Wednesday Want: Charming Coat by xiaolizi on Etsy (2)

Wednesday Wants is a weekly (ahem) post featuring things that I, as a starving artist, would like to one day have in my dream house and/or wardrobe.

This week I have something of the latter for you:

My favorite find on the internet this week has been the Charming Coat by xiaolizi on Etsy.

I love this fun, fanciful coat. I’m probably too short to wear it, and at $129 it’s a little out of my price range, but so, so cute. And really not unreasonable in price at all… don’t you think?

Wednesday Wants (1)

Once upon a time I had a thriving craft blog. Since I’ve been focusing on writing, I had to let it go, until I went so long without updating it that I felt as if it was a lost cause. I’ve missed sharing those types of things, though, and thought maybe showing a bit of my personality outside of the writing realm might not be the worst thing in the world, so I’m going to try to mix the two together a bit. I’m kicking this off today by revamping my once-popular Wednesday Wants series, where I highlight Etsy finds that I envy. It’s my little way of celebrating independent businesses. After all, even  a starving artist can dream, right? 😉

And this is my little collection for this week!

Pink Grapefruit Whipped Cream Soap by YouStinkSoap

Pink Grapefruit Whipped Cream Soap by YouStinkSoap

I have a confession. Grapefruit is possibly my favorite scent in the world. It’s probably my favorite fruit (after ripe strawberries, because come on). And the idea of whipped soap is… mmmm. Too good to be true! I love Youstinksoap. I ordered a trio of lip balms a while ago and love, love, love them (Lime Sugar and Asian Pear? Yeah.) So yeah. This is a big want.

Recycled T-Shirt Pom Pom Pillow in Baby Pink MINI by talkingsquid

Isn’t this the squishiest looking pillow ever? talkingsquid has made pom pom pillows out of recycled t-shirts (she makes floor rugs t00) and I think they’re so cool! My dream house is covered in these colorful poms. I love ’em!

Cute hearty red owl clutch purse by misala

Lastly I have this delightful little owl clutch purse by misala. She has so many cute items I don’t know what to do with myself. This little owl clutch purse just stole my heart the minute I saw it. How clever of her to make animal clutches! Too cute! Want!

So that’s my first edition of Wednesday Wants on this blog. Do you have any Etsy finds you’d like to share?

Also! Today is Leap Day! Woohoo! In celebration, everything in my shop is 15% off! Just use the code 2012LEAP.

Five Things Friday: Five Things I’ve Learned…

So, as I’ve mentioned, The Mr. and I recently moved into a small apartment complex that we’re fixing up and going to be renting out and managing. We’ve been here a couple of weeks, and been on a tight budget, so things still aren’t up to rent-out-able states (this is a fairly old apartment complex!) but I have learned a few things along the way, and I thought I’d share a couple with you for today’s Friday Five.

1) VINEGAR is basically the most amazing thing in the world. It’s the best cleanser you didn’t know you already own. It kills most mold, bacteria and germs. PLUS it’s chemical-free and the smell dissipates completely after drying. You can clean anything with vinegar (seriously, you can even use it in your laundry instead of bleach, it’s a natural whitener). If you can’t get something off with vinegar alone, pour some baking soda on it—you get an instant scouring solution. Cheap and chemical free. You’ve got to love that.

2) (Somewhat less informative) Fitting into size-down jeans (even with your sweatpants on under them!) is slightly less exciting when the first time you squat in them, you split the inner-thigh. :: blasé face::

3) You CAN find time to write, even if the world seems to be falling down on your head. (So long as you have someone to share your responsibility with you.) (Probably even if you don’t, but I can’t claim personal knowledge to that!)

4) Sometimes things sell well on your Etsy site when you literally do not have time to touch it with a ten-foot-pole for three weeks straight. (I suspect this is partially due to Etsy’s new “relevance” search—when you looked for things on Etsy, results used to be itemed by “most recently listed”)

5) (More for me than for you) I really can’t complain about never winning a Kindle off of those big joint bloghops when I know full well that I’d rather have a Nook. And I do sometimes win books. So I really can’t complain. (Again not really relevant, ah well!)

Back to the grindstone for me, then. Or should I say, back to oven cleaning. Oh, joy.

H is for Handmade Movement

I’m a little late in the night, but I have to give a shout out to the Handmade Movement. As an Etsy seller, buying handmade is something that’s pretty important to me. Handmade crafts are something that I grew up with. My mother is a quilter, specializing in Hawaiian and Jacobean applique, and creativity has always been encouraged in my family.

There are really a lot of reasons to buy handmade, though. Firstly, buying directly from artists and artisans means that you know that your money is going to the people who put together the product that you’re getting, something that you can’t be sure of in almost any retail situation. Secondly,with websites like Etsy and Artfire, it’s easier than ever to do.

Maybe one of the biggest reason to buy handmade, though, is because in today’s mass-produced world, one-of-a-kind pieces of self-expression can only truly be found in the handmade market. Buying handmade is also a great way to support local artists instead of big chains, and a vote for quality—something that has been sacrificed in the mainstream markets in favor of price cuts.

The coolest thing about the handmade movement, though? Is that it also means that YOU can make things. Today learning how to knit, crochet, sew, make jewelry or whatever it is that interests you is easier than ever, because the internet literally has endless information on all of the above subjects (and lots more) available with just a Google search or two. Want to learn how to make soap? How about how to do embroidery? Or how to spin yarn? If you’re more of a visual learner, I’d suggest looking through Youtube. I personally learned how to spin, crochet, and bind books off of youtube.

Maybe selling online isn’t for you. Maybe selling at all isn’t for you. But there’s nothing like making something useful of your own.

This is also why I write, by the way. I have to be creating something all the time, whether it’s literally putting together a journal or notebook, making something wearable out of yarn, making the yarn itself, or telling a yarn of my own. 😉

C is for Crochet

So, I have a little bit of a yarnie love. No, not love, addiction. In fact, if there’s one hobby I could do for a living that wasn’t writing, it’d probably be spinning yarn (yes, like on a spinning wheel or a spindle—actually I haven’t tried a spinning wheel yet, but ooh would I love to!)

This yarn-yearning has been part of me since I was a very small child. I was fascinated with the stuff, though I didn’t know what in the world to do with it. Knitting didn’t strike my fancy at that age, and try and try again, I just could not learn how to crochet. I was taught, too—twice. I could never get past the single chain, basically the very first stitch.

I toyed with crochet once or twice as I got older, but all meager attempts failed, more or less. Then, my freshman year of college, I learned how to knit, taught by a neighbor of mine. I started slow with knitting, making basic garter-stitch scarves and not even learning how to purl (which is what makes knitting look all nice and smooth) for a couple of years. I loved knitting—it was very in at the time I was going to school (which was really only a few years ago) and was full of instant satisfaction for the creative being in me.

Then finally I decided I needed to learn how to crochet. Knitting and crochet really go hand in hand. You can know the one without knowing the other, but it’s far more beneficial (and freeing, in terms of what you can make) if you know both. After all, I’d learned how to purl on my own, I’d learned how to cast off knitting on my own… (well, thanks to youtube) why couldn’t I learn how to crochet?

I bought the book Stitch n’ Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker, and with that guidance, finally learned how to do something more than a chain of stitches. The exciting thing about crochet is that once you learn the basics (and by basics, I mean just barely beyond where I’d been the majority of my life) you can do just about anything. 

I’ve fiddled with the whole gamut of crochet, from scarves to toys to tiny motifs. I even have a little etsy shop where I sell the tiniest granny squares you’ve ever seen.

I like to use my crochet in other ways, too… like to ornament stuff in my main Etsy shop, CinderLisaDesign. Really, crochet just makes me happy. I knit more, to be honest, but crochet is my comfort craft. Easy to fix if you mess up, easy to shape stuff ways you want it. I’m always extra pleased with crochet stuff I do, to be honest, because there was a time I thought I’d never be able to get the handle of it. I’m glad I kept going. 😉

I’d say this doesn’t have anything to do with writing, except that for me it does, in a way. It proved to me that I could conquer things that I was hesitant about… something I also did in writing. I was sure that I couldn’t write believable fantasy for a long time, when the truth is, that’s almost all I’m writing right now, and makes up the majority of my planned projects, too. Sometimes you just have to keep trying until it works.