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Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 67 of 365 Blog or Vlog

I’m Not Going to Make New Year’s Resolutions

It is something of a truism that people make all these fantastic New Year’s resolutions, but they don’t follow through. I am not going to set myself up for failure.

Instead, I am going to make some doable plans with achievable steps. Rahn an I were discussing how much our homestead has changed in the last four years, and what still needs to be accomplished.

My attention is on how to get an income stream from leatherworking. I have spent a fair amount of money this past week on getting tools, supplies, and leather. The temptation is there to jump straight to offering customized leatherworking.

I’m not ready for that. I need to build up some capital first. What I plan is to make up the 10 billfold kits I purchased from Tandy and sell them on Amazon Handmade. Then re-invest that money in getting more kits and leather.

We’ve identified some local stores that would be good potential places to offer my work at a later date.

The progression I have in mind includes ten to tweleve each:

Billfold kits
Small card wallets
Tooled cuffs

Sell these on Amazon Handmade, re-invest and repeat a couple times. Then add some more expensive projects and see how they perform.

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Blog or Vlog 365

Day 66 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Resurrecting My Leather Tooling Skills

About 40 years ago, I worked at a Tandy Leather store. I added leather tooling to my list of skills, and was pretty good at it.

I lost all my tools and supplies over the years, and have wanted to replace them.

The tools I found on Amazon, some supplies and kits on tandyleather.com, and some tooling leather via Amazon from a company called European Leather Works.

Between the number of places my orders are coming from and the Christmas holiday, some things will arrive this week, but most by the end of next week. Still, I’m looking forward to being able to get back into the art form / craft.

One of the things I ordered from Tandy Leather was a 10 pack of billfold kits. I plan to do these for sale. I have a plan for marketing them that will involve my Amazon Handmade account.

One aspect of the Amazon Handmade service to sellers is that I can sell my products on other platforms also, and the orders can be fulfilled with the items in my Amazon Handmade store.

For instance, if I list these on a store page on this website, when someone orders the paid thank you link then triggers the item to be shipped from the items in the Amazon Handmade warehouse. Yes, as seller this costs me a bit. It is potentially more profitable as I then don’t have to have more product at home to fulfill orders. I also don’t have to spend time doing the packing and shipping.

From European Leather Works (not actually European – based in Los Angeles) I ordered some thin tooling leather. I plan to make a couple pairs of tooled cuffs for Rahn. One pair will be black for his performance clothes, one pair will be brown to go with other clothing. If there is enough of this leather, I probably will make some tooled bracelets or cuffs for sale.

The profits from the tooled billfolds will go right back into purchasing more leather. I’d like to make some cases, purses, and more billfolds.

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Art-earnative Life Farm Blog or Vlog 365

Day 65 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Thinking about spring planting.

One of the the things any gardener does is to start gardening the next year in their mind as soon as frost hits.

I have a pretty good seed stash, so I don’t think I need to put in a big seed order.

What I do need to do is to start getting new raised beds built.

We managed to find a nearby rancher that sells IBC totes for reasonable cost. We got a couple IBC totes for water storage. The last couple years gardening efforts failed due to lack of water.

Rahn is getting some plumbing bits and pieces to not only pump water to the house from the IBC, but to collect rainwater from the roof.

By the way, IBC stands for “Intermediate Bulk Container”.

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Blog or Vlog 365 Recovering Health and Fitness

Day 64 of 365 Blog or Vlog

It’s been a tough month.

In and out of the hospital.

Haven’t been able to get much done. Certainly no writing or even much study. Haven’t done any knitting. Still not able to do much walking.

Definitely need to make some changes. Some upgrades on diet, no more soda. Even knocking out the artificial sweeteners.

I’m working harder on getting the blood sugar into a better range. I’m also drinking more kombucha.

The kombucha was a key part of my losing over 100 pounds eight years ago. I’ve backslid since, but not all the way. The image below was from before that weight loss.

 

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Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 63 of 365 Blog or Vlog

A Few Planned Knitting Projects

I haven’t been knitting for the last couple years. My vision has been so bad, I just couldn’t see both my pattern notes and stitches well enough to work.

My cataracts were removed at the beginning of the year. It’s been a few months, and the ophthalmologist has been treating some diabetic changes in my left eye. It’s starting to improve.

Spinning, art work, and even sewing has also been on hold. It’s time to handle all of it.

First will be some needed projects for colder weather. Socks, fingerless gloves, knitted headband, a ruana or asymmetric front sweater. A triangular shawl that will be woven, then felted will be a nice addition in hand spun wool.

There is a substantial stash of yarn in both commercial and hand spun.

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Blog or Vlog 365 Recovering Health and Fitness

Day 62 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Health Challenges and New Plans

I’ve been having a rough time. Not to get into details, but I have multiple doctor appointments coming up.

My primary doctor is probably going to adjust my diabetes medications this week. That’s been the roughest bit.

Rahn and I are going to go to the gym this week. I really need to start getting some more exercise and so does Rahn.

One issue has been more backaches when I’m on my feet too long, so I plan to put in some exercise time in the pool at the gym. Some time on the stationary bike is also in my plan.

Another thought is to just do some walking around the property, but the backaches are making that less attractive.

Sleep hasn’t been great, either. My eyes have a tendency to drift open while I sleep so light can easily wake me. I either need to wear a sleep mask or darken my room some more. Then there is the temperature in my room. I like a cool room, but not too cool. It was either too cold or too warm in my room last night, so I need to find a better setting on the space heater.

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 61 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Change in the Weather

The fall equinox was only five weeks ago, and now we’re getting a hard freeze this week. Sheesh.

It may even be a new record low for the date.

I have a new space heater in my office.

The image is from a while back when Rahn was installing most of the insulation in my office. That needs to get finished before the weather really gets cold.

We just got a new space heater for Rahn’s room. He likes the 3D wood fire effect.

Rahn is working on getting the living room organized today. He also detailed how he plans to build the raised planter boxes and a new mailbox / planter box combination.

I need to work on study and more writing today.

I just watched a quick video on product photography that will save me endless amounts of work getting images for Amazon Handmade.

Next tutorial is a 6 hour course on Adobe Premiere Pro.

I may go upstairs and get my sock knitting so I can put more attention on the tutorial. I also need to start some new knitting projects. I’d like a knit headband and fingerless gloves. A new sweater would be a nice thing to have.

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Blog or Vlog 365

Day 60 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Some Observations for Best Practices in YouTube (or other platform) Videos

A video has a very short period of time to catch a viewer’s attention, and a number of things can make a viewer click away. Here’s my nope list:

  • Obvious click-bait title
  • Badly-shot video with dizzy, jerking camera motion
  • Bad audio without noise cancellation
  • Unpleasant, grating voice or difficult to understand accent
  • Disorganized content, slow & boring
  • Too-loud or poorly chosen background music
  • Video is just too long
  • Choppy editing
  • Too common topic / overdone content

Good writing, some investment in basic equipment and software can avoid many of these. An honest assessment of the speaker’s voice and delivery is needed.

Showing, not telling, can be very effective. One channel that I watch regularly has no narration at all, not even captions. The projects shown are interesting and the pace of the video allows me to follow the steps. I am researching, not plagiarizing their ideas. I’ll be making my own videos with my take on the content.

Using tripods will cut way down on the annoying camera motion. Where I would normally hand-hold, I’ll help stabilize my camera with a monopod. My camera also has an anti-shake program. I also have an inexpensive “B” camera for a different angle.

I just got a decent set of wireless lapel mics, and I will be taking advantage of the audio processing within Adobe.

Rahn and I both have pleasant speaking voices without a lot of accent, though Rahn is unmistakably a Texan. I’ve picked up some Texanisms, but I’ve bounced around the country enough that my own accent has been moderated.

Practice of scripts and experience will improve pacing and understanding. Another help is using titles and text within the video and staying off camera. If a craft video, hands and art work with off-camera narration would be more effective.

When speeding up motion to edit the duration, make sure camera audio is off. Few things are more annoying than unintelligible squeaks.

I prefer instrumental music for background. Vocals add another layer of complexity during editing. Adobe has some powerful tools to adapt and remix audio to match audio with what is going on in the video.

Edit, edit, watch again, trim the length, edit some more. Study other videos. Compare with as honest an appraisal as possible.

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Art-earnative Life Farm Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 59 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Discussing more chickens.

Rahn and I were discussing when we plan to get more chicks.

There are a number of good hatcheries. We use Murray McMurray. We’ve always had good results with their chicks.

Chickens are a great choice for even a person beginning a off-grid lifestyle. They are pretty easy to keep healthy and you get breakfast!

I plan to order chicks to arrive in mid-March. That way, they’ll have a period inside and go to a sheltered brooder pen after last frost in early April.

This year we’ll order all females. I’m not sure on breeds this year. I’d like some more Brahmas. Because of a bird flu disaster at Murray McMurray, I wasn’t able to get any last year. Brahmas are generally considered to be a breed better suited to cold areas, but have done quite well here regardless.

Rahn plans to send the rest of the roosters to freezer camp (Yes, that’s an euphemism for slaughter, clean and freeze for food.) at some point this winter.

Historically, food animals were processed during the fall when the weather cooled and before food for animals ran short. People kept the animals that they planned to breed for the next generation, or needed to keep for eggs or milk.

New chicks arrive at our post office only a couple days after they hatch. The post office calls me as soon as they arrive, so I can drive in to pick them up.

We set up a brooder box indoors for their first week with a heat lamp, chick starter food, and a chick waterer. We get each chick to drink, and make sure that they are warm enough. We don’t want the chicks to have to pile up to get warm. That’s a fast way to get chicks to smother the smaller and weaker chicks.

We keep them indoors until they have feathered out. When we do take them outdoors, we keep them in a protected part of the chicken run apart from the older birds until they are large enough to not get bullied.

The best time to integrate the new birds with the older birds is after dark. The two groups have had a couple weeks with a fence between them, and after dark the birds are more interested in sleeping than chasing each other around.

Most breeds of chickens start to lay eggs at about six months of age.

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Blog or Vlog 365

Day 58 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Organizing projects.

Planning some things for this week. I need to do a lot of study, writing, and work on production.

Study:

I need to get my head wrapped around Adobe Premier Pro as well as the YouTube Creator programs.

I’ve curated quite a few YT videos for various categories. “Nerd Stuff” includes various technical tutorials. Adobe platform, solar energy, even some Ham radio. I went through and changed the play order of the tutorials so all of the Premiere Pro was in the order I want at the beginning of the folder. This is several hours of tutorials.

Writing:

I need to put together a number of new posts for the website, posts on Substack (and website posts can be duplicated on Substack) and start writing scripts for new YouTube videos.

I’d like to make at least two dozen posts this week.

Production:

This is where I really need to put my attention. I need to organize my YouTube channels, organize my supplies, and come up with an extensive project list.

There are several main divisions in the themes in our website, and this will be duplicated with different YT channels. There are also other video platforms, and I need to look into getting set up on them also.

  • Homestead – Talking about construction, off grid power and water, heating and light
  • Farm – Animals, gardening and harvesting
  • Music and Art – Learning Saxophone, Rahn’s guitar and bass, my various art projects.
  • Fiber and Fabric – Spinning, weaving, sewing, raising flax and cotton
  • Recovering Health and Fitness – Cooking and food storage, diet, exercise, and posts in conjunction with my doctor. He practices with a Christian perspective, and wishes to express some advice and reassurance that something can be done to improve medical issues.

Organizing supplies needs to happen. I have paints, fabrics, sewing supplies, sculpting tools and air dry clay, wood burning tools, jewelry supplies, embroidery threads and tools. Once I can get them in order I can start turning out projects for sale on Amazon Handmade with video tutorials of the making of them.

A short list of planed projects includes:

Bead pendant necklaces
Embroidered and beaded bracelets
Sculpted multimedia boxes
Sculpted knitting bowls

Beaded stitch markers

Knitted projects

This list needs to be considerably expanded with specifics.