Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US!

In honor of this holiday shopping weekend ALL orders (my Etsy shop: Athena's Armoury) received by midnight (EST) on Monday, December 1st will have a choice between free shipping or a pair of gemstone and sterling silver earrings. Please let me know which you'd like in the Notes to Seller Section when you check out. If you choose free shipping, either wait until I send you a revised invoice before you pay or if you beat me to it and pay first, I'll refund your shipping via Paypal.

Thank you so much and have a happy, healthy turkey day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Little Lightbulb Went Off

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

I've heard that expression before but never really thought much about it. I just thought that it sounded like one of those motivational sayings that should be under a picture of mountains or something. Recently, however, I heard the saying again but this time it was just a few days before what I was anticipating to be a trying week and it finally occurred to me how much it makes sense.

Think about it: We may not have control over everything that happens to us, but we do control our own reaction. Why waste the energy getting upset about something you have no control over. Get up and do something about it.

That, my friends, is power.

That phrase became my mantra leading up to and during what could have been a Hellish week and I really think it helped.

I leave you with a motivational poster I got for my man once upon a time (he likes Wolverine):

"Some people want it to happen. Some people wish it to happen. Others tear down the walls of resistance and make it happen."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Handmade Holiday Bazaar Post Mortem - Better Late Than Never

Post Mortem = After Death. When I went to school for directing, we would have an analysis with our instructors and mentors after each show we would direct. This was called a Post Mortem.

I had such a wonderful time at the Handmade Holiday Bazaar!! The weather was absolutely gorgeous, the live music was so groovy and such a nice extra, the food (from Limey's) was so yummy, and the women in charge (Stacey of ElleBelle & Julie of SewItsForYou) are the BEST (couldn't ask for nicer or more organized). It was so great meeting so many fellow Etsians: both fellow vendors and others stopping by the event to visit: it's nice being able to put a face to the name. I also had a fabulous time chatting with my customers - so many friendly, gracious, and complimentary people! The event was not a huge monetary success for me (I hear the economy is keeping most customers from spending at the craft fairs recently), but I had so much fun anyway it was so worth it.

Scott came with me in the morning to help me set up my tent: it was the first time I was using it. It's a good thing he came, too, I can't imagine how I would have done it alone. As it is, Dan (Stacey of ElleBelle fame's husband) had to help us figure it out (thank you!). I had every intention of having a setup rehearsal before the show, but was never able to get it done. It's super easy now that we know how to do it! Shortly after setup, Scott had to head to work which left me on my own for tear down which was fine until I had to take down the tent. Enter Doug (Mr. Julie of SewItsForYou) who helped me take it down and carry my stuff to my Jeep (thank you!).

I had a plan to make weights for my tent, too: The event was in a parking lot so I figured I might need them since I couldn't use the stakes. I had the plan and Scott put them together for me so that I could focus on inventory and display. The plan: Four lengths (one for each leg) of PVC were filled with sand (Scott's idea, I thought of using quikcrete), add endcaps to them with some adhesive and the weights were all set! They worked like a charm, too: I was at one end of the parking lot and it kind of turned into a wind tunnel late in the day. I watched my display plaques blowing in the breeze and the top of the tent looked like it wanted to take flight, but luckily enough it stayed grounded. I do have to think about a way of securing the display plaques for the future, though. Although nothing happened that day, I can see them hitting someone if I ever have to deal with more wind.

Speaking of wind. . . Between the breeze and the sun going down, by the end of the day it was getting a bit chilly. I didn't want to put on my coat, though, because it would have covered up the majority of the chain maille I was wearing. Problem solved easily enough, though. I had been eying the adorable hats, scarves, and dolls by Wonderland Creations and the cool weather gave my the perfect excuse to grab my own monster scarf (there are pockets in tha paws!):

Nitty gritty self analysis:
I need to work on my tent and display. I love my display plaques and hope to use more of them in my tent display in the future (I used four out of the six I had made). In addition to coming up with new ways of showing items on the tables, I want to have one more table and maybe a rack or just something else interesting to look at. Also, if I plan on doing ren faires and pirate festivals, I will probably wind up using three walls, so I need to work on how to make the inside of the walls look interesting as well as a way to camouflage the top of the tent. I may have to recruit my MIL who has crazy sewing skills to help.

Another plus was my armor: many people were drawn into my tent simply out of curiosity when they saw my coif and mantle. Of course nobody at the craft fair bought armor, but it served the exact purpose I brought it for: to be eye catching. Once they were in, two things happened:
1. They started looking at my other work.
2. They asked questions about the armor which led to a greater appreciation of chain maille.

I loved* it when they asked questions because it gave me the perfect opportunity to take out a piece of wire and explain that every single ring in every single piece in my tent started from that. I explained to them that I coiled and cut all of my own rings before I was able to weave them into the pieces they saw before them.

I also had my pliers with me so that I could demonstrate the weaving process. I was making some more of the samples that I give out with my purchases:
The weave is Tao 3 made with bright aluminum wire and can be used as a pendant, zipper pull, cell phone charm, key chain, thing-a-ma-bob. I had sent in twenty of these biz card/samples for the goody bags given away to the first customers that had shown up that day.

Overall, it was an excellent day and I really hope that Stacey and Julie organize another one!

PS -
Dear Blog,
I know I've been neglecting you. I am sorry. I will update more regularly, I promise. I promise to tell you about more women warriors, I know how much you love to learn about them. I also want to share with you some of the amazing Etsy items I've gotten recently. And maybe more fun than anything else: I've had the good fortune to receive a few giveaways recently (I never win anything and have been graced with a few!). I plan on spreading the good karma and will start to have a blog giveaway soon, too!
Thank you for being so understanding,

Friday, November 7, 2008

Handmade Holiday Bazaar on Sunday!

Come visit Athena's Armoury on Sunday at the Handmade Holiday Bazaar in St. Pete, FL. Here are the nitty gritty details:

Sunday, November 9, 2008
10:00am - 6:00pm
At Fiberologie
411 15th Ave N
Admission is Free

I'm so excited about this show! I've got a bunch of new inventory not yet available in the shop to bring with, a fantastic new display (still finishing it up, but it should be done by Sunday. . .), it's the first time I'm using my tent, and I'm doing a chain maille demo.

New items include earrings, pendants, bracelets, ornaments, mojo bags, hackey sacks & juggling balls, even new armor.

For my demo, I'll be chatting a little bit about the history and uses of chain maille and demonstrating how to coil and cut jump rings by hand. If I have time, I'll also demonstrate a simple weave and some variations of it. My demo is at 4:30 in the Fiberologie classroom. There are other fun demos and make and takes scheduled throughout the day, so be sure to check them out here. I'm sure I'll be playing with pliers in my tent, too, so drop by and see what I'm working on.

ElleBelle and SewItsForYou have done a bang up job organizing the event and getting word out. They were even nice enough to feature each of the vendors at their blog. You can find mine here.

If you're local, I'd love to meet you! Drop by and say hi! Also, if you mention that you're one of my blog readers, get 10% off your purchase.