Monday, February 20, 2012

♫ I'm So Tired...♫

About 5 or 6 years ago I told my husband that if we didn't remodel our house then, we'd be too old to do it ourselves later.  So we gutted 2 bathrooms and the kitchen, opened up a wall, laid hardwood floors and tiled.  Mostly by ourselves.  We worked on 1 room at a time and it took us almost 2 years to finish it all.

Well, I was right that I'd never have the energy to do all that now.  We've spent 3 days at my parents' home, mostly painting.  Five hours on a ladder and I'm totally wiped.  Not to mention covered in paint.  And we didn't even paint all the rooms; just the 4 that looked particularly bad.

Once upon a time I thought that when I inherited the house I'd do all kinds of remodeling.  It's a big house, solidly built, and has lots of potential.  It's decor is just stuck in the 50s.  But the market in my hometown just keeps dropping.  No one is moving there.  The house lost $12000 in value in just the last year.  I fear we'll have to practically give it away.  It's really sad.

But I'm tired.  Tired of calling and scheduling various contractors to fix pieces of this 60 year old house.  We had the back porch rebuilt, wet wall in one of the showers replaced, the basement waterproofed, plumbing updated, the carpets removed, and hardwood floors refinished, and asbestos removed from the furnace.  And tired of painting.  One last trip in the next week or so for a thorough cleaning and I'll hand it off to a real estate agent.

Anyone looking for a house in the suburbs of Worcester with genuine 1950s decor?  On a quiet dead end street, town sewer,town water.  Replacement windows, new roof, newly rewired, full basement waterproofed & guaranteed not to get water, hardwood floors, 4+ bedrooms, 2 full baths, 1 car garage, small yard so little maintenance.  Contact me.

Monday, February 13, 2012

First Craft Show of the Season

Valentine's Day is tomorrow and my first show of the year, Handmade with Love, was successful though I only sold one piece with hearts all day.

Karen & Aviva had organized a craft show twice last year in the same space at Eastworks.  Both times I sold a lot of steampunk and a few fine silver pieces.  This time, with the exception of a pair of steampunk earrings, I sold all silver pieces.  I created a lot of new designs in January and felt pretty good about them.  It was so nice to see customers seemed to like them too.  But does that mean that steampunk has lost its steam?

The same craft show can be so different from year to year.  You get different customers, or the same customers whose tastes have changed.  One year half your customers pay with American Express and the next they use primarily cash.

In the pages on the left of this blog I write craft show reviews.  In trying to be helpful I try to cover traffic, type of traffic, and what people are buying.  But I'm never sure if that helps artisans find a good show for next year.  So much seems to change even in a stable economy.

My next event is the Sustainability Festival in Amherst in April.  In the past it's been a great venue for steampunk jewelry.   Maybe this year I should bring a few silver pieces as well.

Jansjems' table is just after the "girl with the curl, right in the middle of her forehead."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Handmade with Love--February Edition

If you enjoy shopping for handmade crafts and maybe even sometimes buying handmade, you'll love this small craft show that takes place at Eastworks in Easthampton, MA, on Feb.11.   In a small room on the right hand side of the building you'll find a group of 20-25 local artisans exhibiting their work which runs from the traditional to the unique.

 It's only a few days to Valentine's Day so Jansjems will be there with every heart in our jewelry collection--hearts with pearls, fine silver hearts, hearts with gemstones, steampunk hearts, and even a few red & pink ones.
Placemats Quilted in Blue Batik Stripes
Easthampton has an Artwalk the 2nd Saturday of each month.  It doesn't start until 5pm so Eastworks would be a great place to stop earlier to take a stroll through Handmade with Love and maybe have an early supper at Riff's Joint.

Zig Zag Bead Embroidered CuffWhat kinds of things will you find at Handmade with Love?  Well, jewelry for sure.  And not just mine.  Heather Black and Amy Love have lovely gemstone jewelry.  Glimmerstone is a bead weaver and her work is truly unique. And there will be others.

Hot red and gold hand woven bagThe Little Birch Shop had body products.  You'll find sculptured paperworks, Lou's bags and wallets made from recycled plastics,quilted items, and purses from handwoven fabrics.

It's supposed to be sunny, so come on out to see us. There's no admission fee.

And the first 50 people through the door get free goodie bags.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Steampunk Continued

Well the box finally arrived from Virginia.  The box with all the new steampunk style jewelry my younger daughter has been working on for a month or two.  Unlike my designs, hers have some color.  She used heat treated copper in a few to give them a warm glow.

She sent a few that include industrial hardware and watch parts on very feminine filligree findings.

She's experimented with something she calls ice resin.  She captures small watch parts and hardware or even a stamp in this clear resin that's set into a bezel cup or old watch frame.

She also sent some bracelets and several pair of earrings.
These watch faces I particularly like.

So Jansjems is now pretty well set for 2012, at least until summer.  We have a lot of new pieces in both silver and steampunk.  Our  first craft fair is this Saturday, Feb 11, at Eastworks in Easthampton.   Hope to see some of you there.