Sunday, November 22, 2009

Branching Out

We have decided to branch out into the business world. A new store just opened last week in a nearby small town. It is renting space to vendors and my daughter and I decided to each take two feet. I already had a slat rack for craft shows but of course the shelves that I had for it weren't 4' long, and not enough of them, so I went to the lumber store and bought a sheet of 1/2inch plywood which they were nice enough to cut into the suitable widths for me.

My next stop was to pick up some felt yardage to cover the shelves (protection for the glass and the yarn from shelves that I didn't have time to properly sand and finish)
Today was moving in day for us. It was so much fun to get everything labeled with our identifying number and price and decide where each item would be placed to look it's best. We still have some tweaking to do, adding a little more yarn and soy candles, some signs and contact information.
We are happy to be a part of a new venture. If you are driving down M-32 in Northern Michigan and see a sign for Homespun Harvests,Elmira, stop in and shop or just browse. I have a feeling there will always be something new to discover.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Etsy Treasury

I was just notified that one of my yarns is featured in a treasury made by . I was pleasantly surprised to see how nicely the shades of my yarn fit in with the beautiful jewelry and other art in her collection of Citrine.
Take a look

Friday, October 9, 2009

Rainbow yarn

I spun these skeins of yarn from six hand-dyed colors combined(plyed) to form one continuous skein ranging from red to purple without any repeats. The two skeins average 300yds each of wool and mohair and are soon to be listed on etsy (waiting for them to dry from setting the twist ) It was one of those projects to see if I could do it (no knots and distinct colors) I think it worked and am tempted to keep one for a project:)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Harvest

Just before the frost/freeze that we had last week I was able to harvest the few remaining things in the garden, a five gallon bucket of tomatoes is now nesting cozily in boxes of newspaper waiting to finish ripening. Pictured below are some of the grape tomatoes, a squash, and my mystery growth.
This second picture is a closer view of the unknown object that I rescued from my compost barrel. I'd been watching this unknown vine grow during the summer, my first guess at it's identity was squash but then it blossomed-a small, delicate yellow bloom- so then I thought cucumber, and again waited to see the result.
As I was stripping the main garden I decided to take a last look and noticed several orbs smaller than an egg, definitely not a cucumber, then tucked away under the abundant leaves I spotted this and picked it. Gourd? maybe but don't remember throwing any in there (yes it wasn't the best made pile or it would have heated enough to kill any seeds) an immature squash that I don't recognize? Any ideas anyone? In the meantime I'm resisting the urge to dissect and letting it dry or ripen?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Etsy Voter

I've been busy this summer with craft shows and gardening, lots of corn ready to harvest right now, but I'm excited and had to share! I just received notice that one of my yarns was chosen to be one of 40 listed on Esty's Voter for this week. As I understand some of the most popular ones will then earn a place in one of the gift guides. If anyone wants to check it out go to
With so many beautiful choices, I understand if you don't vote for mine. If you do, I thank you.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Craft Show Tent

I've had my old pipe,elbow, and tarp tent for many years, and it serves well when I have help and set it up as a 10'x20' but for one person trying to use a 10'x10' space it sets up as 10'x7' and still takes up a lot of room in the van.

This week I treated my business and myself to a new easy-up tent. It's white! It has sides that actually fit and zip closed at night! It's an exact 10'x10'! It's heavy but takes up less room in the van!...Yes I need to make a set of weights for the places I can't stake, but I am very happy with it so far as I head into my season of weekly shows. (To know where I'm at check my store weekly

The new tent pictures ended up first, but you really wanted to see them first anyway:) You can see how much more I can display (and I still have 3 totes of yarn that I couldn't fit out so need to do a little more display tweaking) Each show is set up a little differently anyways because of traffic flow and sun (candles and soap need to be shaded) so it's always a work in progress.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Gathering from Nature

This is the best time of year to begin gathering nature's bounty. We have been busy digging wild leeks, also known as wild onions or ramps. They seem to grow best in open hardwoods and have reached their peak when the trilliums are in bloom and just before they send up their own blossom spike. We have had enough rain this spring that they are a nice size this year (sometimes they are about half as big) but you can see from the picture below that in the onion world they are not huge.

Flavor wise they seem to me a cross between an onion and garlic. They can be eaten raw or cooked, I've even sauteed the whole thing(bulb with leaves attached) but that can have the same effect as beans on some systems!
My favorite way to use them is remove the outer layer of dirt and root, then slice and dehydrate. They make the cutest little "onion O's" and store well in a plastic bag for a year or two (if they last that long) I use them in soups, stews, sloppy joes, omelets, as whole rings or crushed in my fingers. My daughter already has her request in for her share.
Enjoy the woods, but please remember to harvest responsibly. Leeks have roots but are also attached to (I think) a rhizome which connects groups of them and helps them spread. To not disrupt their system, I use a garden fork to loosen the clump, then hand pull several of the bulbs, leaving a few to nourish the mother root, firming the loosened dirt back in place with my foot. As I write this, I'm thinking I really make work out of the process, but I've been picking this way for years and not disturbing the other wild flowers around them.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring is Finally Here

We had a nice week's vacation, driving to up-state New York last month. I've been lazy about writing here- too much e-mail and house duties to catch up on. We had a booth at the National Trout Festival in Kalkaska back in April, it seems hard to believe May is almost half over, am I in a time warp?

Happy Mother's Day everyone! (Even if you aren't one, chances are if you are reading this you did have one!)

This week I'm trying to get more yarn labelled to pack for the craft show. This Friday and Saturday we will be at Yoder's Quilt Auction near Clare. If you are in the area, please stop by and introduce yourself. I'll be the one in the bright polka-dotted hat with a spinning wheel:) I plan to take lots of pictures and actually post some. Need to spend some time listing on my Esty and Artfire shops too, but when the weather warms the woods and garden call louder.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Scraps Update

Voting is now open for the contest and even if you aren't a member of Ravelry you can see all the entries on Painted moth's blog (where the voting is being held)
Thanks for looking and supporting my effort as well as all the others.
After I have a chance to show it to my spinning guild and family, the skein will probably be listed in my etsy shop.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spin Your Scraps - Project

My little pile of scraps included snips of handspun, white bamboo mill ends, and little slubs and mats that seemed too short to spin.


Since the above weighed less than an ounce, I added about 2 ounces from a grab bag of roving ends I had purchased from Hanks in the hood.

below and------>

In a way it was like making cocoons, since I was including some very short slubs of about 1/4 inch, as well as some clips of handspun yarn. I had decided not to card the fibers first, since I wanted a more textured yarn.

I used my louet s-10 to spin, plied it with a Trilobal Polyester thread and wound it onto my niddy-noddy to measure the skein.

Depending on the lighting the actual yarn is just a little brighter than the darker colors.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Busy Days = Blog Neglect

I've been feeling bad about neglecting my blog, but it was the only way to fit in everything else I've been trying to accomplish.
Last week end was the first craft show of this years season, luckily inside, but I still had new yarn to label/price, tables and other display shelves to fit into my car, along with sleeping bags and of course my big leprachaun hat- it was an Irish Festival! We camped at my daughter's place for the weekend and she had a booth next to mine for the show. Sales were up from a year ago and we're looking forward to next week's show.
Located in the school hallway, instead of the gym, we had 2- 6x18 spaces, could have used at least one more 5 foot table and I will be building more riser shelves for the rest of the tealights and tarts that got lost on the table.
Will add another post soon to show you more of my projects.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I'm a Fiber-holic

I'm a fiber-holic and a business-woman so when TheClayMuse tagged me, I had to delay my response for a little. I'm glad that Christina tagged me for a little blogosphere fun! This is the first one I'm participating in so hope I'm doing it right.

The rules of this one are as such: go to your picture file and blog about the 4th picture in there, then tag 4 other bloggers to do the same.

Since all of my pics on this computer are in folders also, I went to the fourth folder and choose the sixth picture (the fourth was uninteresting except to family) It was fun to look through my pictures from 2006 and great to see the green of summer-too much white out there right now.

This was taken on our deck on a sunny July day, this friendly Monarch butterfly came to visit, resting on my finger long enough for my husband to grab the camera. It stayed long enough that my arm was getting tired.

This next picture I couldn't resist sharing. It is a dream catcher that has a motto which is the basis of our expanding business as we approach retirement age. (No retirement-just a lot of creating)

And now to keep the album sharing going I tag;





Hope you will all have time to respond, you know you were planning to blog anyway.

Time to do a little more spinning as I watch the end of Jesse Stone- yes I'm a Tom Selleck fan:)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Project Updates

Finally changed my camera batteries so I can show my finished(almost) projects. Remember the blue and natural color roving from a previous post? Here are the 5 skeins of yarn that I spun from that pound of roving. Sill have to wind the last one from the spool onto my niddy-noddy before I know the total yardage. I'm estimating close to 700 yards. Next I need to soak them in warm water and hang to dry to set the twist, then I can take more pictures and list one on my Etsy shop, labeling and packing the rest in my craft show totes.

This little pile of "stuff" is only a little of the vegetable matter that I pulled out as I spun. Not all roving is created equal in ease of spinning but the softness and color was worth the extra work.

These are a part of the shelving that I was shellacking. You can see in the picture above what a nice color change this finish gives to the wood. With a craft show in two weeks they aren't getting a second coat until later in the season, but I finished the six shelf unit and both two shelf units so I am happy with that.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spin your scraps

Spin your scraps( is a contest starting as a group on Raverly. It sounds like a lot of fun. Now all I have to do is decide what bits to add to my saved fluff to create a one of a kind art yarn. Check it out.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Busy Season?

This time of year may not be considered a busy season by many, as on-line sales have seemed to have slowed, but to me it is a busy time of preparation for things to come.
Today I've been spinning on the roving pictured in the previous post and have almost completed the second spool, which means tomorrow I can ply it. I also took time to start varnishing some of my display shelves that I will be using at next month's craft shows.
Prepping displays, finishing more projects, adding some new ideas to my inventory, making sure everything is labeled and priced, printing new business cards (need to add this blog site to the old format), as well as researching and booking more shows for this summer and fall, and adding more items to my etsy store. First two shows are booked for March and by April I should be starting my garden too. I should also be taking more pictures for here, less reading for you and less writing for me.
Can we add an extra day to the week? Couldn't take any more hours in a day:)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spinning Guild

About a year or so ago I was introduced to a group of ladies, most of them spinners. It was an experience to see all the different kinds of wheels, all whirling softly, twisting a variety of fibers into beautiful unique yarns as everyone chatted.

Today was another of our monthly meetings, now held in a snowmobile club house, since the number of members continues to grow. We share the results of our projects, knitting, felting, weaving etc. It's inspiring to see what everyone is working on. For this years group project we traded one ounce bundles of roving to combine and spin,weave,knit,felt or whatever into maybe vests? I haven't started spinning my 16 ounces yet since I'm still playing with the color and texture combinations in my mind, and searching for just the right pattern to knit and may add more of my stash to it.

So today I started spinning on this pound of lovely softness that I purchased from one of many vendors at the last Northern Michigan Lamb&Wool Festival.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Multiple Projects, How Many Do You Have?

It seems that at any given time I always have many things planned, started, going good, or waiting (im)patiently to be finished. I'm beginning to think this is a common trait of crafters, do you agree?

So far on this project, I dyed some roving a dark emerald green with a few lighter spots, and a second batch a chartruese green. From that I spun one skein from the dark, two skeins with one ply dark and one light and then some all light. While this is drying to set the twist, I am spinning the rest of the roving that you see in the pictures, I plan to knit a couple of hats, in a huge pattern, and then full or shrink them down to wearable size. I also have an earflap hat almost knitted, a nuno felted scarf to add finishing touches to and a couple of felt purses that are awaiting handles and closures.
Tell me about your works in progress.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Customer Service - Communication is Key

In a Brick an mortar or craft show setting acknowledge that potential customer with a smile and hello. Offer assistance and choices but also breathing room for decisions to be made.
If you say you will call back, DO IT. or lose customers! Case in point:
A friend of mine is looking for a car. She drove over a hundred miles to an advertised dealership, was pre-approved for financing but didn't find exactly what she needs. She was told they would see what came in this week, check their other two lots and call her. No phone call. She checked on line, found one she was interested in, called them back, left a message, and still no phone call! Today (after a week of waiting) she found another dealership in the same town, was able to chat on-line with a rep and then call to continue with the same person. They are arranging credit and looking for her match of vehicle - have three in mind at the moment and knowing her past experience -will call back or she moves on!

Communication is also key with on-line enterprises. All questions should be answered in a timely manner, if immediate response is not feasible, then at least daily. Notice should be given if this is impossible (you're away from your computer for more than a day-craft show) . If a longer service interruption happens (your computer breaks or you are on vacation) be sure to post a notice from a public computer or have a trusted friend able to respond for you. Acknowledge the receipt of an order and communicate shipping date and estimated arrival time.
Great customer service can equal happy return customers. Only one of the steps in building a successful business.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Craft show displays

As I have hopes that spring is not too far away, and have started signing up for summer craft shows, it is the time of year to add to my display collection. I have most of it safely stored for the winter but made a find at a Good Will store today. It's original purpose was a wine rack but I can envision it perched on my table or even the top shelf of my lower shelves.
See what a little added color does
for it and it will hold a lot more. And
it folds small enough for transport in
my over-stuffed van.
(The yarns are some of the new
colors I have been dying and will
soon be listing on
Etsy-the rest packed for
the shows)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Full Moon

Looking out our back door just before full dark at a beautiful sky.

This is a second view using a close-up setting, still not as beautiful as real life. Everyone should take time to howl at the moon.
Yes I did finish my knitting, I'm waiting for the hat to dry from it's blocking bath and then a final picture.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

test knitting

In the Fiber Friday thread of the forums put out a request for testers of a new knitting pattern she has developed. I decided to volunteer and she e-mailed me her pattern. So far I like the straightforwardness of it and the gauge is working with my hand spun yarn. I will give her my report when I finish and send a picture, then I will post a picture here. Back to my new fun project.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Addicted Technically

When my computer was down for almost a week, I really realized how dependent I am to the technical addiction of being on line.
I can easily sit with my spinning wheel, in the woods ,in my craft tent for a weekend, camping out and enjoying food cooked over the camp fire. Why, then, did I find myself freaking out when my computer started making funny noises? I have an on-line shop! I have forums that I regularly post to or at least read! I get the occasional e-mail which I like to answer promptly! Yes all this was still happening but I was unable to access it!
My first call was to my daughter, who as my technical support person listened to the noises through the telephone, asked some questions and gave advice. She also agreed to monitor my shop for me, relaying any sale information and answering convos. Whew! one responsibility off my shoulders- not checking my shop was like not showing up for work without calling in!
Luckily her diagnosis was correct, and having the power supply box replaced was done locally.
Now I am happily back to my spinning wheel, having the ability again to check on the on-line world when the urge strikes! Tell me this is not an addiction??

Sunday, February 1, 2009


This is my first post in the world of blogging. Hopefully I will be able to keep it interesting enough for you to come back. I have participated in craft shows for more than 15 years but have only had an online shop for less than a year. (Craft show hints will be in a future post.)

This will also be a place to share pictures of things that have caught my eye. Below is one of the trees that donated some pine cones this fall. Those on the top remain for the wildlife for the winter.

The first picture is of a toadstool that I raked form under the tree. Does anyone happen to know it's name? I just called it pretty.