introducing Lobos Country Store!!!

I want to invite all my readers, probably just the 3 of you who live locally, to come visit Lobos Country Store!

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Lobos Country Store

At the end of the year a friend introduced me to a friend who was re-opening her store, after a devastating loss to the Witch Creek Fire in 2007.  We talked.  We dreamed together… and her plans came to fruition!  And I’m loving the opportunity to be a bit more creative again!

We organized an official ribbon cutting, with the largest pair of scissors this side of the Mississippi … and we turned the Grand Opening into a down-home country party!  BBQ and live music will do that for ya!

ribbon cutting at Lobos Country Store
Lobos Country Store (photo courtesy Lori Tisdale)

This was an excellent opportunity for me to display a wider range of my items in a brick & mortar shop (vs. just on Etsy) …. soooooo, now you can find some of DIY and vintage/collectible items in person!!!  These items include my witty and comforting messages hand-stamped onto vintage silverware, hand-painted wine bags and kitchen towels, burlap and lace table runners, mason jar lamps, glass milk items, re-purposed/re-cycled items, etc…

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Additionally, I have been given the opportunity to coordinate their open air markets…  On every First Friday we host a good ol’ fashioned party in the parking lot of the store.  This gives us an opportunity to showcase some of our favorite craftsman, artists, designers, crafters and even Carson’s rock collection!!!  This party included some awesome live music and amazing food!  The next First Friday Market occurs this Friday, from 3 – 7 pm!  Hope to see you there!!!

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I even had the opportunity to do a quick write up for the local City of Escondido magazine, as they kindly offered to help spread the word of the re-opening!

Spring 2014 issue of City of Escondido magazine

“Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, and after many years of hard work following the devastation that was the 2007 Witch Creek Fire, the legendary oasis previously known as the San Pasqual Store is returning with a new name and desire to survive.  Owners Chris and Jeannette McBrearty have recently re-opened what is now called Lobo’s Country Store, the store name dedicated to the wild dog that lost his life to the evil Witch.

“Promoting the warmth of community that the San Pasqual Valley is known for, the store is hosting First Friday Markets.  From 3 – 7 pm on the first Friday of every month you will find tasty food, local crafters / artisans and live music!  And watch for their quarterly Spring and Summer markets on Saturdays!  Offering both convenience store items and unique gifts / vintage household items the store is open from 11 am – 6 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.”  – Lori Tisdale, Market Planner/Promoter for Lobos Country Store

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Hope you can stop in soon!

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the Afternoon Soiree, a Valentine’s tea party

I had so much fun yesterday!  (But, in full disclosure,  I.am.exhausted.today!)  I was given the opportunity to help plan and style a good ol’ fashioned country-lovin’ vintage-inspired Tea Party!  And we enjoyed every last morsel!

We gathered at Lobos Country Store at 4 pm.  Some of the ladies brought friends, others brought their daughters… and they all brought their tea party love!

Catered by The Grand Tea Room we enjoyed scones, tea sandwiches, a bite size quiche, lemon tarts and the cutest little red velvet cupcakes you ever did see!!!  They provided 2 different black teas and a green tea… and the tea party go-ers were in Heaven!

Taking inspiration from days past we were transported to a simpler time… one of the attendees explained she had once done a study on teas and discovered that tea time was a time to put the complaints of the day behind and to focus on lovely things in life.  So, in true tea party form we made the most of it!

Ladies, some of them previously strangers to each other, laughed together… we delighted in a time of carefree enjoyment … and talked about having another party soon!

I loved this opportunity and look forward to another tea around Mothers Day… who’s with me?

The Crafting Yard Sale was a hit!

This past Saturday I had so much fun!

20 of San Diego’s designers were in Spring Cleaning mode… and we needed a way to do some “de-stashing”!  So, we had a yard sale.  Check out the pictures below…  (click on the images to enlarge)

Ok, ok… so we did some more shopping too.  But at the end of the day we had accomplished what we set out to do… we gave up some of our excess supplies, we {may have} picked up some new-to-us supplies, we had a blast doing it and then quite a few of us donated the rest of our supplies to the Charity Wings Art Center for their classes!

At the same time, we made some great connections for the Art Center.  They are always looking for volunteers and sponsors … that’s how they continue to do what they do by making a difference in our community!

It was a win-win!  I think we’ll have to do this again… and REALLY soon!!!

Thank you to Charity Wings for opening your doors for us, thank you sellers for bringing your goods and THANK YOU shoppers for coming out and bringing your friends with you!  Stay tuned for the next event!

My day at CHA and other reasons to never grow up!

I recently learned about CHA … and I have to admit, I wondered what all the fuss was about.  I mean really, haven’t I already seen it all already?  (I know, those of you who have been to CHA are laughing hysterically at me right now.)

What is CHA?  Yesterday, and for the next two days, the Craft & Hobby Association is presenting their Mega Show, a conference and trade show “that features a dynamic marketplace in which to do business, opportunities to network with and learn from other industry professionals, and more!”.

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As a member of the Charity Wings Art Center I was given the opportunity to attend CHA this weekend with the important responsibility of representing Charity Wings in an effort to raise awareness of their programs and seek out both corporate partners and individual sponsors.  I love connecting people this way… I smiled and shook hands, shared the 10 second ‘elevator speech’ to those who would listen, collected some business cards and hopefully helped garner some interest in a very worthy cause.  I am truly looking forward to hearing more about the connections made, and see them come to fruition.  

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Taking pictures with my phone was not an ideal way to capture the day but I didn’t really feel like toting around the much larger, heavier digital camera.  So, please bear with me and my low-res images (some of them fuzzy – sorry, I was so giddy I couldn’t hold the phone still) as I recap what we saw, experienced and thoroughly enjoyed yesterday at CHA in Anaheim, Ca.  ::: please, and thank you!:::

We arrived early, found a stellar parking space, got a map of the show floor and looked for the individuals we would be volunteering with.  The longer we hung out in the lobby, waiting for the show doors to open, the louder the crowd and anticipation built!  Buyers, exhibitors, volunteers, staff and security personnel were standing elbow to elbow.  My friend Sandy was with me (this was not her first CHA rodeo)… we people-watched, talked to strangers and pondered how long it took for these bling-ed out scissors to be completed.

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Promptly at 10 am the show room doors opened and it was all fast forward from there… I tried to come up with a game plan for navigating our way to our exhibit… but once those doors opened that plan went out the window.  The below image, while “photo journalistic” in style is very blurry… like my head was at the moment.  Thank you for understanding.

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We found our way to our exhibit and got to work.  Elena Lai Etcheverry, Founder and Executive Director of Charity Wings, is a celebrity at CHA.  Literally.  Elena, as seen here wearing wings by Designer Marisa Pawelko, streams live both from the exhibit and as she flits about the show room floor.  Over the years Elena  has built an immensely supportive network of partners in this business… and has made friends all over the world because of it.

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If you want to join the streaming video, where you can watch LIVE  the inspiring designer throw-downs and one-on-one interviews.  Today’s (Sunday, 1/12/14) streaming will continue begin again at 12 pm through 5 pm (Pacific time).  Click here to join the party for FREE:  –>  LIVE STREAMING FROM CHA

The photos below were taken during the  Michelle Frae Cummings vs. Jen Goode throw-down… good stuff happening here!  So much spirited fun!

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So… who did I meet next?  Oh my crafty goodness, I met and spoke with and got a free autographed book from Mark Montano!!!  For about an hour yesterday morning he was in the E6000 exhibit signing and giving away his craft books… and I was one of the lucky recipients!

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(As I’m writing this, the book is sitting next to me… many of the pages dog-eared for future reference.  Big crafty hugs to you too, Mark!)

I was so inspired to watch and partake of the make and take (below), sponsored by Beacon Adhesives.  I learned a new way of making flowers out of felt.  And I’m in love.  The top flower was pre-made out of grosgrain ribbon.  But the bottom two flowers were made by yours truly.  And I carried it around proudly…

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And next I’m going to include various shots from around the show room floor.  This spot, right here, was where Tim Holtz was going to be in a few minutes (yes, lots of people wanted to meet him.  and yes the line was too long to wait in.). But I took the picture because I love the use of the books in the bookshelves… a unique display, for sure.

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And then we spent quite a bit of time inside the Tim Holtz booth… just soaking it all in.  Wow… the words are hard to find.  So much attention to detail, both in the sample crafts on display and the displays themselves.  All together, so much inspiration.

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Yes, I continued to take bad pictures on my phone as I walked around.  Thank you, for bearing with me for this post… these are blurry, yes.  But if you could only see the ones I haven’t used here… you’d be thankful.

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I love the banner made from photos…

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Oh, what an inspiring, tiring, challenging, fun day this was!  I learned new techniques, played with some toys I’ve never had my hands on before and met some awesome people!

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I woke up today with a dozen new designs floating around in my brain… but all I really want to do today is work through my task list.  Laundry, giving the dog a bath, throwing open the windows and enjoying a beautifully warm winter Sunday… I’ll come back to the crafts when my brain has decided what to do with all this inspiration.

I love what I do… because of opportunities like this!

Operation Christmas Cards 2013

300+ hand-written holiday cards were just sent off to Operation Christmas Cards… pretty cool, huh?!

occ2013It was a joint effort!  We rallied the troops to bring Christmas Cards to our church women’s retreat… and we asked each woman to try to do at least 10 cards each, with a goal of sending off 500 cards.

Needless to say, we didn’t quite meet the goal… but we certainly did some damage!!!  And we had a blast doing it…

Have YOU ever participated in Operation Christmas Cards?  Mark it on your calendars for next year… here is their website… http://www.operationchristmascard.org/Home_Page.php

photos from Esco Gelato/Thanksgiving

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Another amazing honor was sent my way! Yesterday I was afforded the opportunity to decorate EscoGelato for Thanksgiving!  What a {sweet} idea!

Thanksgiving is {BY FAR} my favorite holiday of the year.  So, this project was so much fun for me…

I went with a nostalgic, warm feeling … and then kept it simple.  The colors inside EscoGelato are already so bright and colorful… and so it didn’t need much in the way of sprucing it up.  {i LOVE jobs like this!}

My favorite aspect of this design was re-purposing the large frame.  I have hung a tiny basket off of the frame with blank tags on it… they are there so that people can add a note about what they are thankful for.  I can’t wait to read all the inspiring notes!

7 Lessons Learned from a Year of “Doing shows”…

Oct 2011 … I participated in my first holiday boutique, a craft show.  Where I “put myself out there” by making multiples of many of my creations in hopes that other people might like them too (and maybe even like them enough to buy some so I could recoup some of my costs).  Thank you to my fun friends at the Farm Stand West for kicking my rear in gear and challenging me to do this… your boutique was the first of many in a 12 month period.  Many more followed and many insights came along the way.

I decided to put this blog post together to capture some of the fun memories and some of the hard but good lessons learned.  Good times, good times…

It all started one hot day in September… I stopped at my farm stand for some produce and as I was paying for my lettuce and squash and dried apricots I saw  a flyer on the counter for a fall holiday boutique, an annual event at this location.  The top of the flyer read, “Vendors Wanted”… and as they say, the rest is history!

I started creating, and then kept creating.  And then a few days before the big show I woke up freaking out about my setup/display.  I had NEVER done anything like this before (and quite honestly, hadn’t attended too many craft fairs in order to glean from others’ ideas).  Since I had never stopped to contemplate doing this someday I truly was a newbie.  (What was I thinking?!)  That day I ran out and bought some matching tablecloths/fabric pieces and found some awesome vintage-looking display pieces … and then came home and did a mock setup in my living room.   It was a cute display.  One problem – I hadn’t created enough and needed to come up with some more ideas so I could fill up my spot.  So, I got back to work.

So, here we go..in order to capture things I probably should have pondered (if I were a less impulsive person) here goes the list of lessons I learned along the way…

Lesson #1 – Create What You Love and Make a lot of it!  If you love what you make then you won’t mind making more of it.  You’ll stay up way past your bedtime in order to keep creating. You’ll drive out of your way to pick up more supplies and the hunt is just as much a part of the process as the making and the selling.

Oh the madness I was about to get into … I had no idea. (And maybe that was for the best.)  Over those few weeks I found extra excuses to stop in at the Farm Stand so I could ask about table space, location, access to electricity (after all, I HAD to string up some lights in my area), setup time, etc

Lesson #2 – Make for yourself a Checklist of information to gather, that pertains specifically to your display/product.  While most show coordinators will do a good job of addressing these issues ahead of time, there will typically be other questions you’ll have.  Don’t be afraid to ask them…  it benefits you, and hopefully helps the show coordinator too!

Third weekend in Oct (2011) – my first show.  It was a two-day event… from 9 am – 4 pm (if my memory serves me correctly).  The vendors could arrive an hour early to set up, and since it was outside we tore down at end of the day.  The next morning we setup again and did it all over again.  Any problems?  Yes.  Several of the items sold out immediately and I was in dire need of making more items that night so my table didn’t look bare for Day 2!

Lesson #3 – Be Prepared:  as you’re packing up the car you’ll be taking with you – items to sell (obviously) but you’ll also be packing up  display pieces, signage (for your business and your items/product lines), business supplies (receipt book, extra tags, scissors, notepad, pens, hot glue gun, money bag with plenty of change, etc) … put some thought into how you want to present yourself and your business.  How will you dress the day of the event?  What feeling or emotion do you want people to walk away with after visiting your spot.  What would help shoppers fall in love with your item?  Put together a plan, and be prepared to run with it.  Think about what forms of payment you will take:  just cash?  personal checks?  credit cards?  (Several companies provide FREE card scanning devices that will work with smart phones and Apple devices. Their transaction fees are pretty competitive.  For example: PayPal, Square, etc.)

The Farm Stand Holiday Boutique was followed by a show a few weeks later, Christmas On The Farm (at a private residence, in an unincorporated area north Escondido… a beautiful farm).  It was originally going to be an outside event, where the vendors would have a 10′ x 10′ space and could setup pop-up canopies for our display.  However,  we couldn’t know that a huge winter storm was going to unleash its fury in San Diego that weekend.  Thankfully the property owner and event coordinator could make other arrangements and all of us vendors moved inside the house.  We no longer had a 10′ x 10′ space, but with some adjustments we were all still able to have a 6′ x 4′ space (just enough for setting up a banquet table).  The house was abuzz that weekend, and shoppers showed up despite the rain.  Save for a few cars getting stuck in the muddy field it was a successful event!

Lesson #4 – Be flexible.  Despite circumstances beyond our control, we all had fun that weekend and with a lot of effort on everyone’s part it was a success.  The key to the events success was for the event coordinator and the vendors to remain flexible.

The light bulb switched “ON” one day (again) and I realized that social media was going to be the perfect way to share the details of these events.  And good thing.  I quickly started sharing information on my shows with friends, family and co-workers via email and Facebook… but I also made good ol’ flyers and left them everywhere (coffee shops, community cork boards, etc).  And people actually showed up!  And they bought items… lots of items.

Lesson #5 – Market yourself / sell yourself and your product.  In terms of marketing, find what works for you and run with it.  What style are you portraying?  Vintage?  Rustic?  Traditional?  Is your audience on Twitter, Facebook (setup a Facebook page for your business), Instagram, Etsy, email or is an “in person” invite better for your target audience?  What is the age range of the people interested in your product?  Find out how to best sell yourself to them.  Is your product something that can be photographed well?  Get a decent camera, learn how to use it, take pics and share, share, share.  Talk about what you’re creating everywhere.  In line at the post office?  Talk to the person next to you and see if an opportunity arises to tell them what you love doing.  There’s a lot to be said for that sparkle in your eye when you talk about what you love doing.  Do your items sell better to a focused crowds?  Flea market?  Craft shows?  Holiday boutiques?  Art shows?  Music shows?  Car shows?  Be open to events of all type and set out the appropriate merchandise for that crowd.

And then another light bulb flickered on.  There was a HUGE holiday craft fair that I had gone to once.  What if they still had room for lil’ ol’ me to be a vendor?  I looked up the church website, and found an email for the coordinator.  I shot her a quick email and crossed my fingers.  A few days later I heard back that they were in fact already full, but that she could put me on the waiting list if I wanted.  OK!  I asked her to let me know when the deadline was to sign up for next year.  Well, a few weeks later she contacted me again, as a spot opened up!!!  OK!  I’m in!  The morning of the show (day 1) I was sick to my stomach.  This was a HUGE show … was I prepared?  Did I have enough product made?  Did I decide on the RIGHT product to bring?  My husband went with me to help haul boxes, furniture, etc… and calm my nerves.  What an encouraging challenge this was for me… and somehow I managed to calm my nerves before getting sick and it was a rather successful show!!!

Lesson #6 – Stay Inspired!   Keep learning new things and challenging yourself.  Don’t stop searching for new inspiration.  We can all improve and evolve with the times, step out of our comfort zone but still embrace what you were made to do.

If my count is correct, I did 18 shows in the past 14 months.  In addition to all the creating that’s a lot of prep work, packing, hauling boxes, and making lists.  I couldn’t even begin to quantify the numbers of products I’ve put together for these shows.  And while my product and displays have evolved over the year the premise of my love for creating has remained: I love to breathe new life into vintage items.  Sometimes that simply means rescuing it from a dark corner and shining it up  again, embracing the beauty of old… and sometimes that means altering it or repurposing the item and giving it renewed meaning.

Lastly, and I think most importantly, once I was setup at the shows and finally ready to truly enjoy the day it was imperative that I put on my smile,  stand up and interact with my shoppers and draw them in warmly.  Not in a pushy way… but in my way.

Lesson #7 – Have Fun!   Create what you love and have fun creating.  And then once you get to your show – Smile.  Interact.  Engage.  You can tell if they’re interested in your product by how long their look lingers over your display.  If they are lingering – draw them in!  Engage them in conversation… hand them one of your products and tell them a personal story about it.  If they make an emotional connection to you or the product they will fall in love.  I promise you that…

And now, for a little comic relief…

10 Things a Vendor/Crafter should Never Say or Do at a Craft Fair, as seen at various shows in 2012…

  • 10) Do not offend your shoppers.  It’s just not a smart move.
  • 9)  Do not walk way from your booth as people are walking toward it.
  • 8)  Do NOT scold their children, unless they are getting ready to break something.
  • 7)  Do not complain about circumstances out of your control.  You can’t change them anyway.
  • 6) Do not look other vendors up/down as if to judge their appearance.  That’s just rude.
  • 5) Do not talk to/interrupt/distract shoppers at the booth next to yours, until they make it to your booth or engage you in the conversation.
  • 4) Do not yell insults at another vendor.  (Yes, I’ve seen this happen.)
  • 3) Do not insult the event coordinator.  She probably has a network of coordinators at her hand.  You will be shunned.
  • 2) Do not use an old worn out sheet for a table-cloth.  No matter how much you want to call it “repurposing”.
  • 1) Do not wear plugs and sit with your arms crossed in the back corner of your booth. It just isn’t going to work for you.

Now get out there and have fun!  What are YOU creating?!

Christmas on Maple Street Plaza

On Saturday December 8th I got to participate in an event in downtown Escondido that marked the beginning of a new life for Maple Street Plaza.  This courtyard used to be a street… and then the decision was made to turn it into a plaza that could be used for community events, etc.

Scroll through the pics and you’ll see the setup for our tables (shared with my creative friends Sandy Mune and Carol Murphy)… and you’ll also see the hard work put into the event by Escondido Events.  They found local businesses / sponsors  to offer free holidays activities for kids and families … like a free hay ride, cookie decorating, holiday stories with the local librarian, crafty workshops, etc

Dozens of vendors were also set up to sell holiday gifts, decor, clothing, jewelry, etc.

Throughout the day we enjoyed live musical performances and watched family after family make new memories together.  We’re looking forward to more and more fun community events in Maple Street Plaza…

 

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Green Flash Holiday Marketplace

We had so much fun at Green Flash, for their First Annual Holiday Marketplace!  Let’s hope they want to hold a spring event as well.  Count me in!

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My friend Carol Murphy joined me (our handcrafted products compliment each other well)… and whenever we get together we do a lot of laughing.  Let’s do it again soon!