Hi, my name is Carmen. Welcome to Beyond The Fringe!

I love sewing, crocheting, paper crafts, drawing, doodling and more. I also like to create digital stamps and sometimes offer vintage graphics, many for free. I am a mom and a grandmother of 8 adorable grandkids whom I love to make things for.

Check out my Etsy Digi Shop!

Please see my Digital Stamps page for terms of use on freebies and some helpful information on digital stamps. My Freebies page has a list of the freebies on this blog.

Mar 25, 2017

Etsy Shop Tips


Hello everyone! 

Giving away many of my images for free over the years was fun, but eventually I decided to start an Etsy Shop and try to sell some of them. I listed a bunch of items and that's where I left things until just recently. Everything is such a learning curve, and it takes a while to get it right. 

I hadn't been making very many sales and after a while my shop seemed almost stagnant. You could literally hear the flies buzzing around. If you're having a similar problems or are new to Etsy, this post may be for you! 

Here are some changes I've made.

1) Labeling your listing with appropriate keywords is the best way to get buyers to find your item when they are searching on Etsy or Google and other search engines. The first thing I did was go through all my listings and review my tags for each one. This is an incredible important step that I hadn't given enough thought to. 

Most people use one-word keywords. For example, if I had a masculine card image, I might have used tags like masculine, cards or stamps. This is a poor way to use this tool. 

To take full advantage of your tag tool, phrases like: 'masculine stamp' or 'Vintage Car Digi' are better to use. You have to think like the buyer.  Use tags as if you are searching for your item. You have 13 different tags per listing, and 20 characters per tag, so use them well. 

2) I live in Canada and I want my images to be affordable for my Canadian buyers. The difference in the US and CAD dollar is currently quite substantial, so I decided to offer more competitive pricing. I could do this because I am providing digital images, which are different ducks as I can sell them over and over again. I am in no way suggesting everyone should lower their prices. If I were offering handmade physical items, my pricing would reflect cost and time as well and I would happily charge accordingly. However, for digitals you can sell them in quantity and offer a good price.

3) Opting into Etsy's Direct Checkout provided more purchasing options for my buyers.  It is affordable, easy and will give your buyers a variety of purchasing options that work for them. Etsy then deposits the money into your bank account at regular intervals. Easy peasy. 

4) In the past I would post a number of digital stamp in one day. They would all expire on the same day a few months later and I would then renew them all at once. Now I post or renew 1 or 2 items every day or two. This keeps my listings in the public eye on a regular basis. 

Since I've made these specific changes (Keyword phrases, Competitive Pricing, Purchasing Options and Regular Listings),  I've seen much more activity and sales. It's been a pleasant eye opener. All 4 of these tips have made a ton of difference. My sales are up and I'm so pleased that I'm considering making up more images. 

So if your shop feels like it's going nowhere fast, try some of these tips and see how they work for you. Good luck! 

My shop: Carmensplace

Blessings,
Carmen

Mar 5, 2017

Splish Splash It's a Mermaid Tail

With that Splish Splash Title you'd think there'd be some water around. Instead, can you believe it snowed again today? I was so happy it was just about all gone. I certainly hope that was the last hurrah for snow this season because I know I'm not alone when I say --

"Enough already!"

Ah well, at least it's warm and dry inside. 

My craft interests tend to change every couple of months, but I've stuck with the crochet quite a while this time around. Maybe because we've had such a long bout of snow this year. In any case, I did finally make a Mermaid Tail. It was a request by one of my granddaughters, and I seldom say no. 

Okay -- I never say no.

My other granddaughter saw it today. I may be making another one. This pattern is called 
It's only $4.00 US, on Ravelry. I loved the tail on this one and actually got it as a free pattern around Christmas time when some of the designers were having awesome discounts and freebies. 

This photo is not the best, but you get the just of it. 


I wish I'd taken a photo when my other granddaughter tried it on for size. She's such a cutie! 


Next on the list is a wrap for a lady that needs one of 100% cotton because of allergies. I'm looking forward to starting that one soon. It's nice to get paid for some of my work. I'm also working on some slippers for some family members. I'll probably show them to you some time in the near future. 

Just a reminder that I have a couple of patterns on Ravelry right now for Freezie Holders. Something to keep little fingers from freezing. There's an Owl, a penguin and a Pirate Parrot in one set, and a Mummy, Zombie and Frankenstein in the other set. There's also a free Ninja Freezie holder featured. 

These fit large freezies, and also those yogurt pkgs. My DIL puts the yogurt packs in the freezer and they use the freezie holders for them too because they're a perfect fit. 

One of my testers told me how her granddaughter loved them, but insisted they were finger puppets. Lol. These only take an hour or so to make, so why not make them to play with? 

I have some more designs in mind, so will probably be making more. I'm also looking into making other items for sale, so I guess I'll be doing the crochet a bit longer. Although my fabric stash is calling to me -----stay tuned! 

Blessings,

Feb 24, 2017

New Crochet Patterns by me!

Hello!

I am so excited! Today I posted my first written crochet pattern for Freezie Holders, for sale on Ravelry. There are currently 2 patterns available for sale, and 1 free pattern. Check these out!

The first pattern includes a Hootie Owl, a Pirate Parrot and a Chilly little Penguin,

The second pattern features a Zombie, a Mummy and a Frankenstein! 
Get your 'thrills' while enjoying your 'chills!'

And here's the Free Ninja Pattern available on this Blog and on Ravelry.

The above two patterns will be available in my Etsy Shop soon and I am in the process of getting Direct Checkout so you don't have to use Paypal if your prefer not to.

Thanks for stopping by! 
Blessings,
Carmen

Feb 17, 2017

Free, Cute little Freezie Holders Pattern

Hello,

One of my readers got a hold of me and asked me if I had a pattern for some freezie holders I featured on this blog some time ago. They were originally made for my grandkids at the request of their mother, who wanted something to keep their little fingers from freezing while enjoying their freezies.

As it turns out, I hadn't written a pattern for them, but decided, why not do it now? I made up 7 different freezie holders and am offering a pattern for one of them for free on this blog today.

I am in the process of setting up a Ravelry page for selling, but in the meantime, here is a photo of some of the patterns I've made.


As you can see, there's an Owl, Minion, Boy and Girl Mouse, Frankenstein and a Zombie. The older grandkids love halloween, so that's why the last two were created. These will fit a large size freezie and a regular size freezie. Some of these will be offered for free.







Hopefully I will be able to get the paid pattern onto Ravelry and into my Etsy shop soon. I will let you know when I do, and also when the free patterns are up.

And here's the FREE pattern I promised for today:


G Hook
Impeccable: Black, White and Dk Red yarn.
2 small black buttons or beads, thread or embroidery thread.

Row 1: Foundation HDC 18 and slip stitch to join. (18)
(or -Chain 19, HDC in 2nd chain from hook and 1 HDC in remaining chains. Join with slip stitch to first chain being careful not to twist the chain. Chain 1.  Work a row with 1 HDC in chain 1 space and 1 HDC in each remaining stitch. Slip stitch to join. Chain 1. This is your first row. Now go on to the rest of the pattern)

Row 2 to 13: 1 HDC in chain 1 space and 1 HDC in each stitch. Slip stitch to join. Chain 1. (18)
At the end of row 13, fasten off and work in ends.

Eyes
You will be crocheting in the round (oval)

Row 1: Make a slip knot and chain 7

Row 2: SC in 2nd chain from hook, then SC 1 in next 4, 3 SC in last chain. Turn to work along the bottom of your starting chain. Now SC 1 along the bottom of your chain for 4 chains, 2 SC in last chain. Do not join. (14) 

Use a stitch marker to keep your count correct.

Row 3: 2 SC in first stitch of previous round, SC 1 in next 4, 2 SC in each of the next 3 stitches, SC 1 in next 4 sts, 2 SC in next 2 sts. (20) Slipt stitch to join.

Fasten Off, leaving a tail to sew in place.

Place the white oval bordering the bottom of the second row from the top. Sew in place. Sew 2 small buttons on white oval.  Use photo above for reference.

                  **Optional: make angry eyebrows with a bit of black embroidery thread.

Belts:

Using Red yarn, make your slip knot about 8” up from the end.  

On the right side of the body (3 rows up from the bottom) pick up a stitch and slip stitch the red yarn in place with the beginning 8" of yarn. Fasten off and pull chain tight. 

Chain 13, Wrap around back side of body (still 3 rows up), pick up a stitch from the left side of body. Slip stitch to body to attach.

Continuing on - Chain 13, wrap around the front of the body (back to where you started). Slip stitch to belt to attach.

Continung on - Chain 12, come around front of body and pick up a stitch from the left side just below the eyes. Slip stitch to body to attach.

Continuing on - Chain 12, wrap around back of body and slip stitch to attach to starting point. Leave a tail.

With a darning needle, pick up both pieces of tail (one from the beginning of the chain, and the one you just left). Bring each one to the inside of the body and tie them together several times. Clip ends.

Now go grab a freezie, slip it in the holder and enjoy while keeping your fingers cozy! 


If you are unfamiliar with the Foundation HDC (and how to join it in a circle), and the Magic Circle, please go to Youtube, where there are many great instructional videos that show you how to make them. Here are two good ones...

Magic Circle:

Foundation HDC


Hope you enjoyed making this pattern and that the instructions were easy to read. 

UPDATE: NEW Freezie Holder Patterns available on Ravelry and Etsy. These are quick and easy to make, and your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews will love them and you!


Have a good weekend! 
Blessings,
Carmen

Feb 4, 2017

Valentine's Freebies and Ideas

Good Morning!



Valentine's Day is 10 days away!

I have quite a few freebies on this blog and you can find a list of links on the "Freebies" page just below the header. However, I have gone through and am listing all the Valentine's Day type of freebies I have. Just click on the link and it will bring you to the right page. 

Enjoy! 

VALENTINE DIGI STAMPS








Heart Trees  (Red, Blue, Pink, Purple, Yellow, Green, Multicolored, Blank)

VALENTINE SENTIMENTS






Music is the Language of Love

There are so many cute ideas out there for Valentine's Day, so thought I'd share a few of them.

This quick to make card is Stampin' Up's Sunshine Wishes Love Card.


And look at these cute little Pencil Valentine's. Perfect for school kids and super easy to make.


I also found these little Crocheted Heart Baskets from My Poppet. Adorableness!


Last, but definitely not least, these Funky Hearts by Lella Boutique
Super Cute and a fun little snowy day project.


Well, that should keep you busy for a while. Have a wonderful weekend.

Blessings! 
Carmen

Jan 26, 2017

Quickie Cards

I haven't had time to make a lot of cards lately, and the ones I make seem to be real quickies, so I haven't posted many of them. Then I thought that you probably have to make quick cards sometimes too...so here are a few I've made in the last week. They're not my best work, but they say I care. 

This first one is for my son. It's an extremely easy card. I used the ready made cards and envelopes from Michael's.
 (I usually buy a package of black cards and envelopes, and the cardstock set.  I have the off-white too, but find that I rarely use it). 

Basically, I cut a piece of Black and a piece of designer cardstock for the background.


Then I added this little car from the "A Proper Gentleman" paper stack. I may have placed it on the background a little too quickly! Lol...


I wrote "Happy Birthday" on it. I only have 1 or 2 good birthday stamps and I'm bored with them.


I thought I'd show you the inside. I covered the more personal sentiment, but wanted to show you that sometimes I add little sayings, words of encouragement, or whatever around the edge of the inset. My sons probably go "oh mom!!" but I can't help myself. Forever a mom of little boys, I guess. 

Here's another simple card I made up. This one I used some little houses I made up a while back. I thought I had shown you these, but I guess not. They were a fun project.


The background of the houses was overspray from other projects. They were shiny at first, but it's dulled a bit. Still cute though. I just drew all over them and literally played. So fun. 
In keeping with that theme, I decided to use black cardstock and a white pen and drew up the card. I hope she likes it. 

Then there's a little card I made for my grandson. He's just turning 3, so I wasn't too worried about detail. I used an SVG cut from Little Scraps of Heaven Designs, whose cute little designs are adorable and completely affordable. I hope you'll check them out. I fussy cut them out because my cutter isn't working with my laptop right now. It was also a very quick card. 


It's hard to see here but I carefully rubbed on some light blue chalk for the sky. 
This set is called "Little Buggers." 

I drew in some grass. 

And I used pop dots for the glass jar. 

Now to send it all away. I have a gift for him, blankets for the other kids and a little bit of Valentine candy. Nothing too much, but something to let them know we love them. :-)

Well, that's it for today. The skies are still a bit somber, and the snow is on the ground, although melting - ever so slowly. Lol. The sooner spring is here, the better in my opinion. 

Have a good day~
Blessings,
Carmen

Jan 25, 2017

Bobbles and Plans

Hello there,

I hope you're all feeling like life is showing some semblance of normal again. It seems that way for me. 

 My mother was always extremely artistic and she taught me how to sew, crochet and knit. Of the three, I gravitated towards sewing and crochet. In my last post I showed you some wonderfully cozy kids blankets with a written tutorial of my easy method, and today I have some crochet to show you.

There are some incredibly fun patterns on the internet, many of them free! On Facebook there is a Ravelry Free Patterns group you can join that focuses only on free Ravelry patterns, both knit and crochet. 

I also follow the Repeat Crafter Me Crochet group, which alerts you to different crochet patterns, although not all are free. I love Sarah's Repeat Crafter Me blog on which she features crafts, free crochet and crockpotting (is that a word? Sure, why not!). 

However, I found the patterns for the projects below on the Ravelry site, where I also have an account. You probably remember this first one. I made an adult hat and featured it on THIS post. The one below is a Toddler size of the same hat. I'm thinking of making matching elf booties. 

Bumpy Sleigh Ride Elf Cap

Look at all those BOBBLES. Fun!!


The free pattern for the photo below is called a Lego Block Scarf. However, to be honest, I completely changed the pattern because the original made tiny blocks. I will probably re-write it with some more changes to make it even easier. I want to make a girly one in pinks and purples. Cute hey? Kids are so into Lego these days. 


I received an email the other day from a follower on this blog asking if I have a pattern for my freezie holders. You may not remember them, so here's a photo of them.


I love any kind of writing, so I am currently working on a pattern for some of these, and will probably add a few more characters. I will also be doing the patterns up in two sizes for each one. Summer is a ways off, but I hope to have at least one set done in a few weeks.

In addition I am working hard on my crochet and sewing as I hope to start selling some of my work on Etsy and locally. I have had so many people ask me if I sell my creations, and I have made small attempts in the past at selling and been fairly successful. The biggest challenge is knowing what people want and what to charge. 

I will also be doing more paintings and hope to sell them, though I will probably be selling these locally. This will be my focus for this year. Wish me well.

Blessings,
Carmen

Jan 21, 2017

Warm Cozy Blanket, Written Tutorial

It's January, almost February in fact. As I look out my window, there are still piles of snow on the ground, but much of it is melting. While the weather was cold and somber, I used the time to catch up on some projects and make some future plans. 

I've been doing a lot of crocheting lately, but I do get in some sewing once in a while. I made blankets for two of my grandkids before Christmas, then found out their older sisters really liked them, so I made more and included another one for their other brother. 

These are made with fleece and printed flannellette. 


These are nice warm cozy blankets, and super easy to make with my method. 

My process was easy: 

1 metre of 45" printed flannellette
1.5 metres of 60"solid color fleece
Quilting pins
Quilting matt
Quilting ruler
Rotary cutter
Scissors
Thread

Wash, dry and press the flannellette, since it is 100% cotton. 
Find your straight side and use this as your guide. Fold in half.
Fold in half again in the other direction.
*It is imperative you identify the length and width of your material before cutting.
Using a matt and a quilting ruler, measure 19" in the width from the fold
Cut with rotary cutter. 
Now measure in the other direction, 28" from the fold for the length. 
Use something round (small dessert plate), place it on the open corners (all 4 at once) so that you get a rounded corner
Cut with a rotary cutter.
Your cut blanket will be 38" x 56"

Lay your fleece out on a flat surface, right side up
Lay your cut flannellette on top, right side down. 
Pin the top of your flannellette to the fleece. Pull them off the flat surface and allow the fleece to stretch out properly. If you don't do this, you will have lumps in your fleece when you sew them together.
Now carefully lay it out again and pin it with quilting pins. When you lift them up, check again for stretch and re-pin if necessary.
Cut the fleece with scissors.

When sewing, it's best to use a walking foot if you have it, and a stretch needle. 
Sew around, leaving a one foot opening. 
Clip corners
Turn your blanket around. Press the seams down.
Sew the edge of your blanket right side out, closing the opening as you go. 
Done!




You may have noticed I didn't show you a completed blanket of the one with the little lambs on it. It's been gifted already to another granddaughter. I used a light pink fleece for that one.

The top brown and black blanket in the last photo is going to the grandson who is 14 and enjoys hunting. The fleece is black and therefore goes with everything, right?

They're up in Fort Mac, so I know they will be able to cuddle in and wrap themselves with these blankets for a while longer. I will be sending them up as soon as I get a little parcel together.

In a few days I'll be sharing some more crochet and my future plans. 

You have a good day now!

Blessings,
Carmen





Jan 3, 2017

Just Elfin' Around

Happy New Year!!

I hope you've all made it through Christmas without a hitch! As for me, I was SO SICK. I'm mostly better now. Still wheezing and coughing now and then, but able to function. 

I started working on these around the time I got sick and what a cute pattern this is! I found it on Ravelry, made by Beth Cranshaw. 

These super cute little Elf Boots come in sizes for a baby to an adult. It's a well written pattern that I really enjoyed making up. I would say you need some crocheting experience before trying these.



My biggest hurdle is taking good pictures of my items. I really need to take some lessons. I do have an old Canon camera, oh but for the learning curve -- I need more time!

Here's a few more pictures with a link to the pattern below. 


I just got the bell on the toe here but hadn't completed it yet.




These ones were the toddler size. I really want to make some in the baby sizes and with different colors. I was thinking medium pink, white and an aqua blue. You could do so many different color combinations and get them to wear them all year around. I'll post them when I make them.

You'll always know where your baby is -- jingle jingle. 

Here's the link to this adorable pattern. It's a paid pattern, but worth every penny. 


As you can see when you check out the link, Beth knows how to take good pictures. Sigh.

I'm going to be making some warm fuzzy blankets soon. I made some for two of my younger grandkids and got orders for a few more. They really are comfy little blankets, and so easy to make. The cold weather is here to stay for a few more months, so I've got time. 

Have a good week,

Blessings, 
Carmen 

Dec 31, 2016

My Little List of Possibilities


I confess, I’ve never been much into New Years’ Resolutions. How about you? Do you make a list, check it twice and forget about it?

Why do we take the time to write out a list of things we wish we would accomplish that we haven’t done up to this moment, and then try to hold ourselves to it? It seems like a lot of pressure... 

I’m just not doing it. (stomping proverbial foot down)

I’ve decided I don't want to focus on myself as much. That only makes me miserable, to be honest.  I’m already doing the best I can and it still ain’t always pretty. However, here are some things I know I can achieve.

My Little List of Possibilities 

I can focus on the good, the honest, the just, the pure, the lovely and things of good report.

I can help whenever the opportunity presents itself and do it with humility.

I believe it’s possible for me to be a little kinder.

I will be a little blinder to the faults of those around me. If I need a break, so do they.

I believe I can keep a watch over the doors of my mouth when necessary. It just hurts others when I don't, and there's usually more to it than I realize anyway.

Ditto for gossip – It’s a tasty morsel, but full of destruction and extremely harmful to the victim.

I’m going to be content and appreciate the beauty of all that is around me. That benefits everyone.

I will practise thankfulness, come what may. There's always something to be thankful for.

Most importantly, I will trust in God alone. No one else has the perspective He does, nor the understanding.

Lastly, if I fall short in any way, I will not hold it against myself, but remember how blessed I am in so many ways. It is by grace we are saved, not by what we do. It is a gift of God.

I believe this little list of possibilities is more than achievable for me, and maybe for you too?

With the climate in the world at the passing of 2016, these are the things that will make a positive impact in my life and those around me, no matter if we go to the gym, read more books, or climb Mount Everest.

Be excellent to each other!

Happy New Year my friends!


Blessings,
Carmen