Saturday, March 27, 2010

Artisans of Western Mass.

What used to be a group of loosely connected artisans with shops on Etsy has now become the Artisans of Western Mass. It also now includes people who don't necessarily have a shop on Etsy. The group is mostly 20 and 30 somethings with a lot of energy and ambition.

In just a few short weeks Lou has organized a group presence at the Old Deerfield Craft Shows and is working on a similar arrangement with other local shows.

Karen is working on getting us a venue for a spring show of our own and has connected with C3 of Northampton.

We've been invited to meet with an artisan group from even farther west in Mass.--Berkshire Made. That will happen tomorrow at the Conference Center in Rowe. They've also invited us to participate and 2 shows they are organizing out in Lee.

Importance of the big C in any business.

Why is communication always such a problem?

It's one of the topics in the library's self assessment survey and so one of the problems the library will try to resolve. People on one floor often don't know what's been decided on another floor. One supervisor questions another without including the people actually doing the work in the conversation. Information filters down in the form of gossip.

When I started doing craft shows I knew that some were organized better than others and contact with show organizers might be difficult. So far I've been fortunate and have dealt with professional people who respond in a timely manner and answer my questions thoroughly and politely. Until now...
How does a craft show production company that organizes 8 or 9 shows every year do so with so little regard for vendors. They've taken my money and though they promised to confirm my status in a few days, tell me nothing for over a month. I would simply assume that the show will go on and that I will be appearing except for the recent drama that has come to my attention.

Seems people involved in organizing these shows have parted ways. I have received communication from the one who left advertising her new company and all the shows that she will be producing in the same part of eastern Mass. And these shows are in the same towns and have dates coincidentally close to those of the original production company. While the new company is happy to tell me that they don't know if my show will actually happen, I can't get a response to my emails or phone messages from the original company. Ads and information, however, still appear on the web.

This is just poor business practice. Something is very wrong out there and someone needs to reassure vendors that it's all under control. Or maybe it just isn't...?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

About Bark Mulch and Cactus

So my back is a little sore and my legs ache. But I feel so good about finally cleaning out my perennial gardens. Here are some before and after shots --

I've been wanting to clean things up a bit since last year. Seems people come over all the time to look at my husband's Japanese garden. And you have to walk past mine to get there. He's such a perfectionist as you can see.
I do have one little problem. I'm not sure if this cactus I got from relatives in Ottawa is going to make it. Yes, Ottawa, Canada. The mother plant is very large and sprawls in their front yard. And it has a mass of yellow flowers. I think this past winter was just too wet. It looks so sad and shriveled.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Photo Shoot

A friend who used to create stained glass ornaments and decorations was cleaning recently. Knowing I recycle vintage finds into jewelry she brought over a couple of kits for small stained glass windows. The shrink wrapped pieces were supposed to become a pink fleur-de-lis design. Well they have now become earrings and this double strand necklace.

I've still got several skeleton & vintage keys. This one embellished with blue beads is a favorite. It's simple and current.
But I haven't given up on traditional jewelry. I recently designed a bracelet with these large labradorite rondelles and thought they would make a terrific necklace. And they do.

So as you can see I'm still working on my pictures. I spent a good part of Saturday on these until the light got bad. Picasa editing helps some but they're still not perfect. Anyone have any suggestions for how I can improve my photography?

Air Canada to Hong Kong

My younger daughter just got back from a trip to Chicago. Now my older daughter is on her way to the Orient on business. She left very early this morning so I'm thinking about her and following the flight schedule she left me. And my husband has been in Providence for the March Madness basketball games and won't be home until tomorrow.

Seems everyone is taking vacations except me. But that's really ok since being home alone for 4 days is really like a vacation to me. I haven't cooked and barely cleaned. I've had a chance to organize some Jansjems stuff, make jewelry, and take new pictures without interruption. And today I'll spend most of the day clearing the dead stuff out of my perennial gardens.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Closing 1 Chapter to Open Another

People keep asking me if I'm counting the days. Well I hadn't been but decided that since everyone is asking, it might be a good number to know. As of today, it's 111 days to retirement and counting. That's still almost 4 months:( It sounds like I'm wishing my life away but I'm really anxious to move on to more fun--relaxing with coffee on the deck in the morning, gardening, making jewelry, vacations.

People have told me that once you've made the decision, it's hard to keep coming into work. That's true. When the alarm goes off at 5:45 I really just want to just roll over.

While I haven't signed the final papers yet, I've had my conversation with HR and I have all the financial information I need, I think. And the date is set for June 26.