Sunday, August 1, 2010

more about etsy my journey

My Yoda was featured as a groovy find on a woman's site that found me, I have already had a sale from it! check it out and all her other cool groovy finds at;

So I have been super successful this last month (in my estimation) between my etsy shop, my in laws (buying through my etsy shop) and selling at my local swap meet (a friend has a booth and is generous enough to put my ami critters out) I have made approx $250! Maybe I should not be sharing such details as I don't really notice other people doing that, but what the hay. To me that is major success, I have made that money while laying on the couch, healing. I made that money by letting my creative mind expand and excite me. I have made that money by doing something that I absolutely love and enjoy most every minute of it. It has been a lot of time spent on the computer and doing a lot of social networking that I wouldn't normally do, but it seems like it is working.

Every crochet stitch that I make is keeping my head out of thinking about how much pain I am in. I truly believe that the best way to combat pain is distraction. I would be a mess if I had to sit here all day and think about how much pain I am in and how I don't see any drastic difference in my leg one day to the next. When I was first dealing with my leg situation I experimented with a lot of ways to deal with my pain, coming to the realization that this was going to take years to fix and all the things that had to be put on hold because of my leg. It was some tough months, for sure, and there were times that I spent in denial (which did not serve me at all because I used my leg more than I should have during critical healing times). I tried, hypnosis, I tried visualization, I tried denial, a myriad of alternative healing methods, but in the end the BEST way to deal with major pain is distraction. Parents know this, when their child is crying and freaking out from falling on the playground, they comfort their child and get them focused on something else. So that is what I do. My hardest times often come at night, so I listen to audiobooks on my MP3 player and if I am really awake and miserable I will grab my closest crochet project and start to crochet.

Anyway this blog post has taken on a different path than I meant it to. I have been finding that writing is really cathartic for me. I express myself through writing and get out thoughts that have been germinating in my head for awhile. i used to journal a lot when I was in high school, it really helped me at a time when I was developing parts of myself and needed self-reflection. and then one day it was like I couldn't write about my feelings anymore and it was time to get out there and live my life rather than write about it. But lately I have been feeling like writing again. I have always had it in my mind to someday write a book. but the ideas never quite take hold. But I have been feeling the call to write so much stronger lately. Lots of people have suggested writing a book about my experience with my leg and maybe that is the idea that will really take root and inspire me enough to write a whole book about it, who knows.
anyway, I feel as if I have rambled on enough my husband is anxious about getting to the grocery store. signing off for now, Lani

Monday, July 26, 2010

confessions of a creative person trying to make money on etsy!

I have been taking a break from blogging lately, although in fact, I have taken the time to write two posts that I changed my mind about and deleted. I have been spending my internet time focusing on getting my etsy shop up and running. I am big on crafting, crocheting and making critters, so spending time editing pictures, thinking of product descriptions and racking my brain about how to get people to like my stuff and shell out their money for it does not come as naturally. Honestly, I think that anyone that has been successful at this thing called internet sales has my hat off to him or her. I have read endless blogs and lists and forum posts about how to make my pictures better, how to make an attractive banner, shop, avatar, how to get people to come to my shop, how to use social sites like twitter and facebook. holy cow, its so amazing to me how deep this rabbit hole has gone. So I have followed the white rabbit so to speak and done all that I think I can for the moment (although, really I know there is a ton more I could do if I wanted to spend more time on the computer rather than what I love, which is what started this whole thing to begin with!) And success! two weeks ago I had my first internet sale! yay! I sold my yoda, which sent me into a panic because now the real challenge started which was to remember how I made that yoda that I gave away as an x-mas present! I spent a solid two days crocheting and re-crocheting the stupid robe that I had improvised last december. So now I have decided to start writing down anything that I make so that I can have the pattern saved for later. I had been hesitant to do that before because it takes away from my creative process to have the computer or a pad of paper in front of me. But now I see why I need to be doing that and the next time I need to make a yoda, it will be a million times easier because I have my pattern i can follow, ALSO! bonus is that I can do a little more work on the pattern and sell it to other people!
I have so many plans for where I want to go with my Red Hot Fibers business, which is exciting! I know that I will look back in a year or two and feel like this was just the beginning. I want to make a whole Star Wars line of crochet guys, I want to make more mobiles (and figure out how to photograph them better!), I want to really expand my baby line and i have lots of ideas for baby rattles, blocks, blankies with amigurumi animals as a part of the blankie, I want to make way more hair flowers and barretts, I want to widen and expand my wedding line. I probably should not give away all my ideas, but these are just rough ideas, its all really in my head. I have this huge long list of ideas, and scraps of paper floating around with little drawings of hats, and animals and ideas for patterns.
I really have felt like I have had a creative explosion in my head. My dad is an artist and he has talked to me for years about creative orgasms. Now I am a little more reserved and don't really feel comfortable likening my crochet creations to orgasms, but I get what he was talking about a little better lately.
also I feel like my work has gotten a ton better as well. This wedding bear couple and the alien that I have pictured here are two great examples of how much better and more creative and detailed I have gotten. The alien (inspired from toy story) was just a blast to do and figure out how to create those shapes. And the wedding bear couple turned out far and above better than I ever imagined. The details on those bears are just unbelievable, she has a ring, a garter with blue, a veil with a blusher, a tiara, a necklace, her dress has the puff sleeves and detailed skirt. and the groom has the boutonniere, buttons down the front and a white bow tie. It was the kind of thing that once I got going I kept on adding and adding different details. They are just awesome, really I don't mean to brag, but I couldn't believe that they all really came from my two hands. it felt almost beyond me. :)
I have had a lot of personal growth in the last two or three months. Its like all of a sudden, issues that I have felt lost and clueless about for ten plus years have fallen into place and I have understood myself in a whole new way. And somehow my creativity has tied into this growth process. Now, I can tell I am writing a lot more slowly because I am trying to put into words something that has been sort of under the surface. But yeah, I feel like my creativity is a lot more prolific now that I have developed a stronger sense of myself.
so that is what I have been up to, please come by my etsy shop and take a look at my critters for sale. I would love to hear what you all think of them, and even constructive criticism is welcomed as well! (just remember to be kind, I am new at this, lol!!!)

Friday, June 4, 2010


Well I have been trying to get my artfire store more off the ground. I have had items up and on sale since January and no sales yet. Admittedly i have not devoted a ton of time to SEO or to building interest in the business, but I am working on being more focused about it. I would very much like to sell my amigurumi critters. I love to make them and I know they are cute. seems like someone out there would want to pay me to make them something, right!!!! where are you person who wants to pay me??? lol, I know that it takes time and energy and I am not all that discouraged, I am more about figuring this internet home business thing out. I started a twitter account so that I can promote myself and start the 'branding' process, I have been adding items for sale on artfire, and here I am blogging about it.
So, Peoples out there come check out my webstore, and pass the word, if you know anyone that wants some super totally cute crochet items I am your girl!
Thank you!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Wow!!! Yesterday I had quite a surprise when I opened up my email... My crochet eggs pattern was the pattern of the day on! It was such an honor and surprise to have my pattern seen by a larger group like that. Anyway, its a really neat feeling to think that other people have seen my words, my thoughts and the product of my creativity! When I started this blog it was my intention to just have a place where I could publish my patterns, It was like doing something for myself, not about the results and never did I dream that people would respond and actually want to make my designs. So this is an unexpected and very cool outcome. I feel like I am putting myself out there, and who knows where it will take me.

I have been working on a lot more amigurumi animals lately. I have had lots of ideas for a long time for certain animals that I wanted to create, but I had not gotten to them, so finally I have gotten the time and energy to make them. So here is my cow that I absolutely love. My maiden name is Makowski and I grew up in rural Northern California where there were lots of cows around. My dad would always roll down the windows, cup his hands over his mouth and yell "MOOOO!", very convincingly I must say. Its a very happy memory I have of me and my dad, brings a smile to my face. So I really made this cow for my dad.
I also made a super cute puppy, a sheep and a duck for a s
wap that I am doing on ravelry (my first swap ever!)
The other thing that I have been excited about is that I have gotten into making crochet items for charity. It has been something that I have wanted to do is to use my time and talents to help other people. so I made six or so hats for babies, plus a weiner dog and a caterpillar that I made for this month's amigurumi along. It gave me a huge sense of satisfaction to give freely knowing that it will go for helping other people. I felt like my heart grew, :) I encourage anyone that is able to find a charity, or women's shelter, or orphanage, whatever to give what you can to. I am not able to give in terms of a lot of things, but I have time and ability to crochet, so that is what I am giving.
The group that I am volunteering my time for is through my church called crafts for christ, they have a bear pattern that I am working on making right now. Its a one piece back and forth kind of pattern that you sew up, I am used to working in the round like with amigurumi, so this is something new for sure.
well, till next time!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Learning to heal

Something that I have had to deal with since getting bitten by the rattlesnake is that I have to rely on other people in a way that I have never had to before in my life. I have struggled with this a lot because I am fairly independent and have always liked to do things myself. I started working at a young age so I could earn my own money, I loved turning 16 and getting my driver's license so that I could go off and drive myself places, I love cleaning my own home, cooking for myself and would not be the kind of person to have a nanny for my children. I think that I practically pride myself on being able to do it all myself. and boy this experience has really changed that for me. I haven't driven since September of '08!! I can't stand long enough to cook or clean, and I have to rely on Aram to work and make all the money. Now, I have fought this, believe me, I have tried to vacuum only to be in major pain later in the afternoon from doing it, I have tried to cook only to get sick from the exertions. and lately as Aram and I's expenses have gone up moving into this apartment, and we are tighter with money, I have wanted to start working so that I can help out more.
Now recently my pastor at church (rick warren) has given some sermons about getting through difficult times and having hope. One of the first things that he said to do is to pray about what God's dream is for us. So I prayed, and I heard something, or kind of like heard and saw a little scene. And I came to really understand that God wants me to heal. From my ego-filled brain I am thinking, yeah right, what does God care, but I am learning not to listen to such criticism that my brain likes to dish out to me. So, if God wants me to heal, and in my vision I see this image of me resting on the couch with my leg up. I think that means that I am not supposed to be cleaning, cooking, pushing myself, trying to find ways around resting. Honestly, for an active person like me, being told to rest and relax on a couch and let other people do for you is like torture sometimes!!!
I feel like I have this giant test of faith about learning to rely on others and not do everything myself. I don't really believe that God caused me to get bit by the rattlesnake, but I do believe that there are certain lessons that I can learn along the way. I mean this whole experience has been difficult, but I think I can learn to have balance about asking for help and relying on God and others to help me through, cause if I keep thinking that I can do everything then I am basically not believing that God is there and ultimately in control.
ps, I have lots of pictures to post and I will in another blog post....

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baby chicks in Eggshell crochet Pattern

Here is my Pattern for Baby chicks in an Eggshell. It should be quite simple to follow, but if you have any questions please email me at

-a bit of yarn in white and any other color of your choice for the actual baby chick and a bit of black for the eyes (note, I use Borroco comfort yarn. I like how soft it is, it comes in lots of colors, its machine washable and fairly inexpensive)
-size F crochet hook
-a bit of felt for the beak

note about technique.
I start off my crochet circles using a technique called "magic circle". I find that once I learned how to do it (and it took a little practice) I would never go back to any other way of starting circles. It makes a solid start and no hole in the center. If you want to learn how to use it here is a youtube video (its how I learned)..


Egg Shells (make 2)

Rnd1 with white make 10 stitches in Magic Circle

Rnd2 Sc 1, sc 2 in next sc (15sc)

Rnd3 Sc 2, sc 2 in next sc (20)

Rnd4 Sc in each sc around (20)

Rnd5 Sc 3, sc 2 in next sc (25)

Rnds6-8 Sc in each sc around (25)

Rnd9 change to accent color Sc through back loops in each sc around

Bind off

Egg/baby chick

Rnd1 with same accent color as used on outside of eggshell make 5 stitches in Magic Circle

Rnd2 Sc 2 in each sc around (10)

Rnd3 Sc 1, sc 2 in next sc (15)

Rnd4 Sc in each sc around (15)

Rnd5 Sc 2, sc 2 in next sc (20)

Rnds6-11 Sc in each sc around (20)

Rnd12 Sc 2, sc2tog (15)

Rnd13 Sc1, sc2tog (10)

Rnd14 Sc2tog in each (5)

Bind off

In Black make eyes on either side of face. Cut a diamond shape out of white felt and sew it onto face in the center of the diamond to make a beak. I made eggs in each color of the rainbow and put them into an old egg carton. And then you are finished!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New projects for New Baby in the Family

I have a new baby second cousin! Her name is Eliana Miriam Grey born 3/31/10. She is so adorable, like a little peanut. This is from Aram's side of the family that I have not met yet. They live in Mass, so it might be a bit before I get to meet the little one, but its still nice to count a bigger family. So I got busy making her an amigurumi mobile. My idea is to have a sun, cloud, rainbow and bird. I made up the sun and cloud patterns on my own and am using a rainbow pattern that I got from ravelry which you can find here I am going to make two of the rainbow patterns and crochet them together to create dimension. Next I plan to make a bird and find a way to have all of the objects hang nicely. I had been kind of bored with my amigurumi creations lately and this has totally reinvigorated me. I think there is nothing like a little baby to make stuff for! I seriously cannot wait to have one of my own to be able to make stuff for.
Aram and I went to Easter at Angel stadium with Saddleback church. It was a beautiful service and as always inspiring. It was the 30th anniversary for the church and I feel so grateful to be a part of such a great church. there were 40,000 people there!! I went in my wheelchair and got there way early to avoid the crowds. It was really cold though, especially where we were sitting in the wheelchair section, I felt like my fingers and toes were frozen!
After the Easter service Aram and I had lunch with our friends, then I got some one on one time with my friend at the bookstore (yay!!), while we were hanging out there was a decent sized earthquake that lasted a good long while. We were all calm about it and my friend just wheeled me away from the books! so it really was no big deal all in all and I had a very nice Easter day.