Sneak Attack!

I got a great surprise this evening while working on the essay I was so excited about last night. Here I am preparing to tell my troubles to the world, and then have a nice long nap because I have been feeling slightly under the weather, when all of a sudden, I look down at my phone and notice I have something like ten billion emails. Ok, so it was more like 8, but still, that’s more than I ever get in that particular account at a time. Sure enough, I check it, and I have four sales and four payment confirmations! And then it just kept on coming….

So far tonight I have sold 11 items out of the 24 I had listed in my shop. I am just going to call that half. Half my shop in one evening. And I have The Handmade Movement to thank for it. I would recommend checking out the website. It’s a really great idea. I also had no idea it existed. This website encourages folks to buy handmade items from new etsy shop en mass, which also helps kick off sales for that shop. They call it a sneak attack, and I think it’s a fabulous idea. I plan on participating in the future.

I couldn’t be more flattered to be included in tonight’s sneak attack, and I really look forward to help brighten some other new seller’s day the way mine just has been.

Thank you all!

Oh! And I somehow managed to finish my essay. It has been a very good night.

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I Have Been Listening To a Lot of David Bowie and Other Ruminations

The song “Starman” by David Bowie has been stuck in my head for weeks now, and I have only just got around to digging up all the David Bowie files on my computer. So, my title is kind of a lie, I haven’t really been listening to David Bowie, just the facsimile of him that runs through my head.  I am not sure what took me so long, other than I just didn’t like any of my media players. I recently ordered one of the new Zune HDs (but have heard nothing from Zune about when it will be shipped, so whether I will actually be receiving this device at the marvelous sale price it was at last weekend is yet to be determined), so I downloaded the Zune software. I actually really like it. iTunes and I have never really got on, it might be because I have no patience with apple software. I know I might be in the minority here, but it is counter-intuitive to me, having always used a PC. (And I love my asus laptop with a strength of emotion that might not be healthy for a piece of equipment I will most likely have to replace in a couple of years.) All of that to say that I dug up my nearly complete David Bowie library, and after admiring the staggering amount of amazingly rockin’ live albums he has, I found the classic, original The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust in an attempt to relish in the greatness, and perhaps get that song out of my head for a little while, as great as it is. And then I listened to it. . .

And I just can’t help but apply the chorus to my life as it is right now. I am interpreting the star man being afraid of blowing our minds but knowing  it’s all worthwhile, as a little bit of a personal message for me right here right now, no matter what anybody else thinks it should be about.

One of my major goals this year was to go into business for myself. Three weeks ago, I opened my etsy store, and even though I have not made a sale just yet, I have been dyeing and promoting and slowly working to get over my internet shyness. It has been going well, I feel, and I know it is only a matter of time before I am making regular sales and am making enough money to put back into sustaining my business. I do know that I am not going to be making enough money to support myself from Etsy anytime soon, but I am working on it.

Aside from the fiber arts, my other passion is writing. It is what I am going to school and getting into major debt for. I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not writing in some way, shape, or form. And though the last couple of years have been rather tumultuous with me personally what with getting divorced and basically starting from scratch like I did when I was eighteen and moving out on my own for the first time, and I did not write as much, I am finally finding some equilibrium. The compulsion to write a lot has returned full-force. It turns out I have a lot to say.

One of the major things I have learned though all of the previously mentioned tumult is how to allow myself a voice. In other words, the things that have terrified me about writing in the past, like sending out query letters and promoting myself and *gasp* actually letting people other than the chosen few read my work do not scare me any longer. (At least not to the debilitating extent that they used to do so.)

A major factor in this is that I am fed up with my day job. It is not any worse than any other job where one works for other people and sometimes works too often. This is common, and for a lot of people, it is waaaay too much to ask, which is why they work for themselves. I am there. I fantasize daily about working from home: about working on my latest essay while the steamer is setting the dye on the yarn.

Then today, the wonderful Susan Gibbs from Juniper Moon Farm, where I am a shareholder, posted this to her blog. Go take a look, and I know the pictures of the sheep and goats and puppies are distracting, but please come back. I will wait.

……

….

….

So, like Susan, I knew exactly what that sign was talking about too. It was my message from the Star Man. Write more. Get published. Get out of this place (I was checking my reader at work, I will freely admit) and do something that doesn’t stain your fingers brown! (If you are a new reader, I manage a coffee shop.)

It just so happens that Tuesday, my first essay for my essay-writing class is due. I have had this essay in my head for a couple of months now, but had not given myself the time to just sit down and write it. But tonight, I sat down and did it. I finished my first draft. While there is a ton of work to do before it is fit to even be turned in for workshop, it feels so good to finish my first piece since November. And I know right now, that even in this rough state, this one is publishable.

I can do this.

I have no idea when I will really be able to work from home, or if I will find a job (with benefits and/or a sustainable salary) outside the coffee shop before that happens, but I do know that I can get the writing done until then. And really, after a few years of feeling really down on myself and my ability to create, that is all I need.

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Projects in Pictures

It has been a long couple of days, so I am just going to give everyone a sneak peak at what I have been working on.

Acquired on my trip to my LYS today:

None of these three things go together, but they all have to do with individual projects. In the plastic bag is 100g of Bombyx Silk Hankies. (A silk hankie is essentially a flattened silk worm cocoon.)  I am going to try my hand at dyeing some. I have 13g stack set to soak over night.  The scary wooden things with the teeth are hand carders. I have been wanting to play with blending fibers and/or colors, but a drum carder (which does a couple ounces of fiber at a time) is so far out of my price range right now it is laughable. The hand carders, while not cheap, are much more reasonably priced, and great to practice with. The pictured needles are so I can knit the sleeves onto my Mondo Cable Cardigan. I finished knitting the body last night.

The Body:

That’s dark charcoal grey in Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride. The white you see is Mohair. It’s gorgeous.  (I also might have ordered some mohair locks to play with too, but that was on the internet so it doesn’t count until it shows up.)

And here is the first yarn of the year to have the opportunity to dry on the balcony:

Yes, it is neon pink. It  super fabulous, and it will be up in the shop tomorrow.

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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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