Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Zipper Pouch Swap

Sweet Swap - The Sewing Loft 

I am really itching to post about the zipper pouch swap project that I just finished up.

Heather from The Sewing Loft put together a fun Zipper Pouch Sweet Swap and since the ornament swap that I had previously participated in is no more, I decided why not! I figured this one would be much easier than creating 5 or 6 original ornaments and the work load was definitely much lighter!

I got my swap assignment on November 13 and since part of the swap was to agree that you would have your pouch mailed on December 1, time was of the essence! I got assigned to Tori Thompson from Jane Not So Plain from MO, so I quickly wrote to her and asked her what her favorite colors were and got her mailing address. As it turns out, that was the easy part!

It has been MANY years since I was in college, but as they say, old habits die hard and back then I would save the actual writing of the papers for last minute and it always worked out! Well true to form, I still like to schedule things in to my overfull schedule for production right at the last minute and for most of my adult life, I have had a tendency to put way too many things on the calendar and this year has been no different! It seems I just can't say no to anyone! Well, that isn't entirely true! I am getting better.

But this year, we have a new herd of Alpaca and as luck would have it, we had a severe swing in temps last Tuesday night and the drop to 20 degrees caused two of the newly moved girls to get diarrhea. Gross, I know, but all you need to know is that diarrhea is the one thing that can take an Alpaca down fast, so between Wednesday night and Sunday morning, ALL my free time went towards that! Oh and lest we forget I have a full time job at the University of Virginia! And I had a flat tire when I went out to leave for work on Tuesday morning that set me back a half day because by the time I got to the service station, they said I should probably get 4 new tires because mine were on the edge of not passing inspection which I needed by the end of Nov.! Falala-falala-falalalala - this is falalalala to the tune of Jingle Bells in case you were wondering!

I did not get to bed any earlier than 12:30 am through Sunday night and since my husband gets up at 5 for work, I have been working on 3 to 4 hours sleep for the past week! Even on the weekends, we are up at 6 because dogs just don't understand the concept of the weekend! So since I had to spend a couple extra hours in the barn each night after work, I didn't actually sit down to sew until Sunday afternoon! The good news is that I finished around 10:30 pm Sunday night, and mail doesn't go out from our little rural PO on weekends anyway! After an early Sunday morning call to the vet - he said we had done everything as we should because thank God this isn't our first rodeo - and a shot of Ivomec each for the girls later and all is well with the herd again!

I had bought my fabrics after work on Monday, Nov. 26 and I spent a couple late nights coming up with a design that I hoped the lovely Tori would like. She had told me she liked turquoise and purple, so I tried to work around those colors for a main theme. The hardest part about this swap was trying to design something for someone you don't know and all you have to go on is colors. If I am designing something just for the sake of designing, or coming up with something new for the shop, I am normally inspired from within or by something around me and I just go with it and then I hope someone will like it as much as I did while making it!

Here are the supplies I came home with Monday night.

And here are my calculations.

What do you think I will be? Stay tuned! As soon as I hear from Tori that the postman delivered, I will reveal the finished product!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A wonderful Thanksgiving and a fabulous giveaway!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was one of the best we have had in years! I finally broke down and bought a turkey roaster and all I can say is that I wish I had done it years ago! We have a very large turkey for Thanksgiving and I have a single wall oven, so needless to say it is a juggling act at it best! But this year was so easy! The turkey had its own oven - and it turned out fabulous - and the broccoli casserole and the naked sweet potatoes had the wall oven so NO juggling, No rushing, NO clock watching! Hooray for me!

I wanted to get the Nesco 18 Qt. but everyone sold out last weekend before I could get one, so I had to settle for an Oster 22 Qt. I was very hesitant to get an Oster brand because it didn't get the best reviews, but honestly, based on my experience, it had to be unseasoned cook's error because mine came out golden brown and juicy and so may delicious drippings we had more than enough gravy and plenty for everyone to take home for leftovers!

My table turned out just lovely this year. I always try to do something a little different and I think it was just perfect! What do you think? Those chocolate coins are for our two grandchildren. I always keep my eyes out for these and put them on their plates for major holidays. These were actually good this year. they were from the Netherlands and the chocolate was tasty!
Now for the giveaway! Kylie Parry from Kylie Parry beads is having a fabulous giveaway! She is one of my favorite ceramists and she is giving away a 'Birds of a Feather' Bead Set!

And she is not just giving away one of these beads above! This is what you get:
1 bird bead
1 feather pendant
1 egg charm
1 birds on a wire pendant
all tucked inside a cute gift pouch.

So make sure you check out her blog and also her Etsy Shop. You will probably not be able to leave without making a purchase! Especially, since she is having a sale too! Good Luck and many blessings!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What to do with all those sea shells!

I love the beach and I love to collect sea shells! I think I probably have way more shells than the average bear, but I still can't resist collecting bags of them when I am at the shore. Yes, those of us that grew up in New Jersey call the beach the shore! My family had a home on the bay in Stone Harbor, NJ which is in South Jersey about 60 miles east of where I grew up, so I was lucky enough to spend summers at the "shore" and I never knew it as anything but that until I moved south.

And even though I own bags and bags of shells, I have a hard time letting them go. For the past few years I have been part of an ornament swap and I have made 6 ornaments each year and I have to say, it takes some effort to come up with a fresh and unique idea for my ornaments. Last year I decided that as difficult as it may be, I would part with some of my shells to make my ornament for the swap. Well, it didn't take me long to figure out I needed to come up with a better idea. Not because my first plan didn't work, but because they were heavy as heck and would cost a fortune to ship all over and one of my ornaments had to go across the pond! So I decided to finish them and give them as my special Christmas Eve ornament to my two daughters-in-law, and a special gift to my closest family and friends.

I started by sticking a large Popsicle stick into solid Styrofoam balls then I coated them with white glue and then covered them with glitter. I used Martha Stewart Glass Glitter. and it was a mess but after they all dried for 24 hours, they were ready for the shells and the hot glue gun.
Many of my shells came from Sanibel Island in Florida - known as one of the top four shelling beaches in the world. We lived just minutes from Sanibel for two years and I was in heaven! During the month of February when the shelling conditions are at their peak, you can find the most amazing shells! Every tide brings in something special and new! As you can see below, I had plenty to choose from! And I also decorate with them. I found this huge ironstone bowl filled with those same shells at our local SPCA Rummage sale years ago for $6.00. What shell lover could pass that up even though she already had plenty!
During the process, I rested the balls in a small Pyrex dish while I picked the shells and then used a hot glue gun to add them to the glitter balls. I can't even begin to say how many times I burned my fingers as each shell had to be glued, one by one. It was so much fun digging through the shells to find just the perfect one to fit into the puzzle! It also brought back a lot of pleasant memories of time well spent walking many beaches! As you can see, each bag of shells has something to fit into every spot from large to tiny, tiny small!
I ended up making 7 and to finish them off, I added freshwater pearls and some beautiful braided cord for hanging. Six special people got one of these and I kept one for myself. I often wonder when I gift something that means so much to me if the recipient fully appreciates the gift, but based on the reaction of those who got these, I believe they did! Now I have to try to decide what to make for this year's special ornament. The ornament exchange is no longer happening, but my friend from across the pond and I plan to do our own exchange!
To give them a beautiful finish I also sealed each ball with polyurethane to bring out the color in the shells. I think it really made a difference. What do you think? Mine hangs in my family room from one of my wrought iron lamps all year long and every time I look at it, I think of shelling on the beaches of Sanibel Island and all those wonderful ladies that got one of my ornaments last year.

 A sea of shell ornaments!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Alpaca Heaven!

Today is our fourth full day since the herd moved in and I must say, I am loving my time spent in the barn in the mornings! Previously, my daily routine during the work week was get up at 6:30 (actually, I am always awake at 5 because that is when my husband has to get up to be at work by 7), drink my coffee while watching the financial news and then putzing around the house getting some things done to lighten the evening load.

Now I get up and enjoy my coffee and catch a few minutes of our local news, then head out to the barn around 10 minutes till 7. I find it may take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes and then I head in to have my cereal and juice while I get ready for work.I have to admit, I am probably much better off for not hearing about all the BAD news that I personally cannot do anything about! And I have been getting out the door at least 30 minutes earlier then I used to and that means getting home earlier on the evening! I actually got home before it was pitch black last night!

Now that we have gotten all the animals home, we need to focus on getting our 2nd pasture prepared and building another shelter for the boys! Humo del Fuego is just too darned randy so we need to get him out of eye shot of the ladies. Naughty, naughty, Humo!

My next chore is to get all of my fleeces sent out to the mill! I had every intention of getting them out before now, but I thought I was going to be able to take them over the mountain to Lexington to a new mill over there, but she can only process Huacaya Alapca. Is nothing ever easy! That is not only a major inconvenience, but it ups the price of the finished product because instead of 2 trips over the mountain, I have to pay for super expensive shipping fees. Suri Alpaca fiber is much heavier than Huacaya fiber, but is is so shiny and luscious!
I can't wait to see what these bags will become, but that is part of the holdup! Before it goes off to the mill, I have to fill out a separate order form for each fleece and I have to decide right then and there whether or not I want it to be simply washed and carded for roving or batts to sell to spinners or spin it myself, or if I want it washed, carded and spun and what weight do I want the finished product to be and do I want it mixed with something else like silk or merino wool. And that is just a few of the things I need to decide before it goes in the box to be shipped off!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Welcome Home!

Yesterday was the fulfillment of one of our big dreams here at Old Cedar Knoll Farm! It was time for the delivery of our Suri Alpaca herd. We had been hoping for this day for years; but we have been preparing for this day for months. Like many other days of late, the day started out with lots of tasks still to complete, but it ended exceptionally well!

Our barn stood ready and it was empty and clean. The original barn was easily 50 plus years old with a very pointed lean and Kevin had devoted most of the past two months dismantling and reconstructing it into a barn that would suit our Alpaca's needs perfectly. It now offers the perfect shelter from the wet weather that Alpacas require with a large rear stall in the back for the males, an extra large front stall for the females and a nice wide center aisle for caring for the animals needs and storage and a place to shear them come spring. When Kevin started to clean it out at the beginning of the project, I couldn't believe how much "stuff" was in that old bar - most of which was already there when we bought this place years ago! But the old structure was worth saving because the roof was sound with no leaks and all the old boards are rough sawn 5/4 oak. Boy I wish we had more old buildings like this on our property!

It was 1:30 in the afternoon when I received the text message from the folks we had bought the herd from that they were about 10 miles away, so it was time to put the dogs in the house and open the gate to our lane. I got my camera ready and waited for the sound of a truck and trailer coming up our gravel road. They had arrived!

Up to this point, I hadn't really allowed myself to get too excited about this new venture, but then it hit me! They were here!

We had laid out the pasture with a gate for the girls and a gate for the boys, so since the girls were in the back of the trailer, they got to get out first. They came right out and seemed to be happy from the minute they hit the ground!

They were no worse for the wear and the 90 minute ride and immediately did their business and starting checking things out and eating grass.

Needless to say, this made us feel extremely relieved and were now able to turn our focus on the boys. The Nulls had saved shots and worm treatments for two of the boys to give us a chance to get our hands on things right from the start, so we got in the trailer and had our first lesson in Alpaca husbandry!

Words can't express how we felt yesterday and how blessed we are that I can finally sit down and write this post. We have our work cut out for us finding our way and trying to turn this little venture to a profit, but I know we are in good hands.

Jeremiah 29:11 

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

And like yesterday, today was another exceptional day. Our son brought our two grandchildren over to see the 'Pacas as they call them and spending time with them outside and in the barn and around the farm just made me feel doubly blessed. They are two of the most wonderful little people you could ever want to meet and they are a part of what makes this whole journey we call life worthwhile. They are happy, enthusiastic and full of joy and always make Kevin and me feel so good about ourselves just for having spent time with them.

I think this last picture sums is all up for this weekend. Our grandson Tate just wanted to sit out in the middle of the pasture and be still so the 'Pacas would come visit us. I got to be his cushion and eventually our granddaughter Lyla joined us and I got to be her seat while we just sat there in the bright sunshine waiting for something magical to happen. But for me, the magic had already happened.

Psalm 118  

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

This Week's Featured Artisan!

 Featured Artist

This weeks Featured Artist is Regina Mcdonald - Chrysalis Designs by RM. Stunning creations, works of art you can wear! Quality handmade jewelry created by Gina. She truly has a gift in designing jewelry pieces! Her cuff bracelets are beautiful works of art and she now has beautiful upcycled vintage flatware, silver plated, serving piece bracelets too! All of Gina's designs are One of A Kind!

You can find Chrysalis Designs on:

Grab the code for your blog HERE
Are you On Fire for Handmade? http://onfireforhandmade.com

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Alpaca Hats

Many thanks to all of you have been calling us about our new venture! We are having such a wonderful time and the weather here in Central Virginia has been just beautiful this week so we are definitely blessed!

I finally had a chance to mock up my Alpaca hats for our Indiegogo campaign so I thought I would take a minute today to post some pictures of them both.

They turned out really nice and they are so very soft and would make great gifts for the skier in your life!
These hats are hand knit by my sister or me in worsted weight natural un-dyed mill spun alpaca. The Men's hats come in gray or brown and the Women's hats come in natural white or gray! 

 Order yours today at Bringing Home the Herd!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Amanda Makepeace Art

We have now received 2 of the 6 commissioned watercolor art cards from Amanda Makepeace Art and we are so excited to see the other 4!

I made Amanda's acquaintance two years ago via an Internet friend from the UK through her own Indiegogo Campaign. She was raising money to fund the purchase of art supplies and I really connected with her! My own background in the fine arts still has me longing to be that person that can spend her days through creative pursuits and her story just felt right! As the saying goes, everyone is brought into your life for a reason!

The perk for the donation I chose was 12 months of original watercolor art cards (ACEO's), and since watercolor is my favorite painting medium it was really a no-brainer for me to offer my support! Those twelve months were just wonderful and for me it was like getting a present in the mail every month and I loved every single art card I received!

During that year, I discovered that Amanda is not your usual watercolor artist. She is also a published visual artist and writer from just outside Athens, Georgia and I do believe that her first real love is Sci-Fi! She is happily living the dream and my life is much richer having met her - if only via the internet!

Below is an example of Amanda's amazing digital art from her Sci-Fi Genre. This work can be purchased through Fine Art America's Website and is especially intriguing! Please be sure to take a look, because her work definitely offers something for everyone!

Dragon Egg

When I approached Amanda about this project, she enthusiastically agreed to be a part of our dream and she immediately hit the mark with her sketches on all 6 ACEO's! I am anxiously awaiting delivery of the remaining 4 watercolors and if the first two are any indication, we are in for a real treat! They are being offered through our Indirgogo Campaign for a donation of $75.00 and they will arrive, matted, framed and signed by Amanda and just in time to make the perfect gift for that special someone in your life!

And thanks to Amanda's kindness, she has allowed us the use of the Copyright for print purposes so we can offer these wonderful paintings as a set of beautiful note cards for a $20.00 donation - another fabulous gift idea or a lovely treat to yourself! You can find all items here: Bringing Home the Herd

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Howl-O-Ween Contest!

In support of our Indiegogo Campaign, “Bringing Home the Herd” The Bea’s Knees is giving away three gift certificates to our shop including free shipping! This contest will run through October 30 and the winner will be picked on Halloween so get the word out and win a chance to do some early holiday shopping on us!
Our Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheBeasKnees

The prizes*:

$250.00 Gift Certificate – Bring in $500 or more in referrals.

$125.00 Gift Certificate – Bring in $250 to $499 in referrals.

$75.00 Gift Certificate – Bring in $50 to $249 to referrals.

*All participants who refer $50 or more will receive a set of 4 of our original Alpaca watercolor note cards!
1 of 6 different scenes!
To qualify, you must “Like” our Facebook Page “The Bea’s Knees” and be a follower of this Blog: www.OldCedarKnollFarm.com.

Contest Dates: October 19 to October 30, 2012

The winner from each category will be announced on October 31, 2012 using Random.org.

How it Works:

Like and share our campaign, “Bringing Home the Herd” from our Indiedgogo Page:

The way the technology works is that if you or someone (say Fan A) clicks on one of the Share Tools (let's say the Twitter button in this case), then Fan A will be directed to Twitter with a pre-populated message that includes a link to our campaign page, i.e. "Help make it happen for [Campaign Title] on @indiegogo http://igg.me/p/11111?a=22222&i=twtr". As long as Fan A is logged into an Indiegogo account when they use any of the Share Tools, the link will also include a special ID (a=22222) that ties the tweet to Fan A. Then when someone (say Person B) who is reading Fan A's tweets clicks on the link in Fan A's tweet about your campaign, a few things will happen:

1.    Person B is taken to your campaign page and a "View" is registered on your Analytics tab in the Summary section

2.    A "referral" is registered on your Analytics tab in the Summary section

3.    The "referral" is attributed Fan A on your Analytics tab in the Campaign Stats section

If Person B ends up contributing to the campaign, then Fan A will be recognized as helping us bring in the amount that Person B contributed in the Campaigner Stats section.

At the end of the campaign, I'll be able to see which fan has gathered the most funds through their efforts, including their own donation.

Important Note: Fan A can only be tracked as a "Campaigner" in the Campaign Stats section if Fan A is logged into an Indiegogo account when they use any of the Share Tools on our campaign. Fan A can also copy and paste the campaign URL displaying in their browser's address bar, as long as they are copying the URL that displays when they are logged into their Indiegogo account they get the credit!

Good luck and please fell free to contact me should you have any questions!

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's Official!

We have launched our campaign to help us Bring Home the Herd and you can view it here:

Indiegogo is the leading global platform for crowdfunding where anyone can raise money for film, music, art, charity, small businesses, gaming, theater, and more. Through Indiegogo, you set the tone for your fundraising through your video and with the perks you will reward through your campaign.

We have tried to have something for everyone while keeping the Holiday shopping season in mind. What could be better than shopping a local small business while you support a great cause!

Our grandson with one of the cria!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This Week's Featured Artisan!

This weeks Featured Artisan is Regina Plummer McDonald, better known as Gina, owner and designer at Chrysalis Designs by RM. Gina has beautiful creations and are all true works of art! You can find Chrysalis Designs on:






Grab the Code for your Blog HERE

Are you On Fire for Handmade? http://onfireforhandmade.com

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our First Baby!

We went to see the herd yesterday and we thought we were going to get to witness the birth of our first cria! Patience was due in a week or two, but when we were there yesterday, she looked like she was going to give birth. Patience is the one cushing on the right.

Here are a series of text messages we got mid-day today:

"Look what I found. Your first cria, a little boy born this morning at about 9:45 a.m."

 "Trying so hard to stand."

 "Mom, this is really hard work!"

"O.k., I'm up, now what do I do?"

"Figuring it all out."

 "Looking good!"

Isn't he handsome! They asked us if we had decided on a name yet and we have decided that he shall be Timothy. In Timothy, the Bible states that "Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life".(1 Timothy 1:15-17, NIV). We can't wait to see him!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Last Day of Summer

We are so fortunate to live in an area that has 4 distinct seasons! I have lived in the northeast and as far south as zone 10! Most people think zone 10 - which is sub-tropical - doesn't have seasons, but it too has 4 seasons. They just aren't as distinct and they somehow seem backwards! But you know when the Poinsettias are blooming in the landscape on Sanibel Island, FL that it is winter!

Dahlias from the garden in fall.

Fall arrives in Central Virginia tomorrow at 10:49 a.m. and although I am not a fan of cooler weather, I do love to see the changes that take place. The dogwood trees have just turned a beautiful crimson red  signalling the beginning of the end.

I will be heading out to a spinning retreat tomorrow - and it will be all things fiber - but for today, I think an ode to summer is in order!

The fiddle heads in spring.

Summer's lush foliage.

 Afternoons by the Koi Pond.

Little feet...sigh

 The Chickens

Goodbye, summer. We will miss you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...