Blueberry Festival at Burnside Plantation July 18-20 2008

First the bad…
• What this show is three days I just don’t understand. Fridays are dead…
• The heat this year (especially Friday and Saturday) was oppressive and certainly impacted sales
• The people I talked to claim that attendance was the same as previous years- then why did it seem so empty
• They need to stop charging so much money to get in and for parking- $19 for two people to attend is ridiculous.
• There was not coupons in the paper this year
• No booths in the shade, so we baked all day
• Figure out a set up and keep it- I am getting tired of my customers telling me they looked for me where I used to be.
• Get back to your mission statement—not enough old time crafts or crafts with ties to the past

Then the good…
• Sunday was OK, sales weren’t as down as much as I had expected them to be after Saturday
• Met a great potter- she is going to make me soap dishes and shaving mugs.

Um, yep, that is it for the good.. I wonder how much longer I am going to stick this show out. I learned of a big show out near J the same weekend. Next year I may try for that one and take a year off from here. I don’t know. I am always torn. I didn’t loose money, and it is local.. I am just not sure…

Corn Hill Festival of the Arts July 12-13, 2008

From what I have heard, this used to be a fantastic show, hundreds of thousands of people shopping and enjoying themselves. But not this year…

The show is fantastic. It takes place on the winding streets of Corn Hill in Rochester, NY. The neighborhood is just adorable, many churches come out and serve food, the level of the work shown is very high, and they give out prizes for best in show, etc… There are about 375 vendors, and only two soapmakers. The other company only makes soap and has been there for many years, so I expected to sell more bath products and toiletries, nope mostly soap was sold.

Weather had to have something to do with it. Saturday it was hot, but it rained on and off, and Sunday it just rained and rained, right up until we needed to pack- so it was nice to be able to pack in the dry.

Old timers, locals, etc all had stories to tell about the not too far past when you could barely walk down the streets because of the huge amount of people in them. This year, it was never busy and I didn’t see many shopping bags either.

Also, if I try this again next year we need to take Monday off and travel then. With traffic, rain, and construction we didn’t get home till close to midnight and it was just too long of a day.


Star Trek : The Experience is closing

Never saw me as a Trekkie ehh? Well I am not.. but long, long ago in a state far, far away (I know I couldn’t be mixing Star Trek and Star Wars but I couldn’t help it).. I was a youngin and right out of college. I worked for one of the companies that built the interior themeing for this attraction and I gave just about three years of my life to it in some fashion or another. If you go through the queue and look at the walls I (and my buddies) are all over them (the stickers with HMS051074 are my initials and birth date), and if you could get close enough to the bridge Okudagram I can still name just about everyone who worked on the project- we are all in the graphics in some form.

In some ways these were the best years of my life, and in many others they were the worst. I was passionate about what I did, I learned something new every day, I fought for what I thought was right, I worked, and worked, and worked, and when I didn’t work, I played, and played- Las Vegas being my playground.

This seems like a lifetime ago. I haven’t been back since. Part of me wants to see it one last time, part of me is glad that it will be gone. A last remnant of a time where I was someone else, and I didn’t always like that person. I am glad that I am who I am today, but I do miss the passion that I had back then, the ability to spend many sleepless nights focused on a task, and the feeling that I was making a difference on a day to day basis. I think I lack that passion, that drive today, and I don’t know how to rekindle it without loosing the balance between work and family in my life that I love so much.

I won’t go back.. but I wonder, I contemplate- I have some extra stickers- I have been saving them for 10 years in the same file as my birth certificate and life insurance policy- should I keep them as a souvenir, or should I burn them when The Experience finally comes to an end?


A week at Girl Scout camp…

June 24-27, 2008

Ok it wasn’t a week, it was just a few hours a day... but I have to tell you , since I am not used to being around kids, it sure felt like I was there all day, all week…

I had a great time. Each day I had a group of young women (brownies) that I taught how to make lip balm and bath fizzys. It was a ton of fun and a lot of work to haul everything in and out of camp each day.

I learned that strawberry was the favorite lip balm flavor, and that raspberry was more popular than the love spell fragrance I brought, but not by much. Everyone seemed to like the fact that the ingredients are so simple and that there was no junk in the items (no preservatives, no dyes etc)

Some of the girls had some great questions for me about how I started my business and were do I learn how to make stuff, etc.. It was a lot of fun to interact with them and see their interests and personalities.

We even talked about doing something for the older girls that focuses more on starting and running your own business next year. I think I would love to be a part of that.

PA State Laurel Festival June 20-21, 2008

This show is in a beautiful part of the state and is in one of the quaintest towns you can ever imagine. I would think it is like being transported back into 1950. The lamps on main street are still gas (not electric), the whole town comes out for the parade and starts setting up chairs along the route days before it starts and no one steals them. The festival even has a queen. The diner in town was built in the 1930’s and there is a farm stand right outside of it on the weekends.

The show itself is pretty large- over 100 vendors and takes place in a park that has a wonderful fountain in the middle of it. I even got interviewed by a local newspaper and got a mention in the article about the show.

It is set up well, it is easy to set up, hard to tear down because it is impossible to park near your spot. It has some very nice crafts, no junk. But it was overwhelmed by soap makers. I counted 7 booths that had soap or some kind of herbal toiletries of some kind. Way too many for a show this size. Sales were about 60% of what I had projected, but with all that competition I did better than I thought I would. It rained on and off both days. The local main street was hit by lightening and lost power for a few hours, and the parade was finished in the pouring rain.

There were die hard buyers despite the weather, but I do think it impacted overall attendance and sales.

Overall this is a maybe again show. I have to keep an eye on hotel and gas prices and decide if it is worth another try next year. The experience was pleasant enough to try again for sure.

Mom’s Visit

So my mom came to visit. It was her first time ever. Really, it can be hard to believe, but most of my mom’s life has been spent taking care of other people in her life, and this has made it quite difficult for her to do any kind of travel, so although I have lived in NY state, Nevada, Florida, and PA, she hasn’t seen an apartment or house until now…

June 14th I drove up to NY to get her. Got to spend the night and spend some time with my step-dad R.

June 15th- we drove back to my place, got home and situated, got some dinner, and generally chilled out after the long drive.

June 16th- We drove to some quilting and fabric stores in NJ. One of them was near where C works, so we got to have lunch with him at the Clinton Station Diner. We stopped at the Crayola Factory store so she could shop for the grand kids and had some ice cream at a local place nearby. She got to give K her moose which made both their days and later after dinner we drove around and showed her the area some.

June 17th- We went down to Lancaster County and did some serious fabric shopping. Had a great lunch at a local family cupboard and found an awesome hidden yarn store that specializes in local yarns. It was a fantastic day.

June 18th- we went plant shopping. There are 5 big garden centers nearby so we went and looked through them to help me decide what I want in my landscape when it finally get s to where I can start to work on it. We also bought a bunch of vegetable plants to finish out my garden and we got them planted just in time for the rain to come.

June 19th we drove to Wellsboro for a show. We took the long way up and the scenery was amazing. After we got there and got checked into the hotel we got set up for the show and found dinner before crashing for the night.

June 20-21 was the PA State Laurel Festival

June 21 after tear down we started driving home and made it as bar as Binghamton before needing a hotel for the night. We stopped, got some sleep and started out the next day.

June 22 we found a great place for breakfast that was filled with miniatures off all shapes and sizes. It was amazing and the food was wonderful too. We made it back to her house safe and sound. We spent the rest of the day resting- our vacation had tired us out. I got to see my step-sister and her kids- they grow up so fast.

June 23- I drove home and mom went back to work…

Capital Jazz Festival- June 6-8 2008

What else can I say besides that this show was such a wreck I didn’t even do it. And it was expensive, so for me NOT to do it was a pretty big deal. But if this is all the badness for the season in one show, that will be fine with me..

First we started with the three hour drive down to Baltimore. When I realized, about 20 minutes from the show that I HAD FORGOTTEN MY TENT TOP. (insert mental breakdown and crying jag here…). Carlos looked up the local wholesale club on the GPS, we drove there, got some lunch (I was starving) and bought an EZ up. And headed to the show…

What a fiasco…

First, there was no paperwork for me when I arrived, no entrance tickets, no map, nothing.

We drove in and had to physically walk around the site to look for our spot. We had been told we could drive in to our spot- NO WAY. It was the farthest from the entrance and it had been blocked from all directions.

Then we were told that although our packet said to arrive AT 4 pm for set up, we were supposed to be set up BY 4 pm, so we had to move quickly if we were to set up at all. (funny thing: we were given the last set up time but were placed furthest from the entrance gate… made no sense)

Then we were told there was a side gate we could go in to make the haul of our items shorter (we had no rolling cart- we were supposed to be able to pull in)- and the gate was closed and could not be opened because it was installed wrong and the way it would swing open was blocked by large wooden pillars embedded in the ground.

Add to these facts that the site was full of mud, that the tents for merchandise were not even set up (and it was 2 hours before show opening), we saw no electricity set up (the show ran till 9 pm and was set in a grove of trees) and we couldn’t fathom how we were going to get our things out at 9 pm on Sunday since there was only one way in/out… and we decided not to deal with this show at all.

We left and drove back home. But we retuned the EZ-UP first… And we didn't even stay for the music..