Monday, October 31, 2011

A Merry Samhain To All!

The Celtic New Year is here,and I wanted to wish one & all a very Merry Samhain. I'm home,will be carving my jack o lantern & honoring ancestors. This morning I was greeted with a very heavy fog. Others in the Northeast got a sudden snow. 
   I'll be paying attention to my intuition,to see what sudden flashes of insight I get,and am hoping for a beautiful waxing moon this evening. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Homegrown Pleasures.....

       There's nothing like growing your own veggies-I'm shocked at how much I appreciate picking a homegrown bell pepper & using it in my cooking. I've seen for myself just how long it takes a pepper to get to maturity-and in seeing the time it takes,the nurturing you put into growing it,to the end result. You appreciate it because you know the time it took to get there-and that's far more than I ever did buying veggies at my local grocery store! 
      I'm still using my bread maker-tho it still overflowed at the top and I used it in cool weather-I'm wondering if they are having me use too much yeast. I'm picking up what I need to make pumpkin bread since the oven has went kaput. I also picked up the book 300 recipes for your bread making machine,and there's sooo many different breads you can make. I'm going to be a busy bee this winter!  
      Musically I'm playing more uke,Irish tenor banjo & mandolin-Yule tunes,in addition to old time ditties like LIberty & Angeline the Baker. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Blessed Mabon to All!

         The Wheel of the Year spins once more...and it's getting close to my favorite season of the year-Autumn. Cooler temps,harvest time,and the inner glow I get when this season comes into being-not that I don't enjoy Spring or Summer (till it get really hot that is) but there's just something about this upcoming season that I can't explain....but it's always special!
         A trip to Lowes always brings a surprise at the "last chance rack" (as I call it) for plants. I couldn't resist this lovely ornamental pepper plant. Hoping it's a prennial and not an annual. I have it up on a plant stand as it says touching the peppers & rubbing your eyes or moth can burn,I guess & I didn't want the outdoor cats getting into it. 

          The store has been busy and my other handcrafted store has been even more so. The ads I've been placing in Fiddler magazine has been good for the Fiddlebelle  shop as my fiddle dustcovers are being purchased & appreciated. Thank goodness they're easy to make. Been putting more rosin/polishing cloths up too. 


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Simplify,Condense,And Ride On!

      I haven't been keeping my blogs up due to one thing: I started too many! This caused me to unknowingly dread updating one cause then I'd have to update all of them. It's stifled my writing and I've really missed not writing. So in order to lift the burden I will keep two and two only. This one as I have the most followers here,and one I started purely for my musicality. 
      Recently I've become interested in the Cowgirl way of life,and I've been reading "Cowgirl Smarts" & I'm loving it. While I am a proud official Farmgirl on Mary Jane's Farm (#702!) I also confess to being more comfortable in a hat & vest than nearly anything else. 
      Cowgirlin is in my genes-my grandmother was a singing,uke & guitar playin cowgirl-tho our tastes in music would've differed,I think-I love Old Time tunes as opposed to Country Western,which I could never get into. I've found myself bein an Old TIme Cowgirl.
      Finally I got my bread maker going-one top corner burned,and I found out you cannot use it in a heatwave,which I did. (it would've been nice if the manual had that bit of info in the front,and not the back in the troubleshooting section!) It tastes good tho & is much more filling than store bought breads. 
      I'm looking at starting to play harmonica again,which I haven't touched since jr high/high school. (Yes they had harmonicas back then!) 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Loafing around the House and New Dulcimers!

      I've been trying to cut back on how many blogs I've started-obviously I'm not keeping them up very well but I just can't let this one go. So-now I've got catching up to do!
      I've been getting back into dulcimer-smartest move so far was my getting a "Rock-It Stick",which is a dulcimer made for travel & playing as you would a banjo or mandolin. I did restring it correctly (the company accidently strings them backwards but is a super easy fix) and use it a lot esp when I'm arranging.
     This led to my hunt for a more casual dulcimer-one I could take places without worrying about who would pick it up,would they be careful,& whatnot. I won a honey of a deal on eBay & neatest thing is this one is a home crafted one.

It needed a lot of cleaning,humidifying,fretboard conditioning and a fresh set of strings. Only thing I'd change is lowering the actiona bit-I'm using a light set of strings to make up for this. It has a good tone and is a diatonic model (no 6 1/2 fret)
        Then I wished for a breadmaker. After reading how junky store purchased breads are for you,my wish was granted at a local estate sale! I picked this one up-it's never been used.

    I found a seller on eBay who sells reprints of the manual so I got one of those. Next week I'm hoping to pick up the dry milk,yeast,and bread flour that it calls for. The eternal quest of the Farmgirl-going with nature! We'll see how much $$ this saves. I might be looking for a bigger bread maker if this works well & is tasty.
    Wanting to wish you all a safe and joyous 4th of July.......I need to start decorating!                                                                                                                         

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm Back! Unintended Hiatus

        I'm back,tho I never intended to leave this particular blog for as long as I did. Worries overcame me,esp about money. I got pretty sick with whatever virus was going around in mid January and it lasted a few weeks. Then my Dad got it from me. My part time job has dwindled to 2 days a month,despite education being in such high demand. The music store has been slow. While all this has been going on I have been reading Dr Wayne Dyer's books-and the latest I am reading is "Excuses Begone!" which is a wonderful read.On top of that I finally picked up the copy of Deepok Chopras 7 Spiritual Laws to Success" that I purchased at a yard sale over two years ago. It all made sense thanks to my learning Japa meditation and having "Manifest Your Destiny" another Dr Dyer book,already in my head as I had also read that. I firmly believe that following the books' advice and using Japa meditation had activated events,like leading me to a wonderful ukulele supplier,getting a much brighter outlook on things,and going with the flow instead of complaining,even if only inwardly. The ukes are selling well and I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
         My farmgirl activities are moving along-I've been clearing the front flowerbeds & weeding the ones in the backyard-I have bell peppers,(red ones!) tomatoes,and crook neck & zucchini squash to plant. I'm also designing a ukulele gig bag for tenor/concert size ukes.
          I have found a new joy in everyday life that I've not felt in years...and the past 9 years since I came home to California have been a blur. The NM move is off,at least for a few more years as we're renting the house instead of moving there. Somehow I am at peace with all this.
          My only concerns now are for what is happening in Japan,for the people,the environment and for the Pacific ocean & it's habitat with all the radiation being dumped in. I have donated what I can so far to help the people of Japan. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Growth,Realizations and New Creations

     It's been an inner growth month for me-I've been reading Dr Wayne Dyer's book,"Manifesting Your Destiny",and it's proven to be one of those books that opens doors for one to look within & do needed "inner tweaking" Along with that has been what to do about my part time job pretty much going down to one day a week. While the business continues to grow & thrive,I have allowed myself to get locked into a pattern-$$ from the biz goes right back into the biz,and what I make from the part time job goes for personal expenses and sometimes also the biz if I need extra money to cover the expenses. 
    As I was reading and thinking this morning,as I often do in the pre-dawn hours,it suddenly occured to me that having ones own business means part of the money made is supposed to cover personal bills and whatnot. After all,isn't that the goal in being self employed?  I nearly wanted to giggle at this discovery-tickled with my own short handed vision. I'd gotten so caught up in my personal account lacking that it never dawned to me to start shifting some of the $$ from sales to cover my own expenses. At the same time,relief-I'm not as broke as my ego would have me believe,tho I'm still watching my pennies and "buying smart". This also opens the door of the possibility of leaving the job altogether,as I know I have outgrown it,and aside from the hourly wage,doesn't fulfill me in any way. I've also had to deal with not letting fears run me-it's amazing what fearful "what if's" can do to you and prevent you from making forward progress. 
     On the creative front,I had a helpful individual give some advice on the uke gig bags that I make-to start making them humorous. So I came up with the "Rocket Science" one here: 

    It's currently in my Etsy shop. I had made a 2nd frog gig bag for this helpful individual to buy,as he expressed interest and was outbid on the first one I had on auction. Imagine my surprise when I wouldn't "put myself on sale" and stuck to my price that he suddenly didn't think the gig bags were any good,and too expensive. He offered a pittance and wanted free shipping to boot. Well-I'm thankful to his suggestions and have dismissed the rest. The bags are now selling at $21 each. 
    The gig bags are about to go even more green! I discovered there's a quilt batting called "Quilters Dream Green" the batting is made of recycled plastic bottles-the ones that all too often go into the oceans,streams,and landfills. Every package of this batting I buy keeps those bottles from polluting the earth,and makes the gig bags more environmentally friendly. I have been using cotton batting,but I feel even better using this. I"m using up the last of the cotton batting as we speak,and I'll announce the first bag made using this wonderful recycled product. Yes,its soft and fine just as batting should be. So I'm really excited and pleased about this. 
     Other developments include making my own tags. Mary Jane's Farm had a spot in the latest issue on brand tags,old style looking ones,and After not finding what I was wanting for Mandolin Babe's I just received some wonderful unmounted rubber stamps to make my own design. I'll post a pic once it's made.                             


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Good Distractions & New Creations

Well,I haven't been playing all of the instruments that I study,but the "distractions" have been important ones,like an increase in orders from the store-I've been busier than before Christmas packing up orders and shipping them out. And in the midst of all that,another idea for ukuleles sprang into my head. Dust covers. I make them for fiddles aleady,why not ukuleles? So I've been making these in a variety of prints:

from Betty Boop to space aliens,from jaguar prints to rock n roll,I've been making these an they've been selling! Placed a classified ad at and that seems to be working well. Easy to do,thankfully. 
     I redesigned the banner for my Etsy Store  and am very pleased with it. Collecting vintage photos of musicians has helped quite a bit. I'll be having a classified ad come out in fiddler magazine promoting the Etsy store,so I'm finally getting myself in gear. 
     I've been playing a lot of baritone & soprano uke lately,and sold one of the soprano ukes I've had for awhile-while it was a good instrument,it wasn't one of my faves,so in an effort to simplify,I placed it up for bid and got a good price for it.  
     Getting ready to do another crazy quilt ukulele gig bag-this one in a southwestern theme & in flannel. I also have some wonderfully wacky fabrics coming in for the gig bags-trying out some advice I received form a ukester who says players have a sense of humor,so we'll see. 
      I'm finishing up a 2nd bag in a frog print that seems to be popular. WIll be trying stitch witchery on the velcro I use as a closure as it plays with my sewing machine & not in a good way.    
      New uke books will be coming into the store-one that uses the "D" tuning which is considered to be the original tuning. It'll go nicely with the uke string sets I offer,which are made for a "D" tuning.