Friday, August 29, 2008

Riding the Pendulum

First off, thank you for all the kind comments about my Training Wheels post. The youngest kidling will be starting school this coming Wednesday and I'll let you know how we do. I have a feeling I'll be the one in need of kleenex and a big hug.

So, for the 2 of you who regularly check my shop (Hi Mom, Hi Cam!!!), you may have noticed a distinct lack of anything new for, lo, these many months. Part of that is due to life stuff (and to what Chris aptly calls my spinning addiction) but I think a lot of it was because I burned myself out.

I have ideas for new products all the time, but when I'd sit down to plan and prototype, I'd get caught up with the minutiae of long-term production - "How can I most efficiently cut this out multiple times?" or "How will I stream-line sewing?" - and my eyes would glaze over and I'd wander off to rustle up a snack. These are very important considerations and my business model has served me well, but I've decided to take a break from it and just create stuff for fun, even if I'm only making it once or twice.

So I'll be spending the month of September swinging my sewing pendulum over to the more creative side and see how many new items I can dream up. Actually, I've already started and finished this last night:

I'm even considering a little give-away to celebrate! So check back sometime after Labor Day for details. And I'll also try and do a few blog updates about my little experiment.

One last thing, I want to give a very very belated congratulations to my bag-making buddy, JPAT for being a Featured Seller on Etsy last month. You go, girl!! Check her out - her wares are lovely!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Little House in the Big...'Burbs

I've always been a huge fan of the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My mom read them to us everyday while we ate lunch. I remember wishing that we could eat roasted pig tail, have a pig bladder for a balloon and that my dad would find an old wooden stump to turn into a smoke house. I was also impressed that Laura's only plaything was a corn cob wrapped in a piece of flannel (I continue to be impressed with that whenever I look out at the vast array of toys and trinkets spread throughout our house). Laura and her family were the epitome of DIY before DIY was cool!

Anyways, I've been trying to muster up some of that pioneer spirit lately. First off, I bought a bread machine the local Goodwill. Now, I know that a true pioneer would make her own bread from scratch, but trust me, I am the worst bread-maker in the world. I couldn't even call myself a bread-maker as much as a rock-baker. So it's been a treat for us to have home-made bread on a regular basis. Chris has requested sour dough bread next. Does anyone have a good recipe for sour dough starter?

I've also been getting more into dying my own wool for spinning. I've dabbled with dying in the microwave but I wanted to work with larger amounts of wool, so I got a crock-pot at Goodwill to dedicate to dying. Here's the one I bought:

I LOVE this one because it reminds me of the one we had when I was growing up. Actually, I think this avocado green one may match the crock-pot that replaced the mustard yellow one that someone (who shall remain nameless) put over a hot burner instead of using the heating element, thereby creating one of the most hilarious and smelly plastic messes my childhood kitchen ever saw. But I digress. Here is some of the wool I've dyed in the crock-pot:

And I've been spinning it with my new spinning wheel!

I did not get my wheel at Goodwill. It's made by a small, local company called Fricke. It's a single treadle, scotch tension, 5 ratio bundle of fun. It is a less expensive wheel than most out there but it spins wonderfully and I'm tickled with its small foot print and minimalist look. It was a gift from my wonderful parents (and really, I can use a spinning wheel far more than I could use a smoke-house made from an old stump). Here's some of the crock-pot wool spun up:

The other evening I had some wool simmering in the crock-pot, some bread baking in the machine, and my spinning wheel humming along and I felt a little like a modern pioneer in the 'burbs.

ps I've been doing some sewing, too!

In addition to sewing for my shop, I've been working on a submission for One Yard Wonders!