Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm not going to whine ...

but I will say that taxes this year are hurting my head. Plus I'm pretty sure that I have to figure out estimated taxes for the 1st quarter of 2011 by tomorrow. I don't know if the tax return deadline of April 18 applies to estimated taxes, too, and the IRS web site is down right now (no surprise). [Edit: the estimated tax deadline is also 4/18.]

I do think that I will finally be able to set up a decent tracking system for expenses so that Schedule C will be a lot easier to do in future years. I've been browsing different software programs, but I think that if I can just get the right spreadsheets set up, consolidate my spending to downloadable electronic formats (i.e., my business checking and PayPal), and never use cash for business expenses, it will be so much easier. I'm also planning to spend some time reading sites like Money Crashers and Basic Accounting Help to figure out some of this stuff. I'm actually feeling a little excited about learning more about accounting, which is a first.

It really wasn't my intent to leave taxes till this late, I swear. We usually do them in March, after I've recovered from the first round of tax frenzy prompted by the state business tax deadline of January 31. But my husband had the flu for a week before I came down with it, so that was three weeks where the household was just trying to tread water with one functional adult.

On a related business-y note, we've launched the My Better Earth blog, which focuses on helping handcrafting businesses to grow. I'm one of the primary writers, so some of these business-related ramblings may evolve into full-fledged posts over there. We'll be posting about twice a week at first to build up some more content, and then settle down to a weekly schedule.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

2011 Whidbey spin-in

2011 Whidbey spin-in by connormarie
2011 Whidbey spin-in, a photo by connormarie on Flickr.

I spent 10 days during the second half of March in bed with the flu, which was pretty much zero fun and I had to miss my Cookie A class because of it (sob). Then as soon as I got back on my feet, I was catching up with a few projects and prepping for the Whidbey Weavers Guild's spin-in this weekend. I tried to tell myself to just be happy with what I already had dyed, but of course I didn't listen. At any rate, I remembered both to bring my camera and to actually use it to take a photo, which is the first time I've been two out of two in quite a while. This photo was taken after almost the silk hankies had been snatched up (I think I was out of them within the first hour of the spin-in).

It was a fun weekend--great to meet more local spinners and knitters, including some people that I've known online for a while, as well as seeing some familiar faces! It was the 40th anniversary of the spin-in, and one of the original organizers confirmed that the name had been inspired by all the 1960s sit-ins (I'd wondered). Judith MacKenzie was the featured spinner this weekend, and it was an education to listen to her. (How nice that the vendors were able to listen in, too!) I don't own a wheel so her talk on wheel mechanics was completely new to me, and I learned a lot. I wish I'd taken notes. Judith imparted so much information in a disarmingly casual manner. One thing she said that I found particularly interesting was that the diameter of a spindle's shaft is directly correlated with the diameter of the yarn that you're able to spin. I had thought it had more to do with the spindle weight, and there's probably some connection there, but not as direct a correlation as the shaft. And that the bigger the wheel, the finer the yarn you could spin.

I'll be spending this week dyeing the March (I know) fiber club, the April yarn club selections, wrapping up a wholesale order, and entertaining my child on his spring break. I was thinking about dyeing some silk hankies tonight, but I think maybe I've earned a break.