Friday, August 31, 2018

New bracelet blanks

I recently bought some bracelet blanks that I am quite happy with. The closure is actually on top behind the cabochon tray, and that is a hinge on the bottom part.



The one thing that I'm not happy about with these is that I ordered black. The ones that I got were actually a gunmetal color. I'll still be able to use them, but I would much rather have had black, as it is much more versatile with the images I get from magazines and catalogs to make cabochons.

I'm going to keep looking around for another supplier to hopefully be able to find some actual black ones.
I'll post pictures of some bracelets with the cabochons later, once I get some made up! 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Crochet Patterns - PPDC

Something that most of my followers may not be aware of, is that I like to make filet crochet patterns. I have made a couple actual crochet items, but my favorite thing to do is make the patterns themselves. I even have the software to help me make them more professional looking.

My first pattern that I made was one that I wanted to make for my then-boyfriend (now husband).  is a big Star Wars fan, so I made the pattern for, and crocheted, a Darth Vader face doily. I posted pictures of it online, and started to get people asking me if I had a pattern available.Thus started my pattern-making.

I bought my software and started listing patterns in my Etsy store. I recently had to remove a bunch of patterns from my store, but I am still creating new patterns to list online, and I will show pictures of new ones from time to time.

The reason for this post is because I want to start posting some patterns for free here in my blog.
I have several patterns that I cannot list in my Etsy shop, so I want to offer them for free to everyone. I did want to wait a while after pulling those patterns before offering them for free, and I believe it has been a sufficient amount of time.

My first offering for everyone is going to be the Pan Pacific Defense Corps logo, from Pacific Rim. Here is an image of the logo:


Here is my doily version:

Here is the pattern!

INSTRUCTIONS:
 Starting at bottom of pattern chain 223.  Chain 3 to turn which will count as first double crochet of  first row. Double crochet in 5th chain from hook. Double crochet in next 2 chains to complete bottom  right solid square of row 1.  Continue following pattern for first row reading pattern right to left.  After  completing first row, chain 3 to turn to start next row.  Continue following pattern until all rows are  complete.  At end of row 90 fasten off.

MATERIALS (based on crochet cotton size):
 Using Crochet Cotton no. 10: about 759 yds, steel crochet hook US size 7 or SIZE FOR GAUGE.

APPROXIMATE FINISHED SIZES:
 Using Crochet Cotton size 10:  width = 17.0 inches,  height = 22.5 inches
 GAUGE:
 Using Crochet Cotton size 10: 10 squares = 2.3 inches, 10 rows = 2.5 inches


Sunday, August 19, 2018

First attempt: Cake Pops

I have been getting more and more into watching baking shows on Netflix lately. This isn't necessarily a good thing, as it has inspired me to start baking more. I like baking, but I don't do it much, mostly because my husband doesn't like sweets too much,  and I couldn't eat all of it myself, so I stopped baking so much.
I finally picked it back up, though! After watching a few episodes of something that showed cake pops, I decided this would be my reintroduction into baking. Plus, if you have watched the Netflix show Nailed It, you would understand why I believed that I couldn't honestly do any worse than they.

I already had a cherry chip cake mix, so I made that up last night and let it cool. This morning, I went to the store to get more supplies. I bought a package of white candy melts, red sugar sprinkles, sticks, and some frosting (and foam blocks to stick the finished pops in for cooling).
It was actually a lot of fun to make these cake pops! Especially when it came time to utterly destroy the cake. It was just soothing to just crumble it all apart, as well as mixing in the frosting with my hands.

I did have some difficulty with the chocolate for the outer coating. I put a glass bowl with a few candy chips into our microwave and started it up, but almost immediately the microwave protested. It was making odd noises, almost as if there were metal in there. I stopped it right away, and double checked everything. There were no forgotten spoons or anything metal, so I tried it one more time. Once more it did the same thing, so apparently my microwave doesn't like candy melts for some reason. (I was able to use it for something else later with no issue)

Rather than give up, I pulled out a sauce pan and setup a double boiler to melt the chocolate. This seemed to work OK, but I couldn't seem to get the chocolate smooth/thin enough to simply dip the pops. I had to get creative.
Using a spoon, I would cover the pops in chocolate, then using a silicone brush, I smoothed the sides to get rid of the excess chocolate and give a smooth-ish finish. There were some lines along the sides from the silicone "bristles", but I liked the pattern and it didn't take away from anything, so I kept up this method to do them all.

Second, I hadn't quite decided how I wanted to apply the red sugar, so I started coating the whole thing, then after several, I started just coating the sides and top. I liked the look of that much better.
Once I started getting low on chocolate, I just put a little on the top of the pop, with a small bit on the sides, then just dipped the top in the sugar.
The way I did the sugar covered a lot of the chocolate, and covered up a lot of problems. I used more sugar than I originally intended, but at the same time, it makes everything look better. 

Here is the end result (ignore the wonky ones on the right where I ran out of chocolate)


It was a great learning experience, and I wouldn't be opposed to making more at another time.
I have learned:
  • one cake mix will give you about 3 dozen pops (less are pictured above because I ate some, of course). 
  • you should have 2 packages of candy melts (and some crisco or other thinning agent to add)
  • there should be plenty of left-over frosting for other uses (I only used about 1/3 of a package)
I am going to take the left 2 blocks of pops to work tomorrow to share amongst my co-workers. Overall, I call this attempt a success!

Friday, August 10, 2018

My latest craft show

So, this past weekend I attended a craft fair/car show that was being held fairly close to me. The location is unusual, though. This was all being held at... drumroll please.... Wal-Mart!
I know! Totally random to have something like this at a Wal-Mart, but there you have it!

Everything was being held out-doors, of course. I was alotted a parking space spot for my booth, and it worked out pretty well. Since my tent is only 10x10, and the spot is 10x20, I had space to spread out a bit. I just did so by opening out the booth a bit with the tables angled outward.

Here is a picture of the booth setup that I had.


Everything went pretty well. There was an awards ceremony for the car show at noon, and everything started winding down afterward (which is great because it was HOT outside). I actually started packing up early, which I know is usually a big no-no. Between the heat and the fact that the wind started picking up, I was just done.
The morning was great, but later the wind picked up. This is normal for Oklahoma, but after my tent nearly blew away a couple times (even with 40lbs of weight on the legs), and my displays all blowing over, I couldn't handle it anymore. The last big gust of wind cause one of the metal bars on my tent to bend, too.

Overall, I was disappointed. I would have thought that being at a Wal-Mart would have meant a pretty good turnout, just from random walkups if nothing else. There were very little shoppers at the fair, though. The space that we used was off to the side by the auto center, so I'm sure most people didn't even know we were there.
The only reason I even broke even was because my mom showed up and bought several things.

Monday, August 6, 2018

New display stand

This post is late in coming, I'm sorry! I was late in acquiring some of my supplies so I could put everything together for pictures, but I have it all now!
(Plus I  took some time away for my birthday)

Since I have started attending craft fairs, I have been toying with ideas to have a portable pegboard display that is easy to transport and easy to setup. I have been looking online more recently to finally get something planned.
Originally I was planning on having a friend who does wood work create a fold-able frame that we can attach pegboard panels to. I wanted something lightweight, but relatively light. As we were hashing out ideas back and forth, I came across a different direction to go, and I was instantly hooked!

As a personal side-note, I don't care for Paparazzi jewelry at all. If you aren't familiar with them, they sell $5 jewelry, but it doesn't seem to be very good quality at all (how could it be for only $5?). I have been seeing these booths pop up at craft fairs, which most likely hurts my own sales since my prices are obviously going to be higher, as my goods are hand made.
That being said, I have come across some really great portable display ideas that are perfect for what I was wanting. There are some really great display ideas from Paparazzi jewelry sellers.

The one idea that I wanted to use involves a folding garment rack, and pegboard panels that simply attach to it. It is as simple as that!
I started by purchasing some pegboard hooks and the garment rack I liked best from Amazon, and then went to the hardware store to get the pegboard. One sheet of pegboard can be cut into 6 equal sized pieces that work perfectly (I only use 4, and will have 2 spares in case they get messed up). By using velcro straps/zip ties/shower curtain hooks/S-hooks/etc,  you can quickly put up a nice display from which to hold a lot of merchandise.

Here it is as we just started setting up (ignore my shadow)


Here is with everything added

So, I underestimated the number of hooks that I was going to need for this display (as you can see from the empty spots). I bought 200 plastic hooks, and this picture has all of them (plus the few metal ones I had from before). I will probably order another 200, so I can fill up this board and plan for a table-top pegboard display.