Green Stockings Craft & Design

October 22, 2012

Freakin’ Awesome

Filed under: Uncategorized — GreenStockings Craft & Creative Events @ 5:58 PM

I came across this fabulous tutorial for removeable glass-clings made with clear vinyl tape from Lil’ Blue Boo when it was featured in One Pretty Thing.

It’s freakin’ brilliant!

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October 20, 2012

Katharine’s “Why Would I do this in my Slow Cooker?” Brunch Casserole

Filed under: Food — Tags: , , , — GreenStockings Craft & Creative Events @ 12:21 PM

This recipe is adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens Slow Cooker Recipe Book. It wants you to make it the night before, keep it in the fridge for 8 hours, and then cook it on low for 5 1/2 – 6 hours in the morning. I don’t know about you, but we don’t usually get up before 10am on weekends, and I didn’t really want to wait until 4pm to eat breakfast, or get up at 5am to turn the slow cooker on! So with the help of the cooking directions for bread pudding from the Looneyspoons Cookbook, I present to you the much faster Brunch Casserole:

Ingredients:

Per Person:
2 mild Italien sausages, casings removed
2 slices raisin bread (you might want to go up to 2 1/2 or 3 slices if you’re stuck using the Sun-Maid brand, since the slices are really small! Here in Quebec Bon Matin makes a raisin bread as well, with bigger, thicker slices, about 100gr more bread per loaf, and cheaper, too)
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
3 TBSP lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla

To Taste:
Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F
Lightly grease a shallow casserole dish with butter or cooking spray
Brown sausage meat in a frying pan, breaking up and crumbling as you go
Tear or cut raisin bread into 1″ pieces, set aside
In a separate bowl, beat eggs with milk, vanilla, brown sugar, and spices. Pour over bread pieces, tossing to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes to let the liquid soak in.
Toss in sausage pieces.
Spread out as thinly as possible in casserole dish – for a large crowd, use more than one casserole dish or baking pan instead of a single, deeper one.
Bake uncovered for 45min-1hr or until top layer is brown and crispy. A toothpick stuck in should come out clean.
Serve with sprinkled brown sugar, whipped cream, maple syrup, butter, or jam.

Other additions and/or substitutions you might consider:
Crispy bacon bits instead of sausage or just crumbled on top, small apple chunks, berries, peach chunks, pitted cherry halves, any dried fruit pieces or other fresh non-citrus fruit.

It’s not the most elegant looking meal, but damn is it yummy! Enjoy!

October 19, 2012

I’m Not Sure About This Hat

Filed under: Crafting — Tags: , , , — GreenStockings Craft & Creative Events @ 7:53 PM

When my parents brought my sister (age 12) and me (age 15) to England for a few weeks in the summer of 1997 (I think? The 90s are already blurry), the giant novelty plush hat was very much in vogue. My sister bought one with a giant union jack on the front of it, and I think it’s probably still hanging in all its black velour glory in her bedroom at my parents’ place. Well, to be honest, shape wise, it looked like this:

The Tip Top Topper crochet top hat from Lion Brand

The Lion Brand website says “This whimsical hat is fun for everyday or for your Mad Hatter Halloween costume. ”

With the STEAMPUNK! of everything, I can imagine displaying this hat in black or brown (not blaze orange), and on a guy wearing a waistcoat, not on a lady who’s wondering why she’s wearing it. And if you wanted it to be a Mad Hatter hat, wouldn’t you go with something that looked more like a recognizable pop culture Mad Hatter hat? I will concede that the hat is the same colour as Johnny Depp’s hair.

I wouldn’t make it in blaze orange, and I don’t think I’d ever wear it a peacock blue blazer thing, but I kinda want to make one!

October 15, 2012

A “How to GreenStockings” Exercise

Filed under: Crafting — Tags: , , — GreenStockings Craft & Creative Events @ 7:55 PM

Another great post to reflect on from Oh My Handmade Goodness! This one originally came in the context of a discussion about a crafter with two really different Etsy shops, and wondering how she should proceed. Keep both? Drop one? Integrate her brands? In trying to help her decide which products where the best for her to go forward with, this advice was given:

Create a chart with 4 columns. In column 1 write down each type of item you sell (eg. paperweight, paper wreath, necklace, pin cushions…).

In the next column, I want you to jot down how much you would love to spend 4 hours working to create this type of item, on a scale from 1 (meh) to 10 (my favorite!).

The next column will help us understand what these products are worth to your business. Mark down the number of items you would have to make and sell to reach a $100 profit.

Final column: mark down how long it takes to make one of these items.

This question, and this format of asking this question, seems REALLY useful to me – slightly less because I don’t have a pre-set group of items to sell. Sarah of Create Studio has a really interesting approach to stocking her Etsy shop: she’s planning a different line of items for each season, so that she can figure out what’s profitable, and what’s popular, and what she can stand making over and over again.

Out there… that’s where my goal went!

I’m looking for what I can make to sell at craft fairs and such – last year at this time, Bear and I sat down I made an initial plan to be ready to do at least one craft fair this winter. Well, that’s gone out that window over there labelled “pregnant and working full time” – a little bit of it flew out of the “I forgot that I’d set that goal for myself until just now” window, too

This was ever so slightly hit home when I discovered that a 14 year old friend is going to be selling at her first juried craft fair this winter. I don’t think I’ve actually made enough stuff that I could sell at a craft fair this year, even if I’d stockpiled everything I’d made all year, and not given it away – it would still amount to about 3 pairs of knitted socks, a pair of mittens, and a few shawls.

I’ve been working really hard at the Social and Local parts of my branding words this year. I organized two knitting meet ups this summer, and launched a shawl ministry at my church. So I can’t feel totally sorry for myself! I think when I do sit down and do this exercise for real, I’ll need to include my event planning part of the “business”!

More How to GreenStockings: Logo & Visual Branding

Filed under: Crafting — Tags: , , — GreenStockings Craft & Creative Events @ 7:06 PM

Is this the new GreenStockings logo?

So I missed it again, another Oh My Handmade Goodnes! live chat!! Maybe there’s something about Thursday at lunch that’s just busy for me? Maybe I just always forget that that’s when it is…

The topic for this past Thursday’s chat was about logos & visual branding (something I’m thinking about! I’ve touched on it in my last crafty business post More How To GreenStockings: 10 Adjectives for my Brand).

You can see the full round up of the twitter chat highlights here. They talked about a bunch of things; the thoughts that most resonated with me were:

anile great logo = unique, personal but accessible, versatile, adaptable, also will grow with you – not limiting
designcoyote A great logo makes a statement about your brand. It is consistent, visual, & portrays who you are in a single graphic.
perideaudesigns a logo conveys visual feelings, intentions and a story.

The next OMHG post about using a Visual Brand Tool Box was great, too – lots of good stuff, but a slightly disappointing premise:

First step is to have a clear brand strategy. Your brand strategy needs to go beyond your mission, vision, and values: it needs to evoke emotion and connect with your target audience.

Once you know your brand strategy you then take that strategy and make it visual.

It would be great if there were any sort of connecting information between “first step is to have a clear branding strategy” and “once you know your branding strategy”… but, you know, you work with what you got in free resources!

“Work with what you got?” THIS CALLS FOR A MUSICAL INTERLUDE!

/MUSICAL INTERLUDE!

Right. Logos.

Part of the reason I posted this video is that I love the visual aesthetic of the drawing animation over the video. Also, wicked headpieces of forested things.

The Visual Brand Tool Box article has a number of really good ideas, too:
– choosing two typefaces: one for the header, one for the body text;
– choosing 3 to 5 colours for your brand: one main colour, and a group of accent colours;
AND
– 3 different kinds of photographs! this was a revelation to me (because there are categories! with names!) – and an excellent tool for me to think about. So far, I’ve not taken many pictures of my work, since I’ve not been selling it, and thus haven’t needed to advertise it. What photos I have taken have been mostly as blank as I can managed (no busy background, as neutral as possible, just the craft in the image), but as a result haven’t been the most stunning of photos. Most of my craft photos tend to be of knitting, and are visible on my Ravelry projects pages .

So, how do I relate this information about logos to my branding words from my last post: Sexy Cute Handmade Social Feminist Local Knit Ethical Upcycled Colourful?!? (I’ve dropped Durable/Sustainable from the list – I think it’s covered by Ethical, Handmade, and Upcycled)

Somewhere in the (ever less disastrous!) disaster of our apartment there’s a designer’s visual thesaurus, which I think is a neat idea – it’s like a word thesaurus, but for each listing, there’s a series of images to jump start your ideas. Somehow though, I doubt that the words on my list would actually appear there. I don’t think upcycled was a word when the book was published.

My instinct tells me that an illustrated logo/visuals or typographical ones are going to be more effective for what I do than a photo-based logo/visuals, and I especially like the recommendation to have a group of icons: I think Mad in Crafts does this pretty well. I think the handmade market place is more attuned to illustrations, especially if one of my brand words is “cute” (in the Japanese kawaii sense, not as much in the Disney princess sense).

My next job is to do a word-association with my branding words. I need to embed them in my brain, so that whenever I’m thinking about my brand, I’m thinking about: Sexy Cute Handmade Social Feminist Local Knit Ethical Upcycled Colourful!

October 11, 2012

Halloween -20 Days!

Filed under: Crafting, Events, Nerdliness — Tags: , — GreenStockings Craft & Creative Events @ 6:39 PM

Not to freak you out, craft land, but there’s only 20 days until Halloween!

Now, there are certainly people who take Halloween more seriously in a crafting way than I do – but, you know, they also decorate for Valentine’s Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, and Easter… I have a box full of Christmas that gets pulled out on December 1st (or earlier if I can sneak it past Bear), but I don’t think I would be permitted to store a box full of any other holidays (not without getting rid of some of the yarn stash, anyway…). I have seen wicked Halloween décor (pun definitely intended!) across the interwebs, but since it’s just Bear and I at home, and it’s enough of a challenge to keep the house from blowing up from the clutter as it is, any Halloween décor gets saved for handing out candy at my parents’ place.

I actually bothered to join Pinterest (I’m Green Stockings there, too!) specifically to plan my Halloween décor for handing out candy. My sister and I (ok, really, me, but I did a great job of roping her in!) had a massive Halloween display every year, complete with a grave yard and a giant black garbage bag bat. Now all of that has gone the way of the dodo (styrofoam tomb stones only last so much time (+-10 years) in the shed under the porch before they disintegrate completely). Now it’s my hubby and I giving out candy this year, and next we’ll have a wee one in tow!

Our Halloween theme last year was the Sunshine Sanctuary for Sick Dragons (an obscure reference, I know, but I’d love you forever if you squeed just then!) Last year the décor consisted of a paper sign on the porch, and my dog in a green sweater. Let’s see if we can’t improve on that this year, shall we? You can see my whole Halloween Inspiration pin board here

Simple ideas that I’m definitely going to replicate:

Window Silhouettes
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=199704.0

Thanks to Craftster.org user Knickertwist for this cool idea! My parents have great windows for this, and they’re along the walls that are rarely decorated (my parents live on the corner of the street – the side with the door also has the front yard, so Halloween décor gets clustered there, which is actually the side-street side of their house). Having the window lit up on the main thoroughfare side of the house will be a great addition. Of course, my silhouette design will be a dragon!

Faux Wax Drip Candles
http://stirizsisters.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/toilet-paper-roll-candles.html

Design DNA brings us this awesome tutorial for flame-free wax drip candles, made from toilet and paper towel rolls and hot glue, and with a battery operated tea light in the top. I love this idea, though I’m not super sure how well they will appear in the dark outside – but there always seems to be a point when we move inside and the kids come up the steps to the door, so maybe we’ll have a cluster outside at the door.

Torture the Dog with a Dragon Costume, Costume
http://www.petkaboodle.com/products/items/770/Dogzilla-Dinosaur-Dragon-Halloween-Dog-Costume.htm

This is a costume that’s sold, not crafted, but I figure I can probably manage something like this… I don’t know how well I’ll manage it in the next 20 days, but the dog needs a better winter coat than we’ve got (right now we’ve got a single layer polar fleece cape-like-thing

October 10, 2012

More How to GreenStockings: 10 Adjectives for My Brand

Filed under: Crafting — Tags: , , — GreenStockings Craft & Creative Events @ 9:00 AM

So I missed another #OMHG chat party last week (link is to the round up blog post), and it was, of course, something that I’m thinking about: branding (I won’t lie, I’m not thinking about it a lot, the only thing I’m thinking a lot about is the baby… but I think I’m going to be relying on my church involvement & my crafty business adventure, however small it may be, to keep me sane while on maternity leave).

The lovely Moxie Pear provided a work sheet version of the branding questions that you can grab from the chat party link, and while I feel it’s a little premature for me to fill out the whole worksheet, I’m going to at least tackle the first question: what 10 adjectives would you use to describe your business?

Hmm… 10, eh?

I can handle 10, right?

Ok.

sexy, cute, handmade, diy, social, feminist, strong, local, hand-knit, ethical, durable/sustainable, upcycled, colourful.

Is that 10 yet?

No, Katharine, that’s 13.

Ok: sexy, cute, handmade, diy, social, feminist, strong, local, hand-knit, ethical, durable/sustainable, upcycled, colourful

Ok, we’re down to 11. I can live with 11. I’ve never been very good at following the rules.

So: sexy, cute, handmade, social, feminist, local, knit, ethical, durable/sustainable, upcycled, colourful.

I scrapped diy, since I figure it’s covered by upcycled and handmade; I scrapped strong because I like the idea of empowering women & girls through hand-making, but I feel like that ideal is covered by feminist, social, ethical, and sustainable; I scrapped the hand part of hand-knit since 1) there’s nothing to say I’ll never get a knitting machine (not any time soon, but never say never!), and 2) in the context of the rest of these words, I think that it’s pretty obvious to me that knit here means hand-knit, and it’s cleaner this way.

Sexy Cute Handmade Social Feminist Local Knit Ethical Durable/Sustainable Upcycled Colourful

I like it.

The other questions asked are: Do you feel that your current brand matches the adjectives above? | Pull out everything that has your logo on it and lay it out in front of you. Do you see a cohesive look that matches the style of your products? | What is the story story behind your business? Are your customers aware of your story? | What feeling do you want your customers to experience when they receive your product/service?

The first question: “do you feel your current brand matches the adjectives above?” I feel I can answer: no. I have no brand, I haven’t managed to corral everything I do under one brand, so my brand has no customers, and thus, no customer experience.

The second “Do you see a cohesive look that matches the style of your products” is harder to answer, since the only thing that has my logo on it is my business card, and I have no products for it to match.

The third, about the story behind my business, is part of the reason that I really want to put “feminist” in my list of words, and why “strong” was part of my original list.

Bluestockings was a term dating from the mid-1700s for an educated woman (or in some cases, a non-gender-specific educated person), and a name which was adopted by a literary society focused on women’s education in the late 1700s and well into the 1800s (The Blue Stocking Societ). It developed an ever-so-slightly derogatory meaning in conjunction with the American women’s anti-slavery and sufferage movements centered in the Boston area (to call someone a “Boston blue-stocking” was at once a recognition of a woman’s education and liberal views, but also a put-down for having those thing).

The Red Stockings were a group of Marxist-Feminist lesbians in the 1950s. They opposed the approach of the Matachine Society, one of the only American queer rights groups identified in the pre-Stonewall period – the Matachine Society focused on establishing the American homosexual in the public as a conformist, middle-class, well-dressed non-deviant, whereas the Red Stockings were already committed to women’s liberation as part of the global end to repression of the underclass.

I chose the name GreenStockings – originally for a one-issue ‘zine I made some time in the early ’00s, and subsequently for my crafting operations – because I like the idea of connecting the (primarily female) crafting and diy explosion of the 21st century with previous ideas of women’s and queer people’s liberation. I’d like to extricate making and creative satisfaction from the strongly traditional stay-at-home-mom, June-Cleaver world where it has so comfortably taken up residence*, and develop its role in a more feminist, diy context**. I’d like to be part of bringing about a new ownership of women’s identities. I think making things – for your body, for your home, for your family – can do that. I’d like crafting to be about reclaiming women’s spaces from the highly commercialized, and to be about a way for women to engage with each other and share skills in order to undermine the hold that the mass market has on women as the primary purchasers in the home.

I think I need to find the spot on the website for the “story” behind GreenStockings. I’ll leave the fifth question be for now, I think.

*I’m well aware that lots of stay-at-home-mums identify and practice their parenting as feminists; I’m also aware that for most of the popular craft bloggers I’ve come across (who are 90% stay-at-home-mums***), the choices in aesthetic in branding and in product are deeply traditionally feminine, and deeply concerned with very traditional feminine aesthetics (pink things! cupcakes! frilly dresses for their daughters! glitter!). Obviously none of these things is anti-feminist, or even non-feminist. There is nothing about cupcakes or glitter that furthers women’s undervaluing in our society, or promotes rape culture. But does it have the cumulative effect of allowing our casually misogynistic culture to be able to more easily dismiss handmaking (and especially women’s handmaking) as a hobby, or as something of no social consequence? I think there’s an argument to be made for that.

**I’m also well aware that there is lots of political, feminist crafting and creativity going on, I just don’t see it a lot on the internet. I’d love to be able to carve out a space online and in my city where that kind of attitude towards creativity can flourish

***This is my unofficial survey of the bloggers I read/am aware of – anyone have stats/anecdotes to contradict this?

October 4, 2012

This is Green Stockings!

Filed under: Books, Crafting, Events, Food, Kids, Montreal, Nerdliness, Podcast — GreenStockings Craft & Creative Events @ 7:20 PM

Welcome!

You’ve stumbled across the corner of the internet taken up by the crafting empire, GreenStockings, ruling overlords of a small ground floor apartment in Montreal, QC.

GreenStockings is a small time crafting outfit immensely concerned with knitting, but also with sex-positive feminism, life with a toddler, sewing & other crafting, the city of Montreal, and Unitarian Universalism. GreenStockings is a one-woman operation with immense support from a spouse affectionately known as the HusBear. GreenStockings may not be much of a money-making outfit, but it’s definitely a fun-making, clothes-making, décor-making, mess-making (just ask Bear), laundry-doing, rarely-cooking, but frequently nap-taking crafting adventure!

Please feel join us by following the blog, following us on Instagram (@green_stockings), Facebook (Green Stockings Crafts & Creative Events). We also have a Ravelry group (GreenStockings Creative), and feel free to friend me (GreenStockings) on Ravelry.

You can reach us by email at greenstockings@gmail.com

October 2, 2012

Planning a Stranded Mitten Pattern, Part 2

Filed under: Crafting, Knitting Patterns — GreenStockings Craft & Creative Events @ 6:42 PM

I’ve taken a look at some of the stranded mitten patterns available online (thanks Ravelry!) and I think I’ve found the proportions I want, and a chart I can wipe clean and fill in with my own pattern. It will definitely be enough of a chart for me to knit off of, but if I ever plan to publish the pattern, I’ll need to redo the chart in a way that’s actually chart-like, and not just colour-coded (which, though easier to read in my opinion, is just not how it’s done). Frankly, I chart my cables with colour coding, too…

I think I’ve settled on doing ribbed cuff mittens, not the straight-sided ones, since I think it’s actually what Bear would prefer (despite what my aesthetic sense feels about it). When I make my own stranded mitts (I have Patons wool/angora/bamboo yarn waiting patiently in my stash in a pale blue and a pinky red), I can make them however I want!

October 1, 2012

Planning a Stranded Mitten Pattern

Filed under: Crafting, Knitting Patterns — GreenStockings Craft & Creative Events @ 6:27 PM

Or, how to rewrite a blog post after realising that wordpress won’t save as a draft whatever you’re working on from the “new post” quick link in the dashboard bar at the top of the screen. *sigh*

My hubby Bear has done an amazing job of losing weight and improving his health this year – he’s lost over 80lbs since Easter 2012, and I’m so proud of him!! He’s so much more comfortable in his body, and as a result has started choosing really great looking clothing, especially now that he’s a little smaller and more likely to fit into the clothes that he really wants.

He’s hoping to find a thigh-length wool pea coat this winter, and I’ve promised to make him a pair of mittens (he’s discovered one of those sad side effects to losing weight: my formerly thermal heater is going to be freezing cold all winter!). We’ve chosen the yarn (Red Heart Eco-Ways Wool Bamboo) in Dill & Cocoa (a grass green and light chocolate brown – Ravelry users can check out the colours, since the Red Heart website only has the Ivory).

I’d like to make traditional Norwegian stranded-colourwork, straight-sided, pointed-tip, flat-sitting-thumb mitten. I’d like to have a full tree on the back of the hand, and a repeating leaf pattern on the palm of the mitten, with a single leaf on the thumb.

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