Monday, November 30, 2015

Holiday Markets.

 I went back to Cloudland Station this weekend for a Holiday Market. It wasn't as big as the one last month. But still fun. I sold a lot of soap, 3 hats, a cowl, some head bands, 2 felted owls, dryer balls, and salves. Did pretty good. This is my booth.

My friend Stephanie let me borrow some of her things for displays. I love this wooden rack and the tins.

My Cedarwood Christmas soap. Isn't it pretty with the cedar on it? And it smells like Christmas too.

                               I sold the 2 hats in the middle!!! I'm making another like the one on the right.

So if you see anything here you'd like, it's all for sale. Just let me know. I will ship it to you!

I'm here in my studio this week, making more hats, needle felted sheep and pin cushions and dryer balls for the Holiday Markets and the Chatt. Valley Nazarene Church in Flintstone, this Sat. And next Sat. at Grace Episcopal Church in Chatt. If there is anyone local, come on out! Or come up from wherever you live. There will be so much see and buy!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Never again...

will I go to a restaurant on Thanksgiving day! Ever again! I'm not saying it's a bad thing for everyone, just me. And it was sort of my fault.

My sister is coming next week for a few weeks. I just thought we should wait til she got here to have Thanksgiving. Like a real family meal with more family. Because my daughter Abby and her husband Jason have to hurry and go to his parents at 4 to eat again, so they are rushed. Sounded like a good idea.

So then my mom decided we should go out for Thanksgiving. It was just going to be me, my husband and her. Then Tuesday, we talked about going on Wednesday instead, but we never totally sealed that deal. I was thinking that'd be better anyway, if we were going to go out. So on Wed. afternoon, mom called wondering where I was. I said home, why? She said we were supposed to have gone out to eat. And she fell asleep on the couch anyway. I said I never did get a for sure, so forgot about it.

So we ended up eating at Cracker Barrel on Thanksgiving day. At 11 am. With 523,324 other people and their whole families. It was CRAZY!! Seriously! I mean, OMG, it was crazy! People everywhere. Couldn't even get inside. Mom of course got there at 10:30, so she worked her way inside to get our name in. Then she got back outside and waited for us. We had our oldest grand daughter with us. And our youngest daughter Abby came too.

So we waited. And waited some more. Then we heard mom's name called over the loud speaker! It took us 5 minutes to get in to the desk. Then another 5 minutes to get to the table. She put us 5 people at the biggest round table in the back front. We were so far apart, we couldn't even talk.

Then they didn't have baked sweet potatoes or seasonal veggies. That's what I wanted. So ended up with chicken salad and apple slices on lettuce. Mom and Tiny had the turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie.

Anyway, I said that was my first time ever in a restaurant on Thanksgiving day and it would be my last. But mom said when me and my brother were littler, before my sister was born, we were in Ga. visiting family. Mom said she wanted to go back to Calif. It was near Thanksgiving. We had to stop at the only place open that day. It was a fish place. So we had fish and chops. I never knew that. So 2 times I ate out on Thanksgiving.

Long story, I know. Sorry. But there are several things I am thankful for. Like right now, walking on dry ground with regular shoes on. Not sloshing through mud with knee high boots. That will come next week though.

And a few really nice days. Nice enough to not have the wood stove going.

And I found a new nest where the hens are laying. Right on the very top of the round hay bale! perfect. They also lay eggs in the hay bales in the milk room.

It's supposed to be nice tomorrow for the 1st day of the holiday market at Cloudland Station! Maybe a 30% chance on Sunday. Maybe that will go down too.

I am all packed and ready for this weekend! I made 7 new soaps. Plus those I already had made.

And Olga is much better. A friend called after seeing her picture last week and told me some things I should do for her. She's looking much better. The scab fell off today. I think she'll make it. And I hope, if she is pregnant, that she won't lose the kids.

So I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. And have a wonderful weekend too!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Goofy Alpaca

I got all the kale I could get from the garden this morning. Then let the sheep and alpacas out in it. They could actually have gotten in there any time if they'd tried, because the fence leading out there wasn't even attached. But they are sheep. And alpacas. And not the brightest of God's creatures.

Can you see Sugar, the white alpaca? Can you see where he is? Not with the others in the garden. He could not figure out how to get out there. And he's right beside the opening to the right of him. But no, he was not going through.

He was making that sad alpaca noise the whole time, watching the others.

                                                                 He ran this way...

                                                                            and that way...  


                                                                     What a mess he is!

                                       Then finally, he figured it out! It was really simple, he said.

                                                      And all is well in the kingdom again!

I picked a bunch for the goats too, just to be fair. They love kale and it's so good for them. I already have some in the freezer. Plus the electric fence is around the older kale and the collards. So I can still pick it for a long time to come.

I'm kinda bummed about this weekend. Looks like rain, rain, and more rain both Saturday and Sunday. Both days of the holiday market at Cloudland Station. Even though the "artisans" will be inside the barn, people do not like walking in the rain. I hope it passes over us.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

And there's more...

 soap everywhere!

I made 2 more soaps yesterday. I don't know what happened to the first soap I started. But it took nearly all day. I had to add lye twice to it. And more oil. I added cater oil. It finally started to thicken up. And was drying as soon as I took the spoon out. Just weird. This has never happened to me before. I was going to make a rosemary-mint, but decided to go for a honey-oatmeal.

I came over to the studio this morning to check on it. It was SO hard! I didn't know if it was going to cut. But it did. It is perfect. I took this little piece to the sink and it's got really good lather already. And smell like honey. So I am well pleased with it.

                              So on the left is the cedarwood. On the right is the honey-oatmeal.

These are the 3 soaps I made last week.

On top is the Dragon's Blood. It has darkened considerably since I put it on the rack to cure. Smells so good.

In the middle is the Spiced Mahogany. It reminds me of Old Spice.

And  on the bottom is my special Apple Cider-Cinnamon. I usually use my own apple cider, but only had a gallon frozen. So last week I got some from Wheeler's Orchard at the farmer's market. I use it in place of water or milk. I added some ground nutmeg and cinnamon EO. I usually add clove EO but didn't have any. So I put some ground nutmeg and cinnamon on top. It smells so good.

And that's all the soap for now. I'll see how much I have left after this weekend's holiday market.

I made another hat from Amarillo's wool. Just knit all the way. Pretty, but I like the basket weave hat better. So I can take orders for it if anyone wants one like it.

Monday, November 23, 2015

More hats. And yarn. And soap.

 I am really loving my yarn swift! I don't know why I have never gotten one before. But it sure makes life a lot easier. I have been winding a lot of yarn lately. And knitting. I am addicted to knitting! I love it. It's about all I do anymore. And hats? Lots of hats.

This is yarn I hand spun from one of my ewes, Amarillo. It's SO soft and easy to work with.

I made this hat yesterday. And I still have lots left. I'll make a scarf or cowl to go with this. I've just discovered the basket weave technique. Is that what it's called? It's so pretty and easy to knit. Makes it have more texture.

And this is one I knit from the tan and white I bought at the fiber fair. I am also knitting a pretty cowl. But it's so boring. Just knit and knit. I cast on 30 so it's pretty wide. And I'm using huge needles so it's going pretty fast. But not fast enough. I got tired of knitting that so I knit the white hat.

And this is the chicory hat from yarn I bought at the fiber fair too. I made the fingerless gloves to go with this. And I also knit a cute little scarf. It needs to be blocked though.

More yarns I wound up today. It's so fun! My grand daughter, Chloe, did the face on the head, by the way.

SO I really think the bad bald spot on Olga's neck is from rubbing it on the stanchion. It already looks better since I haven't put her in it in a week. I was really worried about her. But other than this ugly spot, she's just fine.

I am making 2 more soaps today. A rosemary-mint and a cedarwood. I have 3 holiday markets the next 3 weekends, so I want plenty of soap. I'll have to make more oatmeal-honey too, but need more coconut oil.

And I want to make more lotion bars. Those are really good sellers at the markets. And so easy to make.

Y'all have a wonderful week! And a happy Thanksgiving!. I may not be back on here for several days.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What is this?

Can you see that on Olga's neck? I just noticed it yesterday. I have not seen this before. And I really don't know how long it's been there. Although I think it's just happened because I would surely have noticed something so big and horrible before, right? I saw it yesterday afternoon. I ran inside and got my calendula salve and slathered it on her. She immediately started scratching it off. So I wondered if it could be a hot spot? Then I remembered I had the sheep and alpacas in the back with the goats Sunday. When I was getting them out, Misha, the red alpaca, kicked Olga. I heard it and saw Olga walk away from him. SO I wondered if maybe he kicked the hair off her neck? Then I thought maybe it could be her stanchion. Her right side is against the wall, so I don't see that side in the milk room. Her stanchion is different than Freja's. I used it for horned goats. The top goes up and there's a piece that goes over it when it goes back down. Olga will try her hardest to get the top to go up just enough to get her head out. So I have to tie a piece of leather so she can't get it to come up. So I wondered if maybe she'd been rubbing it so much, she rubbed the hair off that place. It's at just the right spot to do it.

Then I remembered a call I had from a friend who has goats this summer. And it sounds like maybe it's what some of her goats went through. She spent about $500 on vet visits and lab work and still never found out what it was. She tried all kinds of things to help the goats. Not all her goats did this, just a few. She took those goats and put them in another barn and that helped. She said she used the strongest iodine she could find. It worked.

So I found my bottle of iodine and sprayed it on real good last night. Then again this morning. I hope it helps her. I just have no idea what it could be.

I wonder if anyone has ever seen this before in your goats? And what did you do about it? This is the only place she has like this. My friend said all her goats had it on their backs or sides. She has horses too, so thought maybe a horse was taking a chunk out of the goat's hide.

Monday, November 16, 2015

It came!!!

I ordered a yarn swift last Thursday from Knit Picks. It came today! I am so excited to finally have a swift! I've already wound up a ball of hand spun yarn and I love it. It's so much easier than laying the skein down on the table and it getting all tangled up. Or having my poor husband hold a skein in his hands so I can manually wind it up into a ball. I am sure this will be used a lot!

I also made my first ever finger-less gloves. I made a hat with this same yarn, so decided to make a set with hat, gloves and a scarf. I think the gloves could have been longer? What do you think? I've never made any before, so I am learning. And I knit them flat and sewed them together. I think next time I'll go ahead and knit in the round. And make them a bit longer. But it was fun and I will be making more.

What have y'all been working on? It's just the right knid of weather for knitting. Or crocheting. Or quilting. Or just making. Right?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Hand knits. And more soap.

Yesterday, I got to make 3 batches of soap! 2 that morning, then another when we got home. We went to the dump, with a truckload of junk that I cleaned from the house.

So I made Spiced Mahogany and Cedar Safron first. They are on the left. Then when I got back home, I made more Dragon's Blood. It is not black like the first batch I made last month. I wonder why? I can't remember which crock pot I used the first time. But one cooks hotter than the other one. I used the slower one last night for this soap. Maybe it'll darken up as it cures? I will see. I hope it comes out of this mold too. My niece made it and it's a bit tall and goes in a little at the top. Makes it hard to get the soap out.

I had to buy a new scale and another stick blender too. This makes the 4th one so far. I still have the 3rd one, but it's a bit slow. But the new one is a Hamilton-Beach and is super fast. On both speeds. I have to hold the lid up so the soap doesn't splatter me. I did get some lye under my left thumb nail. Really feels like a bad burn. Not fun.

Tomorrow, I'll make 3 more soaps. Have to get ready for 3 holiday markets. Gotta get busy!

I made 2 pockets for my sweater. Just have to get them sewn on now. And I need a really big button. Big.

 This is a hat I knit with some of the yarn I got at SAFF. It's a pattern I found in Taproot magazine that I really love. It's so easy to follow the pattern too. And the other hat I knit I sold.  It doesn't really capture the pretty color in this picture. But I love it.

 And some leg warmers I knit with my ewe Darla's wool. They are so heavy and think and man are they warm! I love them. When I was about halfway done with the first one, on the left, I thought it might be a good idea to write down what I was doing. So the 2nd one is a bit bigger. I must have used a bigger needle, which I forgot to write down. But I actually like it better. It goes on easier and is not so tight at the ankle. So I am learning as I go.

Also on my sweater, I learned to bind off on larger needles. I did not know that on the neck or bottom, that's why they are tighter and won't stretch like I want. So little things like that make it easier. Also, to use a smaller needle when doing the ribbing.

So, off to spend the day with my mom. And a few errands. And lots of shopping! Which reminds me, I bought a pair of jeans yesterday in size 16. I didn't try them on at the store. I put them on this morning, and they fit!!!!!!!! So down from a size 20, sometimes 22, to a 16! Cool, right? I would love to be at least a size 12 by March though.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Just busy busy! And a sweater.

This is the first day in weeks I have bee home all day. So this morning, I told my husband to back the truck up to the kitchen door. I started in the laundry room. Took load after load of trash and junk out to the truck. Then went into the tv room. More and more junk went to the truck. Also in the kitchen. So now the truck is just about full and ready for a trip to the dump.

I also have about 20 gallon jugs and 9 2 1/2 qt jugs for my friend Sarah, who has milk cows. I don't need all those jars with just 2 goats. Also will take her all my grains for making bread, which I will not be making anymore. I'll keep the oats. But she can have the rest. That cleared out the laundry room and I can actually fold clothes in the now! And see the floor! And after I take all those jars to Sarah, I'll have a whole empty counter! Feels SO good to get rid of so much junk.

AND, took 2 huge bags of stuff out of the bathroom. Good grief, where does it all come from?

Mow to get the son-in-law over here on a nice day to move some furniture out of the tv room. It really feels good in there now, but will be much better with the desk out. And the pie safe and table over here in the studio.

I have been working on my sweater at Mrs. T's and doctor's offices. I am finished with the sweater. Have it all woven in. I need to sew on a big button. And it needs blocked again. I also want to make 2 pockets. I learned a lot knitting this sweater. Like how to pick up stitches. How to make a button hole. How to increase. There are a lot of mistakes in the ribbing. I also learned to bind off using a larger size needle. Didn't know that on the neck and the bottom. But I did on the front sides. I think I might go ahead and start another sweater. I just love knitting now!

It's getting cold! I hope my husband made a fire in the stove when I go back over there. It's cold in the studio. Don't know what I'll do for heat over here. I think I might get one of those radiator heaters. There are 3 wall heaters in here, but goodness, they sure make the electric bill go sky high. There used to be a little wood heater over here, but when we put the new roof on, they covered the pipe hole. That'd be a lot of work heating this with wood.

I had a call from the event coordinator for Cloudland Station today. They are having a holiday event Nov. 28 and 29 from 12-7. She wanted to know if I'd be interested in coming again? Yes, I would! So I have got to get busy making more soap now. That'll be 3 holiday markets in a row I need to go to.

So just wanted to stop in and say hello. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. And that your week is awesome!

Thursday, November 5, 2015


is what I have to knit. I bought the exact same yarn and got the pattern with it. It's an alpaca, angora and silk blend yarn. It's beautiful and soft and amazing! BUT, I need help reading this pattern. Because I have to start at the top in the middle. So the next knitting class I take is going to be on how to read a pattern. Because I really really want to knit this shawl. Like really bad. And it cost me $45. So I have to knit this shawl. They of course said it was really easy. And that I could do it. Ya think? I love it!

                                       It looks white in these pictures, but it's a really soft gray.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

So many sheep. And goats.

This is the sheep and goat arena at SAFF. SO many sheep! All colors and sizes and breeds.

This is a Romney ram. For sale. Isn't he handsome? I love the color. That's my dream, to have a Romney ram this color to breed my Finn sheep with. One day.

                                                       All Romney rams. And for sale too.

This is a Shetland. She's beautiful. I love their faces. They have such sweet faces and the colors are all so different on each one.

                              A Tunis. I love them too! I love their red faces. And look at those ears!

                                     I think this is a Shetland ram here. This is my favorite color.

And some sheep with dread locks!! How cool is this? I think these are a Wenslydale-Teeswater cross. Love it! They are cool and they know it!

                                                 Then I think this guy is a Cotswold? So cool!

                               And a few sheep. Isn't this color amazing? And they are SO soft too.

And this one! I wanted to take this one home with me, just so I could run my hands through the fiber all the time.

So so many sheep. They were all beautiful and their wool was just amazing.

With all the rain we've been having here, my sheep's wool is so clean and pretty. That's the only good thing about the rain right now. I can see the crimp and color so much better when it's wet.

But, days like these, I want to just sell all my animals and the farm and move to a high rise condo in the middle of Chattanooga. I HATE the mud and much and mess of it all. And it's just November. It's going to be like this til June. UGH!!! Seems like fall and winter has been like this now for years. I just hate it. I just slip and slide all over. I'm trying to lay old hay along the paths where the animals and I have to walk all the time, to make it a little easier. But then I'm sneezing and itching all over.

Speaking of hay, I have to get another round bale for the sheep and more squares for the goats. I gave Inga and Alva to my friend Cara, so just have Freja and Olga and the stinky buck. I have to get rid of him now. He's just not friendly at all. But I have about 4 months to find a home for him. And I need to make sure the girls are bred too.

I hope it's a little drier where y'all are. It's going to be in the 70'2 here! At least it's warm.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Oh the colors!

 Color overload! Just look at all these amazing colors!

My niece Jill and I went to SAFF this weekend in Asheville, N.C. It was SO fun! So much to see and touch and smell. I was in fiber heaven, let me tell you. Just amazing. So many wonderful creative people there.

Just feast your eyes on all this fibery goodness!

                                         This is the back of Jill. looking at a beautiful sweater.

It was almost too much to see. And not enough time! And every time we'd walk back through the same place we'd just been, we'd see more that we missed the first time.

We didn't even go to the alpaca and llama barn or the fleece barn. Just so much to see and do. It was amazing. I can hardly wait to go back next year.

I got some yarn and roving. And a beautiful kit to make a shawl. I'll show all that later. And some beautiful sheep.