Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm Flying Through the Studio 'Cuz I Can't Find the Floor!

"Holy Overstuffed Workroom, Batman!" My studio, my haven of creativity, was the recipient of all the boxes full of show stuff and anything I didn't feel like putting away recently. Now the show is over and a glance through the studio door was enough to make me shudder.

I enlisted the help of some studio elves to unpacked the boxes, repack them with stuff to go up in the attic, and shovel out the mess.

It feels great to have it neat again. But now it's time for year-end inventory for taxes. NOOOOooo! I HATE doing inventory with a fiery passion... counting all those little beads and double checking my Excel spreadsheet. It brings back memories of my high school summer job at the Princeton U-Store's Music Department (back when they HAD a music department, that is). Every July, counting all those little 5 cent plastic guitar picks and individual sheets of music. Uhhhggg. But, that's the price you pay for being self-employed - I did it to myself.

So, I will suck it up, count the beads, and while they are out, I'll put them together into project packs. Maybe that'll give me a leg up on work for next year. Then, I'll join Pooch on the sofa for a much-deserved nap.


After I wrote this post, I found that Kathryn Antyr, at Collage Diva, had given me this charming award:

This award states that: "This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY- nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends, they are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these artists."

I'm going to take a few days to think on it before passing it on. Thanks, Kathryn!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pretty Pooped!

I just woke up from my post-show nap and I'm still pretty tired.

The booth look great all loaded up with inventory, and my earrings hanging on their picture cards were a big hit.

I do think that people were hit with some sticker shock when they looked at my necklaces. This was definitely not the place for those pieces!

Mostly, what I moved were earrings and silk scarves: I sold 3 times what I expected for such a short, small event, and had a great time doing it. Sweet! (But, really, I didn't really know what to expect at all going into it.) Yesterday's crowd was a steady stream of buyers, while today's was a huge crowd of lookers - a completely different vibe. (I'm so grateful for yesterday's results!)

Saturday, my floor helper was friend, Debbie. She's funny and has a lot of retail experience, working in a local art gallery. Today's Gal Pal was pocketbook designer, Christie. Both spent a lot of time chatting up the customers, wearing the merchandise, and hawking it around the rest of the show.

I've got the show bug again so I'll be looking for future venues for sure. BUT, I'll also be hitting the gym - I was so out of shape, even for half-days. I really shouldn't have been this tired. Time to whip my ever-widening butt into shape!

Friday, November 21, 2008


T-t-t-t-t-h-h-h-a-a-a-t-t-t ch-ch-chattering you hear is my teeth. It is COLD here. We've got January weather in November - it's even snowed - twice - this week! That's unheard of here in North Carolina. I'm trying to keep warm with hot drinks, my favorite fleece jacket, heavy socks...and a dog who sleeps in my lap all day.

In other news, it's finally show weekend! I went to the church bright and early to scope out the space allotted to me - kinda small, but I can work with it. I have great neighbors, one of whom said my customers are welcome to use her full-length mirror, so I can use the space I'd planned to put one to display scarves. How nice is that?

Here it is as I first started:

I put all the stock out so I could position the little spotlights in the right places, then had to take it all down again for the night. The room is locked, but not secured, at night, so people suggested I take the jewelry items home each night to be safe. A little paranoia's a good thing, right?

The show is a total of 7 hours, 4 tomorrow morning and 3 on Sunday, and last year they had an attendance of 3000 people! I'm told that Sunday morning is going to be over-the-top crazy busy. We open right after morning services let out, and they've got a Mexican Mariachi band planned to perform. Should be interesting and fun...I'll keep you posted.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday's Baking Day Around Here

Marble Man and I finished eating up a batch of Pumpkin Iced Cookies this week. And Oh, My GOD they were fabulous! I tried to slow us down by putting them in the freezer, but soon found out they taste even better frozen.

Today was a cold, dreary, wet day here in North Carolina. I wanted to bake something to make the house smell divine, and decided to try pumpkin muffins, continuing the winter squash theme we've got going here. Once again, the magic orange orb has delivered something of a gastronomic delight. The original recipe called for 1 cup of the canned pumpkin, but I put in the whole can. They were amazing - light and very moist. And the house smells delicious as well!

Pumpkin Muffins
adapted from Gourmet, November 2006
Makes 12

1½ C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-oz can)
1/3 C vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp pumpkin-pie spice (a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice)
1¼ C plus 1 T sugar
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350F. Put liners in muffin cups.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, pumpkin-pie spice, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Whisk together pumpkin, vanilla, oil, eggs, and 1¼ cup sugar in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 T sugar in another bowl.

Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about ¾ full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack 5 min. then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

I had the muffins with some orange spice tea on this cold afternoon - all curled up with warm socks, softly glowing lights, and in my big chair

...with a new book.

Marble Man's going to need a crowbar to get me up!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One Week and Counting...

As per my last post, my duckies are all in a row now.

The show is a week from Saturday and Sunday, and two wonderful Gal Pal's signed up to help me man (girl?) the booth. The only thing left to do is a dry run of packing the car. The trick is going to be fitting my 2'x6' grids into the sedan. Cross your fingers! When I had a 10'x10' booth setup and all the clothing to fill it, I needed to rent a 15 passenger van with all the seats removed to schlep the booth components and wardrobe boxes up North. This was hugely expensive. I can't imagine gassing up one of those behemoths now with gas prices so high! I'm thankful that my current inventory is lots of small items and the booth is a tabletop design. I no longer need that big truck.

I have several new pairs of earrings

Chalcedony, freshwater pearls, and Swarovski crystals

Lucite flowers, antiqued brass and copper findings, Czech fire polished crystals

Lucite flowers, Czech pressed glass leaves, Swarovski crystals

Swarovski crystal faceted teardrops, Czech fire polished crystals
new bracelets

unakite, carnelian, and Czech fire polished crystals

Flower jade, rose quartz, Rhodonite

seed bead spiral rope

freshwater pearls, seed beads, Swarovski crystal button

mother-of-pearl, sterling silver, red "mystery" beads

I've also got about 75 necklaces. That should be plenty for a seven hour show! All that's left now is for people to come and shop for charity. Cross your digits for a good turnout.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Whew! THAT'S over. Now, get back to work!

Election Fever has past (more like Election Infection!). I'm so relieved. Now, I can get back to planning my space at the church show. It's coming fast (November 22-23) and I've gotta line up all my ducks. My table set-up is done, I found some fabulous display spotlights, my inventory is made, priced, and ready. I've been making earrings and bracelets to build up my lower-end price range merchandise (and I really enjoy creating them). All that's left to do now is find a couple of extra bodies with eagle eyes to help me man the space, and I'm golden.

I mentioned in my travel post that I brought home some great new beads. I used a bunch of them in this new bracelet. I began with a single spiral rope as the base, then added a profusion of acrylic and glass flowers. I'm very happy with the final product - it isn't very heavy to wear, and it jangles nicely.

I love doing shows. I've heard from many other artists that they "hate" the selling part of the business, but I really do enjoy it. The people I meet are interesting - even the cranky ones, and the "art of the sale" is great fun. The last show I did was back in 2005, when I injured my hand so badly. I've missed it a lot, so I'm grateful for this opportunity to do a small one. I can dip my toe back into the water with very low risk. It's coming soon!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Will it be the Democratic Voice of Reason, or Political Hysteria?

I'm planning to avoid the tv today, gnawing my fingers down to bone, as I await the day's election results. I just can't bear watch all the "news folks" pretend to know what's going to happen. I'll find out tonight after all the votes have been counted. It's been a long time coming, and I have real trepidation regarding the final outcome.

I'm an unabashed Obama supporter for a number of reasons, but unlike much of what I've heard from others, I don't harbor "hatred" for McCain (I can't say the same for McCain's running mate, however). I think these are two admirable men who love their country, who have strong opinions as to what this country needs. It's the manner in which they have pursued their goals that sets them apart.

I appreciate the way Obama settled on his message and kept a cool and reassuring head while delivering that message. He met the various criticisms and issues that came up during his campaign with grace, a positive attitude, and a willingness to actually listen to people. Throughout the campaign he presented a confident and relaxed demeanor. His plans for fixing the Nation's ills sound reasonable. Yes, it will be expensive, but worth it if we see improvements. Throughout the journey to this very day, Obama has treated us all as adults as he answers questions, be they relevant or not. What a refreshing change from the past 8 years of condescension and hysteria from the White House!

While I like McCain: the man OK, I do NOT like McCain: the candidate - I think his solutions for our current troubles will ultimately bankrupt our nation. He has been a hysterical and cynical, diva-like campaigner, lurching from one position to another as he panders for votes. His campaign has been toxic with it's negativity and has nearly incited riots, which he did little to contain. He has proven his intent on winning the presidency at all costs, at the expense of the truth. His choice of running mate was stupid and, I think, also cynical. He chose someone religious-right males would find desireable, and someone he hoped disgruntled Clinton supporters would go for just to get a woman in office. The fact that Palin is ignorant of all the major issues, and doesn't understand the Constitutional parameters of the job for which she's applying, McCain feels is irrelevant. Nor does she seem to CARE about the legal definition of the Vice Presidential responsibilities! I find her frightening, as well as repellent.

All this "religious right" talk really pisses me off. We are the ONLY nation on earth that was born from an idea: The idea that all men and women have the right to believe as they wish. Or not. But this intrusion of rabid born-again Christianity into our political scene is like a cancer, threatening to eat away at all the hard work our Founding Fathers did those many years ago. If you really look hard at what happened with fundamentalism in the Middle East, you'll see the same thing is happening here under the guise of "right-wing conservatism". Please, people, WAKE UP!!! The Founding Fathers instituted the concept of Separation of Church and State for a good reason: the two institutions are not compatible with a free-thinking, democratic society.

The silver lining for this particular political cloud is how energized we all seem to be this time around. I hope you all will exercise your right, no... your civic duty, to vote. Whether it's raining, snowing, sunny, or you woke up today and just don't feel like it,... please, your vote matters. Think of it this way, if you decide not to vote, you have no right to complain about the outcome for the next four years. Personally, I prefer to keep that option open.

PS: Marble Man just clued me in to another site which echoes some of my views here. Just in case you want to check it out.

PPS: Sis-in-Law, Paula just clued me in to an article about McCain if you are interested.