Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I love this organization and believe strongly that it is necessary and of great value. I'll continue to volunteer but the day to day, and the pressure of constantly staying on top of everything will be over. It's been a long 4 plus years and I'm ready to pour some time and energy that has been lacking into my own business once again! It certainly can use the attention!
If you're an art fair artist, please consider joining the NAIA. Working together we can get things done!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Thanks to quick thinking by Dick, he is saving my studio from flooding - with a turkey baster! Water is coming in from the hole that the electrician drilled through the floor for the electrical ground. Dick has been crouched on the floor, in a tiny room, sucking the water out of the hole for 12 hours now. Up all night saving my studio... I think at last count he was up to 20 gallons, taken out one "baster full" at a time.
Meanwhile I've taken my cold and gotten a good nights sleep, totally unaware of what he was doing for both me and my studio. Our hope is that hydraulic cement will plug the hole and stop the water. It's coming via my Dad who's also bringing the wet vac that I gave him because I had no use for it! The temperature is back below freezing so maybe the water will quit rising soon. Although the flood warnings for the area say it won't go down for a week...
Thank you Dick...
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I found I wanted more of a zen feel. Simpler pieces, not necessarily to make but simpler in the overall look and feel. So I started designing new work. I made components and started putting them together in different ways. The 22k gold is textured with bamboo leaf shapes, simple but with character. And I love it! Luckily, my customers have embraced my new work and pushed me to go further with it.
Now the scary part. I have to apply to art fairs with new images of my new work since I don't want to have to keep making my old! What if no one likes it? What if the jurors think it's simple looking so I must just be a beginner, instead of the reality that it takes a lot of years to make it look simple!
So, I had new images taken by my photographer, Larry Sanders, and sent them off to a show I had never applied to before and crossed my fingers. Would anyone like them???
Thankfully, they did! I got my acceptance to the show yesterday. Even though that doesn't mean that I'll ever get into another show, this one trauma was over. Someone else likes the zen feeling work that I want to make in these unsettled times. Whew!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Baa hum bug. No holiday spirit here this year. I don't have any great gift ideas for my family which always makes it tough. I'm not working right now so there's none of the normal last minute push to get all the pieces done and shipped on time.
Plenty to be grateful for, just running a little short of the holiday spirit. Luckily, I still have some time to find it before everyone comes to celebrate!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Fast forward a few more years and into my yard comes another cat and 5 kittens! But this time, the Mom looks very distinctive and very much like one of the kittens from the earlier litter that we had sheltered.
Since in my world food=love, we immediately put out food and water. Dick was saying, just don't name them! I left for an art fair and by the time I got home, they all had names, fully based on what they looked like and we were sunk.
3 gray girls, Smoke, Bibby and Boots. 2 males, Toby and black and white Adam made up the family. It took a lot of work but we were able to capture each of the 3 girls to have them fixed.
This is Smoke in front and Miss Bibb, as we now call her, behind her sister.
Since that time we've added a "cat port" so they have covering when they eat, 2 insulated feral cat houses that get stuffed with straw, a heated water bowl in the winter and a good diet of Science Diet dry and some canned food every morning.
Do I like the fact that they live outside? Not at all. It was our only option. Because they are considered feral, we were told they could not be adopted out at the Humane Society. You can guess what that means and it was not an option for us. So we make sure they have the best life they can under the circumstances.
I'm pretty sure that Toby "found a family" and we haven't seen him since. He was such a love and very much missed. The gray girls stick pretty close to home and come inside every morning for some petting and purring before getting their canned food.
Adam is our wanderer. He would take off for days and show up again looking like a "streeter". Finally one day we realized that we hadn't seen him for quite a while and knew that we probably wouldn't be seeing him again. That was 6 months ago.
Then, the day after my surgery, Adam came home! Not looking like a streeter but clean and well fed. Marched right up like he hadn't been gone a day. When his sisters came in, he allowed all the sniffing they did, excited to see their brother again. So Adam joined them for breakfast, sharing some canned food with them, just like the old days. A happy boy. Then he left.
It's now a week and a half later, we haven't seen him again. But you won't be able to convince me that he didn't know to come that particular day. A very bright spot in a rough week...
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
And this is one of my favorite pictures of Pat and Jon, in their Tattoo Dreams booth!
The pictures below are of my corner "display" in my booth at the show. It won an award! I was so proud!!! It was given to me by my next door neighbor...
This show, By Hand Cleveland, was really a fun event. If you're in the Cleveland area, be sure and look for it next year!
Friday, December 5, 2008
This is what happens when you choose to make your living this way. It becomes your life! It permeates into every aspect. You live it and breathe it. You can't get away from it and here's proof that, I guess I don't want to...
Monday, December 1, 2008
I'm calm and I'm ready. I'm planning on falling apart after this is all over, when I'm cancer free and can afford to take the time to do a real good job of falling apart!
This is not going to become a "breast cancer blog". If I feel the need to write about it (which I may), it will go on a different blog. But I needed to explain that I have a really good excuse if I don't blog as much as I have been.
So, Tuesday Dec 2 at 2:30est, I need positive thoughts sent my way please...
Friday, November 28, 2008
Going out for Thanksgiving dinner was the right thing for this year but it is NOT our new tradition. I need the old-fashioned Thanksgiving of my childhood. That's what makes it my favorite holiday of the whole year...
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Last year was the first time that I tackled the entire Thanksgiving meal on my own (other than the pies which is Dick's area). For the first time in my life, everything was done at the same time and it was an unbelievably beautiful meal. It was the kind of meal that would go down in my family history for it's glory. And it will but not for the right reasons. My Dad ended in the emergency room just as the bird was coming out of the oven so there I sat, with our guest, just wanting him to eat fast so I could get to the ER and check on Dad. I took a picture of the damn bird just so I would get credit for how beautiful he was since no one was there to see him.
This year for the first time ever, we're going out to eat on Thanksgiving...
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I don't need any more stuff plus I have no money. No shopping the sales for me this year!
Need gifts? Buy handmade American Craft!!!
Monday, November 24, 2008
I'm a very organized person...most of the time. My downfall is that I tend to keep things that are business/jewelry related when they really should be pitched or recycled. But I might need that (fill in the blank) again! It would be perfect for (again, fill in the blank). But when I purge, I get brutal. And this is the time! Or is it??? When parts of your life are in upheaval, is that the time to start throwing everything out?
So, instead of purging with abandon, I'm putting things into plastic bins so they are at least contained. This winter, on those long cold days, I'm going to attack each bin, one at a time, until it's done and I have nothing but a bunch of empty bins. Until then, my office has it's floor back, my surfaces are clear and I can see my next job. Feels very good!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I wanted to see what people are doing now. What's new. What catches my eye. What holds my interest and what makes me think I've seen it all before. What are people doing right and where are they making mistakes. In my opinion of course.
There were people who I'm sure sell on Etsy since it was fresh and young (that's a compliment). That's what really captured me. New ways of looking at things. Lot's of recycled items and materials. Clean, uncluttered displays with prices showing.
I've seen more low end beaded jewelry than I thought was possible. I love beads but please, do something different with them! Anyone can string different colors together and make a necklace but put some of yourself into the pieces. Something to make it different than the 12 other people selling the same thing at the show. End of rant.
In some booths I wanted to whack the people on the head and say pay attention! One booth with interesting work, you couldn't enter because the artist was talking to friends and completely blocking access. I didn't bother going back. One booth was so tight that I didn't want to go in for fear of knocking something over. One handmade soap booth had beautiful displays but I finally had to ask about prices since nothing was visible. Turned out that they were priced on the ingredient labels. Which meant if it was a gift you had to remove the list of ingredients to remove the price. Duh!
My very favorite booth had both cards and little baskets full of fun little stocking stuffer types of paper items. I hit this booth hard because the little things just made me smile. As I'm paying I told them how much I was enjoying their work. One of the two women said, oh at this time of year it's just a job. I asked for a business card. They didn't have a card. I asked if they had a list of where else they would be and no, they didn't have a list.
This booth was packed FULL of people jockeying for position. These women had an absolute gold mine there AND THEY WERE IGNORING IT! Oh how I would love to get my hands on them but it's their problem. Maybe by my asking for a card (one of them did say that it was pretty bad to not have cards since they made cards for a living), that will help point out that they need to at a minimum, have business cards.
Personally, I learned good lessons right before my last show of the year. Yes, I'm tired. Yes, there are times that this is just a job (thankfully not often). Yes, times are tough. But celebrate the fact that we are all at an art fair looking at beautiful work made by people who love what they're doing.
I needed to be reminded of how lucky I am to be able to make my living doing what I love. That I have the flexibility to change. It's in my hands, no one else's. And I was reminded that I love beautiful packaging...
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Where I vote they do optical scanning so you color in the little ovals by the names. I blackened the oval, then went over it another time to be sure. When I was done I went back and checked it again, needing there to be no doubt who I was voting for.
In the car on the way home it actually felt like my vote counted, that maybe I made a difference. I've never felt that way after voting before.
I'm staying up as late as I have to for the results, even if it means all night...
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The show added 40 booths this year. Added a stage with extremely loud music. Charged for corners that weren't really corners. Gave awards where the reward was money off your booth fee for next year. Huh??? Had something like 35 jewelers. What??? 35 jewelers??? No one is going to make any money with numbers like that!
Luckily some of my friends doing the show made some money. No one got rich but at least they didn't go in the hole. Others sold nothing. Such are the times right now.
What is going to happen to all my friends who make their living selling their artwork at art fairs? What is going to happen to me? These are scary times and it's looking like a very long winter...
Friday, October 31, 2008
I've had a ton of wonderful birthdays, especially being born on Halloween, my personal favorite holiday. So, this year I'll just remember that not all birthdays can be great. Some just won't measure up and some, well, you should just go back to bed.
Look for my birthday celebration some time next week when I'm in a better mood...
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
So I decided that what I personally would like to see is a discount, to help me buy something. So I added a 15% discount on my 14k gold earrings. That's something I've never done before but times are very different now. I'll make a little less and my customers will spend a little less. Hopefully we'll both win...
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
This is Judy at her work area with the pile of scrap glass that Susan has in the center of the table for us to use. Talk about good recycling. Susan said that all the scraps we make from cutting down the larger pieces just go into the pile in the center which will then be used by someone else. I loved poking through the pile and I ended up finding most of my glass there. Again, all those lovely colors!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Just another view of some of the beautiful color along the side of the road.
We stayed in a cottage at Jolli Lodge just south of Leland. I haven't stayed there in years and now I wonder why not. This is the view of Lake Michigan out of the front window and below is the view north from just in front of the cottage.
If you remember the movie "Same Time Next Year", one of my all time favorites, that's what Jolli Lodge reminds me of. We actually stayed at the location in California where the movie was shot but I think Jolli actually captures the feeling better.
We spent a lovely 51 hours ignoring the real world and just enjoying what Northern Michigan has to offer. Now it's back to the real world...
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I LOVE QUICKEN! My records in there go back to 1991 and I can tell you anything you want to know about my finances with the push of a button. Of course I'm the only one who cares about this feature since I'm the only one interested in all the minutia but it's nice to know how easily I can get the info.
I have spent the last 2 days doing a year's worth of data entry. Okay, not the whole year but at least all the cash receipts. They are finally all entered. The bad news is, they are for 2007!
If you file and extension on your taxes, they now make it a 6 month extension which means October 15 is it. This means if I don't have all my end done, Dick can't do the tax return and if I have any chance of getting the $600 the government is so nicely giving out (don't get me started on that one), I need to get it in - now.
This is when I wish I had inherited my Mom's way of dealing with hated jobs. She did them first so they were out of the way. But no, I procrastinate until they are so heavy on the back of my neck that I can't stand it and then, only then do I finally tackle it. That's when you find out it wasn't a big deal and you fretted it for nothing. When will I learn...
So this is my public proclimation that for 2008, all my receipts will be entered and my tax return will be in by April 15. Every year I swear I'll not go through this again and then I do so maybe writing it here will make the difference. I think I'll go get started...
Thursday, October 9, 2008
This picture of the arch was taken out the window while I was trying to direct Michael.
This is Joe Cyberski a wonderful man and great goldsmith!
We stopped at Ozzie's Eatery in New Buffalo Michigan to see our friends Rick and Angela who own this great custard stand. Great burger as well as GREAT turtle custard in a waffle cone. Yum...
This is the outside of Ozzie's. The inside is even cuter! I would link to their site but it's not up yet. I'll post it when it's available.
Lovely trip to Texas and I really enjoyed the Cottonwood Art Fair. It's held twice a year and I can't wait to go back!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Once I post the pictures (I'm too tired tonight) you'll see the Arch in St. Louis and a fuzzy shot taken after dark of the big Indian where Pat told me we turn left. She was right. The very best picture though was GAS AT $3.06!!! That was even worth a call home.
About 5 hours left to drive tomorrow to get to Cottonwood and then we set up our booths tomorrow afternoon. 5 hours sounds pretty short after a long day today.
To be continued...
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Canceling an art fair that you've made a commitment to is a big decision. It's not something you take lightly. It's hard on the show to try to fill last minute cancellations and an empty booth never looks good. Sometimes you have to do it but this wasn't one of them. Michael was gung ho to go so, we're taking the gamble.
I'm really excited to see my friend Marilyn O'Hara outside of a big wholesale show. She's gone from making jewelry to photographing it and she's really, really good. I've seen samples and I think coming from the angle of having made jewelry, she understands better how to photograph it. Seeing both her and Tricia will just be the bonus to doing the show. So, off I go -
On the road again...
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Around the corner and just down the street a 16 year old boy was gunned down at 4:00 this afternoon by a drive-by shooter. I can honestly say that I never thought I'd be typing that into my blog. I was driving home and saw the commotion a few minutes later with a dozen police cars, fire and rescue all on the scene. Not knowing what exactly had happened, I waited to see what the news reports were and then called a neighbor. For all it's size, Grand Rapids can be a very small town. My neighbor recognized someone they talked to in the report and all of a sudden it didn't happen to "someone else" but instead, someones relative.
It's a very unsettling feeling to have that kind of violence happen so close. That's never been part of my world. Things are feeling shaky enough in other areas, I don't want to lose my feeling of safety and security in my little neighborhood...
Thursday, September 25, 2008
So when I think Texas I think big so, do does that mean they like big jewelry? I don't work big! Especially now with the price of gold. I'm trying some new pieces so we'll see how it goes.
I went to Houston for a show recently and really enjoyed it but it was something like 52 hours round trip in the van and that was just too long. Dallas isn't quite as far...
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
So, my sleep study was really interesting. You're in a room that looks just like any nice hotel room with all the amenities. They even come around with a bedtime snack! They wire you up from head to toe and tell you to go to sleep. Luckily I was tired so I fell asleep quickly, just like normal even though I had an "ET" finger with a bright red light on it.
I was one of the lucky ones. I showed signs of "sleep disturbances" immediately so halfway through the night Sam came in to try me using the mask. That's what I was really looking forward to, the miracle machine! It went down over my nose and then PANIC! Raging claustrophobia hit and I ripped it off panting. Poor Sam hadn't run into this particular issue before I guess. I finally was able to settle down and get used to it enough to try to sleep. And sleep I did. I didn't move, no tossing and turning. Just deep restful sleep...
I wanted to take the machine home with me but unfortunately it takes 10-14 days to get the results of the test. Huh??? I thought I was the poster child for good results! I want the machine and I want it now!!! I know it works! I want a good night's sleep. But I have to wait...but not patiently. I'll call my sleep doc tomorrow and see if I can speed it up. This girl wants to sleep!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
My consultation was today and because someone else nicely cancelled, I have my sleep study tonight! Since I'm big on immediate gratification, this was perfect for me. I'm really excited to actually find out what's going on so it can then be fixed. It is that easy isn't it???
Monday, September 22, 2008
Just back from a lovely weekend at the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair in Naperville IL. I wasn't able to do the show last year because I got really sick just a couple days before so I was really looking forward to going back this year. Easy drive, pulled up right in front of my space for a really easy set-up and then got to go to the Crate & Barrel outlet store! Life is good!
The area where the show is held was under water just a week ago due to the floods from the remnants of Ike but you would have never known it. They did a beautiful clean-up job and the community was ready for an art fair. Perfect art fair weather with clear skies and not too hot but it was much warmer than we expected! The picture above shows my goofy flag and my booth on the right and down the street. It was taken just as the show was opening on Sunday morning because at most shows, there is no one but artists there at 10 am! The streets filled up quickly.
Right behind my booth is a new yogurt place called the Red Mango. Because it's a chain out of California, I highly recommend looking for it when you're traveling. They call it "authentic yogurt". Just 2 flavors, original unflavored yogurt and green tea (which I thought tasted like grass). They have fresh fruit toppings and oh my, the stuff is GREAT! And Jon, it's gluten-free!
Back to the show, lots of good friends were there which makes it much more fun and Lynn Krause was my wonderful next door neighbor. So perfect weather, spending time with girlfriends and a lovely show. That's how all art fairs should be! Oh, we need great sales as well!
I came back to a still smelly studio though...
Friday, September 19, 2008
A few years ago I just felt overwhelmed by how much "stuff" I had that was related to my business. I started pulling things out and then invited friends over to take what they wanted. Display pieces, lights and on and on. Got rid of all of it. Reorganized what was left. Now it's time to do that again. I'm holding on to too much because "I might need it". I won't. Time to clear out! Thank you to Luann for reminding me how freeing that can be. I encouraged her and now she's taken the whole thing to a new level, complete with blogging about it! I'm ready to attack those shelves.
Why do these thoughts only happen when I have no free time to actually do the work???
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Okay, we're not on the same page so I think we'll do it my way.
Creativity is hard when your studio not only smells but you can't move around because there's stuff EVERYWHERE! I think what will actually happen will be a major purging session. I see much less "stuff" when the studio gets resettled.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Tomorrow the "guys" come from the place that deals with floods and fires (see why I'm feeling lucky) and I'll find out if the carpet can be salvaged and if it can, will my studio ever smell sweet again. Because it really stinks right now! The sewer backed up once in my old studio and I had 12" of standing sewage filling my entire studio. So once again, I'm feeling lucky that this is at least somewhat clean water.
This event should teach me that procrastination never works. I left the making and/or the finishing of most of my major pieces for my show this weekend, Riverwalk Fine Art Fair in Naperville IL, until this week. For no particular reason other than lots of other jobs seemed more important and some were (Dad's books for example). But now, I'm in trouble since it's really hard to work when you can't get to some parts of your studio!
But I just got an e-mail from a friend who got bit by a dog a week ago and got 60 stitches plus staples and more in her head. Again, feeling pretty lucky that all I have is water...
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
To see my neighborhood, it certainly doesn't look very special. The houses are smaller, the people aren't wealthy. I have loved it since the day I moved in 16 years ago. Lots of people have come and gone but the feeling continues. This block party just reminded me of why I love this neighborhood. It's the people.
We all need more warm fuzzies these days. For me, this block party with my neighbors was a huge warm fuzzy. Try it yourself!
The added bonus of the show this year was that the Hecker's did the show as well! So I got my much needed Hecker fix! It made the show a whole lot more fun and I'm hoping that it will turn out so well that they need to do it every year! This is my commercial since I know Pat will read this...
One thing I've never seen at an art fair before are the Budweiser Clydesdales. They paraded right by my booth and I have to say, they are both big and beautiful. One of those fun little things that didn't detract from the art, just added a grin to everyone's face.
Another thing I've never seen so much of was Obama...everything! People wearing buttons and tee shirts plus Obama art work in the booths! One potter by me was selling handmade Obama mugs. A customer said it looked like all the artists were supporting Obama. Yeah! One surprise was, no Obama work yet in Pat's booth...
It was a lovely day, especially since Dick went with me as my roadie and made the day so much easier. It also meant that we could drive home after take-down even though it's a 5 hour trip. It's great to sleep in my own bed! Now I have to find a quick and easy recipe to make for our block party tonight...
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Real Simple magazine is one of my all time favorites and on Real Simple.com you can sign up for daily thoughts by e-mail. It's amazing how many hit home with me. It's a nice little positive in my e-mail every day!
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
He did so much more for me than just get me up and walking again. He helped my head as well as my body through all those many months, encouraging me and pushing me. Plus we laughed a lot! I've tried to explain to him over the years how he helps people in more ways than he realizes and I think maybe he gets it now.
He just moved to a brand new building (owned by my orthopedic surgeon) and I ran by to see it and him today. Even though the location is new, it's like coming home when I see him. His office is where I met both Tomi and Kathy (new baby Anna's Mom) who are my "girls who gather". I think Jerry still gets a kick out of the fact that we are all still in such close contact.
It's interesting where and how people come into your life and why some stick and some don't. I'm lucky to have all these wonderful people in my life...
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
So one of the reasons I'm behind in my work is that right before vacation, I sent off a big bundle of my jewelry to a new gallery in Denver. The way it came about is the fun part.
I have good friends in Denver and try to get out there as much as I can because these are great women and I miss them! So, there is normally some shopping when we gather and last time we went to the Cherry Creek area of Denver to look around. That's where we found A Show of Hands. By the time I walked out I was carrying bags saying, I want my jewelry in there.
There is something about the shop that is just special. As far as my media, each jeweler has their own case and it's just beautifully laid out and the whole place just feels right. It's not even something I can explain but I wanted to be in there. And because they didn't give up on me actually getting them my work, I can finally say I am there!
But, now it means I have no jewelry and a busy show schedule coming up so it's time to bury myself in the studio once again. Lots of ideas and hopefully lots of wonderful pieces of jewelry coming soon!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
So, I've been piddling around doing the little jobs around the house that have been neglected while I've been so busy. Things like putting up a new shower curtain liner which it turns out, is a job I still dislike. Plus I finally came to the conclusion that my bedroom is not going to get painted immediately so I reinstalled Tink's cat napper in the window so she could at least get a little enjoyment before summer is over. It's the little jobs that will get you.
The last of my library books go back tomorrow so I have to try to finish the one I'm reading tonight. No more fun reading for a while so I better go enjoy it! Vacation's over...
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Every vegetable (other than mushrooms) tastes better when stuck on a skewer and grilled.
I will never be a vegetarian as long as Dick is willing to do chicken on the grill.
Cooking is fun on vacation (notice the theme here).
It's worth staying up late every night to watch the unbelievable athletes at the Olympics.
Nobody toasts a marshmallow as well as Dick.
Life is wonderdous without e-mail and the Internet for 2 weeks!
Always make sure you've packed your OXO grabber because you will need it more than you can possibly realize.
Nothing is better on vacation than a big pile of books and all the time you need to read them. Reading in a hammock just makes them even better. Fluff and summer beach books are required fillers as well.
Only read the scary books during the daylight hours.
It's worth taking the cats even if the little one doesn't travel well. Don't ask...
Remember that just because you found your favorite linen pants which have been missing all summer, doesn't mean you can wear them every day of vacation to make up for it. Even though I would have liked to...
Nothing, absolutely nothing restores the body and soul like sunshine, sand, a big body of water and the sound of waves shared with your favorite person.
It was the perfect vacation!
Friday, August 8, 2008
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Elizabeth had no warning I was taking her picture. I just sat down and said take off your mask, I need to take your picture for my blog. I didn't even let her look in a mirror to make sure all the buffing compound was off her face. I think it's a great picture! Congratulations Elizabeth!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
I could have colorful bits of paint under my fingernails instead of black buffing compound ground into my skin. Color could rule my work.
The money I'd save - yippeeee! Bags of parts for a couple of dollars instead of a tiny coil of wire for $600. Want to add something more to a piece? 50 cents instead of $25.
No more having to tell people that the reason my prices have gone up is that the price of the primary component has quadrupled!
Sounds perfect doesn't it. The only problem I can see is that I have no clue what I would do with all these cute little parts. Or what colors I should use. Or what goes together or what even sells!
Since it could take me years to figure out even one of those problems, I've decided to stick with what I know. I know gold...
Sunday, August 3, 2008
It's finally in sight. After a VERY long, hard year, I can finally see vacation coming...If you had told me years ago that my idea of the perfect vacation would become going to the same cottage at the same time every year, I would have said you didn't know me very well. We always took "go somewhere" vacations, going different places every time. Many times they would be road trips, using airplanes or highways to get to the area and then doing the back roads and small towns. Finding all kinds of little gems along the way. Like discovering Michael Hedges "Aerial Boundaries" while driving Highway 1 through the redwoods in California with the top down. Ahhh...
But times have changed and boy, my idea of a vacation sure has! Because I travel so much for work (doing art fairs), I want to relax and do nothing on vacation these days. To me this means a large body of water with waves, a hammock and lots of books (from the library).
We rent a cottage right on Lake Michigan with woods on 3 sides and the lake in front. It's tiny and very much just a cottage. But to us, it's our little slice of heaven. We take the cats and fill the van with all those items I think we might possibly need. When we get there, takes maybe an hour to unload, rearrange the furniture on the deck, set up the hammock and settle in. That's it, we're on vacation.
We grill dinner every night and I nap constantly when I'm supposedly reading (it's the sound of the waves). Dick cleans the beach daily, hauling back bags of trash every day. We walk on the beach during the day, look at more stars then I ever knew existed at night and hope for at least one storm to come across the lake just to see the lightening.
Once I catch up on sleep with all the napping, I start making lists of things I need to do, want to do or dream of doing. The cottage is the perfect place for this kind of thinking because there's no pressure, no expectation. And it doesn't mean I'll actually look at those lists after vacation...
So, it doesn't matter that it's no longer "fiscally responsible" to rent the cottage. I work hard the rest of the year and we deserve it! Hooray for vacations!!!
Saturday, August 2, 2008
We were at the Farmer's Market early this morning to get the fresh basil. Luckily we had some choices and we ended up with 2 different varieties. Now anyone who has made pesto knows it's really easy to do so once all the prep was done, it was fast and we were done with our 3 double batches. All that's left is the eating. Tomorrow it's a pesto omelet first thing in the morning!
So now we're on the search for other things to make and freeze, taking advantage of all our great local produce right now. I would love to go into winter with a freezer full of homemade good food. Stouffer's (my lunch staple) might go out of business though...
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
No need to wash the outside right now since I have to drive through loose dirt to get to my house due to massive street construction. But I am really enjoying my nice, sparkling clean ride once again. Now I just need the motivation for the inside of my house...
Saturday, July 26, 2008
One of the great things about this time of year is that I finally have time to start reconnecting with friends. During my major show season it's really hard since my focus has to go to making a living while I have the chance. Luckily if they're old friends, which most are, they've been through this before with me and understand. So there's lot's of socializing right now.
Then there's my brand new friend. The blog unveiling of Anna (see June 18 blog) at 5 weeks old! I got permission from Kathy to post their picture on my blog so here she is! She's just a little peanut who has grown amazingly in that short time. Hopefully she'll forgive me since this isn't the best picture of her but it was so nice of her Mom, I had to use it! Can't wait to watch her grow up! And no, this is not her first outing. She's a regular at our "girls gatherings"!
Like other fun things that get put aside, I hadn't been to the Farmer's Market yet this year so we were there first thing Friday morning. Being my first trip, I had to buy some of everything and kept having to go back to the car to unload bags. Dick absolutely loves blueberries on his cereal so I got him 15 pounds to freeze for winter use. They're a little later this year but super sweet and it looks like the season will be longer than normal. That's good since I have to clear out some room in the freezer for more berries.
Today it's tree pruning at the cabin. Taking up the fresh corn I got at the market and going to have a feast when the work is done! Again, not something I get to do during the show season so I treasure it more now.
Ann Arbor still isn't totally done for me since I have orders that have been promised for Monday that have to go out. Plus I have to go through all my info and make notes for next year. Things to bring, do and make. These help me tremendously from year to year so I try to always do them.
I've found that I'm not the only one who keeps good notes. Thanks to Jon Hecker (yes, Pat's husband and more), I have fantastic notes and information on a show I'm doing in Cottonwood Texas this fall. My notes are nothing compared to what he's passed along - complete with great driving instructions! Geez, if we all had this available for new shows we do, life would be so much easier! Thank you Jon...
Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Enjoy summer while it's here!!!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Luckily, as I talk to others that did the show this year, I'm not the only one feeling the effects of a long, very hot show. We're all groaning and saying how tired we are. In fact there isn't as much groaning about sales as there is about how rough we feel. We'll have a good laugh about this once we all feel up to it...
Monday, July 21, 2008
Michigan has had beautiful weather this spring and summer and finally this year, not too hot. Until the Ann Arbor show came. The days right before the show were still relatively cool with low humidity but on Wednesday, the first day of the show, the heat and humidity hit. For an area not yet used to baking, this was tough. On Thursday it was 96 with high humidity which was almost worse than the temperature.
I would not have gone to the show as a customer in that heat so I offer huge thanks to those who braved the weather for this once a year event. It was miserable. Add to that a really lousy economy in the area and it doesn't add up to many artists being happy with their sales. We all knew going into the show that it probably wouldn't be a normal Ann Arbor and I don't think it was for many people. I have to commend my fellow exhibitors though for keeping a positive outlook during both the heat and the slow times.
This is my chance to brag. I won second place in the show! Not in the jewelry category but in the whole show, against all the other "real artists". Since my pet peeve is that judges rarely get close enough to the jewelry to even tell what it is, it was pretty special for me. Of course, I had to take a picture of the ribbon which very nicely went with the color scheme of my booth...
My show went fine when you take into consideration all the factors that went into it. I'm extremely glad that it's over, we all lived through it and I don't have another show until September 6 when I go to Penrod in Indianapolis. Yippee!!! Until then I'm going to spend some time napping...
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I took my laptop to Ann Arbor with me so I could do updates on my blog but...didn't bring my password to get into the software. Duh! So, no daily updates.
Tomorrow will be my Ann Arbor report. I think I need my brain fully functional and am hoping that by then it will work. There's lots to tell!!!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
It's also much calmer getting ready for the show this year. I'm working hard but this time knowing that I'll get done what I can and it will be fine. I can't have everything or do everything. I'll do my best and that will be enough. Geez, this doesn't even sound like me!
I will admit though to relishing the days following July 21 when my "8 weeks of hell" are over. Everyone is waiting for me to do something for them, finish something, start something or just show up. And it all happens after July 21.
The first Saturday I'm already planning a trip to the Farmer's Market to buy fresh fruit and veggies. It's blueberry season here and I need to start freezing berries for Dick's cereal next winter. Before that I've promised my Dad that I'll work on and finish his finances. He's been pretty patient but only because I gave him a firm date so I can't fail him. I need to feed my tomato plants and at least inspect my entire yard and gardens. I don't even know if my zinnia's are growing.
Real life gets pushed aside during the rush of major art fair season. I miss it more than I can even explain but this year a little more has been let in. Which may be why getting ready for Ann Arbor is calmer this year. I just know I'm enjoying it...
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Today 2 rings were "born". I made the tops and Elizabeth made the bands. Since it's been probably 15 years since I made a ring, this is a big deal. Back then I was known for my rings and they were high end gold with asymmetrical faceted stones, all one-of-a-kind and pretty darn wonderful. Very labor intensive and I finally just burned out on them.
My new rings are totally different. Not meant to be worn every day, they are fun. Sterling and 22k gold, one with a stone and one with a pearl. Layered with dimension. Simple, unfussy designs. There will be pictures coming soon. These are fun to make so now I have to see if anyone else likes them! It may be one of those naked moments but then again, I love them enough that I'm not as concerned about what others think... yeah, right.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
So I had one more show this past weekend. Another new one which I hadn't tried before and as delightful as it was to do, I don't think I would do it again. Buy/sell items and filled with low end jewelry means there will be sticker shock in my booth. Sunday only one person wanted to actually see something in my booth and he was more interested in the back and if that was really my signature! It's so hard to know before actually doing the show if it's going to be a good fit or not. This was not. Live and learn.