Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yesterday's Work

2 hats, a pair of mittens and longies especially for a cloth-diapered baby

I love home days! I can accomplish so much when I'm not interrupted by leaving the house. I did a lot of cutting and sewing (not maintaining my resolve to cut one day, sew another... and my arm is complaining today) as you can see above.

Whimsy Bees and a Very Big Ladybug

In the evening the Boy had an audition. I brought my felting bag with me and worked on bees. Can you guess how long we were there? But it was great fun to hear all the talent of the folks auditioning. As you can see I have no regard for the relative sizes of insects!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Two New Birdies

Cardinal and Ruby Throated Hummingbird

It's happening this summer like it did last year: when I started working the markets, I had a lot less time to take pictures of my work and write blog posts. Unlike last year, this year I am doing no markets, or only one in the last week of the month. This'll give me time to make things I've sold out of, and some precious breathing space. AND time for a couple of blog posts, I hope!

I'm trying out new markets this summer. The latest are Litchfield and Norfolk. Both were delightful, and I look forward to returning to them! I will also be trying out the Deep River and Marlborough markets a few times through the season. Check my schedule in the sidebar, or the Bethany Homecrafts Facebook page for updates.

I tend to visit and upload to Facebook more frequently than I do here (it's so much quicker!), so if you'd like to see pics of new work more often, visit me there!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Requested Phoebe

One of the birds that I get asked to make most often for customers is the phoebe. Usually it's because they know someone named Phoebe, and want to give a special gift. Here's the one I finished felting this morning.

Here's a link to the Cornell website if you'd like to listen to its song.

Reading the description on the site, I see that the photo in my bird book may be of an immature bird, as the site says that adults have no distinct wing bars and no eye rings, though it really looks like they are there in my book. So they are there on my bird. Next one I make will hopefully be more true!

I had a lovely weekend of work. Saturday was probably this summer's most perfect day. I was in Litchfield, which has a higher elevation than here where I live, so the temperature was a tad cooler. The sky was a brilliant blue, there was a cool breeze and the colors were so crystal clear. On Sunday the storms held off till the Coventry market was almost over, and then we only got a bit of rain. Yesterday in West Hartford it was sunny and hot, but there was a nice breeze that kept it from being unbearable. Folks seem to be really happy that market season is back. I know I am!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Trying to Find a Rhythm

I'm trying to find a rhythm for my work that puts the least stress on my arms. They are already sore from the work the way they were after months of work last year. I gave them somewhat of a rest over the winter, but now I'm deep into it again and feeling it. So what I am going to try for now is doing different kinds of work on different days - a day for cutting and designing, a day for sewing, maybe a day for felting or just a day off.

So yesterday was a sewing day. I pinned up more than I sewed, but here are the things that got sewn. Above is a custom skirt made for a six year old, entirely of cashmere. So soft!

Mittens and a pair of wrist warmers.

A pair of slippers before they are felted. Aren't they crazy?

Today I'll be cutting and designing, and working with The Boy on his end-of-year project. The end of school is nigh!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday in the Sunshine

The sun is breaking through the clouds for a few minutes! I hope we have more of it this week than we've had in the past one.

Saturday I was at the Lebanon Farmer's Market, which is a lovely market in a very nice location. I had a nice day meeting new people, and I delivered the cashmere "big girl" skirt to Rhonda, who is the inspiration for the skirts I'm now making. I'm thrilled that it fit her well and she loves it.

While I was at market Saturday my daughter, who is also my "booth babe" at the Coventry market and any others she can get to, raided my scrap bag and made this adorable tiny skirt for some little girl's doll. She's getting good at this! I've enlisted her help in sewing while she's home from the summer, when she's not too wiped from her full-time job. I'm grateful she enjoys it!

The Boy and I took a walk at the park early this morning, and he was enchanted by the fluff-balls in the grass by the pond - the ducklings and goslings. I really need to bring my camera so I can show you how adorable they are.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Question: Please Give Feedback

I've begun considering including the sales tax in the price on my taxable items. I think it would make transactions quicker and easier at a busy market. I also would like to avoid the disappointment I sometimes see on a shopper's face when I tell them the price for their item after the tax is added in. I think vendors are split on how they handle tax, so shoppers are not always expecting that extra charge for the tax.

So here's my question: What would you prefer?
a) Lower sticker price with tax added later or
b) Slightly higher sticker price with tax included

If I include the tax I will round the price to the nearest nickel to make things quicker for shoppers.

Please let me know what you think as I would like to do what the majority of shoppers would prefer. Thanks!

Rainy Market Day

Rain was predicted for yesterday. I knew this. But it sounded like the possibility for rain would lessen as the afternoon wore on, so I headed out to market in lightening skies. The sun came out as I was setting up, and it started getting hot.

Then the clouds rolled in and a light rain began. No problem, I thought. But it rained harder...and harder...and harder. For a long time. So I started packing up; a bunch of my stuff was already getting wet. Then the skies started looking less foreboding and the rain stopped falling so determinedly. I knew I couldn't go home anyway, as my car was blocked in, so I decided to stick it out and see if the tent and some of my stuff (and I) could dry out a bit. The sun came out, and the drying began, and I was happy. :)

Time came for market to end, and the clouds began rolling in again, dark and from the west. I packed as hard as ever I could and got most of it in bins before the skies opened up again. But it rained hard and the tent and I were thoroughly soaked again.

Such is the life of the market vendor! But I've not had it as bad as the vendor next door to me has...the last 6 markets she's been at have been rained on. Ouch!

On more cheery note, here's a couple of things I've finished over the past days:

a big-girl skirt...

and a Santa gnome, first one of the season.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Busy Work Day

I love this time of year! The roses are blooming, we're eating strawberries every day...there are so many hours of daylight...this is my highest-energy time of year.

After 4 markets in a row, I have a couple of days at home before more markets. During the summer my production rate really goes up as I try to keep up with what has sold in the past week. Here's a peek at some of what I did yesterday.

I cut and pinned 3 skirts for little girls. I am thrilled with how popular they are!

I added flowers to a couple of headbands. They are much nicer now than when they were plain.

I started this bluebird while I was at market Monday. The Boy had a class in the afternoon, so I had some needle felting time.

I was able to finish this chippy, too. And a White Throated Sparrow, but his picture came out too hot and he doesn't look good in it.

I sewed a huge dog bed out of part of a wool blanket I was given, and was thrilled that my overflowing scrap box filled only about one-quarter of it. I can make a lot of scraps when I'm sewing so many things!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Market Booth Photos

We had a mixed weather market yesterday in Simsbury. A decent size thunderstorm came through and dumped a bunch of rain on us, but then it cleared up and got sunny. Today I have to drag out my tent and some other things that got a soaking and dry them out, so I thought I'd just post some photos of my booth.

The slippers table.

All stuff made from recycled sweaters - skirts, ponchos, hats...

Needle felted critters and felted flowers.

Wall hangings and mittens.

It was great fun to see my vendor friends - Erin from Windham Gardens, Karl from Dineberg's Farm, Brooke and Danny from George Hall's Farm, and so many others.
Tomorrow I'll be at Herbfest, hopefully without rain, and then Sunday it's on to Coventry Farmer's Market opening day. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I Do Love Felting

On days like today I am so grateful to have work I enjoy doing. I have an inordinate amount of fun felting and creating with recycled sweaters. For instance...

This was a ladies' medium size sweater, loosely knit, with embroidery on it. I didn't know how it would turn out or what I would use it for, but I bought it on the gut feeling that something good would come of it. I think I only had to put it through one felting cycle. It's now about a girl's size 6, I think, and the weight of a boiled wool jacket. The embroidery felted beautifully and I think the jacket has a Tyrolean or gypsy air to it now. It'll look gorgeous on some little girl.

Yesterday I was contemplating doing a needle felted design on the brown clog slippers, and here is what I came up with.

I had great fun doing this, and then going out in the sunny yard to take photos, and so I am feeling very blessed to have work I love doing.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Embellished the Slippers

The slippers I made last week have been sitting on my table, waiting for me to label them and pack them away, but I kept not doing it. Somehow they did not look done, finished, happy to be who they were. So I spoke with one of my in-house consultants, who suggested some embellishment, at least on the orange ones. I wasn't sure that was what I wanted to do, but took the plunge to see how it would turn out. I used some yarn I bought from a local vendor who uses sea water to do her dyeing, and now they look happy.

I think I may embellish at least one of the pairs of brown ones, as well.

I had a laid-low weekend. I picked up a minor stomach bug and spent a bunch of time just sitting around. I can't do a lot of nothing, though (I am a human doing, not a human being), so I got a bunch of needle felting done.
I was very fortunate to have my arm hold up while I did all this!
Here's a closer look at the gnomes.

I was thrilled to be able to pick enough strawberries from the garden to use in shortcake. They are amazing!

This week is the beginning of my market season. I'm happy about it again (having all that needle felted stuff to bring with me helps)! Sunday is the opening of the Coventry Farmer's Market - hope to see some of you there~