Review and Renew

Happy New Year and welcome to 2015! What a year it has been, and what a year lies ahead! Even though I have not blogged in a while, I thought today would be a good day to do a recap of the past year and take a look at what is to come in the next.

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2014 Review:

Looking back at my shop and life goals for the past year, I am happy to say that I did acheive some of them, and even though others didnt quite happen, I did make strides toward them, nonetheless.

One of my goals was to reach 100 items for sale at Lemon Lane Organics. This one did not happen, although I did try. Life happens. I will try again this year!

Making more holiday-themed items also seems to have gone by the wayside somewhat, but I did make some new things specifically for Easter last year, something I had not done previously.

I did acheive a goal of adding new original crochet and knit designs. One was the baby rain boot crochet pattern “My Little Galoshes.” The other was my first knitting pattern, the free Basic Baby Bear Hat pattern available here on the blog.

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I was hoping to make 150 sales in 2014. I got pretty close, coming in at exactly 120 transactions on Etsy for the year. Of course, some of those were for multiple items, which I didnt count as separate sales, so maybe I got even closer!

And blogging on a regular schedule? Um, haha, that didnt happen for very long! I did try for a while, though! There is always this year, right?

For my life goals, we DID acheive going wheat free as a family in 2014. It has made definitely improvements in our health as a family. My husband rarely gets migraines now, and if he does eat wheat, he almost immediately feels the negative effects. He also has noticed that he struggles less with adult acne since going wheat-free. I have also noticed clearer skin as well as complete healing of the dermatitis that had plagued my scalp for years! If I cheat, the effects are not noticeable right away, but my skin trouble does return in a matter of weeks. So, needless to say, we will be staying on the wheat-free path as a family for the foreseeable future! My time management skills have improved some, although it is always an area in which I have to work. I have a better handle on managing the household chores, meal planning and budgetting than ever before. My husband does not need to help around the house to keep things up to our desired level of neatness, which makes us both happier. I am still always working on being more intentional about spending focussed time with J and my husband, but I think that is also improving. J and I did get out to visit friends and go on outtings throughout the year, especially since I joined a MOPS group at a local church in the fall. More time in the Word and prayer is, again, an ongoing battle for me. I have my ups and downs. Finding an online Bible study group was helpful for accountability for a while, but when that ended, I had a hard time sticking with it. I need to get back into another accountability group soon!

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All in all, 2014 was a year with lots of ups and downs, both personally and business-wise, but it was a good year of learning and growth.

2015 Renew:

So looking ahead to 2015, I see some areas that will continue to be important to keep pursuing my goals. For Lemon Lane Organics, I really would like to work at getting to that 100 item mark. I also have several ideas for a series of crochet patterns that I want to design and publish this year. At the moment, I am working on a knitting pattern that I plan to have tested and put up for sale in the coming month!

If you have been following me on the blog or on other social media, you know that a new thing I tried in 2014 was selling handdyed yarn! It has been a fun learning experience! Although I do not know how much time and resources I will be able to devote to Eclectic Lemon this year, it is something I would like to keep doing in the future. I am just not sure that 2015 is going to be the year for that to really grow and develop.

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The biggest project I have going in 2015, though, is something that will be more important than either of my shops, the blog, and even housework! Again, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you will likely already know that we are expecting Baby Number 2 in early April! Everything in the next few months will revolve around getting ready for our new arrival, setting up furniture, organizing baby clothes nd supplies, and making sure my shops are in good shape before I take a necessary leave of absence from them. I do not know how long I will need to take off from selling or even creating, but I hope it will not be long. With Little J, I needed some serious recovery time and did not have any creative juices even while pregnant. But this time has been much different. I have not lost any of my creative mojo, in fact, just the opposite! I have felt much more inclined to make new things! Little J is excited to meet his new sibling, and my husband and I are also looking forward to adding to our little family.

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So, you can see that 2015 is going to be quite a full year here down Lemon Lane! I wish you blessings and peace in this year! May God be with you in all you do!

Out with the Old

…And in with the new! Sometimes we just need a little change, right? Sometimes things need a little dusting off and freshening up. Sometimes we need to get rid of something old to make room for something new. And that is just what I need to do over at Lemon Lane Organics this weekend. There are several items that have been hanging around in my shop for a very long time, and I finally decided it is time to move them out and make room for new ideas and new designs.

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So, this Saturday, August 9th, 2014 from noon to 9pm (central time) I will be having an auction on Facebook to sell off some old stock! All items will have a low, low starting bid, and everything is ready to ship. These are mostly newborn sized hats and booties, but some items are sized for older infants as well. All them would make great gifts for new babies or be lovely additions to a photographer’s newborn photo prop box! I hope you will come on over tomorrow and participate in this one time event. Here is the link to the auction event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/691270604296012/

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As always, you can also check out my Facebook page where I will be posting announcements about the event. You can find that link in the sidebar to the right. —–>

 

Listening for Inspiration

I don’t quite remember how I got started on this, but a few months back I found the wonderful world of knitting podcasts. Ah! What a veritable rabbit trail of fiber-y goodness and inspiration! I had no idea how many knitters were doing podcasts, of both the audio and video variety. I really enjoy listening to a podcast or two while I am doing housework each day. It makes doing things like dishes and laundry much less tedious. Video podcasts are usually easier for me to pay attention to if I am knitting or crocheting, especially when a certain small boy is sleeping or quietly playing somewhere.

If you haven’t ever listened to a knitting podcast before, you might be asking, what fun could you possibly having listening to somebody talk about their knitting? Well, it is a lot like reading a blog…they talk about lots of things, not just what is on their needles. Life, kids, nature, food, yarn, spinning, and other crafts as well… And a few of my very favorite podcasts are hosted by friends who laugh and talk together, making you feel like you are sitting there and knitting right along with them. Oh, and another perk of getting on the podcast bandwagon? Most of them host giveaways and Knit-Alongs on a regular basis! Those are always great fun to participate in? So, I thought it would be nice to share with you my current podcast lineup, in no particular order, in case you want to check some of them out, too.

Knitting Pipeline
The Knitmore Girls
The Dyer’s Notebook
In a sKnit
Prairie Girls Knit and Spin
Yarniacs
Curious Handmade
Fluffy Fibers
The Savvy Girls
A Playful Day
Commuter Knitter
Down Cellar Studios
Knitting Butterflies
Must Stash Podcast
Ewe University
The Lost Geek

(P.S.–Because I often listen to these while little ears are present, all of them are by necessity pretty clean and free of words I don’t want my child to hear. Still, there may at times be a slightly off color joke or mention of drinking. Just fair warning for those who may be sensitive about those things.)

That Crazy Dyeing Thing

Howdy, blog reading friends! In my last post way back when (let’s just say it’s been a while) I talked about my experiments in dyeing yarn. It was very fun and addictive. And I kept thinking and thinking about how much I would like to try my hand at dyeing yarn to sell. But it was sort of scary. I mean, what if nobody buys it? Then I will have loads of beautifully hand dyed yarn sitting in my craft closet just waiting to be knitted up! (Oh, wait, that doesn’t sound so bad, now, does it?! 😉) I was afraid of doing something new and having it fail, of having my hard work go unnoticed or unappreciated. I am not a big risk taker.

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But then I thought, how will I know if I never try? There is an element of risk in everything in life. And often, the greater the risk, the greater the reward! So, I dismissed my fears and the little voice inside that likes to tell me I’m not good enough. (Sometimes that little voice is very loud and annoying, and persistent!) I saved up enough to buy some professional dyes. Then I saved up some more to buy some good quality yarn from a fellow dyer who was destashing. And I started up my new little shop, Eclectic Lemon!
I am starting small and building up stock as I can, so right now I only have small batches of worsted and sock weight yarns. But this crazy dyeing thing is such an amazing creative outlet for me that you can get there will be more in the future as I have time and money to add new yarns!

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I do hope you will stop by and take a look around, whether you are in the market for hand dyed yarns or not. I would also love it if any knitters or crocheters out there would leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite yarn bases or colors that you would like to see me add in the future. Or tell me what colorway you see in my shop now that you love the best!

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Oh, also, I wanted to let you all know that I am on Instagram now! I post pics of my knitting and crochet, my yarn, my kitties and collie dog, nature…and sometimes just random stuff. If you are on Instagram, feel free to follow me @EclecticLemon. See you there! 😊

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Dyeing for an Adventure

Get it? Dyeing, instead of dying? Ok, well, maybe I am the only one chuckling at my little pun. That’s ok because I am so please with my most recent experiment with hand dyeing that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. 🙂

Last week I received some beautifully soft and fluffy fiber in the mail from a small family farm in Michigan. I ordered it from The Sheep and I on etsy, and it is a blend of cormo wool, llama fleece and mohair. All the animals on this farm are raised on organic feed and handled with love and care, so I was happy to support their shop by purchasing a sample of their fiber.

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A few days after getting the fiber in the mail, my little boy and I were dyeing some boiled eggs for Easter time. I looked at all those brightly colored cups of dye solution and said, “Oh, my! We can’t let all this lovely stuff go to waste!” I immediately got the fiber soaking so I could dye it while Little J napped. Having never dyed roving before, I wasn’t really sure quite how I wanted to go about it. Because the Easter egg dyes were already mixed with quite a bit of water and some vinegar, I new it wouldn’t work to hand paint and steam it…too much liquid! So I decided to use a pot on the stove with just a little lukewarm in it to start, then added the soaked (loosely braided) roving and slowly poured the dyes over different sections of the braid. I knew that the red dye in the purple might drift around and make some parts of the green and blue a bit brownish, but I was ok with this. It was just an experiment, after all! Some brownish spots did appear, but I don’t mind at all.

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After a couple of days of hanging to dry and a bit of fluffing up, here is the brilliantly bright finished roving! I have dubbed this color combination “Aurora Borealis” because that is just what these colors remind me of…although I’ve never had the joy of seeing the Northern Lights in person. Maybe someday!

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I don’t know what I’m going to do with this fiber yet. I am not a spinner (yet) and don’t have a spindle to even attempt learning how to spin yarn. I am very much considering the possibility of starting a shop to sell hand dyed yarn and fiber in the future, but that is still very much in the thinking and planning stages. So, I guess I will just keep it and look and it and pet it for now.

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Every time I dye something, I just get itching to do more and more, so this is definitely something you will be seeing and hearing more about later on! I am daily reading about different brands of professional dyes, methods for hand dyeing yarn and fiber, different types of fibers, tools to use in the home dye studio, etc., etc., etc.! I even started a secret Pinterest board full of photos of inspiration for color combinations for when I do get up and running! So much to think about…what an adventure!

The Cross

This being Passion Week, the week before Easter Sunday, I have been thinking and reading a lot about the events leading up the Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is overwhelming when I really stop and think about the sacrifice the Christ made on the cross, taking on not only the pain of the beatings and crucifixion and death, but also every sin ever committed before or since. He allowed Himself to be made sin, although He had never done anything wrong Himself, to take my place (and yours) on that cross and to be separated from His Father God so that we would have the opportunity to live with God forever. It is so amazing that I often cannot put my praise and thanks into my own words. But in those times, worship songs come to mind to express my gratitude. This is one that was on my heart this morning, and I wanted to share it with you here…

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“Worthy is the Lamb” by Darlene Zschech of Hillsong