Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Crafty Christmas

As I do each year, I've made (or am making - not quite finished yet...) a portion of the gifts I'm giving for Christmas. For Mr. Chick's goddaughter I knit a dress. It's taken me months to finish (because of this work-from-home time suck I've gotten myself into I don't have the same time to knit as before) but it's now done and ready to give. I made it using 100% cotton yarn. The skirt was knit in the round, and the bodice was knit on straight needles in a lattice pattern. It was my first attempt to do such a pattern with knitting, and it turned out pretty well. A few mistakes here and there... oh well - it's what makes it unique.

For my moth
er and sisters I'm making sets of beaded napkin rings by crocheting with wire. This is so simple - ! The hardest part (well, not hard per se, but a royal pain) is stringing on all the tiny seed beads onto the wire before starting. There are seed beads rolling around all over my floor since it's so easy to drop the suckers as you string them. Gah! But using the colored craft wire and coordinating beads makes these napkin rings pretty (it's hard to see the beads on the wire in these pictures because they are so small and blend in with the color of the wire, but they're there, intertwined among all the wire loops and such.) I'm giving them cloth napkins inside the rings, too. And, to top off my "entertaining" theme for the gifts, I'm making each of them a serving set with wire wrapped beads on the handles. It's simple and dresses up any serving piece. Voila! I only have a few more to do and I'm done. I was able to find the various serving sets at places like Marshalls and Tuesday Morning pretty inexpensively. Things like ladles and serving spoons, cake servers and the like. No worries about buying something that will fit - this is one size fits all!

And except for my dad and three little stocking stuffers, my shopping is done. I'll be headed out today - my long day without the kids - to finish it all up. I'm nearly ready for the holiday - yay! Are you? Is anyone else making some of their gifts this year? Please share your creations - I'd love to see them!

On a completely unrelated note, I finished the copywriting project I was hired to do as a freelancer over the weekend. I wasn't supposed to spend more than 2-3 hrs on it, and I was able to complete it in the given time. I was hugely complimented when I learned that my first draft didn't really require any edits at all and was sent to the client pretty much as-is. I think that's fairly unusual, and I felt very good about my efforts in that light. I did a damn fine job, if I do say so myself. I'm not charging enough for my time, however, and in 2008 will be making adjustments to my hourly bill rate. As an independent contractor I have to pay self-employment taxes, which are very high. So I need to up my rates to make this worth the effort. As for my *other* gig, the guy is back from the big event, has bounced a couple of checks to the web design company (the people who hired me separately for the copywriting job) and still owes me nearly $2000. He assures me he'll be able to get me some money by Christmas and was going to be asking for a loan from a family member to see him through this cash crisis, but I have my doubts. If he doesn't pay me what he owes me, when he said he would, then I'm done. I will no longer accumulate hours on his behalf if he can't pay me for my time. Mr. Chick is ready to file suit if the guy doesn't pay up - it can be nice to have a lawyer in the family! I doubt it will come to that, but I'm covered if it does. He has until Friday, my birthday. It would be a very nice birthday for me if I got my money and the check was good. If that happens I'll have to reevaluate continuing my association with him. If I do, I'll need better assurances for timely payment and perhaps a different system of billing - every two weeks? Weekly? And a big long discussion about how many hours I'm willing to work before payment is due. Because this billing monthly and then waiting additional months for the money blows. Hard. Can't keep doing it. Won't. So, that's where things stand on that front. Everybody is now updated.

I was thinking about you yesterday after I noticed on the calendar that your birthday is Friday. Hope it's a great day and I really hope you get paid for all your hard work. I would RUN to the bank that the check is issued from and get cash. Have a very Happy Birthday.
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