Friday, February 22, 2008

End of the week

I can't believe how these days have flown.
  They've really pushed us hard; no rest for the weary.  I ditched the gen pop last night and hid in my room reading my book.  Anyone who knows me very well can only guess on my mental state after being with people (and talking) so much this week.  Teahouseaddy2

It snowed off and on yesterday, which forced our photo shoot locations to be changed. 
We ended up back on Canyon Road again.  Still flat light, but at least this time we had the snow to decorate for us.  I fell in love with the Rios' family yard.  Sarah, our instructor (who grew up here) tells me their family has been in that location for generations, selling firewood.  It's such a fabulous contrast to all the galleries just one building away on Canyon Road.  This is why I love New Mexico!  This isn't junk, it's inventory.  A fence falling down?  Prop it up or let it sag...who cares?  I could have hung out there quite a while, had someone not come home and me feeling uncharacteristically shy. 

Refuge again in the form of the Tea House on Canyon Road. Teahousedoors
I don't know if they have another name or not, but I'm giving you their address in case you ever head this way.  They are SO very hospitable.  When you walk in the door, the scents from the many teas and spices will drive you wild.  I would love to take over the entire place for a fun knitting party one day. 

When we got there yesterday, the windows were foggy and so was my lens.  I took these pictures and frankly, I do believe they are some of my favorites for the week.  No...I amend that.  The one with the little peek hole wiped in it is my favorite. 

Well, off to pack.  We have another session tomorrow morning, but we have to be out of our rooms by zero dark thirty, so I must be prepared.  I hope you've enjoyed sharing our week with us.  Oh...almost forgot...we are at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops.  I can't say enough great things about the staff and the structure.  ---Martie

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Morning #4

Your faithful reporter here...signing in before breakfast...I am barely awake, so if you find a typo or three, forgive me.  They're running our behinds off here and my usual old lady schedule has been completely thrown to the wind.Terrifindslove_2

Yesterday's field trip to the Eaves Ranch was quite fun.  There were three models, lots of space for us to split up and not have to photograph all over each other, and some really fun assignments.  Terri was there only a few minutes when she picked up one of the locals and decided to try to make him her little boy-toy.  For the sake of truth in reporting, I am also giving you a picture of the other side of the story, as well.  You be the judge.

This set, located south of Santa Fe, was originally built in 1969 for the movie "Cheyenne Social Club" and has been used (and added onto) in lots of other westerns over its history. PrairiechurchRonsgun

Having long ago decided I was plopped into the wrong century, this place felt just like home to me.  I loved the neighborhood density (NOT).  I'm going to stick in an assortment of photos from our shoot and let you see for yourselves.Terrishootingmodels

After afternoon editing, we were sent off to the downtown plaza area to shoot some more.  These two girls were just plum shot out.  We parked the truck and boogied to the nearest Starbucks for caffeine and sugar.  Please note:  in my ideal world, my little western town would have a secret Starbucks...hidden in the back of the saloon.  Located there would also be a microwave oven and internet connection...see how easily I crumble in the face of technology?

Off to breakfast.  Hope you're enjoying sharing this with us.   ---Martie

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Class: Day 3

It's a good thing I didn't have my heart set on knittingBookandshawl
this week, because it just ain't happening.  I still have about twenty stitches to bind off on my Aracaunia Patagonia shawl and haven't gotten to them.  What I am managing, however, is to read a few chapters each night in this great book that Linda loaned me.

So far, so good, on class.  We are getting a grip (some of us stronger than others) on f stops, shutter speeds, and the ever elusive depth of field.  Monday morning this all seemed like a bleak possibility...but we have the most fantastic instructor (Sarah Meghan Lee) and she has carefully put this into words her doe eyed students can grok. 

Monday afternoon we were released into a public venue, Jackalope.  Gnomes
For those of you not familiar, it is a sprawling (like over a large portion of a block) assortedment of little shops selling assorted Mexican craft items.  There we were assigned the task of photographing long lines of huge pots, showing our new found prowess for depth of field.  I took around 300+ photos while there, only to discover I had my ISO set for indoors and was forgetting to manually focus my lens.  Please note:  I never said I was a quick study.  Along the way, I found these guys.  I found them rather charming.  They didn't care about my settings.

Yesterday we shot on campus, edited Monday's photos, and in the afternoon, were turned loose on the Canyon Road area (lots of color and galleries, for those who've never visited SF).  First stop:  Downtown Subscription, one of SF's oldest and most well known java houses, along with about every magazine you could ever want. Emotionalbaggage
In the parking lot was this special little message.  I couldn't pass this up.Distortedlights

Just before dark, we found some trees with lights and lighted ornaments.  Not surprisingly, I'm quickly finding that my photograph preferences lean toward the distorted.  Here's this beginner's interpretation of what I saw.

Off for a morning of shooting at a western movie set!  ---Martie

Monday, February 18, 2008

At photo camp

About six weeks ago, I found out my buddy, Terri Ranck, had signed up for an intensive one week class to learn all those mystery settings on her digital SLR camera.  Not to be left behind, I signed up, too...and now here we sit, side by side, checking our connections with the internet world one last time before this week takes off at mock speed.Ruby_2

While it's always my knitting projects I spend time planning before leaving home, this trip was different.  Being on a diet makes you obsessed with food, or at least, the possibilities of either being without it or being faced with lots of it that you shouldn't be eating.  Being out of control of one's food choices for a week can throw a wrench in the works. 

After pondering all that, I decided it was just something I couldn't control very much.  What I could control, however, was the quality of my daily java Ruby Begonia, my sweet little espresso maker, is my roommate this week.  (Some of you may know her pink sister, Francis, from the shop.)  I wanted to take a picture of the camera on top of her, to show you what the most important tools for the week are, when I realized that wasn't possible (what I refer to as a DUH moment).

Well, off to class.  I am so excited about this, and I'm hoping to have a chance to share some of it with you.  Stay tuned!

P.S.  Despite bringing three knitting projects, after orientation last evening, it appears that they are going to run our hineys from breakfast to late evening each day...oh dear.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A word (or more) about discounts

I had an experience earlier this week that really upset me.  I went home fuming, planning to immediately blog about it.  Then I decided it's not very professional of me to air these things in public.

Then I decided that maybe it's something that does need to get discussed, just not out of anger.  It's about an question that has come up every so often since we opened: 

Can I have a discount?  (I'm a local...I'm a designer...I'm a guild member...I'm buying so much I should get get the idea.)

This week's scenario:  A customer comes in and buys up a lot of sale yarn...yarns that are already marked down close to cost.  (We are grateful.) She returns in the afternoon to buy a "knitter's loom" that we have also generously marked down to almost our cost.  She wants an additional discount on the loom because she has already spent so much money in the morning.  I pointed out that her purchases were almost all at cost, and apologize that I can not give her any further discounts.  Does not matter!  Not only do I owe her a larger discount on the loom, I owe her free shipping to somewhere.  I told her we are not an open market, open for negotiation.  I explained that our shop is a privately owned business, not a giant corporation.  I also told her it was OK if she didn't want to buy the loom if I didn't give her free shipping or steeper discount.  (Frankly, at this point, I'd rather haul the loom out to the dumpster than give her a break.)  Realizing I am about to lose my cool,  I left the room.  Then she told Connie that I really need to get a sense of humor about these things, that she bargains her way around Santa Fe all the time (and apparently scares people into dealing with her...or maybe this is why she's shopping in Taos?).

So this many days later, I think I've cooled off enough to talk about this from my point of view.

For starters:  I wish I could give ALL of you discounts.  I really do.  I love making people happy, and were it the situation where I was just here to give away yarns, I probably would.  BUT...that's not the case.  Here are some of the reasons why:

  1. I can't bargain with my landlord on my rent, or the utility companies on our utilities.

  2. I can't ask my insurance companies (liability and workmen's comp) for discounts because we're such a swell place.

  3. I can' ask my suppliers to give me any more discount than they already do.

  4. UPS won't give me any discount on my shipping charges just because I wish they would.

  5. My employees aren't in a position for me to ask them to give me a discount on their wages.

  6. We have always had a generous selection of top quality yarns marked at good sale prices; something that never happened in the yarn shop I worked in long ago...and this is a discount to our customers.

So having said all of that, I repeat:  I wish I could, but I can't.  If you're someone who is inclined to ask for a discount, I ask you to remember my list next time you're in your local store.  It's hard to pay today's operating costs and stay in if you value your LYS, and the opportunity to see and feel what you're purchasing, please do them the honor of understanding all that it takes to keep the boat afloat.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Most of you know about my editor, Bob...but don't probably know too much about his private life.  Well, he likes to keep those things to himself, for the most part, but yesterday I was able to get a photo of him with his sweetie to share with you.

Please meet Ann-Marie, a long time friend and supporter of Taos Sunflower. Bobssweetie
Along with being a cool indie spinner (look for her own web site soon...I'll keep you posted)  she is also (ta da!) Bob's hairdresser (maybe this sounds too ' it stylist now? I'm out of that loop). Anyway...yesterday was his day to get his semi-annual wash and fluff.  He took her a small Valentine's present in the morning, and in return, when he was delivered back to the shop, she brought him some wardrobe selections to model and from which to choose his very OWN, does this guy lead the life, or what?

First, the Zebra-ish cloak.  It sported a little collar, which, when folded up, gave him that sort of Count Dracula air.  Very edgy and sort of dangerous feeling, in a cool sort of way.

Next...Intergalactic Bob. Intergalacticbob
This was my favorite, because I'm big on that sort of theme, but he was none too pleased as it was quite thick and warm...perhaps another season if he decides to get a puppy cut or mohawk (according to what styles are dictating that year).  By the time we got him out of it, he was truly wishing he was on another planet.

Finally...and his pick...the western style vest.  He needs only a hat and belt with holster to complete the ensemble.  Wish you could have seen the swagger when he walked...oh...guess he needs a sheriff's badge, also. 

I hope you're having a great Valentine's day, whatever you're up to!  Off to spin...


Monday, February 11, 2008


I spent part of the day at my spinning wheel and am all blissed out from it.  Tomorrow:  back to work, pay bills, see what's grown on my desk since I left town.  Life is good.

When I left last week, I needed to start a new project (a favorite word:  need), so I opted for something fun and mindless.  Another shawl, a la the Malabrigo shawl pattern, is about to be born, this one knitted from Aracaunia's Pagatonia, the multicolored, thick and thin cotton yarn I love so much.  It's flying along on size 10 needles, and I should be starting the ruffle by tomorrow evening.  This is being knit with the optimism that spring and summer are on their way.  Not that I can't already tell...our driveway is already about 3-4" of mud and it hasn't even begun to be mud season yet.  (I am thinking leaving town this spring sounds better and better all the time.)

Speaking of leaving town, I'm hoping to get to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this May...finally.  This has been a long time dream, and now that our sweet Bennie is living back there, I have double the reason for getting on the road again.  I'm going fleece hunting!  Yay!  Be sure and pass on your favorite things to do there, so I'll have some recommendations in my pocket when I get there.  Hexblanket

The Babette Blanket pieces are all finished and waiting for me to spend an evening or two assembling the last section and sewing all the sections together.  This feels good.  I have started to crochet another blanket; this one is the Hexagon blanket from the Babette and Hexagon blanket group on Ravelry (photo is from Ravelry).  The blocks are from a book published in Japan, which I ordered on line, with the help of a blogger who lives in Japan (Moonstitches).  The book is called "Crochet Motif Item" and is ISBN978-4-415-10365-5.  It was around $10.00 US and if you order three of them, shipping is free.  Can't beat that!  Her blog site has a cool tutorial on how to assemble the blocks as you make each one...once again sparing me the possibility of dying someday and my kids finding bags of crocheted blocks and wondering what the heck I was up to (not that they don't wonder that now). 

The fund raiser for my friend HollyEQQ is picking up steam on a daily basis.  The yarn challenge presented by Lexi Boeger through the Yarn Museum was a success and the winning yarn is now featured for auction on the Circlin the Wagons for Holly page of Sandy Ryan's web store, Homestead Wool and Gift Farm.  There are actually three pages of yarns, fibers, and finished garments for sale or auction...all for a great cause...and at super prices.  If you're a fan of art yarns, or are looking for a present for someone who is, check them all out sooner than later...this is a rare opportunity to get yarns and fibers from these fiber artists at such reduced cost...not to mention that you're helping someone who truly does need us right now.

Donations are arriving daily at Homestead, so keep checking in if you don't see something that grabs you on the first peek...or bid against me on the 1 lb. bag of fiber, just for the fun of it!  ---Martie

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A sense of place

I returned to Fort Martie last evening, greeted by two dogs and three cats who (seemingly) missed me.  Within an hour, we had all settled back into our cozy evening routine...pajamas (por moi), rocking chairs, my knitting, the evening news and a movie.  It seemed almost like a dream that I had just spent two and a half days visiting a dear friend somewhere around a thousand miles away.

We met the year I moved to New Mexico...through the Santa Fe weaving guild...and quickly discovered we had lots of things to laugh about together.  She eventually moved back to her home state, to be near her family.  I, on the other hand, had moved here specifically to escape mine.  I had to scratch my head on her decision for a while.Birdnest_2

This many years later, I finally got off my duff to go see what her choice was all about.  Well, it's just wonderful.  She has loving daughters, grand kids, old friends she has known since childhood, and new friends she is making all the time.  She has a super cozy home on a lake and gets to do whatever she pleases there.  She is super happy and knows she's supposed to be there.  That's pretty cool...and perhaps lots better than some of us manage in different parts of our lifetimes.  It was hard to leave all that love and coziness.

While I was there, I saw another home that I couldn't help but share with you.  I salute this little family for their choice of location, as well!  (And P.S.:  I am, at this writing, exactly where I'm supposed to be...and it feels great.)  ---Martie

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

Waking up to twelve more inches of snow since last night sure made my Tuesday super!  I got to stay home and play in my fibers, with one eye on the wheel and the other on CNN.  I managed to spin three new skeins, which are soaking as I write.  I meant to take lots of pictures today (like you aren't sick of my snow photos) but got so preoccupied, I forgot.

I did also get a letter to our mailing list sent out.  If you are not on our list, here's the gist of it:  as our Valentine's present to you, the yarns that remain in our bag sale will be postage free if you order two or more bags by the end of the day, Saturday, Feb. 16.  Groovy deal, huh?  Check out the sale page on our website and download (or just read) the updated PDF file of what's left in stock.  Questions?  call the shop, 575.776.5644.  We aim to please.

I'm flying off to visit a friend tomorrow...if I don't post from there, I'll be back next Sunday.  Until then, I've included some more fiber "candy" for you to enjoy....  ---Martie

PS:  The fundraiser for my friend Holly is still rocking and rolling at my friend Sandy's site,  Homestead Wool and Gift Farm.  Check it's called "Circling the Wagons for Holly"...lots of skeins of hand spun for sale, some knitted items, jewelry and all kinds of other things are being donated each day...Sandy is posting them as she has room for them.  Fun!