Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not normally the type of person who makes resolutions, in part because I know I'm unlikely to keep them no matter how hard I try. For example, last year I broke with tradition and resolved to drink more water and take a multivitamin every day. That lasted up until the move to Ohio, which means about three months. The resolution did a marked nosedive after that, to the point where my bottle of vitamins has a layer of dust on the top.

But New Year's is as good a time as any to reflect on what I want to happen in the coming year, especially as I close out my Lazy Mama accounting for 2007 and plan for 2008. Another etsy seller suggested that we each list five things we plan to do to improve our sales in the coming year, which sounded like a good place to start.

I started brainstorming last night before bed (because all of my best thinking happens shortly before midnight), and when I came to bed I asked my husband the Innovative Thinker to come up with three ideas to add to my list. His first comment was, well, what do you want to be doing this time next year? Are you happy making a few things and a few patterns and you don't care about profit as long as you break even, or do you want to teach, or do you want to write books, or what?

That is a very good question, and it's one I hadn't really bothered to answer myself. When I started selling my patterns early this year, I sort of had the idea that it was a way to feel like I had a purpose beyond scrubbing applesauce off the wall and telling my daughter "no" 1000 times a day. Write a few patterns, see if anyone wants them, and see where it goes from there.

I have sold my patterns in California, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, and Kentucky, in person as well as through my etsy site. I have a fairly steady stream of traffic to the blog and a growing mailing list of current and prospective customers. I've sold my handmade items on etsy and have started to offer them via bricks-and-mortar stores, as well. I've joined forces with other Cleveland etsy sellers to do some joint marketing and support each other, meeting some wonderful ladies as a result. I've been having a blast, but I think my husband is right - I've reached the point where I need to actually plot a course for Lazy Mama beyond "I feel like selling tote bag patterns this week."

I'm still sketching out the bare bones of where I want to go, but I think I'm making progress. I'll save you from having to read the crappy original versions of my plan ("Um, I want to be Eleanor Burns, only without the divorce,"), waiting to make it public until I've got something that looks good and makes sense - which hopefully will be soon!

In the meantime, here's a great big "Thank you!" to all of you, regulars and first-time readers alike. You've given me a lot of support this year, both financial and psychological, and I really appreciate it. I'm wishing all of you a happy, healthy, prosperous, and above all CRAFTY new year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Christmas gift to myself

I'm done I'm done I'm done! And it's not even midnight!

Schaefer Yarn #216 Anne Candy Cane Socks, by Kim Salazar, in Austermann Step Sock Yarn color #14 Keisel.
Notice the (as close as possible) matching stripes. Notice the way the lace pattern rotates in opposite directions on the socks. Notice the fact that this yarn is really freaking fine and the needles I used were really freaking small and I still have both my sanity and good nature intact. And I told myself I would finish them for Christmas, and I did.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some NON LACEY SOCKS to make, just to restore my faith in my ability to finish socks in weeks instead of months. Stupid eight-row pattern repeat ...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Free pattern - The (Almost) No-Sew Fairy Skirt

What you'll need:
  • One yard of each of four different colors of tulle or netting (finer works better - don't make more than one of the colors out of the really stiff stuff, or it'll be too itchy). This will make a skirt that's about 18" long - if you want it longer, just double the length of skirt you want, and buy that many inches of each color tulle.
  • One 10-yard spool of each of two different colors of 1/4" ribbon
  • A piece of 1-inch non-roll elastic that's large enough to fit the waist of the child snugly with about 1" of overlap at the ends

What to do:

  1. Overlap the ends of the elastic by about an inch, making sure you don't have the elastic twisted. Machine- or hand-sew the edges together through the overlap. If you think you may have to make the skirt larger in the future, use thread that's easy to see, and don't overlap your stitches much or it will be a pain to take out.
  2. Cut the tulle or netting into strips that are 36" long by about 4" wide. I do this by folding it in quarters and using a ruler and a rolling cutter, but you could use scissors if you had to.
  3. Cut the ribbon into pieces between 30" and 36" long (shorter for older kids, so you can get more pieces out of the spool).
  4. Fold one piece of tulle in half and put it under the elastic so that the fold is in the middle of the elastic circle and is toward your right. It isn't essential to have the ends of the tulle exactly even - in fact, it probably looks better if you don't.
  5. Use the tulle to make a slipknot around the elastic - bring the ends of the tulle up over the elastic and tuck them through the loop in the tulle, then pull the ends back to your left to tighten it around the elastic. You want it snug but not so tight that it rolls the elastic.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the remaining tulle and ribbon, alternating colors in whatever order you choose. Use enough strips to cover the elastic, but don't pack them in there so tightly that it starts getting weird looking. You should end up with a waistband that looks like this:
  7. Now comes the annoying part. In order to keep the slipknots from, well, slipping, you need to tie the tails together. To do this, take one tail from color A and tie it to one tail of color B. It doesn't matter if you use a square knot or a granny knot or some fancy thing you learned in Girl Scouts 20 years ago - just tie the suckers together. Then take the other tail of color B and tie it to one tail of Color C. Take the second C tail and tie it to a D, etc. You'll end up with each color tied to the color on either side of it. This will give you a waistband that looks like this:
  8. If you want, tie bells to the ends of some of the ribbons (or sew them to the elastic waist), or glue on fake flowers or sequins or whatever suits your fancy. The more sparkly and crusty it gets, the more the kid is going to like it ... and the less washable it will be, so use your judgement about how fancy it needs to get. Oh, and you may want to spray the skirt with Static Guard every once in a while - otherwise, the skirt tends to climb up the kid's body, eventually engulfing their mouth and asphyxiating them. Well, not really, but it IS sorta annoying to have the top layer of tulle stuck to you.

Please note that this pattern is for personal use ONLY and may not be reproduced except for your own use. If you wish to make these to sell, please contact me to secure permission. I'll probably give it to you, if you ask nicely and send me cookies (and a check).

I hope you enjoy this project - and that you send me lots of pictures of kids wearing your finished creations! I'd love to start a group on flickr, if we get enough fairies out there :)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lazy Mama merchandise now available IRL!

In case anyone has noticed the sudden drop in the stock level in my etsy shop, it's not because some kind-hearted individual has come and purchased a bunch of stuff. Rather, it's because I've pulled a bunch of inventory from the etsy shop so I can display it at Silly Sprouts, a children's resale and consignment shop that just opened in North Ridgeville (OH).

I was in there last night dropping off my inventory of blankets, mittens, hats and stuffed animals, and I have to say, I was impressed by how organized the store is, especially given that it just opened Dec. 1. It's bright, with nice wide areas between the racks so there's plenty of room for strollers. The stuff is sorted by size and gender, and Nancy (the owner) has a pretty good selection of most sizes. I was especially pleased to note that she accepts most clothes, regardless of brand, as long as they are clean and in good shape. So many of the other shops in the area aren't interested in the stuff from Target or JCPenney, even if it's new, because they're so set in their "it must be Gymboree" ways.

Anyhoo, if you're in NE Ohio and in the market for new and gently used children's items, I highly recommend them. You can find Silly Sprouts at 32668 Center Ridge Road, in Mills Creek Commons (just east of the Education Center).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Little Capers

Alright, I don't know if this technically counts as handmade, but it is from a smaller company, and it is made in the USA, and it does support fellow moms-with-ideas, so I'm prepared to count it.

In the interest of prodding my daughter away from fairies and princesses (and toward clothing that might protect her from frostbite in the coming months), I purchased the following from Little Capers:
That's a long-sleeve t-shirt with generic super hero logo on the front, and a detachable cape on the back. Hurray for non-licensed superheroes! Hurray for capes! Hurray for washable costumes that can be worn in public and will fit in the carseat!

This is not a cheap gift, but if it's something that she can wear every day which will forestall at least part of the "you have to take that off to eat/sleep/go outside" arguing, it will be worth every penny. Assuming that she will wear it at all, mind you. She'll probably use it to top off that god-awful poofy ballet skirt I'm making, which will serve me right, I guess, but maybe, just maybe, I can get her to wear a pair of jeans. Once.

Little Capers come in various generic superhero styles (you've got to check them out - the Saturn one is soooooo cool!), in sizes from 6 months up to 6 years. Available at local boutiques in many states, the shirts are also available for purchase direct from the company at .

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New in my etsy shop


That's right ... if you've been dying for a Lazy Mama pattern, but aren't lucky enough to live in one of the six states where I'm distributed, have I got a deal for you!

All of the patterns you see listed over on the sidebar are now available in my etsy shop, in either paper or pdf format. Talk about instant gratification - you send me money, I email you the pdf file, you can have most of the project finished mere hours later!

Also, if you're an IRL sewing or yarn store who would like to order my patterns at the wholesale price, I can put up a custom listing for you on etsy and you can purchase directly through there, which means you can pay with a credit card, which is kinda handy, right? Any combination of six or more patterns qualifies for the wholesale price, so contact me through etsy or at lazymamadesigns (at) yahoo (doooot) com for more information.

More babble love

Those are my mittens, smack at the top of the "Babble Featured Fashion" section. Hurrah! Now, back to knitting ...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

(Almost) No Sew Fairy Skirt

Instructions to follow as soon as I actually finish the skirt, but I couldn't wait to share photos of Her Royal Highness Of The Constant Fairy-ing and Princess-ing and Dancing:

First iteration: Just tulle. Four yards of tulle. And a lot of static electricity.

Second iteration: Four yards of tulle, plus 20 yards of ribbon (and a lot of static electricity)

Next up: A yard of sparkly fabric that shreds itself if you look at it sideways, and (maybe) jingle bells, if the kid lets me

Wait until you see how easy these are - you're going to smack yourself in the forehead that you didn't think of it first. I didn't come up with it - I think I found the idea on Parenthacks or something - but I'm running wild with it, and I'm willing to write it up to share with others.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mystery Pay It Forward exchange

I found this PIF idea on Red Haired Lady Crochets, and I'm going to give it a try.

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this Pay It Forward exchange.

I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days. That is my promise. The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

If you ask to participate, please leave your email address and blog contact information (if you're not on blogger) as well, so I can get in touch with you.

More handmade toddler gift suggestions

Next up on the fake-food roundup - crocheted "two-bite" cupcakes from pukashell creative designs.

I don't even know where to start with these. They're so tiny! They're so cute! They come packaged in a miniature muffin pan that is both tiny and cute!

I really waffled about buying these for Liza, since tiny amigurumi cupcakes aren't exactly labor-intensive. However, I decided that by the time I went out and bought the right colors of yarn (which I don't have) and the muffin tin (which I don't have) and the buttons (oh, the buttons! So cute! So not in my stash!) and finally sat down to make the things, not only would it be as expensive as buying them online, but I'd never get around to it and would end up with a bunch of yarn and buttons that never got used.

So, support a fellow etsy artist, keep my stash smaller, save time - what's not to love?

The only downside for you guys is that the artist doesn't have any currently in stock in her store, although there are some really cute larger cupcake playsets available, and the polymer clay jewelry that looks like dessert is pretty cute for older kids.

What's on my Christmas shopping list

First in a series of posts in which I chronicle the stuff I've managed to find for Liza (2 1/2) as part of our "Buy Handmade" holiday.

Disclaimer: I wanted to get her a shopping cart for Christmas, and handmade isn't really an option there. Wood would break a toe when she dropped it on her foot, and there aren't too many handcrafted plastic artisans around. So we bought one from Lead R Us, after ascertaining that the used ones on eBay cost more with shipping than new ones do, and the really used ones on craigslist were junky. I defend my decision to buy Cheapo Plastic Crap because I fully intend to run this thing into the ground, then pass it on via a consignment store or craigslist, so at least I'm going to reduce, reuse, or recycle it. Plus, it's coming from Santa, not me.


First featured item: Handmade felt fruits and veggies from handmade on

All of the stuff that Santa is bringing goes along with the grocery cart - I'm trying to replace her "Crappy Plastic Food" with "Fewer, Nicer Food That Doesn't Hurt As Much When You Step On It." When I saw the felt cat-toys that fellow Cleveland artist handmade makes, I immediately asked if she could do me a custom listing without the catnip. She was happy to comply.

The basket of fruits and veggies she made for us is so cute - even better in person than her beautiful photographs make it look. The corn cracks me up, with the husks and all. And the little picnic basket is soooo darling - I'm hoping Liza feels the same when she opens it. If not, I guess I've got a new decoration for my studio (or my kitchen, assuming we ever get around to starting the remodel).

Anyhow, stop by her shop and check out her stuff - and tell her I sent you! She won't give you a discount or anything, but at least I'll feel like I'm making a contribution to the Cleveland artistic economy :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanks for the mention!

Apparently Clare Marie likes my red hat - I do, too! Thanks for the mention on your blog! And Lazy Mama readers, do check out her etsy shop for some cool industrial-looking wearable art:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Upcoming show appearance

So, are you looking for something to do this coming Saturday, Dec. 1st? Why not stop by First Congregational UCC in North Ridgeville, OH, and say hi to Lazy Mama?

That's right, it's my first official craft show under the Lazy Mama name. I'll have a selection of my patterns, of course, as well as pretty much everything that's still available in my etsy shop as of that day. That will include baby gifts, toddler mittens, art quilts, and whatever else I finish this week :)

This craft show is part of the big winter festival/open house/craft extravaganza in North Ridgeville, so there will be plenty to do in addition to buying lots of Lazy goodness! So stop on by, if you're anywhere nearby, and get a jump on all of your holiday festivities.

First Congregational Church
36363 Center Ridge Road (just west of Rt. 83)
North Ridgeville, OH 44039
Dec. 1 - 9am to 4pm


Welcome to The Dusty Attic and The Fine Needle - wonderful quilt shops on the Eastern Shore of Maryland AND the newest Lazy Mama distributors. Thanks for your support, ladies - the patterns will be on their way to you soon!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Me? Famous?

Nope, just my mittens.

Please note that these are still available in my shop, because nobody's bought them yet. All this great publicity, and not a sausage worth of business so far. Maybe AFTER Thanksgiving ...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm on the front page!

Hee hee! My plan for world domination is coming together nicely, Pinky.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Look who got in a Storque treasury!

The page features, among other things:

Those are MY tri-mitts! Yippee yahoo! I can go to bed happy now!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pattern testing

When Hillary from Wee Wonderfuls asked for volunteers to test a new pattern this weekend, I threw my hand in the proverbial air while shouting "Ooooh! Ohh! Pick me! Pick me!" I guess she heard me, because I spent a couple hours Saturday night trying out her new gnome pattern.

Despite using completely the wrong fabrics, refusing to use pins, completely forgetting to attach Mr. Gnome's unibrow before sewing on the backing, and having to go back and hand-stitch some of the seams I screwed up, they turned out looking pretty spiffy:

Moral of the story: If I can make these suckers look cute at midnight with stash fabrics and a grudge against using pins, ANYONE can make them look cute. Now, go forth and purchase gnome patterns (when she has them available in her shop, which should be soon)!

***Edited to add: link to the shop where the gnomes are now available

Thursday, November 01, 2007


When a clothing project languishes on the shelf, cut out but unsewn, for 6 months, it's a sign.

When I start to work on it and things that should be easy are going horribly wrong, it's a bad sign.

When I have to bribe my daughter with candy to get her to try on the finished outfit, it's a really bad sign (note M&Ms clutched in hand and mouth in photo below).

And when I realize that the outfit not only makes my daughter look like a demented clown, but is also waaaaaay too small on top, it's pretty much par for the course.

This, this is why I don't do garments. Setting in the sleeves, which is pretty much a nightmare on a size 3 toddler shirt, was a piece of cake. Making four buttonholes, which I do by rote every time I make a SWAK blanket for my etsy shop, was a complete clusterf.... um, disaster. The shirt is too short and too tight, the sleeves are too short, and the buttonholes may be the ugliest on the planet. Good thing she hates it, because I'm not thrilled about the idea of her appearing in this in public.

The pants, on the other hand, are pretty cute. All she needs is a hot pink shirt, and she's stylin.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It still counts as feedback,

even if it's about something she got for free.

Thanks, Leta! Hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Signs I'm raising my daughter right

Raggedy Rodeo Baby Quilt pattern page

Raggedy Rodeo Baby Quilt pattern

Even novice quilters can round up this crib-size quilt in a jiffy – it’s made using precut fringed flannel squares, and you don’t even have to take time to make a separate binding. Don’t worry – those impressive-looking prairie points are drop-dead simple!

This pattern calls for pre-fringed flannel squares - a great way to use up the miscellaneous ends of bolts is to make kits for this quilt!

Approximate finished dimensions: 33"x40"

A person with average sewing skills should be able to finish this project in about three naptimes (six hours).

Photo from the pattern directions - trimming the excess to get perfect prairie points.

Pattern includes illustrated directions and suggestions for additional variations on the project. It is packaged in a resealable plastic bag (6"x9"), ready to hang and sell.

Wholesale price: $4.00/pattern
Suggested retail price: $7-$9, or whatever the market will bear in your area

Free shipping on your first order! Shipping charges for subsequent orders will be the actual charges for USPS Priority Mail to your destination.

I am willing to make free samples to display in your shop, if you are willing to provide the materials. Please contact me for more information on this service.

For more information or to place an order, please contact Gretchen Woods at Lazy Mama Designs: lazymamadesigns (at) yahoo (dot) com.

NEW!! You can also place orders through my shop at - just convo me with a request, including the number of patterns you'd like to buy, and I can post a custom listing for you at the wholesale price.

Thank you for your interest, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Congratulations to the contest winner!

Congratulations to fellow etsy seller idiomsyncrasies, the winner of the Show Cleveland Some Love! contest, which ended at noon today. For those of you who didn't win the grand prize, watch your e-mail for a consolation offer from the participating shops. And thanks to all of you who participated!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More customer feedback

Awww ...

Thanks for the photo, frippery!

Holiday shopping

Well, we're a week away from the madness called Holiday Shopping Season, and I'm here with two suggestions on how to make it simpler this year:
  1. Make them something. Yes, you can. Trust me, if you can sew a straight seam on a sewing machine, or manage to sew a button on by hand, or even make a basic knit stitch, there's something you can make for just about anybody on your list. See those patterns over on the left side of my blog? Anybody could make those, even people who flunked out of home ec and get a rash when words like "seam allowance" and "purl" come up in conversation.
  2. Buy handmade. Sure, you can go to the mall, wade through crowds of people, find out that the size you need isn't available, go online, find out that the size isn't available there, and end up getting the person a gift card that they'll lose or forget who gave it to them. Or, you could go online to someplace like, where everything you see is in stock and hand-crafted, and you can pick out a thoughtful and unique gift for pretty much everyone on your list. The first place to visit, of course, is :)

I'll be the first to admit that for the past few years I've been more interested in getting my shopping DONE than in getting it done right. But this year I've taken the pledge, and I'm going to try to stick to it. Okay, my father-in-law may be getting more gift certificates for ammunition from a local store instead of some artsy t-shirt he'd never wear, but I think I can find something for darn near everyone else.

So check it out, and if you're with me on this, take the pledge at And pass the word along to your friends, family, and coworkers - make it a great holiday for them, and for the crafters and artists they'll be helping to support. I'll be posting updates to let you know how my shopping is going - feel free to do the same in the comments section of the posts. Thanks, and happy shopping!

Customer feedback

Another high quality receiving blanket - love the larger size (way more practical than blankets under 35 inches square), love the softness, love the option to convert to nursing cover. Highly recommend these blankets to any parent of a newborn! Thanks so much.

See why I love my "job?"

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You've entered already, right?

Because you're running out of time to enter the Show Cleveland Some Love! contest at .

Entries will be accepted until midnight on Friday, Oct. 26th. So if you want a shot at winning a $65 credit to use at any participating Cleveland etsy shop, get a move on!

(and buy lots of stuff while you're checking out the shops in order to enter!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

My plans for world domination continue ...

From a fellow Cleveland etsian:

your blankets were a hit at the showers today! and at the first shower, people said "oh! is that a lazy mama!? i saw those in the contest!" so people are seeing and remembering! sweet!

Hurrah! I'm becoming famous, at least among the hundred or so people who have entered the contest!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Reality check

So I'm standing at the sink, thinking about how much stash yarn I've been using up with my various etsy-related knitting projects (and some as-yet-unreleased personal projects, too). "Wow, I may be able to justify buying some nice new yarn next year!"

Um, yeah. Maybe that would be okay, if "using up so much of my stash" didn't mean "I can now almost fit my stash into three large plastic totes without having to sit on them (much)." Shoot.

Must find more projects to use up acrylic yarn in ugly colors. Anybody need some supplies for the old folks' home?

Check it out - I got a treasury on etsy!

No, I'm not in it - I can't be, because I'm administering it. It's got one item from each of the shops participating in the contest ... hopefully this will get us some extra attention. Not that we're doing too badly - last I heard we had more than 50 entries, and that was just by Friday night!

If you haven't entered yet, you can do so at . Prize is a $65 credit to use at any of the 13 participating shops ... and you know you can find some way to spend that, with all of the cool stuff we have!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Friday, October 12, 2007

Shameless self-promotion time (again)

As you may have read already, I'm part of the etsy Cleveland street team. Well, we've decided to try to send a little more traffic to our shops by banding together to hold a contest. Just click on the link above to go to our team homepage, where you can find out all about it. Basically, you just visit our shops, try to find where we've listed our favorite place in Cleveland, fill in a form, and you're entered to win a $65 credit to spend in one of our shops (or a combination of shops, if you prefer).

Of course, while you're visiting our shops is the perfect time to get a headstart on your holiday shopping. Jewelry, purses and bags, hats and scarves, baby gifts - we've got a lot of really cool stuff listed right now. Just remember - our stores sell stuff pretty regularly, so if you see something you really like, go ahead and get it now, as it may not still be there when you come back. Trust me, if you win the contest there will still be plenty of stuff you'd like to buy!

Thanks for your support, and please tell the entry form that you found out about this from - we're having an informal competition to see who steers the most traffic to the contest, and I'm determined to win :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

You thought I was kidding about the fuzz?

At least the sucker was cute when I was done:

How disappointing

How disappointing is it to be working with a material you hate, a material that sheds long pink fibers on every surface it touches (and some it doesn't), fibers which pretty much weld themselves onto places you really wish they wouldn't, like your new sweater and black pants. So you're working with the pink stuff, and after a rough start, things are clicking and your piece is coming together remarkably well. After finishing the last seam flawlessly, you flip over the piece to do the overcasting around the edges to keep the Pink Fibers of Death from taking over the world ... and find that you've sewed the pink stuff to the wrong side of the other piece.

Really freakin' disappointing, that how.

Half an hour of seam ripping, 10 minutes of deep breathing, 45 minutes of farting around on other sites trying to get the nerve to go back to it ... and I think I'm ready to resew it. Gah - that's among the most hated words in my vocabulary. Resew. It should have four letters and only be uttered in a gutteral rasp. Of course, most of the words around it usually are, so I guess it evens out.

If you'll excuse me, I have four pounds of pink stuff to pull off of my pants, my sweater, my carpet, my cutting table, my desk, all the pieces for unrelated projects that are within 10' of my sewing machine or cutting table ...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Congrats, Petite!

Her bag made it to the Holy Grail of Treasuries - the main page you see when you go to! Now if someone would just buy the beautiful thing...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

My new new favorite in the shop

See what happens when I save fabric for two years and finally find a project for it? Oh, how I love it. I should have priced it higher so it wouldn't sell and I could love it and hug it and name it Earl.

Then again, I've got some interesting scraps left over from those prairie points, and a ton of the polka dot left over. Can you say, coordinating companion quilt? I can!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Unreasonably excited

So etsy has these things called treasuries, where members can call out items they think are cool, or fit a theme, or whatever. There's only a fixed number of them active at one time, and it's very competitive to get one once they're open, so it's kind of a rare thing to appear in one.

Wahoo! My first treasury appearance, and it's my favorite item in my shop right now! Yay, Lori!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sorry I've been quiet this week ...

... but JoAnn's had a sale on flannel. You know what that means ... more Swaddled With A Kiss blankets in the etsy shop soon!

Plus, I'm finishing a quilt pattern that Birds of a Feather commissioned to sell along with their pre-fringed flannel squares. Can't show you any of the in-progress shots until I talk it over with Elizabeth to make sure she's okay with it, but let's just say it's way outside my usual comfort range in terms of colorway ... and it's got prairie points. Me, voluntarily doing prairie points - it's like a miracle.

Of course, I looked at the pattern when I was done and said to myself, "Lazy Mama, that would look lovely with giant gerbera daisys and prairie points in hot pink, teal, and bright purple!" Good thing I had a stack of fabric in those colors waiting for inspiration to strike. It's been waiting since 2005, actually, which is both sad (poor lonely fabric) and a miracle (that I haven't cannibalized any of the stack for other projects).

Oh, and I've got a teeny tiny knitting project I've been working on before bed at night -- miniature sweaters as Christmas ornaments! My god, they're so cute, and I can finish the entire front of a sweater in - no kidding - like 15 minutes. If only I could scale up the size of the needles so I could finish a real sweater in the same amount of time .... I'd be knitting with telephone poles.

My sisters in all things Cleveland, crafty, and etsy are banding together to have a contest!

The contest will run from Friday, October 12th through Friday, October 26th. People entering the contest will need to look in the profiles of Cleveland etsy members to see what place each shop loves in Cleveland. Fill in a quick form, and you're entered to win a shopping spree at any of the participating stores!

The site isn't up yet, so I can't link to it, but mark your calendars - this one should be fun!

In the meantime, you can get a jump on the contest by visiting my etsy site and noting what place I specifically mention in my shop profile. Oh, and as long as you're there anyway, buy something ;)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Etsy Cleveland Street Team

While I was at the beach I got an email from a Cleveland friend who found that the etsy Cleveland Street Team was sponsoring a forum on how to sell successfully at craft shows - did I want to attend? I was like, Heck, yeah! and Wait, Cleveland has a street team? Where do I sign up?

Turns out I sign up here. Which I did the day after I started to restock the shop, and the ladies I've corresponded with so far couldn't be nicer. It's a diverse group, with folks from all over the Cleveland area, doing all kinds of crafts, and it's exciting to learn about what everyone is up to. I look forward to picking their brains, exploiting their contacts, and buying their stuff in the coming months :)

I was lucky enough to sign up in time to make it to today's destash party, where we all brought extra craft supplies we didn't think we'd need ourselves and offered them to the group for ridiculously low prices. So basically we all unloaded our junk onto the other Cleveland crafters, who may or may not ever get around to using it, but we had a lot of fun doing it!

They're all probably going to end up reading this, so I won't gush about the group too much. Let's just say that it's the first time in a long time that I've been in a room of women who all understood the need for stash, the urge to create, and the idea of selling what I make. Plus, they're really freakin' funny. And I wasn't the only one standing in the kitchen at a party, knitting. And somebody made really good brownies ... and what's up with Ramona bringing half a pig with her? All I brought was a lousy chrysanthemum for the hostess. Here's a link to the photos from the party ... as usual, I look like a dork most of the time.

Anyway, if any of the non-etsy folks reading this are in the market for nifty stuff, stop by etsy and search for "Cleveland" in the tags ... we're all using it to make our stuff easier to find. We've got talent, and we're not afraid to share it with the rest of the country!


Remember how I finished one adult sock earlier this summer? I finished the other one earlier this month and forgot to post the photo. So here it is:The pattern is from Knit Socks Whatever the Yarn by Edie Eckman, and no, you're not imagining things, they are two different colors. That's what happens when they only have one skein two different colors of the cotton-wool blend I want to try ... I go all artsy and make non-matching socks. Good thing, too, since I misread the directions for the first sock and did K2P2 ribbing, and on the second I read the directions right and did K1P1 ribbing, so the suckers wouldn't match even if I had the same yarn. Oh, well - now I won't be tempted to wear them with shoes and get them all holey, right?

I also finished another pair of the toddler socks from the free pattern I used earlier this summer. I used a chunky organic cotton yarn I used to make my mother a copy of the Fair Isle sweater from the second Stitch N Bitch book, and these socks are the squooshiest socks I've ever seen. My goodness, I need a pair. Of course, the kid won't sit still long enough to get a photo, and won't take them off long enough for me to sneak them out of the room, so you'll just have to imagine the luscious pale blueness of them. Hoorah for socks you can finish during one movie!

Free pattern: Basket o' Entrails, as seen in the Zombie Bunnies pattern

sc = single crochet
yo = yarn over

Note: Except for the handle, the basket is worked in the round, with no slip stitches between the end of one round and the beginning of the next. You may want to use a stitch marker or piece of yarn to mark the first stitch of each round.

Also, if you've made a Zombie Bunny, you don't need to read the directions for the first five rows - they're the same as for making the body of the bunny.

For the basket:
Row 1: With accent color, make a circle with about a 6” tail.

Put the crochet hook through the circle, yo, and pull a loop through the circle; yo and complete the sc. Repeat this six more times, for a total of 7 sc around the circle. The first stitch is always a little scrunched up and is really hard to use, so just ignore it for the rest of these instructions and pretend that you only have 6 sc in the row.
Pull the tail of the circle to tighten it – you should end up with a tiny circle of 6 stitches with no hole in the middle.

Row 2: Make 2 sc in each sc around the circle (12 stitches).
Pointer: You may find it helpful to use a stitch marker of some kind to mark the first stitch in each row. You can buy plastic markers at craft stores, or you can pin a safety pin around the stitch. Or you can just lay the tail of the yarn across the work before you start the first stitch of the row (photo on the right above), then pull it out and replace it when you get back around to it. Fewer things to buy and pieces to lose, which is always good around our house.
Row 3: (2 sc in first sc, then 1 sc in following sc). Repeat around (18 stitches).

Row 4: (2 sc in first sc, then 1 sc in following 2 sc). Repeat around (24 stitches).

Row 5: (2 sc in first sc, then 1 sc in following 3 sc). Repeat around (30 stitches).

Row 6: Sc through the back loop only of each sc in the round (30 stitches). Just ignore the color change in the photo below - to match the sample you'll continue in your original color.

Rows 7-12: Sc through both loops (that is, make a normal sc) in each sc in the round (30 stitches per round).

Row 13: Sc in each of the next 5 scs, then chain 1 and turn the piece over so that the inside of the basket is facing you.

Rows 14-37: Sc in each of the five stitches in the handle, then chain 1 and turn the piece.

Row 38: Sc in each of the five stitches in the handle, then cut the yarn leaving about a 10" tail, yo and pull the tail through the last loop on the hook to finish off the handle. Use the tail to attach the handle to the other side of the basket. Weave in the ends.

To make the entrails:

  • In the main color, chain 61.
  • Starting with the second chain from the hook, sc in the next 20 stitches. As you crochet, the chain should start to corkscrew around itself.
  • Now chain 21, then starting with the second chain from the hook, sc in each of the next 20 stitches. You should be back at the point where this chain branched off from the original 61-stitch chain. Repeat this step as many times as you like to make as many "branches" as you think will look good in the basket.
  • Sc in each of the remaining stitches in the original chain. Cut the yarn, leaving about a 4" tail, then yo and pull the tail through the last loop on the hook to finish off. Weave in both yarn ends.
  • For added security, you may want to make a couple of stitches with a needle and thread through both the bottom of the basket and the entrails, just to keep them from falling out or getting lost during play.

Note to self: Get a manicure before shooting the next batch of crochet photos.

The etsy store is back in action!

Hooray, I've got a storefront again!

This time I'm keeping the patterns I sell in bricks-and-mortar stores out of the etsy shop, mainly to keep from undercutting the price the stores can get for the patterns. Plus they, ahem, weren't selling last time around ...

Anyway, the etsy shop is going to be the repository for all the actual stuff I have made - baby blankets, tummy time quilts, a series of Mophead-based loveys, etc. I'm gearing up for a local craft show I'll be exhibiting at the first weekend in December, so now I've got double the incentive to get stuff finished and into the "ready to sell" cat-hair-free isolation booth.

So check out the link to my etsy shop in the sidebar, and check back regularly for new items! Thanks!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Temporary spray adhesives

I've been playing around with a new toy, a bottle of Sulky KK 2000 temporary spray adhesive. Several quilt store owners have sung the praises of spray adhesives in place of pins when basting quilt layers together or positioning large pieces for applique. But today is the first time I've actually used it for a whole project ... I'm making a Simple Snowflakes Table Runner as a sample for a shop in Delaware. Here's how it's going ...

1. Used the spray adhesive to attach the backing to the batting, then trimmed the batting to be slightly larger than the backing. Flipped the batting over, sprayed it with adhesive, and attached the background fabric. Only problem so far is that the adhesive directions don't tell you how much to use - I think I may have erred on the side of caution on the backing, because it's a little less firmly attached than the background fabric. Still, it's holding together through light handling.

2. Used the adhesive to attach the snowflakes. Here's where it gets tricky, as I had been warned against just spraying the background fabric and sticking the snow to it - apparently the overspray can gum up the foot on the sewing machine when you're doing the quilting. So the obvious answer is to spray the snowflakes ... but that means that you'd have to handle a sticky, floppy snowflake and try to get it in just the right place on the quilt, which is challenging enough without the adhesive. So I did the following:
  • Arrange the snowflakes on the background as if you were going to pin them.
  • Mask off the bottom half of one snowflake (and the area around it) with an open magazine laid on top. Flip the top half of the snowflake over onto the magazine, so that now the back side of the top half of the snowflake is visible.
  • Spray adhesive on the back side of the top half of the snowflake, then flip the half back up and arrange it in the proper place on the background.
  • Turn a page in the magazine (so you've got an adhesive-free surface on top), slide the magazine up to cover the top half of the snowflake, and repeat the process to apply adhesive to the back side of the bottom of the snowflake.
  • Repeat for the other snowflakes.

I minimized the overspray, and I think the snowflakes are anchored firmly enough to do the quilting without any pinning (other than to attach the cutting template to the folded fabric in the early steps, and I don't think there's any way around using pins there). I'm heading over to do the quilting now ... I'll let you know how it goes.

UPDATE: Oh Sulky temporary adhesive spray, where have you been all my life? My goodness, this stuff is awesome! I finished the quilting with nary a pucker, slip, or other movement. Out of all the snowflakes, only one point flipped up while I was sewing (usually it's more like 10 of them), and I only got the arm of the darning foot caught in one hole (usually it's more like 5). And everything stayed stuck down, despite numerous (gentle) rerollings to get it to fit through my machine. And the presser foot didn't get bogged down even once, so my overspray-free method must be valid. Hooray for the intersection of adhesive chemistry and quilting! Now if it only weren't $14 for a teeny tiny can ...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

World domination tour, part two

Welcome to Quilter's Hive, the latest in a growing list of Lazy Mama distributors! Glad to have you on board, Joan!

Next up - an all day selling frenzy in Lancaster, PA. Wish me luck!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


A big Lazy Mama welcome goes out to Calico 'n Cotton, the newest Lazy Mama distributors! I don't think they have a web site, but you can find them at 715 Asbury Avenue in Ocean City, NJ. Nice shop in a cute downtown area ... I was strong and managed to NOT buy more merchandise than I sold, for once!

And in case anyone is keeping track, I've got distributors in four states now ... and I plan to tackle Delaware and Pennsylvania this week. Can total world domination be far behind? Well, yes, but it's a place to start!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New this football season - Lazy Mama Sunday classes!

Take advantage of the fact that your husband is going to be parked in front of the tv all afternoon for the next dozen Sundays and get out for a little crafty self-improvement ... sign up for my learn-to-crochet-zombie-bunnies class September 30th at Birds of a Feather!

In two hours you'll learn to make some basic crochet stitches, which you'll use to start making the parts for a zombie bunny in plenty of time to finish for Halloween. Included in the class price are illustrated directions for making the stitches you'll need to complete the whole bunny, just in case you need a little reminder of what you're supposed to be doing after you finish the class.

You can buy the pattern, crochet hook, yarn, and the class fee all at Birds of a Feather, and yes, they accept enrollment over the phone.

See you there!

And if you'd like to attend but can't make it on the 30th, let the folks at the shop know you'd like to attend on a different day - we may be scheduling a class for later in October if the first one is popular.

The links are up!

Check out the sidebar for links to the stores that carry my patterns, as well as to my etsy shop. The etsy shop is empty right now, but I'm stockpiling stuff to start posting as soon as we return from the beach later this month.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Zombie Bunnies Pattern Page

Zombie Bunnies!

Something evil this way … hops? These cute little guys are so easy to make, you’ll find yourself groaning, “must … make … more … zombies!” Switch the color scheme and leave off the ghoulish details and they are great for Easter baskets or baby gifts.

Finished size is about 9” from bottom to tip of the ear.

This pattern is suitable for beginners, but does assume that you know how to make a single crochet stitch.

A person with average sewing skills should be able to complete this pattern in about 3 naptimes (6 hours).

Photos from the pattern:

Vanishing loop method of working in the round

Changing color in the middle of the row

Pattern includes illustrated instructions, and it is packaged in a resealable plastic bag (6"x9"), ready to hang and sell. Pattern also includes a link to this web site, where buyers can access a free pattern to make the Baskets o' Entrails to match the bunnies.

Wholesale price: $4.00/pattern

Suggested retail price: $7-$9, or whatever the market will bear in your area

Free shipping on your first order! Shipping charges for subsequent orders will be the actual charges for USPS Priority Mail to your destination.

I am willing to make free samples to display in your shop, if you are willing to provide the materials. Please contact me for more information on this service.

For more information or to place an order, please contact Gretchen Woods at Lazy Mama Designs: lazymamadesigns (at) yahoo (dot) com.

NEW!! You can also place orders through my shop at - just convo me with a request, including the number of patterns you'd like to buy, and I can post a custom listing for you at the wholesale price.

Thank you for your interest, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Locker Pockets pattern page

Locker Pockets

Stash your stuff in style with this quick-to-sew organizer, perfect for hanging in a locker or on a bedroom wall. Easy to personalize with funky fabrics and patches or embroidery!

Finished size: 9”x26”

This pattern can be sold as a kit with fat quarters for the pockets and 1/3-yard cuts for the front and back. Also makes a great class for parents or parent/child teams - contact me to arrange for a designer-led class!

A person with average sewing skills should be able to complete this pattern in about 1 naptime (2 hours).

Photo from the pattern: Shaping the pockets

Pattern includes illustrated instructions, and it is packaged in a resealable plastic bag (6"x9"), ready to hang and sell.

Wholesale price: $4.00/pattern
Suggested retail price: $7-$9, or whatever the market will bear in your area

Free shipping on your first order! Shipping charges for subsequent orders will be the actual charges for USPS Priority Mail to your destination.

I am willing to make free samples to display in your shop, if you are willing to provide the materials. Please contact me for more information on this service.

For more information or to place an order, please contact Gretchen Woods at Lazy Mama Designs: lazymamadesigns (at) yahoo (dot) com.

NEW!! You can also place orders through my shop at - just convo me with a request, including the number of patterns you'd like to buy, and I can post a custom listing for you at the wholesale price.

Thank you for your interest, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Mophead and Friends pattern page

Introducing ... Mophead and Friends!

These fast, fun little loveys are sure to gather lots of “awwwws” at a baby shower. Lots of snuggly fringe makes them popular with babies, while the “tuck in your back pocket” size is a hit with parents. Be sure to make more than one to prevent “lost lovey meltdown!”
Pattern includes directions for Mophead, Sleepy Lion, Fuzzy Flower, Shooting Star, and the abstract square.

Made from 1/3 yard cuts of fleece, these loveys are easy to pre-cut for customers who are looking for a quick project. They sell really well when displayed with samples of the finished loveys, so be sure to request some when you order.

Detail of my favorite design, Sleepy Lion.

Pattern includes detailed instructions and templates, and it is packaged in a resealable plastic bag (6"x9"), ready to hang and sell.

Wholesale price: $4.00/pattern

Suggested retail price: $7-$9, or whatever the market will bear in your area

Free shipping on your first order! Shipping charges for subsequent orders will be the actual charges for USPS Priority Mail to your destination.

For more information or to place an order, please contact Gretchen Woods at Lazy Mama Designs: lazymamadesigns (at) yahoo (dot) com.

NEW!! You can also place orders through my shop at - just convo me with a request, including the number of patterns you'd like to buy, and I can post a custom listing for you at the wholesale price.

Thank you for your interest, and I hope to hear from you soon!