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Blog or Vlog 365

Day 5 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Project Day – Spinning and Knitting

While I do have some work cycles to do today, my main attention is going to go to doing some spinning and knitting.

I have my distraff dressed with flax for linen spinning, and would like to get at least on bobbin spun today.

The other peoject is going to be working on my scrappy hand spun socks. I may get some done tonight!

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Blog or Vlog 365

Day 4 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Winter weather in north Texas, Amazon Handmade listings process

The storm was pretty substantial, but not nearly on the level of February 2021.

The cold was pretty impactful. I saw a number of vehicles fishtail and slide on the small hill in front of the property.Some melting occurred today, but there will be a fair amount of re-freezing tonight, with thawing and re-freezing cycles over the next couple days.

My grocery order arrived. I am not in the delivery area, but the delivery driver is willing to add me as a favor (and for a handsome tip). I may continue getting my groceries this way even after I get my truck back.

Speaking of my truck, I don’t really expect to get it this week. I don’t expect that the mechanics will be working until road conditions improve, as well as the likelihood of the work area being far too difficult to heat when it’s in the teens.

Starting to collect what I need to put together the Amazon Handmade listings, and to ship them to Amazon to take advantage of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

My new printer arrived and is unboxed and set up. Some of my labeling supplies arrived, with the winter weather delaying one of the key items – the 30-up sheets of labels for sku / barcode labeling. This isn’t a huge impediment. I’ll be able to create the print file and make sure I have the individual packages staged in order for when I can print and stick. I have my packaging bags handy, and can set up for photos.

Study –

Remove background in Photoshop to leave pure white background for main image.
Watch tutorial on creating Amazon listings
Learn how to submit items for FBA

Actions –

  • create business cards / general labels
  • lay out photography and packaging line
  • take photos
  • package items, making sure to keep things in the same order as photos
  • add general labels
  • create any needed use / care write-ups
  • add as needed to packaging
  • write up listings
  • get SKUs / barcodes assigned
  • create print file
  • label individual packages
  • submit items for FBA
  • package and ship to Amazon
  • PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE!
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Blog or Vlog 365

Day 3 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Plans for yucky weather.

There are any number of things I can do in bad weather. I’ve decided to pick out a few.

IMy Amazon Handmade account is recovered, so I need to start the whole listing and packaging process. It’s fairly persnickety, so coffee will need to be in hand.

The Amazon photo guidelines are pretty specific. This will require me to create a white photo box to get good light and white background high resolution images. Once I have the photos , I need to write good descriptions of all the items, Package them, get bar codes assigned, and get them ready to send to Amazon.

I do have one stop point – that is the current lack of a printer. I have a printer on order, but it may not arrive until Friday. Still; I can have the file ready to print all the labels.

Part of this will be making more “Round TUITs” wood burned rounds. A package of larger – 4 inch – rounds arrived today, so it will take me some time to work my way through them.

Some of these rounds will become fiber tools – drop spindles, to be precise.

The wood burning reminds me of tooled leather, and I enjoy using those kinds of designs in wood burning. The above discs need some more refinement, and some stain. Still, I’m fairly satisfied with the start;

Approximately 5 pounds of fine flax for spinning linen thread was added to my fiber stash recently. I have my spinning wheel set up for spinning this. I will be able to settle in for marathon spinning.

This image doesn’t look like much, but it will be a pair of hand spun scrappy wool socks. Knit of various bits and pieces of sample wools, it is unremittingly colorful and cheerful. I suspect that they will stay in my wardrobe, rather than being offered for sale.

I think these plans will keep me occupied when I’m not working from home this week.

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Blog or Vlog 365

Day 2 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Trying not to be stupid.

The weather later this week is going to be potentially hazardous. While it won’t have the far-reaching effects of last year’s freeze, it does need to be prepared for.

Forecast low temperatures are not projected to get to single digits, and the total time below freezing is expected to be only two days, and not over a week. It does appear that this will be more of a sleet / freezing rain / ice event than snow and cold.

Most people in Texas are woefully unprepared to drive in such conditions, so not being on the road is a far better plan.

ERCOT interim CEO  Brad Jones has been quoted as saying that the power grid will not go down this time. He says that the last twelve months have brought considerable improvement in preparedness.

Propane suppliers have not matched the winterization progress, so that is something of a concern.

I was just talking to my work supervisor, and we discussed at what point our field techs would be sent home.

Since I work from my Homestead Office, I have no plans to be on the road at all. My main challenge will be in keeping the Office warm enough to work.

Rahn will be getting water moved, and get some more bottles filled. The stock tank heater will be put into one of the storage barrels.

I did get a grocery order put in and the driver will be able to pick it up and get it to me before the weather rolls in.

Next post will cover some of my plans for while the weather is yucky.

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Blog or Vlog 365

New Project – Blog or Vlog 365

A Year of Creativity, Projects and Products

A few years ago, I tried a project to make a blog post every day for a full year. I didn’t make it then, but I am revisiting the idea. This will be a Blog or Vlog post every day.

Here is a list of some of the things I’ll be covering. I am hoping that listing things will allow me to calm the ideas bumbling around in my mind. It’s as if I have a herd of sugar-crazed toddlers and caffeinated kid goats constantly screaming at me to do such-and-so.

I will be covering all the categories on Art-Earnative Life Farm, the Homestead, Art and Music, Cooking and Food Storage, Fiber and Fabric, and Recovering Health and Fitness. The 365 Blog or Vlog will be it’s own category for convenience, but the daily posts will also fit into the other categories.

Under the Homestead category, first up is recovering my Amazon Handmade seller account. This is proving to be a long process. I’ve sent in the documentation requested, but haven’t gotten a definitive answer.

I need to recover the account, as Amazon rules do not allow more than one seller account. I could get permanently banned from the platform if I violate this rule.

Once the account is recovered, I need to start listing products. I have dozens of things already made. The listing process involves writing descriptions, getting barcodes assigned, taking good pictures that meet Amazon guidelines, packaging, and as I’ve decided to use Fulfillment by Amazon, creating the shipment to Amazon FBA.

Once Amazon has all the items and they are live, I need to be doing a LOT of promotion. While FBA items are automatically higher in Amazon Search Results, there are many, many, many Amazon Handmade sellers.

While I’m doing all this I need to be creating much more product! Wood burned art, bead work, knitted items, other media artwork, and far, far more. I need to do weaving projects of hand spun yarn, sewing projects, carvings, small spinning and weaving tools, even some glass work.

Concurrently, I need to be getting my Homestead Office put together to handle all this. Some things will need to be moved from my bedroom to the office, others will need to be re-arranged in my bedroom.

Much more work needs to be done on the inside of the Homestead Office. Rahn is working on the wiring and insulation, the pallet wood paneling, and getting things stored in the lofts.

Art-Earnative Life Farm has quite a few urgent projects. One is filling empty feed bags with soil and compost for this year’s gardening. I have all the seed I need to grow most of the vegetables we need to eat for the year.

I’m also going to be growing much more of the food for the rabbits and chickens. The feed bill for them has gotten over $100 a month, so we need to both cut back on the number of rabbits by sending some to freezer camp and feed the remainder from the Homestead.

Processing rabbits for the freezer will also allow us to feed the feline horde more home-grown feed. Eleven cats go through a fair bit of feed themselves. The last two females will get spayed this month, and then the males will get neutered a couple at a time. They do a great job of keeping the rodent population under control and are purring puddle piles of love.

The new chicken coop is nearly done, and there are plans to expand the rabbit housing to make feeding and management more efficient

In my Lessons From a Dangerous Situation post, I detailed how we had failed in a number of areas. Some of those are fixed, others need more work. As we get to these, I’ll be including them in my posts.

Back to the Homestead category; we do have the wood stove installed and working. This will cover keeping heat in the house as well as an alternative cooking surface. Rahn has several days of wood cut dried and stacked, but he needs to get new chains for the chain saws. We also have a power splitter.

Our kitchen stove is finally installed and working. The tankless water heater needs to get installed and the plumbing updated. A new pressure switch pump needs to get purchased.

We did obtain a stock tank heater to keep at least one of the water barrels thawed.

Plans on the off-grid backup power system are moving forward. I have two 2 kilowatt inverters on layaway. I’ll be bringing our generators to the small engine repair shop in Sherman as soon as possible.

We’ve been waiting for weeks for my truck to get repaired. The transmission went out. Once it gets back, we’ll need to do chores that include getting water bottles filled, laundry, animal feed run, grocery shopping, and lumber shopping. I hope Rahn has the new trailer put together, as this will make doing all of the above so much easier.

Under the Cooking and Food Storage category, I plan to start doing at least one Vlog post a week of “What’s for Dinner?” Basic cooking that will include easy homemade bread, dinners with great taste and appropriate portions, basic ingredients, and less money.

I’ll also be covering using our chest freezer for easy freezer meals, freezer storage and organization, dehydration, storing bulk foods, canning, pickling, fermentation other than pickling. The idea here is to give options to the frustrations of the grocery store empty shelves, and the absurd spiraling cost.

This feeds (see what I did there?) into Recovering Health and Fitness. The recipes put forward on the YouTube cooking shows call for absurd amounts of high fat, high calorie ingredients. While I’ll admit that cutting back those recipes wouldn’t be nearly as photogenic, some sanity needs to be applied. What I’ll share will use far more garden produce, and far less “convenience” foods.

Rahn plans to start video bass guitar and guitar lessons under the music side of the Art and Music category, I’ll be doing Vlog posts using a wood burning tool, upcycling used bottles, painting, and using a glass ink pen.

Under Fiber and Fabric, I’ll be doing spinning Vlog posts discussing linen spinning, home made drop spindles, and small sewing projects. I not only have quite a bit of yardage that I inherited from a friend’s estate, I have quite a bit of fabric in the form of clothes that are the wrong size or we just don’t wear anymore.

I’ve been watching quite a few videos of “history-bounding” wardrobe items. I need to put together at least one appropriate outfit for our local Doc Holliday festival. I’ve promised a friend that I will bring my spinning wheel to spin in front of her shop. I know from experience that a spinning wheel will make people stop and look.

With all this, production is assured. Now I need to get back to wood burning.