Sunday 30 December 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

I know it's not quite the end of the year, but I thought I would do one last blog of the year.
We were quite busy on the run up to Christmas, I'd ordered 37kg of fibre from one of my suppliers thinking that it would not arrive until after Christmas, well that is what their web site said. But it all arrived the Friday before Christmas, along with the 12kgs of sock wool I'd also ordered from another supplier, who's website also informed me that they couldn't guarantee delivery before Christmas!which to be honest didn't bother me. But it arrived and now 30kgs of the fibre is already bagged up just waiting to be labelled, priced and photographed to be put onto my Folksy shopto sell. The rest of the fibre needs to be dyed before I can put it up for sale. The same goes for the knitting wool, that too needs to be dyed etc before going onto Folksy for sale.
I've been a bit slow in using Folksy so in 2013 I'm determined to get a lot more of my fibre into the shop for sale.
We had a quiet Christmas Day, we always do, watched a few DVDs and just chilled out. On Boxing Day we started on making modifications to the lounge! The 4 "fake" beams in the ceiling have been removed, a stone shelf, for which we could see no use for, has been removed, making one of the supports for the RSJ (which supports the upper floors when the 2 downstairs rooms were knocked through into one) easier to box it, as at the moment it is a "lovely" 70's stone pillar!!!! Tim then started on filling in the holes in the walls the electrician has made when we had the house rewired, so that I can start and give, at least, the lounge a coat of neutral paint so we can then decide what to do with the very large, again "70's", fake stone fireplace.
This fireplace has split our friends who have seen it, they either like it or hate it, there are no "well it's O.K" comments about it. Tim and I are undecided, because to remove it, will involve a lot of work, mainly how do we support the other end of the RSJ!!!! Time will no doubt tell.
The more we start looking deeper into the fabric of our house we realise that there has been no real substantial work done in the last 20 years, and that includes decorating!!!!
The next big job is replacing the Central Heating, which is between 20 to 25 years old. So the whole lot has to come out and be replaced with new. The plumber is booked to be here for a least a week from the 18th March 2013, and for a few of those days we will be without hot water or heating. Let's hope the weather is starting to warm up by then
Usually over the Christmas and New Year break I plan to spend some time in the veg garden, doing a spot of digging and just having a good tidy up of the weeds and leaves etc, but this year the soil is extremely wet. We could do with at least a month of no rain to dry everything out.
I'm already booked into 2 fibre events for 2013, Wonderwool in Wales (April) and the British Wool Weekend in Harrogate (September). By the end of January I should know if I've been successful in getting a stall at Woolfest and Fibre East. I will, of course, be attending Saltburn Farmer's Market from March through to December.
It has been strange over the last 6 months not having the sheep and alpacas to worry about, especially as the weather has been so wet, the fields would have been by now, mud and feed prices this year are going to be very expensive. I've just had to give my availability for Tribunal work for Feb - April 2013 and this time there is no big block of weeks I can't work due to lambing, though a friend in the next village has said we can help her lamb if we feel the need!!!!!
Well all there is now it for me to wish you all a Happy New Year and let's hope that 2013 is a bit drier than 2012 has been.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Holly's Christmas Party

Well that wasn't quite what I had in mind when I invited our friends over for the weekend with their respective dogs, KD, Lunil and Bil, which meant, with our two dogs, we had 5 dogs in the house. It was Tim who christened this weekend Holly's Christmas Party, and oh boy, was she excited on Saturday morning, doing the "happy huff" she does and bouncing around, waiting for, her and Deefa's friends, (along with their staff of course) to arrive.
KD was the first to arrive on Saturday afternoon, and as we were blessed with mild weather, for once, all 3 of the dogs were running in and out of the house and playing chase around the garden. When Lunil and Bil arrived, around tea time, the whole chase thing happened again, and like any party with excited children, no one wanted to admit they were tired and settle down for the evening.
Tea was a joint of brisket, from our friend's Dexter herd, and 2 joints of our lamb, plus veg and Yorkshire puds. Evening entertainment was a DVD called Faintheart. If you like something silly and corny about people who do re-enactment, then this is a DVD for you.
Sunday, as always, was started with the traditional breakfast of Tim made sausage burgers, bacon, eggs, baked beans, tomatoes and toast.
After a quick walk down to Fairy Dell, we all went to Saltburn, to walk on the beach. Low tide was around 12.00, so arriving around mid morning meant we could have a good long walk, and today, it was so mild and warm down on the beach it was hard to believe we are only 2 weeks away from Christmas.

Lunil & Bil - playing with a stick

KD following Lunil & Bil into the sea

 The boy Deefa, affectionately known as Big D, taking a break from running around on the beach

and finally the party girl herself, Holly.
A great weekend with friends and dogs, which no doubt we will do again early next Year.

Sunday 9 December 2012

The last of this year's markets

Last weekend I was at Middlesbrough Christmas market, which wasn't too bad. Friday was the better of the 2 days, sales wise. Saturday was very cold and very low on sales. I don't think I will do this market again.
This weekend I was booked to do 2 markets, Stockton Sparkles and my regular market, Saltburn Farmer's Market.
Stockton Sparkles was over 4 days, from Thursday through to Sunday and we all had our own little cabin, which did mean that I could put a heater on and keep slightly warmer than if I was stood out in the elements. But that was the only good thing about this market. On the Thursday I sold nothing and I was supposed to be there from 10am to 7pm, but by 5.30pm I was so fed up and having had a good look at what other stallholders were selling (cheap scarves and tat), I realised that I was at the wrong market. So I packed up that evening and didn't bother going back for the other 3 days.
On the other hand Saltburn Farmer's Market was as good as ever. I loved seeing my old customers and catching up with the other stallholders, some of whom have had previous experience of Stockton Markets and have no intention of going back to there.
Tim also came with me to Saltburn and I think enjoyed the jovial banter that goes on at Saltburn, it has such a good feel about it and the market buzzes.
So in 2013 I will be going back to Saltburn Farmer's Market, I've also sent my application forms off to attend Wonderwool in Wales, Woolfest in Cockermouth, Fibre East in Bedfordshire and The British Wool Weekend in Harrogate. Botton School hold craft fairs every 3 months, and though I don't like doing craft fairs, this one I will do, more to support the school and village than make lots of sales, but I've yet to come away with a loss from such an event.
I've also upgraded my Folksy account so that should make loading and selling my fibre and wool on line easier, so we shall see how that goes. It can't do any worse than Middlesbrough and Stockton markets.
Now I've not got any markets until March with the start of Saltburn Farmer's Market, I'm hoping to get some time on starting my veg garden, doing some knitting for me and doing some spinning. All of which is dependent on the weather.