I want to get Sudsy!

Set of 3 crocheted washcloths available of Coffee & T!

I love crocheted and knit washcloths. The idea of using a sponge to do dishes grosses me out. Maybe it’s because of all of the male roommates I’ve lived with who would pollute the sponge with meats and fatty junk; or maybe because sponges at work in the kitchen ALWAYS reek. One time, while having dinner at a bosses house, his wife told me that using the same towel more than once irked her. GERMS….That got me thinking and I have permanently switched over to washcloths.

Tara prefers to use her washcloths in the bathroom, rather than the kitchen.  She thinks they are too pretty to waste on dishes, but why not have both!  Make washing your face AND your pans prettier. I think I got her with the eco part (reusable/washable).  She’s very good to the environment.

My friend, Christine, always has the cutest things in her kitchen.  Embroidered dishcloths, adorable dishes, pretty cups.  A cute kitchen is one you want to be in.

Set of 3 washcloths at Coffee & T

Now that my home drawer is full of them, I want to share the love!  Tara and I have both been putting some sets together for our store, Coffee & T, but I want to go one step further.  I want to learn to make soap!

I’ve been searching the web for good recipes and fun methods for a one girl kind of operation  (two girls when Tara moves to NYC 🙂  ).  I found one person’s blog that I think is a LOT of fun: Soap Deli News.  There are link for shopping for homemade soaps, such as: Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen. She sells beautiful soaps!  Soap Deli News also has a blog on packaging and some recipes!  I think this may be a new weekend project for me!

So, if anyone out there makes there own soap, wants to partner with some washcloth makers for gifts or has some good recipes to share, feel free to comment below and we can help each other out!

As for now, I will be making more washcloths.  We go through a lot in my house with a husband who likes to cook as much as mine! (This is worshiping, not complaining!)

 

 

Didja Miss Me??

Since this is my first solo post for a while, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Everything.

I am in one of those strange transitional periods where I don’t know where I’ll be in six months, so there’s been lots of “figuring out” to do.  “Figuring out” doesn’t leave much mental capacity for creativity, but the trip to Jersey and seeing CourT was a much needed respite from the stress.  CourTney is my viagra for creativity (sorry, Grandma).  I wonder if insurance would cover the next trip…?

Now I’m getting back into the swing of things, just in time to join in on the excitement over our new baby vegetable hats!  CourT made the most adorable baby tomato hat  (I would link to it but it already sold!) and soon-to-be listed pumpkin hat, and we’re working on many more!  Keep checking our store if you have a baby, know a baby, grow a baby, plan a baby, or act like a baby.  We’ll make those babies hats.  Babies love hats.

Day 3: Button Pairings & Pancakes

By CourTney & Tara

CourTney: Cowl Mania. AGAIN. I don’t joke. I finished 2 more today! I can’t stop. I have to put the knitting needles down but I can’t…

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The Yellow Cowl

It’s a good cowl though. I wanted to stripe it but didn’t want it to be too stripey. I wanted it to seem random, but trying to be random is very difficult. So Tara taught us all about the Fibonacci sequence. It’s a natural way to create a random look, but it’s completely not random. In knitting, you start with 1. Then add 1+1=2. then add 1+2=3, then add 2+3=5, then 3+5= 8, etc. etc. etc. Mathematical randomness.

The cowl is in a golden rod and silver grey. Very pretty. It will be listed in our store, Coffeeandt.etsy.com soon!

 

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Mismatched Buttons

Tara: CourT and I had been trying to figure out what we should do about selling the buttons we pressed last time she was in Ohio. Should we sell them as sets of three? Should they be cohesive or random? What will we do for photos in our listings? It may have taken us a few weeks, a chat with Brian, and a few of the Brownstone Diner’s Honkey Tonkin Pancakes, but we finally made some decisions!

Right at the table we assembled the sets into groups of three. I managed to snag a few really, really beautiful ones I had fallen in love with to wear as necklaces, (for advertising purposes, of course.) Tiffin tried to put the couple I set aside into a set and she might have lost a finger for it, I don’t know. I blacked out.

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Matched Buttons!

 

 

CourTney: But now we have a plan! (And everyone still has their fingers) Check out Coffeeandt.etsy.com to grab a set for yourself! They really are beautiful and three different necklaces for $5! You can’t beat that.

 

 

 

So an exciting update at Coffee & T! I’ve been checking out our visitors and we’ve had visitors from Brazil and Canada, along with a whole bunch of US states!

Along with that, we can see what people search for to get to our store. Tara and I’s top favorites:

1. 1959 Nancy Drew books
2. berties closet coupon

Weird how the internet works.

Tara: Yeah, when I’m lying awake at night I think about all these people who are visiting our store and I imagine them saying how much they love our items in their accents. For example, in Canada: “no doot aboot it, that’s a nifty cowl, Eh? or Texas: “well golllllly! That’s a real purrrrrrrdy shop ya’ll got there!” or my favorite, Jersey: “yous got scaaaaves! I loves scaaaaaaves!!!”

So now I’m back in Ohio, and I have to say…I’m not too excited about it and I don’t think CourTney is either. I’ve abandoned her to do a TON of work for the store alone…photos, listings, shipping, store labels, finishing needle cases, and…it’s a lot for two people, let alone one with a full time job. It’s always so tough to leave her and especially when we have so much to do. Perhaps a relocation is in order?……hmmmmm…

Day 2: Junk, Pizza & Bier

By Tara & CourTney

$10 chairs

CourTney: Day 2 of Tara’s visit. The main adventure that I wanted to tackle on their visit was this random second hand store I past one evening while going to see the HB play in his band, LeafPile, at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. It was a really random shop with no sign and chairs sitting outside with $10 price tags. It could be a perfect store for an adventure…

As we (Mom, Lori, Tara and Brian) were leaving the apartment, Brian asked me the leaving the house checklist “sunglasses, yarn, keys, money?”  Yes.  Yarn is more important than keys and money, but without sunglasses, I won’t be able to keep knitting until I’m 102.  Gotta protect the eyes!  So, we hopped the train and started the journey.

 

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Best Slice in NYC!

Tara: I would like to briefly interject here and talk to you about pizza. CourT mentioned earlier that we went to Brooklyn, right? Well what is a visit to Brooklyn without a slice of thin crust? To all of my Ohio friends who think Hungry Howies is the best, you are wrong. See picture below…I know what I’m talking about here. Thin crust, chunky tomato sauce, huge slices of fresh mozzarella…put on your slouchy hats and ray bans and get yourself to Brooklyn!

Brian & CourT being Lost

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CourTney at JUNK

CourTney: After pizza, our mission…..finding the secondhand store.  As you travel through the city, you always see places and think, “I should come back here sometime.”  And everytime, you think your memory will serve you well, but mine just never quite does.  I guess that’s why they invented 4 square. So, even though I found this place alone, my HB was the one that knew where it was.  He is good at just knowing everything!

So we found it, with it’s fitting name: JUNK.  My mom went through the store saying, “Oh man!  We have a whole garage of this and of that.”  But Tara and I found the jackpot…

 

BUTTONS!

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Button Table at JUNK

 

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Tara picking buttons

 

 

Even though it was super hard not to buy every button I touched, I picked 4.  At 25 cents a button, I could sell my stash and make a LOT of money!  But then, I wouldn’t have a stash…

 

 

 

 

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Biergarten & Knitting

Tara: BIERGARTEN KNITTING BREAK
After a long day of walking, what could be better than a little R&R with some knitting and a cold beer? On the bottom floor of CourT’s apartment there is a bar with over a hundred different beer taps. CourT suggested I try one called Krusovice. It. Was. Awesome. A little coffee-like stout, but smooth and not bitter. After ordering, I pulled out some socks I was just beginning the pair for and CourT pulled out her chunky cowl and we got to chatting, sipping and knitting. We got a few odd looks while we sat at the bar but overall people looked upon us with interest. One guy even said to me in his Staten Island accent, “I’d have that thing in knots!” Upon which I said, “aw, it isn’t so bad!”After about an hour, CourT had almost all of her cowl finished and I barely had the top ribbing completed, but that’s just how how the old knitting sticks click.

More to come!

Tara visits!

We are back together, combining forces, defeating all of the NYC yarn shops! Tara is here.

20110813-082227.jpgMy mom, her friend Lori and Tara all hopped in a car and came for a visit. Yesterday, we attended the Lion Brand color class, for some tips to do color knitting work. For those who don’t knit, colorwork is when you look at a knit object, there is more than one color. It holding multiple stands of yarn, in a multitude of fashions to create different types of fabric. They demoed Intarsia, Double knitting, Fair Isle and Slip Stitch knitting. (These links are all different stores and blogs. All great, so check them out!) It was a standing room only class, but that got both of us excited and motivated to practice our color-work. Even if you know the skills of a class, sometimes it’s still great to know, to pick up new techniques.

Also, we stopped by a local boutique that deals with a lot of local artists, (along with national and international designers). The end goal is to get some sort of press kit together to talk to her about. Maybe she loves buttons too! Maybe my cowl mania will pay off…

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Checking out Union Square

We also did some non-knitting things. We started at the Union Square Farmer’s market. I took them all to some of my favorite interesting shops, to see some sites and to eat some great Indian food.

Today we are heading over to Chatham to visit The Stitching Bee. It’s a fun shop because everywhere you look, there is MORE YARN. It’s a lot like a grandma’s workshop. Then, we will be heading into Brooklyn for a great slice and a thrifty/flea market store.

So, that’s all for now. But cross your fingers about the local boutique. That would be exciting!

Cowl Mania!

Some days you just need instant gratification. Working on a sweater, blanket or shawl is nice, but some days you just need to feel accomplished.

Welcome to my week.

The good part about making a cowl is that they are simple, you get to use fun, colorful yarns and try out new stitch patterns.

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Mesh Cowl

I just bought the new (to me) Vogue Knitting Stitchionary 5, “Lace.” I’ve been dying to try out and experiment with some of the lace work, so my current cowl is made of a lightly variegating yarn in a nice mesh pattern. You can buy it soon at Coffeeandt.etsy.com. Right now, I have a handful of cowls and shortie scarves posted.

The second thing I like about making cowls, is they are perfect train company. Mine are done on circular needles that are very short. I tried knitting a bag once on the train with very long metal needles. My neighbor was not happy and after a few stitches, I realized it was not a smart choice to have long pointy needles so close to other people’s faces. I got the “New York” glare. (Traditionally, I find New Yorkers to be passive aggressive, “huffer and puffers” and eye rollers; not outwardly aggressive…BUT there is always an exception to the rule. And you don’t want to be sticking pointing needles on a moving train in that person’s face…)

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Honeymoon Yarn Cowl

The final part about this cowl fever is it’s been a great stash dash. I have been using up a lot of random arty yarns that I got because I loved, but “didn’t have a project” for yet.

A lot of the yarns in my stash that just aren’t right for clothing articles that you would wear as a main piece, but they are perfect for cowls. They will add that pop of color you need on a dreary winter day, is solved. It’s sad when your stash becomes so big that going through it is like going to the yarn store and discovering “new” treasures… Trust me, it’s a good thing for me to use some of it up.

For example:  While on my honeymoon in Amsterdam, my HB picked out a yarn he wanted for a scarf….Little did we know, it knitted into a rainbow!  Now, he’s all about fun colors and crazy yarns, but it was a little too much.  So (in the picture above) I finally knitted it up this week into a fun cowl.  I am sure there is someone out there who loves rainbows!  I got Brian a nice tan yarn as a replacement…

So, if you need some instant gratification, I suggest a cowl! (Or if you don’t knit, pick one up at CoffeeandT.etsy.com!)

 

 

 

Social Life? Oh yeah!

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My Summer Vest

For the past few weeks, I’ve been very involved in crafting. I worked on sewing all of the crochet hook and knitting needle bags, Tara and I prepared in Ohio. I have been doing great with my finishing up my knitted UFOs (unfinished Objects). I am almost done with the summer vest I talked about in the last post (FO Joys), I finished 3 cowls (which will be posted on Coffeeandt.etsy.com soon!) I just got a delivery of 1000 new buttons to press! On top of all of this exciting crafting, I’ve been trying to keep our store’s stock current.  I just added 6 new items to the store: An Autumn Cowl, A baby Tomato Hat, A new Button Cowl, Our Market Bags (that we started at my grandma’s), a beaded bracelet, a new new “shortie” scarf (designed a little longer as created via request from my mom and grandma.)

(And did I mention I have a real world job, that seems to collide with knitting time…)

I actually had a great weekend that wasn’t fully knitting. I met two girl friends for brunch, Kaitlyn and RBK. We continued on to a local yarn shop, Patricia’s Yarns, in Hoboken. It was the store’s 7th birthday. It’s run by a young married couple. It’s nice because even the husband, who doesn’t knit, is totally into their shop and helping you pick out yarn.

RBK's first cowl

RBK bought her first skein of yarn to learn to knit. She has moderately expensive taste (and good taste!) right off the bat, but it was on sale…So that makes it ok, right?  She choose a nice Alpaca-Wool Blend in a super bulky. Her goal: To make a cowl. I found a couple of random colored balls that I also thought would make nice artsy cowls. (One of them is the Autumn Cowl)

On Sunday, I taught her to do a knitted cast-on, K2 P2 (knit 2 purl 2) ribbing and then stockinette stitch. She did great!

 

Though I love to lose hours in knitting, it was a great weekend that was out and about.

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Coffee & T Packaging

This morning, I like to think because of the good karma I received from spreading the gift of knitting, we made our first sale in our shop Coffee & T! I was so excited, that when I got the email at 6am, I bounced out of bed and began to put together our packaging.

I made washing instruction tags and I wanted to attached them to the item, without harming the item.I just bought new package of clothespins, so I added my favorite stamp, “knit happens.”  Our packaging has been born.

 

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Coffee & T Labels

I also made new shop labels to sew in the items. I used printable fabric sheets to print our logo on. I then infused the fabric onto a nice thick ribbon. The HB said it was still missing something, so I added some stitch work around the edges. It looks just crafty enough, but I like it.

Hopefully this is a blooming beginning to our etsy store!

Visit: CoffeeAndT.etsy.com

FO Joys!!

Hello world,

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My First Completed Sweater

 

I finished my first sweater and I’m so excited! The sweater is a Lion Brand pattern: Sketchbook Cardigan.  I used The LB Collection Superwash Merino in Dijon.  My sweater took a little under 4 full skeins.

I have the FO Bug! (FO = Finished Object.) I have a small basket of UFO’s (UnFinished Objects) that need completing. I am ready. I am motivated!

 

 

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My Summer Vest

I started a vest during my summer beach vacation, which was what I was knitting during the first post on this blog. That’s my next big project to complete. The pattern: Diagonal Front Vest is from Vogue Knitting magazine, summer 2011. This is a great issue of Vogue Knitting if you are looking for some cute cotton patterns to knit up.  I choose the Lion Brand Cotton Ease in Yellow.  (Lion Brand had a good sale, which is why they are getting all the love in this post.  It easy to get lives in NYC, and it’s affordable.)

 

 

It seems that the FO Bug is spilling over past knitting and into life in general.  Before work picks up in the next month, I’m trying to get everything wrapped up.  Cross all of my T’s and dot all of my I’s.  I have a couple videos to finish editing, a wedding scrapbook to complete before my first anniversary of August 28th, some labels to make for Tara and I’s Etsy Store: Coffeeandt.etsy.com.

Yesterday, our iPad cases were featured on Toxel.com for interesting/unique cases.  Check it out!

So, while I am busy finishing the unfinished, I hope this helps you get motivated to do the same!

 

The time to post is now?

So, during the past few weeks, there has been a crafting frenzy:  bags, tomato hats, hair pins, pressed flower pins and necklaces…The list goes on.

But now I am coming to a new dilemma.  Making a sale.  I am hoping that our store will catch on once it’s a shopping season.  The only problem is, the listing we pay for on etsy are only good for 3 months, and then we have to pay again, to re-list it.  So, Is it worth listing now, when everyone is really out enjoying the sunshine and not internet shopping or is it a good investment to list items as soon as possible?

Obviously if I don’t list anything, nothing will sell.  Then our apartment will get more stacks of items.  (On chairs, in baskets, under pillows, in closets, on desks, on counter tops…)  So profit will automatically =$0.

But on the flip side, I list now, say 10 new items.  That’s 10 new chances of making a sale and keeping our store on top, with new items.  However, that’s fees on 10 items and they won’t be new at potential shopping season.

So the thought remains….To list or no to list?

Grandma’s stash

Sewing Market Bags

Tara and I have been staying with my grandma for a few days now. Tara, my mom and I went  treasure hunting, looked through pressed flowers for pin back buttons and other pieces of jewelry.  Next on the list: sewing.

I found a great pattern for making fold-able market bags from 1977.With a little bit of updating, they were perfect for what we wanted to make.

Tara said “They were green before it was cool to be green!”  I love how no matter what the style or object, fashion is just a large circle.  If you keep it long enough, it will be wearable/usable again.

Along with the market bags, we also planned to make knitting needle and crochet hook cases.  These will be the first additions to our store that other knitters/crocheter may be interested in.  (What knitter wants to buy another knitter’s wearable, when they can just knit it themselves?)  I hope it’s at least interesting/inspiring to other knitters.

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Grandma's Motto

We began to scour my grandma’s cupboards for fabric to use in all of our endeavors. We found dresses from my childhood that were made of pretty fabric my grandma couldn’t get rid of,  lots of denim and lots of American fabrics. My grandpa used to dress as  Uncle Sam and ride his wooden horse in all of the holiday parades.  So that explained the whole section of American prints.

As we dug, my grandma said with a smile, “Now, you girls are ruining my chances!”

“Chances for what?” we replied.

“Whoever dies with the most fabric wins! ” she said pointing to a sign in her stash closet. …I think she was serious.  We replied again, “No grandma, you’ll still be in the running, after we clear out!”

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Finished Market Bags - check out Coffeeandt.etsy.com to purchase!

So, we cut, threaded, aligned and sewed for two days, trying to get the stash of fabric we chose down to a smaller pile so my husband wouldn’t have to move out when I took it all home (due to a lack of space in our 1 bedroom apartment). My grandma suggested space bags, the bags that you can suck out all of the air to take up less space. “Then he won’t notice how much you bring back with you!”

Before I left town, Brian’s friend asked him, “What are you going to do when she comes home with an Aztek full of crafts?” Brian replied, like the loving supporting husband he is, “I only need my instruments, so we’ll clear more space.”  And that’s what he did. When I finally took the drive back home, I came home to a clean, de-cluttered home: Ready for my 15 bags of fabric, flowers, yarn and so on….

So, to wrap up my wonderful trip back to Ohio, that makes me think I could leave my job and craft for the rest of my life, because who needs money?…or food?…or electricity….oh wait.  My sewing machine does.

EITHER WAY.  I had a great time spending 5 or 6 days with my grandma, Tara and my mom, Tiffin.  It’s so motivating and inspiring being around so many wonderful women.  Maybe someday, I can stay home and craft.  Without the guilt of needing to paying bills.