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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Facebook Timeline Page Countdown

So, looks like Facebook is at it again -- all pages are going to convert to the new format on March 30th.  Ugh.  I really like the current page layout and had kind of gotten it looking the way I wanted.  Now, time to go through this all again :-(.

Thankfully, the folks at Smaller Box recently posted an article about how to prepare a new cover image (850 x 315 pixels), a new profile image (180 x 180 pixels), and application icons (111 x 74 pixels) for your new Timeline page.  I'm playing around with the page now and hope to launch it before they force me to, but we'll see...

I feel one of those "need to rethink everything again" feelings coming on.  Probably because I am going through one of those frantic crochet project finishing phases again, while the electronic side of things languishes.  I need an intern (aka free help!).  Mmmm, maybe that's not such a far fetched idea -- I give some young, eager student a chance to show his/her stuff, and s/he gets a project to add to the portfolio.  Anyone know anyone looking for such a challenge?!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I love how there are all these great crafts communities building online.  I've just recently joined Craftsy, which is a crafting site with sewing, quilting, jewelry making, etc., in addition to crocheting and knitting.  It's different than Ravelry and Create the Hive in that its emphasis is on "learn it. make it."  So, there are online classes and workshops to take plus the ability to buy (and sell) patterns.  It's got a very cute and vintage feel to it and is quite user friendly.  It will be interesting to see how it develops and grows.

Not sure what else I've got to share right now -- still in catch up mode and realizing that March is quickly slipping away from me and the darn newsletter is going to be late again!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Crochet Bunny Peep

With the nice weather we've been experiencing the last few days, I got to thinking about upcoming holidays, like Easter.  I really enjoyed making the Crochet Easter Basket last year as a fun giveaway project and wanted to come up with something else for this year.  And, here it is!  The Crochet Bunny Peep is actually pretty quick and easy to make, so I hope everyone will enjoy this little treat :-)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Washing Sheep Fleece

So, the big box of fleece in the dining room has almost all been washed!  Now, how did I come to do this myself rather than shipping it off to a fiber milling company for processing?  I contacted The Yarn Spot, an LYS that has spinning classes, and Jennifer has been kind enough to correspond with me about the process and to recommend a company in Frederick, MD, Singleton Fiber Processing (, that would "skirt", wash, and "card" the fleece.  Having been trying to do it myself over the last few weeks, I now think that the price that they charge is probably quite reasonable!

But, I decided to do a little more research about the process and came across an article by Fuzzy Galore that gives many compelling reasons to do it yourself and also walks you through the process.  Here's my experience:

1.  First, be prepared!  You'll need rubber gloves, sturdy scissors, lingerie bags, a dish pan, Dawn dish washing liquid (the original blue version), white vinegar, a salad spinner, and a place to spread out the fleece to dry.

2.  The raw fleece is pretty messy, with "vegetative matter" scattered about.  Your first step is to cut and pick out as much of the junk as you can from the edges.  Don't be surprised if you end up throwing away almost half of what you started out with.

3.  Next step, fill up the dish pan with as hot water as you can.  Then, drizzle some Dawn dish washing liquid into the water, but don't make it bubble up, just gentle wave your gloved hand through the water to dissolve the soap.  Place some fleece loosely in a lingerie bag, put it on top of the water, and gently press it down into the water.  DO NOT AGITATE in any way.  Articles I read on this process emphasized that agitation is the reason that wool felts, not the hot water (which you really need to help dissolve that vegetative matter and the lanolin in the fleece), so you want to handle the fleece as little as possible.  Let it soak for about 10 to 15 minutes, dump out (I did this in the kitchen sink), refill the hot water, put a bit more Dawn, and repeat the process another 2 or 3 times.  Then, fill the dish pan again with hot water, but don't add any soap.  Let the fleece soak for about 10 or 15 minutes in the water to help rinse out the soap.  In the second or third rinse, you might want to add white vinegar to the water to help keep the fleece soft.  You need to be patient and keep doing this until the water runs clear.

4.  Ok, now you've got some washed fleece!  Gently press out as much water as you can, and place the whole bag into a large salad spinner and spin away.  You're going to want to do that a couple of time, throwing out the water that gathers at the bottom.  Then, go ahead and take the fleece out of the bag and put directly into the spinner and spin some more.

5.  I spread the washed fleece out on a large thick towel to dry.  It takes about 2 days to dry completely.  There will still be little bits of stuff in the fleece, so you might want to pick as much out as you can, but I'm hoping the remaining stuff will come out when "carding" the fleece (that's the next step, and I need to learn about that before the next blog post!)

I have to say, it has been very fulfilling to do this myself and has really raised my appreciation and admiration for all the women and men from generations past who had to do this!  Stay tuned for more of the saga :-)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lunar Skies Jewelry Giveaway

I haven't talked about Creating the Hive in a while, but it continues to grow and flourish as a wonderful "meeting place" for crafters.  There, you can check out so many different kinds of crafts and art, follow blogs, do some posting of your own, and really feel a part of a virtual community.  And, I'm so fortunate to have met some really talented people who follow my little blog, one of whom is Quentin Eckman.  He makes some really beautiful jewelry pieces, and he's having a giveaway!!  I've copied and pasted his instructions below because he wrote it so clearly and well:

"This Giveaway will conclude one week from tomorrow (Friday, Mar. 9 2012). The winner will receive one item of their choice from my Etsy Shop listed at $69.00. All you have to do to enter is respond to this notice (email me,, or convo me via my easy shop: Just tell me you'd like a chance to win. You can earn a second chance to win by referring a friend, as long as that friend participates as well (they'll need to let me know who sent them); or by blogging about my Giveaway and sending me a link to your blog. I will use a random generator to select the winner. Each entrant is limited to no more than two chances to win, and my family members are not eligible to win (sorry family members).

Take a look at my Etsy shop, there are currently about 40 items listed at $69.00 (a pretty nice selection if I say so myself :0)

There will only be one winner, but if you don't win and end up falling in love with something when you visit my shop, I will be offering non winners a 20% discount at the close of the contest (email me for the discount code)."

So, go check out Quentin's pieces and enter now!  Good luck (mainly to me because I really want to win!)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's Lambing Time!

I awoke this morning to an email from Caroline Owens, letting me know that, despite another close call, Princess is doing fine and has a new lamb!  A routine barn check revealed Princess trying to deliver a lamb, who was not only TWICE as big as average, but had one leg back ("shoulder-locked"). But the lamb was otherwise fine, and a bit of twisting and tugging brought her out. Princess instantly bonded to her and had her up and nursing in no time at all. Although the farm usually doesn't keep singles, they have decided to keep this one -- "This lamb has just the vigor we like to see in our breeding stock."