Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The little things...

Sometimes the smallest things just make you happy. Today it was cleaning out my van. Boston Mills ArtFest always leaves my van littered with the "kitty litter" and dust from the grounds. Normally it's all cleaned out before we pack up for Ann Arbor but I was too short on time this year so we just packed over it. Then it took me a while to get the van unpacked, longer to feel human and even longer to get enthused about vacuuming, dusting and cleaning in the heat and humidity. But today was it. With Julia's help (a motivating factor), we vacuumed, wiped down every surface, cleaned every window and mirror and made the inside shine. I even finally got rid of the bird poo on the drivers door that nothing seemed to take off (goo gone and muscle finally did it).

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

A perfect Saturday

It seems like most of my Saturdays are spent doing art fairs. Now that's not even remotely close to true since I only do 10-12 shows a year but boy it seems like it. Not today! Today was as close to a perfect day as it could be. Spent time at the cabin with my Dad, got a few chores done, watched people fly fishing (and catching) on the river, heard the joyful sounds of people going down the river and simply enjoyed the sunshine and all that nature had to offer. What a perfect Saturday!

Life is good...

Finally by noon on Thursday, I once again felt like myself after Ann Arbor. This year took a lot out of most of us judging by the phone calls I've been getting from friends. Even the guys that normally won't admit to a show being tough have been groaning. Somehow I have a feeling that age is starting to be a factor!

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

Tuesday after Ann Arbor

Wow. I must be getting old! It's the Tuesday after Ann Arbor and by 10 in the morning I was wishing I could just take a little nap. 15-20 minutes would have done wonders but since Julia was working, no nap until later in the day.

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

Ann Arbor Art Fair

Ann Arbor is always my biggest show of the year. It takes the most planning, the most work and the most help in the booth. It's stressful but worth it. It's my favorite show no matter how hard it is to do, but this year was tough.

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


Okay, when last I was here, it was still before Ann Arbor and things were a little bleak. Sunday was a better work day than Saturday but it was also the day I discovered that I got a bad batch of white gold and every single piece had cracked. Unfortunately I normally don't discover this until the pieces are on their final polish. It was too late to order more gold so I went into the show very light on white gold, which is really hot right now...

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

Just go back to bed...

There are some days you should just give up and go back to bed. This was one of them. Just when things are going smoothly and you're cranking along, one of "those" days hits you. I'm thinking positive thoughts about tomorrow...

Before Ann Arbor...and after

I was describing to a friend today what it used to be like doing the Ann Arbor art fair. Little tiny booths meant needing to change clothes partway through the day due to the heat. Every outfit needed ironing so a big part of getting ready for the show involved my wardrobe. Now the booths are bigger, the hotel too far away to get to and the clothes don't need ironing! Much easier.

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

Boston Mills ArtFest

I've just returned from Boston Mills ArtFest where, thanks to both good friends and wonderful customers, I had a GREAT time! It was like the old days when shows weren't as serious, the money wasn't as needed and we were all a lot younger and could party more.

So, first I have to show off my homage to Pat Hecker. Please notice in my booth shot, the red egg shapes on the tops of the booth. These are covering pegs that I thought should be covered with red balls, just for fun. Then I saw my favorite leg/foot shape that Pat uses in her Tattoo Dreams line. So this is my homage to Pat and her work. The fun part was that people noticed them and grinned! What more can you ask for?
The other thing I have to give Pat (and Jon) credit for is my new love of frozen strawberry margaritas. I have yet to decide if this is a good thing or not but it sure was fun!
So the weather was the best Boston Mills weather ever. The humidity was down as well as the temperature and the rain stopped 30 minutes before the big opening party. That alone made the show great since the show is known for hot and humid weather. I can't remember the last time I didn't spend the bulk of my time with sweat rolling down my body. Lovely sight while selling jewelry of course.
Another "blast from the past" that happened at the show was that my sister and her family stopped to see me on their way back to Maryland from our Dad's cabin in Michigan. Kare used to help me with art fairs back 25 years ago. I got to show off my favorite nephew and my sister saved me in the booth when I got slammed with customers. Just like the old days again. I love having her at shows with me. Good sister time.
I came home tired but happy with a big grin on my face. Had to stop part way home to take a nap in a rest area but it was worth it. A fun and profitable time was had. I love the Boston Mills ArtFest.

side note: I can't get the formatting to work on this one so please excuse the running together of paragraphs. I've spent too much time trying to fix it and I'm giving up!