Thursday, May 29, 2008

The truth about my bench...

Time to come clean. Or maybe it's just time to clean. Either way, I'm showing a picture of what my workbench looks like on Thursdays. I'm aiming for every Thursday, a new view. Someone mentioned that they had read about someone doing this so I'm borrowing the idea. My hope is that maybe I'll pick up my bench every Wednesday but maybe not. I seem to work better with tons of little projects all cluttering up my workspace. It makes no sense and it certainly doesn't work with my desk. With that, I need the surface cleared off if I want to make real progress. Obviously my bench doesn't need to be clear or I'd never get anything done!
On your tour, the pretty blue trays hold small pieces and parts in 50 little bins. I was so thrilled when I found these since I'm a sucker for organizational "tools". My Dad built me a couple of wood racks to hold them so they don't take up too much space but I can have multiples close at hand. If you notice, they are actually labeled as of a couple of weeks ago. Part of my constant plan to stay organized.
The rather ugly brown rectangular trays were also a huge boon for organizing. Jean found them at the Bemis outlet store in Sheboygan Wisconsin where they make them for hospital food trays! I can put all the pieces for a project on one tray and keep them together. Don't like the color but I love those trays. Luckily she got a lot of them since I'm constantly filling them up.
The last tour item is the white bin in the front left. Because my background is from the dental profession, many of my things are dental. These are normally dental lab pans but for me they are perfect for my wholesale orders. As the pieces get done, they go in the bin. Normally they aren't in this area which is the dirty side of the studio. They live on the clean side.
I'll be curious if doing this makes me clear off my bench. It should! Anyone can see by looking at this picture that there is no way someone can get any work done there. Who am I kidding!!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Spring at the cabin

May 1 every year my parents would move north to their cabin on the Muskegon River. There they would stay until fall when they would move back to town, still going up on the weekends. If not for the remoteness as they got older, they could have lived up there full time since that's where they were truly happiest. In the middle of nothing but 20 acres of nature, working on their bird lists and watching all the changes that happen constantly on the river. All the time working on all the projects that the cabin and all it's gardens entail.

Because summer is my busiest time for art fairs, I haven't spent much time at the cabin. I know I'm welcome anytime I want to show up but when I have a weekend off, I need to handle all the chores around my house that need attention (Dick will laugh when he reads that...). I've always loved it but to me it means work because when we do go up, it's to help with jobs that need either a younger person or just another pair of hands. Until a couple of days ago.
Saturday was my first trip to the cabin this year although Dick had been there helping Dad already. It was a beautiful, sunny, cool day. Great for working and Dad had a long list ready for us. As we drove in, there was the little sign that said "Sue's Path", marking my Mom's favorite nature trail through the woods and the meadow. Immediate tears for me. This is only the second time I've been to the cabin since my Mom died and I was overwhelmed and had to say to Dad that I was just "having a moment". Not the first time he's heard that one! My Mom is everywhere at the cabin. Even more than at home. This is where her gardens are. Seeing the Solomon's Seal reminds me that I was with her and we both bought it. It likes the cabin more than my house. Lot's of memories but I'm off track.

I now "get it". The cabin really grabbed me this time. It was just so peaceful, tons of birds and the Great Blue Herons even came in just for me (of course). We saw the Pileated, Downy, Red-Headed, Red Breasted and I think one other Woodpecker. The Orioles were in on the grape jelly. Dozens of other birds. Tons of kayaks going down the river. The fly fisherman were busy along the river edges. The Tree Swallows were deciding whether to nest in Bluebird house #24 or not. My fingers are crossed that they will stay.
All was right with the world. It was nature at it's best. We got some jobs done, had a great dinner off the grill and spent some serious time just watching the river and all of nature. This must be what real people do on weekends...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Small updates...

Got home from my second show late yesterday and at least I'm popping back a little faster than last week. The show was easier and take down was definitely easier than in the rain which really helps. Now I have a little time to regroup and make wonderful things before starting an extremely busy 8 weeks.

Need to wish a happy anniversary to my favorite old married couple, Jon and Patricia Hecker. 24 years today. I've never met two people who were so meant to be together. May they go all the way through life together!

Pet peeve from my show. Why do some people believe that rules only apply to others and not them? If the rule is that you must take down your booth before bringing your van on the show site, why do some people believe that they are special and deserve to not follow that rule??? Telling the show that they can't take anything down without the van right next to them. Yeah, sure! I also can pack much faster if I pack everything directly into the van but, I was taught to follow the rules. Okay, dishonest people and rule breakers bug me. My list is growing!

It's great to be back doing shows again. I have a whole new body of work and it's like standing out there naked, waiting to see the reactions from people. And then watching as at least a couple of them try things on. And ZOW! They look GREAT! Whether or not they buy them, that's not as important as seeing your new things actually on people and looking as good or better than you planned. It makes me want to bury myself in the studio and make more new things! So, I think I will!

Thanks for listening...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My updated website

Thanks to my wonderful webguy Michael Hamilton, my website is now updated! My favorite part is that I now have pictures of people important to me on my site. So you can actually see pictures of the people that I'm talking about. This was a big deal...

Another show

Boy, I don't bounce back after a hard show as quickly as I used to! And this one really wasn't that hard. Ugg, my age is showing.

I leave for my next show in less than 36 hours. My time has not been highly productive yet. Tomorrow I will finish some amazing new work, I promise...

Monday, May 12, 2008

First show of the year

Saturday at the Birmingham Fine Art Fair reminded me of why I do this for a living. The weather was ideal for an art fair. Cool but sunny with just a little breeze for air movement. Although the crowds weren't as large as I remember in the past, there were lots of people walking the show.

First thing in the morning a wonderful woman who is a long-time customer came to see me. As she tried on jewelry she remarked on my e-mail announcement of the show! Since this is the first time I've sent out e-mail show reminders, I was thrilled!

For someone who tends to work "last minute" like I do, the e-mails will be perfect. I don't have to factor in the mail delays. I can add a picture of something wonderful that I just finished. Or advertise something new I'm doing. Besides, I love both sending and receiving (good) e-mails so this fits right in.

Back to the show. So as wonderful as Saturday was, Sunday was the opposite. I made Michael get up really early to get to the show and get a decent parking place since it was supposed to rain. Okay, so we got there probably 90 minutes earlier than we had to but the last time I was there, everyone got there really early! And I wanted a good parking place for take down!

What I didn't know was that take down was going to be many hours earlier than planned. It was raining really hard and the wind was starting to pick up which makes me fret (I'll write about why later). The show director was in constant contact with us and finally came around to say it was up to us whether to stay or go. The person next to me was taking the brunt of the wind so when they started taking down, so did I. There were no customers there and it was 46 and raining. Home sounded much better.

Taking down a show is never really easy but doing it in a hard rain without the van right there is more of a challenge. Then being cold on top of it. My friend David and daughter Abbie came over and helped me take off my canopy top and fold it up and then broke down the poles. That was a HUGE help since by that time, I had enough. As I said to David, it's days like this that make me want to get a "real" job!

So I pour myself into the van, stuffed full of wet things, soaked all the way through from top to bottom and freezing. Turned my seat heat on high and the temp in the van to 84 and headed for home. 2 1/2 hours later, still wet but slightly warmer, I got home. Boy did it look good. I like shows that are close to home!

Now my first show of the year is over. I saw one the best weather days and one not so great but not even close to the worst. I had some sales and people seemed to like my new work. It's only the beginning since my next show is in 4 days...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

I miss my Mom. It's my first Mother's Day without her and I'm glad the day is almost over. The next one will be easier... I hope.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It's crazy time...

Well, you just have to hope that your friends understand. And your family. Right before your first show of the year you are singularly focused. But it's not on the big things. It's all the little crud that needs doing before you can go.

I spent a couple hours over the weekend making new little signs for in my cases. For some reason the signs I used 6 months ago are no longer right so I needed new ones. In the proper font, and a couple of sizes and maybe different paper. Then I should laminate them since I'll be using them outside. Actually they'll be in a jewelry case under a tent but that's outside to me.

Julia and I discovered today that we didn't wash the rubber flooring when we put it away. The idea was that since it was November and cold, we would wait until it warmed up this spring to wash it. Okay, we waited a little too long and now it's going to the show dirty since I can't pack it wet. Maybe no one will notice!

Of course, none of these things really make any difference or have any importance. What's important is the jewelry. Do I have some killer pieces that I personally love? I'm working on them...

Oh, and the great plans to pack the van today, never got to it. But I can guarantee that it will be packed before I leave on Friday...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Working toward a show

Boy, when you don't have any art fairs for 6 months you forget about that last minute push before a show. You've had all this time, you should be ready and waiting when the show finally arrives - right? All kinds of shiny, new stuff just waiting to be put out in the freshly done jewelry cases. You're all ready to go.

Except that I just remembered that I wanted to put new paper on the backs of the cases before shows started this year. And the box I carry case parts in needs cleaning out and the parts spiffed. My chair needs a touch-up paint job. I needed to cut and frost more plexi pieces and paint more blocks.

Yikes! Now I remember all the things I wanted to get done before shows started up again. That's the good news. The bad is that I'm out of time, the van gets packed tomorrow! If it isn't already done, it's probably not going to happen. I'm in the midst of frantically making the jewelry I haven't been making for the last 6 months... When will I learn...

Friday, May 2, 2008

Website trauma

It was horrible, even shameful. I went out to look at something on my website and discovered that the "news" portion of my site has news from...2005! What was I thinking? Didn't I ever in the last 3 years, even look at that section? Did I assume it would change itself! And those pictures. Yikes! Only in my dreams do I still look like that...

So after an emergency e-mail to my wonderful web guy, begging him to work on my site this weekend, I started writing. And rewriting. There's so much I'd like to include but should I include everything? Or just some of the ideas. And no, I haven't forgotten that I have a show in 6 days and nothing to sell so I'm supposed to be making jewelry. But this is an emergency!

I decided I needed to see what other people were doing with their sites. Although I don't want to change the look or the feel of my site, I need to know what others are doing. I think I was secretly hoping to find that other people had really old news up too.

Unfortunately many of the sites that I've liked over the years no longer exist so, after much time spent poking around, I realized that I'm on my own. I have to make some decisions on my site, tomorrow...