Saturday, December 20, 2014

Old Things, New Things.....

Life is always so interesting, don't you think so?

I've been holding off on getting a new iPhone.  Why?  Because it's such a freaking hassle to get everything downloaded to the new phones.....arg.

Today, we went to get the iPhone 6.  We have Verizon service, so we went to the Verizon store.  Luckily, we went early - before 10:00 a.m.  By the time we walked out of there a little after 11:00 a.m., the place was packed!  Of course, being the Saturday before Christmas, what would one expect?  That's why we went early!

That being said, once you get in there and get a tech to help you, it's like a non-stop onslaught.  I wanted to just get the iPhone, but I really didn't want to pay $399.00 for it.  So I said I was good.  Dear Hubby decided nope, we were there, it would be good to get the new phone.....so the salesman says, well, if you turn in your old phone, and you get the iPad Mini for $230, you can take this much off your bill, and you'll only pay this much and if you use the new Edge program, you'll get the phone for this much instead of paying that much.  Holy crap!  Slow down.  And why are you trying to sell me stuff I don't want.  Or need?

I happen to like my old iPad 2.  It works fine, it's a good size, and I'm all good. Well, Dear Hubby decided, let's get the iPad.  I didn't want a mini but he doesn't give me time to talk to him, or to process anything!  That's how I ended up with a laptop that I don't love much.  Sigh......

Anyway, I have the new iPhone.  Lovely.  4G works GREAT.  Everywhere!  Except...........home.  Sigh.  Granted, today is a very overcast day....so maybe tomorrow when it's supposed to be sunny out, the 4G will work...or, maybe not.  We'll see. Not holding my breath.............

Here's one of the 728 photos/videos that were on my iPhone 4S.  I downloaded them this morning. This is our Christmas tree for this year.  It's artificial, it's pre-lit, it's got little decorations that don't remind me of Christmas's past which can depress me.  I fell in love with those little lanterns.  They are from Ikea.  The little hanging behind the tree is a Christmas panel I got one year at a Quilt shop.  I haven't done any quilting since I found spinning.....

We haven't had any snow here --- yet.  We haven't had a white Christmas here in VA in a LONG time.  I'm ready for one.  Only issue is, I don't want it to make travel difficult since I want to go see the grand kids on Christmas.  Hey, isn't it supposed to be the other way around?  Well, if I only get to see them if I GO see them, then I'll go!

Here is one of the gifts one of them is getting.  This is for her to use when she comes to visit.
A Disney Princess suitcase, for the Princess herself!

Something new for the coming year...............I'm interested in getting a Saori loom. I think I will really enjoy the Saori loom.  I've been following this type of weaving on Ravelry and Facebook for several years now.  When I first started weaving, I found out about Saori and was interested then.  Things didn't fall into place for me back then, but they feel like they are now.  A new Saori studio opened here in VA, and that's new!  They just opened in Oct. 2014.  Come to find out, one of the people that I spoke with a LOT on Ravelry about weaving in general, and Saori, is co-owner of this studio.  She doesn't live in VA, she lived in Louisiana but she's affiliated with this studio.  So I know it's all good!

I'm in the midst of setting up a Saori lesson with the studio owner, and I'm enticing a few other friends to come join me.  One way or another, I'm going to do this.  :D

Dear Hubby, wonderful supporter that he is, is okay with this.  And he's also okay with me getting the loom, when the funds come in.  He does commission work, and in the Spring is when he gets paid for last year's work.  I'm a lucky gal, for sure!

So I have that, and lots of new ideas for my business, all waiting in the wings.  When the holidays are over, and I get my head back in the game, life is going to be VERY good.  :D

That's about it from me for now.  I'm having a difficult time focusing so I'll close for now.

Take care!  If I don't make it back, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and hope your New Year is super great!

Martha



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Another Year, Almost Gone.....

I can hardly believe it's almost the end of 2014.  Christmas, as of this writing, is 10 days away.  Holy Cow!  How did this happen?

This year has been full of ups and downs for me.  For some reason, Summer was awful as far as my moods, and I had a lot of meltdowns.  I think some of it came from unanswered questions.  Those answers eventually came at the end of summer/during fall.  Questions like; can we afford to move?  The answer is; no.  We can't move from here, for a number of reasons.  That means that I can't even think about that as an option for maybe another 5-10 years.  By then, I'm going to be OLD!

The other questions I keep asking myself are things like; should I keep my business going, or throw in the towel?  I finally decided, that's just a dumb question...........of course, I should keep my business going!  Why wouldn't I?  I ask myself the question because the business hasn't grown much.  I make one or 2 sales if I'm lucky, on my Etsy shop.  I do okay at the two fiber festivals I attend each year.  It's a lot of work going to the festivals, but I love being there, and talking to people one-on-one.  I love the interaction.  Just because I  don't sell out of what I have, doesn't mean I shouldn't keep going!  I just tend to feel like a failure, and want to give up.  Dumb.....I'm finally doing what I love.  Why would I give that up?

Sometimes, I feel as though there are quite a few restrictions made by myself and my guilt, and by my husband, who basically is the financial person that funds what I'm doing.  I don't really make that much off this business per year.  I realize there are restrictions for a reason.  Sometimes, I want to get into this full-tilt, because I think if I did, it would be more successful.  Unfortunately, there's no proof of that.....so I have to do what I can, when it makes sense to do it, and work hard until the rest falls into place.

Today I received another one of those emails from The Daily Om.  It talked about alters.  As in, having an alter and having it in a place where you can sit and meditate and think about the things you are doing with your life.  They said it's not for praying, necessarily, although, if that's what you want it to be, it can be.  They say, it probably already exists in your home, somewhere.  Humans tend to gather and display things that are meaningful to them, grouping them together so they can gather joy when looking at them.

This is my new little alter, on a corner of my desk.  I was inspired to clean the crap off my desk, in order to make room for the alter.  I love sitting at my desk, staring out the window at the yard, in the summer, watching the birds and hummingbirds, and in the winter, looking at the shadows.  I think about my life, and where I am, where I've been, and where I hope to go.  How I hope to be successful, and how I get inspired just sitting here, staring at nature.  So I decided the corner of my desk, would be a great place for my alter.....

My alter contains a Buddha statue, a hurricane lamp with a candle, and a crystal (plastic) diamond shaped decoration that is actually from my Christmas ornaments.  I really like this.  I may add or take away things, at some point in the future. For now, it's perfect.

I wanted the lights put on the porch immediately after Thanksgiving this year.  I love my porch lights.  At night, I can sit in my office, or the living room, and look out.  I imagine the people going up the main road and seeing the lights, and the lights cheering the people up.  We're the only house on the block with lights.  This year, I bought extra lights to put up.  Hubby didn't understand, but I get joy out of them.  So he gave in.


I did play with this photo, and made a card out of it.  Here it is:

Picmonkey is a pretty fun, easy, and free (unless you want to upgrade) program that you can use to edit photos.  It's nice because you don't have to have a password, and the website doesn't save your photos - you just save it to your computer.  This really looks like it was snowing, doesn't it?

Well, that's about it for now. I'll be back again soon. Oh, and if you're reading this before Weds, the 17th of Dec, 2014, I'm having a sale  on Etsy for 20% off over a $15 purchase....and it's a great sale.  The sale code is HappyHoliday20 and it's also listed on the shop dashboard.

If I'm not back before Christmas, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

Martha

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Loving Myself

This is an interesting subject for me.  At 58 years old, I'm realizing, I haven't ever loved myself.  Not at any time in my life.

Interestingly enough, I had a few things happen this week, that all seem to push me in a certain direction.  I'm trying to listen to the Universe, and not push back, and not force anything.

I am signed up for a few different sources of positive reinforcement.  One is call The Daily Om.  One I received this week was the following:

It can be easy sometimes to buy into the illusion of our own insignificance. We may see large corporations or institutions, celebrities or successful people in our community, and compare ourselves to them, thinking that their fame or material power affirm how little our own lives amount to. But nothing could be further from the truth. Every single one of us matters—tremendously. Our very existence affects countless people in countless ways. And because we are each essentially a microcosm of the larger universe, our internal experiences affect the whole of life more than we could ever imagine. The world simply could not exist as it does now if you, or any one of us, were not in it. 

Perhaps you are aware that on some level you believe your life does not matter. If this thought resonates within you, maybe it is time to explore why you feel this way. You may have formed self-rejecting or belittling beliefs as a child to keep yourself safe or to help you make sense of confusing situations. You may have felt unseen or unheard and decided that there was something wrong with you, rather than with the attention span of the people around you. Spend some time looking into where these feelings of insignificance first took root, and see what changes you might be able to make in your life and in your heart. 

This one belief in your own unimportance could be limiting you and impacting your life in enormous ways. When you shift your perceptions around your own ability to affect your life and impact the world, you may discover wonderful parts of yourself that you had long ago forgotten. There may even be exciting new parts that you never even knew existed. When you gain awareness of how much your life really does matter, new sources of energy can emerge and your sense of connection with the world is renewed. 

I found this quite interesting, considering the information I was already trying to process.....

I also get The Daily Om Taurus Horoscope, and this week was also the same theme:

Loving Who You Are
Taurus Daily Horoscope
If you're feeling low today, you may be inclined to focus on externals to improve your mood. New possessions, changes to your physical appearance, or moving to a different home might seem like effective methods to make you feel better about yourself. However, you can improve your mood and cultivate your self-worth by looking within rather than outward. Instead of comparing yourself to your friends, relatives, coworkers, or neighbors, take stock of your individual, positive inner qualities and the talents that make you unique. If you see areas of yourself you wish to improve, concentrate on creating a plan of improvement and applaud yourself for taking that step. As you seek your worth today, try to focus on the goodness you've been blessed with rather than anything you might lack.

Cultivating your self-worth can help you avoid the temptation to look to external sources to define your personal value. Finding the beauty that is your soul makes comparing yourself to others entirely unnecessary. You learn that you are worthy of blessings and esteem regardless of how others may act or what they say. As you discover your own value, you begin to see that your worth is entirely independent of how you measure up to others or whether or not you succeed in the various areas of your life. Missteps are simply a part of the growth process, especially when you derive your value from within. Allow yourself time for reflection so you can gain a stronger sense of your inner worth today, and you'll discover that your personal value is a built-in guarantee.

All about self worth.  Once again, it hits home with me. 

A couple of other things happened.  One was that my massage therapist, whom I adore for more than her ability to put my body back where it belongs every month, decided not to go with a spa, but instead, realized that she was resigning herself to working with the spa just to not disappoint the owner/friend/client she was working with. Instead, she recognized she was, in fact, resigning herself, and wasn't happy about it.  She has decided not to go with the spa person, and to once again, have her own space for her Yoga studio. It's all falling into place for her, and she's so happy about it now!  I love when people I admire for having their own business, can be successful and happy.  

I also had a discussion with a person that bought the local yarn shop after the original owner passed away a few months ago.  I've actually spoken to a few shop owners (not all fiber related) and they all say how difficult it is.  There are busy times, and quiet times, and it's so scary when it's quiet.  

There have also been some interesting posts on Facebook that have shown me that there are very successful people in the fiber business.  They work all week to get their work done, then they post that they've got all this stuff listed, and BAM!  They sell out.  I wish I could figure out what it is they do, that makes them so freaking successful!!!!!!

One thing I keep reminding myself is that I have a difficult time during the winter months, shorter daylight hours, and colder weather, with feeling inspired and feeling like I need to keep on top of the business.  It's really difficult for me to think that my business is going to grow, when in reality, it's only gotten slower this year.  Very frustrating for me.  I just don't know how to get myself out there so I am one of those people that are more successful.  

So I'm off to try to reinvent myself, remind myself I'm worthy and worthwhile, and to love myself and what I do.  I know that when all this falls into place, I will be successful......but OMG it's difficult to change thinking that has gone on for 58 years.  LOL

Be safe.
Take care,
Martha

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Today, we have a high of 30 degrees.  Last week it was in the 60s.  This Sunday is supposed to be near 70.  Of course, I'll believe it when I see it.  It's certainly hot tea season!

I finished my Mod 4 Journey yarn.  I think it's colorful, and happy looking. It has many layers, like me.  I core spun some violet fiber onto a worsted weight commercial yarn.  Then I spun a thick and thin, and core spun that onto a thin commercial core.  Then I plied the two together, and plied with a shiny, metallic, sequined yarn.

I've been thinking more about loving myself.  It takes a LOT of work for me at 58 years old, to change the negative self-talk, and work on loving myself.  Which also includes taking better care of myself.

There is a challenge on FB in the Circle Weaving group, for creating something shiny and holiday-ish with our circle looms.  The circle loom is something we receive as part of the Journey course.   Here is mine. I took Firestar - a very shiny, sparkly nylon - which I hand dyed, added Angelina and a shiny metallic sequin commercial yarn.  I wove on my circle loom, then pulled it off and pulled it into a (sort of) circle.  It's supposed to be an ornament.  It doesn't show up as shiny in photos as it is in person.  But there it is.



On other news, we had a real scare last Friday.  Hubby went out to get the mail, and on the walk down the driveway, notice something wasn't quite right.....he saw a haze, then realized, it was smoke.  The leaves between our property, and the neighbor's property, were on fire!  Somehow, something the neighbor had burned, started a fire.  He swears that the only thing he burned, was the Sunday prior.  I don't know if it's possible for something to fester that long....
The photos below were of the scene after the firemen arrived.  It took them FOREVER to get here - at least 30 minutes.  You can sort of see one of the smaller trucks, which carries water, and they were in the back field spraying it down with water.  These guys were the brush fire guys.
 Below, is the fire extinguisher that I was grateful I remembered was in the basement near the wood burning stove.  As hubby was trying to figure out how to put the fire out, because the 2 hoses together wouldn't reach far enough, I ran in the house and came out with this.  The wind was blowing quite hard, and this helped squelch some of the fire and kept it from spreading on our side, till the firemen got here.
 This is only one section of the fence that got burned, and had to be chopped down in order for the firefighters to get to the neighbor's property quickly with the water, from our property.  See those pine trees just beyond the fence?  That's the property line.
Below, the stuff you see beyond our fence, is the neighbor's shed and property.  It burned about 10 feet from the fence on each side.  On his side, there were 2 vehicles parked, and the fire was literally within about 5 feet of his vehicles.  That would have been REALLY bad....
 Here I'm standing in the same place as the photo above, but looking into the back pasture.  It burned about halfway down that fence line.  The fence back there is high tensile wire, with wooden posts.  Not as much damage was done to the fence back there.
 These are the good men that volunteer out here at the Orange, VA fire station, and the Mine Run, VA fire station.  The truck on the left, is the truck that carries a lot of water.  The smaller trucks had to keep coming back to this truck to refill with water to continue to put the fire out.

When people ask me why we don't go on vacation, this is one of the reasons.  If we hadn't been here, that fire would have come over to the barn, where the horses are sheltered, and all the hay for winter is stored.  The neighbor wasn't home.  If we hadn't been here, that fire would have spread, because of the dried leaves all over the ground (you can see them in the photo above) and because the wind was really blowing that day....right in the direction of our home.  

I'm grateful that it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  I do have to say though, that I freaked out.  I was having panic attacks, and I think I was in a bit of shock.   I really thought we were going to lose the barn, at least.  

The lesson learned is, we will always have fire extinguishers here.  We never burn any trash.  But the neighbors do.  There is nothing to keep this type of thing from happening again.  The responsible neighbor is renting, so we don't expect to get reimbursed by him.  It will really shock me if he does.  He tried to say it was the home-owner's responsibility - but it's not.  He started the danged fire.  It's HIS fault.  He wasn't even home when this all took place.  If it wasn't for us being here, he would have also lost both his vehicles.  They would have exploded.  And his house was just on the other side of the vehicles. 

Stay safe.  Be prepared.
Take care.  Thanks for looking.
Martha

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Good Question......

So, I'm in The Journey To the Golden Fleece.  It's an interesting journey....it asks questions, and makes me delve into my past.  I'm not thrilled with it because my past, my story, is full of negative and I don't like to live in the past at all.

So now, there is a question posed:  If you were to treat yourself with all the respect and love you have the capacity to give, what would that be like?

Holy Crap!  Really?  I can't even imagine.  I imagine myself as a really loving person.  Although, I've not always ever felt like it was returned by anyone......

I cannot even fathom what it would be like to love myself, respect myself, or build myself up, like I do for others in my life.  What a freaking concept.  Wow.......

So I guess instead of whipping through this module of the Journey, I'm going to have to think on that for a bit......

I'm SO far behind in this Journey also.  I'm supposed to be near finished, and instead, I'm only on Mod 4.  That's because it's been difficult to delve into this Journey for me.  As I said, I don't like much of what has happened in my past.  I don't like to BE my story.  I want to BE what I want to be in the future....not that it's happening.  I feel like every day flies by, yet, I'm stagnating where I am.

So that this isn't a totally crappy, dull, boring post, I'm going to post some pics I took this past weekend.

I was doing stuff around the house.  My desk faces the windows that face the front of our property.  I saw about 8 horse trailers going by on the road......which can only mean one thing.......the November Hunt is on!  It hasn't happened in a couple of years.  I was a bit excited because I love my camera and I love photography so I was hoping for some good shots.

Next thing I know, there was a hunter out in front of the property.  Mind you, they are supposed to be out back.   In a previous year, the fox and some dogs, had gone wayward, and instead of being out back, and staying there, they ran out front. So I think this person was out front to keep an eye on things.
The view from the front porch.



Then, the hunters showed up out back.  Lots of hunting dogs.  They came into our back pastures.  Our horses were NOT happy.  They were on alert the rest of the day!

This was the hunt master.  He's blowing his horn!  

Then there were the riders that followed.  Here are a few:



It was a perfect weather day.  It was about 60 degrees.  Sunny.  Very little breeze.  Just a beautiful day overall, so I took some other shots.
This is Gabbi.  She's a Maltese that we keep cut short.  She was looking through the porch railing. I  was standing on the side of the house on another small porch.  I LOVE this photo.
And then there's the random wood shot. 

I love the way the sun and shadows play on the wood and leaves.  We've had a few trees cut down recently, almost all Oak, and a few Gum trees.  It's really opened up the yard a lot, and I love that.  Of course, it's difficult now to appreciate since it's getting so dark, and the sun doesn't rise in the sky like it does in summer.  It's okay, because I love Fall. 

That's about it from me for now. I'm off to feed the dogs their dinner, and get our dinner ready.  Some nights, I just don't want to cook.  If I were by myself, I would be having ice cream for dinner....

Take care.  
Martha








Thursday, October 30, 2014

Decisions, Life and Business

I know I've been kind of quiet.  A lot has been going on, but it's mostly in my head.....and really, you don't want to know what all of it is.
Now, though, we have some answers, and it makes the other decisions, seem clearer in a way.
It's Autumn, and I love this time of year.  I love just about the entire year, except when it's 99 degrees with 100% humidity.  Summer, deep, hot, humid summer, is not my fav, ever.

We have been considering selling the farm, and moving a bit closer to the grand kids/daughter/son-in-law.  We found out today, there is NO way in hell we'll be able to afford to move - unless there is a huge uplift in the real estate market, or we win the lottery, or we spend many more years here.  Therefore, it has made the decisions about what I want to do WITH the farm, clearer.

Part of it involves making living here, easier and nicer.  Like, not freezing [in the house] when the temps are below 70 degrees.  Like, having a few trees in the front of the house cut down, so we can stop feeling like we live in a deep, dark forest and the house will never let light in again.  It's AMAZING how open the front yard looks now!!!! It was a GREAT decision!!!!!!!!

I also want to have a nice, large shed put on the property.  It will serve as my shop to sell my fiber out of, and to give spinning lessons in, and to have friends over for spin days.  It will have electric, but not water.  I'm not sure what we'll do about a bathroom yet.  It won't be far from the house, so people could come in here.  But I'm going to work something out, eventually, so that doesn't have to happen.  I don't know if it'll be an outhouse, or a composting toilet.  We'll see.  The shed will also have ac and heat, as I can't live without either, most days of the year!

We will be making inside improvements also.  I want to paint the bedroom, repaint the bathroom, and possibly, at some point, we'll work on the kitchen which has been my least favorite place in this house since we moved in............

I've also decided that I want to start weaving again.  I gave it up for awhile.  I sold the looms I had.  I now own a 15" Cricket loom, and I've only used it once.  I have tons of ideas, but haven't put any of them into effect yet.............

We did, however, take a road trip to PA, to The Mannings.  It was a beautiful day, and a beautiful ride.  Sunny.  Beautiful colors.  Mountains.  Horses.  Sheep.  Cows.  Churches.  Flags.  Bridges.   Oh, and fiber and fiber tools, of course - once we arrived AT The Mannings!  :-D





It's hard to believe, but all of these photos except the black horse one, were taken from a moving vehicle....sometimes going 65 or 70 mph!

I bought some beautiful Tencel while at The Mannings.  I went to look for black wool on cones.  None available.  :(  I know now, though, what I would want, what I don't want, if I find it online.

I have also ordered the stand and a variable dent reed for my 15" Cricket loom.  There will be NO excuses for not using it, or my hand spun yarn, once it gets here. Smiling.......that makes me happy!

Well, that's about it for now.  I will be back soon.

Oh, and there's a sale going on in the Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/spinningmywheelfiber  - 20% off when using the code 20OFFOCTOBER  It's only good through Oct 31, which is tomorrow.  So hurry off and take a look!

As always,
Take care.
Martha





Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It's a Sale!!!!

If you're a spinner, you might be interested in this. I'm holding a sale in my ETSY shop - 10% off your purchase over $10.
Just enter the code 10OFFOCTOBER and you can receive your 10% off !

Etsy shop is located HERE

Items in the shop include Teeswater long locks
 

Dyed and undyed.

Spindles













And lots of fiber:

Thanks for looking and go find something fun to buy!

Martha


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's Almost Here......

The Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival is only a few days away. I'm so nervous.  I shouldn't be - I've done a whole TWO festivals, and they both turned out well.  This is a new venue for me though, and it's a long drive, and we have to drive up on Friday for setup, then we have to drive up VERY early Saturday morning to be there to put the product up, drive home Saturday night, drive back Sunday morning, then when it ends on Sunday afternoon, pack everything back up, and drive home.  I'm hoping there isn't much left on Sunday afternoon to pack up!  :-)

It makes me nervous to leave my stuff overnight. I haven't done that before.  But it's something I'm going to have to do.

The weather has been great the last few days....much cooler, Fall-like.  Guess what?  It's going to be 83 on Saturday, and 86 on Sunday.  UGH.  NOT the best weather for selling wool.  I'm just praying that the things I have to sell, are the ones people will be looking for!

I'll have many beautiful colors of Ashland Bay Merino.



I'll have lots of pretty, hand made spindles.


I will have dyed and undyed Teeswater long (6-9") locks;


This is the first time I'll have a tent that has 3 sides up.  I have done 2 festivals where the tent is open on two sides, and closed on two sides because it's butted up against 2 other tents.  From what I remember from attending the upcoming festival as a customer, I don't think the tents are butted up against each other at all.  Which is really nice.  I like the idea of being spread out.

The inside of the tent will be a new layout also.  I bought some cubes to use for some of the product, and the cubes will sit on a table against one wall. Then I will have 2 walls for the grid wall setup.  I don't like going in cold on setup, but hey, I'm good at flying by the seat of my pants!

I'm glad we're going up Friday for setup though.  That will help me be at ease about where we are, and all I have to do Saturday morning, is put product up, and that will be easy enough.

So, now all I have to do is trust that people are going to attend, and be ready to purchase!  We shall see......




Friday, September 12, 2014

September!

Wow, how the heck did it get to be September already???  This summer was extremely mild compared to most summers here in this part of VA.  It was a welcome change - then September rolled in, and it was awful!  It's been a lot like August normally is but wasn't.   Humid, hot, and rainy.  Crazy!  Today, however, is a beautiful 72 degrees (F) and breezy, and the sun comes in and out of the clouds, with lower humidity - perfect September weather!

I have the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival www.Shenandoahvalleyfiberfestival.com coming up on the 27th and 28th.  It's fast approaching!  I feel sort of ready.  I've been busy dyeing fiber, and working on spindles.  Here are some of the things I'll be offering.
Extra Long Teeswater Locks on the left, beginner spindle kit on the right.
A wide variety of shapes and weights, drop spindles, hand made.
Another hand made, bottom whorl drop spindle.
Yarn, Teeswater fleece and long locks, hand spun
Merino/Tencel 50/50 hand spun 3 ply yarn
Just one of the hand dyed combed top available.

I have a wide variety of stuff going, and since this is my first year, I'm very nervous for two things:
1.  Will I have enough product?
2.  Will I sell anything?

It's nerve-wracking for sure, but I'm just trying to go day-to-day, and have faith that all will be well. The weather is another issue I'm worrying about, but can't.  Every year we've gone up there, it's beautiful weather.  So I'm just going to count on the fact that it will be beautiful.

Which reminds me, I have to call the dog sitter!  Yikes.  We just can't leave the pups for the entire day without being able to go outside to potty and have some human time.  So we pay this really wonderful dog sitter to come mid-day, and take the pups out for us.  Makes us feel better.

I hope if you are in the area, and you're interested in knitting, crochet, spinning, or felting, you'll stop by the tent and give us a hello!










Thursday, August 28, 2014

Acceptance....

Spinning My Wheel Fibers has been accepted into the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, taking place on September 27th and 28th, 2014.
I'm very excited!  It's our first, two day festival. I'm nervous that I won't hold up during the 2 days.  A one-day festival does me in....but I'm challenging myself to work on making it!

There was a very interesting conversation going on, on Facebook this morning.  A person asked [in one of the fiber groups], if there was a different festival at which she should sell her one-of-a-kind hand-made goods.  She doesn't sell spinning supplies, but she sells hand-crafted items, such as buttons, and birdhouses, and shawl pins.  She has not done well at the fiber festivals....
A couple of people are actually marketing people, and they told her that she should be doing juried craft shows, not fiber festivals, as fiber festivals are basically for those that do things themselves, and they are looking for the tools/fibers/dyes/etc that they can use in their own art.  Knitters and crocheters look for yarn.  Spinners look for spinning supplies or fiber they want to try but don't have access to.  Felters are looking for fiber to use in their art.

It was an interesting, well-timed, and hit-home type of post for me, as I struggle constantly with the "am I doing the right thing" issue.  Selling fiber that I buy wholesale, and sell retail, isn't the artistic side of me.  Selling the spindles I make, that has a better feel for me, because I am being artistic AND selling to spinners.  Believe me, if I had the correct tools, I'd probably be trying to figure out how to make more tools for spinners to use!  Alas, one more thing to add to the wish list.  Ha ha.  Hubby would have a cow if I told him I'm now getting into wood working (and/or metal smithing)!!!

I actually enjoy ordering and selling the fiber.  Most of what I get is commercially dyed Merino, and it comes in SUCH a wide variety of colors.  When I set up my booth, it's like a box of crayons!

See?  The colors are fun and amazing.










My spindles are just as colorful....here is just a small sampling of what they look like:

I love color.  You wouldn't know it to look at my home.....because I share it with a very traditional guy, and over the years, I just didn't spruce it up much.  I've had thoughts of changing that.....

Sorry, back to the subject at hand.

Because I've had the struggle of whether to do the artistic side, or do the retail side, has been on my brain for so long, I felt as if it was an either one or the other situation - and guess what?  It's NOT.

I can be creative, but I have to find the right shows and venues for that creative stuff that I make and enjoy sharing.  When it comes to selling to spinners and fiber customers, I can do the fiber festivals!  Win/Win!

I just need a better plan of how to make that work, sign up for festivals (other than fiber festivals) for that time of year when people are looking for warm things to wear, or hang on the wall, or use (towels, etc).  I need to work on everything, not just one aspect, because I believe that will have a better outcome.  There is no reason I have to give up being an artist, because I also enjoy the retail side of selling supplies!

Life can be very confusing for someone who lacks confidence.  It doesn't help that my partner is strong in his beliefs and that I have to struggle to stand up for what I believe in (not because of him, but because of my own weakness).  I just have to believe in myself, and not worry about what anyone else thinks!

One day at a time.........................

Take care.
Martha










Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oh, Hello There...

Um, yeah, no excuses.  I don't even know if I have followers anymore.  I don't pay attention.  I don't even pay attention to whether I'm ahead or behind in the scores on Words With Friends.  I don't care, I play because it's a challenge.

Business has been.......interesting this year.  Some really great months, and some that stink!

I have found out I'm in at Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival, held the last weekend in September.  It's held in the mountains in Berryville.  Here's a link if you're interested in taking a beautiful drive and spending a day in the mountains in the Fall.  If you like to knit, or crochet, or spin, or weave, come on down.

I'm excited, and nervous.  It's a 2 day festival, which we haven't done before.  It's going to be exhausting. I'm afraid I won't have enough on hand, and then, I'm afraid no one will buy anything!  It's going to be a huge experiment, and that's how I'm looking at it.  I'm going to try not to freak about it being 2 days.  We will have to get a dog sitter, to take care of the dogs in the middle of the day, both days.  We will also have to leave them 2 days in a row, which I haven't done before.  I justify it by saying, if I worked a full time job, out of the house, I'd have to leave the dogs 5 days a week!  But I don't, and they aren't used to being left that long for 2 days.  We'll be home at night, so no worries about that.  We have the horses, the dogs and the cat to worry about and feed and take out, etc.

I've been dyeing fiber and spinning yarn.  I've been washing fleece, and I ordered a lot of long locks that I have plans on dyeing.  I have been blending, making batts, for sale and for spinning. I can't wait to have it all on display, along with the commercially dyed Merino that comes in beautiful colors.

So I hope to see you there!  Come on by and say hello.

Take care,
Martha



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Powhatan's Festival of Fiber, Journey to the Golden Fleece, and More!

Hello.  I've been on shutdown mode for awhile, and I apologize.  Not a good way to keep followers.

I was working very hard to be prepared for Powhatan's Festival of Fiber.  It was very stressful for me, as I was hoping I'd have some sales.  Yes, I did all right last year, but there were going to be more vendors there this year, and a couple of very well-known ones to boot.  I was very stressed about the entire thing.....but I needn't be.  We had the BEST customers come in, and I got many compliments on the way the tent looked and the setup.  A lot of people told me they were very excited to see the fiber in 4 ounce braids.  It was extremely organized, especially with all my new grid walls.
From the front.  Yeah, my sign is missing.  It dawned on me after I took the pics, that I had forgotten to put my sign up!  Duh.

From the side.  The way the tents are organized, they are in a quad.  So I had 2 sides open, and a person on each of the closed sides. The grid walls fit perfectly!
Some close ups:  Dream catchers and hand spun yarn, with commercially dyed fiber in the background.
 My hand made spindles.  Sold a few of these.  Taught a couple of people some tricks and tips.  It was fun!
 These are the add-ins I sell.  Some Milk fiber - yes, it's made from the protein of the milk; some batts that I made; and some other stuff.

It was a beautiful day, except for some wind gusts.  That made things.....interesting!  lol

The ETSY shop is being updated, slowly but surely.  I had to place an order to restock after the fiber festival, and then, I had a big sale on ETSY, and had to reorder!  Not a bad problem to have!!!!!  :-)

There have been a lot of things going on in the house too.  Two weeks ago, we had a very hard rain storm, and we ended up with water in the basement!  We have lived in this house over 9 years now, and this is the first time we had water seep into the basement.  The good news is, I found it immediately.  And, our basement isn't finished.  Concrete floor.  The other good news is, we had most of our stuff in plastic bins.  I don't think anything important got wet.  I'm not a fan, nor ever have been, of cardboard boxes.  I'm glad of that!  We store a LOT of stuff in the basement, including my fiber, but nothing got ruined, thank goodness!  We also have a wet-vac so we were able to vacuum up the water.  We went out the next day and got a dehumidifier.  It didn't work right, returned it, and got another one, and it's working fine.  I really like how dry the basement feels now.  My fiber dries extra quickly too!  Win win win.

On the same note as the water seepage, is the fact of WHY it was seeping in.....so dear hubby called a couple of people.  They said it could be the runoff from the gutters.  We had our siding guy come out, and put a larger gutter on the front, and add larger downspouts.  They also made the gutters slant from the center out, and that should help with the runoff.  Geesh.

Meanwhile, we had another hard rain (no seepage even before the gutters were fixed, thank goodness) and we noticed that part of the water that was in the driveway wasn't drying up.  Dear hubby went out with our little tractor, and he was leveling out the driveway because we thought the water was just hanging out in the ruts.  Nope, that wasn't the problem.  The well is near that part of the driveway, and there was water seeping up through the ground.  What the heck!!!!!  We called a well repair company, and they came out the next morning.  They were great - they dug by hand, and found there was cement down there (they don't put cement down there anymore, they use a more flexible product) and they found that the connector to the well from the pipe, was corroded.  There was a hole in it!  Blah.  Luckily it was an easy fix.  So we had the well guys and the gutter guys here at the same time.  Talk about stimulus overload!

Today, we are having the hot water heater replaced.  Ours was from 1991.  A bit old.  So many repair people (including the gutter guy and the well guys and they plumber we had here a few months ago) told us that we shouldn't let it go that long.....eventually, it would rust out and we'd end up with a leak.  After hearing so many people say that, we decided it would be wise to be safer rather than sorry!  So the new water heater went in today.  I hope it works well.  I always worry that after the workmen leave, something will go wrong......and leaks we don't want!

Tomorrow, I have a dental appointment, because I have some sensitivity issues...not fun.

Next week, we have our Master Bathroom shower replaced.  Not the entire bathroom as Bath Fitters doesn't do that.  But the shower is as old as the water heater was - 1991.  Awful.  We have hard water, so we have a lot of mineral deposits and the caulk just doesn't work anymore.  That will feel really good, to have a new, walk-in shower!

So, on to the Journey to the Golden Fleece........I haven't done mod II yet, have you?  I just haven't had the time, or energy, to put into it.  But, I'm getting ready to prepare my fiber, and start spinning.  The good news is, I just got a new e-spinner, which can handle the speed I like to spin at, and the bulkiness of the fun art yarns I want to get better at doing, and it can still handle fine, thin yarns.  It's very exciting!   Mod III is out, but I want to get Mod II done, even though we're supposed to keep up.

Well, that's about it for me.  I want to get this posted.  When I get some yarns done on my new e-spinner, I'll post them here!
Take care and be good to yourself.

Martha










Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring, Glorious Spring.....

Hello there.
It's Spring.  Thank God.
Winter was rough.  Spring has been rough too.  But I'm here, and I'm moving forward!

We just had our grand daughter for the weekend.  She's amazing, smart, beautiful and I love that child more than life itself.  She's something!



Isn't she cool, with her sunglasses on?  She's making bows for Minnie Mouse on her Leap Pad.  Smarty pants!  I hated taking her back home. I  tell ya, if I could keep this kid, I would!  Of course, I had to take a nap every day when she took one.  I'd never get anything done, because she keeps me hopping!  So far, a weekend is all I seem to be able to handle, but I'm sure I'd get used to her being here.  :-)



Meanwhile, last weekend, we opened a little store....right here in my house!  I had received an email from a shop that I used to go to, and they were closing.  They had grid wall for really cheap, and I JUMPED on the chance to get them.  Of course, I spent almost $200 getting the feet and more hooks for 6 new grid wall panels, but hey, the panels were cheap!  LOL
Here is a photo.  This is before it's all set up, which in fact, I'm still working on.

So here it is.  Not finished yet, and by the time I do finish it, I will have to take it all down for the Powhatan Festival of Fiber.  I've already had one customer come in and she loved it - so easy to shop for what she wanted.  We weren't digging through plastic bins to find what she needed.  She actually bought more because she could see what she wanted!  Win win!  After the festival, the shop will be open for business to everyone.  It's not my "dream" shop, but it's my dream come true.  I have wanted a shop for a long time.  Until I can afford a separate building, whether that be here on the farm, or an actual retail spot, this will make me happy.  :-D


Speaking of the Powhatan Festival of Fiber, that's coming up on April 26th.  Powhatan is a small community near Richmond, VA.  Last year was the first year for this festival, and it was fantastic weather, and a fantastic turnout.  Everyone from organizers to vendors were elated with the turnout.  Come join us if you can.

Previously, I had posted that I had become a dealer for Spinolution.  I decided that I didn't like the stress of being a dealer for a company like that, so I have relinquished my dealership.  I like dealing with the fiber, and making my own spindles, much more.  So I'll be sticking to that for now.

I've been experimenting with new yarns, and have made a really crazy coiled yarn. I'll have to set it and take pics.  It's CRAZY!

Well, that's about it for now. I have a LOT of work to do, and only 19 days to do it.  So I'd better get busy. I'll try to post updates here more often.  Even the Journey to the Golden Fleece is going to have to take a back seat.  I have to spend the next 19 days preparing for the fiber festival, then I have to recuperate from the festival, then I have to do inventory to see what's left, set up the shop inside the house again, update my ETSY store (which will be on vacation for 2 weeks prior to the festival) and open it back up again, and hopefully, I'll have to place another order with Ashland Bay for more fiber (because I'm hoping I sell everything at the festival!!!).
 Take care!
Martha