12 January 2015

About My Shop and My Christmas Crafts

About My Etsy Shop
A year and a half ago, I opened Bellflower Blue Studios on Etsy. It was a way to give myself a project between jobs but it's also given me a chance to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.

Trying New Things, Exhibit A:
Making silhouette art for a custom order

Trying New Things, Exhibit B:
Learning how to convert full color graphics to line art

My first clipart bundle had a pink baby owl theme. I made my first owl graphic to be included on a poster for a friend's baby's first birthday and I decided to make more. Owls, as it turns out, are fun to draw!

My first bundle

Just before I opened my shop, I had been volunteering for my church as a Sunbeam teacher (Sunbeams are the three-year-going-on-four-year-olds--the name, I believe, is related to a song, "Jesus Wants Me for A Sunbeam"). Because scripture stories were a big part of my lessons, I always appreciate anything visual and kid-friendly related to these stories. So I decided I wanted to include bundles of graphics related to these different stories.

A scripture story bundle

What I Made for Others for Christmas
Most of my handmade gifts were crochet this year. It took me years to learn crochet, mainly because I'm a lefty...well, sort of. Pens and pencils belong in my left hand; computer mice and scissors in my left. Don't make me switch over or it will only result in illegible writing, cursors where I don't want them, and jagged cut edges. But I'm not entirely sure I have a dominant hand for my utensils. I'm not purely a lefty or ambidextrous but one thing I am: a left-handed crocheter.

There's a reason they make crochet videos for lefties. Trying to figure out which way what bit goes where and not knowing if I should be going this way or that is a daunting puzzle.  It wasn't until after grad school that it clicked.

I was living in Virginia at the time and one woman from church offered crochet lessons. Sitting in her living room, we tried to work out a way for me go beyond a chain stitch. And suddenly, I got it! Single stitch, double stitch, slip stitch...all the basics! I've made a number of scarves and some rose-shaped luggage tags and such since, but it was this Christmas that I ventured into something more difficult.

Now, Uncle R and his girlfriend got scarves. Scarves are classic and useful and there are so many different types of scarves that you can make. I forgot to take a photo of these but here are the links (the patterns are free):

The other two crochet gifts expanded my repertoire.

Working in the Round
Sometime in my youth, I started slipping little surprises into my mother's stocking so she'd have something fun to look forward to. This year, it included a sheep ornament (she collects little sheep) and pawprint ornaments of the two family dogs.

Mom's sheep wrapped in its little red scarf

Doggy pawprints

The sheep ornament pattern is available for free at Stitch and Unwind.

I also sent a homemade gift to a friend in Utah with a twisted sense of humor--an angel for her tree. Okay, not exactly, your usual angel. It's a weeping angel from Doctor Who. I spent my childhood terrified of Doctor Who--Uncle B watched Dracula and scared the bejeebies out of pint-sized me, then watched Doctor Who. Baby me assumed that this Doctor-fellow was equally frightening. (By the way, I also couldn't eat potstickers until I grew up because Uncle B said they'd stick to my head and suck my brains. The joys of having a teen uncle.)

Then, as an adult, I saw David Tennant as the Doctor and was transfixed. There's just something fascinating about his facial expressions and energy. And just as I thought, "Hmm, this show's okay," along came the weeping angels. Shudder!

Anyways, this friend of mine now finds weeping angels funny because of me and I decided that she needed one of her own.

The pattern is available for sale on The Silver Hook on Etsy. I modified the hair and added an embroidered face as surprise (my friend's favorite part). Not bad for my first attempt at amigurumi!

Future Plans
I've had two customers ask for Book of Mormon story bundles: Samuel the Lamanite and line art for the Lehi's Dream one. Then, I'd like to make some bundles for Joseph in Egypt and Moses and maybe another owl bundle (community helpers theme, maybe?).

Now, I'm pushing my crochet skills further with more amigurumi and trying a Rapunzel pattern. This requires a little modification too because the pattern feature a non-removable dress and I decided I wanted to try dresses that can be switched (maybe, the wedding dress from Tangled Ever After). It hasn't been as hard as I feared and little 'Punz is looking good!

I'd like to crochet for charity too and I've been collecting some ideas. Stay tuned!

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