New home!

Okay, it has been a while. But this time I have a great excuse!

Near the end of April, we planned to visit Amherst Island to see the Topsy Farms sheep shearing (my husband had never been) and see friends, so we decided (with a little encouragement, direct and indirect, from some friends and family) to casually check out a few houses that were for sale on the island. Next thing we know, it’s a week later, we’ve talked to a real estate agent in Toronto about finishing up our home (my husband had just ripped a bedroom down to the studs in order to renovate it as he had just finished another bedroom) and listing it on the spring market, and we’ve put a bid in on a home on the island! Then I packed up 90% of our 3 bedroom home in the next 2.5 weeks, put it into a storage locker and took the kids and left town for 4 weeks while our home was fixed up, finished, and sold. Those 4 weeks started out with some stress but we soon fell into holiday mode and really, really enjoyed ourselves. It was May/June and we spent time in some lovely places like Guelph/Elora, Prince Edward County, and Amherst Island, thanks to the generosity of family and friends. We moved back into our Toronto home for just over a month and then moved to our new home on Amherst Island in mid-July! And we’ve been unpacking and settling in ever since, with a few shows in there as well… I did actually pull out of several shows and pulled my application out of a few shows, too, because the move meant I lost a lot of production time, and once we were here, I just wanted to take some time to appreciate it!

Shows I went to included Artfest Kingston, where as a bit of a summer-weather-wool-accessories-experiment I shared a booth with my friend and amazing artisan Josée Huard, who started out making recycled wool sweater mittens as gifts one holiday, and built this gift into a great handmade business where she also makes sup cozy cashmere recycled sweater scarves & hot water bottle cosies, as well as amazing recycled wool sweater quilts.

A few snapshots from there:

 

That was a few weeks before the big move. After moving, my next show was in Owen Sound, where I enjoyed my first Summerfolk!

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Replenishing stock this morning at @summerfolk !

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And a few weeks after that it was Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale, where I had some lovely times with friends enjoyed a few TIFF films after the 3 day show!

 

Last week was the Etsy: Made in Canada – Kingston & region sale at Grant Hall at my old alma mater, Queen’s University, which was such a treat (hosted by Fat Goose Craft Collective)!

 

As for island life, so far, so great! We’ve had some lovely times swimming, on a couple of sheep drives, enjoying the sunset, bike rides, fires by the water, and more! (You can get a taste from my Instagram feed.)

And there has been lots of work, too!

 

For now, that’s the update. Next post I will let you know what’s coming up in October-December!

Focus on coffee

Long time no write! For some of that, I was actually out of the country on my family’s first ever holiday south (in fact I haven’t been south myself in over 20 years!), where my husband and I visited a coffee plantation and got ourselves some green beans (we roast our own) from the source!

 

When I got back it was a slow start but now I’m back and in full-on creative mode. However, I’ve been neglecting the blog so I thought I should update you on goings-on.

First of all, I’m excited to announce that Lynn’s Lids sheepy wool dryer balls, catnip balls, and tea cosies will be available in another brick and mortar shop, this time in Millbrook, Ontario, at Anchor & Co, which has its grand opening this Sunday from noon to 5pm at 30 King St. E. in Millbrook. It’s also open Tuesdays-Saturdays 10am-5pm, I believe. Doesn’t it look like the sweetest little shop?

Anchor and Co, Millbrook, Ontario

CountyCupboardOnce I got back into work mode, I decided the first thing to ease myself in was to customize a French press coffee cosy for my friend Helen of County Cupboard. She choose the green and said she’d like something that looks like a compass. I looked over her company’s web presence and found an image with her new logo in it (right) and thought I’d do a simplification of it:

I was also faced with a little rejection news this week (sadly I will not be a the Cabbagetown Art & Crafts Sale this September) and had to cheer myself up, so I decided to adorn an orange French press (Bodum) coffee cozy with something that would do just that: Amsterdam canal houses.

AmsterdamOrg5sm

And here’s a little video my 8 year old helped me make on Instagram showing you the full 360°:

And since I’ve also been neglecting my Etsy shop, that Amsterdam coffee cozy is up for sale in the Etsy shop, along with another Bodum cosy (click the photos to view the Etsy listings):

Lynn's Lids handmade French press cozy in purple with bistro

I will have to update my website to include coffee cosies as well, now, but it will have to wait a bit as we are starting some spring cleaning around here, and on Monday I am heading to a friend’s farm to see sheep shearing with my boys for the first time! I’m pretty excited and hope to get a few good photos and be able to tell you about the process afterwards.

Other than that, I had a custom order for a family cottage on a tea cosy:

 

I’ve been working on reusable coffee cup sleeves. They’ll keep your coffee warmer than those cardboard things, and you can use them for years! I’m thinking they may make a great teacher gift, or stocking stuffer come that time of year.

 

I’ve been enjoying the sun and above freezing temperatures around here:

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First beach day! #nofilter #homeschool #BeachTO

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And I’ve been sketching. Lots of sketching.

P.S. The other brick and mortar shops are the Cobalt Gallery and Clay Studio (sheepy wool dryer balls and natural wool catnip balls) and Furballs Pet Stuff (natural wool catnip balls) 

Custom works

I love custom work. I find the challenge of creating something tangible from someone else’s imagination or an image they send pretty thrilling. And their ideas can be pretty fun!

A little less than 2 weeks ago I got an email request wondering if I could mcat hat mockup from clientake a cat hat from a schematic. It was perfect, and the new customer even included the colours she wanted from my existing products. Even better.

This was the schematic >

It turns out the schematic was made by a mutual friend of the customer’s and mine, so she knew my work and what I might need from her.  I finally finished it last night and I’m quite pleased with the result!

Lynn's Lids custom wool hat - cat toque hand knit and felted wool Lynn's Lids hand knit felted wool warm winter hat bespoke cat beanie

The other custom order I’ve been working on came from someone who had bought one of my tea cosies last year. She was drinking a coffee and thought she could use a cosy for her French press as well. And wouldn’t you know it, that was already in this year’s plan (as I mentioned the other day). So we planned colour and a custom image for her (since she already has the Toronto skyline) and I’m pretty pleased with this result as well! I even gave it a test run today, leaving my coffee in there for half an hour before I drank it and it was still steaming. Hurrah!

Lynn's Lids handmade coffee cosy Lynn's Lids custom hand knit, felted wool coffee cosy

Lynn's Lids custom hand knit, felted wool coffee cosy with Kitchener clock tower Lynn's Lids custom hand knit, felted wool French press coffee cozy with Kitchener clock tower

They were both mailed today and will hopefully get to their destinations tomorrow or Friday.

New products in the works

This week I’m happy to:

  • have finished my major applications for fall shows
  • get products ready for 2 shops (more on that another day)
  • be working on a couple of new products for the online shops (lynnslids.com and lynnslids.etsy.com) and for fall shows.
  • see & feel sun shining and it is ABOVE ZERO CELSIUS!!!!

Several people have asked me at shows whether I do headbands/ear warmers. I don’t wear them so I’ve shied away from making one. I don’t know what finally nudged me to give it a try (probably just the urge to try something new) but I made an attempt around Christmas time, after the custom orders had died down. It didn’t work, but I knew what I had to do to fix it, so I gave it another try a few weeks ago with success:

Lynn's Lids hand knit, felted wool ear warmer headband with flower in peacock

The photo was well received, and last month at the Leslieville Flea I actually asked someone (she was wearing a headband) who was looking at my stuff if she could do me a favour and try it on and give me any feedback. She said she liked the wide band at the front and assured me that it covered her ears and was comfortable.

Then last week the boys and I were going for a walk with a friend who wears headbands so I brought it along to wear myself and let her test it out and provide feedback. Well, she put it on and wouldn’t take it off… Sold! So I guess that’s pretty good feedback.

I have just knit up and felted a 2nd one (it’s blocking) in purple heather and I plan to make a bunch for fall sales, but I will be sure to post a couple in each of the online shops prior to that.

The other new product I’m working on is one I’ve now had three custom requests for, so I figure it’s time to start making them. The French press coffee cosy! Here’s the first one I made for a friend who lived in Toronto for several years and is now back home in Denmark:

Lynn's Lids hand knit, felted wool French press coffee cosy with Toronto skyline

 

I’m in the process of making 2 more for the other custom orders. One’s just been felted, and the other is being knit up (see below – love that green!). Once they are finished I’ll post photos on my instagram/twitter/facebook/pinterest/google+ and then make one or two for each of the online shops.

Happy sunny not freezing day, folks!

2015 Fundraising!

Lynn's Lids is fundraising for Rethink Breast Cancer

I’m in full production mode for Sunday’s Leslieville Flea and for my new project: Fundraising!

In 2011 I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, and later, papillary thyroid cancer. Rethink Breast Cancer was a great support and source of information for me. They are an organization targeted at younger women with breast cancer and their unique issues, as well as building awareness and education in prevention.

50% of the proceeds from all pink products sold in January, February and March will be donated to Rethink Breast Cancer. I have made a few items for this Sunday’s flea at the Fermenting Cellar in the Distillery District, including some pink Sheepy Dryer Ball sets, a tea cosy, and a few hats as well.

Come see me on Sunday (I will be in the 2nd aisle to the right when you come into the Fermenting Cellar) or contact me to order your special pink products. I will have them online on the new website next week.

(click for larger images)

 Lynn's Lids Sheepy Wool Dryer Balls for Rethink Breast Cancer

Lynn's Lids pink houndstoque for Rethink Breast Cancer Lynn's Lids pink folded toque for Rethink Breast Cancer

New website & new hats!

Well, it’s been a looooooong time coming, but I finally have my very own e-commerce site! Please check it out at www.lynnslids.com (or use the linked logo to the right)!

You may notice that I put a few items up there that are “sold out” – sorry about that. It’s being used to showcase my works for an application to a show, so I need as much of my work up there as possible, and want to make sure it gets found. However, you can order custom hats, tea cosies, or even ornaments at any time.

Next up: the Leslieville Flea. I’ll be back at the Fermenting Cellar for Sunday, January 18 and Sunday, February 22 (and possibly March, but some other plans may hinder that) 10am-4pm. I hope to bring at least 1 of each style that I currently make, so if you want to come and try on all of the styles, January 18, 10am-4pm at the Fermenting Cellar is the place to be! I will be including one that I’ve only made for a custom order (this is the custom order. I have yet to felt the one I’m bringing) which the customer described as a watch cap:

Lynn's Lids hand knit, felted wool watch cap

I will have a bowler, a flat brim, a couple of cloches, as well as the ever popular red bucket hat (this photo doesn’t do the gorgeous red any justice. Trust me, it’s a stunning scarlet/crimson. At some point I will get my husband to take a proper photo of one of these beauties.):

Lynn's Lids bucket hat in red

And I will have a couple of the rolled brim hats (that I showed you in the previous post) as well as a couple of baker boy hats… The list goes on. So, come by and get your lid warmer for these super chilly windy winter days! Remember the thick and dense felt is windproof!

Tomorrow I am off to St. Catharines for my needle felting class! I spent some time this week putting together kits for my learners:

… and putting together some wool packs since they tell me there’s nowhere near them to buy wool:

wool roving variety pack wool roving natural colours

That’s all for now. I’m hoping for a fellow artisan post or two before the flea, but we’ll have to see if people have time to do a little write-up on themselves.

Happy new year!

Well… I’m down to my last custom order of the season, which isn’t due for a week or two, so things are calming down.  Determined to finish some custom dachshunds (that were ordered a while back, but not for Christmas) in 2014, I finished off these guys last night:

I have been thinking a lot about the past year of Lynn’s Lids, and how amazing it has been. Highlights include:

  • being a vendor for the first time in the Etsy Section at the Spring One of a Kind Show, Cabbagetown Art & Craft Sale, and the first Etsy: Made in Canada flagship sale
  • heading out of the GTA for the first time to Niagara for the Christmas HandMade Market
  • setting Etsy goals and surpassing them
  • managing my family (we homeschool our 2 boys), home, and business while my spouse was away for 4 weeks with a family emergency during November. I had to back out of 1 sale but we fared very well, with help from my friends and family! (If cancer taught me anything, it’s to ask for help when you need it.)
  • expanding my product line to include tea cosies, iPad sleeves, new orb ornaments and a TARDIS or two!
  • having my dryer balls in Style at Home!

In upcoming news, I have a needle felting class in St. Catharines, which should be fun! This came about from the Niagara HandMade Market, at which I worked away needle felting more ornaments (the family emergency meant I didn’t have as much stock as I needed). A woman and her friend and I got to talking about needle felting and so we planned to get 4-6 of her friends together and have a class in her dining room. The class is 2 hours and they will learn to make an owl, with techniques to make any number of 3-dimensional wool sculptures. The students receive a felting foam and 2 general purpose (38 gauge) needles and the wool to make their owl (see below).

If you are in the GTA and interested in hosting your own beginner’s needle felting class, leave a comment or contact me.

The Leslieville Flea

Also in upcoming news, I’ll be at the Leslieville Flea on Sunday, January 18 from 10am-4pm in the Fermenting Cellar in the historic distillery district. I hope to have every style of hat that I make with me, so if you’ve been thinking about getting yourself a nice warm hat, come down the the Leslieville Flea in 2 weeks! A new style that is really an old style that will be available is below – the rolled brim hat. You can thank my mother, who saw a photo of it and asked me why I don’t make it anymore… Who can say no to their mom?

One more thing in upcoming news: I am currently creating an e-commerce site! I get inquiries and emails from my current website, but I’m hoping to get something a little more professional up there that is easy to update (I currently update the site using TextMate and editing the HTML – yes, I was a geek before I was a mom and an artisan). So stay tuned for that… it’s coming very soon!

Regarding the aforementioned expansion of my product line, customised iPad sleeves were the name of the game this year:

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A custom iPad mini sleeve. Love this magenta!

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Finished custom iPad sleeve for the avid camper!

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Among the many things I learned this year is this: There are a million different sizes and shapes of tea pots out there. And it’s a good thing I love math, because it’s coming in handy now with the custom circumferences and heights, etc.

Anyway, off to bed now. May 2015 bring you good health, humour and happiness.