Thursday, November 12, 2009

November is Variable

It really shouldn't be a surprise to me, but here it is, early November, and I have started the first second daytime fire to warm up the house.  For quite awhile at the beginning/end of the heating season, we can get away with just a fire in the evening to take the chill off.  I was on my way home today last week and ran smack dab into the first snow squall of the season.  It was pretty impressive considering that it was about a 70/30 mix with rain; even so, the road was slushy and snow accumulating at the grass line in a matter of minutes.

The pumpkins sold really well and now we're moving on to other fall-themed objects.  The Canadian geese turned out quite well (and can be found in my Etsy shop).  I'm working on a turkey, but need to figure out a better way to do the tail before it's ready for prime time.

There has been much knitting.  Mittens for a grown-up neighbor, mittens for the wee ones next door and fingerless mitts for the shop where I have stuff consigned.

I have begun thinking of what to do about Christmas gifts and must get cracking on those.  There's a pair of mittens on the knitting list and will probably weave something (like placemats or table runners maybe).

Hmm, must finish posts in a more timely manner.  They say if you wait a bit, the weather will change around here.  They're right.  Ever since that ugly, slushy day we have been enjoying Indian Summer weather.  Some days are better than others...yesterday I pulled my "Cheeto" chair out into the sun and out of the wind.  Nice comfy spot to knit a bit!

Mornings are still quite chilly.  This morning I noticed that there had been some hoar frost.  I just love the way it looks, so popped outside before I had even had my first cup of tea.  It is such a fleeting occurrence and it was melting off as I took pictures.

Another thing I noticed?  Well, Bambi has been busy.  Not the kitty.  I guess I'll see if hanging a bar of soap will deter the big lug before he does any more damage.  Darn things are a real nuisance around here!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Frosty Start

We had a very frosty start to the day. Actually, it was not our first frost. The tomatoes, squash & eggplant had already had enough.

We have made a concerted effort to pick up after our garage sales and have taken even more off to Salvation Army. Some horse stuff sold at a tack sale last weekend and I have sucked it up and started listing on ebay again. The first items have only been listed for a few hours and there are already people looking. No bids yet, but that often does not happen until towards the end of the listing.

The pumpkin factory is going strong. The shop in Leroy took my entire
stock of them and would also like some geese. A friend placed an order for a pumpkin and I'll be making a bunch to take to spinning guild this coming weekend. 50 of our guild members will be bussing it to Rhinebeck, but there will still be many attending our regular meeting.

A farm stand down the street from us really puts on a show at Halloween and I couldn't resist taking some pictures.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Pumpkins, Lots of Pumpkins

Here it is, another October. It's an iffy month around here. It can range from absolutely perfect shiny, brilliant fall days to weather we would rather not talk about. I haven't been terribly observant and noticed the other day that we have, indeed, had a mild frost (probably the end of September) so the tomatoes are pretty much done. The peppers are up by the house, so while a bit unhappy, are still OK.
Our Finger Lakes Fiber Festival was probably one of the best ever. Every year, we try to smooth over any bumps in the road from the previous year and it's really starting to show. Our skein and garment competition is a fabulous display. And I'm not just saying that because I'm the coordinator...see for yourself:

It's a really nice festival, so if you haven't been yet, make sure you block off next year's calendar (3rd weekend in September).

We also had a garage sale and sold a few things. As it was set up, we even had it over two weekends. The second weekend, it occurred to me that it was October after all, so I needle-felted some jack-o-lanterns and one goose. None of them sold at our sale, but 5 pumpkins and 1 goose sold tonight at our local spinning group.

This is a good thing. However, I need to make a bunch more as my Mom arranged for me to meet with a gift shop owner to show her some of my products, so I will need to make some more by Friday. There is also a horse equipment swap-n-shop on Saturday that I would like to have some of them available for. And also our regular spinning guild meeting on the 3rd Saturday of the month... I guess I'll be making lots of pumpkins!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

16 Ways to Tell That Fall is Coming

1. The pool is very, very refreshing (a balmy 68 F a few days ago). How did I know? Well, I was quite warm from doing a bit of gardening and decided that a dip was a good idea. That may have been the last dip of the season.

2. I'm thinking that my newly-painted Adirondack chair needs to move into the sun, instead of the shade. Rather than tangerine, I'll call it pumpkin.

3. The trees lose that vibrant green gets kind of flat and muted. There are even a few early birds that are starting to turn color, especially south of here in the hills.

4. The sun goes down much earlier. For some reason, this comes as a surprise to me every year.

5. There's not as many song birds around. Just crows, the flock (a huge number of starlings that make one think of the "The Birds") and Canadian geese (lots of those milling around).

6. You haven't seen a lightning bug in quite a few weeks.

7. When you cut the grass, it smells like fall.

8. The show season is winding down. I was both a bad mom and a bad blogger today as I totally forgot to bring a camera to watch DD compete in goat tying for the first time. I had no idea that my daughter could fling and tie up a goat that neatly (and come in 4th of 8).

9. You wonder where you put your sweaters.

10. You wonder where you put your long pants.

11. You wonder where you put your socks. Or for that matter, your shoes.

12. You start stash diving for larger projects...spinning or knitting, doesn't matter as long as it's warm and woolly. Unless, of course, you just finished something large. In that case, may I suggest mittens, a hat or socks?

13. You start thinking about cooking again. Things like bread, lasagna, pot roast and pies.

14. The cats decide that helping you with anything woolly is the most important part of their day.

15. When the Yarn Harlot says she's looking for a mitten pattern, you drop everything and look for one. I didn't find one that I thought was just what she was looking for, but I did find Cats and Horses. Ahh, the wonders of the interwebs and instant gratification. Other than stash diving, I'm good to go!

16. The Finger Lakes Fiber Festival is 6 days away, September 19 & 20 in Hemlock, NY. It's a very nice festival and I'm not just saying that because I help organize it. We have over 80 vendors (with wonderous products to keep you busy and inspired), excellent food vendors, a growing Farmer's Market, workshops and competitions for fleeces, skeins & garments. You can see it all in one day, but two is better!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Summer's Here!

Finally, summer got here. A little on the over-achieving side, but I'll deal with it. Of course, we've been quite busy, like most of us get in the summer.

The other day, I was behind a dump truck. Has anyone else thought that this sign is one of the dumbest signs ever to have on the back of a truck? You can only see one of these signs if you
are following the truck. What am I supposed to do? Turn around and go the other way?

Last Sunday, DD showed at Erie Co
unty Fair outside of Buffalo, NY. This fair has been right up there competing with being the largest fair in the United States (including state fairs).
I had heard that it was better than NYS Fair and you know what, it is. The grounds are clean and well organized, they have maps, there are exhibits, there are cheesy midway shows, there is a midway, animals, etc...way too much to see in one 95 degree day. Yes, it was hot. Very hot. Despite the heat, DD and Sugar did very, very well: 4 2nds, 1 3rd, 2 4th, 1 5th. They showed English, Western and Games, so were busy all day long.

I've been helping hubby on a job site. My job...stripping wallpaper. The interesting turn of events is that we used to own the house. Yes, I am stripping the wallpaper that I put up over 25 years ago. Let me tell you...always, always size the walls. It sure has made the job move right along. I must say that I did a pretty good job hanging it, too. Other than places where it had been much abused by the interim owner, it's still on the walls.

As far as future fiber biz is concerned, progress is slow. It's summer and many people that I need help from are on vacation and/or very busy. As much as I want to go faster, I'll just keep plugging along on the planning end and just keep on calling people until they answer!

I've gotten some very good feedback on the survey and I thank everyone who's participated. It's still active on Survey Monkey, so Click Here to take survey.

As summer is winding down, I'm sure some of you are thinking that school starts (or even has started in some areas) soon. So, how about an "Ivy League Cat"?

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Stash Management

We had been using a large (very large) carpenter's toolbox as a coffee table. To be honest, it was a little too big for the space. A fabulous piece of workmanship, but very large. It looks better at the end of our bed.

DH brought home another carpenter's tool box that was just the right size, so I claimed it as our new coffee table. It is gorgeous (now that he's worked his magic on it), made from maple and mahogany and is just right as far as scale.

Not only that, but the trays in it are just ideal for such things as needlework tools, needles and a whole bunch of yarn! The contents of one plastic bin (and I usually get the ones with the attached lids), just covers the bottom
of this chest. There is much more room available in this one for future expansion.

I had offered the inside of the other one to DD for off-season storage, but since she hasn't taken advantage of the offer, I believe I'll just fill that one up, too!

On a completely different note, DH and I were off gallivanting the other day and passed by one of those new windmills that there has been much controversy over. Mostly the "not-in-my-backyard" variety. I had always wanted to get close enough to one to hear just how much noise they really make. We could park directly under this one. There was a nice breeze yesterday so it was operating. Let me tell you this, you could barely hear a slight swish that most any other noise masked (like a passing car or even the sound of the breeze through nearby greenery). As far as birds flying into them, well, let's face it, birds fly into houses all the time (and they don't move) and I bet they fly into trees, cliffs and other natural obstacles, too. For that matter, so do people...ever notice how there is often a rash of incidents that involve people walking, bicycling and driving into buildings? Are these buildings leaping out in front of them? Am I missing something (besides buildings)?

Note: Amy asked where to find carpenter's tool boxes. Please send me your email address and I'll ask DH if he has any similar pieces. dseelyATfrontiernetDOTnet

Monday, July 13, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy

Summer is always a busy time for all of us, including me.  Besides the so-far-unsuccessful job hunt, I've been trying to catch up on various loose ends and UFO's around the homestead and even succeeded in some cases. 

Mom took me on a short bus trip over the 4th of July 
holiday to the Hudson River valley.  The highlight of the trip was the boat ride down the Hudson and mooring in the river to watch the Macy's fireworks.  There were just no better seats to be had...there was nothing between our boat and the fireworks but the Coast Guard.

Outside stuff is underway for the season.  Various projects are in process or in maintenance mode:
--Like weeding (it never ends, especially with all the rain we've had)
--Keeping the pool clean enough to use in between previously mentioned rain showers
--Getting some much neglected gardens beaten into submission (also in between the rain showers).  
--Being a horse show Mom...actually I'm more of a fence post, but it's nice to be needed.
Actually, the rain usually comes in deluges; we have l
iterally had a stream running through our back 40 quite often this summer.  Thanks to some raised beds that DH put in last year, the veggies are not drowning and are growing, well, like weeds!

The inside stuff list actually has some things completed:
--The floor in my sewing room/office has been tiled (to match the kitchen floor).
--Everything is pretty much back in the sewing room (no small feat there)
--I have boxes of stuff marked and ready to go to the flea market with a friend, or sell on craigslist or ebay (or maybe even having a garage sale? eek!)

Inside stuff that's partly done:
--DD's western show shirt (needs final fitting, collar, cuffs & bling)
--Business plan 

Business plan, you say?  Yes, even though the economy is pretty shaky, I'm looking (seriously) into starting up my own fiber processing mill.  I have an appointment this week with an advisor; it's amazing what help is out there for the asking.  I've got my plan to the "needs editing" point.  There's a good chance that we (need DH for advice) will be visiting some mills later this week to see different manufacturer's equipment in operation.  

If you'd like to participate in the planning, I've created a little survey that will help me determine my future customers' needs.  It's at Click Here to take survey (it's on Survey Monkey).  Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you out there who qualify!  

I took Mom some lilacs earlier today.  Lilacs are really big around here and the Lilac Festival is in full swing in the city.

I also made her up another tea cozy.  According to Tea Cozies, "A naked teapot will never do!"  This book is just full of patterns that will make you laugh out loud.  There's probably going to be more of them coming off the needles, they're just that fun to do up.

There has been some time spent with the spinning wheel(s), too.  I finished the latest batch of samples, washed and labeled them. Old dogs can be taught new tricks...labeling your skeins with what they are and when you spun them really does make life much easier when it comes time to actually use them in a project.  

Our spinning guild, Genesee Valley Handspinner's Guild, had a 2-part program the last few months:  making our own chair pads from The Shepherd's Rug.  I finally finished mine up tonight.  I was unable to be there for the how to braid workshop, so my braids were a bit on the small side after felting.  The plus side of that is that I had lots and lots of braid, so I made two chair pads, then sewed them together around the edge.  When I got done, it occurred to me that I had just made a high-end sit-upon.  Those of you who were girl scouts will remember making those.

Last night, I couldn't resist taking this picture.  As you can see, it was excitement plus around here; from the left are Bubba, Gypsy and Smokey.  Not pictured are the napping elsewhere Trouble and Sadie.

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Beginnings

Spring has finally sprung around here.  I sincerely hope that I will not see another snowflake until at least October!  It's supposed to be quite warm this weekend, up around 80F.  The day the leaves all come out on the trees is always amazing to me.  One day, trees are all bare branches and the next they're covered in fresh green leaves.  Maybe that will happen this weekend.

Yesterday, I visited a friend of mine.  Her guard llama kept an eye on me while I fed this little guy.  His name is Homer.  I'd never fed a lamb before.  He went right to it and very efficiently emptied his bottle.  Every time I think of his little tail wiggling at the speed of light, I have to smile.

Here are some of his pasture mates.  Linda's sheep are all Shetlands and she is a very good shepherd.  The wool from them is just a delight to spin!

The pillows that were started the other day are finished.   Cutting my first real project off my own loom was pretty cool.  They are a bit smaller than I thought they would be; I still need to work on my planning skills for weaving projects.  

There is an antique show this weekend, so I'm hoping that at least some of them will go home with someone else and some green will come home in my pocket!

Note:  Very slow at the antique show, but all of these attractive pillows are available on my brand new Etsy is on the left.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Finished Stuff

Hopefully, I'm getting past the deadly combination of "I have lots of time to do ______", "There's always tomorrow to get _____ done.", "I should probably do _____ instead."  Pick your phrase/excuse; they're all about the same.

Finishing items on the to-do list is rather rewarding, especially if there are few fun items on it.  DH, DD and I have gotten quite a few tasks done at my Mom's new (and old) home.  I've been helping DH with some of his jobs and getting a bit of a start on outside clean up on nice days.  

It's supposed to be rainy/chilly tomorrow, so I'll do the normal job hunt thing first, then I'll see about getting some seeds started.  It's a little late, but only by about a week.  

The weaving class ended last week (sigh).  The teacher, Joyce, was just wonderful.  The perfect combination of knowledge, encouragement and teaching skills.  My first project were some mug rugs.

Another project that had been hanging around for awhile was to do something with a friend's horse's mane. Yikes!  The stuff is not a pleasure to spin.  Even combed, it is coarse and it doesn't really want to be spun.   Bits stick out and are quite prickly.  I stuck with it long enough for a small skein of singles that I steamed to set the twist.  Then I used a Weavette loom to come up with a small square.  That and some stash fabric adds up to a small purse.  

There is a small antique show next weekend, so I thought I would see if some handwoven pillows would go over well.  I've got the loom all warped and part of one done.  All of the yarn is Kitchen Cotton out of stash.  Might as well use that to test the waters.  

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Belated Easter

I don't know what it is lately (and can't even blame it on the job upheaval).  I just can't seem to get around to posting regularly anymore.  There is a routine, of sorts, around here.  I spend the morning job hunting, applying and following up on any leads. 

 The rest of the day is spent at various activities that often include helping my DH out with his jobs, some sort of fibery stuff (carding, spinning, knitting, weaving, even a bit of sewing), outside stuff (if nice enough to be out...spring is dawdling, at least as far as warmer temperatures are concerned) and even, occasionally, a bit of housekeeping.  

My DD suggested that I should consider some self-employment of some kind and I find the idea really quite interesting.  I've been giving quite a few ideas some thought and there are some that are coming to the top.  I'm thinking that 2 or 3 of these would work out...simultaneously, too.  None of them would be a big enough "bang" to cover household expenses by itself, but added up, they might just work out.  Still mulling over the possibilities.

At any rate, Happy Belated Easter to all of you from the Easter Beaster!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One guppy got a lot bigger!

In many areas, things are working out pretty good.  Some are fun, some not so much. 

A bit ago, we had quite the thaw, followed by some pretty chilly nights.  This gave me the opportunity to take some pictures of ice stuck to the landscape at a level much higher than the current level of the water.  I don't know why, but I always think that's kind of neat.  The geese?  I suspect that they are local birds, or at least ones that don't go far from the area.  Earlier this week, I saw some really, really big flocks of geese heading north, so that's a pretty good sign of spring to come.

Not so much includes paying the bills, getting those medical appointments that you need done (and don't want to do) scheduled and gone to, filing income taxes, cleaning, etc.  

The really big guppy?  Well, I got let go from my job a few weeks ago.  Quite suddenly and unexpectedly.  Not sure which is worse, knowing beforehand that you're on the block or no warning at all.  I spend the mornings job hunting:  searching postings and following up on previous applications.  No responses as yet.  I may need to rethink the kinds of jobs that I am applying for and also get signed up with a few temp. agencies. 

Fun stuff includes learning to weave, stash diving for spinning fiber, and knitting.  My hubby found the loom last year and it came home with us.  I had a friend go over it and she let me know what I needed to start weaving and strongly suggested that I take a class.  I listened up and started the class a few weeks ago.  Hubby made me a few weaving tools and some shuttles, so I can practice at home, too.  

I've found that spending a fair amount of time with 
fiber is helping me cope.  I think that it has something to do with knowing that I can do something well and actually doing it, rather than beating myself up over things that I have no control over.   I figure it's way cheaper than therapy!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Nibbled by Guppies

My Mom has a saying that includes "getting nibbled to death by guppies".  That pretty much covers the last few months.  For some reason, I was absolutely exhausted for November & December.  I'm chalking it up to the "change" and am doing much better.  So much so that I've signed up for an aerobics class (free).  

Winter is always kind of a drag, and this one is an old-fashioned endurance event so far.  The weather folk tell us that it has snowed 28 of 31 days in January.  December was not any better.  Gypsy is sure that there is life under the snow and she is determined to find it!

As a reminder, do back up your computers regularly.  I was slapped upside the head with the main reason why we should do that a week ago...the hard drive died and nothing could be recovered.  The good news out of all that?  It was under warranty (extended) and I have a one-button back-up system now.  I was also happy to find that, since I am prone to not erasing cards until I have to, I have many of the pictures taken over the last few years.

Getting back to that totally tired thing the end of last  year...I totally forgot about getting my car inspected.  Let's just say that the very nice State Trooper let me know that he would give me a ticket for that.  Could've been worse as he really could have handed me a ticket for not being as close to the speed limit as I should have been.  I have an appointment on Thursday to get that oversight taken care of.  The ticket I can do online as soon as it's been uploaded.

Throughout it all, I have gotten back to spinning and knitting.  One project was to finish up a blanket for a friend in exchange for some fiber.  The cats, of course, just loved that project.  Thank goodness it was big enough to accommodate both Bubba and knitting on it at the same time.  The pattern was such that it was perfect for retraining my left hand to carry the yarn while purling.  I could knit continental style, but always had trouble purling.  I think I've got it now.  Since that was a big project, I'm concentrating on some smaller ones for now.

There have, of course, been many other little guppies, but no need to bore y'all with them.  They have been dealt with as they swam by and I'm pretty sure that I see the end of that school of fishies!