Happy Birthday

I just want to wish my older son, Craig, a very happy birthday!  We are a very holiday related family. Craig was born on Memorial Day, Brian was born on Thanksgiving Day,(he’s my little turkey!) and I was also born on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving Day moves around so it is even MORE strange that Brian was born on my birthday. Al is the one out of whack with the family—he wasn’t born on a holiday. So, have a great Birthday Craig—we are so proud of you and love you so much!!—MOM

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Signs, signs,everywhere are signs!!

Hi everyone!! I hope everyone had a relaxing and fun holiday weekend while remembering why we celebrate Memorial Day. Before I go any farther…I would like to welcome all my new followers and say thank you to all that have been following for awhile. I really appreciate all of you and LOVE getting your comments. I try to answer most of them..I hope I am doing things right on here—I’ve never been too great with techie stuff!!  Word press is a bit different from Blogger. Sometimes when I get a new follower I can’t tell what blog they write—when I just see the email address it can take some detective work to figure it out. Of course, you never know, maybe I am missing some part of Word Press that will tell me!! That’s entirely possible and according to my family, probable!! Smile Anyway, you are all welcome and I sure hope you enjoy getting a peek into what it is REALLY like to make your living going to show after show after show after show etc. ad nauseum……!!

Yesterday I finished doing signs…a LOT of signs!! Actually—there are 88 of them.  Today I clearcoated all of them and put the sawtooth hangers on the backs….well, except for the last 21 of them that are not dry enough yet. I’m hoping I can get those  clearcoated tonight. Here are a few of them…

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These signs are not hard to do, but they ARE very tedious—and then if you multiply that times 10 (each), you can see why I am anxious to get back to folk art—I go back and forth between signs and folk art (and vintage pieces) to relieve the boredom and to avoid getting carpel tunnel in my hands. I have really been pushing myself because very soon the shows will be very close together and we are also approaching our big shows –they can totally wipe us out of signs in one weekend …and leave us with not enough time to make more for the next show. Because I finish the signs with an oil stain, I need to let them dry at least 48 hours. That means sometimes when we get home from a show on Sunday night, I need to get new ones cut, sanded, painted, and stained by Tuesday night in order to have them ready for the next show! So, I am constantly painting signs or at least prepping them to build up a large stock . I also try to have new pieces for each show…it always amazes me when my repeat customers walk up to my booth and immediately point right to the new things. Having a few new pieces every show keeps customers coming back. It has always been my opinion that every booth should have a range of prices so that everyone who walks into a show can afford to buy from your booth—maybe they won’t find what they can’t live without, but they should be able to afford to buy  SOMETHING in your booth if they choose to. I carry pieces from $4 and up. I think what a lot of the public doesn’t know is that in this business, if you sell handmade, the money you earn is nice…but the reaction from our customers is priceless!!  I just love talking to my customers about where they hung their purchase or how the person they bought it for was so thrilled!!  A lot of the public doesn’t understand just how hard this work is too—just think about moving your household most every weekend!! Smile  Anyway…I love doing it…even though in November I am starting to look forward to hibernating for the winter.

Thought I would include a piece of folk art too….

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I need to get a lot more winter pieces done—maybe in the next batch! So, thanks again for following and commenting…I’m so glad I started blogging!!—Jan

Cravings……

Hi everyone!!  Well, we just finished a show in Delaware Ohio (outside of Columbus Ohio ) .Setup was early (repeat…EARLY ) on Saturday morning. Of course, this was after driving 3 1/2 hours to our hotel on Friday and after being up until 2 AM because of a party in the hotel. A LOUD party with guests standing outside our door shouting to each other. We even heard other guests giving very loud suggestions of what the partygoers could do… Surprised smile Then..we got up at 4:30 to get ready to go set up. Needless to say, we were tired all day at the show.  The hotel was very nice.

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Beautiful flowers outside the hotel….

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roses….

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lillies…..

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The show was very slow….that is, until my lucky charm showed up!! Guess who!?!  It was Carmen of Primcats!!  She and her friend surprised me by a visit, and yes, she is as nice as she seems on her blog. (and skinny! ) In fact, she bought me a VERY nice, very large breadboard…but is insisting on holding it at HER house.  I’ll have to go pick it up sometime when she is out of town………………………….Winking smile Immediately after Carmen left, we got busy and the day ended well.  Sunday started off very busy and continued that way with multiple sales and one lady came in and bought all of my Halloween pieces. Our booth looked pretty thin at the end of the show…always a good feeling. The show was very tiring especially because of the heat. After a very HOT load up, we drove home—never stopping to eat because we were so tired. After arriving home at 10 PM, I fixed chili dogs  ( ?) and we crashed. We are still craving sleep.

I did get some pieces painted at the show but it was difficult because the heat dried the paint as fast as I laid it down. Sunday I painted very little because of that. These pieces have not been sanded or stained yet.

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The show was very hot so we drank water constantly and, because we were lucky enough to have an ice cream shop directly in front of our booth, ate a lot of frozen custard. OH, YUM!!! It was SOOOO good!! Since we got home, we have been craving more ice cream.  What’s better than ice cream???  Ice cream with hot fudge sauce!!  Here is the recipe I use…. I hate recipes that call for special chocolate—this one calls for ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen.

Hot Fudge Sauce

2 Cups semi sweet chocolate chips

1 (12 oz. ) can evaporated milk

1 Cup white granulated sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine chips, milk, and sugar in heavy saucepan. To get CREAMY fudge sauce cook slowly. You must dissolve that sugar completely!! Cook over medium heat stirring often. Heat should be on the lower end of medium. Cook until it boils (boil at least 5 minutes ) and thickens. I cook this a total of  20-22 minutes—always stirring. Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla, cool enough that it won’t totally melt your ice cream before using. Pour into a microwave safe bowl, grab a spoon, hide in a closet, and eat—whoops!! I meant to say….share with the ones you love!!  Winking smile  Hope you enjoy it!!

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Store in the fridge—microwave to warm up. It turns solid when cold.

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We went for groceries and lumber again today—so we are already tired! I’m prepping signs tonight and we’re going for more lumber tomorrow. We have no show this coming weekend and are happy about that!!  Hope all of you have an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend!!  PARTY ON!!  Smile–Jan

mirror, mirror, on the wall……….

Hi everyone!!  I just put the last hanger on the pieces I have been working on for the last two weeks.  The signs are done, the folk art is all done, and I spent the last two days working on rehabbing things I found at the flea markets.  Remember these?…….

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Loved the mirror, but Al couldn’t really see how it could be redone. I bought it anyway! Here it is in all it’s new prim glory…..I just LOVE it…and it is staying here. I sealed and painted the frame then sanded / distressed it with my palm sander. Then I stained it with my favorite walnut gel stain, let dry 3 days, and clearcoated it. Yep, sometimes there is a piece that I just can’t part with. There are a few special pieces that I sold that I wish I had kept (the piece in my profile pic for one! ) so I am keeping this and it is already hung up in the front hallway. Smile We repainted our walls a soft tan and the mirror looks wonderful on it. The front hall is where I intended to work some magic, but my magic wand fizzled out and this magician ran out of time. I’m hoping I can finish some painting there next week.

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Next is the washboard ..I painted the top section, then stained the entire piece-front and back, then clearcoated it. Usually I try to find the glass washbords but I haven’t found any for awhile. I also painted some pieces from my huge stash of goodies—a speckled pot, a small slaw cutter, and the cutest copper cow bell. Slaw cutters go very quickly at my shows so I am always searching for them. I have one large one left in my stash—for painting I look for the ones without a box…they are cheaper.

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I thought I had saved the photo of the cement trowels when I got them at the flea market…but I guess not!  I am always surprised how quickly these are picked up when I have them.  At this particular flea market, I found three of them and I paint right over the cement after I wash them. I try to paint clusters of smaller pieces because it saves a lot of time for me—and time is at a premium once Easter is over. These will be wrapped and packed away as well as the other smalls ( spoons, spatulas, cow bell, pots etc. ) for my big show in August. Anyway, here are the trowels, an old enamel spoon, and three wooden spoons finished. I try to find old wood spoons, but they are harder to find now and I tend to keep the nicest ones for myself anyway!! Winking smile

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This next photo I showed you on a previous post—finished except for palm sanding and staining. I never get tired of the seeing the difference before and after staining—it’s such a dramatic change! So before………

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and after…………………………………….! I am building up quite a stock of folk art, but I need to really go into high gear on signs. I ordered more stencils yesterday because we always need to have new things at our shows and I need at least 200  large signs to start my show in August—then I make more prior to each weekend. (3 weekend show) That doesn’t even include the midsize and small signs.

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Have to include a pic of my best bud!! Stryker is very happy being back home with Brian in their apartment. An apartment neighbor gave Brian two kitty trees that her cat wouldn’t use, so Stryker has a new place to hide and sleep in. It is also a very good place to launch an attack on unsuspecting ankles!!  Brian is doing well—he is off Dylantin entirely and has only had one minor episode of seizure feelings. He is still on a heavy dose of Kepra which is an anti-seizure drug….but he is able to work even though the Kepra makes him sleepy.

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Well, that’s about it!! I hope anyone who is taking part in the Folk show does well—I’m hoping you will share how it was next week.  Have a great weekend!!–Jan

Wishes……..

Wishing all of you a joyful Mother’s Day!  Being a mom is the hardest,  most natural,  most frustrating,  easiest,  heartwrenching,  joyful,  exasperating,  worrisome,  white knuckled,  peaceful,  disappointing,  proud, tense, enjoyable,  blissful, heartbreaking, exhausting, tearful, fun, satisfying job that exists. Enjoy your day…..you’ve earned it!!!!—Jan

Still recovering from the weekend!!

Hi everyone! Over the past weekend, we were in Richmond ,Virginia selling at an art show.

Driving through Pa. was lush and beautiful…..you can see how overcast it was……..

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We drove the 8 hours on Thursday chasing or being chased by black clouds and rain, got to the show, heard that rain was coming THERE, and went into overdrive. We had to shlepp our tent, walls, and product a LOOOOONG way in high humidity, 90+ degree heat. We got the display up, tied it down against wind, and got most of the product up before I finally said ENOUGH!!  We locked it up and ran to get a pizza before heading to the hotel. Our room was great—a flat screen for Al…(to watch his sports)……

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and a flat screen for me!!  (to watch a movie and Housewives of Jersey—my guilty pleasure! )……..

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This show was odd that it started at 11 AM—most start at 10. But, we had to get there early to finish setting up. Saturday was slow, I think because it was pouring rain all around the show…but we didn’t get a drop!! Attendance was way down from last year, we heard this from vendors that did it last year. We covered all expenses Saturday plus some profit, but it was not what we hoped for. The photographer across from us sold one piece, a handbag artist near us sold NOTHING!  Thank goodness she was staying at her daughter’s home instead of a hotel!  After the show we went out for dinner at a favorite place which was a disaster from start to finish! Eventually it was straightened out and the second meal ( !! ) we got was very good.

Sunday we slept in ,had breakfast, and left for the show. Sunday we ended up doing the same as Saturday—Sundays are usually slower than Saturdays but it was a dry day and attendance was up a bit. The handbag vendor sold 6 pieces—she was so sad—this business can be like a roller coaster!  One good thing…I got some painting done!!

These are what I got done—they still need to be sanded and stained….. I love painting fall pieces…..I am waiting until I have more pieces ready before I go out to stain.

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I prepped these today—remember them?  I just finished painting the mirror frame black—still have to sand it and it will be ready to stain…then I will paint a piece to fit where the paper picture is now.  I also prepped signs to finish this weekend (no show) and 3 big pieces for folk art—I did sell the biggest folkart piece we took to the show.

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After the show ended at 5, we packed, loaded (groan ), and started the trip home. We stopped and slept 1 1/2 hours at a rest stop, drove, slept at another rest stop for an hour, and finally arrived home at 5:30 AM on Monday. We are finally feeling rested today.  Al had cut our lawn 2 days before we left and when we got home we saw our nice neighbor had cut our grass again—it has been growing like crazy!!  I noticed today that it is long again. Sad smile

I wanted to post this the other day, but my Google account went down, I tried to fix it (oh NO!!) and had to call Craig last night to rescue me! Google emailed that someone was trying to hack in (YOO HOO!  That was ME!! )  I should NEVER try to fix anything on the computer.

Saturday at the show we got a call from Brian.  The doctors are weaning him off Dylantin (an anti- seizure med ) and during work he started to have seizure feelings. We told him to call one of his buddies to come get him so he could get home faster.  He stayed at his friend’s house where Don, his wife, and kids could be with him, then went home. He has had no problems since and is sleeping well…thank goodness!

Well, on to the next show—it is always up and down, especially in the Spring!!  I hope you all enjoy the rest of the week!!–Jan