Sweet Sheep Featured Fragrance: Kumquat

I thought it would be fun every once in a while to choose a Sweet Sheep lotion bar or lip balm fragrance/flavor to highlight. Sometimes really great things get lost in the shuffle and I’d like to give them their chance to shine. Without further ado, this week’s featured fragrance is Kumquat!

Kumquat lotion bar

For those who have never had the pleasure of eating one, kumquats are strange little citrus fruits that have a really sweet, edible rind surrounding a sour inner pulp. The fruits in the photo above were dried and candied, I unfortunately couldn’t find any fresh ones in my area (and am now having a wicked kumquat craving).

Why I love it: This bar is essentially sunshine in a tin. It’s a bright, tart, pure citrus scent that makes me smile whenever I sniff it. It essentially smells like a more vibrant and interesting version of an orange. There’s just something so perfectly uplifting about sweet citrus scents in the dead of winter, isn’t there?

What it pairs well with: In case you were considering a made-to-order mix pack of scents for yourself or for a gift, I’d suggest pairing Kumquat with Spearmint EO and Green Tea to create a fresh and invigorating mix. If you’d like to lean more towards the exotic, pairing it with Basmati Rice and Lavender EO would do nicely. (I had a lavender orange tea once that was quite addicting.) And finally, if you feel like getting a little adventurous, I think that Champagne Fizz (bright fizziness) and Turkish Mocha (mmmm, chocolate and citrus) pair well with Kumquat, too.

Tell me what you’d like!

As always, if there’s a scent I mentioned that you don’t currently see in the shop (stock is running low right now, I’m working on replenishing) you could always request it through a custom lotion bar order, at no extra charge. There is just a slightly longer turnaround time for custom orders, versus ready-made stock.

What’s your favorite citrus scent? What other fragrances would you associate with it?

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FOFri #36: That’s A Lot of Falkland

I have yarn! I present to you the first finished handspun to come off of my Lendrum wheel. (You can hover over photos for captions, or click to enlarge.)

Isn’t it lovely? I basically just want to wallow in those gigantic skeins. You might recognize the smaller one from the ply experiment I conducted where I spun and swatched samples with different amounts of ply twist (oh, the #spingeek-ery!). I learned a lot from that little exercise and I truly love the finished product.

I’m still working out what types of details I want to track about my spinning projects, but for this one I recorded a variety of information. Here’s a recap:

  • Dates: Dec. 1st 2014 – Feb. 12th 2015
  • Fiber: Ashland Bay Falkland Wool commercial top, 16 oz in finished yarn (1 oz used up in sampling).
  • Singles: Spun with Z twist (clockwise) on middle whorl of regular flyer (8:1 ratio). Used a semi-worsted backwards drafting style, occasionally from the fold. Measured 25 WPI (wraps per inch) and 2350 ypp (yards per pound).
  • Ply: Three plies with S twist (counterclockwise) on larger whorl of regular flyer (6:1 ratio). Treadled 4-5 times per length of yarn. Measured 10 WPI and 600 – 900 ypp (measured 600 in reality and 900 on the balance).
  • Yardage: Skein 1 had 306 yards on the winder but after wet-finishing the skein measured 255 yards. Skein 2 had 438 yards on the winder but measured 340 yards after finishing.

Even though the yardage measurements are unclear (I suspect a yardage counter could be handy in the future), I likely have somewhere between 595 and 745 yards of approximately worsted weight yarn. That’s enough for a generous cozy shawl, a boat-load of accessories, or if I spin a little more Falkland up, perhaps a vest? I haven’t decided if I will dye these skeins or not. I’m tempted to try a rainbow skein like what The Lemonade Shop dyes or something like the Tipsy skeins at Blue Moon Fiber Arts but I don’t want to ruin so much spinning if it goes wrong. What would you do?

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Clicky-clicky!

There are still a few days left to receive a discount on your Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe lotion bar or gift set order. The coupon code ‘love10’ is good through Sunday. Treat yourself or a friend to some sassy sweet Ribbon Candy, tart juicy Kumquat, cinnamon-kissed Gingersnap, or refined and stately Black Tea (to name a few). As always, if you don’t see a scent in stock that you’d like, you can request whatever suits your fancy from over 30 options with a custom lotion bar or custom gift set order.

I don’t think I’ll make it to this space over the weekend, so have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Celebrating My 30th

So folks, this weekend is the big Three-Oh for me. Thirty years old! Gosh, I remember when that sounded so old. By 30 I thought I’d have everything figured out, I’d have a settled career path, I’d maybe even have kids and a house! Thirty just seemed so far away and intangible. Now that it’s here, I’m realizing that 1) I don’t feel ready for half of those things anyway and 2) I’m totally ok with that. I’ve got fuzzy goals and even fuzzier plans, and I’m feeling pretty relaxed and flexible about if and when they come to fruition.

Celebrating My 30th | Woolen Diversions

Darwin, demonstrating the way in which I should approach life.

As much as I’ve loved the past 30 years, I’m expecting the next 30 to be even better. My 20s were full of more than their fair share of upheaval and angst, and I’ve recently been making strides towards living a healthier, less anxious, more joyful life. I’ve also realized that many of the people whose work I admire didn’t do their great [whatever it is I admire them for] until they were middle-aged or older. When I start to feel the pressure of time on my back I stop and remember that I really have no idea what I’ll be accomplishing or experiencing over the next few decades, and that there is still plenty of time.

Celebrating My 30th | Woolen Diversions

… for yarn. Always time for yarn.

You know how I really know that I’m 30, though? I’ve caught myself, on more than one occasion, making small talk with the poor, bored high school cashiers at the grocery store. Those kids don’t care what an old lady like me has to say, and I know that, I can remember that feeling, yet I still find myself doing it as if it can’t be helped. (When did I start small talking with strangers anyway?) To those kids, I’m just another old-ass adult with old-ass adult stories, and that just blows my mind.

Celebrating My 30th | Woolen Diversions

Use code ’30BDAY’ at checkout.

In celebration of my birthday weekend, all purchases of lotion bars or lip balms at Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe are 30% off with use of the coupon code ’30BDAY’ at checkout through January 27th. Be sure to tell your friends, and thanks so much for your support! Here’s to 30!

Prepare for Eye Candy

Oh boy, oh boy. My new Woodland Woodworking support spindle showed up and it is beyond gorgeous.

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Feast your eyes!

If you haven’t heard of Woodland Woodworking before, you must immediately go admire Carl’s work. His spindles are fairly unique in both shape and style. I had never encountered a teacup spindle before his, and rarely have I seen any spindles painted with such gorgeous precision.

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Pretty, pretty snowflakes!

His custom list is filled up months and months in advance and his updates seem to be few and far between, and sell out in seconds. In truth, I was hoping to land this blue snowflake beauty, but I am thankful to have been able to purchase any spindle at all. The one I received is a bead spindle made of German hornbeam and redheart. It is quite lightweight (0.87 oz, or 24 g) and shorter than some of my other support spindles (9.75 in).

My collection currently consists of a Texas Jeans Russian spindle in curly maple, a Texas Jeans Tibetan in maple and purpleheart, the new Woodland Woodworking bead spindle, and a Hipstrings tahkli for cotton spinning in carbon fiber and acrylic. The two Texas Jeans spindles are the longest at 12″ and 11″, while the tahkli is the shortest at 9″. The Tibetan is the heaviest (31 g), followed by the Russian (27 g), then the new bead spindle (24 g), and finally the tahkli (7 g).

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Spinning tip comparison.

What I found really interesting is the difference in the thickness of the spinning tip of the new Woodland Woodworking spindle from the tips of the Texas Jeans support spindles I’ve been accustomed to using. The WW tip is much thicker than the TJ spindle tips. So while the spindle is lighter, you don’t get quite as much spinning force bang-for-your-buck as you do with a thinner-shafted spindle and it took my fingers a little bit of time to adjust to the different feel.

I can tell that I could get really wrapped up in analyzing the different spin times / feels / speeds etc. of different spindle types. I may or may not have already begun a spreadsheet tracking the dimensions of my spindles. I suppose this means I’ll just have to obtain one of every kind for a thorough analysis… what do you think? πŸ˜‰

(P.S. The lovely fiber I’m spinning on the new spindle is some Merino wool hand-dyed by June Pryce Fiber Arts. I love the colors!)

Better Late Than Never

While we’re cutting it a little close for Christmas, I did finally get the last of my holiday lotion bar scents up in the shop!

Ribbon Candy is a delightfully sweet, berry-kissed scent that is both festive and delicious. It is included in the Season’s Treats sample-sized gift set (along with Peppermint Cocoa and Gingersnap). I’ve also created a Winter Wonderland gift set that contains Fresh Snow, the now-well-known-Jingleberry, and Winter Gardenia. There’s still time to ship before the holidays if you place your order soon! (Last day to order is Dec. 19th.)

The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that the Yarn Harlot suggested my bars as part of her most excellent Gifts for Knitters series! She in fact said that they “look fabulous”… which basically made my day/year/life. πŸ˜€ Woohoo for Sweet Sheep!

Packing a bulk order.

I spent much of the weekend busily re-stocking the shop and filling bulk orders. My house smelled… intense. Crisp Pear, Apple Butter, Sandalwood Vanilla, Cinnamon Chai, and Black Tea don’t mix quite as well as one would think, when they linger in the air. In fact, all the combined scents gave me a massive headache for most of Sunday, so I took it pretty easy after that. I could hardly even knit!

Coutness Ablaze BFL/silk/firestar in Petrol.

So I spun a bit here and there instead. I even made time on Saturday to head out to the Rhode Island Spinner’s Guild monthly meeting. I haven’t been to a meeting in so long, but every time I actually get myself over there I’m always so glad I went. I don’t think there’s a lovelier, friendlier group of spinners around. Everyone is so welcoming and willing to share their knowledge, their fiber tools, and their skills. It’s wonderful. I highly recommend joining a group if you haven’t yet. It’s well worth making time for, even in the middle of this busy season.

Are you part of a guild or knitting/spinning group? If not, what’s holding you back?

Jingleberry!

Alright, folks, the votes are in and the name for the new sweet, spruce holiday lotion bar scent is… Jingleberry!

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Yaaaaaay! I have a name!

Even better, it’s now available for purchase, and if you’re in the US, there’s still time to order before Christmas! Thanks to everyone who suggested names and voted, this was really fun! Congrats (and special thanks!) to ELM for suggesting the winning name.

Just a quick note today, have a happy Friday, everyone!

Name This Scent! Vote

Thanks to everyone who chimed in with name ideas for this lovely, sweet, spruce-y, holiday lotion bar scent:

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We had some really, really great ones! The random number generator chose comment number 2, so congrats nerdinthebrain! Once this fragrance has a name, I’ll stick a label on a bar and send it your way. Now, I narrowed down the names to TEN choices based on logistics (had to fit on the label!) and some subjective opinion. πŸ™‚ Please vote for the one you like best, and tell your friends! Whomever supplied the winning name in the first place, will receive a lotion bar and lip balm of their choice. Voting will close this Thursday, and winner will be announced Friday.

Which name do you think best fits the holiday scent depicted in the photo above?

I’m excited to see which name wins, and thanks to everyone who made suggestions, it was tough to narrow it down!

In related news, I’ve added some of the new winter scents up on Sweet Sheep! Hover over the photos below to see their names.

New scents means some of last season’s are now on sale for 20% off. And while we’re at it, I should let you know that the last day to place ready-made orders before Christmas is Friday, Dec. 19th, I’ll be traveling on the 20th and will ship before I leave. The last day to order custom items (like our custom gift sets!) will be Friday, Dec. 12th. Shipping will be delayed starting Dec. 20th and will resume again on Dec. 29th.

Well, all of that pretty much took up my entire weekend. How was yours?

Name This Scent! Contest

I’ve come to realize that some of my Sweet Sheep lotion bar fragrances are more challenging to name than others. An example of an easy one is Kumquat.

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Kumquat!

This bar smells exactly like how biting into a kumquat tastes: bright, fresh, juicy, tropical, citrus. If you’ve never eaten a kumquat, by the way, I recommend that you do so as soon as possible. It’s the only citrus fruit with an edible rind. The rind is thin and very sweet which plays nicely off the sour pulp of the fruit. Anyway, back to the problem at hand: other scents are harder to capture in a name.

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Down by the Bay

For example, the above photo represents the bar I call Down by the Bay. The fragrance oil that gives its scent was named Tobacco & Bay Leaf by the supplier. I did not think that name evoked the right emotions for the way the lotion bars smelled. To me, the scent is herbal and tangy, citrus-y and a little salty. It reminds me of bright beach days and sweeping expanses of sea. ‘Down by the Bay’ seemed to fit much better.

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The scent that needs a name!

Now, for the current dilemma! I’m having the hardest time coming up with a good name for a new holiday fragrance depicted above. I think the photo captures the essence of the fragrance well enough, but a good name is eluding me. The scent has a base of spruce, is clearly a holiday/Christmas tree kind of scent, with an almost candy- or berry-like sweetness to it. It evokes a sense of merriment and cheer, cold days and warm nights. It’s woodsy without being completely herbal, and sweet without being overwhelmingly sugar-y or fruity. When I smell it I think about opening up boxes full of Christmas decorations, but something like “Old Tinsel & Ornaments” just didn’t seem right… ha.

Here’s where you come in!

If you’d like to play along, please suggest a name you think best represents the holiday scent in the third photo. Post your suggestion either in the comments below or on Sweet Sheep’s facebook page. I realize the difficulty in naming a scent you haven’t smelled but brainstorming is fun and winning stuff is even more fun, so why not give it a try? Every person who suggests a name by 11:59 pm (EST) on Sunday 12/7 will be entered for a chance to win one lotion bar of this fragrance. On Monday I’ll compile a list of my favorite suggestions and open it up to a vote on the blog. If a name you suggested wins the poll (voting will end next Thursday), you’ll receive a lotion bar and lip balm of your choice! (If more than one person suggests the same name, then I’ll use a random number generator to determine who wins.)

So how about it, want to play along?

IS #82: Small Business Saturday Edition

I must keep this post quick because I’m taking a big exam tomorrow (eek) but in the spirit of #SmallBusinessSaturday and the upcoming #CyberMonday, I thought I’d highlight a few small, independent businesses that handcraft perfectly gift-able items. There are so many incredible things to choose from on Etsy, so I’m narrowing this list down to shops that I’ve purchased from personally or the shops of people whom I follow on social media (blogs, Instagram, etc).

Royalty Soaps:

Photo copyright Katie White of Royalty Soaps. Click for shop.

Katie makes the most incredible cold-process soaps. The things she does with color and ‘toppings’ (for lack of a better word) are so creative. I’ve been using a lemon creme scented bar that is just divine. I’ve tried out a fair bit of handmade soaps lately, and the ones from Royalty Soaps have an incredible lather and feel so good on my skin, they don’t dry it out at all. They are my current favorite, hands-down.

Amy Hood Arts:

Photo copyright Amy Hood. Click for shop.

Amy is a Rhode Island knitter and artist that I met at a knit night some time ago. Her shop is a mix of gift-able items, with handmade zippered pouches prominently featured. As a marine biologist, I love the nautical and natural themes that run throughout her work.

Haldecraft

Photo copyright Lorena Haldeman. Click for shop.

These monster mugs are just the cutest! So creative, they’d make a really fun gift. Lorena’s mix of products is impressive. She carries ceramics in her Etsy shop, as well as handspun and hand-dyed yarn and handmade soaps on her other website. Busy lady!

June Pryce Fiber Arts:

Photo copyright Cheryl and Jenn. Click for shop.

Cheryl and Jenn are the lovely (semi-local!) ladies behind June Pryce Fiber Arts. They carry hand-dyed fiber, yarn, gradient kits, stitch markers, project bags, and shawl pins. I really liked the look of the lap mat featured above. Its job is to catch any VM that drops out of your fiber while spinning or to protect your lap from whatever messy crafts you are doing. Nice idea!

Northbound Studio:

Photo copyright Misty Ostrowski. Click for shop

Apparently I’m on a bit of a pottery kick, but I think these mugs and other table accessories made by Misty are so adorable. I’ve been watching her make these on Instagram and I love the kind of ‘cutout’ patterns she decorates them with.

katerynaG:

Photo copyright Kateryna Golovanova. Click for shop.

If you’re looking for a handwoven or handknitted beauty of a garment for someone really special, I’m pretty sure that Kateryna is your gal. I found her shop through some posts on the Socks That Rawk! group because she uses a lot of my favorite sock yarn to weave her gorgeous creations. They’re all as breathtaking as this one!

Mary Buttons:

Photo copyright Mary Clarke Edwards. Click for shop.

Speaking of weaving, Mary occasionally weaves amazing fabric from some of my other favorite dyers (Cephalopod Yarns! Verdant Gryphon!) and fashions it into lovely pouches. The one pictured above is actually fabric printed with a cable knitting design, which is pretty nifty in its own right!

The Knitting Artist:

Photo copyright Lisa Urban. Click for shop.

Lisa is an artist who makes incredible paintings of handknit still-lifes. I especially love the colors and textures in the piece featured above. You can purchase prints of her paintings or handmade greeting cards featuring larger-than-life knitting stitches, perfect for all the fiber enthusiasts on your gift list!

Caffeine Girl:

Photo copyright Deborah Kades. Click for shop.

Deborah makes colorful and creative polymer clay necklaces and bracelets. I love the button necklace shown above, all the colors make me so happy! She recently posted all sorts of nice things about my Sweet Sheep lotion bars on her Caffeine Girl Creates blog, which is what inspired me to write my own post featuring small businesses that I admire! Thanks, Deborah!

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Use coupon code THANKS2014 at checkout!

Don’t forget that the free shipping special is still ongoing at Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe. Enter code ‘THANKS2014’ at checkout to receive free shipping on all orders, everywhere, through Monday Dec. 1st. Happy indie shopping! What’s been inspiring you, lately?

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WIPWed #74: Feeling Thankful

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US, and despite all the busy and the crazy and the deadlines swirling around my life right now, I’m feeling really thankful for everything this year has brought. At this time last year, we had just learned about my mom’s cancer diagnosis, and several surgeries and treatments later, she’s doing quite well and we are optimistic about her recovery. This time last year, I was still a fiancΓ©e, and now I have a husband who always knows the perfect thing to say to make me feel better when things get rough (such as, “C’mon, Alicia, what would Katniss do?”). This time last year, I weighed about 60 pounds more than I do now, and I’m hopeful that I will continue to make progress along this (stupidaly hard) path to better health. This time last year, I had never traveled outside the country, and I now have wonderful memories of sloths and howler monkeys and palm trees and Costa Rican rain drumming on tin roofs to soothe me when I need it (note to self: finish those recap blog posts!). And finally, this time last year my Sweet Sheep lotion bars were a mere twinkle in my mind’s eye, and now I’ve filled over 125 Etsy sales, received over 70 5-star reviews, and have over 390 ‘likes’ on Facebook. It’s been a rollercoaster of a productive and somewhat frenzied year, and when I feel ‘stuck’ or like I’m not making any progress, it’s incredibly beneficial and kind of amazing to pause and look back on it all with a sense of gratitude and appreciation.

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Free shipping for the holiday weekend!

To celebrate the holiday weekend (Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday — oh my!) in one small way, I’m offering free shipping on all orders from today through December 1st. Use the coupon code “THANKS2014′ at checkout to receive free shipping on all domestic and international orders! Thanks for all your support, and consider shopping indie this holiday season. πŸ™‚

And I cannot forget all my knitting and spinning in the list of things-for-which-I’m-grateful!

Baby Kalamazoo:

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CY Traveller, colorway Kalamazoo. Click for project page.

I knit this project in about 2 seconds flat (ok, 2 days) for a coworker who is having a little girl and going out on maternity leave today. I’m really happy with how the hat turned out. There are very subtle 2-stitch faux cables throughout the body which make for interesting texture without being overtly cabled. I’m thinking of incorporating this fabric into a larger design. And I just love the little i-cord loop at the top of the hat!

Overdyed Cypress:

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BMFA Twisted, overdyed by me. Click for project page.

My #NaKniSweMo sweater is nowhere near done, and definitely won’t be finished by the 30th, but I’m super proud of the fact that the back is finished and I’ve made good headway on the front. This is one garment that I’m actually going to complete, and that is exciting in and of itself.

Petrol BFL:

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Countess Ablaze BFL/silk/firestar. Click for handspun page.

To occupy myself while I wait for my new wheel to arrive, I started a braid of Countess Ablaze BFL/firestar/silk on my Babe. I intend to spin this as my ‘default’ yarn: a thin single that I then n-ply into a DK-worsted-weight yarn. I have two such handspun skeins in stash already, and have vague notions of spinning a bunch of color-coordinated BFL in this way and using them together in a larger project. I’m using this spin to take part in the Indie Untangled Knit/Spin/Crochet/Weave-along, come join us, there are prizes!

Finch Test:

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Abstract Fibers sample. Click for handspun page.

Finally, I’ve been spinning a bit on my new Jenkins Finch spindle. That photo shows all of the little sample it came with spun up, and later on I will ply a wee skein!

I hope you’re prepping for a wonderful holiday and enjoying all your WIPs this week! Check out other WIPs at Stitch Along Wednesday with Gracey.