Monday, March 9, 2015

So we have decided to leave Etsy.....

So we have decided to leave Etsy.....

Why you ask?

After almost 6 years on Etsy for my crochet shop, things are just not working for us. 
Change is the only constant.  Its time for us to evolve too. 
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expect different results."  ~Albert Einstein
Honestly, we felt we had lost something with our customers on Etsy.  Let me explain, it wasn't the customers!  It was the way Etsy had, well, changed. 
Let's face it I cannot compete with sellers who have professional photographers and models, items that are made for pennies abroad, and prices that are falling......
I have made high quality handmade items as a way to share my vision and art form and connect with the people I sell to.  I do custom work.  I hand make each item with that person in mind.  Etsy, for us at least, had lost that connection, by allowing larger businesses that were not selling handmade items.  There is nothing wrong with selling items made abroad, or that are even pre-manufactured.  But I don't want to compete with those sellers, for sales, for views, for spotlights or features. 
Truth is, I don't feel valued by Etsy.
Etsy used to have a very supportive and education based community.  We feel it has lost that.

We have no regrets, we enjoyed learning a lot about running my business, it put us in touch with people we would not have otherwise known, it has given us income even.  For all that, we are very grateful.

So, where are we going now?
Well, that is a tough question to answer.  I honestly haven't found another online handmade marketplace that lives up to the standards that Etsy had set.  For now, my designs are available on Ravelry and Craftsy.
We are still selling our handmade wares from both The Art of Zen Crochet and The Art of ReZen shops on our facebook page. 
I feel with the facebook page I can still connect, chat and interact with my fans and customers.  Which is what I really want....

Connection for the people we are creating for.......... 

So, I leave it at that.  I am ever so thankful for all of our followers, likes, comments, shares, and support for living "our handmade dream".

Chriss and Tom

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Have you seen our new Button Shop??

I want to introduce a new shop my partner and I recently opened together.
For a few years I had been buying my buttons from another amazing Etsy Shop.  But when my Partner suggested we make some of our own, I knew deep down I wanted to try!
Let me tell you there was a learning curve to working with reclaimed wood, but once we got some details sorted out I knew we were on to something really amazing!
This also became an activity we did together!  Tom and I are both avid Gardeners.  He loves wood work too.  I also enjoy finishing things, I am not so into the power tools!  I cut a lot of the buttons, he sands and drills and then we sit a finish them with Orange Oil and Bees Wax or a new finish we made ourselves from Local Bees wax and Coconut Oil!  Both are fantastic!
There is something so enchanting about watching wood come to life, finding the patterns, spalting, rings and markings that makes each one unique. 
Here is the link to our new Pride and Joy!  Please have a look around and share all you like:

We have some other plans for the shop, I did add some of my hand painted Hemp Wool Yarn.  And we are planning some more items made from reclaimed wood.

All the wood we use is fallen tree branches from our yard and surrounding area, and sometimes necessary pruning for the health and safety of our trees and us.
Have a great day and Happy Creating!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Free Crochet Pattern for a Chunky Cowl

 Chunky Cowl Crochet Pattern
I wanted to make a simple pattern for a cowl.  Nothing complicated but still beautiful.
Here is an easy pattern for a Chunky Cowl.  Only 3 stitches to use and you can easily add length, shorten or add width.  The Cowl I made measures 60" or 152cm long or around, and about 6" or 15cm wide.  I like the 60" length for cowls and it lets you wrap 2-3 times comfortably without too much bulk. I didn't turn at the end of each row, as I like the pattern it creates on both sides of the cowl.  But feel free to if you are inclined.  :)

Have fun!  Please post your projects on my ravelry when I get this up as I love seeing your creations and variations.  :)

Materials:  11.5mm or P hook if you don't have that size hook use a 10mm or N hook and add some stitches for length. To figure out your gauge, just use a measuring tape to figure out how many stitches per inch, and then multiply the number of inches you want by the number of stitches per inch. 
250 yards of worsted weight yarn or more depending on the length and width.
Darning needle
stitch markers or safety pins ( I use the little ones that stores using to tag clothing)

Stitches:  Foundation Half Crochet=fdc, or you can use a Foundation Single Crochet,  if you don't know either of these stitches then just use a chain, but do it loosely.
Half Double Crochet and Chain.  That's it!

Row 1:  Fhdc 90, without twisting, unless of course you want a twist in your cowl, join with slip stitch to first fhdc. I like to use the stitch markers every 20 stitches or so, then I don't have to go back and count!
Rows 2-10 (or desired width!): Chain 1, does not count as first stitch here and throughout, hdc in each stitch around, join with slip stitch to first hdc.
Fasten off and weave in ends.
This pattern is for personal use only.  Please feel free to share this pattern and you are always welcome to make to give as gifts or something special just for you!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sharing Creativity = Zen

I have to admit I have not been sharing too much on my blog but I have been working with a group of elementary school kids from my son's school, teaching finger knitting and crafting for the past 6 weeks or so.  I have been finding so many rewards in sharing, in watching others achievements, in witnessing all the ways we find "zen" when we create.  I am working with primary aged children so giving them a pair of knitting needles or a crochet hook and expecting them to catch on is not happening yet. 

Teaching the kids how to crochet with their finger or four finger knitting is so much fun and enjoyable for them!  It is fast, easy and immediately gratifying to the kids.  Within the first session they were creating, the length of their pieces grow and take shape.  I am hoping to be able to make some knitting spools with the kids and then make some other projects as we build their skills and confidence. 

Watching the kids catch on so quickly and settle into creating within minutes is an amazing thing to witness.  They share and help each other.  They all compliment each other on how well they are doing.  

I am looking forward to sharing beading, friendship bracelets, spool knitting, and even some small sewing projects with the kids.  

Everything is so fresh and amazing in the eyes of a child.  There is truly nothing more valuable you can give a child than your time and attention. 



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is your business eating you alive?

One of the major part of myself I have been focusing on this past year has been my creative process.  And with the Spring Equinox only just come to pass, Springing forward  into renewal and increased energy, it only seem fitting to put Winter's Reflections into action in our lives.  Or at least start sowing the seeds of renewal.
If only this were a simple idea to understand.
All energy is Relative. 
Let me explain.
I've read a few books, deepened my yoga practice, am learning Reiki, and mostly I am finally learning how to take care of myself. How to say "no" to others, and how to say "yes" to myself.  How to give myself permission to meet my own needs.  How to stop when I have had enough. 

"Creativity is like excrement.  If you don't expel it  it becomes toxic to you."  Clarissa Pinkola Estes 

This is so true.  While Creative energy ebbs and flows, just like all other energy forms in our lives, if we are creative and we never expel it makes us sick.  I know there have been a few times in my life where I refused to create, and I was sick as a dog, and couldn't figure out why I was so miserable. 

This past year has been about getting back to my roots, about getting back to being me.  About taking Space and making space in my life for my creativity.  About accepting myself as I am in this very moment, and accepting all my thoughts and emotions that are in me.  This is about non-judgment, of myself or others.  Just allowing things to just be as they are. 

"2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to

But you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable,
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand.
and breathe, just breathe
whoa breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe."
~Anna Nalick

All you really have is yourself.  So when shit gets tough, return to yourself and just breathe.

Laughter.  Dancing in the Rain. Believing that where ever I am, what ever I am doing, who ever I am with is no mistake.  It is exactly where I am needed.
"Learn to flow with Life, not fight it. Take each day, each dilemma, each crisis, each tear, each smile, each hug and be grateful for it." ~ Christine Marie Smith

That life is not happening to you, it is happening for you.  It is giving you whatever you need in order to learn to move forward, to enlightenment.  You only need take a deep breath and calmly look.

How does this effect my business, you ask?
I am my business.  My business is me.  :)
It's all relative. 
Don't get lost in your business. But use it as a tool for rediscovery.
There is a fine line between your business swallowing you alive and having it deepen your experience and understanding of you.

Chinese Buddha
Trust your intuition. Trust yourself. Trust nature.
Trust the universe.
Everything works out for the best, even if it may not seem that way now.
We don't always know what the greater plan is, we only know our little part of it.
Trust that things are happening for the higher good.

So these area my thoughts on this subject.  Balance, self compassion, getting lost maybe, but rediscovering yourself as well.

I love to see your comments, so please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with me.  :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Art of Zen Crochet has a brand new look!

My Shop Makeover is just about complete! I just had a new shop banner, avatars and ads made up for my Etsy shop and I am so super happy with the result.  Please drop on by and have a look!  TheArtofZenCrochet

Please stay tuned as I will be doing a Giveaway really soon!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Gypsy Statement Peices in my shop!

I wanted to share to Brand new pieces of my Gypsy collection with all of you.  If you are not familiar with my Gypsy Collection please visit my Etsy shop: TheArtofZenCrochet to check it out.  I think you will be pleased. 

 My Gypsy collection is all about using what you have, breaking the rules, being in touch with nature and lots of color.  This collection is not for the faint of heart.  All items are made with eco-friendly yarns that include hemp, cotton, recycled Sari Silk, Recycled Sari Ribbon, Banana Silk, Re-purposed Hemp/Cotton blend Jersey, re-purposed cotton jersey, Hemp Wool Blend and anything else I have around that fits into the scheme.  Both Wool Friendly and Vegan versions are available. 

Natural Vegan Gypsy Hemp, Upcycled Hemp Jersey and Banana Silk Crochet Chain Statement Scarf Necklace Cowl in Wildflowers and Evergreen


Handmade with love by me, just for you.

Love For People. Love For Earth. Natural. Colorful. Fun. Versatile. Beautiful.


Made with 100% Natural Hemp, Reclaimed Cotton and Banana Silk yarns. Naturally Vegan Friendly.
The Gypsy has returned! She has taken a new form for the warmer months in a statement scarf, but she still has all the classic details I gave her before. Just a fun twist. I hope you like her as much as I do! :)
All the Details are here, the leaves, the sprouts, and the uncurling leaves yet to form.

Length: Piece Hangs 48cm or 19"+ Buttoned and measures 7.5cm or 3" wide.
I hope you enjoy my Gypsy Line!

Next to come is my Labyrinth Line of Hand Knit and Crocheted items, so stay tuned.  

Have a Great Day,