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!

 

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!

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#WeBeTEST update, class, SALE & more!

I blogged last year about the benefits of challenges, but I didn’t really have those in mind when I came up with the #WeBeTEST instagram intro challenge. However, as challenges tend to be, I think this one is great for the participants… starting on that first day! The stories that Toronto Etsy Street Team makers have shared, and photos (I particularly loved the workspace, tools, and supplies ones!) and Sunday’s posts about teammates (since it was Valentine’s Day the prompt was: show your love for a teammate – most of us couldn’t just pick one!) have just been so great:

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Day 14: TEST (Toronto Etsy Street Team) Favorite. Why have one favorite when I can have four? We all know how much I love my women. #WeBeTEST @fitzydesign because it's been exciting watching her grow! She's really honed in her leatherwork skills, and I'm always excited to witness people's success! @clayshapes has my favorite little dishes, and I love what she does with leaves. It's also thrilling to see her life change from being a world-travelling journalist into a successful artisan. @carolyndraws is one of the cheeriest people I talk to at shows, and even though she's a self-described "hockey mom" and her work is sweet and a bit hokey, she has an unexpected badass streak, and I love that. @shibangdesigns makes the cut not only because she makes beautiful work, but because of our ties to Nova Scotia. I didn't even know she had relocated to Toronto until #WeBeTEST began (the last I heard she was in Vancouver). When she left Halifax, she unloaded a TON of scrap fabric and art supplies on me, and it was exciting for me and generous of her.

A post shared by Pip Robins : Gillian Hyde (@piprobins) on

Today’s prompt was maker video, which I believe most of the members have never done, so it was particularly challenging. Today I saw people cutting, spraying, felting, binding, folding, assembling, glueing, wrapping, sewing, painting, polishing, rolling, pinching, shaping, trimming, knitting, crocheting, printing, packaging, a stop-motion, a day in the life, studios, process… These are just so fun! Here are a couple:

And my absolute favourite is this one, which is now on Lisa Young Design’s About page!

Jenny Lee Shee did a video but couldn’t get it onto Instagram so she skipped that step and put it straight onto her Etsy About page! These last two are extra exciting for me since one of the goals was for people to have some material for their About page video, and for 2 teammates, that goal has been met!

Another great point to make is that I know that a few people have joined the team because of this challenge – how great is that? And a few people have created an instagram account and started posting regularly because of this challenge! Check out @bubynoa and her amazing and super soft handmade stuffies – this post (below) from Day 2 name/brand:

Okay, so #WeBeTEST. Check it out if you are on instagram, but if not, I have made a Pinterest board which has just about everything, with the exception of a few on day 1 (I didn’t think to make an automated board until the end of the day) and the videos, which it appears Pinterest doesn’t do, or IFTTT doesn’t do, so you’ll just have to use the instagram link and check them out there. Sorry about that.

In other news, I have another needle felting 101 class scheduled just before Easter (Thursday, March 24, 7-9pm at The Purple Purl) when we will be making this adorable bunny:

Call The Purple Purl to reserve: 416 463 1162

In other Instagram news, I did the #MondayMashup #MeetTheVendor account takeover yesterday at @ArtsMarket, which was pretty fun! I captured all of those posts on a Pinterest board as well, if you’re interested. The most popular post of the day was one of Fineghan, a commissioned gift for Fineghan’s family:

The 2016 #100nfornaments challenge is over 1/4 finished already! So far, this one is the most popular of the bunch (and the quickest sold item I’ve ever listed on Etsy!):

And, finally, since I’m having a sale at the Arts Market (10% off everything for the month of February) where I have just filled my booth with hats and more, I decided I would extend that online as well! So there is a coupon code for my Etsy shop for 10% off for the rest of February. Use 10FEB2016 for your discount on all items, of which there are quite a few right now, including what you see below:

 

 

Needle felting class, Arts Market sale & Instagram

First of all, a quick note to let you know that I believe there are a couple of spots left in this Thursday’s Needle Felting 101 class at The Purple Purl where we will be making a wee love bear. We did the class this past week and had oodles of fun:

beginner needle felting class

Also, you should check out the Arts Market in Leslieville at 1114 Queen St. E. as some of the artisans, myself included, are having a Cabin Fever February sale with 10% off all of our products! I have a great assortment of wind- and water-resistant hats as well as tea and coffee cosies, and a few ornaments, too!

artsmarketstorefront

Onto the TWO Instagram challenges!

I enjoyed the #100nfornaments challenge so much last year that when I felt completely burnt out in the new year, I knew I needed a bit of a kick in the pants to get going, so I’m doing it all over again! I’ve added a few new things this year, including monsters:

And wire wrapped feet for my birds so I now have free-standing ornaments as well as hanging ones:

It’s early on (in the first 2 weeks) and I know that I will likely hit a wall around day 50 but it has given me the motivation to get back to work after a tiring and long December.

The next challenge is a group thing that I cooked up a few nights ago. I was wanting to do a collaborative challenge and thought that the Toronto Etsy Street Team members would be good collaborators. So I figured a meet the makers/behind the scenes/introduction challenge would be good. I proposed it on Friday night and got an extremely enthusiastic response. I’ve got a good number of participants joining in, and it starts tomorrow! If you are on Instagram, check us out at the hashtag #WeBeTEST (people who know me well will know that I did not come up with that name – I have a BA(honours) in linguistics and have been accused of being a “semantic warrior” on occasion, but it’s short, fun, cheeky and catchy) and get to know the makers of the Toronto Etsy Street Team.

The #WeBeTEST challenge is for the entire month of February and includes the following prompts:

#WeBeTEST 29 day Instagram Intro Challenge prompts
From my blog post over at torontoetsystreetteam.blogspot.ca

I look forward to seeing all of the creative posts from our team members! And I hope you’ll check us out!

(Note: I am not a team leader or captain, I just come up with some good ideas so they let me post to the blog every once in a while. If you have questions for the Toronto Etsy Street Team, please direct them to the team here.)

100 days of ornaments – Part 2

I’ve done a few different “challenges” in the past year or so. First there was the 30×30 nature challenge in May 2014. Then there was a 6 week fitness challenge from the Cornerstone Studio in January. Last month there was the May_Be2015 creativity challenge, plus SaluteTheSun21. And now the 100 needle felted ornaments (explained in an earlier post).

I like the accountability factor, the prompts and the routine in challenges.

The 30×30 nature challenge got me consciously outdoors. We live in an extremely walkable neighbourhood. I hang my laundry on the line once summer hits. We have been hiking with our homeschool group for years. Once the weather gets nice our group heads to the beach on a regular basis. So I am already outdoors quite a bit. But during that challenge I became more aware of my surroundings and started having a bit of morning quiet time on the deck. It was a nice addition to my day and I enjoyed listening to the birds and watching the trees fill out. I also moved my work and the boys’ out to the deck when it was feasible. We started eating 3 meals a day  on our deck when the weather was nice and the wasps didn’t chase us back inside. Several of these things stayed until the weather cooled down, and now that spring is back we are starting those things again.

The 6 week fitness challenge got me out to different fitness and dance classes 6 days a week for 6 weeks, and I ended up liking it so much that I became a member at the studio. I am there 5 days a week and am still very much enjoying it.

The May_Be2015 creative challenge got me drawing (I now carry my sketchbook and pencil wherever I go) and writing in cursive (something I hadn’t done properly in decades) regularly. It made me think about different forms, ideas, printed photographs, and my creative habits/routine (or lack thereof), among other things.

SaluteTheSun21 got me out to watch the sun rise. Now whenever I’m awake at 5:15am either due to insomnia or because I mean to, I head down to the beach and watch the sun rise. It is an absolutely fantastic way to start the day. A beautiful promise that every day is a totally different and fresh start. My friend who started the challenge decided on day 22 that she did not want to stop, so she is down at her beach each morning for the dawn of every new day.  I’ve seen a lot of sunsets over the years but I’ve got to tell you that the sunrise is a different thing altogether. You should try it sometime. Even if you have to wait until fall when the time of day is a little more reasonable.

The common thread? I start these challenges on a whim, and later find that there are lasting benefits and changes with each one.

The wool ball series of ornaments started late last year. I was working away making snowmen when I just got tired of it. I was eyeballing this ball (the snowman’s body) and I thought, “What could I make with a wool ball?” Then I proceeded to make a few things (mostly animals) for my next holiday show and my Etsy shop. I ended up madly needle felting ornaments during shows and in the evenings as well. I was playing catch-up so I stuck to the first few animals that I had created: frog, elephant, cardinal, narwhal, robin, penguin, owl, and panda.

This year I have started early and have time to explore. Because of this 100 day commitment, my sketchbook is filled with ideas – I need content!

About a month ago I was listening to a podcast where the interviewer asked what  were the interviewee’s “golden hours” – when a you work the best, you are at your most attentive, and most focussed. I’m not sure if everyone knows their golden hours, but I have known for a long time that I am best in the morning. First thing. It also happens to be a time of day when no one else is up, so it’s a perfect time to get a few things done undisturbed.

IMG_7618I hadn’t been using that time productively. But as of 12 days ago, I do. This challenge has forced me into a routine that really works for me. No email, no social media, just my notebook sketches, wool, and tools, until the job is done. And the job is always a fun challenge. With my sketchbook, I have a visual list of creative possibilities from which to choose every day.

Now I’ve decided that I’ll try to make 2 of whatever it is I’ve decided to make that day (if I have the time before the family is up) instead of 1, to see how closely I can match the first as well as build up some stock.

So the 100 ornaments challenge, by day 10, had changed my routine, just like the other challenges. But it did a few other things as well.

I now look forward to getting out of bed, since I have a creative project to get to.

I’m keeping on top of creation of the wool balls that are the core of each ornament (a 2 step process that needs lead time: the balls are roughly needle felted, then wet felted and need a couple of days to dry) since I don’t want to run out.

I’ve had several people tell me that they look forward to seeing what I’ve created each day, which is such a kick.

After 10 days I did a roundup and asked people on social media what they would add and people did not disappoint (see below). So I have what the marketing folks like to call “engagement.”

I think, with my existing sketches (6 pages worth), the suggestions, and a few of the old favourites (snowmen and Santas), I probably have enough to fill my 100 days.

Added June 15:

What I forgot to mention above is that because I am making something different, and because I am making every single day, I am improving and likely getting more efficient as well. Another added bonus to the challenge!

Feel free to follow along on instagram, facebook, or twitter.

100 days of ornaments

You know that #May_Be2015 creative challenge that my friend Rozanne had me guest post for? Well, she’s at it again. But this time Rozanne and our mutual friend Brooke are doing a writing challenge: #100Scribbles (100 days of scribbles – free writing). They really enjoyed the daily creative prompt (as did I, although I didn’t partake in every one) and wanted to keep up the momentum, but to concentrate on writing. (By the way, check out the #May_Be2015 Instagram feed – it’s filled up nicely!)

Rozanne put the call out there for people to join, but I thought that my attention needed to get back to my work. So I have tweaked the challenge to be: 100 days of needle felted ornaments. I lack a productive routine, and I need one if I am to get things created for fall (and to list on Etsy and my web shop) and not be in pain with repetitive strain injury, so what better way to get into a routine, but to commit to one for 100 days? So first thing in the morning, it’s up and needle felting! (I am actually going to be making other things as well, but the ornaments are fun and

If you have a favourite animal (or other) that you think might work for my Wool Ball ornaments series, please comment. If you’d like to follow along, check out my Instagram feed, or the hashtag #100NFOrnaments.

I love that I’m not the only one who has taken the 100 days theme and run with it. One friend is doing 100 days of wild edibles and another is doing 100 things that make her day!

 

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:

 

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.