Mini hiatus and Easter already?

I have been missing the last little bit with my updates. I apologize once again for my mini hiatus, but I was busy with working on an oldy but a goody. I recently had a few orders for my patchy patch toys and needed to complete them asap! So upon finishing them I continued into something I have been wanting to get put together for some time. I started on a pattern for the Binoo character from the same show. I am sure it will be as much a hit as the patchy patch ones, however they will take a bit longer because they are evidently larger. 

I have also been thinking up ideas for Easter. Yes, I know it is quite a ways away. Yet, I am trying to build up some stock to open up shop by then. I am doing this by challenging myself to use up craft supplies I already have and not go out and buy new ones. I came to a realization that my cupboards that I have for craft supplies are over flowing with a multitude of yarn, glitter and cardstock. So this is what I have come up with thus far.

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I have also started to work on a Facebook page for local selling and try to promote my products, just need to get on the photography part of putting it all together.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stickers stickers everywhere…but not an album to be found…

I want to bring you back to the late 80’s early 90’s. I am a youngster and I am starting to get the hang of collecting things. Time passes and I am in school. One book in particular goes everywhere with me. One that everyone can enjoy. I add things to it everyday, swap with friends, collect certain ones that I like. That’s right! The sticker book!
Now let me take you back to present day. My little man will be the big 3 in a couple days and as of late he has really started enjoying stickers. So naturally I got him this kit that has a bunch of stickers and an “album” in it. Now I say “album” because it was this tiny 4 page booklet with scenes specific to the stickers that come with it. Yes I get why they did that, but he loves them all and just wants to put them in a book, take them off again and put them somewhere else.
So off I went on a rampant search for the famous sticker book I so much enjoyed as a kid. Only to come up empty. You would imagine my disappointment finding nothing at my work, the dollar store, also nothing at any toy store! How could this be? Needless to say I gave up and decided I was better off making one, but how?
My first thought was go out and buy a small 8×8 scrapbook and just slide in some fun cardstock. But that was pointless, seeing as he is 3 and it will just get ruined and why would I pay 30$ for something that looks so pretty to have a toddler stick his stickers all over? Next stop was pinterest which really was helpful but gave no specific ideas. So my brain went turning and I ended up with something that is cheap and although it may not be the best I have done, I am quite happy and proud of what I made!
I simply took some cardstock and cut it into 6×12 rectangles and laminated them. Next was the fun part as I clearly didn’t think it through. I had to bind them somehow. So I tried every hole punch I had and nearly broke a couple. Final straw? Hammer and nails. Yup! Lined up all the pages and went at it to stab some holes in there.
Making the cover was the easiest bit, I simply cut up some cardboard into 2 squares slightly larger than the pages and a rectangle for the spine, laid out some fabric and stretched it on there to look like this.

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And with a lot of hit glue and other sticky stuff I ended up with this…

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Now he can stick and peel all he wants!
I must say I am still quite disappointed about the sticker album being M.I.A.

Cheers!

Valentines day is approaching…for some…

It feels like it is too soon to mention after christmas, but valentines day is approaching. Now for me, it used to be the usual wishy washy, lovey dovey time of year filled with red and pink and lots of chocolate and flowers. But in 2011 that all changed when at 3:00 Am on February 13 my little monkey arrived, forever being my valentine.
So yes it is approaching and no I am not crafting up a storm in order to bust out the valentines and decorations, but instead I am creating some very special presents for my soon to be 3 year old. My oh my has the time seriously flown right by me!
I have already given you guys a sneak peak into what I was planning for the keepsake box, which by the way was put on hold and still sits in my garage mentally preparing for its date with a sander, but I thought I would share this next project that took its place in the priority line.
You see my monkey man loves puzzles. And when I say he loves them I think it is quite an understatement as he can spend all day laying on the floor doing them and won’t even budge. But as you know I have responsibility of the crafting aisle at work and when this came in I had to snatch it up. Although I wish I would have taken a picture before I started to draw on it.
It is a wooden tile board, 9 pieces that are square. Its original purpose is for decoration and organization but all I saw was P-U-Z-Z-L-E written all over it!
So upon getting home with it I proceeded to draw out his second favorite thing, Mater from the movie Cars.
Now slowly but surely it is all coming together. I am not used to painting with detail so thank goodness it is a cartoon, but I thought I would show you where it is at right now.
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Yes it is sideways, better pictures to come when my computer decides to cooperate with me to load from my camera. As well as some tips and tricks I have learned and use quite frequently with my crafting.

So for now this is it my fellow crafters and I shall update you more *fingers crossed* tomorrow.
Cheers!

Treble treble treble

Ive been working a lot lately with single and double crochet stitches. Of course, seeing as they are the main ones used in virtually everything you crochet. But I was bored, and I decided I wanted to give another go at trying to figure out how to create a cross over look. I was first inspired by Bellas’ mittens in the movie twilight, but naturally they are a knit pattern and of course I cannot knit.

It just doesnt work. I can dream up various things and stretch my imagination to turn toilet paper rolls into wall art, but I can’t wrap my head around working two needles instead of one? What’s up with that?

So anyways, I finally figured it out! I think it would look better with a chunky yarn and bigger gauge but just working with what I had at the moment. But I think it will look great on a pair of mittens and a headband!
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Cheers to progress!

My Apologies

I am told that every blogger has to, at least once, take an unannounced leave of absence and return with a big post apologizing. Well, here is mine. Due to some family matters that needed to be taken care of, I simply just dwindled off from my crafting and crocheting. My Etsy store went dry and I stopped blogging. Even my craft cabinet began to gather dust. I simply did not have the motivation to create and write.

Throughout the recent holidays though, I started noticing that my soon to be 3 year old is getting right into crafting and creating things and he just loves it! So for Christmas Santa brought him a huge craft bucket. We spent hours gluing and sticking and cutting, and I just had to sit back and think. I enjoy this, and my son enjoys this, why on earth did I stop? So I retreated to my Pinterest account for some inspiration, as I tend to do, and while searching I grabbed some yarn and crochet needles and just got started again.

So with it being the New Year and 2014 is going to be a better year for me, I have decided to make my new years resolution simple. Stay inspired and get organized! I have many ideas for this year both for myself and for Etsy to get my shop going again and I promise to bring you a daily dose, if not twice weekly dose, of updates, fun ideas and of course inspiration for yourself!

Facebook page or new business Facebook account

Among the many social networking sites available to businesses, especially handmade items, I can agree that Facebook is one of the biggest for networking and putting your business out there. It boosts everything from Etsy shop visits to views and followers of your blog. This all I am very aware. But as I sit here with Facebook wide open, cursor hovering over the create page button, I ask, should I just create a new Facebook account all together for Via Hand?

I don’t want my personal account linked to the business, what with games and friend comments and such, its just too… well.. personal. It’s just not the best way to do business. So, if I were to create a page via my personal account, will this then allow others to view my personal account? Or is it just best to create a new account? I have had mixed results with my readings and I just wanted to get everyone’s opinion on this.

Cheers!

Your Hands Are Your Tools, Take Care of Them

I am currently working on another large order. In doing so, my hands have been non stop working. As a result, my arms, wrists, shoulders are aching for me to stop. Knowing I still have quite a bit to go, I sat there and thought of all the lessons that have been driven into my head by my college professors. You see, not only am I an avid crocheter and crafter, but I am also a graduated massage therapist. Throughout my years in school, it was always drilled into us that our hands and arms are our tools and we need to take care of them. They  gave us little tips and tricks to keep us from wearing out early with the added stress that we are putting our bodies through.

Then it dawned on me, why am I not doing these things when I am trying to finish off orders? Or doing them at all period whenever I am creating? I am quite sure that most of you out there have had these sames aches and pains. Wrists cracking, forearms getting sore from the constant turning and weaving of yarn. Shoulders screaming for you to rest and stretch. But do we all know these little stretches that can save us from these pains? Probably not. Most people just shrug it off as tension and jump into a bath, or run a hot shower. Not bad ideas, if you are continually stretching and strengthening those muscles that you need to keep up with your daily work or hobbies.

So I thought I would share with you today a few little tricks that will save your hands.

Forearms:

  • We all know that simple stretch, extend your elbow, flex your wrist downwards and hold. Usually we are told to hold for 30 seconds and then stop, but the best way to stretch is to keep holding until the stretch feels like its going away. 
  • Next, with your elbow still extended, flew your wrist upwards toward the ceiling. Again, hold until the stretch starts to feel like its going away.

**Note: Do not overstretch! A stretch should not hurt. If it starts to hurt, lessen the pressure until you feel the stretch but it does not hurt**

Wrists:

  • Place your palms together, like you are praying, hold your elbows out at a 90 degree angle. This stretch you will feel along the under side of your wrists
  • Clasp your hands together, and rotate them in a sort of figure 8 pattern, repeat this 10 times
  • Hold your arm out frontwards again at a 90 degree angle. Tuck your thumb into a fist, and tilt your fist towards the floor. This stretch can be a bit difficult, and if causes pain,  again decrease the amount of stretch until it does not cause you pain. 
  • Do a range of motion with your fingers – For each finger pull gently 4 times, and rotate  it in a circle and up and down.

Now I personally have shoulder issues, knowing that I tend to hunch forward with my shoulders rolled forwards as well, need to stretch my pec muscles. 

To do this:

  • Find a corner of a wall
  • stand parallel to the corner with your arm outstretched at a 90 degree angle to the side, with your palm flat on the wall. (For example, you are stretching the right side, stand with your right arm out to the side palm against the wall)
  • With your palm still on the wall take ONE step forward
  • You should feel the stretch from the the top of your shoulder joint and into the chest, pec area. 
  • Repeat on opposite side

A lot of people have troubles with their trap (Trapezius) muscles. They are the ones that are on top of your shoulder, running from your neck into the shoulder joint. 

For these:

  1. Sit on a chair
  2. Again we will use the right side as an example: Grasp the bottom of the chair with your right hand
  3. Tilt your head to the left,
  4. using your left hand, apply slight pressure to the stretch by pulling your head a bit further to the left side
  5. Once the stretch feels like it is dissipating, bring your head back up to a neutral position, Turn your head from side to side
  6. Repeat steps 1 – 3, before applying pressure to the stretch, while tilting your head to the left, turn your head to the left as well, as if sniffing your armpit (I know doesn’t sound pleasant does it?)
  7. Again apply pressure slightly to further the stretch if needed.
  8. Repeat on other side

Another quick tip, if you are suffering from tendinitis or carpel tunnel, you can do a quick ice bath to help relieve the pain and burning that accompanies it.

Ice Bath:

  • You will need a large basin, ice and cool water
  • Fill the basin with cool water, and add the ice (Yes very simple)
  • Submerge your elbow, wrist, forearm, what ever is bothering you, into the ice bath
  • REMEMBER – Only keep your arm in the bath until it goes numb. No longer! If you keep your arm submerged longer than initial numbness, you can risk further damage.

I am happy to help with any other areas needing care if I haven’t touched on them. 

Just remember, your hands are your tools and you need to take care of them.

Cheers and happy healthy crafting!