Tag Archives: Etsy shop

Olio – February 20, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

On this day 29 years ago, my youngest was born.  He was 11 days late, I thought he would never enter this world, and when he did decide to come, he was presented sunnyside up, with a huge head, and weighing in at a whopping 11+ pounds.  We didn’t have to have a C section, but almost.  We are extremely proud of him as he became an EMT at 18 and has volunteered with it ever since.  He moved on to earn his Paramedic certification with Advanced Life Support and has worked in that field most of his adult life.  He recently has started his own transport company and is awaiting the final inspections to start moving with his two ambulances at the ready.  Happy birthday, son.

The snow from last week finally is gone except for a few sheltered places in the woods and on the north side of the house and barn.  There is a coastal storm that is threatening us next week, hopefully not to interfere with my friend’s and my drive to the spinning retreat on Thursday.  The forcasters can’t decide if it is going to be snow, ice, or rain, we are hoping it is only rain or if the snow or ice is on the earlier end, coming on Tuesday.

I am packed for the retreat and ready to go as compactly as I can be.  Since, I am only taking soaps, lotion bars and salves, I have packed it all into one large wicker lidded basket, instead of the usual 5 or 6 wooden crates when I also have yarn and knit wear. This retreat is for fiber folks, they make their own yarn and knit wear.


The only items that didn’t fit were my cash box and my business cards.


They will fit into the red and blue plaid bag on the floor.  The group has a nightly happy hour, and the bag will also carry the snacks and snack dishes for the items I will be contributing.  We do a gift raffle and as a vendor, I must supply one gift of $20 value or more and will as a participant, provide a second.  They will go into that bag as well.  That leaves only my clothes, spinning wheel and fiber to put together.  That won’t be done until Wednesday night, unless we are going to get snow and ice, requiring my car to be put at the top of the driveway or even up at the paved road, in which case I will pack it all before moving the car.

Today was a beautiful spring like day.  The melting snow finally allowed the Buffys to venture over into the garden area to scratch and search for goodies.  With the longer days, I am generally getting 3 to 5 eggs a day.  Interestingly, the two Americauna have produced more than half of the eggs produced in the past three days.  This puts the 6 Buffys to shame.


One of the Americauna’s eggs are blue, the other more olive.  The Buffys eggs vary from pink to darker brown and from tiny like the top right to giant like the bottom right.  It is nice to have fresh eggs for breakfast and for baking with the bonus of having enough to share with some of my friends.  The girls will be cared for in my absence by Mountaingdad and daughter.

The house is quiet tonight.  Daughter and family went out to dinner and to a movie for the kids.  It is strange to cook just for two after 13 months of having a house full.  As I was food shopping today, I found a grass finished New York strip steak, so Mountaingdad got a treat tonight.  Risotto and sugar snap peas rounded it out and provided my dinner along with a glass of the Merlot that my brother made last summer.

At the Christmas party for my spinning group, I scored 12 ounces of California red wool. I started spinning it recently and have fallen in love with the fiber.  It is a natural white color and spins like a dream.  I have one bobbin full and it looks like it is going to fill 4 bobbins once done.  Once I see how many yards it is once spun, I will decide what it will become.  I definitely won’t sell this yarn.


Our local Barnes and Noble sells Harney and Son teas.  A year or so ago, I went on their website to buy one of my favorites, Autumn Cranberry as a bulk loose tea and received a travel sample of Valentine Blend, a chocolate with rose bud black tea.  I savored that delicious, fragrant tea, hoping that it would be carried by Barnes and Noble around Valentine’s day.  They did not get it in, so again I visited the website and today, my 4 ounce tin and one pound bag arrived, just in time to tuck some into my luggage to go with me to the retreat.


We are hoping that this week’s weather does not produce more school outage.  Grandson has only been in school a few days in the past two weeks due to snow, ice or extreme cold.

Tomorrow, I hope to enjoy the warm day to finally weed the asparagus bed before the new shoots begin to emerge.

Olio – February 11, 2016

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

The snow finally stopped during the night without any more accumulation.  Three days of snow showers and only a couple of inches accumulated.  Then the bottom fell out of the thermometer and we awoke to a very cold, windy 10ºf with negative wind chills.  This was the warmest morning we will see until sometime next week.  The sun is bright and the snow is melting off, even though it is only in the low 20’s outside.  When I opened the coop this morning, hoping to entice the birds outside after three days, they wanted no part of the idea.  Their food and water were outside, they were inside.  After delivering Grandson A to his two hour late bus, I conceded to putting their food and water back inside, but leaving the pop door open, hoping that they would finally venture outside.  When I was doing this, I notice that one of the hens had a bloody head and was still bleeding.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on and had no way to treat her at the time.

We took Granddaughter N to her favorite lunch place and on to Tractor Supply so that I could purchase some Blue Kote, hoping to catch the hen, evaluate and treat her problem.  She is one of my smaller Buff Orpingtons and I feared she was being pecked in the confined coop.  Of course, when we got home, the birds were all out of the coop and scratching in the garden, having made a path through the snow to the bare spots.  Entering the garden, they all moved back to the run and about 2/3 of them reentered the coop, allowing me to shut them in and catch the injured hen.  It looks like maybe she had some frostbite on her comb that got pecked or knocked and no serious injury.  She was cuddled, wrapped in a towel and cleaned up with a soft warm wet rag, dried off, her comb and the top of her head treated with Blue Kote and she was re-released into the run and soon joined by the other birds.  I will just have to keep an eye on her for a while.

The daily egg production is averaging 3 now with an occasional day with 4.  With 8 hens, that isn’t bad.  I don’t know if the next few very cold days and 3 more days of expected snow in the next 5 will affect that production or not.  I guess time will tell.  One of the young roos must go.  I have put an ad for him on one of the Farm Animal Groups in Facebook.  If there are no takers, he will likely become soup at some point.  I just don’t have enough hens to warrant two cocky fellows in the coop.


My handspun sweater body is now 18 inches long from the shoulder.  The pattern calls for 40 more rows, but my torso is long, so I will wait to judge the length as I get closer to the last few rows and add more if necessary.  The sock has not received much attention of late as I have been doing most of the driving and less of the riding except after dark and I don’t play with sharp metal sticks with tiny stitches in the dark.


I found out last night that I will be a vendor at this month’s spinning retreat, so last night the newest batches of soap were banded.


The soaps were reorganized into unscented and scented boxes as I am only allowed to bring the unscented ones into the conference room, the rest will be in my room for interested parties.  The lotion bar tins and salve tins and jars were reorganized, the cute little blackboard identification tags were sorted, some reworked, so that I will take a supply of product and still have room for my spinning wheel, fiber, knitting, suitcase, a cooler and space for my roommate’s items she will also vend, her wheel, fiber, suitcase and other miscellany.  I am ready for a few days of fun with this adult group.  I am hopeful to sell enough of my goods to pay for the weekend, at least strongly supplement it and leave me a little to buy from other vendors.  I haven’t been to the Knit night group in months with the various activities involving the family at night and haven’t been to the Spinning Group since just before Christmas.  Knitting, spinning and reading are my escape from the daily routine and they should be a priority for me to take care of me but as a wife, parent, and grandparent, that is often not the case.

Return to Normal

Slowly, we are returning to a normal routine around here.  For the past 7 days, life has not even approached normal, starting with the clipper storm that slicked the roads over a week ago yesterday and closed schools, followed by the 16 inches of snow over 2 days that kept them closed and us snowed in.  Sunday, with much digging, pushing, some kitty litter and lots of work, we got the Xterra out and up to the top of the driveway, allowing our SIL to get to work on Monday.  Monday, we used the shovels and little tractor to dig out daughter’s car, allowing us to be able to leave the property while SIL was at work.  Tuesday, the temperature began to climb a bit, we had some rain and while daughter had the kids at Martial Arts, I managed to get my CRV to the top of the driveway with a bit of slipping and sliding, so I left it there, putting 3 of the 4 cars a 2/10 mile walk uphill away.

Yesterday, our local school system and the one that daughter works in were both scheduled for two hour delays, but at least a return to school.  She left, but grandson ended up with a change and another day of school closed, for a total of 5 days out.  I took him with me when I took granddaughter to preschool and later with Mountaingdad joining us, back to pick her up.  Between the time, we walked to the top of the driveway to take her to school and the time we went back to pick her up, the day warmed up with bright sun shining and the remaining snow on the driveway became slush and muddy run off but we could drive back down to the house.  By the time daughter got home from work, we were able to drive SIL’s little low 2 wheel drive sedan to the top of the driveway and leave it and the rest of the cars can go up and down as needed.  Last night it got very cold again and all of yesterday’s melt became a frozen mess.  The front of the house, north facing is an ice slick.  There are big patches of browned grass showing through where there were no drifts.  The yard was heavily frosted this morning and the early sun produced an eerie haze above the snow.


Today’s two hour delay, stuck and so school is finally back in session for our county and the one where daughter is working.  SIL was able to drive his own car to work today, instead of borrowing one of ours.  Today, we finally were able to get the Xterra to the shop for an overdue oil change, state inspection and to identify an annoying rattle from beneath it.

The time at home, either stranded or providing care for the grands, I worked on products for my Etsy Shop, adding Organic Arnica Salve, Organic Calendula Salve, Lavender Lip Balm, and an packaging unscented Face and Body cold process soap bar.  Two batches of soap were made as well, Goat Milk and Honey an unscented soap, and a Goat Milk Lavender soap  scented with essential oil.  Those two soaps won’t be ready for the shop until near the end of February as they must cure first.


Though this should have been a great time to spin, I have started and stopped and taken way too long to spin a single bobbin of about 4 ounces of Shetland.  I have bought fiber from this vendor before, but this batch had so much vegetable matter in it, that I spent more time picking stuff out of it than I did spinning and did not enjoy using it at all.


In spite of my efforts, it still isn’t really clean and I can’t decide what to do with it.  I hate to waste 4 ounces of clean Shetland or some other fiber to ply with it.  If I Navajo ply it, it won’t really be enough to do anything with it.  It just isn’t worth the time and effort to work with fiber that isn’t well cleaned.  Any ideas on how to use it?  Navajo ply it, divide it into mini skeins and practice dyeing on it?


My knitting has been slowly working on a pair of socks for me.  This time, they actually seem like they are going to fit.  I have tried them on after turning the heel and again as the foot has gotten longer.  This was another skein of Unplanned Peacock Rainbow, ordered after I gave the pair I made with the first skein to my sister.  Her pair was much darker, more vivid colors.  This skein, though colorful is paler with a lot of pink in it.  This time, I decided to follow The Yarn Harlot’s vanilla sock pattern from her book Knitting Rules! instead of a fancy patterned sock.  Since they fit, maybe, I’ll just keep using the basic sock pattern for my socks.

The chickens still won’t leave the hay in front of the coop, but I did get two eggs yesterday, so maybe production is picking up again.  One of the young roosters is beginning to try out his voice, so soon we will have his morning greeting, a sound that all farms should have.

Still loving life on our mountain farm.


Hooking Away

Ok, get your minds away from there, not that kind of hooking.  Normally, I knit and spin, but occasionally I pull out a crochet hook to do finishing work on a project.  I actually crocheted before I learned to knit, though I only made afghans and lace edgings then.

Before I did my first craft show a few months ago, I was weaving on a mini loom to see if that was another craft that grabbed my attention.  I’m into crafts that don’t have a huge investment in the cost of the equipment, and don’t take up a lot of space once purchased (ok, so the spinning wheel was a major investment and takes up a few square feet of space in the loft, but that was an indulgence that has soothed my soul a many of stressed out evenings).  I thought about adding Soapy Bags to my items that I was to vend.  A little woven bag made of natural fibers such as cotton, linen or hemp that hold a full bar of soap, with a drawstring top and can be used as a washcloth then hung to dry until the next bath or shower.  I made exactly one before the show and then did not even bother to take it with me.


It is a cute little bag, but it took too long to weave, sew together, braid the drawstring and thread it through that I just didn’t think that I could make enough of them or sell them for enough to make it a worthwhile addition to my shop and supplies.

As I pulled out my wares to repack them in the little crates, boxes, and trays that I am using for the Holiday Market, I found the little Soapy Bag and thought again that this might be a good venue to sell a few of them.  The focus of this market is buying local for your gifts that you purchase for the holidays.  I really didn’t like the mini loom, but I still had a few balls of fiber and a set of several sizes of crochet hooks.  I knew that I could whip out one in a hour or less if I use larger cotton yarn so I set to work yesterday to add to the supply.


They are very portable and I have two nearly complete, two different size yarns, two different fibers, two different colors.  If I work on them in the car and while sitting with Mountaingdad as he watches TV, I may get 10 made before the first market day.  Arranged in a basket with a seasonal bow, they might actually sell.  What do you think?

It puts my sweater on further hold, granddaughter might get her socks for Christmas, but maybe they will make a nice stocking stuffer for some Holiday Shopper’s loved ones.  If they do sell, perhaps I will get some in my Etsy Shop to go along with the soaps, lotions, salves, balms, beard oils, and yarns currently available.

For now, I need to go start a couple of batches of holiday soap and get back to hooking.



Olio – September 25, 2015

Olio: a miscellaneous collection of things.

The coastal storm that has cancelled many events in Virginia is providing us with some much needed rain and with it unseasonably cool temperatures.  The rain is welcome, but as we still have been unable to get a roofer here to put a new boot on the bent vent stack and to refasten and realign the gutters damaged by last winter’s snow, I am a bit worried about the rain leaking in.  I actually have finally gotten someone to at least come to give us an estimate to make the repairs and to install snow strips to try to prevent this damage from happening again.

I’m still not totally over the fall crud that I caught a week and a half ago.  About the time I started feeling better, it settled in my sinuses as often happens.  I think it may actually be finally going away.

The chicken pen installation has some flaws.  I keep finding a hen in the meaties pen and meaties in the hens’ pen, so they have found a way to get back and forth.  Last night one of the teenagers was totally out of both pens.  Perhaps they have learned to fly over the gate.

I finished the project I was knitting for my author friend and again, as it isn’t my project to show, I won’t show a photo of what it is, but the colors ended up very jewel like, so I had to take a shot of them.


The project has been delivered to my friend and I have resumed reading, something that I set aside to finish the knit.  The current book is Once We Were Brothers, a historical fiction of World War II atrocities in Poland.

I did begin a new knitting project, to finally make the socks that granddaughter requested when I was making the Rainbow pair that I sent to my sister for her birthday. The Wildfoote Sock Yarn is also jewel like and really similar colors to the project that I just finished.


This is just a basic vanilla sock pattern for a nearly 4 year old girl.  I suppose that I should finish knitting the sleeves of my sweater that has been on hold all summer now that the weather is cooling enough to want to wear a sweater and to finish spinning the Coopsworth from last spring’s Fiber Retreat so that I can make myself another sweater from it.

A portion of this afternoon was spent updating my etsy shop, adding some new soap and handspun  yarn.

I haven’t visited the garden in a few days.  Once the weather improves, I need to harvest more tomatoes and peppers and get some more canning and freezing done.

Folk Festival

Application was made and accepted.  An opportunity to be a vendor at the Meadow’s of Dan Folk Festival tomorrow.  My soap, lotion bar, and beard oil making for my Etsy Shop has generated crates full with llittle activity on the online shop, so I decided to try this sort of venue to see if it is worth my time and effort.  If not, perhaps, I will return to just making products for us and the extended family that likes and uses the products. In the mean time, I am also looking for a way to reduce the shipping costs for the Etsy Shop to make it more appealing.

The soap making has been ongoing for several months as I make all of my soap the old fashioned cold process method and that soap must cure for at least 4 weeks to be hard enough to not dissolve into mush when you get it wet. What good is soap if you can’t get it wet?  Lotion bars are a quicker product as is beard oil.

The car is partially loaded with the non perishable items such as the canopy, table, my chair and the crate with table covers, bags, business cards, banner, and bright colored pinwheels to attract attention.


The three crates of trays containing the soap, beard oil and lotion bars, along with the bins of extras await loading until the afternoon cools.  They will be loaded this evening so that all I have to do at 6:30 tomorrow morning is hop in the car and drive the 90 minutes to check in and set up.


The canopy is borrowed from a friend who got it from a mutual friend and it had never before been erected.  Daughter and I broke it out and set it up in the yard one day to make sure it was all there.


It is all there, but had a small seam that was miss sewed that was repaired with a bit of duct tape as I didn’t want to try to get the canopy upstairs and sewed on my little home sewing machine.

The 8′ folding table is borrowed from daughter and SIL, a new folding chair purchased at Lowe’s end of season clearance sale; a couple of old Indian print cotton twin bed spreads that served as temporary doors in our house when we first moved in, will serve as table cover and hang from the back of the shelter as a backdrop for the banner and to give the stall some direction.

I don’t know if this will be a successful venture or not, but I’m game to give it a go.  If you are a local reader, this is a Folk Festival with vendors of food, yarn, jewelry, 31 products, my products and more; as well as inflatable fun, wine tasting, music, a play and a square dance.  Come on out and visit, the day is supposed to be gorgeous, a great day for a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Hope to see some of you there.

A Day In The Kitchen

In mid August, I will be a vendor at the Meadows of Dan Folk Festival. My Etsy shop is not selling products as I had hoped and I have a hefty supply of soap and some lotion bars, but will need more for the festival, so today was soap and lotion bar day.  I made 4 different soap recipes, my Coffee with Oatmeal Bar, Jasmine Green Tea Bar, Lavender with Lavender Buds Bar, and Rosemary with dried bits of my homegrown rosemary Bar. Once they were set to cure, I made 25 lotion bars in 4 scents and unscented.  I still have to make some Tree Hugger and Mountain Man Beard Oils, but I’m still looking for 1 ounce bottles that have an orifice diffuser instead of having to use a dropper.  Half ounce ones are available locally but I have to order the one ounce size and to get a good price, the order must be larger than want.




I have about 150 bars of soap and 50 lotion bars to take with me.  If I don’t sell there, I am going to have enough soap and lotion bars to last a lifetime and provide gifts for everyone I know forever.

Busy Days

Another beautiful day.  It was supposed to rain according to yesterday’s forecast, but this morning, it had changed and was a mostly sunny day with only the lightest of sprinkles.  I grabbed half a dozen raspberry canes and put them in water as Son #2 would like some of the ones we pulled up.  As soon as I can find some cheap pots, I will put them in soil and prune them to give them a chance to establish roots before I can deliver them in April.  That was done early when the chicken chores were being completed.

Before Daughter and Mountaingdad got up, I had made two new soap recipes, one with Oatmeal, Lavender buds, and Black Walnut powder.  This will be a great body scrub soap once it cures.  The other is a Jasmine Green Tea soap.  Neither of these soaps have any essential oils or dyes, so they will be good for those with sensitive skin.

After lunch, we experimented with a recipe for Beard Oils for my Etsy shop.  Daughter’s husband uses Beard Oil and we thought they might make a good addition to the shop. The lotion bar molds arrived yesterday, so a new batch of Hand Butter bars were also made to add to the shop.  The lotion bars, Hand Butter bars and Beard Oils can all be personalized with a customer’s favorite scent or scents or made unscented.



Daughter and I planted the Lacinato Kale, Purple Top Turnips and a 4 X 4′ bed of Daikon Radishes for kimchi this afternoon.  They are the last early spring seed.