Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Garage Sale Art Fair

A perfect example of how fast time goes by is the Garage Sale Art Fair. It seems like we just finished up the show and now I'm already sending out the applications for the 2009 event.

This year we're going all digital. I'm sending the announcements by e-mail to the artists that the applications are ready which has ready saved me a ton of time. No more printing up 2 pages, folding them, sticking them into an envelope then adding a label, stamp and return address. I'm getting tired just remembering it! Huge time savings, a money savings and I hope I'm helping save a tree. By not printing forms for people that don't use them, I might at least save a tiny tree.

Within hours of the announcement, the images for the applications started coming in. If the early applicants are any indication, 2009 will be a great show!!! It's so exciting to see what people are doing with their work and the changes they've made. It's great hearing how excited people are about doing the show!

This is not a show that most people need to do every year since it's for seconds, close-outs and overstock. Some people come every year, some every other and some just when they need to clear things out. It makes it really fun for our customers since there is change every year and always lots new to see and buy.

Michael and I spend time every year deciding what changes we're going to make and what we want to do differently. Luckily we decided in the beginning to keep it simple so we just have to keep with that theme and not over think things! We want our show to be the most fun and the most profitable on our artists schedules. For our customers we want them to be loaded down with packages as they leave with huge smiles on their faces saying "I can't wait until next year's show"! That's our goal...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Physical Therapy

I love my physical therapist, Jerry at Achieve Physical Therapy. He started working with me before I had my first knee replaced since I didn't want to go into the surgery with absolutely no muscle tone. I was with him through his next 3 kids and my 2 knee replacements, one broken kneecap surgery, bursa problems and my current broken kneecap.

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

A Show of Hands

Well, you can tell vacation is over because the jobs are piling up. How can I be behind already???

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


I was told to post vacation pictures. Before you groan, the nice thing about pictures on a blog is you can skip over them or ignore them and no feelings will be hurt! You don't have to listen to a long-winded explanation of what the ripples on the water were like that day. And be glad because I have tons of pictures of rippled water and even more of waves!
The picture of Dick shows how much of the sand/beach has been eroded due to lake levels being up this year. Where the grass is by his head was flat beach last year.
I love Lake Michigan. Each day is different. Wind from the north, the beach shrinks. Wind from the south and the beach grows. The sand gets carved out differently every day. New little stones are uncovered with each changing of the wind. Those little stones may make it into some new jewelry soon...
...once again the spaces between the paragraphs have disappeared. I may have to actually read the instructions...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

So I'm home...

As Pat said, it's good to come home again. As great as vacation was and as much as I wanted just one more week, it is really nice being home. But just because I'm home doesn't mean I'm off vacation yet. Work starts again Monday morning and not before.

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

What I learned on my summer vacation...

You can improve the almost perfect bliss of time in a hammock with a little push from a friend.

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

Who knew...

Who knew getting ready for vacation could be so much work! For some reason I feel the need to finish every unfinished project that is sitting around waiting for my attention and all before I leave. The only way that would work is if I stayed home from vacation and spent the next 2 months doing nothing but those projects. Since that's not going to happen, I need to just forget about them and leave. Does anyone ever get to the point where all their projects are either up to date or actually completed???

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Congratulations Elizabeth!

Grand Rapids Community College has hired Elizabeth Gaines as their metals/jewelry instructor, starting with the fall semester! This is the same Elizabeth who currently works one day a week in my studio so there are smiling faces in the studio! I'm so proud of her, so happy for her and thrilled for all her incoming students. They're getting a great teacher and lovely person.

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

My new medium

I've found my new medium. It's wood. It's little wooden shapes in 3-D. Lot's of different little shapes. It's like being "a kid in a candy store" looking through all the bins. Wondering what people use them for.

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

Countdown to vacation

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

Pesto anyone?

Two years ago, my neighbor Jean made and froze pesto. I didn't have time to join in the making so Jean gave me some of hers to try and I fell in love. I've always really liked pesto but this was frozen and just so unbelievably fresh tasting. So, the plan was for us to have a pesto production day. It only took 2 years for it to happen. But today was the day.

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...