America. / Army 101 / Coping mechanisms / PCS / Promotional

Introducing Red White ‘N’ Bows (and a patriotic giveaway)

A big part of becoming an Army wife is coming to grips with the related career realities. I’m still at the beginning of my career and, regardless of good times or bad in the job market, a good chunk of jobs are the kind that require you to stay at the jobs while you work them.

And since staying in one place is off the table for me (have I mentioned that our five-year plan includes three PCS moves and several resultant nervous breakdowns?), my career options have dwindled down to the ones I can pack with me every time the Army commands. To be proactive about my prospects, I drew up a short list of careers that seem suitable for the unpredictable Army-wife lifestyle:

  • Over-the-phone psychic
  • Pet rock manufacturer
  • Selling things on Ebay in my underwear
  • Phone sex operator
  • Door-to-door magazine saleswoman
  • Town drunk

Unfortunately, none of the careers that came to mind really spoke to my skill set. Unless there’s a phone-sex hotline out there that needs a good copy editor, but I’m willing to bet the industry’s clientele has something more arousing on its mind than a properly placed semicolon (though I can’t imagine what).

In a perfect world, my freelance writing and editing jobs would be pouring in like an unseasonal autumn blizzard. But in a real world, I’m still paying my dues, building my resume, and sacrificing lambs to the literary magazine gods while I wait.

The plus side to the current career lag is that, rather than filling my free time with worrying about my job-less doom, I try to fill it with activities I enjoy. And it only took constant reminders from my friends and family for several years for it to sink in that, sometimes, an activity you enjoy can also be a job you enjoy.

Red White N Bows Etsy Shop

After years of trying to hold back when I entered the yarn section at a craft store, I realized I had the perfect excuse to indulge.

So I took the plunge and finally opened up my own Etsy shop:

Red White ‘N’ Bows

(I’ve subtitled it “Patriotism with Pizzazz” because I decided to base my success on how many Z’s I can fit into one subtitle. I’m doing very well.)

I have an irrational fear of turning a hobby I love into something more serious. I applied to colleges with every intention of majoring in English, but when I got to school and realized that reading and writing might become a source of stress rather than relaxation under this decision, I panicked. Which is how I wound up with a degree in drama and a lot of delusions of grandeur.

I don’t necessarily regret that decision; struggling between my love for writing and my love for theater revitalized my passion for both, and I worked just as hard on and off the stage as I did trudging through literary criticism. But I learned that having purpose, and goals, and drive is worth the fulfillment, regardless of related stress.

The shop is brand new, so the selection of products and variations are growing every day. I have a few more items up my sleeve that will hit the virtual shelves soon, but for the time being take a look at a few of the pieces up for sale:

Big bow ear warmers for kids and adults

Big bow ear warmers

These come in so many combinations of red, white, and blue that you’ll think an American flag (and maybe also a British flag) threw up on your screen.

Patriotism is awesome, but I can make these in any colors that yarn comes in. Which is…most colors.

Which also means you can custom order these Harry Potter house ear warmers and wingardium leviosa leftover Halloween candy from all the kids in town.

Harry Potter house ear warmers

Thanks to Elizabeth and Bethany for lending me their faces.

For those of you more into sports than Harry Potter, you’ll notice that those colors might also reflect some of your favorite teams. Go team. Yay sports.

Crochet is my main medium, but I also have pieces for those of you lucky enough to live in climates where your ears are never in need of warming.

Bangle bracelets in lace, camo, ruffles, and pearls

Bangle bracelets from Red White N Bows

The bangle selection is also pretty wide, but its patriotism is much more subtle. Mostly because the only American flag trim I can find locally is too wide for the bracelets. But I’m working on it.

I’ve also got scarves, blankets, and liquor-bottle lamps (you saw that one coming, I know), and way too many ideas to get fully going before I need to pack up my crochet hooks for our PCS.

Though a lot of my listings in the future will be made to order, I’m working with a daily deals website where some of my pre-made pieces will be available in bulk at the end of the month. But for your support and your help spreading the word, I’m giving away some pre-made pieces RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW TOTALLY FOR FREE ALL CAPS MUST BE IMPORTANT.

You can enter to win one of the two following Red White ‘N’ Bows items:

Oversize bow ear warmers in red and white with navy bow

Ear warmer giveaway

Pink pearl and white lace cuff bangle set

Bangles giveaway

Click here to enter to win on Rafflecopter

The giveaway runs until Sunday at midnight. Enter, enter, enter!

But if you don’t win (and/or want to look great this winter and forever), I’ve got some pre-made items up for sale now at discounted prices on my Etsy website. Which I’ve linked, like, 20 times in this post, but somehow 21 seems gratuitous.

Thank you to all the friends, family, and strangers at craft fairs who have supported my hobbies and given me the courage to pursue them.

What kind of items would you like to see in my shop? If you’re currently in or have been in a military lifestyle, what kind of welcome-home-ceremony or care-package products would you be most interested in seeing up for sale?

0 thoughts on “Introducing Red White ‘N’ Bows (and a patriotic giveaway)

  1. They’re just so cute. I’m entering with the full knowledge that I’m going to probably then also order warmers in my school colors. I am okay with this.

    • I’m not sure I’ve got a pattern for facemasks, but this reminds me that I could totally break into the world of capes. Who *wouldn’t* want a nice crocheted cape that looks like an American flag? Actually I might keep them all for myself.

  2. I’m actually a huge coat fan- my coat closet is literally overflowing with coats :) also- could you make a baby size bow headband? Due to my daughter’s unfortunate ear situation (and the fact even if your baby is wearing pink people ask if she’s a boy or girl) I subject her to many headbands (in case you hadn’t noticed on FB) and would love to get her a warm one for winter!!

    • You are in luck! I just haven’t had a chance to get the baby headbands up online yet :) Send me a message on Etsy with the colors you want, and I’ll set up a custom listing for you. The only catch is that I *must* see pictures of your beautiful baby once she has it.

    • You are both lovely and insane. I personally would never put “train for a marathon” on my wedding-letdown-cure list, but that’s a good one!

      I’m going to start looking for a good material and pattern to make headbands specifically for running distance, so that they’re a little more lightweight and breathable (the adult ones I currently have up are specifically for warmth, so they might get a little sweaty during a workout). But the way I make the kids ear warmers is stretchier and lighter, so I could whip something up for you in no time based on those!

    • I’m getting a lot of requests for face masks. For some reason it keeps making me think of the episode of Friends where Monica makes Joey a prosthetic foreskin out of lunch meat and silly puddy to help him get an acting job.

      I’m sure that was helpful.

      P.S. I *will* find a yarn you can do CrossFit in so help me.

    • One of the big downsides to living off post means that I’m pretty isolated from Jonathan’s unit. All of our neighbors are military, but none of them are Rakkasans, so I only know the handful that I’ve met through Jonathan and some wives through the FRG. But there is a WILD amount of Rakkasan pride, and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve caved to it. They have a rich, celebrated history, and I’m really proud to have been around it, even for a short time.

      Also, the Rakkasan wine isn’t half bad!

  3. These are so cute! As a fellow military spouse, I feel your pain on the job situation. I am in the process of starting an Etsy shop myself! So good luck!!

    However, as a Harry Potter nerd, I feel obligated to point out that Ravenclaw’s colors are blue and bronze, not yellow. Sorry if that was super Ravenclaw-y of me haha!

    • I was going to be disappointed if somebody didn’t point out the color flaw; in the totally real world of HP, I’d likely be a Ravenclaw, so this is close to my heart. There was only yellow/gold yarn at my local craft store when I needed to make the samples, and I decided wrong was better than nothing (please don’t tell J.K. Rowling on me). But I’ve gotten my hands on some bronze-colored yarn since, and I’ve got a true Ravenclaw ear warmer sitting next to me on my couch as we speak.

      Make sure to let me know when you start your own shop! Etsy is such a great tool for military spouses. I’m surprised they haven’t tried exploiting us yet.

  4. I just wrote on my experience of my career goals not lining up with the Army timeline! Something I think a lot of us face unfortunately. Your stuff is so darling, great idea to turn that into an etsy store!

  5. Pingback: “Happy new year; you’re still homeless.” Love, The U.S. Army | Army Pants and Flip Flops

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