Friday, July 29, 2011

Night Walking

I just got back from a late night hour-long walk. I am guzzling water, and my legs are making those tiny muscle twitches that remind me of how a car engine makes ticking sounds when it's cooling down. The temperature was nice, but the humidity was brutal. It was so humid a visible mist hung in the air, and there was heat lightning in the distance. The grass was wet, and windows and my glasses were fogged up. It was worth it though. I hardly ever walk alone these days. It's nice to walk with my husband or my best friend, but walking alone is wonderful in its own way.

I love walking late at night like this. The world is a different place by the light of streetlamps and a sliver of a moon passing in and out of clouds. Everything is more mysterious and darkly beautiful. It's a little scary sometimes, too. An unexpected shadow or unexplained noise can easily make my mind jump to zombies or drunken rapists or vampire rabbits. My mind is a little too imaginative. I'm sure this town doesn't have any rapists, and only a few zombies. It does have a lot of drunks, though, so I avoid Main Street where all the bars are. I like to walk near the river. There aren't any roads that specifically run next to the river; it criss-crosses all over town, and you have to make sure the road you're on is one with a bridge or you may end up walking an extra three blocks to get to one. My favorite spot is the park, but I can't walk in the park at night, especially with my dog, lest I get hassled by the fine police force. A small part of the sidewalk is just close enough that I can see the reflections in the water, making everything look a little more romantic and fantastical; and hear the ducks splashing in the water.

Night walking is the perfect time to think. I don't have to exchange niceties with other walkers, I don't have to hold my dog back from trying to join a group of kids playing in their yard, I don't have to worry about what the people driving by think of my not-so-thin physique jiggling along the sidewalk. (Ok, that last one is probably all in my head. I hope.) I can just let my mind wander. Sometimes I try to think up new ideas for projects, sometimes I think about life and financial problems, and sometimes I just let my mind make up stories. The humidity tonight had me thinking about last week's heat wave. My house doesn't have central air, or even any window air conditioners, except one in the bedroom that we only run for a few hours at night to sleep comfortably. The days were mind-meltingly hot. The beauty products in my bathroom melted. I sat on the couch in next to nothing, with two fans blasting on me, and even then I was still sweating, and couldn't work up the energy to work on a single project. It's similar even in the winter. We have heat, of course, but to save on the bill, we keep the temp in between 60 and 64 at the most. The beauty products in my bathroom freeze, and I sit on the couch huddled in blankets, sometimes with a hat and gloves on, too cold to bring my hands out from under the blanket to work on a project. (I know, I know, I should get a Snuggie. lol NOT)

It's weird how something as simple as temperature can dominate your life. When you're uncomfortable, one way or the other, it's all you can think about. Even at work, which is air conditioned, my mind just kept repeating, "I'm so comfy now. I don't want to go home. Too hot. Ugh." Of the two options, though, I think I prefer the cold. I'm not a huge fan of winter, because I hate driving in the snow and I miss green growing things, but it's a lot easier to add layers to get warm. There's only so many layers you can take off to cool down. My favorite seasons are spring and fall. I love it when the temperature is crisp; you could put on a jacket to warm up a little, but you don't really need to. Fingerless gloves are more of a fashion statement than a necessity, but they don't cause you to overheat either.

As a side note, I spent today getting a lot of work done. I've been inspired by Kat Von D's recent twittering to start doing a sketch every day. Any artist should do a lot of sketching anyway, but I've noticed that since starting a business that doesn't require me to draw out my ideas before working on them, I've fallen out of the habit. It's been too long since I've done any painting, and I want to get back into that too, but I should at least be sketching to keep my talents sharp. My first sketch for today turned into a full-color drawing. I just couldn't resist. I'm going to try to keep it to quick pencil sketches after this, though. I'll never commit to a sketch a day if they all end up turning into two-hour detailed projects. Here is my Twitpic feed, where I'll be posting the daily updates.

The other project I hinted at is coming along pretty well so far. When I said my house was filling up with glitter, I meant it. I found glitter on the dog's nose that didn't want to come off. I still want to do some more work before I show you, though. In the meantime, here's another fun treasury I'm included in, all about Trilobites! Who says Trilobite is extinct?????

Listening to: Jill Tracy (great night-walking music)
Pic: Day 1's sketch

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rainy Updates

One of my favorite craft fairs of the year is coming up in a few short weeks. I'm keeping very busy with preparing and creating more products. All of my usual products will be there; feathers and flowers for your hair, masks for your face, and my latest adventure, jewelry with its roots in natural materials. I am also rolling out a new product for this craft fair, and for many others after if it goes well. I don't want to give too much away just yet; I'll show pictures when I have a few more finished, but for now I'll tell you my house is quickly filling up with glitter.

For information about the coming craft fair, please see my Facebook page or my Webs page. (By the way, if anyone has suggestions for a different web hosting site, please let me know, as Webs is frustrating me with its lack of storage. I had to take down a lot of pictures just to put in a few new ones.) The Riverfest craft fair is a two-day event, with plenty of other things to do, including a carnival, live music, and more. The only frustrating thing about that weekend is that I could not manage to get off work for Saturday. I'll be there for a short time in the morning to set up and get started, but my lovely sister will be manning my booth for the rest of the day. I will be there all day Sunday, though. Stop by and check out what my glittery new project is! ;)

Oh, and I promised to tell you about my last craft fair, Oshkosh's Faire on the Green, but there's not much to tell. We got rained out again and left way too early. I wish we could have stayed; things were going very well until the rain. We were next to a goat milk soap vendor I bought soap from at the last craft fair, very good stuff! They have a local farm and do everything by hand; from raising the goats to making the soap, which they mixed with other great natural ingredients. My lime soap had lime peels in it, my cedar soap had actual ceder needles in it (great for exfoliating, lol) and my coffee soap had coffee grounds in it. Great stuff! If I would have stayed longer at the craft fair, I probably would have bought more. I had some great customers in the morning as well.

The main reason we keep getting rained out is that our tent is not very waterproof. We are using a tent that my brother-in-law saved from the garbage, which was being thrown away because a few of the clips were broken. He fixed the clips and gave us the tent to use, and we discovered its other shortfalls quickly. Despite being much easier than our old tent to set up, the seams inside the tent leak at any rain harder than a mist, and it only comes with half-sides, no full sides. The wind blows right through us and the rain comes right in. For most fairs, this isn't even a problem if the weather's fine; we have just had some bad luck in Oshkosh, with each fair happening on a stormy day.

Our first experience at Riverfest (which was our first fair ever three years ago) was a stormy one. We set up in the rain and expected a very bad day. We were successful way beyond our expectations, despite the rain. With the liberal use of tarps and umbrellas, we made it through that weekend just fine. We thought we could do anything. However, apparently that tent, though not as sturdy and not as big, was a lot more waterproof than this one. None of our products got wet that entire weekend. At the last couple craft fairs, though, our products got soaked. Certain products can handle it and be fine; my feathers and fabric masks did not fare so well in the rain. Besides the products, our business cards and display cards can only handle so much rain before becoming unusable. I'm hoping to make enough money to purchase a brand-new tent, with proper waterproofing and large sides. They are expensive, though, so I have a lot of sales to make.

Listening to: Amanda Palmer
Pics: More of my latest products!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Treasury Love

Since the last time I posted links to treasuries that I've made and been in, way too much time has passed. So here's a quick compilation of what's been going on since ... April. Oh em gee, where has the time gone??

Treasuries I have made:

Grey Cabaret ~ "Smokey and emotional, misty and mysterious, filled with the soulful music of the blues, these artistic pieces bring to mind the cabaret of years past."

Mystical Moonday ~ "To add a touch of mystique to an otherwise ordinary Monday, I present this enchanting treasury of unique items."

Absinthe Amour ~ "Also known as the Green Faerie, Absinthe brings to mind the dark decadence of times past."

A Day in the Tropics ~ "The heat wave in my area makes it easy for me to create a 'staycation'... Just lay out on my back porch with a fruity drink in a coconut and pretend the ocean is nearby. Enjoy :)"

Treasuries I am featured in:

(Or at Least it Should Be)
Please, come back when I grow up!
Weddings Team April Style
Pearlescent Radiance
Who is that lady?
I never promised you a rose garden...
Slice of Summer!!
Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer
A Living Fairytale
Blue Jewels
Yellow Ochre Briars
Life's a bowl of cherries
Wedded Bliss
Summer Bliss
Colors of Summer
Bloomin' Brilliant
Inspired by the Ocean
Blissful I Do
still thinking of HP7 -BNS
Naturally, I'm Yours!
He's so cocky!

Thank you to everyone who has included me in their treasuries! They are fun, beautiful, classy, whimsical, and all in all an honor to be a part of. I hope you enjoy my treasuries as well. I love making them; they are a great way to help your fellow crafters get some attention and showcase beautiful items. Much love!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Craft Fairs, New Products, and More Updates

It's been too too long since I've written what I'm up to here. The last time I wrote was May, just before my first craft fair. Of course I have been busy busy busy, but also just a little lazy lazy lazy. I suppose it happens to the best of us once in awhile.

The Festival of Spring craft fair in May went very well. That one always does. I appreciate the beautiful surroundings of the Paine Art Center and Gardens; it makes for a very good backdrop to showcase some beautiful art. Our booth was next to a guy who made wooden frogs which, when you ran a stick across their back, made a noise quite similar to a croaking frog. Of course, I totally had to buy one. The noise was annoying to my booth partner, but I loved it. On the other side of us was a seller of Pampered Chef. Don't get me wrong; I support your right to make money however you choose, but there's always something about resellers at a craft fair that rubs me the wrong way. Just two booths down from us was someone selling bulk cheap jewelry for as low as $1. It was flying off his table, but it was plastic and shoddy and I just don't understand how you can bring such a low-end mass-produced product to a craft fair.

The last craft fair was the Taste of the Dells in Wisconsin Dells. Being a high-tourist area, I was really expecting that one to be very busy. The crafters around us, for the most part, were very talented and there seemed to be much less in the way of resellers. I was thrilled to get started. A two-day craft fair, and the booth fee was pretty cheap for such a huge event, I thought. Well, I soon understood why. I did passably fair, my booth partner unfortunately did a little less than fair, and all in all it felt disappointing. The actual "Taste" festival was over three blocks away from our little craft fair, which was not on the main drag of the Dells like I had thought, but just off of it. It felt like two different festivals with not much traffic between them. I'm always grateful for the customers I did have, though, and for the people we meet around us. The booth next to us had unique vinyl records (scratched) which had been partially melted under high heat and bent to form bowls which could be used for pots or just decorative bowls around the house. They also had purses made from "garbage" like Capri Sun wrappers, and bracelets woven from other wrappers. It was very fun. The vender who really caught our attention made fantastic candles and lotions from soy, with really unique scents like Ceder and Sage, White Zinfandel, Macintosh Apple, and more. In fact, here's her website: Makenna Del (I would share the website of the frog guy from the first craft fair, but he doesn't have one :P)

Our next craft fair is the Faire on the Green in Oshkosh at the Paine Art Center again. I hope it goes as well as the first, and I'm looking forward to seeing what unique venders will be joining us this time. Here's the info on Facebook: Faire on the Green and on my website, in case you're not a Facebook fan: Faire on the Green. That said, I'd like to introduce a new product that I've been working on for about a month or so now: Jewelry! I will include some pictures at the bottom, as always. Of course, I encourage you to check out my booth partner's jewelry as well, seen here: Lily Kay Designs I think our jewelry has a very different style. My friend's jewelry is trendy and fun, good for a night out or dressing up at the office or a lot of different things. She showcases several styles, with some hemp jewelry, a lot of sterling silver, large pendants, and several themes.

For my jewelry, I prefer to use as much natural material as possible. I use bamboo or cotton string, sterling silver when I can, natural stones and shells, polished stones, cameos, feathers, and more. My jewelry is more for people who have a sense of style similar to mine, I suppose. My friend likes to call me a goth hippie, and I suppose it's kind of true. I love my natural materials, but I also love the dark glamour of skulls and Victorian style cameos and other things. My jewelry is a perfect example of that. One thing I started doing which I really love is making hoop earrings that fit through gauged tunnel earrings. Finally, I can wear dangley feather earrings like all the cool kids, I just have to attach them to a hoop through my tunnels! Lol. I don't have pics of those yet; I'll post those later, but I do have pics of the rest.

Ok, that's a long enough post for this time. I promise to stay more up to date in the future! I won't let another two months go by before I update this again. I'll let you know what fun and interesting vendors and customers I have at the next craft fair.

Listening to: Hungry Lucy
Pics: New jewelry :)