Monday, May 25, 2020

Did I Jinx It?

Last week I said I would attend Knit Night from my deck if the rain held off. As I am writing this Saturday morning, it is still spitting out, even though it was supposed to stop yesterday. Did someone take my decision to actually venture out onto the deck as a challenge to see how long I could be kept inside? Along with everyone else?

Doesn't matter. Mom's garden is in and is relishing all the moisture. It hasn't been a torrential downpour trying to invade the garage space again. And when I venture out to the warehouse, my hoodie is enough to protect me. I will only actually complain if I hear a downpour pummelling the warehouse roof when all I have is said hoodie and I need to go back to the house for some reason.

Quick jaunts out to the RV have been productive. I solved the cab access issue for the most part. The center bins now rest on a cabinet on wheels that fits the walkway like it was custom made. (see video below)

The existing lights may be enough but I would rather deal in overkill so that the yarn is shown of in its best light (Sorry, not sorry). Thanks to the virus, I have plenty of time to work out the details.

I have also had time to work on some fine details in the online shop. Every day it is getting easier for you to find what you need. You still won't find mask elastic. Don't know what the holdup is there with my supplier but it is what it is.

I was thinking of trying something a little different to let you know what is available online. Who of you would be interested in a Feature of the Week in this blog? Please comment below or on the Facebook page so I can get a feel for the demand for such a feature.

written by Lori, mentally wterlogged TCL owner, who is looking forward to the days (next week) that I can whine about how hot it is ;)

Monday, May 18, 2020

Progress

I've been getting a lot of calls from customers this past week asking if the store is open again now that non-essential businesses have been given the go ahead providing physical distancing / sanitation protocols are in place. It has been fun listening to the surprise in their voices when I tell them the business was never closed. I guess not everyone knew I had taken the store online in February, even though the advertising was everywhere for three months. Regardless, sales are steadily increasing and I may have to get the RV ready sooner rather than later because some Farmer's Markets are indicating opening dates sometime in June.

Speaking of the pop up store, the kitchen counter is still jutting out into the walkway. I don't feel comfortable removing the propane stove without professional help so it will remain there for a couple more weeks. The display area, on the other hand, is starting to shape up. I'm waffling between blocking the access to the cab with cubes for yarn (giving me 33 cubes or 51.56 cubic feet of space) or - as seen below - creating saloon style pegboard doors for needles, hooks, and other yarn notions (6 cubes or 9.375 cubic feet less) so that it looks like a wall during 'store hours' but still allows me to stay indoors to access the cab, especially during inclement weather.
Let me know what you think.

On the home front, Mom spent Friday and Saturday planting her garden. Even though it wasn't in by her usual deadline, she is so grateful to have it done by the long weekend. She can relax now knowing that, God willing, the freezers should be full this fall and all the canning will be lining our cold room walls and the pantries of a few blessed recipients.

One of those individuals is Mom's 91 year old sister who insisted I reintroduce her to knitting this winter. She wanted a scarf and I told her basic garter stitch makes the best beginner scarf because it is mindless knitting that keeps your fingers busy. She sent the yarn back to me this past week 'because the yarn was splitty' and 'don't laugh at my mistakes' and 'please make me something out of the yarn if you can'. Since I've been trying to do some mindless knitting of my own since finishing my OSS, I chose to knit her a cowl. In entrelac  (which is mindless knitting for me). It looks like a clown collar. So I have changed my mind to a One Row Lace pattern similar to this pattern on Ravelry. I can even work this one at Zoom Knit Night. And, if it doesn't rain Thursday night and the bugs stay away, I might even take my iPad out to the deck for Knit Night. We'll see!

Until next week, make good use of the beautiful weather, be productive indoors when it isn't as beautiful outdoors, and stay safe out there.

written by Lori happy TCL owner, who can see a light at the end of the tunnel and knows it's not a train. πŸ˜‰

Monday, May 11, 2020

Normal-ish - a Word I'm Hearing More Often These Days


As I write the blog today, Mom is out preparing her garden for planting when it is dry enough and our lawns are being mowed by the best husband-wife team in the area. Myles, the cat, is sitting on my lap - a new thing since Covid-19 has changed our daily routine - but a welcome change because it means we get to spend more quality time together. My mind may be elsewhere but I've become a master of one-handed typing, which Myles appreciates.

This past Sunday we came home from drive through communion to a freshly tilled garden. Mom was so thrilled because she was sure she was not going to make the May 9 deadline that she has adhered to for at least 5 decades to get her garden in. Then it rained - hard - for a day. She couldn't even bring herself to do any baking. But when we saw dry hills in the garden late Tuesday afternoon, she got all her seeds ready for today, Wednesday.

If you read the previous two paragraphs carefully, you will have noticed some pre-Covid and post-Covid juxtaposition: our previous normal mixed with our current normal. I hesitate to call it the new normal because drive through communion is not how I want to permanently go forward in my church life. This will change.

Other things are changing on a daily / weekly / monthly basis. Businesses, once closed, are re-opening. Some with more restrictions than others, all meant to keep us happy and safe. Other businesses have followed in my footsteps by going strictly online. As you know, even that isn't the new normal for me, simply the current normal. I look forward to the day when the social distancing rules are relaxed enough to have more than one person at a time able to shop in the RV. Right now, there isn't anywhere in the RV that one person isn't within 2m of someone else and there's still the issue of everybody wanting to squish the yarn, whether or not they end up purchasing it. Have you ever tried to disinfect yarn without destroying it? So my normal-ish remains strictly online.

One part of my life that has changed and may become the new normal is connecting with people through platforms like Zoom. Even though I think it is a temporary thing for the Knit Night crew that lives in the area, now that it is an option, I think our outlying community (from Edmonton and Nfld up to this point) may continue to join us Thursday nights just because they can.

So for those of you who are mourning the loss of their old normal, don't despair. Some of the new normal will be an improvement over the old. I found this story the other day that helps sum up my outlook to all this change.

Me: Hey God.
God: Hello.....
Me: I'm falling apart. Can you put me back together?
God: I would rather not.
Me: Why?
God: Because you aren't a puzzle.
Me: What about all of the pieces of my life that are falling down onto the ground?
God: Let them stay there for a while. They fell off for a reason. Take some time and decide if you need any of those pieces back.
Me: You don't understand! I'm breaking down!
God: No - you don't understand. You are breaking through. What you are feeling are just growing pains. You are shedding the things and the people in your life that are holding you back. You aren't falling apart. You are falling into place. Relax. Take some deep breaths and allow those things you don't need anymore to fall off of you. Quit holding onto the pieces that don't fit you anymore. Let them fall off. Let them go.
Me: Once I start doing that, what will be left of me?
God: Only the very best pieces of you.
Me: I'm scared of changing.
God: I keep telling you - YOU AREN'T CHANGING!! YOU ARE BECOMING!
Me: Becoming who?
God: Becoming who I created you to be! A person of light and love and charity and hope and courage and joy and mercy and grace and compassion. I made you for more than the shallow pieces you have decided to adorn yourself with that you cling to with such greed and fear. Let those things fall off of you. I love you! Don't change! ... Become! Become! Become who I made you to be. I'm going to keep telling you this until you remember it.
Me: There goes another piece.
God: Yep. Let it be.
Me: So ... I'm not broken?
God: Of course Not! - but you are breaking like the dawn. It's a new day. Become!!!
~Author John Roedel



p.s. I finished my One Seam Sweater. I love it but I will be making another. This time a medium.


written by Lori, content owner of TCL, who is more than happy to 'become' through all this normal-ish

Monday, May 4, 2020

Ordering Online Just Got Easier!

I spent most of Monday fighting with my current website, craftylady.ca, but it was so worth it! Your payment method is less likely to be turned down AND you can finally find products through TABS!

Yes! You heard right! There are tabs at the top of the page and they have drop down menus! More and more items are finding their proper homes in the webstore and I have discovered how to group them more efficiently for you to navigate with ease. It's still not as nice as the website that was supposed to replace it but it sure beats the hassle most of you have had to deal with up until now. In fact, I am seriously considering keeping this one because it means a whole lot less work for me.

And because I have been concentrating on the website, I do not have a finished photo of my One Seam Sweater  - because it isn't finished. Silver lining? It's now too warm to wear the sweater anyway. That means the weather is now perfect to split my time between the website and the RV (all while taking care of my amazing customers) so stay tuned for updates on both.

written by Lori, busy owner of TCL, who is refreshingly energized by all the work that lays ahead.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Pop Up Update

Well, the snow is almost all gone and the flood from a week ago was a one-off (we hope!). This has given me a chance to focus on the RV renovations!

The first job was to put the battery back into the front end so that I could move the motorhome into a more convenient location so I hooked it up to the battery charger in the morning and installed it later that afternoon. Success πŸ‘until the next day when I checked to see if the battery was still charged πŸ‘Žso I boosted it and let it run for the prescribed minimum 10 minutes (according to Google). That must have been one of the true things on Google because it is still going strong πŸ‘.

The next task was to remove the jutty-outy part of the kitchen counter - the part that makes it impossible to get from one end of the RV to the other if someone has opened the fridge. I took all kinds of pictures and videos of the inside of the cabinet so that I knew where all the anchor points were for the countertop; where the (currently inert) electrical bits were so that I could uninstall the bits that are housed on the side wall to be removed; and where the water and propane lines were so I didn't damage them as they are NOT currently 'inert'.
I figured I could get a lot of the preliminary work done before calling in help for those tasks. I found all the right sized bits for my power drill and my manual screwdriver and got to work.

The TV, DVD player and outlets (GFI, 12 volt and cable) all came out without a fight. Okay - that ONE screw in the TV stand has refused to let go of the TV but that didn't stop me from removing the TV stand from the already tiny countertop.

I discovered that the manufacturers used a Kreg jig for joining which makes for a beautiful finish but meant I had to use my manual screwdriver because the plumbing was in the way of my power tool. Good thing I play the piano (strong fingers, hands and arms) and used to teach junior high (patience of Job) because it took a while to get all the screws out of the front face of the offending peninsula. (Haha. You thought I didn't know what the jutty-outy thing was called, didn't you πŸ˜‰)

Nothing moved. I mean nothing. All the screws that were hiding in their angled hidey-holes had been removed and the countertop and face were solidly held together. Turns out they used brad nails, screws AND glue! I've decided that it is a good thing that most of the Farmer's Markets are not getting the go ahead this year - the exceptions being the ones that are going online - and that social distancing will not be possible in the RV. It is going to take all summer just to renovate!

So glad so many of my customers (including some new ones) followed me online. This social distancing is great for introverts like me but not so good for businesses like mine where the customers want - no, NEED -  to 'pet the squishies'. So for now, I will persevere with the renos, keep filling orders, continue entering data into the improved website so one day you can actually enjoy the experience of ordering from www.craftylady.ca/, and plan for the Pop Up season next summer.


Oh! Some show and tell!


After Mom inherited the original Adult One Seam Sweater, I finally got around to making my very own One Seam Sweater using Caron Cakes (yes, I used contraband yarn again). It will be finished later this evening (Monday) but here it is with just the bottom halves of the sleeves to finish. 😁 I started it less than a week ago!!!
 written by Lori, grateful TCL owner, who loves having all this extra time right now to do the things she HAS to do as well as the things she LOVES to do.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Does This Mean Spring Is Finally Here?

So. Have I ever told you that my mother is amazing?

At 86 years young, she was out at the warehouse with me for the better part of Friday soaking up her portion of the flood with the 2 gallon shop vac while I was manning (womanning?) the 10 gallon shop vac, all in an effort to keep the yarn and everything else in the warehouse dry.

See those sandbags there? She continued sucking up water while I made two trips to pick them up. Don't worry. We may refer to her as Mighty Mouse but I was the one who was slinging the sandbags around.

After almost seven hours straight of hard labour, we finally stemmed the flow of the garden runoff enough to go in and have supper.

A big shout out to a couple of the town staff for coming to remove the ice buildup on the back alley that was trying to keep pace with the garden runoff.

Needless to say, we were exhausted by the end of the day and I still managed to fill a number of orders after supper.

We managed to recuperate over the weekend and by Sunday evening the garden was a soggy mess with no snow in sight and the sandbags kept the water at bay. Yay!

On Saturday, it occurred to me (and one of 'the faithful') that we were missing Knit Night. She has been taking courses via Zoom and I had just had my own first experience with Zoom earlier in the week. What if we had a virtual knit night? We could still have conversation and camaraderie. We could still show off our WIPs and FOs. And because none of us would have to drive home afterwards, we wouldn't have to limit our refreshments to coffee or tea. πŸ˜‰

So let's see how many of you read to the very end of the blog today.
If you would like to participate in a virtual Knit Night on Thursday evenings between 6 and 9pm, leave an affirmative comment.
If you don't want to/can't participate for any reason, say so. I still want to know if you read this far.

Written by Lori, thankful TCL owner, who has a dry floor thanks in part to my very own Mighty Mouse. Love you Mom.


Monday, April 13, 2020

A Happy Snowy Easter to Everyone!


HAPPY EASTER!

I finished a few projects that I've been meaning to get to -
all the previous Christmas/birthday gifts are done and these arm covers for the couch and chair, (of which I made two different variations so I wouldn't get bored)!

They are actually a much darker taupe so the fact that they look this light grey means the sun is out! YAY!!

As you can see, Easter week was quiet for us due to the stay at home orders.
We kept in contact with friends and family through the internet and phone. Because Mom is so-o impressed with all the zoom choirs and orchestras that have been showcased on TV,
I will teach her how to at least use Facetime before this is done so that she can see that her sister in assisted living really is okay. Baby steps. πŸ˜‰

I am still rearranging the warehouse. Almost everything is in its new home and I am still filling and delivering a few orders every day. When I am finally happy with the way the warehouse looks, I will post a video so that you can see that the store is still a going concern. And that has to happen soon because, when the snow goes away, I have to start on the motorhome / pop-up store!

I'm not sure how many Farmer's Markets will be running this summer, and for those that do, they will probably be cutting back on the numbers of vendors to allow for the physical distancing protocols. The silver lining is that I will have more time to get the motorhome exactly the way I want it.


So ... in the time that it took me to write this blog, this happened.


< On the back deck, you can see how much snow was left before it started up again.
< In the front yard, the trees have kept the new snow on the road. And just look at the 'fog' in front of the trees. Really coming down!

Remember, it was sunny when I took those first pictures.














But not to worry, I have faith that Mom will have her garden in before May 9th as she always does so snow all you want, Mother Nature, Spring is already here. Just gotta let it show up.

written by Lori, happy TCL owner who can't wait for all the greenery we should have had for Easter.