Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Nearly two weeks without a post, and still I feel I have little to offer. I've been scurrying around trying to get my ducks in a row in order to submit a wine/art/craft show registration. You'd think I never prepared or submitted a registration to a jury before. I don't usually drag my feet this much when it comes to registrations. Perhaps I want to get into this show just a little too much. To not be accepted due to tardiness is much less disappointing than not being accepted due to the nature or quality of my items for sale. I suppose I'm feeling just a little insecure.

Also, it's very noticeable that so many bloggers have been writing, publishing, and selling books lately. Did it really take blogging for them to realize they could write? The one I'm most impressed with was written by one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Amanda Soule. You can find her blog here. Reading her blog always makes me feel so peaceful. She takes great pictures, and her kids are just as cute as bugs. She especially likes taking pictures of their little feet. Anyway, because I've been reading her blog for a while I feel proud of her for getting a book published, like she's a close personal friend or something. The internet is funny that way.

As for me, I'm working on a couple of projects I'll share later. One includes massive quantities of feathers, and the other involves really hot metal. Stay tuned...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Frozen Bagels

It's called Improv Everywhere. One of the most popular stunts they've pulled was held in Grand Central Station where over two hundred people froze in place for five minutes. Onlookers were amazed, confused, and maybe even a little frightened. After five minutes movement resumed and everything was back to normal, except for the applause by the onlookers.

Today I went to Bruegger's Bagel shop for a delicious tuna salad and swiss cheese on a plain bagel, one of my favorite lunches. I walked through the restaurant to the service line. As I stood there I realized there was small sitting area and a booth containing completely frozen kids. Kids, meaning between the ages of sixteen and twenty. There were only about eight of them, and it appeared their improv was not making the impression they might have hoped it would. No one seemed to notice. No one was amazed, confused, or frightened. No one commented.

I don't know if it was because the crowd in Bruegger's was small, if the crowd of improv people was small, or because it's St. Paul, Minnesota and many become uncomfortable around that hippie artsy stuff like street performing, but the short freeze didn't seem to make an impact on anyone. Maybe the freeze is old hat by now and doesn't phase people anymore.

I had to give the kids credit for pulling it off. By the time I was through the service line and ready to leave they had returned to "move" mode and were all engrossed in each other, so I didn't interrupt them with my comments. I was impressed with their attempt.

If you haven't seen the video of the Grand Central Freeze, take a look. It's pretty cool.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Raising The Bar Price: A Business Person's Dilemma

The following is supposedly a true story, but because I don't know the minute details I won't mention the famous person to whom it happened.

To raise money for her church, Mary took a number of her delicious home baked pies to the annual bake sale. She set up her table and put out a sign saying, "Home Baked Pies, $5.00." Knowing her pies were of excellent quality and beyond any the standards of any ordinary pie, Mary was curious as to why they weren't selling, and was surprised at the minimal interest shown by the public. After thinking about it for a moment, she took down her sign and created a new one which read, "Home Baked Pies, $10.00." Within minutes people were hovering around her table of delicious pies and within a short time all of her pies had sold.

As a bargain shopper I price my products with the hopes that people will spot the fabulous value in everything I have for sale and hope they will take advantage and buy. However, it is sometimes the case that people believe they get what the pay for, and assume lower-priced items are inferior to similar items at a higher price.

If we, as craftspeople and artists, aren't satisfied with the number of sales we are receiving, could it be possible to sell more if our prices were raised?

Similarly, if we have a product that sells well at the price we have set, would it behoove us financially to raise the price in the spirit of supply and demand? Should we push the limits of our prices to the point at which the market will bear, or remain satisfied with moderate sales at the price currently listed?

I pose these questions to the buyers and sellers of handmade objects:

1. If you, as a seller, see low sales for a particular item or group of items, do you raise the price, lower the price, or remain inactive and hope for the best?

2. If you have been selling your handmade things well at the prices you have set, would you raise the prices to make your endeavors even more lucrative?

3. As a buyer, would you pay more for a handmade item or one-of-a-kind piece of art simply for its uniqueness, or do you expect handmade art and crafts found at shows and boutiques to be lower in price than in the general marketplace?

4. Do you, as a buyer, ever look at the price of a handmade item and say to yourself, this would be a bargain at twice the price and snatch it up before anyone else sees it?

Sellers, how are you pricing your items? Buyers, how much would you pay for handmade?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Springtime Blizzard

Yet another snowstorm hit the midwest. We got a boatload of heavy, wet snow just before the weekend. Hopes for spring were dashed temporarily once again, but are always tiny little joys found in snow, no matter how late in the season.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Art Of Keeping House

You know the old line, "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like." Art is so subjective, and the reasons for liking or disliking a particular work of art or art form are innumerable and unaccountable to the outsider. Someone may like photography better than oil paintings. Someone else might prefer sculptures of stone over metal.

I have a hang-up with mosaics. I appreciate the artform. I marvel at grand mosaic murals. However, I would never buy a mosaic. I would never attempt to create a mosaic. I turn my head from mosaic tabletops and candle holders. Why? It's just my wiring, I think.


Not too long ago I spoke of gaining a more balanced life. This is taking a little more effort than I thought it would, as I'm already finding ways to avoid preparing dinner and not tackling the Spring cleaning chores I had such ambition of completing.

However, I did manage to clean the bathroom the other day, several days overdue I might add. The accumulated dust and soap scum made for a messy job, but I managed to get everything to its intended sparkly appearance. As I was wiping down the tile with my 409-soaked diaper rag I made a mental note to take extra time some time soon to clean the grout between the tiles. It's not such a difficult job as it is time-consuming.

As I tried to figure out when I could spare such an enormous chunk of time to clean the grout in the bathrooms of my home it dawned on me: this is the reason I don't favor mosaics. The small tiles. The grout. The dirt-grabbing grout.

**The trumpets sound and Sara sees the light**

I figured out that mosaics give me a subconscious message to clean my bathroom more often and more thoroughly. Definitely something I don't look for in a piece of art.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Spam Run Amok

I've been bothered by the amount of spam comments received on this blog. There isn't a huge amount, but enough to annoy me. I don't want any of my readers clicking on something found on my site that could potentially cause problems. Therefore, I've activated the word verification option for comments.

I hope this won't hinder any of you from leaving a comment or seven.

Thanks for understanding.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Did You Know? Nonstick Votives

Votives are fun little candles. Despite their small size they can fill a room with a wonderful aroma. Because they are burned in cups and wicks needn't be trimmed throughout burning time, they require less attention than their oversized sibling the pillar.

Votive cups can be anything from a standard cylindrical cup to a roly-poly cup, an ivy bowl, a tea cup. Anything cup-like will serve a votive quite well. However, cleaning out the waxy remains of a burned votive from these small cups can be bothersome, if not precarious.

Lots of people swear by the freezing method. After the candle has burned out and the wax is stuck to the bottom of the cup, you put the cup into the freezer for a few minutes whereby the wax hardens/shrinks and is easily removed.

I prefer the preventative method, avoiding wax removal all together. This can be achieved by adding water to the container, only enough to cover the bottom, before adding and lighting the candle. The wax that drips down into the cup will never stick to the bottom, thanks to that small layer of water.

And speaking of votives, I'm having a great deal on them at my shop. Buy six assorted votives for $7, and shipping is free! The fun part is, the votives you receive will be a mystery until you receive them. Spring colors and fragrances are guaranteed. Stop by the shop for more details.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Seventh Night

Do you ever get so tired that you don't even have any idea you're so tired? I'm not talking about sleepy. I'm not talking about feeling worn out. I'm talking being so tired that on a conscious level you don't even know you're tired.

I could go on with psychobabble that would bore you to tears, but I don't like to leave my readers bored or teary-eyed. Let's just say last night I had the most glorious of nights.

My day job has been one challenge after another these past couple of weeks. I've also been scrambling to get inventory to The Chickadee Boutique, taking care of the usual day-to-day chores and responsibilities, setting up a new bank account, and fidgeting with my online shop while constantly thinking of ways to spruce up my products and increase sales. Doesn't seem so bad when I put it black on white, but it all took its toll.

My body began to rebel, and for two straight days my upper body ached with tension and what I could identify only as adrenaline overload. With Husby picking up take-out Chinese for dinner I had an entire evening ahead of me, in which I chose to do absolutely nothing.

I took the mental vacation of a lifetime, or so it seemed to me. Parked on the couch with a heating pad I let go of everything in my brain. I casually paged through a couple of the magazines I'm about six months behind in reading, watched Jean Michel Cousteau explore the Amazon, and basically just sat back in the luxury of doing nothing substantial. The warmth of the heating pad relaxed me and the pictures in the magazines diverted my thoughts away from production-sales-housework-cooking-product ideas...

It was definitely a much needed and well deserved evening of rest. The best part about it? I didn't feel a lick of guilt, because even God allowed himself a day off. I've taken a vow to give myself one evening a week and devote it to absolutely nothing. At least until the next deadline creeps up on me.
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