One step closer…

img_1578Yesterday I got my Urban Farmgal labels in the mail that I will use to identify my hats, bags, scarves, neck gaiters…all the things that I create and sell.  I really like the look of them.  I don’t have a logo yet, so I went with a generic daisy, but I like it, I really like it!  This means I am one step closer to being a “real” business, right?  Like this label will make me legitimate?  Something like that.

The first thing I did when I tore open the package was grab a needle and matching green thread and sew a label into my knitted bag that I made years ago.  It was the prototype for all the bags I have made since then that I have given away as wedding gifts, birthday gifts, and Christmas gifts.  I just wanted to put my little label on something and this seemed like an appropriate christening, if you will.

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And yeah, maybe bright green sort of doesn’t really go all that well with a red and black knit bag, but I don’t care.  I love my little labels.  They add a bit of formality and identity to my bag.  Next I put one on my hat that I made this summer, the one that inspired my gift to the CSA member whom I wrote about in my last blog post:

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And green DOES go with purple…

I’ve decided to put my labels in places that aren’t all that conspicuous, like inside the bag on the liner, or along the back seam of a hat.  It seems less in-your-face there, and as much as I love my little labels (have I mentioned that?), I don’t want them to be too noticeable or pretentious.  I just want them to be there so if someone asks “Where did you get that hat/bag/neck gaiter?” the tag will do some of the talking.

Curious where you get tags like these?  A Google search led me to The Dutch Label Shop, located in Philadelphia, PA.  And the company isn’t just headquartered in Pennsylvania, they also produce their labels there.  I found a few companies that are based in the U.S. but outsource the actual production oversees.  Finding a company that made these labels in the U.S. was something that was important to me.  In designing the tags, they have a boatload of colors for the background and text, lots of pictures if you want, or you can upload your own picture/logo.  The price was incredibly reasonable, the production time was reasonable, and the quality is fantastic.  I could not be happier with my labels!

Now I just gotta get busy and sew these into the bags I’ve got waiting to sell.  One step at a time brings me one step closer…

An act of kindness repaid many times over

This summer, while working the CSA pickup, I made use of my downtime by knitting myself a new hat for this winter.  I was in need of a new hat and I found the yarn and pattern that I thought would turn out nicely (always the gamble to take what seems like a good idea in your head and turn it into reality).  Interestingly, when I knit in public places it always seems to draw attention.  I guess people think no one knits anymore, which isn’t true–there has been a resurgence of knitting in the past decade or more–but for whatever reason, people are always drawn to ask questions.  “What are you knitting?  Is that knit or crochet?”  or my favorite: “When’s my hat going to be finished?”  One new member of the CSA commented on the progress of my “beautiful” hat every week when she came to pick up her share.  While wearing the completed hat this fall during the pick up, she commented that she “wanted my hat.”  And that got me thinking…why not surprise her and make her a hat?

And so I did.  I knew she liked the colors of my hat, but I decided to make hers a little different.  The pattern was for a fair isle style, but instead of using 3 or 4 different colors of yarn, you instead use a variegated yarn, thus incorporating 3 or 4 colors into the pattern with just one strand of yarn.  Pretty brilliant (thank you, Amy King, for this design!).  For my hat, I used the variegated yarn as the background (main) color of the hat and the solid color as the accent color.  But for her hat, I decided to reverse the colors and use the solid color as the background and use the variegated yarn as the accent color.  The color scheme was purple:  plum for the background and a variegated pink-lavender-violet yarn for the accent.  I think the finished hat turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself:img_1443

As an added bonus, I sewed in a fleece ear band to add a little extra protection against these Montana winter winds:img_1444

I conveniently finished the hat a few days before Christmas.  I packaged up the hat, wrote a quick little card wishing her a Merry Christmas/Happy New Year/Peace on Earth, looked up her address in the CSA member directory, and mailed it off with 2 or 3 days to spare before Christmas.

Making this hat for this woman made me so happy.  She was a new member who just joined the CSA in 2016.  She bought just about every share we have to offer.  She was so excited every week to see what we had in our shares, and she also loves my dog, MaeBelle, the newly appointed official CSA greeter dog.  She is genuinely a pleasant and decent human being.  I was so excited that I could surprise her with the coveted hat that it made me giddy.  All I hoped for in return was a little note acknowledging she received the hat (even a quick email would have sufficed), as her address was a P.O. Box, and you just never know with P.O. boxes–what if she didn’t pay the rent fee because she no longer used the box?  What if she didn’t get the hat?!

After returning from a pre-birthday ski trip to the Swan Valley over the weekend, I saw a card with her return address.  She got the hat!!  The envelope felt a little fat for just being a Thank You card.  Intrigued, I opened the envelope and stuffed inside a lovely little Thank You card were 2 gift cards for $25 each!  This was beyond anything I ever could have expected!  I was truly shocked and humbled by her generosity.  It brought tears to my eyes.  I never intended to reap any sort of benefit from my gift other than the satisfaction of surprising her with a hat that I knew she would enjoy. #sneakyninjaknits ?  img_1577

So with all the craziness going on in our world today, it just goes to show one small act of kindness can be rewarded in ways you never expected.  My mantra for this year is this: BE KIND TO OTHERS.  That’s the true farmgal way.   It may seem there is no kindness left in the world, especially if you read the newspapers.  But it is out there. Searched high and low and still can’t find it?  Create it yourself!  Surprise someone with a loaf of homemade bread or batch of cookies.  Write a letter to an old friend whom you haven’t seen in years, or to a stranger at a nursing home or a veteran’s hospital.  Smile and say hello to someone you pass on the street.  Shovel the snow off your neighbor’s sidewalk one day.  Did you know there is a World Kindness Day?  It’s November 13th.  But why wait 10 more months to shower someone with a random act of kindness?  Make kindness a part of your life.  You never know how your gift of kindness could make someone’s day.  And couldn’t the world use a little more kindness right now?