Sunday, May 31, 2009

Palatka Blue Crab Festival, May 23-25, 2009

I barely have the energy to say how bad the show was this year. First thing, I was set up in the wrong spot--the organizer gal gave me the wrong number on my acceptance letter. Then the furniture guy next to me with a double booth decided to take up about 6 booths, including one behind my booth. SO I spent the whole weekend ushering people through the front of my booth and out the back--all the while oohing and ahhing over the nice outdoor furniture.

Argh, double ARGH...I don't know if I am more mad at--rude, inconsiderate vendor who should have know better or the gal who organized the show--she said I should just give the people a sample as they walked through my booth. It just makes me want to cry--I paid over $200 for that space and I should not have been put in a position like that. But, what are you gonna do?

SO, I left the show early. My apologies to those of you that I may have missed on Monday. I stayed through the parade--with the marching ox and goose!!! I love small town parades! I was home about 3 pm and unloading all that soap that didn't sell. I must say though that I have the best group of artists friends. They were all so supportive of me through the whole ordeal. Thanks so much to Eve, Annie and Steph!

So, on to other matters. We have had almost 22 inches of rain. The garden is growing leaps and bounds. I have little ears of corn, tiny to fist size tomatoes, and lots of blooms on the pole beans, but, no pods yet. The cherry tomatoes just started blooming and the cantelope is starting to spread. No strawberries yet, but, two of the ones grown from seeds are coming up fine in spite of getting blasted by the rain.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rain Part 2, May 20, 2009

Can you believe all this rain? We have been in a draught so long that I had forgotten that it could rain like it has been the last week. We are up to 12 inches of the stuff...and it started raining again at our house about 2:30 this afternoon.

The bummer of it was that we were scheduled to go out to Disney to meet one of Rod's old friends. Kevin is now a Baptist pastor in North Carolina, but, him and his wife still have family in Fernandina Beach. So they were down for a family vacation and decided to do the Disney thing with the whole family--on the rainiest week I can remember recently. Their oldest son is in the Marines. He just finished his second tour and is now headed into guard training where he will be stationed at embassies for the next 3-4 years. Quite the kid...and no surprise as the whole family is nice as can be.

It was fun hearing Rod and Kevin chat about all their "exploits" in Fern. LOL No, I won't tell you any details. But can I just say that it is a surprise they both turned out so good. And in the Pastor's words, "How did we NOT end up in jail!"

Safety Harbor Craft Show, May 17, 2009

Business is VERY slow, so I decided to add a show over on the West Coast of Florida. It was a one day show in a cute little bayside town east of Clearwater. The show normally is done twice a year--December and May with the Christmas show being the bigger one.
I was pretty shocked to see the usual 7 block long show had been condensed to only 4 blocks...and then there were still lots of holes in those four short blocks. Plus, as I was setting up I recognized another soapmaker--directly across from me. So much for the organizer telling me I would be the only soapmaker. As it turned out there were five people with soap or bath products. Ugh.

The show went about as expected--the morning was very busy for a Sunday morning. But by the time the heat set in, people were just walking around and not buying. I came home with a few hundred dollars clear in my pocket, but, most vendors were extremely disappointed.

The weather held well though so that was a big plus. I hit some of the worst rain I have ever driven through as I was on I-4 between Lake Alfred and Haines City. I was very close to pulling over, but, I couldn't do it safely so I just dropped my speed very low to get through the deluge safely.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rain! May 12, 2009

I made soap today. I was going to make my new Pomegranate Mango fragrance, but, I really want some Pom juice to put in it. And, I am making another batch of Chocolate too...but that will have to wait until next week when I do the Pom too. So, it was just restocks today.

Orlando had about 9 days of plus 90 degree heat and no rain...until today! The garden is doing great but I have been helping Mother Nature along. The tallest corn is over 18 inches and the big tomato plant has two fruits so far. The front lawn is way past thirsty! So this afternoon it poured and we got just over four inches!!!

I finally got some response to my complaint about T-Mobile's Free Flight promotion. Someone called from the Corporate Customer Service office and said a new company was taking over the promotion for the 50,000 customers who had a bad experience like me. I called them and we have two free tickets to be booked before 6/17/09 and used before 10/31/09. So, it looks like Rod and I will be flying to Los Angeles in September and driving up the coast. We have a lot we want to fit in during that trip, but, we'll have to see what makes the final itinerary.

I had bad news from my good friend Patti today. Her Mom has been in and out of the hospital so she wanted to spend Mother's Day with her in Chicago. Unfortunately she was greeted with bad news when she landed--her youngest sister was involved in a hit and run and was in critical condition with a brain injury and severe damage to her right leg. Patti flew back to Orlando on Monday and today she learned that her sister had passed away leaving three mostly grown children. So very sad. The driver hasn't been found and with only a description of "a white male driving a black SUV" I don't know that they will ever have any resolution.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bluffton South Carolina Village Festival, May 9, 2009

Rod and I both headed out of Orlando about the same time. He was heading up to Fernandina with Bonnie to spend his weekend with his Mom--Mother's Day was Sunday. I was heading to South Carolina to do a new show.

The drive up I-95 was pretty uneventful. Gas prices were around $2 in Orlando a few days before leaving, but, true to form the day I left town it was $2.15. But, I knew I could fuel up in Georgia where the gas prices were always lower.

Bluffton, South Carolina is very close to Hilton Head Island laying a bit south and west of the causeway over to the coast. It is the CUTEST little town I have ever seen. I drove into town expecting good things...all the indicators were there. Lots of nice housing developments along the highway into town, nice landscaping all over and all the businesses were booming.

I arrived early--so I popped in on the women setting up the show. My booth was on Calhoun St. (the main drag through the historic downtown area) in front of one of a couple really unique gift stores. I was parked in front of one of the other ones, and the proprietor was out on the steps waiting for a FedEx I chatted her up a bit. Turns out she is the gal who created the show about 30 years ago. SHE was the one responsible for the good word of mouth that brought me 300 miles for a one day show.

Because I couldn't set up I decided to go check in at the hotel on Hilton Head and catch some dinner before coming back. The hotel was a really nice Quality Inn that had an Applebees Restaurant next door. They offered 10% off food purchases for hotel guests so I headed over after watching a couple shows on HGTV. I grabbed a Sam Adams Summer Ale and an appetizer and proceeded to eavesdrop on some of the bar patrons.

By about 6 p.m. I thought the coast would be clear to setup, so I headed back to Bluffton. When I arrived, I didn't see the usual glut of artists jockeying for position. Weird. But good for me. I drove to the shop I thought I would be near...and I couldn't find my number anywhere. There was #41...and then across the intersection #43. But no #42.

So I tracked down the women organizers and they walked back down the street with me. Turns out the gal that owns the shop "may" have a problem with the booth being in front of her shop. So we searched for an alternate location...all the while I was thinking I was losing out on the deal. Turns out, I did...kinda!

Around the corner on the street where the buses let people on and picked people up the girls created a booth position for me. I thought it would be good. The guys across from me had about 60' of frontage and had a reputation for drawing the crowds for about eight years. So, I set up.

I was amazed that the locals were so nice! In Orlando, if you hesitate for a moment at a traffic light, you will draw at least a couple horn toots from the inpatient masses trying to get to and from work. But here, the locals would hold up traffic for a 2 minute conversation and not one blowing horn! No one tried to cut in front of you in traffic...everyone was just nice and considerate. Wow. What a pleasant place to be!

The next morning I arrived at 7 a.m. expecting to see the artists crammed in Calhoun St. to set up. But fact it was pretty empty still. The picture below was pretty typical of the street at that not so early hour.

By about 8 a.m. people started arriving to set up. I was shocked. The show opened at 9 a.m. But, within a short while the main drag took on the looks of a typical show and people started shopping. By 9:30 or 10 a.m. the street was packed. Unfortunately, my location was not the prime real estate I had hoped for...but I did pick up a new wholesale account.

The lady that owned the shop I was supposed to be in front of came and shopped as I was packing up. She is now a new wholesale account and she would have had no problem with my booth being where it was originally planned. That's just the way things go sometimes. I hope she places lots of orders over the coming year and I have a reason to come back to Bluffton...I really would like to add this show to my annual calender!

My new wholesale account, Egg's N Tricities, Inc., 71 Calhoun St., Bluffton SC

On the way home, I stopped and spent the night in Fernandina with the in-laws. Cody was not into a big Mother's Day celebration, so Debbie brought over donuts and eclairs for a treat. I helped Cody clean out some of her flower and wildflower beds. And she really liked her new picture--the one Rod took at his Dad's birthday in March!

I also checked in with my Mom and they were all at Jodie's celebrating. She was thrilled with the jewelry I had traded for at Lake Geneva the summer before--and she had totally forgotten the glass lampwork she had loved. It is nice being able to surprise someone every now and then. :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mockingbird Chick Update, May 3, 2009

From Thursday, still in the nest

Let me back up a few days and tell you that a couple days after the Hawk's visit, we noticed that we were consistently seeing only two little heads in the nest...and then finally three. But, we don't know what happened to number four--or even if the egg hatched. The nest was so full of chicks we just don't know for sure.

On Thursday we started seeing a chick on the ground so we banished both Emily and Bonnie to the house. We are now walking Bonnie on the leash every day to keep her from becoming too interested in what is going on out back. She LOVES walking so, it is really no problem for her.

Sunday morning, chick #1

All day Friday we enjoyed watching the two chicks we knew were on the ground stretching their wings and hopping around. We pretty much spent the day birdwatching--who knew we were birdlovers! Rod must have got pretty thirsty watching those birds, so we decided to hop on over to Universal's CityWalk to have a drink and eat dinner at Margaritaville. It was REALLY busy out there--apparently they have 60,000 high school seniors out there over several nights for Grad Bash and the nights allotment of kids was on hand and ready to party!
It was a beautiful Friday night so we ate out on the "Porch of Indecision"
Saturday morning when I got up, Rod told me the sad news that he had to fish one of the chicks out of the pool. Sometime overnight he must had stumbled into the sad. So now we had one on the ground and one still in the nest. Mom and Dad Mockingbird spent at least an hour in the morning chasing away a very persistent crow. At the height of the fight, there were at least 4 mockingbird pairs trying to chase him away!
Sunday morning, Chick #2
By the afternoon, both chicks were on the ground and the nest appeared to be empty. SO, with any luck, maybe these two will be airborne in a couple more days!