Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trend Spotting - Next Workshop

I just found something pretty similar to our next workshop project on the front page of Etsy.
Do we know how to stay one step ahead of the trend or what?

Few spots still left by the way.
Read more about it on the Handmade Nest blog.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Christmas Fairs

I'm blowing your mind with two posts in one day, I know.
But I had to share this.

A customer/old family friend of ours/all round totally awesome person told me late last week that she was so inspired by Handmade Harvest that she wrote a poem about it.
A poem.

If there's a bigger compliment to be had than that, I certainly haven't received it!
Thank you Terri.
We love Christmas Fairs too.
Also, YOU.


The Christmas Fairs by Terri Clarke

Nine o’clock sharp, first Saturday in November,

The line up is longer than they ever remember.

The doors open slowly for the large eager crowd

To greet all the artisans, smiling and proud.

Merchandise sparkles, the tables are set,

The shoppers will lessen the national debt.

Beads and bracelets, cards and pottery,

Scarves and slippers, rings and gaudery.

Pine cones and wreaths, candles galore

Scented and coloured for every decor.

Purses of silk and pillows with lace,

Welcome all to the pre-Christmas race.

Stroll pass the tables; confer with your friends.

See for yourself this year’s latest trends.

Examine the handiwork - could you make it for less?

Possibly so, but with considerable stress!

Weaving and baking and quilting exhibiting,

This is no place for spending inhibiting.

Trivets and trinkets and natural soaps,

Selections to satisfy everyone’s hopes.

Items too tempting and not to be missed.

Buy them for someone who’s not on your list.

No time to waffle, sigh or to ponder,

Now is the time to seize and to squander.

So sip on the cider and sample the squares.

Savour the start of the Christmas fairs.

The Dump

I think I should probably remove the BWO icon at the side of my blog because despite the fact that I've been a little M.I.A. lately I totally feel an obligation to blog.
I've been wanting to.
There's no shortage of stuff to talk about that's for sure.
It's always a time management issue.
Which, I'm constantly being reminded, is something that is about to get worse before it gets better.

Where to begin?
Where we left off perhaps?

Christmas flip week went well. It's always the same story.
Monday I feel like taking the entire week to turn things over seems like an excessive amount of time.
By Tuesday afternoon I think we have a good handle on things.
And by Thursday at 9pm we're exhausted and skipping lunch just to get everything done in time.

It was pretty bad in here.
I'm almost embarrassed to share...
This was my back room.
I don't really have storage at Blackbird.
The basement is pretty wet and I actually think it's a good thing I can't stuff to much in the back.
Gives me a better handle on inventory, but it was getting just a tad ridiculous back there.

We took every display apart, rearranged most of the furniture and created new departments for new product lines.

This may be my favourite new thing: Wordstock Photography.
You can build any word out of photographs taken by the talented Barb Rowlandson.
Apparently Barb sees the world a little differently than the rest of us.

I've seen this idea before, I will admit (I'm an Etsy troll you'll recall).
But I've never seen it done by someone I liked so much.
I met Barb at the gift show in August and you know how there are just some people you like instantly?
She's one of those.

I restocked the bath bombs with some more festive options.

Wild pillows and throws. All fair trade!

Great little stocking stuffers with handmade flare.

Sweet little ceramic bud vases.

We created the cutest window display by twisting red ribbon around our birch trees and then wrapping them in cellophane.

It's a veritable candy cane forest.
I need to take a night time shot so you can see the magic.

We had our Open House on Friday (Nov 12) and then it officially became Christmas here on Mill Street.
I love Christmas.
It's tiring, but I love it.

We have our two Kid's Nights coming up (Dec 9th and 16th after 5pm) and then Men's Night (Dec 17th we're open late) and then Christmas Eve is always a big day.
And then? Then I think I may just chill the heck out.

I had a small freak out last week when I realized that it's going to be a long time before I go anywhere by myself again.
I mean two babies?
That's a lot of baggage.

My mom was headed to Toronto for the weekend and I jumped in the car with her and went to hang out with some girlfriends for the weekend. I'm that spontaneous.
It was lovely.
We did nothing.
Just caught up and went shopping.

What else. What else.
Oh. These are finally in.

Colleen and I have LOADS of great new ideas on the burner as far as workshops go and expanding on our craft show model. Good thing I'm cloning myself again.

And I'm VERY close to posting photos of all the renos and changes we've been making on the home front. I mean weeks away!

Less than two months until this baby comes so we've really got to kick it into gear.

Catch you soon!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Handmade Hollaaaaa

I don't particularly love writing when I'm not inspired to, but I know how curious you all are about the results of Handmade Harvest.
I would be too.

The reason I'm not inspired to blog this week has nothing to do with the success of the show.
It has everything to do with the fact that my inspiration reservoir is being drained slowly into the shop.

It's our Christmas Flip Week so Blackbird has been closed since Monday and Colleen and I have rearranged the entire place and started all new displays with new merchandise to boot.
It's a winter wonderland in here.

Actually, a blizzard of boxes and bubble wrap...but it will be.
Better be.
By 6pm tonight.

Join us tonight from 6 to 10 for the big reveal and between 15 and 40% off your purchase (shoppers draw candy canes at the cash).
Also for cider.
Maybe with rum.
Unless you're pregnant and not allowed to have any me.
But back to Handmade Harvest.
Friday afternoon at 3pm, tables were delivered and carted up two flights (by Colleen and Dad...not me) and the painstaking task of fitting a square peg into a round hole began.
By 5pm some eager vendors had begun to arrive to get acquainted with their space and our first ever craft show started to take shape.

With the help of our ever generous team of volunteers (mom, dad, Brad, Christine, Amanda, Terri, Sarah, Kristen, thank you thank you thank you) we began furiously (and at some points ferociously) making maple cotton candy (oh my gosh what a mess, but admittedly kind of fascinating) provided by Fulton's, stuffing swag bags, trouble shooting for vendors who were less than enamoured with their allotted spaces, setting up the Christmas tree for the photo shoots, hanging signage and bunting, etc, etc, etc.

We were amazingly out of there by about 7pm.
Out for a quick dinner with girlfriends who came all the way from Toronto for a crafty weekend, and then home for a sleepless night of tossing and turning over "what if this whole thing is a major bust tomorrow?"s and "what if the vendors are mean?"s and "what the heck am I going to wear over my hugenormous belly and still look half way decent?"s.

I woke up at 6am (Colleen totally woke up earlier than that so I can't complain) and arrived at the hall for 7am sharp.

Crafters starting piling in and the place started to take shape.

By 8:15am, on the promise of swag bags to the first 50 shoppers, people began to line up.

By 8:45 there were at least 75 anxious shoppers in line.

By 9:30 I began to pray that the fire marshall wouldn't show up and shut us down for being over capacity.

There was a steady stream of shoppers until at least 4pm.
Some were there spending their big bucks right up until the end.
It was amazing.
Emily Chen of MChen Wears

Melissa DiRenzo of The Sweet Escape

Jenniewren adorable handmade stuff for kiddies

Phlox hand appliqued onesies

Renee DesChamps beaded jewelry

Happy Shoppers!

We will DEFINITELY be hosting another show in the Spring.
In a MUCH bigger venue.

Thank you to Jill Guthrie of jemmTale Photography for these shots, and for a long day of free holiday photo shoots. If you're ever in need an event photographer, family portraits or just great shots of the family, give Jill a call. Not only is she an awesome photographer, she's really nice and cute to boot.

So there it is.
Craft show success!
And on to the next.
Hope to see you ALL tonight.

xo Em