amandajocrafts

September 27, 2012

On Never Judging a Boot by Its Genre.

Filed under: On Observing. — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — amandajocrafts @ 11:16 am

I’m not much of a country-western junkie. I don’t really go in for the hog-ties and bull riding, I really dislike riding horses (mostly because of the smell), and I think cowboy hats look pretty silly on anyone except Kenny Chesney. The only country music I really listen to is Taylor Swift (I love her, can’t help it). Frankly, I’m really much more of a Victorian girl. So, it surprised me just as much as anybody else when I fell in love with a pair of cowgirl boots.

A huge fan of boots, I wanted something I could wear pretty much anywhere and any way. I have a FANTASTIC pair of Victorian knee-high boots that I love for certain things, but they’re hardly daily wear. (PS, those are not my legs! That’s the photo from the website I purchased them from.)

At the same time, I didn’t want just the simple brown boots that everyone seems to be getting. I wanted something a little…different. Well, my fiance found this awesome website, sheplers.com, which sells quite a bit of western gear. Most of the cowgirl boots didn’t appeal to me, but then I found a pair that were still cowgirl boots, but, I swear, Victorian. See for yourself:

They are super comfortable, too! Such a rich, red color that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Amazing quality and stitching. And look at the scalloping on the top! I fully anticipate wearing them with those pretty ivory lace socks that go up just over the boots 🙂 Look at the details!

The moral of the story: never judge a boot by its genre. I have been totally boot-whipped. 🙂

September 25, 2012

On PIE.

Filed under: On Creating. — Tags: , , , , , , , , — amandajocrafts @ 11:40 am

A couple years ago, my now-fiance and I baked our first pie together: apple, with a lattice crust. We both peeled and sliced the apples, he took care of the interior mixture, and I took care of the crust and lattice, all within a lovely, though rather warm, kitchen. Though that wasn’t our first time in the kitchen together, it was our first time for an extended baking adventure, and I’m proud to say we worked quite well in unison.

Now that we have our own place, we bake a little more often. Sometimes when I come home,  he surprises me with a special treat, like pumpkin cupcakes or chocolate cake/cupcakes. (And ALWAYS with homemade vanilla icing!) But it’s even more fun when we get to do it together. Last week, we got to bake an apple pie–same as before, he manned the crust and I womaned the lattice, and I’m proud to say our efforts came out quite wonderfully!

(Even more importantly, it was DELICIOUS!)

Have you embarked on any baking adventures lately?

September 24, 2012

On Granny Squares.

Filed under: On Crocheting. — Tags: , , , , , , , — amandajocrafts @ 10:44 am

I have a LOT of yarn.

My mom used to knit and crochet a lot in the years before I came along. After I grew old enough and wanted to know what the boxes and boxes of yarn were doing in our closet, she taught me. She also kindly offered all the yarn in those boxes to my project whims. (Mothers are so darn selfless!) Of course, then I was the one in possession of all these possibilities.

I remember, so clearly, dragging the heavy metal stepstool from the laundry room up the stairs to the hall closet. The folding doors would squeak delightfully as I pushed them open on either side. I would, so carefully, open the step stool, because it made a sharp snap when it locked into place, and my mom had always made it clear that my fingers would not be happy if they were in the proximity of the snap. I’d climb up the three steps and, with my short, chubby kid fingers, inch the box off the top shelf, holding it in the crook of my neck and shoulder while I eased my way back off the stool. I’d look inside, knowing just what I’d find in there because, of course, my mom had marked in Sharpie on the outside what colors, and just how many, were kept inside.

Last year, when I started my Etsy shop, I bought even more yarn. And then, when I moved out of my parents’ house to pretend to be a grown-up, I brought some of her yarn with me. It hung out in a lot of eco-friendly bags until my fiance encouraged me to purchase a wooden storage bench with some lovely baskets (I think he was just getting sick of all the bags in the corner).

I think, at the time, I felt as though I needed as much yarn as possible, “just in case.” Then, my Etsy shop didn’t have quite the direction and continuity as it does now; I was not sure what the next item would be, so I felt as though I just had no clue what I needed. However, I now have a clear vision, and it does not include all this extra yarn! (Especially when I bought out a certain brand a Michael’s a month ago for those teddy bears I’ve been making. They do not fit in the baskets with everything else in there.)

So, I pondered what to do with this yarn. I didn’t want to store it somewhere, because then I would forget about it. I didn’t have the heart to fill my parents’ hall closet back up with it again. Then, I stumbled across the fascinating “granny square.”

You would think, being a hard-core yarner, yarn-artist, and general yarn-a-holic, that I would have a lot more experience with a granny square. (Really, my only “contact” with them was when I was just starting out crocheting and found some of my mom’s old, leftover granny squares. She taught me how to connect them, and my American Girl Dolls had a nice little blanket.) Granny squares are the perfect way to utilize this “homeless” yarn!

I wasted no time in looking up how to create them, and even less time in coming up with my own, slightly varied, version of the traditional granny square. I tried a couple out, and decided this would be the perfect project to do on the bus on my way to work.

Putting thought into action, I assumed–with a slight delight–that this might cause some interest on an otherwise morning-dulled bus. Maybe I can hand out some business cards, I thought to myself. This could be great shop publicity. People can see me in action!

I was wrong. No one even looked twice! It actually harkened back to some even odder behavior by myself, where, right after moving, I put all my crochet animals in bags and took them to the park and beach to photograph them. (I have since changed my photos on Etsy, but some of my fourth and fifth Etsy pictures do still have examples, like my octopus here.) Although I didn’t mean to draw attention to myself, I thought that at least a couple people would wonder what the heck this girl in a sundress was doing with bags of crochet animals slung over her shoulder. Nope.

At any rate, I’m still really excited about these granny squares. I have quickly mastered their efficiency and can knock them out relatively fast (a little over one per twenty-minute bus ride). I’m looking forward to having enough to connect them into a really fun, colorful young boy’s blanket! I’ll let you know when it makes it onto Etsy. 🙂

September 21, 2012

On Helpful Tips for Etsy Sellers.

I see this question all the time in the Etsy forums: Will you critique my shop?

One thing I really love about the Etsy community is how willing everyone is to assist each other. We give opinions, critiques, hints, tricks of the trade, away freely, because we are eager to help where we struggled. However, it can also sometimes be galling, especially when, if you searched in the Etsy Success team (where I see the above question most of all), there is already incredible information waiting there for you. Most of the time, new sellers shouldn’t need to even ask for the critique, because the information is already there.

With that in mind, here are some valuable lessons I have learned from the Etsy Success team. Though I don’t claim to be a high-profile Etsy seller, I can tell you these are the both the basics and the essentials to running your shop and making it fantastic.

1) (The most important one, folks.) Be willing to devote some time to your shop.

Do not expect to load up some photos of your items, write a couple lines, and expect them to sell. This does not really happen. (I know because this is how I started. HUGE mistake. After six months of research and changing everything, I finally had a shop I could be proud of.) Be ready to take and retake and retake and RETAKE photos, write and edit and revise and tweak your descriptions, and always be working on your tags. All of this, not to mention making your items. If you do not feel you can devote the time and energy to this, perhaps an Etsy shop is not right for you.

2) Take FANTASTIC photos.

Never accept mediocre. In the eighteen months I have been open, I have retaken my photos three times, all of my photos, and I’m sure I’m not done. It takes time, but it is, in my opinion, the most crucial piece of your shop. Before customers see anything else, they see a picture of your item. If your picture isn’t top-notch, do you really think the customer will take the time to click on it and see your item description or the other items in your shop?

So, some tips to taking photos (these are thanks to some great fellow sellers from the forums; that thread can be found here):

  • Have a sense of cohesiveness. I feel this is most easily achieved by the traditional “white” background, and as that is what I use, I’ll be telling you how to successfully do that. However, I have seen some amazing shops that don’t use a white background, but what they do use is the same style of background. If you want a rustic wood background, do that for everything. If you want pale lace, do that for everything. Give you shop the sense that all those items belong together.
  • Make your photos CLEAR. This was one of my biggest issues. If you have a small item, learn where the macro button on your camera is (it looks like a flower, and most cameras have it, even cheap ones). Also, when taking the photo, holding down the button halfway for a second before you push it all the way down; that will allow the camera time to adjust the lens and get a clearer image. Better yet, use a tripod, and you won’t have to deal with your shaking hands.
  • Use natural (or artificially natural) lighting. Some people have it really nice; they can set up their image by a beautiful bay window as the light comes in and get a great photo. Some of us (me included) live in a city apartment where light is certainly not streaming in the windows. Therefore, you have to fake it. To do so, open the windows anyway (it does help a little). Buy a couple cheap desk lamps, and daylight bulbs to go in them. Arrange the lamps around your item, using that aesthetic eye of yours to give it some nice shadows, but not too many shadows.
  • Edit your photos. Even a fantastic natural shot needs a wee bit of help. I use picmonkey.com, because it’s free and has some great tools. If you’re going for a white background, like I do, I use the neutral picker under the color setting to tell it what part of the photo should be white, and then I use the brightness and contrast to keep bringing that up. Be careful though, because you don’t want your picture to look over-edited, you just want it to look professional. When a photo looks over-edited, people often avoid that item because they don’t believe they’re really getting what they’re seeing.
  • Use all five photos slots. Show us the whole image, show us a close up. Show us what the underbelly looks like, what the back/inside looks like, make us feel like we’re holding the item and can see it from every angle.
  • Be cognizant of the fact that Etsy uses a standard photo layout for its searches and displays. Don’t take a portrait-style picture of a long necklace and expect it all to fit in there; all we’ll see is the chain and not your one-of-a-kind pendant that you hand-created. Etsy is now rolling out a new feature where we can adjust what part of the photo we want in the image search, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of the photo formatting, regardless.

3) Descriptions are about describing (but not too much).

There’s a lot of different ways to go about writing descriptions, so I’m not going to get into too much detail about it. The most important things, though, are:

  • Tell you customer what the item is in the first paragraph. This is particularly essential if you want to get found on Google, because it will take your first couple sentences and display them in the search results. Tell us what it is, what color it is, how big it is, what it’s stuffed with….We don’t have it in our hands, so you have to be our describer. Pretend you’re at a craft fair, and you see something you think your best friend would love, so you call her up to give her the low-down before she gives you the okay to buy. Write it like that.
  • Don’t get overly wordy or long. Buyers, notoriously, don’t read everything, so put down the essentials in short, direct paragraphs. Don’t expect us to read a dissertation; you’d just be giving yourself extra work, because about 1% of your viewers would actually read all that.
  • Put some backlinks to other items on your shop at the end. For example, in each of my teddy bear listings, I say a variation of: “if you like the teddy, but perhaps are looking for a different color, check out the shop section:” and then I give the link. Or, with my octopi, if you’re on the listing for the small purple one, I might say: “Looking for something bigger? Try Ferdinand {link}. Or looking for a little more rainbow flair, try Exuberance: {link}.” This way, the shopper doesn’t have to go hunting for something similar; I’m giving them suggestions based on what they’re looking at.

4) Tags/Titles are where you get found; use them.

I don’t pretend to be an authority on this; I’m always tweaking my tags and titles. Also, if you’re looking to really get into SEO, I’d recommend the CindyLouWho Team on Etsy. But, here are some crucial fundamentals:

  • Your titles and tags should match. If you have “amber necklace pendant” in your title and a tag that says the same thing, you’ll show up higher in search than if you don’t.
  • The first three words of your title are the most important, so if you have a birthday card for a little brother, DON’T start your title with “Cute, Darling, Baby Birthday Card for Little Brother.” Who’s going to be searching for “cute, darling, baby” and be looking for a birthday card? Instead, start with “Brother Birthday Card – Little Brother – Cute Card.” You have a MUCH better chance of getting the viewers you’re looking for.
  • In your tags, uses phrases when possible. Sure, you might get more hits if you just put “bear” as opposed to “crochet teddy bear,” but you’ll get more focused hits from the latter. The more specific you are, the better chance you have of finding your target audience.
  • Don’t waste tags. CindyLouWho taught me this: if you have a tag that says “crochet teddy bear,” you are also covered for the terms “crochet teddy” and “teddy bear.” Therefore, don’t waste tags on those terms! This was a revelation for me, and really opened up the opportunity to put some great tags in there because I had more room. And, this should go without saying, but use all your tags.

5) Write your policies.

Way too many shops are floating around without policies, or with very minimal ones. Sellers, they are your only “defense” against a customer–use them! Tell you customer what forms of payment you accept, how you handle returns, what your processing time is, that they’re responsible for out-of-country customs charges (and yes, they are!). That way, when a customer comes to complain, you can tell them very very nicely “I’m sorry, but XYZ is stated in my shop policies {here}.” It will help you and save you headaches later.

6) Update all the time!

Part of both Etsy and (I think) Google’s search has to do with “freshness,” so always be tweaking and editing! Besides, it always helps to be modifying. For example, if you notice an item isn’t getting a lot of views, especially perhaps compared to a very similar item in your shop, see what the difference is! Do you use a phrase in one that you don’t in the other? Have you put it in a different category?

Switch things up, pay attention to what search terms people are using to end up in your shop, and use that data to your advantage.

So…

Next time you want a shop crit, follow these steps first! The benefit of doing all these things before asking for that crit is that, when you do ask, you’ll get some great, detailed information on how to improve your specific shop, rather than just the general guidelines that all Etsy sellers should be following!

Questions? Comments? Things to add? I’d love to hear what you have to say!

September 19, 2012

On El Yunque.

Filed under: On Wordless Wednesdays. — Tags: , , , , , — amandajocrafts @ 10:22 am

September 18, 2012

On What Happened to Grammar and Punctuation.

It’s really a question: what happened to proper grammar and punctuation?

Without getting into details, I am a freelance grammar editor and a master’s student in writing. Add in my obsessive love of reading and my own writing, and I see a lot of the written word. Unfortunately (for me, at least), I then also see a lot of poor fundamentals.

I know this probably bothers me more than a majority of people; I’m well aware I’m a grammar Nazi, but it is a title I hold proud rather than admonish. I’m also cognizant of the fact that I am one of a subset who loves to not just use, but utilize grammar to its fullest extent. “That” versus “who” is one of the most common mistakes I’ve ever seen, and it wounds me every time. “Its” versus “it’s” is another repeat offender. You may think of them as small things, but they change the entire meaning. Furthermore, when done properly, a comma here or a semi-colon there can do a great deal to turn a phase; it is language’s only way of emphasis, and should be used with that knowledge.

I cannot quite seem to grasp why people cannot write with proper grammar and punctuation. (Let me be clear, I’m not talking about personal diary entires, I’m talking about people who want to publish or submit their work: blogs, literary magazines, novels, even works submitted for a grade in class.) I know we all learned this in school. Aside from the lessons, I distinctly remember watching Schoolhouse Rock in class all through my grade school years. Even in my Honors English class in high school, where, by the age of seventeen, I had so wrongly assumed that my peers should know this by now, we went through a nine-week lesson plan on proper grammar and punctuation. Nine weeks out of an honors English class devoted to lessons I had learned, and still clearly remembered, in second, third, fourth, fifth grade. My goodness, we even devoted a class period to grammar in freshman English in college. I have had this pounded into my brain.

Yes, I can hear some of you now: but what about the children who struggle, or drop out of school, or have a learning block or disability? Shouldn’t they still attempt to have their voice heard? Shouldn’t they be lauded for their efforts?

Well, my answer is “absolutely,” but with a strong caviat. If they have a story, or a theory, they would like to pass on to the world at large, if they are so passionate about this information they’d like to share, wouldn’t they respect their thoughts enough to proof them first?

Whether it’s a teacher, parent, family member, friend, just having others read through your work, even if those closest to you are not necessarily “Grammar Nazis,” really does make a difference. When you’re the writer of a piece of work, you often miss things that others will easily catch, just because you have become so entrenched in your words that, when you read your work over, it’s more like you’re reading from your mind rather than the page.

Moreover, read it over yourself. I’m not kidding when I say that I have edited books, and read peer manuscripts for class, where it is obvious there was no “once-over” before submission, and the second half of the sentence was just missing. That is not due to schooling; that is carelesseness.

I’m the first to admit that I make these errors all the time, whether it’s with my writing for class or publication, on blog posts, and even on my Etsy items’ descriptions. Sometimes, I’m staring at the words for so long that I miss obvious things: closet vs. closest (one very important letter there), of vs. on vs. or (so many times, my fingers roll too fast for the keyboard and bounce over the wrong letter), or even to vs. two vs. too. Also, PS, spellchecker is awesome and a standard on any word processor, even free ones such as OpenOffice.org (which I’d highly recommend if you don’t want to dish out the cash for Microsoft Word, but that’s another story). The point is, value your thoughts enough to have them considered seriously and presented professionally.

I know many people would like to answer that poor grammar and lack of punctuation is the result of the internet, globalization, fast-paced email responses, and quick texting shortcuts which have invaded our higher level of writing. I’m not disputing the possibility that this may be a factor, but I also believe that’s the easy blame to this issue. I don’t know what’s really wrong, but I think it has a lot to do with just not caring, and that scares me.

Although this may simply seem like a rant, there is a clear purpose to these words: I am telling you that you will be taken at your words’ face value. Written word is not only a grand unifier, but also a platform from which to be appraised. You will be judged by what you write, and it will have an effect on how others view you. If you cannot write properly, but writing is your first form of communication with someone new (now a common situation with the prevalence of email), do you think you will be highly regarded? Do you think your ideas will be taken seriously?

September 17, 2012

On Hooded Scarf Update #1.

Filed under: On Creating. — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — amandajocrafts @ 9:53 am

The hooded scarf is coming along swimmingly! It’s been about 10 days since I first posted that I had started this project, and it’s actually been going pretty fast! (If you’re curious about it from the get-go, check out my first post here.)

I try to devote a little bit of time every evening to knitting for myself (and I really do put it on my calendar in that way: “knit for myself,” because it’s too easy to end up using that time for things in my Etsy shop!)

My fiance and I finish whatever else we’re doing by a certain time, and then take about a half hour together to watch reruns of Frasier and do some knitting. (Yes, he knits, too! I taught him how :). He’s making a knitted tie in a thin, black cord-type yarn with really small double-pointed needles. Maybe once he’s done, I’ll get a picture of it!) It’s a nice opportunity to wind down at the end of what is always a busy day, and it feels rewarding to treat yourself to some crafting for yourself.

Here’s how far I’ve come:

This pattern starts by making the entire scarf part, and then connecting it to the hat part later. On the far left is where the first pocket will be; you do three sets of the pattern and then one knit row, so that it folds over and the pattern stays on the correct side. For about two weeks of work, I’d say that’s some progress!

A nice close-up of the pattern:

I love the way those middle circles are working out. They pop out so nicely against the background, and since the yarn is really soft, they give a great texture.

And here’s my “artistic” shot:

I just love working with this pattern and this yarn! Now that I have the pattern down pat, I barely have to look at the directions at all. On the flip side, I “try it on” every night just to see how it feels because I can’t wait for it to be done–and it’s great! So soft, and so warm. I think, when it comes down to it, it’ll probably be done right when it needs to be: just in time for winter.

September 14, 2012

On Character Emulation, Katniss, and Hair.

Last weekend, I saw a girl, about ten years old, with a Katniss braid.

Hunger Games fans, you know what I’m talking about: the french braid that starts at the top left, snakes down the back of her head, and ends in a regular braid underneath her right ear.

Other than looking really really cool, it was a relatively practical style for a character who’s supposed to be fighting for her life. The girl I saw, however, looked quite timid for one who has obviously at least watched the movie, and I would hope read the book, about an incredibly strong-willed young adult. It made me wonder about this little girl. Was she really as frail and tentative as she seemed? Did she hope that emulating Katniss would make her stronger? Or was she really a little powerhouse, and saw some of Katniss in herself?

I never spoke to her, and so I’ll never know the answer, but it got me to wondering about character emulation. I feel Katniss is a great heroine: she’s authentic; she’s confused, just like the rest of us; her heart is in the right place; and she’s a fighter. She’s an honest, real-life girl for others to look up to.

Not to sound like an old fogey, but I think this is something particularly needed today. (Okay, I do sound old *on my rocking chair on the front porch with my bifocals, grumbling about this newfangled thing called internet* I’m in my twenties, I swear!) When teen moms are paraded around daytime cable and Britney Spears gets to determine the fate of others (really, The X Factor, really?), us girls could use a role model or two who has their heart in the right place.

I remember when I was that little girl’s age, I had some incredible fiction to inspire me. My mother–she’s awesome–always facilitated trips to the library whenever requested, and I inhaled so many books that make me the woman I am today.

Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, whose Meg character was so self-conscious and unsure. I read that the year before I got my own horrid glasses, when my hair was also a large, tangled bush of unattractive, and I felt that I would never grow up looking human. She showed me what it meant to try something new and terrifying, and taught me that adolescence is a stage and not a permanent state of being.

Sharon Creech, my favorite author of my childhood (my copy of Walk Two Moons is so battered, the front cover hangs on by sheer will alone), showed me girls who were also just trying to sort out life. Also, she showed me that you can learn life’s truths and be quite extraordinary at the same time (Salamanca driving to see her mother one last time, or Zinnia planting her flower walk, or Sophie’s sailing trip).

Tamora Piece’s Circle of Magic quartet, my first dip into this author (soon to be followed by a resounding cannonball of immersion which I now happily repeat in my adult years), whose Sandrilene character taught me to stick my chin out and fight for the truth and the right in the world. I have gotten a lot of places in life by being honest with myself and others, even a little brash, and I know this was owed in part to seeing Sandry battle the world in the same way.

As I grew a little older, Sarah Dessen’s characters all showed me I was not the only one walking around just a little bit confused about how this life thing was supposed to be working. I wasn’t the only one who didn’t have a boyfriend, or it all figured out, or that mysterious flock of artificial people in high school, and what was more was I didn’t want that. It was okay to take my own path, and through that, I found the best group of best friends a woman would ever have the privilege to know. Ten years later, they are still my closest, dearest friends, even with all of us scattered around the country. (Google+ hangouts are a magical tool.)

So, although I am much too old to pull off walking around emulating Katniss’ hair, I am never too old to walk around emulating her attitude of “keep fighting,” doing right to the best of your abilities, and taking the time to work out for yourself what that “right” is.

Do you emulate any characters?

What books of your childhood do you retain?

September 12, 2012

On Yarn Art Humor.

Filed under: On Wordless Wednesdays. — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , — amandajocrafts @ 9:55 am

(Not quite a wordless Wednesday, but it is a comic!)

Pickles, by Brian Crane:

Special thanks to junxtaposition (my aunt) for pointing this out to me 🙂

September 11, 2012

On Jen’s Tangled Threads.

What better way to start bundling up for fall and winter than by thinking of some nice, warm feet! As you know, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the weather change, as I am much more of an autumn than a summer type of girl, and Jen’s Tangled Threads is the perfect shop to get me in the spirit of the changing season.

Jen is a one-woman operation–though her son is her official color coordinator–working in her spare time (which, as all mothers know, is a farce of an expression) and taking moments between dance competitions and caring for her son to crochet her invention: flip-furs. Flip-furs actually originated from attending dance competitions. She noticed many of the dancers did not have a simple alternative to the dance shoes they wore onstage, and would stay in those uncomfortable shoes or just go barefoot (even in the bathrooms, which I’d agree is pretty yucky) when they weren’t dancing.

As a former (not-at-all-professional) dancer myself, and with fifteen years of ballet, tap, and jazz under my belt, I can definitely attest to that issue. With tap, you certainly can’t wear those shoes around after you perform, and with jazz or ballet, you wear out the shoes much faster if you keep them on when you don’t need them. And as to the barefoot option–no, thanks. (Have you seen the research on all the foot diseases??)

So, to offer another option, Jen created her flip-furs. Girls had a warmer, comfier option than just flip-flops when they weren’t onstage, and they, and their parents, didn’t have to worry about what they might be picking up while they strolled around. (I wish I had heard of these when I was dancing!)

Expanding your horizons, they would also make some awesome dorm slippers for those college kids you know. (Back in my day, I would have JUMPED on a lime green pair. Everything was lime green for me–sheets, rugs, lamps, lightbulbs….drove my now fiance crazy then, I’m sure. He’s dark blues and browns all the way.)

Although her flip-furs are her favorite item in her shop–I’d be proud of them too, they’re so unique!–her favorite items to make are her baby blankets. She uses Caron Simply Soft for them, and finds it more friendly to work with than other yarns. (I myself am a huge Caron Simply Soft fan–I’m using it for the knitted, hooded scarf I was chatting about last week!)

Right now, there’s a beautiful rainbow blanket in her shop, customizable for whatever colors you want!

Look for some more baby blankets, as well as washcloths and doilies, to be peeking their way in amongst the flip-furs in the upcoming months, as having more ready-to-ship items in her shop is one of her long-term shop goals. (That and marrying a rich man, so she can spend more time crocheting, of course!) The first of her new items is already up: a crochet shawl wrap perfect for those cool fall nights. Again, it’s made with her favorite Caron Simply Soft yarn.

In addition to selling on Etsy, she also sells at her son’s dance studio and has begun branching out at craft fairs. It’s a rough market to be in, and I give her kudos for taking the time to try craft fairs. I’ve only done one, myself.

Finally, I asked her to weigh in on my “pricing for profit” debate (click here if you haven’t read about it yet). Like many other crocheters, she’s been struggling with the balance between fair wages for her and inexpensive prices for her customers. “Somehow I can’t make myself raise my prices beyond what they are now….my biggest customer base is my dance moms, and they spend so much [already] on dance lessons.” It’s a rough decision to make, but I applaud her for addressing the issue and tackling it; it’s something each crocheter has to decide for herself.

So, if you’re digging Jen and her tangled threads, you should check out her shop. And if you’re looking to find out even more about her unique Flip-Furs, you can learn more and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@jtangledthreads), or Blogspot. Expect a giveaway from Jen via her blog once she reaches fifty followers! (So it’s the perfect time to go on over there and start following!)

Want to be featured yourself? Click on over here for the submission form.

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