--the last couple of days have been pretty boring for her.

TWO  I desperately need to finish up all of the projects that I have started for the craft fair.  I seriously have about twenty crocheted things that I need to weave in the ends.  I am not sure why I always put that step off until the last second, but I do it all the time.  (Have you see my latest creation?  I am pretty happy with it!)

THREE I've had Super Stitches Crochet sitting in my Amazon cart for about a month now.  As a book sale and library junkie I keep hesitating on actually purchasing the book.  I think that I will cash in some of my Swagbucks (I told you about them here) and get it for myself as an Easter gift.  It really is an awesome book--I've checked it out of the library multiple times.  I love that it isn't a project book (ie, how to make a this sweater, or how to make that afghan, or how to make this particular thing) it is a pattern book (just blocks of stitches).  I think that it is an excellent resource and I will refer back to it often (so it is totally worth the $8 bucks).

FOUR Here's a couple of picture of my darling girl on Easter:

FIVE When I am on Facebook and I see an update "So and So read Such and Such Article" and it has a link to the article I HATE when it wants me to agree to a Facebook app and it doesn't just take me to the article.  Seriously annoying.  Speaking of Facebook, this awesome photo has been shared quite a bit recently.  I think it is worth sharing here as well!

Original Source, I think.

SIX  I've heard two quotes that I love recently.  Ok, they are from the t.v. shows that I've been watching while I've been lying on the couch sick.

"You know what the issue is with this world?  Everyone wants some magical solution to their problems and everyone refuses to believe in magic."  Mad Hatter from Once Upon a Time

"To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of men." Kate from Castle--but I missed where she got it from

SEVEN I've noticed that just about all the recipes that I've "Pinned" are for desserts.  I just might have a sweet tooth.

Read more 7 Quick Takes here.