Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mystery project parts

I'm having the hardest time finding what parts I need for my mystery project.

It's not just finding the parts (either at an affordable price or by selvage) but also adjusting the system to compensate for the parts I've found.

My brain is getting tired learning all this new stuff.

The plan was to run something that takes 550W for at least 20m. That way I can make coffee. Because I'm sure there is loss and stuff throughout the system, I rounded it up to 600W for 30m.

My rice maker takes less than half that for 45min, but I know that the maths are not that simple.

I would like it to create AC power so that it will be compatible with stuff already around the house and I don't have to buy some special DC kettle or stuff.

Problem is, I don't yet have a battery and I don't know where to get an inverter or a controller for the input, &c.

But maybe this will help.

It plugs into a car lighter and converts DC to AC. It's not strong enough for my coffee maker, but it will run most things and it has a plug on it that looks just like the ones you have in the wall.

Originally I thought to take it apart, and try and steal the relevant components from it, but I'm not sure I would know what they look like anyway. Now I'm thinking make the system modular. Get a plug like a car lighter plug and attach it to the battery so that this can plug in. Then later when I find better components, I can easily replace them without major rewiring.

Any thoughts on where I can get an affordable controller thingy - the one that controls all the input from my solar panels (wired in series perhaps?) and my generator and a possible third input. They are all fairly low level input. I just need this controller thingy and a battery, then I can put it all together and start playing..

Friday, March 30, 2012

Learning from the Etsy Success Symposium: Get Found

The people at etsy held a symposium today all about how to get noticed. The bits of it I did manage to catch were full of all sorts of information that I hope to apply to my shop over the next little while. I am however, a little sad that they couldn't have chosen a rainy day for it, as I had a lot of farm work to do this morning and I missed some of the best bits. Good news for me, and you if you are interested, they promise to have recordings of the videos here.

key points that I learned:

  • Take full advantage of key words and titles.
  • use social media efficiently. It takes time away from crafting, so maybe dedicating 2 hours a day to the 3 people that follow me on twitter is not the best idea. (oh, wow. It's actually 8 people now!)
  • Tell a story - both about yourself in your profile and about each item. Tell the story with both words, and if possible, photograph. See the Superhero section of the work book for ideas. (on the off chance that someone from etsy ever gets lost and accidentally stumbles over to my blog - I LOVE THE WORK BOOK! just sad it didn't agree with my kindle. maybe next year, add kindle supported pdf files?)
  • improve my photos - now, that's the big one!

I want to create a unified theme with my etsy shop and I haven't done that yet. So far I've just been putting items for sale as they come ready. It's time stop and retake my photos.

When I sell my yarn in the local shop, it's easy to express the quality. Yarn is such a tactile shopping experience. Sure, the visual appeal draws people to it, but in the end, most people want to pet the yarn before investing in it. With hand spun yarn this is extra important because the quality and intended use can vary so drastically.

How can I prove to the internet that my quality is better than average. I know that I can spin a good yarn (what pun?) but how to convey that in five photos or less? That's the issue. This is probably why I'm pricing so much lower than I would if selling in person. Let's call it an introductory discount and assume the prices will return to normal when I get my shop all nicely polished.

Take this yarn for example:

It's one of my top quality yarns. It's ultra fine lace weight, handspun yarn. It's spun very strong, very soft, and very consistent. I spun it up to be used as warp for a scarf or perhaps a shall. But how to show all that in a photograph that will make people click and learn more?

First attempt at taking photos was not very good:

In fact, the word dismal comes to mind. I wouldn't click on this, level on buy it. Why expect someone else to do better.

Here's my second attempt:

A few props to express quality. Pen cleverly pointed towards the yarn (a little trick that I remember from high school art class) to encourage the subconscious to pay closer attention.

One thing I've done is to choose a slightly textured cloth for the background. Personally I don't enjoy photos where it looks like the object is just floating in space. I find, for me, it's much more difficult for me to imagine what it would feel like to interact with the object in the flesh.

I don't know if this is going to work, but it's a start. Too many chores still to do on the farm today. Insomnia is in full swing, so I'll see what I can do when the sun goes down.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Crowing Hen Guide to Household Management Subscription

Here's an idea I've been playing with.

It says, The Crowing Hen Guide to Household Management, 6 Month Subscription.

It would be a once a month, overly opinionated and often informative, zine about various topics to do with household management, including the traditional kitchen garden.

Inspired by Mrs. Beeton, topics would range from methods of composting, to how to hand wash delicate fabrics, to what are the most important tools to keep in your kitchen, or whatever I feel like writing about that month. I even take requests, but don't make any promises that I will actually write about it.

Each zine will be unique, hand bound by me using at least some upcycled materials (aka, whatever I have on hand that I don't want to spend money on) like cut-up paper bag for a cover.

I have no doubt they will include my terrible line drawings, and/or other art, however, the main body of the zine will be text. The size of each zine will vary depending on how much opinion I have on the topic.

The biggest advantages to doing this would be to encourage me to write, not just more, but more carefully. And to spend a decent amount of time editing what I write. Maybe I will stop telling random people I meat at the post office how best to use a cast iron pan.

The disadvantage is that it will make me write more. I'll be tied to a schedule, albeit not a difficult one.

So what do you think? Go for it or step away from the typewriter and get a life already?

ps. this idea was inspired by the many, many, MANY, hours I've spent teaching cleaning ladies how to clean with natural products. I can promise that I would write about this in great length with recipes for making your own affordable, nature friendly, health imbibing household cleansers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How to grow plants... First of the Crowing Hen Guides to Household Management

It's finished!

I'm so pleased and it turned out far better than I expected.

I rather like writing zines. They are like an overly opinionated version of my blog, but longer and with drawings.

Usually, I try to limit my blog entries to 800 words. It's not easy, but 800 words tends to be sufficient to convey one compete idea. It's not enough for tutorials, and I quite like writing tutorials. A zine can have a great deal more words which gives me the freedom I need to go into more detail.

I also have a rather in-depth obsession with household management topics. Lately one of the provincial maid service providers asked me to write about cleaning with natural products. I didn't think they expected it to be so long.

When writing it, I realized (or possibly remembered) how easy it is to write about something I'm passionate about.

I see more zines in my future. In fact, I'm over half way finished the text for one about hand washing fabric, yarn and stuff. I didn't get much sleep last night.

For my first zine, Growing Plants from Scrap, I deliberately choose a subject that isn't too opinionated. I wanted to get my toes wet without stepping on anyone else's. I can't make that promise in the future.

Looking at all the other lovely zines online, I am reminded of Elizabeth Zimmerman and the knitting newsletter she use to produce. Elizabeth Zimmerman, that patron saint of knitting in the round, please guide my fingers as they fly across my keyboard and help me reach people in need of household management advice.

Monday, March 26, 2012

My First Zine, one of many.

For those who are interested, I'm trying twitter out for a few days. I'm not convinced it's adding anything of value to the vast cannon of junk that is the internet, but I do enjoy the Haiku style of writing that cramming a whole idea into 140 characters inspires.

My First booklet/zine/whatever - I'm not really sure what to call it - is almost complete.

I finally finished bashing my head against my printer and got it to listen to me. Then I cut up an old paper bag to use for a cover, typed on the bag some stuff, and bound the booklet/zine/whatever with some handspun yarn.

What would you call it? Each booklet is 16 pages of how to... and each booklet is unique in that I've bound them with whatever random handspun yarn I have on hand and used the typewriter to produce the cover (errors and all). It's sort-of household management instructional meets art project. But not as artsy as most zines I see for sale on etsy.

As soon as I can stop myself from taking photos of my new toy, I'll take some pictures and put the zine/booklet/whatever for sale on my etsy shop.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

twitter - do you care?

Do people in the world actually care about twitter?

Would anyone who reads this blog or any yarn friends who stumble across this want me to join twitter?

What makes twitter better than a blog?

Talk me into joining twitter or give me good reason not to.

The orange typewriter: How I fixed a carriage return that don't return

The German's call it Schreibmaschine, or so Google tells me. I call it orange.

I've been looking for a typewriter for months now with no luck. There are very few available around these parts and what is for sale is priced far beyond my range. But I knew, if I waited and continued looking, something would reveal itself. I just didn't expect it to be exactly like the one I dreamt about all those months ago right down to the swapped Y and Z.

The typewriter is made by Karstadt and speaks German. It even has a QWERTZ keyboard and loads of letters with dots over them. I'm going to take a stab in the dark (based on what I've seen of other orange typewriters) that it's from the early to mid 1980s. Maybe earlier. The plastics are a mix of bakerlight and that in-between plastic that is called something like acetate. I actually really like the feel of these plastics as most plastics (like the mouse on my computer) react with my skin slightly.

The reason why I could afford this typewriter is that it's broken. The carriage return did not return. So when you 'press enter' or go to start a new line, the paper just whooshes back to the end of the line of type and not to the beginning like it should be.

But what they heck. I can fix most sewing machines, surely a typewriter is something like an antique sewing machine.

So I did what I always do with mechanical devices, I very carefully and slowly took it apart - Taking photos of each stage so that I can put it back together again. I took it apart a little bit, then I poked things gently with a stick until I could see how it is suppose to work. I discovered that the problem was in just about the centre of the workings under the carriage return.

Lucky for me I could reach and didn't have to take it apart further. The spring is suppose to hold this little ratcheting catch against the central turning thing so that the paper place would move over one space with each letter typed.

Nothing appeared to be broken or bent, it just appeared to be too stiff for the spring. A little bit of light weight sewing machine oil and pressing the Space key a zillion times to work the oil in and presto! Problem solved.

All the other issues, like sticking keys, were easily solved with cleaning and oil. These two links walk through exactly what you need to do to clean a typewriter: Here and Here

So what did I want a typewriter so badly for anyway? Never you mind. You'll find out soon enough.

Friday, March 23, 2012

How to spin an etsy shop

I was beginning to think that I would never spin yarn again.

At the time, I didn't know what happened, just suddenly, I stopped wanting to spin yarn. I have two beautiful spinning wheels that a delight to use, huge bags full of lovely fibre, and all the skill I need to spin just about any kind of yarn (yeah, I'm not that modest when it comes to my spinning these days.). So why wasn't I spinning?

Every time I saw my wheels sitting neglected, I was awash with guilt for not using them. Like they were neglected friends patiently waiting in the corner for me to pay attention to them.

As much as I still love spinning, I had no motivation to transform fibre into yarn. Why not?

I think I know now why not.

Over the last year or so I have come to realize that my knitting days are finished. The pain in my hands when I pick up the pointy sticks is no longer something I can ignore. Arthritis stopped my knitting before I even got to 30 - insert other self pitting remarks here - so I don't knit any more.

After the usual bout of denial, I decided to revive my etsy shop and start selling off my stash. I started with the handspun yarns and fibres, hoping to move onto some of the commercial yarns littering my stash, later on.

And then it happened!

I found this big bag of extra soft corriedale while sorting through my stash, deciding what to sell. Instead of listing it, I sat down at my wheel and spun.


Well, I think it's because as fun as creating yarn is, it doesn't fulfil the soul unless it has a purpose beyond being just yarn.

When you think about it, yarn is in a suspended state of becoming something else. If it just sits there being yarn, then it's purpose is unfulfilled. Knowing that people are enjoying my yarn, makes me feel invigorated. It gave me the motivation I needed to do one of the things I love most in the world.

In the end, I'm really thankful to my mentor OB1 who taught me how to spin. Without spinning, I don't think I would have any yarn connections left, now that my hands have....more self pitting remarks about arthritis.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

zombies don't like onion skin yarn as much as they like cauliflower

You know what I think? Zombies on tv and in books are quite comical. However, when they are actually happening at you, zombies can be terrifying and strangely mesmerizing. I had the hardest time waking up from that dream this morning. I don't even remember the details except that someone was serving zombie meat on a cruise ship because they ran out of pork, thus turning all the cruise ship guests into pseudo-zombies. But thankfully I decided to go vegan just moments before dinner for no apparent reason.

I'm not even sure I know what a pseudo-zombie is, but it was just as scary as a real zombie.

That's dreams for you.

Some spinning:

This is spun from some wool I dyed with onion skins long, long ago. I knit some socks with the first batch of yarn, but had lots of roving left. So this week I spun it up just the same as before and presto. Now there is new yarn for sale in my shop.

The mystery project is at a bit of a stand still. I can't decided on what I want to power with my system so I don't know what battery to look for. I'm really tempted to put a standard 110V AC plug on it, but what kind of battery can provide that kind of power?

One other project that I'm working on right now has hit a snag. The snag is called open office. Did I have this much trouble telling MS Office to do what I wanted? I wrote some stuff, and now I want to print it as a booklet. You know, where you have an A4 paper and turn it on it's side and fold it in half, put a staple through it. That kind of booklet. It doesn't seem that hard...until you try and figure out the page order. I even tried using templates (that didn't work well at all!).

La Sigh. My office software and I are not speaking at the moment.

Monday, March 19, 2012

diagram for mystery project - fountain pen is not what makes it steam punk

The fountain pen is not what makes this project steam punk. It's just there because I have trouble writing with a ball point.

This is a diagram of what I originally thought my mystery project would look like.

Okay, no I don't mean it's going to 'look like' as a final finished project. There's a lot of aesthetic elements I want to add. By look like, I mean this is how my brain thinks of electrical stuff. My brain wants to think of Section 'A' being the 'power in' section this same brain wants to think about it as being almost completely isolated from section 'B', the 'power out' section. Now I'm beginning to wonder if these two halfs are really that disconnected.

I am beginning to understand that there needs to be lines to indicate how these items connect together and items that go in between what I've drawn here. I am learning, albeit far slower than I use to learn new things. I'm beginning to realize just how much damage my illness did to my brain. Oh well, I'll keep worrying away at it until the neurons start making good pathways and I can see things clearly.

Sharing this diagram with you does not diminish the mystery of my mystery (increasingly steampunk) project. Lots of people have made things like this, like that cool system of how to use your bike to charge a battery that can run electronics that Natalie linked to in yesterday's comments. It's the aesthetics and materials that I hope to use that will make this project steampunkish and unique. As there is no coal or steam involved, it's hard to know if it will fit squally into steampunk but then again, neither does putting a brass pipe and some cogs on a USB drive (not that I'm saying anything against putting brass pipes and cogs on a USB drive - quite the contrary, I would love one of those, but I have to sell some more yarn first).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Oh the many things you can do with onion skins and more mystery project

Start off with a photo of some yarn.

This is some mystery wool I dyed with onion skins (no mordant) a long time ago. I use to spin this on a spindle while waiting for the ferry to and from Seattle back when I needed to go to the States for medical treatment. I used it to knit some socks and they turned out lovely and warm. I had a whole bunch of dyed roving left over, so I thought why not spin the rest up on a wheel.

And back to the mystery project.

I took apart one of the small, broken solar lights we have. These are those little lights that you stick in the ground to light up the edge of a path, or in our case the pond. They have an AAA battery and turn on the light when it gets dark. I don't know if they will serve my purpose as I'm not sure what part of the system tells when it's dark or not.

Oh dear, I hope I'm not moving away from the world of electrics towards electronics.

I can more or less understand what's going on here. The pale green stripy thing is some sort of resistor. The solar panel produces 2 volts (thank you trusty meter thingy) and the battery needs 1.5 volts. My theory is that the pale green stripy thing is taking the 2 volts from the solar panel and reducing them to 1.5 volts so to make the battery happy. But I could be wrong.

The other side was difficult to photograph and show up the shiny paths. I am assuming the shiny patterns are where the electricity goes. (please remember they didn't cover this stuff in university level philosophy)

I can more or less trace the path and see how the switch completes the circle. What I don't understand is what does the big black dot do in the middle? I have solar panel and light and battery all feeding into the black dot. Is this the thing that tells the battery to charge during the day and the light to go on during the night?

Am I even close on any of these theories?

Any recommendations on a good book to read? I took some out of the library but they are not very informative. Most of them are kids books and say things like "get your parents to buy this Stirling engine and then look how neat it is" without actually telling us how these things work. Not really worth suffering through all that ink.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

more mystery project thoughts and ideas.

Mystery (increasingly steampunk) project update: Didn't do much yesterday except learn how to read the volts on my meter thing. Still not sure how to read amps yet, but then again I don't know much about what amps are anyway. I'll get there soon.

Also, gathered together the broken solar powered lights (little garden path lights and big motion sensor lights). Apparently these outside motion sensor lights they make are not very weather proof. Earwigs and moisture everywhere. So we brought them under cover to dry out before I take them apart. But I need to put down that thick rubber mat before I get started on that.

Today's goal for the mystery project is to go yard-saleing and see what I can glean for free or cheep. Still searching for some sort of battery that will do my bidding. Apparently I want a deep cycle battery. Still learning why.

I figure the solar panels come with this charge controller thing. This makes sure the battery does not get over charged. I'll have to find something like that for my human powered generator.

The more I work on this, the more it's turning into a functional art project rather than the purely practical origins it began with.

Still offering handspun yarn for person who can coach me through this.

Friday, March 16, 2012

New yarn and more mystery (and increasingly steampunkish) project

Yesterday was extremely rainy, so very little farming got done.

Instead, I spun a bit of yarn. This is creamy Corriedale I spun thick and thin, plyed with a very fine merino, 2ply yarn by Habu.

I'm really please with how it turned out. The muted orange contrasts the cream of the Corriedale beautifully. I'll put the yarn for sale in my shop just as soon as I can get some better photos of it.

In other news, the mystery project continues. I acquired this device that reads volts, amps and other electrical related things. Only thing is, I don't know how to read the dial.

Um... please help. I need to figure this out before I move on to the next step of my mystery project.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Can an old sewing machine motor be used to generate electrical power?

Further progress in my mystery (and increasingly steampunk) project:

What I learned today: I can easily produce at least 1.5 volts of DC current and a whole bunch of amps with an old sewing machine electric motor. It takes very little effort and can be sustained for hours.

But is it enough to charge a battery? Is it a lot of power or not much at all? Can I just attach my electric motor turned generator to a battery and hope it charges it or does there need to be something else involved? If I put two sewing machines motors in series and turned them at the same time and rate, would I produce twice as much power? Do batteries like amps or volts more?

These are things I need to know?

Still offering extra-special hand spun yarn and / or lovely spinning fibre for person who knows electrics and can help coach me through this project. Heck, I'd even through in a free vintage sewing machine if you could pay the shipping cost.

Parting with all those beautiful handspun yarns attempt two

So here is the blog entry I was just about finished when the power went out the other day. I've had to copy-paste from different sources that I tried to save it on in my mad scramble in the dark. So sorry about the font changes. At least we had gotten up early that day (been up since 1am) and already had our coffee.

And a reminder about the free give away with purchase for March 2012 and only for you lovely blog readers.

Very slowly going through my stash of handspun yarns and putting up for sale all those beautiful yarns I had spun over the years. I still have dreams of knitting my sock yarn, but the only time I've touched the pointy sticks in the last two years was to put my hair up in a bun.

So here's what I've been doing. First I choose the yarn from my stash and put it on my swift.

Then I wind the yarn from my swift onto my yarn blocker - examining it as I go to make sure it's strong and consistent. While I'm doing this, I count how many times it goes around so I can know the exact yardage.

At this point I'm also half dreaming. I'm thinking about what it was like to spin the yarn, and what I had hoped to use it for, or projects that I had used it for. Who would want this kind of yarn? What other things does it remind me of? All things that go into the most difficult part of selling yarn online: the description. How to make this yarn unique and stand out from all the other lovely hand spun yarns for sale on etsy.

Next I weigh the yarn and calculate out how to price it. All the fibres weigh different amounts and 100g of cashmere sock weight yarn will be about 1/3 the length of 100g of merino sock weight yarn (I know, I tried it). This is why I price by quality and length not by weight. Quality is how consistent I made the yarn (be it consistently fine and even or how consistent the slubs are in an art yarn). Is it strong and even enough to be used for warp by a novice weaver like myself? If so, then this counts as quality as well.

Length helps me know how much time I spent spinning this yarn. I'm usually multitasking while I spin, so I have trouble keeping track of an hourly rate.

All this information goes into the calculator and then I write it on a tag.

Still using cut up paper bags for tags - it's cheep & eco-friendly. It also goes with the values of my shop, to produce as little environmental impact as possible while creating as high a quality product as I can.

Then it's time to stage a photo. I can only do this on sunny days, and there aren't many of those this time of year.

I take about 10 photos and usually end up using three or four. Yarn is easier to photograph than say a humming bird, but it does take a lot of attention to get the detail and colour right.

I'm tempted to set up a photo station like most shops and to start using a photo editing program, but I am rather fond of the unusual backgrounds. They often tell a story - aka, what kind of mood I'm in when I took the photo - or maybe the wash board makes a nice contrast between the elegant novelty yarn...stuff like that. I've also been taking pictures of things in bowls but I'm not always happy with it.

If I crop this photo to rid the top and the left sides, then maybe it would be far more acceptable

Sorry guys, this alpaca fibre sold out only hours after I put it in my shop. I'll make some more up as soon as I can.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

seeking person with knowledge about electrical things

Seeking person to help me design a project and coax (coach - stupid spell check) me on how to build it.

It involves transforming motor into generator to power a battery. Also adding solar panels to power same battery. And putting a plug so the battery can power something - a lamp being the lowest user and possibly a kettle or toaster oven for the higher user.

Hoping to make this with as many reclaimed materials as possible, to cut down on cost and environmental impact - so I need to know where to salvage and when safety dictates I need a new one.

I have basic electrical knowledge (aka, I know there are electrons and magnets and to disconnect the power source before soldering or tinkering with other things. I can also follow a diagram and use those little cap things to attach wires together).

I just need someone to help with the design, to figure out what other parts I need and to coax (coach - I sear my spell check is getting stupider by the day) through any assembling troubles.

Will pay in fibre and/or yarn.

I've lost everyone's emails addresses this winter, so if you are someone I know, please either email me or give me your address again. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A day and a night and a day again.

I shouldn't really complain. Compared with the rest of the world, 2 days, 6 meals and 1 sleep without electrical power is no real hardship. Just think of what Japan went through this time last year.

But it was a bit difficult. I don't mind the lack of light, and I can even get by without the internet (if I try really hard!) or other sources of information (our phone is still out by the way). I can even deal without my daily coffee, but it's not very nice for everyone else if I have to go without.

The real trouble is meals. No running water and no way to cook. We don't have much 'food' in the house, as we tend to buy 'ingredients' and then cook each meal when it's time to eat. Allergies make eating out impossible and living with a diabetic grandfather who can't take care of his bloodsugars when he's even slightly stressed means we almost ended up in the ER, twice!

And then there was the BBQ in the snow squall to try and get at least one hot meal on the table.

That's over with now - except for the lack of phone and the water pump isn't working yet for some reason.

Worse things happen at sea.

You would much rather hear about how I got my yarn mojo back!

Or, should I say, you would much rather see...

Look at that! Yes, it is as soft as it looks.

6 small skeins in total. The thick-thin ply is merino-soft wool and the very thin single I spun from a silk-bamboo roving that Ryan dyed. It's really quite stunning in person. The wool is an almost white, slightly cream and the bamboo has a long random colour change of cream, blues, greys, purples, and whatnots.

Speaking about soft:

I got tired of spinning only the same kind of yarn, so I got some suri and started sampling.

This is about 85% suri, about 5% Tussha silk and about 10% black (carbonized) bamboo.

I spun some up as a tight single. This came out very strong and I'd be happy to use it as warp, but a bit tightly spun for next to the skin. Then I spun up a two ply fingering weight and this is my favourite. I would be happy having this as a scarf or gloves - but maybe not a hat as it really retains the heat.

I'm surprised how fine the suri fibres are. They don't look it at first, but once you start working with them, it's just like silk. Fine, catches the static and sticks to everything. However it spins up just like silk - like a dream!

No power = me board = me spinning = more yarn.

Since the powers back on and I have two days worth of catching up to do, I think I'll just put the fibre I carded up for sale at my etsy shop. If they don't sell, I'll just spin them up into yarn.

Here is Major Brown. He's the beautiful suri alpaca who donated the fibre to make that pretty brown yarn. He is such a nice fellow.

No power = no internet

There is no power at our house thanks to the big wind storm yesterday. Also, our phone is only sometimes working right now. We are well into the second day in the dark, so I snuck down to the library for the free internet. Thank goodness for libraries.

Anyway, if you are trying to contact us, we might be out of reach for the next day or two or three...or however long it takes BC Hydro to restore power to our house. I wish there was some way to hurry it up as my 93 year old, ailing, grandfather is not doing so well with all the stress and us not being able to cook his regular meals.

be back online soon. I hope. Please!

Friday, March 09, 2012

A llama I call Tom

Well, I haven't seen the northern lights yet. The moon has been just too bright this week. But I'll keep trying.

I would like to introduce you to the llama I call Tom.

Isn't he splendid?

He adopted our flock this winter. He just sort of wondered in from a neighbour's farm and decided he liked us. He's an expert mooch and has taught our heard how to glean food off all the soft hearted neighbours. Now our boys are getting really fat!

They get their breakfast from us at sunrise, then wonder over to the neighbours at the back who feed their goats mid morning and give treats to our llama and alpacas. Then around lunch time the are given apples and carrots from another neighbour, and late afternoon the other side gives them horse treats. At sunset they come home to us and we usually give them some kale or extra hay, depending on what the weather has been like.

Our boys sure have learned a lot from Tom!

I have no idea the last time Tom has been shorn. But what I can tell, his fibre is pretty long. I think it's time for him to get a hair cut. So this spring when the llama lady arrives, she will have one more pretty boy to shear. I wonder what it's going to be like to spin.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Full Moon, northern light and solar flare

I hear that tonight we can see the Northern Lights. It's suppose to be very strong due to a solar flare or something. I really, really, really hope I can see the light! Thank goodness I've been insomniac the last few weeks.

This solar activity is also suppose to interfere with electrical grids, communication, and other stuff that symbolizes modern life. So I might not be online any more than necessary until Saturday. But I'll spend my daylight hours working on the farm and the rest of the time working on goodies for my etsy shop.

Speaking of shop, don't forget the special incentive I have for you readers.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Banner done!

Well everyone, I now have a totally awesome shop banner!

In the words of my generation: I like, totally love it. (although blogger has made it look smaller than it should)

It's all thanks to Jennie. So if you get a chance, hop on over to her shop and see the stunning bags she has for sale.

And a reminder about my March Special Prize for you readers.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Seeking person with mad skills

Anyone able to make a picture for me? I made a start already.

(oh, and don't forget about the free prize with purchase)

I use to be a totally awesome computer nerd! Don't let the yarn and treadle sewing machines fool you, I was totally into digital. But that was back in the day, when the world was younger and DOS was totally awesome. Then there was QBasic, then VBasic, then plus, plus, plus language, and then HTML. But the thing that really lost me was Java. It was horrible when it first came out. But that is a story for another day.

Over time, I lost my mad computer skills. Sure I can blog, and download photos from my camra, but to be honest, I can't do much else. I don't even know which of these programs to use to edit a picture.

And I really need to edit a picture.

My etsy shop needs a new banner. It needs to be 760 x 100 pixels.
This is what I would like it to look like:

Only, I wish it could look more professional. Anyone out there smart enough to help me out?

Oh, and here are some photos of the local geese is you need reminding of what they look like. It doesn't have to be a Canadian goose, I just don't know how to draw any other kind.

Secret prize code: for your eyes only

I'm really enjoying getting my etsy shop up and running (even if no one comes to visit me - pouts).

Coming to the realization that I have way more yarn related items than I could possibly use in my lifetime, has actually given me a new lease on yarn. I'm going through some of my best fibre and hand spun and putting it up for sale. Re wind the yarn, double checking I have the correct length. Washing fibre. Making labels. All this fills me with new motivation to get spinning again!

So I'm both encouraged and sad to put my hard work up for sale. (between you and me, I think I'll cry if someone ever buys this ultra fine lace weight Sheltand 2 ply yarn. But I'll get over it - I know how to make more!)

And now for the secrete sale code I promised you about.

If you make a purchase from my etsy shop in this month (March 2012) and include in the comment field one of the magic words below, I will include one either:

IWANTYARN032012 -One random oz of hand spun yarn, natural colours - may be all the same yarn, or a variety.


IWANTSURIFIBRE032012 - one oz of Suri alpaca fibre (as seen here) from my beautiful fibre boy Major Brown

This prize is only for you special blog readers (and anyone you tell end up telling about it). Only one per purchase. Expires the end of this month. Must enter code at checkout.

At the very least, I hope some of you pop by and see what I've put up for sale. Any questions, please let me know.

And now I'm off wash and pick some more suri fibre! I might even get the combs out!