Friday, May 25, 2012

A sunflower plaid

Hello, friends. Mother robin continues to look after her eggs. Yesterday I noted that there are FOUR eggs in her nest. She is a busy bird! I will keeping a close eye on her activities this weekend.

Nutfield Weaver had to make a rather significant business-related purchase this week. I decided to purchase a heavy-duty, burlap-only sewing machine. The amount of work that my 10 year old Janome was expected to do, especially with the heavy fabric, was beginning to take its toll. So my Janome is taking a well-earned vacation at the sewing machine spa. She will most likely appreciate having a more relaxed work schedule on her return and will be used for sewing my handwoven fabrics.

And speaking of handwoven fabrics, here is a photo of my latest plaid table runner. The design is a variation of my grainsack-inspired fabric. The colors here remind me of sunflowers and honeybees.

I hope that my US friends and family have a splendid Memorial Day weekend! We will be gardening and, of course, watching the nest.

Be well,

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A nest at Nutfield Weaver

Hello, friends. I have exciting news! Our new garden visitor is going to be a mommy. There were several days last week when the nest outside of our front window was seemingly ignored by the robin who built it. Then, on Monday morning, I looked down from our upstairs window and saw two lovely blue eggs! By the end of the day there were three.

Here is a picture of mother robin sitting on her nest:

I am reluctant to pull up the glass window to get a better picture. I am afraid it might startle her, and she has enough to worry about, such as unmannerly blackbirds who have been harassing her regularly. (Father bird is on top of the situation, though, and has been chasing away unwelcome intruders).

And here is something special. The northern orioles and Eastern kingbirds made repeated visits to our pea trellis on the weekend to gather up bits of cotton yarn that was left over from the loom. Here is picture from Saturday:

Aren't they sweet? I can honestly think of no better way to use thrums!

Be well,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Craft Fair on a Shoestring. Part 1: Bags on a Budget

Hello, friends. I am really looking forward to participating in my first public event in September as Nutfield Weaver. Getting ready for your first show can be a tad overwhelming and, when you start to think about it, potentially expensive. So, in order to keep expenditures to a minimum, I have been researching affordable options for booth set up, display, and other odds and ends. While there is little to be done about entry fees or the cost/rental of a canopy tent, I hope to find creative ways to make my first show eye-catching and fun without breaking the bank.

Shopping bags

I am not interested in buying 1000 merchandise or gift bags. I may not participate in many fairs in the future after the first one, right? And what would I do with a big stack o' bags? Here's what I did instead.

1) Purchase a package of Avery round labels in kraft paper brown, 2 1/2", item 22808. I got mine at an office supply store. They were on sale AND came with a $5 mail-in rebate. Cost: $7.50 for 225 labels.

2) Find a template on the Avery website that is designed for the size of your sticky labels. (If you're a graphic designer, all the better! Make your own!). I have limited skills in graphic design and so took the easy route. I found a template I liked, changed the text a bit, and VOILA! Nutfield Weaver labels!

3) Go to the grocery store and buy a package of brown paper lunch bags. I have 2 sizes (regular and large). Cost: about $3.00 for two packages for a total of about 150 bags.

4) Stick your labels on your bags!

The smaller sacks will work for greeting cards and Christmas ornaments, and the larger ones will work for dishtowels and mug mats. I'll probably have to purchase a few larger gift bags for table runners and scarves, but that's okay.

Granted, these are not fancy. But they are simple and functional, and that suits me just fine.

Please feel free to share your budget-friendly show ideas here!
Be well,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mrs. Robin's nest, day 2

Hello, friends. Mrs. Robin continued to work diligently on her nest yesterday. Today she appears to be lining the nest with grass. Here is a photo of the nest as it appeared around noontime:

We noticed that she did not hang around the nest at night and seemed to disappear around 6pm. Perhaps she had a private rendezvous with Mr. Robin? Perhaps she wanted to rest elsewhere since she'll be in the nest for a very long time?

Stay posted! I may have to have my oldest son break out the video camera. This is a science project in the works!
Be well,

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Building a nest: 101

Hello, friends. Many family members and friends know that I just love birds. I love watching birds, listening to birds, and learning about birds. When I was eight years old I learned that parakeets do NOT grow up to be parrots, which was a bit disappointing, but my love for birds remained.

On Sunday (Mother's Day!) we saw a robin frequenting one of the evergreens outside our front living room window. I kept an eye on her throughout the day and was pleased to see that she came by again on Monday. And, indeed, Tuesday (today) proved to be an exciting day as she began to build her nest.

I was able to get a few pictures of her hard at work. The first of the photos was taken around 7a.m. this morning, and the last was taken at approximately 11 a.m. (All of the pictures were taken from the inside of the house, through a window, hence the blurriness around the edges.) The male stopped by occasionally, too, but primarily he seemed to be "standing guard" and making sure that the blackbirds didn't get too close to his beloved mate.

Here is the beginning of her nest:

here is the second photo:

in the third picture, she appears to be sorting things out a bit:

and here is the last picture, taken a mere 4 hours from the first photo:

This tiny bird is certainly an inspiration! I had no idea that robins could build their nests so quickly. It is interesting that the amount of time she took to select and to inspect the site took longer than the actual construction of the nest. (There has to be a moral in here somewhere, don't you think?)

I hope that you will follow along as I document the adventures of our newest neighbors.

Be well,

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A blue loom

Hello, friends. I hope that this finds you enjoying your day! It is raining at Nutfield Weaver's house today. Our garden looks very happy, though. And I saw our first hummingbird this morning! I keep hoping that our new little friend will think about building a nest here.

"Summer & Winter" is still on the loom. I am enjoying blues lately. Here is a nice colonial blue:

and here is a robins egg blue:

These will be little table squares.

I am very pleased about some news I received this week. I will be exhibiting at a small artisan fair here in Londonderry in September. This will be my first "public" event beyond demonstrations with the Londonderry Historical Society or in the public schools. How fun will this be? My boys are very excited about it, but I suspect that this is because I will need to purchase a smartphone that will accomodate a credit card reader. They have strong opinions on these things, and I am sure that I will be given lots of information about "what is best."

Be well,

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Sneak a peek at what's on the loom

Hello, friends. My goodness, time flies! Spring & summer weddings are keeping me pretty busy. Rustic wedding decor is very popular right now, and I've been fortunate to work with some very nice young ladies lately. Forty-five yards of burlap came to the door last week.

The mug mats are finished and are off of the loom. I've got a new warp on there right now, and I am delighted with how things are shaping up. Here is a sneak peek!

This past week has issued another challenge for me as I have been learning to adapt to my new bifocal eyeglasses. Alas! It was definitely time for this change, but it has forced me to "retrain" some of my habits.

There has been a bit of turmoil within the Etsy community lately about what/who constitutes "handmade work." While I haven't been terribly involved with the discussion, I did change my shop's avatar in an effort to demonstrate "handmade work." Most of my Etsy neighbors who are participating in the avatar change show lovely photographs of their hands. Here is my spin on the avatar "show your hands" challenge:

My feet! Treadling the loom. Handmade AND footmade. :)

Be well,