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 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 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'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 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.