Thursday, February 25, 2010

Birthday Celebration Collection

In honor of my daughter's 13th birthday, this is my "Birthday Celebration" collection!
Leave a comment and vote for your favorite Etsy item, that is not your own.  The winner will be posted here, in next week's announcements, and on my FB page!


Ellie Party Hat by Send A Celebration
Queen of Hearts by 3 Rexes Jewelry's Shop
Butter Cream by Creative Calamities
Pink Shawl by Style Knitting
Love You To The Moon by Art of Silver
Celebrate Good Times Party Pin by Miss Chuga
Hand Milled Everything Soap by Eye of Diamond 
Primitive Shabby Cottage Wood Star by Bacon Square Farm
Fingers by Avocado 21
Party Hat Pattern by Precious Patterns
Party Decorations by Kategreiner Shop
PIF Lovley Double Shirl by The Bear Foot Shaman
Boutique Crochet Hat by LL's Creations
Acony Belle Necklace by Lala Design Studio
Celebration Cupcake Bow by Tweet Tweet Boutique
Ossie Teddie Bear Pattern by Purely Neysa 2

The Secret Language of Birthdays (reissue)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winner - Felted Slippers!

Congratulations ing00te - the winner of this week's contest!

Thank you to everyone who participated!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Life Is Like A Box of Chocolates

I stayed up last night and watched Forrest Gump, what a great movie!  I turned it on in the middle, then watched it to the end, then when the movie started over watched the beginning.  Not a great way to watch a movie, but I had seen this one before.  I don't usually like to watch movies a second time but this one is definitely worth a second or third or fourth time through!

Forrest Gump (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition) 

I love this quote by Forrest Gump -
"Mama always said life was like a box a chocolates, never know what you're gonna get."

I found a website full of Forrest Gump Quotes.  I wish I could keep life so simple.

Alpacas do help us to keep life a little simpler.  Their needs are very basic and we enjoy the little things about them, their different personalities, the little ones playing, their curiosity, the anticipation of babies coming after almost a year of waiting.

They are not venturing out of the barn very far - there is no place to go with this deep snow.  They will be glad to see Spring, me too!

The picture on the left is Serenity and Dream, Unlimited Joy is on the right.

My daughter and I built a snowman yesterday.  We have had so much snow this winter, I'll take snow over brown and gray any day, but it really hasn't been very packable.  There is nothing like some warmer temperatures and a little rain to make the snow right for building a snowman!  In fact we built this guy in the rain!

So it's Monday morning.  I've rinsed some fiber that I dyed over the weekend, mixed dye for two new dye pots and put them on the stove to steam, loaded the dishwasher, wiped the counters, swept the floor, emptied the trash (no one else seems to notice when it is overflowing), cleaned up the cat vomit on the basement stairs, made the bed, read my meditations, put in a load of laundry, answer a few e-mails, see who had voted on my Winter Blues Treasury, and addressed an envelope so that I could mail my North Union Farmers Market application.

 I ate breakfast, read an article in my Alpaca Magazine, showered, and got dressed!  I usually like to be dressed before I tackle the day, but it didn't happen that way today.  There definitely are perks to working out of my home, but there are challenges, like keeping on task for instance.

Working from Home 

By the way, my farmers market, alpaca show, and fiber festival schedule is now posted under News on our website. So is our Birthing Schedule, our first two babies are due mid-April! 

These are a couple of our babies born in the past, Meiko on the left and Marshall on the right.
It is an exciting time and so amazing to me each and every time that the birth of a baby happens just the way it is supposed to - a miracle every time!

In the dye pot today, I'm using Azalea, Daisy, Cornflower, and Hibiscus, colors from the Gaywool collection.  I am dyeing suri from an alpaca named Stormy Night.  Be sure to check back to see how it turns out.  Once thoroughly dry, I will package it in bags of 8 ounces for sale at upcoming shows.  I will also list it in The Farm Store on our website and in my Etsy Shop.

If you are wanting to try Gaywool dyes, you might want to experiment with the Try Gaywool Kits on our website. They also are available in jars of 100 grams (3.52 ounces) and 80 grams (3.82 ounces).

This is the yarn produced from the dye kit pictured.  It is a sport weight 100% suri alpaca, very lustrous and silky.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Winter Blues Treasury

This was fun - my very first Treasury!  Etsy friends will know what I'm talking about, items handpicked by the Etsy community, usually with some kind of a theme.

Leave a comment and vote for your favorite item, that is not your own.  The winner will be posted here, in next week's announcements, and on my FB page!

The Singing Bird by ArtMind
Dragonfly Moon by kellscreations
Superman by AlpacaMeadows
Custom Striped Blue by 1kybele
Child's Hand Crocheted by AlpacaMeadows
Needle Felted Wool Tapestry by darialvovsky
Delft Blue Brim Beanie by ummashin
 Fine Silver PMC Nature Inspired Maple Leaf by LHCollection
The Society of Crocus Enthusiasts by LisaKaser
Handknit All Cotton Spa by DoraArtDesign Studio
Emery Pincushion by LoveLaurie
Felted Slippers by ing00te

"Winter Blues" Treasury by Alpaca Meadows

What is Etsy, anyway?  It is an online marketplace for all things handmade - whether you are a buyer or a seller, it is definitely worth checking out!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

'Paca Baby Boots and Hats - FREE Patterns


A new baby, little Kiptyn Robert, was born in our family, to my brother and sister-in-law, on January 12, my father's 79th birthday!  It had been almost 13 years since my daughter was born and she is the youngest granddaughter, so it was great fun anticipating and welcoming the birth of this little guy!

Neither my son, or husband, or daughter wanted to hold him, in case he might break!

 Grammy insisted.

I got inspired to make baby booties and hats, with alpaca yarn of course!

This is Cub Scout and Masterpiece and Sultan to the rear, three of our boys born last Fall.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blue Hands, Blue Locks, and Bluebirds

Not a very exciting picture, but it was another day of dyeing and I soak my fiber or yarn in soapy water before it goes in the dye pot.  This opens the scales and allows the fiber to more readily accept the dye.  Dyeing In A Dye Pot With Gaywool
is an earlier post if you're looking for help with dyeing.

Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece: Custom-Color Your Favorite Fibers with Dip-Dyeing, Hand-Painting, Tie-Dyeing, and Other Creative Techniques

This is a book that might also be helpful.

That was tricky, taking a picture of my hand, I've not done that before. 
Being a short person, I also have short arms, short legs, short fingers, and short everything else.  Try extending your arm and getting your hand far enough from your body that you can take a picture of it.  It is not easy - at least for me!

Enough of that silliness! Why don't I put on plastic gloves? It is such a simple solution . . . but it would involve a trip back to the barn to retrieve a pair and it was 9 degrees last night when I came home and my hair is still wet this morning. Do you know what I'm saying? You're with me on this right?

So, the fiber has been dyed and is now soaking in a sink full of water.  I will soak, squeeze out the water, refill the sink and soak again, until the water is clear.

I then spread the fiber out on screens that are elevated off the floor with recycled styrofoam boxes. This allows the air to circulate both above and below. I have a ceiling fan I turn on which speeds the drying process. Even when it is dry to the touch, I will leave it on the screens 3-4 days or longer to be sure it is dry throughout.

The Gaywool color that I used is called Bluegum.

I often will dye my seconds, fiber I wouldn't spin into yarn, mix some colors together and package it to sell.  Felters love it for embellishing, dollmakers use it for doll hair, it can even be used for weaving. 

Creative Cloth Doll Faces: Using Paints, Pastels, Fibers, Beading, Collage, and Sculpting Techniques


My daughter thinks I eat, breathe, and you know what . . . fiber!  Well we do have 40+ alpacas and I do have a lot of fleece and I am a fiber artist - what else would I do?!

My mom pays a friend to help me clean once a month, bless her pea pickin' heart!  It keeps me sane.  To have some sense of order and know that at least once a month, the house will get cleaned.  However, my friend has had two vacuum cleaners bite the dust at our house.  She said she thought it had to do with the animals and all the fiber - do you think?  It can be found many places . . . It might be getting . . .








Hung to Dry




Or you might see me sitting at the computer, where I spend way too much time, listing finished items for sale. 
Can you understand why I don't have time to clean?

More blue . . .

Just listed on Etsy under 'Paca Baby!

I found a Sizing Chart I thought was helpful when determining what age infant these would fit.

Crochet Precious Baby Booties 8740501

Now about the bluebirds.  I love bluebirds and I saw a whole group of them outside my kitchen window this morning!  They are such a vibrant, beautiful color.  It's a special day when I see bluebirds.

The Bluebird Book: The Complete Guide to Attracting Bluebirds (A Stokes Backyard Nature Book)

I must get the bluebird houses that my dad made for me cleaned out.
Sparrow-resistant Bluebird House 

The mythology of the bluebird has deep roots that goes back to thousands of years. Indigenous cultures across the globe hold similar myths and beliefs about the bluebird. It is the most universally accepted symbol of cheerfulness, happiness, prosperity, hearth and home, good health, new births, the renewal of springtime, etc. Virtually any positive sentiments may be attached to the bluebird.

Barbara Dunn, Field Editor, for Birds and Blooms Magazine has written an article called True Blue FriendsShe feeds and photographs "those heavenly blue, angelic birds that make me feel like one of the chosen ones."  She even raisies meal worms to feed them, really, I might have to try it.  I do like bluebirds!

I also found an article on building a Bluebird House and Bluebird Facts that I thought were interesting.   These are the facts I like the best.

Bluebirds are family oriented. The courting male dotes on the female, waving his wings, enticing her to select a nest site and offering her treats.

Male bluebirds courageously guard the box during nest construction.

Male bluebirds deliver food to incubating females and participate equally in feeding nestlings and fledglings.

How sweet!

Bluebird Secrets is an article with tips on how to attract bluebirds to your own backyard!  If you want to know how to raise mealworms, you can find this out here too.

I guess some people eat them too - oh dear, I'm digressing.  Find out more on the USDA Agricultural Research Service website.
  And a little bluebird ditty . . .

Though you're deep in blue, You will see a ray of light creep through,
And so remember this, life is no abyss, Somewhere there's a bluebird of happiness. Life is sweet, tender and complete, when you find the bluebird of happiness.

- Bluebird of Happiness, lyrics by Edward Heyman & Harry Parr Davies, 1934

Jan Peerce sings the song "The Bluebird of Happiness" which was an enormous hit in its day. "The Bluebird of Happiness"

And about the bluebird of happiness.  It is the most universally accepted symbol of cheerfulness, happiness, prosperity, hearth and home, good health, new births, the renewal of springtime, etc. Virtually any positive sentiments may be attached to the bluebird.

A great read for Spring . . .

What Bluebirds Do

What Bluebirds Do

Be sure to visit Dave's Bird Watching Blog
It is quite interesting. 
He has pictures of bluebird fledglings and videos of 
Bluebirds Feeding Nestlings
 and Bluebird Eating From Hand.

Bluebird Art - Baby Blue Print

I found this bluebird artwork by Amber Alexander.  Check out her Etsy shop at
Amber Alexander's Shop - she does incredible work!