Suddenly, craft show

So I found out on Sunday that I have a slot in the annual Athens Band Boosters Craft Show at Athens High School in Troy, MI on Saturday December 13, 2014.  I will be setting up there at about 6:45 in the morning for a show that starts at 9 and runs until 4.  I’ll have jewelry and papercrafts with me to sell.

The last few times I did this show, I didn’t do very well–I’m hoping for a better year this time around!

Six weeks until GVRen 2014!

Well, it’s that time of year again — the time of year when I start panicking in twelve directions because there’s so much crafting and writing to do and so little time to do it in!  The Grand Valley State University Renaissance Festival is in exactly six weeks and I should really think about inventorying stock and making some new things, including perhaps a cloak or two, as I’m seriously lacking that department.  Then again, it took about three years to sell the last cloak I made, so maybe I shouldn’t worry about it!

Color spread on my brighter array of pinwheel and ornament tags, which I'll be debuting at GVRen this year.  Prototype cream-colored tags are currently available on Etsy.

Color spread on my brighter array of pinwheel and ornament tags, which I’ll be debuting at GVRen this year. Prototype cream-colored tags are currently available on Etsy.

Last year’s festival was a mixed bag for me.  I had to buy a brand spanking new tent in the hours before faire opened on Saturday last year because the weight of rain on the roof destroyed my old tent–total bummer, that, right?  On a brighter note, when I got the new tent it was much, much nicer than my old tent–right down to having dome lights built into it!  I’ll need to make a canvas cover for it at some point to help disguise how…modern…it is, but there are worse problems to have to be sure.  It’s a solid tent and I’m glad to have picked it up despite the circumstances.

I debuted my papercrafts at last year’s festival and I did surprisingly well with them.  I’ll be bringing an array of my gift tags for sale this year in addition to my other paper fare that debuted last year.  There will be, of course, my usual array of jewelry as well, and the new square overskirts that I debuted last year as well.  I may do some experimentation with odds and ends for this year’s faire, since I did get the new embroidery machine and it seems a shame not to do some playing around with it for festival, just to add a touch of something different to the same old things.

That will come after inventory, though.  Once I know what I’ve got, I’ll know what I need more of and how much time I’ll have to devote to adding stock.  I’m more ahead of the curve this year than I usually am, though, which is a good thing because I seem to have less and less free time every year in the weeks leading up to faire.

Tomorrow’s my annual trip to Holly, so we’ll see if I come up with anything awesome while I’m wandering around those environs, too.  I’m in the market for some Son of Sandlar boots myself–after doing this for fourteen years, it’s time I invest in an excellent pair of boots.  I priced them out (almost ordered a pair, actually) when I paid a visit to the Great Lakes Medieval Faire and Market a few weeks back and it’s time.  I’ve got them all picked out and it’ll be super hard to wait for them to be made (I have huge calves, so they’re a custom job instead of try and buy), but I should have them in time for the 2015 season.  I’m also in the market for a new bodice and I know a couple of places where I’ll be having a good, hard look (the gents at Crimson Chain typically get my business–they’re the folks from whom I purchased my current green leather) for something pleasing.

Stay tuned for more pictures and updates as faire approaches.  Folks looking for information on the books I’ll be bringing along can hit my personal site at www.embklitzke.com, but as it stands right now, I’l have paperback copies of Epsilon: Broken StarsUNSETIC Files: Between Fang and ClawUNSETIC Files: The Measure of DreamsAwakenings: Book One, and What Angels Fear.  I was hoping to have The Last ColonyAwakenings: War Drums, and even Epsilon: Redeemer ready for this faire, but something tells me it’s not going to happen.  I’m hoping for Redeemer to release sometime around Christmas…but we’ll see what the next few months bring.  (If you’re a fan and have been hoping, though, shoot me an email and I’ll make sure to bring you a hardcopy of the current draft to tide you over until it’s done!)

Until next time…

Grand Valley Renaissance Festival upcoming and new product line

Geez, I need to stop disappearing because of other projects!

Adventures in papercraftingIn a few weeks, I’ll be at the Grand Valley Renaissance Festival at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI, and I’ll be showing off a new line of Jude’s Chest products which includes new papercrafts and cards as well as some new textile work.  I recently got into papercrafting (about a year ago) and now it’s kind of starting to be a terrible thing for me.  I picked up a Fiskars Fuse last year and have been playing around with it ever since.  I’ve also been having some adventures in cardmaking, which has also been awesome.  I’m loving embossing folders more than I care to admit.Embossed Cards - round 1

Overskirts have been a thing that I’ve been meaning to experiment with for a very, very long time, and I finally scraped together some time to do it the weekend the littlest Klitzke moved up to CMU a few weeks ago.  My best friend and I had planned a trip to the Michigan Renaissance Festival at Holly the following weekend and I’d been thinking that my garb needed a bit more color.  No pictures right now, unfortunately, but I’ll be sure to post some once I’ve made some for selling and not just for me.  The one I made for myself is a very rich, dark red color out of a textured moleskin fabric that’s very similar to the fabric of my skirt itself.  A trip to the fabric store is in the books within the next week or so, since supplies will be needed so I can be prepared for the festival.

Grand Valley Renaissance Festival is on the campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI.  The festival opens at 10am on Saturday, October 5 and Sunday, October 6 and will close at 7PM on Saturday and 5PM on Sunday.  Come see your favorite renaissance woman (crafter, writer, historian and mild-mannered title clerk) at the faire!

So much to do, so little time….

The site’s been quiet of late, but that’s got a lot to do with my being quite busy the past several months!  Writing has begun to eat up a great deal of what little free time I’ve enjoyed since starting a new (40-hour a week) position, but I’ve found time to make some beautiful new pearl pieces and experiment with some new designs with Swarovski bicones.  Some of the new pearl designs are up in the Etsy shop.

I’ll be doing the Athens Festival Craft Show at Larson Middle School on November 17, 2012 and have applied to do the Crafter’s Clearance at Henry Ford II in February.  No other shows lined up yet, but if you like my work and would love to see me at your local show, drop me a message and I’ll be happy to look into it.  I am limited largely to the Detroit Metro area at this time, though, so keep that in mind!

Commissioned pieces are available; just drop me a line here or on Etsy (Etsy is often the better bet!).

Festival roll-out!

In a few hours, I’ll be setting up a tent (probably in the rain) at the Grand Valley Renaissance Festival for the…fifth time.  I’ve only missed it once since graduation (and that was because I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding a few weeks after festival and was threatened with death if I got sick–so I decided not to go.).

I’ll be there with jewelry, garb, bits and pieces of geekery, Miss Jennie and my boyfriend Mike.  A grand time will be had by all!  I’m also introducing a new product (which I unfortunately don’t have pictures of)–gaming tokens.  They’re about a quarter inch thick and the size of a dime with the letters A-J stamped into them, to help GMs keep track of which enemies are attacking whom.  It was something I always wanted to have as a GM…and now I’m passing that little thing on to others.  They’re made of polymer clay and I’ll be selling them for $5/set of 10 in a little organza baggie.

It’ll be Mike’s first experience of actually running a show with me–he’s visited me at one, but he’s never been there for the whole time I’ve run one.  Jen, however, is old hand at this and should be fine.  Despite the nasty Friday weather, the forecasts say that Saturday and Sunday will be beautiful, even if it’ll be a little chilly on Saturday.

As long as it’s not 30 degrees and snowing, it won’t be the nastiest weather I’ve experienced at a festival…and rain on set-up day tends to be good luck, since that generally means that the weather for the weekend is lovely.

Also bringing some writerly things, including booklets containing an excerpt from Awakenings and a business card with my official site as an author and a free download of my novelette, Falling Stars.  We’ll see how many of those wander away from my booth as freebies.

Time to finish packing…hope to see a lot of folks at GVRen!

Another show, another bust

Well, I didn’t do as well at the Crafter’s Clearance as I’d hoped — a lot of foot traffic, a lot of folks picking up business cards, but not a lot of sales.  The sales I did make tended to be very small ones.  I made back my investment for the show and not much else.  Kind of depressing to think about, once you get right down to it, because I was counting on this show to be a big one for me.  I was told by one of the crafters near me that the Christmas show hosted at Henry Ford II was an even better show and he did sales like crazy at that show.

I did get invited to a few more shows and I’ll have to consider whether or not they’re worth the investment in time and money before I commit.  This would make three of the four shows that I’ve done barely worth my time to go to them.  Either I’ve been picking the wrong shows, or I need to change my tactics somehow.  I’ve been told it’s not my product that’s the problem (which really is reassuring, believe me).  So we’ll see what happens.  It’s early in the year.  Of course, early in the year means a cash crunch, as always!  I have plenty of inventory on hand, though, and a decent supply of raw materials.  After I’ve escaped thesis-induced hell, I’ll get back to my crafting.  I’ll have time to get back to my crafting!

Workshops, works in progress, and upcoming show update

So, I finally heard back from the instrumental music boosters organization at Henry Ford II High School in Sterling Heights, MI, and I’ve been accepted into their Crafter’s Clearance coming up in February.  I’m actually very excited because I’m still sitting on a lot of product from last year’s shows, which were pretty abysmal except for the festival at Grand Valley State.  This show looks like it might have a lot of promise, so I’m guardedly optimistic about my prospects.

As a result of getting into this show, however, I needed to take some work-in-progress and me-at-work photos so I can have them on me (basically to prove that I made what I’ve got with me in case someone challenges me about it).  I, of course, have never bothered taking any pictures like that, and any pictures taken of me while sewing back during my college days are completely lost somewhere in the maelstrom that is my bedroom or in the deepest, darkest depths of the internet.

So, my brother having disappeared from my workspace so I couldn’t corral him into taking the pictures, I found a way to set up my camera to take some shots while I was working.  Let me tell you, it’s wasn’t that easy!  I did get some passable shots, though.

My tools for my sewing are actually really simple.  I’ve got my dressmaker’s shears, my pinking shears, my dress form (rarely used, to be honest), my Kenmore sewing machine, the iron and the ironing board, pins, the actual materials for the garments and not a whole lot else!  A lot of the work is in the actual seaming of the garment: I try to enclose any raw edges that I can with French seams.

These shots are of another skirt in progress (I started the sewing for it this morning, though I’ve had the pieces cut since at least this past September).  I’m in the ironing process here, preparing first seams to be encased.

And then there’s my workspace–not really much to look at, is it?  It mostly does the job, though.  I do a lot of my cutting upstairs becasue there’s ample floor/table space to do it and the lighting is better.  I have some task lighting available in my actual workspace, but for some things, natural light is just better.

Holiday Bazaar tomorrow!

The Holiday Bazaar at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church is tomorrow.  I’m mostly ready; I may make a few more pieces since I’ve got the day off to make them (though nothing new in polymer clay–it snowed last night and I do my baking on the back porch!).  I still have to make the donation piece.  This show’s donation value is lower than most–some shows don’t set one, others set it at about $20, but this one’s suggested value is $15.  So I’m probably going to do a bracelet and we’ll see what happens.  I’ll post pictures of it once it’s made.

This is the first show I’ll be bringing my own table to.  Hopefully it’ll fit into the car all right.

The Athens Festival Craft Show did not go as well as I’d hoped–I barely doubled what I paid for my table.  Turnout was very, very low and it was poorly advertised.  I’m not sure that I’d do it again next year–certainly not with the poor  level of advertising.  I need to do my survey for the show and send it in to them.  I’ve got a lot to say about it.  The student helpers were great, but all things considered…not a good show, which is sad because once upon a time, it had been an amazing show.

Hopefully, this one will be better.  If it’s not, then it’s not–it’s a short show, and I’ll be working at the store in the evening if I can’t get someone to pick up my shift.  I’m hoping I can.  Hoping very, very hard.

Athens Festival Craft Show – T-minus two days and counting…

So the Athens Festival Craft Show is this coming Saturday and I’m still preparing for it!  I’m making some extra bits and pieces for the show (including a few brand spanking new designs that only my mother’s been privledged to see!).  I’ve got it in my head to make a few pairs of earrings today before I turn attention to doing other things.  I’ve already completed three necklaces (two copies of other ones and then a brand new peridot piece I’ve named “Augustine Brilliance”) this morning, tagged them, and priced them.

I’ve got some housekeeping stuff to do, including getting my bins of displays together and a bin of packaging together.  I have to stamp most of my bags still (though I’m half thinking to not to stamp them–I have ribbons to tie on the handles in red and green).

All of the ornaments I’m going to make are done.  I made sixteen of the suckers.  I’m going to see if they sell, and if they do, I’ll make more and offer them on Etsy.  I already know I have an order coming in from my mother for a custom-made set of them.

Mom’s going to be my booth helper this time around (Miss Jen has to work!), and I’m very grateful for the extra set of hands for the show.  That means I can work on more pieces during the show and answer questions and such–or that two of us can be working with two different people at the same time!

I have all of my stone cards made up and ready, which is wonderful, and I have my larger boxes stamped (fifteen of them, anyway–I’d love to need more than that, but we’ll se what happens).  I also have a bunch of business cards ready–I may or may not make more before the day is out (stamping them can be beastly, and running up and down the stairs to load the cardstock and then get the printouts while praying no one else is printing anything is a pain, too).

Sold a few pieces through Etsy the other day — two Marks of the Dawn sold, and then one of my stone pendants sold as well.  They went out in Tuesday’s mail.  Tuesday was kind of a lost day–I spent the whole morning and into the afternoon running errands.  Then Bill and Nat came over for dinner, so while I got thoughts and opinions on displays and new pieces, I didn’t actually make any new pieces.  And then yesterday was a total loss for everything because I got stuck working at the store until 3:30 (I was supposed to be off at 2) and was completely wiped out by the time I got home at 4.  Today should be a better day all the way around.