Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Show for April

I'm adding a new show to my schedule for April - Country at Heart in the Berry Barn near Mt Vernon.

Here are the details . . .

Show: Country at Heart
Dates: April 1 - 24, closed Mondays
Hours: 10am - 5pm
Location: The Berry Barn, 14285 La Conner Whitney Rd, Mt Vernon

It's a smaller, boutique craft show, meaning that I am not working my own booth up there. I will have a display with all my spring products there - and some cute little gift sets for Easter and spring in tin watering cans and colorful organza bags. This is the 8th year for this show, and Charlene and her Mom have so graciously invited me to participate.

This is Tulip Festival month, and there are all kinds of display gardens, shops, and special events going on all month. It's a great time to head up and see what's new.

And just a reminder, I'll be at the Mt Vernon street fair, manning my own little tent on the weekend of Apr 15-17. Keep your fingers crossed that the weather will hold out.

Best of the Northwest news

Just a quick update - the Best of the Northwest show was a huge success this past weekend. Everyone had such a good show, and the customers showed up in droves, even though it was a rainy, grey weekend.

We even got a write up in the Seattle Times on Monday. And I was quoted too! The lovely reporter (Melissa Allison) stopped by my booth on Sunday, and was delighted to find a few things for gifts that needed. We chatted a bit about the show and she mentioned that the story would run the next day. It's focus seems to be more about the economy and money - what people spend, how much artists make, etc. That's not what I discussed with her though, so I had hoped to read a little more about the show.

The bad economy is old news and I think people are really tired of hearing about it, frankly. In fact, I think that's partly why spring shows are up. We're just so darn tired of all the bad news and bad weather that we want to get out and treat ourselves with something fun to do or something fun to buy for ourselves. Just to get out of the rut and get on with spring, move forward.

Anyway, what I had hoped to see in the story was all my raving about how great the quality of the show is too. It's so much improved from the last few years. Lots of new artists, cool new stuff, really interesting people from all over - especially the Portland area. It's refreshing to see a whole space filled with art that is truly inspirational - made with passion, rather than made simply to sell, which so many of the shows have now. It's not "commercial" art in the technical sense, but just art made to be sold as quickly and cheaply as possible, rather than for the pure enjoyment and effort.

So the jurying this year was great - even with the new Zapplication system. And the advertising and hard work of everyone to get the word out was phenomenal. I just think this is such a wonderful group of people - artists and staff - that's it's a great thing to see it work out successfully, even in the usually doldroms springtime.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March Shows

The shows are starting up again for spring. I've got a small craft show this week, and the larger Best of the Northwest next week. It's a good time to shop for small gifts with Easter coming up, Mother's Day on the horizon too.

Vasa Park Spring Gift Show
March 17 - 19, Thurs and Fri 10am - 7pm, Sat 10am-5pm
Vasa Park Ballroom, 3560 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE

This show is free admission, free parking and has all kinds of spring crafts, home decor plus antiques and collectibles too. It's a boutique style show, with a single cashier at the door.

Best of the Northwest
March 26 -27, Sat and Sun 10am-6pm
Hangar 30, Warren G Magnuson Park

This one has free parking, but admission to get in ($5 online, $7 at door). It's 110 regional artists in every medium, displaying their work in their own booths. Tons of artist demonstrations, food booths, entertainment - the works. Click the link for ticket info, artist info, directions on how to get there (Sand Point). My booth location is the very last row against the farthest wall from the front entrance.

Oh, I also have a handful of free passes to this show too, so if you know that you are planning on coming, give me a holler. I've sent out a few this week, but got a little bunch left for whoever needs one.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Taking the calls

The downside to having your own business? It's all the phone calls. All day long. From other businesses that want to do business with your business.

Local schools that want you to sponsor the girl's volleyball team. Or buy t-shirts for them. Or tote bags.
Life insurance companies. Phone and internet companies. Packaging reps. Suppliers of all kinds from everywhere on earth.
Banks, credit card reps, merchant service reps.
Label printers. Office equipment. Manufacturing equipment.
A few random folks who want jobs.
People with web sites, or people that want to "optimize" your web site.
Groups that want free samples. Groups that want auction donation items.
Charities galore with special needs or matching funds opportunities.

I'm sure there's more. That was just the past week or two.

How did I get on this big list of "call me" so we can do business?

Before, when I didn't have caller ID, I thought that just getting that little service would make my life so much easier. Heaven.

But I was so wrong. Whenever any of the above call in, the little ID tells me it's "unkown" or "cell phone San Jose" or something equally useless. There is no way to know if it is a customer or a bothersome telemarketer. During business hours (and even after) I still answer every call. And it's a real time-waster.

I've never liked the phone much. Maybe it's a throw-back to when I had to start my working life as a receptionist and secretary. But today I am very much hating it.

Oh, as I was typing this, I got another one. Some guy from "Hollywood Precious Metals" wants me to convert some of my hard-earned savings into buying a solid piece of metal something as a better retirement option. Is he kidding? I'm not sure what is more ridiculous - that I would buy metal junk instead of keep my cash, or that I would even have any kind of savings, heh.

Monday, March 07, 2011


It's been very quiet the last couple of weeks. I think everyone is hibernating until winter is over. The cold and the grey continue, even though the first little pops of crocus are blooming. Myself, I'm not motivated to do anything more than sleep, read and snuggle by the fire. It's really nice to have even a couple of weeks with so few deadlines that I can spend most of my time doing my own little projects and activities.

Martha Beck's blog just had a really nice discussion about how important it is to have down-time and a significant amount of just plain sleep in order to keep the creative juices flowing. So that's what I'm doing. Thank God for her - now I don't have to feel any guilt about slacking off :)

But now that we're into March, action is afoot. There are a couple of shows happening later this month (Vasa and Best of the Northwest). Plus I'm working out details on adding one in Mount Vernon in April during the Tulip Festival. I'll post details here on all of that next week.

Also, I wanted to mention that the Helping Hands soap is finally back in stock. It takes a long time to make and cure all five scents of soap needed for those. January was a flurry of just getting all the bars back in stock after the frenzied holiday season, plus make sure all the spring soaps were ready for the early February spring newsletter. Now, a few weeks later, I've got all the mini bars ready to go, and I'm hoping that I can keep them fully stocked up for the whole year.

The little packages of small soaps are such a nice gift item - perfect for adult Easter baskets, hostess gifts, or any other spring special event coming up.