Here’s some knitting yo

I’m knitting the Dorthe Skappel sweater RIGHT NOW and I love it. It can get monotonous but it goes by so quick and I can watch my favourite shows while I make it! So there’s not really any messing up happening and I’m able to zone out AND I will have a great sweater!

I’m a beginner(ish) knitter and this sweater is really inspiring me to keep up with this new(ish) hobby. (I started knitting when I was a kid and have only ever made scarves in garter).

There are PLENTY of sources out there now for the english version but this is where I found English that works for me. I ended up using two different peoples version of the same sweater. I found it helped to have both.

http://the-fuzzy-corner.blogspot.ca/2013/01/the-norwegian-skappel-sweater.html

https://misscrk.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/the-pattern-for-the-dorthe-skappel-sweater-in-english/

I haven’t quite grasped the ability to knit in the round yet on circular needles (I am thinking that I should choose wood next time over the slippery as eff metal ones) so I am using size 10.5 needles (big fatties) instead and just cramming the sweater on.

I also decided not to double up the yarn and make this sweater loose, airy and light so fitting the 80 stitches on the straight needles is super easy.
Actually, I think I could do it even if I choose to double the yarn like the pattern says.

So just another warning: Because this sweater is knit in four different parts, DO NOT use ombre yarn for this unless the yarn is EXTREMELY consistent!
The yarn I chose is really random in the ombre dye colour change. I realized what was happening after I made the front piece.

Tra la la was happily knitting until it was done and then I was like..”Ohhhhh. SHIT. How do I make the back the same as the front so the colours match up and I don’t look like I’m wearing a patchwork quilt from the 70’s?”
So I after I knit the bottom edge ribbing I decided it would be no problem because I could just cut the yarn and add on the yarn from where the ombre colour change begins again in the same pattern/dye.
No such chance. The yarn I chose has RANDOM COLOUR CHANGE. OMG you guys.
Is there a way to know this BEFORE choosing a ton of yarns for a project?
So now I am unsure if I should start a new sweater or just have this one be patchwork and probably never wear it. It is my first sweater though and with that the fact that I am learning is what’s important. I just kinda hoped I could wear it too :P

Does anyone even like patchwork!?

Btw the yarn I am using IS gorgeous and soft and I love it but don’t look for consistency if you are planning on using more than one ball- Lion Brand Shawl in a Ball Healing Teal.

I IS gorgeous. Just wish the whole thing could be consistent.
I’ll add more pictures when it’s done.

2016-09-18-11-09-44-1

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ASIAN STORES ONLINE SHOPPING DO’s AND DON’Ts

LET’S LEARN ABOUT ‘ASIAN STORES ONLINE SHOPPING’! HUGE INFO DUMP!!

** Updates on the stores and my orders are listed below, please scroll to the bottom of this page.**

I’m not sure if it’s Facebook ads stealing my friends info and saying ‘they like this’ or ‘they like that’, but I noticed some of my friends may have liked some of the online Asian clothing stores. I thought maybe if you guys are serious about ordering from any of those places you might like to know how it works and what exactly it is you are ordering! I would LOVE to know if any of you have Liked or ordered from any of these stores. Is Facebook lying to me?! I also see these shops on Facebook all the time and it pisses me off cause they are not super awesome.
Ok, so first off: I am a pro at this! haha! I love a good deal and on my days off work  -lol in fashion retail- I spend a HUGE amount of time looking at and researching fashion. It really is a passion of mine -probably bigger than how much I like to Art. If you guys need or want something, I might be your gal to help you find it!  Please ask! I like being a hero.
Ok so, I have ordered from two of the companies listed below on a few occasions and will tell you about that later.
Also, sorry about all the caps for enunciation. As you know, Facebook doesn’t have italics, as I was originally typing all this in wordpad meant for Facebook before finishing and now sprucing it up for my blog.

All of the stores I list here are, I think, the same company. There may be more but these ones are all the ones I have discovered so far. Does that make sense? So no matter who you choose or how much you pay it all comes FROM THE SAME PLACE. They might have dropped shipped it from somewhere else but it’s all the same company. Sort of like how there are chains of restaurants or convenience stores. I am not sure who the guy at the top of this retail food chain is, but this info isn’t about big corporations.
Rosegal
Rosewholesale
Vessos
Twinkledeals
Sammydress
Dresslily

TBDress
Cupshe
Newchic
DHgate

ROMwe (actually I am not 100% on this one but so far it seems like they belong on this list)

This list is still growing. If you can add to it please let me know!

BEFORE I GO ON: In my opinion, It’s really not worth shopping at any of these stores, but if you must then read on!
Ok, so now you know that no matter what store you order your extremely inexpensive clothing from and no matter how much money you pay, you are buying it all from the same company in China. So really, if you are out to save money and HAVE to have an item you see, look at ALL the stores for it and buy the least expensive one. Look at shipping prices and coupons too! Sometimes an item looks cheaper but after shipping it’s the same or more money. So really compare.
A word about coupons! If you buy something from ANY company online-and I mean any– there is almost ALWAYS a coupon you can add at the end! 10% or 5$ off can really help! Especially when you want to add another $5 item. It’s like you’re getting an item free when your paying so low.
To get those coupons, just go to good ol’ Google and type in “(name of store) coupon” and a list of places to get coupons will show up! I like groupon (you don’t need an account), retailmenot, coupons.com… and there are Canadian ones too, just add ‘Canada’ to your search term.
To get the coupons you have to click the site link and it will take you straight to a list of coupons for that store. Click the ‘reveal’ area and the page will sometimes refresh and give you the coupon code. Sometimes you have to try a few places to click cause some of them just take you back to the website you were at. It takes practice but it’s SOOO worth it. I use them every time and it helps.
OH! Sometimes too a website will give you a coupon just for signing up, so open up an extra hotmail account just for that junk. I actually love the junk cause I love looking for deals.

Now, PLEASE take note of this cause this is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: ALL the clothes are copies of what you see on the model. but not just copies either. What you will buy is actually the companies VERSION of the item. Sort of like when you buy a knock-off perfum or knock-off purse. It will rarely rarely rarely look exactly like the item you see. Actually, if the model is Asian you will have a greater chance of the item looking like it does on the pic! If it’s any other nationality  it’s very unlikely going to be the same.
A LOT of the time the item you buy will only VAGUELY resemble the item you saw on the model/advertised.  THIS IS WHY IT’S CHEAP.
For example: The floral pattern on a skirt will be blurry, not the same colours, the stitching will be awful, the length will be different, the pattern might be SIMILIAR but actually totally different when you look again…. SO many things. When you look at the item, check and see if the website allows people to post their own reviews. Even better if they let people post pictures of their items! So do a lot of visual comparing and checking. A lot of these companies will actually post pictures from big name designers and use them as their own. For instance: I see Anne Klein items all the time in asian stores, but it’s definitely not Anne Klein. Or a lot of Anthropolgie gets some serious copies from China. So be careful!

Almost EVERY time the item will be 2-3 sizes to small. This is because the sizes are ASIAN sizes. Not for us huge North Americans. If you order your item at LEAST 2 sizes too big it will probably fit. DO THIS.
Personally, I have taken my own measurements and compared to their size charts. I leave my measurements by the computer for easy access to compare. If their sizes are really skewed I won’t bother, no matter how cheap it is.
ALWAYS look at their size charts!! North Americans are their biggest clients so they usually post size charts for us.
For reference, I am a size 5-7 in pants and a small-medium in tops here, so when I order I always order large or even extra large. I am 5’7″ and length really matters here. If you are over 5’4″ you can GUARANTEE the dresses will be MUCH much shorter, which especially matters if you are looking for a maxi dress or skirt. Tunic shirts will be shorter too!

ONE time I bought a dress from TBDress in my true size and no joke, it would have fit a 7 year old, maybe. It was sad. HILARIOUS, but sad, cause it was actually really pretty! hehe However I was pissed because the site did not say it was asian sizing.
REVIEWS! So one store I do NOT order from is TBDress -lol obviously. Even though the companies are all the same, but remember some of them ship from other areas. For some reason TBD is THE WORST! OMG. WOW. READ the reviews in a search on Google, check out the facebook pages people create for these types of things too. Now, that said, I had also ordered some boots from TBD a long time ago and although the quality is kinda shit, the boots are AWESOME. Moccasins actually. People love them! I get a lot of compliments on them. Now, I had to re-sew the entire back seams of them because they tore like paper but I happened to have upholstery thread to do it. So if you can’t sew it’s a waste of money. It also took about 6 month for them to show. I actually had given up and forgotten when they showed. So that was fun.
Another word about reviews: You might have noticed that some stores actually have ok reviews while others  deserve to be stabbed into hell with a 15 foot hot poker. I am not sure what reason this is, but my best shopping-educated guess is that the place that ships items from poor review store is shitty at processing and shipping. For example, it’s possible that TBDress might ship their items from place X but Sammydress might ship from place Y. I don’t know for sure. It’s just a guess. So, I avoid ROMwe and TBDress like I would a rat carrying bubonic plague. TBDress from experience and ROMwe from reviews.

SHIPPING TAKES AGES. And not like 2-3 weeks ages. I mean 4-12. Sometimes it can take THREE MONTHS OR MORE for your item to show.
These companies take their time precessing and shipping, and have THOUSANDS of orders a day. Imagine what that factory looks like for a moment, then picture your tiny package. THEN that package gets thrown on some sort of vehicle in massive China to then get tossed on a boat and that boat SLLLOOWWWWLLLYYY makes it’s way across our giant mother of an ocean to North America only to be tossed into customs. It. Takes. TIME.

For me: If the item doesn’t show up after 6 weeks I query. If they are polite I wait another 2 weeks. If not I demand my money back. (This is a good time to learn about the time frames and restrictions of refunds on your credit cards and paypal. Also, you should ALWAYS use paypal to pay, even if it’s coming off your credit card. They are a secure, trustworthy site and protect your money and privacy. Think of it as a blocker between the seller and your money. I’ve been using Paypal for 10 years. Sometimes they really piss me off but I have NEVER lost money or had my privacy unsecured (is that even a word?)
If I chose to be patient and my item hasn’t shown up after 2 months I asked for a refund. It is-to me- unethical and unreasonable in this day and age to wait any longer. Some may argue about where it’s coming from, but hey, if they choose to use the internet and have an online store I think they can ship it using modern tech too.Also, companies never list on their sites HOW the items will ship to you and I don’t think that’s a fair way to be able to judge how long it will take. I think that if most people knew it would be 3 months on a boat we might be more likely to pay an extra $7 to have it sent by air. But we aren’t given that option. So note that if it’s ‘free shipping’ it’s RARELY by air.
Ok, returns. If for any reason you want to return your item, be prepared to keep it. IF you are lucky they will have an American address to return your item to and you can get your refund in a matter of weeks (places won’t refund until they receive the item). You will have to pay for tracking. DO THAT. It’s stupid not to. You also have to ASK the company if they have an American return address. It’s easier for them to receive it in China, so ask.

If they don’t have an American address then your usually stuck paying WAY MORE than you did for the item. Unless you spent over 40 bucks or so it’s not worth returning.
THUS: This is why I always to a ‘test’ order! If there is something I have to have but it’s against my better judgement, I order something that is just a few dollars. Usually under 12$. I guage the site, time it takes to process my order, shipping time and quality of item. THEN I go back and order my ‘must have’. One time I test ordered a white blouse in a large and it’s one of my favourite things in my closet! It’s incredible. Another time I ordered like, a pen, and it never showed. If my ‘test’ item is $15 or over I ask for a refund. This is part of the test too. Sometimes they are so blasted rude I won’t go back and buy that must have item based on my personal bitchy standards. LOL. If I get an immediate refund and they were nice I will probably try again.

It really is gambling! But it’s so fun waiting for the mail!
Ok, so the other day I finally broke down and ordered from ROSEWHOLESALE. I bought two dresses and I used a coupon I found online and got 15% off and they already shipped my item! I think they say they process in four -X days but they did mine within 2! Actually I was impressed because they took a picture of my package, address and all, and posted it to my Rosewholesale account! Along with the shipping details. Which are all in Chinese btw. I have to use Google translate to figure out wtf it says. It still makes no sense but I can see names of towns so I know it’s moving. Also, the shipping info wasn’t updating for me on the Rosewholesale site so I sent them an email asking about it and they sent me a link to an actual China shipping company online tracking site. It works! So they also respond, which is a bonus. It took about 24 hours or a bit more but less then 2 whole days.
So at first I didn’t want to order from this site beause the online reviews I read via my google search were mostly baaaad. But I kept seeing freakin ads for it and one day I saw something Jim had bought for me and was wondering why it was on Rosewholesale of all places. (He bought me a bikini from Vessos before I knew it was one of the related companies. I had sent him a link to buy it for me. I think they only take credit card but I can’t be sure right now.) So, I see my bikini and then I saw so many other gorgeous things and was hooked. I decided to take the plunge and discover myself how awful they might be.
The dresses I chose both had customer reviews and I was happy with the honesty in them. This site posts legit reviews. THAT is a bonus. If you are reviewing and all you see is super positive stuff, take that seriously too. They probably aren’t legit! EVERY company has good and bads! For instance, I recently left a review of a hair straightener I bought from Style House. It was so crap and, although I only paid 40$, it’s priced at 200$ on their site!!!! THAT review never showed up. It’s been weeks. The ONE review they do have is from some white chic and seems like the company itself posted it, or that she was paid to do it. So not all good reviews are for a good company. It’s a learning curve to learn to ‘read’ between the lines.
Back to Rosewholesale:
The dresses I chose also have white models but one of them had an uploaded picture from a customer and i could see the differences in the dress online and hers. HOWEVER, the dress was still gorgeous! It’s also a stretchy material so I am more confident that it will fit. This is that dress: http://www.rosewholesale.com/cheapest/floral-print-ladylike-style-v-191740.html
The other dress is a super bright and flowy ‘chiffon’ number. OK NOW TAKE NOTE: Asian chiffon is actually polyester. NEVER real chiffon. Real chiffon is a high quality fabric and usually made of silk, so fair warning. However, if sewn right, the poly chiffon can look really pretty.
I ordered this dress because, again, it is sewn in a way that is practically guaranteed to fit and the costomer reviews were honest and great! Here is that dress: http://www.rosewholesale.com/cheapest/casual-colorful-floral-printed-sleeveless-751679.html (Oh, btw, one of the things that Asian sewers tend to do is sew fabric agains the bias (not with the stretch so the item is impossible to wear), or turn the material upside down)
Now I keep forgetting cause it was a ‘throw in’ but I also orderd a crop top because it was just so freakin cheap. I figure if it was crap then no harm done. If it at least fits like a bra then I count it as a win. It’s likely to fit cause my boobs like to pretend they don’t exist. Here is that top: http://www.rosewholesale.com/cheapest/exquisite-v-neck-spaghetti-strap-572517.html

So now I am playing the waiting game.
You know, now that I think of it, I think I should post this on my blog… lol maybe I should have started there.
LOVE ME!

No seriously, give me your affection.
Ok another note if you use Ebay! Try searching up what you want! Sometimes the clothes you see in the online stores are also listed on Ebay by the same companies, and usually with FREE shipping.

A quick word about Asian sellers on Ebay: Personally, I have had a 50/50 luck ratio here, and that’s being generous from my experiences. THIS is where it’s a true gamble. I don’t know why it’s different than the online shops! I cannot express how often my item never shows up or is absolute, complete shit. I have ordered HUNDREDS of dollars worth of stuff because that is where most of my art supplies come from if I can’t find it at the mall or from ‘MorezMore’ on ebay (who are AWESOME AMAZING). So I would say that 50% of the time my time was worthless.
I want to note that I have never ordered from anywhere online else besides China or North America and the UK (UK ALWAYS a great experience!). I suppose the opportunity has yet to present itself.

Oh, and sometimes the Asian items are actually a family selling these items, but you really can’t tell. HOWEVER, if they say ‘Oh please give us 5 star rating because we are a family and this is the only way we can survive’ -AVOID. I don’t go for that pity party shit and I don’t believe anything on the internet. If you eff up I leave appropriate feedback. If it’s swell, I leave appropriate feedback.

If it’s an American or Canadian selling for a charity they will have the charity information posted BY EBAY so you know it’s legit. I have ordered from Charity ebay sellers a few times.

Umm… I think that’s it for now. If I think of more I will add it.
I really hope this helps anyone interested in purchasing online from any of the companies that post ADS ON FACEBOOK.
Here’s a currency converter: http://www.xe.com/

You know what? Now that I’ve typed all this it does seem to big for Facebook, so I am going to post it on my blog and a link for Facebook. Hopefully it helps peeps out there! And after all that: I will never ever stop ordering from China, so Donald Trump you can just go and.. and.. STUFF IT!

Cheers and loves!
Joe

 

******************************UPDATES************************

Notes about Rosewholesale:
So far I have made 2 other orders from Rosewholesale. I am still unsure about whether or not I should be disappointed! Now, I made two other orders because :
1. The stuff is CHEEEEEAP
2. The items I wanted all had reviews and those reviews were amazing (honest, well put, mostly positive)
3. The items I wanted I couldn’t stop thinking about and after going back to the site every day for a few weeks I could see that Rosewholesale runs out of product FAST.  Now, I can sew so I figured that I can order the larger sizes and if they are too big I can fix em, if they fit then no harm done!

-I do know know as of yet whether or not they re-stock the items they sell out of.
-SOME items seem to be exactly what is pictured, other items seem similar, while yet others seem way off. There are some pretty fantastic pictures uploaded by the people who bought the items, those are a GREAT representation of the products on the site.
-Made the orders on: Feb/13/2016 01:51:45 AM, Mar/01/2016 14:01:56 PM, Mar/12/2016 03:21:26 AM and as of today (March 18) none have arrived. Just to give you an idea on shipping.

Notes about Vessos:
My hubs ordered me a bikini from Vessos ( http://www.vessos.com/halter-geometric-printed-bikini-set-g-14598) . I have wanted this one for a long time so when I saw this one I showed him and he bought it right away. It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized that Vessos is ‘one of those Asian sites’. I thought it was legit, like Anthropologie or Neiman Marcus…
Anyway, I figured finding out before it arrived was for the best because now at least I wouldn’t be super disappointed when it arrived and was different.
It did arrive about 2-2.5 months later, but only after we sent an email after 2 or 3 weeks asking why we hadn’t gotten shipping confirmation. They wrote back something about it being Chinese New Year so they don’t work (which was already over before we ordered!!) and they asked us to pick something else. Hubs wrote back saying no, we would wait, there were a few emails etc and THEN we found out the item was on backorder —but still for sale on the website. So we waited a bit longer and LO! It showed sooner than we expected for Asian shipping and all that other stuff.
So the suit is exactly wrong and exactly right at the same time. LOL What I mean by this is -now look at the link I provided above- look at the top picture. Awesome right? Now look at the second pic.
Look again.
Do you see it?
IT’S A DIFFERENT BIKINI.
Shifty right?
I left a review on the site and it’s still not there. Not sure if it will show up. But what I said was that the bikini material is super slippy like cheap polyester, the print is stamped on and I am wondering if it will just run off when it hits water, the top half is just the triangle shape without the sewn in cups feature so because of this lack of formation the top rides up even higher and my teeny A-cup boobies fall out the bottom.
HOWEVER: It was only 10 bucks and it’s super cute so as long as I don’t run or raise my arms in the air I can wear it.

UPDATE on my first ROSEWHOLESALE order made February 13, 2016: My items still have not arrived and it has been 50 (FIFTY!!!!) days since I placed my first order.
I have opened a claim with paypal (On Friday April 1) and will escalate it if they do not refund me by tomorrow.

 

 

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Holy I Haven’t Blogged In Ages

Christmas Craft Time!

Dudes, I have been soo busy. 

Last year we finally took the plunge and decided to move across Canada to warmer, happier climes. The process took wayyyy longer than we expected as we had some rather unexpected court issues to deal with in order to bring my son across with us. In the end, we won! Woot! Of course there was little doubt, but the stress it put on our family was something that took a long time to get over. 

The good news is that things are finally feeling normal again! I have two jobs now -one I kinda hate and one I totally love! The one I love; I work at Stokes! Omg it’s amazing. My co-workers are like a family, the store is gorgeous, the work is fun… it’s really amazing. I have shocked to have found a retail job that doesn’t feel or behave like retail. 

I think it’s because my manager is not only an amazing person, but she seems to have a third sense about people so she put together an amazing team. That and she knows what she’s doing on the business side of things :P I hope Stokes appreciates her as much as we do.

Ok, moving on; I have started to TRY and find time to do little Christmas crafts again. Sadly, I have had ZERO time to work on my doll customs but I hope that I can clear up some regular time for that in the new year. I have one that I was working on in the summer that is begging to be complete – she is SO beautiful!! – but she is going to have to wait a bit longer. 

Anyway, I wanted to share a post I came across today because the craft is so beautiful. I hope I can make a few for gifts this year (if I can get over to the art store without forgetting what I went for lol).  Enjoy the craft! It’s beautiful and the post is really well written.

Cheers!
XOXO

http://www.deliacreates.com/jame-guest-post-and-winner/

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Sweet Little Rowboat Repaint

I have been waiting for inspiration to hit me over the last few days. While I waited, I got my paints out and re-painted this adorable little rowboat shelf! It was originally painted in really ugly colours- taupe and a not-so-nice blue/brown.

I am in LOVE with the colours I chose! I also added a little rope trim around the edge to make it more realistic.

It really fits in with our sea-themed home and I finally have a place for some of my ‘more favourite’ miniatures!
CAUSE I FREAKIN’ LOVE MINIATURES!
Some of the contents of these bottles are from childhood, others are from the sea.

Now I am inspired for my next custom!

oXoXo!

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