Monday, March 29, 2010

You didn't think I'd skip the fundraising message here, did you?

This summer I'll be participating in a very special event called the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. I'll walk 60 miles over the course of three days with thousands of other women and men. But as crazy as that sounds, that's not the end of it ... or rather, that's not the beginning.

Because in order to survive walking 20 miles a day for three days, I have to train, and train hard. I'll be walking four times a week, every week, in every kind of weather, from now until the end of July. I'll be averaging more than 30 miles every week, for a total of more than 600 miles by the time I'm done. I'll be rearranging my schedule, fighting blisters and chafing and boredom, and dragging my 5-year-old "training partner" behind me in a wagon for part of it.

Why on earth would I do this to myself? Because net proceeds from the Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk are invested in breast cancer research and community programs.

I've been lucky so far - while breast cancer has touched the lives of my family and friends, so far it hasn't taken anyone I know. But unless something changes, it's only a matter of time. Consider these chilling facts:

- Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and is the leading cause of death among women worldwide.
- One person is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes in the United States.
- A woman dies from breast cancer every 68 seconds.

That's why I'm walking so far. To do something bold about breast cancer. With every step I take, I'll be helping to stomp out breast cancer. I hope that you'll share this incredible adventure with me - by supporting me in my fundraising efforts.

I've agreed to raise at least $2,300 in donations. So I need your help. Would you please consider making a donation of $60? Keep in mind how far I'm walking - and how hard I'll have to train. I'm hoping to complete my fundraising by June 1, 2010, so that I can more fully concentrate on training as the event approaches.

You can give online at Just follow the link below to visit my personal fundraising Web page and make a donation. You can also call 800-996-3DAY to donate over the phone.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Gretchen Woods

P.S. Ask your employer if they will double your donation through a matching gift program!

Click here to visit my personal page.
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Friday, March 26, 2010

Breeding like, well,

This is what happens when I decide to make destash Easter rabbits for my daughter's preschool class ... they take over! That's fourteen rabbits, including the two evil zombie twins there in the back row. I'm partial to the decapitated bunny heads in the front rows, and not just because they took half as long to make :)

Anyway, the pattern is loosely based on my Zombie Bunny crochet pattern, which you can find in my etsy shop here.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New tutorial: Changing color in the Zombie Bunny ears

I had a question from a customer about how to do the color changes on the ears in my Zombie Bunny pattern.

Since it's really easy to do, just hard to describe, I went ahead and made a photo tutorial on flickr. You can find it here.

Feel free to let me know if there are any other techniques you'd like to see - if I can manage to photograph them without growing an extra arm, I'll be happy to post the pictures!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Another thing to do with your kid's artwork

When Lazy Kid painted some lovely watercolor fruits this summer, I knew I was going to have to do something special to preserve them for posterity. One scan, 10 minutes of editing/cutting/pasting, and less than an hour of sewing later, I've got two new placemats for our table.

I used the inkjet-ready, colorfast cotton pages you can find at most sewing and craft stores. I set my printer to print photos at the highest quality, and they turned out pretty sharp:

After I got the Lazy Kid fabric printed, I dug out some of my favorite stash, which I've used to make curtains for my last two kitchens, and which happened to coordinate perfectly with the colors of the fruit. Score!

I sewed strips onto three sides of the art to get it to be the right height for a placemat, then sewed the larger block onto the side to make it the right width. Grabbed some coordinating fabric scraps for the back, found some batting that was just large enough to work, and made myself an inside-out (quilt) sandwich. Stitched around the outside but left an opening for turning, turned it right side out, then topstitched around the edge to help it lay flat and close the turning opening. Topstitched around the Lazy Kid art to help it lay flat, and it was done!

Now, the fabric I printed at home is only "washable," not actually washable, so I'm going to have to Scotchguard the living heck out of these before I let Lazy Kid anywhere near them. But once that's done, I have hopes that these will be cheering our table for the rest of the summer!

Friday, March 12, 2010

This cracks me up

I've known about guerilla knitting for awhile now, but I never thought I'd see it in Cape May.

Props to my parents for pointing this one out to me.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

That sound you hear is me pounding my head on the desk

As I think I've mentioned before, I have opened a second shop on etsy to sell my photos and related products. If you're not reading this through a feed reader, you can check out some of my new items over there <-- on the sidebar of the blog.

Getting this sucker ready to go has taken way more time and effort than I expected. After all, I already took the pictures - how hard could it be to get them listed? I didn't want to bother just listing one or two photos - nothing looks sadder than a store that's practically empty - so I wanted to be ready to populate it quickly when I was ready to go. That means that for the past few months, I've been going back through every digital photo I can locate, copying the ones I thought might be worthy of selling, and then winnowing the selection down to something reasonable.

I've been researching other etsy sellers to determine pricing, and shipping costs, and what sizes and products I might want to carry. I've been playing around with some different ways to present the photos, things that might set me apart from the 14 million other people shilling photos on etsy.

I've been editing the photos, cropping and color correcting and adding watermarks to keep the deadbeats from stealing my stuff.

And I've been procrastinating. The period of uncertainty at the beginning of any project is the worst for me ... I hate not knowing what I'm doing, I hate having to make decision after decision relating to things I know little about. If I could wave a magic wand and it could be DONE, that would be so much less stress-inducing. But that, of course, isn't possible, so instead I've just been ignoring it. I've been getting lots of knitting done, and cooking, and the house has been pretty clean for the past couple of months.

Until last week, when I realized that the two hours each week that I'm stuck sitting at the nature center while my daughter takes a science class is the perfect time for me and my laptop to have some quality time together. Two hours each week when I can focus, without any phones ringing or kids calling or wash that needs to be done.

I've been getting lots done, but my god, is it tedious.

open picture
edit to 5x7
correct color
save file
add watermark
shrink file
resave file
open etsy listing
copy and paste most of the description
manually select pretty much all the same options for the rest of the listing where I can't cut and paste
import pictures
save listing

I just took a bathroom break to relieve the monotony - that's how boring it is.

But at the same time, it's really cool to go back through the files, picking the best of the best, seeing all the places we've been and things we've seen. Even if I never sell a single print, I've got some damn fine photos, and that makes me proud.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Proud of my princess

Lazy Kid is almost 5 now, so I figured it was time for her to try her hand at embroidery. Here she is with her first piece, about half of which she completed on her own, with my only help being to hold the hoop for her while she handled the needle and thread:

We used some leftover Aida cloth I had in my stash, and some perl cotton that my mother got at a yard sale or something (because I know I didn't buy it). We used a slightly sharpened tapestry needle - basically, whatever I could find that had an eye large enough for the cotton but was still small enough to fit through the holes in the cloth.

I got her started, making the knot and showing her how to handle the needle safely and make the stitches roughly where she wanted them. I did a cross for the center of the flower, and she filled in the rest. I did one leaf, she did the rest. I started the sun, she finished it. She was patient, moving the needle around until it came out exactly where she wanted. And she knew exactly what she wanted, specifying when I had to change the thread colors for her and even asking how to take out one stitch that didn't work the way she wanted it to.

And when she was done "drawing with string," she insisted that she had to sign her work. I did the "Z" and "A" in her name, and she did the rest.

I am unbearably proud of her. Now if she'd just show any interest in doing it again ...