Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Time goes on

 Time, as I've gotten older, has changed.  

As a child I used to think that summer was so long, as well as the school year.  It seemed overwhelming to think of anything a year away.

Now at my advanced age of 55, lol, I cannot seem to catch up to what day it is since the days and months and years seem to fly by.

But in contrast, it seems as if it should be later in the week than it is.  Weird, I know.  Maybe it's because I have so many things going at once and can't focus on one thing?

The last few days I've been tying fringe on a small group of tablerunners that I took off the Fairloom.



I'm showing you just a few that finished.  The black and white warp lets me weave with some random colors that would be challenging to use on other colors of warp.  I will be doing some black / gray tones too, but these just wanted to get done right away :)


The weather turned into fall today.  Fifty MPH gusts, overcast, a little drizzly.  But the baby calves that are about a month old are loving it.  Tails up and running in circles around the mamas tonite.  Cute little buggers.

Yesterday was another reminder of time passing.  It was my old mare's last day.  It had been planned and I'm glad it was a nice sunny fall day for her last one.   She was 28 and I couldn't bear to have her go through another hard winter.  I watched this old girl be born - her mom was my 4-H mare, so I've known her forever.  

It is a sad thing to lose an old friend, but I look to the future.  Her half sister Queenie is still with us, and I am hoping she will be having a baby next spring.  Also her two daughters, Buzz and Flutter, should be mamas themselves next spring.

Time goes on.

All for now,

JULIE


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Scheduling scheduling

So this last week I heard from an event organizer.  This event was a new one for me - stretching my boundaries a bit by signing up for a large event in a large town - 2 days and far enough away I would have to find and pay for lodging.  I have enough inventory since most of the events this year were cancelled, and I really need a nice big event to help with the financials around here.

What I heard was not good.  Cancelled.   UGH

So another kick in the teeth - so now what?  I posted on my facebook page about the cancellation and offered home rug parties.   So far no takers, but it did attract an invite to an event this past weekend.


This booth ended up being quite small in a VFW hall.  Hard to display to the best effect, but hey, gotta take what you can get sometimes!  

I try to look at the positives - I did sell 5 items and considering only 120 people came thru the door, I managed to sell and my items were by far the highest price point. 

The most challenging part is that for those 5 sales, I still had to carry all of those dang heavy rugs!  This is why I am trying to find larger venues.  More sales for the same amount of grunt work :)

I've got an event this weekend.  I usually drive there the night before and stay with my sister so I don't have quite as long of a day, but she is under the weather and doesn't think I should stay.  I considered for a moment going the night before to set up and getting a motel room, but it's opening pheasant hunting weekend and there are few rooms available and at the highest price of the year. Also I would have to be there to set up 2-4 PM.  Kind of defeats the purpose to take time off the other job to get there.  So get up at o-dark-thirty it is! 

So I'm still looking for events to go to, I have some scheduled, but it seems every event I have on the books, that  weekend I could also go to 2 or 3 others.  Need to clone myself I guess. 

Not alot of weaving gets done this time of year - I do a bit each day unless scheduling the rest of my life keeps me from it and if I have a show on the weekend, I don't get alot done at all.

All for now,
JULIE 


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Non weaving post - misc fall observations

 Fall is upon us.  We are feeling we are running out of time and that we haven't accomplished much this summer season.

Looking at pictures tho, we have done big projects.  The thing is, there are many big projects that must be done around here!

Biggest visual project was the demolition of the inground pool.


The pool was surrounded by wood decking.  Rotten of course.  I managed to convince the young ones to burn this wood - filled with nails and screws - in the bottom of the pool instead of somewhere random on the property.  The metal is now buried deep and out of the way of hooves and feet. 


While we were burning, we decided to take off the rotten deck that was right next to the pool.  It came down in one piece, it was too rotten to try to take it apart from on top of it.  The blue things were the sides of the pool.  Those are buried in the hole, too.


Here is a view from the upper floor while we were in the process.  There was a retaining wall around the pool deck. 


And here is the finished - for now - product.  Six trees also came out while we were moving dirt.  Unbelievably, we didn't need to haul any dirt in.  Plan is next spring to bring in some of the composted manure from the cattle yards to spread and fill any spaces that might settle.  The ground is very gravelly and got packed very well from the tractor and loader while it was getting filled in. The view is from the area right outside my 'loom room'  which I am currently trying to put some order to.  Yesterday we hauled out a large entertainment center, giving me quite a bit of added space to house totes full of processed weaving fabrics.  There is also a large old piano that we are trying to rehome. That must come out before snow fall!

My mares came home from breeding pasture this week, too.  This time of year I am always fascinated with Buzz and Flutter's coloring - their dun factor really shows as they are putting on their winter coats.




This is Flutter, she is a red dun.



And this is Buzz.

Queenie is just getting fluffy in her Chestnut coat :)

Old girl Bug has been sticking her head in cockle burrs that I pick out each day.  

Yesterday she was a unicorn.


This old girl is 28.  We think she is a little senile. This will be her last summer - I won't make her endure another winter as she has told me it is time to move on.  We haven't scheduled her day yet, but it will be before the bitter cold and snow arrives.   Hard - but I believe it is my responsibility to give her a dignified and easy end.  

It was a beautiful weather day yesterday. We got alot of small yard things finished up and cleaned up.

Today it is windy and cold, good day for me to stay in and try to put some more order to my loom room.


All for now,
JULIE



Sunday, September 20, 2020

Fall Festival

 I admit, I didn't commit to this local event until just the other day.  I wanted to see how I felt from last weekend at the big event.

Working during the week and then doing weekend shows usually means I'm "working" 7  days a week.  It's tiring :)

Early in the week I started looking at the weather forecast  and decided if they would let me in, I would go to this event.  My rugs were still in the house garage and would need to be handled and packed away anyway, if I didn't take them somewhere.

They let me in, so I took 2 spots for a grand total of 20$ -  Nice low fee and 20 miles from home.


The forecast told me it would be somewhat breezy, but in the mid 70's with 0% chance of rain.  I decided to leave the canopy home and just spread out on my canvas tarp floor.  

Even tho I was a late addition, I got a very prime spot.  Right at the entrance to the visitor center!

The organizers said they had no idea how many attendees to expect, but said if they got 200 they would be happy.  They had 1000 ish.  Wow :)

This event is their Fall Festival where they harvest the Fort garden.  They use horse drawn implements to do it, and attendees get to pick potatoes and pumpkins to take home.

I had nice sales.  6 good sized rugs and a few smaller sales of mug rugs and runners.

Beautiful fall South Dakota day - and it WAS windy.  The center hanger shown ended up deciding to tip over during the last 1/2 hour of the day.  

I was happy for the breeze tho.  Some of the rugs were still a little damp from last weekend, so they got good and dry after the day in the breeze. 

Things were packed away and are now in my storage trailer awaiting my next show Mid October. 


All for now,

JULIE

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Fall...

 

Well, I survived a new to me craft venue.

As you can see I had plenty of inventory -  Nearly 200 rugs, 100 table runners and a basket full of mug rugs.

This is the priciest vendor event I've done so far.  Application fee, booth fee, parking.  It was /is a risk to lay out such a large chunk of cash in the hopes to sell enough to make it worth it.

Challenges were the 'pandemic fear' and weather.  

As you can see by the pavement, it was, shall we say, damp?  

Surprisingly tho, there seemed to be a decent crowd.  I won't say I was happy with the amount of sales - my fees for the day ate up a bit more than 30% of my sales.  That doesn't include gasoline, food, administrative/office type expenses.   Or labor.  I aim for the booth fees to be 10% of my sales, so this definately was underperformance in my eyes. 

Not so bad that I won't try again next year.  

Interesting note tho... when I was loading product, I had a handful of rugs I was considering leaving at home - they have been riding around with me for literally years.  But, I Sold 2 of them....  Need to stop worrying about what not to take and just take it all!

My main loom is currently naked, I had finished up the blue denim warp.  I have a nice group of those now going into the fall show run ( if there ends up being one) .


 These are the piles of standard sizes - fringed and hemmed.

I also have some longer ones and just a couple colored denim done on this warp.

Change of subject -  I found some plums on the old trees behind the house.  Just enough to make one batch of plum jelly.


I can't wait to try it, but I am forcing myself to finish the open jar of crab apple jelly that is in the fridge first.  Jelly making is a challenge here.  Most of my equipment is still packed away - that I had kept when I moved.  I had sold most of my jars and canners figuring that from the good price I got when I sold, I could replace with new when I was ready and had the time and space to store it.

Its a good thing I don't need to do much of that right now...  There seems to be a shortage of lids and even jars in our area.  Is this true around the country?  Marketplace on facebook is seeing people selling used jars for almost new prices, and even people selling open boxes of the lids. 

I need to wrap this up - so many things that need to be done - it's fall and we can feel the winter coming.

 

All for now,

JULIE


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Summer Doldrums

This summer has been, shall we say, challenging?

I've been struggling mentally - having a lack of focus and drive to get things done.

 Finally now that I have some events scheduled I am at least feeling like I have been able to force myself to be a little more productive.

 

After the vendor event I was able to attend, it was determined that I really needed more denim rugs.

 They have always been a standard item in my inventory.

The last few years, I have had my dad cutting strips using my Frasier Rag Cutter.  He's pretty much stove up and can't get out and about like he would like, and I think him having this to do has given him the feeling that he is contributing.

Before then, I always ripped my denim strips.  I kind of like the fuzzy look on the rugs, as well as I think it helps with the absorbancy of those rugs.  But since Dad has been cutting, it gives me more time to sew strips, design and weave.

Here is the warp I put on.  I had had to order blue warp from my supplier, but they were out of the navy cones that I like to include.  I had to make use of the leftover bits in the stash and put more of the denim blue warp in this time.   I threaded it in the fashion to have mini stripes.   I kind of like it. 

The first batch of denim rugs I did five that were all the same length, all hemmed, and then had 2 rugs longer, hemmed, before I had run out of space on the take up beam.  Since then, I have taken another batch off and they are hemmed and ready for measuring and tagging for inventory. 

 I had about caught up with dad, and was basically out of cut strips so I went ahead and ripped three big totes of strips - these I sent over to mom and dads for them to clean the strings off.  This helps with my time at the sewing machine -   I will be starting on sewing those ripped strips as soon as I go and get the 3rd tote from them to mix them all together.


In the meantime, since all the same rugs one after another gets monotonous, I dug into my colored denim stash and came up with this.

Yes, this is all denim.  It's amazing the colors I find :)



And here it is being woven.  You can see the warp design here.

It's been very hot and humid here.  But dry.  The grass in the yard is crunchy and we could use some rain.  Last night we had a summer storm go over - Heavy lightning and very loud thunder - and we got about 3/4 inch of rain.  Just enough to make it even more humid.  As I'm typing, there is another storm grumbling in the clouds. 

I can't believe summer is almost over - and kids are going back to school.  

Where did the summer go?


All for now,
JULIE


Monday, August 3, 2020

Finally an event!

Finally, I have had my first vendor event for 2020.  This one didn't get cancelled!

I had never been to this one before as I usually have an event in my hometown.  They cancelled, so you know what?  This one was so good, I just may not make it back to my hometown again --

This event is Friday afternoon thru Saturday night.  They were kind enough to take me on Saturday only.  Glad that was so, since it rained heavily Friday :)

The weather the last few weeks has been oppressively hot and humid.  Saturday was not!  It was in the high 70's with scattered clouds.  Twas windy tho, as you can see by my billowing rugs.  I ended up taking down the side curtain - it seemed to stress the canopy less that way. 

Displaying my rugs was harder than normal.  Some of my go to display items are in stores, so I had to improvise.  The wind also made it harder to hang anything as it would just blow down.

In the end, I sold 6 tablerunners and 9 rugs.  Like I said, good day!  Even better, this was a no booth fee event this year....

I'm glad I was able to go this - it gave me an opportunity to unpack all the rugs and visually see what I have.  They have been packed away in their rolling suitcases - I have a spreadsheet of what I have, but I'm a bit visual oriented making it easier to comprehend with my eyes.

What I discovered was that even tho my inventory $ amount is good, it seems alot of my rugs are on the larger size.  I thought I had plenty of denim rugs, but most are 3x5 or larger.  I have a nice amount of runner length rugs, too, in assorted colors.

The plan is now to make denim rugs - I had to order some warp last night and I can start sewing strips.  I'll have to crack the whip and get my dad to cutting more!  LOL

It is hard to believe that it is August already.  Where has the year gone?

All for now,
JULIE