Trees, Flowers and Visitors

The High Country, as this part of North Carolina is called, is beautiful at all times of the year.  These pictures capture the end of summer.

I have hanging baskets and planters full of Petunias and Geraniums on my front porch.  We love to sit on the porch swing in the evening and enjoy the bright colors.  And although I’ve been told it’s too cold here in the winter for Crepe Myrtles to survive, you can see I have a beautiful, full rose red one planted at the end of my flower beds.

This plant is a weed, but the gold finches love it.  I’ve counted as many as six of them feeding off this one plant at any one time.

We have lots of four legged critters around here, too.  This summer we have gotten to watch these twin fawns and their momma.  We usually see them early in the morning in the cemetery next door, and at the bottom of our yard many evenings.  You can see the morning fog hanging over the cemetery in these pictures.  The deer are quite tame, and cute, but they like to eat my veggies, rose bushes and phlox.  I do hope the hunters leave them alone this Fall.

It’s Mountain Day!

I went to a small, liberal arts college in central Pennsylvania – Juniata College.  Juniata has a wonderful tradition that dates back over 100 years.  Each Fall, a day is set aside for students and faculty to enjoy Nature’s change of colors, the crisp air, good food and one another.  It’s called Mountain Day.

Mountain Day is never announced in advance.  You get up one glorious September or October morning, and there it is.  Classes are canceled.  The location (usually one of the local state parks) is announced.  Transportation is provided.  When you get there, you can do whatever you want.  Relax, enjoy the company of friends, hike the trails, or find a comfy spot under a tree to read a book or watch Nature.

Lunch is a big picnic, with the usual fried chicken, baked beans and so forth.  The day ends with a huge tug of war game, usually pitting the classes against each other.

Fall Mountain Day has grown beyond the confines of the Juniata campus.  With the advent of email and social media, Mountain Day is announced far and wide.  Alumni are encouraged to find a way to have their own Mountain Day celebrations.

Word went out this morning.  Today is Mountain Day, 2012!  Enjoy!

Remembering 9-11

Earlier today I was reading an Etsy forum thread in which many people shared what they were doing eleven years ago today.  I found it very moving, and it brought back lots of memories, thoughts and feelings.

I was at work when it happened.  Many of us managers were in a required management training class.  When we took a break half way through the morning is when I found out.  The class continued, so I didn’t really get to find out details, or see pictures until I got home that evening.

I remember thinking that I had never gotten around to visiting the World Trade Center.  I remembered when it was built, and took over ‘tallest building’ label from the Empire State building.

I remember my daughter, a freshman in college, being scared and calling me for reassurance.

I remember so many people donating blood that wasn’t needed after all.

I remember watching the same images over and over on TV; the hole in the side of the World Trade Center, the plumes of black smoke, the towers falling, the ash everywhere.

I remember seeing people on the streets with pictures of loved ones, asking if anyone had seen them.

I remember the feelings of pride and gratitude for those brave men on an airplane over Pennsylvania who made a difference. 

I remember thinking “How could this happen?  In the USA?” And what is going to happen next?

I remember being thankful for the outpouring of support from other countries around the world. 

I was impressed by the mayor of New York City, and the men and women of the police and fire departments who went into those buildings, having to know they probably wouldn’t come out again.  They were so brave.

I remember thinking how New Yorkers always acted like New York was the center of the universe, and for that day, it was.

I remember thinking how quiet it was with no planes in the skies, no contrails from the jet engines.

Remembrance is a good thing.  It helps to put today into perspective. 

September 11, 2001 is a day we will never forget.

Oodles of Turtles

 

One of the more effective displays at craft shows has been a line-up of turtles, in all different color combinations.  I’d like to do that again at Fall shows, so I’ve been busy making oodles of turtles.   Take a look!

 All my turtles are made with acrylic yarn and stuffed with polyester iferfill, so they can washed when needed.  There are no small parts that can be pulled off, causing a potential choking hazard.    

  

 

Most of these guys are made with worsted weight yarn.  They average about 6 1/2 inches tall.  For a few I used baby yarn, in dk weight, so they came out about 4 inches tall.  

 All are currently available in my Daffodil Corner Etsy shop.  The turtle pattern was designed by my good friend Sue Harnach.  A version of the pattern can purchased at https://www.HappyWhosits.com

A New Home for Mom

Two weeks ago I was not in a good place.  I had to find a new place for my Mom, and I wasn’t sure where that search would lead.  Emotionally, I was a mess.

After internet searches, talking to people on the phone, following up leads, more phone calls, and two days spent visiting potential new homes for Mom, I was down to three that I considered viable options.  Next, the facilities had to evaluate whether they thought they were appropriate for Mom, and vice versa.  I waited for phone calls to see if Mom would be ‘offered a bed’, as it’s termed.

 My first choice said “No”.  I appealed.  They did a second evaluation and offered 30 days of ‘respite care’.  Their concern was Mom’s history of hitting other residents.  If the 30 days went well, they could possibly then offer a bed.  Meanwhile, my second choice said they would take Mom.  Decision time.

After 24 hour of concentrated thought, prayer and discussing the situation with my daughter, I opted for the second choice.  They were second, not because I felt they were inferior, but because I wasn’t as familiar with the program and staff, and they are physically located a further distance away.  I just couldn’t spend another 30 days in this limbo, constantly worrying that Mom would do something to get herself thrown out.

I moved Mom into her new residence on Monday, an assisted living facility that specializes in memory care.   She seems to be doing well.  We had to change doctors, and it’s about 40 minutes away in the next county, but that’s okay if she will be content there. 

Maybe life will settle down a bit now and I can sleep again.

Alzheimer’s

Forewarning – this is not the usual, cheerful, crafty post.  I’ve had a bad day.

Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease.  Not only does it rob a person of memories and the knowledge to perform simple, routine tasks for oneself, it causes changes in personality and demeanor.  A competent, highly intelligent woman who was very sociable has been turned into the wicked witch of the west, cursing at staff and abusing other residents.

Today I met with four members of the nursing home staff, who told me I have to find someplace else for my mother.  They feel she needs to be in a specialized Alzheimer’s unit. 

So the search begins.

Lemondrop the Snail is on display now through December. See all the other wonderful creations from women in WNC.

fullofawe

Hand made in America is happy to announce a new display at the I-26 Welcome Center!

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, American Craft Week + Crimson Laurel, all have new displays, as well as our Appalachian Women Entrepreneurs.

I created a Business Directory for all the members, so visitors know about so many of fantastic women business owners in WNC. Thank you to all the women who contributed work to the display. I think it looks fantastic!

The address is I-26 @ mile marker 6 Mars Hill, NC 28754 and the phone number is 828.689.4257, if you want to go see it!

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Acorngirl

Today I’d like to introduce you to my friend Mary, who runs a wonderful shop on Etsy called Acorngirl.

I met Mary at one of our very first Etsy team meetings in Charlotte, NC about 5 or 6 years ago.  I was immediately captivated by the small felt horse Mary was working on at the meeting.  I soon discovered that Mary had a great sense of humor and a gift for storytelling.  Mary can keep you enthralled for literally hours when she gets going.  There have been times when my face hurt I laughed so much.

Working with natural fibers whenever she can, Mary makes Waldorf inspired dolls like this:

  and these  

The dolls and their clothing are all sewn by hand.  Many of them can be posed, as their arms and legs are wrapped wire.  Mary draws the faces with artist pencils.  She is so talented!

In addition to the people, Mary likes to work with polymer clay.  Just look at this dollhouse food she created, using no molds:

  That cheese platter measures less than two inches wide!  Adorable!

Multi-talented, Mary doesn’t just make little things.  She also loves to work with leather.  She has made bound journals, big and small, fantastic nature necklaces like this one

And – wait for it – DRAGONS!  These dragons are stupendous, with hours and hours of work going into them.  I’ve seen them in flaming orange/red, silver, midnight blue and this jewel green one

Do checkout Acorngirl:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/acorngirl?ref=seller_info

There’s a lot more where these pictures came from.  Custom orders are a favorite with Mary. So just contact her with any requests you may have.  And let her know I sent you.

The Day After

The day after a craft show is filled with so many emotions; from exhilaration to disappointment, excitement to exhaustion, renewal to questioning if you have chosen the right path.  While all these are valid reactions, try to avoid extremes.   All craft fairs and art festivals are learning experiences, whether hugely successful or ‘a marketing opportunity’.  Take some time to put this experience in perspective.

What was it about the venue that made it a success or a failure in your eyes?  Accessibility, advertising, entrance fee, booth layout, parking availability.  Were you the only vendor in your niche or just one of many?  Were there only handmade vendors, or were buy/sell items displayed in many booths?   Consider these factors when choosing which shows to apply to in the future.

What did you learn about what you sell?  Too much inventory, too little?  Not enough color choices or sizes?  Too many?  Need more selection or were customers so overwhelmed by the choices they had trouble deciding?  How about your prices?  Did you sell out in no time because buyers couldn’t believe the bargains, or did they put items down once they checked the price tag?  There is always some of that, but if everyone does it, perhaps it’s time to revisit your pricing strategy.

How did your display look?  Did you take pictures?  Now is a good time to make note of what worked and what didn’t.  Determine what new display items you may want for the next show.  I’ve included a few of ones Daffodil Corner and Happy Whosits used at The Big Crafty.

If you had a fantastic show, congratulations!  Get busy replenishing that inventory.  But remember, there are probably still things you can do to improve for the next one. 

If you just about broke even, don’t despair.  Objectively look at the reasons the results weren’t what you hoped for.   Plan to adjust what is in your control to do something about.  For example, record breaking high temperatures in Asheville isn’t something I can control.  But I can have a more varied selection of critters for shoppers to choose from.

One More Day to the Show

The Big Crafty is now less than a day away.  Here’s what I have accomplished in the past few days:

  • All inventory logged, tagged and packed into plastic tubs for transport to the show
  • All the table covers are clean and packed into their plastic tub
  • All display materials such as wooden trays and baskets are packed
  • Got starting cash from the bank
  • Camera with extra batteries ready to go
  • Packed business cards, holder, calculator, pens, paper, tape, twisty ties, lint remover, order book, scissors into the ‘junk basket’

This afternoon I loaded the car and deactivated all the OOAK items that were listed in my Etsy shop.  I updated my shop announcement as well.

I also made something new especially for this show:  crocheted flower pins.  These are great worn on a jacket or pinned to a hat.  I took a few quick snaps to share:

I’ll beback next week to give you an update on how the show went.

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