Do you have a passion for making things entirely by hand or appreciate it in other people? In my teens and twenties, I got a thrill out of being my own mechanic on my old '75 Mustang. Yep, I've changed a few water pumps and brake pads. I have sewn every stitch of handmade rag dolls with a needle and thread (no machine stitching), and I prefer to cook from scratch. Isn't it much more rewarding to gather family and friends to put in fence posts, and raise barns? So naturally for me, prepping the fleece, learning to spin, and then making things from the alpacas' luscious fiber is my idea of happiness! -Kaylen

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Round 'em up!

A few days ago I took a short break from spinning and knitting in order to get my hands on the actual animals!  We needed to manage some herd health issues so it was time to round 'em up!  See what the drought has done to our once-lovely pastures?

Teddy enjoying a beautiful fall day.

Missy still isn't too sure about this.  See how she has her ears back?  She's a yearling now! She has gorgeous, dense fleece.  We'll be breeding her in the spring to our new junior herdsire Accoyo Mystery.

Here is our Mystery man now!  Stunning fleece!  Son of Accoyo America Sinbad, the high-selling alpaca of the prestigous 2006 Parade of Champions Auction. Sinbad sold for a well-deserved $205,000!!!  Here is a link to Seldom Scene Farm's Herdsire page with info on Mystery's sire and his incredible genetics.  Seldom Scene Farm  We are thrilled to have Mystery!  He recently settled his first two dams.  I need to spend some time updating our website to add him to the herd.

Ahhhh...and here is MY man.  Handsome Hubby helping 
Mataeus with his medicine.

What a difference a day makes. Today there is a downpour.  It is too late to help the grass grow but the fire ban has been lifted!  All our pastures have rivers running through them and the critters are a muddy mess.  Everyone is hunkered down so it is a good time for me to get back to playing with fleece!

Working on a bunch of these....

...and these!

Bangles and soaps seem to be my hot items this time of year.  I encourage you to support independent artists whether locally or globally.  You can find lots of neat things on Etsy

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tickled Pink

 I didn't have what I needed so I made a call to my "source".  

We met up at the designated spot...a side parking lot where we could make the exchange.  

She brought the goods and I had the coin. 

After a speedy transaction I was on my merry way.  

Another successful roving and yarn purchase! :-)

Yes, I have my own stash of natural fiber and yarn, but when I want color I make that call to Lindy.  She dyed this for me on special order for a project I am working on for another friend, who is giving something special to yet someone else!  How neat it is to see this travel through our hands.

Lindy, also, carries things on Etsy occasionally, so keep an eye out for her beautiful, and colorful creations.

Tickled Pink

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Alpaca Bangles

Lovebug debuts as the model for my bangles on Etsy.  They are fun to make and even more fun to wear. Super lightweight and soft.

The ones made with hand spun yarn are the softest.

What a great way to use up my yarn stash!  
I'm thinking stocking stuffers!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

How to Felt Soap

Felted soap has become very popular.  It is easy to do and great for gifts!  It is a bar of soap with a washcloth-type covering.  I use them for decorating, drawer sachets, and washing.  Here is how I do it.

  • Small amount of roving or hand carded alpaca fleece or any wool that will felt
  • Bar of soap (a good lathering soap works best and rounded bars are easiest for beginners)
  • Hot water
  • Dish detergent
  • Rubber gloves (if needed)
  • Plastic baggie
  • Pie pan, pan, or shallow bowl
Alpaca fibers and other animal fleece and wool will felt because they have little scales that open in the hot water.  As you agitate and rub these scales start sticking together.  This is why you don't throw your alpaca sweater into the washing machine!

    You will need to make about 3 layers of fleece.  The first layer will be the part that shows on the finished product so this is where I put two colors side by side or however you want to lay it out.

    The second layer can be any color you like. Place it perpendicular to the first so the fibers lay in different directions.

    After the third layer, put your bar of soap in the middle.

    Wrap the fleece up around the soap so you have a nice little bundle of fleece all around the bar.  Turn it over to hold everything in place.

    Start to slowly pour HOT water on the bar.  You can wear rubber gloves if it is too hot to handle.  Start patting the fleece and adding the hot water until the fleece is thoroughly saturated.  Don't rub because you'll rub the fleece away from the soap at this point.  Just pat and push and squeeze and start to shape the fleece around the bar.  You can add a couple of drops of dish detergent to help it come together.  Once the soap begins to lather through the fleece you won't need any more dish detergent.  You can flip it over, too, to soak up some of the water in the pie pan.  Dump out extra water as you need to.  

    Another way to add hot water is with plastic soda bottles that have holes punched in the lid.  I used a hammer and nail to make about 4 holes. This is a great way to do it if you have a group.  Everyone can have their own water supply.

    It is now ready for some serious rubbing.

    Put your bar in a baggie.  Now you can take it anywhere you like!  Rub the bar gently at first and start to roll it and squeeze it.  As the fleece continues to firm up you will want to rub harder.  This step will take about 15 minutes.  You will feel it become nice and tight around the bar.  It will really lather up in the bag, too.  Sometimes I rinse it out part way through the rubbing process.

    When your bar is all done, rinse it in cold water.  This will help the fibers close.  Squeeze out as much extra water as you can.  Set your bars on a towel to dry.  It will take a day or two and you will need to turn them over occasionally to dry on all sides.

    All done!

    When using felted soap to wash with, it is important to thoroughly saturate the bar before rubbing.  This allows the soap to come through the covering.  A soap that really lathers well works best.

    If you need alpaca fleece or have any questions please feel free to contact me.  I sell raw, hand carded fleece for $4 an ounce plus shipping.  Two ounces is enough to felt about five bars.

    Friday, September 24, 2010

    The World is Watching

    Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games
    The alpacas have to make room for horses in the spotlight this month.  The World Equestrian Games are kicking off this weekend here in Kentucky and everyone is as excited as when college basketball season tips off!  It is a huge international event and this is the first time it has been held here in the US.  Here is a nice article about it.  Look for coverage on NBC stations and you can watch events online, too.  It is hard to say which event is my favorite, but I really like Cross Country and Jumping.  AND one of my favorite singers is performing before it is all over.  Lyle Lovett!

    Thursday, September 23, 2010

    Lucy's Game

    Lucy has her own fan club! So here is one for the basset lovers.  She'll be busy for at least an hour looking for those little diced hot dog pieces! 

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Make Your Own Lightbox

    Inexpensive Lightbox
    Here is a great tutorial to make a lightbox.  

    I use mine to photograph items I make for my Etsy shop and websites.

    Felted Bowls

    Small Felted Pouches

    I'm getting ready for fall and winter holiday shopping!  

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    And the Winner Is?

    Measuring Day
    Some people compete to see who can grow the biggest pumpkins.  We keep things a bit more least something I can carry!  My mom and son have a yearly contest growing the longest Purple Noodle Bean.  "Grammy" smashed the record last summer with 22.5 inches.

    Oh, Oh!  A Smidge Longer!
    Little Man has just set the new record!  This one is still growing, too.

    Happy Little Man
    They are also known as Chinese Red Noodle Beans. If you haven't tried them; they are stringless, very mild tasting, and obviously fun to grow.  I cut them into 2" pieces and steam them.  You can use them the same way you would any green bean.

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    Jolene Has A Purpose

    "Some people, no matter how old they get, 
    never lose their beauty - they merely move it 
    from their faces into their hearts."
      - Martin Buxbaum

    I've written about Jolene before in the post "Taming of the Shrew."  She came to us as a bit of a wild thing.  I'm not sure what drew me to her, but she stares deeply into you and stirs something inside.  She was an emotional purchase, but has proven to be a great first alpaca. 

    Jolene has had three crias for us.  Sabrina, Mataeus, and Miss Allison (Missy).  She is a wonderful mother and an easy birther. Thank goodness our first experiences have been textbook easy.  

    Learning how to breed for fleece quality and conformation has been our primary focus with the animals.  Jolene has a luxurious fleece of 20 microns through age 6, but her staple length is short. So our breeding decisions have been to add length and density while maintaining that softness.  We have had wonderful success with Jolene's offspring.  Each one having the best traits of their sire and dam and improving on our foundation.  
    On our farm every alpaca has a purpose.  We have wonderful breeding genetics, luxurious fiber animals, and companions.  Even though Jolene's fleece is short, we have not let it go to waste.  Her fleece is perfect for our felted soaps. 

    I have a free tutorial about felting soap coming up soon!  

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    COLOR-ful Names

    Is it Ash Gray or Battleship? Bittersweet or Carmine Pink? 
    Here is a neat List of Colors on Wikipedia.  It is a great resource for describing something or looking for colors for image editing. Now, is it Tan or Tumbleweed?  

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    Recent Google Searches

    How to spell A Cappella  (Acappella, A Capella, Acapella)
    Who is the fastest kart in Mario Kart for Wii ?
    Info on Irish Saint Caoilinn.
    Skype or Google Voice?
    How to skirt a fleece.

    Evidently the Italian "A Capella" is preferred.  One of the kiddos must have been trying to find a sure way to win on Wii.  There IS a St. "Kaylen".  Google Voice is awesome!!! AND You can see we are putting the fleece information to use.  We built a screen out of pvc and garden fence.  Lovebug and Little Man are helping out. We are picking out hay and debris from Teddy's fleece to prepare it for spinning.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Perfect Lemonade

    I didn't know what we were missing
    until we made our own!

    • 1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
    • 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
    • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 
    • 3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)


    1. Make a simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.

    2. Juice 4 - 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.

    3. Add juice and simple syrup to a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water to the desired strength.

    If it is too sweet add a little straight lemon juice.

    Serve with ice and sliced lemons.
    Serves 6

    I found this recipe at

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    Camp Clean

    Choosing a camp theme and sneaking in a few chores has been a hit in our house this summer.

    On Blow Away Day each child gets a small bottle of bubbles and has to play with it throughout the day until it is all gone.

    Dusting is fun when you turn on some music.  Give everyone a duster and have them freeze whenever you stop the music. Voila! Freeze Dusting.

    My favorite is Scavenger Hunt.  We made a list of things the kids have to find in their rooms.  1 old magazine, 2 clothing items that are too small, a broken toy, a toy to pass on to someone else, 5 pieces of trash, a book they are done with.... The kids not only have fun with the game but with making the list.  

    I think Freeze Dusting and Scavenger Hunt will be popping up again here, soon!