I’m sitting here looking out the window at yet another rainy day thinking how wonderful it would be if it would rain like this in the Spring and Summer when crops are in the ground, or better yet..why isn’t it snow? Today is my birthday and over the last 53 years, it has actually snowed twice on November 23, in Virginia, maybe more but I can only remember twice. It’s been a good day. I won a contest so I’m receiving an Italian Stitch Dictionary which will be so cool. It looks like I might be doing some freelance writing but I don’t want to jinx this one by saying any more. I had to run errands so I took myself to a “to me from me because I love me” lunch (an only child will get this one first!) and I’ve spent some more time working on the website..all in all, it’s been a very good day!
The title of this post is Successes. Basically, I wanted to share with everyone how my last two events went. Last Thursday, I did a “Ladies Night Out” event hosted by Ashwood Gardens. It wasn’t super great but we did OK. Yesterday (Sunday) we did a private Holiday Open House and it was great as usual. Sales were down considerably but it was wonderful to see my once a year friends and spend time enjoying the fellowship that comes from being part of this community.
With me, success is not always about the dollars and cents earned in our business but the people that have become part of our extended farm family (wish I could put a shovel in their hands and introduce them to “mucking”). We have friends that are genuinely interested in what we do here at the farm. They enjoy the stories and share in our good times and sad times. Some of them love our works and our products, some of them are just friends that give us the emotional support. A lot of people don’t get it, they don’t realize that when they see us standing at a table full of soaps, lotions and the many handmade items, what goes into what they see. The ones that do are not only customers but friends. They want to buy from us, they want to be a part, in some small way, of what we are doing. Once that level has been accomplished..success is measured. Make no mistake about it..we brought in the bucks too but luckily we brought in so much more.
On a very sad note. One of our wholesale customers is Grayhaven Winery in Gum Spring, Virginia. Max and Dion are wonderful people and the whole family is actively involved in the Winery..including their dogs. “Mona”, one of their little “Frenchies”, who has been a member of their welcoming committee and over all good will agent, was run over by a truck yesterday and killed. Our hearts are broken for them and wish them love and hugs during what will be some hard days. Cheers little Mona!
Every year with the excitement of getting ready for events, we are always met with some of the same questions and logistics problems while preparing. It seems like each year the truck gets smaller! We never can quite get all of the necessary display stuff, products and the handtruck in at the same time. I honestly don’t know where all of this stuff comes from (could it be that I’m working my butt off making it?)..it seems to grow over night. Luckily, most of the events that we do are local, so we can drop off and run back to the farm to pick up more if need be. Did I happen to mention, everything seems to get heavier too? I know, I know, goats milk soap and lotion are heavy but fiber arts aren’t, unless I’m carrying a sheep! This getting older thing is definitely not for whimps!
This year, to make matters a little more tedious, my Mother is ill and has been in and out of the hospital. Being an only child seems to make it a little worse on me because I have no one to share responsibilities with, so I am spending a lot of time looking through the windshield. I am thankful that she only lives about an hour from here. She is at home now and I am recruiting her to help out with the packaging process. I though her helping might make her start to feel a bit better and I think I’m right. She normally works 8 hours a day 5 days a week and the really cool part about this..she’s 76! So being at home or in the hospital sick just about drives her crazy (and takes me right along with her!). I am hoping that this time, after almost 12 months of ups and downs, the Doctor’s have finally gotten it right.
So if you see or hear little from me over the next month you’ll know that I am running the roads, making product like crazy, taking care of Mom and doing events. If you’re driving down the road and happen to see a black F-150 that looks like it should be included in a “Pluggers” comic, blow your horn and say hi!
If you’re local, think about coming out and seeing us at some of the Events we have coming up..would love to see you! Check out the Events Page to see what’s happening between now and Christmas.
We have several sheep that are a very light shade of gray and I love to over-dye gray wool, so I found a pattern for a shawl that I really liked (wish I could share the pattern with you but I can’t seem to find it!) and decided that I would do an honest to goodness “Sheep To Shawl” project. Armed with 3 pounds of fleece from our sheep Ivy, I set out to find the perfect color..ta da! It was Landscape’s Salmon. I dyed the entire fleece and I fell in love. The spinning process was rather lengthy because I only have time to work on my own projects when I’m not spinning for an ordered or making goats milk soaps and lotions. It took almost six months to finish spinning the yarn..once the singles were done, I had to ply all of it..another month!
Finally, after setting the twist I was ready to start knitting. It took almost a month to complete the knitting process but I have to say, I am very pleased with the result. The next step was to add the fringe and these really cool hand painted wooden beads that I found at a vintage clothing store.
Now that it’s done, I’ve decided that it really isn’t a personal project after all and have made it my feature garment of 2009 to sell as a Christmas gift and unveiled her at the Fall Festival last weekend. I had a couple of skeins of yarn left over, thinking that someone might want to make a hat or mitts to go with it. The first person that walked up to our table bought the yarn to use for a lacy border on a blanket she had just finished knitting. The shawl did not sell but it probably will before the end of the Holiday season.
Here are a couple of photos that I’d like to share.
Participating in Fiber Arts Friday..click on the link and join in.
Thought that since it is a rainy day here and not much to Blog about, I’d post a couple of pictures. I’ve added my take on what they might be saying or thinking just to jazz it up a bit. I hope you enjoy!
"I know I'll get caught but that grass sure is greener!"
"Please don't make me get up..it's time for a little me time!"
"I've got to do something..even if it's bad!"
"Are you kidding???"
"I'm giving you my mean look..run damnit!"
" Oh dear Lord, what on earth is that dog doing?"
" Naomi: You're really comfortable! Ashley: Why me?"
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I love this life! Everyday there is so much to do and at times it gets to be overwhelming but all I need to do is spend some time with the critters and I remember why it is all worthwhile.
On a business note. I’ve received countless emails questioning why our lotions are not available on our website right now. Well that’s an easy one..they are all sold out. Next week I’ll be making up new batches and once they are ready, I’ll bring the inventory on the website up. Crazy season is upon us from now until December 24th, so inventory figures are subject to change by the minute.
Until tomorrow..speaking of tomorrow, it’s Friday, that means Fiber Art’s Friday..be sure to join in. Have a good evening!
For people who are waiting on shipments from us, they will go out this week. Sorry for the delay. It’s been a bit nuts here trying to get CSA orders shipped and dealing with soap cure time being off schedule but we’re getting it under control.
There are many of you who follow this blog that are members in the Fall Line Farms Co-op and have been our devoted customers since it began last November. I wanted to let you know that we will no longer be participating in the Co-op as a Producer. There many reasons why and this is not the venue to explain but I did want to let you all know that you can always order our products direct from us and delivery to the Richmond Virginia area will be free. Also, you can stop by the retail outlets we have and find our full line of products, except the Wool/Alpaca Socks, they would need to be ordered direct through us. Email us firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of retail outlets or any questions you may have.
I will keep you all updated on events that we will be participating in between now and Christmas. You already know what great gifts our goats milk soap, lotions and socks make – and they don’t break the bank! Please know how much we value your business and want to keep as many of you as customers as we can.
Speaking of products and business, I need to get to work on making soap and lotion today. Orders are backing up again.