Thursday, May 29, 2008

In the eye of the storm

It has taken me several days to post about the Memorial Day Blues Festival, I needed to recoup.
The day started out overcast and a little rain but nothing we haven't all seen before. Plus there was some sort of mix up about the tent placement, apparently the Fire Marshall drove by and said all tents must be 10 feet apart. As you can imagine this caused a bit of a stir as everyone had set up exactly as directed. This news meant half of the group had to move! One vendor was asked to move twice?!? With the gloom in the air and now the news of the migration there was a bit of a bad vibe happening now.

By the time our booth was set up it was actually sunny and pleasant. Just a little wind here and there but we had everything staked good and tight. Thankfully I had an early bird shopper and had a decent first sale of the day an hour before the event! As usual Jodi and I are finessing our tables and area but there seemed to be nasty skies in the distance. So we decide to be pro active and go ahead and put the sides on the tent, plus Jodi's husband aka "the weather man" has called and warned of a storm coming our way. Looking back I remember "the weather man's" advice to me as he was assessing the weather conditions and the layout of the land, he told me if anything happens our best bet is to jump in the lake. OK! If it gets that bad I'm thinking to myself...I'll just be a goner.

The next few minutes were something like in the Wizard of Oz ! Here's the deal...Jodi and I have the plastic on one side and are doing the other side of the tent, on the outside. It's raining (hard) and the wind is blowing (hard). Oh by the way the band is playing not missing a beat. I see several tents blowing across the lot and miscellaneous bags, signs, art get the picture.
Jodi and I are using our weight to hold the tent, honestly for a second I felt the tent pulling me up. I am not a small person so my thoughts were if my feet leave the ground I've missed my go jump in the lake opportunity! Next came the really bad part....a straight line gust (that's what Jodi called it, I say mini tornado) blew both tables opposite us and everything was on the ground and blowing away. All Jodi's art! Remember we are still OUTSIDE the tent.....then it was over.
No more wind, no more rain just a group of soaking wet people surrounded by rubble. And the band played on.......

Thank goodness no one was hurt. The losses were all material, some more than others. After the shock we began picking up the pieces and thinking how it could have been worse. At least I didn't jump in the lake but I sure looked like I did.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Day Event

A quick reminder that White Cottage Design, The Creative Jar and Par Deux Meres will be showing this Monday 5/26 in Centennial Park at the Blues Festival Event. Come on out for a day in the park to enjoy the music, food and festivities. Oh and don't forget to check out the artist/crafters as well.




May26th, 12:00-7:00pm

Centennial Park, Nashville

On another quick note I have been featured in the spotlight
Artsy Mamas blog

The pictures are random shots taken at night...not very good lighting but I like it anyway and you can't post a blog without a picture now can you?
Hope everyone has an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, May 19, 2008


A big part of the events and shows is the booth set up. I am always changing and on the look out for that "perfect" object that will highlight my creations and bring attention to the booth. And sometimes I find the "perfect" object but will it fit into my car? Yes I put everything into my 1991 525I BMW. I know I need a larger vehicle but it's got to be the right one if you know what I mean.That may be a whole other blog as I have been on the look out.

We have a local retail fixture store that is a hit or miss sort of deal, and the prices are usually more than I want to pay. But if you dare venture into the back and look real hard sometimes you will find that diamond in the rough. This was the case several weeks ago shopping for a replacement for Matilda (shh, don't let her know). For those that do not know Matilda she is an iron female stand that models the aprons for pictures and events. Matilda has several issues...for one she is hard to get into my car, I have her on the front passengers side sort of sideways. If she had a head it would be on my shoulder as I drive. Number two issue is that she has fell several times and broken her neck, hence the decorative flower arrangement on top. So I was really in the market for a half form that was flexible for table top or free standing. Have you priced these things recently? Whew, they are not cheap! But way in the back I found Lucy, at first glance she doesn't seem like much. I actually passed on the deal at first, she has more issues than Matilda. But my friend Jodi Reeves of The Creative Jar was inspired and convinced me to go back and get Lucy. Jodi promised a play date to fix her up....she is a woman of vision!

Armed with Jodi's collection of vintage magazines, letters, sheet music, mod podge and other goodies we began the Lucy makeover. Well what can I say? I LOVE LUCY!!! And big huge thanks to Jodi for her vision and contribution of vintage papers. The whole process was so much fun...even the sticky fingers. The best part was finding these words, sayings and ads and choosing careful placement. Lucy is a good read, if you know where to look :)

I will take some action shots of Lucy and the booth next week at the Blues Festival. If you have any booth ideas or tricks please share and I always look forward to comments.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Antique and Thrift store shopping

I really am not much a mall shopper but it's hard to drive pass an Antique or Thrift store. It's like a treasure hunt and you never know what you may find, for me it's the thrill of the hunt.

It's interesting to see what people throw out or put up for sale. Sometimes I look at something and think about the story that's behind the piece. I think about who might have cherished it and how it wound up on a shelf in a store. I send out hope that it will be bought by someone else that will cherish it. If you have never seen the movie "The Red Violin" I strongly recommend it, it's the story of a violin spanning several centuries.

The above pictures are of recent finds...the silver bowl is a $6.00 thrift store find. I really should have taken a before picture, believe me it did not look anything like the picture. It was almost completely black and I couldn't see any marks but I fell in love with the shape and intricate top. Plus I didn't have a silver bowl a lot of silver trays and a couple of tea sets. After round one cleaning (not finished yet) I found a mark! After some research I found the silver bowl was manufactured in the states somewhere between 1870-1879. WOW! It's not perfect but in great shape given it's age. The cutie pie birds are a find from a local Antique Mall, my husband bought them as a present. Lucky me! They do not have any markings and I know nothing about them other than they make me smile. So I promise to take care of my treasures and cherish them.
Hmm, wonder where they will be in 100 years from now?

Friday, May 9, 2008

The handpainted owl bag

If you have been reading the blog you may remember the play date post. My very talented artist friend Jodi Reeves came over and "encouraged" me to do a hand painted handbag. I have been wanting to do some other type medium and branch out a little. So what the heck I'll give it a shot. I do okay with sketching but putting down paint is another's harder than it looks.

Recently Jodi did a post about her bags and comparing styles said she was "Green Acres" and I was "Manhattan". Well if that is the case my art is "refrigerator art" and she is "gallery art". I feared my bag would just sit there until a family member took pity and asked to purchase it. However I finished the bag Friday night before the show (didn't take a picture) and sold it Saturday!!! WOW never in a million years would I have thought. The even stranger thing is the customer paid me more than the asking price, was I being "PUNKED"?

Knowing I didn't even take a picture my friend Michelle aka Wicked Moxie came to the rescue with her camera. Note always take pictures of your creations!! So here is my first hand painted with first attempt at free motion machine stitching handbag. I did enjoy doing it and plan to do more, so keep checking back.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Crafter Conversations

Hello all! Whew, what a week! I had a show Saturday before last, Mamamade event in Franklin then this past Saturday at the Lockland School of Design and Sunday CRAFT a creative community. So I have been a busy girl :) Thanks to all who came out to support local crafters and artist we wouldn't/couldn't do it without you. Which brings me to the title topic.....

Honestly it was sloooow and not the gang buster business any of us crafters/artist expected/wanted so "why do we do it"? Usually we are all busy with patrons or straighting our booths but the past 2 weekends it seemed like more down time to visit and chat with one another.
The conversations were something like this..."no one wants to pay the prices", "no one has extra money to spend", "I'm making below minimum wage doing this", "the event wasn't promoted", "other artist are marking items too low to compete, and the big one "why do I do this"?

I admit I'm not a perfect person and can be drawn into the "drama". But I really did have to think about it, you know there's some good points to consider. A lot of these issues go hand in hand like "no one wants to pay the price" and "no one has extra money to spend".
I believe a lot of us are in the same boat with the rising cost of gas, food, etc. and feel the money crunch. But consider your product? Is it priced fairly? Have you as an crafter/artist created the value in the piece? I can only speak of my experience, but I know I value my goods and hope I convey the passion and quality of my goods. I like the shows and the interaction with the customer, it is actually what I like best. Is your product something that may be used in a practical way? For example I think people are buying things that may be used everyday, they seem to be able to justify a handbag that they carry everyday or a boo boo bag that they use.

"The event wasn't promoted", well what did you do? As creators and sole proprietors it's up to us! Did you post on your sites? Do you carry handouts to give as people notice and comment on your goods? Do you promote the next event at the event you're at? Do you hang posters in your community? We can make a difference if we all pitch in.

"Other crafters/artist are pricing too low to compete". That's a hard one, we really don't know for sure the price of the materials and the time involved in a piece. I do think a lot of crafters/artist cut themselves short and we are our own worst enemy/critic. Remember we are creators and my items are created one at a time all handmade. I put a lot of thought and let the fabric speak to me and sometimes just the time spent on creating the pattern and layout is very time consuming. I remind myself that my items are usually one of a kind that cannot be bought anywhere else. It goes back to creating the value again.

I saved the big ones for last "I'm not even making minimum wage" and "why do I do this?"
That's a personal one, for me I do it because I LOVE IT! I am fortunate and am grateful that I am able to create. I enjoy the company of the other crafters/artist, setting up shop, meeting people that read my blog and creating something someone will appreciate. Although I do okay, if I added the gas, mileage, cost of materials, booth fee and then time creating the product, time in the car buying materials, time loading the car, time setting up the booth and time at the event....I don't want to think about my hourly wage!

Here's the good news...I can work in my comfortable clothes at home, I can take a break or day off whenever, no one is criticizing my work (except me), the only deadlines are self imposed, I can be as creative as I want and I'm doing what I want. I have met some wonderful people and have friendships that never would have happened. I would pay to have a job like that!

The pictures are of mine and Jodi's booth set up. Another post will be forthcoming about set up, I need options. The woman is Jodi's new endeavor of shemics, like comics for women (get it?). They are wonderful, I actually bought one myself this weekend. Go check out her site for more!

If you have read this far thank you. I truly appreciate you and your comments, I wouldn't be here without you. This is a different type of post for me and I promise not to whine too often.
So smile, give yourself a pat on the back...better yet give yourself a big hug :)