Adventures in Digging Our Own Clay

My shop minion and oldest daughter, Tiny Trin, has really wanted to try her hand at creating clay sculptures for awhile now, but as I haven’t been all that keen to pay for expensive clay and it isn’t high on her list of birthday gifts and she no longer has the funds to pay for it either, we haven’t gotten any. That is until about a week ago.

I Googled where clay comes from in an attempt to figure out if it would be feasible to collect some ourselves since there are an entire areas on the Ranch that is just full of clay.

Hubby thought we were crazy when I told him about what we were going to do until I told him how much it would cost for a brick of clay that we could possible find for free. The only real cost is our time.

So on our walk, Tiny Trin brought 2 gallon buckets and a spade to dig her own clay. Since we have been haying our first meadow of the season we had to refine her clay between helping out.

The refining took several days more than it needed to because of the haying. But refining it to get rid of the plant matter and sand worked. She now she has quite a bit of clay to work with.

Her first project was to see how the clay handled and its quality. She created a small dish and for the most part it worked well. The crack is my fault. I set it out of the way by a window with a fan and it dried too fast on the edges. It sometimes happens when drying and there are some things we can do to keep that from happening.

My other shop minion and youngest daughter decided she wanted clay of her own so on our walk a few nights ago and the girls dug some more clay.

Now we have to do this week is refine it for use and figure out a primitive way to fire their clay. 😀

My Inner Creative is so Excited!

Hello everyone! I hope your week has been a great one.

I know that I’ve been busy. And yes, that is something that I say often, but it’s true. This week has been lots of working behind the scenes of running my business.

Does anyone else find that there is so much more to running a business then what they took into account when they first started, or is that just me?

Anywhoo, I started out the week doing one of my favorite things, branding and packaging. I know it sounds weird, but my inner graphic designer is having a field day designing logos, banners, care labels, hang tags, thank you cards, and even packaging.

A few of the things that I created.

While I don’t have a picture of my shop packaging, mostly because I didn’t think to take pictures of the last order I sent out, I’m loving the idea of creating something that is both fun and eco-friendly to open. I like the idea of not having plastic and stuff that will most likely be thrown in the garbage, but I also like the idea of each purchase being a gift that you open.

Because who doesn’t like getting gifts? I know I do. I think it speaks to my inner child. 😀

An inner creative child that was so excited by the arrival of the pretty blue tissue paper and new shipping boxes last week to add to the pretty blue bubble mailers, white and blue baker’s twine, outdoorsy washi tape, beautiful wax seal, pale blue ribbon, and the cabin rubber stamp I bought last year. I barely restrained her from using it all in one package. LOL

After my inner graphic designer ran out of things to design and my inner child got tired and went to take a nap, my inner business person decided to show up Thursday and help me with the more practical side of business.

We started by creating an updated version of my inventory management system so that it works better for me. Last years version was too basic and not as helpful as I needed it to be. While it was a great place to start, it really needed to be updated with all the materials I’ve purchased over the years and would like to use to create items for my shop.

I thought about buying one, and came very close, but all the ones I looked at either didn’t have pictures of what they were selling in their bundles so I wasn’t sure what I would be buying or their templates didn’t have things I really wanted to have in my template. So I started to make one.

Other than pulling out all my inventory and making sure it is all up-to-date, the sales and material inventory section of my spreadsheets is done. This afternoon, I’m moving on to working on my shop inventory (actual physical products) and my service inventory.

What have you all been up to lately?

Wishing you all the very best!

Stephannie Beman

Sale on Sewing Patterns in my Shop!

This post is more for those who like to sew. Or if you know someone who likes to sew and might be interested, share this post with them. For one week only (July 14th thru 21st), I’m offering 15% off on all my sewing patterns and when you purchase $35 or more (not just patterns but anything in my shop), you get free shipping on your order.

Now on to this extra exciting post. Mwwhawhahaha!

With my stash busting in 2020, I decided that it was time to go through my sewing patterns to see what I still wanted or didn’t. This wasn’t too hard as the bulk of them reside in two gallon sized ziplock bags. I’m not much for sewing.

This first one I bought about 16 years ago when I was working at BYU. I needed black pants for work and these looked comfortable, nice, and they were in a style I liked. I never got around to making them though. Now the size is too small. 😦

I bought this skirt pattern at a garage sale when I was a teen. It might be from the 1970s but the skirt was just what I was looking for at the time. I’ve since outgrown the pattern. 😦

These next ones were given to me by a friend who no longer needed them for her daughters and thought I might like to make them for my girls someday. Someday came sooner than I liked and sadly, my girls weren’t interested in any of them and while I think they are absolutely adorable, my volumptous body would never fit into them and I’m not skilled enough to resize them.

(And yes, I’m aware that volumptous should be spelled voluptuous, but it’s no fun using a real word. 😀 )

For the moment, these are all the sewing patterns I’m willing to part with.

Wishing you all the very best!

Stephannie Beman

Cleaning Out my Studio, aka my Crafting Corner

While I’ve been a little silent on my blog, I’ve been busy stash busting and adding new items to my shop while trying to figure out how to let you all know that I have new items in my shop without flooding your inbox daily. Because yes, I have added new items daily to my shop some weeks.

June and July has also seen me going through my patterns and crafting books. I’ve been having to make the hard decision of should they stay or should they go.

Wow! I don’t know about any of you, but I just sang that last line to this song. LOL

Anywhoo! I found that I have more books about crafts and patterns hanging around here then I realize. Some of these are things that I was interested in making or thought would be cool to do, but have since moved on or found that I have no interest in pursuing them.

Many of the cross stitch patterns have ended up in my shop along with the a few crochet patterns and sewing patterns. (Psst! Just to give you a heads up, next week will be the start of my sewing pattern sale in my shop. This will be my first and last sale for sewing patterns this year. Tell everyone! Or is that suppose to be tell no one? Hmmmm….)

Now on to other craft books!

All the books below are ones that I’ll be placing in my shop later this year. Preferably with a better picture quality and before my kids steal any more of them. LOL

This is just some of the books in my collection. There are more that I’m still pulling out of the shelves.

The stack now sits beside my computer for me to start listing. If anyone is interested in any of them before I do list them in my shop let me know and I can tell you more about them. There are books about: Natural Cosmetics, Body, and Skin Care; Quilting; Soap Making; Candle Making; and Handmade Cards.

While cleaning up my studio, aka crafting corner, I have come to realize that I have more crafting supplies around here than I initially realized. Sadly, I’m not sure what I should do with some of it as they are no longer something that I want to do or finish.

Like that huge bag of yarn that I bought for my daughter’s school service project for the community in 2018 where she decided to make hats for the babies at the hospital. Well, we had a lot leftover and in 2019, she decided to make knit hats and ear warmers to sell with the proceeds going to the food bank. And then she used even more in 2020, before the schools shut down to make even more knit baby beanies for the hospital because the hot chocolate stand that she was going to do with a classmate fell through twice.

Yarn collection for baby beanies and afghans
Even with all that hat making, there is a lot of yarn left in various colors.

I’ve been leaning towards making an afghan with it since my knit hats don’t seem to be as popular as I had hoped they would be, but I have so many afghans in our home we will never be able to use them all.

Most of the hand knit hats are no longer in Stephannie Beman’s Shop, but they will be returning for one last hoorah this Fall. If you don’t like the colors or size, they can be custom made for you.

My other ideas to do with the yarn have been scarves and shawls like these (because I absolutely love scarves and shawls)….

Or these that are already in my shop.

Hand Knit Pink Wrap Shawl with Black Ribbon Closure, Lacy Infinity Shawl, Light Pink Wedding Shawl Wrap | New & READY-TO-SHIP
Woodland Ruana Shawl Wrap, Warm Reversible Wrap Cape, Light Mesh Hippie Boho Ruana Poncho | New & READY-TO-SHIP

But like with the afghan idea I have so many already that I cringe at the idea of not being able to sell them and having all those items left over. My practical side keeps telling me that I already have enough clothing without adding to the supply, but my inner creative wants to create something with all the beautiful, colorful yarn that I have laying around and share it with people.

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing yet, but I will let you know when I figure it out. Until then, I better go. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Wishing you all the very best!

Stephannie Beman

Stash Busting 2020, 6 Months In

In January, I wrote a post called 2020 Goals + What I’m Doing where I listed out some of my goals for this year. Two of those goals included decluttering my craft stash and buy nothing more to add to my craft stash until I use what I have. I figured it was time to share how it is going six months later.

This is What I’ve Finished

Set of Cotton Potholders

Cotton Potholders for a customer using the leftover cotton yarn from a previous order. When I ordered the yarn I calculated how much I would need for the order and then I added three extra balls of yarn to make sure I had plenty. She came back a few months later to order a set of potholders.

Socks

I’ve always wanted to crochet my own socks for winter. Something warm and cozy. I bought the sock yarn for in three different colors for Tiny T (my eldest daughter formerly known as Miss T) and a sock loom in 2018 with the plan to create these socks for Christmas. After struggling with the sock loom for a bit, I put these aside in frustration.

Later, I ran into this article about knitting flat socks and decided to try again, only this time I convert it into crochet (something that I have more experience with). I finished 3 pairs of socks in a month in 2 slightly different styles.

My biggest complaint about these socks were the ribbing at the top isn’t as tight as I would have liked. It’s something that I’m working to fix. Although, I’m looking to try knitting the flat socks on the sock loom or knitting needles next.

Snood out of an old beanie

Last month, I was cleaning out my craft stash and ran across this beanie that I’ve had since I was a teenager. I remember thinking that it was really cool when I bought it, but unlike the teens who wore them at the time, I looked ridiculous in it. So I packed it away with the thought that maybe one day I would create something from it.

The instant I uncovered it, I knew the project I wanted to create from it. I’ve always wanted a snood and with a little elastic, I had the perfect hair accessory for my long hair.

Bug Netting for Straw Hat

Last year, I bought this netting material for Mosquito Netting for my Straw Hat. I wanted something that would keep the bugs off my face while I’m working in the garden. I bought far too much for what I needed, and I changed the design 4 times. I finally finished it before I needed it for the year. Definitely a lifesaver last week!

Floral Needlepoint Pillow Cover

I bought myself two of these for Christmas last year to place on our couch. Since I couldn’t finish the cross stitch on my embroidery lap frame until I bought some gold thread, I decided to do this instead. I finished the first one around the first of May. I will have to buy cloth for the backing before I can completely finish it.

Venturing into Tablet Weaving

I ran across tablet weaving this year and decided to try my hand at it. Check out this video if you want to see what it is.

I wasn’t keen to hand over $30+ to buy the cards for a craft that I might not enjoy doing so instead made my own. My first set was from cardstock (on the left), but they ended up being too flimsy. So I made a second set from the extra lids of ice cream containers (on the right) that I keep for storage or the kids to play with.

Using some scrap thread that hubby’s grandma gave me years and years ago, I thought I would make Miss K a new bracelet. After a bit of work, I realized that somewhere along the way I had made a mistake so I tied it off and decided it would be a nice key fob.

I’ll try my hand at it again when I buy some thicker thread that doesn’t match so closely in color.

Knit Washcloths

Now I love the crochet ones that I’ve made in the past and would make a whole bunch of them if I didn’t have a shelf full of new washcloths from some relative who decided to unload her linen closet when she moved and thought it would be a great wedding gift for us. Fifteen years later, I’m still working through the stacks of dishcloths, hand towels, and drying towels that she gave us to add to the ones I have made and bought before her generous gift.

These washcloths are something that I usually give as gifts or sell in my shop, although they never seem to get to my shop before someone sees them and buys them. As I decided that I wanted to try my hand at knitting again, I decided to create a few knit washcloths.

Adventures in Shawlettes & Capelets

Using some wool blend yarn that I bought several years ago and that is now discontinued, I decided to try my hand making them into shawlettes. There are three different colors.

I happened upon this cute and free capelet pattern, the Breeze Capelet by Pamela Grossman, and decided to try it. As it was a knitted pattern I wasn’t sure how it would turn out as it has been over 25 years since I learned to knit. After a few false starts I got the hang of the stitches and I believe it turned out better than I thought it would and too date is the largest knitted project I’ve done.

My next project with the yarn was a crochet pattern named Nightfall from Anne Design Crochet. I started the pattern as it she wrote it, but somewhere along the way I modified it in the hopes of making the yarn last longer and the shawl bigger. It turned out to be more of a scarf or shawlette, and might be something that I frog later and find a new pattern for.

What I Broke Down & Bought

Now it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Some of the items I bought were for projects that I wanted to do for years while others were to finish some projects I started. I mentioned some above, the rest of the list is below.

Miss K’s Arizona Afghan

I started Miss K’s Afghan last Fall using the yarn that I bought for her two years ago. Part of the delay was that she kept changing her mind on what pattern she wanted, the other part was that I wanted to finish Tiny T’s afghan before starting a new one, and the last part is that I don’t like working on afghans during the summer-time.

The pattern is Arizona by Pippin Poppycock. I almost had this afghan finished before I ran low of yarn. I had to buy more yarn to finish this project. I bought more than I thought I would need as I didn’t want to run out again. Some of the yarn has been delivered, but half the order was back ordered so I’m still waiting.

Buttons & More Buttons

My mom is a sewist. Growing up there was always a lot of fabric, zippers, jars of buttons laying around. Due to her arthritis and age, my mom has been downsizing her stash. And I’ve gotten a big portion of it over the years, including her jars of buttons.

However, when I finished the Caplet and Shawl, I dug through my collection of buttons in the hope of finding something large enough for the project. I only found one, so I did have to buy buttons to finish them. I bought a enough to work for the other projects I have planned.

More Sock Yarn

After using my socks for several months, I ended up buying Wool-Free sock yarn to make more socks. Part of this decision was based on wanting more socks and the second was my feet reacting to the wool in the yarn I bought. However, I’ve since learned that blend on the yarn will most likely make my feet sweat which I don’t want so I might be making this into a shawl instead.

More Cotton Yarn

While I do have cotton yarn, I didn’t have the color I needed for 2 projects that I wanted to do. The first was a set of knit washcloths for a wedding gift along with a set of dish towels that I’m embroidering. The second project was a toy hammock for Miss K’s stuff animals.

Since I didn’t have the right colors for either project, I had to buy more yarn.


Wishing you all the very best!

Stephannie Beman

More Bookmarks in My Shop!

As an avid reader, I love bookmarks. I’ve owned hundreds over the years. Some, I have absolutely loved. Others, I have lost or thrown away as they start to fall apart. And then there are the ones I’ve loved, but are impractical as Hell (the metal bookmark I bought and refuse to get rid of even though it keeps sliding out of the book.)

But my absolute favorite bookmark is the one that I hand stitched when I was 9 years old. It was the first cross stitch project that I had ever done and even though it makes me smile every time I see it, the terrible stitching also makes me cringe. But I still use it, because I have never had it slid out of my books.

So when I opened my shop, one of the first things I wanted to sell to other book readers were these awesome bookmarks, albeit with much better quality then that first book mark. 😀

Floral Bookmarks with Option to Personalize

In the last month, I decided to add an option to personalize my hand stitched floral bookmarks. For those who wish it, I will replace the name of the month with a person’s name.

There are still more floral bookmarks, I’m adding to my shop as I have time to make them and photography them. I hope you enjoy and I’m wishing you all the very best!

Stephannie Beman

2 New Items in My Shop

I have added two new items in my Etsy shop, although one was actually added before the Spring Break, but with everything going on in the world and the school closures, it took me a bit before I was able to write this post.

The first is a great item for writers…

At the request of a writing friend who wanted a physical tracker for her word count goals but couldn’t find one that met her needs, I created the Printable Word Count Tracker and Graph for Writers to help her out. Both these trackers are useful in tracking word count numbers and goals for each book project. There is a Word Count page and a Word Count graph page for a 30-day month and a 31-day month.

Buy the Printable Word Count Tracker & Graph for Writers for $2.00 at Etsy

The second item is a beautiful vintage placemat-napkin set from Guatemala…

Purchased over 25 years ago by my Uncle during his trip to Guatemala, this vintage napkin and placemat set is created on what looks to be woven cotton cloth. The brilliant white placemat and napkin has a phoenix bird hand embroidered onto them with cotton thread in pink and light teal. The striking border is also stitched in pink and teal. Each set includes a placemat and a napkin. There are 6 total sets.

All the placemat and napkin sets are in excellent condition. There are no pulled embroidery threads. There are no rips or stains. Honestly, they have never been used.

Buy a Vintage Guatemalan Embroidered Phoenix Bird Placemat-Napkin Set for $16.00 at Etsy

Wishing you all the very best at this time,

Stephannie Beman

For those looking for custom ordered items, please visit my custom order page and let me know what you are looking for.