Originally posted on December 29, 2018 on our previous website platform.
The love we have felt for our side hustle (also knows as Aunt Karen's retirement dream) has been amazing this year. Our sales at the markets and shows we attended were beyond our expectations. We have grown our social media presence and have sold items via Facebook and Instagram. In doing so, we have been in touch with people we have not seen or heard from in years. Along with all of this, we teamed up with Leighla's Love Bags to help provide postage for their care packages. In one of our proudest moments, we published our first pattern for a Hudson's Bay blanket inspired crib sized blanket. Oh, and we hauled an infant and a 4 year old to the farmers market every Friday all summer!
To celebrate our busy year, we have decided to post pictures and information about our best selling products and which patterns were our favourite to create for our customers.
We started the year off with a post on Facebook with our Buffalo Plaid Trapper Hats. We received so much love about the hat that we decided to take pictures of a lot of the items we had stitched. This was really the turning point in our social media presence. Thank you to all those people who liked, loved, shared and commented on that original post. You definitely helped get the ball rolling.
Third and fourth generations headed to Florida in late January, crocheting along the way! Have you seen this meme online, it was definitely true in our case.
A Dodge Caravan with Stow and Go is ideal for the traveling crafter! I wish I had taken a picture of the yarn I had stashed in the van.
My love affair with the Honey Bird Shawl by Hopefully Honey started on the way back from Florida. This shawl worked up quickly, from Chattanooga to Buffalo, to be exact.
Unfortunately, the Kearney Dog Sled Races were cancelled because of poor trail conditions. We missed selling our items and seeing our customers.
The love affair continued with the Honey Bird Shawls using Caron Big Cakes. Grandma liked them so much she gave me her (I almost said vintage here, but boy would I get in trouble from Auntie Karen for that) dress form. She used to make clothes for Auntie Karen using this form. I felt very honoured that Grandma thought my work was good enough to deserve being showcased with her dress form.
Here is a a picture from our very first photo shoot using the dress form. We are better now at photo shoots, lighting and editing. This was our first attempt.
I had been commissioned to create two custom order ponchos. After a lot of searching for the perfect yarn and pattern. The customer and I decided to use Patons Shetland Chunky yarn in Charcoal. I had ordered the yarn a few months before and finally finished up this project in March. When the couple came over to pick them up, the husband was like a kid on Christmas and said it was exactly what he wanted. It was incredibly gratifying to create something that was clearly appreciated.
Here is a look at the finished poncho on Grandma's dress form.
The original pattern called the Amelia Poncho by Left in Knots can be found here.
A friend of mine asked if we had hats to match our ever popular work sock booties. Since these are knit, I sent the request over to Aunt Karen. She came up with this adorable knit hat in baby sizes. The hat has the white, red and white stripe of a classic wool work sock.
I had an order from a returning customer for these baby flip flops from Whistle and Ivy. Click here is her original post. This is the imagine I received from a customer and on the right is the pair I made.
In an attempt to use up the remaining Caron Big Cakes yarn I used for the shawls, I started making kerchief scarves. Here are just a few.
Posting pictures of the progress of the set of ponchos I made led to an order for another style poncho. This time the customer ordered a cowl neck poncho in cream. We decided on Bernat Premium yarn in Aran and pattern from Ravelry.
In April, I attended a bridal shower for one of our favourite people. Our cousin Jamie is the sweetest person. I had talked to her mom about making her a blanket. Jamie loves to travel, especially to warm destinations. I made this blanket using 3 strands of yarn at once, gradually moving from one colour to the next, to the next and to the last and then repeating a few more times. The result is gorgeous, the pain in my hand, arm and shoulder were very real! However, seeing Jamie's reaction when she realized she was receiving a handmade blanket was well worth it. As an added bonus, we attended a bbq at her house in the summer and the blanket was out on her bed.
In April, we attended the Easdale Spring Craft Sale, we were even interviewed by our local paper about our crafting. Aunt Karen's knit textured hats were very popular. We posted photos of our sale set up and were selling hats even before the sale started.
My Grandma's teddy bears were sent off to their forever home in Holland this month.
This month my Dad and I worked on some DIY projects for my house and our craft business. I learned to love chalk paint and spray paint. I was a tad obsessed. I even spray painted my toilet paper holder to change it from chrome to oil rubbed bronze.
We made a display unit with removable bars for easy transporting. It involved long discussions in the aisles of Home Depot. I few looks from sales associates who thought I was a dumb teenager (hahaha, I'm 36, so thank you very much) and one funny gentleman, who said, "oh have you been on Pinterest, my wife is always finding things on there." In any case, the display stand looks great and I'm happy with it. Plus I was able to hang out with my Dad.
Aunt Karen mastered the Amish Puzzle Ball. These are great sensory toys of babies. For older children, the toy comes apart into 3 sections which then can be reassembled. Its definitely an interesting way to pass your time.
In June, we also had the pleasure of celebrating Grandma's 90th birthday. We managed to keep it a secret until a few days before. You need to give a girl time to get her hair done! We had a lovely afternoon visiting with family and friends. Grandma even had a chance to visit with someone she babysat over 70 years ago!
My sister did an amazing job of planning the decor. She had me spray painting a crazy amount of jars and she worked with a tri-gold and black colour scheme. It was beautiful. Here is a picture of the flower arrangements she made with the jars she had me spray.
July and August
We were off to our farmers markets and outdoor sales. We are a regular vendor at the Perry Farmers Market in Emsdale . We sold a ton of knit and crocheted animals. Aunt Karen's fingers were flying trying to keep up.
August sees the Kearney Regatta and the Easdale Fall Fair. We always have a great time meeting new customer and seeing friends and returning customers.
We published our first pattern this month. I made a crib sized version of Daisy Farm Crafts Hudson's Bay baby blanket. You can see my blog post here.
This blanket went to a childhood friend of my husbands as he and his wife welcomed their first baby in August.
We also sent one of my doll furniture sets off to New Jersey. Here is a picture of the Barbie doll sized bedroom set.
The Hudson's Bay inspired baby blanket was very well received. So much in fact that an old friend from high school ordered one for her son and also a unicorn I made using The Friendly Red Fox pattern.
October also say the start of hat pattern testing. I ordered many, many patterns from Revelry. I pinned many free patterns to my Pinterest board. I ordered faux fur pompoms after pompoms. Finally settled on a quick pattern by The Friendly Red Fox that has great texture and works from the top down. Its called the Mountain Ridges pattern for anyone who is looking for a great pattern.
Craft sale prep mode was in full effect this month. We have been part of the Kearney Christmas Bazaar for years, verging on decades at this point. We sold hat, after hat, after hat. Thank you to all those who bought local!
Posting all those hat pictures created a custom order for matching Mom and Baby textured hats with faux fur pompoms. It took a little math on my part to get the baby hat figured out but it turned out great and Mom was so happy.
Aunt Karen and I organized an artisans market as part of the Christmas Begins in Kearney event happening on December 1. We had a great turn out with many different vendors and sales were pretty good too!
We sold a ton of hats! Plaid is very popular. Especially the Buffalo plaid with its traditional red, burgundy/wine and black colour combo. Its funny, when I was a kid, my sister and I would be so embarrassed to be seen in our dad's plaid work coat. We used to call them a "Kearney Coat" for the town we live in. Now, I can't stitch plaid anything fast enough! I even took extra orders for Christmas plaid items.
These two Peek a Boo plaid hats were the last order to leave my hooks, almost at the eleventh hour before Christmas!
My very favourite order this year was for a set of llamas for a family with four children. The mom sent me a few ideas from Pinterest and we settled on the llama pattern from Grace and Yarn. You can find it here. The pattern is very well written and was fun to make.
For this order, we needed two boy llamas and two girl llamas. We decided to make each llamas body with different yarn ranging from off white to a colour called honey. I could not be happier with how they turned out. The best part was that Mom posted a picture to our Facebook page with all four kids holding their llamas on Christmas morning.
Looking ahead to 2019
Reflecting on the year always leaves me starting to plan for the year ahead. Working on our online presence will still be a task for 2019. I plan to do a better job of recording all the things I stitch. I think it would be amazing to look back at in years to come to see what I was up to in my free time. I wish my Grandma has done that over the years. We have a big two day sale coming up in February. Many, many hats will be needed. Thinking about Easter ideas. Planning more plaid of course. My husband is nagging me about a sweater, probably should get on that!
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read this very long winded year round up.