Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Please, remember what this day is all about.  As you are scurrying about, making pies, sauces and what not, take a moment, draw a deep breath and whisper, "Thank you".  This day is not about over indulging as much as it is about giving thanks. Many, many years ago, the menus, as well as the times, were simpler. The day was to celebrate a good harvest and give thanks for all that you had.  

I hope that all of you and those near and dear to you have a wonderful Thanksgiving this year!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Gorgeous Day!


It is a beautiful 58 degrees here and I'm loving it.  The sun is shining and there is a slight breeze.  The weather is calling for it to go up to 80 this afternoon.  Gorgeous day.  My daughter put up some Halloween decorations in the yard and on the house yesterday.  Hopefully, today we will go and get my grandson his Buzz Lightyear costume.  That is, if he doesn't change his mind again and want to be a cowboy, again!  And, they say, women are indecisive.

I am in the process of making some old fashioned soft sculpture Santas which I hope to have finished soon.  One thing I want to do different is that I want mine to be made of really good quality fabrics and some even with real fur!  So, to that end, I will be scouring fabric shops and thrift shops and anywhere else I can think of to find the fabrics I am looking for.  I even thought about going to different pawn shops and seeing if I can purchase jewelry that I can actually afford to put on my fantasy Santa!

I will also be starting to make my grand-daughter's costume this week.  She wants to be a princess this year...but with a twist.  She wants the skirt to be as big as one of those girls on My Big Gypsy Wedding!  I see a bolt of tulle in my future.  I will post pictures as soon as I get it finished.

I cannot wait until Halloween!  That is the start of my holiday season.  Let us not forget what Halloween really is...it's a time of renewal, a time to start new projects. A time to let go of the past and start anew. Samhain is almost here!  So, start planning now for that bonfire and make your wishes and start your projects!  So mote it be!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Roller Coaster Ride!

My life is a constant roller coaster, and lately it seems that it's been mostly down than up.  I tried and tried and no matter how I juggled the numbers, I just could not make Sharon Springs happen. This severely depressed me. I was so sure that I could. I felt like the little engine. I just kept plugging and plugging and in the end, I failed. I am glad, though, that they had a record turn out and the weather held out, even though it was supposed to rain and rain.  I'm totally re-evaluating this year and how many times I have failed in doing what I set out to do.  It seems that no matter how hard I've tried this year to do a craft show a month...well, I haven't.

So, onto Plan ???  Don't really know where I am anymore!

I will blog more. I've been reading that if you blog at least twice a week more and more people will start to read it.  Okay.  Here it is September 28th.  Next blog date...October 1st. Writing it down in my calendar so I don't forget.

Next, I've decided to join Zibbet.  It's like Artfire and they are having a yearly deal.  Which I should be able to afford by the early part of next week.  I figure, the more sites that have my items for sale the better.  Logical, no?

I've been working on my picture taking and I think I'm getting much better. So, I have a whole lot of items that I've taken to the few shows that I have done this year.  So, I will be posting the items this Saturday and hopefully something will sell.  My items sell really well at the shows. Now it's just a matter of letting the zillions of people on the internet know that I am out here and getting them to my shops.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?  I've taken my cue from the Beekman Boys.  Josh said that you should tell EVERYONE about your items. Post, blog, tweet (is that right?), etc.  I love the Beekman Boys, but let's face it, when they started they had a leg up on the rest of us. Josh is an ad executive for one of the largest ad agencies in NY and is already a published author.  And, Dr. Brent, used to work for Martha Stewart!  That's actually how the world got to know them.  They made goat milk soap...they gave some away as presents....Martha Stewart was a recipient...She put them on her show!  Bingo!  A business was born.  Yes, they do work VERY, VERY hard and they have a lot of expenses and are working towards their million dollar goal so Josh can quit his job and live permanently in Sharon Springs...now they will be appearing on QVC tonight!  Million dollars here it is!  They deserve it...I've never actually met them, but they have inspired me all this year to keep going, to keep working through the fatigue, through the disappointments, through everything.  Go to their website and, you too, will fall in love with this little town of just barely 500!

I will be going to the FEW local shops in my area and see what I can sell there.  Now, I can do this, since I have a vehicle at my disposal.  I also, have one outlet in Asheville, NC which I will probably get to in mid October...due to my work schedule.

Okay...a plea to all of my 12 followers...tell your friends, neighbors, relatives about my handcrafted work.  I need MORE followers, MORE visitors to my site.  I could also use any and all comments, critiques, ideas.  I refuse to give up my dream that I have held onto for so long.  I'm not a spring chicken anymore but I will keep on swimmin' till I can't swim anymore!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Okay...I survived another birthday...Another year older, not quite sure about the wiser.  My daughter made me a Black Forest Cake!  YUMMY! 

Now back to the reality of life.  No matter how I juggled the numbers, I just can't make Sharon Springs happen.  There's just not enough money. I'm really disappointed that this won't happen. I will be there next year, though.  Of that, I am sure.

I will be doing the Morganton Festival Sept. 9th and 10th.  My first night show.  It starts on Friday around 3 and on Saturday from 9 in the morning until 8 or 9 at night!  Long weekend.  And then, to the real job on Sunday.  I'll be a zombie by then!  Then on September 15th, I'll be at the Hickory Art Crawl.  That's just a few hours on that Thursday.  From around 5-9.  Then, October 1st, 8th and 15th I'll be at Art in the Park in Asheville, NC.  Still looking for a November show.  And then I'll be at the Holiday Fair in Greenville, SC.

Like I keep saying, "Just keep on swimming!"  

Even though not attending Sharon Springs is devastating to me, I will continue and try again for next year.  I'm starting to save now!  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finally Found A Car!!

As many of you know, I have been searching for a van for a VERY long time. Well, Eureka! A friend of mine, who works at the Barrel has a nice big Suburban that I am going to buy. Her husband has had it for a while and they decided that they didn't need it...so, I am going to buy it. Doing the dance of joy! It just seemed that I would never have a vehicle I could afford. It's a bit more that I wanted to spend; but they will let me make payments on it -- So....now, the dilemma of how to get to and from my shows is over, finally.

I've been scrimping and saving every dime I can so I will have enough cash to go to Sharon Springs, NY. I have decided that if there isn't enough cash I would borrow from one of those places you see on TV. The interest rate is as high as Shylock. I might as well give them a pound of my flesh! But, if it means I'll get to Sharon Springs, then that is what I will do.

I've been busy knitting bracelets and making fabric fortune cookies and painting bottles and making jewelry pouches and cutting my placemats...I'm starting to get extremely nervous about this show. I think it's a great opportunity for me and maybe just the break I need. I will reach my goal this year and move back North and get my business off the ground.

I've also decided that I will sign up for Pro Pay...a service provided through Artfire that allows you to accept credit cards. All you need is a laptop or a cell phone and an active bank account. Have all those. The fee is nominal and will allow me NOT to lose sales at the shows. Thank you Artfire!

Another friend of mine that works with me has volunteered her husband to make me some wooden cubes for the shows coming up. Next week I will buy a 4 X 8 piece of plywood and some screws and cut them to size and have her hubby get to work. I'll spray paint them and they'll look like those really fancy risers that you pay a fortune for at the stores. Maybe next year, I can afford some acrylic ones. One step at a time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Plan B. Or is it C?

Okay...so I applied for this little local show before the deadline. Sent in my fee and filled out the paperwork...and they just called me to tell me that they have been full for almost a month! Totally bummed out, because I was hoping to make a little extra cash for my trip to Sharon Springs. So, now, I have to think of another way to make that extra cash. Working overtime is not an option, because corporate won't allow that. There are no other local craft shows between now and then. I've been posting and blogging and trying to get the word out about my Artfire Studio to anyone who will listen. No bites yet!

On an upside...I HAVE FOUND A VEHICLE! One of my friends at the Barrel has a car that I can make payments on and it's big enough for everyone and everything. Even the dog! It's a Chevy Suburban. It's big and it's mine.

I just got off the phone with the promoter of the Harvest Festival in Sharon Springs, NY and he is excited about the Festival and he also told me that they are hoping to have a Christmas show as well. That would be wonderful. I will gladly take time off from work to go there and do that show.

I am making plans to do Asheville Art in the Park in October. Have not found a show for November yet. But, I will. And, I think I might do the Greenville, SC Holiday Fair this year.

Now, I have to get back to work if I'm going to have enough product for September.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Yesterday was my youngest daughter's birthday, she is now 29! Nothing makes you realize how fast time flies as much as your children's birthdays. First I cannot believe that I have a 29 year old and my eldest will be 31 on December 31st! You look at them and you still see those little tiny faces. You still remember the diaper changes, the sleepless nights, kissing boo-boo's...And, you remember all the mistakes that you made as they were growing up. Some of us make more than others. Sometimes when you think that you have done the right thing it comes back to haunt you when they get older.

I've made my quota of mistakes...I've made over my quota! My daughter and I are working them out now. My mistakes have caused her a great deal of pain and suffering and now, perhaps too late, we are trudging through them and trying to heal. It's going to be a long process. Pain does not heal easily or quickly. But, communication is key. And, yes, we still argue and I still don't quite understand some of it, but I am trying. I'm making changes and that's all that really matters. If you refuse to admit that you have committed errors and refuse to change...then nothing will get better. You have to look at it for what it really is. Don't sugar coat it. Don't make your mistakes excuses. See them for what they really are. That's the only way to make progress. That's the only way to heal.

I hope my daughter realizes all this and I hope that one day soon all the boo-boos will be healed.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Okay...I Have Little Butterflies in My Stomach!

It's almost 60 days until the Craft Show in Sharon Springs, NY. And, I am starting to get a few little butterflies in my stomach. First of all, it's the first craft show that I have done so far from Hickory, NC. So, the whole logistics of the whole thing has to be planned just right. My daughter, her fiancee, and her two children are also going...and, unless we can find someone who will watch Piggy (our dog)...she's coming too!

In the next couple of weeks, we have to decide when we are leaving and returning. I am leaning more on leaving a few days before the show and then staying for a while after that...Get the show out of the way and then scope the area around Sharon Springs for the possible move up to that area. I will say this, if I had the cash, I would move in about three weeks...that would give us enough time to pack and give two weeks notice to my job. Then...all you would see is dust!

I also have to figure out just how we are going to get there! We have a little car and the 12+ hour drive with all my inventory is just not feasible in that vehicle. So, I have been desperately trying to find an inexpensive van...then all of us, including the dog will be comfortable. We will, of course, leave EXTREMELY early in the morning...then the kids will sleep about the first four or five hours. Then, we could stop, have a picnic, let the dog and the kids run around and then head North again! Once we get to Sharon Springs, we could just chill, let the kids go crazy and find a nice little place for dinner and then ALL of us crash. The next day would be a leisurely one; and then, the next would be the show. My daughter, et al could have a couple of days to do whatever they wanted while I work.

I am also VERY excited and nervous on meeting the Fabulous Beekman Boys! If you have not heard of them, SHAME ON YOU! Visit their website and you will absolutely love them. They have been my inspiration these past few months. I want to take them out to dinner and get to know them as well as pick their brains. If you want to follow in someone's footsteps you have to get to know HOW the do what they do. How are they the success that they are now. How do they keep going when it just seems impossible. That's what I want to know. I want to know what step or steps I am missing, not doing, ignoring, etc.

So, if any of you out there, reading this know of an inexpensive van for sale...let me know!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer is Here and Learn How to Tip Your Server!

Does anyone remember Spring? That beautiful season that starts out sometime during the last days of Winter. Just about the time you say to yourself that you cannot take one more snowflake...That time of year when you walk outside and the air smells different. There is a hint of warmth of the breezes that heralds that season when the flowers will begin to emerge from the hard, cold ground. I cannot for the life of me think of those days. This year it seemed that we went straight from Winter to Summer. And I don't mean just that the snow melted and then it was warm...No, I mean the snow melted because it was already 80 degrees! The past two days, here in Hickory, NC, it was oppressive. With the heat index it was already over 100 degrees! Hickory sits at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains. Not exactly a very tropical area. But, as I drive around from day to day I see a couple of brave souls that have decided to try and grow bananas here and guess what? They actually have small bananas on their trees! I don't think that this is the normal weather changes that happen throughout the years. So...Thank you Global Warming!

Alas, I had to start my week of working. Today was especially hard...What is wrong with some folk that go out to eat at a restaurant and decide that a couple of bucks for a $50.00 tab is sufficient? I keep getting compliments on my service at that same table. The rule of thumb used to be 15% of the tab. Because of inflation, the rule of thumb is now 18%. When you rent a hall, say for a wedding, etc. they tack on 18% gratuity! I think there is a misconception by the general public that servers make minimum wage PLUS tips. Well, let me tell you that the industry standard for starting pay is $2.13/hour PLUS tips. (And, before you go and ask me why I do what I do...I do it because it allows me the luxury of taking time off for craft shows whenever I need.) For those of you that have ever bellied up to the bar and ordered a drink...the bartender says, "that'll be 3.50". More often than not you'd hand him a five and tell him to keep the change. (I know this to be fact, I've bar tended also.) Now, as a server, I bring you drinks, make sure your meal is hot and prepared correctly. You send me back and forth for mustard, mayo and every other imaginable condiment you can think of. I refill your glass or coffee until I'm waterlogged myself! I make sure you don't sit with a table full of dirty plates, etc. I make idle chit chat and smile even though my feet are killing me and my back is on fire from carrying all your food. If there is an error I apologize profusely and go back and make it right. I'll get the manager, so that you can get your meal free if the mix up is severe enough. I'll admit when I make a mistake. I bring you your check and you tell me that I was great and you will take care of me. And then you leave me a couple of bucks on the table as if this was a terrific tip! Or, my favorite, you empty your pockets of change and leave all that on the table for me. For all of those reading this, if you tip fairly...my hats off to you! For all of those reading this, if you don't tip fairly...WAKE UP! I have bills to pay also. If you cannot afford a tip, then go somewhere else. Don't go somewhere where you have to tip your server. Don't insult our intelligence with a lousy tip. We are there to provide you with a good experience when you dine out. We are not your slaves. Do not snap your fingers at us. If we are smart enough to say our names, kindly try and remember it. Or, if our name is on our apron, have the common decency to look and speak our name. I do the same, if you tell me your name. We have a lot of "regulars" where I work and if I cannot remember the name of the customer I am about to wait on I ask one of the old timers. This way I can greet "Jim" or "Sam", etc. You don't call your barber, Sir or Ma'am. I bet you know your mechanic's name, and the list goes on and on. So, next time that you go out to a restaurant where there is a server, remember that we are human, just like you and deserve your respect and that we also have bills to pay.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I am so very glad that my week is over and I am off for the next two days. The weather is supposed to be oppressive. They are calling for the heat index to be 107!! That's hot, humid or not. I don't seem to remember this part of the country getting this hot -- not even during the dog days of summer. How I long for the cool breezes in upstate New York. I cannot wait until late September. I still have not figured out if I will be going up to Sharon Springs a week before the show and leave soon afterwards or arrive just a few days before...still trying to figure that out. I have to decide soon if I want to get a room!

I plan on working very hard tonight and for the next two days to make some items that I have been itching to do. I'm working on a couple of bustiers -- Steampunk, of course. I have to scrounge for the boning. I went to my local Hancock Fabric store today and the package of 2 yards was $4.99 and by the yard it was $3.29. Seeing how I need quite a bit...I wonder where I can get strapping tape for free. Maybe the local IFH?? It's the same thing that Hancock's was selling for $3.29/yd.

I was talking to a gentleman in Sharon Springs who I think is much the entrepreneur. I was trying to pick his brain to see how he handles working on Long Island and travelling to Sharon Springs where he owns property. He is also working on restoring a beautiful old hotel (The Wellington House), etc. I see that kind of thing every day. Remember the movie about the woman who went and cooked every recipe in Julia Child's cookbook? That was based on a true story. The Beekman Boys are another example. How did they get a show on Planet Green? Yes, they knew Martha Stewart and Josh works for JWT, one of the best advertising agencies in NY. They had a little bit of an in there, but it's not like Planet Green knocked on their door one day and asked them if they wanted a TV show. How does this happen? What am I missing? What step am I not taking. I just want to be able to eventually quit my waitressing job and do my own thing. How to achieve that? One thing I do plan to do when I am in Sharon Springs is to talk to Josh and Brent (Beekman Boys)...Garth and Doug, owners of the American Hotel...Tony Daou, owner of the Black Cat Cafe. I want to buy these people a drink or a cup of coffee...I want to sit and talk about how they did it. Maybe I can get an idea of the steps to take. Sort of like doing some reconnaissance work. Get a little intel. How do I get out of this rut I am in. How do I quit my job and move on.

Friday, July 8, 2011

July began hot and muggy here in Hickory, NC. The weather is reminiscent of southern Florida. Hot, then in the afternoon, rain...then steam room! Thank you Global Warming!

I'm working on a Steampunk vest that I should finish by the weekend. I can't believe tis trend is still alive and kicking. I also want to do some Steampunk wedding items. I have some hats I've already cut and should finish early next week.

Speaking of weddings, one of my co-workers is going to be a bridesmaid and she has asked me to do her dress. Cute dress. Very simple A-line, knee length. But, here's the kicker, it's CAMO. I don't know exactly what color yet. She is still looking for the fabric. Her friend is having a "Red Neck" wedding. That's what she is calling it, not me. She's getting married by the river and she's even going to have mud-wrestling. Not my cup of tea, but I guess, to each his own.

Still making plans for the Sharon Springs Harvest Festival in late September. Wish I had a couple of thousand extra dollars. Cannot wait to actually see this little Hamlet and meet the Fabulous Beekman Boys. If you don't know who they are...you are missing out on a great adventure.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I hope that everyone had a great Fourth of July and got to see lots and lots of firework displays. Here in Hickory we had a torrential rain -- so we decided to stay home and watch the myriad of shows on the boob tube that showed them. The ones in NYC were glorious! I must say that after the vote for same sex marriages I didn't think that New York could surpass the experience. But even on the television the fireworks were absolutely celebratory. I am very proud to be a New Yorker right now. And, hopefully by this time next year I will be posting from somewhere in that great state. I've spent over 30 years south of the Mason Dixon line and I must admit that I miss the North every day. The South and this city girl just don't mix.

After many years in the laid back atmosphere that most of the South where I have lived -- I've had enough. I miss the hustle and bustle of New York. I miss the food, the weather, the people, the energy. What I wouldn't give for a decent bagel with a shmear! The South has its fine points...just not enough for me to spend the latter part of my life trying desperately to fit in. Maybe it's just the places that I have lived that did not accept the way I am ... a true New Yorker!

Don't misunderstand I am not dissing the South...it's just not for me. So, for the rest of the year I am working as much as I can at Cracker Barrel and doing as many craft things that I can do...I figure I can sleep once I've moved.

So, take a look at my Artfire Studio! Grab a cup of coffee or whatever other libation makes you happy and browse and maybe purchase something or have something specially made just for you!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Time Persists

WOW! Has it really been that long since I posted? Part of it has been life seeping into every crevice and part of it is pure procrastination. I've been telling myself that I should post. I need to post. How am I expecting to have people even remotely know who I am if I don't write. And, inevitably, I tell myself, I will do it later. I'll do it tomorrow. But, as we all know, tomorrow never comes, we just keep waiting.

Another part is that I just don't see how people would be remotely interested in what I have to say. I'm just a normal person, who works as a waitress at Cracker Barrel and desperately trying to start this little Cottage Industry business. Funds are low for supplies even though the desire is great. I want to create...I want to play with fabric...you know, manipulate it, dye it, rip it, cut it, and oh so many other things. But, I have to admit, that now, at my age, when I get home after 8 hours of carrying trays and dealing with the public...all I want to do is pull the covers over my head and psych myself up for the next day. But, there is something, maybe that proverbial voice that says, "Don't give up!!!!, Your stuff sells at craft shows, museums, coffee shops. Keep on trying. You'll figure this online stuff out." So, I start to create and fight through the fatigue. And, before I know it, I've knitted a bracelet or finished a set of placemats.

My desire to make this work is greater than my desire to quit and pull those covers over my head. I want to do this for me. I want to show the world what I can do. Nothing is better than having someone buy one of your items and telling you that they have never seen anything like this before. It's a glorious feeling! Better than any other high I've ever experienced. Well, maybe with the exception of giving birth to my children! But that's another post.

The feeling I get is one of great pride and one that is humbling as well. My items are all one of a kind and rather unique, but I keep telling myself that I have to keep those creative juices flowing. I have to keep moving forward with my art. A friend of mine once told me that I have to quit looking at my items as crafts...they are, after all, a part of me. They are my inner voice and a little piece of me goes with every piece that I make. That is art, he said. Not crafts. It took me a long time to realize this and now, that is the way that I look at my items. So, when someone smirks because I name every single thing that my hands create, I tell them what my friend said to me.

I will try to post, to write, to create more and more and not let the fact that Time Persists intimidate me.