Maybe It Wasn’t Meant To Be…

I really hate that expression.  It’s usually preceded by some depressing story about love, loss, etc., with an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.  What are you supposed to say?  “Maybe it wasn’t meant to be” always seems to be my go-to platitude.  And if to the receiver, I’m sounding like a broken record, then you need to make your life better, even if it wasn’t meant to be!

The incident that brought up this vitriol wasn’t nearly as dramatic as those stories one hears, but equally frustrating.  As those of you who have follow me on Facebook, you know I’ve been busting my buns, making accessories that I hope will sell at crafts fairs.  I was excited that maybe today, the last day at this one venue,  I’d be able to cover the basic costs of making all these goodies.  With three dismal shows under my belt, I was willing (and still am) to give it another go.

I made my normal preparations last night, ensuring that I had proper ice packs for my lunch since the temperature hit the 80s today – again – that I had plenty of business cards, that all the inventory was in the traveling bags, that the dummy heads still appeared presentable, and everything that was in its proper place and order.  Everything was A-OK.  We were ready to roll.

Then reality sets in.  Didn’t get to sleep until 6 am and the alarm went off at 8:40.  Had to splash cold water on my face at least twice.  Since part of my prep is picking out the clothes I’m going to wear, that didn’t take long.  With a set-up deadline of 9:45 looming over my head, I was in my car and driving with 25 minutes to drive 10 miles and be ready for biz.  As I don’t have a very complicated display table, we were still good.

Then the fuel gauge gives me an orange light.  We are on “E” and I’m not one of those types willing to push my car’s gasoline capacity limits!  So I had to go out of my way to get to a gas station, and while there, I discovered I had forgotten my cell phone.  I needed that to make scheduled calls as part of my business.  So back I go.

When I get back in the car it’s already after 10:00.  That means people are already ambling around at the farm, looking at the animals, examining the goods for sell. Well, mostly ambling around in my limited experience; it’s rare that people start buying before before 1:00.

After reassuring myself that the owner, who was emphatic about being on time, won’t be too terribly miffed, I’m watching my speedometer to ensure I don’t get crazy fast, which is kind of hard on these back roads anyway, and trying to remain positive.  I hate being late, especially in this kind of situation, but I always seem to be in a losing battle with the clock.

When I reached my destination, all was well.  No one was waiting with arms crossed and toe tapping, so I pulled my van into the vendor’s area, being as careful as I can because there are little children everywhere.  I see my spot, turn off the engine, and scoot around to the back to start unloading everything.  And I see this. 20171028_115345

So let’s play the game of “What’s Missing?”.  See it?  No?  That’s because it’s not there.  The table, where I’m going to place everything and drape with a cloth and dangle items from there with clothespins.  OMF!

I text the owner and ask if she has something I can use.  She does not.  And I’m hemmed in now by the horse buggy that’s loading up with it’s first payload of the day.  So I wait.  When the buggy has moved, the owner comes around and helps me back out so everyone’s safe and she’s all ready to see me next year.

The point of this story?  I’m losing my mind.  I cannot believe I forgot the table.

Well, it’s done and apparently, there will be another opportunity for another major screw up next year!!!

See you in the funny pages.

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To Etsy or not to Etsy?

I’m going full tilt trying to get a Christmas inventory set up for either;

a. Etsy
b. Local Crafts Fairs
c. Consignment shop

To break it down, they all have their pros and cons. Let’s start with Etsy.

~ Worldwide competition where items are offered for less than I can purchase the yarn, 1.8 million sellers as of 9/5/17, and monthly fees.  This would seem to be a dismal market for a small crafts maker such as myself and I’ve read in more than one article that finding a niche market is what  a successful entrepreneur does.  I don’t do that.  I make what moves me at that time.  The are two things that offsets all this negativity is that it’s relatively cheap to sell and one does have a larger market.

Now onto Local Crafts Fairs

~ Nasty weather, low turn-outs, long hours of exposure to said nasty weather, seller’s permits and insurance are all part of selling directly to your customer.  Having said that, the big draw is that you are offering a product and the buyer is looking, handling and appraising the product right there.  No waiting for shipping, no information given at the electronic checkout, it’s just look, like, buy.  There’s a lot to be said about this approach in our instant gratification society.

Consignment shops

~ High cost of sales, the disposition of the shop owner and their willingness to display/market your product.  These would all seem to be a major deterrent, but if you are in with a shop owner who has high foot traffic, this can mean $$$ for your Christmas budget, UNLESS you get paid after Christmas.  With me, that would not be a problem, as I don’t have small children in the house.

So there you have it.  And now that I’ve written it, down, it seems I will not Etsy again; at least, not at this time.  It looks like the crafts fairs and consignment this year!  Thanks for hearing me out, you guys!  What do you all do?

Fast Fridays and Crocheted Pooling

 

The long hot days of summer have a way of making one lazy.  I still haven’t finished the Shark Bite socks I was so eager to start a month ago.  I’ve completed one sock and I’m slogging my way through the other one.  I’ve had to frog this project so many times I’ve seriously thought of giving it up; however, after spending $43 for the yarn, I just can’t.  I’m sure they’ll be my favorites as soon as they’re done, but that seems like such a long way away.

In the interim, I’ve started on a scarf using the pooling technique.  I’ve put that one off for awhile.  I’d heard about how hard it was, but argyle plaid is one of my favorite designs, so…

My progress since making the video

But it’s not all work, work, work over here.  I actually went to the races, something I’ve done only once before in my life.  The actual racing itself doesn’t capture my attention, but as I went with a good friend whose son and grandchildren are involved, it took on a meaning.  I had someone to root for rather than just watching some bikes race around a lap.  The engine noise could be a bit loud, but all I had to do was pull out my hearing aids and we were rocking!  LOL

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All in all, we’re enjoying life here in Northern California.  How about where you are?

See you in the funny pages!

For the first time in over 30 years…

I’m doing my laundry in a laundromat. Such captivating entertainment!

And it is expensive. Wow. Takes me back to the last time I did this. I was active duty stationed in England. And so young! 

I am also going to take advantage of this down time to update my readers (hi mom!) of what’s going on. 

St. Patrick’s day hat – incomplete

I have been in a strange mood. I should be whipping out bunnies for the upcoming Easter season, but I just don’t have the heart.  Same for St. Patrick’s day. 😕 I understand life goes on, and I also understand that sometimes, you need to sit back and watch it go by, even though it rankles the hell out of me. 

But I don’t understand what I did to highlight these paragraphs!

I must say all is not lost. I am making headway on my Hawaiian shirt that I attempted last year. 

Wave action!

 I’m not using the same cotton yarn I tried last time, but a more user friendly acrylic. I’m very excited about it and will post the pattern as soon as it’s finished – assuming it makes the cut. 

So, dear readers, I hope you’re enjoying your Tuesday, or as in my case, reliving an experience – and making the most of it!!

Sad News

Necessary mittens

Necessary mittens

It’s February and this winter has gone on forever.  Normally, I’m a real fan of cold weather.  I look forward to having a crackling fire going in our stove or playing outside in the snow and having an excuse to knit or crochet almost nonstop.  Of course, this month is generally when the blahs kick in and I can’t get excited about anything, but this year the constant rain and darkness and worry is creating a different feel to my usually scheduled February lassitude.

On Sunday, my mother-in-law passed away (see Of Flooding and Exploding Dryers).   That was way ahead of schedule.  My husband was shocked, naturally, but also because he had just talked to his mother only a few days ago and she hadn’t indicated things were any worse.  As to the why my husband and I had this erroneous notion that her death was in some mid-long distant future, I can’t really say.  Maybe because she appeared to be relatively healthy and mobile when we saw her last month, or maybe, truly, we just didn’t want her to go.  Since this notion created a warped sense of of time, preparations that should have been made earlier were all of a sudden upon us.  We’ve spent the last several days making travel arrangements, funeral arrangements, buying clothes and so much more that I can’t think straight – and there’s still a lot more to do.  As I lie here in bed, typing this entry in the dark, I hear the wind whipping up the trees and hope this won’t delay any travel plans for tomorrow because I am ready for this to be over.

Our new fur baby, Nicky, playing with his recently adopted brother, the chocolate lab, Mario.

Our new fur baby, Nicky, playing with his recently adopted brother, the chocolate lab, Mario.

In the meantime, life goes on.  I’ve managed to make a few more hats for sell, make our new little rescue fur baby a doggie vest and I’m working, slowly, on a pair of mittens.

What are you working on?  I need some good news, dear readers!

*Name changed for privacy.

Ain't he a little stinker?

Ain’t he a little stinker?

Of Flooding and Exploding Blow Dryers

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We’ve all heard the expression “When it rains, it pours.”  January was a monsoon for me.

It actually started mid-December with the news of my mother-in-law’s stage IV stomach cancer diagnosis.  With a six-month timeline, Elke* has opted to receive hospice care.  All her life she’s dealt with cancer.  It started in her late 20s, returned in her 40s, again in her late 60s, and with this last bit of news, she said she’s done.  Prognosis was not good to begin with, and she just didn’t want to go through the “cure” again.  Her husband, John*, has been displaying signs of dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease.  He had to be reminded who we were, and yet, most cruel, he’s aware of it right now.  They live in Texas, three and a half states over, and timing was not good.  But it had to be done.

The journey back to Texas was odd.  Any road trip I’ve taken before has always been a good thing.  My husband and I made the most of it, since it was three days hard travel.  My sister, who lives in Bakersfield, was gracious enough to let us use her place as flop house.  We literally spent less than 15 minutes talking to her before we headed for bed, and then in the morning, we hugged one and another and moved on, both going and coming back.  The second day out, I wrote some errant thoughts.  Those long drives gives a person way too much time to think.

January 4, 2017, Wednesday

When the sun is rising, the errant contrail casts a shadow on the higher clouds

Driving east along Interstate 10 to Texas

Don’t know how to feel

Sedimentary, layered mountains Las Cruces

Texas landscape out of El Paso flat

Scrub brush

Minimal traffic

Can use cruise control – indefinitely

Occasional butte, rolling hills

Road stretches out in front of you in gentle, undulating waves

Cerulean sky, painted with high altitude stratus clouds

Harmless, no rain

When sun is setting, the color of the western sky shifts from blue to lavender, then gradually to a dusky plum, all but obscuring the horizon, then gradually, deep purple to the black of night.

Headlights

On the third morning of our visit, I was drying my hair, when my blow-dryer of at least 10 years decides to go out with a bang.  Sparks flew and I had to unplug it to stop the sparks from turning into flames.  The acrid smell of burnt electronics filled our hotel room for at least a day.  I felt it was appropriate, somehow, that it should happen at that time; however, I had spent the night before crying, so it was possible I was just upset.  Saying good bye to something else, even something as replaceable as a minor appliance, really set me off.

When driving back, we ran into the storms in Northern California that we’d been monitoring even before we left.  It was an eye-opener to see the areas around Sacramento, flooded by water that had overrun the bank of the Cosumnes River.  Sacramento has the American and the Sacramento Rivers to deal with and the levies around the city are monitored more closely.  What I photographed was the Cosumnes River gone a bit wild, just south of Elk Grove, a suburb of SacTown.  And then from Highway 99 North to I80 East, up around Applegate, the trucks were pulled over because the road over Donner Pass was closed due to snow.

I was so grateful to be home…because our garage was flooding.  We got some more sandbags (don’t ask) and cleaned up what we could.  Thanks goodness the foundation is concrete, and no real damage was done.

On a lesser, but more immediate note, my husband’s car has stopped running.  The money we would have used to fix that was spent visiting his mother.  It sits in the front of the house, ads running on Facebook, Letgo and Craigslist with no results.  I guess no one wants a mechanic’s project at this time.

There is more to the story, but I will leave it.  Sometimes it’s good not to tell so much, and this is one of those instances.

*names changed for privacy

Seasonal Cash Idea for the Crocheters

shopping-card-of-moneyHey, everybody. It’s getting to be that time of year where some of us need a little extra cash. I discovered a decent consignment shop where I take my work and have someone else sell it.  The cut is a bit higher than I would like, but this shop really moves it because there’s a bunch of foot traffic. You pay for location no matter what, huh?

The finished product from my pattern

The finished product from my pattern

Anyway, I have found that my Foxy Hooded Cowl is a big seller.  As a crafter,  what makes this particular design so attractive is that it’s not tremendously expensive to make, is quick to work up (usually no more than three hours) and it’s just so darned cute it won’t sit on the shelves long.  You actually feel like you’re making some money, versus just paying for the materials!

Does anyone else do this on a regular?  What are your big sellers?  Do you mix up crafts?  Let me know!