Hello! I am Linda Holton from Holton Handicrafts. I am partner to my hubby The Lathe Junkie, mother to two grown children, two fur babies, and four grandchildren. I love to craft and write and have a large variety of interests. On my blog I share with you my experiences and fun ideas for You, Your Pet, and Your Home with lots of other fun thrown in.
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Since it’s October, we are deep into football season. We like college football best and in my neck of the woods this weekend it’s the big rivalry game between Michigan and Michigan State. This is a big game here between two Big10 schools. Most of the people I know are Spartan fans but there are many that live in a "House Divided" where one person is a Wolverine and the other a Spartan.
All the football talk this week got me thinking about a football party. You could go to a party store and pick up some decorations and stop at the local carryout and get beer and pretzels and call it good. Instead let your creativity flow. Here are some ideas to get you going.
In yesterday’s blog, I talked about how big my yarn stash was and how I didn’t care what colors and textures of yarn I obtained. Because of this you will find me at thrift shops and garage sales looking for yarn. It doesn’t matter if what I get is a full skein or not, what color it is or what texture it is. It all works for Pet Mats.
So what is a Pet Mat? It is generally an 18” round crochet circle made with two strands of yarn. I’m not really sure how I started making them. It was probably an attempt to use up some of the stray yarn I always have hanging around. My cats have always loved to sit on them. The kittens I have now especially love them. Over the years I have made lots of them. I have had people use them for chair mats, and rugs. They work great in my cat carrier. Once I had a daycare order multiple mats for them to use at circle time. In addition to the round ones, I also make oval and rectangular ones and of course larger sizes for larger pets.
I love yarn! All yarn! All types, colors and thicknesses. I have a rather large stash of yarn stored in multiple bins and boxes. I tend to get a lot of my yarn from thrift stores or garage sales. It is amazing to me how many people start projects and never finish them. I can pay next to nothing for a box or bag of yarn and gain lots of treasures. I often get extras like crochet hooks, knitting needles, patterns and small sewing supplies.
Now is the time to hunt up all of those fall colored yarns that you have in your stash, pick up your hook and whip up some of these cool fall crochet items. These eight selections contain lots of free patterns (and a couple to purchase) for quick appliques as well as fun decorations. I especially love the Crochet Pine Cones. There is even a beautiful Fall Afghan and Four Hour Sweater you can whip up for yourself. The turkey hat would make a great photo prop for fall baby pictures and the Witch Upon A Star Scarf is super cute.
Click on the picture to be taken to the web site:
I hope you have enjoyed these fall crochet items and that they have inspired you to pick up your hook and whip up a few of these. I would love to see your creations. Post your pictures in the comments!
I know a lot of people who participate in craft shows, art fairs or even flea markets every weekend but the number of shows increases starting in September or October. Are you ready for your shows? Having a good show means more than just having adequate inventory to support the show.
Here are five things you should consider in order to be prepared.
Gather your equipment and take stock of what you have. Are there things that you are carrying around that you just don’t use? If so eliminate them. Make sure you are stocked up on basic supplies such as pens, paper, clips and anything else you use on a regular basis at a show. Condense your supplies down to just what you use so that you are carrying less.
Do a mock show set up. If you have room to do this, setting up your display in a non show setting can help you determine the best setup for you. Doing it before a show can help you get ideas to improve on what you are already doing without the pressure of the show.
Clean and maintain all of your display items. Wash and press your table cloths, wipe down all of your shelving and props. Make sure everything is in good working condition and ready to use.
Make a marketing plan. You don’t have to be a marketing expert to have a marketing plan. Push out a facebook event before the show advertising you will be there or share the event the show used. Be sure to follow up with pictures and information the day of the show. Use a signup sheet to collect email addresses from people who want to hear more about your products. Have a printed list of upcoming shows that you will be at so your customer can visit you again. And the #1 thing you can have at a show is a business card! Make sure you have plenty.
Don’t forget about selling tools. Do you use shopping bags or just old bags that you have saved from the grocery? It is well worth the investment to purchase bags. You don’t have to have expensive branded bags, just something simple. We purchased some yellow grocery type bags on closeout. Selling tools also includes your taking credit cards. Are you comfortable using your Square or PayPal app to take cards? If not practice how so you don’t have the added stress of figuring it out at a show. Don’t forget to pack that charger so you can keep your tablet or phone going to use that app all day.
In Michigan it is time for the seasons to change from summer into fall. While I will miss summer, fall brings with it beautiful colors, bountiful harvests, and Halloween. When my kids were little it was always great fun to decorate for every holiday. Halloween is one of my favorites since there are always great items in the stores. I had lots of light up pumpkins and of course black cats. I like my decorations to be the fun smiley pumpkin types, not scary monster ones. Now that the kids are grown and have their own kids, we don’t decorate as much but I always love visiting my kids to see that they have carried on with decorating.
Let’s have some fun looking at fun items for fall and Halloween. While trolling around the internet, I found some pretty creative things you can make to decorate and eat. Enjoy this list of my favorites:
Crochet Turkey and Pumpkin Coasters:found on Maggie's Crochet
This month I’m participating in a blogging challenge with one of the groups I belong to. I love to write and share information, ideas and insight with others so blogging seems to be the perfect outlet for me. Most of the time I feel like I am just writing for myself but maybe somewhere someone else is reading and appreciating my blogs.
The challenge I am doing is through , run by internet mentor Angela Wills. Angela started a work at home business to support herself and her son and provide him a life where his mother would have flexibility to be involved in his life. Over the years I have learned web site design using WordPress and simple graphic design and management using a piece of free software called Gimp. My knowledge of both of these came from Angela. If you are interested in learning more, visit her site using this link:
But back to my plan...during the month of October my goal is to post a blog each day. I hope to increase exposure and readership as well as doing some experimenting with affiliate marketing. I find myself being sporadic with posting and want to get into some kind of a regular routine so that readers don’t get bored.
So please bear with me as I begin this journey of writing to you each day. Some may be short but my goal is to provide you with fun and interesting content that somehow adds to your day. To follow along with my journey subscribe to my blog by signing up on the right of this page.
Until tomorrow… Linda
This post may contain affiliate links for products and services I enjoy and recommend.
Don't you just love Pinterest when you are looking for something. It has become my go to place for a lot of ideas and research (or maybe just tonight's dinner). Looking for something new to do with that chicken, BAM chicken recipes. Leftover pill bottles, BAM ideas for their use (Check out my blog post on those ideas here).
Sometimes I also like just browsing at what comes up in my feed. Today I found this cute little Baby Lovey. It looks easy to make and it would make a special baby shower gift. The challenge was that it was that the pin was in a language that I didn't understand and the link back to the original instructions was broken. Since the pin did have pictures of the pieces, someone more experienced at sewing could probably figure it out. I like things easy so I felt I owed it to other pinners to add other pins with the same type thing in the hopes that they might have some readable instructions.
Here is the next thing I love about Pinterest, scroll down beneath the pin and you get lots of similar ideas. So while the pin I originally saw was broken, there were similar lovies that were also cute. Then I found cute sock toys (I always get attracted to cat things) and more sock toys and more baby loveys and I pinned lots of them. Pretty soon I found myself several layers down between scrolling and clicking, and that is the fun of Pinterest!
Although I didn't find the instructions to fix the original broken link, I did find a bunch of similar ideas and plenty of other things that I could make ahead of time and have for a quick baby gift. You can take a look at this pinning adventure on these two boards: Baby Patterns and Dolls and Toys. You will find lots of other fun boards too! Be sure to follow me while you are there.
If you are like most crafters, you dream of selling out at each show you do along with all of the dollars that can bring. Selling out is an awesome feeling but it can also bring some added challenges you had not considered. Here is a story of what happened to us and lessons that were learned from it.
As you may know, my husband is a wood turner, The Lathe Junkie. One of our most popular items are hand turned wood magic wands. We have managed to develop quite a good following on Facebook as well as on his Etsy Shop. Because of this we were invited to sell his wands at a Harry Potter event that was sponsored by our local baseball club. This invitation came two weeks before the event but there was no fee so all we had to do was show up with our wands and sell. Plus we got to watch the game for free so it seemed like a win win situation to us.
The biggest challenge we had was inventory. Hubby already had a pre-scheduled surgery the Monday before the event that could not be changed and would include an overnight stay. On top of that we had just exhibited at a popular art fair and our online sales had been brisk. We were down to only 50 wands without a lot of time to make more. With a short two weeks to work with, he started working on wands as quickly as possible. While he can finish one in a pretty short amount of time, standing for long periods was a problem before the surgery. Removing listings from Etsy would mean that our shop traffic would suffer so sales kept coming in too. The two days he was in the hospital, we had orders for 11 wands. Luckily he was able to get back to wand making quickly after the surgery and by the time we had to leave for the event we had 75 wands to sell. Not at all what we would have wanted to take but it was what we had.
While I like all animals, I am a cat person. Not only a cat person but a crazy cat lady. I would own a herd of cats (guess that would be pride) if I could. Right now my "pride" consists of two very spoiled and adorable siblings, Tony and Tiger.
How could you not bring home these sweet faces
We got them a year ago, a few months after our 25 year old cat Boo went over the rainbow bridge. We wanted to adopt a ginger boy like our Mufasa who we lost the year before. After much searching we found Tiger. In the same cage with Tiger was another cutie that wanted to go too, that was Tony. Our surprise was when they went for their surgery, Tiger was found to be a girl not a boy. By that time we were in love with them and they were so bonded to each other that they both came home with us. Missy Tiger Princess and Tony Bug (for lovey bug) both found their furever home with us. You can check out their adventures on their Facebook page Tony N Tiger. They would love it if you liked their page when you stop by.
Vacation time is right around the corner and we love to camp. We have a pull behind RV so taking the kittens with us is an easy option. We are experienced with taking cats camping as we had to take Mufasa with us everywhere. He was
Checking out the tiny house
diabetic and needed insulin twice a day. He loved to camp and even camped in a tent as well as the pop up camper we used to have. We got Tony and Tiger used to traveling by getting them started in their carrier (a.k.a. their car seat) when they were little. Before Tony and Tiger's first trip, we spent time with them in the RV at home so they could get used to the new "tiny house". We have bunk beds so we were able to use one for their bed. When they were only 6 months old on their first trip we used a baby gate to keep them contained to their bed. Now that they are all grown up, we won't need to use the gate. Sine it has been several months since we have camped last, we will be spending more time in the "tiny house" before vacation.