Sunday, March 30, 2014

One of Those Outfits: Not a Pink Person

If you were to ask what my least favorite color is, the answer would be pink, without a doubt.  Why?  I think it boils down to that whole gender specific color thing.  According to society, as a girl, I'm supposed to be all over pink which is probably why I've always shunned it to the degree that I have.  Then I had a daughter.  Holy cow, that's when I REALLY noticed the gender color issue.  And yes, to me, it's an issue.  But hey, if you dig pink and you're a girl, that's awesome!  And if you dig pink and you're a boy, that's awesome too!  If Rio loves pink, then more power to her!  I just wish our society didn't press a color along with a gender like it does.  All of that to say, I fell in love with a pink dress and surprised myself.
Saturday was mine and Brent's sixth wedding anniversary.  Could be my favorite anny yet.  We started the day off with a trip to the zoo with our friends and their adorable daughter who just turned three.  Those two little girls together just about killed me with cuteness.  After a few hours pointing out all of the animals and a short train ride, we stopped by one of my favorite sandwich shops ever, Big Als.  It's becoming more and more enjoyable to eat out with the kid.  We did lots of food sharing and laughing with each other.  Following that, back to the house for nap time.  Brent worked in the garden and I photographed more clothes for shopbifftastica.  After the kid awoke, we shipped her off to my folks' house for the night so the mister and I could get rowdy!
We really didn't have a thing planned for the evening, except that we wanted to dine somewhere.  Not really knowing where or what we wanted to eat, we just parked the car downtown and started walking.  We ended up at the packed Tallgrass Prairie Table, without a reservation.  Due to some random happenings, we ended up getting a table and had an uh-mazing dinner.  The hype of that place is well deserved.  After our feast, we shimmied on down to The Max where we played a little skeeball and arcade games.  Next up we stuck our heads into Enso and The Electric Circus for a short stay to listen to some music.  By about ten, we decided to head over to a friend's house where my dear friend was celebrating her birthday.  We had a great time catching up and relaxing a bit.  After a few hours there, we decided it was time to go home but the universe had other things planned!  While leaving, Brent happened to see one of our coworkers (the guy he directly works with daily) and his wife arriving home from their night out!  They live around the corner from the house we were previously at so we ended up spending a few more hours over there!  My head didn't hit the pillow until well after three that morning, something I hadn't done in many moons!  It was a wonderful, unplanned day that just kept getting better and better.  Full disclosure though - Sunday was a widdle bit rough for me.  The universe apparently also needed to remind me that I'm not as young as I used to be ;)  Regardless of a ridiculously unproductive Sunday, the night was worth it and one I'll look back on for years.
Look at that hunk!  I'm a lucky, lucky lady.  So here's to my charming man, the father of our spunky little girl, my gardening master, and so much more.  May our future be just as wonderful as our past.
Vintage Dress - Cheap Thrills / Sandals - Target Clearance / 
Jacket - My sister's closet / Earrings - Busted Trumpet

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Six Years Ago Today...

...we made this thing official.  Here's a look back at our engagement photos taken at our home (with puppy Mondo!) and the Fairgrounds, of course.  It's been quite a wonderful trip with good moments, bad moments, funny moments, embarrassing moments, frustrating moments, amazing moments and everything in between.  A pup, three kitties, and a kiddo made us a family which nothing can ever take away.  It's all overwhelmingly beautiful.  Happy Anniversary, Mr. Handle.  Thanks for putting up with me and my micromanaging all of these years!  You're a real peach, ya know. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

shopbifftastica

So I opened up a little vintage shop on Instagram!  I'd been thinking about it for moooooonths but just wasn't sure if I really wanted to give it a go.  Well, I did it.  It's been approximately 72 hours and I'm hooked.  It's tons of fun to give each article of clothing its own air time and focus on what's great about it specifically.  When selling clothes in person, I think it's easy for special traits to be easily overlooked which means you just may miss out on a killer piece. 
I had a good little pep talk from my friend Kim who has a great little shop that I enjoy frequenting.  Remember that needlepoint I'm working on?  I bought it from her on Instagram.  It's really an interesting marketplace.  There's no real policing of selling activity on there so it seems there's a lot of trust in place but from what I've seen, everyone is on the up and up.  I've chosen to cover myself (and prefer buying this way, too) by sending invoices via PayPal and ship once the payment has cleared.  Easy, peasy. 
Who knows how long I'll keep up with this but for right now, I'm having fun!  I shipped out my first two orders yesterday and couldn't be more pleased!  I've got plenty of vintage clothes and vintage crafting supplies that I'm ready to part with and this seems like it may be the right avenue for that right now.  

If you're interested in checking this venture out, you can find it here!  And no worries, my Etsy shop is still hopping and is filled with loads of stuff!

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Tiny Artist

Ahh, Spring Break.  The most relaxing time of the year.  Or not.  I'm quickly learning that Spring Break with a kiddo means less of a break than normal!  Not that I'm complaining, though.  ;)  While we didn't jet set off to some tropical climate or to the top of a mountain for skiing, the kid and I did spend some quality time together this week in a toddler art class taught by my old friend (and former neighbor!) Annie Ferris.  Annie is such a sweet soul, talented artist and SO good with the littles that there was no way we could refuse when we saw the opportunity for class pop up.  
It was a great, great time and a wonderful learning experience for both Rio and me.  While the younger kids may not have been the greatest at following instructions, they were able to get their hands dirty and just be a part of art without boundaries.  For me, it was a lesson in patience and letting go of control, which is something I constantly battle internally.  This was also our first go at something with other children and parents, aside from hanging out with friends!  I struggled a little with worrying about how others perceived Rio's few (epic) meltdowns but soon learned that we were in a very supportive, compassionate group of parents.  I was also thrilled to share the experience with two of my friends and their fantastic kiddos.  Like I said, a wonderful experience for the both of us.  :)  Plus, the class was held in the Harvest Market within Global Gardens which was uh-mazing.  If you've yet to hear about this initiative, take some time to learn about it here.

Each day, we traveled to another country in the world which, of course, I loved.  Navajo art, Indian art, Russian art, Australian Aborigine art, and Rwandan art (if I remember correctly) were all interpreted by tiny hands and little masterpieces were created.  It was really inspiring and has motivated me to try to do more art with Rio at home.  Believe it or not, we are lacking in the toddler art department at home!  Music and outdoor exploration are our strong suits thus far but visual arts will hopefully become more commonplace in our home.   
So thank you, Annie, for opening up artistic doors for us and for just being the greatest.  It was the perfect addition to our break.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Quaker Apartment

Not too long ago I toured you around the Cincinnati apartment.  Well, let's go back to the abode before that one - the Quaker apartment.  I actually lived in two apartments in this building, the first one being in the basement.  I loved the idea of living in that basement (instant tornado shelter!) and really loved the price but quickly found myself wanting out due to the cave crickets and the lack of sunlight.  Plus, it was just a shit hole.  :)  Once I learned that the upstairs tenant was vacating, I jumped and laid claim to my future home above ground.  I lived above ground in that building for two more years and soon learned that the upstairs was just as crummy as the basement thanks to a near-collapsing balcony (which they promised they would fix and twelve years later, it still hasn't been), slum lords, and a roach infestation thanks to a very filthy neighbor.  But you know what?  I loved it there.  The location was a blast being right off of Cherry Street and it was once a gorgeous building from the early 1920s.  It was the last place I lived with a landline, dial up internet and without cable.  The end of an era.  For a while, I lived right across the street from some of my dearest friends and was two blocks away from my 'Cheers' where I would seriously go and run the pool tables most nights of the week.  Those were fun, careless times with fun, somewhat careless people.  ;)  Welcome to my early twenties.

Scanning thousands of photos may be a lot of work but being able to relive your past through those images makes it totally worth it.  Totally.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Inside the Feed Store

You may remember a little refashion I completed last summer which was serendipitously inspired by my Great Grandfather's shop - The Sangster Feed Store.  A little while after I shared that post, I came across a box of slides in my Great Granny's briefcase filled with many more images from their feed store.  Along with those slides were promotional materials from Purina, awards my great-grandparents earned with their store and some of their book keeping records.  It was such a gift.  A look back in time through the eyes of my family.  The images were so transfixing for me that I thought I'd share with you.  A little old school eye candy.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Why I Started a Craft Show and What I Learned

Now that I've hit the pause button on Alliday, I've been able to look at it with fresh eyes.  Not only did I learn loads about how to organize and produce a large-scale event, I learned even more about myself and what people are capable of if they put their minds to it.


Back in 2010, I decided to create my own craft show.  There was nothing special about me.  I wasn't hugely submersed in the art world.  I didn't have tons of money to launch something like this.  I was just highly driven.  I've always been the type of person that decides to do something and does it.  Ask Brent.  One day I'll decide that something needs to be changed at home and within 24 hours, I'm figuring out a way to make it happen.
 
So it was a few years after our wedding and I was jonesing for something to organize.  I was doing craft shows almost every single weekend, some good, some ok, and many more just plain bad.  After a while, I started to piece together what the good shows had in common and what made the bad shows bad.  In a nutshell, any show that included resellers (you know what I'm talking about!) was a guaranteed bad show for me.  One day, while sitting at a particularly bad show, my business partner at the time and I started dreaming up how we would run our own show.  For her, it was more daydreaming but for me, I was already planning how to make it happen.  The following week I was scoping out locations, studying the calendar and ordering books on craft fair planning (which there desperately needs to be new material on!).  I was bound and determined. 

I initially chose a time of year with few craft shows, June.  I secured a building at the Fair Grounds with a bit of hesitation from my partner.  She was more interested in starting small and growing but I felt it was important to begin with a bang.  Start out where I wanted to end up.  So June at the Fairgrounds it was!  I talked to anyone who would listen.  We charged pennies for booth fees and accepted pretty much any handmade artist who applied...and ended up with some gems!  I did our 'graphics' which were embarrassingly crude and a friend of ours in Public Relations took the reigns of publicity.  It was a modest first show but man, oh man, were we proud of how it turned out.  I quickly learned how hungry Tulsa was for more curated, handmade shows.
It didn't take much to convince me to put together another show.  For the second year, I decided to move it to the time of year that always proved to be most lucrative for me as an artist, the holidays!  At that point, I was on my own for planning and producing the show.  Moving the show to the holiday season proved to be the right move and it always remained during that time of year.

For the four years that Alliday ran, I was constantly amazed by the talent that our state had to offer.  You guys are some wicked artists and crafters!  It was humbling that these small businesses that I respected so wanted to be involved in my little show.  I will forever be grateful to those that took a chance on Alliday and shared their creations with us.  Seriously.
I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I learned tons.  Two lessons really stand out to me:

1.  Ask for help.  I can't do it all.  I'm totally a micro-manager.  I have a REALLY hard time passing things along to others and am usually looking over their shoulder to make sure it's being done to my standards.  Yeah, total backseat driver.  Running the show taught me to loosen up with that.  That first became clear to me with the graphics for the show.  Hopefully no one remembers the first year's graphics because they were BAD and fully a product of me thinking I could do it all.  Once I let go of that and let Ross go crazy with the imagery, I quickly realized that I couldn't and SHOULDN'T do it all.  I learned to not be afraid to ask others for help, in so many areas.  Life, man, requires help from each other. 

2.  If you have a dream, go for it.  Sure, (lots of) people told me that I was a little crazy for wanting to start up a large scale craft show and I may have very well been but that didn't stop me.  NO ONE IS STOPPING YOU EXCEPT FOR YOURSELF.  If you have a dream, break it down so it's not so overwhelming.  Determine if it's even feasible.  Ask for help (see lesson number one) and start taking the steps to make it happen. 
I'm not sad that the show is over.  I'm ridiculously proud of Alliday.  I had a dream and made it a reality.  And it was fun.  I met some of the most amazing people through the show; lifelong friends.  I now know that I can do whatever I put my mind to.  I did it.  I can do it.  I will do whatever I can imagine.  And you can, too.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Owning Productivity

Productivity in the creative department has been my jam the past few months and, like I mentioned in my last post, I have been updating my online shop like mad.  Here's a little preview of just some of the things you can find there.  You can always get free shipping with the code YOURESPECIAL, because, you are!  I'm working on something now that I'm in absolute love with and can't wait to share with you!  But for now, enjoy the shop goods while I get back to making! 
Until later!

Friday, March 14, 2014

One of Those Outfits: Inside and Out

I honestly have about ten drafted posts about my busy-ness status since I stepped back from my many commitments but I just can't seem to find the right voice to share my thoughts.  So why share at all?  Because I want to.  Because I want to let others know that you are in control of your happiness.  Sometimes, it's more honorable to say no to stuff and to put yourself first.  It may not be easy, but sometimes it's the right choice.  It sure wasn't easy for me but it sure as hell was the right thing to do!
My changes have been so good to me.  I don't know if others can tell or not, but the inside of my head is a much more pleasant place right now.  I'm not mentally jumping from one thought to the next, from one project to another, or compiling things to add onto my lists.  Speaking of lists, I noticed the other day that my epic list making habits have changed.  Instead of having a sheet of paper divided into ten different categories with endless bullet points underneath each topic, I have been making weekly to do lists, still on one sheet of paper, with the different aspects of my life intermingling together.  No categories.  Suddenly, my brain isn't compartmentalizing everything.  To me, this is huge.  There is still organization within my lists, but it's different.  More relaxed.
I've had these enlightening moments lately about busy-ness versus productivity.  I was busier than I ever should have been.  I was always looking to the next meeting, trying to stay on top of my emails, and trying to schedule in days without any commitments, which was rare.  I was just busy, not always productive.  Since I've made these life changes, I've had an empty inbox more than once in the past month (!!), I've cooked more creative and healthy meals for our family, I've been SO productive in updating the shop like a boss, the house has been flowing better, I feel like I've been a better prepared teacher, and I just feel happier all around.  Things are good.  And really, I have myself to thank for that.  I wouldn't be where I am right now if I hadn't finally put myself first. 
This was a casual outfit from yesterday that made me feel as equally good about myself outside as I've been feeling on the inside.  A positive doctor's appointment, a new hair cut, pretty weather and a happy baby made for a winning day. 

Tank - Target Clearance (from years back; also seen here) / Blouse - Hand-me-down from my sister (that I desperately need to replace buttons on!) / Pink & Gold Sparkly Jeans - Target Clearance, last year / Sandals - Target Clearance, several years back

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Booth Table Covers {Make Your Own!}

Craft shows.  I've got some experience with 'em.  I've had successful shows, I've had terrible shows, I've had ok shows, and I've run shows.  I've learned lots, I've taught lots, and now I'm working on applying those things back on my own business again.  All of that to say, I made new booth table covers and I wanted to share.  So there.

From a veteran craft show-er, the way you present your product in person can make or break a show.  I'm constantly trying to improve my booth presence and this year I'm extra gung-ho.  For my entire show life, I've been throwing up sheets, blankets, tablecloths and scarves over my tables and called it done.  Don't get me wrong, they've looked nice and cohesive for the most part but for the last year or so, I've been wanting to make my own table covers specifically for craft shows.  And I finally did.

One of the fabrics that I grabbed in the warehouse really sung to me and after cleaning it up, I decided it would be perfect for show table covers!  I made two, both for 4' tables and I think they just may be the best thing ever.  Allow me to introduce you and guide you through making your own!
My original intent was to make all the covers to fit a table on bed risers (which are cheap and great for adding height to a booth!) and create some system to raise them when risers weren't able to be used.  Once I made the first one, I thought this particular fabric looked best straight, not folded/bustled/pinned so I decided to make one for a table with risers and one without.

Super simple.  First, make sure you have tons of a fabric that won't draw away from your product or displays.  I used one of the fabrics from the haul that I felt would be perfect for the project.  Doesn't wrinkle, washes easily, eye-catching, composed of neutrals, complimented my work, and readily available!  Measure the top of the table and each of the sides to the floor.  Cut one piece of fabric for each side and the top, approximately 1" larger than the measurements.
Sew each wall piece to the corresponding side of the top piece.  For this project, when pinning and sewing, always keep the front sides of the fabric together and turn right side out after sewn.  I serged mine for a little extra security but a straight/zig zag combo will do the same!  With this fabric, I had to be super careful to keep things lined up but depending on your fabric, that may not be an issue at all.  It worked best for me to have the table set up as I went along to lay and pin on, rather than going by measurements.  Once all of the walls are sewn onto the top and you've assured that everything is aligned, then you can sew the front panel to the front of the side wall pieces.  Don't sew the back panel to the side wall pieces though!
Leave that back panel free so you can easily access the space under your table during the show. If you've ever done a show before, you know how sacred that under table space can be! It was important to me to be able to quickly and easily get to packaging material, extra stock, snacks, or whatever else it may be so I left the back corners open. To keep things looking nice though, finish up those edges however you see fit.
 
I also decided to throw a couple of pockets on the back to make things even more functional.  We will have to be careful to not throw anything too heavy in the pockets but other than that, I see them being very sturdy and handy.  In the occasion that I'm in a spot where both sides of my table will be seen, I'm fine with the pockets being seen and I can use them as displays! 
I finished all the sides up with this green trim and love the way they turned out.  The green lets me throw in some color without being overwhelming with it.  I'm REALLY excited to set things up and see how these look with my displays!  I still have a 6' table but for the last few shows, I haven't used it as often so it's low on the list to complete.  It feels good to finally knock this off of my list and to be so pleased with the results.  I'd love to know if you have any questions, have made your own covers, or if you end up doing this yourself!
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