Saturday Market Recap

This past Saturday was the Old Country Fair in Ganado, complete with market, quilting contest, salsa contest, weenie dog races, and food trucks. It was so fun! You had the quilt shop’s customers, feed store’s customers, market’s customers, and highway traffic all coming together to make for the most successful market (for us) yet. Despite the heat, it was nearly perfect.

The booth saw yet another make-over:

 

Here are some of top selling and most loved pieces:

 

We have a lot to get done before September. Hope to see y’all there!

Johnson City: Texas Markets

This post, as well as a few others like this, profiles one of the many markets in Texas. I attend markets regularly as both vendor and customer, and there’s a reason for that: they are so fun!

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Nestled in the Hill Country, Johnson City Market Days is one of my favorites. It’s in downtown Johnson City, Texas, home of President Lyndon B. Johnson (whose boyhood home you can visit, if you’re a history buff), and falls every fourth weekend from March to October, with special dates during the holidays.

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The entire market is situated on one block, so it is pretty small. Despite its small size, the quality, diversity, and talent of the vendors more than make up for it.

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I sampled raw honey from a kind old man. There was a booth that sold unique stylish woodwork. There was jewelry, handmade knives, salsas… So many things that were handcrafted. I think that’s why I loved it so much: almost everything there was crafted by someone local. It wasn’t stocked with folks selling retail.

I ended up getting a hand-poured candle by Rustic Swank out of Marion, Texas. Their candles are made with “soy, dehydrated fruits, spices, an fragrance oils,” and all coloring, if used, is organic. I got the Lavender Fields scent, because I’m obsessed with lavender. It was $10, and they’ll refill it for half price.

 

Warrenton: Markets in Texas

This post, as well as a few others like this, profiles one of the many markets in Texas. I attend markets regularly as both vendor and customer, and there’s a reason for that: they are so fun!

 

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Today, we are talking about Warrenton. Warrenton is the mother of all Texas markets and antique shows. Fifty years running, it’s one of the biggest in the country.
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Antiques Weekend is twice a year in Fayette County. All throughout Round Top, Fayetteville, Warrenton, Burton, Carmine, and all along the roads, 600 vendors set up shop in barns and tents selling antiques from all over, straight up junk, crafts, furniture, clothes, jewelry, and more.

Every show, fall and spring, 100,000 people go junkin’.

Fresh coat of nail polish, second cup of coffee, and $40 in my purse, I was off to Warrenton.

 

Let me tell you… this place is HUGE. It’s crazy. I went on a Saturday in September- a gorgeous day- morning lows in the sixties, high in the eighties, not a cloud in the sky. I parked for $5 in a field and hit the road, only to return two and a half hours later, and I had only seen maybe a quarter of the show.

I started at the first big barn on the right-hand side of the road. I saw piles of old tools at one place, tons and tons of signs at several places, cute suitcases and trunks that I wanted really badly, some (imported) Mexican yard art, clothes, a junk store (you could buy buttons, scrabble letters, door knobs, little clocks, and butter dishes, to name some things), and a cowhide rug place (I would have bought had I enough money), before I finally made my first purchase. There was a lady set up on the wrap around porch of a house, where many other vendors were, selling soap- Elner Austin at ElsSoap.com

I bought a small bar of “Leather and Lace” beard soap for my boyfriend and a small bar of “sweet wood” charcoal soap for my sister (she loves charcoal everything). Soap is one of those things I almost always buy at markets. For one, it takes a lot of work, and I want to support the people that do that work. Two, it smells damn good- nothing like what you’d buy at the store. Three, it’s made with natural ingredients, and four, I can’t make it myself. I could, but I don’t really have the materials or the time or the want-to to try to make it from scratch. I’ll stick with my soap kits from Hobby Lobby!

My favorite things were this front porch swings made out of the tailgates of old pick-ups.

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I moved on and grabbed a quick bite to eat before getting lost in some gorgeous furniture. See, going to these places makes me want to buy a house and get married so I can buy pretty furniture and decorate it with Mr. and Mrs. pillows, and when I come to terms with the fact that that’s not happening anytime soon, it’s depressing. Alas, I continued to look at what else Warrenton had to offer. I saw funky mannequins, ornaments, white linen gowns, rusty horseshoes, tons of windows and doors that I could do so much with, old outdoor furniture, beautiful clothes, more old beer and car signs, quilts, dishes, forks and knives, black and white pictures of strangers, lamps made out of propane tanks, a metal cut out of Bigfoot, golf clubs, Army surplus, lots of bicycles and wagons, cages of all kinds, fences, Christmas trees made of pallets, coat hangers, pumpkins made from anything and everything, bird houses, and my favorite- porch swings made with the tailgates of old pick-ups. I did make a couple other purchases as well: a $5 clipboard to use for work and a small block “H.” I could have made the “H” myself, but the lady I bought it from (her business is called Vunkology) told me before that she sat down at her dining room table and made every single letter. Mind you, there were 20-30 of every letter of the alphabet and the ten single-digits. She had so many other things for sale, too, that I can’t imagine the time and effort she put into everything. I had to buy a little something something.

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Plus, when you go to these shows, it’s obligatory that you buy crap. You’ve just got to. You can’t go to these things with a smart shopper mindset.

Being smart can actually hurt your fun. It did for me a little bit. I’ve always been a crafty person, and in the last few years, I’ve really gotten into doing things myself. I see things at shows that I like, but then I realize that I could make that easily. If I can’t easily make it myself, then yeah I’ll buy it if I want it enough. Otherwise, though, I’m not going to pay a bunch of money (because in this business you can charge the hell out of someone. It feels unethical, almost, so I charge low, but if I wanted to, I could sell things for three times their worth) for something I could do myself. I’ve been to several markets, too, so I can also tell what’s authentic and what was mass-produced. The Chinese have gotten real good and making fake shit look real. For example, I love Mexican yard art. I want a yard full of colorful metal animals, but there is only one lady I will buy from. She is middle-aged go-getter Mexican woman that I always see in Wimberly and Fredericksburg. She’s awesome. She is quite the sales lady, and she knows her product front, back, upside down, and sideways. She and her crew make everything in Mexico out of recycled metal, like cars. She could point to every single one of her pieces and tell you what it was made of. She showed me one (I think it was a pig or something) that still had the Mercedes-Benz logo on it. She’s the real deal. Other vendors (I asked) have them imported. That’s fine, someone had to make it, but I personally prefer that authenticity and humanity, like the Mexican lady. So yeah, just knowing how to make things and being able to tell the real from not-real takes a little bit of the fun out of it, but not totally. I came away with lots of ideas both for my business and (mostly) my future dream home!

By the way, if you do make it to Warrenton, I suggest making a trip out of it. Seriously. That part of the state is beautiful. Honestly, though, what part of our state isn’t? Anyway, nearby is La Grange, which is neat for you ZZ Top and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas fans.

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There are also the Painted Churches in Praha, Dublina, and other areas. These churches were built by Czechs that immigrated to Texas in the mid-nineteenth century.

 

Further east of Warrenton and Round Top is Brenham, which has a super cute downtown area with more antique shops and this place called Must Be Heaven, and they have the best pies! They also have a Blue Bell factory that you can tour! A little bit further yet is College Station, if you’re an Aggie. If you go about an hour and a half west of Warrenton, you hit Austin.

I hope you feel inspired to go junkin’ now! It is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures.

 

~Hannah ❤

 

 

WHOREHOUSE MOVIE POSTER via Google Image Search:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/best-little-whorehouse-texas-sets-724082

Ganado: Texas Markets

This post, as well as a few others like this, profiles one of the many markets in Texas. I attend markets regularly as both vendor and customer, and there’s a reason for that: they are so fun!

CANVA Ganado, TX Market Days

Ganado is my most local market. It’s really small- it only takes up the corner of a block. But it’s so cute and friendly and honest and genuine. I love it.

We set up shop there a lot, but there are so many different other vendors. The local bee keeper is there with honey, several ladies are there with kolaches and breads and jellies, there’s a snowcone truck, face painter, a lady that paints yard signs, other crafts, jewelry, more baked goods, crocheted hats and scarves, a variety of food trucks, local fundraisers, and more.

The town itself has a bit to offer, too. One of our treasures is the Rear Window, named after my favorite Hitchcock film. It’s a beautiful, intimate listening room where yet-to-be-discovered artists across an array of genres come to get their music heard.

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On top of that, you can get a meal catered by the Ganado Cafe- a great place to eat in town.

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There’s also the iconic movie theater, which opened in 1941. It’s the first in the country to have an all-digital fiber-optic sound system and is the last of J.D. Long’s theater chain. Once upon a time it even hosted the Grand Ole Opry tour ( http://www.ganadocinema.com/about.html).
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There are several good places to eat: the Ganado Cafe, Estella’s Mexican Restaurant, KW’s (burgers and Blue Bell), Tutti Frutti (sandwiches and Blue Bell), a barbecue joint, and a Dairy Queen. In addition to restaurants, there’s a quilt shop, flower shop, gift shop, and western wear shop, as well as an accommodating hotel and several different churches. There’s also Lake Texana- great for fishing, boating, and kayaking.

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So come see us! We’ve left the light on for you…

 

~Hannah ❤

 

 

***Images/logos are not mine. I don’t own them or have any part in them whatsoever, nor did I in anyway edit or change them. I just wanted some visuals for readers , visuals that I myself could not just “get” at the time of this writing this, which is kind of weird considering this is home. Then again, I don’t exactly play tourist when I’m there. Anyway, I found them from the following sites via Google Image search:

THEATER: http://www.flickriver.com/places/United+States/Texas/Ganado/
GANADO CAFE: https://www.zomato.com/ganado-tx/the-ganado-cafe-ganado
REAR WINDOW:  https://www.rearwindowlisteningroom.com/
LAKE TEXANA: http://wiseabouttexas.com/texas-towns-texana/lake-texana/

Fredericksburg: Texas Markets

This post, as well as a few others like this, profiles one of the many markets in Texas. I attend markets regularly as both vendor and customer, and there’s a reason for that: they are so fun!

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Fredericksburg has a special place in my heart. I love this town so much. As a kid, we used to come up here every now and then. Oftentimes, when we took my sister to camp in Comfort, we’d go on up to the market or to walk around downtown. Once we made a whole trip of it: did all kinds of shopping, went to Enchanted Rock, and got some peaches. It was my first market experience, too, so I’m thinking that’s where I caught the bug.

The last time I went was with my best friend. She had never been to Fredericksburg before, and I felt it was high time I took her. So we made the lovely drive to the market and had a blast. They have so much at this place, with 350 vendors selling foods (I hit the jellies really hard), furniture, paintings and framed photos, soap (one lady almost always has a baby goat with her), candied nuts (buy some every time), antiques (there’s this one place that has old babydoll heads on wrought iron fence spikes- I hate it), cowhides, Mexican yard art, a mechanical bull, old records, signs, crafts, and more. There’s a biergarten if you’re thirsty, and barbecue and more if you’re hungry. I got a delicious watermelon lemonade from a sweet girl and her dad. I don’t know how they made it, but it was fantastic.

This last time I went, I came out with a few things. Jelly, of course. This time I got prickly pear. I also got a cactus from this super cool older fellow and a white metal box for my coffee.

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With all of these market posts, I like to include other things to do around the area. Well, Fredericksburg is a gold mine of things to do. Besides the market, there’s plenty of shopping to do downtown. My favorite shop is Rustlin’ Robs- they have samples for days.

If you’re looking for some good food, you’ve got to eat a German Restaurant. After all, it’s Fredericksburg. The Auslander is fun, but for authentic German food, go to Der Lindenbaum. Also, there are wineries at every turn, and of course, the PEACHES! Picking (or at least buying from the roadside) some fresh fruit is a must. Not far from Fredericksburg is Luckenbach, where ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain.

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It’s such a historic place to go, even if it’s just to stand around. Then, as I mentioned above, there’s Enchanted Rock- a big ass limestone rock, full of so much grandeur and beauty. Climb it.

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Happy junking! And drinking, and dancing, and climbing…

 

~Hannah ❤

Wimberly: Texas Markets

This post, as well as a few others like this, profiles one of the many markets in Texas. I attend markets regularly as both vendor and customer, and there’s a reason for that: they are so fun!

 

CANVA Wimberly Market Days

Wimberly, Texas is a Hill Country gem. It’s market is one of the best, no doubt. With 500 vendors, you know you’ll find something. This market has been around since the sixties and continues to shine the first Saturday of the month from March to December.

I went in April, just before my birthday, and what a weekend that ended up being. The weather was so sketchy! That morning of the market wasn’t so bad- it was just cloudy and a little drizzly every now and then. The next day though was… something. Let me just tell you about the craziest day of weather I have experienced so far in my life. I woke up that Sunday morning so that I could attend the 8:15 Mass, instead of the 11. I knew there was a storm coming that morning and didn’t want to get caught. Also, my boyfriend was making the trip to see me for my birthday, which was later that week. Anyway, I’m driving to the church, and everything is calm, but off to the southwest I see the darkness. All morning on the news I saw severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches and warnings all in this system coming at me.

I made it to the church and went in with my purse stuffed with every bit of jewelry, money, and important documents (I was ready for my camper to get messed up with the wind). Sure enough, by the time communion was over, the storm hit. It was an angry storm. The wind was blowing so hard that the sheets of rain fell parallel to the ground. The air was green and hazy. The thunder was loud, and the lightning was bright. There was no way I was driving back home, so I went to the Starbucks a few blocks away and got my free birthday drink. I figured Starbucks was sturdier than home anyway. Just in the knick of time, my boyfriend got to my camper as the weather was letting up, but before he made it there, he drove passed a funnel cloud only 200 yards above the ground. That wasn’t even the same one that touched about ten miles from my home. That afternoon, sunny skies, making for a beautiful drive to Llano for some barbecue. Funny how Texas weather works.

 

So anyway, back to the market at Wimberly. It’s like a maze. There are so many paths and twists and turns with so many booths. What I love about the markets around here is that there are so many foods to try!!! Sampling is one of my favorite things to do on this planet. I samples olive oils and vinegars from the company in Dripping Springs. I ended up buying some pomegranate balsamic vinegar that goes great on asparagus and vanilla ice cream. I sampled tons of jellies and honey butters, too. Honey butter is absolutely delicious. Orange cranberry is my favorite flavor hands-down. I also sampled some apple butter, and ended up buying me a jar. It’s so good for you and can be put on toast, in oatmeal, or ice cream. I love ice cream. They have more than just food. There were antiques galore, goat’s milk soap (I got a bar), plants, furniture, cool signs, and the most beautiful bird houses. This man makes the most rugged, outdoors-y looking birdhouses, and none of them are the same. These birdhouses are so beautiful you’d want to keep them inside, like as a table centerpiece or something.

 

The best thing I got was what I went for- Mexican yard art. There’s a Mexican lady that’s there and in Fredericksburg all the time. She and her crew make all of the pieces themselves out of recycled metal- even cars. If you look closely on some of them you can still see the logos. She’s awesome. My family has bought from her before, but this time I wanted something for myself. After looking and looking, I settled on one of my most prized possessions- an armadillo in a cowboy hat. He’s the best.

 

If you do go to Wimberly’s Market Days, plan on doing much, much more than that. Downtown Wimberly has so many great shops and restaurants. Up Ranch Road 12 just a bit is Jacob’s Well- a gorgeous, hidden swimming hole. If you’re into it, there are tons of wineries and distilleries in the area. If you get hungry, I suggest making the drive up to Driftwood and eating at the Salt Lick. You won’t be able to drive home!

 

Hope to see you out there!

 

~Hannah ❤

How We Got Started

Just the behind-the-scenes on how we got started.

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  • It all started with an idea…

 

I started a business. It’s crazy to say now, but it’s true. I can’t believe it sometimes. It’s something that I had wanted to do for a long time now, and the fact that it’s real is just so unreal.

So why did I want to do this in the first place?

To make money, of course.

Just kidding. Mostly. Sure, I did want to make money. That’s why anybody monetizes anything, but there were bigger motivations at hand.

First of all, it just looked like fun! Running my own show looked like the best gig ever.

Secondly, I am a control freak. I like to plan, plan when I’m going to plan, and micromanage every detail, including where my money comes from and what I do with my time and energy. This leads me to next motivator.

I couldn’t find a job. Sure, as a college kid, it isn’t a huge deal, but to me it was. I needed a way to make money over the summer or year-round here and there, but after getting rejected by about 20 employers, I decided I wasn’t going to rely on other people so heavily. (The reasons I didn’t get hired were either because the places I asked weren’t hiring or they couldn’t work with my summer class schedule.)

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it was a creative outlet. I am such a crafty person, but I can only have so many crafts of my own. Eventually it just becomes clutter.

As for what kind of business, I threw around a lot of ideas. A first, I did scrapbooks. I’m a huge scrapbooker- I love it. After a friend of mine paid me to assemble one for her 18 month-old daughter, I decided to put myself out there, and I’d say it was a rather successful operation.

I got to thinking… maybe I could grow this. Soon I was jotting down notes about wedding invitations, designing stationery, designing and selling craft paper and supplies, and more.  Then that felt too narrow and not as profitable, so then I started sewing decorative tea towels. I had seen a woman do it before; she had her husband’s aunt’s coconut cream pie recipe printed on fabric and use it to make some beautiful tea towels as gifts for her in-law’s. That got me thinking… I could do linens! Towels, napkins, throw pillows, blankets… but once again, so narrow.

Then it hit me… just do home decor in general.

The angels freaking sang.

 It all really started over Christmas break of my freshman year of college. I was working at the quilt shop in my hometown as a way to make money for the spring semester, and I loved it. I was sad when 5 o’clock rolled around, and I was just absolutely devastated when I had to go back to school in January. I just loved going to work in the morning and creating beautiful things all day.

I got paid to do Pinterest shit, basically, and I wanted more of that. Even better than that is that I get to spend time with my family. I try to remember these things when business gets too business-y.

 

  • I had the ideas. Now I had to actually make the things

 

Sewing took the longest. I sewed all summer long, making sure I had plenty of towels of various styles.

Knitting took almost as long. I knit so many cozies this summer that I watched all seven seasons of Game of Thrones in about two weeks (because who knits in silence?).

Finally the bigger, more fun projects came. Getting the materials for those things was so fun. My dad, boyfriend, and I loaded up in the truck to go cut barbed wire, dig through junked tin (praying we don’t see a black widow), pick up some horseshoes from a friend, a take a crowbar to torn down houses and barns.

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Then we got to work making things. Sawing, measuring, painting, nailing (nail guns are the bees knees), and whatever else goes into it.

 

 

  • We had things. Next step- sell the things.

 

Initially, this was going to be an Etsy thing. I thought Etsy was so cool, and it’s already set up for ameteur craftsman like myself; however, it just didn’t feel right.  

Mostly (and I don’t mean to bash Etsy, but I totally am going to anyway) it’s too damn expensive. Etsy charges so many fees that would cause me problems. Either I didn’t make money because they took it all or I had to have expensive products so that I could make money after they took their cut.

So I did this myself.

I started by making sure I had everything together. I have four Excel sheets that keep track of debt (to my mom for buying supplies), inventory, breakdown of pricing, and the book. Once I priced everything, I logged it into Excel. Then I had to make price tags. This was actually a difficult process because I wanted to make sure my tags had the right information (price, where materials came from, told a story, etc.), were the right color, and used the right font. Those little details help contribute to the personality of your business, and that will help niche down your products, customers, and other decisions. When you know who you are, you know what you can do. That includes making the right decision between Garamond and Bradley Hand ITC.

I had the prices, but to sell them “legally,” I had to get a sales tax permit, which was a breeze. In Texas, all you have to do is go to the comptroller’s website and fill out a form. In two weeks or less, you have your permit and can start charging tax (and begin paying taxes). You also get a lot of phone calls, so you will quickly learn how to use the “block caller” button.

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So let’s do business! We decided a great place to start would be Facebook. We could make a little bit of money to buy supplies for more projects and things, get our names out there, and maybe see what sells. It was a good free way to start, just to get our feet wet.

Next came the market. Our local farmers market was definitely on our to-do list, so as soon as I had the money, I contacted the folks in charge and mailed them a form. We were in.

 

And now we’re rolling

This part was the most exhausting. The week before the market was spent making sure everything was in tip-top shape. I spent hours typing, printing, cutting, hole-punching, and tying on price tags.

Then came the marketing part. I was on Facebook almost everyday trying to boost market awareness so that people would come check us out and hopefully buy some things.

Next came the baking. That sounds really out of place, but hear me out.

In my eyes, the people that buy things from us are more than a dollar bill. They are giving me a chance to live out a dream. They are giving me and my dad the opportunity to hang out and make things without turning into hoarders. They are so much more than their money, and I want them to know that. To show how much I appreciate them, I bake for them. For every person that makes a purchase, they can pick out a baked good for free. I like to keep it seasonal, too, because that just makes the experience so much better. For example, in September I made mini pumpkin muffins and mini pecan pies.

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Next came figuring out the booth itself. I got pretty creative. I bought a 50 cent poster board and painted a sign to put at the front table. Then I took some shoe boxes, covered them in scrapbook paper, and haphazardly painted them to look shabby chic. The rest of it (tables and such) just came from around the house.

Before we knew it, it was market day. It was so hectic, too. The fam was trying to balance my sister’s volleyball game and homecoming, baking the thank-you desserts, loading the stuff, and setting up. We did it though, and were rolling before 9 a.m.

I’ll admit, it was kind of slow. Of course, the market itself was kind of slow. Still, we made sales!!! People saw our stuff, some bought them, and we go plenty of compliments. Most importantly, I had a blast!!

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At the end of the day, there was still plenty of work left to do.

 

  1. AT THE END OF THE DAY

We took everything down and loaded up to head home. Now, we had to figure out what we had left, evaluate the prices, what sold and what didn’t, and look at the money money money. It was an all-day deal honestly! Then there’s looking at what we learned and how we can do better.

Oh yeah, and taxes.

 

  1. LOOKING AHEAD

There’s so much to think about beyond this point. Short-term things include, first and foremost, next month’s market. What to sell? Do we go seasonal? Where is it even at? Have we paid for that booth spot? What should I bake? Do I need to make more tags? Do we need to ditch a product?

I’ve also got this blog going. I’m hoping it and the real business stay super close companions. I also have an email list in the works, as well as social media. It’s all a matter of managing it and perfecting it (if that’s even possible).

Long terms goals are much more hazy, but they do exist. One of these days I think a brick-and-mortar home decor and gift shop would be neat, I’d maybe even sell other made-in-Texas products, like Circle E Candles or something.

Even more ambitious are my ideas to implement a craft lounge and develop a craft bot. The first one, the craft lounge, would basically be an open studio for creatives of all kinds. There would be sewing machines, woodworking tables, big tables for scrapbooking or laying out patterns, and lounge chairs for knitting. It just seems like such a fun way to build a community and cultivate creativity.

The last one, the craft bot, is less likely to happen, but I still think it’s a neat idea (it’s totally original, as far as I know, so don’t steal it). The craft bot would be an online, two-way resource for craft/DIY tutorials, specifically if you have a question. For example, “I dropped a stitch in this knitting pattern. How do I fix it?” and it would intelligently respond to you specifically. You could have a conversation as if a knitting expert were there with you. YouTube tutorials can get you far, but it’s a one-way street- you get no feedback. This bot would give you helpful feedback.

But alas, these are just ideas mostly. Then again, anything is possible these days!

 

Thanks again for your eyes, and God bless y’all!

~Hannah ❤