Monday, December 2, 2019

Almost to the end, and the future

Since my last post, I've been to 3 vendor events. Two events were awesome, and the one in the middle was OK.  Not sure if I'll go back to that one next year....  we'll see what the calender looks like next fall!

I am seeing holes in my inventory - I think there is only one hemmed denim regular width rug.  Many of the bright colorful rugs are gone, and even the neutral light ones are getting to be gone.  Still some very nice rugs, some of my favorites are still there - Plenty of Christmassy table runners and such, so I have plenty going into this last small show this weekend.  But I'm glad it's the last one for awhile.

 This past week was an open week for me, thank goodness, as this happened...

Big snow event. 

Also I am home alone and in charge of chores again.

So, big changes around here.  I had mentioned my parents moved to an apartment in town...

So it was my brother and I here at the ranch- he has been the person who was supposed to take care of things these last 5-6 years.  He hasn't wanted to do that, so consequently, it hasn't been done as well as it could have been. Finally something had to be done because of finances.  My daughter and her husband have decided to buy a portion of the ranch and my dad's cows.  We are still waiting on financing from the bank - it is crazy the hoops you have to jump thru to do this -

My son in law came up about 3 weeks ago and the two of us have been trying to get things set for winter - weaned calves, bought hay, fixed what we could with what we have.   Since the banks are being difficult, my parents have to retain ownership for a bit yet, and the kids have to take a leap of faith that the financing will come thru.  My brother has abandoned us to pick up the pieces that he created and we are on our own.

So last week J (the son in law) went home to work his own cows and to pack up and prepare for the move.  He will be coming back this week sometime, weather permitting.  He also went to see L (my daughter)  LOL

Of course, right before he left, the old, worn out, touchy skid loader went to pot.  It is sitting out by the pasture locked up and can't be moved without fixing it.  We tried, but finally we had to throw in the towel because of the holiday and the need for J to get going.

We threw ourselves at the mercy of a neighbor to come and feed hay (as much as we could) and hoped the weather would cooperate.  Well, from the pictures you can tell it didn't!

Finally today, the neighbor could come back with his tractor and we fed hay and he pushed some snow so I could get out and around.

We are desperately looking for a tractor to purchase ---   I guess I'm doing that instead of a house :)

I am feeling my age - trudging thru snow carrying buckets of grain, and pitching hay to my horses is very tiring.  The lack of equipment and the state of the facilities is hard to deal with, but now we can move forward and have some control of the inputs and outcomes.

I didn't get in to my job today - thankfully my bosses are understanding.

I'm looking forward to working with my daughter and son in law - we can do this!

All for now,

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Craft Fairs and Vendor Events

Here is a picture of my booth from this last weekend right as I was finishing setting up.

I'd reserved a 15 foot spot.  Cost me all of 25$

It was 37 miles from home, so it's close by South Dakota standards :)

Everyone had said this is a good show, although as I got set up, I wasn't sure as the vendor mix was handmade, direct sales, bake sales and community groups.

Most of the booth items average price I guess to be about half of what my average price is. 

I was thinking I might be above this market.

Pleasantly surprised by the day, tho!   Sold 15 rugs and 4 table runners.  Very good day!

You just never know what the day will bring at these things.  I only sold one Christmas themed tablerunner - that's what I'm currently weaving to have Christmas items available. 

I'm getting a little sparse in the hemmed denim rug group, and I keep having people looking for gray -- of which I have none.  I decided to try a discount bin of rugs.   So far I've only sold one from that group.  Still, and always I think, a sale will happen when the right person sees the right rug.

I have three confirmed shows left this year, yet, and I'm exploring options for another open weekend.

Seems I'm weathering having only Sundays off, so I might as well get my rugs out there and try to sell!

Hope the weather stays agreeable.  Today was blustery, cold, and snowy.  As long as the roads don't get slippery, we're still good to go!

All for now,

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Not yet

So time keeps moving on.

Some days take forever, and others I don't know where the day went while I'm trying to get things done.

It's been a challenging couple of weeks.

I'm in the midst of fall craft fair season, so I've been at an event every weekend - and will be for a bit yet.

I've been to two since my last post.  

In the midst of those, a person always has the regular day to day 'stuff'.  Seems I drive alot.... LOL

I'm a chauffeur some days, an accountant others, a 4-H youth leader others days, in addition to the job in town, and the list goes on.

The weather is steadily marching into and towards winter.  It is daunting to think of another winter like last year, but I'm afraid with the available moisture, it could get ugly again.

I also had to say goodbye to my closest buddy, Cooper.

My little guy was my constant companion for better than 11 years. 

It had gotten to the point where his quality of life was suffering, so the difficult decision was made to say goodbye.

I still find myself factoring him into my planning, and I seem to check for him underfoot, still.

I'm trying to stay busy and upbeat, but there are times I just want to sit down and do nothing.  I'm hoping this shall pass quickly.

Some friends have asked already if I'm going to get a new dog. 

Not yet.  Not yet.

All for now, JULIE

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


I have an event this weekend.

Of course I always think that the latest items I have woven MUST come with!

I decided not to overly stress myself tomorrow and Friday by thinking I needed to make just a few more, so I cut off the woven runners from the take up beam and tied fringe this afternoon.

Here they are after their fringe trimming....

I'm digging the stripe action on the less busy fabrics.    Color doesn't show completely true, but these are Christmas-sy colors.   I kind of like the red one with the stripes.  Those stripes have little red stripes within - makes me think of candy canes.

The weather has moderated a bit here, warmer, so the snow is melting.  It seems to be always too wet this past year.  South Dakota is usually a much dryer place this time of year.  It's making for very difficult harvesting - and this spring was very difficult for planting.  It would seem that it would be a good hay year - lots of growth, but again, with all the rain, it was hard to put up hay, it was always getting rained on.  Or the ground was so wet, everyone was getting stuck.

Time will tell how expensive hay will be - and how much will be available.   My horse hay has been stacked and is settling, waiting for a stack mover to deliver it to me.  So at least I know my horses will have feed.

All for now,

Friday, October 11, 2019

Too early!

Oct 11 and it looks like this...

It's still coming down, too.  With wind.  So a proper blizzard!

Since it looks like December, it seems appropriate to finish up some Christmas color table runners.

There are four more finished, but they are not much different than these. 

More to come - I've dug out all of the Christmas tableclothes I could find and anything red or green.

I am so not ready for this white stuff coming down... I'm going to try to distract myself and hope we get warm weather again. At least for a little while.

All for now,

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Small Victories

The other day I forced some time at my loom.

I had just a bit of blue 'mini' rug warp left to weave off.   I wove 3 more longer denim rugs and as I was getting to the end, I found this....

I had counted perfectly while sectional warping!

NEVER happens :)  But this time it did!  

So I took a commemorative photo, just to prove it can be done... LOL

Small victory!

I promptly made a plan change - I had planned on warping with black/charcoal, gray and white.  But...

I have missed the whole period of time I had planned for that warp and am looking at Christmas season without much in the way of "Christmas" colored inventory.

So instead, I warped this.

This warp is made up of forest green, brick red, black, white and a variegated red/white that has been languishing in my stash.

This is working nicely with the Christmas tableclothes I had previously processed and stashed for use. 

These are tablerunner widths.  I'm sure I won't have enough of those pre processed wefts to finish off the 75 revolutions I put on, so I may be doing some crazy experiments to see what I can make work with this go round.

On the home front, my brother has returned and has temporarily agreed to do the daily bucket chores for the cattle in the yards.

Good thing - I was at the end of my endurance.  I still need some recuperation time, but that will take a bit as I still have basically 3 jobs plus my 'extra curricular' activities.  :)

I have a show next weekend (10 days) that I need to prepare for.  And it is the holiday show season here.  Three confirmed shows after this one, and I found another I may apply to.  Doesn't sound like a whole lot when I say it, but the gut tells me it is!  LOL

All for now,

PS.  There is a snow storm predicted in a couple days.   I am SO NOT ready!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Quick check in

So I've survived ( lol ) the first time attendance to the Fort Ransom event.  I believe it was the 52nd annual?  This show is rain or shine - in North Dakota on the last week of September.  Always a good chance the shine will be in short supply!

Saturday morning I was up at o dark thirty to get to the location by 7.  Almost 2 hours drive time....

It was a brisk 35 degrees - I could see my breath - and I had an outdoor 10 x 10.  I got my canopy up, unloaded all the product and promptly dug out the dry socks and shoes and switched.  Thank goodness I had thought of that as my feet were squishy, it would have been a long and miserable day that way!

Saturday was a nice autumn day, sun for a bit - high of about 52.  It got overcast in the afternoon and there was a chill in the air, but there were many buyers.  At closing time I was able to hitch a ride home with a neighbor who was also there with a booth.  Left my truck and saved myself some driving time and gas.

Sunday morning brought rain.   It rained in various degrees of liquid all day, but the temp had risen from the day before, thank goodness.  It seemed very slow as far as attendees, but I still had a great day. 

Over all, I will most surely apply again for next year.  I had my largest sales event ever!   I sold 21 rugs, 6 runners and 5 (only!!  surprised me) flyswatters. 

By the time I had everything packed up, I was wet, tired and ready to head home.   I drove into the garage, took my purse inside and decided to leave everything loaded until the morning.

I never did get any pictures, as it would have meant standing in the rain.  But it was a great weekend!

Right now I am really dragging.  I'm feeling the effects of 3+ weeks of doing cattle chores, fixing fence, moving my parents into an apartment, the normal bookwork/accounting for the parents ranch, my own weaving processes and starting a new job in town.   I've barely made it every other day to check on my horses and checking in with the cows that are now calving.  

I could use some help :)

All for now,

Friday, September 20, 2019

More of the same

I've been getting very little weaving done lately.  These are the finishes from the last group that came off the loom.  I accidentally created twin striped denim rugs.  I like them :)

What I have been doing is...

Cattle chores that are my brothers responsibility, since he went and left for a month or more...

The bookwork/bills/accounting type stuff I normally do for my parents....

Getting my parents into an apartment in town - we signed today...

4-H end of year paperwork and such...

This is all in addition (unpaid)  to caring for my horses and pup, taking care of my own finances, trying to create rugs for upcoming craft shows, and starting a new job ( so I can take care of my own finances).

Last post I had said I was most likely getting a seasonal job I'd had some years ago.

Plans changed!  From a random convo I had with a stranger while waiting for my parents, I was asked if I was interested in a position at an auto parts store.  After discussing my needs and availability, it was decided I would start there last week!  I am enjoying the work - lots of organizing and stocking of inventory.  Some cleaning, and yesterday we painted exterior on the new building.

It pays less than the other job I'd applied for, but the hours are flexible so I can attend to the unpaid portions of my day to day.   I'm having to remind myself to breathe and all things will be ok.  Last night I had a migraine, I think from being too warm painting yesterday in addition to stress.

Banks and financing are my biggest stressor right now - I wish these things weren't so difficult.

All for now, JULIE

Monday, September 2, 2019

These rugs I call 'minis'

Some years ago I was at an event that involved lots of campers. 

I had alot of people say my rugs were too big for the floor space in their rigs.

So I came up with this  mini size ----

I warp 9 sections so the rugs finish at 18 inches wide.

I warped it in blue, using up a large amount of partial cones of poly cotton warp.

I decided on the minis as I am extremely short on inventory, and I wasn't sure if I had enough warp to do the regular width rugs!  :)

I really need to get some warp ordered.   I'm short on blues and natural/white.  The two colors I use the most of...

I'm pretty sure I won't have time before the next show to get more regular width denim rugs done, so I'm not going to stress over it.  When I weave this warping off, I am going to do black/charcoal/gray, etc.  It's been a really long time since I've done that.

Here are some recently finished rugs...

Mini denim fringed rugs.  18 wide and all about the same length.

Mini hemmed denim rugs.  Look closely, there are 3 rugs that are woven from a different batch of denim strips.  Each batch has a different hue, all depending on the mix of found jeans.

I've got white denim... I wasn't sure about this while I was weaving, but I really like the contrast the blue and white have.  This morning I wove a hemmed edge longer version of this.  Still have white denim left, so maybe another will happen, too.

And then the Americana rugs.  The longer one is all denim, and the smaller is bed sheets.  I think I haven't found the right red/white stripe width that makes me happy in this width of rug yet.  One looks squatty and one looks stretched.  Maybe it's just me?

Other than weaving, I've got shows lined up for the rest of the year.  Another good sized one in October, and then several smaller ones in November and December around and for the holidays. 

I have applied to work a seasonal job in town - I've worked there before about 8 years ago?  I need to bump my income and this seems to be the most reliable way to do it.  When I find out if I get hired, I'll share more.

It also is starting to feel fall like at times - that creates a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.  There is so much to do and figure out before snow, and many decisions are still unmade.

This morning I was feeling very overwhelmed.  Many small irritations and disappointments are piling up and I start feeling discouraged.  I'm not sure what to do or how to change anything right now, so I just need to keep doing and hope things will change for the better soon.

All for now,

Monday, August 19, 2019

Surprise ending

I surprised myself by finishing up the current warp - I've been calling it the khaki warp.

I had put on the normal amount of warp, but it seemed as if I hadn't done many rugs on it.

Could be that I did alot of 'same type' of rug instead of having to do designing every rug?

So the last rugs off are....

This one was made from 2 large heavyweight tablecloths.  I like it!

Colored denim.  I have two that are about 4 feet long,
and a runner that is about 8 1/2 feet.

Bed sheet rugs.

Finish up bits and pieces twill....

And a soft squishy blanket rug.

I've sent off applications to a couple of new events - Hope to get in... one's a big one about a month out from now.  

I think I better warp up and do some more denim - One reason is to use up and empty some of the 4 big totes I have full of strips ready to sew.  Other reason, I'm about out of hemmed denim rugs, and I only have one left of the "mini" rug size in denim. 

So that's two different warps.  I'm wondering if I have enough blue colorway warp cones?

Guess I better go check.

All for now,

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Drive, drive, drive

Living where I do, it seems as if sometimes all I do is drive.

Since last Wednesday, (7 days ago), I have put on about 1200 miles.  And not all in one direction!

First, I went SW about 45 miles to be a judge at a county fair.  I judged senior 4-H photography.

Then I went S about 180 miles to meet up and welcome my girls home from their 30th birthday drip to Mexico.  I stayed over and the next morning drove home, picked up my parents, and...

Went N about 95 miles for an appointment for my dad.

Next day went west 45 miles for an appointment for me.

And then I went E 40 miles for another dad appointment.

Today I'm only going 30 miles E for an appointment for me.

HA HA.... those are one way miles. 

I think it adds up to about 1200 miles on my new pickup :)

In between there are the daily chores for animals and home.

Somewhere during that time, I picked chokecherries and made jelly.  Three batches!

There have been rugs waiting to be finished and I got them done yesterday.

This isn't all of them, I've got them all on the facebook page if you'd like to see them.

My loom is now in the garage attached to the house.  It is much warmer and more humid than the last location, and I fight flies and other bugs.  Also my mom keeps rearranging so I get to keep searching every time I get out there....  :)

More control over my environment lost -  oy!

The last few evenings I have been contacting vendor events and making decisions on where I will attend this fall.  I think I have made up the list and there will be several new locations for me!

Hope I have enough inventory!

All for now,

Friday, August 2, 2019

Fair Season

It is the season of the fairs.

My hometown 4-H program can be classified as 'small', as we don't have a fairgrounds and not a lot of numbers.

We have always thought of ourselves as "big" in terms of quality of programs, exhibits, and volunteers.

The 4-H program would be nothing without the cooperation between the 4-H advisors, office staff (one person) parents and leaders.  Also many of our judges end up volunteering their time - turning back the remuneration that is offered for their services.

These exhibits are from "my kids".   Our club had a great Achievement Days and it's fun to see how excited they get with their projects and how they start planning immediately for next year!

From my group we also had sheep, goats, calves, and pigs.

Also the club was represented in the Fashion Review show and Public Presentations contest.

Proud of those kids!

On the weaving front,  I've got a new warp on and am weaving memory rugs for an old friend.  She is cleaning out her fathers home and I did a run of khaki/twill rugs made primarily from his pants.  I've added other color pants to have some variety and add something to the light colored fabric.

I still have some of the neutral left and leftovers of the these mixes.  I'm sure I'll figure out how to get some more rugs out of that.

Unfortunately, my loom will be homeless as soon as I can find some helpful muscle to move it.  My brother is finishing up his office space that I've been occupying and I'm now "in the way".   My equipment may have to go back into storage unless I can find a spot here in a garage or something. 

I'm 'over' this being in limbo.  Something needs to change.

All for now,

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

End of Blue

 Penguins on blue flannel sheet - twin size if I remember correctly - ended with these two...

Then I attempted to empty a tote of blue jean strips -  Didn't get that done before I ran out of warp.
It was long enough anyway!  Eight feet finished.

 Twenty three days from putting on the blue warp, to finishing it up.  Not as fast as I'd like, but other priorities are going on.

Promptly put on the next warp.

Three woven and on the beam already - Plenty of weft prepared and ready!

All for now,

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Corduroy love

I really love the rugs I make from corduroy.

They seem to have so much richness to them.  Must be the texture of the corduroy!

I just finished this rug...

It's all corduroy.  And it ended up to be about 7.5 feet long.

Here's the same rug, just a little closer view so you can see the colors.

This corduroy was from pants and leftover yardage from sewing projects.

What I do, is sort the leg pieces into color groups.  Adding and taking away until I'm happy with the mix.

Then rip or cut depending on my mood.

And sew end to end.

I had decided that this batch was going to be whatever length it wanted to be.  From the last few shows, I've been told there is a need for long runners.   I intend to see if I can fill that need :)

All for now,

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Unassuming vendor shows....

It's an interesting thing, this trying to figure out where to go to market my rag rugs.

I've pretty much figured out that the shows that include resale/direct sale items aren't the venue for me.

"Big Shows" that have pricey booth fees are scary, but I think I found one that I will be re applying for next year.

Small town shows, 4-5 hours in the local park, or a church, or community center, or school are just plain a crap shoot!

This past weekend, I did a local (3 miles from home) Art Crawl held in the former middle school during the annual summer fest. 

It cost all of 10$ to sign up for, and there were at most 12 vendors.  There were painters, metal art, lawn art, embroidered dishtowels, barn quilts, fabric items, sweater mittens, and miscellany.

Pleasantly surprised with the results of the day and a half sale.  Eleven rugs, 2 runners and 3 flyswatters!   Gross sales rivaled my regular 2 day festival last month and about 50% of the 'big one' I did last month.  

Getting the product in front of an audience is what I think I better do :)

All for now,

Saturday, July 6, 2019

A few finishes

This one is made from twill dress pants in navy
and yellows.

                                                                     Assorted sheet type material.


 This if fabric donated from an abandoned decorating project.
It was a woven navy and cream plaid decorator mid weight- I've
got a long runner of this coming that is on the loom yet.

And this rug was made from I believe curtain material?  Or 
maybe it was a fancy coverlet for a bed - can't remember :)

Independence Day found me weaving a patriotic rug...

And on the 5th, I did another since I had the weft needed.  
We'll see if these are popular other than right before the 4th!

No weaving this weekend as we are off to a family reunion/church reunion.
First thing this morning I moved the horses back onto a different patch of grass
and checked their water since I'll not be around much. 

Next weekend, a vendor event close by.
Then pedal to the medal with weaving for hopefully some big shows this fall.


Where is summer going?
All for now,