Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Baking pies with my mom

I still get my hair cut by Deborah at Salon Excellence in Waltham, been going there almost ten years, she's so great! It's me and a bunch of little old ladies getting their curlers set. I love it. Anyway, it's not far from where my folks live so I went to see them today and have some lunch. After lunch, mom baked pies for Christmas.

Here are three videos I made, turn the volume up, press the "play" arrow and join us in the pie making experience!

She makes her crusts from scratch:

I cut up all the Granny Smith apples, mom's mom was my Granny Smith, and my MIL is also a Granny Smith! (But my husband and I are only related by our marriage, we checked ;)

Wheat sheaf, the Farr family pie crest:

That pie is for the grandkids (all in their twenties now!) Mom and I don't eat sugar or wheat so she also makes these lovely open face pies on nut crusts, like big tarts, blueberry and apple, mmmm. We can have as much whipped cream as we like, we just have to whip it. Whip it real good. We used to do it with the manual beater and lots of elbow grease, but I'm bringing the electric mixer tomorrow, I'm not foolin' around.

We are just glad to be able to spend time together for whatever reason. Grateful is what we are.

Peace to you all!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Last show of the season!

My show season is over, I did it! Well, I did it with a lot of help :) I made bunches of cute goodies and Dell helped me at my show. And Candace helped me by carrying things down to my car and making a sign to post on my studio door during the Open Studios I had to miss this past weekend. And everyone else helped me by wishing me good luck, which totally worked, thank you!

This was my first big holiday show season since I came back to doing shows. I was totally freaked out by the huge table money ($400!!) I paid for shows I'd never even been to, never mind set up at. But it turned out to be worth the risk, even in this lousy recession. If this was a slower year, as some people have told me, then I can't wait for boom times :)

Actually, the pace was perfect for me, steady sales but not overwhelming. For this last one, the SOWA Holiday Market in Boston's South End, we set up Friday night for a Lola Magazine preview party.

figured out the exact location (thanks again Google Street View!) which was just up the street from the Open Market they run all summer.

We found a spot for my little Focus in line amongst the other double parked crafters rapidly unloading in the frigid weather. The party wasn't a huge selling event, but it was great to be set up and ready to go for Saturday and I did make a few sales, so certainly not time wasted. Plus I got to schmooze with my neighbors; Marie from GALVIN-ized Headwear and Harmony Jusseaume.

I also got to meet the absolutely adorable Tomoko who is the artist behind TADworks, the cutest shop on Etsy!

Seriously, have you SEEN THIS?? *faints from the cuteness* And so it was no surprise that Tomoko is a delightful person. I love the Po cards I got, thank you!

So Saturday was great! Non-stop crowds and lots of sales. My pincushions were a HUGE hit!

But so were the felt nests, flower pins and earrings.

And everyone just had to squeeze my felty balls :)

I always sell a little of everything at shows, it feels great. I love when the right item connects with the right person. Just makes me want to go make more!

I had put the kielbasa soup in the slow cooker that morning so we were greeted by a wonderful aroma and a hot dinner when we got home exhausted that night. We gave Chester credit for cooking us a nice meal. We're goofy like that.

Sunday had a different vibe. Slower to arrive, the shoppers were more cautious. But we still had good consistent sales, if not up to Saturday's mark. All the vendors had gone home Saturday night and made more goods, I somehow managed to make 6 more pincushions. I heard someone say they'd gone to sleep as soon as they got home from the show, then set their alarm for 1 AM and gotten up to make more items, I could never do that!

So now my show season is over, but many things that I postponed to prep for these events are still waiting to be completed. And I can't wait to get back in the studio to make more of what was popular at my shows. My Etsy shop will be full of new goodies in the coming year!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Festival of Crafts Recap

Despite someone describing one of my cute new wool pincushions as a "voodoo cupcake", I think Worcester gets me. I had a fantastic show at the Worcester Center for Crafts Festival of Crafts last weekend!

It was my first really huge show, I was playing in the big leagues now, and I wasn't sure how they would like me. After all, I don't work with fire ie: ceramics, glass, metal, like so many of the higher-end artisans do. I work with brightly-colored, fluffy wool and polymer clay which some still see as just a children's toys. But I put my wares out and they were well received!

I had a fantastic spot, right off the entrance,

good lighting and excellent neighbors. The people running the center and the show could not have been nicer, more encouraging or more helpful. What a fantastic positive vibe in there! I know I'm gushing, but wow.

I made consistent sales and was only overwhelmed with people waiting in line to buy a few times.

The pace was overall very manageable. I did equal parts cash and credit, then a few more sales in checks. People seemed to be buying for themselves as well as for gifts.

The first day was all about cupcake ornaments and pincushions, the second day seemed all about nest pins,

though I generally sell at least a little of everything at each show I do. Each night I went home and while exhausted, made more items to keep my table looking full.

The husband was a huge help, driving me there and back, bagging orders, holding my rolly cart steady while I ran the knuckle buster for credit cards, going for coffee, and generally being a witness to the day and sharing the experience with me.

The vendor we sat next to was the delightful Molly Shattuck Thomas who also works in polymer clay. She has a fantastic eye for color and excels at combining her fascinating patterns into gorgeous necklaces, bracelets, earrings, hair pins and cuff links.

Her craftsmanship is excellent and I really fell for this pair of earrings in my favorite colors with elegant handcrafted ear wires:

A vendor situated in another room of the building sought me out for a trade and I couldn't be more pleased! Ji Hwang is sweet, smart AND talented! Her elegant display used tree branches to complement the natural forms of her precious metal jewelry. These stunning silver pod earrings feature a faceted coral bead in the perfect shade of fiery orange. Love!

I also had the pleasure of meeting the completely sweet Liz of Looka Jewelry. Check out her Etsy shop, her work is so carefully crafted and precious! This bunny just gets to me :) I also met Anna of Ham Crafted who was helping Liz out. Aren't her fabric creations fun?

I am still on cloud nine from the whole experience, I feel like I used up ten years' worth of luck. But even if that was the best of the season, I am satisfied!

Meanwhile the season does push forward. Tonight is the opening reception for the Winter Lights show at the Loading Dock Gallery. It's from 6-9, and you are invited! 10 artisans from Western Avenue Studios have banded together to make a lovely group show specifically to help you with your holiday shopping, yeah, we're thoughtful like that :)

Maybe we'll see you there :0)