Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Carla's Video

A fellow metalsmith, Carla Fox, sent me a video that her son made of her with her daughter's help. She's posted it on YouTube.

Based on how wonderful this video is, maybe I should have had kids!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Studio Days

After a long time spent getting other aspects of my life reorganized, I'm finally back in the studio! When I'm not spending time there, I forget how much I LOVE being there, making and creating. And getting really dirty! Flitting from one job to the next with too many ideas and not enough time!

This "method of working" happens quite often right before a show. My best creativity hits right before a show and then I work like mad to get as much done as possible. Before realizing that I need to find clothing and maybe pack the van as well. But amazingly, it all gets done and I always get to the show!

So, back to the studio. This picture is what my bench looked like before I started yesterday's production special. It doesn't look anything like this now! That's the good news!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Happy Endings...

As much as I love music, I wasn't on the cutting edge when it came to mp3 players and iPods. I didn't see the need since I had a huge collection of CDs which I could easily rotate. Then the Nano came out in really great colors and I was hooked. All the music I wanted in one little, easily carried package. Absolutely perfect, until I lost it.

I searched everywhere and more than once, backtracking to when I last had it. Dick searched as well with no luck. In total frustration it was decided that I probably left it plugged in at my last hotel room. Unbelievably frustrating.

With 40+ hours in the van coming up next week, I broke down and bought a new Nano. An extremely cute hot pink one that was on special with free accessories, also pink. But I didn't open it. I was absolutely sure that mine would turn up now that I had a new one.

For one last time I went through all the pockets of my suitcases, all my drawers, searching everywhere I could think of. Finally I searched my van one last time, intending to open the iPod since there was nowhere left to look. And there is was, in my center console. A place both Dick and I had searched multiple times before. And it was right there...

It makes no sense but who cares! I've returned the cute pink one and have joyfully updated and charged my even cuter lime green Nano in anticipation of a long trip. And thanking whatever little angel that helped me find it!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Art Fairs

I've never looked forward to doing art fairs more than I am this year and I don't know what the difference is. This winter was NOT spent making jewelry so I'm not the least bit ready and I have a really full schedule. I've just added my shows to the schedule to the right and looking at it, I'm a little worried that I've added too many shows! But that's a GREAT problem to have.

So, support the art community and your favorite artists and shop at some art fairs this year. Spend a little or spend a lot, but help all of us that make our living by making things for other people to enjoy. Everyone needs art in their lives!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Sorority no one wants to join

Just found out that an old friend (of 30 years) had surgery for breast cancer last week. I wish I had known about it before her surgery since that's when you want as much information as you can get your head around. I found talking to people who had been through it was a great way to kind of get the "inside dirt". Everyone's experience is so different and everyone reacts differently but once you've joined the sorority, you really want to make it easier for the next person...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bliss, panic, peace...

I've been rather blissfully working on reorganizing my office, working through piles of "important" papers which have been growing ever taller. Finding those little slips of paper with important notes on them which I knew I had saved somewhere. Collecting the last receipts and getting them entered into the computer for Dick to start on my taxes. The sun's pouring in the window where the cat is laying. All is right with the world... Until Michael points out today that we leave for Texas in exactly 2 weeks and one day!!!

What??? The show isn't until April!!! I haven't started making all my new things and trying all my new ideas from all those little pieces of paper I've been finding! Yikes! Panic immediately set in. I have tons of work to do and a week already filled with other things! Then I stopped.

I realized that this is a pretty typical March. The push to make new things for my wholesale show and then the Garage Sale Art Fair, both in February usually makes for a rather non-productive March in the studio. I'm still busy but on other, more office related projects and trying to get the house back in order after a long winter. Not big projects, all pretty darn small actually. But things that need to get done. Like those piles in the office. So, instead of going to the studio and getting right to work making jewelry, I decided to spend one last day in the office.

I remembered that I work better with a deadline...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Long week, or short

All of a sudden one more week has gone by and I don't have a clue what I did with all the time. I don't have a routine right now and it's killing my productivity. There are too many things that need my attention and I keep getting distracted so nothing is getting finished. My ability to make decisions seems to be missing as well.

I'm trying to finish up everything with the Garage Sale Art Fair and get it all organized to start all over again in a few months. What do we keep the same and what do we change. Be sure and keep all the notes together for easy access. But maybe I should design the info postcard now since we'll start handing it out at our first Midwest shows. Do all the filing (I hate filing). Luckily the tax stuff is all done. Time to put it on the back burner.

My schedule is luckily very busy the next few months. This is my time to get everything ready and organized to make it easier between shows. Spiff up the display. Repair, repaint and get ready for another season of shows. Design the postcards and the e-mails now. Don't wait until I need them. This is the time to do all of it.

The one thing that's missing in my days is actually making jewelry... That could be a problem...

Monday, March 9, 2009

My plan to make it through...

That's an overstatement of course since I don't really have a plan but I just read a great quote which I thought stated it well.

"To reach a port, we must sail - sail, not tie at anchor - sail, not drift." Franklin Roosevelt

So my plan is to not just drift along, hoping to come out on the other side of these tough times. I have to take control, try new things, new ways of doing things and embrace it all. I have to fight for the ability to make my living doing what I love, no matter how hard it might get.

I'm going to stay positive and just keep working, doing everything I can. I'm going to take time to enjoy the little things that sometimes get pushed to the side when we get busy. And I'm going to remember this quote and not drift...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Etsy Workshop

I want to sell my jewelry on Etsy. The problem is that there's a learning curve and all kinds of things to be aware of and different ways of doing things and on and on. I'd love to say that I don't have time to deal with it but that wouldn't really be the truth. I chose not to take the time to learn it all. But I still want to sell on Etsy.

Luckily, there's help for people like me! Thanks to Jon and Patricia Hecker, I don't have to take the time and effort to learn it all on my own. They have culled all the information I need into a 90 minute workshop which they are presenting. Luckily, they brought it to Kalamazoo the night before the Garage Sale Art Fair!

Although they've been helping me get my Etsy site up and running all along, I still came away with 2 full pages of notes. All kinds of things to do or use. What I really loved were all the little tips and tricks that they've picked up over time. Pat spends time on the different forums and came up with all kinds of things I had never even considered which will help my site get noticed and hopefully sell more work. Once I actually get work up there!

So look for my jewelry on my Etsy site soon!

This is their official disclaimer - “The term ‘Etsy’ is a trademark of Etsy, Inc. This workshop is not endorsed or affiliated with Etsy, Inc. It is being conducted by two experienced artists who have maintained a steady presence on etsy.com”

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Positive news in Michigan!

I'm finally almost finished with the Garage Sale Art Fair end of show jobs. The thank you notes to the artists went out today and I've started filing things away and getting the checkbook back in order. It makes all these jobs much more fun knowing that we did everything we could to get people to come shop and it worked.

The Fairgrounds said that most events right now are running about 10% down in attendance. BUT, the Garage Sale Art Fair - was UP 12.5%!!! We charge $2 at the door for adults (kids are free) so we know exactly how many people come in. We had 1500 people through the door in the first approximately 90 minutes! Wow! I would love to have counted how many people came back later since we stamp their hands for free returns.

Does that mean that all our artists had great sales? Of course not. Some were spectacular, some were good and some weren't. I just know that we did everything we could to get art buyers through the door. Then it's up to the individual artists to sell their work. I hope they're satisfied with what we did...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Garage Sale Art Fair - 2009

Another year and the big event is over and done. All that's left is the wrap-up, going over what worked, what didn't and what gets changed for next year. The top picture is of part of the show location before it gets filled with artists. The image is a little yellowy where as in person it isn't. Not sure why.
This is Michael showing off our new entrance banner! The Fairgrounds put a lovely new awning over the door which we didn't know about when we got the new banner but it worked next to the door just as well.

And this is Pat and Jean in my booth during the show. Obviously, this is NOT my normal show display but is it perfect for a Garage Sale Art Fair!

I'll add more pictures later as I recover!