Saturday, April 29, 2006

preparing for the next show

The show season is officially in full swing for me, and every day I work hard at making lots of pretties to keep my inventory up, update the web site constantly, manage paperwork -- I need two of me!

This weekend I finished a number of chain maille and lampwork bracelets and put them in the rock tumbler to harden and polish. I hope to get photos of those done tonight. And I just finished working on a gorgeous iolite and citrine necklace -- tons of work with tiny, tiny beads. That one's going into my Luxury section. I need to pull out my growing stash of vintage Swarovski, too -- just too many beads and not nearly enough time!

Today Rick built my new earring display for my booth and got it painted. Much easier to use, and I will take photos at the VA Beach show. Now I have to make earring cards, which is a bit of a bummer, as I had JUST converted 300 pairs of earrings to cards for the display I used last week. I liked that display in theory but it just was missing something. That one part of the booth is really the last thing I have to mess with -- I'm really happy with the boutique feel I've developed, and it's a long way from what I used to have.

I'm checking on renting a spot in the historic downtown area of Easton, MD -- the price is good enough that I wouldn't have to man it all the time ("Hours By Appointment or Accident") and it would be cheaper than advertising. Not 100% sure I want to do the shop thing yet, as Zack isn't in school full time and my day light time is with him, but it would be an interesting venture.

The other reason to perhaps wait is there is always the possibility of moving. We keep looking for the perfect property and realize it could well take another year to find it, but the longer we stay in this house, the more equity we build, and already the houses in our neighborhood are selling at twice what we paid for it. That floors me as I don't think for a minute any of them are WORTH that, but the housing market is nuts. People in the Northern Virginia area are taking out 50-year mortgages for houses, since you can hardly touch anything for under $700K. My mind swims at the thought of a 50-year mortgage. Holy cow. NOT for us!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

what I'm reading

I had been on a murder mystery/thriller kick in my reading and when I ran out of books and couldn't get to the library, I decided to start a series that I originally collected for my future child, before the baby was even here! I love some of the children's fiction, particularly that which appeals to all different age groups -- Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Borrowers -- those come to mind.

When I was three years old, I learned to read. My mom has no idea how that happened, but she figures it came from her reading to me over and over the same book, the ONLY book I wanted read to me at the time (Peter Pan). When I was 5 and just starting Kindergarten, I remember one day when we went to Printer's Ink bookstore and I picked up The Wizard of Oz and asked my mom if I could have it. She made me read the first page to her to make sure I really COULD read it, and when I could, she bought it for me.

I must have read that book a million times, and watched the movie, too (those flying monkeys still scare the hell out of me). Imagine then my delight when I found out that L. Frank Baum wrote an entire series of Oz books!

I started buying them, and these are really special -- they're printed with the original type-face and drawings, just like they were in the early 1900's. I'm on the third book right now, will finish it tonight.

If you're interested in the series, here's a good link with information:

Every now and then I think it's good to step back and enjoy some of the simpler reading pleasures!


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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

back from the Hampton show

Got back late yesterday from my first big spring show in Hampton, VA. This was my first time at this show, and spring shows are always iffy (Christmas isn't looming!) -- and add to that the risk involved in doing a show that is only in its second year. However, I love the promoters and we were going to stay with a close friend, so we gave it a go.

The first concern was the sheer number of jewelry vendors there -- someone counted 29, which made up a third of the show. The other shows that this promoter does didn't have that problem, and I figured, jewelry vendors are the easiest ones to get, and this is a new show, so that's the deal. I shrugged it off, and chose to stay positive.

I exceeded my booth fee (and the fees are high!) the first day, had a number of repeat customers, and the added benefit of a bracelet of mine being featured in the show handout. I worked this one alone, but all the vendors around me were spectacular, and we helped each other out. Saturday was super busy, and Sunday was pretty quiet, but I did really well! Many people are also planning on heading down the road on Mother's Day weekend to go to the larger Virginia Beach show (I'll be there, too) and I handed out a ton of cards for that.

I met some great jewelry vendors there -- had a chance to talk to quite a few, and many didn't make their booth fee. I'm thankful I did well -- the tax man took a bite this year!

The purple cast with pink crystals was a hit -- it was certainly a conversation starter! And my new displays worked out well. Rick went out and bought a shutter system for my earring display for the next show, and I think that will finally round things out. I'm always tweaking things, but I like the boutique feel I got this time.

Tomorrow Zack will be doing a Trike-a-thon at preschool, and I'll hopefully get a decent picture. It could be hit or miss -- sometimes he likes the trike, sometimes it just frustrates him. He's "blessed" right now with my lack of height, so the pedals are sometimes a challenge!

Off to bed now -- I started reading a new series but more on that later!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

How I Spent My Easter Weekend

If this just doesn't beat all.

Rick was going to help my friends move into their new house, so I was to watch two additional kids so the move would go smoothly.

It's a GORGEOUS 78 degrees outside, so Zack (3), Britney (6), and Meghan (2) decided to go to the neighborhood park. It's not that far off, walking distance from the house, across a big field.
Halfway across the field, Meghan decides it's too much for her 2-year old legs, so I pick her up to carry her.

About 5 seconds later, I step in a hole.

Instinct kicked in, and I held Meghan up so she wouldn't hit the ground, and took it all in the ankle.

And of course I don't seem to do anything without doing it BIG, so it's not a sprain. It's broken.
So I just got back from spending several hours in the ER. I'm on crutches now, HOPEFULLY to a walking cast on Monday when the swelling goes down.

I hope like heck the Easter Bunny brings chocolate tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Babies and Blessings

My friend just had her baby last week, 5 weeks early. He is a little miracle. She had just found out she had vasa previa which if not detected, is almost 95% fatal for the baby, but with a very simple type of ultrasound, can be detected, and a c-section usually takes care of things. I get chills thinking about how lucky she is. She has one child that is the same age as Zack, but her second child was stillborn and I don't know what would have happened if things had gone badly. I don't know where she even got her strength from the first time.

But everyone is home now, and doing just fine, and I am so grateful. And I look at my little boy running around, or even throwing a tantrum, and realize how truly blessed I am.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

My nearest Starbucks is 40 minutes away!

This print is from -- I own one of their prints and have given them as gifts -- check them out!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Baptism tonight

Zachary was baptized tonight in a private home service at his godparents house (Kelly and Rob). Zack got to play with Daniel (also 3 years old) for quite a while before the service, which was a FAST affair, as Zack was tired, hungry, and crying "Go home NOW!" the entire time! It was very sweet, though -- the priest, Rick, and I did the water-to-forehead part. I would have loved to have gotten a couple of pictures, but it was all we could do to keep Zack from flipping any more than he already was, and he adamantly said, "No picture!", LOL.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

playing catch up

Been too busy to post so going to catch up!

First, some photos of Zack:

Next, books! I'm still working on getting my book list on the new site, but it's getting truncated -- search me! Anyway, I just read three. First, Ray Bradbury's From the Dust Returned. Normally I like Ray Bradbury -- The Martian Chronicles in particular. But this one sort of lost me, as some of his books occasionally do. I got the jist of it, but it was so lyrical and elegiac that I kept finding myself feeling not quite smart enough for the book. So I appreciated it for being Bradbury and moved on.

The next book I picked up because of a fascination with World War II, but little knowledge of it, and I wanted a quick pictoral synopsis before digging into deeper stuff. I found Our Finest Hour , done by LIFE magazine. Riveting stuff, with amazing photos I've not seen elsewhere. I highly recommend it.

Finally, I'm reading (should finish it tonight) an interesting but chilling non-fiction book called Flu: The Story of the Great Flu Pandemic. I don't know about you, but I had no idea we had a flu pandemic that killed 40 million people in 1918, more than the Black Plague of the 1400s! And with all the talk about bird flu, this book is a little bit scary. It's interesting, though, and not just because I was a Bio major in college -- it's well written for any non-scientist reader, and I'm learning a good bit of history while I'm at it.

The house hunt: We finally got back some answers to our questions, one of which was, how much did it cost in oil to heat this 4000+, 3 story house? The answer was really sobering! Yowza. We're still considering it, but have a few more things to check out. We do love it, but man oh day, over $600 a month in the winter for oil? I'd better sell a lot of jewelry!

And for now, that's about it! Preparing for my next show is taking up most of my free time, especially since I'm majorly overhauling the booth set up with lots of new displays and ideas -- it will look like a little shop when I set it up now -- very inviting and fun.


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