Tag Archives: homemade

There is still time to buy handmade for the holidays!

16 Dec

One of the many joys of buying handmade and direct from the person who makes and ships your goodies, is that you usually have a wider window for shopping when there are deadlines involved….

I’m finding that many domestic US sellers on Etsy.com are shipping orders placed by 12/17 in time for the holidays…  I am one of them and you can find me here: CleverGirl.Etsy.com

My top tips for buying handmade with the shipping windows closing:

COMMUNICATE.  Check communication the seller may have left for you- check shop announcements and always check their profile on Etsy.com – lots of shop policy info and sometimes some fun info about the artist can be found in the individual’s profile….

If you don’t see the info you need- click contact and send them a message and be sure to include: the item(s) you are interested in, when you need it to arrive, and where you need it to go (city,state, zip are helpful!)…
I have added a priority shipping upgrade to my shop but it must be purchased as an “item” as Etsy doesn’t allow for us to have multiple shipping speed options and prices within a listing and I’m busy packing up orders to head out tomorrow and I just don’t have the time to go in and edit 100+ listings…

Of course, my dear blog readers, if you buy before noon tomorrow (12/17/2007) and put “beclever” or “blog” or something that lets me know you read this in the “notes to seller” area when checking out of Etsy, I’ll upgrade you at no charge (so don’t add that Priority shipping upgrade listing to your cart!)  to USPS Priority…

Also, as someone who has worked retail and done lots of shipping over the years, please keep in mind that once a package has left a seller’s hands and is in the hands of the US Postal Service there is nothing they can do to change or speed up the delivery of your package- so if you want it faster let us know- I can do 3, 2, or overnight via FedEx (make sure you allow for 24 hours in addition to the delivery/shipping times as I do need to pack up your goodies) at an additional charge- many folks can and are happy to help with such details…

Also, at the risk of sounding a bit cranky (from when I worked in shipping for a major US toy store way in the past…I still have flashbacks :-) please do not lambaste the person you purchased an item from (or leave them negative feedback)  if there is foul weather, and if the post office takes longer than their “suggested” time on first class mail and priority mail this time of year- they do not guarantee delivery dates on those types of packages.  Once a package is out of our hands, and it has been labeled and shipped properly, it really is in the hands of our friendly postal workers!


Let’s all do our part (read the instructions, ask questions, and not expect anyone to be a mind-reader… I think that goes for everyone this year- buyers, sellers, husbands, wives, parents, kids, etc….)   to keep all of our increased stress levels to a minimum and let’s all work together all year to make the holidays more enjoyable and less stressful!


Group hug.

Peace out.

Always be clever. 



Last year’s card…

10 Dec

Last year’s card…

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

Ok- So I made this card for the baldguy last year…. He had a bunch of movies on his wishlist so I ordered a few and I’m the queen of themes and kits as gifts- so the ones I ordered all had Kevin Spacey in them…

So in the throes of insomnia I found a picture of Kevin Spacey and a very old free clipart picture of santa and a reindeer and did a little cropping and pasting…

Inside, on the left side of the card it said:

what’s in the box?

On the right side it said:
The greatest trick Santa Claus
ever pulled was convincing the
world he did not exist.

Have a Spacey Christmas!

It still makes me smile and I hope it made you smile as well….

There’s no place like gnome for the holidays….

31 Oct

Wow- what a day!


Gnome in Etsy’s The Storque!

and the Etsy Costume Contest results can be found here !

and if all of that wasn’t enough….

Lady Bracknell wrote a piece on her CleverGirl experience that really moved me (and she’s hilarious and witty and fabulous so check out her blog already!) and I may have to frame it (and laminate a copy for portability!)

Anyways, off to bed… I am spending the morning in the classroom trying to keep the crazed, costumed kids from staging a coup.



If you don’t gnome me by now….

26 Oct

Gnome hat…

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

Here’s the long story… There are more pics if you click on the flickr box on the right hand side of this page….

I wanted to make a safe and fun costume for my kid, with a heirloom quality hat (all of his Halloween costumes have, thus far, included a hat for his hat collection…I wanted to continue with that)

So how did this costume happen? Well, I have loved garden gnomes ever since I was a child and encountered my first one in the Lange’s garden…. Fast forward another 30 years and it finally pops into my head, “Eureka! I’m going to dress my kid as a Garden Gnome for Halloween!” My hubby suggested otherwise, he suggested we let Alex choose his costume this year (we had this discussion while trick-or-treating last year with our little pumpkin)… So I merely planted the seed in my little guy’s ear and since then he has been announcing his love for Gnomes. So here we are…

First I knit up a ginormous hat, in the round, completely freestyle on size 11 needles, I cast on 80-something or 90 something stitches, I decreased at uneven intervals… I can do basic knitting things and have done a few hats, really short scarves, and a couple of 1/2 shirts all because I’m really pretty lousy at following directions- I get bored and tend to wander off down another path… (this happens with everything. Yes, I do have clinically diagnosed ADD but even with treatment I think my spirit is a little too “free-wheeling”… I like to do-it-myself, in my own style…and I usually throw instructions away or read them once and let my brain and creativity fill in the rest)…

Anyways, so I was left with one gigantic hat (you can see the hat here before I shrunk it down): http://www.flickr.com/photos/clevergirl/1526739518/
just hit the back button on your browser to come back here)

Then I gave it a thorough fulling in the washing machine with some laundry soap (handmade laundry soap! thanks mugwortmaggies for making the best natural and handmade laundry soap- mmmmmm. pink grapefruit is my favorite!)

and it shrunk down to the size seen here- which fit perfectly on my little guy’s head (my kid, my hubby, and I are all bigheads)… I played with eyebrows and beard some more but I wasn’t happy even though the mohair from http://emmasdaughterdesigns.etsy.com was sublime! So I ordered more of this fabulous mohair (mill ends) from emmasdaughterdesigns and I slept on it for days…I took off the original beard I had made and went to town…

Eureka. Wet felting and fulling were great as a base but needle felting might let me get a little more detailed and textured- let me keep some of the smooth silkiness of the delicious mohair mill ends….

So I ordered a felting foam pad (thick enough so I could felt on my lap, while watching TV, and not poke the daylights out of my legs) and needles from http://woolpets.etsy.com

They arrived and I went to work… I redid the eye brows by needle felting (that delicious mohair again) and leaving the ends free and soft and shiny and fabulous (just like real old man-gnome eyebrows)….

So now you might be asking yourself- why on earth are the eyebrows on the hat and not on a mask portion or glued to the person wearing them? My little guy has sensory issues and he’s 4. I had the hat with the original brows and beard drying on top of my headless mannequin and my kiddo just lost it- I mean here we have this headless mannequin that he begins to accept as part of the decor and suddenly it looks like a faceless Santa Claus in the night shadows cast by the parking lot lights through the shutters… Eeeek! The good part about this is that there is no obstruction to the visual field (by the hat, by the beard it really depends on the person wearing it…your mileage may vary :-) so it’s a little safer, in that aspect, than a mask…

So I also cut off the original wet felted beard, chopped the ‘burns, and used it as a base for longer, more flowing (looking) locks and gentle waves of that (amazing) mill-end mohair….

Then another problem- how on earth was I going to get a kid who finds pants too cumbersome in the house to wear a beard? I wound up using an old, really hideous headband (a smooth, fabric covered one) as an open collar/choker…. I sewed (with white cotton and clear nylon thread) the beard onto this at the right height and perfection- it can easily be taken off and put on again, it leaves your mouth free (if you crane your neck up you could theoretically eat something with the beard on)….

I then knit a belt for him and used felted wool bits to make orange “buttons” (the belt closes by an “old school” windy button and string method) and a little hanging acorn at the end of the winding part….

I decorated a purchased watering can (hey, I’ve been in bed with a fever all week, I couldn’t make everything this year) and decked it out with vintage (30+ years old) wood mushrooms and green plastic sushi grass stickers (that I make and use on my packaging as well as sell in my shop on occasion)…The watering can serves as a treat pail for trick-or-treating adventures….

Throw on some 100% cotton leggings, a cotton henley a few sizes to big, and some crocs (we live in Florida, I didn’t want to put him in big boots and we can reuse the crocs when it isn’t cool down here by taking the faux fleece lining out)….

A nice perk of putting this together, aside from the obvious “doing something nice for my favorite kid” is that it took me out of my element and let me think differently, use my squash, use different muscles in my hands, and work with soft, fluffy things…. No, I will not be adding knit goods to my Etsy shop (aside from this costume, which is priced to accurately reflect the amount of work and time that went into this) but it’s certainly nice to have a hobby! :-)

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