Friday, July 31, 2015

Finished Object Roll Call: July 2015


Mielie Vest: This is a Me-Project. I had an urge to make myself some things lately. It was a long haul(not as long as some other projects....) but I'm super excited to use this in the coming fall months!

Black Socks: After the last pair of socks for me ended up too small, these are take two. These ones honestly feel a little big, but I'd rather too big than too small.

And two Christmas presents. Yep, that makes 7 out of  16 are done. And #8 is on the needles. 


I finally finished this full sized quilt. It came back from the quilter... awhile ago. I got the binding on and all done. It will be up on the Etsy page soon!

This is a mug rug for a swap. The unicorn is a little wonky, but I'm learning! 

If you'd like to see the FO's in progress, as they are completed, and some other random bits and pieces of life, follow me on Instagram!I also do GIVEAWAYS on Facebook.  You should go 'like' the page, be sure to be following it too! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Aloe Take Two

I discovered my first attempt at propagating aloe didn't take a few weeks ago. I set out to try again, this time with a few tweaks to the process.

1. I used a larger leaf. The other leaf I used was rather small, and just the tip of the leaf. This one I decided to try using the entire leaf.

2. I cut the leaf with a knit at an angle, as instructed by one youtube video.
 I also let the leaf 'dry out' before placing it in the soil. Many websites recommended allow the aloe to form a 'callous' on it's end before putting it into the soil. This is what mine looked like.

All the websites said the callous would be white, but mine wasn't. In fact the callous formed about 24 hours after the cut, and everyone said to wait 2 weeks for it to form. I waited two weeks, but it never changed the way it looked after the first 24 hours. 

3. I 'treated' it with honey. Honey is a natural anti-bacterial, so to avoid rot from bacteria attacking my aloe and to avoid buying 'root growing mediums' or 'root powders', I went with organic honey. I already had it on hand and at least one source said it would work just as well as the commercial stuff.

4. Instead of lying it in the soil, like some folks say you should do, I placed it upright in the pot. Like some other people say you should do.
And that's where I'm at. It's planted, upright, with honey, in a pot after waiting two weeks for it to 'dry out'. I will keep you all updated on how it goes in the future! 

p.s. I'm quite enjoying my little experiments. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Propagation Update

Here are the spider plants. I think they look bigger, maybe. They have definitely rooted. I found a website that said you can tell if a transplant has rooted by gently tugging it. I tugged, nothing happened, so they are rooted!

Here's the bright green plant. I think it has rooted. At least at each end, but not the middle. The tug trick pulls the middle, where the big leaves are, up but not the two ends. At the tip that was growing has gotten bigger, so that's a good sign right?

Monday, July 20, 2015

I was concerned about my reading...

This summer as I've been reading and recording the books I've been reading, I became slightly concerned with the amount of books I was reading. You see, I love reading and I read a lot. But according to my calculations, I am behind for the year.

Yes, I have not read as much this year as I have in years past. And it worries me. Odd, yes, but reading is something I love to do and if I allow myself to stop doing things I love, I become a very different, not so great, person.

Then a lightbulb went off in my head. I have been reading a lot more than is showing up on my books page.

As of this month, I have edited (which means I read them entirely) 34 books and papers on fivver. While some of them were 2 or three page papers, some of them were unpublished novels of over 100 pages.

So, while I feel like I'm behind with my reading, I think I really am not. I haven't kept track of page numbers on fiverr, but it should be near 1,000 pages in Word. The next step for me is to keep going, so I can build an awesome portfolio. Maybe one day I will read for a living!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Three On

I like knitting. I love it, in fact. I can't get enough of it and really wish there were more hours in the day for me to knit.

It's a bit unusual that I only have three projects on the needles right now. Yes, you heard right. Only 3. That has to be a record of some sort, I mean, I usually have at least 5, sometimes up to 10 going at once.

I've only got three on right now because I really wanted to finish projects. I like starting them, and I like working on them, but for awhile there I felt like nothing was actually being accomplished. Now that I'm down to three, I want to cast on again.

But not really.

Two of the project on the needles currently are blankets. And blankets take a long time for me. I really need to finish one of them, since it's been on the needles for over a year. It needs to be done and I can't have other things like new sweaters and Christmas presents distracting me from getting these big projects done.

I'm trying to determine if I'm more productive with less projects going on at once. I've heard rumors of folks who only have one project going at a time. I mean, they can actually cast on a project and NOT start any other project until they finish their current project. That's pretty dang impressive if you ask me.

If I cave and start casting on.... well. I guess it wouldn't be that bad because I still have a lot of Christmas presents to do. And I really want that new sweater.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

An Experiment

I like plants. I like gardens. I just like them.

Currently we don't have an outdoor space and I thought I would be okay with it. But, the further we get into our lease with this place, the more I notice that I miss having an out door space. So what do I do?

I decide to see if I can propagate some plants from the plants at my preschool. I had to move my pots from our neighbors patio, so I threw some of the bigger ones out, and thought that a couple of the smaller ones would work well for houseplants. I'm about two weeks into this project currently. Here's a couple of pictures of the plants as they are right now.

I don't know what type of plant this is, but it's a nice bright green color. I had one back in Utah that my mum tried to kill repeatedly, but never succeeded. 

These are Spider Plants. I'm super hopeful on these ones, because they were shooters from the original plant and already had started their roots out the bottom. After some research, I found out that Spider Plants are supposed to be really good at cleaning air, reducing the need for filters. 

I know, this looks like just a pot of soil. Look closely. There's an aloe leaf in there. According to the internet,it will eventually start roots out one side the side facing down in the soil, and the other side will grow the new plant. 

These are some rescued succulents. They have been around since before our trip at the beginning of June and are looking better than they did before. I'm calling them a success so far!

This is a Baby Jade. It's supposed to be easy care (like the succulents and aloe). This is another plant that I chose because it was a shooter already developing roots and looking for a place to grow!

Finally, here's another picture of the first plant. That little stem coming up out of the soil wasn't there when I first tried to propagate it. I think it's a good sign, right?

The succulents and Baby Jade are in the living room, and for now the rest are in the Craft room on the windowsill. I will move them around once they all get established a lot more. While they are baby plants still trying to get their roots in and start actually growing, I will keep them all right in the windowsills.

I also am attending a class on propagation in the next week, and will hopefully learn some good pointers to help these plants all grow up and be awesome!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Curls Project: Cerise

I took a small hiatus from working on the Curls Project while I finished up some other knitting projects. (Mielie vest, socks, blankets.) But am happy to say that I am back on track.

The next project in the book is Cerise. I've decided to use some yarn that I received in a swap (again. Those swaps are fabulous for trying out new yarns). It's HauteKnitYarn SW Merino DK. The name of the colorway escapes me at the moment, but it's got lots of lovely dark colors in it.

So far I've cast on and done two repeats of the pattern. Honestly, it took me three tries to get it to work out. It's going to take a little more brainpower than the last one took because, I have to actually count on this one. Unless... I try out stitch markers to keep my place... that might actually work. 

If you'd like to follow progress you can check out my Ravelry Project page for Cerise. You'll get more info on it here on the blog, but there you can check how far I've gotten on it as I work on it. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Finished Object: Mielie Vest

After giving some thought to how much information to provide to folks about costs and time invested in the items in my shop, I came up with a brilliant idea. Featured Projects!

Tada! Occasionally, when I remember, I will post the vital stats of a project that I've made, including the amount of materials used, cost of materials, and hours invested into the item. Not only will this allow folks to see how much goes into a project, it will hopefully give some of you all an idea of what to expect if you were to choose to make the project yourself.

First up: The Mielie Vest
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Sierra in Carmel nearly 5 skeins- sorry folks, this is a discontinued yarn.
Notions: Giant Snaps, I used 5 because.... it's 5.

Date Started: March 1, 2015
Date Completed:

Cost of Pattern: $5.50
Cost of yarn: Free :it was given to me by a friend.
Cost of Buttons: $12.65, but I had three left over so... $7.90
Total Cost (not including labor):  $13.40

Total Hours Invested: 27


Notes- I made the collar shorter than the pattern called for, because I'm short. And I was super worried about running out of yarn. I had been gifted a lot of yarn, and sold about half of it thinking I would still have plenty to finish the project as written. When I finished I had grams of yarn left in a ball, so I could have made the collar a little longer had I wanted to.

I was not a fan of the faux side seam, so I just ignored those instructions, as did many others on Ravelry.

Also, I am not a fan of sewing a lot on a knitted item. I mean, I sew yeah, but knitting is different for me. It shouldn't be sewing. So, anyway.... I made the pockets no sew. 31 rows from the end, I knit front and back into the first and last 32 stitches of the round, then transferred the knit front stitches to scrap yarn, and used the knit back stitches to carry on with the rest of the sweater.

 Before doing the bottom ribbing, I went back and picked up the stitches on the yarn, and followed the pocket directions, in reverse. Instead of decreasing, I increased stitches. When I got to the end of the pocket I let it sit while I did the other pocket.

Once they were both done, I started the ribbing on the bottom by knitting the pocket stitches together with the body stitches, like you would for a three needle bind off, just not binding off. Then when the time came to do the button bands, I just picked up through both the body and the pocket stitches, the same as you do at the neck band. No-sew pockets!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I'm In Love- Three Irish Girls Yarn

Recently I received some yarn as part of a swap package. And I just love it so much, I had to share.

For those of you who are following along with the Curls Project, you may recognize this yarn. It's what I used to knit Caesious, the first Curls. 

It's Three Irish Girls Glenhaven CashMerino Sock. I'm hoping that all of their yarns are as great as this yarn, because once I have some hustling money saved up, I'm ordering some more. 

As John and I drove to a wedding in Florida and back, I worked on the shawl. I just kept falling more and more in love with the yarn. I told John that it was really... squishy. And I made him feel it, he described it as "springy".  I'm not sure what else to use to describe the hand of it, it just was squishy as the fabric began to really take form

It's also quite soft, even before blocking. I always get a little nervous about blocking yarn that I really like since blocking can sometimes change the feel of a yarn. However, with this yarn I had wasted my worrying. It's just as soft and springy and squishy as it was before blocking. Bonus- it really holds blocking well. What used to be a scrunched up looking shawl is now a beautiful open shawl. 

Before Blocking

After Blocking

Now, I can highly recommend this yarn. That is, the Glenhave CashMerino Sock. 5 Stars. Once I have a chance to try out some more of their yarns I will update you all on them! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Selling Your Hair Online: My Experience

I'd heard rumors, you know. Rumors that people will actually buy your hair. They pay you to cut your hair and send it to them.

I'd heard rumors that many of the charity sites that people send their hair to actually throw away the hair they receive, or they sell what they receive for profit. Then use that profit to pay themselves and keep the 'charity' running.

I'd heard rumors, so I of course wanted to know if they were true. After scrutinizing all the information on a website for one of the popular charities, I decided that the rumors were true-ish. Something fishy was definitely up, the wording was a bit off on a lot of things, especially FAQ pages.

So I decided to sell my hair, just to see what would happen.
I haven't cut my hair in almost a year. I was also blessed to get what my family calls "Taysom Hair", from my Maternal Grandmother. Really thick hair. Every time I get it cut, I warn the stylist before they start cutting that there is a lot of it. And every time, they get about halfway through the cut and pause to say, "Wow, you have a LOT of hair." I reached the point (long ago) where my hair was starting to drive me crazy because it was getting too long for me. I don't want to chop it off, just get rid of enough to be comfortable again. The sites I looked at said that you could successfully sell 8 inches, so that wouldn't be too bad. And I wouldn't have to spend half an hour blow drying anymore, that is, if I last half an hour sitting in the bathroom with a hair dryer aimed at my hair while I can't do anything else. (You know I'm a multi-tasker, and something as dull as drying hair NEEDS a distraction.)

I figured that maybe, this might actually work. So I listed it.

First off, almost every website I checked said I could list 'for free'. But then they broker the sale and keep a cut of the money you earn. The one I decided to go with charged $14 to list, but did not require an fee or percentage cuts after that.

Within 24 hours I had an "offer".

Let's fast forward a few weeks: About a dozen offers. None of them legit. NOT ONE. I had postponed getting a cut, I had PAID to get my listing up on the website, I had even stopped using the daggum blow dryer because it was recommended. I compared to other listings, I have more hair than them, plus it's blonde, a 'highly desirable color'. What the freak!

Here's the run down:

  • People saying they were very honest people, but couldn't use Paypal so they would send a "checque"/"Check"/"cheque" (all spellings were used in one email, fyi) FRAUD ALERT
  • A few asking for videos, or "the rights to your video". PORN ALERT. 
  • Some freaky dudes that my husband is convinced (and now I kind am too) are "old dudes living in their parent's basement with a fetish for hair. Your hair." 
  • Some who insist they are honest buyers, with legitimate businesses, but refuse to submit up front payment. Meaning, they will get you to cut your hair, mail it to them, and probably never ever pay you for it. 

Finally, there was a category of "I love it, and I want to buy... but it's too short." I made a list of these folks, with their consent and re-contacted them when I decided that I was willing to really chop off my hair. First it had grown almost 1.5 inches since I listed. So I could really up the length. As in 15 inches of it. I was that sick and tired of my hair.

And, well. Turns out a lot of them weren't really serious buyers. One is still spamming me with "Sell it yet?" emails offering me less money than it cost to post the ad and pay for a haircut.

What did I do? I cut it. 9 whole inches. 65 grams (yes I did weigh it). My wonderful hairdresser, Vicki, gave me info on a charity that is legit to send it to. I haven't sent it in yet (vacation and thesis writing got in the way) but it's ready to go.

My advice? Don't sell your hair online unless you:

  1. Have more than 12 inches to sell
  2. Have never dyed or permed your hair. You will get more $ for this. Even more if you don't use straighteners, blow dryers, or anything else that heats your hair up. 
  3. Are prepared to deal with a lot of SPAM, SCAMS, and SHADY folks. ( I honestly believe at least 2 people who contacted me were producers of fetish porn, and at least one was some dude who has a hair fetish and wanted my hair to do who knows what with)
  4. Take the precaution of creating an alternate email account that you will use for the contact email for the sellers. 
  5. Are willing to postpone cutting for up to 3 months while the listing is active.
  6. Would be willing to negotiate on length and price paid for your hair. Although I listed a specific length, 90% of offers came in as "Would you cut more" or "I'll pay $$ if you cut to your ears". 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

June Hustling- Some Old and then Some New Tricks

Back in April I wrote a little post about trying out hustling. I haven't stopped since then, but decided I probably shouldn't keep blabbing about my personal finances online all the time. BUT I did conclude that if something new works, and works well for me, I should happily share it so others may try it out and see if it works for them.

June, the best month ever for hustling so far. Even with a break that lasted an entire week in the middle of it. I made over $300 in hustling for June.

First off, I cashed out in Swagbucks. I had enough to cash out $150, but only took out $100. This was so we could have a little extra money to work with while on our vacation (aka souvenir yarn). So that counts toward this month's hustling income, even though it took well over a year for me to reach that point. Swagbucks is not a get rich quick scheme, it's more of a drop in the bucket each day will eventually fill the bucket earner.

Second, I kept going with Fiverr. I truly believe that the longer I'm on Fiverr, and I do my absolute best on every gig I get, that the positive reviews and word of mouth will help my 'business' grow. I've had several repeat customers, and new ones come in weekly. Sometimes they come in daily.

I also adjusted my pricing on fiverr to better reflect my skill set, as well as pay me better for my time. I was a little nervous to do this, just like I was with the Etsy shop, but I did it. If anything I'm getting more business after the price raise.

Finally, my big money maker this month: Tutoring.

Yes, tutoring. I used to tutor and it was a terrible experience. This time around has been much better so far. Why? Because I set a price and said it was non-negotiable. Of course, I was nice about it, making sure I clearly stated my qualifications so they know why they are paying what they are paying. The client is much older than my previous ones, so the client could sign the contract on their own, as well as the parents signing the contract. (Yes, I have a tutoring contract. It protects me from having a repeat of the original tutoring disaster.) I also feel like when I explain a concept, the client actually understand that sometimes you just have to learn something because it's expected, or that it seems like something useless but really you will use it all the time as an adult. (For example- pythagoreon theorem vs. times tables... one I don't even really remember what it was, the other I use at least weekly if not more.)

After gaining this client, I did the math and found out that if I were to take on a couple more clients at the current rate, I wouldn't necessarily have to get a day job upon completing my degree requirements (lab hours and the like, all done in July). However, tutoring can really wear on a person, so proceed with caution. Start with one or two clients to see how much you really like it. And if you need advice, shoot me a message and I will give you all you can get.

How do I find tutoring clients? No joke. I have looked into tutoring companies but the thing I don't like about them is that they take a cut of the money. And I'm not into that. Especially since every single one I looked at said I had to charge $X to start, and then if I build up a client base then I could start charging more after approval, or something. And that $X? Well, let's just say I'm making more per hour in my assistantship as a graduate student.