Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Different December

Well, this December and the year of 2013 is drawing to a close! What a strange month this has been.

Fireworks on the Vancouver skyline
After much scurrying around at home to get ready, I went to Vancouver on the 13th  to look after my Dad post hip replacement surgery and found that he was delayed from being released from hospital. So my 'job' became driving to the hospital daily and assisting him there until I drove home nightly. Home was a hotel/ motel room, which was comfy but not home if you know what I mean.  Finally he was released to go home and the job of physically getting him to his place fell to me and my mini van..... and it all went very well actually. He's very fortunate to not have any stairs to navigate. I have some experience with all this as I had a left hip replacement in November 2001.

Once home, Dad settled into a routine and so did I.  I would arrive in the morning and would prepare meals, clean and keep him company. Dad and I had some great chats together.

I stayed in touch with Bruce by twice daily phone calls as I was simply too tired to write emails!  Then I lost the cell phone and that created a bit of a panic until we got it's service cut off and black listed.

Due to Dad's release being delayed, I had to add a couple extra days onto my stay as where he needed the help was at his home. My sister came and did some additional cleaning and vacuuming which was very helpful.  Dad seemed to be doing just fine and progressing, but at age 83 healing is a much slower process.

Finally on the 22nd I was driving to the ferry for home and despite the heavy traffic I got on the 3:10 pm ferry and  walked in the door at home at 7:30 pm. It felt *so darn good* to be home!   Bruce had lit up the studio so I could see my looms in there and I even took a minute to just sit with them.

my view coming home!

I was very tired  but the next day we had to get our Christmas groceries, then relax for the next few days. We had a prime rib roast beef on Christmas Day and made lots of phone calls to friends and family.

Our next treat was to go and see the movie: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in 3D on the 27th with a dear friend.  Now that was great and we have agreed to meet up for the third and final part next Christmas.

We came home later that night to learn my Dad had been taken back to the hospital and now we are waiting to learn what is happening.

New Year's is just around the corner and we will be spending it with friends over a turkey dinner and hoping for a better 2014..

January is the anniversary of my starting this blog way back in 2008 and I think its time for a small celebration!
Anyone who leaves a comment on this post , and possibly another post between now and January the 8th, will be entered into a draw to receive one of my guest towels.  So be sure to leave a clear way for me to contact you.

Here's a taste of what you may receive.... it will be one towel and you will have a choice of colours.

PS: Bruce found the cell phone way back in the back of van where it had slid. The carpet in the van is beige and the black phone had slid to the only black spot where the seats attach and so it was hard to spot!  *phew*

Saturday, December 7, 2013

International Trade Deals

Its been eighteen months since I opened my Etsy shop "Thrums Textiles" and you must put in time to learn the ropes in order for it to be a success.  Its like anything on the internet and has its little quirks and the learning curve.  Listing items doesn't look too difficult but as you click on one small box.... more suddenly appear that need your attention.  Then there are the support groups and teams to join and participate in and how to get yourself seen among over half a million shops. The secret is to make connections using the groups and to be very, very patient for the first year.


You eventually learn and repetition helps. Slowly but surely things start to move and suddenly you wake to find that some one on the other side of the world has sent you money while you slept!  That's a great feeling...   as in today when I discovered a sold a shawl to Switzerland!  This one in fact...

I had decided to participate in an art gallery sale by the Shuswap Guild in Salmon Arm, BC and I was astounded that even with an almost empty Etsy store, I still managed to sell five items. Seems the Christmas rush is upon us!

You also spend time looking at other shops that are selling similar items to yours. Hey, it pays to know the competition!  It helps you with pricing as well. Then there's ideas for taking pictures to show your work to its best advantage.   Its all part of the homework...

Then while you are doing your 'research' you find some nifty things to tempt you into buying and you know where this is going...  It seems that Etsy store owners end up buying from other Etsy store owners!  Nothing wrong with it and a sale is a sale!

I found less expensive beads and crystals, even freshwater pearls for my hand weaving embellishments. I found custom thank you notes for my buyers in Hawaii,  printed labels to seal parcels from eastern Canada. I have also found yarn.  What a surprise!   :)   Silks, painted skeins, and linen. (oh, I shared the fun with Bruce: he got  hand painted miniature figures to 'people' his passenger trains from Greece!)

I also found Heike's shop "All the Pretty Fibers" and her lovely hand dyed yarns.   I have bought some yarns from her over the past year or so and we have come to know more about each other. Heike lives in Rothenburg, Germany and produces beautiful hand painted fleece for spinning as well as hand spun yarns. She has a keen eye for putting colours together and she is able to get rich deep colours out of the dye process.

I bought some dyed silk alpaca yarn in a colour way called Yorkshire Moors from her a few months ago:

I decided to use it as warp to keep the beautiful colours together in the warp and chose a simple turned twill or Drall weave. My weft?  Hazelnut dyed 100 % mulberry silk, also from Heike's shop.

You might recall this project....  it actually starts out with much the same photos!

Heike saw what I had done with her yarns and bought the scarf.... so the yarns made the long trek all the way back to Germany! Heike has included the scarf as part of an exhibition of what has been made from her yarns and fleece! I'd like to invite you to go and visit the amazing things people have made with the yarns and fleece she dyes in her home high in the German forest and send out to the world. The skill and imagination of some of the contributors is wonderful.  The website  is called "Needleworks- Pleasure" and please click here to visit.

Onto other news....
Sorry I haven't been as front and center with posts as per my normal posting schedule. I'm dealing with setting up and transferring data and files from my elderly Dell laptop over to my new HP laptop that has Windows 8.1 and its been quite a learning curve. I'm been using Chrome and Vista on the old one.... and the new computer's systems will take take some getting used to. I'm working on it daily.... but it will take time to get all my extensive picture files shifted. So for now, making a blog post needs two computers to get the job done!

I have also been dealing with an infected tooth after a substantial filling was done. I have antibiotics 'on board' and working now and I'll be getting a root canal in early January to start my 2014 off. Its hard to be productive when your jaw is banging away at you!

This is also a very busy time for everyone right now with Christmas almost upon us. In the middle of all this, I must leave hubby and the dog at home and go help a family member for a week.  Recovering from an operation is tough at any time of year but Christmas brings its special challenges. Ferry rides, hotels and travel arrangements when the whole world is on the move!  I'll have quality time with my Dear Dad for week.

So I hope to get another post up just before Christmas and in the mean time, I wish you all well with your weaving for gifts, and planning for time with friends and family!