Saturday, October 30, 2010

Handmade Harvest - Free Holiday Photo Shoot

The craft show is a week away.
A week!
That translates to like 27 and a half hours in my world.

Everything, incredibly, seems to be under control.
Just some last minute details that will be taken care of this week.
Including telling you about what you can expect from one of our fabulous sponsors.

Meet Jill Guthrie.
Jill has a steadily growing photography business here in Almonte called jemmTale Photography.
I've known Jill for quite a while now.
She's always been a great supporter of the shop, she has two beautiful girls, we share several friends in common, and she's a fantastic photographer.

Colleen and I wanted to make sure we documented our first craft show venture so afterwards we can pour over pictures and gloat about how awesome it was.
Also se we can use professional photos for the promotion of future events.
Naturally we thought of Jill.
And, naturally, she was totally game.

Not only is jemmTale one of our three show sponsors, she's also official photographer and will be setting up a mini studio during the event to take professional family Christmas photos.
We'll have a tree decked out with all the trimmings and a tickle trunk of props to play with.
Have some fun with tacky holiday sweaters, or spit shine the kids and capture some memories.

Photo sessions are free and, shortly after the show, will be able for viewing in an online gallery.
Should you choose to purchase any photos, Jill will be offering them at discounted prices leading up to Christmas.
Take advantage of the opportunity to have a free professional photo shoot.
Just in time to pop in the mail for the holidays and look like your one of those really organized people who does things like that.

Come early to reserve your spot.
Handmade Harvest doors open at 9am Saturday.
Hope to see you there!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


This week a woman came in to the shop and told me my window display was ugly.


What she really said was that she almost thought she had the wrong store due to the lack of anything interesting in the windows.

She's not wrong I guess.
Coming up short on the bedside manners perhaps, but not totally wrong.
If only she knew how many things were higher on my list of priorities.

In my defense, it's kind of a strange time of year.
I JUST did my fall display. A few items had sold out of it and it was looking a little sparse, so I had begun cleaning it out thinking I might do a Halloween something...but gosh.
That's a lot of work for only a couple weeks of display time.

I don't want to be lazy though.
I don't care how busy I get, Blackbird has to keep up with appearances.
I LOVE doing my window displays, but I do wish there was a window fairy, or a bunch of elves or something who could come in the night and take that one off my plate for a while.
Any volunteers?
(Seriously. I know some of you are designers. Want to come do my windows once and a while? Could be a fun way to advertise your business.)

Colleen and I are on a major bunting kick right now (expect to see an overload of it at Handmade Harvest), and since the craft show is just around the corner, I thought I might take advantage of the prime advertising real estate, and deck out the windows craft show style.

I zipped over to Textile Traditions after work and picked up a bunch of fat quarters (Kelly has amazing fabrics over there. If you've never been, that shop is an Almonte gem you should really check out) and promptly took them home to chop them up into little bunting triangles.

I had my assistant hand me triangles as I furiously sewed, and in no time I had yards and yards (and yards) of adorable bunting for my "atrocious" window display.

Ta da!
Birch trees and bunting.
I implore you. What could be cuter than that?
Incidentally, it made the perfect backdrop to our Thursday morning photoshoot with Tara from the EMC (local paper). Watch the paper for our article (next week I think).
We're getting loads of great publicity for the craft show.
I hope you're coming! Admission is free free free!

Here's a quick scan of what's in this month's Humm.
You can also find it here (page 15).

On the home front, the renovation of our back room is finally finished!
Save for another coat of paint. But I'm not waiting around for that to be finished to write about it.
For the time being we're going to use this as a kids playroom so we can de-clutter the family room and contain the madness that is all the toys and books and chalkboards and Play-Doh and kid stuff in general.

I told Brad I feel rich having that room done.
We've never really had more space than we need and it all just seems so excessive and luxurious.
Also, Brad paid for pretty much all of it so it feels like the biggest, best, most awesome present ever.

Now to decorate!
Just so happens one of my favourite blogs just did a big feature on playrooms.
Totally inspiring. Check it out here.

Here's another good storage idea which totally screams "Ikea", but also "doable" which always interests me.

And again with the bunting.

Going to an antiquing show with the divine Miss J tomorrow.
I'll be sure to bring the camera!


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Post mortem...partum...whatever.

How'd it go?!

You know. The party!
Was it a success? Was it a flop?
Are you crying over piles of funky jackets and cardigans and handbags?
Is that why you haven't blogged in foreeeever?

Quite the opposite my friends.

(Do I do that extra periods for emphasis thing too often or what?)

Blackbird's first annual Clothing and Accessories Event was a HUGE success.
Honestly. Everything sold.
Every clutch, every cardigan, every coat, every scarf, every purse (except for one. I won't buy yellow again until summer that's for sure), everything.

I did have some jewelry pieces left and a few hats but, honestly, I was kind of thankful because the shop was empty.
We opened the doors at about ten to 6pm and by 7:30 the place was looking seriously picked over.

Needless to say I will definitely be doing this again.
On a bigger scale over a longer period of time.
It almost got dangerous in there as far as building capacity goes.
Not to mention the lethal combination of deal crazed women, free cocktails and open flames from the tea lights at the complimentary nail bar.
As always, watch the horizon for what's going to "pop up" next.

Back to business though. Seriously.
The Handmade Harvest Craft Show is less than a month away and it's a wonder my business isn't going down the tube with all the extracurriculars on my plate.
Everything's coming together just fine.
It's just a ton of work.
Most of which we can't even tackle until the night before the show.

You know we'll pull it off.
At least making this event a success isn't something that's resting solely on my shoulders.
Colleen and I just have really high standards for ourselves.
First impressions are important if we're going to move forward with a Spring Show. Go big or go home. All that.

Also, we're still pumping out workshops and being moms.
Sometimes in that order.
(Who are these women who can get buy without a husband at home to keep things together? Do they have to wear super hero garb or is it capes optional?)

This week we made Halloween Wreaths.
The pictures don't do these feathery masterpieces justice...but Lia seems to like hers.

I did actually manage to make time for family stuff in the midst of the madness.

Brad and I, and my parents took Clemmie to the pumpkin patch for some good old fashioned fall time fun.
She especially loved the animals.

We picked out three pumpkins and a baby gourd (mom, dad, Clem & baby Gord) and promptly took them home to wreck them with a hot mess of glitter.
They didn't turn out to be quite as glamourous as I produced in my pre-helper days, but we had fun doing it.

And I wasn't too disappointed when the glitter washed off in the rain the next day.
I'll redo them when she's sleeping and let her think they dried that way.

Or I'll tell her Sophia did it.
She could never be mad at Sophia...

Until next time.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pop Up Shop

So I'm really taking a bit of a risk here, but last time I was at the gift show, I had an idea.
What if I started selling clothes?

Not all the time. Just sometimes.
Like Spring (beginning of the warm season) and Fall (beginning of the cool).

I have this concept for what I'm calling (until I can think of something better) "Pop Up Shops".
I could hunt all year for great clothing and accessories and then rent an empty store front here in Almonte and sell it all over a two week period.
Maybe a month. But I want to have that sense of urgency so things move quickly. I would price things to move, make some quick coin and create a little buzz.
It's all about the buzz.

Whatever doesn't sell I could put in Blackbird, or online, or...gosh. I'll think of something.
It'll all sell.
Let's just assume.
Power of positive thinking and all that.

I saw so many great things when I was shopping for the store back in August and, honestly, I'm sick of having to be so darned sensible and resisting things I KNOW you would love.

So I'm having a party.
It's a little test market project for this idea and if it flies, maybe you'll be seeing me actually do it at some point next year when the dust (read: baby powder) settles.
I might have a kid strapped to my back, but that's not really the kind of thing to stop me.

For one night only - Thursday October 7th from 6pm to 10pm in my dad's new gallery space at 14 Mill Street - we'll have near wholesale pricing on everything from handbags and clutches to jewelry, cardigans and even fall coats, free mini manicures courtesy of Carmelized (come with polish free nails if you'd like to partake), chocolate fountain goodness compliments of Appleton Gift and Basket, cocktails and great music.

Come, bring a friend, and treat yourself to some good, old fashioned FASHION fun.
Hope to see you there!

I wouldn't miss it if I were you.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Chipper Skipper

I'm feeling pretty chipper today.
Like so much so that I'm probably just a tad annoying to be around.
Luckily (well unluckily considering I'm trying to make a living over here) there IS no one around. And I'm hammering away at a bunch of freelance stuff that's been piling up this week.

It'll likely be short lived.
These moods of mine usually are, but for the time being, let's read about it shall we?

First of all, workshops make me happy.
On Wednesday night Colleen and I taught a wire wrapping class where we made nest pendants and rings.
It was a barrel of laughs.

I actually didn't do too much if I'm being honest.
Colleen ran the whole show and I gabbed it up with the ladies (I wonder if she had the same fun I did...hmm...I don't think I'll ask).
Look at them giggling over there.
That's not staged you know. They're really having fun.
Have you come to one of our workshops yet? You should. But first, you'll have to join my mailing list.
Our next one will be Tuesday October 12th.
We're making Halloween wreaths with black feathers and eye balls. They're pretty fantastic.

Just LOOK at the gorgeous stuff these girls made!
Secondly, family.
Brad, Clemmie and I spent last weekend in Kitchener visiting my sister Meghan, her hubster Jeff and my nephew Cohen for his first birthday.
Clem loves spending time with her cousin.
Especially when there are cupcakes and a bouncy castle involved.

She must have licked that thing for 45 minutes.
She likes to savour things this kid.
She'll probably be one of those kids who still has a few pieces of Halloween candy in her closet at Easter.

She's brilliant my child. You realize that.
One and a half and already she's reading at a 2 year old level. Maybe 3.
I had to take her to the doctor this week because I was afraid she might have croup and while the Dr. was listening to her chest she said to her "if you can say stethoscope I'll give it to you".
My girl just looked at her and said, clear as a bell, "Stethoscope". (We'll just take that thank you very much!)

Touche to you Doctor! I said Touche!

While we were in Kitchener we were able to sneak off to Toronto on the Saturday night to visit with old friends and celebrate sweet Melissa's 30th birthday.
We had so much fun.
Despite being pregnant, I even stayed up past my bedtime and didn't hit the hay until about 4:30am.
I won't be doing that again any time soon, but it was worth it for that night.
We went to a Chinese restaurant on Spadina at about 3am and ordered enough food to sink a ship.
I will never be thin, pregnant or not, with all the good times to be had. And eaten.

Here's a fun little fact for you.
Did you know that if you ask for "cold tea" after hours at a Chinese restaurant they bring you beer in a tea pot?

I think that might have blown a little piece of Brad's mind.
They don't even put it on the bill because it's illegal to serve at that time of night. You just pay what you think it's worth. Which, when you're already intoxicated, can be a lot I imagine.
A good time was had by all, and I'm happy to say we've all recovered from a looooong weekend.

Thirdly, blogs.
My friend Jen writes for a website called Sweet Spot.
Yesterday was her birthday and I particularly enjoyed her Birthday Fantasy post.
Again with The Girl with the Most Cake. Can't get enough of her!
Shout out to Jen! Happy birthday. Hope all four of your boys treated you like the queen you are!

That's it for today folks.
I'll be writing again tomorrow because I have to tell you about the Clothing and Accessories Event I'm hosting in my dad's new gallery space next week.

Thought this might be enough blog post excitement for one day...