Good Distractions

Wow, these last few weeks have flown by so quickly! I’ve been pretty distracted… by good things though.

For one… it’s Summer! My kids are both home and we’ve been making the most of every moment… swimming, watching movies (including the newly released Monsters University), Vacation Bible School, play dates, park fun, fun with cousins and grandparents, T-Ball games, fishing, eating chocolate dipped cones from McDonald’s, berry picking and much, much more. I love that my kids are getting old enough that we can just pick up and go somewhere if we feel like it. I don’t have to make sure we have a diaper bag, clean diapers, change of clothes, food, etc. Although it is still a process if we want to be prepared for a certain activity, but not like it used to. Of course there are things I miss about those days too… πŸ˜‰

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Another big distraction in our life right now is that we are in the process of buying a house! Yippee!! When we moved back to Kansas 5 months ago we decided to rent for a time and now we are closing in on another moving date… this time only a mile away and Lord willing this will be the last move for a very, very long time and I absolutely cannot wait! πŸ™‚

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So, that’s what I’ve been up to so far this Summer. What have you been up to?

The Results Are In

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Β {Me in my booth, photo taken by Lindsey from the Artisan Market… more photos of the event can be found on their facebook page, vendor apron from Terrace Hill}the beginnings of the art show booth

Now… first things first… this entire event could not have happened if it weren’t for this wonderful man… my man… he has been so supportive, done so much work… hard work, he’s encouraged me, shared ideas with me, he’s been my sounding board and my right hand man in this. It was his original “yes” that started the whole process of me doing this show and it was his assistance the whole way through that made it actually happen in the end, so thank you sweetie. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I love you more than words can express and I’m so blessed to have you as my husband and partner for life.

And now for the rest of the juicy (bulleted) details:

art craft show booth

*The wind blew ferociously, but the sun was shining.

*Even high quality tents can rip if it’s windy enough… bummer. 😦

*I spent the first two hours of the show trying to keep my stuff from blowing down…Β Then I finally got smart called my hubby who came to the rescue and told me what I should do. πŸ˜‰Β After a bit of reorganization, things went much smoother and I actually got to sit down. And so did my mom… who by the way, was with me the entire day! (I failed to get a photo of us)! 😦

She is another person I couldn’t have done this without. She was there so I could take bathroom breaks, she was the gopher for our lunch, she gave me ideas as we discussed what might work better next time, she was my moral support and not only that but she slept at our house the night before and watched our kids so hubby and I could get everything set up without child-like interruptions and distractions. Thank you Mama!!! Love you!!! πŸ™‚

art craft show booth

*I realized there is no such thing as being too organized for an event like this. I definitely could have been more organized. Mostly with supplies and such, my products themselves were pretty organized, but I could have spent more time organizing and planning out where I was going to keep supplies and other necessities.

*Next time… More tables. I need more workspace and space to keep things like packaging/bags/receipt book/postcards/business cards/etc. Maybe something with drawers would be good, something with a top that could possibly even be used to display products. I only had a couple of little inches here and there at the back of the table for stuff like that and the plastic totes I thought I’d use under the table were holding things like bags, business cards and the like, so I could really use them as a surface for other things.

*I learned that I can keep track of cash in the Square app! If only I’d figured it out sooner though! Whoops! πŸ™‚

art craft show booth

*I realized I need to work harder at promoting my work, even when it’s right there in front of people… It will not sell itself. It’s not natural for me and certainly doesn’t come easily, but it’s necessary in order to build my business.

*Pretty decorations really do matter, many people noticed and commented. Maybe they don’t matter completely, maybe not even a lot, but it’s nice that people noticed, because it was definitely part of the fun! πŸ™‚

art craft show booth display

A lot of people mistook my prints for cards, which tells me a couple of things…

1) There’s a market for cards… Which doesn’t surprise me, something I want to add and have been working on, but maybe something that needs to move a little higher up on the priority list.

2) I should package my prints to make it more obvious what they are. I think the easiest way to do this would be to add mattes to them. Another thing I’ve considered previously and that should move up on the list, at least before the next show (which is to be determined).art craft show booth display

*It was a lot of work, but it was a labor of love for sure. And while I didn’t quite get to the sales goal I had set (I of course had no idea what to expect though), it was well worth it. To get exposure, to get the “first time” under my belt, to figure out what worked and what didn’t, to experience windy conditions and improvising to make things work despite the weather, to stick it out and to be able to support a great cause at the same time.

Thank you to all those who stopped by to show their support and thank you to those who helped and encouraged before, during and after the event. I’d say… it was a success! πŸ™‚

T-Minus 45 hours!

In only 46 hours from now my booth will be open for business at the First Baptist Church of Stilwell’s Artisan Market!

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I’ve made booth decorations…

art show decor bannerΒ Labeled and packaged products…Β IMG_4715

My hubby has made frames and then painted and stapled wire to those frames…

frames for art and craft show

bloom and grow mixed media artΒ I’ve created new art…

IMG_4787Β and printed and packaged (with the help of a dear friend… thank you Laura!) a ton of prints…

mixed media art prints

And put together a “mock up” of my booth…

mock art show booth

And now… it’s crunch time… all the last minute details coming together (hopefully). πŸ™‚ Anytime there’s a big event in life there’s always the accompanied adrenaline, excitement and of course a bit of anxiety… and I’m definitely feeling all those emotions. But, I know that this event will be here and gone before I blink my eyes. Sometimes we can get so caught up in all the rush and excitement that we forget to enjoy those big events. And that’s where I’ve been this week… rushing around taking multiple trips to Hobby Lobby (I think I’ve been there or Michael’s everyday this week! LOL!), checking and double checking my list and spending lots of time running through it all in my head hoping I’m not forgetting anything important. Of course, also wishing I had created more stuff or done this or that as there are many ideas that I had that didn’t quite come together. But, at this point in the game it is what it is and I just need to press on, do my best with what’s left, take a deep breath and then smile and enjoy the day. πŸ™‚

New Art in the Works

mixed media art ampersand

In preparation of the upcoming art show, I have a lofty goal of completing 40 new canvases! Whoa, right!? It’s a lot, but like my sweet, wise husband said, even if you only end up completing 20 or 25, that’s probably more than if you hadn’t set a goal at all. So, I’m going for it!

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Β Right now I have about 10 in the works and some mini pieces of art that will take on the form of magnets that I’m making out of scraps and bits & pieces of leftover stuff.

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I’m having so much fun and it’s been great getting back into a more regular routine of creating. I even had my little guy for a sidekick some last week! He felt like big stuff painting on Mom’s canvases! πŸ™‚

making art

I’ll continue to share more and more as the days get closer!

mixed media art

Happy Wednesday!

35 by 35 Update: #5 Try 10 Local Restaurants or Coffee Shops, Part 2

Time for part two of 35 by 35 list #5.

{You can read part 1 here}
chocolate cafe fort collins

6. The Chocolate Cafe, Fort Collins 10/18/12

Rodney & I went here for a date night on his birthday.

desserts at the chocolate cafe

He had the Chocolate Ravioli (left) and I had the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (right). Both were fantastic and although it was a fun date, it wasn’t as romantic of an atmosphere as I expected. The tables were situated pretty close together and it had a colder ambience than the cozier one I had hoped for. But, I can’t really complain since it was a night out without kids. πŸ˜‰

pizza casbah7. Pizza Casbah, Fort Collins 10/21/12

This was a lunch stop after church when my Granny & Papa from North Carolina were in town, Rachel came along too as well as the 4 of us.

As you can tell from the photo, they were featured on Food Network and there’s a link to the video on their website if you’re interested, it features their 2 1/2 foot pizza… oh yes, I said feet! It was definitely a unique place with good pizza and delicious sides too. Zeppolis were among the favorite… which are fried dough, drenched in cinnamon and layered with creamy frosting. And… I think they had the smallest bathroom on the planet. πŸ™‚

starry night cafe fort collins

8. Starry Night Cafe, Fort Collins 11/17/12

Another date night we went to this local coffee shop that quickly became my favorite, it has a great cozy atmosphere and good coffee. A favorite table near the front looking out the window was a favorite spot to have “coffee chats” on the phone with one of my favorite friends back home… now we get to have them in person again! πŸ™‚

bean cycle coffee

9. The Bean Cycle, Fort Collins 11/29/12

Another great coffee shop I checked out with… me, myself and I… whoo hoo for a night out alone. πŸ˜‰

Wild Boar Cafe

10. Wild Boar Cafe, Fort Collins 12/2/12

This was the official meeting place of a group of local Etsy shop owners. Unfortunately, I only made it to one meeting before we moved, but it was a great experience and I learned so much in just that one meeting and it was so fun to meet other like-minded individuals, oh and the coffee here was good too! πŸ˜‰

So, there you have it! One more item checked off my list! Fun!

Eek, An Exciting Announcement!

I have exciting news to share! I’ve signed up for my very first craft show! πŸ™‚

This is something I’ve had a desire to do and knew I would do at some point in the future, but not something I thought would happen this year, but I’m so very, very excited (and, of course a bit nervous too)!

I was contacted about a month ago by the organizer of a new event called the Artisan’s Market at the First Baptist Church in Stilwell, KS. There’s no charge to be a vendor, they just request that 10% of your sales are donated to the church for their 2014 missions trip to Haiti. I felt like this was THE perfect opportunity to get some experience with a show & build a booth, but even better is the opportunity to help out a very worthy cause… spreading the gospel!

In an effort to get prepared I’ve been browsing Pinterest for some ideas for booth set ups and thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

{You can click on the photos to be taken to the original owner’s posts}

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I just love the banners in this booth, both the business name banners as well as the cool yellow, pink & green fabric banner.

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Of course, what’s not to love about Katie Daisy, but I really like her wonky tablecloths and color choices… so gorgeous and it makes her art really pop.

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Love the vintage wood crates this artist used to display and store her cards/prints.

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And I just love all the color here, as well as the vintage suitcase used to store items and the black and white awning just adds so much fun to this booth.

There are so many great ideas all over the web, that my brain is almost overly inspired (which isn’t hard to do). πŸ™‚ Anyway, I’m super excited to start pulling my booth elements together and share them with you as I go!

If you’re local to the Kansas City area, save the date… May 11th. I hope you’ll stop by and say hello! πŸ™‚

35 by 35 Update: #5 Try 10 Local Restaurants or Coffee Shops, Part 1

Those of you who’ve been following my blog for a while know that last October I celebrated my 34th birthday and made a “bucket list” of things I wanted to do by the time I turned 35. Well, I’m half way through the year with less than 6 months left until I turn 35 and my list still has quite a few items left to cross off. Of course with our move back to Kansas, there are several items on the list that will likely not be able to be crossed off (this year anyway), but after a bit of debating with myself I’ve decided to go ahead and leave those items on there. A Summer road trip maybe? You never know…

For now though, I need to play a little catch up as there are some on the list that have already been completed, I just haven’t shared the story here yet, so I’ll be doing that over the course of the next few weeks.

This week I thought I’d share completed #5… Try 10 new local restaurants or coffee shops. When I originally started drafting this list I had “try 12 new local restaurants or coffee shops”, but decided that was a little too many because we really don’t eat out very often, however, to my surprise this is one of the first items I completed! It helped that we had a few visitors during this time as well as some holidays and my husbands birthday, so I was able to complete this one right after the new year!

Here’s what qualified a restaurant as “local”: It had to be within a 65 mile radius of our home (couldn’t leave the Denver metro out of the list of options) and have started somewhere in Colorado with less than 10 locations.

And here’s a run down of 5 of the 10 places I tried (I’ll share the other 5 later).

Jelly Cafe Denver

1. Jelly Cafe, Denver 9/29/12… Yes, this was technically before my birthday, but since it was my birthday weekend and we had visitors, I decided it should count! This is my list, so I can make up the rules, right!? πŸ˜‰

I went here with my family (the four of us) and my cousin Rachel. It was AWESOME! We waited outside for nearly 2 hours on a Saturday morning… weren’t sure if it would end up being worth it, but it was. These donut bites… to die for.

donut holes jelly denver

Lucille's Creole Cafe Fort Collins2. Lucile’s Creole Cafe, Fort Collins 9/30/12… again, before my birthday, but we had visitors, my list, my rules. πŸ˜‰

The four of us went here with my cousin Rachel again and Aunt Meg and her man Charlie. We were told this is one of the best breakfast spots in Fort Collins… it definitely didn’t disappoint.

IMG_3170The kids were of course all smiles once this mean waffle came out just for them. These two don’t mess around when it comes to breakfast.

Lucile’s has locations in Denver and Boulder too, so if you are traveling in that area sometime, definitely check it out… I’m sure those locations are just as yummy.

jax fish house

Jax Fish House, Fort Collins 10/5/12… this is after my birthday, so no need for excuses here. πŸ™‚

Ah, yes, Jax… good times… went here with the four of us, Rachel, Meg & Charlie again. This is one I won’t soon forget. Just an FYI, this place does not serve steaks. It’s a fish house… just clearing that up in case someone gets confused. It’s kind of a long story, but somehow or another the 7 of us ended up at a fish house when not a one of us really cares all that much for seafood. And, really I say seafood lightly because this place is… well… more of a fish house (hence the name), they carry things your normal seafood restaurant probably doesn’t. If you love seafood and fish, you definitely will love Jax, if you don’t… well, then you might want to come up with another option. πŸ™‚

Jax has locations in Denver and Boulder as well.

deli works

4. Deli Works, Fort Collins 10/13/12

When my cousin, Rachel and I went on our Antique Shopping extravaganza on College Ave. we stopped into Deli Works (also on College Ave.) for lunch. Honestly, my expectations were pretty low, based on the outer appearance of this establishment, but it really lived up to its reputation of having the best sandwiches in the world. They were really good as was their side salad. Really, really yummy! A good reminder not to judge a book by it’s cover. πŸ˜‰

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5. Snooze, Fort Collins 10/18/12

We had been wanting to try “Snooze: An AM Eatery” for a while, ever since we’d heard it was one of the (other) best breakfast places in Fort Collins. So, what better excuse than Rodney’s 40th birthday to go and check it out! Even better, Noelle was out of school that day for parent-teacher conferences, so we made it a family affair. Rodney absolutely LOVED his dish and still talks about it from time to time. We liked it so much that it was on our list of places to go to one more time before we moved, but unfortunately we didn’t make it. That’s ok, one more excuse to go back and visit! πŸ™‚

So, many delicious eateries in Fort Collins and surrounding areas and this is just the first half! Stay tuned… I’ll share the rest later this week!