Thursday, December 13, 2012

Change is in the Air for 2013

It's that time of year, again!  Small business owners everywhere are beginning to look into the new year and figure out their goals and new directions for the new year.  Some will continue down the same path that has led them to success in the past, but CUTEure Creations will not be one of them, this time.

While this change won't affect my local customer base, my online customers will notice a change.  Starting in January of 2013, I will be focusing primarily on pattern sales online, rather than finished product.  There will still be times when I take orders for a limited time, but I will not take too many at once.

There are a few things that led me to this decision.  First of all, my wonderful customers and boutique owners have given me some opportunities for very large orders that have made it difficult to keep up with order production.  Secondly, my desire to do craft shows and branch out into wholesale accounts will benefit greatly from the extra attention I'll be able to devote to that part of my business.

There are other reasons for this, too, of course.  One is my health.  I've fought recurring carpal tunnel and tendonitis for years, in addition to other nerve damage in my arms, which is starting to make it difficult to complete my orders in an appropriate time.  I just can't keep up with the crocheters that can finish 10+ orders a day, every day.  Between that and the need to spend more time focusing on my family and less time focusing on my orders screen, I decided that a focus on patterns was the best happy medium I could come up with.

Besides, I really love the design process.  I love coming up with a new idea and making it work.  In the past, I haven't been able to spend as much time coming up with new ideas, because I have just been struggling to keep up with the orders in queue.  So, this is actually a bit exciting and sad for me at the same time.  I'm excited to branch out and focus on the parts of my business that interest me the most, but I am saddened because my orders have taken me so far! I can only hope that my original designs and patterns will continue to carry me forward, so that I can continue to help support my family the way I have over the past 2 years.

If you are a crocheter and want to know where to find my patterns, they will still be available in my etsy store.  In addition, you can find my entire collection, both for sale and for free, on Ravelry.  By following my page on Facebook, you'll be able to keep up with new pattern releases, testing opportunities, deals, and contests.

For those of you that don't know how to crochet and want to hang around for my order periods, that will also be announced on my Facebook page.  I cannot say how often these will occur because I don't know what 2013 has in store for me, but I will announce it on Facebook every time I can fit in orders!  I will also try to occasionally have some items (specifically seasonal) ready-to-ship as gifts that I will post on Facebook.

While I'm here, I wanted to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of my wonderful customers, both locally and those around the world.  You all supported me through some pretty rough times in the last few years.  Because of you, I was able to keep food on our table while my husband was looking for work.  Also because of you, we were able to save the money we needed to buy our first house last month!  If it weren't for the added income all of you have supplied over the last few years, who knows where we would be right now.  So thank you, all of you, for getting me here!  I hope everyone has a great holiday season and a happy new year!

Friday, July 6, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Oh Wait!

It's that time of year again! Summer is half way over, the temps are sky high, and despite trying really hard, people are beginning to turn their sites towards the beginning of the school year and even the holidays!

As a special treat to my customers, and to break up the monotony of 100+ degree days, I decided to bring back my annual Christmas in July sale!

Starting tomorrow, everything in my etsy shop will be 20% off!  I only do this sale once a year, folks, so eat it up!

Do it!

This is a great chance to grab winter gear for your kids, back to school accessories, or even gifts for a new baby.  Stock up now and avoid the hassle of tackling busy stores this fall.  You don't have to do anything but visit the shop between July 7th-24th and the prices will already be marked down.

Just a heads up to those of you not following me on Facebook, I have been known to add a few extra deals over there, so be sure to visit and see what's up!

Happy Ho-I mean....enjoy the rest of your summer!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crochet Legwarmers

The time is finally here! There have been countless times that I have been asked to please create a leg warmer pattern.  Well, I one-upped about two leg warmer patterns?!

That's right...not only did I give you a leg warmer pattern in plenty of time to whip some up to go with those fall dresses...I gave you two different options!  The first is your basic crochet leg warmer pattern for kids.  I love to create this look with stripes and other embellishments to make them fun.  Or, add a little lace to a plain set to spruce them up.  The possibilities are endless!

Buy Set Here

The second set, the crochet ruffle legwarmers pattern has also gotten great reviews from my testers.  With a little ruffle on the bottom and a little flower on the top, these are just a great way to make your leg warmers unique!

So, why should you choose CUTEure Creations crochet patterns above others?

First off, I am dedicated to regularly producing new, unique designs for you to crochet. I also get each size of my pattern tested by experienced testers so I know there won't be mistakes once the pattern gets to you.

For sellers, I charge no cottage fee, or selling fee what-so-ever!  I love it when you link back to my shop in your descriptions, but do not require it at all.  In fact, I encourage the selling of work made from my patterns so much, that I even include a suggested retail price to take the guesswork out of it for you!  This keeps the market fair so that we aren't undercutting each other.  It is a disservice to others when we are all unable to charge for our time and creativity when selling our crochet goods.

So, there are my two newest pattern releases for you! Enjoy making your leg warmers! I know Addie will have a few pair for this fall.

Friday, April 27, 2012

How to Build a PVC Frame for Craft Show Displays

This past weekend, I participated in the Funky Finds Spring Fling event in Longview, TX.  Before the show, I spent countless hours planning, building, and perfecting my display.

I spent several months designing my booth by pinning ideas to my Craft Show Board on Pinterest. I figured out exactly what I wanted and went from there on how to make it happen.

Once I figured out that my first few shows would be indoors,  I began researching different ways to build a frame for my booth, rather than using a canopy frame indoors.  I stumbled upon this diagram which looked perfect! Unfortunately I couldn't find any sort of blog or forum post that gave step by step instruction on this frame, so my husband and I figured it out ourselves and put it together.

At the show, I had several vendors come up to me and ask me about the display, and ask permission to check it out so they can make one themselves.  I decided to put together a "how-to" of sorts since this turned into such a popular set up!  To give you an idea of the finished product, this is what my booth looked like with the frame.

The frame is really very simple, and most people can probably figure it out just based on that diagram (like us).  Still, if you're like me, you'll probably appreciate a simple step-by-step tutorial as well as the tips, tricks, and first hand experience this post can offer.

What You'll Need

-13 pieces of 10' long, 1" wide PVC pipe
-10 "T" pieces of PVC
-8 "elbow" pieces of PVC
-4 1.5" "spacer" pieces
-Tape measure
-Jig saw or reciprocating saw
-Hand sander
-PVC cleaner (generic, optional)
-PVC glue (generic, optional)

How to Construct Your Frame

First start by measuring each piece of PVC.  You will need:
-12 5' pieces
-6 6' pieces
-4 1.5" pieces

Once you have measured and marked each of these pieces, secure them and saw each piece along the mark you made.  You've now got all of the pieces to build your frame.

You could stop there, but if you're going to spend the time and money to build your own display, you may as well do it right. Right?

So, now you'll most likely want to take a hand sander and smooth down all of the edges where you cut the pipe.  I know ours came out messy, but maybe that was a lack of experience?  Anyway, it was definitely worth our time to sand down each end to make them look smoother and fit together better.

Test Your Set Up

You can see in the diagram linked above how each piece should fit together.  Each wall will consist of 4 5' pieces attached with a 6' piece & 2 "T"pieces.  The corners will use 2 "T's", 2 1.5" spacers, and 2 elbows.

This next part was just personal preference, but we didn't want to risk losing any of our pieces, and wanted our frame to go up as quickly as possible during set up.  We decided to glue each long piece to a T or an elbow so that all of the short pieces would be attached to a longer (or harder to lose) piece of PVC.  We used a generic PVC cleaner and glue to do this.  Just make sure that you don't glue all the pieces together.  That would be a nightmare to transport! We kept ours in 5' and 6' lengths to keep it very easy for me to carry if I'm doing a show alone (I'm only 5'4, after all!)

Experience and Tips

This whole set up worked beautifully! It went together in no time and looked more professional (IMO) than a standard canopy frame, at least for indoor shows!  Even better? The whole thing cost us less than $70!  However, you may want to consider purchasing some sort of legs for the frame.  While this worked fine, and did not collapse, there were a few times it swayed enough to make me nervous. Particularly if you think there will be kids or pets at the show (and let's face it, that's a given), it would be a good investment to put legs (short legs-you wouldn't want a tripping hazard!) or corner supports of some sort on this to ease your nerves.  Another solution would be to run your tables alongside your walls, and possibly even secure them to the walls using zip ties or bun jee cords to add extra support.

The only real issue we came across, which luckily wasn't an issue at this show, was that once we had the entire frame constructed within our space, we realized that due to the way the corners are constructed, we went a few inches outside our taped area.  We'll be cutting an inch at least off of each 5' piece before the next show. I'd rather my frame be a tiny bit smaller than 10x10 than go a little outside of my space.  The next organizers may not be as easy going about this problem!

As for the "walls," we used 5' (they were actually very slightly smaller) sheer curtains, but you could also use opaque curtains, shower curtains, or even custom panels in yours.  These were just the best I found in my budget and time frame.  A few of them didn't reach the floor, so we just put some spare wooden dowels into the bottom so they'd hang straight.

Otherwise, the only other thing we'll change is that we'll consider painting the pipes. I didn't have time before this show, and it wasn't a huge deal, but you can definitely tell it's PVC pipe.  It will look much more professional once it's painted and you can't see the writing!  Now I just need to decide if I should go teal, lime green, or off white!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekend Project - Easter Peeps

A few weeks has gone by since I had a weekend project to share, but this weekend offered up a perfect project!  Crochet bunny peeps!

This little guys make great Easter gifts and look absolutely adorable propped up in an Easter basket.  I don't know about you, but growing up we always got some sort of stuffed animal-either a chick, bunny, or lamb-in our Easter baskets along with our eggs and candy.  Well, instead of buying a generic stuffed animal, make these!
Unlike most amigurumi, these are so easy.  I normally don't like making stuffed animals, but since these are worked flat and then sewn together and stuffed, it's a completely different concept and even a novice crocheter can make these.

If you'd like to make a set yourself, be sure to download your own copy of the free pattern here.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Funky Finds Spring Fling Show

I mentioned in my last post that there was a lot going on "behind the scenes," as you might have noticed.  Cryptic, I know! Really, though, there is!

First of all, I've applied to, and gotten accepted into, my very first craft show in Texas! Woohoo!

This time next month, I'll be set up at the Funky Finds Spring Fling event in Longview, Texas.

You can find any info you may need right here on this flyer.  I've heard great things about these organizers, and can't wait to try out one of their shows!

So, now you know some of what is going on behind the scenes.  If you're local, come visit me! I'll have tons of new stock, much of which will not be shown online first, and a lot of great summer products you haven't seen yet!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Giveaway Time!

Happy Monday! Sorry I've been MIA lately (I know, an awful habit to get into with a new blog), but I've had a lot going on behind the scenes!


For the time being, I wanted to tide you over with a giveaway!  Head on over to Tangled Happy and you'll see a CUTEure Creations pattern giveaway going on right now.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Babies Don't Need Pastels

By now you have probably noticed that I'm not a huge fan of pastels.  I just think that there should be some fun and color in every life!  I'm a huge fan of bold, bright colors and a lot of my designs-both in my personal projects and my business projects-reflect that.

To that end, I just really wanted to show off my newest baby blanket.  I adore it! I made it for a really good friend of mine due with a "mystery" baby next month.  Not knowing the gender makes buying a gift more fun, I think :) I didn't feel locked in to the whole pink vs. blue debate and just got to go crazy!

I just love the look of this style.  It's my newest favorite, and honestly a breeze to make.  If you're interested in making something similar, I found this basic granny square how-to really helpful in making this blanket.  I followed this bloggers directions, changing colors where it suited me.  Instead of stopping after a few rows, though, I just kept growing the square until it was the size of a baby blanket, about 32" x 32", then made a simple single crochet border around the edge.

Anyway, I hope this blanket will be well loved in the future!  Addie got a crochet blankie from a family member when she was a baby and it gets dragged around with her everywhere.  Not all kids do this, I know, but it's a sweet thought to imagine my work being loved by a tiny human.  It's why I got into this biz, after all!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Crocheting for a Cause

This past fall, I tried hard to find out information on what is needed to donate hats to a certain local chemo center.  It was right at the time of my mom's 10 year anniversary of her breast cancer diagnosis, so it was really important to me, and I chose the center where she received treatments.

Well, long story short, they never would answer my questions and accept a donation.  In fact, they just sort of ignored me.  I was really upset about it and griped to a lady I met recently that works for the American Cancer Society.  

I thought the subject was dropped, and figured I'd try again at another place.  Then, two weeks ago she asked me if I was still interested in donating hats.  I just....didn't know what she had in mind...

When I said yes, she proceeded to tell me the story of her friend's daughter, who is 4 years old.  FOUR YEARS OLD!! The family was new here so when they little girl had an ear infection they brought her to a new doctor, who did a full work up as a routine new patient procedure.  Yep...they found cancer.  I didn't ask details on what kind of cancer.  I was too distraught.

This little girl was scheduled to start her treatments this past week and my friend asked me to please donate a hat, because she was so upset about losing her hair.  Poor girl...her best case scenario is supposed to be stage 4 cancer.

Needless to say, I cried while making these hats.  This little girl is just a little bit older than my little girl, and I couldn't imagine facing this battle.

People get diagnosed with cancer all the time, and these crochet and knit hats are expensive.  I know, because I make them! When you need a hat for every day, that expense can add up.  These are no longer just accessories.  If you know how to crochet or knit, please consider donating a few hats when you have time.  It can make a huge difference to someone going through a really hard time.

If you're interested in getting started, you can try contacting local chemo centers, or getting in touch with a local cancer society team like I did.  If nothing else, they should be able to direct you to the right people!

Some things to consider when making hats for cancer patients:
-Get the softest yarn you can find. Even yarn that doesn't bother you might bother someone that is losing or has lost their hair.  I've found that Caron Simply Soft is an excellent yarn to use for these hats.  It's easily accessible, and fairly affordable.  While it's $4-5 a skein, you can make a lot of hats out of that one skein!
-Consider kids as well as adults. Adults are, unfortunately, not the only ones suffering.  If you can make hats in different sizes, please consider it, because fewer people donate hats in kid's sizes, making them harder to find. In fact, even if you've never made a child's size hat, if you are willing to try, I've got a free pattern you can downloadhere for a basic beanie for most sizes.
-Make it long. Things you might not think about if you've never been through it: there will be no hair at the base of the neck or in front of the ears.  Make your hats long enough to cover this if the person wants these areas covered.

It was such a rewarding experience knowing that the hat I was making was going to bring comfort to a suffering little girl.  I've told the lady from the cancer society to let me know any time she knows of someone in need of a hat for this purpose.  It broke my heart, but also made me so thankful that I have a gift I can give!

Friday, February 17, 2012

I'm a Professional

I'm sure you've all seen the photos swimming around Facebook lately.  I've been feeling a little left out, since I couldn't find one that fit me and my job.  I'm so glad a friend of mine found it last night!

That last photo looks all too familiar most nights.  If you're a professional crafter, I'm sure you'll agree!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hippity, Hoppity...

Easter's on it's way! I've been making bunny hats, cotton-tail diaper covers, and bunny booties every day. Now is definitely the time to start planning if you hope to offer some hand-made goodies for your kids' Easter baskets.  

In honor of this, I'm offering a free gift this weekend only!

See these little guys? For this weekend only, you can receive one for free with your purchase of $20 or more.  Just go to the CUTEure Creations store and pick out your order.  In the "message to seller" box that shows up during check out, make sure and put Hoppy Easter and you'll get a little peep bunny of your own.  It's this weekend only, though, so act fast!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Weekend Project-Citrus Sea Salt Body Scrub

The rain is pouring down today at my house.  It's one of those days where you just don't want to leave the comfort of the dry living room.  In other words, it's a great day to pamper yourself at home.  Today's weekend project is all about that, and even better, you probably have all of the ingredients you need already in your kitchen.

This citrus sea salt body scrub is so super duper easy to make, you'll want to make a whole batch, like I did!  Trust me, once you try it, you'll be glad you made extras because you won't want to run out.  Talk about smooth skin!

As much as I love this scrub, I cannot take credit for the recipe.  I'd never even made a scrub before this, so I went in search of an easy recipe to start with.  This scrub, found here is quick and easy and perfect for a spontaneous crafty morning.

What you need:
-1/2 c sea salt
-1/2 c olive oil
-1/2 tsp lemon zest
-1/2 tsp orange zest

To make this scrub, you just take all of these ingredients and combine them in a  dry bowl, mixing well.  The recipe makes 2 of these little jars, or you can put them in larger jars.  These were made to give as Christmas gifts (don't worry, I saved a few for myself!) so I kept them in small jars.

I hope you get a chance to make this scrub today! Trust me, you'll love it!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Weekend Project-Hook Pouch

Well hello there!

It's Saturday morning which is usually a pretty lazy morning for us in our household.  I'm sitting here drinking my coffee and thought I'd share the project I finished for myself yesterday afternoon.

This would be a fun weekend project for other "hookers" (or knitters, really).  It's super fast to work up and very useful!

I have the hardest time with those crochet hook holders that each have a spot to slide a hook into a little individual pouch.  For one, there are never enough spots for all of my hooks (I have a lot of crochet hooks).  Another problem is, what do I do with my really big hooks, like P's & Q's? This little pouch is the answer! I was able to fit all of my crochet hooks, plus my measuring tape into this pouch which would be easy to carry around or even just to keep all of my hooks from getting lost at home.

I made mine using a size H hook and 100% cotton worsted weight yarn.  Any yarn would work.  I just didn't want to buy anything special for this project and had this cotton yarn left over from last summer so it worked out great! I do like how sturdy the cotton made it, though.

So, if you want to make one for yourself, I've jotted down a simple pattern to make your own.  It took me a couple of tries to get the proper size for everything so I'll save you the headache of unraveling what should be a complete project.

1/2 skein worsted weight yarn (I had a little over half a skein of sugar & cream cotton yarn)
H (5 mm) hook
Darning needle (optional)

Skill level:

Row 1: Ch 17, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook & each ch st across. ch 1, turn. (16 sc)
Row 2: 1 sc in each sc across. ch 1, turn (16 sc)
Repeat row 2 until your rectangle measures about 7" tall (you can measure your biggest hook if you feel you need a bigger pouch, but this fit my Q hook).
Tie off and weave in ends.

Now you'll make a second rectangle, except you'll add a "mouth" towards the top to slide your hooks into. Here's how:

Rows 1-7: follow the same steps as you did for the first rectangle. (16 sc)
Row 8: sc in next 3 sts. ch 10, skip 10 sc sts.  make 1 sc in the last 3 sts of the row. (6 sc, 10 ch)
Row 9: 1 sc in each st across, treating the ch sts as sc. Ch 1, turn. (16 sc)
Row 10: 1 sc in each st across. Ch 1, turn. (16 sc)
Repeat row 10 until your second rectangle is the same height as your first rectangle.  Mine measured about 7" tall.  Tie off and leave a long tail for sewing.

Place both rectangles together (inside out). Using a darning needle and the long tail of yarn sew both rectangles together using the whip stitch (come up from the bottom, go around the edge, come up from the bottom again) and pull the stitch tight. Once you go all the way around the pouch tie it off and weave in your left over yarn. Then you can turn it right-side out from the hole in the front.

If you don't have a darning needle, you can "sew" the 2 rectangles together by using a slip stitch around the entire rectangle using your hook and the long tail left over.

Ta da! How simple was that? And now you've got an awesome pouch to hold all of your hooks in.  You could even make the same thing for knitting needles, although it would have to be much taller and maybe wider depending on what needles you have.

She loves putting the hooks in and taking them out.
Make it your own:

Using a solid color yarn (or 2), some white felt & some googly eyes you could turn your hook pouch into a hook monster
Using a solid color of yarn, gray felt, and some black buttons you could turn it into a robot
Using a button and a row of DC right before your ch row, you could make the pouch button in the front for additional closure.

Happy crocheting!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Stuff It

Do you create amigurumi?  Or do you ever make a hat that requires some pieces to be stuffed?

Well, I don't know about you, but I really dislike using the typical poly-fill in hats.  While it might work well in stuffed animals, when you make a hat or another piece of wearable crochet, you may find that after a few washes the stuffing starts to peak through the stitches.  No good!

Well, when you find yourself in this situation, a neat trick is to use left-over scraps of yarn to stuff your pieces.  I just did this to create a darling giraffe hat.

Don't worry about using matching yarn. Just any scraps you have laying around will work!
When you stuff your crochet pieces this way, it's less likely to make the stuffing start peaking through your stitches after being washed.  Now, what are you going to do with that big old bag of poly-fill you bought for all of those little pieces?

Ta-Da! No Poly-fill!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Shop CUTEure Locally

Shopping online is great.  I love online shopping.  Still, there is a lot of attention lately to the idea of shopping locally.  After all, when you shop locally, you are supporting your town.  You are creating new jobs and more money to go around.  Not to mention, you can try things on, see how they look!

Another added bonus is if you are shopping with a tight time frame, such as if you are looking for that perfect Valentine's day item.  At this point, some online stores (especially handmade) may not be able to work with that deadline.

There are many fabulous reasons to shop locally when it's possible.  That's why CUTEure Creations has now gone local!  If you live in the Southeast-Texas area and want to find that perfect accessory on a tight deadline, you can find CUTEUre Creations-among many other great artists and crafters-at The Rustic Door in Nederland Texas.

Alas, I only had my cell phone camera
 during set up.
I set up Friday afternoon and love my space!  The only problem I have is that I actually had to bring stuff home because I didn't have room to display it all.  Still, I've put out many flowered hair accessories which will be perfect for spring, in addition to some headbands and clips that might be that finishing touch you need for your Valentine's day photos or day out.

You may be able to also tell from the photos, but Easter is starting to make an appearance! I love, love, love my bunny booties, and these are always a big hit around Easter.  They are the perfect addition to an Easter basket or Easter PJ's.  While they aren't out yet, check back soon for some in bigger sizes as well as slip resistant bottoms!

Also, while I do realize that it's January and almost 80 degrees outside already, you just never know what the weather here will do.  Don't worry if you find the temps dropping again.  You can find a large selection of hats, ear-warmers, and scarves here, too!

Be sure to drop in! I'm sure you'll find something you can't live without.

Monday, January 16, 2012

About CUTEure Creations

Hi there,

Welcome to the official CUTEure Creations blog!  But first, if you're finding me for the first time, you may want to know a little about CUTEure Creations.

It started out as a fun little hobby.  I learned how to crochet (well, we'll use that term loosely.  I made a lot of pot-holders) when I was 9 years old.  My grandmother taught me.  I didn't do much with the art until I had my daughter, though. I wanted cute hats for her! None of the cheap fleece hats I found in the stores appealed to me at all, so I really cracked down and started learning fancier stitches and techniques so that I could create her some more unique hats and accessories for her.  Once I got started though, it was hard to stop! I just kept making hats and buying yarn.  That is when CUTEure Creations was started.  I needed an outlet to fund my hobby and keep me from putting down my hooks.


Pretty soon, I figured out which products people really wanted to buy and started getting orders from strangers (woohoo!) and from there, my little hobby shop really has taken off!  I can't believe it's now been two years of making products for amazing customers.  I just can't get over it!

Lately, I've been really getting into creating patterns for all of the products I sell.  I've found that other crocheters love making items from my patterns, and I love giving back by sharing my designs.  Since I've started this part of my business, I have gotten a lot of "I wish I knew how to crochet" comments, which has prompted this blog.  I hope to share tips, tricks, tutorials, and even free patterns here on this blog.  In addition, I'll post other DIY ideas, fun ideas for kids, and possibly even some information on my other love-green living!

So, check back soon,  maybe I'll be sharing something just for you!