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Send a Valentine to an Arkansas Children’s Hospital Patient

I love Valentine’s Day!  This is the last year my youngest is in elementary.  He will be moving to middle school, which means no more Valentine’s for classmates and no more classroom parties.  I count my blessing that all three of my boys are healthy and able to run circles around each other and drive me crazy daily.

Unfortunately, there are some kids who can not exchange Valentines with their friends. Kids who can not leave the hospital to get to their class parties.  Arkansas Children’s Hospital has put together an amazing program for these kids.Handspun Yarn Heart

Send a Valentine child!

It’s super easy to help and only takes about 1 minute to complete.  Simply chose one of 4 virtual cards, chose a greeting (or write your own), fill in your name  and email, then send.

The hospital will print out the cards and give a pack of 10 cards to each child.  Their goal is to reach 35,000 Valentine wishes for the kids by February 14th.

Click here to send a Valentine to a Patient

FeltedSoapHeart

Please help spread the word so they can reach their goal and make lots of kids smile this Valentine’s Day.

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Five Reasons why Rejection makes you Better

WHAT? Rejected???  NOOOOOO!!!!!

Recently, I applied for a really big craft show.  Big like they get 10K apps and only take like 250ish people.  Big like 90K attendees!  I applied and was rejected.  Yes, it was a crazy long shot. I’d honestly prepared myself mentally for the rejection, but it still stinks.

I’ve put myself out there for some pretty wild things.  Some, I’ve succeeded big time!  Others, I have failed. The point is I tried.  Running a business you can’t just sit on the couch (no matter how comfy it may seem) and do nothing. Life is not meant to be played on the sidelines. You have to put yourself out there.  EVEN if it means running smack dab into a big ole rejection email, phone call, snail mail….whatever!  You have to do it.

In life, it totally sucks to be rejected. I could crawl into bed and not get out or go get drunk over sushi (I might do that anyway). I could just assume my work stinks and go back to work for the insurance industry (blah).  Yes, rejection is not easy, but rejection is not the end!

 Five Reasons why Rejection Makes you Better:

1. Rejection is an opportunity to do something different.

Often, you were rejected because there are better things planned for you instead.  If I had been accepted in this coveted craft fair, I was going to have to leave my family for 5 days. Leave them on their own to get to school, and feed themselves (Lord knows the hubby is lacking in the kitchen skills department). My poor dog would have no one to let her out during the day. The cost of the trip would have been enormous!  Instead, I am focusing on a different event here in town. I get to stay at home with my kiddos and still go do something fun.  When you get rejected, look for the good!  They say rejection is just God’s way of redirection.

2. Rejection is a reason to look at your work and your practices.

You know, you might just not be ready!  As a business and a person we all have to grow up.  You start small, and gain experience with each encounter you have. It’s okay to not be the very best.  We all start somewhere.  Babe Ruth had to pick up the bat for the first time.  Fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it, ask questions and learn so you can grow into it!  I took this rejection as an opportunity to look at how my website runs, what my brand says, and how I can make that better.

3. Rejection is final. Once you know there is no more waiting.

Ugh!  Waiting.  It’s the worst.  I refreshed my email, obsessively for days! It didn’t help the notifications came out a day late.  At least once you get the answer, you know.  No more waiting.  Yay!!!

4. Rejection is way better than regret.

How many times have you not done something (or done something…yikes) and then regretted it?  It can take years to get over regret but in comparison just a brief amount of time to get over rejection.  I’d rather drown my sorrows over a beer, then wonder what if for a year.

5. Rejection is the sour detour on the sweet road of success. Don’t let it be a road block.

In business especially, success is a long road.  Do not let rejection be a road block for you!  Carry on with your head held high. Just because you were told no doesn’t mean you are not on the right path. You just might have got there a bit too early or might need to do a few more things to continue with your journey.

With all that being said….was I sad? Yep! But, I know in my heart that show was not the one for me at this time.  We did go have sushi, sake, and beer though 😉 cheers!!! That made it all better.

I wish you the very best of luck with future rejections, hope you find the silver lining (it’s always there), and to continue down the path to success.  Would love to hear how you handle rejection.  Please leave me a comment below.  ♥

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Love Partnering with Interns

In the summer of 2013, a good friend (and phenomenal potter), Chris Massingill, suggested hiring an intern to help with the constant workload.  I had never thought my business would qualify, basically because I work out of a home studio and it’s just me.  I always thought of internship being for huge corporations…like Google.  She assured me that all sizes and types of businesses hire interns.  She worked for a potter, one summer, mixing glazes right out of a home studio.

Zoe hand Painting Fiber
Our very first intern, Zoe, learning how to dye fiber using a hand painted method.

Being a big planner, I had to do my research and of course, put together a kick ass intern program.  There were a couple of things I knew up front.  There’s really not a tremendous profit in what I make.  The internship would be unpaid.  Okay, so that made me feel pretty awkward.  “Hey, how about you come into my house and do some work for me, but yeah, I’m not going to pay you!”  *gulp*  So with no money being offered, this internship must be a mutually beneficial relationship!  Yeah, they are working and doing some of the remedial tasks associated with running a business, but this would be fun and very educational as well.

Basket full of Carded Batts made by Kate
This basket of beautifully carded batts made by our intern, Kate.

The program consists of 8 sessions (which can last a week or several weeks).  There is a different focus each week and the intern learns all types of tricks and tips while being here. I’m passionate about fiber arts and yarn, and yarn, and did I mention YARN?  I wanted to partner with like-minded folks and pass on the passion.  Also, let myself be inspired by their creativity and energy as well!  This internship is a partnership.  Each intern is learning how to dye fibers, create carded batts, felt, and spin. Additionally, they learn what it is really like to run a full-time craft business.

Last Thursday was the first day Zoe played with dyes. I was so pleased with the outcome!  There were several colors needed for felted soaps but after that I told Zoe to have fun and paint whatever colors she wanted.  I shared with her a few techniques including a couple different ways to lay out the fiber and explained how the colors do bleed together.  Once the fiber got over freezing, defrosting, and drying, I couldn’t wait to turn it into yarn!  Above is photographs of both the hand painted roving Zoe created and the finished handspun yarn I made over the weekend.

As the weeks go by, please keep an eye out for blog posts from both our interns, Zoe and Kate.  They will be sharing about things they are learning and their journey with The Twisted Purl.  I adore my intern partnership with these two girls.  They have lots to say and you’ll love hearing from them too.  Also, there will be lots more from me on all the fun things happening in the studio. We will have a few really big announcements soon too!  Will share more as soon as I can.

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It’s F-F-Freeeezing!

This week was full of lots of fibery fun.  Zoe is back to finish her internship and a brand new intern, Kate, started too!Freezing Hand Painted FiberThursday was FREEZING!  Zoe and I dyed fibers.  Within minutes the hot steaming fiber, hanging up to dry, turned into fibercicles.

Basket full of fiberAlso, I made a couple new yarns.

Carded Batts created from basket of fluffFinished Handspun Yarn

Finished Handspun YarnOne more made this last week too!  This one was a demonstration for Kate to show her how the drum carder and spinning wheel work.  Here’s the basket of fluff:

Basket of FiberBecause I was sharing the process with Kate, I missed taking a photograph of the carded batt.  Below is the picture of the finished yarn:

Handspun YarnLastly, the week was full of lots of new felted soaps:

Felted Soaps by The Twisted PurlSorry for all the pictures and few words, but this week was crazy busy!

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It’s been an all Natural Kind of Week

Daisy Covered with BlanketOur sweet dog, Daisy, is great at covering up and hiding. She actually pulls the folded blankets up off the back of the couch and wraps herself up in them!  Sometimes she even pulls multiple blankets and makes a comfy looking blanket fort for herself.  But, put a handmade sweater on her she looks like she has been given a death sentence.  Go figure!

The start of the new year has been a bit like that for me, I’ve wanted to just stay in bed with the blanket over my head.  No real reason!  Just with all this cold weather, my toasty bed is just such a warm, comfy spot.

Staying in bed is not an option though!  I’m a work from home mom of three boys and run a full time (over time/all the time) company.  I definitely love every moment of it, but it keeps me busy!

This week, I’ve received a custom order for an all natural, alpaca scarf.  Alpaca naturally come in a variety of beautiful colors.  Here’s the basket of fluff, containing a good color mix of alpaca.  All Natural Alpaca Variety ColorsI’m particularly found of this alpaca. It came from my favorite local alpaca farm, here in Conway.  Once I picked free the few pieces of hay remaining in the fiber, I blended the colors together through a drum carder.  Below are the carded batts created.Carded Batts All Natural AplacaThe fiber then went through the spinning wheel and turned into a new all natural alpaca handspun yarn.All Natural Aplaca Handspun YarnFinally, below is the finished scarf.  This was a custom order and will be given as a birthday present next weekend. Hope she loves it!Finished Alpaca ScarfFinishing up the week on a natural note, I made several new sets of wool felted dryer balls.All Natural Dryer BallsLots of exciting things are coming up in the next week.  We have a new intern starting on Tuesday!  Zoe is starting back on Thursday too. 🙂 Lots of new goodies are coming your way.