Saturday, December 30, 2006
Um, I've been festivizing like the rest of you. Went out to North Dakota for a week to visit my mom et al. Good times.
Art-wise, not too much happening as I recover from this nasty cold. I have some garment dyeing to do for a friend who makes baby clothes. I got some beautiful beads and baubles as gifts from my sweety... so as I've been laying around blowing my nose, I've also been making jewelry.
My ebay stuff went on hold for my time out of state. But today I decided to switch auction managers to save some cash... so I've been learning the new site and transferring auction stuff. The old one was Vendio.com (previously AuctionWatch). Really a great and easy to use site. I've been with them for years, they were free back in the day. Now there are lots of plans and their fees are pretty low. But, for the amount I sell, I shouldn't be paying for extras. Ebay and Paypal cost enough.
So, I hunted around and found Auctiva. We'll see how it goes. It is pretty easy so far, totally free, image hosting and all. The test will be when I sell something, how well their post sales stuff works.
Yeah... not too exciting really, but I thought I should post something up here. Sniffle. Gotta go blow my nose again...
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
It was fun!! I think I need to do this one every year...
It's well run, the lady in charge is awesome and makes herself available all weekend. What a concept. It's put on by the city recreation dept so there are lots of kids volunteering and school bands playing. Just a fun atmosphere.
They had a little food stand run by the kids too. Everything was either $1 or $2. The brownies were awesome and we got two coupons for free coffee.
The Arts in the Afternoon program kids were selling silk scarves they made, which was neat.
I got to see a few friends and made a few trades for gifts.
I made money too! It didn't look good on the first day, but the second day was awesome and overall I did pretty well. Woo. They do need to advertise a little, at least on the community calendars... the crowd was pretty thin. But otherwise, it's a good one.
Ok, I gotta go to officegirl land now, photos and humorous anecdotes to follow...
Friday, December 08, 2006
Well, it's my day off from officegirl land. I guess one tends to sleep in on those days. But there are things to be done!! A craft fair to prep for ... and as usual I'm behind schedule. Lately I've been crashing early and waking early and it's been good. But nooooo. Last night I crashed early (rather than working like I should have) cuz I was tired and I figured I'd wake up early like I have all week. Barney kisses me good bye at about 6:30, and lately I've been unable to go back to sleep afterwards. Not today. Sigh. Woke up at freakin 10. What the hell?!?
Anywayzzzz... I'm only taking the time to write here cuz well... computerizing goes so well with my coffee. And I do need to wake up a bit. Luckily I have my Mermaid Power Mug to help me along... Buz brought this from Ireland (I think) and bought it from the artist at a craft fair or something. Isn't it awesome?? The photo doesn't do it justice really.
So what's on the agenda for today? Plenty, friend.
After I'm done dinkin around on my usual sites, I need to print out some business cards with the new phone number and such. Also, I usually make some kind of flyer with my upcoming shows to give out... but I think I'll make one all about my web site. I have this cool brochure too, which I might print up for super spendy customers. They use alot of color ink.
I still need to figure out what clothing needs Mermaid prints and get that taken care of. My studio room looks just about like the photos still... a mess. So it's a little bit of a challange. In the old place I would hang up all the stuff I have and go through them methodically to figure what needs prints (I do a certain ratio of printed to non-printed). But now I don't really have room for all that... so I dunno. I think I'll focus mostly on the children's stuff. I got a bunch more baby t'shirts, man are they cute! I like to print little stars on the onesies too.
That will take the most time. I also need to gather up the rest of the booth stuff... Barney's kid helped me pack the van with the heavy stuff last night (woohoo). But since the move, my goods are spread all over the place. Gotta gather up the lighting and the sparkley xmas lights etc and load it up. Oh and figure out how I'm going to display all this new jewelry, find my little padded boards. Then pack up the clothing and load it into the van as well.
That's most of it I guess... not too bad. Setup is tonight, so I gotta do all this and find some cash change by 5:00. Hopefully Barney will be able to help me haul stuff into the community center, cuz it's a bit of a haul for that one. He has a cool rolling cart at his job that he says will hold all the heavy racks at once. That will rock.
I gotta get the booth all set up tonight, there won't be much time tomorrow. Then tonight, when that's done, bust out some more jewelry and fix the clasps on the pendants I have. Oh crap, I need some jump rings for that...
Oh and I hope to find lots of stuff to barter for at this show too, cuz I'm starting to panic about Xmas gifts. I have no idea what to get people and I'm seeing my entire family this year. But in the past this show has been full of excellent crafts, some unseen before. It's gonna be fun.
Argh. I gotta get moving!
Come by the Arcata Community Center between 10 and 4 this weekend and see my stuff!! It will be raining, so what else do you have to do??
Monday, December 04, 2006
I did get a little spoiled at the last studio. The two big rooms with sinks and tables and show space and teaching space. The nice central Arcata location. But, I never could afford it. Not the whole thing alone.
There are some adjustments to be made with the new setup, unpacking still to be done. But here's the scene as it is now...
I have one whole bedroom for my artgirl activities (Barney the Best Boyfriend in the Wholewideworld was all for it. He rocks!) It has big windows, pretty good light. Room for tables, a cabinet and shortly some bookshelves. Most of the dry type supplies like sewing, beads, painting stuff and kits.
There's a huge walk-in closet that spans most of the length of this wall. Holds lots of Mermaid goodies. I've packed away most of the knit clothing, but there's still room for the rayon stuff to hang.
The dye area has to be outside, since we rent. Ha. Luckily there is a big covered carport with water and electricity handy. I made due yesterday with just the dye table and a hose... had to do some things at the kitchen sink for the hot water. But eventually there will be a sink outside with a drain and hot water hooked up. Right inside the door (behind the tubs sorta) are the washer and dryer, THAT's very handy indeed (again, thanks to Barney).
I'm a little worried about how this spot will fair on a rainy day...the covered part leaks a bit. And it was a little cold being outside and all wet.
But the dog thought it was just great having me out there... and the view over the back yard was pretty nice.
I've been pondering... and perusing. And it seems like I need to better define what this here blog is all about.
(check out breakfast blogger, now THEY have a purpose!)
I've started to cruise around some other local blogs and it's fun! Most of them discuss local happenings. Very interesting. Some are just funny and entertaining. That's good too. And now that a few have found my blog... I feel a little more pressure to perform. So to speak.
I mean, so far, nobody but my parents read it. And someone in North Carolina.
I never thought much about being entertaining or even informative. I started it for two simple reasons -
1. To get more traffic to my online store, and maybe sell some stuff.
2. To have a place where I can blather on about the mundane details of my Mermaid life, interesting only to me. My friends are polite, but really who cares about how the Ocean green came out in this batch? Ok, I guess I figured some customer might find it mildly amusing to see what I'm doing day to day, but who knows.
And why does it need defining? Just for me, really I guess.
Because while I'm writing for past or future customers... then there is some editing of my personality involved. I have mixed feelings about that. While I am proud of who I am...well, I'm me. I'm obnoxious at times and blunt always. I swear a lot. I'm irritated by everything. But, I think of my business as a neutral area. I try to be a-political... I mean, conservatives need pretty pants too right? I despise the consumerism mentality, but I sell a product. So who wants to cut off that relationship? Not I.
If I'm writing just to air my thoughts about whatever I'm doing in my Mermaid world (art and business, that is) then is that just fluffy crap? Sure. Do I need someone to be enraptured with it all? Nope. Not really.
I don't think I'm getting anywhere with this... just thinking outloud. I guess I like the way the blog is working. It's fun to do and my Mom cares about how my new studio is set up. I think.
Just click the link on the right and buy something.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Ok, maybe I haven't been overly motivated with the holiday slacking and rainy day moods and whatnot. But, I've got things going on... oh yes.
Next weekend is the afore mentioned Arcata Holiday Market, at the Arcata Community Center (next to Health Sport). Yay! I do love the craft fairs. The last time I did this one, there were lots of new-ish crafters along with some old friends... all high quality goods. Many opportunities for Xmas gift bartering. Love it! And I hope to make a bit of cash too, of course. See some old customers, that's always fun.
Anyway, today is dyeing day. I'm not doing too much, just enough to satisfy some recent orders and flesh out the stock a bit. Since I stocked up so much for the North Country Fair, I resisted the urge to spend lots of money on supplies. It's tricky really... need enough stock to do well, but not be stuck with too much afterward. My next show probably won't be until March or so.
I've also been making jewelry. After the bead hubbub, I finally ordered a bunch and have been beading for a week. Woohoo! It's fun! Nothing complex, just simple strings to go with my dye colors. Now I need to work on my display... I think a better display area for the necklaces & pendants will help the sales effort there. Man, the booth is getting full!
I've been getting back into the Ebay swing too. It was too hard to keep up during our time offline, but I'm back, Baby. I've been trying to push my kits and some Mermaid goods before the holiday. I guess it's going ok so far...
I'm working on my site quite a bit. The Info Pages idea is a good one, but the site I chose for them really wasn't all that I dreamed it would be. So, instead, I added info pages right on the Mermaid site as products with $0 cost. That way I can add all I want and catagorize them just so. I like it. I also added some of my crochet patterns... which is how I started out. Making crocheted hats and selling them on campus.
Oh, and I decided to change my Shipping Rates page to the Ordering Info page... so I could add a bunch more info there too. The site's html editor is pretty funky & glitchy, but I managed to figure out those top-of-the-page topic links all my myself by weedling the html. I rule!
Ok, time for some peanut butter toast and then... To Work!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Remember my awesome day job? I still like it. It's become a little more stressful, as I take on more responsibility. But, overally it's pretty cool.
I work for the Peace Resource Project... "We want to help you raise funds and awareness!" We sell a bunch of stuff with peaceful-type themes to shops, non-profits and individuals. Mostly buttons and stickers, but also now a considerable amount of DVDs and misc other stuff like patches, jewelry, postcards and flags. My job is customer service. I man the phones, take orders, fill orders, invoice and package orders to the peaceful masses.
I meet some interesting folks from all over the country, and sometimes other countries. There are some folks that own hippy stores or have a table of buttons and stickers on the street. Some very business like, some not so much. One guy, (I think he's in southern california with a street table someplace) is very nice but doesn't know any of our stock numbers. We have almost 500 stickers and over 800 buttons. He's good for an hour long order session that goes something like this:
"oh, hey Babe, how's things up north?"
"you know I need more of that sticker with john lennon on it... um I only have 3 left (shuffle shuffle), yeah well I have 5 left so give me uh 6 of those."
"ok, which one? We have at least half a dozen lennon stickers..."
"Yeah, it has his face on it? Oh and give me that one that says peace, you know...(shuffle shuffle)"
"Wait, which one with lennon's face? Can you be more specific? And which peace one do you mean?"
"You know you really need more vegan stickers, like 'Meat is Murder' you know?"
"yeah, I told the boss that last time we spoke (he says this every time he calls). Did you figure out which lennon sticker you need?"
"Yeah because 'go vegan' is ok, but we really need that 'Meat is Murder', you have it in a button right? I would really like a sticker that says that, Babe, you know?
And on like that. Me with a cordless phone and a clipboard running around the stacks of stickers. After an hour of this, my ear is sweating and nerves are frayed... and he starts asking what I look like, how tall etc. Hahaha. Good times.
And of course with our DVDs we got some interesting calls as well. They cover lots of topics like media reform, voting reform, racism, world politics and such. The bulk of them, however, relate to Bush and 9/11 and the "war on terror". I think people are so glad to speak with someone who agrees on most of these issues, they babble sometimes. Some of them spend a lot of time on their research and maybe assume that we do too. Our boss does. But we in the office - while we care and try to watch as many of the 135 videos as we can manage - just sell the stuff.
Ok, I'm leading up to a funny story here... bear with me.
Oh, one more bit of info - we have lots of business names and web sites. Peace Resource Project is the main deal... but there's also the Pro Choice Resource Project, the Recycling Resource Project, 911 Share the Truth, 911 Truth, and Progressive DVDs. There's a phone line for every one of them, but they get mixed up and sometimes it gets confusing trying to figure out who they think we are at the moment.
So, one day I get a call from an upset customer. He sent us a check for some DVDs over a month ago and where the hell are they? A month is a long time. I start looking in the data base. Nothing. I dig through a file for orders waiting for checks. Nope. All the while he is bitching in my ear. I put him on hold and ask my coworkers if anyone has heard of him or might know anything about his order. Nope. I get back on the phone and get the correct spelling of his name, get bitched at more. By this time, the whole office is running around digging through files, discussing what might have happened to this guy's order. I start asking him more specific questions, to determine where his order might be...
"So, you ordered some DVDs. Who exactly did you order them from? Peace Project? 911 Share the Truth? Progressive DVDs?"
"Yeah, Progressive DVDs. I sent a check over a month ago and you have no record of my order??" (he's really pissed now)
"Well, we're looking for it, I'm not sure what happened. Let me get your phone number and call you back when we've figured it out. And you ordered it from our web site?"
(he gives me his number) "No, there was an ad in a magazine for a deal on 3, so I sent a check witha the ad."
"Hm, really? Are you sure you ordered from us? Because to my knowledge, we don't advertise in magazines. What exactly did you order, maybe that will help. "
"Yeah, Progressive DVDs in Los Angeles, right?"
"Oh, well we are Progressive DVDs but we are in northern California. Which videos did you order again?"
"Well... um... you do sell uh ... pornographic videos, right?"
"Nooo. Most of our DVDs relate to 9/11 and the war."
"Sorry about - " CLICK!
He hangs up on me and after I recount the converstaion, the entire office laughes really hard for about 10 minutes. Good times...
Thursday, October 26, 2006
I spoke with the nice lady who bought the stuff and she was soooo sorry. She said she had remembered who I was the day after she disputed the charges, and right then called off the CC company who said they'd undo the complaint. She figured it had been taken care of. Ha.
I told her about the extra fees, and she says she asked her company to see if they could get them waived... I guess they said they'd try. Although, if that's even possible I don't know. Doesn't seem likely. But, she pretty much agreed to pay the money either way. Sigh.
Otherwise I guess that's just the cost of doing Mermaid business...
Saturday, October 21, 2006
So more planning and scheming is afoot. I'm really excited about this...
My best friend in the wholewideworld is Heather, who also is the best seamstress I know. We are currently in the pre-planning stages of a new line of Bohemian Mermaid clothing which she will sew for me. I think we agree that the first pieces will be a chemise-style poets blouse - gathered at the neck and sleeves with a full flowing cut. And, some style of bodice, similar to this one... which can be paired with the blouse.
Ooooooh it's really exciting! I'll keep most of my other goodies as they are... but slowly add more custom pieces sewn by Heather. Other items we are discussing are a wrap skirt, a loose cape-like jacket, a vest, and a ruffle skirt.
The best part of all this is the freedom of using whatever fabrics we like. Right now, I buy my garments already sewn, and dye them. Although there are lots of styles and fabrics to choose from, there are limits... and most other dyers buy from the same suppliers, so you might see the same stuff at every dye booth. But the new items can be whatever fabrics we wish... like velvet or cotton bodices and silk or gauze blouses. And, these new items will be sewn AFTER the fabric is dyed, so there will be more freedom there as well. Piecing different fabrics or colors in one garment, for example. Or, using scraps to make bags and whatnot.
By steering the styles toward the more romantic or historic... there are opportunities to attend say, Victorian themed festivals or Pagan or Medieval. Heeehee.
Of course, this will all be worked out over the winter months, not available until spring shows. Keep your eyes open for the new goodies then! I'll keep you up on our progress... woohoo!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Well, this weekend I'm off to clothe the masses once again in Mermaid style. Headed down the highway 101 to lovely Ukiah, California for the annual Pumpkinfest. Woooo!
It's always exciting to try a new festival... this one happens to be located in the city of my birth. Also the resting place of my grandparents.
I have many fond memories of childhood visits to Ukiah. My grandparents' house with the glass doorknobs and that photo of Grandpa in his Andy Griffith style police uniform. The park down the street with the cool rocketship slide. Strawberry ice cream cones and Archie comics from the cigar shop downtown, where everyone knew Grandpa. Eating tomatos out of Grandma's garden. That sort of stuff...
So, I plan on driving by the old house and park while I'm there, maybe to the cemetary if time permits.
And I hope to make a little cash also. I have been sick at home for a couple days, but I'm determined to have fun in the sun this weekend! Woohoo!
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Oh, I always have plans alright...
Let's see, uh... OH I just found a site for the informational-type pages I've been wanting to post: Bohemian Mermaid Info Pages. The store only has so many pages to edit, so I'm adding a whole new site with links, wholesale info, FAQ page, and ultimately some crafty projects or how-to info, and whatever other fun stuff I can think up.
Setting that baby up was my Sat morning coffee/computer funtime today.
What else...? I have a couple craft fairs coming up... I guess I'm going to Ukiah next weekend for the Pumpkinfest. Haven't yet gotten any paperwork, maybe it's time to call. Hm.
The next one isn't until December, in Arcata. Oh of course I have some issues with Christmas-time fairs. Maybe I'll post about that later.
Otherwise, I'm still getting my studio together at the new house... moving is slooooow work.
I'm also thinking about where I can teach some silk painting classes during the winter & spring months, since there won't be any more fairs until march or april. Maybe I'll hit some of the senior centers, I'm experienced with those folks. I can even do the alzheimer places with my kool-aid dye class.
That's one thing I'll miss about my Arcata studio, it was great for classes!
Oh, and I'm thinking of doing some wholesale mailings maybe. The marketing girls at work have been giving me tips and I'm excited to see what happens. Before the North Country Fair, I printed some killer brochures.
So, yeah... I'm keeping busy.
(Am I the only one who wants to make this mermaid doll?!)
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
It wasn't so bad. I mean it could have been much worse - if we had been living in our van or forced to mooch off of friends.
Basically, the housing in my area STINKS. We jumped the gun giving notice at our last place and it backfired on us. Just as school was starting at the college. Bad to worse. So, for 6 weeks we have been camping out at my art studio in Arcata.
Nobody there really cared. There are a handfull of art students who live in their studios in that building, in fact the lady who had my studio before me lived there too. And there was room for the essentials... bed, movie collection, tv, clothes, dog.
On the down side, however, it IS a commercial building with business activities going on. Like the woodworkers next door (ie on the other side of the wall by the bed) who start up the table saw at 7 a.m. And the Dance Center, which has either African drum classes or African dance classes (with drum music) nightly. And of course, the art students. Who probably love being in a place where nobody is around at night... thus staying up partying all night. Loudly.
But that is all behind us now. WE have a HOUSE... with multiple showers and elderly neighbors. Woooooooohooooo is all I can say. And, I'll be moving all my studioness into my new Mermaid studio room in our home. Woohoo again.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Well, first off... I had a GrEAT time at the Caspar World Folk Festival! I knew the second I got outa my van I was in the right place. It feels a lot like home down there... right on the coast, super nice folks, beautiful scenery. It was a small event compared to other festivals I have attended, but the quality of music, crafts and people more than made up for it. Quality over quantity, you might say.
I actually did pretty well, considering the small crowd... and broke all my previous bartering records. Man, I came home with some GREAT goodies! And new friends galore. Really really fun.
The other side of my recent adventures involve moving into my art studio while we continue to find a home. Sigh. It's very cozy... and easy to get work done. Ha. And we sure are saving money!
Aaaanyhow... my projects now include some illusion necklaces for my good friend Leisa's wedding, a bunch of tie-dyed bandanas for a friend of my little sister, and misc items ordered at the festival.
My Coos Bay show was canceled (for me anyway, more about that later maybe), so I'm back to the Trinidad Markets for a bit, until it's time to prepare for the North Country Fair in mid september.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
(Note: When I googled 'crazy mermaid' I got this pic. You MUST look at this guy's other Japanese kid's lunch haikus. Awesome!)
I like to keep busy, for sure. But seems like the past couple months have been craaaazy busy. What with craft fairs every other weekend and my day job, i've been using every day off either working in my studio or selling at a craft fair. Whew!
So, I was looking forward to July... no big fairs until August. I thought I would relax and beef up my web site, etc. But noooooo.
We decided to move into a bigger house, and to push ourselves into motion, gave our notice on July 1. You know what that means... we are near panic as we continue to try to find a place to live (housing up here is nuts, have to race tons of other folks for the good ones).
Meanwhile, the current land lady wants to show our place in a few days. Hahahaha. We haven't done a bit of house cleaning for the past couple months, busy as we have been. Add that to the list of things to do.
And suddenly I am working extra hours/days in the office to cover for a lady on vacation... and still vending Sundays in Trinidad. And now I DO have a pending craft fair to prepair for. Of course, Barney continues his crazy 12-15 hr days, 6 or sometimes 7 days a week.
Needless to say, things are a little tense around here... but I fear by month's end we will both be totally insane.
Good thing we have the Crazy Happy Lunch Mermaid to see us through... sigh...
Monday, July 10, 2006
I finally took my camera to the Trinidad Farmers & Artists Market...
...there's my booth...
The view from my booth across the way... too bad you can't see the woven scarves very well, they are gorgeous.
This is my friend, Marianna with her lovely wares... she's a fun booth neighbor, and her sister (the lady with the little oyster shell paintings) gives me snacks. Woohoo.
Again, the music was excellent. A group of guys singing old-timey tunes, twangy harmonies and all. Rooster Something, McClintock? Close. Anyway, that's my weekly Trinidad Sunday Market report. Read more about it in my earlier posts. Good times...
Monday, July 03, 2006
Ok, so I started the Trinidad Farmers & Artists Market yesterday. Well, started to do it regularly anyway. I've mentioned it before, but it's worth mentioning again I think.
Trinidad, for those who haven't been up to this end of the state, is maybe the prettiest town in the area. It's got some cute little shops, restaurants and B&Bs... as well as gorgeous beaches and ocean views. It's also right next to a ton of camp grounds and state parks, ie redwoods. Really beautiful.
So, this little Sunday market happens each Sunday throughout the summer, in front of the grocery store there. The quality of crafts is very high, for such a dinky market. We just have a ton of talented folks around here, what can I say? There is also music each week and it's really pretty fun.
Yesterday (I wish I had taken my camera, maybe next time) went very well... I thought. The music was exceptional... I think they were called The Fabulous Blue Jays (or was it Amazing?), and consisted of two women with a guitar and base who sang killer jazz. It was awesome! The one lady's stand up bass was electric... so picture a regular stand up bass, but without the body. Just the neck. Trippy. Yeah... they were fantastic.
Let's see... the crafts were nice as usual... I had my clothing (most of it anyway), and I was next door to that nice couple with the lovely turned wood stuff. They are such a friendly pair, with their little backpack with the wine bottle holder. Um there was the lady with the woven rugs and scarves, about 4 or 5 jewelry booths (one with awesome dicroic pendants), the lady with the blown glass candle holders with gold on them, the gourmet dog treats, a new booth with baby clothes, and I think 2 booths of art cards and such. Oh, and of course, my friend Marianna with her crocheted hats and stuff... and her sister with the oyster shells with little paintings on them. And let's not forget the farmer part, there were two people with veggies and plants.
It's really worth the drive... and yesterday I even sold some stuff too! Yes, I will definitely take some photos next time...
Friday, June 30, 2006
Man, it's hard to get outa the chair on a hazy day off... but there is work to be done!
Yeah so, I'm getting ready for the 4th of July festival up in Crescent City, a bit up the coast from here. I'm a little nervous, this is my first time up there for a show... but there are issues with all of the 4th shows.
The Arcata one is best for me of course. This is my town and my peoples... my customers expect to see me there and generally I do well at any Plaza event. However, as usual, the folks who run these fairs keep increasing the cost for the honor of selling in their little town. Man I get mad. This year, this ONE DAY event costs the same as the North Country Fair - a two day kick-ass festival in the fall. Not only that, but the 4th allows imports (not only handmade-by-the-artist goods) and they are notorious for placing say, 3 jewelers in a row. Or, like last year, my booth next door to two big booths of rainbow tie dye. Sigh...
But, the show in Eureka's old town stinks. Or, rather... I didn't do well there. Lots of people, but more imports and the folks are more into buying cheap mementos than quality crafts. So...
This year I'm trying Crescent City. I have lots of friends up there, and it should be fun. The cost was comparable to Arcata, but with a bigger booth space, also allowing imports. Now that I have my info packet, though, I see there is a higher quality craft area nearby hosted by an art gallery. I think I'll be checking into that one for next year... but, we shall see how it all goes.
Anywayzzzz... I have some dyeing to do...
So... what was I going to write about day jobs... um...
Well, the one I have now I totally love. And I've been thinking about how it compares to the other jobs I've had the past couple years. Let's see...
Since I started my Mermaid Biz about 5 yrs ago, I've spent 2 of those years unemp - er - SELFemployed. The first year, I worked in that cushy office job mentioned below... running a storage rental office. That one really got my business started, I just poured all my income into it. Plenty of energy left over, even working 40 hrs per week, to do all my artgirl activities.
Later, I worked as an arts instructor in a day program for disabled adults. Man, that was a cool job. I basically played all day with a group of about half developmentally disabled folks, and half with various dimentias like alzheimers, stroke, brain injuries... as well as some physical disabilities mixed in. It was challenging and I loved it. I realized I have a bit of a talent for teaching and I got to come up with all kinds of arts and crafts activities for various skill levels and abilities.
Ultimately, a bunch of admin changes came about... and I was running the program. Which was cool for a while... but long story short, it ended up taking all my physical and emotional energy to do this job. After a couple years there, I realized I was totally ignoring my Mermaid and personal art stuff. It was gradual, and totally a worthwhile venture... but I just burned out.
After another year of Mermaid Biz activity... I needed another part time job for the off season. I landed in the office of a friend of a friend. Jumped right in without really having to look or interview for jobs. Sweet. But... that didn't really work for me either. Um, the pay was very low, the hours not enough to make up for it... and the atmosphere well, how do I say it. Uncomfortable.
I left there when I was hired for another disability job. I don't want to go into details here (only because I get so agitated still lol) but let's say it was insultingly low pay for a ton of responsibility in a very poorly run program. Whew, it was painful and brief.
So... after all this... I knew what I needed was a job that paid semi-decent, used any of my myriad of skills, and made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile... yet, also something I could leave at work, ie didn't consume my soul and thus all my energies.
And I have found it. I now work at a mail order company that sells buttons, stickers, videos, books and other stuff with a peace and social change message. It's great! I get to use all my officegirl skills (not brain surgery, but not boring either)... work with a bunch of happy, fun and caring people... talk to folks all over the country who actually give a shit about other people and the environment. I love it. And when I'm done working, I still have energy to work at the studio.
My boyfriend comments often about how much more pleasant I am to be around, and how much work I'm getting done in the Mermaid world.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
About 1/3 of the way through college, I stopped working as a (miserable) waitress, and lived off of student loans and grants... so I could pay more attention to school and art. At some point I did my best to take only art-related jobs, when I WAS working. I was poor, but oh so happy ... and I felt like a 'real' artist, actually getting paid for making things. I did all kinds of art jobs... I designed a website character for an internet startup... I designed and crocheted a ton of custom sweaters for a lady who just loved hand-crocheted stuff... I worked in a traveling kid's craft activity booth at festivals... and taught in an after school program. And I started selling things at small craft fairs, which is what I knew I wanted to do the most.
After graduating (my degree was in art, figure that out yet?), I was becoming pretty active in the recreation realm. I ran a summer youth arts program. I got hired to oversee an after school program in 3 schools, and there was talk of an artist-in-residence granted position for the future. The problem with working Rec programs... is they are temporary part time positions. At a time when I needed solid income to start my Mermaid biz... I made a choice. I accepted a mon-fri 9 to 5 officegirl job... nice starting rate, paid sick and holidays, and health insurance. It was great... low stress, I learned lots of useful officechick skills, weekends off and free storage for my booth stuff.
So what am I getting to, here? Well, I guess that was when it all started... the need for the balance between artgirl life and income needs. It's been over 5 yrs now, and I have to admit that it's more difficult than I anticipated to make the artgirl pay the bills. It's a delicate balance really... between all that the Mermaid biz entails, and finding a day job that doesn't suck up all my creative/emotional energy AND pays enough to cover my living needs.
Because the Mermaid comes first. I'd rather live in a cardboard box with my art supplies, than sell my soul at a job I hate. Those who know me, know that I really mean that... jeesh, I've come pretty close to box-living. Ha.
So... that's what I was going to cover here, how my current day job is perfect for this end. And what a struggle it's been the past yr or so to get the whole job thing properly aligned. But now I think that will take another post...
Friday, June 23, 2006
What I'm actually going to do today (after I'm done drinking coffee in my pj's) is head downtown to take care of some bidness. It is a beautiful and (for us) warm sunny summer day in Arcata, so it will be nice to bop around doing my errands. This is what I really love about living in a small town that IS NOT set up in a sprawling manner, like many other places in the state... I can drive to my studio, park and walk the 2 blocks to the plaza, where I can easily get all my errands taken care of. AND there are lots of folks walking around doing the same, like a community should be. WE get out of our cars and say hi to eachother. What a concept, huh?
So... first I need to meet Marianna at the studio, so she can pick up her table and the paintings from the opening we had together a few months back. Pack up some goods for that nice lady on the east coast (see below)... then head down to the post office to mail them and check my box for applications or whatnot. My bank is right across from the po, so I need to deposit my Officegirl check (to cover the ton of groceries I bought last night... mmmm fooood).
Then cruise across the plaza to Heartbead to see if they have the right beads for a custom necklace order. The challenge will be to only buy the beads for the necklace in question, and not some other goodies for myself - er, I mean, for making Mermaid stuff. I can get lost in that store for hours...
And while I'm out, I may as well go down to the Arcata Marsh and take a walk among the birds and bushes on the bay... on such a gorgeous day! Woohoo for days off!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
We have been working on some orders for her, via email. Which is great... Excellent.
Meanwhile, I have also been trying to find a 4th of July festival for the Mermaid booth. The local ones have irked me for various reasons... so I called for an application to the Crescent City fair, about an hour and a half north of here. I have been waiting for it, so I can apply before it's full... checking my po box daily. The other day I found a 'pick up at window' slip in there, figuring it was my application in a big envelope or something. Sigh... which annoyed me. Fold it a little, will ya? I was having trouble getting to the po before closing time.
Ok... so yesterday I finally get to the post office at 10 minutes to 5... of course there's a big line, and (for the first time maybe ever) no postal worker yelling out 'anyone just need to pick up mail?'. Of course.
But, when I finally get up there and receive my package... imagine my surprise to find a large white padded envelope covered with multicolored mermaid stamps. Beautiful ones with big Celtic tails and flowing hair. And inside, two lovely Celtic mermaid music CD's, from the very same lover of mermaids I have been corresponding with. She herself is singing on one of the CD's and there's a photo of her on the back of it.
It was really cool. I smiled and cooed and mumbled to myself about what a special mermaid surprise it was... for like an hour. While i shopped, while I drove...
nice, huh? AND she's buying a bunch of Mermaid clothes.
Is it possible to be addicted to bead catalogs? Whew. Cuz I can look at them all day long... make lists of the stuff I want... design jewelry, figure out pricing, etc. I have a stack of like 5 catalogs I've been looking through for days. I love them!
I have been working on designs for necklaces to match my mermaid clothing. I actually made some... but they really don't work for me. They colors are fine... faceted glass beads with semi-precious chips, which I thought would look earthy yet sparkly. And I guess they do, but they are so boring! I'm trying to create some simple but cute styles I can make quickly and so sell fairly cheaply... sounds easy.
If you can make decisions and not just pour over the catalog for hours.
You. Not me. Cuz I'm addicted. I guess.
Monday, May 29, 2006
I've got the big Mateel Arts & Music Festival at Benbow Lake (that's southern Humboldt County) next weekend. It's a biggy, and one of my best... so I'm literally up to my elbows in dye and clothes and all that stuff.
Today I'm off to the studio for my 3rd 9-10hr workfest in a row. My routine has been this: 1) Get up and make coffee, smooch on the bf for a bit, wash the previous day's dye batches while doing various stuff on the net (ie making a new blog, etal). 2) Stop by Safeway for a peppered turkey & swiss on rustic italian roll, some peaches and a green tea. 3)Hit the studio until I can't see straight or my back hurts (whichever comes first). 4) Come home and resume bf smooching.
Today is my last day to bust out the bulk of the work, cuz I have to be Officegirl the rest of the week... which only leaves a few hrs in the evenings. But, I think it's mostly under control.
I need to wash up and get the hell outa here. See my website for some info on what I do ... I'll be back.