Tag Archives: brecon beacons

“the road less travelled” – my favourite poem and my favourite place ….

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NB:  This week I am following a “blogging101″ online course to learn how to blog more effectively.  
Please bear with me while I do my daily assignments, I obviously don’t usually write daily posts and if you are fed up with them – don’t read them – smile!  On the other hand, you might like to comment and let me know how I’m doing!

This is actually not the assignment for today, it was to try changing the blog title and subtitle, and I have tinkered around with the subtitle, to try and give a better idea of what this blog is about – but I’m still not sure I’ve got it right – so comments/feedback would be appreciated!

But somehow, because I’ve been reading a lot of other people’s blogs for this course, I have also been inspired to write this ………

The last few lines of Robert Frost’s famous poem, and one of my all time favourites,  “The Road Not Taken are :-

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 

I took the one less traveled by, 

And that has made all the difference.

I should be showing a picture of a track in the forest here, but I don’t have one to fit – instead, this is one of my all time favourite places – at the southern end of the Brecon Beacons, and I want to tell you about a drive I took yesterday….

the route up, southern edge of the Brecon Beacons, just off the Trecastle Road

The road is just at the bottom edge of this picture, you park your car then take to the hills, crossing a river and follow a path that runs besides a tributary stream, full of small waterfalls. (This is said to be the start of the River Tawe, that runs into Swansea and then into the sea.)  Just under the ridge, that’s covered in snow in this picture, there is a lake.  Its stunning!  I’ve taken my swimming costume up there in summers past, and swum in it, with my dog!

The best thing about this place, is that its less than10 miles away from the rather forlorn ex-mining valley which I showed you pictures of yesterday – if you read all the way to the end of “Welcome to 2015“.  So when I’m in the mood for solitude and contemplation It takes me about 15 minutes to get there.

Yesterday wasn’t a day for walking – it was dull, misty and cloudy, and I had parcels to post for customers.  I mostly go to my local post office, but I was a bit miffed with him because when I went in on Friday, with a heddle (part of a weaving loom) to post to Italy, I had assumed it would cost me £5.75 to post, but he insisted that because it was a centimetre of two over 60 cm, it would have to go by the more expensive ParcelForce, and I was just about to say OK, when he told me the price – £27 something.

I’d had quite a chat thro’ the etsy site with the guy in Italy, and even reduced the price for him a bit because he didn’t have quite enough in his paypal account – so £27 was the price he paid for the heddle, and there was no way I wanted to disappoint him, but I wasn’t paying £27 for postage!  The price quoted was for a parcel and I pointed out that it could go as a tube, which WAS £5.75, because its thin and not very wide, but the post office guy objected to that because it wasn’t in a proper tube!

picture of a post box, just for fun - see my recent blogs about Royal Mail

picture of a post box, just for fun – see my recent blogs about Royal Mail

Well, we went back and forth about it, and I had to fetch the leaflet for him to check the allowed dimensions for a tube, which this item did fit!  And insisted it went as a tube.  He hummed and hah-ed over this – the queue behind were getting restless – and in the end he relented, but made a very heavy point of telling me it was at my own risk.

Actually, I am taking a risk, because the package might be rejected in the UK,  by my favourite gripe, the Royal Mail ( see my previous posts about them), or by customs in Italy, which Riccardo told me was the same as the rest of Italy at the moment – nothing works!

That done, I went home and looked to see if I could have posted it through an alternative carrier, and the cheapest was about £15, and was only located in London – all the rest were not far off the £27 mark.  I also deleted the international postage options from the listing, at least until Riccardo tells me he’s got the parcel, and had to tell him that it may not arrive, in which case I will not only lose the £5.75 postage, but the cost of the heddle as well, because the Post Office won’t compensate me if it gets “lost”, as it probably doesn’t really qualify as a tube, and it certainly won’t if I made a claim!

This is not a digression, really!  Its why, after nearly a year of forgetting they were there, I thought I’d go up to the even smaller post office about 3 or 4 miles away, on the route towards Brecon, and instead of going straight there, just carried on and went up the Trecastle Road.  (Well that’s my name for the little winding country road – off the main route – that goes to Trecastle and beyond – I don’t know whether it actually has a name or not!)

looking the other way, back towards swansea with the river in view

Time for another photo – which one shall I choose – I’ve taken loads of this place, and  got this one printed up as a poster.  Actually, I have to admit, the whole drive was a digression – I just fancied a change, but I hadn’t realised it until I started on the road …. and for some reason, again totally spontaneously, I passed by my usual parking spot, and carried up to the sheep grid (there are loads of sheep on this road), past the alpaca farm that has sacks of alpaca manure in the gateway for people to pick up and put 50p in the box (thinks, I must stop by there one day and actually ask if they sell their fleeces), and past the road I had intended to turn round at, to the edge of the forestry’s fir plantation, where there is a little track that I have stopped by many times, with my lovely sheepdog Sol – now no longer with us.

I have a secret …  that I don’t tell many people, but it doesn’t matter now …. so I can tell you – smile.

Sol was also originally from a farm, (like Tilly, the kitten in yesterday’s blog). They didn’t want to keep him and train him as a working dog, because he was a cross – I can never remember the name of the breed, but it was an Australian sheepdog, bred to have amazing stamina and energy, and to run for miles and miles.  And Sol had surely inherited that trait.

this is Sol as a puppy, also, coincidentally, in the snow on the Trecastle Road.

this is Sol as a puppy, also, coincidentally, in the snow on the Trecastle Road.

He had so much energy that I could never exhaust him, and when I took him for walks in the hills, I had to be really careful he didn’t get a chance to chase any sheep.

So what I used to do, was to take him to the point where this little road branches off, let him out of the car, and he’d run beside the car for a mile or so first, which just about got him tired enough not to pull on the lead so much that he got loose.

For some reason I never actually drove down this road, but on the slightly larger main route.  There was seldom much traffic on it, and what there was were farm vehicles, who weren’t bothered by this, and occasionally some tourist traffic that probably were a bit amazed by us, but never stopped to tell us off, and probably told the story of the eccentric Welsh to their friends when they got back home.

I think I was propelled by my memories of Sol to go there yesterday, it was a small homage to him.  I miss him still.

The car just turned into the smaller road, I don’t know how – and I thought – well, its about time I found out why there was a road here – and carried on, fully expecting it to peter out into a track thro the forest, with a gate restricting access.

 “The road less travelled” turned into miles of beautiful scenery, that I’d never encountered before.  I was on the other side of the mountain, and it was cathartic!  It felt like a symbol of a new start, taking a chance on 2015 and finding a new place to be.

Yes, I know it sounds a bit batty, and spiritual, but that’s what is was, I felt totally uplifted – and a bit worried that I wouldn’t find a way back home, as the road kept going on and on!  Actually, it turned back on itself and finally led me to Trecastle, and back onto the main road, and the small post office, and then back home. And no pictures, cos I didn’t have my camera with me!

Sorry for going on and on but I just had to tell someone – smile.  And its my birthday today – and no – I’m not telling you how old I am, you’ve had all the secrets I’m giving out today – smile.

I KNOW – I hadn’t CLIMBED THE MOUNTAIN – I’d gone around it.  

But it doesn’t matter – I saw the other side!

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 

I took the one less traveled by, 

And that has made all the difference.”

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All my xmas & general photographic greetings cards are now available to anyone -please see last post

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My Flash Sale has now ended, and I will be posting out the orders today – thank you to everyone who participated.

FireHaving got all the boxes down and set up an area where I can put orders together, I thought I might as well keep these on sale – HOWEVER – AS WELL AS ORDERING THE SETS AS SHOWN, YOU CAN ALSO CHOOSE WHICH CARDS YOU WANT FROM EITHER GRID, AND THE QUANTITY YOU WANT.  (Grids are on the previous post)

All cards will be 30p each, when bought direct from me only.  Please email me at julz@julzweaving.plus.com with your order – I haven’t named the cards here (you can see some of the names in the tag list below)  but its probably easier to just give me the positions in each grid – No 1 Grid is the Christmas Card set – No 2 Grid is the General Card Set.  ie: No 1 grid, line 1, card no 3/  No 2 grid line 3, card no 1 – if that makes sense to you!

I will email you back with the total cost, including postage to your country, and if you accept this, I will put together a paypal invoice for you.  Cards will be sent out as soon as possible after you have paid.  (Should anything go wrong your payment will have all the protection of the paypal system.)

Just for info, I have put together the set of 2 fireside greetings cards and the original 8″ x 6″ postcard on etsy – you can see it here

Please feel free to share this post, as this offer is now open to anyone who sees it, now that club members have had first dibs – smile!

(I will let you know when you order if any of the cards become out of stock, or unreachable – smile – reference to my excavations – see last 2 posts)

I loo forward to hearing from you

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The cards I found after my excavations – see previous post!

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set of 4 xmas cards

After more excavations in the stock room, I had to give up, because it would have entailed pulling out so much stuff to get to the other boxes, that I just didn’t have the energy!  However, I did find a box of mixed cards that I used to take with me to craft fairs etc – so this is the set I chose to sell as Xmas Cards.

They are not obvious Xmas cards, but I used to use them to send out to people at xmas, and people really liked an alternative to the usual Merry Christmas emblazoned type cards, and, besides which they often framed them afterwards – smile.

My best seller was the log fire card – bottom right, and as I don’t have quite as many of those as I do the others, I thought I’d offer them as a set, but not promise 5 of each card.

You may notice that ‘fireside’ is similar to the red teapot card – that’s because they are two crops taken from one large format negative – they were taken old style, on film.  I took a whole roll of the still life set up I created around my living room fireplace – and for some reason, on some of them, the film slipped slightly, and I got double exposures – which I liked better than the original sharp photograph – so I chose that one to print!

I originally printed the whole image as an 8 x 6″ postcard – which is also still available – and only later, when I was choosing images to print as greetings cards did it occur to me to split the image.

I am selling the 4 cards above as a set of 20 for £6 – that’s 30p a card, and is definately less than it cost me to produce them!

While I was at it, I decided to offer a set of 10 randomly selected cards from the rest of the range for £3 – also 30p each. These are some of the cards available in that set – the only reason I haven’t included all of them is that I couldn’t find a grid template big enuf to take the rest of them! 9 of my other cards

All the cards are 5″ square, blank inside and printed on really good card, with nice, good quality coloured envelopes.

The reason I have put them up here is that the cards do not show up large enough in the email I sent out to my customers on Saturday, so I thought I’d direct them here so they could see them properly.

However, having done so – if anyone else would like to buy any – please get in touch  – julz@julzweaving.plus.com

You can pay with paypal, which makes things easier.

“Enuf Already” of the sales pitch!  I would be interested in any comments, positive OR negative about the cards – feedback is always useful.

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BRITISH WOOL FROM A BRITISH MILL

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BRITISH WOOL FROM A BRITISH MILL

I have been looking around for a while to see if I could source some new yarns for knitters and weavers, and it’s not as easy as you would think!

At one time there were hundreds of mills preparing wool from British sheep for cloth making, and export – in fact in Shakespeare’s time, wool was the largest export from Britain and made many a fortune!  But things have moved on, and whilst there is now a growing market for wool again (for years farmers have had to sell their fleeces for practically nothing), the mills have slowly disappeared, and the costs of scouring the wool, carding & spinning it, make it very expensive for small producers to supply yarns to crafters.

I have, however, found a commercial mill in the north, who supply garment manufacturers worldwide, and who specialise in British Wool, who are willing to sell me cones from their stock of discontinued colour ranges.

colour chart

colour chartolympia - blue/grey ply

opal

opal

They are not seconds, but simply odds and ends of colours that are no longer on their current catalogue.  The cones are sold by weight, and are around 1Kg each – rather more than most knitters and weavers would normally buy for themselves – and as they are a thin 2 ply (as used by manufacturers), there are over 5,700 metres of yarn on each cone.

They can be knitted or woven as they are, or ‘doubled up’ to give thicker yarns, and as I have chosen for this first trial order, colours that will work together well, you could easily combine the colours when doubling, or trebling the thickness.  If you are weaving with them, all you need to do is check the number of wraps an inch (dpi) round a ruler – if you want to knit with them, then you would need to knit a test piece to check whether you need to make any adjustments to your pattern.

I have got these yarns at a reasonable price, but the price per cone works out at £21.99 per kilo, or more if the cone is heavier, and although this means that you are getting the wool at only £2.20 per 100 gm, I appreciate that not everyone will want to buy several cones at once, especially as they will have to go parcel post, which can add to the cost.

However, if you are part of a knitting group, or spinners & weavers guild, and can arrange to share the cones – this will be a very good deal!

To see the full range, and put an order in, please go to my listing on ebay (click here).

As I said, this is a trial order, and there are lots more colours, and other yarns available, but I wanted to test the idea out first.

Please let me know what you think, even if you are not buying at the moment.

OTHER NEW ITEMS LISTED…..

If you are like me, any natural fibre is better than plastic, and so I have started stocking some JUTE NOT PLASTIC shopping bags, as well as a great storage bag for all kinds of craft items. fold-03 juteb-26_l jutes-03_l

  In Wales, we have had to pay for plastic bags at shops and supermarkets for about a year now, so people are turning to buying nice shopping bags again!

The stock photo of the striped storage bags shows it in use for towels & even plants, but they are great for keeping odds & ends of wool, especially when you are working on a project and could become your favourite knitting bag!jutestr-06jutestr-disp1jutestr-empty

Please go to my ebay page or my etsy shop to have a look at these, and all the other craft supplies available.

Thank you to everyone

who has referred friends and colleagues to add to my mailing list, after I lost the whole list  – the CALENDAR COMPETITION (see previous blog) runs until 10 February,  and I would welcome any further contributions!  Please just fill in the form on the blog.

I also decided to print up a couple of the images as posters, and have just put them up for sale on etsy – see here

If you want to get in touch with me its julz@julzweaving.plus.com, to add a comment at the end of this blog, and please  do have a look at the ‘ABOUT JULZ’ PAGE FOR INFO ON ORDERING DIRECT ETC

All the best

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CALENDAR COMPETITION

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Before I write anything else

I have just spent some time trying to work out how to increase the  font size of this blog, because its too small to read easily.  However the editing panel seems to allow me to do anything BUT increase the font size – EXCEPT BY USING PARAGRAPH STYLES AS ABOVE –  so I suggest you use the view drop down list on your browser to ZOOM IN.  (Is anyone knowledgeable enuf to tell me how to do it?)

Calendar Competition INFO

I had a few thoughts about the Calendar Competition I mentioned in the previous blog – the first one is that,  if you don’t read thro’  the whole blog, you wouldn’t notice it!  And secondly, whilst you might be happy to copy this blog to your friends, its probably easier to ask you for direct referrals on the form below.

So briefly, as I have lost all the email addresses of my previous customers, that I used to send you newsletters, telling you about new stock, special offers and to direct you to more information on this blog.

Ironically, I’m going to have to use the blog to tell people about the competition, but I will be able to compile a partial mailing list of recent customers, as well as going thro my ebay & etsy sales records that are still current enuf to be on the sites, but it will take a few days to do that, so for anyone who reads this blog ………

I need your help!

Could you please fill in the form below if you know anyone who would be interested in receiving my newsletters, and the craft equipment & supplies – for spinners, weavers, felters, knitters, quilters, dressmakers, soap makers, bakers, and other crafts that I cater for.  Current stock is listed on ebay and  etsy,   clicking on the names will take you to the sites.

I thought I’d offer prizes for

the 3 people who refer the most email addresses – but please don’t flood me with junk emails etc – I will check with each of the addressees you give me to make sure they want to be on my mailing list.  As I am trying to rebuild my mailing list, could all past customers who would like to be on it, fill in the form anyway, whether you want to refer your friends or not, and if several people give me the same names, that’s fine – I will still count the number of referrals you give me for the competition!

My customers are worldwide, so please fill in the form wherever you live, and you can refer anyone in any country.

You have my PROMISE, that this mailing list is only for my own use and will never be shared or sold to anyone else.  You can ask to be deleted from the list at any time.

The 3 Prizes

I have two calendars left of a short run I had printed of my own photographs – taken mostly of the Brecon Beacons area in South Wales – sample scans of a few of the pages shown below.

(NB: scans of printed material are always awful!)  You can click on the pictures to enlarge them, and there is a third picture on the previous blog…..I can’t work out how to put the pictures side by side, so I won’t put that one in………you’ll recognise it anyway!

I also have a t-shirt printed with the january snow image – so there are 3 prizes – the first winner can have a choice.  The competition will run until Sunday 10 February, but you can still use the form any time after that to make referrals.  

In addition, when you next order, please remind me you filled in the form and I will add a small gift to your order.

january

january

april
april

referral form

THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!……please also have a look at the updated ABOUT JULZ page, which gives you information about how to get combined postage rates over both sites etc etc……

All the best for 2013

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calling all past customers………my computer died and I lost your email addresses!

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yes its true – I didn’t back up my mailing list, and so when the hardrive died on my ancient mac ibook last week, I lost all sorts of things – including my mailing list – which had about 350 email addresses on it!

so I bit the bullet and was finally  forced to retire my much beloved, 2nd hand ibook – with all of 128 bits of memory on it and 4G hard drive, that has lasted me about 8 years – it’s in bits on the shelf of the repair shop at the moment – to be used for spares!

They were able to retrieve some of the data on the hard drive, so I didn’t lose everything – luckily I have still got most of my old  photos, and the esoteric collection of music I downloaded years ago, when the Limewire sharing system existed, and I could get them for free – smile!

But I lost all those stored emails that I didn’t bother to take off the system, or print out, so if you sent me an email at the beginning of last week, and I haven’t answered it – that’s why!

These include a few of the enquiries/orders I got for Kromski spinning & weaving equipment – see my last blog.

kromski's rigid heddle table loom

kromski’s rigid heddle table loomkromski's sonata spinning wheel

kromski’s sonata spinning wheel

What with the recent snow, and having to get to the library to read my emails, I have been rather “snowed under” this last week and have got behind with all those things on my ‘to do list’, and as a consequence, the order to Kromski hasn’t yet gone in – because I haven’t been able to confirm the horrendous amount of postage they want to send it all!

And now I’m not sure who ordered what!  So if you do happen to click onto this blog, please get in touch with me if you have ordered anything, AND, as I haven’t yet confirmed the order, there is still time – a couple of days – to request something specifically – and I can let you know the price, and add it to the order …….!

and ……i’m gonna need those orders – smile – cos I’m writing this on my new – it maxed out my credit card – macbook pro!  Got in late on Saturday, and i’m still finding my way around it!

SO –  IF YOU HAVE BEEN, OR WANT TO BE , ON MY MAILING LIST – PLEASE DROP ME AN EMAIL TO

julz@julzweaving.plus.com

Also, if you know of anyone who has bought off me in the last couple of years, could you direct them to this blog please!

That also applies to anyone you might know that would be interested to get my occasional newsletters, with info about new stock, special offers for Club Members only, and “buy direct” discounts.

I thought as an incentive, I would offer a prize to anyone who refers the most number of people – by the end of the month.  Please ask them to mention your name & email address, when they contact me, and the two people who have referred the most friends or colleagues, (even if they have already been referred by others,) will get the last  of my very limited edition of 2013 CALENDARS .

I only printed a few of them to see what they looked like, and because I ordered them late – just before Xmas, they  arrived a week ago.  I had thought about selling them, but there are a few tweaks i’d make if I decided to re-order them, by which time the first month of 2013 would be gone, and its not a good idea to sell a calendar in February!

I scanned a couple of the pages – but scanning print never gives very good results.  Here are a couple of them, just for you to see what they  look like.  I think you might recognise the December image.  You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

january

januaryaprilaprildecemberdecember

The mailing list is international, so obviously, postage anywhere is included, if you win one!  I’d also appreciate some feedback about the idea of a calendar, from anyone who reads this blog – the photographs are my own pictures – taken some time ago, and most of them are landscapes taken around the Brecon Beacons, in South Wales – not far from where I live.

pant-teg landslip

pant-teg landslip

I took this one down the road just before xmas – if you remember it rained and rained and rained, and the hillside above my road has been an official (threat of) landslip area for many years as there are old mining tunnels running through it.  There is some concern that the drainage system had not been maintained, and just as a christmas was coming up, thousands of tons of mud slid down the hill and blocked the road – and yes, those are full size trees in the middle of the road!

Luckily no one was hurt, and the only building affected is the old meeting hall, next to the chapel, which you might be able to make out on the far side of the slip.  One family lost their home – as they lived above the road, and the container you can see was about 30 ft above the road!  Other families had to evacuate on the night it happened, but are all insisting on staying put now!

The road, of course, remains closed, which is a minor nuisance in the circumstances, and the council are waiting for all kinds of reports before they do anything – Just thought you might like to see it – I live a bit further up that road, so luckily am not affected!

So, I really can’t complain about my little run of bad luck – or bad planning!

wishing you all a happy new year (again) – there is new stock on both my ebay page (85solway) and my easy shop (julzcraftsupplies) – for more info and working links, please go to the ABOUT JULZ PAGE.

hope to hear from you soon!

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