Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday, 9am, and I'm Still in My Bathrobe

It's Black Friday and I'm at home looking at news pictures of crowds at the mall fighting over products.  Christmas is different these days as my daughters are grown and living away. Hubby already got his gift and I'll pick up mine later this weekend.

Yesterday we had a noisy houseful of relatives and talked to my daughters via Skype.  It was nice to see them but not the same as having them at home.  Things have changed.  But what hasn't changed is that I still feel stuffed on Friday morning.  And as I'm not presently making jewelry, I'll have to use my creativity on the fridge full of leftovers.

And now the rundown til Christmas.  I'm anxious to start decorating the house and probably will do so much earlier than last year.  I love the little white lights in my living room and listening to carols while I cook and clean.  We may have to put the tree up gradually to let our new cat get used to it before we decorate it.  I'm afraid any movement on the tree will encourage her to pounce on it.  She's a beautiful cat but not really trainable.

Jansjems is on hiatus.  My workshop is clean and organized for the next round of jewelry making.  But I probably won't be doing that until January.  While I'm technically on vacation, my mind is forever designing pieces.  I have a few pages of sketches and notes on the things I want to try in January.  Bronze clay, a so much more affordable alternative to fine silver, will give me the chance to try some new techniques without the fear of wasting clay.

I'm done with craft shows but Jansjems jewelry is still out there and available for purchase.  If you're looking for gifts of jewelry, check out the following locations--

Jansjems Etsy Shop has over 90 items still listed and I still have a small group of pieces that will be posted soon.

The Daylily.  Bridget has several traditional Jansjems pieces and a rack of earrings in a shop full of unique handcrafted items right in the center of South Deerfield.

The Red Lion Inn Gift Shop is in Stockbridge, in the Berkshires, and includes a wonderful assortment of handmade items from the useful to the quirky.

Saw Mill River Arts Gift Shop is next to the Bookmill in Montague.  There's lots of fine art in this shop, pottery, and Jansjems jewelry, of course.

Three holiday pop-up shops also have both the fine silver and steampunk that I create.

Artisan Gala is at 22 Federal St. in Greenfield, next to the People's Pint.  Darcy and Ray have a great space and a beautiful variety of locally handmade items.  Darcy has lots of pictures of their items on the Facebook page.

Knack.Org is all about recycling.  Their Saturday Holiday Pop Up shop is on Massonic St. in Northampton.

The Power Town Pop Up is in Turners Falls, next to the Shea Theater. The doors opened on this one just this morning.

So shop locally, shop often, and buy handmade this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November Musings

It's Wednesday morning and the election is finally over.  Did the campaigning last a lot longer than usual or did I just get tired of the rhetoric sooner?  Whew!  Now the phone will stop ringing.

I got an email this week from Fairs and Festivals with the usual list of upcoming shows--craft, garden, agricultural, all kinds.  It was my reminder that it's pretty near time to start thinking about next year's shows. Some have pretty early deadlines.

As I look over my stats on shows I did this past year I see at least 3 that I won't be applying to next year.  Each year I've had fewer and fewer buyers.  My customers just aren't there.  On the other hand I have 4 or 5 that were huge successes so I'll make sure to watch for the apps online.  It seems I still do much better South of here rather than locally.  I'll also try to find a couple of new shows to try as I do each year.  Sometimes you just can't tell about a show unless you participate in it.

I'm finished with craft shows for the year.  Last weekend I was at 2 great little shows--Handmade with Love in Easthampton's Eastworks and the Handicrafts and Collectibles Show at the Salem Cross Inn.  Both had great traffic with people beginning to shop for holiday gifts.  Both are keepers.

My remaining inventory has been sorted and will be distributed between a couple of local pop-up holiday shops--one in Greenfield and one in Northampton.  Darcy Rosner is opening a shop, probably this weekend,  on Federal St. next to the People's Pint.  It will feature mostly local artisans and she's already collected some wonderful items.  I'll post the url on my Facebook page when I get it.  Knack is a local organization dedicated to the art of creative reuse.  Their pop-up on Massonic St. in Northampton will be open every Saturday beginning Nov. 17 through Dec. 22. Everything in the Knack Holiday Pop-Up Shop will be handmade by local artists who use at least 75% reused materials in their work.  

Looking over my spreadsheets I can say that this year was better financially than last.  Jansjems sales have been growing a little bit each year.  And, most importantly, it's still fun.  Besides the pop-up shops, my jewelry can now be found in 3 gift shops and I have one holiday wholesale account.

I'll be getting ready for the holiday, cleaning up my very messy family room workshop, deciding on the menu for Thanksgiving, and eventually, my favorite, decorating for Christmas.  But for now I'm off to get a little exercise at the Y.