Working on this Beauty

A few months back I started putting together this afghan from hexagon pieces I’ve been creating over the last few years from scrap yarn. I absolutely love the warmth of crochet and knit blankets. They beat my feather down comforter every time. 😁

As of tonight, I’m four rows from finishing this beautiful, colorful afghan.

Sorry about the darkness of the picture. I usually take pictures earlier in the day. 😁

I’m kinda sad that work on this is coming to an end. Not only has it been a challenge to create, but it’s different than anything I’ve worked on in the past.

There are so many memories attached to these blankets. Memories of my mother and grandma teaching me to crochet. Memories of the white haired women sitting outside an old fort, happy to share their knoweledge of crocheting with a 11-year-old me. Memories of smaller projects that lead to creating this afghan.

Part of me is glad to have another project removed from my projects list. To be able to add this blanket to my Etsy shop because as much as I wish I could keep it, I have more than I need at home.

I hope this blanket will find a home with someone who will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

June 2019 Check-In & My July Goals

Hey, Sweet Peas! How’s it all going with you guys? I hope you all are having a great Summer, although in my neck of the woods I’n debating calling this weather Spring.

Since it has been awhile since I’ve been around the webverse, I decided it was probably time for a check in with my blog friends, fellow readers, writers, and crafting enthusiast.  So here is the quick and dirty version of the last two months. *Please beware, this is a long post. If you want to know just what my July goals are? Just click here. *

What Happened in my Life in May & June

Our usually busy May turned into crazy busy when my dad got sick around Mid-May.  Since we don’t live too close by, it was a lot of driving time to their house and back. And  with the kids still in school and having their end of school programs and awards, it was a scheduling nightmare. Shortly after my dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor, he passed away. I’m still trying to process it all nearly a month after the funeral.

Because the bad weather in May carried into June *It snowed about mid-June. Yikes!*, I had to keep the tomato plants that a friend gave us inside. About mid-June, I finally broke down and planted them into pots so I could take them outside in the day and bring them in each night until better weather allowed me to keep them out all the time. I also decided to do a little companion planting and added some bean plants to one tomato pot and lettuce to another. We’ll see how they do. I’m not much of a gardener. Keeping houseplants and established outside plants alive aren’t a problem, planting things from seed and I usually kill them.

My view from the tractor while dragging the meadow.

We also fell behind with the Ranch work because of the weather and ended up having to push it to stay on schedule. And because Ranch work comes before almost everything else, my poor flower beds are being neglected and in serious need of a good weeding. But with all the pollen floating around in June because of the late start in the season, my allergies are making me miserable. Add swollen tonsils and it’s not happening for awhile. *The Doctor told me that if we can’t get the swollen tonsils down, I might have to have them removed.  At my age, that would suck a monkey’s poopy butt.*

Anyhoo, after school ended, I was surprised with a Summer Band Camp for the kids in band which I needed to take my Little Miss K to as she will be playing her dad’s clarinet next year. That lasted for the first two weeks of June. And since we live so far from town, it meant spending most of the day there and getting little done. Well, that’s not completely true, I added more color rows to the afghan my daughter has been bugging me to finish for her. She choose the pattern and the colors for it.

Not only was I able to finish up some small crochet projects, but I was also able to solidify and tweak my plans for my blog, my shop, my writing, and my crafting. In April, my blogging plans was to gear my posts more towards all the different areas in my life and my shop plans were to release a product every week to two weeks until I had everything in stock listed.

Now, while most of those plans haven’t changed too drastically, a reassessment of my goals and planned tasks helped me see some of the problems that I would face,  figure out what I might be wasting time with, and what I could do differently before I jump straight back into work. In years past, I would have stressed over getting back on track with everything, but I’ve decided not to worry this time around.

It would be too much of a push to catch up with three months of missing work and still get what I planned out as well. Since I’m not working for anyone, except myself, and other than one client job, I don’t have anyone relying on me to get stuff done for them, I have time to work at my own pace. Plus, I don’t need the headache of unneeded stress. 😀

So the plan is to start working from the point I’m at going forward at the same pace I had decided would be sustainable and would make me happy. Which leads me to my working on my slightly neglected Etsy Shop at the end of June. I was able to finish the  pattern for the Crocheted Light Woodland Shawl that I started in May. I listed it on Etsy during the last week of June.

Light Woodland Shawl Pattern (Printable PDF) $4.95

If anyone is interested in buying the pattern or a finished shawl from me instead of buying it on Etsy, please email me.

The writing bug bit me in the ass the last week of June and I’ve been itching to tackle the Lost Heir Series. The only reason I put the story aside in the first place is that it wanted to be told a certain way and I doubted my ability to do it at the time.

Recently, I feel confident enough to work on it again. So for the last last few days I’ve been working on updating my Series Binder, tracking the  various story threads and character arcs through the series of books, and writing scenes that inspired me. We’ll see how it is going in about two weeks when I post a update about my writing.

The months without writing have put a few things into perspective for me, like as much as I love writing and being a writer, I don’t like the business side of things. So when I indie publish my stories, it’s for me and those who like my stories. I will not be announcing them anywhere else expect here and on my Facebook Page for those interested.

My Goals for July 2019

There are several things that I hope to accomplish in July and set up for August.

Personal Goals

Take the kids to the pool, library, or the water park at least once a week until School starts again: This isn’t always possible, but I try to take the kids to one of these three places each week. This gives them time to play with other kids and hang out somewhere that isn’t home, with each other, or the temptation of electronic devices.

Get back into the habit of walking once to twice a day: Last year, I had gotten into the habit of going on a walk twice a day. Once the snow started flying, the lane became too dangerous for me to walk down and exercise moved indoors. So far this year, my exercise routine hasn’t moved outside yet and I’m missing it.

Handmade Work Goals

Most of what I need to do include taking photos, writing descriptions, figuring out pricing and shipping prices, and listing several finished items that I’ve taken from my stash. If anyone is interested in purchasing any of the items below from me rather than Etsy, please email me and let me know.

List my Woodland Hoods: I finished several Woodland Hoods for adults and small children, using the yarn in the bowl to the right of the adult size Woodland Hood on my paper mache head below. There are 6 adults and 6 children hoods.

Woodland Hoods: small kids – $25 & adults – $40

Listing Seasonal Place Mats: I’m also going to be adding a listing for the table place mats that I created a pattern for and have had a few requests for them. I want to pick out a few seasonal colors and even sizes to choose from. The prices will vary depending on the size, but the 17” x 12” place mats will be $25 each.

List various dish towels from my stash on Etsy: I love these dish/tea towels and I’m looking forward to them getting to a great home. These hand embroidered towels are stitched on Premium Quality Flour Sack Dish Towels and are larger then the normal at around 32″ x 36″. The Farm Inspired towels that I stitched last year cost $10.97 each while the Frogs that I entered into the County Fair are $70.

   

Listing two cross-stitch projects on Etsy: One is a professional framed project and the other was finished at the beginning of the year and still needs to be framed. I still need to take pictures of them.

Finish the lettering on a set of dish towels and prep them for listing next month: I finally picked out a color for the lettering on the 7 floral dish towels I finished hand embroidering in June.  Thank you everyone who left a comment what they thought the color choice should be on my Facebook Page.

Weekly Flower Dish Towels – $70

Finish the Border of the Full-Sized Octagon Afghan: This is a scrap yarn afghan that I’ve been working on for several years, and started put together last year. It just needs two octagons attached and a border crocheted on. I probably won’t list it until next month.

Sketching out Owl transfers for dish towels: I had a request for a set of owl dish towels that I’m sketching out and looking forward to creating once my towels arrive. If anyone has suggestions for designs for dish towel, let me know below.

I want to finish setting up my Online Shop but…: Since opening my Etsy shop in April, I knew I wanted to create an online shop here on my website too. The process ended up taking more time then I planned and mostly because I’m having a hard time finding a reliable, seamless payment process system that doesn’t cost an arm, a leg, and my first born child. At the moment, I’m not making enough to pay the price they are asking.

Before anyone tells me about the various ecommerce websites or that I can upload a plugin. My website isn’t hosted on a place that accepts plugins with the plan I have. If I want that, I need to pay more and like I mentioned above, I don’t have the money to do that at the moment and make a sustainable business. So I’ll stick with an online shop links to each item’s page and have people to contact me to buy something or buy from Etsy. It wouldn’t be much different from the book cover designing I do.

Writing Goals

Finish editing the Goddess of Love: This book needed editing and I really want to finish it so that I can send it to a better editor then the first one I paid to do it. I’m not sure when this will come back out, but I really want to put it back on the market in August.

Writing The Lost Heir Series: Finish updating my Series Binder, tracking the  various story threads and character arcs through the series of books, and plan out each book so that I know what happens and can utilize the over 186k words already written. Then, if I have time I can start filling in the scenes I need to finish each book and move on.


Now that you know what’s going on in my life and my goals for July, what about you guys? What’s happening with you guys? What goals do you have this month?

Wishing you the best,

Stephannie Beman

PS: Next week’s blog will be all about what books I’ve read (and enjoyed) and what am currently reading.

Guess What I Did…

Hey Sweet Peas! I hope you all have been having as much fun as I have lately.

The last few months I’ve been mostly absent from the Internet, hopping on occasionally to check emails, see what friends are up to, and reading articles on subjects I find interesting. However, I spent most of my time with my family, evaluating what I want in life, and the goals I want to work toward. I made a dent in my to-read pile and I’m hoping to have a reading list post ready for the end of this month. I also made some writing related decisions about what I’m going to do with the Lost Heir Series, and those major story choices might allow me to finish the whole damn thing before the end of the year, but I’ll talk a little more about that at a later date when I have a better idea of how much time I can devote to writing.

I also spent many long, relaxing moments, despite some hard times with my health, designing and creating all sorts of handcrafted goodies. Now I’ve been a closet crafter since I was a 10. It’s a secret, guilty pleasure that I never thought anyone would be interested in until I started bringing my crocheting with me and people started asking me if I sold my work and where they could find it, or if I taught lessons because they always wanted to learn to crochet or cross-stitch. When I shared some of my projects here and on Facebook, they were well received by many of you, and there were even a few requests to purchase some of the items.

“United in Marriage” project I’ve been working on for the last 4 months. I’m cross-stitching it on linen.

I’ve always loved creating items inspired by the beauty and quality of the homesteading spirit that is very much apart of my life here on the Ranch. But my home is only so big and there are so many things I can create before it starts pouring out of the closets. Which is why I’m careful about the projects I choose. This year I threw aside caution and decided to take the plunge. I started crafting whatever drew me, despite not having a recipient for most of it. And then, last week,

I dove into the deep end of the pool and decided it was time to share some of my creations with the world by opening…

Stephannie Beman’s Shop on Etsy!

Yep! I’ve opened an Etsy Shop and it’s actually named Stephannie Beman’s Shop.

I know, it’s not that creative of a name, but after much deliberation I decided to sell everything under my own name rather than something catchy like Shop in the Woods, Homestead Treasures, Steph’s Creative Corner, The Enchanted Homestead, or even Cozy Cottage Crafts. I did it because:

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Blank Weekly Planner (Printable PDF) $4.95

1) I didn’t want to trap myself into a specific niche because my shop name implied certain types of crafts and then later deciding that I wanted to sell something different so I have to create another shop for it. Seen it happen all the time.

2) It made more sense to use my name than creating another business under a different name when I use my name for freelance graphic design and indie publishing.

3) I’m the boss of my shop and I have no intention of transferring or selling my shop to someone else, although I might let my Little Ones (who are almost as tall as I am BTW) make some crafty goodies to sell in my shop, I will stay the boss. 😛

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2019 Writer’s Planner Bound Planner $13.99 or Printable PDF Planner $8.99

My goals as a handmade crafter are much the same as my goals as a writer. I want to enjoy what I’m designing and creating. I want to work at my pace and within my time frame without pushing myself to create more things faster and lose the time I have with my family. I want to work on projects that interested me, regardless if it’s popular with ‘customers’. I want to create quality projects using nice materials even if it costs me more to do so.

Now I have plans to add more items to my shop, but for the moment there are the printable planners and printable planner inserts I created, both blank and dated, with more on their way. I also have a crochet pattern I created for my placemats, and I’m currently writing up more of my designs from my crafting journal to add to my shop.

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Crocheted Cotton Table Placemat (PDF Pattern) $3.95

Eventually, I’ll be adding physical inventory to my shop, such as scarves, hoods, beanies, shawls, afghans, fingerless gloves, placemats, etc. I’m debating creating a custom craft service where I will make things at the customers request and specifications, and I have a friend who has kindly agreed to be my test subject this next month. We are just waiting for the yarn for her project. This will allow me to figure out how I want to package and ship my goods to a customer.

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Waiting On Tracker (Printable PDF) $1.95

I want to create a professional look for my finished products and the packaging that I will send them in. So I did a little more research on packaging, Etsy, and product photography in preparation of opening the craft shop. I made a few choices on the look of my logo, shop branding, the packaging material for the physical items I will be selling, the look of my business cards, and the labels I will be attaching to my crafts.

I decided to have most of it printed using a professional service because my printer doesn’t like cardstock and it would just look better. So while I’m waiting for my orders to arrive, I’m working on taking better photos and creating more items to add.

Wishing you all the very best,

Stephannie Beman