Work as Flow – August studio update

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

-Lao Tzu
I finally finished the 3ply BFL (Blue Faced Leicester sheep wool) I started over the winter! To show just how grand a 32oz bobbin really is, here it is beside the bobbins for my Lendrum and Electric Eel Wheel

Flowing through the Rest of my Summer

Part of my plan to live more intuitively, is to make adjustments to how I structure – or should I say – flow through my day. For the past few weeks I’ve been making a conscious effort to ask myself, “What do I want to do now?” rather than, “I have to do this first”. Of course there are appointments and obligations that I have to keep, but aside from that I will go through a list of the tasks or projects I would like to accomplish in a given day and see what “speaks” to me.

It’s hard to resist the urge to tackle the chores that seem more important, more responsible and more pressing, so that I can get them off my plate to do what is more desirable. The better I got at listening to my inner voice and doing what I desired first, my day would not only flow perfectly, but I struck a good balance between doing tasks I enjoy and doing tasks that are part of life that need to be done. More was being completed and I felt more balanced and accomplished by the end of every day.

I am by no means perfect at it, but I found the latter part of July went much smoother than the first half. I got so much done! Once I started aligning my day by feel rather than expectation, I found even the most mundane tasks would pop in my head to say, “Okay, it is now the right time to switch to (enter chore here)”. Hopefully I can keep it up. I’m excited to see what August has in store. No expectation. Just going to let it happen.

Highlights This month:

  • Engraved Awareness charms are now available on Etsy
  • Tiered and bulk pricing is now live on the website
  • Add a gift note to your order
  • New products both on Etsy and here on the website
  • Product videos – coming soon!
  • Fiber braids – coming soon!

Engraved Awareness Charms on Etsy

Now Available: Tiered and Bulk pricing

I’m really excited to have tiered and bulk pricing set up on the website. It finally came to me just how I would like the pricing to be structured. Let’s take a look at it more closely as the options are different depending on what you buy.

Bulk Discounts

screenshot of a listing to show an example of a bulk discount
An example of a bulk discount: buy multiples of an item and save

Bulk discounts are available if you buy 2 or more of an item. The price gets lower the more you buy. If you see an item and would like to purchase more than what’s listed, it’s worth asking me if I can make more. The price gets cheaper the more you buy.

Tiered Discounts

An example of a tiered discount. Purchase 1 item at regular price and receive discounts on subsequent items from the same listing

Tiered discounts are on products where you buy 1 item, then save on subsequent items from the same product listing. This usually occurs on products that have several options for customization. The above example is from the product listing Custom Charm Necklace with Engraved Letter Charm – Animals & Insects. You will have to add the items to your cart to see the discount. If you don’t see an option in the listing for bulk pricing, then tiered pricing will come into effect.

Discounts for Yarn and Fiber

An example of discount pricing for handspun yarn

Yarn discount pricing applies to any items purchased from the handspun yarn category. Since I very rarely have more than one of each skein, it only made sense for the discount to apply to any yarn in the category. This will also apply to fiber braids when they come available (for more on that, keep reading…).

Sale/Clearance Discounts

Items where there is 1 left will be moved permanently to the Sale/Clearance category

Any items where there is only 1 left and will be retired after sold, will be moved to the sale/clearance section until sold. I’ve also decided that any items that I create that there is only 1 of, will be available on Etsy only. I find these items better suited to Etsy as they get more views quickly.

I still will be running sales from time to time on top of the built-in discounts, or in replacement of. I wanted to be sure the opportunity was always there to save instead of waiting for a sale. If you are a small business in Canada looking for stock I can do better with wholesale pricing. Fill out this form to inquire.

Adding a Gift Note to your Order

Etsy already gives an option to add a gift message to orders, and I’d say the majority of orders I get are for gifts. I have changed the wording to the “order notes” section in the checkout to give a place for customers to write a small message to go with their order. I will include your message in a small handmade note card. Usually I handwrite these messages, but if you include special characters then they will be printed on a label and included that way. I’m happy to offer this little extra free of charge.

Where you will find in the checkout the place to add your gift message

New Products for August

These items are also available on Etsy. The Teacher Clip on charm and Engraved Celtic clip on charm are revamps.

New Products – Etsy Only

The following products are available on Etsy only, and they are OOAK (One of a Kind) or only 1 left (usually made up of charms I have had leftover from past custom work either personal or for customers):

I’ve been catching up with photographing new products so I hope to have many more items available in the coming month.

Coming Soon

Fiber braids! I’ve started photographing my available braids of fiber (mostly merino top, with a few exceptions) to start listing for sale, and I’ll have much more once I start dyeing commercial yarn. I like to dye fiber in tandem to either test the color or to use up excess dye. I’m going to put the fiber up for sale hereon the website only first, and gauge the interest. Price is a struggle especially with inflation and Canadian shipping charges. I usually don’t get paid for my time. I hope to have a few up by next month’s update.

Finally, I will be adding a short video of products to the listings. This option is already available on Etsy, and I thought it was such a shame that I was not offering the same visual representation here on the website. Once I get it set up I’ll start adding videos to the products. It’s not for every product, particularly some of the older ones, but I’ll work toward filming those in the future. As a visual person, I know I appreciate seeing items in “real time” as video gives a better idea of size, how it moves/wears, etc.

That was one heck of an update! I hope you are inspired to try to flow through your day, if only for a portion of it.

Until next time,

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Joyous Jubilant Jam-Packed July: Fun in the Sun and Soaking in the Inspiration

“Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.”

– Lao Tzu
Here in the Annapolis Valley, you know it’s officially summer once the strawberries are available! We enjoyed picking a flat of no-spray berries

July Update

As with most of our lives these days, June did not go as planned, at least with my creative endeavours! I had laid out a plan of what to update, what to revamp, re-price and how to execute it all, but per usual, the creativity had other plans. Mostly, it’s taking me a lot longer to finish the goals I had laid out for the month of June. Things weren’t, shall we say, cooperating. Projects would take a completely different turn. On top of it all I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garden (something I should have anticipated!) and on (much needed!) day trips with the fam.

In the end I decided to go with the flow. I’m enjoying the refinement of some older products and listings here on the website. I have some new features coming to make shopping simple, easy & affordable. I don’t mind that it is taking me longer as I think it will be a benefit long term.

New Products/Features

One of the biggest epiphany’s I had last month, was that I want to concentrate on making the website more about bulk ordering and Etsy would be the place for individual products. Not to say you can’t order just one thing here on the website, I want the option for discounts up front if you were to order more than one product. To go even further, I have set up a contact form for wholesale/bulk orders for small businesses, events or fundraisers that would be interested in my creations.

Offering bulk ordering sets me up for my future goal to offer my products to local and small Canadian businesses in the future, and reward shoppers in general for supporting my work.

The first step was to try out a new bulk pricing plugin and I now offer bulk discounts on my engraved advocacy charms. It takes a bit to come up with the proper pricing, but I am happy with the outcome. I also revamped the advocacy charms to a more simple design/offering, as that seems to be the most preferred, and easier for me for bulk orders. I manually engrave these charms at time of order which can be time consuming as well as very hard on my already bad shoulder. It was important for me to streamline the design to something I could execute quickly.

New Cool Tool: E-spinner

I mentioned in a past blog post that I was considering an electronic spinner. I went for it with an affordable design from Dreaming Robots! I had my eye on this tool since first seeing it on Instagram a while back. I also had plans to buy a SpinOlution e-spinner since I own the parts that would work with it already, but they never got back to me as the best way to order it and have it delivered to me in Canada. So for now, we’ll stick with Maurice’s wonderful design that is a dream to work with! I even bought the battery pack her recommended so now I don’t even have to contend with plugging it in when I use it.

Bonus: I really wanted a yarn counter to make dividing up my yarn for sale more easy, so I got one of those too!

I will have to do a post just on these tools at a later date: simply no time at the moment. But do head over to Dreaming Robots website and check it out.

On Sale/Discounts This Month

I’ve been so busy playing around with new features on the website, I didn’t feel inspired to run a particular sale or coupon code this month, but you can always check out what’s in the sale/clearance section or see what’s on sale on Etsy.

Okay! Back to it!

Until next time…

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Welcome Productive June (I hope!)

When presented with two choices, pick the third.

– Unknown

I’m sure I have not quoted the original of that saying properly, thus why I could not find the original source, but it describes me perfectly. I love the road less travelled, stomping down my own path and finding new ways to approach life and its challenges.

June has to be one of my favourite months of the year. It’s the winding down of some activities, such as my children’s schooling, and the start of new projects, such as growing season! I also get the itch to dye fiber and yarn since it dries so beautifully outside in the warmer temps. More about that later…

I love saying hello to my Hummies again! They started coming back mid-May, and we’ve counted 7 thus far. I adore hummingbirds, and these ones are hungry from their journey north! I feel like I am constantly refilling the feeders with sugar water! LOL!

June Studio Project Update

I’m afraid this update won’t be terribly interesting except to prove I am still alive and well. I wish I had an update full of new goodies to share, but I’ve been concentrating on starting my garden as well as refining the products I currently have. I’m also working towards my goal of offering more bulk and wholesale items to hopefully support local markets/small businesses in the future. I’ve also been doing some much needed updating and refining of the website…just like every month. 😉 When you have your own platform vs selling on a platform, it’s a ton of work. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love having my own little corner of the internet.

I’ve got a good pile of commercial wool yarn to dye. Unfortunately, I did not successfully find a Canadian supplier, so I ordered from the US instead. Hoping to find a Canadian supplier in the future.

I ordered a few more skeins to add to the commercial yarn I previously purchased for dyeing. I made a fairly sizeable investment (at least for me) in commercial yarn so that I could offer commercial indie dyed yarn along side my handspun. Fingering, DK and worsted weight merino or merino/nylon mixes, and some 100% cotton as well. I’m finding I’m a bit apprehensive to get started. I’m working towards having a group of colorways that I could replicate vs my typical OOAK (one of a kind) stuff. Luckily I’ve done a ton of dyeing over the years and have taken good notes so I think I have some good to go. That said, I want to take my time to do things correctly and that usually means I end up procrastinating. I know I have to just…jump in there, but that perfectionist in me is always afraid to get started.

I went through my supply closet and found I have quite a bit of handspun yarn for dyeing – even some boucle I completely forgot about. This will be fun to work with

I think once I get the massive amount of 3-ply BFL spun that I can use for the test dyes I’ll feel much more prepared to start. I haven’t spun in a few days due to getting struck down with a major migraine. I am totally bummed: the last time I had this bad a migraine was in January, right after Christmas, and I was becoming confident that my new regime was finally going to rid me of these debilitating headaches. I normally get one a month, so to go almost 6 months without one is huge! I really wish I had access to a hyperbaric chamber, as my migraines are due to a head injury, I think that would help immensely with healing once and for all. After 28 years, I’m anxious to get rid of these once and for all, and not through pharmaceuticals which just mask the issue.

Personal Projects

What creative projects will you be working on at the cottage or poolside this year? Or maybe you are preparing to do some winter knitting in the southern hemisphere. I’m going to do some simple projects in the evening, to use up odds and ends yarn. Below is an example of odd and ends knitted up in a pair of worsted weight socks.

I love to knit worsted weight socks as they work up fast! I don’t even bother to block them anymore: just throw them into the sock drawer and wait for winter

Every so often I purchase a pretty fingering weight sock pattern that I vow to do but truthfully I am so tired in the evenings I’d rather work on something simple and automatic. Lately I’ve been doing socks since I have a basic pattern that fits my feet memorized and I can finish a pair of worsted weight socks in 2-3 evenings. I even do toe-up so that I don’t have to do that dreaded kitchener stitch.

A few of my other worsted weight socks I’ve made, hand-dyed by moi. Now, to tackle the odd and ends of handspun. This will be more challenging as I will have to match up the sizes/gauges, and my handspun tends to be more varied in sizes.

June Earring Sale

To kick summer off, I thought an earring sale was in order! 15% off earrings when you use the code: EARRINGSYAY at checkout. Excludes sale items. You can checkout my Etsy sales for the month here.

Should we plant a Peanut, and grow more cats??

Here’s hoping you have a happy, healthy, productive (and fun!) June!

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New Alpaca Handspun Yarn Listed

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I have several skeins of natural brown alpaca handspun yarn listed on the website. My first completed batch of alpaca yarn spun from raw. Unlike sheep wool, alpaca does not need to be prepared ahead of time to spin: shear and go! The fiber does not contain any oils and is relatively straight, so it can be easily spun without carding ahead of time. After this batch however, I have decided to give my alpaca a quick soak to remove excess dirt or mud as well as give it one quick round in the drum carder. I found it quite dusty, and find it a huge time savings if I can get most of the fiber going in the same direction. The batch I’m currently working on was pretty muddy underneath, to boot!

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This is a 3-ply probably best suited for a US#4 knitting needle. This batch of fiber was obtained from a small producer in Upstate New York. Being alpaca it is on the pricey side, but I can offer a sizable discount if you can buy in person, since I don’t have to incur shipping fees.

As usual with my yarn I am reluctant to let it go, however, I have spun so much of it I’m happy to offer it for sale if someone is interested in taking it. Otherwise this will turn into a wonderful project for me down the road. 😉

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Icelandic Handspun

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Last year at Rhinebeck I bought a bag of raw Icelandic fleece, a wool I had only minimally worked with in the past. This was my first try at Icelandic handspun yarn. I absolutely adore the Icelandic Breed of sheep, they are small in stature and have both a long straight overcoat (tog) and a short curly undercoat (thel).  I washed, carded and spun/plied/set/fulled several 2-ply skeins, keeping some for my own personal use and setting some aside for sale in the near future.

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Yarn always looks a little sad to me when it is wet after being washed/ fulled. It’s amazing to see the yarn plump up again after it dries…I immediately get “the itch” and want to start knitting it.

Check back regularly to the Yarn/Fiber section of my website, I’ll be adding yarns as they become available. It’s all done by hand so it’s a labour of love, making this yarn. I spin for me first but will always have more than I could ever handle since I am officially addicted to spinning. 🙂

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My Stash of Handspun…

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This is my stash of handspun yarn in my studio…I consider this the “good stuff” – yet I am not ready to let it go…

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Part of me wants to keep it for my own enjoyment, and part of me want to sell in/barter it for someone else enjoyment. I still am not sure what to price these at, I know I could never make all my time back, esp. for the stuff prepared from scratch (raw fleece). It is something I will most likely ponder for awhile longer. In the meantime, I will enjoy its colorful addition to my studio space. 🙂

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