All In A Day's Work

I was busy on Saturday. I dyed a lot of roving - I had a count, but I've lost it and don't feel up to counting them again. You can see some of the fruits of my labor above.

I was also busy today, but don't have a product to show for it. I went out to mom's place to help her do some things around there and to visit with her. We walked around her house for a bit and I got a TON of pictures of spring's beauty. I love this time of you - you can see them here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ehwin/

I have to admit, I've lost my ability to photograph jewelry. I'm not sure what happened. I used to do a great job with almost every shot coming out how I wanted it. Then I moved. I've struggled with good jewelry photos since last summer so I can only attribute it to moving. I just haven't found that special spot to use as a back drop where the lighting is perfect. I keep looking but in the meantime, my poor jewelry gets ignored. I've got stuff to post, I make new things almost every other day, but only a few things come out good in photos. *sigh* I'm sure I'll get my photo mojo back... someday.

If you're wondering why I'm not posting about an herb garden update, it is because it snowed all day yesterday. Yes, snowed. Snowed yesterday and nice a sunny today. Ahhhh - gotta love this time of year. Hopefully I'll have herb garden news to post next weekend - so stay tuned.


Discussing Business Cards

Okay peeps - business cards have been tricky for me since I first made some on my computer over a year and a half ago. I've struggled with finding what it is that represents me and my shops. My first cards were easy. I picked my favorite font on my computer (Sybil Green - still love it), went with a nice black and teal color scape and added the basics: Shop name, my name, web address, email address, and phone number.

I was so proud of them but man, they were homemade as it got. They had rough edges because they were the tear apart kind, they curled when humidity was present, the ink would bleed if they got wet (you have to be prepared for all kinds of weather when doing outdoor shows) and eventually, I thought they looked amateur. They were... there was no getting around that. However, they did start me on a path of trying to keep some things consistent when marketing my shop. I kept the teal color that I had featured on those cards to use on my gift bags I took to shows, ink pads for Idyllhands stamps, etc. I even used the font for my Idyll Hands rubber stamp - had I branded myself? :)

My next batch of cards came from Moo - I got some of the mini cards. I was very pleased with these. The pictures were good, the card stock was strong, and they were a bit smaller than the rest of the cards out there and this made them unique. One problem - they are pricey. I still use Moo mini cards for tags and such on my jewelry for shows and also on my yarn, but I don't hand them out like I used to - I just can't afford it. I also tried a large amount of cards from Zazzle in the style of Moo mini cards, but regular size. They had pictures on the front and info and a small picture on the back. I couldn't do 100 different pictures like I can with Moo, but no matter, these looked good. However, they are also a bit pricey.

I've been lucky enough to have enough of the batch from Zazzle to carry me through until now. I'm running out and honestly, want something that looks different and is very eye catching. I also want something that will double as tags when needed for yarn and jewelry. I've decided to try to design my own cards in Photoshop this time. No more relying on templates from Zazzle, time to get serious (or as serious as I can be). I've come up with some designs for Woolyhands (one is posted above). They are simple, colorful, and will look great either as a card or as a tag. I'll put minimal information about where they can buy things and how they can email me but that is it. The extra room on the cards will allow me to write prices, info about the product, etc in the case that they are tags.

What are some of your ideas for the perfect business card? Have you seen some you loved? Have any made for you that suit you perfectly? Also, what do you thin is important to have on a business card? Do you try to match your cards to the "look" of your shop? Share - I'd love to hear your ideas on this topic.


A Few of my Favorite Things

Not a single day goes by that I am not floored with the talent I find within the internet walls of Etsy. There are amazing artists and crafters all over the place. Some have made me beautiful items, some of helped me when I've had questions about new hobbies, but all have just been wonderful.

I love finding things on Etsy to add to my favorites list. I try to keep it clean (i.e. - remove the "sold" items and replace them) when I can so it can be a great up to date "wish" list for me. I even have some family members who use it - love that! I always keep an Etsy mini with my favorite items down at the right of this blog, but I thought I'd feature them in high style here, in a post:

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Enjoy (ps - it's okay to send me something, if you'd like, I don't mind).


Gardeners Bench? Check.

I think I might have promised you a blog post about why I wasn't overly thrilled with my day (and evening) spent in San Antonio, but I've lost interest. It's touristy, crowded, and costs a lot to park. That's basically it. I'd rather talk about gardening tonight.

I spent the bulk of this afternoon organizing my gardening area. At my last house I had a great shed (i.e. - weather proof) with a gardeners/potters bench and TONS of shelving. I don't think I realized how great I had it until I left the shed for the current house. Don't get me wrong, the house we're in now is about 59 times more fabulous than the last, but it doesn't have the shed. It does, however, have 2 saw horses just sitting in the basement, unused, lonely, and sad. So, I pulled them out into the sun light and put a couple of scrap particle board on them and viola - a table to use for my gardening prep area.

After pulling all kinds of odds and ends out from under the sun porch and doing a bit of sweeping/raking, I had a little gardening room. I organized my supplies, washed the tools, washed ALL of the pots (I have a lot of them), and put everything back all nicely and in their proper places. I still had room to store the stacks of patio chairs to keep them out of the weather until we need them. I didn't do any "actual" gardening, but now that I'm all set up otherwise, planting my herb garden after work this week will be a piece of cake.

Speaking of gardening this week, I also need to get some dyeing done... wait... I WANT to get some dyeing done. I've got some color combos I want to try out and have some new wool just screaming for some color. I've also got some spinning I need to do - whew, busy but looking forward to all of it.

I hope everyone had a wonderful first weekend of spring - I'll leave you with a brand new bracelet found in my shop here in honor of spring finally being here.


A Grand Return

I have returned from my trip to Texas. 98% of it was fabulous and 2% was not, I'll blog about the not part (San Antonio) later this weekend. For now, only good things. It was fabulous to see a few of my best friends. I wish I could have seen more friends, but it was a vacation for the sweet boy and I and seeing a handful of people was busy as it were, I'll have to see the rest of you next time.

A few perks from the trip:
Toy Joy = fabulous
Kerbey Lane = fabulous
Magnolia Cafe = fabulous
Alamo Drafthouse for Slumdog Millionaire = fabulous
Walking around the UT campus = fabulous
Seeing Stephanie, Barbara and Sara = fabulous

I could go on... but I won't. I'm never quite good at blogging about trips.
While not great at blogging about trips, I am good about gushing about fabulous yarn spun from my roving. Honestly guys, I was floored when I saw what Cloudlover did with my Royalty roving. It's lovely, it's beautiful, it makes my little woolly heart sing with joy. I was so excited when she sent some pictures over. I've been a HUGE fan of her roving and yarns for quite some time now, so I'm completely humbled that she bought my roving and spun it up.


Greetings from Austin

This will be my last post for the next week or so. Tomorrow, the Sweet Boy and I are headed south to Austin, TX. It's been well over a year since my last visit and my heart is lonely for it. I did so much growing up there, learned so much about myself, and fell in love with music all over again while I called Austin home. Although I may never live there again and only get to visit on occasion, I will always call Austin home.

You might wonder why I don't call the town I "aged" the most in home. Well, Euless was the place I lived the longest, 8 years, but I don't have great memories from there anymore. My best friend is still in that area and I love her to death, but two very important people from my life there have since passed away, 2 friends I'll never get back. It's hard to call a place that holds that memory home.

So far, Austin doesn't hold sad memories for me so, home it is :)

While there I plan to eat some delicious food (that is what you do when you go to Austin), sight see, visit friends, see new houses that friends have bought (me... jealous???), and just hang out. Oh, and I'm taking down my ice chest so I can stock up on delicious goodies from Whole Foods.

Ah, Austin, I cannot wait.


Say "hello" to my little friends

It's official, I have fallen in love with dying wool. Each time I've done it, I've learned another thing or two about mixing colors and I can't wait to dye some more next week. The last batch I did had more muted tones (still bright but not as neon). I added some browns and such to the colors and I love how they turned out. The ones pictured here are Desert Sunrise and Dusty Rose. Both are available in the shop.

I've been a bit busy this week getting ready to head out of town this weekend and haven't had too much time to work on stuff for either of my shops. I did make some jewelry for a birthday gift and finish up some yarn, but I've been doing laundry, shopping (every good vacation deserves a new pair of pants or shirt or something), and organizing my toiletries because they were here and there and all in a mess. Now I just have to pack tomorrow night and we're headed out of here early afternoon on Friday. Whew - I'm tired already :)

Aside from getting ready for this trip, I've been enjoying the crazy weather we're having. It was warm enough for flip flops and capris the other day (but I refuse to wear either of those in public until at least the end of April) and tomorrow they forecast snow and ice. I am not complaining, I'm a winter weather lover and I say bring it on just as long as it's cleared up in time for my drive down to Texas on Friday.

Let it snow.


Lunch and other things

This was lunch today. I had some leftover fried plantains and black bean salsa so I decided to attempt some nachos (similar to what I used to get at Bahama Breeze in Austin - they aren't there anymore). The taste was okay, but they were a bit dry. I'll have to try it again sometime - they did look lovely though... didn't they? The plantains were fabulous with some cilantro sauce last night. Yummmm - at least all was not lost.

I leave for Austin at the end of this week. I can't even begin to express in words how badly I need this small vacation. Life has been so hectic around here since September and I need these few days to just relax and not think about too many things. I will be sad to leave my Etsy shop (is that weird?). I will make sure to do a good fiber update over at Woolyhands and a good jewelry updated over at Idyllhands before I leave.

Ah - the casserole is finished, I'm out of here for dinner.


What weekend plans?

I'm afraid my weekend is shot. There is so much I wanted to do - spin some yarn, dye some yarn, go find some new jeans to take to Austin, but it looks like I'll be at work for the majority of today. I'll have some breaks here and there, but they won't be long enough to really get anything done.

I wanted to dye up enough wool to get me through the week since I'll be headed to Austin on Friday and of course I won't be working with wool down there. I do have a good handful of jewelry made up, so at least Idyll Hands will get some new item love :)

I did want to show you my two most recent spins. The one above is the first yarn I've spun with wool I dyed myself. I am very excited with how it turned out. It was spun from my Spring Bouquet Corriedale roving. If I get a chance to dye this weekend, I'll do some more in that color combination. The yarn below was spun up from a Hobbledehoy batt. I plied it as well and boy am I glad I did. The thick and thin aspect of this yarn show off the colors and textures perfectly. It's for sale here.


Until the smoke clears...

I don't think I've blogged about the topic of dreams before. It's not something I think you would find interesting if I just woke up each morning and started writing about this dream I had where I was back at On The Border in Bedford, TX as a waitress but the menu had been changed over night and the sections of tables had been switched about and I couldn't find the drink machine OR the salsa to give to my tables - AAAAAAAHHHH! No, I don't usually blog about dreams.

However... last night's dream was so vivid, so long, so frustrating and so odd that I just have to blog about it.

I was with my mom but she lived in a nice little neighborhood with houses next to each other, nice yards, trees, near shopping centers, just a typical suburb of Dallas that I was raised in, but we were here, in Arkansas. There were reports that a HUGE fire had broken out just one town over. Houses everywhere were damaged, business gone, it was a war zone. Word was it was on its way to our town.

We needed to prepare... and fast.

I started raking up all of the dead and dry leaves and getting them stuffed down the storm drains ('cause in the dream, that was a safe place for the dry leaves). I then started moving dry stick, mowing dry grass, etc etc etc. Anything that was dry could burn and get to the house, so dry stuff had to go.

It was at this point that my mom came outside and said "we have to move the furniture in" and I looked around the yard and it was covered in HUGE wooden furniture. Chests, tables, beds, big things, wooden things, things that had to go into the garage. The more I moved in, the more it piled up outside - baskets appeared out of no where, piles of wood, cardboard boxes, it all would have to be moved.

I suppose at some point, I got it all in the garage, because I decided I needed to drive to get my sister to bring her to my moms. I got a few miles up the road all the while passing storm drains that had HUGE black clouds and pillars of smoke pouring out of them and passing shopping centers that were also pouring huge black pillars of smoke out of the doors. Everything was on fire. Soon I got to a spot in the road blocked by fallen trees (similar to what the ice storm did here in January). I couldn't get to my sister and I'd have to turn around.

I got home, told my mom what I saw (smoke, stores on fire, etc) and helped her move some more wooden stuff around.

Then the alarm went off and I woke up. I couldn't even snooze for 9 more minutes like I normally do, I was shaken. That was my dream. I'm glad I wrote it down as I think it would start to leave me as the day goes on.