Polka Dot Cottage | Making stuff and telling you all about it since 2005 - Part 2

One last shop update!

Posted December 8th, 2014 by

I’m just popping in here really quickly tonight to tell you about a few new things in the shop.

Crochet-hook-making, Batch 1, Day 3.

First, there are crochet hooks. I’m not taking custom orders anymore, but I have added some brand new ready-to-ship hooks with fancy-pants polymer clay handles. They’re brightly-colored and super comfy to use. You don’t have to take my word for it, either, as lots of people have left their feedback (find that on the left sidebar of the hook page). There are fourteen new hooks made in my most popular sizes, so with luck you will find one perfect for you!

Check out the crochet hooks here.

The new cards are here.

Also, the new note cards are here, and let me tell you, they are so nice! The card stock is heavy, and the satin finish is delicious. These satin cards are available individually, but there is a discount for buying five or more. Additionally, there are two new designs in the budget-friendly glossy style. There are some Christmas cards, some Winter cards, and even one card with a crochet theme (there will be more crafty cards coming next year). All of the cards are blank, so you can add your own message.

Check out the note cards here.

Merry 8/31

I’m working on the last of the custom orders this week, and they are on schedule to ship on Friday, so hooray!

My last shipping day before Christmas will be December 19th, so please place your orders by Thursday the 18th, if you don’t want to wait until January to see your stuff!

Go shopping here!

Boy, I will be glad on December 20th when I can take off my salesperson hat. I love making stuff and sending it to you, but I am not a big fan of hopping up on the stage here and hawking it. If I could figure out how to get this stuff to sell itself, I’d be a happy camper.

By the way, that shop closing date does not apply to the downloads shop. That shop pretty much runs itself, so you can buy patterns and tutorials at 3:00am on Christmas morning if you really want to, and I won’t stand in your way.

In fact, I will be grateful for your order, and I will send you a little note of thanks as I always do!

TWiP: Stuff is Happening

Posted December 6th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures

When my kids were little, they liked to make up songs and record themselves singing them. We have a veritable treasure trove of these old gems, one of which is entitled “Stuff is Happening.” It consists of the title phrase being sung repeatedly for a good 45 seconds.

I have “Stuff is Happening” on an infinite loop in my head this week, as I think about everything I am trying to get done. I’m having a busier-than-usual time. I have a lot of irons in the fire, any one of which probably would have been fine alone. But taken together? It’s kind of a wonder I haven’t burned down the house yet.

I was tempted to fire off another quickie “I’m too busy to say anything” introduction to this post, but I’ve been doing that far too often lately.

My December photo project has me seeking out ways to be “merry” on a daily basis, which is frankly not so easy. For one thing, we don’t decorate here immediately after Thanksgiving like some people do, so if I want to photograph Christmas decorations, I have to leave the house and go looking for them. It’s a conscious effort to be sure that I can fill the day’s assignment.

This, it turns out, is a good thing. Twice this week I have resisted the temptation to slip on my pjs early, and have instead gone out to do something fun for myself. Thursday night I attended my town’s Holiday Night and took lots of fun pictures of stores, decorations, and lights. And Friday night, I put on my red sweater and my red lipstick, and I took myself to Starbucks to cash in a freebie and enjoy a peppermint mocha Frappuccino while the Christmas music played.

These little moments are definitely going to be more memorable than what I would have been doing – hanging out on the couch in my pajamas, crocheting and watching TV. Of course, I do really enjoy hanging out on the couch in my pajamas, crocheting and watching TV, but it’s not exactly memorable when you do it every night!

Speaking of which, it is after 9:30 on a Friday night as I write, and I am overdue for my date with a yarny project!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. November’s theme was “monochrome.” December’s theme is “Merry.”)

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

Instagram: Keeping busy while the kid gets a haircut.

365: BW 29/30 – Firewood in the snow.

Sunday

365: BW 30/30 – My yarn swift in motion, as I make a center-pull ball.

Monday

365: Merry 1/31 – Nothing like a few new mp3 cd compilations for the car, to get one in a merry mood!

Tuesday

Instagram: Time to cover the first batch of hooks! #crochet #polymerclay #pdc

365: Merry 2/31 – Snow flurries!

Wednesday

Instagram: Hook-making day two. I did the thirteen I had scheduled yesterday, plus another 13 for the shop (26 – a record for me!). They’re not finished. I still have to put in a few hours sanding the daylights out of them and buffing them to a nice shine. #crochet #polymerclay #pdc

Instagram: Afternoon snack. Mama went food shopping :-)

365: Merry 3/31 – All I need is a box of Bachmann’s pretzel sticks and a can of Coke, and I’ll have my favorite holiday snack from my teenage years. It’s a shame I don’t have that kind of metabolism anymore…

Thursday

365: Merry 4/31 – Holiday Night in Stirling.

Friday

Instagram: …aaaaand Batch #1 is done! They’re all shined-up and ready to be popped in the mail :-) #crochet #polymerclay #pdc

365: Merry 5/31 – Peppermint mocha Frappuccino. I upgraded to a grande (from my usual tall) because it was a freebie :-) P.S. My nail polish has officially seen better days.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

Weekend Favorites

Posted December 5th, 2014 by

Another Friday, another Weekend Favorites post I’m scribbling down an hour after it was supposed to be published…

Been busy this week, folks! The crochet hooks have been keeping me on my toes, and I’ve been trying to catch up on some household stuff I have been letting slip. That reminds me, I can’t really hang out here right now. There’s a load of laundry that needs me. Desperately.

I will save my words for tomorrow’s TWiP post :-)

On Flickr

The mosaic below represents other people’s pictures that spoke to me this week. Be sure to click on the titles below the mosaic, if you want to know more about the image or the photographer behind it.

(follow me on flickr)

Weekend Favorites at Polka Dot Cottage

1. 336/365, 2. upload, 3. Japanese maples are without a doubt my favorite #leaves! #decemberreflections, 4. It’s snowing at the mall!, 5. Flower Pendants, 6. GStaad, Switzerland, 7. Tremezzo, Como Lake, Italy, 8. Untitled, 9. чай

Around the Web

I spend some time earlier in the week sharing my favorite crafty links through social media. And then I repeat them here on Fridays.

  • Helix Mitts – a clever knitting pattern from Knitting and so on. I’ve spent enough time wandering around Ravelry to know that there are only so many ways to construct a fingerless glove. This one, though is totally a new one on me. It’s quite clever! And being all in garter stitch, I imagine it’s a pretty quick knit, too.
  • How to make a crochet rug – a free pattern from Mollie Makes. This is cool. I could see using one of these in front of the kitchen sink, or next to the bed. I wonder if working a project this big would be hard on the hands. Anyone have any experience with something like this?
  • Pallet Christmas Tree – a neat idea from Redhead Can Decorate. As someone who finds the process of putting up the Christmas tree and taking it down again to be rather a chore, I am really attracted to this idea. Someday when the kids leave the nest, I am switching to a flat tree :-)
  • Scandinavian-Inspired DIY Plywood Tree – from Dans le Lakehouse. Here’s another flat tree project. I don’t like this one quite as much as the last, although I think there’s a lot of potential there, with the right paint and the right decorations. This one is a little sparsely decorated for my taste.

Happy Friday!!

Back at the clay table

Posted December 3rd, 2014 by

You can probably tell when I get my creative mojo back. Things get a bit silent around here. And, in fact, if I hadn’t remembered at the last minute that today was Wednesday and I hadn’t blogged in a while, it probably would have been yet another day before I popped in here.

So, what have I been doing? Crochet hooks!

Crochet-hook-making, Batch 1, Day 1.

Crochet-hook-making, Batch 1, Day 1.

Working at the clay table is tough for me, because I have a tendency to hunch over my work, and that position is not too friendly for my right shoulder. I generally only have about two hours in me before it hurts enough that working is no longer enjoyable.

Because of this, I usually plan on making only six hooks per day. I can spend my two hours putting on the handles, and then rest my back and shoulders while they harden in the oven. Once the hooks are cooled off, I can spend another hour or so sanding the daylights out of the handles, and buffing them to a nice shine.

Six hooks is physically comfortable for me in a day.

Crochet-hook-making, Batch 1, Day 1.

This week I decided I would attempt to do eight hooks per day. I had thirteen custom orders I wanted to complete this week, which would mean I could do eight of them on Tuesday, and the other five plus three for the shop on Wednesday. Only that didn’t happen.

Oh, I put the handles on the first eight hooks, alright, and my shoulders were none-to-happy by the end of it. But later, instead of sanding and buffing those eight hooks, I decided to put handles on the other eight. My shoulder felt better by then (it generally does in just a short while). And then after supper, I did another eight! Only that last eight turned into ten when I had some leftover patterns I wanted to use. So altogether twenty-six.

Crochet-hook-making, Batch 1, Day 2.

I put handles on twenty-six hooks yesterday! That’s twenty more than my usual daily quota.

I was definitely sore after each session, but it’s so nice to have all of these hooks done now!

Well, not done done. They still all need to be sanded and buffed, and I suspect that’s another two or three hours of work, but that’s a job for tomorrow.

So if you ordered custom hooks from me, they are on schedule for shipping by this weekend! Yay!

If you did not order custom hooks from me and you are kicking yourself, go ahead and place an order. I’ve decided I’m up for one more marathon hook-making session if necessary. Just don’t wait because I won’t be in this mood for long…

If you miss that custom ordering window, those extra thirteen hooks will be showing up in the shop this week sometime.

Whew.

TWiP: a Week of Few Words

Posted November 29th, 2014 by

This Week in Pictures

We started last week in Cherry Hill at Philcon, and moved on to snow, Thanksgiving, and now we’re enjoying a long weekend. I haven’t got all that much to say here today – my to-do list is calling me – so let’s just let the images do the talking!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for my Project 365, plus some everyday-life images I posted on Instagram during the previous week. (FYI, my daily photo project this year has changing monthly themes. November’s theme is “monochrome” or some variation thereof. Black and white, sepia, split tones, basically anything goes as long as it’s super desaturated.)

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

Instagram: Sbux is nice and all, but give me a local indie coffee shop any day. And a peanut butter cup latte for good measure.

365: BW 22/30 – Parking meter FAIL

Sunday

Instagram: Six stitches left to bind off in the sleeve and I need to start a new ball of yarn. #frustrationsinknitting

365: BW 23/30 – Geese and a gazebo.

Monday

365: BW 24/30 – It’s a red polka dot sock kind of day.

Tuesday

365: BW 25/30 – Tea and coffee. And there’s usually a canister of hot chocolate there, too, but we used it up :-)

Instagram: With pre-made cookie dough like this, who needs homemade? (Trader Joe’s molassas ginger cookies. Mmmmm)

Wednesday

365: BW 26/30 – I’m glad I don’t have to fly anywhere for Thanksgiving.

Thursday

365: BW 27/30 – Thanksgiving dinner prep (with which I had very little to do…)

Friday

365: BW 28/30 – The view from the top of a parking garage in Hackensack, NJ.

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

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