The Enthusiast

I’m a 7w8…

Last year, I took a course with a local small business organization. I started freelancing more and decided it’s time to really make it a business. I took the business class a little bit further after reading “Building a Story Brand” by Donald Miller and am taking Business Made Simple University. In this class there is a course called Ennegram Made Simple.

Have you heard of enneagrams? It’s similar to personality typing that Myers-Briggs but with 9 types of personalities that have wing personalities as well. Fascinating stuff. In the course there are also suggestions of what to do to improve yourself, to be “healthy”. I’m all about self-improvement, especially in my business. I really am a terrible business owner lol

If you can see in my pie chart that the 7 is HUUUUGGGEEEE…and next to it is the tiniest 6 piece. My husband is a 6. When they say opposites attract, I can see how this fits. I am least all of all the number personalities, his. No wonder, too! His is all about security and safety, and since he has those qualities, no wonder why I gravitate towards him. He is my safe place while I’m being wild and free.

So, what could be my weakness aka “passion” … gluttony. No surprise there. Have you seen my yarn stash and other collections? Apparently, I also work all the time however, I don’t see it as working. Sometimes I’m just dawdling on my computer learning stuff and researching. I do like to be productive.

On the Brigg-Myers, I come out as an ENFP. According to 16 personalities, I’m a “true free spirit” and oh, how so true that is. What I found interesting in from the Enneagram Institute, was that type 7 is the one more likely to be plague by addiction. In my early life, I struggled very much with my mental illness and addictions. My impulse control was non-existent and my anxiety was through the roof. As the years have gone by, and especially this past year, a lot of the fears I had have been quelled. I really haven’t been so happy as I am right now. I’m a month shy of celebrating 18 years of continuous abstinence.

Anyone else fascinated by enneagrams or personality tests? What’s your type?

It’s a great day for a Rustic Wedding

Squuuuuueeeeee! My bestie is finallllly getting married. And that means wedding invitations! I don’t typically design for weddings because tbh they can be tedious😳 The first ones I ever made were my own and I remember how involved they were.

The simple and rustic wedding suite.

I was a baby designer and didn’t know quite how to pull them off. I was wandering in a craft store through the wedding aisle and saw DIY kits. Seems easy enough right? Not really. I had to learn how to use a printer for envelopes, print on vellum paper and then assemble each set tying a tiny ribbon through punched holes. Tedious. All 100 of them.

Fast forward to yesterday. After finalizing the invites, I did some test prints. Then I realized I didn’t have enough paper and envelopes. Run to the store. Find appropriate kraft colored paper and envelopes. (Stop and have a client meeting.) Print and cut some invites. When making a mock-up set, see that the envelopes are not the appropriate matching size. 😱 omg they are too big. How do I solve that?!? Resize the RSVPs. Oh! I will make a wrap style sleeve!

Then for a couple hours help my husband bring home a new bed and desk. Move existing furniture around to fit new furniture. My husband got a bit mad and rammed the desk into a wall. Now there’s a hole!! Ugh. Rearrange my desk area to see if I can use his old desk. Nope. I abandon that idea. Take a phone call to distract from my frustrations then at 11:30 p.m. lie down with my son so he can fall asleep.

Midnight I get up and start again on the invites. They need to be done this weekend so my BFF can pick them up and mail this week. I had to look up when should invites be mailed and 8-12 weeks before is recommended. This week is 12 weeks and then a month for RSVPs to trail in. Semi-tight deadline.

I have several printers and last night made me mad because one printer would not print the envelopes!! I went though about 20 envelopes setting up the right size and aspect. This is the most tedious activity. After an hour, I about give up but finally figure it out. My inkjet was leaving steaks and it took a couple maneuvers to make sure they weren’t seen. I ended up putting a stamp on the corner to cover the smudges.

To make the wrap idea to work I decided to design a cute seal. I had planned on cutting them out with my Silhouette Cameo however with people sleeping near the office, I didn’t think they would be too happy with my loud cutter at 2 a.m. so I hand-punched them. Only 72 of them. Lol need some overrun in the event of poor cutting and there def were.

Two more hours go by after cutting, folding, stamping/sticking and stuffing for a total of 65 invites. I made an extra as a keepsake. I loveeeee the end result and can’t wait til she sees them! It’s the little details that I appreciate even though they can be involved. From the faint wood grain coming through the front, to the set sliding out and the invite and RSVP nestled inside, I packed a lot of love in making these. If I had to sit down and straight through work in these it would have been nearly 8 hours. Not too bad however too much time for me to think about doing this all the time for people. I finished at 4 a.m. I jumped in the shower because we had to be up at 7:30 for a 9:00 soccer game. I did manage to get up in time.

My bestie and her fiancé will be by tomorrow to get these. I hope they love them! The picture I digitized on the invite is the cabin on her family property they are getting married on and where we camp with them. Shes not a glitzy glamy girl so these simple kraft invites were perfect for her. Sweet and simple. Packed with love.

I hope you enjoyed my crazy crafty endeavor. What were your invites like for your wedding? I’ll have to did mine out and share!

The weather outside is frightful

Ahh but spending time with the family is so delightful!

Supposedly we are going to get 12-18 inches of snow. I think we have about six and it’s going to snow through the night. It’s possible!

I was terribly unprepared for my son this winter. He wanted to play outside and we didn’t have boots, snow pants or wooly socks. I’m not sure where all these things went but I know we had some. My MIL said she had some but we usually have two sets. I don’t feel like traveling back and forth with his winter stuff so I set off to buy some.

First, I hit FB marketplace. I found two pairs of boots and 3 pair of snow pants for the low price of $35. One pair of pants will fit this year and the others will be for next year. Everything is practically brand new. We then went to a local outdoor outfitters for the wooly socks. My husband needed some also. Did you know they are expensive? Wow, we spent more than twice my bargain buys for six pairs of socks. I hope they last a long time.

We had an eventful weekend with my family coming in. I happen to live somewhere middle-ish between my siblings and they both came to my house for some visiting. I loved seeing all my nieces since I don’t have daughters. Two came with us as we picked out our Christmas tree. They had never picked out a fresh one before. My son helped cut down the tree. It was a fun morning.

My one sister (the mother of the nieces) has a snack business!! It’s called Cultivated Baskets and they put together baskets of iconic, hard-to-get and gourmet snack foods. She left us with a treasure trove that’s sure to cause a sugar rush attack. My son was beside himself with joy with all the treats. I think it is such an interesting business. Just look at all these goodies! and there’s even more in a box not shown!

I made some things for my sister in exchange for the snacks and I made her a pocket shawl as a birthday gift. She loves sunflowers so I made her pockets more decorated. I love it so much and so did she. I really can’t wait to make mine!

I bought a new crafty tool: a Cinch Binding tool. It’s so fun! I’ve only made a few notebooks with it but I have lots of designs and some planners that I’m making. Next on my list is a Minc foiling machine. Check out my cute notebook!

I made this out of some thick cover stock, regular lined notebook paper, self-laminating sheets, matte sticker paper and my inkjet printer. I want a really stiff cover and while this is sturdy, not quite as thick as I want. I need to get some chipboard! I had to re-bind this because the coil was a bit wonky. I can’t wait to get my laser printer so I can print other interior pages for journals and planners.

Shrinky Dinkin’

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! Ours was pretty eventful.

We got a major snowfall – 24.5″! It set a record in our area. Then, it rained Christmas Eve and the snow melted and we had a Christmas Day flood at my in-laws. My little son said he could wait to open presents as my family scrambled around to get the flood stuff done. This wasn’t a crazy big flood like ones in the past. It was a few inches in the basement. “Enough to make a mess.” was the family sentiment. We’ll be on alert over the winter with the snow melt and any rain since that is what makes the floods at my family’s. It could have been worse.

As for Christmas itself, I didn’t make near the amount of things I usually do for my family. I made several of those pocket shawls and they take a heck of a lot of time. I made my parents keychains. A little cheesy but I also wrote my dad a letter just thanking him and telling him how much I loved him. Over the years, my dad hasn’t been able to travel because he always worked an my mom would come visit. I’m so bummed that he didn’t come for my son’s birth however, I know why. Anyway, I made a few sets of these keychains. The first set were huge! like half a sheet of paper each and they didn’t fare well shrinking down. Then I realized they were not cut square. I’m not sure how I managed that since my cutter usually is pretty accurate. The final set I got the right size I wanted except for the keychain hole. It’s pretty big. Someone in my one crafting group said I could have used a regular hole punch. I know now for next time. I sprayed these with Valspar clear coat to “waterproof” them. I hope they wear well. I backed them with a white, matte sticker paper. The graphics I got from Shutterstock and somewhere else. I can’t remember.

My mom didn’t really find hers as amusing as I did. “Warning” threw her off. And then I think she felt some kind of way that I didn’t write her a letter. My mother usually makes us something for Christmas. Every year I can remember some handmade gift and my sister and I like to follow that tradition. My sister made me an embroidered washcloth. It was cute. My mom made a quilt. My favorite Disney character is Rapunzel. We went to Disney in 2017 and this was the commemorative piece. My mom is Ariel. Snow White is my youngest sister. Tiana is my brother’s girlfriend and Jasmise, Mulan and Belle are my neices.

Family wise there were so happenings. I called my birth mother and grandmother. It was quite emotional. My grandfather passed away from complications from Covid and pneumonia. My grandmother had Covid as well and she fared better in health but shell-shocked with my grandfather’s passing. We’ve had a lot of family and friends with exposure to Covid, including my boss. Our city was on the top 20 list of highest exposures. So much illness. I hope this passes sooner than later.

Crafting Through Chaos

One would think I would have had a ton of time to make all the things in this time of lock-down. I don’t feel like I’ve done much more than any other year. With the last few weeks of the year, I’ve decided to think about what else can I do or finish off. It’s not much.

I was laid off from my job in May 2019. According to my Kindle Reads Insights, I read 52 books in 2019. As of last night, I’ve only read 42 for 2020! I need to catch up. I’ll be cramming in about 3 books a week to beat my last years total. I did manage to finally read all the Harry Potter books. My youngest son and I are only halfway though book 3. We read at bedtime, so it’s been slow going. He prefers the movies and we have the last 2 to watch. He doesn’t know it but I bought the DVDs for Christmas.

Since I was on unemployment, I didn’t really do a whole lot of freelance and so I didn’t make a ton of money. This year I had hoped to up that amount however when everything shut down, so did a lot of my income stream with clients. I’ve had to get creative. So far, I’ve made just about the same. My UC claim ended in May and then I had to reapply. It’s been six months and I have yet to hear whether this year’s claim is approved or not. Can you imagine for the last 24 weeks I’ve filed and have gotten NOTHING. I’ve called so many times and yet, I keep getting “it’ll be soon you’ll hear something.” But nope. I’m grateful that I wasn’t under a lot of financial pressure and that my husband works full-time and can support our family, however, I feel for the people who might be in my same position of limbo. That’s a long time to be without income.

As for crafting, did I mention I got a Silhouette Cameo 4 last year for Christmas? Actually, my husband got me a Cricut Expressions and when I tried out the software, I wasn’t impressed and returned it for the Silhouette, which I am used to using. I had so many issues with using the Cameo 4 and wished I had kept my original instead of giving it to my sister. I’ve not done a lot with it other cut some basic heat transfer vinyl and a few decals. I also experimented with stickers and shrinky dink. I thought I would do a lot more with it yet with my husband taking up the office most of the day time, I can’t really cut in the room because he is on phone call meetings it seems like ALL-DAY!

I have managed to increase my yarn and fiber stash. Went to an estate sale and got some stuff. People have given me lots of stuff. I subscribed to KnitCrate awhile back and the yarn is just lovely! I don’t know what to make with it. I don’t really like the pattern suggestions because I don’t wear shawls really or socks. I just like to nuzzle the yarn. I have started a cowl and hope to finish it before it gets too cold. The yarn is sooooo soft. More on that later.

Have you seen the accessory of the year yet? The Pocket Shawl?? I remember why I don’t like making blankets. These only take half the time but I could have make 10 hats in the time it takes me to make one of these. I’ve made 5 so far. After the next two, I’m finished. Other people can make these. I used two different patterns, one paid by KnotYourselfOut on etsy and one generously shared by a lady in one of my crochet facebook groups, her name is Laurie.

The free “pattern” was 6 rows of half-double crochet in the back loop for 177 stitches with a K hook, 24 rows of crossed-double crochet, end with 6 rows of half-double crochet in the back loop. For the pocket, chain 31 and 12 rows of half-double crochet in the back loop, 4 rows of crossed-double crochet. It’s about 8″-9″ square and then I mattress-stitched it on. Add fringe at the bottom. the whole thing measures about 62″ x 18″ not counting the fringe. It takes about 1000 yds of a worsted weight yarn.

I’ve had some other fun projects that I’ll post on later. This one has been long enough. I hope everyone is hanging in there. This last month we’ve seen a surge in our area of COVID infections, 3 people we know personally and had been in presence of 2 directly. We are now under quarantining again. I hope it’s not a long winter 😦

Adventure in Yarn Dyeing

I subscribed to KnitCrate last month on a whim after seeing people post about it on one of the facebook groups I’m in. I got a code to get my first KnitCrate for $5 and I figured, why not? (If you want to try it for $5, you can use my link – for my referral, I’d get a month free. Then you can get a code to share and get a month free for every one of your referrals, too! It’s really a give-give situation.) I got the BEST crate ever! It’s like they were reading my mind or creeping on my convos.

Sometime in the last couple months I was musing with a friend about how I’d like to dye yarn. I wasn’t sure if I should take on a new hobby involving yarn. I keep getting packages of yarn and my husband is starting to wonder about all the packages I have coming. Some are for my businesses and some are for my hobbies. I’d say they are about equal in deliveries. I don’t think there should be so much concern. In any case, imagine my surprise when I opened up to this:
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The yarn is so squishy! It is a 75% Merino / 25% Nylon sock base. I don’t typically use sock yarn because it’s so fine. I’m more of a worsted kind of girl but since I got such a deal on this yarn, how can I not be thrilled with it!

I watched a bunch of videos by ChemKnits and thought to myself that I was going to try a bunch of techniques. Extra, I know. So dip dye, ombre, speckled yarn was the goal. We used three packets of Kool-Aid: Sharkleberry Fin, Cherry and Grape.

You can check out the video on YouTube and see how Lil D and I partnered up to dye this yarn. I’m surprised he was able to maintain attention for so long. The result was lovely. Not quite as purple as I had hoped. I may have to get more yarn and grape Kool-aid to experiment further. Knitcrate may have created a monster. Here is a pic of the yarn drying and a pic of the final result. I am super fascinated in the way yarn soaks up the dye and the water clears.

This was a fun project for sure. I hope you watch the video and hear Lil D’s commentary. I tried to speed it up a tad since it’s over 20 minutes long and somehow I missed a clip somewhere talking about how long the yarn should stay in the pot and heat set. I had a bit of melty mess of plastic wrap. I may have deleted it. The kitchen did not smell as good as the yarn.

Do you have any favorite videos of yarn dyeing or have a story about dyeing yarn? What was your experience? I’d love to hear about it!

Until next time! craft on!

Welcome to Crochet Ray Ray

In light of the pandemic (I just can’t believe we are in this state of affairs), my friends asked me to teach them to crochet. So I started a YouTube channel, an IG account and a new website. I tried to convert some of the Craftmanic Mommy stuff over to Crochet Ray Ray but it didn’t really work. After my IG account was stolen, I have been trying to figure out what crafty pages I should rename/restart. I’m going to keep the blog here and link it to my website.

So, if you’ve ever wondered about me and my personality, check out my YT and maybe subscribe. As soon as I get through some basic stuff, I’m going to be sharing on projects and other knotty stuff. My goal is to share about how I cram in my crafting as a busy mama. 🙂

Life as we know it

It is amazing that life has drastically changed in a matter of weeks. I truly hope that people take this COVID-19 business more seriously. I know that there are so many important issues all over but this one is just at the forefront. 😦

It’s been a long while since I’ve updated this blog. My life is certainly much different than last year at this time. In fact, I didn’t write anything here in 2019. I had a quite dramatic year. In May, I was let go from my day job. It was something that I had expected. I messed some things up and I don’t fault them for letting me go. My head just wasn’t in working at the time. I had such an emotional upheaval for most of 2018 to mid-2019 dealing with my oldest son.

Sooooooo…you would think that I would have so much time to write! However, I had a lot of things to get in order and figure out a way to get work. My youngest son was ecstatic because that meant spending more time with him, which I have definitely been able to do a lot more volunteering at his school. It has been a lot of fun.

You would even think that I would have accomplished more knitting and yarny things. I really haven’t. I did learn how to weave! I’ve only woven two things LOL I even bought a vintage Milton Bradley loom and have yet to warp it. I will eventually.

What did I do? I set up my portfolio. You can check it out here. I’ve done a LOT of volunteer work. I’ve never felt more satisfied in my life! I got a part-time job. And I’ve just taken it slower. My life is still busy but now I’m not so manic with getting things done. I started taking meds that I have finally been able to commit to and get myself together. I used to be so worried that if I took the meds that my spark would be gone and while that bit of edginess I felt was so endearing is gone, I’ve actually been able to get a bit more grounded and productive.

And speaking of productive, I’ve been churning out these little dragons. This pattern is by dsgnGirl. Super easy to whip these up. I got the eyes from glasseyesonline.com. They really make the difference in the details for the eyes. I’ve made about 15 of them in the last week. I think my only issue about making any kind of stuffie amigurumi is sewing all the parts together. Even my little guy had a special request for colors.

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Well, I have some other stuff to do. Just wanted to do a little update. I’ll be back (hopefully soon) to chat about some of the fun work I’ve done! Especially the safari company projects I’ve worked on.

Be well!