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Posts Tagged ‘craft shows’

Minnesotans seem to roll with the seasons quite seamlessly.  We have to rotate our wardrobes in the closet to accommodate 97° heat in the summer and -25° cold in the winter.  We need boots as well as flip-flops, tank tops as well as parkas.

Now, it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy.  We’re all outside enjoying warm weather, the cool waters of our 10,000 lakes, and lots of alfresco dining.  For Auntie B’s Wax it means a few outdoor festivals to enjoy the fresh air, the happy crowds, some good eating and good music en plein aire, and also some happy customers in my booth.

Have a ride through the park in a horse-drawn wagon and be serenaded by the driver to boot.

 

Mingle with the festival crowd and artisans. Everyone is there to have fun, so they’re all in a good mood.

Husby and I have been on the road these past couple of weekends enjoying summertime living and selling my wares.  The month of July has taught us much (zip first then velcro {which means nothing to someone who doesn’t “lock up” a canopy at night}) and has given us some nice memories to talk about.  We’ve seen some long-time craft show friends, have accommodated repeat customers, and met lots of new people.  We’ve eaten some good food and had some fun dancing to the music wafting through the warm, summer air from the stage in the center of a park.

Happy festival goers. Someone is about to become a bride!

 

Look for the cute, little Auntie B’s Wax booth at your next art/craft show.

If you haven’t visited an art and craft fair lately, you’re missing out.  Go forth and imbibe in the elixir that is life!  Meet the creative people and be inspired to create yourself.  Art, music, crafting, food…it’s all about making life richer.  And who, I ask you, doesn’t crave the richest life possible?

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It’s been eight months since I last took my wares on the road, so you can imagine how nervous excited I am to be heading to Madelia, MN for my first show of the season.  I would have never even known about the event were it not for social media and Bridget, the chamber assistant in Madelia, who invited me to join the town in celebrating Park Days as a vendor.  Thanks, Bridget!

The first show of the season is always filled with questions.  Will Husby and I be able to hoist the canopy in a timely manner?  Did I remember to pack table coverings?  How hot will it be and what should I wear?  Do I have enough product?  Is everything priced correctly?  I’ve spent this week making lists and checking them twice to make sure everything runs smoothly.  And you know what?  It always runs smoothly, even when it doesn’t, because when we’re on the road Husby and I are a craft show team extraordinaire.

There is one thing about this show that bothers me – it will take us two and a half hours to get to Madelia.  The road trip doesn’t bother me, it’s the fact that I’ll have to get out of bed by 4:00 a.m.  I don’t know if I can do that anymore.  I don’t think I ever could, even when I had a day job.  But then, when I feel doubtful about getting on the road in time, I remember that I’m waking up early for something fun.  There will be a beautiful drive in the countryside with a sunrise to boot, followed by a day filled with art, music, food, and happy people.  What better reason to wake up before dawn?

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Slow Summer Predicted

It’s that craft show registration time of year.  Actually it’s past that time of year, for most summer shows at least.  My craft show schedule should consist of more than one show…alas.

I’ve been tripped up by several things regarding show registrations, mostly because two of my main venues have gotten a little weird for me and I’ve decided not to participate.  I’ll miss those venues more than I can say, but one must make hard business decisions.  Looking for new show and festival venues is like shopping for a new doctor or dentist – a long and painful process that must be done, but if you find a good one you can stick with it for a long time.  The two venues I’ve deleted from my schedule accounted for four shows during the year, and I have no idea how to make up for them.

The Art and Wine Festival in Cannon Falls, MN  is on the docket (see the 2016 Events tab above) and I’m looking forward to it.  I’ve got one registration ready to be sent out next week, plus another that’s put me on the fence – I can’t decide if I really want to do it or not.  Summertime craft shows will probably see me as a customer and researcher instead of a vendor; perhaps I’ll find some good venues in my travels, ones I can participate in next summer.  I’ll also keep my eyes open for late fall and winter shows, something I didn’t care to do when I had a day job because there was never enough time.

I remain occupied with supplying my Etsy shop and two brick and mortars with my wares, and I’m happy about that.  Being new to a life sans day job I’m still a little discombobulated, but I have no doubt everything will unfold as it should.

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The autumn season has begun here in Minnesota, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  August and September were such busy months for me, and now I look at the calendar and see October is more than half over!  Here’s what I’ve been up to…

1.  The Minnesota State Fair was the highlight of August.  One special thing Husby and I had the opportunity to do, in recognition of our contributions to the Minnesota State Fair Foundation, was dedicate a bench.  (Benches are a necessity at the fair ~ I’m finding that out the older I get.)  We dedicated it to Dad and my brother Diggy, who died just before his 26th year of working at the fair with Dad.

The small plaque on the back of a bench dedicated to Dad and Diggy and twenty-five years of working at the fair (and taking bench breaks) together.

2.  September was full of craft shows.  I was at the Dancing Dragonfly Winery, the Chateau St. Croix Winery, and the Baker Orchard, all in Wisconsin.  I love Wisconsin.  I went into each of these shows with doubts of one kind or another, but they all turned out to be fabulous.  The organizers of the shows did a tremendous job, it was a blast to spend weekends with my fellow artisans, and of course the food and music at all of these events were wonderful.  Husby and I have a special place in our hearts for Dave Ybarra and the Northside Dukes, who have twice invited us up to the stage to do the Hand Jive.  They played at both winery festivals, so we got our share of the blues.

Dave Ybarra (center) and the Northside Dukes. Premium blues band.

Husby and I aren’t the only ones who like to dance to the music at the festivals…

Four ladies dancing it up in front of Auntie B’s Wax’s canopy.

3.  Then came October, and Husby and I went to our beloved Door County for a bit of R&R after three consecutive weekends of craft shows.  Our trip this fall seemed to be much more relaxing than the visit we paid in the spring.  We managed to see a bunch of stuff we hadn’t seen before, and plus discovered some new restaurants that will surely become favorites for us.  Not only that, we got to lounge around and do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, which no one can do unless one is on a true vacation.  *deep sigh*

A lovely autumn in the County of Door.

4. There was also a trip to the family cabin to close it up for the winter. There was much raking and other miscellaneous chores to be done before the cozy little cottage is left to weather the forthcoming winter on its own. One never knows how it will fare, as it was built in 1950 by Grandpa Mike…from scraps.

Work gloves and rakes were the tools du jour at the family cottage.

One leaf of millions.

What now?  There’s still a lot to do, but the chaos of deadlines is behind me for the moment.  This is the time of year I cherish and I plan to enjoy it to the hilt.  I have lots of projects in store for our home and a list of hot, comforting food to make during the chilly and downright cold months to come.

I also hope to visit this site more often too, documenting happenings at the Auntie B’s Wax World Headquarters.  I’ve been away too long.

Here’s to a bright autumn and a peaceful season of dormancy.  *squeal*

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One of my favorite things to do in my business is going out to festivals and shows to display and sell my wares.  There is no substitute for genuine and spontaneous responses to my products.  Responses can range from boisterous laughter at a magnet to a sneer of distaste at the sniff of a candle.  The opposite can be true too ~ some people look at the magnets with blank stares, not relating at all to my sometimes warped sense of humor, yet will ooh and ah over candle scents.  All feedback is valuable.  But there’s a new response in town, one that wasn’t around when I first started doing shows over fifteen years ago.

Picture-taking admirers. They loved the magnets but didn’t realize a real person made them and deserves the consideration of getting permission to take a picture. *

I’m not the only one who has witness people taking pictures at my craft booth.  Just last week I talked to a woman who hand-painted sayings on colorful sign boards and she said the picture-taking public is starting to get on her nerves.  I’m kind of on her side.

Could it be that I’m getting too old to appreciate the high-tech nature of our society?  In this age of Instagram is it unreasonable to expect people would refrain from taking photos of the hard work of artisans without bothering to buy that work, much less acknowledge the artisan him/herself?  Will our work serve only to fill up the boards on Pinterest while our pockets grow lighter from lack of sales?  After all, why buy something when you can just take a picture of it?

What do you think?  Is it too much to expect someone to at least ask of they can take a picture?  Do you think this photo-snapping behavior is acceptable, especially at the expense of artists’ and crafters’ livelihood?  Should it be flattering that someone wants to share our work with their hundreds of Facebook friends?  Or should we have our guard up against copy cats and cheapskates?

* For the record, the above-pictured picture taker did in fact buy a magnet, but only after I confronted him. 

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I’ve been going full steam ahead this month, as May is the most busy and event-filled month of my year.  Or so it seems.  I’m here to tell you have I nothing to tell you.  My days are filled with the day job, my evenings filled with things like melting wax, pressing bottle caps, and printing price tags.  That’s about it.

Every weekend of this month has something going on.  First there was Husby’s birthday, and then Mother’s Day, both celebrating wonderful people in my life.  This coming weekend is my first show of the year and the weekend after that is Memorial Day weekend, when I’ll be going to the family cottage (as will the majority of my family) for some hard labor and rest and relaxation. 

There is a graduation party in the near future as my nephew Fojo has successfully completed all of the requirements for a high school diploma.  Yay!  Then my mom will be celebrating her birthday and there will be more craft shows.  By that time it will be July.

Everyone always has something going on the weekend of the 4th, no?  I might make another trip to the family cottage where it’s possible we’ll celebrate my nephew Paenney’s twenty-first birthday.  Twenty-one!  The years are moving more swiftly than ever, and the months even swifter.  Another craft show, some more birthdays, and before I know it the Minnesota State Fair will be upon us.  And everyone knows the Minnesota State Fair is the last hurrah of the summer.

They say we should live in the moment.  Right now I have an entire summer ahead of me and from what I can tell there will be not one moment that isn’t occupied with something or other.  Once May is done, the busiest and craziest month of my year (causing my head to spin in several different directions), perhaps I’ll be able to pause to take a photo or two.  Maybe I’ll be able to take my laptop out on the back deck and clearly document what’s going on in the life of my business and of me.  I might be able to relish “the moment.” 

For now I anticipate and prepare for moments to come…crazily.

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There is tension in the air that isn’t all the way stressful, but an urgency is definitely there.  Once again I don’t feel as organized as I would like, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t think I’ll ever feel as organized as I’d like.  That doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying to improve my organizational skills.  The new year’s resolution I made to discipline myself more has really paid off and I still practice it three months after I resolved to do it.  Instead of getting cozy in bed with my book at an early hour as I would have liked I finished up the straggly ends of things I had been working on earlier in the evening.  It doesn’t really matter that I didn’t get enough sleep, does it?

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The most logical reason for feeling this tension and urgency is because I finally have three applications in for shows this summer.  Woo hoo!  I’m not sure how many shows I’ll be doing this year, but I do know it will be at least three. 

In other news, I just got an order for candles to be part of a wedding.  I love when that happens!  Beautiful red palm wax pillars will grace the tables at a very happy occasion.  When my candles are at a special event like this I feel like I’m right there too.  Cheers to the happy couple!

It’s only Tuesday and I’m already looking forward to the weekend.  Lots to do!

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