Friday, May 31, 2013

calm before the storm

Prep for last week's show left Crymson Flower on etsy a little lacking.  The good news is that now that that show is over I have lots of new stock to share and list.  Wednesday was sorta sunny for an hour or two so I was able to take pictures of a bunch of new stuff.  Now it's just me editing and organizing. 

The month of June will be just as busy as the month of May was.  I'll have new inventory, but I also need to be making new inventory for the Botanic Garden show on June 29 and 30.  I have to make sure the canopy and canopy walls work and set up one if not two more tables to fill the space.  I started my to do list and I might even put dates next to items to that I don't start to fall behind.  Despite the fact that the wreaths didn't get much attention at the last show, I'm going to make some more wreaths.  I'm thinking themed wreaths.  Maybe a sunflower wreath, one or two fall inspired wreaths, and definitely a Christmas wreath. 

I've been inspired to turn some flower and petals into bracelets recently.  I'm very much still in prototype mode.  But I'll share what I have in the very near future.

Next week is R's birthday.  We've been busy with party prep and gift buying.  We also head to Chicago for an extended weekend.  I'll have to close up shop for the weekend, but it's sort of a working trip.  We'll take R to the Brookfield zoo on Thursday.  Friday Mom and I are going to head up to Milwaukee for the Bead and Button show.  I'm so super excited about this.  I'll be stocking up on lots of seed beads, checking out wire vendors, and just try not to get completely overloaded or overwhelmed by the shear about of inspiration and bead love.  I hope to come home with lots of goodies.  Then over the weekend is Mom's first art show of the season.  She'll be selling her paintings at the Hinsdale Fine Art Festival Saturday and Sunday June 8 and 9th from 10-5.  If you are in the area stop by.  Her paints are amazing.  And if it's on Saturday I'll be there helping her out. 

After next weekend I'll be back in art show prep mode.  It's a full month.  But lots will get done and I'll learn a ton for future shows and selling in general. 

Today I'm listing this wonderfully summery wreath.  Bright oranges and teals truly pop against the natural brown grapevine wreath and green beaded leaves.  Orange and teal is one of my favorite summer color combos and this wreath is an example of how well they can play on each other. 

I hope you have a fabulous weekend.  Hopefully the sun will come out and we can do some outdoor adventures. 

Monday, May 27, 2013


It was a crazy last two weeks prepping for Friday's show.  I'm glad I did it.  I was thrilled with how everything looked on Friday.  But I got home from Door County (which I spent a good part of beading) and landed on my feet running.  I had a to do list that didn't end until about 2 hours before the show. 
So I'm spending this holiday weekend relaxing.  Mentally letting go.  I have lots of questions about my next move, and a few ideas of where to start.  But I'm giving myself some time before I get going.  It's rained every day of this long weekend and we've spent it together as a family.  Reconnecting, since I felt I couldn't give 100% to it while I was in prep mode.  We've gone puddle hunting daily, C built me a compost bin, I read a book, and drank wine with friends.  We've gone shopping and spent money.  We're setting up family pictures for next weekend.  And in a week we celebrate R's 3rd birthday.  We're planning a small dragon party, which has been a great creative outlet.
In a little bit I might dig out some wire.  Just to play and experiment.  Prep for the next show will start soon.  It's a bigger one and I'll need to fill the canopy.  So I need to make sure my walls fit and fill another table maybe two with inventory.  And this week I'm going to give the shop some much needed attention.  But today I'll finish my relaxing weekend.  I hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

first show and what I learned

Friday night was fun.  It was nerve wracking until I showed up and then things just flowed.  The weather was amazing compared to what's it's been the rest of the weekend.  It was sunny, slightly chilly, but perfect with a sweater and some sunglasses. 

I showed up and checked in with the main lady.  She showed me to my spot which was all the way at the end of the boardwalk sort of by myself.  She said I could have this huge area or move to a middle spot with less space.  I chose the middle spot since I was expecting a smaller space I didn't bring a huge display.  It was a great spot.  I was right in front of a barber shop which was pretty busy and right next to a really nice bar, right behind the food and patio/beer garden.  The regulars of the bar were super nice, and it still turns out that I had a ton of space.  I think they were short a few expected artisans. 

I didn't sell anything except a wine bottle pendant to C.  He's been wanting another one for ages and I needed to test out my credit card system.  It worked!!  Other than that I had a lot of lookers.  Lots of compliments.  I talked to a veteran local artist who I've admired for ages and told him it was my first show.  He told me not to be discouraged if tonight was slow, that it was Memorial weekend and that the crowds would be low.  But that the rest of the summer should bring in people.  He's also doing the Botanic Garden show and said that it's a good one in that the customers really take their time and really look at the art.  That was a great conversation, it gave me a little more confidence.

My friends would be proud, I was about as chatty as I could get with potential customers.  I'm not an overly pushy sales person.  It was a bit out of my comfort zone but I enjoyed it once it got going.  Here's what I learned about who my flowers attract...
  • 10 year old girls LOVE my flowers.  And they want my wine charms to be hair ties.  That makes sense, my 10 year old self would have loved my flowers too.  That's not really my target audience.
  • Older ladies enjoyed my wine charms.  Some of them seemed to think I came up with the concept myself.  I thought one who stopped by 3 times was going to buy a wine charm but that didn't materialize.  
I'm not sure what to make of this.  I know numbers were low but I feel like I should be taking the information I have as I get it and start working with it.  I know I don't want to become a Claire's like store making accessories for little girls.  My original target audience...ladies 30-40 somethings, with a fun style and a little extra cash to spend really didn't bat an eye at me.  I even had a few husbands stop and look before they did.  So do I change what I make to attempt to appeal to them? I attempt to market differently to appeal more to them?...or do I change my target audience?  I'm not sure yet.  One funny thing...wreaths didn't get a second glance.  EVER.  I thought they'd be a hit.  Kinda crazy.  If someone looked at a flower it was almost always the daffodil.

Despite the lack of sales, I had a really great time.  C and R came to visit and a couple of close friends came by and hung out with me and helped me tear down.  Being right next to the beer garden gave me some ideas for next month.  We want to get a sitter so we can turn these nights into fun evenings.  And maybe we can drink wine out of my glasses w/ my charms on them.  A little in use advertising. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Artists on the Boardwalk, May date

Today is the first day in the 4th Friday series of Artist on the Boardwalk at Junction City, in Peoria IL.  I'll be exhibiting all 4 months at this show but today is the exciting first day.  My first real show.  It's a short time frame, from 4-8 but a great way to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. 
I'm a bit nervous but I think I'm as ready as I'll ever be.  I have new inventory that will make it's debut tonight.  I hope locals stop by to check out the new stuff and say hello. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

sneak peak new wreath

 I've been busy.  I have new wreaths, flowers, and wine charms that I haven't been able to photograph and list before my first show tomorrow.  But that just gives you more incentive to come visit me tomorrow.  It'll be the first time I'm displaying a whole new line of wine charms.  And you can see my two new wreaths. The show starts at 4 and goes till 8 at Junction City in Peoria IL.

My booth and my stuff is just about as ready as it's ever going to get.  Below is a picture of my last to do list and just about everything is scratched off.  I'm still coming up with small last minute details.  But nothing that would be an end game if they didn't get done before tomorrow.  Tonight I rest, relax and try not to think about tomorrow. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

its all in the details

Saturday I set up my booth in my living room.  It had rained recently and I didn't want wet grass all over everything.  I feel pretty good about everything.  I'm slightly frustrated by the folding wall.  It is the same color as the wreaths.  And my flowers really don't pop against that brown.  I've decided that it would be pretty close to impossible to paint it and it not look trashy.  I'm accepting it as what I have and working with it. 

My crazy feathers turned out to be the best fight against the brown on the folding wall.  My eyes go straight to the feathers and the flowers in front of them.  I bought a few more feathers in cream and one in light pink.  I like how full they make the mason jars feel.  I didn't like the dyed blue wheat grass as much as I thought I would on the wall.  The values are too similar.  But C really liked it and I'm giving it another chance only w/ more grass so it will look fuller.  Plus I think I could definitely go over board on the feathers and I need to avoid that.

I am very happy with my table.  It's full of flowers and wine accessories but it's not over crowded.  The copper bucket is full of bouquets that I made pre-R.  EVERYTHING else in the display has been made since Dec 2012.  I'll even have another wreath to add and at least one more flower to add to the display by Friday.  I love the tall bouquet.  Tall dried grasses with 3 french beaded flowers added to the mix.  It is a wonderful example of what can be done with beaded flowers.

The other side of the table looks familiar.  I haven't changed much and I'm still very happy with this side of the display.  A friend of mine is hemming the purple fabric you saw last week.  Once that is done it'll be added back into the display.  I need to add to my inventory of wine charms but otherwise I think we're good here.  This display will be great for the boardwalk show this Friday.  In June for my bigger show I need to fill up a canopy.  Right now my idea is to add two more tables.  One for wreaths and flowers and another for Christmas themed flowers and ornaments.

So what's left to do....LOTS!  Now it's all in the details.  Washing and ironing table clothes, testing the 3G at the show site, buying weights for my folding wall, putting prices on everything, making tags for the table, updating the framed artist bio on the table, putting custom order pics on my ipad for easy access, getting cash for my cash box, digging out more wine glasses, making more wine charms, figuring out my tax percentage.  I'm sure much more but that's just what is off the top of my head now. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

parts of a mock booth

 Ok, I knew I was going to be busy but this is seriously never ending stuff.  Lots of details and the only way I can think of to try and get as many of the details as I can right, is to practice.  Soooo, I'm sharing with you my trial and error process of creating my art fair booth display.  The last two nights my wonderful hubby and I have been painting wooden boxes well past dark.  Yesterday before the second coat was applied I pulled out a table and my table clothes and quickly set up a mini display. 
 I'm pretty happy with how this turned out.  The colors are a little off with the table cloth being an off white and the boxes are a very light grey.  I pulled out random scraps of violet and purple fabric to act as pops of color.  The wine bottle are displaying my wine bottle pendants.  And inside the boxes I'll have wine glasses with wine charms on them.  I'm really happy with this set up.  What I'm more worried about is inventory.  At least in the wine accessory area here.
 The next part of my display will have one of those folding sectional walls.  I don't have it set up yet but the mason jars these bouquets are in will hang on the wall along with my wreaths.  The above bouquet has blue dyed wheat grass.  And the pictures below is a bit on the wild side.  The accent are ostrich feathers dyed lime green. I think it could work as an individual bouquet something wild and crazy.  But it is definitely the craziest thing in my display and could be distracting. 
This final image is my large bouquet and I'm still in the "I think I like it" stage. I'm not really sure I'll know if it fits or not until I have the wall set up next to the table.  I plan to do that mock set up Saturday.  Then I can really see what I need for my display and inventory.  I also need to somehow price everything.  I'll worry about that on Sunday maybe.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mimosa Bar Bridal Shower Commission

About a month ago I was asked to make wine charms for a bridal shower.  The BFF throwing the shower was having a mimosa bar and wanted a charm on each glass.  With a skirt wine charm for the bride-to-be's glass.
The shower colors were white, pale pink, and yellow.  She wanted a mixture of smaller charms in these colors and a skirt charm in any of the colors.  I choose pale pink and satin white for the bridal charm.  It went nicely with the copper wire. 
This was such a fun project to be apart of.  I loved working with the colors and ended up with a few extra charms because I was on such a roll while making them. 
I received a quick text pic from the event of the bride-to-be showing off her amazing ring...and under that her wine charm and her mimosa.  I wish the bride all the happiness in the world and good luck on the big day!

What a great idea for a bridal shower! How cute to have the favors be a champagne flute  with a unique handmade wine charm in your special colors.  Are you interested in a commission for an event you are hosting?  All you have to do is shoot me an email and we can talk colors, styles, and any other way I can spice up your event.

Monday, May 13, 2013

And I'm back and I'm open

I'm back from the frigid Door County Wisconsin, where it snowed the last two days we were there.  Ugh, the weather was not on our side.  But we had fun and lousy weather allowed us to not feel bad about being pent up in our hotel room watching tv and beading. 

What did I work on up there?  A little bit of everything.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures since I forgot my camera at home.  I feel like I started lots of projects/flowers and finished none of them.  I made petals to two single flowers, and enough additional flowers for another wreath.  Plus I made the beginnings of a pile of wine charms.  I went out in the snow and browsed a bunch of lovely art galleries full of color.  And I came out of them inspired by brand new color combos.  They might be a little out there but I'm excited to try them out.  And I found a little local bead shop up there and picked up a few new goodies for my stash.  I'm glad to be home.  I'm in major list mode.  I have less than two weeks until the first Artist on the Boardwalk show and I'm barely keeping my nerves in check. 

This week will be all about booth design and making a mock booth this weekend to figure out where my holes are in my inventory.  Then next week will be about filling in the holes.  That's the game plan right now. 
And now for the even more exciting news.  Crymson Flower is back open and I've already listed a fresh new beaded flower.  Ok actually I made this one a few years back.  But it's always been one of my favorite flowers that I've done.  I have three all time faves from back then.  This is one.  It's the first flower that I started experimenting with copper wire accents.  It's the oxidized dark copper next to the peach and light peach petals that creates a rich look but the blue lapis lazuli center is what makes the flower pop.  It makes it memorable.  The leaf is attached to the flower. 

Sunday, May 05, 2013

prepping for bead holiday

I found this amazing collage making website and couldn't resist.  It was a lot of fun to make.  I'll have to remember it for future reference. Most of these flowers are still available here

I spent parts of today cleaning house and prepping for our trip.  We're headed back up to Door County Wisconsin.  It's still early in their season so it'll be quiet and probably chilly.  I started packing up some beads...I have a faint idea of what I need to work on up there.  I'm bringing as much as I can because nothing's worse than being inspired and not having the supplies needed.  We're going to have a very full car.  I'll be closing up the doors to Crymson Flower on Tuesday and reopening next Monday May 13.  Expect lots of flowers in the first weeks back.  I have stuff ready to post and hopefully I'll come back with lots of new flowers to take pictures of. 
I will have my computer so Like me on Facebook and you can see progress pictures and creating pictures or maybe just me transforming our hotel room into a bead studio. 

Friday, May 03, 2013

a girl needs a plan

Have I given you the rundown on the show's I'll be exhibiting in this summer?  I'm made a page to display up at the top so if you forget check it out there.

Artists on the Boardwalk at Junction City: from 4-8 on May 24, June 28, July 26, Aug 23
Rhapsody in Bloom at the Luthy Botanic Garden in Peoria IL: June 29 and 30
Art and Wine Festival at the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard in Mackinaw IL: July 21

Be prepared to hear me talk a lot about booth design and inventory and attempts at organization.  But before I go into all those nitty gritty posts I'm going on a mini vacation.  A mini work vacation.  A few weeks ago on "one of those days" C and I decided we needed a break.  We wanted to get away from the house and away from some stress and let our creativity flow.  He's just finished his mini album and already has 17 songs in his head waiting to be written on paper.  I had just applied to shows and wanted to go somewhere and take my beads and work.  We envision a trip of creative fun for a few hours in the morning then off to go for a walk in the warm sun looking in art galleries and eating and drinking good food.

I'm so excited for this little trip.  We head up next Wednesday.  I will have Crymson Flower on vacation mode during this long weekend. I will have my computer with me but my focus is on beading and creating.  So no promises for any blog posts, but I hope to do some FaceBook updates and sneak peeks.  Make sure you like my facebook page for those updates.

I've been trying to figure out what to work on while up there.  Flowers, wreaths, wine accessories, and then which ones.  In reality I need more of all of them, but I need a little focus.  So I need help... What would you like to seem more of?  A certain color or combination of colors?  A flower? A bouquet? I love suggestions, that's how my brains starts to focus. 

The pictures above is a quick sneak peek of what's on my work table right now.  Are you excited about another wreath?  It's still in needs more leaves for sure.  Stay tuned to see how it turns out.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

a case of the blues with some yellow

ahhhhh...fresh flowers!!!

While I took the weekend off I did work my butt off to get you fresh flowers this week.  I was feeling the blues and the teals when I was beading.  It's funny how sometimes the colors just flow and the flowers tend to make themselves.  That was definitely the case with these two new lilies. 

The first teal lily is really a play on texture and depth within one color.  I used transparent, silverlined, and stain finish beads to get the rich shading in the petals. 
Whereas with the blue and lime lily, contrast is really what makes this lily pop. Both have faceted fire polished glass beads on their stamens.

I think these three flowers would look amazing together.  It didn't really occur to me until I started typing up this post.  I put the yellow flower in because I've decided to join/follow along with Leslie Saeta's blog challenge, 30 Marketing Ideas in 30 days.  She's an amazing painter that Mom has followed for a while.  Her challenge is more geared toward painters, in fact I think I'm the only nonpainter among them.  But marketing is something all artists trying to sell their work need to do.  And a challenge sounds like an excellent way for me to improve my marketing skills.  So here we go! 
Today's challenge was to post an older piece and give it some new light.  Well thanks to this post I'm loving this yellow flower again.  It's bright and sunny, and summer.  Which pairs perfect with tropical water colored lilies above.  Tonight I'll snap a picture of the three flowers together.  Stop by my FaceBook page to see.