Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No market spaces = New items in the shop!

I'm working tonight on updating my Etsy shop with the bags I had held aside to sell at the Fayetteville Farmer's Market. Why, you ask, would I do that??? Won't that create a bit of a headache for me each weekend as I have to take things out of the shop in case they sell at the market, then put them back up again if they don't... just too much work, isn't it??

Well, it seems I will not be at the market this summer as often as I had hoped. Our local market is soooo successful that they juried some new craft vendors in order to add to the selection, but it is also soooo popular that there are just too many booths crammed into the location and the Board of Directors for the market decided to reduce the booth numbers to help with congestion.

So, my thrill of being accepted lasted only two weeks or so. On the upside, the market manager is hoping to be able to rotate the newbies ("floaters", we're called) every other week. On the downside, I'll be out of town for three weekends in a row, so it will be the end of July before I'm able to get back up there. I'll survive, I'm sure.

In the meantime, my Etsy fans will enjoy a bigger selection of goodies than they had to choose from in the weeks prior! Enjoy, and spread the word!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Green, the color

I'm all about being green in terms of environmental activism... I recycle my glass and plastics. I repurpose materials in my crafts (and home decor). I reuse containers that once held strawberries to grow seeds into veggie plants.

But in addition to THAT kind of green-ness... I seem to be drawn to the color. Especially green glass. It's just such a refreshing color... so clean and lovely. Like the hostas growing like gangbusters in my garden this summer. These little bottles were treasures waiting for me at a barn sale...

And this lovely Hoosier Glass bowl was a thrift store find. It can be yours if you love it as much as I do!

Finally - this little mug isn't as sparkly as the glassware, but I have a soft spot for the color olive. Maybe because I grew up in the 70's? It and its twin are also looking for a new home... they're perfect for some hot green tea!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Carrying on the family tradition

When I was growing up my grandmother and grandfather were farmers and craftspeople, raising cattle year-round, and spending nine months out of the year making and selling handmade wood crafts. Grandpa was a self-taught carpenter who, along with his brother, owned Whillock Brothers' Construction in northwest Arkansas. I have some wonderful things he made - a cedar chest, a rocking horse, a dresser...

Grandma took some of the smaller items that Grandpa made - bread boxes, clocks, wooden plates - and with the practical nature of a woman raised during the depression and the eye and spirit of an artist, she tole painted beautiful flowers, birds, and free-hand designs on them. I also have wonderful things she made, including the bread box that was a gift to my mother one Christmas.

Grandma and Grandpa went to the War Eagle Craft Fair each year for many years to sell their handmade crafts. War Eagle has long been a mecca for craft-fair enthusiasts, bringing thousands of people from all over the country to our little corner of the world just as the temperatures are becoming cooler and the trees are starting to turn color. Their cedar chests and painted items were shipped all over the world. They sold their goods for too little, in my estimation, but they made enough to get by.

I remember one fair when I was with them in their booth for a couple of days. They were set up next to a man who made candles that were dipped in layer after layer of color, carved with a hot knife, and the carved pieces would them be twisted around to show off the layers of color and reattached to the candle again. I'm sure you've seen them in flea markets or in your grandmother's living room. Anyway, that man would cut off pieces of wax after he dipped his candles and give them to me to mold. He showed me how to make little wax mushroom candles, which thrilled me to no end. They were probably one of the first "crafts" I ever made. Those, and the little rounded stones Grandma taught me to paint faces on to keep me out of her hair as she worked.

Grandma and Grandpa also set up a table with a bright yellow vinyl umbrella on the Fayetteville Square on Saturday mornings and sold their crafts and Grandpa's sweet clover honey to local market-goers. The market in the 1980's was far different from the market that goes on today. Not as many people, for one thing, and I don't remember there being as many dogs or musicians either. Certainly, if you wanted to have a hot cup of coffee and a muffin for breakfast, you brought your thermos and a napkin full of homemade pastry from home.

This Saturday my sister and I will set up a couple of tables on the Fayetteville square as two of the newest members of the Fayetteville Farmer's Market. I'm sure to most passersby there won't be anything all that special about our tables... (aside from our fabulous crafts!)... but I'm pretty sure that we will be feeling a bit nostalgic and very proud to be a part of the market - 35 years old this year. Unfortunately, my Grandpa isn't with us anymore, but I will definitely send a snapshot of Erin and I behind our tables to my Grandma. I think she'll be pleased.