Possibly the coolest thing that has ever happened to me occurred this week. On Monday I was looking at tweets from Michaels Arts and Crafts store. They were asking people to send them pictures of things they had created with Michaels' products using #MadeWithMichaels and some sort of surprise was in store. I didn't think much of it, I've been so consumed with marketing my website and product lately that I thought this would be another good outlet to pursue. So I submitted Hank the Hippo...
All of the #amigurumi I crochet are #MadeWithMichaels :) Great yarn selection! @MichaelsStores #handmade #crochet
I got a direct message on Twitter Thursday afternoon from @MichaelsStores saying they loved the hippo and want my permission to feature him on their billboard in Times Square tomorrow and social media. Say what!? I quickly responded with a yes and spent the rest of the day telling friends and family about this exciting news. I eventually figured out why they were doing this, apparently Michaels was going public on June 27th and they had a bell ceremony that morning. The rest of the day they were featured on the NASDAQ billboard in Times Square and they chose to show people's creations during the day. Best part, they were going to livestream the entire day so you could see your pictures.
Needless to say, I was glued to my computer from 8:00 to 11:05 when there he was, Hank the Hippo in Times Square! Something I made with my passion to start a handmade business was sitting there in the busiest intersection in the entire country for the longest 5 seconds of my life. It was overwhelming, I'm so thankful that Michaels decided to feature people's creation, genius PR! I wasn't going to get more followers, website views, or sales, but hey, this was pretty darn awesome! I could only take a picture of my computer screen, but still so so cool! Hank is a star :)
I hope this blog attracts some comments because a group discussion on this subject is far more interesting! If you could make your dream job clash with reality (i.e. able to pay bills), WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Up until this point in my career, everything has been relatively smooth. After college I was stuck in retail stores and coffee shops trying to figure out how to get out and eventually I did. The light went off one day, no one cared about my 4-year degree, it was no longer enough; I needed a specific skill, but what in the world would that skill be? I struggled with this question for months.
I started reading self-help books and finally found one that stuck, "A Cure for the Common Life" by Max Lucado, that sounded about right! He suggested that we look for careers that are a cross between dreams and reality. Ding ding ding! It makes perfect sense. At the time, my dream job was (and still is) to be a writer. If I could get paid to sit in front of a fireplace with a full pot of coffee in a cozy cabin and write about my thoughts, views, and experiences....I would have found my Utopia. BUT, that kind of thing doesn't exist; at least not immediately. My reality was a desire to work for non-profits, I wanted a meaningful career, one that made a difference. I was on the phone with my mom one night when she said, what about being a Grant Writer? Hmm, I'd heard of them, but had no idea what they really did. A quick Google later and there I was, the answer. Needless to say, I hit the ground running. I took an online course, volunteered at a local non-profit and was eventually offered a job. I said goodbye to making coffee and hello to my new found career.
That was 3.5 years ago, before I discovered crochet. Life is all about evolving. You discover new things, learn new skills, have new experiences and your life evolves from these things. Your perspective changes, your goals change; you evolve. When I learned how to crochet in October 2012 I almost immediately knew I wanted to make a small business out of it. My full-time job was in the office, but my heart was with my crochet dreams. I started waking up earlier and staying up later to pursue this small business dream. I'm nearing two years in now and I'm every bit as motivated, if not more, than ever before. When I'm not sitting behind a desk, I'm perfecting this skill, learning new techniques, and trying to master the art of marketing. I had an epiphany early on that maybe this was my new specific skill and just maybe it could become a full-time job one day. I'd love to end this blog with, "it happened!" but I can't. I'm still working toward my goal, I'm learning something new every day and I'm perfectly okay with that. The day will come, but in due time. I've still got a lot of learning to do.
So when I hear people talk about pursuing their dream jobs I'm always curious what that is. I love that we're all so different; we all have different interests, different goals, different dreams. I've told you mine. Now what's yours?
When I started learning how to crochet, it didn't take long to realize that it comes with its own language. I remember looking at my first pattern and thinking I was losing it; what the heck does 2sc, sl, and dc mean? It comes natural now, but for a long time it felt like I was learning how to read music. When I got plugged into social media I would often see people post things like, "I messed up the 14th row and now I'm FROGGING!" ...you're what? My 5th grade context clues helped me solve the mystery and eventually discovered that FROG means to unravel your work and start over. FROG = As frogs say "ribbit, ribbit, ribbit;" when you realize you made a mistake while crocheting you "rip it, rip it, rip it" or - you frog it. I had been "frogging" for months and didn't even know it!
Another term I saw often was, "Check out my WIPs." This was a little easier to figure out; it's simply an acronym for Work In Progress. The biggest understatement in crochet. I thought it was just me until I met other crochet hookers. It's almost impossible to have just one project going on at once; while you're in the middle of one you think of another and another and you just can't wait to finish this one before you start. So you end up with animals without legs and blankets just big enough to cover a mouse. It happens. If you walked into my apartment knowing nothing about crochet you might be disturbed to find animal heads made of yarn laying around. "Is this girl cray?" No, I just crochet!
The versatility of crochet is truly an unrecognized phenomenon. Most think it’s just for blankets and dishcloths, but let it be known that literally anything and everything is a possibility! I’ll never forget the first time I saw a crocheted peanut butter and jelly sandwich, seriously? The world of crocheted food is amazing. If you have some “Googling” time on your hands, it’s worth a search! This brings me to my first crocheted food item, Three Peas in a Pod! I saw someone do this a while back and I have been meaning to do it for a long time now. I hunkered down yesterday and got it done. If you know anyone who is having triplets....what a perfect baby shower gift, right?!
I was focused on stuffed animals for a solid year until I watched Pixar’s “Planes.” I thought, wait a minute, I could put eyes on a plane and actually make it look pretty cute. Thus, Arthur the Airplane was born. A plane then turned into a car (Conner, available here! I was officially hooked on crocheting inanimate objects. My point, the wide world of crochet is endless. You can make anything, everything, and more. I very much look forward to experimenting with more off the wall crochet ideas! If you have any new ideas, leave them in the comment area below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!