Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tribute to "Miss George"

Miss George

I get a lot of requests to paint pets on spindles, but this oen was particularly touching since Miss George passed away about a year ago. She was the very much beloved cat of Sharon and I felt that it was really necessary to get all of her markings and her personality portrayed very accurately on the spindle for Sharon. The result is above with the reference photo. A fitting tribute to a very loved family member and friend. Now she will be with Sharon all of the time as she spins.

Peace & Joy,

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Two New Pieces of Eye Candy...

Two new, fun spindle whorls for you to take a look at today! The one on top is for Faerie Lady Fibers and the other is "Ashley's Dragon".

Only news other than that is that my youngest daughter will be turning 13 this weekend. Please, wish me luck! She's having a birthday party with roller skating and a sleep over. LOL! It should be a lot of fun, but many of you know all about teen girls! Hopefully, it will be nice enough out for them to sleep in the tent like they did last year.

Here is an updated list so you can see if you are in the top five!

Mary - Fiber Critters
Sharon - Miss George the Cat
Anne - Roxy the Cat
Sally - Raven at Midnight
Laurie - Woman with Dragon

If you are in this list, you can expect to get a picture of your spindle whorl(s) soon.

Peace & Joy To All!


Monday, August 14, 2006

Thank You for All of Your Input!

I want to thank each and every one of you who wrote to me or posted a comment. The overwhelming majority of you thought that $10.00 per hour was very reasonable, if not cheap, for the artwork I do on the spindles. I even had a few of you write that I have been underpricing my spindles and there were a few who thought that they were about right as they are priced now. I have had no comments saying that they were overpriced at thier current prices.

From now on, I will quote spindles in this manner: Artwork is $10.00 per hour, with a $25.00 minimum charge for retail spindles, and I will give you an estimate of time for your design. The estimate will be an "upper end" estimate and if it takes less time, you will get the spindle for less. That way I will not under price myself nor will any of you have to worry about a bill for a spindle that is a lot higher than you expected.

One thing that I do want to say is that if you ever do not like a spindle I paint for you or feel the price is too high you are NOT obligated in any way to purchase that spindle. That is why I never take payment upfront for a spindle or knitting needles.

In the near future I will put together a page that has various spindles I have done and what the current price estimate would be for each spindle. Hopefully, this will help you get some idea of where your design might fall in the pricing.

The other option that you always have is to ask if the design can be altered to make the price lower. By taking out some of the details or say doing just a unicorn head rather than the whole unicorn the price can be reduced.

The main thing is that if you find that a spindle quote is not in your price range, talk with me and try to work out an option for how we can make something similar that IS in your price range. You may have to settle for less detail and it may not be nearly the work of art it might have been, but I guarantee that it will be beautiful and that you will love it and spin with it for a long time to come. There are always ways to make things work!

For those of you who have spindle orders in with me, I am playing "catch up" this week and next. Right now my list, up to order #5, is as follows:

1) Ashley - Dragon
2) Kae - Fairy Lady
3) Mary - Assortment of Fiber Animals
4) Sharon - George the Cat
5) Anne C. - Roxy the Cat

I will try to keep an updated list on my site so you can see if your spindle is near the top of my queue. Also not, some of you that order simpler spindles may get yours sooner because I do these in between some of the more complex spindles. They are easier on my eyes and don't take as much time an concentration so they are like taking a break while still working.

I knwo the summer has a thrown a wrench in to my queue and that I am further behind than I liek to be. I hope to rememdy that very quickly and not let it happen again. I will be happy to see fall come as I will a lot more time to work and things will get done much faster. Thank you all for your patience through this crazy summer!

Peace & Joy,


Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Latest and Greatest....

Okay, ya gotta love it! I certainly do and I tend to be hypercritical of my own work. Only thing is that I have GOT to figure out a better way of quoting prices for spindles.

I would love to have some feedback here actually. Personally, I feel that pricing artowork out at $10.00 per hour is really reasonable. That's what I typically shoot for when I do custom orders. Of course, there is some variation, but overall, I do try to be reasonable on both ends; yours and mine.

Guess how many hours it took me to complete the spindle you see above? No idea? Six hours over two days since I couldn't sit for more than 3 hours straight painting without my neck hurting and eyes crossing! LOL!!

So with our "reasonable" $10.00 per hour, this spindle should price out at $60.00 right? Nope. I quoted it at $30.00! So I am making $5.00 per hour, the same amount my 13 year-old daughter makes when she gives a riding lesson! ACK!!! I know some teenage babysitters who make more than that!

It's certainly not the fault of the person who ordered the spindle and I don't expect them to make up for my mistake.

I would love feedback from any and all of you as to how I should go about pricing spindles. Should I just quote the $10.00 per hour and then you take your chances as to how many hours it really takes me to paint the spindle or should I keep trying to give estimates? I hate to overprice my spindles and make them unreachable for everyone who wants one.

I have always tried to make sure they are affordable. It's one reason that I have not gone to any custom turned spindles since that would really inflate the prices and make them super expensive. Plus, the ones I am making right now spin great! I use two of the "Ravens" all the time these days and I really love how they spin.

I have been having this debate with myself ever since starting this venture. Any input would really help.

Thank you all!

Peace & Joy,


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Back From Vacation

Hi All,

Just back from a wee's stay on a wonderful island off of the tip of Wisconsin's Door County peninsula. Washington Island was lovely, quiet and restful. The first day was exceedingly hot and we didn't do much. The second day was also hot, but we got out and around the island to see some of the sites. We finally had rain that night and through the next day. That was the day for sleeping and realxing.

The island has 650 year-round residents. A lot of folks also have summer homes there and of course there are the people like us who rent cabins or camp like we did. There is really no town on the island per se. There is simply a main street where most all of the buisnesses are located. There is one grocery store and next to it, a sort of general and hardware store. There's a wonderful little bookstore and a fantastic coffee shop that we frequented each morning where I drank my iced mocha while sitting on the front porch and spinning. Of course that got lots of people's attention and I had a chance to do a little education.

The weather was great for the entire trip. The lake was crystal clear. The stars were amazing at night and the silence was profound. We walked through groves of red cedar and birch that made us think of haunted forests and we rode Icelandic horses at a farm that has one of 4 breeding herds in the US. Ciaran, my youngest daughter, also got to work on the farm with the horses for the last two days of our stay so she rode on many trail rides for free and helped break out horses for riders.

While Ciaran was riding the horses my huband and I took a ferry over to rock Island. This island is uninhabited except for people who come to camp or who stay at the lighthouse for a week at a time to give tours. The island was once owned by the inventor of the electrical transformer and he built some truly amazing stone buildings there. He was also commissioned carved furniture done in Norse style with myths depicted by the carvings. What a treasure!! We spent close to an hour just looking at the furniture and reading about the artist, the man who owned the island and his family. Truly fascinating and beautiful.

One thing about an island is that they have a captive audience once you're there. Consequently, prices for food and such were quite high. Gas was $3.44 per gallon on the island and a cheeseburger (a very good one mind you) was over $5.00. that's with nothing else; no fries or drink. We did the obligatory Door County fish boil our first night there. It's actually quite good! We did do some food at the cabin, but we were limited by having only a small microwave and an ancient refrigerator that dimmed the lights and slowed the fans every time it kicked on!

We stopped in at Sievers since our cabin was practically around the corner from them. The shop had all sorts of wonderful things for fibery sorts. I am glad that I cancelled my class there though. I had so much fun going around the island and just resting and spending time with my family that I don't have any regrets about the class at all. In fact, it's compelled me to sell my loom and simply concentrate on what I do best; paint and spin.

We are already making plans to go back again next year. We are hoping to go in June when there are fewer people on the island, not taht there were a lot while we were there, and the weather is a bit cooler. Also, we will be able to rent a larger house then rather than a cabin for a great rate. The place where we stayed, Greengate Farm, was absolutely wonderful. Our hosts, Susan and George, were lovely! Susan even did our laundry for us one evening and brought it back all clean and folded! WOW!

People on the island were exceedingly friendly and there were many discussions overheard and had that were interesting and had a depth to them that I don't find here in Madison when I talk with people. Like Susan said to me, everyone on the island is eccentric in some way. I guess you'd have to be to live there all year round!

If you have ever thought of going to Washington Island or to Sievers in particular, do it! You will never forget or regret it. You can feel free to contact me for suggestions for things to do, where to stay and places to eat. There are certain things that you just don't want to miss there.

Now that I'm back, I have finally cuaght up on errands, bills, groceries, taking the car in for new brakes and tires (UGH!), riding our horses, etc. Now it's back to work.

I hope all of you have had a wonderful summer! This trip was truly the highlight of my summer and I will remember it for months to come...until I can go back and create new memories to join the ones from this trip!

Peace & Joy,