Friday, September 27, 2013

Well, hello there!  Yep, it's me. I'm back.  I keep taking these long breaks, and then I realize, I haven't blogged in awhile!  So here I am.

There are some new colors of commercially dyed fiber in the shop here.  I have a beautiful teal color - deep and rich. 
Isn't it gorgeous???!!!!  Its soft, squishy Merino wool.  Great for spinning, felting or blending. 

I also have a beautiful, light lavender. 

Such a soft color, beautiful!

I have ordered some fall colors which will be arriving on Monday.  Yum yum.  Not sure, but I was thinking of making some kits up, with a combination of the fall colors in them.  What do you think?

I also purchased a new camera.  My point-and-shoot Nikon wasn't hacking it anymore, as far as taking good enough photos for my Etsy shop.  I did some research and came across an article someone wrote, about the best camera for low-light shots.  The Nikon D3100 came up.  I did more research and found the camera at Best Buy, in a package deal; the camera base, a basic lens 18-55 mm lens, and another lens 55-200, for $499.  If I bought just the camera and basic lens, it would have been $449.  I spent $50 more, got a $250 lens.  Not a bad deal.  I brought it home and took a few photos after looking at the manual, and I love the camera already.  The photos above were taken outside in the shade on a sunny day.  We have a LOT of oak trees here and it's always shady.... I did adjust the exposure just a tiny bit, but otherwise, I didn't have to mess with the photos a lot, and the colors (on my monitor anyway) are perfect.  I'm SO happy.

I can't wait to take the camera with me and use it while we are out and about the next few weekends.  With fall here, the colors of the leaves will be changing and we'll be going to a few fiber festivals and an apple festival.  I love photography but the main reason for the purchase of this camera, is to get good photos for my online Etsy shop.

Of course, Hubby said, "this means you aren't planning on spending a lot of money at the fiber festivals, right?"  Um, yeah, sure.....

I'm still lusting after 2 pieces of equipment.  One is a real hackle, so I can blend fibers then diz them off.  The other is a drum carder, again to blend fibers to make batts.  I see batts online and I absolutely want to do that..........and spin from them!  I just can't spend the money on ones other people make.....if I were selling more, I would. 

Sales have been a bit slim but I do have an APP for my Etsy shop and when there is a sale, I hear Cha Ching!  It's SO much fun.  I just wish I could hear it more!

We are going to the fiber festival up in Berryville this weekend.  The Shenandoah Fiber Festival. I wanted to vend at it, but with the horses to take care of, and the dogs, and it being a 2 day festival, and it's a bit of a drive (over an hour), it just wasn't feasible this year.  I'm hoping next year, we'll be able to figure out a way to manage going and vending.  It's the staying over night that makes it difficult - horses to feed morning and night, and clean stalls in the morning, not to mention the 2 dogs we can't leave home for 2 days alone.....and they'd not do well with a dog sitter.  They don't do well all day alone for 2 days, even if we were to drive up and back each night and each morning (which would be really tough too).  So tomorrow, when we go up, I'm going to try to find out some information as to how others do it.

I am looking forward to the spring festival in April, at Powhatan.  I'll have to start gearing up for that in January.

I still haven't figured out a good way to take photos of the dream catchers, but I need to, so I can get them up to sell in the shop also.

This weekend, we have our almost-3-year-old grand daughter with us.  I just love this child.....but not much else will get done.
Next weekend is the Fall Fiber Festival at Montpelier.  This is another nice festival, but harder than heck to get into.  I tried, but wasn't accepted this year.  Bummer.  I'm going to submit my application as soon as I can for next year, and see if I can get in.

Then there is the apple festival coming up at Graves Mountain.  That's always fun to go to.  It's the first 3 weeks in October.  Usually great weather, lots of apples, some mountain music, and lots of people watching.  I could sit there all day, soaking it in and taking photos.

In December, we will be welcoming Grand Daughter #2 into the world.  Between now and then, I have a LOT to do - such as a quilt and burp rags to make!  Gotta get busy on that soon.....

Well, that's my update for now.  It's time to go feed the dogs and make dinner. 
Thanks for looking in.

Take it easy.
Martha






Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Orange Street Festival & Learning Experiences

We successfully pulled off vending at the Orange Street Festival on Saturday, Sept 7th, 2013.  We didn't walk away too disappointed, but we didn't really "make" money either.

This entire experience of owning a business is really teaching me a lot about myself, and what I want from it, and what it wants from me; along with learning that it's MY business and I need to stick up for what I want, when vending.  More on that a bit later.

Here is the booth when it was first set up:
Please excuse the somewhat not great photo - I took it with my IPhone, I was rushing, and in the upper left corner is my finger.  I have cropped the photo the best I could.  It's difficult to see everything because of the lack of tent walls (a sore subject, which goes along with the bit above about how it's MY vending experience and I know what I want....now I just have to stick up for myself and stick to my guns when setting up).

Some more photos:
This is one of my new grid walls with the yarns hanging off it.  It worked REALLY well, and I will be purchasing more grid walls.  The company I got these from is in PA, and I received them 2 days after ordering!  This company is amazing. 
You can also see the white floating heads there - we bought some foam core boards, traced around my head and shoulders, and hubby cut them out (because it's hard for me to grip the knife for too long).  These things worked GREAT and I'm very happy with them.  They are a wonderful way to display my hand made goods at eye level and got lots of attention!
You can also see the dream catchers I made out of hand spun yarn, feathers, and some of them have a bit of commercial yarn in them.  I LOVE making these dream catchers. 

More of the hanging cutouts, and how my items are displayed.  Here you can also see the box I displayed my drop spindles in.  I will be re-thinking this display.  I don't like it.  It did get LOTS of attention - but people had no idea what they were (because remember, this was not a fiber festival) and once they knew, they just walked away.  I will figure out a way to hang these on a display.


 This is a shawl I wove last year.  It's a mobius shawl, where I wove the beginning edge into the end edge.  I twisted the fringe, and put it in a special braid effect.  A young lady came along and fell in love with it.  It's easy care because it's acrylic yarn (hey, I made it before I started spinning my own yarn, and everyone LOVED this shawl and I got many nice compliments on it).  I will be making more of these, but they won't be mobius, they will be straight shawls with 2 ends.


Another view of the dream catchers I made. The background makes it difficult to really see.....again if the tent back was up, it would be a better photograph.

The booth space was too expensive for the money I made.  I won't be doing this venue again next year.
The weather was great in the morning, nice and cool, but it got quite warm later in the day, and again, because we didn't have any sides or back on the tent, the sun started beating in - on my wool, yarns, garments, etc.  It made it difficult to stay in the shade under the tent, and in the afternoon, we had to keep moving items around, and trying to figure out how to keep ourselves and the items in the shade.

The next venue, at this point in time, that I'm signed up to do, is Powhatan in April of 2014.  I'm excited to do it, we're signed up for 2 booth spaces, and we'll be able to spread out.  I'm planning on making more woven shawls, and I will have a lot more of the undyed fiber I carried this year, and a lot more of the commercially dyed fiber.

Don't forget to go visit my Etsy store HERE
I will be updating the store soon as I had stocked up for the street festival, and I need to list those items in the shop.

Take care,
Martha