Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sheep Shearing Day 2010 - update

~ Clinton Bell ~
Clinton has met with an unfortunate accident wherein the girth on his saddle broke and he was thrown to the ground which has resulted in rotator cuff surgery. He's unable to shear for me this year and may be unable to do his own shearing.
~ Derrick Spangler ~
Derrick, Lord Willin Shearin, is checking his schedule and I'm hopeful he'll be able to shear on April 10th. That's the Saturday after Easter and before the re-enactment taking place in our county.~ the lighter side of Derrick ~
We open the farm, free, to visitors and it's a great family day. Lost Arts Guild members will demonstrate and sell crafts that would have been absolutely necessary to this farm of bygone days. Last year we had a basket maker, spinners, blacksmith, loom builder, dulcimer maker, quilter and gourd decorator. Additionally, a professional photographer set up a studio for photo folks wanting their photos taken with black spring lambs.

The Cove Community Association will sell hot food and drink with proceeds going toward educational programs concerning agriculture and the part it plays in all our daily lives. You're welcome to visit, please dress in layers with coat, hat and scarf as it's always been chilly in the morning and warms up as the day progresses. We welcome service dogs only as well as your cameras; it's a great photo opportunity. Parking is alongside the road except for media and those with handicapped designations on their vehicles, we save a small area just inside our gates for those folks. If you're able, come join us.

Directions to Thistle Cove Farm are here or here or e-mail for more information.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sheep Shearing Day 2010

~ Clinton Bell shearing a rare breed Shetland sheep ~

Sheep Shearing Day is 10 April 2010 and open to the public, gratis.

Shearing begins around 9 a.m. and, Master Shearer, Clinton Bell is finished by 12:00 or 1:00. Clinton answers questions and allows photographs as he shears Thistle Cove Farm's small flock of rare breed Shetland, Romney, Merino and crossbred sheep. All sheep are kept for fleece only; Thistle Cove Farm is a no-kill farm and all animals earn their keep by providing unconditional love and fiber.

~ skirting fleeces ~

Lost Arts Guild members demonstrate and sell hand crafted goods all day and may include spinners making yarn from wool, a basket maker making old timey baskets that are as beautiful as they are useful; the blacksmith pounding on his forge while he entertains with stories of by-gone years; the dulcimer maker explains just how ancient is his favored instrument and he'll even play a tune or three; the gourd maker showcases her beautiful hand decorated and home grown gourds and a quilter showcases her hand sewn quilts.

For a modest fee, a photographer will be on hand to photograph you and/or your children with spring lambs.
~ Mary feeding a spring lamb ~

The Cove Community Association will sell hot food and drink with profits going toward educational programs in the community.

It's a great fun day for the family as long as the family members have only two legs. Sorry but service dogs only, please, as this is a working farm. Dress warmly, in layers, as it usually starts out cold and warms up as the day wears on. We've gone from snow flurries in the morning to sunny, warm skies in the afternoon. Make sure you have hat, coat, gloves and scarf with comfortable shoes upon your feet.

Directions to the farm may be found at the TCF website; for more information, please visit the TCF blog.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Boy have I been busy, busy, busy......making baskets. Not only for Sheep Shearing Day at ThistleCove Farm, but also for a convention in Bristol, VA. The Virginia Federation of Garden Club is having there annual convention and a local lady, Elena Combs, is being installed as the new state president. I was honored in being asked to be a vendor. I accepted and being my first large event, am not sure what to expect. So, I have been weaving baskets like crazy. Also not knowing how many to do, I have done 30 different baskets. The picture above is a sample of some as well from previous blog. So if you are in the neighborhood in Bristol this Sunday, April 26 and Monday, April 27, I will be at the Holiday Inn, stop by and say hello, would love to meet you.

Also if you missed Sheep Shearing Day, you missed a great day. The sun was shinning, the sheep got sheared and we had a blast. Seven vendors, if I counted correctly, were there. A good crowd of people came and all had a great time. We also stayed for dinner at Sandra's and had a wonderful meal as well as visit. So make sure next year you set the date and come for the fun.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Heading for Tazewell

Orange Blossom Special
Orange Blossom Special, wool hand spun yarn

It has been a busy winter here at Greenberry House, and I've been spinning hard trying to get ready for the new season.  A highlight of the year for me is Sheep Shearing Days at Thistle Cove Farm, which is coming up on Saturday, April 4, this year.  We'll be heading out early on Saturday morning with the spinning wheel and some lovely hand spun yarns from my wheel, as well as from Thistle Cove Farm and Wild Iris Wool.  I'm excited about starting the festival season in Tazewell with the Lost Arts Guild!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Here are some more baskets to view. Besides baskets I plan to have knitted washclothes, felted or "sweater" soap, alpaca fleece and roving and maybe a felted sheep. The stand holding the baskets was made by Bud Thompson, blacksmith. Not only is he talented with his art, but can tell good stories as he works. So lots of goodies from all crafters to be found. Plan to come and have lots of fun


A sneak preview of some baskets I will have at Sheep shearing day on April 4, 2009 at Thistle Cove Farm. It should be a fun day for all, sheep shearing, good food, arts and crafts of many styles. Plan to come.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Marketing and Promotion Ideas

A blog is a great way to get exposure, to promote yourself and develop markets; the best news, it's FREE! Blogger is home to this, the Lost Arts Guild blog, and, I believe is the largest in terms of numbers, but there are others such as Typepad and WordPress. I started with Blogger and find it to be the most user friendly but that's, probably, because I'm such a low tech geek and switching venues isn't something I have either the time or the inclination to do. Blogger is, constantly, updating or tweaking themselves and that means never running out of things to learn.

A blog may be public, such as this one, or private where the owner permits a selected number of viewers. A lot of bloggers use the blog as an on-line journal, letting people keep up with their lives or, like the LAG blog, use it to promote and market themselves. There are others who use blogs to make money by selling adverts or having sponsors. The Pioneer Woman is a mid-west blogger who has advertisers on her blog who, at times, gives gifts to readers who write comments. BTW, The Pioneer Woman doesn't have a blog but chooses to journal via a .com site, a "regular" website. She's built a business around her blog, her on-line journal of her life as a cattle rancher's wife. It's a fascinating blog, visually rich with beautiful photographs and has an incredible splash, also known as an introductory, page that list her blog 'chapters'. From the front page the reader chooses where to go next - home and garden, recipes, photos, etc.

If you want to develop a following, one of the best ways is to teach how you do what you do. In other words, give lessons or a tutorial. Again, The Pioneer Woman started doing this by posting recipes, detailing how to make each recipe and using beautiful photographs for each step. A lot of people in the textile and fiber arts give tutorials on how to knit, crochet, weave, etc.

Elearningtech has a lot more information and suggestions about driving traffic to your blog. One suggestion is to use a Meme as a fun way to develop a discussion around a theme from blog to blog. Essentially, one lists a group of questions, answers them and then tags other bloggers to do likewise.

Tip Junkie has built her entire blog around tips - collecting and sharing them - she even has a badge, or button, to show people have had their tips listed on her site.

Micro-blogging is writing many, short, punchy entries and is a lot less time consuming than writing a detailed entry with photos. I find there are a variety of readers. Those readers interested in basket making, broom making, spinning, luthier work, ironwork and the rest of the work LAG members do would rather read a longer entry with photos. They want the languid pace they perceive to be yesteryear, a calmer and safer time. With those type readers, the short, punchy entries don't work as well as the lyrical type entries. You must find your own voice and your own writing style and be true to it.

Another way to get increased exposure is to join groups, such as this one or other guilds that are particular to your craft. Both West Virginia and North Carolina have basketmaker's associations and, in 1997, the WV association grew out of the NC association. I couldn't see where either of these sites lists members' blogs but they should as it's another avenue to market, promote and publicize both the association and the members. The more exposure for everyone is a Good Thing.

If other guilds don't have a blog, encourage them to start one or start it yourself. Low tech people, such as myself, have to be encouraged because stepping out of one's comfort zone is, generally, uncomfortable -smile-.
Keep photos low resolution and put a water mark on each photo. Keeping them low resolution, around 300 dpi, means the quality isn't as good as high resolution and is a deterrent to people to print them off and claim them as their own. Putting a water mark, or a signature, on each photo lets people know you're the owner and your work is, by law, automatically copyrighted. On my, Sandra Bennett's blog, Thistle Cove Farm, I use the "same" photo but different seasons for the photo header. It allows people to see the farm, seasonally, but offers some visual diversity throughout the year. I'll re-use the same four photos, every year, for every season. In the lower right corner my name, Sandra Bennett, is the watermark and the resolution is around 300 dpi.

Update frequently. You don't have to update every day but you do need to update frequently to keep people coming back. Updating frequently means your blog name, as well as names listed in your blogs, are 'out there' in the i-world and that means increased exposure.

Also, put a following button on your blog so people can connect to your blog and receive a notice every time the blog is updated.

These are but a few, quick suggestions on how to gain exposure via the i-net. There are vast articles written on promoting and marketing oneself; a quick surf through a search engine will lead you to more information. Please, let me know if this has been helpful.