Thursday, December 23, 2010

Giving in 2011

As the new year approaches my mind can't help but think of resolutions. I'm not into new year resolutions, but it's a good excuse to announce a small change in how I'm going to do things in the coming year.

Starting with January 1st, 10% of all my sales will go to Compassion International's Child Survival Program. That's 10% of the total cost of the pattern. I'm not taking it out after expenses, but before.  So 40¢ of a $4 pattern and 60¢ of a $6 pattern will go to the Child Survival Program.

I've always felt that the name, Child Survival Program, is a little deceptive. While it was started in order to help babies (starting in the womb) get what they need to not only survive but thrive, what it really does is help their moms and that helps the kids. I could give you a description and explanation, but their web site does it so much better.

I believe in giving and have a special place in my heart for those in extreme poverty (living on less than $2 a day) with no resources to escape that poverty. So I'm extending my giving into this part of my life. Help me give more to those who offer help and resources for women and their children in extreme poverty. I've seen the program at work in Uganda (one of many around the world) and it works. It really does work.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Rush

When I think of the Christmas rush it's about avoiding the rush at the mall and rushing to finish my handmade projects. Christmas is only 3 days away and I'm still working on them! Aak!

This year my husband and I are striving to (as much as possible) do a handmade Christmas. It has made it easier on our money budget since we're stash busting and only purchasing small things we might need here and there for missing project parts. But the time budget is a little strained.

My husband is a silversmith, so he's spent a lot of time at his jeweler's bench. He's made great progress on his gifts since he got a early start and keeps plugging away at it. A few ladies are going to be very happy when they open their gifts this year.

I have been trying to focus my crochet energy on several projects and finding it hard. I've chosen simple patterns to accomplish my Christmas list goals and that can get boring. I've been doing so much designing that it's getting hard to follow a pattern anymore.

However, I hope my nieces are pleased with their matching leg warmers. One pair is finished and one pair is in process. I used acrylic since it makes them very durable and very easy for their moms to clean. I also made sure to ask their moms for custom measurements since both of the girls are VERY tall for their ages. 2 pairs of extra, extra long legwarmers coming right up.

I've made a hat for Grandma. She's over 90 years old and so it's hard to know what to get for her. She doesn't need or want much. So, we'll see what she thinks. Worse case scenario...a littlest niece gets a new hat. I've used acrylic for this one, too, and I have a couple of reasons.
1. If Grandma likes it, she's not going to want to deal with special care instructions. She reserves the right to have no patience for that at her age.
2. If Grandma doesn't like it, my littlest niece will probably end up with it and acrylic will be easier for her mom to care for.

For Mom I've been working on something that I can't show a picture of since she might see this. However, I will show you the yarn I'm using for it and that I dyed with Kool-aid. It's alpaca hand-spun by my aunt and given to Mom for her birthday. Mom's arthritis prevents her from doing as much needle work as she used to, so I thought I'd help her out.

For my husband, I've made a hat from Alpaca yarn I purchase. I'm afraid I was getting quite bored with the single-crochet-only pattern, so I spiced it up a bit with some post stitches in a pattern to add interest and texture. It's amazing how fast those last 2 inches seemed to go in comparison with the previous 2 inches.

For those who have made it this far...Merry Christmas! And I hope your all your hand made holiday gifts are wonderfully successful.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Slow Cloth and Handmade

In honor of the approaching holidays where many of us are planning on giving gifts that we have handmade for our loved ones I wanted to share some great links.

The first is about Slow Cloth. It's a long article, but please take the time to read it. It talks about what slow cloth is and the benefits of it. This is how my parents raised me, to value the handmade to do it with excellence and love. I like to think it has enriched my entire life as a result.

Hand Eye Magazine: Slow Cloth

Even if you tend to hand make things yourself, you can also commit to buying handmade here on this site. By buying handmade you support the slow cloth movement with your pocket book. You also further enrich yourself and others with gifts that are higher quality than machine made as well as being 100% unique.

Buy Handmade - I pledge to buy handmade for myself and my loved ones, and request that others do the same for me.

A great place on-line for inspiration in all categories of handmade is Etsy. And if you haven't been there, what are you waiting for? It's also a great place to buy handmade if you don't live in an area with artist, artisan, and craft sales and galleries. It's a great place to buy handmade even if you do.

Etsy - Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage, and supply

There are a lot of wonderful designers who post their patterns and yarn on their own web sites and places like Ravelry and Patternfish.

Finally, don't forget to look at what I have to offer (see the pattern links in the right side bar) and continue to come back for regular updates.