Black Friday, Blank Calendars and Multicolored Fashion Statements

Black Friday, Blank Calendars and Multicolored Fashion Statements

So I survived my first retail Black Friday weekend… and I actually feel a bit jipped. After all that extra headache and so many hours of lost sleep, I feel like I should have some awesomely blog-worthy stores to share about crazy customers and unbelievable crowds and fist fights over the GoPros…. but I don’t. Which I suppose is a good thing, since that means we didn’t have anybody trampled in a front door stampede, but at the same time, there could have at least been raised voices around the door-buster televisions. Something. Anything! I only got four hours of sleep for this!

But it’s over and I no longer work at the undisclosed location (whose mascot is a little white dog with a red bullseye on his face named Spot… in case that tells you anything). My three-week employment there was profitable, but I’m glad for it to be over and to be preparing for our pilgrimage back to the motherland later this week. Luckily for us, the majority of our belongings are still packed from when we left Martin the first time, so there is relatively little for me to do before the U-Haul truck arrives. We’ve gathered a few bits of furniture from various places but are still short a dresser or chest-of-drawers and any bookcases or other storage units. So if you or someone you know is selling (or giving away) furniture, please let us know and we might be able to take some of it off your hands.

I start my new job in a week and a half and I couldn’t be more excited. I am already dreaming about a giant 2015 desk calendar and color-coded office schedules. (I’m an office-supply geek to the core.)

In the meantime, however, I have been working with my mom to put some of her creations under The Chesnut Tree. She makes beautiful scarves, which are now available in my Etsy store and waiting to be put under your Christmas tree for those family members who love to make a fashion statement. There are two varieties: fabric ruffle and sashay ruffle.

fabric ruffle scarf

Fabric Ruffle in “white cheetah”

pink dot ruffle

Close-up view of the ruffled edge in “pink dot”

The fabric ruffle options are available in solid fabrics and lacy fabrics to create different overall looks.

Solid pattern options

Solid pattern options

Lacey color options for a more delicate look

Lacey color options for a more delicate look

The sashay ruffle has a more spiraled appearance and, in my opinion, a fuller final outcome.

Sashay ruffle scarf in "conga"

Sashay ruffle scarf in “conga”

Close-up view of a sashay ruffle in "conga"

Close-up view of a sashay ruffle in “conga”

These are available in dozens of colors, including solid neons, multicolored, sparkles, metallics and special fabrics.

multicolored options

multicolored options

neons and special fabric options

neons and special fabric options

sparkle and metallic color options

sparkle and metallic color options

Visit The Chesnut Tree and see which ones might look good under your tree. “Regular” length can be wrapped around the neck 1-2 times and is $11.99, and “long” length can be wrapped 3-4 times and is $14.99. Shipping is $7.50 per box. Order by December 10 to receive your order by Christmas.

Under The Chesnut Tree

So about a month ago I finally got my online etsy.com store started, and I am proud to say that I have TWO items available for general sale!

(Only two? Yes, two. I know. But I’m also trying to finish special island orders and make Christmas presents for my own family and find a job with a regular paycheck, so just bear with me for a little while longer.)

For those of you who may not know already, I crochet blankets and stuffed toys of all kinds. Most of my items are made with children in mind, but would be wonderful gifts for anyone.

Currently looking for homes are Felix the Frog and a snuggly elephant lovey blanket (a blanket with the head and arms of an animal attached).

stuffed frog toy

Felix is 18″ tall when standing and 11″ tall sitting down. Felix is floppy, so he does not sit or stand on his own, but he does make a wonderful toy to be dragged around the house by a small child. He is made with acrylic yarn and high-quality cotton fiber stuffing, and has no buttons or choking hazards. He would be a wonderful, huggable playmate for any frog lover. His pattern is provided courtesy of designer Mari-Liis Lille (lilleliis).

Felix is available under The Chesnut Tree for $40.00 plus shipping and can be mailed within three days of a finalized order.

The elephant lovey blanket was actually an accident. Sort-of. I wanted to make an elephant blanket and I chose colors that complimented the animal… and then realized later I had essentially made an Alabama Crimson Tide blanket. Shame on me. (The colors in my family are more orange and white, if you know what I mean.)

Photo Oct 16, 8 46 26 PM elephant blanket

The blanket itself is gray, maroon and white and is 21″ square with a slight scallop ruffle around the edges. The elephant portion is 6″ high and is made with locking child-safety eyes for a realistic look without the choking hazard. This brave little elephant is afraid of nothing and will keep your little one safe in all conditions. Completely handmade, he is a wonderful keepsake and friend for the growing Alabama fan in your house.

This blanket is available under The Chesnut Tree for $60.00 plus shipping and can be mailed within three days of a finalized order.

I have a few other items listed but they are designated for special order pickup and are identified by the buyer’s name in the title. Those are custom orders from the island, so please admire them but allow their owners to order them first.

My shop also has a large blue “request custom order” button on the left side, so feel free to use that option to ask about special types of orders. I love creating new things and I will try to honor special requests as often as I can.

I try to keep costs realistic, however I know many will see the prices on the above items and think “Sixty bucks for a baby blanket? No way!”. But you do have to consider the time and effort put into making a unique handmade item. I do not add high profit markups to my items; I only charge for the materials used and the time put into creating the piece. Some items take longer to make than others, even though the finished product might turn out to be roughly the same size as another listing. It all depends on the techniques and materials used in its creation.

So please, before you shut down the idea of handmade gifts – either bought online or at a craft fair table – take a moment to think about the love and dedication that went into creating a one-of-a-kind piece that you or your child can treasure forever.

Thanks for reading, and please follow the bolded links to see what else is available under The Chesnut Tree. You can also follow my original crochet Facebook page at Chesnut Crochet Creations for updates.

Power Cords Don’t Count

Allen, the father on “Boy Meets World,” bought his wife, Amy, a trash compactor for their anniversary. She, predictably, was unimpressed.
Of course, Allen was confused. Amy had been mentioning how she wanted a trash compactor for months. Allen saw a need, a problem, and set out to be a hero and fix it. He bought her the best trash compactor on the market and came home so proud of himself.
I paused the DVD and turned to the Mister. His prompt response was, “I would never do that. I’m not stupid. If I ever get you an appliance, it’ll have something attached to it or inside it.”
And actually the Mister has been really good about that. He’s good about remembering when I mention things that I like and about coming up with cute ways to surprise me with them. His parents and I are in complete confusion about where these romantic impulses come from. They certainly don’t come from either of his parents, and they would tell you that themselves.
The father in law let the mother in law pick out her engagement ring, after being prompted by his own mother, and then handed it to her and said, “Here, do you want this?” Neither of them know where the Mister ever got a romantic bone in his body.
So I just want to preserve in writing, for posterity’s sake, the fact that the Mister has promised never to buy me a gift simply for the purpose of solving a problem. This would include kitchen appliances, cleaning products and generally anything with a power cord.
Unless of course I have specifically asked for such a thing with the intent that it should be given on a holiday or special occasion. For example, this past Christmas I had several things on my list that were appliance-like, or at least had power cords, like a candle warmer. I intended for those to be Christmas presents. Thankfully the Mister is smarter than my Christmas list and knew that there needed to be something else along with the power cords, and he came through admirably with jewelry hanging on our tree.
His family is still reeling from that one.
Being the academic dork that I am, I relate this to something akin to the “nature versus nurture” argument. Nurture tells the Mister, “Power cords are acceptable Christmas presents.” But something in his nature, something from a generation or two back, says, “Buy her something shiny. Surprise her. Make her smile.”
I guess God knew to put backup reserves in place, even if only to save some men from themselves. (Now if only we could find a way to transfer some of those reserves to the many poor, helpless, untrained young men out there in the world. But that’s a problem for another column.)