Friday, August 29, 2008

My New Favorite State - South Dakota

Daryl and I spent a week driving from New York to South Dakota and back. It was alot of driving and we put about 3,500 miles on the car, but boy, was it fun! Our main purpose was to visit our son who recently moved to North Dakota and I am so glad we decided to go the extra miles into South Dakota. Honestly, who knew that it was so beautiful and full of things to do!
We started out on Friday morning and drove through NY, PA, OH and into MI for a quick stop at my brothers house. It was great to see my brother and sister-in-law. We had breakfast and then hit the road again, going through IN, IL, WI (another beautiful state), MN and into ND. We checked into the hotel around midnight and we were beat! We spent 2 days in ND with our son and had a blast.

Here are the ND photos:

This is a field of sunflowers. I really wanted to capture how huge the sky is out there and how many miles and miles of crops there are.

Along with sunflowers there are miles and miles of corn, oats, hay and straw. Here is a picture of the farmers at work. If you look closely beyond the dust you can see that they are cutting the wheat with 3 thrashers along side each other. Although it is mainly flat, there are some hills there as well.

Jason is working at Goodrich and I just had to snap a photo of where he works:

I really wanted one of him standing in front of the building, but I guess it was too humiliating for the kid.... I guess I understand. 22 years old and having your mom snap a picture could be a bit much.

Jamestown is known for the biggest buffalo ever.
Here is the proof:

My husband is 6 feet tall, so you can see that this is a big one! Thank goodness, it is only a sculpure, else I would be running the other way!

And here are some live ones, using the zoom of course!

Jamestown has a great walk-through museum of the early prairie days. Each building was moved there and included everything from a school, church, dentist, saloon, store, and even and insurance office. It was really a nice way to spend the day.

After leaving ND, we headed south and drove a couple hundred miles through SD. It is so open and really, not much except fields and fields of hay and straw. (Here is a tip - fuel up when you can as the stations are few and far between!) But the feeling is hard to explain as you drive through and get out to look around. Herds of cattle look like little black ants and the sky is so big. It really puts things into a different perspective!

So our first stop was a 1880 train ride that takes you into the Black Hills. Daryl is a huge train buff with a great Lionel collection, so he really loved taking this ride.

Then we went on to Mt Rushmore which is incredible. This is a must see in my book and very few words do it justice, so here are a few photos:

Just incredible! Take the time to walk the President's Trail to get different views! It is so worth it.
But my favorite of all favorites were the Badlands. I cannot even describe the amazement that you feel when viewing these wonders! We took route 44 east so we were eased into them with a grand finale beyond any other!

Incredible enough, but when you get to the end..... oh my

Now, I was really anticipating a wonder when we crossed the Mississippi River. And when we did cross, it was nice, but nothing can compare with crossing the Missouri River. I can only imagine the settlers traveling west for months on the flat grasslands and coming upon the crest of the hill and looking down at this amazing river and seeing the mountains beyond it.

I couldn't have enjoyed this vacation any more. The people we met along the way were friendly and the sites we saw were incredible. South Dakota was the highlight (second to seeing our son, of course).
Oh, and I did manage to knit 3 scarves, a hat and crochet 2 bowls and a pumpkin along the way!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My First Craft Fair Experience

The weekend came and went in lighting speed. After several weeks of preparation, worry and semi-panic, it is now over.

I had finally gotten up the nerve to do an actual craft fair. I chose my home town's biggest event - the Woodsmen's Field Days. My town's population is about 2,500 and when this event is going on, there are about 20,000 visitors. The town is hopping with loggers, trucks and chopping machines and the games begin.

But for me, the weekend was all about felted pottery, cute little booties and pony tail holders.

After raining every day in August, the day started out perfect. We did have one little rain shower that lasted 5 minutes... just enough time to send people scrambling. One fellow came under my tent till it stopped and I am sure that his purchase was a 'pity buy", but hey, I'll take it! The second day started out overcast, but never did rain. So all in all, the weather cooperated.

I met alot of people, near and far. It is amazing that even in a small town how many people you don't know. I found a fellow etsian who makes fabulous stained glass and I bought a great pair of earrings. I was also asked to participate in 3 more craft fairs! One for the DodgePratt Art Center in Boonville, one for the Methodist Church and one for the Cream Cheese Days in Lowville NY (home of Kraft Cheese).

All in all, it was profitable and I made alot of connections. I even had someone take down my information and is going to contact me about teaching a class. PDC (Pretty Darn Cool) if you ask me!

I do have a list of things to do better next time.
Packaging - I had most everything packaged (except for the pottery) on day one. No one could really see what the balls were and although the booties were so cute, people couldn't get that touchy feely goodness. So, on day two, I retagged them with out packaging and sales increased.
Signs - Although the hair ponies were displayed, people didn't really know what they were. So on day two, I made a sign "Felted Hair Ponies" and again, sales increased. Next time I will have signs stating what everything is.
Tarps - Although I bought a canape, I did not get any tarps. I just used some curtains, which were for looks only. It did get windy a few times and even once while Sara was giving change, she had to chase down a few dollars. I think tarps would have helped that.
Pricing - Adding sales tax is a pain in the neck! And people really didn't like the pennies I gave back to them. Next time I will reprice, so when tax is added it will round to a whole dollar or 50 cents.
New Products - So many people asked me for catnip balls - that is on my list to do. And I have a few surprizes up my sleeve for Christmas as Sara and I just let our imagination run away during the down times!

All in all, I exceeded my initial goal. I made enough for my daughter's first semesters text books and I had a great time doing it. I made alot of connections and promoted my on-line sites.

It was alot of work, but I came home with a very satisified feeling.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Knit, Crochet and All Things Yarny

Textures, shapes and colors are what make interesting fiber accessories. Whether knit, crocheted, woven or sewn, these basic elements are what make you want to reach out and touch.

With so many yarns available it is exciting and challenging to visualize what can be created with a ball of yarn. I recently made a trip to some yarn shops (totally ignoring my already mamoth stash!) and couldn't resist purchasing some beautiful yarns. And with Fall rapidly approaching, I felt the need to knit some hats and scarves, all the while thinking of those cripsy cool days to come.
I am slowly redesigning my etsy and icraft shops to feature knit and crocheted accessories. Don't worry.... you will still find all my felted treasures on etsy and there will be an abundance of great Winter Holiday items arriving in September. But you will also find knit and crocheted accessories for adults and children. Here is a preview of what you will find.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Who, Me? A Green Thumb?

I have tried for years to grow a vegetable garden. The key word is tried... and tried and tried.

One of my most memorable years was one in which we actually harvested 2 tomatoes and a very very sad looking cucumber.

Persistance must pay off though. Last year was a success by my standards, but this year..... well, this year is something else!

I am gathering huge bowls of beans every day. The summer squash has started and I am scared of what is to come. I found a 7 inch cucumber yesterday (yes, I measured it!)

Just take a look at these. And here is one plant that must have 40 or more growing on it.

My neighbors are starting to run the other way when they see me as I always have a bowl of beans or squash to give them.

Maybe next year I won't plant as much. Or I could actually learn how to can or freeze vegetables.
Either way, I am just so excited that things are growing for me and I am enjoying the fresh vegetables every day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

.... and the winner is.......

Thanks so much to EVERYONE who entered my raffle. I can't think of a better way to celebrate a year on etsy than to share with my friends and other shop owners.

The winner is: Jeweledelegance who wrote:

Congrats on your upcoming etsy anniversary!!You have a wonderful blog!

You can visit Jewel's shop at: Congratulations, Jeweled♥♥


From now until Friday August 8, I will be having a 25% off EVERYTHING in my shop. Simply proceed to check out and write ' Happy Estyversary" in note to seller and I will send you a revised invoice at 25% off the current prices (excluding postage).

Come on in and celebrate with me.