Thursday, July 31, 2008

Credit Cards At Craft Shows

Sometime last fall, the following question was posed in the Etsy forums. My response is below the question.

Q: Do you require a minimum purchase for credit cards at craft shows?

A: I don't. I can generally use my laptop and have PayPal available for them. Wireless is all over the place these days and my laptop's set up for it.

They don't have to have a PayPal account nor do they have to start one to use their credit card. I have a how-to on my main website. I always try my best to get a booth with electrical so I don't run down the laptop's battery.

I also have ClearWire available to me and can use that if the craft site does not have wireless in the area for free.

~ Marge ~

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

If You're Considering Creating Your Own Website

My main website is my mainstay in all my crafting. It has evolved as I have evolved in my machine knitting online business. It's WELL worth the effort. I use MacroMedia's DreamWeaver web development software and it's wonderful!

You can learn HTML or other forms of programming, it depends not only on your computer skill levels, but also how much time would you be able to devote to that site. It does take a considerable amount of time when you start out, but if you're diligent in your updating and tweaking, you can get a full site's maintenance down to a few hours every week or so. Discipline is the key for that.

I learned HTML because my kids were encouraging me all the time. "You can do it, Mom, you're computer savvy." I really think (although they didn't SAY it) they were tired of answering all of Mom's questions and having to fix her 'oops!'.

It's actually quite simple to learn and do. There are also programs out there called WYSIWYGs (What You See Is What You Get) that have numerous templates, styles, themes and can get a website launched in short order. A lot of it can be simply fill-in-the-blanks. Now some of the other programming (cgi or php) are not my cup of tea. I hire someone for any of that. I have several websites I own and designed all of them. They all have a specific purpose in my online businesses.

Online courses are marvelous, as are ones at a community college. Here are some sites I pop into now and then when I need some info:

~ Marge ~

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Older Than Dirt Quiz

I'd posted this in the forums on Etsy and thought I'd share it here, too:

Older Than Dirt Quiz:
Count all the ones that you remember during their original era, NOT the ones you were told about and not ones you've seen in some sort of 'retro' 'vintage' store/display! Your ratings are at the bottom.

1. Blackjack chewing gum
2. Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
3. Candy cigarettes
4. Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
5. Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes
6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
7. Party lines
8. Newsreels before the movie
9. P.F. Flyers
10. Butch wax
11. Telephone numbers with a word prefix (OLive-6933)
12. Peashooters
13. Howdy Doody
14. 45 RPM records
15. S&H Green Stamps
16. Hi-fi's
17. Metal ice trays with lever
18. Mimeograph paper
19. Blue flashbulb
20. Packards<>
21. Roller skate keys
22. Cork popguns
23. Drive-ins
24. Studebakers
25. Wash tub wringers

If you remembered 0-5 = You're still young
If you remembered 6-10 = You are getting older
If you remembered 11-15 = Don't tell your age,
If you remembered 16-25 = You're older than dirt !

I might be older than dirt but those memories are the best part of my life.

Marge (who ranks as Older Than Dirt with a score of 24 - didn't know what PF Flyers were until I asked hubby)

Monday, July 28, 2008

2268 Hours Left

As of right now, there are 2268 hours left before all the little ghosties and goblins will be knocking at our doors with the aged old greeting: "Trick Or Treat!" That's NOT a heck of a lot of time when you realize it's a mere 94.5 days.

I was going over my calendar and stock lists for the fall and that's when it hit me. I've been knitting up all sorts of items for Christmas & Thanksgiving and could easily handle 2-3 Craft Shows .... after November 1st. But my stock of Halloween items is .. ummm .. lacking. Lots of little things; lapel pins, coaster sets, bottle cozies and some cuffs in orange & black. But none of the more substantial items I have for Halloween. Those sold out so quickly last year.

I'd had good intentions of getting a good sized stock built up for Christmas, Thanksgiving AND Halloween. Hmmmm. Not anywhere near that. I know why, well at least it's the excuse I'm hanging onto, I've been devoting too much time to pattern development not only for my machine knitting but also cross stitch.

This is where the discipline needs to come into play. I'm now limiting my design time and expanding my crafting time for Halloween items. Wouldn't ya know it ... I've got a HUGE amount of new pattern designs ready to develop and they're NOT for Halloween. Aaarrrrgh.

Now to find the yarns in my stash, the patterns from last year ... which are 'somewhere' around here and get on with it.

How's your Halloween stock doing?

~ Marge ~

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Changes & Upgrades

I've been revamping my main website, MKDesigner today to give it a cleaner, more streamlined look. It was getting 'stale' and everything was blurring together. When the OWNER of the website has a tendency to yawn and say "That page will do. I'll get to it next update.", then it's time for a change.

Until I started updating some of the deeper interior pages (you know, the ones you don't visit very often and get shoved to the back of your mind) I'd not realized that SOME pages hadn't been 'updated' since 2006 !! Eeeek. Maybe that'll teach me to follow the site map a bit more closely when I update. When I first started doing HTML back in the mid-90's, I always printed out the site map and crossed each branch off as I updated.

Evidently I've become lazy over the years. It's probably been 3-4 years since I printed out the site map. Hmmmmm. Lesson learned.

The banner I'd made for my Etsy Shop is now on my website. It was a real personal joy making that banner and I fell in love with it. So onto the website it went. I've already received somewhere around 50 emails from fellow machine knitters that they love the new look! So gratifying to hear from them. It lets me know I'm heading in the right direction.

Several new How To's have also been added to the site under its own section. If you're a machine knitter, please do visit our website and click on the How To's button. Plus, I've started expanding my Cross Stitch designs. I love working with HobbyWare, great people and super support for their Cross Stitch Pattern Maker program.
Would love to have you visit my site and let me know what you think.

~ Marge ~

Saturday, July 26, 2008

What a Week ~ My Bank CLOSED!

Can hardly believe it's been a week since my last post. So many 'things' going on that it's been hectic to say the least.

And to top the week off (or end it may be a more accurate term) Logged into one of my bank accounts very early this a.m. and SPLAT - this notice came up on the screen:

"On July 25, 2008, First National Bank of Nevada, Reno, Nevada was closed by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Subsequently the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver. No advance notice is given to the public when a financial institution is closed."

Completely caught me off guard. I was in the 1st National Bank of Nevada earlier in the week and didn't see / hear anything amiss. Wow. We only had a small amount in that bank - we were planning on closing the account anyway - and I can still get my money out so no worries there. Mutual of Omaha is buying the bank and all the funds are completely secure (FDIC). Since I don't have over $100,000 in that, or any other bank for that matter, all is well. Wish I did!!!

Makes one wonder not only about the economy as it currently stands, but where it will lead us in the future. Kinda scary thoughts fleetingly darted through my head when I first read the notice on the screen. But I have faith. Lots of faith. Now I need to get another cup of coffee.

~ Marge ~

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cross Stitch - Irish, Scottish, Welsh

I've had a wonderful day of designing. You know, those days when all seems to fall into place and you actually have TIME to do what you want? That was today.

Creating new patterns and designs is a major part of my crafting life. I'm a firm believer in letting my imagination go in all that I do. Whether it's for knitting machines or hand knitting, crochet or cross stitch. It's a real passion with me. The Irish Harp has a great meaning for me since my Mom's family was from County Armagh, Northern Ireland and they were all a very musical family with the harp playing a great role in their lives.

I've had the basic graphic designs completed for an Irish Harp, Scottish Thistle and the Welsh Red Dragon for quite some time. This was the day when I could import them into Hobbyware's Cross Stitch Pattern Maker and get them all set up. It felt so darned good to complete all three in one day. Our Welsh connection is through my Great Grandmother on Dad's side. I love that dragon!!

No interruptions, only one short 1 hour break to go up to the clubhouse for my daily swim with my hubby, son and one 6 yr old grand daughter. She's part fish! She's gotta be. Once we got back to the house, she declared the Scottish Thistle as her favorite. It's mine, too. My Dad was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland and he always wore a silver Thistle in his lapel. So that design was for him.

I thought of adding something for England, but just couldn't decide which emblem to use so those will be in a later collection. The ePatterns are now up in my Etsy store in my Cross Stitch section.

~ Marge ~

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Wanna Vacation!!

Wow! Talk about a busy week. Grandkids staying over; gr-daughter on Monday-Tuesday, 1 gr-son since my birthday last week, another gr-son (other's brother) since yesterday, 6 trips to the pool, shopping, playing all sorts of board games (cribbage, Sequence, dominoes and Jr. Scrabble), trip to the Farmer's Market yesterday evening ... laundry, laundry and more laundry. I'm pooped.

The grandsons go home this afternoon, then we have son and one of the gr-daughters for the weekend and I think there are some friends from out of town planning to descend on us. Or maybe that's next weekend. My mind is still spinning right now.

I'm ready for that vacation.

~ Marge ~

Monday, July 14, 2008

Doppleganger? Deja Vu? Coincidence?

There's a current thread on Etsy about whether it would be considered copying if two designers came up with close-to-identical items around the same time span. Interesting thread and several good ideas about what to do.

I created an abstract graphic design of a Bird of Paradise flower after I'd wandered around the mall one day and stopped in to a florist's shop. There was a distortion in a mirror they had on display and when I saw that Bird of Paradise flower reflected in that mirror, I knew what my design was going to be. This was a commission work, knit in Double Bed Jacquard on my electronic knitting machine. It ended up being the central portion of a wall hanging for their vacation home.

Other than the colors and the medium (hers was screen printed), I saw darned near the same thing on a pillow in a little boutique the following year and when I inquired, the shop owner told me it had been brought in by an artist the previous year! Coulda knocked me over with a feather. And this was right around the same time I was slaving over those graphs to get it 'just' right. No one had seen my work other than the original customer. I'd not even shared it with my online friends, which is unusual for me.

It can happen. To anyone. I like to *think* I'm unique in my crafting life, but if I can think of it, so can someone else.

~ Marge ~

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Crochet Hooks Galore!!

I've spent the better part of this morning going through a couple of boxes of sewing supplies that were my Mom's. I found a HUGE stash of metal crochet hooks among all of that. She used to do a lot of thread crochet (doilies, antimacassars, etc.) but I'd not realized she had such a great collection. That's my Mom circa 1932 - 1935 at the left.

Found several Milwards ranging from size 1 down to size 12. And one cutie that is only a tad under 3 3/4". It's a Morrall's and is size 2. No country of manufacture listed, though. Will have to see if I can research that brand online. There's even some stamped Mexico!

LOTS of Susan Bates and numerous Boye. Several of the Boye have the price stamped on them ranging from 10cents to 25cents. I wonder how old those are??

I'd given my daughter a lot of my own thread hooks when she renewed an interest into getting back into thread crochet, along with some bone ones and several bakelite that my Grandmother had used quite a bit. Her crochet work was superb ... all her daughters could do thread crochet with a great deal of expertise, including my Mom.

This forage into these boxes had been a great trip down memory lane.

~ Marge ~

Friday, July 11, 2008

I Was Kidnapped Yesterday ...

by my two sons, daughter-in-law, hubby and 2 of our grandsons. You see, yesterday was my birthday. Wasn't sure if I wanted any sort of celebration for my 60th birthday, but they wouldn't listen. I was 'forced' to go to a fabulous dinner at the Olive Garden.

Oh wow! I stuffed myself silly and wondered if I would go into a diabetic coma with that cake they ordered! And a huge bunch of the waitresses / waiters gathered around our table and sang the cutest chanting style song for me!

~ Marge ~

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Private Showings

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday, which was annoying, but necessary. So much going on and so very little time. Around 7:00 p.m. yesterday, I was wondering how I could possibly squish in another 2 hours into the day. There were 7 projects I had slated to finish that were barely started. They were knit, but nothing was put together, stuffed or sewn.

Gone are the days when I could pull an all-nighter with little effort and no side effects. Never thought I'd miss those after my life started to settle down and I got organized more, but I do. They were fun!

So bright and early this a.m. (5:30 Pacific Time), I was sewing & stuffing my little Santa Dolls for the upcoming Christmas In July local show I'm involved with for the weekend of the 19th & 20th. It's a private, in-home show hosted by a dear friend and the 4 of us always have good sales.

I've found that the invitation-only ones are by far the best for my merchandise. I'm more in control, it's not outside in the weather where I would be battling wind, dust and heat. And it's a much more relaxed event.

~ Marge in Reno ~

Monday, July 7, 2008

Portable Crafts

This is one of my favorite portable crafts since they can go just about anywhere with me. Tatted Flowers. I have a mini pair of fold up scissors and along with 2 or 3 'loaded' shuttles, they can tuck into a small zippered coin case with ease. It's great way to pass the time in waiting rooms and gets all sorts of crafty conversations started.

I love making these little tatted flowers to add to stationery, business cards, gift tags and all sorts of 'stuff'. They're just a nice touch. I'm starting to fiddle with ACEO's for relaxation, and have put 'bouquets' of these little flowers along with snippets of silk leaves onto the cards. Not ready to show them to the world, yet, but maybe someday.

When going through my 'stash' of craft odds & ends, I found a couple hundred I'd forgotten about. So I've listed some of them in my Etsy Store in the Supplies section.

Another larger, but still quite portable craft is cross stitch coasters and coffee mug inserts. They're already pre-cut and I like to use a large pin to hold the floss which is hitch-knotted over the pin's bar. Everything I need slips into a flat cosmetic bag and tucks into my purse.

Do you have a portable craft? Please tell me about it. I'd love to hear from you.

~ Marge ~

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Another PIF ...

I've put up another PIF (Pay It Forward) in the Seasonal Section of my Etsy Shop. This lovely little dove pattern is 48st x 44 st and is perfect for adding to any of your holiday cross stitch.

It was created in HobbyWare's PatternMaker software and you can choose from the graph or the .pat file.

~ Marge ~

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Well, I've finally added some more pics to my Flickr account. Recently, there was a thread on Etsy about Let's See Some More Flickr Pages. That's when I really got into my account, cleared out a lot of old stuff, revamped and then added some family pics. And it has helped traffic tremendously to my MKDesigner Etsy Store and also my Knits 'n More Etsy Store.

I'm going to be building a better profile page on Flickr since that's the only spot you can have a link to anything you sell. I didn't know that, until that thread above started. So my Flickr now meets the requirements. If anyone has some nifty tips for what makes a great Flickr profile, I'd appreciate any comments.

~ Marge ~

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

On July 3rd, 1776 ...

... John Adams wrote the following to his wife, Abigail:

"The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not. "

(The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).

More information is available at:

Just thought you'd like to know.

~ Marge ~