Tuesday, October 18, 2016

All About My Crafting (and an Etsy shop coupon code!)

(All photos in this post are items that are currently available in my 
Etsy shop, Ordinary Lovely.  
You can click RIGHT HERE to check it out!)

Blogging has sort of taken a back seat for me lately...  I may have a few posts up my sleeve for this fall and winter, but I've been blogging long enough though to know that I should never write that out loud ;)  Those posts in my head, or up my sleeve... whatever... may never happen and I'm mostly ok with that.  I miss blogging a lot, but can't make it a priority right now since it's not one of my priorities. Hmm...  Family life, homeschooling, and dealing with all the produce we get from our CSA every week have been almost all-consuming.

Crocheting and sewing - that's what I've been doing in my snippets of free time lately.  And I wanted to tell you a little about it :)

I've had an Etsy shop since 2011, I think?   I was inspired to start it while on an Opus Dei retreat, when the name/concept came to me during a quiet moment.  Well, all the moments were quiet because it was a silent retreat, but you know what I mean.  I prayerfully considered the name "Ordinary Lovely" not only as a way of life, but as a vision for a shop that sold Catholic Saint dolls (that's what I started with) as a way to make the Faith an everyday encounter for young people.  

My shop is still "Ordinary Lovely," and the name and idea has obviously grown to include my blog and Instagram account.  The concept is the same though - we are called to sanctity and life in Christ through even our most ordinary efforts and moments.  

For me, spending time sewing, crafting, and crocheting is just me being me.  It's always been a part of who I am and what I love.  It's one of the interests and skills I've been given.  I think God expects me to use it - to delight myself, to spread cheer, to serve and celebrate others, and to glorify Him in small, ordinary ways.  

I recently answered some questions for a short "interview" about me and my craft... I thought I'd share some of it here with you :)

How did you start/learn your craft?  I've literally been "making" things for as long as I can remember, and I have this "embroidery" project from 1986 as proof.  (I was 7.)  

My mother sewed clothes and was an avid cross-stitcher, so there was always fabric, floss, and needles around the house that I could use.  She taught me how to use a sewing machine and I remember making stuffed toys and easy skirts when I was in middle school.   I also recall having unfettered access to the family glue gun, which I used for all manner of projects.  

I learned to crochet while I was a Residence Director at Franciscan University.  Some of my staff would host learn-to-crochet programs in my apartment for our dorm residents and I guess I picked it up!  It sort of fell by the wayside until I was expecting my fourth child and nesting manifested itself in a need to do something with yarn.  Now.  So I started making baby hats, and after that learned quite a bit more about special stitched and following patterns from YouTube and trial and error!

I still enjoy both sewing on my machine and crocheting.  I tend to crochet more though, since it's a craft that I can take with me on the go, and that I can do in the living room, in the midst of family life (as opposed to squirreled away in my attic sewing room.)

What inspires you in your work?  Where do you get your ideas?  I typically get ideas based on what I'd like to see or use in my own home or what I'd like my children to have among their own playthings and keepsakes.  Growing up we had so many handmade items in our home from both of my grandmothers and my own mother (clothes, crocheted sweaters, toys, wall hangings, ornaments, etc...)  Living with so many handmade things made ordinary items more meaningful.  It made everyday, practical items lovely to behold and use.  Now that I have my own home and family, if I need or want anything (a kitchen apron, a baby bib, a child's toy, etc...) I tend to think, "I'd love to have one around that's handmade and meaningful, rather than a generic one from a big box store."  My heart smiles when I see my kids play with their handmade toys, wear the aprons I made,  or clean up a spill with a crocheted dishcloth.  I  wouldn't experience that same enjoyment over a factory-made/store-bought toy, apron, or dishcloth.  

What distinguishes your product from others that are similar to it?  What makes your product unique?  My products are unique because they are always changing.  I tend to have a short attention span when it comes to crafting, so I'll really dig into something and produce a lot of it, and then I'll get interested in something else and move on.  I've tried mass producing one particular product for sale, but for me, that lack of variety and creativity makes me very weary and grumpy.   I LOVE creating, but NOT under those circumstances.  Earlier this year I relaunched my Etsy shop as a way to supplement our income after a job change for my husband.  But my work isn't serving my family if it makes me a grumpy wife and mom, a distracted home schooler, or a neglectful housekeeper, so I'm often trying something new to keep my skills and attitude fresh (I'm hoping to teach myself knitting via YouTube after the first of the year!).  

The items I offer are perhaps distinguished from other like them for two reasons.  First, I usually only sell things that that have been a hit in my own home or with my family and friends.  Most of what I sell has been "field-tested" so to speak!  Secondly, and I do not intend for this to sound smug (!), I love everything I make!  I feel like it's a good sign for my business when I'd happily keep everything I've made.  When I send something off to a customer, I'm confident it's a good product - one that's been tested in my own home (often by rough and rowdy kids) and one that I'd happily keep and use if no one else wants it ;)  

Where do you sell your product?  Items currently for sale are listed at OrdinaryLovely.etsy.com .  I also accept customer requests/orders as busy life allows.  You can see snippets of what I'm working on and items listed in my shop on my Instagram account, Ordinary Lovely.  

Please feel free to browse my shop!  Blog readers get a special discount until the end of October because I love you guys!  Use coupon code READERSSAVE10 to take 10% off your order.  Coupon is good until October 31.  
Happy crafting!  

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