Oct 31, 2013

it's a halloween miracle!

What a fun Halloween we are already having! Owen and I stopped by his school this morning for their trick or treating and party (he normally doesn't go on Thursdays), and like some sort of Halloween miracle he wanted to wear his costume! For the past few weeks we've been trying to help him understand Halloween and costumes and such - he's not always the best at transitions like this, so the long approach seemed best.

He wouldn't have any of it. Panicked cries when we'd get the costume above his knees every single time, and so this morning I put him in a pumpkin shirt and figured if he didn't want to wear his costume, no big deal.

One look at all the other kids in their costumes, though? He was ready for action! We got that thing on in record time (minus the Buddy The Dinosaur head, which was far too big) and he roared his way around the school, trick or treating to all the classrooms!

Now I've got a few hours to figure out how to get a non-blurry picture or two of him tonight - I swear he never stops moving, so I'm learning to love the imperfection of the blurry shot. Better than nothing at all, that's for sure! Happy Halloween!

Oct 23, 2013

the hats of brooklyn tweed

1. Altair // 2. Bray Cap // 3. Brig // 4. Fjord 
5. Habitat // 6. Irving // 7. Norby // 8. Ravensfoot 
9. Rosebud // 10. Seasons Hat // 11. St. Leger // 12. Turn a Square 
(all links to BrooklynTweed.net)

Brooklyn Tweed began in 2005 as a knitting blog for Jared Flood. By 2007, the blog featured Jared's designs, and today has become a treasure-trove of patterns featuring clean designs nodding to nature and city life.

I've found a few of the design house's hat grace my needles in the past few months and years, and if I'm honest I had a hard time picking just a few to share here with you - so I picked a dozen!

Most of the Brooklyn Tweed patterns cost between $5 and $6 - not a small sum to pay for a hat pattern, but every time I've bought one I've been over the moon with happiness and have used those patterns enough times to make them well worth the money!

Oct 22, 2013

knitXmidwest is next weekend!

I'm super excited to be heading a bit east next weekend (November 1-3) for knitXmidwest, being held in Des Moines, IA! This first annual knitting retreat looks like it's going to be full of all the things I love most about gathering together with other knitters - comfy pants, lots of time for getting to know one another, stash diving, and of course plenty of knitting time! Oh, and I'll be sharing a bit of my charity knitting story, as well as the whole "I'm writing a book!" thing that Saturday afternoon!

There's still space available, so if you're anywhere close to the Des Moines area you should get registered for just one day or for the whole weekend! Need a few more reasons to attend? How about these --
  • Devastatingly good lunch catered by Tacopocalypse.
  • Lots of uninterrupted time to knit + crochet, perfect for finishing up that big project you've been wanting to work on.
  • Relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. Wear your hand-knits and your sweatpants. We don't care.
  • We'll be knitting and crocheting in the beautiful Walnut Woods Lodge. Have you seen the leaves changing colors this week? It's gonna be gorgeous out there.
  • T-shirts!
  • Photobooth. There will be a photobooth, people! (Or ... Jess and Jen with cameras and a backdrop, but same difference.)
  • Fun times with friends.
  • Knitting and crochet show and tell. Show off the coolest things you've ever made! Bring your stuff. We want to see it.
  • Knit + crochet doctor. In case you need help with something.
  • Stashbust. Calling all hoarders: bring yarn that you want to trade/get ride of. Anything left over will be donated!
  • Yoga. Which will be easy (and optional.)
  • Mimosas! And cupcakes.
  • After-hours shopping and wine + dessert at Hill Vintage & Knits in the East Village.
  • Fantastically cool door prizes.
I won't be partaking of the mimosas, but I will have more than my share of cupcakes, and plan to rock my maternity leggings the entire weekend! Oh, and probably spend far too much money during the after-hours shopping (and dessert!!!) at Hill Vintage & Knits!

For those of you who will be there, I've never been a speaker like this before, so .... be kind? Don't throw knitting needles? I'm super excited to dip my toes into this whole "talking about charity knitting as a calling" thing, and hope to do it more often, and know that this will be the PERFECT place to dig deep into it! Hooray for knitting retreats! Hooray for Des Moines! Hooray for knitXmidwest!

Oct 15, 2013

shop talk :: binder love

I'm not sure if it's the season or the pregnancy, but the urge to organize, pare down, streamline and even color code everything has been almost overwhelming in greatness these last few days. I've been organizing school papers into binders, setting up notebooks for everything from personal lists to work lists to blog lists and more, and I've been on a tear when it comes to the shop.

In the last few months I’ve slowly and quietly re-opened the She Makes Hats Shop, first selling just newborn hats and in the past few days slowly expanding my inventory to include hats for babies and children as well as adults. The shop operates on a one-for-one model – for every hat someone purchases, a hat is made and donated to a local hospital for a newborn in need. I love that I can earn a bit of side income for our family through the sale of something I love to make anyhow, but that I can also give hats to little ones in need at the same time.

I hadn’t thought too seriously about growing the shop or using it as a viable second income source, but as sales have made their way into my inbox and hats have made their way off the needles, I’ve been thinking it might be time to take this thing a bit more serious.

First on my list was getting my shop orders and donations lists organized. I love the office supply section of Target, which means I tend to just sort of pick up office supplies whenever I see something I love. This means we have far more binders and post-its and colored pens than one person could ever need, but it also means that I was able to get my entire Shop Organization Binder (tm) put together using supplies I had on-hand! So far, what's working is as follows:

>> In the front inside pocket I keep orders I've finished but haven't shipped yet. This fills up on the weekends, because during the week I try to print shipping labels and pack up orders as soon as they're off the needles!

>> Tab 1 is for "personal stuff". There's a few months of calendar pages there to help me remember life stuff and some paper for list-making.  

>> Tab 2 is for orders. As someone places an order, I print up two copies -- the first goes behind this tab, with the oldest orders at the front (so a new order will be placed at the back of the pile). When it's time to knit, I simply open up to the first order and get busy! When an order is done, I take it out of the binder and either print a label right away (during the week) or place it in the front pocket (weekends).  

>> Tab 3 is for donations. The second copy of each order goes here. As I make newborn hats to donate, I grab the right number of orders (one hat for one hat, not one hat for one order!) so I can thank each person individually! I post photos of the charity hats both here on the blog and on the shop Facebook page, and note the first name/last initial of each person who helped make one of these donation hats happen!

>> Tab 4 is sometimes full, sometimes empty. This is where I put special orders and projects. Look for Tuesday "ready to ship" sale invoices here, as well as notes on things I'm making for photographers (or shops!) in bulk.  

>> Tab 5 is currently not in use. I'm keeping it in the binder as a nice back page, although at this point I'm not sure I'll ever really use it! I've been using this system for just around 3 weeks now, and so far I'm in love with it! I can toss the binder in my purse (because my purse is ridiculously huge) and always know just what's going on. All my most important shop information is stored right there in one place, ready for me to make ALL THE ORDERS!

Oct 9, 2013

owen lately

Let it be said that I will take two any day of the week. Two is the greatest age!

Lately you ...

... say "oh me, oh my!" when you get excited about something. Specifically when you get to eat a Popsicle before noon.

 ... love popsicles, with a passion I did not think you would ever have for food.

... stroll into school like you own the place. The transition to the two-year-old room was harder than we thought it would be on you, but now that you've got it all figured out, you love to walk in, say hello to your old toddler teachers, and then run into your classroom for either breakfast or playing (you get to choose now!). It's so fun to watch you go from being carried in and handed to your teachers to walking in, saying hey to your buddies, and going about your business with a fast "bye dada" (or mama) and a wave.

... have finally decided to give cinnamon toast a try, much to mama's delight. And you love it!

... know all your letters! Mama and Dada take very little credit for this - a combination of school three days a week and Super Why have done the bulk of the work on this one for us, but to hear you shout out letters wherever you go is just amazing! You have a hard time saying K but other than that you know every single letter, both in and out of order.

... eat Boo Berry cereal almost every morning, marshmallows first, then the rest of the bowl.

... have grown over an inch just since your two-year check-up. We had to buy you all new size 2T clothes, and are pretty sure you will grow out of the jeans (in length, never in the waist!) before winter is done.

... read mama stories at bedtime instead of the other way around. We used to cuddle in the rocking chair and mama or dada would read you three (or four) stories each night before bed. Suddenly you've decided to take on that part of the routine for yourself. Now mama (or dada) sits at the edge of the bed while you read three (or four) stories to us. The scary part is, you get about half the words to the story right already!

Oct 2, 2013

October Knitting for the Maine Cancer Center

While I may find myself super busy with shop knitting this time of year, I don't want to forget my charitable roots. I fell in love with hat knitting thanks to giving hats to charity, and no matter how many hats I drop in the mail thanks to a flourishing shop I always want to make sure I have a hat to give away on my needles.

This month is breast cancer awareness month, and all over the place pink ribbons and shirts and shoes and more will start popping up. Heck, even the NFL gets in the game, with players wearing pink gloves, shoes, and carrying pink towels. It's amazing to watch, and I love how people rally around such a great cause.

This October, I will be knitting as many hats as I can, and sending them off to the Maine Cancer Center. They are in desperate need of warm hats to gift to the folks who use their treatment services, and there's a group of us on Ravelry who are banding together to help them out. Our hats are all being made in honor of a woman who recently lost both her husband AND mother-in-law to cancer, both of whom received treatment at this center.

As an added bonus, Elizabeth Ravenwood is offering her Braided Gems Hat and Wristers (ravelry link) set for sale at 1/2 off until October 12th, and his hosting a KAL in her Ravelry group - for every hat that's sent to the Maine Cancer Center this month, you will be gifted a free pattern from her pattern list OF YOUR CHOICE! She's got some amazing patterns (I'm partial to her Capiz Window Baby Blanket right now) which makes this project even more worth it than before.

We are all sending our hats along to a fellow Raveler, so if you'd like to join in, just send me an e-mail to shemakeshats@gmail.com for the address - or you can send them to my PO Box (in the sidebar) with a note that they're for the Maine Cancer Center, and I'll be sure they get to where they need to go!

Won't you join me in making hats and sending them off to the Maine Cancer Center?