Monday, June 29, 2009

What I've been working on...

Yes, I've been very busy! Even with the shows I've done in the last two weeks, I've stocked up on some new designs, I hope you like them! Usually, as I design on a whim, these would be one-of-a-kind (OOAK in Etsy speak) but as always, am happy to make any custom design you'd like! This skull wristlet is getting listed today, was thought up during our homeschool group Dungeons & Dragons game. A little inspiration never hurts!

This design was one I used on a tote, then a messenger bag, I like the bold graphic look of it without being too "frou frou". And of course, black is my fav, goes with anything.

I made these for my mom to give to a nice friend from church, but she ended up going with fuchsia mocs. I always like spreading out my mocs across the world, they're my own design, and I'm very eager to see LOTS of babies wearing them! This shoe is so sweet and traditional. Reclaimed leather, as always. Super soft and supple!

This is the last of my etched leather, I was able to make several pairs of shoes from it, and a wristlet. It's so very soft and pretty, neutral and mod! Listing these today also!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Craft Show Conundrum

I have to say, I am constantly torn about craft shows. You may do this every year, stress over which shows to do, whether to do them at all, and at the end of the show, whether to ever do them again.

I really enjoy the show itself. However, as any of you who've done them know, the countless hours spent in preparation usually means you've been working for free. You have not only the time in creating, but the travel, set up, hours at the show, plus however long it took to secure your equipment and create displays. I must admit I've tried my hardest to display on the cheap, feeling clever at my use of pegboard sprayed silver to hang my shoes. This lets them all be seen, keeps them from blowing off the shelves I made from reclaimed wood, and helps weigh down my insufficient canopy.

Is it a great set up? Heck no, it pales in comparison to those who've spend 10 years building their booth up. I have, though, come up with some cute decor to offset the spartan displays I have. Again, cheaply. It'll do, for now. But if I intend to continue craft shows as local promotion (it's not JUST to sell shoes I've realized, since several came who remember me from last year), I am going to have to invest countless more hours creating a booth that looks like a store.

I left this weekend's show feeling somewhat like I really needed to decide if the craft show circuit is the best way to spend my time, to sell the most product. It's probably the biggest decision a crafter who wants get their "branded" product out there faces. I see clearly that it can be done, why else would these long timers continue, with their professional setups, high end products and name recognition, keep doing it?

There's no guarantee that any show, no matter how successful in the past, won't get rained out, or suffer some other sort of situation where the crowds just don't show up. I was told if I want to make the big sales, I need to do the big shows. Therein lies the problem. That next step. Stay a hobby crafter on Etsy or move up to push into the wholesale market? Do the affordable shows with moderate attendance or move up to the big time, $200-500 fee shows with 30,000+ attendance?

Have you thought about it? What's your next move?

An aside: The winner of the Birthday Giveaway, who correctly guessed first which child was me (bottom row, left), was morganstreet.

Friday, June 19, 2009

My Birthday Blog

I have to write a birthday blog, right?

Some enlightened musings where I impart wisdom to my younger friends and join my older and wiser friends in reminiscing on life and it's lessons.

Nahhhhhh! Just want to give a little shout out to my ma & pa, and say thanks for the years! And just to give everyone a little chuckle, here's a pic of me 18 years ago, then one of me in first grade. One free recycled leather zipper pouch of your color choosing to the first one who can guess which child I am. For those of you who already know (and I know who you are!) no tattling!

Hint...I was not much different then. So to qualify, you have to follow my blog, and my facebook fan page at and the first to guess wins! Color is based on availability.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Spring Fling '09

Spring fling, our homeschool prom, is tomorrow. It's been weeks in preparation. Kids & moms enjoying the process of bringing our 60's theme to life. Without the opiates. The coordinators have meetings months in advance, and we implement their ideas on a shoestring budget. Last year was a misery of 97 degree heat outside and a 100+ degree building inside. This basement church hall is just delightful, spaceous and well appointed. A joy to work in. Toward the end of the day, this is how it was coming along.

Tomorrow night is going to be a dream for the 11+ year olds. The guys, for the most part, will barely notice their surroundings, being too busy hanging with their buds. The ladies, however, are well aware of the fanfare, as we all know, it's all about the dress! More pics to come...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday's Musings

Although the weather isn't an impressive summer mix of heat, sun, and the sticky film that envelops us the minute we venture out, it's been just enough rain & sun to urge the green up from it's secret hiding place. So today I thought I'd share a little of what's going on in my garden. Funny how all of the first flowers in my garden are purple. My mom always said the bigger the bloom the quicker they fade, so catching the foxglove is one of the highlights of spring, if the rain doesn't mangle them first. The pink Weigiela was a "moving home" gift from my parents, grows so fast it's a great way to make a huge impact. Reminds me of the person who's impacted my life in the greatest way.

Honestly, most of my plants came from my mother's garden. I consider this the kind of heirlooms one should treasure the most, because not only do you receive part of your family's past, you can spread it all over without losing anything. These yellow Iris's are such a treat amongst the purple Baptesia towering in the back, and the Veronica (bought in honor of my 5th child) I have to go out and look at them every day.

The obelisk in the background was a special request for my birthday several years ago. It's builder is my father, whom I consider to be the most talented human I know. It's not just talent, it's a cleverness, ingenuity and motivation I've never seen in another. Yes, there are others like him, just not quite as wonderful :-) and not that are so giving of their time. I have been truly blessed by parents who love me like no others. In the foreground are Siberian Iris's my sister graciously donated to my one time barren patch of gravel. Later on her Black Eyed Susans will make me smile well into fall. The silvery swatch is the young Silver King Artemesia my lovely mom has now given to 4 of my gardens around the country. Talk about sowing!

So this is my garden. But it's not mine. It belongs to my husband, who built and buried the fences all across, pieces of wood from his father's deck. His father, who in this an many other manners will always be here with us. Who made my husband the incredible man he is today. He (my husband of course) put in the lightposts to always guide our way home. A former friend of mom's, who sent her unwieldy rambling roses to me, since they overtook her plot, reminds us of friendships and their fragility. My best friend, who's blanket of sweet pink creeping flowers reminds me of a good base for friendship. How we must treasure and tend them lest they be lost. The stones in the path, a rich part of New England's history and how they once labored to rid their fields so they could live and eat.

Yes, this is my garden. It's not huge, it's not the most beautiful I've seen. For me, however, it's a reminder of where I come from. The wonderful people without whom this would not be, nor would I. I can ignore it, like them, and it will wither, like our relationships. Or I can give it my love and attention, like they've given me, treat it well, and it, like them, will grace my life with beauty and richness.