Invited By Lama Works

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Monday, September 28, 2009

The Great Sweater Project - Week 1 ... Groan

Well ... I'd love to report that week one of the Great Sweater Project went well ...

I mean, technically I did figure out how to read the charts and all and I got about 30 rows done ...

Lucky me I realized at this point that I missed a cable and had to rip 4 rows out. I decided on a whim just to measure it. I never knit sweaters because I hate to find my gauge. I did it this time. My gauge for seed stitch was spot on, my Stockinette stitch was a little off, but I figured it would be OK.

Not so much.

The bottom of my sweater was supposed to measure 38" and it definitely measured about 45"

Yep ... measured ... past tense. After a long chat with my Mom about the problem I ripped the entire thing out. All of it. Sigh.

So now I get to figure out if I need to go down 5 needle sizes and drop to the smallest sweater size or buy all new yarn that isn't so bulky. Sigh. All for the love of a project too!

My husband says it's OK to take a personal day from the shop to work on the sweater because it's driving me nuts. I was up until nearly midnight trying to figure out what went wrong and how I can fix it.

Sigh ... back at it!

Until the next time...
The girl behind the lama
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Holidays Already?? Yep!

As much as we don't want to admit that the holidays are just around the corner, for those of us that sell potential gifts, start thinking about the holidays now! I just went to the Etsy Virtual Lab on holiday products and they had some great tips that I thought I'd share with everyone:

Hot items:
1. personalized items
~use names, initials, numbers, anything you can personalize ~hostess gift sets
2. Secret Santa gifts
~presents for neighbors, coworkers
~offer bulk orders so people can stock up
3. Quirky items for men
4. Home decor
~ entertaining, favors, invitations

Use holiday colors --take current items and use new colors:
~blue and silver
~red and white
~blue and white
~jewel tones

Photography Tips:
~stage pictures with holiday themed items like berries, snow, tree branches
~when you take pictures think about what you would look for if you were shopping
for something in a store
~try to picture someone using the item
~put a group of photos together almost in a grid using
~never use a flash
~always use the macro setting on your camera
~use natural light
~use a solid background

Shop organization:
~don't give too many options if you do custom work, i.e. Don't list one item
with with 5 different color choices and monogram, instead list that item 5
different times in each color, then use just the monogram as the option.
~create sets of things to hit different price points
~for the holidays use the Sections to organize by price category
~if you have a two items that coordinate, make sure you link to that item in the
~Write a good first paragraph description! This is what shows up in a google
~When you create a new listing, above the materials box there is now a button
that says "How it looks in google" so you can see what your listing will look
like when it is searched
~Send along coupons with orders now for holiday specials.

Tagging no-no's:
~hostess gift
~stocking stuffer
~do not tag with potential uses for items

I hope this is helpful for everyone! I'm all jazzed up about the holidays now
and I just got some new holiday die cuts in the mail, so I'm off to design up
some gift tags!

Happy Holidays??
Until the next time ...
The girl behind the lama
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Need Your Help - Please vote!

Hey there blog readers!

I need your help!

I am about to launch a new line of stationary! I'm calling it the Raspberry Punch Collection. At the moment there are 8 cards in total, but there may be more in the future. Here's where you come in ... check out the cards....

If you were shopping in my store would you rather see:

A. Individual cards
B. Small packs of 3 or 4 coordinating cards in a bundle
C. Both!

What's your vote??

Thanks for voting!!
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Monday, September 21, 2009

The First Week - A Review

I made it through my first week as a full time small business owner and guess what ....

It was great!!

What did I learn?
Lesson one: It's definitely going to take some time to get into a routine. I can tell you the it took just one Monday of me sitting around watching the Today show and knitting until 11:00 for me to realize that as much as I don't want to, I need to pry myself away from Meredith and Matt and take a shower early on.

Lesson two: My brain definitely has set times of the day that it wants to do certain things. I'm finding that the mornings are generally when I want to do the boring shop things. Organizing my inventory, labeling products, packaging orders, doing some research .... The afternoon is definitely my creative time. I have a fantastic sun room in our new house that I love to spend ... well most of the day ... but my afternoons working on something. I've been designing some new cards (photos for you tomorrow!), and working on orders in the wonderful sunlight while listening to the radio and the sounds of nature outside. That itself is another change - I don't think Chicago had "nature" sounds :)

Lesson three: Take time to do other things. One of the things that really like about our new situation is that I can work from home. You have no idea how much you can get done around the house while working! I'm taking the time to unpack a few boxes ... bake a loaf of bread ... get some groceries ... mop the floors ... dust ... even can some spaghetti sauce because all of those things are really a nice break during the day. Things that I can take 15 or 20 minutes to work on but saves so much more time later on in the week. My hopes are that gone are the days when my husband and I have to spend the entire weekend cleaning because we just don't have time or energy during the week. We can finally spend time together and not mad that we are doing chores and not outside having fun.

We'll get there eventually. I'm sure we'll be unpacking and hanging things up and working on some home improvement projects quite a bit, but even with all of that ... we spent all day yesterday watching football. Yep. A lazy September afternoon sitting on the couch working on my new sweater project and watching football. It doesn't get much better than that. We even won $25 in our Packer pool, but don't ask about my Fantasy league. I wasn't paying attention to the fact that yes 4 of my players weren't actually playing yesterday. It wasn't pretty.

Oh, and the biggest thing I learned last week???

My dog doesn't actually do anything during the day ... My husband leaves for work and my dog sleeps until noon ... Exhibit A:

OK really the most exciting thing I learned this week ...

You know how my shop has been growing the last few months??? I'm starting to think it may not have been a fluke!!!! Why you ask??

I had 6 sales last week!! Yep!! 6!!!! In one week!! I used to have 6 in a month!

So that definitely made me happy :) Here's to another week of orders and getting into a routine!

Until the next time ...
The girl behind the Lama
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Starting a new and scary project

I knit ...

I knit a lot ...

I'm fast ... I'm efficient ... I pick simple projects ...

I branched out a bit when I started knitting shawls, but I carefully selected patterns that were easy to read and had a predictable pattern.

With my new life full of all the time in the world to knit, I've decided to embark on a little project. Now that I don't have to spend my free nights and weekends working on projects for the store, I've decided that would be a perfect time to work on projects just for me.

It's with that in mind that I'm starting a new challenging project. I'm knitting a sweater. A full on, complicated sweater: The Vivian (pictures from pattern requires me to read complicated charts and probably do stitches I've never done before. I've always avoided charts, but I've convinced myself that this would be a good life building skill. Something like taking classes ... teaching myself something new. After all, if I want to be an accomplished knitter, I should know what all of those dots and slashes stand for right??

So I'm taking the plunge! I've ordered up some Wool of the Andes in Blackberry from KnitPicks and it should be here soon. Lucky for me I happen to have one skein in my stash already, so I'll get started today and start swatching!

Bring it on!

Until the next time ..
The girl behind the lama
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Monday, September 14, 2009

We Made it!

2 long weeks later we have made it into our new home and have even found enough kitchen supplies that I'm cooking again!

We had a very adventurous move to say the least. Looking back, I think I would have cut my last week of work a few days short of the full week. Leaving work on that last Friday was pretty overwhelming to say the least. No matter how unhappy I had been during the last year, I still had a lot of great memories. It was my first big job after grad school and I met some really great people and a lot of really cool kids.

I left at noon on Friday full of tearful good-byes and walked straight into the middle of the big move. The agent was there, the soon to be new owners were there, the moving truck was outside and the movers were loading everything into the truck. I was a bit overwhelmed.

Fast forward a few hours. The new owners have closed on the house and have come back to check on the progress of our move. By now it's dinner time. We are cleaning things up and packing up a few more miscellaneous boxes when our movers tell us that the truck is full. Full?? So at this point we no longer own the house, the new people have workers coming in the next day to start remodeling and our new home is 5 1/2 hours away.

We are lucky enough to have some wonderful family members that live near by so they came over and helped take a few car loads of the leftovers to their garages. We still couldn't get everything out and it was the first weekend of September when everyone moves to college so we couldn't find an additional truck or trailer anywhere. We were pretty much stuck.

Long story short, it took us a few more days and tons of extra driving but my wonderful husband got everything out of there while I went on to Milwaukee for a few bridal showers. I tried to help him, but he insisted that I go to the parties as planned.

So needless to say it was quite an adventure. We definitely earned the 2 weeks of vacation after that (post on that to come ...)

But we are in our new home now and life is pretty good! I finally found the spice rack and the box with all of my oils, soy sauce, etc so I'm thrilled to be making dinner again.

More on the new home and my new life coming soon!

Until the next time ...
The girl behind the Lama
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