Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Designs: More crochet earrings!

Have you ever started working on a (fun) project, and when you finally look up at the clock you notice that hours have passed by while you were engrossed in your thoughts and ideas?

That is how I am with my crochet!

It can be a bit different with larger projects (like blankets), since there is a good chunk of time before I can finish one project and start the next. I am so excited that my 'tiny' projects take so much less time -- I can follow my ideas wherever they lead me without having to wait days upon days first. :-)

Here are a few of the earring designs I have been working on! They are all super light and totally awesome, and can be made in an (almost) endless variety of colors! (And they only cost $18 through my Etsy shop!)

I would absolutely love your feedback and to hear your own design ideas!

I expect to have even more designs to show you over the coming weeks ... I have been bitten by the 'crochet earring' bug! (Now all I need is to remember to buy more earring hooks to connect my crochet pieces to!)


Do you love to crochet? I have a slowly-growing collection of my own personal patterns in my shop -- just for you! They are inexpensive, and so much fun to crochet. I look forward to sharing them with you!


Would you like to learn how to crochet? If you are in my area (near Boulder, Colorado, USA), I would absolutely love to get together with you! Teaching is an exciting new part of my crocheting experience -- and I love sharing it!

If you aren't in my area, that is really quite a bummer. However, if you are interested, I would love to try and teach you how to crochet via Skype, AIM, or Google chat!

Comment below if you would like to find out more. :-)
These beauties just need hooks!

Update: I have followed my ideas even further, and love how they turned out!

The crochet diamond measures about 2.25 in vertically

This is such a fun avenue of crochet, and it seems as though the variety of ideas will never end! If you would like to crochet any of these yourself (a few are even good for beginners) please comment below. I am working on making each one into an inexpensive pattern to share the joy of crocheting something fun and wonderful you can use (wear) each day! I will put the most popular via comments at the very top of my Etsy To-Do list!

Have a blessed day!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Life: Struggles and Encouragement

There are so many days that I sit down to write on this blog ... and I simply have no idea what to say.
No words, no thoughts, hardly any ideas rambling through my brain slow enough to be caught and fleshed out.

This past weekend feels like a bit of a blur, to be honest.

I hate admitting this to the world, but I was a bit of an emotional wreck this weekend. I am overwhelmingly thankful for the blessing that my husband is in my life. He's my rock when I forget where to look for God. When it's so dark that I just want to shut my eyes and stop straining them trying to find the Light. He never leaves, and he reminds me that God is the same (to an even greater degree!).

There are so many days that having a disability really stinks ... To be honest, I've considering writing a book titled "Some Days Life Simply Stinks" or some variation thereof. It would be all about how hard life is. How easy it can be to find yourself stuck in a bleak view of the shadows that surround you like a brick wall. How easy it is to forget that the shadows aren't really even there ... and you can walk right through them into the light.

Some people seem to have the notion that becoming a Christian means your life will get easier and happier. It doesn't help that even believers answer each other's "How are you?" questions with big smiles and "I'm good! How are you?" even when it is completely untrue.

That notion is beyond wrong, though. In many ways, choosing to become a Christian means choosing to live a hard life ... possibly even harder than the one you were living before. More trials, more persecution ... more growth. Growing is hard! (ever hear of growing pains?) In the end, though, every form of Christian suffering is completely worth it. Unfortunately, it's easy to lose sight of what's important.

Over the past few months I've been having more pains, more weakness, more struggles ... more exhaustion. Emotional and physical. It really wears on you. There are so many times that I just want to cry out, "Why?!" even though I know I won't get an answer in mere words. Even though I know that there is a reason, and I simply can't see it yet. There is some reason I'm being grown (says the woman who barely reaches 5'0") ... I just need to get through the growing pains.

Sometimes it is nice to be reminded of the promises of God. That they still exist today, and that He still has a plan that surrounds my whole life.

This last weekend a horrible tragedy happened pretty near to my home. Such an unexpected night of horror in the Aurora movie theater. It was even more near to my husband, as one of his childhood friends is recovering in the hospital after a bullet went through her skull. Her name is Petra Anderson, and I would encourage you to read this well-worded blog post from her pastor.

There is nothing more wonderful than knowing that the Creator of all things considers us so well as to orchestrate the tiniest (and largest) details of our lives.

Read, and be encouraged. While times may be hard, God never leaves your side. You might feel too weak to endure your struggles, but always remember His infinite strength ... and how much He has chosen to love you!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Designs: Earrings!

The set is now online!
Every time I get an email from Etsy with tips and helpful hints on how to turn my shop into a better experience for the customer, I seem to find a list of things that simply can't apply to who I am as an artist.

First, it is really hard to price crochet items according to the traditional methods. They are so heavy in the time that I spend! So, almost everything I sell is done at 'wholesale' price, because retail would be way above anything I would be willing to pay -- even for something handmade! (That is partially due to my strange ability to be averse toward spending money...I know everything I make is well-made and valuable!)

Second, they constantly write about making your shop 'cohesive' and focusing in on one thing: jewelry, baby hats, paintings, etc.

A soft and fun scarf for any season!
I suppose my shop is (mostly) focused on one thing: crochet! However, that can lead to a very eclectic shop, as my artistic personality simply loves creating!

For example, the beautiful new earrings that I have crocheted (above). They use a lovely pale green bamboo yarn that I just had to crochet with!

Click on the links below each picture to go straight to their page on Etsy!

The variety in my shop is probably overwhelming to the average customer, but that is how I create. How am I supposed to reconcile my artistic desire to try new techniques (and get a start on my very long Idea List that somehow keeps growing) with a need to make my shop more appealing to the eye of the consumer?

Take a look at these other gems: they are so much fun to create!
A simple vase to decorate your home!

A shawl to keep you warm in Winter and stylish in Fall!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Variety of Ideas

I had the pleasure of talking with a potential client a few days ago (I might get to crochet a few baby blankets! That would be so awesome!), and I realized that, thus far, all of my blanket sales and give-aways have not occurred within the confines of Etsy. You have never gotten to see them!

So, my wonderful readers, I have decided to share a few with you. (those that I have photos of, that is)

These are both baby blankets, with a cute diamond design across them for decorative effect. The first is solid yellow, and the second is a striped design with pink, yellow, green and blue stripes (perfect for the couple that has chosen to wait until birth to know the gender of their bundle of joy!). They are incredibly soft, and I hear that the little ones are enjoying them!

I hope these give you a few ideas for blankets and other items that we can design and make together!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Learning: Being Helpful

What does it really mean to be helpful?

Today, I helped some beautiful dogs not feel lonely, and get a chance to play outside while they wait to be adopted into loving families.

What about being helpful towards people?

I honestly believe there are countless ways to be helpful towards others. Some people need help financially, and being helpful to them can mean giving food, shelter or money. It could also mean spending time to look over their finances with them, and helping to plan a budget. It could mean training them (in your area of expertise) to help in their job search.

Others need help spiritually, emotionally, in the area of self discipline, relationally -- the list goes on. As do the ways to help.

Sometimes, even something as 'small' as sitting with someone can be helping.

How have you been helpful today?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Volunteering: Day 2!

Today was my second day volunteering at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, and I am happy to report that most of the ice has melted from the trails that we take the dogs on!

I volunteer once a week for only two hours, but everyone (even the dogs!) are so appreciative of even that little bit of time. It's really a great atmosphere for volunteer work!

This morning I misjudged my timing, so I arrived almost 15 minutes early. That's ok, though! That means I got to hang out with even more adorable dogs! I spent my (just over) two hours with five fun-loving dogs: Snookie, Paulie, Wilson, Snoop and Forest. They are so great!

Wilson is an adorable black lab who just loves to hang out! He was a little bit of a jumper, and was so sad when the walk was over, but he was really well behaved once we got outside on the trail! Paulie looked like a mix between a chihuahua and a pug, and weighed about the same as the leash I had chosen. (I use a leash that can double as a harness to help slow down the pullers!) It was a definite change of pace to have such a little dog to walk!

Snookie was the most adventurous outside -- he sniffed absolutely everything! He also really enjoyed rubbing himself in the dirt. No wonder my pants were dirty when I got home! Forest was fun to walk as well, but mostly because I was amazed at how well he could! Forest only has three legs (he's missing his right front leg), but is just as fun and adventurous (and strong!) as the other dogs. He is also incredibly loving and loves to give kisses!

Snoop couldn't go outside with me, so I just sat with him in his little 'condo' inside. He injured one of his legs, and came to the Humane Society because his owner couldn't afford the vet bills to help him. It was a nice break from being pulled around by a leash. ;-) He enjoyed just sitting on my lap and being petted, and even fell asleep once!

I am definitely tired after two hours of dog-walking, but it is so much fun!

Don't forget that I am giving away four prayer shawls ... first come, first serve! Request one today!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Seeking Inspiration: Prayer

A new masterpiece for my shop! © Jessica Van Eaton
Recently, it seems like everyone I know to is going through some sort of struggle - whether it's in their own lives, or the lives of people they care about. It's astounding how easy it is to be overwhelmed with the difficulties we can face in this world. They never seem to end! (they just change, really)

I saw this post while meandering the internet a few days ago, and I found it to be a beautiful idea. I have just recently designed a few shawls that are soft, cuddly, and relatively light (not too warm, really, which is nice for wearing indoors!) and I really feel called to make these beautiful shawls with intentionality.

You choose the color and size! (Child/S/M/L) © Jessica Van Eaton
I would absolutely love to make my shawls into prayer shawls, but I find it so much easier to pray when I know what I am praying for!

Do you know someone who needs to be comforted by a loving prayer? Tell me what you can about their life and their struggles, and I will joyfully pray for them while making a beautiful shawl designed just for them!

I feel so strongly about pursuing this prayer-filled avenue of crochet that I want to offer a special gift. For the first four shawls that I am asked to make, I ask only that you pay for shipping (either to you or to the recipient). This is a gift that I know will be a wonderful blessing!

If you want to leave a comment requesting a shawl, please only provide basic information to help me know the timing of the first four shawls. I would prefer that these transactions be completed more privately (discretion for the sake of the recipient), either through the email on my profile page, my Facebook account, or through the Contact option on my ColorMeCrochet Etsy shop. Thank you for your cooperation!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Volunteering: Day 1!

Today was my very first day (with the exception of training last week) volunteering at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, located in Boulder, Colorado. It was a lot of fun!

I must be honest, though: it was also quite tiring! Most of my volunteer time is spent taking the dogs outside on trails, to give them a chance to run around and forget about the indoor enclosures they have to stay in while waiting for new homes. My first dog, Bullwinkle, weighed slightly over half of me, and definitely enjoyed using his weight to pull me around! Clapping, calling, sweet-talking, and even treats did little to convince him to walk alongside me (or at least slower!). Needless to say, my hands are quite raw, especially since it was about 35F outside.

Despite the adventure of being pulled across patches of ice (and thankfully not falling!), and nearly being trapped in his enclosure once inside (he was so adamant to come with me that I couldn't open the gate back up! The first time I tried, he found his way past me, and I had to coerce him back in), it was a ton of fun. Really, and truly, it was great spending time with the dogs! I got to take three beautiful dogs outside for some fun: Bullwinkle, Alli and Sadie. Maybe next time I'll be able to snap a photo show you the bundles of joy I get to play with! (So long as they don't cover my camera in fur ... like they did to my clothes)

I am definitely looking forward to helping out again next week!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Etsy: More Changes

Last year I said that I would be donating from HelpfulBlankets on Etsy to the Emergency Family Assistance in Boulder, Colorado.

Unfortunately, I did not do my part in researching this group, which I had said that I would do. I also said that I would volunteer in some way to further include myself and my customers in the celebration of each way this group is helping those in need. I have neglected to do that, as well, and for that I apologize to anyone who was hoping I would follow through.

This last December I finally sold not one, but two of my blankets! I am so stoked to have my blankets being used and appreciated, and look forward to making more. However, because of these sales, I have been forced to contemplate who the donations will be going to. I want to do the most good with what I have been given!

I know that I have not been putting all of my time and effort into my companies, but that will be changing as this year starts off.

I have been (unintentionally) swayed to again change who the donations will be going to. This past weekend I met a woman to works at (and loves working for) the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, located in Boulder, Colorado. She has volunteered and worked there in the past, and is now in charge of a bakery program designed to bring proceeds into the shelter. She really loves what she does, and mentioned that the creation of the bakery program was due to a decrease in funding for the shelter. I want to help change that. The shelter seems to be doing great work in the area, and I am excited to learn more about it as we go forward!

I will also be changing the donation amount to 70%, minus the cost of materials and shipping. I believe this amount will help cover the cost of any blankets that are donated directly to those in need, and will give me more freedom to experiment with my blankets.

Thank you for reading my long update! :-)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy New Year!

My brother's new kitty. © Jessica Van Eaton
What a wonderful way to spend the holidays - on vacation and with family!

These past two weeks have been absolutely wonderful. We saw my parents, my brother and his wife, my sister-in-law and her husband and four daughters, and all sorts of friends! It has certainly been a whirlwind (I crashed into bed the moment we arrived home!) filled with too many plane flights, but every adventure is worth the legwork of travel!

This Christmas season had a few firsts for my husband and me. We shared our first Christmas and New Years as a married couple! It was great. :-) It was also a first for my husband, in that it was his first time being away from Colorado for Christmas. It was rather strange for him, actually, as we were in Florida! The warm weather and scenery filled with palm trees seemed a little odd to him around Christmastime, but it was wonderful to be able to play on the beach! We even had the blessing of being able to visit Sea World! (so much fun!)

We spent New Years in Pennsylvania, and had pretty nice weather, with a touch of snow the night before we left. The town we stayed in was pretty small, but the rural quality made the whole area quite charming and beautiful. There are so many trees! We have decided that we need to have some sort of road trip through the north-east states during fall, to see all of the beautiful colors.

What fun adventures did you have this Christmas and New Years?

Did you make any New Years resolutions?

It's okay if you didn't. ... I didn't either!

I just know this year is going to be great!!