Grand Opening Sale And New Graphics

I mentioned a few days ago how I was having an actual designer do some graphics from the shop. This was such an awesome decision. I have been working with Helen from Crafty Graphics, and I could not be happier with the work she has done. If you have been to the shop, you might have noticed that I used my blog banner as a place holder graphic until I could get something else done. Now, as much as I love that old picture of my desk (I don’t even have that desk any more, that’s how old that picture is), what Helen has done is really lovely.

This is my main banner. If you go to the shop right now, however, you will see my sale banner.

Everything in the shop is 20% off until March 7th to celebrate just being open. The coupon code you will need to get the discount is “dino20”.

 

And give Crafty Graphics a visit. Here etsy shop is http://craftygraphics.etsy.com,  and her blog is http://crafty-graphics.blogspot.com

And go buy some yarn!

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Day Off

Athrun and I made cupcakes today.

I am not sure why, but he always asks if we can use green frosting. I don’t  normally acquiesce, but today I couldn’t think of a good reason not to.

I also allowed him to add the sprinkles himself.

Not all of them had such a concentration of sprinkles. Take this one for instance:

This cupcake reminds me of taking a walk in the park on a nice spring day. The grass is new, there are wild flowers dotting the landscape, and some considerate person has let their giant dog crap all over the place without bothering to clean it up.

That being said, I do think the cupcakes with only chocolate sprinkles on green frosting look rather posh.

Athrun helped me photograph some yarn. I asked him to run and get me one of his tiny toy dinos to include in the pictures. He brought me a foam cutout of a dino silhouette, a transformer, and an elephant. I regret that none are pictured.

I call this one “Bunch of Bananas”. Not that I was going for a banana theme when I dyed it, but reskeined, “Banana” is all I can think of.

The other thing I did today was spin. I don’t think I have spun for about a month. I probably spun 1/2 oz of my bright yellow merino birthday batt. For experienced spinners, 1/2 oz is nothing, but I still spin really slowly. I am finally getting the feel for how much is enough twist, and how to adjust my wheel to keep the wool from getting away from me. Athrun helped me treadle for awhile, but lost interest when I wouldn’t let him play with the orifice hook.

Athrun and I went for a walk today for the first time since he outgrew his stroller last year. We live very near one of the nature trails in the city, which was a nice a walk. I didn’t take my camera, which was good because I ended up having to piggy back Athrun back to the apartment, but there was some new grass sprouting, and I was so excited I really wanted to take pictures. It hasn’t been nearly as cold this year as it was last year, but I am more than prepared to keep the balcony door open, let the fresh air in, plant my balcony garden, and go jogging outside instead of at the gym.  Today was a really nice, temperate day, and I am really glad I got to spend the day with the kiddo and not yoked to an espresso machine.

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Preoccupied

Since I opened my etsy shop last week, I have been distracted. I have been attempting to distract myself from the fact that I have not yet made any sales, which I kind of expected at this point, though that doesn’t make me feel any less disappointed. You see, I had dreams of selling my whole inventory in the first twenty minutes because I am such a yarn-dyeing genius. Of course, I was prepared for other possibilities . . . like having tons of people love Dino Carnage

But nobody buying it requesting a sweater’s worth of it (That might have been a hint. It’s mostly brown, I promise).

I have also been trying to distract myself from my day job–which is becoming less and less ideal every morning when my alarm goes off hours before sunrise. Sunday morning, I woke up at 4, checked the clock, and the familiar thought of “OK, I have a little while to sleep yet” lingered as I closed my eyes again. Then I remembered that it was Sunday, and that Athrun willing, I could sleep to the late, late hour of 6:45. I actually squealed a little bit in excitement and promptly fell back into a blissful slumber.

One of the ways I have been distracting myself from the day job (besides the shop) is to start slowly easing myself into freelancing (writing). It terrifies me. As my lovely sister, Audrey said a couple of weeks ago, “Whoever thought it was a good idea to have to make authors pro-active? We’re hermits.” (It might not be a direct quotation, but you get the idea. My problem is that I have hardly been taking the time to write anything at all. It’s a lot of pressure to sit down to write something that you are going to sell. So, I have signed up for something I only feel so-so about. The plus side is that it has already given me the incentive to write a little blurb about Little Women, which I just re-finished for the first time since I was 10. The down side is that there is a lot of SEO stuff involved. Though, if I ever want to show up on google, I suppose it is not bad to know. It doesn’t keep me from feeling just a tiny bit hack-ish. Basically, I write and get fractions of pennies every time somebody stops by and takes a look at my articles. So if you go take a look at my writing, you are helping me make money. I have made $.05 so far, so you know, things are going well. You can find my author page here. It’s an experiment. We’ll see how long it lasts.

In fibery news, I have something special in line for the store. I am working on getting some proper graphics made by an actual designer. When that’s done, I am planning a grand opening sale. The terms are yet to be determined, but I don’t sell anything after that, you are going to be seeing a lot of yarn pimping. At least you have been warned.

This yarn is my new favorite.

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Tiny Dino Studios is Open For Business

And it only took my three days to make the official announcement on my blog. That’s a bit of a fail.

Sunday afternoon, I spend a couple of hours prepping some photographs and double checking my product descriptions and officially got my etsy shop up and off the ground. It was a quiet opening, and there have been no sales as of yet, but I think that is mostly my fault. The only promotion I have done is tweet once that I was open. That will change soon, I am sure.

Look for more updates soon, and feel free to stop by the shop!

A preview:

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Tiny Dino Studios is *this* Close to Becoming Reality

The likelihood that I am going to be opening up shop earlier than expected is looking good guys. I have been working hard on getting a lot of little nit-picky things done, like fine tuning the official IRS-interested businessy side of things, which was really not as traumatic as I thought it was going to be…but I have also been dyeing, drying, skeining, photographing, and reskeining up a storm. In fact, at this very moment I have two pots going, one with this beautiful orange which reminds me very much of Brock’s Vodka Cream Sauce. The other is a vibrant chartreusey green, which was not only exactly what I wanted to acheive, but also gives me a little thrill to look at.

However, here’s what I have dry and ready to show off so far:

A slightly variegated lavender merino/bamboo blend

The same colorway in a merino/nylon blend, with slightly less sheen.

Some very lovely 4-ply Blue Faced Leicester in Midnight Blue (Athrun’s choice of dye bath, for the record.)

And the same color on some squishy, 100% merino

And just for posterity, the hand spun I finished around Christmas time, but just now got around to photographing.

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Knitting Like Crazy

I have been knitting up a storm lately. In the last two weeks, I have knit a sweater (the Idlewood…I don’t have a picture of mine yet, but it is awesome), knit Athrun a simple mistake rib scarf

in a chunky yarn from my recent teal phase


(I know the scarf looks blue in the picture with Athrun, teal does that sometimes…and I couldn’t quite figure out how to alter the color of the scarf without turning Athrun chartreuse.)

I knit myself a cabled cowl.

I finished one of the ugly socks, and started on the other, and today I cast on another sweater, which has been promised since October.

It has been cold and dark and snowy. All I have wanted to do is clothe myself in wool.

I started in on the mountain of wholesale yarn I ordered today. I dyed one of each of the sock yarns, only one of which I have dyed before. I would photograph it, but it is still drying, and not nearly so pretty hanging from my shower head as it is dry, wound, and neatly arranged on my white diner-table desk.

I have also been thinking a lot about getting back into sewing. Last summer, I bought my first sewing pattern in years, and it is still sitting, untouched, in my bottom drawer. Last summer I was wanting more than ever to make more of my own things, but I really didn’t feel like I had the time. I didn’t even commit to buying fabric. Then last week I went a little crazy.

I bought a sewing machine.

You can see it sitting on my desk in the shot of Athrun and his scarf. It’s tiny. It’s not for heavy duty sewing, or big projects, but for the little bit of mending and few small projects I would like to make, it is perfect. And get this, it was $60. I kind of couldn’t help myself. I have said multiple times recently that I really wanted something small I could tuck into the corner of my desk and pull out when I needed it instead of going through the drama of digging through the closet and pulling out my proper sewing machine. I have put off so many projects just because I didn’t want to get that monster out. It’s silly really, but when I spotted this little guy, I was smitten.

And went straight out to buy the fabric for the bag I have in mind.

Now, I am going to oil and tweak my spinning wheel, and hopefully make some progress on the beautiful yellow batt of wool I bought from PortFiber.

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Off Topic

My final semester of school starts tomorrow. I am simultaneously excited and filled with dread. To put it simply, last semester was NOT GOOD. I was not sleeping enough or eating well. I was at work or doing homework all the time and falling asleep while I meant to be playing with Athrun. Halfway through the semester, my back started hurting so badly that I was alternating icing and heating daily, which only seemed to make the pain tolerable instead of better. I joined a gym at the end of November, and was only able to attend intermittently until the end of the semester, but every time I was able to go, I could tell it helped the pain slightly.  At the beginning of December, I took five days off from work (a really terrible month to have to take time off, let me tell you.) just so I could catch up with all of the paper writing I had to get done before the end of the semester. For five days, all I did was read, write, research, and go to class. When I went back to work in mid-December, I did the same thing with the added bonus of working full time. My final project for my creative non-fiction class was due at 11:59 on Friday, December 17th, and I was working hard until 11:15 pm. I do not want a repeat of this semester.

Granted, I am taking 6 hours, where last semester I was taking 13, but for some reason, I am not sure this is going to make much difference. I see myself working on my classes, particularly my advanced creative non-fiction class, just as much as I did last semester. I hope that perhaps more time into each class will perhaps help balance out the sorry grade-point average. (I passed my Astronomy lab with a healthy C-, which is kind of a miracle. I was convinced I was going to fail.)

And even though last semester was not good, it was a great improvement on the semester before last. I spent the summer learning how to relax, learning how to be ok with myself while I was working hard, learning how not to be angry. This break, I have been trying to turn around my eating habits. I used to be pretty strict with myself, eating a good mix of vegetables and whole grains and fruits with only occasional junk food thrown in. I lost almost sixty pounds this way after Athrun was born. Full-time classes have not been good for my weight at all, as I have steadily been gaining back the pregnancy weight, without the excuse of a baby this time. Last semester, if it could be delivered to my door, I ate it. A lot of it. Mercifully, I was walking so much at school, this did not affect my waistline during the semester. However, the first couple of weeks after finals, coupled with holiday frivolities saw my weight jump up ten pounds. I am, however, saying that 5 lbs of this is added muscle mass from going to the gym more often, because I swear, my legs have gotten skinnier.

I do not handle stress well, and it is mirrored directly in my weight loss or weight gain–usually neither one being a good sign. And then, I have a lot of internal conflict about dieting, because it feels like I am eating and living by someone else’s ideal, not my own. I know that I am not at my ideal weight: it slows me down, it makes the desks at school even more uncomfortable. And, it would be dishonest of me to say that I don’t feel slightly judged for being overweight in a society that values thinness before all else. What I am really hoping is that I can eat healthfully and heartily this semester, while establishing a routine at the gym. The downside is I would work out instead of napping, which might actually be a winning strategy with time. The upside is that I will get a chance to watch a lot more bad TV.

We don’t have TV. I mean, we have a TV, but the only signal is the DVD player or the computer hard drive. So, anything I watch, I must seek out. It really cuts down on the mindless TV watching of shows about nothing. However, when I go to the gym, all of the cardio equipment has it’s own little television and headphone jacks. I watch a lot of bad TV at the gym. Usually it is TLC, because out of all the really pointless TV channels out there, I find that TLC generally has the worst of it. And it is glorious. I watched a show about a woman who had carried a calcified baby in her stomach for forty years the other day. Or then there was the History Channel show about the treasure hunters looking for Confederate silver. Makes my day. Tonight, I am thinking about going in and doing my usual routine, then hopping on a recumbent bike with my sock-knitting and just watching TV while I cycle and work out a bunch of stress right before school starts to pile it all back on again.

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Developments

The fingers on my left hand are teal. One of my kitchen gloves must have a whole in it somewhere. Last night, I dyed the very last of the un-dyed yarn in my apartment. Three bare skeins of bulky wool became three skeins of turquoise and teal colored wool. I don’t have any pictures, because it is all still wet, but they match the Mosasaur skein from the previous post…in theory at least.

I am planning on making a winter set for myself out of these guys. I seem to have lost all my hand-knit mittens, and that just makes me sad, and I have been wanting something colorful to go along with my charcoal grey wool coat since I bought it in November. I haven’t picked all the patterns yet, but I will probably start on the mittens soon. My hands are cold. Of course, I am also working on a sweater for myself (cannibalizing the February Lady for the Idlewood, pictures to come.) I am half way through the first of The Ugly Socks, and I have promised to make the boyfriend a sweater, which I am going to try to start this weekend (fingers crossed). And I am taking a sweater class at the Yarn Barn this spring to make this cardigan… and school starts on Tuesday. So, if my winter set is completed before warm weather hits, it will be a miracle.

I have officially dyed myself through everything I purchased last fall. While that was about four pounds of yarn, most of it went into an afghan, and a good portion of the rest has seen itself become socks or mittens or at least been set aside with the intention of becoming socks or mittens. It was probably enough yarn to last me through this semester if I so chose, but it still left me with nothing to dye. I placed my very first wholesale order a few days ago. Granted the “wholesale” part means that this yarn is not for me, but it does mean that I will have 10 whole pounds of yarn to dye in a few more days. Did you get that? 10 pounds. That’s 5 kilo. 2 pounds of five different yarn bases.

In fingering/sock weight, I have a 80/20 superwash Merino/Bamboo, a 100% superwash Blue Faced Leicester, a 100% superwash Merino, and a 75/25 superwash merino/nylon. To be honest, I love just plain wool socks and mittens. I know a lot of people prefer nylon added to make it stronger, and the bamboo is the same principle. I am interested to see which of the three sells better. I also have some 100% merino worsted weight wool coming in. Not sure how well that will sell, but I am interested to find out.

A picture, for posterity:

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What A Tease

My goal to not feel exhausted in this year was put to the test immediately. I came down with a cold, on my birthday, after breaking my glasses. I always have contacts as back-up, but it should be illegal to have to wear contacts while you have a cold. Just saying. Despite the sickness trying to weigh me down, I did get a teeny bit of dyeing done:

Mosasaurus Swimmer

Mosasaurus

A Mosasaur is a terrifying, prehistoric, aquatic monster. It is not technically a dinosaur, but then again, neither is a pteranodon, but they are both included in every dinosaur book my son owns. Also, there is a Mosasaur at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum. It is huge and impressive, and I am glad it is dead. (The idea of swimming with dolphins freaks me out, so you can imagine where this creature lands on my fear scale.) However, the attending underwater hues and blue scaly skin in which the Mosasaur is always illustrated does look rather fetching when transferred to a spare bit of Merino, don’t you think?

I have been doing some knitting as well. On Thanksgiving, my aunt asked me to make her some gloves with thumb flaps so she could use her iPhone without taking her gloves off. Since she lives in Michigan, where it is colder than it is here in Kansas (though it was 0 F this morning, which is quite cold enough for me), and I never venture out without my gloves between November and March, I thought this would be wise. I found the Podster Gloves and started in on them. Two months later they are 98.9% done.

I am hoping to finish them as soon as I post this, wash them, and put them in the post tomorrow. I would have had them done a week ago, but for two reasons. The first was the aforementioned cold. For days I could neither smell, hear, taste, see nor think. My head was pretty much useless. There were a few times, whilst in the act of blowing my nose, that I just wished I had the flu. Then at least I could stay in bed. Yes. It was that bad. Needless to say, not a lot of knitting was happening then. When I did feel up to continuing work on the second glove, it decided to be difficult. I knit half as many rounds between increases on the thumb gusset as I should have the first time. That thumb would have fist someone with short, squatty hands . . .which is no one in my family. We all have long, piano-playin’ hands. (No, I don’t play. My aunt does though.) I ripped out the whole hand and knit it to match the other glove. I made it through all the fingers just fine, but when I came back to knit the body of the thumb, I managed to create some sort of knitting sculpture. It fit the contours of my right thumb snuggly and and exactly. It was actually kind of amazing. It was, however, very tight, probably too tight, and you know, meant for someone else, who though might have a similar right thumb, does not in fact have my right thumb. I ripped again.Yesterday I reknit the thumb very slowly, and it seems more generally sized. I am sure that all of these mysterious errors have everything to do with the wool getting a mind of its own and nothing to do with the intelligence conquering cold–nothing at all.

Some time during the tea-fueled stupor of the last few days, I cast on for a sock that is intended for myself.

So far so good.

The yarn is something I did myself (no surprise there). It is a skein a just dipped in left-over dye bath from a self-striping skein I did for a dyer’s swap. It was not meant to be self-striping, as you can see, just an experiment with dipping a skein exaclty down the middle in two different colors. I had named these socks The Ugly Socks before I started on them. I think the name is going to stick, even though I have to say, I kind of like the way they are pooling.  I am anxious to see what sort of disaster befalls these socks before the end, aren’t you?

Just a wee bit of real work went on today. I am officially legal to do business in the state of Kansas and the US at large. Which means whenever I decide to open shop, I can. The idea of opening earlier than I had planned is becoming ever more appealing, I have to admit. I still have a few things I would like to get in order before I really get into this for real, but I am getting closer.

I know. I am such a tease.

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