The Challenges and Rewards of Local Production

This is an amazing article by Karen Brown about a coat with a story! From alpaca to bicycle-powered carding, this garment makes tangible the idea of the new economy. It is a system which worked just fine back in the old days, back when we respected each others work and intentions of buying. This coat has value and carries with it the tiny miracles of human relations!

The Challenges and Rewards of Local Production

Karen writes, “Just fifteen minutes from my front door, mills used to transform locally-grown fiber into beautiful fabric. All that capability is gone now, off-shored in the 1990s. As someone who is  interested in local sourcing, I had to ask the question, “Is it still possible to dress locally?” So I decided to see for myself what it would take to make a garment – a little black coat – from resources right in my own area.”

Read the article here.

Of special interest to me is the Cyclocarder, quite an ingenious invention by Katharine Jolda, carding and exercising at the same time!

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 Katharine Jolda's CycloCarder

Want to know more about this new economy?  David C. Korten has written a book called Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth.  It sounds like a good read!

Nearly two years after the financial meltdown, economic recovery still seems a distant promise. Desperate, overwhelming need for change has not overcome Washington’s timid preference for the status quo. Joblessness and foreclosures remain endemic, and each day brings scandalous new revelations of outrageous Wall Street bonuses and corruption.

Issued as a report of the New Economy Working group, this substantially updated and expanded new edition of Agenda for a New Economy is a call for a national Declaration of Independence from Wall Street. What is needed, Korten argues, is a system that favors life values over financial values, roots power in people and community, and supports local resilience and self-organization within a framework of living markets and democracy. The new edition is a handbook for a nonviolent Main Street revolution – because change, as he explains, will not come from above. It will come from below.

The root of the problem, as detailed extensively in the first edition of Agenda for a New Economy, remains what it was in 2008: Wall Street institutions that have perfected the art of creating “phantom wealth”—mere numbers on paper—without producing anything of real value and without any thought of the social consequences. In the new edition, Korten examines how events since September 2008 have proven that the predatory Wall Street leopard cannot change its spots and explains why a visionary new president opted for marginal reform. He fleshes out his vision of the alternative to the corporate Wall Street economy: a Main Street economy based on locally owned, community-oriented “living enterprises” whose success is measured as much by their positive impact on people and the environment as by their positive balance sheets. Most importantly, he offers a groundbreaking plan as to what we as citizens can do to break through the political paralysis and replace the phantom-wealth Wall Street system with a living-wealth Main Street system that is responsive to the needs and values of ordinary people.

2011 Independent Publisher Book Award silver medalist!

Susan Gibbs Speaks at Paca to Product

On Saturday, I attended Paca to Product in Wooster, Ohio.  Paca to Product is a network involving Morning Star Fiber Mill and the Ohio Alpaca and Breeders Association that “hosts a yearly forum which exists to establish a cottage industry level platform from which the exotic fiber producers, harvesters, processors and artisans will be able to realize an ever expanding market that is both profitable and sustainable for all involved.”

I thoroughly enjoyed the keynote speaker, Susan Gibbs. She originally started niche farming on Martha’s Vineyard an island off the south of Cape Cod and created the first ever Yarn and Fiber CSA. She has since moved to Virginia to start Juniper Moon Farm.

The Success of Niche Marketing: The Susan Gibbs Story

Susan shared her story of leaving the corporate world as a CBS news producer in New York City and moving to the country to reconnect with her agricultural roots and also what she would do if she had the chance to do it all over again.

The Program at Paca to Product was good and included topics such as Shearing for Maximum Profit – you can watch the video,  An Alternative to Common Market Strategies, Social Media Marketing, and Evaluating Fiber for Processing.  I would highly recommend Paca to Product for any alpaca breeder looking to further their knowledge of the fiber that their alpacas are producing, as our industry moves forward in developing an alpaca fiber industry.

Next year’s event is already being planned and the dates set for November 11-13, 2011. You might want to put that on your calendar!


Winner – Baby Bib Flower Sprays Girl

The winner of this week’s contest is
Congratulations!

Be sure to check out this shop on Etsy . . .
Colorful gifts for wee babies and toddlers! Appliqued Onesies and Tshirts, Cozy Blankets, Bibs and Burp Cloths. Lovingly handmade in Alabama!

Blog: http://monsterbugblankets.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/monsterbugblankets

Thank you to all who participated!

Early Morning at the Farmers Market

It was an early, early morning on Saturday as we headed to Shaker Square in Cleveland, Ohio for Opening Day of the North Union Farmer’s Market, with alpacas! This was a first for Oliver Twist and Cub Scout.  They had never been off our farm before, everything was new!

This Farmers Market is held every Saturday through the middle of November, and opens at 8am.  We are an hour and a half away so if you do the math, allow for a shower and time to set-up, we were out of bed by 4am – yikes – that doesn’t even sound good!

Decisions, decisions.  I sold some of my hand-spun alpaca yarn, one that I didn’t even have the label on yet!

And, I sold some perennials I had dug out of my flower beds and fertilized with alpaca beans, sometimes referred to as “alpaca gold”.  It is great stuff and can be put in your garden without having to decompose first.  There are places I wish I hadn’t put, like my landscaping around the house, the bushes have gotten so big so fast!


I dug up Daisies, Black-eyed Susan, and Yucca, all very hardy and very showy when they are blooming!

 

Though early, it was fun and we made a little money selling our wares.  We did lots of talking about alpacas – people love alpacas!

There is just a feeling of exhilaration at farmers markets, and an atmosphere that all is right in the world, with all the freshly grown produce, fresh baked goodies, and artisans that line the street.

Usually there is music of some sort playing, and many times local restaurants will send their chefs to cook up their specialty!

 The sights and smells are wonderful!
  This Saturday we head to Crocker Park in Westlake, Ohio for their Opening Day!  And following is our market schedule:
North Union Farmers Market
Historic Shaker Square
8am to Noon

April 24
May 15
June 19
July 3
July 24
July 31
August 14
August 21
August 28
September 25
October 9
October 23
November 6
November 20

 

North Union Farmers Market
Cleveland Clinic
Crile Mall on the Cleveland Clinic Campus
10:30AM – 2:30PM

June 9
June 16
June 30
July 7
August 4
August 18
September 8
September 22
October 6
Historic Downtown Powell STREET Markets
Powell, Ohio 
9AM – 5PM
May 2
July 25
September 12


Historic Downtown Powell FARMERS Markets
Powell, Ohio
3-6PM
June 3
June 24
July 8
August 2
September 23

Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair
Lake County Fairgrounds 

Grayslake, IL
“Come Celebrate the Work of our Hands!” 
July 16-18
A Wool Gathering 
Young’s Jersey Dairy Farm 
Yellow Springs, Ohio
September 18-19

AMDWS Zumaya’s Oliver Twist

Click here to view these pictures larger

AMDWS Sultan of Gold

Click here to view these pictures larger

Winter Blues Treasury

This was fun – my very first Treasury!  Etsy friends will know what I’m talking about, items handpicked by the Etsy community, usually with some kind of a theme.
Leave a comment and vote for your favorite item, that is not your own.  The winner will be posted here, in next week’s announcements, and on my FB page!
The Singing Bird by ArtMind
Dragonfly Moon by kellscreations
Superman by AlpacaMeadows
Custom Striped Blue by 1kybele
Child’s Hand Crocheted by AlpacaMeadows
Needle Felted Wool Tapestry by darialvovsky
Delft Blue Brim Beanie by ummashin
 Fine Silver PMC Nature Inspired Maple Leaf by LHCollection
The Society of Crocus Enthusiasts by LisaKaser
Handknit All Cotton Spa by DoraArtDesign Studio
Emery Pincushion by LoveLaurie
Felted Slippers by ing00te
Winter Blues” Treasury by Alpaca Meadows
What is Etsy, anyway?  It is an online marketplace for all things handmade – whether you are a buyer or a seller, it is definitely worth checking out!

Alpaca Baby Boots and Hats – FREE Patterns

A new baby, little Kiptyn Robert, was born in our family, to my brother and sister-in-law, on January 12, my father’s 79th birthday!

  It had been almost 13 years since my daughter was born and she is the youngest granddaughter, so it was great fun anticipating and welcoming the birth of this little guy!

Neither my son, or husband, or daughter wanted to hold him, in case he might break!

Grammy insisted.

So I got inspired to make baby booties and hats, with alpaca yarn, I can’t imagine anything nicer for a baby to wear!
They are so soft and I know they’ll be so very warm on some baby’s little feet and head! 
 

I had fun choosing colors and found I like the non-typical baby colors.
 
Some will work for either a boy or a girl.
 
 
Some are strictly for girls, with a dainty scalloped edge and flower!
 

The FREE Crochet Pattern for these darling booties is found on the Lion Brand website, click Easy Booties.
The hat pattern is Loving Georgia Lee Tyler designed by: Christine Marie Way Tyler & John Wesley Tyler
I have used this pattern over and over for many, many different kinds of hats.
 
Be sure to see our selection of Alpaca Hats, so soft and warm!
 
Speaking of babies, this is Cub Scout and Masterpiece and Sultan to the rear, three of our alpaca boys born last Fall!

Groundhog Day – What in the World?

Groundhog Day is a holiday celebrated on February 2. It is held in the United States and Canada. According to folklore, if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day fails to see its shadow, it will leave the burrow, signifying that winter will soon end. If on the other hand, the groundhog sees its shadow, the groundhog will supposedly retreat into its burrow, and winter will continue for six more weeks
So, how did Groundhog Day get started?

 

The tradition is associated with Candlemas Day, an old Christian holiday commemorating the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. On Candlemas Day, clergy in Europe would bless candles and distribute them to the people in the dark of winter.
Candlemas
Day was based on an even earlier pagan celebration called Imbolc,which marked a milestone in the winter (midway between winter solstice and spring equinox). There were numerous rhymes to
indicate that the weather on that particular day was important.

 

“If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, There’ll be two winters in
the year.”

The Teutons (Germans) decided that if the sun was out on
Candlemas Day, an animal would cast a shadow, predicting six more weeks of bad weather (the “second winter”). The animal used then
was either a either a badger or hedgehog. But when German
settlers took the tradition with them to Pennsylvania, they used
the groundhog (a type of woodchuck), which was abundant in the area.
The largest Groundhog Day celebration is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where crowds as high as 40,000 have gathered to celebrate the holiday since at least 1886.
Did you know that Canada’s Groundhog Day relies on an albino groundhog named Wiarton Willie?  New York City’s official groundhog is called “Pothole Pete”. 

There actually is a Groundhog’s Day website with games, contests, and fun facts that might be fun to visit.
HAPPY GROUNDHOG’S DAY

A New Year


The Road Less Travelled, originally uploaded by AlpacaLady.

Okay, I missed it a week!

I started 2010 with a reading out of the book called “Language of Letting Go” by Melody Beattie. It really struck me because new year’s resolutions are so tough to keep. I rather like the idea of setting goals much better, so I thought I’d start my FIRST blog ever by sharing what I read.

“Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come.

Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level.

Goals give our life direction.

What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?

What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life?
Remember, we aren’t controlling others with our goals – we are trying to give direction to our life.

What would you like to see happen inside and around you?

Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down – as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go.

Certainly, things happen that are out of our control. Sometimes, these events are pleasant surprises; sometimes, they are of another nature. But they are all part of the chapter that will be this year in our life and will lead us forward in the story. The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”

I am fairly sure this will be the longest post I ever write, but I thought this worthy of sharing.



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