Monday, June 29, 2009

Tutorial: Use Amazon to create an Etsy wishlist

Have you ever wished you could make an Etsy wishlist? Well, thanks to Amazon's universal wish list button, you can now do just that. It takes about 10 seconds to set up, and is easy as pie to use. Ready to get started? Here's what you have to do.

Step 1: Go to, hover over "Your Lists" in the upper right corner, and click on "Wish List"

Step 2: From your Wish List page, click on the "universal wishlist box on the left side of the page.

Step 3: Click on the button that says "Get the Universal Wish List Button"

Step 4: As instructed, click and drag the "Add to Wish List" button to your bookmarks bar (right underneath the address bar). The button will stay in this bar, and it will be there whenever you open your browser.

Okay, now you're set up with the Universal Wish List Button. The remaining steps will show you how to add things to your wish list.

Step 5: Go to etsy and find an item that you'd like to add to your wish list. Check out these awesome green earrings from Etsy seller echosofspring. Click on the "Add to Wish List" button that you just put into your bookmarks bar. A window looking like the one below will pop up.

Step 6: Fill in any information that you would like to add. There are boxes for Price, Quantity Desired, and Comments (this is a good place to specify size or color). You can also choose a different picture from the page by clicking on the arrows below the picture, where it says "Is this the right image?" When you are finished adding the information you would like to include, click on the yellow "Add to List" button.

Step 7: A confirmation message will appear letting you know the item has been added. If you would like to go to Amazon to see your list you can click on "View this List." If you want to add more items, or go back to what you were doing, just click on "Continue Shopping." I clicked on "View this List" so you can see how the item shows up on your wish list.

Step 8: There isn't really a step 8. This is just a picture of my wish list with the item added. Over here you can change the quantity desired, priority, and comments. You can see that the list shows the price that I entered, the title of the item and seller, and a direct link to the listing.

Of course, since this is a Universal wish list button, you can use it to add items from any website you visit. You can see on mine that I have an item from underneath the earrings I just added, and then I have another item from Etsy underneath that. I prefer to keep everything on one list so that people only need to go to one place if they're looking for gift ideas for me. However, if you would like to make a list of exclusively Etsy items, you may do that as well. Amazon allows you to create multiple wish lists and name them as you like. So you could create a new wish list, name it Etsy Wish List (or whatever you prefer), and use it for only Etsy items. That way if you wanted those items separate for whatever reason, you would have that option.

I hope you have found this interesting and useful. Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Importance of Lighting

I learned something new today, thanks to etsy seller BuyMyCrap. She started this thread about using Ott Lite bulbs for photographing items, and even let us know the bulbs were on sale at Home Depot for only $6.

Well, I don't have a Home Depot nearby - there are not many big box stores in Manhattan, at least not around where I live - but after reading over 20 pages and 200-something posts, I just had to find some of these bulbs.

So what's so special about them? They are "full spectrum" light bulbs. I can't explain the science behind it, but they're designed to simulate natural sunlight. Apparently they've been marketed to crafters for doing detail work and being able to accurately match colors at night. It just makes sense that they'd be good for photographing said crafts once they're done.

Thus I embarked on an expedition to find these bulbs (or something similar). There are several small hardware stores within walking distance of my apartment, so my plan was to check those, but I remembered that I needed to pick up rubbing alcohol, so I popped into Duane Reade on my way. And what the heck, they sell light bulbs, it's worth a look, right? Much to my surprise, not only did they sell GE brand full spectrum light bulbs, they actually had some in the store brand! And really, at $4.49 for a 4-pack, how could I not try them?

So I picked up a pack of 100W (the one drawback - incandescent bulbs... the real Ott Lites are fluorescents) and hurried home to try them out.

The one item that I've struggled the most with photographing accurately is my Perfect Loofah in Flamingo Pink. It's a really bright pink, but the pictures kept coming out rather salmon-colored.

Here's a Before/After collage of the pictures for my listing. This is the exact same loofah, taken in the same light box with different light bulbs. The pics on the left were taken using standard compact fluorescent light bulbs. The ones on the right were taken with my Duane Reade store brand full spectrum light bulbs.

Amazing difference, isn't it?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Neverending Quilt

I can't even tell you exactly when Cale and I started working on this quilt. But I know we were still living in Boston at the time, and I think it was at least a few months before we moved to NYC. So... since we just renewed our lease, that means it's been over a year. And it's not a complex quilt. In fact, it's a really simple pattern. But we have a tendency to get sidetracked.

Basically, we've gotten as far as we have by working in spurts of diligence. We'll go through a week or two when we work on it a little bit every night, and then we just don't. For a few months. And then one of us will be inspired to go back to it, and we go through the same cycle again.

Our last "on" period was sometime in the dead of winter, and we were making such good progress that we thought we might finish before the weather got too warm to use it, and we even bought a gigantic roll of batting in anticipation. Well, now that batting has been taking up a good portion of our limited storage space for a good 3-4 months.

Well I got inspired again, after unearthing the quilt pieces when I was cleaning a few days ago, so we're working on it once again. I'm hoping that putting this out there in the blogosphere will help me keep up the momentum to actually finish this thing. We're about 3/4 done with the top, and then we need to assemble the layers, so if we keep at it we should be able to finish before the weather gets cold again.

I'm pretty sure I said that to myself around this time last year, but now I'm going to make it an official goal. This quilt will be complete before the end of October. Oh boy, now I've said it. Can we do it??? Feel free to leave me words of encouragement!

And now for some pictures of the infamous quilt...

It's got a two-way gradient thing going on, so the green gets darker as the brown gets lighter. That bit wasn't in the pattern - the pattern just had blues and creams randomly distributed. And man, it took us to pick out fabrics, and decide on the layout of the blocks. I'm liking the look so far, though. Can't wait till I can sleep under it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Going Reusable

Last night, my boyfriend and I demolished almost an entire roll of paper towels. I'll admit we don't clean as often as we should, but part of the problem is our water. I think it must have rust or something in it because we get orange buildup in our shower, sink, and toilet. And anywhere that the water pools (like the base of the shower doors and behind the sink faucet) the orange buildup turns into orange slime. It is not pretty. In fact it's pretty damn gross. I hate looking at it, but I hate the thought of cleaning it even more. So I procrastinate.

Well yesterday I finally bought some Comet disinfecting spray cleaner, versus our "Kitchen and Bath" spray from the dollar store (I'm not entirely convinced it's any more effective than water), and I went to town on the shower. I think I used nearly half the bottle on this one cleaning.

Between cleaning the shower and wiping up the excess water on our freshly mopped wood floors, using up an exorbitant number of paper towels, we realized we have a problem... We have no rags.

But this is a solvable problem. All that is required is a bit of cheap cotton yarn and a few hours time. Then I figured, hey, if we're gonna be eco-friendly and make reusable cleaning cloths, why not go all the way and make them from organically grown cotton? So that is exactly what we're doing. I ordered two 100g balls of this undyed organic cotton yarn from knitpicks for just $10.

I'm already planning what sizes to make and how to differentiate between things that can be used on dishes, and things that can be used on floors and toilets. I think I'll make a few fairly small round crocheted cloths to be used as dishcloths. Then I'll make a few small square knitted cloths in a nice textured stitch like moss for general cleaning and scrubbing, and then one or two larger rectangular (also knitted) cloths for such things as wiping up mop water, cleaning spills, etc. It would be nice if I could differentiate with different colors too, but they only had the darkest shade available, and I was too impatient to wait for the other ones to become available :)

And so I am trying to make my life a little greener, a little bit at a time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Free Pattern: The Perfect Loofah

At long last, here it is... the pattern for my Perfect Loofah! But first, some pictures.

The most important component of this pattern is the yarn. I used Bernat Cool Crochet, which unfortunately has been discontinued. Here are the things that make this the perfect yarn for The Perfect Loofah:
1. Cotton is ridiculously absorbent. Nylon is not. This yarn is 70% cotton and 30% nylon, creating a nice balance between being soft (yay cotton!) and not sucking up all your soap never to be seen again (yay nylon!).
2. Nylon is resistant to mildew/mold. This is very useful for something that's going to be wet a lot.
3. It's sport weight. Worsted weight is just too heavy to make a good loofah. You need some air between the stitches in order to create suds.
4. Did I mention nylon dries faster than cotton? I guess this is a subsidiary of #1. The low absorbency of the nylon helps it dry out between uses.
5. It's machine-washable. The label says "dry flat" but seriously, I'd like to see you try to get a loofah to dry flat. I test washed mine before putting my first one up for sale and I put it in the dryer. It came out okay but looking a little rougher, so I'd recommend hanging it up to try. Low heat tumble drying might be okay - mine went in on permanent press. 

Right, so the perfect yarn is no longer for sale, so what the heck are you supposed to do then? Well, if you're super lucky, you have some Cool Crochet hanging out in your stash, but if not, I've seen it for sale on both etsy and ebay. But I bought it, so it might be all gone :). You might also be able to swap with someone on Ravelry. (Hmm... maybe I shouldn't be telling you all this). 

I have had a lot of trouble finding another yarn that is a sport (or fingering) weight cotton/nylon blend that doesn't have something else in it - like wool. It's possible that there are sock yarns out there that might fit the bill, but I haven't found any yet. Another option might be trying a cotton/acrylic blend. The acrylic should still help with the super-soap-sucking power of cotton, make the loofah lighter/less dense, and help it dry faster. But, as far as I know it's not mildew-resistant. 

If you try a different yarn, PLEASE  let me know how it works out for you! I'm making these for my etsy shop, and I only have so much Cool Crochet, so having another type of yarn to use would be awesome. 

And now for the actual pattern. 

I ask that you respect the time and creativity I put into developing this pattern by giving credit where credit is due. Please contact me first if you are interested in selling your finished products. Thanks.


35 g Bernat Cool Crochet (see above for reasons why this is the perfect yarn)
Size I9 (5.5mm) crochet hook
Yarn needle


st: stitch ch: chain sl st: slip stitch dc: double crochet


ch 4, form a ring by joining with a sl st in first st 
ch 40 
sl st into center of ring (this forms the loop for hanging the loofah)

R1: ch2, dc 4o into center of ring, join with sl st (4o st)
R2: ch2, dc 3 in each st around, join with sl st (120 st)
R3: ch2, dc 3 in each st around, join with sl st (360 st)
R4: ch2, dc 3 in each st around, join with sl st (1080 st)

Bind off. Weave in ends.