Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello 2013!!!!!

Yep, it's a new year.  Hello 2013. 

This year has already started out on a positive note.  More on that in a bit.

As you know if you've read recently previous posts, I have started a new business called Spinning My Wheel Fibers.  It just felt right.  I love what I'm doing (the creating part of it anyway) and I was so hyped up at first! 
Then, the wind went out of my sales because I had spoken to a few people about going into business as a newbie to spinning.  I also had done some research/reading online and started feeling like there are a LOT of fiber artists out there - everything from people who spin and want to sell their yarns, to amazing fiber artists that create amazing works of art using all sorts of mediums, including fiber.  After all of this happening, I sort of felt like I was going to get lost in the crowd, not stand out, mainly because others told me that you have to be traditional and fit in.  Not exactly my style.  So, I listened to my gut, and shut the negative voices off in my head.

I focused on what I want to do and what I want to be and how I want my art to be created.  Yes, that's right. I focused really really hard on those 3 things.  I know I want to be different, it's just who I am.  I want to be someone who knows how to listen to the materials I'm using, and create what they want to be.  I want to stand out, be me, and be true to myself.  I know I want to create what comes from my heart, and feel my art. 

When I figured out the answers, it came - just like that - it came.  I'm going to do what feels right to me - no, my yarns won't look like they came from a mill.  No, my yarns won't be traditional and perfect.  I'm anything but traditional and perfect - why should my yarns be?  And YES, I know in my heart of hearts, there is a place for me, and my fibers, in whatever form they may take. 

Instead of starting another website just for my own things as opposed to the www.cottage-artists.com website where I share my art with two of my friends, I decided to start a Facebook page.  I just put it up and I have 36 Likes already!  I'm pretty happy about that - but if you want to go check it out and Like it, I'd be even happier!  :-)

My brother, bless his heart, posted my new page on his page.  Someone he knows, has been thinking about using hand spun yarns in her new venture with knitted sweaters.  This person is a Master Tailor and has been creating her own clothing for 40 years.  She is now starting this new venture with her sweaters and wants to have something original, different, non-traditional.  Well, I fit the bill!  At her request, I contacted her, and we made a deal on some yarn I already have, and she purchased it.  Whoooohoooo!!!!!
I got to use my Pay Anywhere App on my IPhone too.  First time for that. I wanted to be able to swipe a card, but seeing as this customer is in Utah, and I'm in Virginia, that wasn't going to happen.  Pay Anywhere was awesome - I called them, they told me what to do and walked me through the entire thing.  Not that I couldn't have figured it out on my own, but I was SO nervous!  Now, I'm an old pro - ha ha ha.

I look forward to my customer using my yarns, and if she's happen with it, then we will be doing business on a regular basis. 

After taking care of all of that business, I spent almost 2 hours on Paradise Fibers website to find some new fibers that I thought would interest my customer.  She's looking for natural, and also for different.  I ordered a Yak and Merino blend.  THAT should be interesting!  See, different and non-traditional.  I hope I'm good enough to spin the different fibers I ordered!   I also ordered some organic cotton and I'm anxious to spin that also.  I also suggested BFL to my customer and she hadn't heard of that before.  I told her how nice and soft it is, and pretty in it's undyed natural form.  She sounded happy about it so I ordered some of that too.  I should have some fun stuff arriving soon.  I got a good deal - spent $150.00 and got a $50 gift card to go along with it to use on my next order.  Yay!

I also spent several hours photographing yarns, processing the photos (had to do lots of digital fixing as I can't seem to get my photographs to turn out well), and a lot of time on the computer yesterday.  I know it takes a real commitment to keep a business going.  Website, social media, blogging, photographing, accounting (ICK), labeling, packaging, and on and on and on.  It's especially hard since all I really want to do, is create!  But I know in order to be successful, I also have to do all the mundane boring work that goes along with the creating..........
Here is a photo I took today.
Red and Purple Fun Yarn with sparkle!
This is some fiber I blended myself on my home made hackle.  I need to get a pic of it - it's quite the tool!  This is a test photo. I took 15 photos, and this was the best one with no editing.  I'm working with 2 desk lamps with clear bulbs and an Ott Light.  This setting on my camera was on the Food setting which allows me to change the color scheme tints - from reds to blues.  This one was light blue.  All of my other photos came out with yellow background. 
I'm going to work on making a light box, diffusing the light, and see if that helps.
If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know - I'm really having a time of getting my yarn colors to be true.  VERY frustrating!

 So the beginning of my new year has been quite adventurous and I'm pretty happy.  I have to remember to keep the vision, be true to myself, and work from my heart, and believe in myself!  I know if I can keep those things in mind, and live in the moment, I'll do well, and be happy.

So Happy New Year to my followers.  I wish for you, a joyous, prosperous, and great 2013!!!!
Thanks so much for sharing my journey,

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I don't have many followers.  I haven't been religous about keeping up with my blog. But for those of you that have stuck it out with me, thank you.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.  May all your wishes come true. 


Friday, December 21, 2012

Oh Dear

Today was going so well.  I got up early (well, 7 a.m. IS early, isn't it?) and I had a plan.  Get the cakes baked for the party tomorrow, get the birthday banner done, and then get some time to do some fun stuff.
The first cake (chocolate) came out awesome.  The second cake - yellow cake with apples in it - not so much.  They are both made in bundt pans, and I only have one, so I made the chocolate, let it cool according to directions, flipped it over on a plate, and done!  The yellow cake I followed the directions, but upon flipping it over, not so done.  Ugh.  the top (the pretty part) fell apart. 

Luckily, DH is in the store right now, and he's picking up another cake mix.  This time, I'm going to make it per the chocolate cake directions and pray it comes out well.

This little angel is the reason for the party and all the work ~
She is 2 years old today.  It's so hard to believe that she's 2 already.  She's changing so much, and she's such a joy in my life.  The party is tomorrow and it's a combo Christmas and birthday party for her. Spending time with the little angel, hugging her, watching her joy and happiness, and just knowing she's such a special child, makes my heart happy every time I get to spend time with her.  She is my anti depressant.  I just don't get to spend ENOUGH time with her! 

Time to go clean the pan for the new cake to be baked.  DH will be home soon.
Enjoy the day - and the little moments within it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I'm Back

I've been absent.  There was a lot going on.  It's a lot better now.  Life really IS good - you just sometimes need a few bumps in the road to make you remember.

Here is my newest perspective about what's going on with my new "business."
At first, I thought, this is great!  I can sell this stuff!!!  My dreams are coming true!!
I had a lot of positive feedback about my work.  Not that I sold a lot.  I sold 3 neck warmers, no yarn.
Still haven't sold any yarn.
Of course, I haven't updated my website recently.  I was unfocused.  Updates will be coming very soon.

I've thought about starting a website with just my own work on it, and still might.  I'm trying to decide on a web host that I can afford, and that will give me more choices than the Network Solutions host I'm using now.  Any suggestions?

Making this a business - well, I've had some people give me their perspective on it.  Some good, some bad.  Someone who has been in the business for about 20 years, told me day before yesterday, you can't make money on making and selling your own yarn.  You have to buy it commercially spun, and sell it to really make money, then sell yours on the side.  Not my idea of what I want my business to be.

Someone else said, you can't start spinning, and expect to sell your first yarn.

Someone else said they wouldn't even consider buying anything spun by a new spinner, dyed by a new fiber artist, or knitted by a new knitter.  It wouldn't be worthy of their money. 

I was really getting down.  The last 24 hours was a challenge.

After processing.  After talking to dear hubby.  After an entire 24 hours of wondering if I've made a huge mistake, I finally realized..................I don't have to do it by anyone else's standards.  If someone doesn't want to buy my stuff because I'm new at it, so be it.  If someone else thinks that I can't make enough money doing it my way, ok.  Maybe she'll be right, maybe not - after all, a lot has changed in 20 years since she started.

If my stuff is good enough to knit by me, then it's good enough for anyone else to knit.
If it's good enough that I've sold 3 pieces now, then it's good enough to wear.
And if I enjoy - did you read that?  ENJOY - doing it, then it's totally worth it.

I had lost the joy of what this is supposed to be about.  No, I won't be giving everything away.  BUT - I will gladly sell it for what it's worth.  Or I'll have to hold onto it.  I have faith that my things are NICE.  They will sell when they are meant to.

I got a bit overwhelmed.  I started caring about what other people thought.  Then I remembered, it's not up to them what I do with my life, how I live it, or what I believe.  It's only ME that matters.  Well, and of course DH too.  :-)

This is the next project.  Let me tell you, the colors are even better in real life.  I cannot wait to get started on spinning this up.  The colors are SO rich, and so yummy, it's going to be a joy to spin this. 

 This is some yarn I sent to my cousin in CA.  It's really lovely, sparkly, and soft. I hope she likes it (really) and that she makes something nice from it (although, living in CA, she probably doesn't need merino wool).  Have fun Judee!  Merry Christmas.  (no worries, she's already received it - so no spoiler)

I have new ideas, I want to be creative, original, fun, and special.  I just have to drag it outta me.  lol

So I will be spending more time here, showing off what I have to share.
I will be building a new website for myself only.
I have my Pay Anywhere credit card reader. 
I have sold 3 items so far and plan on selling many more.  Including my yarns.
The more love I put into making it, the better it'll be.
Meanwhile, I'll be fitting some doctor appointments in between.  The next couple of weeks are gonna be quite busy. After that, life should go back to a semblance of normal - whatever that is!

Merry Christmas.
Happy Holidays.
Happy New Year.
Rock on!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I've been out of touch here for awhile.  I've tried to be creative, and I've tried to keep this blog about me being creative.
The last few weeks have been rough.  I'm trying to keep my life in perspective.
The hurricane wasn't as bad here as they'd predicted.
It was horrible for the people in NY and NJ and up the coast.
This week it snowed there too.  Freezing temps, snow, and people who've lost everything - family, homes, lifetime memories.  Very sad.
I have a friend who is getting ready to put her horse down.  A very sad situation.  It's the only answer to the issues the horse is having. I really feel for her.
The elections were stressful.  I'm thankful its over, and I'm happy with the decision.
A few weeks ago my husband left a job where he was being abused (mentally) by the bosses there.  It was NOT a good situation.  Virginia is a right to work state - you can be fired, or leave a job, with only a day's notice.  The writing was on the wall that the organization was a sinking ship.  The people were setting him up for a firing.  He went in to see if he could talk to them about what was happening, and see if there was a way to work to make things better for everyone - and when there was no answer and no response, he put in his 2 week notice.  They didn't want to accept it, so he filled out the appropriate paperwork, and left that day.  I supported him, and was behind him 100%.  I don't think there was any other answer.  They still, to this day, over a month later, are using his name whenever anything goes wrong in the organization.  It's really awful.  I wish we could afford a lawyer.
The good thing is, he had 4 weeks of vacation coming to him, so we got that money.  He also had a job that lasted 3 weeks working for someone else.  So all in all, we weren't without pay for seven weeks.  That's excellent.
There is another job on the horizon, hopefully the word will come tomorrow that he got it.  Waiting has been hard.  I have to say, he's handled this all REALLY well.  It's very stressful for both of us.  I haven't handled it quite as well.
Then, my daughter was having some family issues, and that was literally breaking my heart.  The sadness was horrible, I knew she was hurt, I knew that the situation wasn't her fault, and I felt awful for her and for my grand daughter (whom I cherish more than I can ever tell you).
That seems to have resolved itself, and I hope that it doesn't happen again. That's all I'm gonna say about it.
I've been fighting sadness and depression.  I've been keeping as (creatively) active as I can.  It helps a lot.  At one point, I ran out of fiber to spin.  Sad sad sad.  I placed an order with Paradise Fibers and got 3 lbs of fiber.  I didn't spin it right away though. 
We decided to move all of my creative stuff from the spare bedroom upstairs, to the basement.  This meant that the basement had to be purged.  It's a pretty large basement, but it was FULL to the brim.  There is furniture down there.  There are tools.  There is stuff my daughter has us store for her.  There is more creative stuff down there.  The dogs pens are down there (x-pens that they stay in - each dog has one - 2 dogs - 2 x-pens).   The basement was stuffed with stuff I kept saying I wanted to sell to get money for.  I finally decided to stop being greedy.  I wanted the space more.  So, boxes and bags of stuff went to Goodwill in town.  Bags and boxes of stuff got dumped at the dump.  Other stuff got pushed to one end of the basement.
Then the move began.  It was really hard to move stuff from the 2nd floor to the basement.  My legs have gotten really weak (lack of exercise) and I am really out of shape, so doing the steps once left me breathing like I'd climbed a mountain.  That's what it felt like.  So, I would go upstairs, and I'd pack boxes, bags, and tell Dear Hubby what had to go down and in what order.  We got tables set up, the sewing machine went down, and the stuff started coming.  I started feeling quite overwhelmed!  We worked a few hours, and it helped DH pass the time while he's waiting to hear about this job.  Over all, it took about 4 days to get it all down there.  I finally decided on where things would go.  There is the fiber stuff, the sewing center, a table for photography of my products to be done on, the lamps placed, and a table for beading and card making.   I only have half the basement.  I told DH yesterday, he needs to have a shed put up, and all the other stuff (tools, etc) in the basement need to go out to the shed.  The basement is my studio now, and I want it to be a real studio.  He just looked at me and laughed.  Oh well, I tried. 
I started spinning again yesterday, after about 2 weeks of not doing any spinning.  I have to get back into the swing, and get consistent again.  I need to spin every day for at least a couple of hours. I keep thinking about getting yarns done to sell, and how my booth will look when I can finally get enough to set up a booth at a sale.  This is what motivates me.
I told my daughter I needed to see my grand daughter soon, so I asked if we could go up this weekend.  I know it throws my daughter off her schedule, but I MUST see my grand baby!!!!  We'll spend a few hours, take her to the indoor playground at the mall, and then go to Ikea (for me) and then we'll take her to lunch and just visit.  I can't wait.
Yesterday I finished a fingerless glove.  Really my first one - I love it!  Its made from my hand spun yarn.  I am working on my second one now.  They are going to be nice and warm.  Funny thing is, it's supposed to be 70 here this weekend!  So I guess I'll have to wait till next week or so to wear them.  I don't know if I'd want to make them to sell.  It's a lot of work but they are so danged cute!  They are BFL and silk blend.  I spun the yarn really fine (well, fine for me) and the yarn is very nice.  Even my friend who knits a lot told me it was nice.
So, I'm trying to hold it together, but I've had my share of meltdowns lately.  I know seeing grand baby will help.  Seeing daughter will help too.  And DH is a huge help.

Hopefully, I'll be back to posting regularly again, with some of my goodies. 
Take care, enjoy today, and live in the moment.  It's not always easy, but it's the only way to live.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fiber - Not The Food Kind, and Some Food

 Yes, I've been absent.  Things have been a bit.....weird around here lately.  Sorry for the absence.
I do, however, have some fun stuff for you.  So hold on - photo heavy!

Last weekend, we went to the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival.  It is held in Berryville, VA.  It's beautiful country.  It takes us about an hour and 10 minutes or so to get there from here.  It was GREAT weather for the day, in the 70s, and breezy.  As you'll see, there were some clouds.  I fell in love with some of the animals.  This little beauty has beautiful eyes and my photo does NOT even come close to showing that.

I found the markings and coats on these animals to be amazing. I also couldn't get over the look in their eyes. 

The one above is really cute - but no, this little one wasn't posing.  It (boy, girl ?) was scratching it's back with it's horn! 

I took some shots on the way home.  Luckily, I wasn't driving!  ha ha.  I am SO happy with this shot.  If it was bigger, you'd see the blurriness (slight) of the bushes in the foreground.  But the camera did a GREAT job, considering we were going close to 70 mph!  Doesn't it look like it should be a puzzle???

I also like this photo of the pond.  It would have been nicer without the guardrail and I guess I could crop that out.  But then I think I'd lose the depth of the photo.  Again, notice the mountains in the background. 

Ok, I saved the best for last.  Yes, this is a camel, lying down.  A very LARGE camel!

Well, that's it for this post.  I will have much more in a few days.  This is going to be another busy weekend for me, so I will probably not post again till Tuesday.

Take care of yourself.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Ok, so I went down that dark hole.....I decided I had to try dyeing my own yarn.  Yikes!  I wanted something easy with little investment in case I didn't like it.  Duh, of course I was going to like it!  Now I'm hooked.
I have a LOT to learn....I need to figure out a better way to dye and how to not be in the kitchen doing it....of course, the kitchen is the only place with a water source AND heat source. 

The first thing I told hubby when I was done was that it would be great to have water and a sink in the basement.  It's not the first time I've brought that up - I have 2 dogs, and a tub sink in the basement would be awesome.  Dual purpose now that I want to dye fiber and yarn.

I started with yarn as dyeing fiber still frightens me a bit.  I don't want to be felting anything when it's done.  Of course, what I worked with was BFL superwash.  Less chance of it felting that way!  I had spun up some yarn (it ended up not being as much as I'd hoped - about 182 yards), I washed it and rinsed it, let it dry so the twist was set.  Then I pre-soaked it in water and vinegar.  Then I read some instructions I'd downloaded from the 'net and realized I had to add more vinegar.  So an hour of soaking later....I had my yarn ready.  Meanwhile, I had bought some Wilton dye from WM, in Leaf Green.  I found a jar to mix it in, and went to mixing.  I used an old mixing bowl which was the only thing large enough to put a hank of yarn in.  I added more water because I wasn't going to paint this on, I wanted it to soak up the dye.  This is not what the directions said to do, but I figured I'd give it a shot.  I could always add or subtract.  It's just water.

I added the dye, covered the bowl in plastic wrap, and set it in the microwave.  I set it for one minute.  The directions said 15 seconds to one minute.  Well, I didn't think it was hot enough, so I set it another minute.  I think I left it alone then and let it cool the 10 minutes the instructions said to let it set in the microwave to cool.  I removed it, and the green wasn't nearly dark enough for me - especially since I didn't know how much was going to come out in the rinse.  I added more dye directly to the bowl, and stirred.  Placed the bowl back into the microwave, and set it for another 2 minutes, let it cool 10, removed it.  It was ok, but still not where I wanted it.  I stirred it around again and realized that the yarn on the bottom of the bowl was a LOT darker than the rest of the  yarn, and some of the yarn hadn't really taken.  I added a lot more dye, stirred it really well, and put it in the microwave again, this time for 3 minutes.  I wanted it good and hot to take that dye in and set it.

I removed the bowl, let it cool some more, took the yarn out, squeezed it gently, put it in my soaking tub (a small yellow tub I bought from Target) and I took it to the bathroom to rinse and let it set.  A LOT of color came out, and I was getting worried.  I dumped that, let it soak in some cooler water for about 30 minutes, then took it out and drained it.  A lot less color came out and I think what was left was from the first rinse and was water still left in the yarn with color in it.  I squeezed gently and wrapped it in a towel and squeezed some more.  I hung it on a hanger to dry.  It took overnight plus some time the next day - the weather has been cool.  I had read that food coloring dyes can fade in the sun, so I was worried about putting it in the sun to dry.  Just some time outside was good, hanging on the porch in the breeze. 

So, after all that blabbering, here is the yarn.

 This photo is much more the real color of the yarn.  I took this photo in my light box setup for taking photos. 
The photo above is a bit brighter than it is in real life, but it was the only one that came out once I twisted the hank.

It really was fun, and now that I'm braver about dyeing, I know I'll be doing more of it.  Look out world, here I come!  :-)

I have done some spinning on  the new fiber that we bought a week and a half ago.  I'm trying to spin it thin although I know there are some thick spots in there.  That's ok.  When I'm done, I'm going to make a ball and 2 ply it onto itself.  I added some glitz to it with the bronze shiny stuff I bought when we bought the fiber.  I spun a lot on Sunday, but didn't spin yesterday.  I wasn't having the best day and didn't want to mess with it.  Plus, I'm out of fiber almost and I want something to spin tomorrow at spin group.

Yesterday I painted 10 canvases, and today I plan on starting the Mod Podge - if the paint covered the canvases ok.  The paint I used was not Plaid, and boy, I won't make that mistake again!   It was way thin, and I may have to do 2 coats, something I don't have to do with the Plaid paint.  Once I get those 10 done, I'll be taking photos, then going to the website and switching them out for what's currently up there.  I will also take those to a craft show if I do one.

I need to go out today too, to pick up a stand I had left at the horse shop where I used to sell the horse beads.  I will need that for any shows I do and I want to be sure I have it back before someone forgets that it is mine.  It'll be a nice day for a ride. Besides, I need to get myself out of this house for awhile.

Thanks for looking in on my progress.  I appreciate it!
Take care,