Monday, June 22, 2009

St. Charles Pride of the Fox Riverfest, June 13 & 14th, 2009

What a gorgeous place for a show! But, what a crummy craft show! Having rain on Saturday didn't help, but, mostly it was just a bad job setting up and promoting the craft show.

That's how it goes sometimes. A great location, but, a horrible set up. For the community of St. Charles, it is probably a it brings lots of people out to enjoy the art, the boat races, the music.

But, as a crafter set up in a park way at the end off the sidewalk, it was a loser. Plus, parking was off site too--although a shuttle was provided. The only positive thing were the other crafters I met around me. Brett the guy making bottle cap necklaces turned me onto a couple of shows for next year. Sherry, the Bow Lady, provided moral support as we both went neck and neck on how little we were making!

The bright spot was when two of my old cronies showed up. Susan and Judy Brown, and Lily, Susan's granddaughter came Saturday morning in spite of the rain. The Brown girls were part of our church camping friends. Most of our parents farmed and we all went to 4-H together. We spent most of the summer at Rock Cut State Park getting into trouble with the park rangers as we dumped our canoes nearly every weekend.

This tower structure above was the centerpiece of the park we were set up in. Isn't it great?! I can see summer weddings here...and this weekend the kids were racing up and down the stairs trying to vie for a good place to watch the dragon boat races.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ohio to Illinois, June 8th, 2009

I made it into Ohio on Sunday night having driven through the gorgeous state of Pennsylvania--with those great directions! I wish I could have taken some time to explore the area--it was getting dark on some of the pictures but it was so unlike the terrain in Florida and the corn fields of Illinois.
About an hour into driving on Monday morning and as I was coming around the west side of Cleveland, I had a blow out. I called AAA and they said to plan about 45 mintutes for assistance. But about 5 minutes later an Ohio state trooper pulled in behind me and told me he would have someone out in about 10 minutes. As he pulled away, he told me that there was a safer place to wait about a mile down the road. So, putting on his lights, I followed him down the shoulder to the emergency pull off to wait for the tow truck.
The tow truck driver was just as nice as the state trooper. He gave me written directions to the closest tire place at the next exit. The guys at the tire place got me right in and had replacement rear tires ready to go in about 15 minutes. Unfortunately when they checked the other back tire, I was missing TWO LUG NUTS!!! And once they got the tire off they found the reason for it--the studs were stripped.
Now, of course when I told my mechanic--ROD--he was upset because he thought he hadn't tightened the nuts enough when he did the last tire rotation. I told him I thought he had been caught trying to OFF me for leaving him so quickly on this trip!! The tire guy said "**it" happens and it was just lucky they caught it before the wheel fell off! (The funny thing is I know exactly when it happened--in Gainesville when Jodie and I were going to a craft show I told her it sounded like we had a rock in the wheel well. That show was at the end of March!)

The trip though Indiana to Chicago was happily uneventful. I did find out that my Illinois I-Pass transponder worked in Indiana too. That was nice. I took a chance on driving on I-90 through the city as was at the I-80 cut off at 2:45. I picked right. I didn't even have a slow down until I was on the western side on I-90 near Ohare. And then it wasn't too least it was moving.

Historic Occoquan Spring Arts and Crafts Festival, June 6 & 7, 2009

Boy, I didn't have much time to think about this trip--I just knew I needed to make some money after slow shows and web sales in April and May. So, I checked my list of possible shows to do that were up North where I figured I could sell a bunch of soap and settled on Occoquan, Virginia.

Occoquan is a quaint little community about 25 miles south of Washington, D.C. I fell in love with it the minute I drove into town. I had been on the road since about 5 a.m. and I had pretty good weather all the way up in spite of the forecast for rain. I did hit some rain and traffic in Richmond, which slowed me down a lot. How do people drive in traffic every day. My road rage tendencies would get the better of me, I think.

I met up with the guy running the show and he verified all the information. I could set up after 10 p.m. which meant I could get some sleep in vendor parking before hand. So, I parked and slept until then. Trouble was that my space was right in front of Madigans restaurant/bar. So at 10, my space was still being used for parking cars. Same thing at Midnight, but, I did run into another vendor two spaces down who was unloading.

Diana the Jelly Lady, gave me the scoop on the show and ended up saving me $50 in parking fees by telling me about a place to park overnight just down the block. By the time we were done chatting, the two cars in my place had vacated, so I threw the tent up and unloaded the van before moving over to the FREE parking area next to Diana's van. A big motorhome was there too taking up LOTs of room, but, at 1:30 a.m. I didn't have time to think about much except hitting the hay.
The show turned out very good for a summer show! Especially when I compare it to what I might have done in Florida at say Lakeridge Winery. I did probably four-five times as much business and had really nice weather to boot. It was actually kinda cool out...and of course I didn't bring enough clothes (or sleep gear) for that matter.

On one side I had a painter who did mainly "Red Trees" and on the other side the coffee people who turned out to be super nice. The man was a truck driver so he gave me excellent instructions for getting around D.C. and past Pittsburg, PA, on Sunday night once we were packed up. They also had lots of splenda sweetened drinks that they shared. Yummy!

So, all in all...this is a show I would love to do again. I would even like to get the Fall show up there on my October schedule. But at 12 hours drive time each way, it might be a hard one to do in the Fall when I have shows EVERY weekend.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Road Trip! June 5-8, 2009

I was fortunate to be able to add a show in Historic Occoquan, Virginia this weekend. So, I am hitting the road for a trip. I leave early in the morning (up at 4 a.m.) and arriving sometime in the early evening--it's a 13 hour trip. Depending on what all that rain does--it is going up the coast right now.

We can setup at 10 pm, and the rain there is scheduled to let up at 6 p.m., so, I should be able to take a nap before getting to work. The show lasts until 6 p.m. each day. So, I hope to be able to stay in my camping spot right at the show until early Monday morning when I will make the 12-13 hour drive to Rockford.

The weather is supposed to be great. They expect 45,000 in attendance. The show came recommended by two different wish me luck!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Weather, Rain and Tadpoles, Monday June 1, 2009

I know I have probably been driving you guys crazy about the rain here--but at least I am off the birds, JODIE! LOL

But, I was looking at the pictures Rod took over the last couple of weeks and he had some pretty good photos of what we have been experiencing. Yes, 22 inches for the month of May! We needed every bit of it, but, we were starting to go crazy not seeing the sun so much.

And then, one of the days it didn't rain so much I happened to look in a pail that I had out on the patio and I noticed several black things in the water. They looked like little tiny twigs or pieces of bark. I didn't think anything of it, but, I decided not to dump the water until it got dry again and I could use it to water the plants.

A couple of days after that, I saw that the bucket was FULL of little tadpoles swimming around! These are not good pictures, but, I think in the top picture you can make out one in the upper left corner. Most of the black and brown in the bottom of the bucket is dirt and sand--I had used the water to wash my hands one day. The tiny little flecks of black are all tadpoles!

This bottom picture you can see them a little clearer. After doing some research, I am gonna drop one kibble of dog food in the bucket a day, move it into a little cooler spot and hope we have whatever the stage after tadpoles is in our bucket. I wish we could keep them in the yard--frogs eat lots of mosquitos...but...they also like swimming in our pool and usually don't make it out alive.
So, Jodie, now I will be obsessed with these tadpoles...and it takes 2-3 months for them to become frogs!!!