Welcome Message

Marvel, Muse, Manifest, Materialize. Welcome to February Jones: The Blog. While you're here I might challenge some of your opinions, show you something you never knew before, or if you're lucky, I just might melt your brain and bring you a new way of viewing the world and your place in it. And I have accessories to help you remember these new ways of thinking! View my Etsy shop items just to your lower right in my CraftCult widget, or by clicking on the Merchverse tab above. See what some of my customers think in the Testimonial section, and check out all on my interweb featurettes in the Media section. You can even watch some awesome Etsy videos in the Etsy Fun! section. I hope you enjoy the World of February Jones and come back often, things are always changing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

[Insert Cliche Good/Bad Idiom Here]

I vended at a show this past Sunday, and my high hopes and excitement were chipped away at all day until the show ended and I closed my cash box having made only 2 sales.... About 350 people had come through the show. Needless to say, I was disappointed. But I could have been much more upset, and interestingly, (because I have a consistently positive outlook) I kinda wanted to be an angry sourpuss, lamenting all of the things that hadn't gone my way that day. But no matter how hard I tried to be a Debbie Downer, the good things about my day kept creeping up on me which made it very difficult to maintain the negative attitude that I so wanted to enshroud myself in.

"Every cloud has a silver lining"
"There are two sides to every coin"
"Take the bad with the good"
"Don't throw the baby out with the bath water"

No matter how hard I tried to focus on the failures of the day...
- "350 people and I only sold 2 items?! To the SAME person!" 
- "Why didn't the vendor who was supposed to be beside me show up? Now there's just a void there and its negative energy is tainting my vending space!" 
- "I want to grab some food, but what if I miss the ONLY other sale I might get today?"
- "Those people giving away free cupcake samples right in front of me are making everyone miss my table!"

...they just didn't really seem to matter when stacked up against the good things that occurred...
-I gave out lots of business cards!
-People always enjoy seeing those Beastly Baby Booties, and it makes me feel great to create something that generates such an instant and positive response.
-I met another Etsy friend! It was her first show, and her table setup looked AMAZING! I was so happy to meet her in person.
-Someone was browsing through my creations and after discovering that I made each and every one told me that I was 'just amazing'. :)
-The vendor behind me was super-friendly and let me know about a job opportunity (I'm currently seeking outside employment until my business starts generating millions) and told me how personable I was. Then she kept giving me chocolate squares. Mmmmm.... chocolate...
-I received tons of compliments on the work that I create and could talk about how some of my items were developed.
-I was photographed for the local 'Snap!' newspaper!
-The journalist who was shooting pictures was looking at a pair of Quantum Teardrops, when I said they were inspired by quantum physics, she said "Oh I get it, like this is sort of like an atom and these represent the orbits..." I get thrilled when people can see the inspiration translated into the design.
-Another Etsy friend came to the show to say hi and check out everyone's presentation (she's getting ready to attend her first show) and happened to bring along with her my one customer for the day...

There's more that I could add to that list, but I think I've made my point. Even though I was really upset that this particular show experience was a bit of a loss on paper (when you factor in table costs, transportation, etc- and weigh that against the meager sales I achieved...) it was still a great day no matter how hard I tried to perceive it as a really really bad one.

Some people say it's easier to think negative thoughts, or believe negative things- but I discovered that it's only easier to do that if you're in the habit of doing it anyway and you've already been consistently ignoring the good stuff in your life. But I'm not like that, and for as long as I can remember I have always been taught to "look on the bright side" and "not let it get you down" and to "seek the positives". It has become such a regular practice for me that it's basically impossible for me wallow in the world of pessimism. EVEN WHEN THAT'S THE ONLY THING I WANT TO DO.

So my advice to you is to really foster a positive outlook and learn to find the things that are great about unsavory situations. With a little practice and metal stick-to-it-iveness, you too can save yourself from being your own worst enemy ;)


Monday, March 21, 2011

Crocodile Stitch Statement Necklace

I have been seeing this crocodile crochet stitch everywhere! I love the way that it looks, it reminds me of dragon scales (other people say fish scales or flower petals, but that's not nearly as much fun as dragon scales). One of my favourite occurences of this stitch is in Dainty Loops Etsy shop- she makes necklaces like this one that are smaller and more delicate and absolutely stunning. I've been wanting to try making my own for a long while. Mine turned out bigger (statement sized) because I used size 4 worsted weight yarn- not exactly your most chic and delicate kind, rather closer to the opposite. But it was what I had lying around, and this morning I decided it was time to learn this stitch. So a few mock ups, rip-aparts, grumbles and adaptations later, I had this chunky and delightful new piece to wear.

I'd love to share the pattern, but...
a) I don't know how to explain exactly what I did,
b) It is practically impossible to find written out instructions for this stitch online, and
c) I don't want to step on Dainty Loops toes.

So here's what I do have for you.

If you want a necklace like this of your own, please visit Dainty Loops Etsy shop here: Dainty Loops on Etsy where you'll find tons of different colours and other amazing crocheted wonders.

If you want to try this stitch out for yourself and play with it, these were the resources that I used:
- Teresa's video on her Art of Crochet blog
- Jennifer's Crocodile Stitch 2 part video on YouTube: Part 1 and Part 2

I'd love to hear about your experiences trying it out, or even if you just love things created with this stitch :)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Crochet Rainbow Fingerless Gloves - Free Pattern

Last night I decided that it was time for another pair of fingerless gloves, or armwarmers, or gauntlets... Every now and then you have to make something just for you- it's kind of like an insurance policy against losing interest in your favourite crafts. If I'm constantly making things for other people it can start to feel like only work, and the last thing a creative entrepreneur needs is to get sick of the things you want to make for a living. You also need to try stuff out to see if it might become a new item in your shop :)

I've always had issues with fingerless gloves- I have very small wrists so sometimes things that I buy are too big, and things that I make for myself are too small for others. These fingerless gloves measure about 8" in circumference at their narrowest point around the wrist. If you follow this free pattern look for the stars that mark the places where I decrease to get this wrist size. You may choose to include the decrease or not- the nice thing about this pattern is that it's pretty intuitive, and you can try these on as you're creating them and alter them as you think you need to. The decreases occur around the thumb as it connects to the wrist. There is also a portion of the pattern that includes increases as your arm gets wider. Again, these can be included or not- just judge based on how the glove fits you as you proceed.

Alright! Here we go!

Striped (Rainbow) Fingerless Gloves
-at least 2 balls (contrasting colours) of size 4 medium worsted weight yarn (I've used Lion Brand Vanna's Choice in 6 colours, 3.5 oz (100 g), 170 yards (156 m) )
-size I (size 9 or 5.5mm) crochet hook
-darning needle

*Colour change tip: When I change colours, I yarn over with both threads and complete the stitch with only the new thread. Holding on to the old colour and the tail of the new colour, crochet underneath those two threads and complete the stitch above those two colours. This way, the yarn gets woven into the back of the stitch and saves you from having to weave in the ends when you are finished the glove.

Ch 26, join with slst to first ch.
Round 1: Ch 1, sc 26. Add marker if you like to see precisely where the round begins/ends, because you will now work in the round (no more slst to the beginning of the round, you'll just continue with sc)
Round 2: Sc 26.
Round 3-5: Repeat round 2.
Round 6: Sc in next 2 sts, ch 7, skip 2 sts and sc in 3rd and every st until end of round.
Round 7-8: Sc

Round 9: Change colour, sc in back loop only for whole round.
Round 10: Sc
Round 11: Sc2tog twice*, sc in next 6 sts, sc2tog twice*, sc rest of round.
Round 12: Sc
Round 13: Sc2tog twice*, sc in next 3 sts, sc2tog twice*, sc rest of round.
Round 14: Sc
Round 15: Sc2tog twice*, sc rest of round
Round 16: Sc

Round 17: Change colour, sc in back loop only for whole round.
Round 18-23: Sc
Round 24: (Sc in next 5 sts, 2sc in next st*) repeat to end of round.
Round 25: Sc

Round 26: Change colour, sc in back loop only or whole round.
Round 27: Sc
Round 28: (Sc 7, 2sc in next st*) repeat once, then sc to end of round.
Round 29-33: Sc

Round 34: Change colour, sc in back loop only for whole round.
Round 35-40: Sc

Round 41: Change colour, sc in back loop only for whole round.
Round 42-47: Sc

You can make the last colour longer if you like, but these ones reach about a half inch below my elbow, and I have long arms. If you try out this pattern I'd love to hear how it goes! Please let me know if you share it, or leave a link if you blog about a pair you tried out! If it works out nicely for you and you want to sell them, please credit my blog with the pattern.

Happy crafting!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Creating Creativity

These last couple of days I've been getting some spring cleaning done, crocheting Beastly Baby Booties, and to be perfectly honest, have been racking my brain about getting a post up on this blog. I refuse to post something just for the sake of posting something. While I'll quickly admit that I'm still developing a sense of direction with this blog, I do try to post things that my readers will enjoy, that will make you think, or that will bring something positive to your day. And of course I always love to let you all know what sort of creations I'm working on for the February Jones shop.

Yesterday I met some of my girlfriends for a Crafternoon (I'll share some photos of the next one that we have)- I brought some crochet projects, Gillian was working on her wedding invitations, and Faren was working on some fashion concepts for an international design competition that she's entering. While I was drooling over her sketches, I remembered how much I used to draw and create collages and that sort of thing. Why did I stop? Why don't I use those sorts of techniques to design my jewelry? I was stumped, and when I got home I spent a long time sifting through useless search results online looking for some sort of direction about drawing out jewelry designs. I found some videos and images of people designing their own jewelry, most of which was for setting stones or the kind of work that I just don't do. 
What I did discover was that no one can show you how to draw your own designs, and no can tell you how to apply your own inspiration. (I know I know- pretty obvious... but sometimes you just want the easy way out, right?) 

So I got to work. I grabbed my Crayola and Mr Sketch markers, my pencil crayons, my coloured pens, and my sketching pencils. I picked up a book to read that I hadn't delved into in a few years confident that when inspiration struck I'd be ready. I had no idea what would end up on paper, but realized that if you over-think things, you'll just get stuck. So if you're having trouble recording your ideas, stop trying so hard and remember that it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to get out, and every idea needs some breathing room to thrive so don't be surprised if you notice things evolving as you play around with them.

Do any of you have any suggestions for getting your ideas out and recording them? Any favourite methods, or things that always work for you or never do? I'd love to hear them as I build up my repertoire of options :)


Monday, March 14, 2011

Custom Deoxy Replication Necklace and Clone's Earrings

I missed posting on the last 2 days (still working on that post-a-day challenge for this month!) so I thought I'd share some of what I've been up to. A family friend named Christina is visiting from Switzerland and did some February Jones shopping while I was getting ready for the show that I did on Saturday morning. Happy day for me- she bought lots of great stuff to bring home as gifts for friends. Among her purchases was a custom order for a Deoxy Replication Necklace and matching Clone's Earrings. She went with a mystical looking blue/purple/green blend of glass seed beads. I have so many colours to choose from, it can sometimes be overwhelming, but I absolutely love to see the choices of others when they want a custom piece. Here's the finished product!

Custom Deoxy Replication Necklace

Custom Deoxy Clone's Earrings

This set and some other great picks will be heading back to Switzerland tonight!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Handmade Jewelry Show and Sale

This Saturday, March 12 (tomorrow) I'll be attending a handmade jewelry show at a very cool coffee house called the Kava Bean Commons in downtown Kitchener. It's right down the road from the bus station,  at 24 Gaukel St. I love local businesses that support the handmade community, and this will the first show of this sort that I've attended. If you're in the area, I'd love to see you! Even if you're just grabbing a coffee and stopping to say hi. Check out some of the artists who will be attending from the list below :)

 Cobbled Stone - cobbledstone.etsy.com
February Jones - februaryjones.etsy.com

Sugar Accessories - www.sugaraccessories.com
Rawkette Jewellery - www.etsy.com/shop/Rawkette

Les-is-more by Lesley Lang

Dazzling Designs by Jennifer Hagen

Scribbles Boutique by Sara McAuley

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stay in Touch

Social media has revolutionized the way that we all interact with one another. Do you remember the last time that you sent someone a letter or spent an hour on a real (without the help of a system like Skype) long-distance phone call catching up with a friend who moved? Social media forms like Facebook and Twitter let us stay in touch instantly, which is wonderful, but sometimes I still the personal connection that less efficient and more expensive methods seemed to offer. You might argue that photos and videos and status updates are personal, and you're right, but they become even more personal when I'm talking on the phone with a friend and we discuss what we've been seeing on Facebook, or get into the details of certain status updates.

I'd like to share with you an awesome idea that my cousin Rachel brought to the table a few years ago. We are members of a very large family (our parents are 2 siblings in a family of 20 children) that is spread out all over Canada. We don't get to see each other very often, but keep track of everyone's 'going's on' through Facebook. To allow us to share things in a different way, Rachel proposed A Book.

It's a journal that we are allowed to keep for 2 weeks and fill with whatever we want- photos, postcard snippets, collages of old magazines and newspapers, doodles, etc. The front of the book contains the mailing addresses of 5 female cousins (I'm in Ontario, Janie and Alyssa are in Saskatchewan, Rachel and Amanda are in British Columbia) and after our 2 week session is up, we mail The Book along to the next cousin in line to receive it, and the cycle continues. We share advice, stories, tales of woe, frustration, sadness, victory, changes, and life in general. This can be done for family members, close friends who have moved away from each other, groups of people who met for a shared experience and then went along their own separate paths again, anything you can think of! It's a wonderful way to share more and develop a stronger sense of connection than online social media can provide.

Talk to any kind of circle of friends that you have and give it a try! You'll need:
- a notebook of some kind
- creative implements like markers, coloured pens, etc to help your imagination run free
- regular visits to the post office
- an open mind and willingness to create

Do any of you already do something like this? If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Beastly Baby Booties

I've been working on Beastly Baby Booties for a while now, but for the longest time I could only make them in one size, somewhere in the range of a size 0 - 1/2 which would fit a newborn to a 3 or 4 month old baby. These booties get such a big response whenever people see them, basically they are such a high degree of adorable that people gush over them- even if they don't have and never will have a child. At the end of this month I will be vending at the Kitchener-Waterloo Mom Show and Craft Show, so I invested some time in designing larger sizes of these cute showstoppers and increasing the stock that I have available. I'd like to share with you a sneak peek at what I've got going so far, the following photos are all of booties in the smallest size, 0-1/2. Don't be embarrassed if a little "Awwwwww!" escapes from your mouth ;)



I will probably list some on Etsy either after the show at the end of March, or a little sooner if I find that making more of these becomes addicting and I just cant stop! Sizes that will be available are 0-1/2 (3" long sole), 1-2 (4" long sole), and 3-4 (5" long sole). If you're interested and aren't local enough to make it to the show, feel free to leave a comment at the end of this post or to get in touch with me through the February Jones Facebook Fanpage or my February Jones Etsy Shop.


Monday, March 7, 2011

A Peek at My Workspace!

Every has places or environments in which they are most creative. It could be a favorite chair in a corner of room, that coffeehouse with free wireless that you visit so often, a nook in your local library, or if you're lucky, and entire space that you have dedicated to musing and working on your creations. For me, this space is a converted bedroom which stores all of my supplies and is decorated with keepsakes from the fun and fancy free years that I spent as a teenager. I'd like to share some of that with all of you!

My Creation Desk

This is the production line in my studio, where I comfortably sit (often with a small space heater at my feet) and bend, twirl and wrap wire into my favorite wearable works of art. The small image on the wall with the bars in it is a motivation reminder that by doing this, I'm investing in what I love and will someday be able to break through the bars of the typical 9-5 job that most of the world is telling me is "normal" (Pffff!), or simply to "break out of the box" and do things differently.

"Break Through Conformity!" Grade 12 art project

This is another reminder for me not to be afraid to do my thing, be who I am, and share what I love with the world. I went to a high school that required a uniform, and when I made this, the checkerboard base represented the way that my education seemed to consistently urge me to conform and do what I was told and be like everyone else. When you break out into your own thing it's a wonderful feeling of independence, but sometimes that sort of escape can leave a scar (look closely and you'll see the palm has been pierced by a shard of glass) I like to keep this sculpture around, and it's handy for holding some of my wires!

Small yarn sample!

Some of the things that I sell in my shop have been crocheted, you might recognize some of that yarn from my Lollipoppin's (brooches that look like lollipops). I always have some yarn and my hooks handy in case I want to play with some new designs. You never know when inspiration will strike!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Persevere. Believe. Endure.

My kitchen Peace Lily finally bloomed.

I have had this peace lily for about 2 years now. When I bought it, I thought it was a few weeks away from blooming, after all, the others that kept it company on the shelf seemed to have their little white lilies peeking into bloom, this one couldn't be far away. It was so much fuller than the others which was why I chose it. I watered it and waited. I spoke to it and waited. I watched it and waited. After about a year, I started to think that maybe it wasn't a peace lily after all. Maybe it had accidentally gotten mixed in with the other peace lilies and was some sort of un-blooming mystery plant. Even with my misgivings, I continued to care for it until I almost forgot that it was a peace lily.

About one week ago, it bloomed.

Sometimes life will take you on a detour, or you will find yourself on a path you didn't expect to be traversing. Remember what your goals are, because although you cannot always control what happens to you along the way, you are the one who determines who you are and what you want. Hold fast to your goals, and even when it seems like they are still so very far away, continue to persevere and believe in yourself. There may come times when you think what you're doing isn't worth it, and no one will care, and maybe it was all just a stupid idea anyway. But see it through. Your peace lily will bloom when it's good and ready... and that will probably be when you least expect it.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Everything is Connected

Photo by Kindra Clineff

Don't fight your connections, try to work with them harmoniously! I'm still working on how to make more of the ideas behind my creations accessible to my customers, and one of those main ideas is to understand and appreciate how interconnected and symbolic this world is and to realize that regardless of whether you know it or not, your are connected to a system greater than yourself. Your actions influence many things, and believe it or not, so do your thoughts and your attitudes.

The month of March is going to be one full of changes for me- time to find a job, time to book a number of craft shows, time to get my products in order and decide what and how much needs to be completed by show deadlines, etc... etc... Lately I've been getting that nervous-butterfly feeling in my stomach because I know these things are on their way, but I'm not fighting them. I'm trying to move with the current and let the changes unfold in their proper time. Not rushing or trying to force it, but not avoiding it or try to stop it. As I work on this, I want to encourage all of you to recognize your connectedness to your world- take control of the things that you can, and to keep your balance as you surf the wave of uncertainty about those things you can't control. Please enjoy this small excerpt from "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden (a book that has shown increasingly strong parallels to my life at this point in time...)

We human beings are only a part of something very much larger. When we walk along, we may crush a beetle or simply cause a change in the air so that a fly ends up where it might never have gone otherwise. And if we think of the same example but with ourselves in the role of the insect, and the larger universe in the role we've just played, it's perfectly clear that we're affected every day by forces over which we have no more control than the poor beetle has over our gigantic foot as it descends upon it. What are we to do? We must use whatever methods we can to understand the movements of the universe around us and time our actions so that we are not fighting the currents, but moving with them.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Go Check Out Annie Dee's!


This is an exciting morning for me! I've been featured on blogs a couple of times before or provided items for a giveaway, but this is the first time that I've had an interview to go with it! I'll be spending the day today vending at the Old Quebec Street Mall in Guelph, one of my regular Friday activities, and getting the internet there is hit or miss so this is just a little post today. Please go and check out the "Feature Friday" interview on Annie Dee's, and share it if you like what you see!



Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wherever You Go, That's Where You Are

We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, 
going more or less in one direction
until we splash into something that forces us 
to find a new path.
-Sayuri; "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden

I love this quote. It reminds me that although consistency can be comfortable, sometimes continuing on as we always do can get a little stale and boring and before you know it, a year or two has passed and you've barely noticed. Spring is the perfect time to 'splash into' something! Shake up your routine a little bit, try something new, put yourself on a slightly different path in life and see where it leads.

We don't always get to choose what to splash into though. Sometimes things just show up and we have no choice but to hit them and wait and see how life will change. When those boulders and rocks shake up your path unexpectedly, I encourage you to embrace and explore the new path that you find yourself traveling instead of just trying to make everything return to normal. Sometimes you need to embrace a new normal. 

When you're trying to figure out where you are and where you're headed, just remember: wherever you go, that's where you are, so be present with that and don't waste your time and energy trying to be in a place that you're not. Set goals to help you direct your path, and dream dreams that you can work toward manifesting. Pay attention to where you are, because you never know when the river of your life will strike another rock in the hill and change paths once again.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

31 Day March Blog Challenge!

Hello Everyone! March is here and my little corner of Ontario is finally starting to spring out of winter. The birds are louder, the grass is getting greener, the wind has stopped freezing my face, and my jacket is no longer being assaulted by the road salts from my car. Life begins again, and what better way to welcome it along than with a refreshing challenge? I usually post on this blog at least once a week (Thursdays) and sometimes twice (on a Sunday or Monday). But this month I've joined a group of ambitious Etsians who are all being challenged to post on their blog every day this month. This month is already a challenge for me, I can feel lots of changes on their way in my life, and the best way to deal with it is to hit the ground running! So check back often, I'll be posting all sorts of goodies!

If any of you readers have blogs of your own and want to participate in this challenge, you can find the Etsy Discussion that started it right here.