Author Archives: ladyryl

Let there be warm things…

So I have talked about my knitting… and lately I am working on stuff that I have available for sale.
Finding a decent venue to sell it is another challenge.  I am lucky if I sell one or two items at any sale, fair, festival or bazzar and I usually end up paying as much or more than I sold to attend these events.  Frustrating and disheartening…

In that light, I would like to show off some of the stuff I have available here… just to put it out there in case anyone is looking for a gift idea for themselves or a loved one.  If not, just a place to showcase what I have done wouldn’t hurt either *wink*

Brand new, hand knit beanie hats made out of 100% merino wool yarn.
Basic and slouched styles currently available. ($15 CND each if you are interested)

~ Black slouched style


~ Grey with green and red stripe basic style


~ Dark green with light green and black basic style


~ Dusty rose slouched style


~ Red, dusty rose, grey and natural slouched style (SOLD)

I also have shawls that I have been doing…

This one is wool, nylon and angora with a mystery eyelash yarn for the fuzzy highlights

Son graciously offered to model one for me!

A different style of shawl…

This one is 100% merino wool and that lovely colourful edge is all hand dyed too.  The colour of the main body is a purple and not a blue like the camera shows.

I have a list of shawls and other stuff I’ve got done and just can’t seem to get the best pictures done of them to show to advantage.  Trying to do this all on my own is a challenge, I need a good day when all the stars are aligned to make it work I guess.  It might be a decent fall and winter project to look into doing… I’ll take it under consideration.

I am able to take paypal from all countries and you can email me at: ladyryl[at]gmail.com if you have any questions or are interested in buying one of the items I have posted here.

For now, I hope you enjoy a quick glimpse into what keeps me occupied throughout the year.

Oh dear, the holiday is over…

Yet memories were made to bring home and savour until next year…

Two weeks of:

Hanging out at a powwow and camping,

Harvesting Saskatoon and blueberries right from the bushes and eating them sun warmed

Having a dress custom made and fitted for me (to wear for son’s wedding!)

And a custom beaded pendant to wear with it,

Beach trips,

Scoring some nice stuff for myself and to bring home as gifts,

Shopping trips,

Hanging out with my Dearest Friend and her family,

And got myself a nice new tattoo (designed by me and only tweaked slightly by the artist)

I adore spending time up there with them and am sad when my time up there is at an end… I do know that eventually I need to come home to my own home and the critters, it just seems my time away goes so fast.  Although I am looking forward to plans for going again next summer, for what I am hoping will become a yearly sabatical for me!

Next up is my Son’s wedding in two weeks…

A yarn about how kindness pays….

I had something super exciting happen the other day (Sunday) and I really wanted to share.   See, it was all the result of what I saw as a little act of kindness on my part…

This is a bit long, so grab your beverage of choice and bear with me if you want to come along…

To start the story… I got involved in a spinning group several years ago, where you could take fiber from someone who didn’t spin and turn it into yarn for them in exchange for a portion of the fiber for yourself. I agreed to also dye the wool I got sent into two different colours for the lady. As time went by, I managed to get it done, it just took a bit longer than I originally expected and made sure to keep her updated on the status of the projects. When I was finally finished and ready to send her the yarn, I found she had unfriended me and was no longer in the group we originally met in. So I searched for her on FB and sent her a message that her yarn was ready and waited to hear from her. Months passed and while the little icon said she had read my message, I heard nothing back from her. After a year, I figured she wasn’t going to claim her yarns.

Enter some of my dad’s friends from online.   He had been to visit them last summer in person and they had put him and mom up at their home for week while they were there. No money was allowed to be paid for food or lodging, just come and visit us. It was a kindness they hadn’t expected and have tried to do small things to send some of the kindness in return.  The wife of the couple crochets in her down time and I thought it might be nice to send her one of the skeins of unclaimed yarn as a gift, just pay for shipping and I was cool.  She was thrilled at the chance to receive it and was more than willing to cover shipping.  When I checked in to be sure she had gotten her parcel, it turned out she had and both her and her husband were in love with my work. She paid for the shipping and added a little extra for me, a pleasant surprise I was happy to get.  Her next message came back with “Did I happen to have anymore that she could actually buy from me please?”

Well, I had a suitcase full and some extra that I had set aside, that I was willing to sell and offered some group shot pictures to let her know what I had. Pictures were sent and she comes back with “I’ll take all the blue stuff right now please. How much do I owe you?” I was thrilled at the sale of these skeins of yarn all at once and was even willing to give her a deal.  She wouldn’t take the discount and insisted on paying full price. Then her next message stunned me to the absolute limit of my expectations… “So let me know how much the cost is for the rest of the yarns and we can figure out a payment schedule that works for us both”

SAY WHAT!!!!!

I asked her to clarify, just to be sure I had this right.  This lovely lady was serious!!  She absolutely wanted all my available hand-spun yarn, at full price plus whatever the shipping would cost. I was waiting for someone to pop up and yell “April Fools” or inform me that this was all a hoax.   Nope, she was serious about it and wanted the lot… I was on cloud nine at this point, this was every artist’s dream and I was living it at this moment!!

She has set out a payment schedule to ensure I get the full amount over a decent amount of time and in the meanwhile, I will turn skeins into centre-pull balls for her to use without ending up with tangled messes… my way of thanking her for her patronage and major purchase.  She works at a job during the day and feels that now she can come home to spend her off time crocheting with stuff that is better than what she can score at Wal-Mart… I am pleased to be able to fill her stash with my unique, hand-crafted yarns and now have lots of room to move forward with creating more hand-spun yarn to fill its place in *MY* stash for sale.

So from what I saw as a small, personal act of kindness came this blessing that has bloomed into my life and at a time I really needed it. This has not only brought a small and steady income for a few months, it has boosted my self-esteem in a big way too.   I have been battling with several health issues of late and my drive to do things has slipped and as I had an every growing stash of things to sell and not many options to sell them, there was little incentive to change things until now.

This has proved to me once again, that if you can find the right person or audience, you will find someone who appreciates hand-crafted goods and willing to pay what it is worth.

It has also reminded me that random acts of kindness, given in the spirit of receiving nothing in return, can sometimes yield large and unexpected returns!!!

Be kind to each other folks…

To bead or not to bead…

 

So I have been cutting back on going to in-person sales, festivals and other events where I could sell my hand crafted pretties.  My one friend that was my major helper in getting things moved in and out and doing the set-ups and breakdowns, had her shifts changed and was not available for the typically Saturday events and I am not able to manage in my own anymore.  So I am trying to decide where best to go for online selling of things like my handpun yarns, hand knitted wearables, and my beaded jewelry and charms.  It’s hard enough to find a decent and affordable online venue, where I might actually make sales and I come up with a new product idea!

I was talking to a friend on the phone one day and we were discussing the aromatherapy bracelets and how the idea was neat, except she wasn’t a jewelry person, so a bracelet wouldn’t work for her.  In a few minutes my brain came up with these… A single lava bead will hold your drop of essential oil and then you can attach it to a key chain, zipper, cell phone case, or they can be converted to a pendant to wear as a necklace if you *are* a jewelry person.  She suffers from stress and anxiety and does find aromatherapy helps, I wanted to find a way to make it work for her and the rest as they say, is history….

So I pulled out my inventory of beads and findings and started creating. Next came the challenge of trying to photograph them, one of my crystal clusters turned out to be perfect for getting the right angle to show them off.  For now I have a sales page on Facebook that I have listed them on.  (https://www.facebook.com/frogpondcollective)

I am going to have to work on pictures of my other stuff so I can get things online, although I find it challenging really… Finding that balance between setting my stuff up just right, then getting just the right shot(s) and then spending all the time to list is and then not have any traffic looking at your work.  Honestly there are days I am wondering if I shouldn’t just make it a big discount sale for charity and give up doing sales of any kind all together.  Sorry, my frustration is showing…  Let me tuck that back in the corner for now.

I’ve posted a couple of pictures of the new product here as a sample, if you have a Facebook account, please stop by my page, take a look at the rest of them and maybe leave a like.

Long time, no see…

It’s been awhile since I have posted, so I thought I would try and drop by fix that… lol

I have been knitting up a small storm of projects in the last year….  Sweaters, shawls, hats, mitts, scarves, cowls… I have been keeping the knitting needles pretty busy.  Occasionally, I have pulled out the spinning wheel and done some work with it, not much though.

This shawl was made entirely from my handspun yarn!

Sweater for my son

Sweater for me

Mitts in Handspun yarn for my daughter-in-law

Hat in handspun yarn for my daughter-in-law

Gift for a Dear Friend

Shawl for sale

Shawl for sale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just a sample of what I have been doing…

So lately the urge to spin has returned and it has been nice to finally get back into the treadle of all things spinning.  I finally finished off a roving I had started spinning up during 2018 (a lovely pink toned batch called “English Garden”) and started up a new roving (a multi-coloured batch called “Archangel”).

Finished this batch of roving

 

Started this lovely roving

These are both 100% merino wool that I picked up when a local store was having a really good sale.  They are being spun up very fine and then I will spin another single in a white merino wool & silk blend to ply with so the colours really have a chance to pop.  This will take time, as I am only able to do around 30-60 minutes of spinning per day right now (due to the pain I am also dealing with) and the fact I am spinning it so fine… It will get done though!

I do have a big project on the needles, a circular throw in a lovely chennille yarn called Velvet.  Plus my time filling dishclothes for when I am waiting in a doctor’s office, travelling on the bus or or on the rare occasion I am sitting watching TV… so I have not totally abandoned my knitting – LOL

All things crafty are limited more than usual by health issues this winter.  I have been on a new medication that has helped keep me from being totally blind-sided by the pain portion, so I am happy to take what I can grab in crafting time and do my best to fill as much of my day with it as I am able.

I have items that I am hoping to put up for sale and would like to know if you are interested in my posting them here?  Let me know in the comments if you are…

Bye for now!

These days of mine…

Are filled with crafting and creating, when I’m not futzing around online, reading or watching Netflix, but I haven’t always been a crafty soul…

In my youth I was more concerned with other things and trying to sort out yarn and needles, hooks and string or anything other than my mildly artistic doodling was overwhelming.  I groused for years that I lacked the skills to save my life if crochet or knitting were involved.  Reading, music, life in general took front stage and the attempts to craft were put in the closet of my mind.

Fast forward to my mid 20’s.  I found myself pregnant and desiring to make items for my soon to be child.  Knitting was still too complex to fuddle through, yet crochet seemed more approachable.  Success happened, soon I was creating gifts for cousins also expecting, toys, blankets and clothes for my son… Crafting was happening!  That once complex means of creating things by hand wasn’t quite so complex and distant in my life, I was thrilled and began learning as much as I could about it.  New stitches, reading patterns and charts, collecting hooks and patterns soon paved the way to my creating patterns to share with others.  I could do this, finally I was a crafty person that could make items that even my very skilled great aunt approved of!

Time slid away with crochet being my only crafting outlet until by my early 30’s I was interested in the skill of hand-spinning.  Taking a spindle or a spinning wheel and fiber and creating hand crafted yarn.  A friend of mine had learned how to do this in an art program in university, she did it often while we sat over coffee and chatted, I was enthralled by the craft and desperately wanted a spinning wheel of my own.  Another friend happened upon a spinning wheel at a local yard sale and called me about it, arranged for them to hold it until I could get there and for approximately a 1/4 of the price brand new, I had my own spinning wheel.  Within a week I was spinning as if I had been doing it for years, producing my own yarns from fiber I acquired from online groups and sources that introduced me everything from raw fleece to clean and processed fiber.  Over the years I have tried so many of them… different kinds of wool, mohair, silk, cashmere, angora, dog fur and so much more.  Thick, medium and fine yarns accumulated in my baskets, they didn’t translate to crochet as well as I hoped, so they languished, waiting for a purpose.

Within 6 months of starting my journey as a spinner, I found a particularly large set of needles and took a chance in buying them as a gift for my friend.  Instead, she used them to teach me how to knit.  These large needles and a couple of strands of thick yarn, her patience, a little trial and error and some practice doing just the knit stitch and there I was knitting!  I could do it, I could process it, it wasn’t nearly as hard as my young self had convinced me it was…  There went I with much practice, learning new stitches and new things about this craft, deciphering patterns, collecting the various types and sizes of needles.  I could now knit.  The joke was on me and I was teased about how I could now knit to save my life – LOL.  I didn’t care, I was having fun, I was exploring this new field in my skill set and having a grand time.

 

Now all these years later,  I don’t crochet as much as I once did, knitting has taken over as my craft of choice… Slippers, socks hats, mitts, scarves, cowls, shawls and even a sweater among the things I crafted on my needles in the intervening years. There is a fairly large stash of yarns hidden and tucked away in odd spots of the house to feed the habit with, sometimes I go on the odd foray to the store to buy something for a specific project, otherwise I try to stick to what already lives here.  As well, I have a fair stash of hand-spun yarns, in spite of how much I have sold or gifted to other knitters. Years of spinning have produced a lot of finished skeins of my hand-crafted yarns and I have even taken to knitting things in it for myself and others, instead of holding on to it for “something special in the future”… My future is now and the yarns are finding a use in my knitting finally.  

I have a half dozen items for myself, I’ve done several items for my daughter-in-law, a couple for my son, an item or three for friends as gifts.  Creating things by hand, even as far as creating the basic components from scratch is like therapy for me, the joy and accomplishment that comes from it is so much greater than I could have imagined all those years ago when I bemoaned my lack of skills.  Sometime it takes time, maturity and the right teachers to make it happen.  I have to say, I am plenty glad that all that and more have been a part of my life.

 

I look forward to sharing some of what I do in the future…  Hope you will enjoy taking that journey with me.

Flash Fiction 22

 

They worked all year to make their quota, the Crazy Crafters Club had high hopes of raising funds for their members to go on that fancy retreat this year.  Each member picked venue to attend and they all worked together to sell the things they made to the masses that showed up.  Unfortunately, it was a lean year so far and they had barely raised enough for one of their members to go.  The latest meeting had brought this to light and instead of trying to pick one lucky person, they were donating to charity…  Far more winners that way.

 

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and try out using her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a 100 word story.

Flash Fiction 21

ff-21

Tradition….

It was the same every year as we grew up.

The second Saturday in December they went out in the morning and got the tree, then afterwards it was lunch at the diner.   Then again on the morning of Christmas Eve, we all went to the diner for supper, it saved Momma from having to cook the night before the big day Poppa said.

Everyone a role to play on the big day…

She got up early to start the turkey,

The kids got the delight of presents,

Tasks were assigned to all,

It was the same every year…

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Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and try out using her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a 100 word story.

Can crowd funding really work..??

I have been considering a service dog for many years now and recently tried applying to training centres that offered dogs that the fees were all or mostly covered.  I have been turned down due to my case being too complex for them to provide a trained dog for me and they wouldn’t give me less than what I needed.  This is totally fair, but that leaves me with no other option but to raise funds to for a dog where the fees aren’t covered.  A well trained dog for my needs can start at $25,000.00 and go up to $40,000.00 or more.  This is why I am hoping you, the public will help.  Such a fee is absolutely reasonable,  but beyond my means as I am on disability.  I am currently working on applying to a training centre that feel they can help me, so I am taking the step to raise funds in the hope I am being proactive in my future!

For years I have known there where complicated things going on with me, but other than being diagnosed with a severe and slowly progressive form of Fibromyalgia, bad knees, crazy loose joints, no one could seem to determine exactly what was going on.  Over time my mobility got worse and now I am in a wheelchair part-time, while trying to stay as mobile as I can on crutch and cane, I am still pretty unstable most days.  Chronic general neuropathic & muscle pain, muscle spasms, chronic muscle tension, numbness and dizzy spells are common everyday things I deal with making applying for a service dog a valid reason to start with…

Recently my new family doctor came on board and started sending me to specialists and it was discovered that I have diabetes and also diagnosable psychiatric issues such as cPTSD, BPD/EID, and severe anxiety that makes going out in public on my own a very stressful effort just to consider, let alone do….

This is the beginning of my message for fund-raising money for a service dog… I paid the money to the doctor and the centre to apply for a dog that would be covered and was denied.  I called another place and they won’t charge me to apply or interview, but the dog isn’t covered.  They are certain they can help based on a half hour phone call, that it would be easy, just a matter of finding the right kind of dog, doing the training…. All I have to do is come up with the money to pay them for their time and efforts.  Easy, right??  *Sigh*  Not so much, after much stress and over-thinking, I am trying the crowd funding idea.  If I can raise enough to get a dog, it would be the best gift for myself I could have…

Please consider donating or sharing my page and let’s see how far I can go to raise the money I need to actually get a dog.

 

THANKS!

Paprikash of Slow-Cooked Lambs Hearts

Source: Paprikash of Slow-Cooked Lambs Hearts

Oh my gosh!  This looks yummy…. but since I have pork hearts, they will have to do. 😉

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For those that might think this is gross, [I mean it’s hearts folks] this can be a really tasty food source and it usually MUCH cheaper than other cuts.  I have seen recipes that call for flash frying like you can do with livers, but I seriously recommend low and slow cooking to get the most out of heart meat… it is a giant, well used muscle and can get super tough if you don’t cook it right.

Any animal heart can be used for cooking, the squeamish will not be able to handle them I would imagine, but for those willing to brave meat that looks like an organ, these can be used for long cooking soups, stews, braised dishes, or my favourite is simmered in a spiced brine and then eaten warm at dinner or cold in a lunch the next day.

Cut them up or leave them whole, hearts on the menu can be less daunting than you imagine… Are you brave enough to try?