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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Opening Day

Yesterday was opening day for The Market at WestgatePB090021 and what an opening day it was. We had put the word out about the market and the response was big. A lot of people said they were going to come see us, most of them did. That and all the advertising that the mall did, we had an excellent day. As you can see from the picture we loaded up, that was just one side of our area.

 

 

PB090020  This picture is the view from the other side. Our spot is a prime location, we are the first vender you see when you enter the market area. With all growing pains of the a new venture we where a little cramped but it was workable. The bosses of the market feel the set up needs to be tweaked. Starting next week we will be set up right in front of the doors. This means that when you enter the mall at the main entrance, we will be the first thing you see. This not only gives us a super prime-location it also gives us more room. So if you came by to see us yesterday, next week we will be right in the front as you walk into the mall.

As promised I did take my loom and it will be there next week as well. Since I was not able to get it set up before opening day.PB090022 I decided to take and set it up there. My thought was, the norm with weaving demo’s is the loom is set up and you just see the person weaving. You never see the process of setting the loom up so you can weave a piece. I changed that yesterday by setting up the loom there. The response was a good one, of course every one said they would never have the patience to do it. (I think if you just relaxed everyone could at least try it.)

I even had a couple of people very interest in what I was doing. To the point they where askingPB090019 me things like how much is my loom (not for sale), where can they get one. Even though I was demonstrating, how easy is it to use, questions like that. Some other people wanted to buy my ribbon winning pieces (again not for sale). Now if i sell my ribbon winning pieces how will I show of my ribbons. (For you smarty's out there, yes I know I have to make more items for competition, to get more ribbons so I can sell the ribbon winners, not going to happen, the selling part any way.) 

As with every opening of a new business you have visits from local papers, radio celebrities, congress people and the like.PB090017 We had two very special visitors, WLEV Scott and Cindy Morning Show hands out cupcakes every Wednesday from Warm Sugar bakery in Hellertown, PA. This week the market was the lucky winner. So Scott and Cindy where around handing out cupcakes to the vendors and boy are they really  good cupcakes. That was a fun surprise and a real treat for everyone.

The second visit was from Congressman Charlie Dent who was walking around talking with vendors and learning what we all where selling. PB090023 The local papers where there as well. I don’t know if I made the paper but maybe. I will have to check that out and get back to you on that.

So as you can see we had a very exciting day and are looking for more in the future. If you are ever in the area on a Wednesday don’t forget to stop by and say Hi.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Market at Westgate

I have some exciting news, starting Wednesday November 9th Ed and I will be selling at the Market at Westgate. The Market is located inside the Westgate Mall, in Bethlehem, PA. This is a bran new venture for the mall and both Ed and myself are excited to be one of there anchor vendors.

The market is a year round farmers market, that will have all you find at a farmers market. Ed and I will be selling produce of course, as described by FARE Farming (which is Ed’s blog). With winter coming upon us and fall already here we are not able to sell local produce. So we will have the freshest produce and possible (when available) organic produce. To this I added this season dried herbs, sorry it was to wet for me to harvest my own this year. So the herbs are from all around the world, they are wild crafted and some are organic as well. The herb inventory starts at allspice and ends with vanilla, and every thing in between except mint. (Sorry I can’t get my hands on just plain ordinary mint.)

Something that I am adding to the stock to be revealed at the Market is dry goods. What do I mean, let me tell you. Flours, sugars, sweeteners, dried bean and the like. To start I’m only going to have the basics and ask for your input to what you would like me to carry.

A couple of other things I am working on to carry is teas and maybe fair trade coffees. Ed and I are also working on a line of hand made soap, (more about that later). The teas we are working to get pretty quickly the other items won’t be available until mid -  winter, early spring.

The final thing will of course be fiber art Items. I'm saying fiber art because it will be more then just woven items. I would love to say that I will have pieces for sale on opening day, alas I will not. For reasons that are just a bit frustrating, but I will be demonstrating different forms of the fiber arts on a weekly bases (with a break here and there). Starting with weaving, so I will have my loom with me. As the market gets going I will be adding fiber items to sell. Yes I will announce it when that happens.

If you would like to keep up with all that we will be carrying at the market and come spring at what locations we will be at. Just look to the right of your screen above the followers. You will see a news letter sign up. This is a weekly news letter from the Two Country Gentlemen (Ed and I). This news letter will have all the latest info on what we will be selling, where we will be (when we hit that season again), recipes and more. So if this sounds interesting to you, please feel free to sign up and let your friends know as well.

If you are ever in the area or in Bethlehem to be more specific. On Wednesdays between noon and seven pm.  Stop by the mall and say hi.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Veg Fest

 

Veg Fest was a huge success, the festival was everything vegetable. From being a vegetarian to vegan, they had stuff for the kiP9100060ds, pets, gardeners, fitness and the budding chef. This was the first year for the festival and boy did it start of with a bang. A lot of people where there and from  what I gathered from the other venders they had and excellent day as well.

The festival started at 12pm This picture was taken at 11:30am people just showed up early, behind us there was a chef demonstrating, he was grilling watermelon with a rum sauce. Did I want to try it yes, did I, no. I wasn’t aloud to leave my post. You know who’s fault that was right.

All in all a excellent day, made some new contacts, some new possibilities have opened for us. So as time go’s on we will see what happens. Below are some more pics through out the day enjoy.

P9100061Ed and Cindy Wear, Cindy is a local radio personality

P9100062 Ed and me

P9100063 Booth

P9100064Loom

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Veggie Fest

 

Just wanted to let everyone know that I will be at Veggie Fest in Bethlehem, PA. Veggie Fest is a new all vegetarian festival being held in Bethlehem, The fest starts at noon and runs until five. I don’t have the exact location of where I will be, but I will be weaving and Ed will be with me selling produce.

For more information just click on the Veggie Fest hyperlink.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Comstock Ferre

 

Please don’t yell at me, I know that this post is a little late. Ok, ok a whole month late, but its better late then never. On June P6050009fifth Ed and I had the pleasure of being in Wethersfield, Connecticut at the Comstock Ferre Seed Company. For there 200th anniversary, if that wasn’t enough they are also the oldest Heirloom Seed company. The company is located on main street in historic downtown Wethersfield. It’s really cool walking down the street and seeing that all the buildings are 200 hundred or more years old. For me that is over the top, being able to step back in time for a bit is a lot of fun.  P6050010

The festivities started at 10am and lasted until about 7pm. We didn’t stay that long but very close. Since we got there early we where able to walk around town and walk past there community gardens. I believe the gardens are run by the city, since Connecticut doesn't have counties and the gardens are behind the fire station.

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From these two pictures you can see they have a large expanse of land at there P6050012disposal and I didn’t see any empty plots while we where walking  around.

 

 

 

 

 

By the time we where done with are walk the festival was starting. They had re-enactors and a cannon that they shot off every once in awhile, live music, the store was open of course you could buy seeds and plants, P6050013there where local business selling food and speakers through out the day. All in all it was a wonderful celebration and a great learning experience for us. We are certainly glad we made the trip up there. Below are some more picture through out the day please enjoy them.

 

 

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P6050018  The gentleman in this picture is the owner Jerry Gettle.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Herb Sale

May 12th was the Herb Society of America Philadelphia Chapters annual herb sale. I was at it two years ago and had a wonderful time. I was not able to get to it last year, but got there this year. It was a gorgeous day that we got to see friends from the last time we where there and of course meet new ones.

The herb sale is held at an art museum and school. So every year the pottery school holds a sale the same day as the herb sale. P5120082I like to see if there’s always next year.they have any flower pots for sale (which they do) to plant one of my new herbs in. How cool is it to purchase a piece of pottery and then be standing next to the artist in line for the sale to start. She was so humbled by us taking a picture her with me, that was just to cool. So thank you Diane for making a beautiful piece for my eucalyptus.      

I have said this before you need to get to this sale early, if not you will be way in the P5120083back of the line. We get there between eight thirty and nine in the morning. By about quarter after nine the line is fifty people long or more and ten o’clock the line is going around the corner. So if you plan on going you should get there early or if you don’t mind standing in the back of the line. You can come on by later.

 

The sale its self is a decent size, with almost any herb you can think of. I even got soapwort this year (yes). P5120086Many deferent types of lavender, mint, basil, thyme, rosemary, scented geraniums and that's of the top of my head. They also offer a lunch a herb class and flea market area, plus they have antique rose as well. So there is plenty to see and purchase.

 

 

 

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This year I only got a few herbs rosemary, eucalyptus, soapwort, comfrey, roman chamomile, cat nip (which Tucker already ate), P5120088lavender and mint – rose scented geranium (I thought it was strictly rose scented, but not bad to say the least). And after about twenty minute to a  half hour you are left with this. Not much left, well there's always next year.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Seedlings

 

Just a quick post on my seedlings. They are doing very well this year, I’m going to have to transplant some of them they are growing so well. I was able to harvest some cotton last year. The green cotton to be exact, so I didn’t have to buy and seed for the green. I did get brown and white cotton. My understanding is that the white cotton is a short season variety and I should have that cotton by August. We will see, below are so pics of the seedlings.

P4110036This is the Cotton  

P4110037 This is a mixture of herbs both dying and eatable plus some flowers.

P4110038                                                   This is a mixture veggies

Chickens

This past weekend (Saturday to be exact) one year ago is when we got our chicks to start egg production. This past year has been P4200016a real learning experience,we did have some losses especially overwinter (fox). Now we are looking for laying hens to increase the flock. The picture to the right is the little guys last year,they are now a year old and can be called Hens and Roosters.

 

 

I did go to the sale on Saturday, but this year they had very little.There where no chicks at P8100030all, they did have  chickens but I couldn’t examine them. So I decided not to get anything at that sale. But I am still looking. To the left is a picture of the chicks all grown up. This was taking in the fall of last year so they weren't laying any eggs yet.

 

 

 

So how about those eggs you may be asking. Yes they did start to lay eggs about four weeks ago.Since they are new to this they P4110034aren’t all laying regularly yet. But that will come with time. As you can see they are the blue green color they are supposed to be. What I wasn’t expecting was the peach color or the speckled. We have gotten about three dozen eggs from them thus far. But as I said earlier they aren’t all laying and the one that just started aren’t on a regular schedule yet. So in a few more weeks everyone should be laying. When we get more hens we should get two to three dozen of eggs a day.

 

I thought it would be fun to have a picture year in review I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Canvas Weave

I was looking through one of my weaving books on loom controlled lace and I was intrigued by canvas weave. I know you are thinkP2220014ing of a tent but that’s not the type of weave I’m talking about. This weave structure is used to make Aida cloth, so in reality if you cross stitch or do needle point you could make your own Aida cloth.

This is a very simple weave to create and works on the principle of basket weave. With the exception that there is a tabby stitch on the out side of the basket weave. The tabby is your grounding stitch and the basket weave creates the lace effect.

Another advantage with canvas weave is you get a doubled thread in the ground P2220013 weave for even more textural interest. The double thread is unavoidable in true canvas weave so you need to plan accordingly when you are designing a piece with canvas weave in it.

As I mentioned before this is very simple to weave and very quick. My goal on this piece was to have just a subtle variation with the colors, which I achieved. But I also got a little extra texture element the neutral threads are just the slightest bit thicker. Which give this piece a perfect effect.

The book I was talking about is Handwoven Laces by Donna Muller and covers many other lace structures. This last picture shows a close up of the piece

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Lace Days

A little over a week ago I had the advantage of going to Lace Days in Lafayette NJ.P2120001 This event was put on by the Lost Art Lacers I had a wonderful time. They had displays of lace, try your hand at lace making and supplies galore. I was able to get some new books and bobbins, plus some other things that I needed to continue with my lace exploration. This was a small event but still packed with a lot to see. I was even able to meet up with some friends so all in all it was a good day.

 

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This was the show its self to the left is where you can get all the supplies.

 

 

 

 

 

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That would be me really examining some bobbins.

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                             

Micheline, Lynda and myselfP2120005 I look horrible by the way. I look much better in person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the try your own tables.

The Weavers Studio Doubleweave

I had recently purchased the book The weavers Studio Doubleweave by Jennifer Moore. This book is packed with information for the beginner and intermediate alike. A very well written book covers the basics all the way up to more advanced doubleweave structures.

The book begins on giving you suggestions on how to warp your loom for doubleweave, then moves on to a sampler which covers ten four shaft double weave techniques. From there Jennifer go’s into more complicated four shaft and works up to eight shaft techniques.

The sampler includes two separate layers, folded (doublewidth) cloth, tubular, color and weave, stitch cloth, stuffed horizontal ribs (Pique), quilting, top layer laces and doubleweave pick-up. There are also several variations of some of these techniques.

If you are a visual learning person you are in luck, Jennifer also created two videos that covers chapters three and four of the book, which is the sampler, so if you would like to have your own private doubleweave class that’s one way you can go. Both videos are step by step like you are in a classroom setting, in your home. A very excellent way to learn a new weave structure. If you have the book the videos are not essential since all the information is in the book, but they are a nice addition to have in your weaving library.

After you finish your sampler then you move into different applications of what you just learned and start to create sample items to use around the house or give as gifts.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking to explore the endless possibilities of doubleweave.

Seeds 2011

 

I have been waiting on posting my seed inventory, because I’m still waiting for some seeds to come in that are back ordered. Since there not here yet I will just post about them any way.

Since I have a lot of seed left from last year, this year I could have a little more fun and get seeds that I haven’t got for one reason or the other. I got a lot of heirloom fruit and medicinal seeds this year. With that I got new dying herbs, a mix of veggies some I have had and some new, cotton and a new beet (to me any way) called a mangel. A mangel is a very large beet that can grow up to twenty pounds. While the beet is young you can use it for the table or let it mature and then use it for animal fodder. I got it for the animal fodder, but of course I am curious what it tastes like so I will have to try some while they are young.

This year has been hard with the winter weather, so I hope that I will be able to get out in the garden at a reasonable time this year. This years goal is also to start raised beds, I would like to be able to get working on them next month so I can plant the early crops in April. We will have to wait and see on that one.

Below you will find the list of seeds I got this and hopefully the rest of the seeds will get here before its next winter.

  • Blueberry
  • American Current
  • Elderberry
  • Goji Berry
  • Hawthorn
  • Hardy Kiwi BO
  • Quince BO
  • Tea BO
  • Pink Banana (fruit bearing)
  • Mammoth Red Mangel
  • Red Romaine Lettuce
  • Yellow Bedstraw
  • Dyers Broom
  • Indigo (you need new seed every year)
  • Fullers Teasel
  • Opium Poppy
  • Red Foliated White Cotton
  • Sea Island Brown Cotton
  • Cosmic Purple Carrot
  • Cossack Pineapple Ground Cherries
  • Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage
  • Golden Pascal Celery
  • Hopi Blue Dent Corn
  • Large American Flag Leek
  • Red & Yellow Cheese Pepper
  • Viroflay Spinach
  • Pink Stuffer Tomato
  • Principe Borghese Tomato
  • Large Leaf Cilantro
  • Tall Deluxe Mixture Snapdragons
  • Bird and Butterfly Garden

Friday, January 28, 2011

Warping your Loom

I recently got myself a copy of the video Warping your Loom from Interweave. Madelyn van der Hoogt who is the editor of Handwoven magazine is the teacher in this video. This video was very thought out, everything is covered that you can think of in regarding warping your loom, with helpful hints and troubleshooting as well.

I highly recommend this video for all beginner and intermediate weavers alike. Who will learn how to use a warping board, sley a reed, thread the heddles, tie on the warp, wind the warp on and tie it to the fabric beam. From that point you are shown a very easy way to set the tension. For those people that warp there looms alone, this viseo is done that way. Madelyn is the only one warping the loom from begining to end.

The video also covers counting out two warp threads at one time, using a padd le or piece of ridged heddle to warp several threads at one time. Madelyn also covers not only front to back warping but back to front warping, she shows you how to count out a warp with a double cross, use a rattle and attach the warp to the warping rod.

This video is perfect for the person who has not had the advantage of taking a beginner weaving class or have a mentor in close proximity to help them out in the warping process. The cool thing about this video is the advantage of having your own private teacher in your own home. Again a highly recommended two video set for your weaving library, that at any time if you get stuck you can watch the video and have your questions answered.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Farm Show 2011

 

I wasn’t shore that I would be able to get to this years Farm Show. Tuesday night it started to snow and we were expecting up to eight inches and snow all day Wednesday. Lucky for us it stopped snowing early in the morning and the roads where clear, we had no problem with traffic either, so we where in good shape. When we got there they weren’t crowded like normal. Do keep in mind there where a lot of people who went to the farm show yesterday but not like it normally is.

They changed several things this year, there is more then one place they drop you off from the overflow parking, so you have to remember where you are dropped off. They also changed the layout of the P1120022Farm Show, they moved the butter sculpture into the main hall and moved all the fruit and vegetable entries in the main hall also. They now surround the butter sculpture. This years butter sculptor doesn't have a cow in it, which I thought was odd but still a nice sculpture.

 

 

While I was walking around and looking at the animals I almost took home an angora bunny or two. There was some sheep I’m shore would have followed me. This was the first year I got to feel merino wool on the sheep which was really cool. P1120028I also went through the got barn, which is where they have the Buffalo, Red Deer and Alpacas. There was no Buffalo this year but the Red Deer and Alpacas where there. While I was walking around looking at the goats I spied on a Mama got and her two little ones that couldn’t be more then a couple of days old. There owner either made or had made little red knitted sweaters for them, so they wouldn’t get chilled. If your thinking I was going to take them. No, I  was going to be nice and only take one of them and leave the other.

I was there for the Sheep to Shawl competition, but truth be told I can’t sit there and watch the competition I get board. So I go walk around and come back for the awards and see who the winners are. I also like to see the shawl auction. Two years ago one of the shawls went for three thousand dollars. This year there weren’t any records set but there was one shawl that went for $2200.00. The shawl was an undulating herring bone, it was gorgeous browns and a little black and white with just a stripe of red. Looking at it your mind would think Native American. I’m sorry I don’t have a picture it came out to blurry.

Of course after the shawls where auctioned, is the fleece auction, my whole reason for going to the show. P1120031They had some really nice fleeces this year, I have been trying to get a black and gray fleece for a couple of years. Last year I got my black fleece and a cow fleece (black and white in one fleece). So this year was a year for my grey fleece, I only got three fleeces this year. Since I had so many from last year and all I really wanted was a grey fleece. I do have pictures of the fleeces below for you to check out if show like. When the weather breaks I will have to get them all cleaned up.

P1130001  This fleece is a combing fleece

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This fleece is also a combing fleece

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I got my gray fleece yeah!!!