Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Birthday Penny!

Happy Birthday to my sweet sister. Yes. This blog has been high jacked..but just in love!
My sister is an extremely loving and giving person. She gives of herself in so many ways to so many people. Especially to me and mine. I just wanted to let her know again, how much she is loved and truly appreciated. (And please don't be changing your password on me!)

Please join me in wishing Penny a blessed birthday and coming year!

smooches, Angela

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Truck Envy and Shows!

I was recently reading Jenna Woginrich's blog and she has purchased a red truck causing me to have instant truck envy! By the way if you haven't read Jenna's book "Made From Scratch" you should visit your library. I enjoyed the book well enough that after requesting my library purchase it I bought my own copy. She is a young writer, very enthusiastic about homesteading and living a sustainable lifestyle ... plus she is driving a fine looking red pickup truck!

For many years I drove a red and white full size Ford Ranger. It was, and still is, my very most favorite vehicle. I only gave it up after my mechanics (Daddy & my Uncle Jerry) said they could no longer revive it. To say I was sad is putting it mildly.

Trucks are just so darn useful to have around the homestead, even a very small urban homestead like I'm working to make. You can haul lumber to make raised beds, use the tailgate in place of sawhorses to make the raised beds, haul compost to fill the same raised beds ... you get my drift.

I would love to have a small or mid-size truck with an extended cab. Just enough space to put my groceries and the usual necessities that one always carries around with them behind the seat. A large enough bed to carry home the cat food, bunny food, chicken feed and bales of straw and hay. I will be needing materials to build my chicken coop next spring and wouldn't it be sweet to not have to finagle another way to get those materials home from the tractor supply! A truck would also help make vending at shows easier. Pop on a camper shell and load that puppy up then off we go!

Speaking of shows Angela has signed us up to do a show next month so I'm not planning my open house after all. This show is sponsored by the Orange County Homegrown Assoc. and will be Saturday, November 14th at the Orleans Elementary school at Orleans, Indiana. We are also planning to vendor at "The Fiber Event" April 9th & 10th 2010. This show is at Greencastle Indiana and is probably the best fiber show Indiana has to offer. After Christmas Angela and I will be spending much of our time making items for this show. It will take a lot of product for a two day show!

My home computer is being the spawn of Satan so I had to come to work to order new business cards and do this update. I'm suppose to meet Angela to do a few things and it is getting late so I had better get going!

~ Penny~

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm Still Here!

This will be a quick post to let you know that I'm still around.

My hand surgery back in July went very well. About six weeks after surgery I was able to begin knitting for short periods of time, which made me very happy! Although the surgery was done with a local anesthetic I think it messed with my Fibro. I have been fighting fatigue more than usual and it is making me crazy. I'm behind on everything!

I'm still trying to have the Open House but it will be moved back to November if I'm able to pull it off. The down time I've experienced with my hand/fatigue issues have really put a kink my plans.

This afternoon is dyeing day and I will take some photos to post in the near future. There are several skeins of worsted wool, fingering wool/silk blend, and fingering wool waiting for me at home. I also bought a couple of skeins of a natural gray Shetland/Mohair blend at the Farmer's Market that I want to practice my overdyeing on.

On a sad note note the bunny I was to be gifted with had to be put down. His owner came to tell me early last week that he began to have trouble with his back legs, then appeared to be in pain so they made the decision to put him down. My hutch was almost done and I was making plans to winterize it for the little guy. So now I will wait until spring then begin looking for another English Angora that needs a good home.

If you feel lead please include my sister Angela (The Country Cellar) on your prayer list. She is fighting pneumonia again and has recently begun treatment for her liver issues. The treatment includes some chemo and is making her pretty sick. Thanks a lot!

~ Penny ~

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nothing like a deadline for motivation!

Hmmm ... so I'm giving serious thought to having a Black Sheep Cottage open house in October.

My offerings would include soaps, candles, sachets, earrings, dyed yarns, hand knits, dyed wool fluff, and whatever else I may think to add to the mix.

With only three months to plan I'll be motivated to organize and clean my house. It would also require me to get busy with making the items I want to sell.

My living room is larger than the average craft show booth and I own a lot of things that could be used for props. I would need to move a couple of chairs but other than that it would mostly be like setting up for a show.

Need to talk to my sisters and see if they would want to join me. We wouldn't have any expenses, (booth rent, travel, lodging etc.), so it could be very doable.

Stay tuned to see how this works out. As always prayers are coveted!!

~ Penny~

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Okay so I admit it ...

.... I'm a slacker.
I could give reasons, or make excuses, but the bottom line is I've been a slacker for not posting before now.

I want to thank Sandra Bennett from Thistle Cove Farm for giving me the One Lovely Blog Award! Please visit her blog ( the link is under My Favorite Blogs) she is a very gracious person and a kindred soul. As soon as I figure out how to show the award Sandra I will add it to my blog. =)

Since my last post I have been to a quilt retreat in May with my sisters and friends. This is an online group so friends come from across the US, plus our friend Michelle flies in from Victoria, B.C. to visit and sew. Not being able to do too much because of my crazy hand/wrist I did a little embroidery, shopped a bit, rested a bunch and visited with the girls.

On the bunny front my hutch is coming along nicely. Daddy has been working on it sporadically in between making hay and his other projects. When I saw it on Father's Day weekend I told him it was definitely a bunny townhouse!

Regarding my crazy hand/wrist I will be having surgery on July 15th. Will not know the time until the Monday before the surgery. They tell me it is a small surgery and in fact I could drive myself there and back. If anyone feels led to pray for me and Angela (who will probably drive me to Indianapolis) we would certainly covet those prayers.

I want to get this hand thing over with so I can get on with all my projects that having been waiting months to be completed. I'm told there is only a two week healing time so Yay let's get it over with so I can play with my yarn, dyes, wool, beading, etc...

Something I'm working on now is getting my house in order. I'm moving rooms around again trying to make the best use of my small space. The Black Sheep Cottage is pretty tiny! Only one closet and the furnace takes half of it! So I need to be creative with furniture placement for optimum room and storage.

My friend Linda and I worked a deal and I have gained a primitive cabinet (Angela has her name on the bottom of it!), a base to an old Hoosier cabinet (niece Heather has her name on the bottom of it!), a neat rattan rocker for my porch, an old Jenny Lind half bed that will take the place of my rickety yard sale find from twenty years ago.

Once everything is in place then I want to get my looms warped, my spinning wheel spinning and get some creativity flowing. It's been a long dry spell!

~ Penny~

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Been Feeling a Little Blue.

I haven't been able to knit, crochet, embroidery or any other handcraft for weeks and it's getting me down ... and made me whiny too.

Earlier in the month I was diagnosed with De Quervain's Stenosing Tenosynovitis. Needless to say I can't pronounce it and have been telling people I have tendonitis or handing them the brochure I received at the Indiana Hand Center in Indianapolis.

I've had a steroid shot in my wrist and I'm wearing my splint faithfully but dang it still hurts and I don't return to the doctor until May 20th. That was the whiny part in case you didn't recognize it. =)

While I can't knit I may try to make earrings this weekend just to see if I'm able. Farmer's Market season is almost upon us and I haven't the inventory I thought I would have already built up.

Hmmm, wonder if I could dye yarn in small batches using mostly my right hand ......

Happy Wednesday!

~ Penny~

P.S. I gave Daddy my bunny hutch plans Monday morning!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He's Alive!!!

Hallaluja He is Risen!

Wishing everyone a blessed Easter!

~ Penny ~

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Secret is Out!

I spoke to Daddy yesterday and he agreed to make me a bunny hutch. =) First he tried to talk me out of getting a bunny but then he said yes. So yay a bunny is coming to The Black Sheep Cottage! My dad is such a blessing to me.

I found hutch plans online, there are shingles left over from my roof, so we need to buy wire and wood, then the fun begins. If possible I would like to have a vermiculture setup under the hutch. This will require a little more research but I see it as very doable if set up properly.

We are under another tornado watch this afternoon and evening but there is a strong chance of snow showers tomorrow ... go figure.

~ Penny ~

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shhh ... I have a secret

Don't tell my family (or my allergist) but I have "Bunny Fever" again.

Every spring I get BF but this year it's a really bad case. I've checked out bunny books from the library and have been looking at different sites and blogs for cute bunny hutches. English Angora bunnies are my first choice. I love their little furry faces and froufrou ears. I want a pair (Not to breed!) but so they will have company and not be lonely.

My backyard has plenty of room for a hutch. It would be sheltered in the winter months but catch the cooling breeze of summer. It could be very doable in town. While city regulations prevent residents from having sheep or goats, bunnies and chickens are allowed. I'll save my chicken dreams for another post. lol

Remember it's a secret so don't tell Angela or the rest of my family ... they don't have the vision!!

~ Penny ~

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We Survived!

Taught my class this afternoon and it was all good. My student was a sweet lady and seemed to enjoy herself. I was blessed by Stephen, a library customer and the fellow who taught Angela to needle tat, when he carried in my microwave then returned at 3:00 to carry the thing back out to the car. I really appreciated his help!

Just picked up a new book at work "Fresh Food From Small Spaces". The book looks good. It's about year-round growing, fermenting and sprouting. I have recently requested a couple more books "The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City" by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen. The second one is "Made from Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life" by Jenna Woginrich. I thought both books sounded interesting.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

~ Penny ~

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yay For Spring & I have a Student!

It's the first day of Spring and a beautiful day!

While I was home sick on Tuesday I received a call wanting to know if I had room left in my soy candle class on Saturday. Yes I replied .... I didn't want to scare her off so I didn't tell her she was my one and only student! LOL Please pray for me that I can make this class fun and informative.

I'm still knitting facecloths and tweaking my pattern. So far my testers have enjoyed using these super soft cloths. I've changed the edging so the corners will not curl and am much happier with the finished product.

I'm making a run to Michaels to pickup one more thing for my Easter window display at work so goodbye for now.

~ Penny ~

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Weather Report from Indiana

We have been having crazy weather so far this March. Temps ranging from the high 20s to the high 70s, two tornado touchdowns, I'm expecting another hurricane anytime now ... remember Ike. We didn't get the precipitation but we certainly got the wind from that one!

One tornado took the homes of two of our extended family. If you saw a photo of a a school bus upside down on what was left of a home that bus and house belonged to Daddy's cousin! The other tornado damaged the home of a classmate of my niece Heather. The good thing is we are blessed with no being hurt.

My day is almost over. I'm going to offer to walk my furry nephew Toby then head to the house. Hope everyone has a good evening!

~ Penny ~

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Knitting and Soap Making

So I wrote this post over a week ago and saved it as a draft after I had trouble with the font on my schedule below. Now I've given up on straightening things out so here it is ... such as it is. =)

I have been working on knitted facecloths lately. For one design I'm using a very nice cotton yarn that is sooo soft! Knitting with double strands makes for a thick fabric with the feel of chenille. I plan to offer sets of a luxurious facecloth with a handmade soap at the markets and on Etsy too. I have already sold two, sets sight unseen. So yay! The second design is knitted in a cotton/linen yarn that while soft will soften more with use. These will also be offered as sets with a handmade soap.

Speaking of handmade soaps ... my soap making classes are coming up soon at the Old Jail Arts Center (link at sidebar). The class schedule is :

Thursday, February 26, 2009
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Learn to make Melt and Pour Soaps using glycerin, goat’s milk, honey (My personal favorite!) and other soap bases. A selection of fragrance oils and soap dyes will be available for the student’s use. Students will take home 3 soaps plus an information packet. Soap making has the potential to be messy so aprons, or similar cover-ups, are suggested.

I recently bought two tables that I plan to use to set up my dyeing, soap making, candle making, laundry room. What I really want is a base cabinet with shelves and drawers but until that happens the tables and a few totes will work nicely. The tables are large enough to hold the extra microwave and the crockpots I will be using. We may also hang a long shelf above one of the tables for added storage. The shelf can't be too high because at 5' 2" I am vertically challenged. =)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Dances are a Powerful Thing!

Monday evening I asked a few of the library staff to do their "Snow Dance" when they got home. I did suggest they do the dance in the backyard. I didn't want the neighbors to see them and be concerned ... if you know what I mean! ;)

Tuesday morning my supervisor called to say we had a Snow Day. I said Yay and good job on the "Dance".

Wednesday morning, after a night of freezing rain on top of several inches snow followed by more snow, I got another call from my supervisor. Yay another Snow Day! I did suggest that next time she might want to take the Dance down a notch or two! LOL

It's only January 28th and our kids have already used up all the allotted Snow Days. They are going to be sooo sad when they are still going to school come July 4th!!

This afternoon we did have a few moments of sunshine. The wind had blown away some of the snow off the tree branches outside my window to expose the inch thick ice covering the branches. It was beautiful! Well worth me trying to not pop an ankle, or my knee, while dealing with cleaning off my car and the driveway. Beauty from ashes ... so to speak.

~ Penny ~

P.S. Thanks for all the comments concerning my last post. My furnace is still running and a part has been ordered. Don't ask how much the part cost I'm still in shock! @@

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Don't you hate it .....

..... when you come home from paying bills, one of which is the waaay high gas bill, to find the furnace has given up the ghost. I felt it was too late to call Daddy, who is my handyman, so I dressed warmly and went to bed. Usually Lucy sleeps up by my pillow and Lovey down by my feet. But last night both kitties camped at the foot of the bed to be closer to the little space heater I've been using at night.

Friday Daddy came by the library to tell me he didn't think he would be able to repair the furnace this time. Sad faces all around! Last night, after giving it some consideration, he said he would try one more thing. So I didn't have heat for a second night but it was all good.

This morning he removed the blower and we see the housing is cracked, the fly wheel is a little stiff and rusty, which probably explains that noise I heard Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Go figure ... Well this story ends with him using WD-40 and duct tape to rig it so it will hopefully get me through the weekend. Yay the "Furnace Parts Store" will be open on Monday!

Oh ... later he called to say if I smell a bad smell coming from the furnace closet or begin to yawn a great deal I should probably go to Angela's!!! I felt the love!!

~ Penny~

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Yay for the Weekend!

It wasn't a bad week but it was a looong one. I think the crazy below zero temps we have had this week has worn everyone down.
I took an hour of vacation time Friday afternoon so I could run Angela to Bloomington. While we were there we ran over to Michaels. Angela had coupons that were burning a hole in her pocket so for the sake of her clothing we shopped! lol
She found a crochet hook with the larger handle she wanted (50% off w/coupon). I found size 15 circular knitting needles (Again 50% off, thank you A. for sharing your coupons). I needed the needles to work on a prayer shawl I've started for a friend who recently had cancer surgery.
The sterling silver jewelry findings were on sale and also the Austrian crystals so I stocked up on earring makings. I'll work on earrings tomorrow and get them up to Angela so she can add them to my empty Etsy shop. I think I'll also take some of my hand dyed yarns too.
My goal this weekend, besides making earrings is to get the handout written for the Soy Candle class. Everyone who takes the class will get a information sheet, 1 jam jar candle, two votive candles, three scented soy tarts plus a tart pan.
Time is getting away from me, so I had better get busy. My family is meeting at 5:00 to celebrate Angela's birthday. Her birthday was actually January 13th, but we had to wait until everyone was free to get together.
Stay warm!
~ Penny

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A New Year and a Fresh Start

It's been many months since I last posted. I ran into a few difficulties and got discouraged but I'm over that now and ready to begin again. So here is what's going on at The Black Sheep Cottage.

Beginning next week I will be teaching a few classes a month at the Old Jail Art Center. The Center is the old Lawrence County Jail that is being renovated to accommodate classrooms, a gallery and a residence. It's large building built of our native limestone and a fantastic resource for our community.

The classes will be : January/Make Your Own Soy Candles, February/Melt n' Pour Soap Making, March is one class each of the above. In May I will be adding Dyeing Wool Yarn with Kool Aide.

While I enjoy making candles and soaps it's the yarn dyeing that I love the most. It is so neat to start with a plain white yarn and watch it come alive with color! I get the "Mad Scientist" thing going on ... a little of this ... maybe some of that and poof colors appear.

I always try to dye two skeins at a time. I can never expect to do an exact repeat of a color scheme. Dyes sometimes split, I add more (or less) of the vinegar, I get sidetracked and leave the yarn in the dye pot longer than I planned ... you get the picture

Two skeins of fingering weight is enough to easily make a nice scarf or a pair of socks. Other weights can be used for a small project, combined to use as an accent, etc..

My lunch hour is almost over so I had better close.

P.S. Thank you Angela for tweaking my blog and kicking my backside to jump start me on blogging again!