I Saw A Hat

I saw a hat on Pinterest.

hat to try

I was smitten, so I tracked it down and  there was a pattern.
It was in Russian though.
Google Translator really sucks at translating patterns…I’m just saying.

So I gave up and made my own version.P1040734 P1040724
No, I did not write down the pattern.

After all life is so much more exciting when… it’s December and you have to try to remember what you did a year ago because someone really likes that hat , but they want it in red.

But seriously, I’m working on being better organized – I just haven’t done anything about it yet.

 

The hat is available in my Etsy shop

But what do you think? Did I even come close to the  original pattern?

My Upcycled Tee Shirt Obsession

I think that I may have mentioned before that I’m slightly craft ADD and usually have 10 ideas in my head at one time, none of which I actually have the time to work on since I’m probably crafting the ten ideas from 3 months previous. Back in 2011 I came to Middle Georgia (sounds like a place in a sci-fi novel doesn’t it?) for work. The first month or so my husband and I stayed in a room at Value Place (it’s an hotel/studio apartment type thing). To keep from going crazy I started crocheting around my old concert tees that I had saved from the 80s.

Sting Concert Tee

Once the holiday season is past, my Etsy sales are nonexistent, which is great for me because it means that I have time to experiment with designs (some not so good btw), learn new things etc. My latest “thing” is getting back to t-shirt  recycling  I am obviously a t-shirt hoarder and they (like my odd bits of yarn) must go somewhere other than a landfill.

Seriously, who doesn't love Tweetie Bird?

Seriously, who doesn’t love Tweetie Bird?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I made this cute pillow cover for my youngest who was in Marching Band  back in high school. It looks as though there is no crochet involved BUT – I did crochet a very long chain which i ran through the hem of the shirt to tie the bottom of the pillow – which makes the cover washable and reusable, I hope he’ll have it for years to come.

Upcycled tee shirt pillow

So there I was writing this awesome post and one half of it has disappeared. Arrrgh.
Anyway I was about to tell you about my new idea for naturalistas who dry their hair with or wrap their wet hair in a t-shirt (leaves your hair so much softer and less frizzy that a towel). It’s still just an idea/experiment. Here’s a sneak peak:
My upcycled tee shirt idea for naturalistas

My upcycled tee shirt idea for naturalistas

Visit my Etsy site for more of my repurposed tee ideas, unfortunately I don’t yet have the time that it would take to create AND create tutorials, but I hope to share some of my ideas in the future.Enhanced by Zemanta

This HandMade Life- It Ain’t Easy Being a Designing Woman

No matter what you’ve seen on reality TV.

I have a little time now that the Christmas season is over and, while I spend most of it being totally fricking UNinspired, every once in a while I get an idea. This week’s idea was “I Love New York”, a collection of items inspired by my love of the greatest city in the world (or maybe I’m homesick, whatever). I made the mistake of starting with up cycled tees ( we went home last summer, bought a couple or three tee shirts, no one actually wears that stuff once they get back home, so you’re left with a bag of brand new t-shirts).
I wanted something sexy, off the shoulder, with Knicks colors and frills and all that. This is what I ended up with
- yes I’m frogging as we speak, then I’m going to hopefully redeem myself by creating something totally awesome….tomorrow.

Because Michelle Obama Ought To Wear NiseyLee for the Inauguration

It’s 10 days and 16 hours before the inauguration festivities kick off and I have not yet heard from Mrs Obama or her stylist, what gives? here are some suggestions -:)

Never mind me, I’m probably just giddy from my awesome (to me) holiday sales season. Don’t know that I ever mentioned it, but most of my sales used to come from an artists co-op type store near Atlanta, GA. After I moved 86 miles away, it became difficult for me to maintain my 80% commission on my items as that involved devoting several hours a month to working at the store. I initially switched over to a 50 percent split and made a tidy profit last Christmas. But (call me what you will) I just wasn’t very happy about giving up 50% on each sale . Yes I realize that there are arguments to the contrary, and that the store had all of the overhead while I had very little etc and etc. Bottom line was that I wanted to be there to see how my products were displayed and talk to customers about things, and get reactions and feedback AND I wanted to feel rewarded for my hard work. I wasn’t getting that.

I have had my Etsy shop for years , but the secret to success on Etsy is being able to spend time each and every day actually doing stuff in your shop. Given my hours and my commute, I had found that almost impossible to do. So last year I decided to make it a family business – I asked my husband and kids to do whatever they could to help me to help them by creating a successful online presence. They updated my products on a daily basis, created Treasuries for me, posted ads, and mentioned the shop fairly frequently in their Twitter, G+, and Facebook streams.

Knowing that I was creating a lot of items with no way to sell them except on Etsy or Artfire forced me to learn how to get noticed. Granted I am a very small fish in a very,very big pond but I passed a few signposts this year that were very encouraging- like multiple sales in Canada, Australia and England. I was also gratified by the number of sales made to men this year. But probably most encouraging of all was having return customers as well as customers who bought more than one item in a single purchase.

Like so many others, I am not going to be able to retire in my 60s the way my older relatives were able to. Crafting is my back up plan, my role models are Grandma Moses , Colonel Sanders, and a nurse I read about who became a successful novelist after she retired. Like wine, I’m improving with age-:)

I am having a 35% off sale this pre-inauguration weekend , so if you are attending the festivities, there is still time to grab a niseylee original  (I ship Priority Mail so I am almost positive it will get to you in time) and show up all of the celebrities in attendance.

 

My Jaco Pastorius Beanie Fixation Update

very close to the original I thinkBack in August (gee has it been that long?) I told you how obsessed I was with this Jaco Pastorius beanie that I’d seen on the cover of a bass player book. At the time I was stash busting, so I went all in and made like a whole 5 beanies (hangs head in shame). My excitement was so contagious that even the Woodchuck agreed to let me take pics of him wearing my beanies while playing his favorite basses (actually I think he just wanted the pictures of the basses, but we take what we can get, right?).

I posted my items on Etsy and promptly crocheting is like music and sometimes you have to jazz it upthe Woodchuck can't pick up a bass without playing itforgot about the whole thing because it was time to start crocheting for the holidays. I posted these items thinking that women and/or girls would find these to be cute little presents for their significant others. I was surprised to discover that guys shop on Etsy too (does this make me sexist?) and they are very decisive shoppers. None of that  “I’ll favorite this now and see if I still like it later” stuff.

Which made me realize that I had been all but ignoring an important demographic – men and teenage boys. I am working on fixing that as we speak (well not really because who can type and crochet at the same time anyway?).

And, finally (because I have been under the musical tutelage and influence of the Woodchuck), I’m just so happy to see that Jaco is still remembered and revered by the youngsters.

 

Pantone Picks Tangerine Tango for 2012

Pantone has chosen the color of the year for 2012: Tangerine Tango. Besides the sweet alliteration, Pantone says the spirited “reddish orange hue” will provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward in the coming year. Orange has grown in popularity with designers and consumers alike, and now it will get some time to shine.

“Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

Tangerine Tango Crochet Beret
It will be interesting to see what designers come up with using Tangerine Tango. While it brings a bit of life and excitement to the party, it’s also extremely versatile and can be used in a conservative manner.  I am particularly fond of orange hues myself  and look forward to creating spring and summer items using various textures and shades of tangerine tango. Expect to see everything from hats and scarves to pillows and wedding accessories. Do you plan to add a splash of  Tangerine Tango to your 2012?
via Pantone

How a Cardboard Box, a Tripod, and a Digital Camera Made a Huge Improvement in My life

The pictures on my Etsy site were what my son would probably characterize as “meh”. I was aware of this problem for a long time, but didn’t think that I had enough photography know how to make a difference. After reading an Etsy Success newsletter about improving shop photos, I scoured the internet for ideas on light boxes, and white lighting and a bunch of other stuff that I have since forgotten. I learned that:

  1. a white shower curtain placed over  a window  with sunlight streaming through would create nice photos
  2. cropping an image greatly improves the look
  3. a (inexpensive) digital camera and a $15  tripod are a necessity – good pictures require a steady hand and u never realize how shaky yours is until you compare the two versions of your pictures
  4. what a difference a cardboard box can make (thanks to my DH the Woodchuck)

I have had some trouble with lighting still and believe I need better /different bulbs. Mostly I just use my room lighting (I have a lot of overhead lights in my studio).

Now for some examples.

Gray Fedora Before

This fedora is not dark gray

Gray Fedora after

Wow, what a difference

Multicolor cap

Too light, too bright,not focused and way too much going on in the background

multicolor cap after

Now you can see the colors in the cap, the design etc

colorful hat before

I used to think this was a great picture

colorful hat and scarf after

Now I know better

To have good pictures, one must take good pictures- lots and lots of them. I take 10 to 20 pictures of each item even though I only need 5 or 6 for my Etsy and Artfire shop. I use Picnik.com to crop and correct my photos- I don’t have an account or premium membership but I’m thinking about it since I’m on there just about every other night.
I learned how to  make the lightbox :

From Strobist and also Darren Rowse although I didn’t know he was a photographer did u? This is one I have not done but may do a large version of because I want to photograph larger items. I also watched quite a few YouTube videos – it;’s true almost everything you want to know about anything is on the interwebz already:)

Now to fix the pictures on my Artfire site….

 

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Got To Catch Em All…Pokemon!

About 18 years ago the Woodchuck and I were given the gift of Jalen . We named him Jalen because due to familial duty and all that we had to include the name Simon and we searched high and low for something that flowed with Simon but couldn’t find anything until that fateful night at the end of March Madness in 1993 when the Fab 5 were …but you know all this already don’t you? Because Jalen Rose talked about it on ESPN one day and you were watching weren’t you? And you were going to let me just go on and on telling you a story that you already knew when you know that every second I spend writing is a second I spend not crocheting!  Well his Mama named him Jalen but his Daddy called him Pooh Bear,go figure.

Anyway I am telling you about Jalen, because I wouldn’t know a PokeBall from a baseball if it weren’t for him – you do know what a pokeball is don’t you?  So Jalen watched quite a bit of Pokemon back in the day and he also dragged the Woodchuck and I to ALL of the Pokemon movies – or maybe we dragged him since he didn’t drive and surely a child cannot exert so much influence over his parents that he makes them do what he wants even when they don’t want right?

When I started to crochet   hats, I (like any good Mother) made quite a few for the Jalen, until.he told me that frankly he is just  not a hat person. I was crushed, but I knew that someday, somehow I  would change his mind and bring him back into the (hat) fold.

My future super model niece Sydney

Back to the PokeMon -I believe that it was the “amazing girlfriend” Sara Nicole who first mentioned a Pikachu hat (this after she saw my first try at an animal hat).

When I found a break in my projects (I was working the Bette Davis Eyes thing and my fingers were so tired of wool) AND a skein of Steelers yellow, I decided to look around for a pattern for a Pikachu hat. Sara Nicole wants the hat for Christmas so I have plenty of time to figure it out, but I’m slightly ADD and must do it now or else…

Very long story short, what I found didn’t fit my vision of what I actually wanted. Instead I pulled up some Pikachu pics via the Google and made a regular double crochet hat with a hole on either side of  the first row after the increases for the ears. Once the basic  hat was done I went back and did the ears in a circle, adding in the black after 10 or so rows. Circles for the eyes and cheeks. A botched embroidery job for the mouth (gotta work on that). And Jalen says that  yes he will wear this hat!

Flush with success I asked him what else I ought to make – he says Charimander(?). I say well let me think about that, and while I’m waiting for an inspiration maybe I’ll do something easy like a PokeBall beret?

P.S. Of course Pokemon is copyrighted and all that but I’ve spent so much on Pokemon stuff form movies to games to toys to collectibles – that I don’t think they will mind my hat tributes, but then again Jimmy Buffett did come after me for selling a washcloth on Etsy called Margaritaville

 

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My (Accidental) HandMade Life

Let’s get this straight – I am not a DESIGNER. I am simply an INTERPRETER of other people’s designs. Sure, sometimes I just make stuff up as I go along- but I wouldn’t call that designing, would you?

So anyways, last week I asked Anthony David if I could make him a fedora, and he said sure how about a gray one?

The model is cute but the hat, meh

So I ran up to Joann (cause I have about 99 skeins of wool and gray ain’t one) and picked up a skein of Patons in gray. I spent two nights crocheting a fedora and after I felted it…disaster…the brim was too short. My dear husband called it a chick hat. So I had a chick model it for me (my gorgeous niece Sydney) and while she rocked it like the super model she will someday be…I hated it.

I knew that I wanted something more but wasn’t sure what, and then one day, tired from a day of work but inspired nonetheless, I decided to try something. And here is the result:

The first in my Betty Davis eyes collection

 

When we first came to America, my sisters and I would stay up very late watching black & white movies. This hat reminds me of how glamorous  we women used to be – even with our skirts below our knees and wearing 3 to 4 layers of clothing in the bedroom we were SEXY.

So I guess you could say that I’m trying to bring glamorous and sexy back:)

Sorry  AD but maybe Algebra could wear the fedora instead?

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