Archive for May 2015

The Milky Way From Yellowstone   2 comments

The Milky Way glitters above Yellowstone National Park. David Lane created this stunning multi-image panorama of the night sky over the park’s Pelican Creek – a place that offers great views of Yellowstone Lake. Photo courtesy of David Lane. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/8/15.

The Milky Way glitters above Yellowstone National Park. David Lane created this stunning multi-image panorama of the night sky over the park’s Pelican Creek – a place that offers great views of Yellowstone Lake. Photo courtesy of David Lane. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/8/15.

Posted May 21, 2015 by henrymowry in National Parks

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The Island   Leave a comment

Glaciers, icy blue waters & rocky islands: The beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park. Photo by Michael McRuiz. Tweeted by the US Department of the Interior, 5/8/15.

Glaciers, icy blue waters & rocky islands: The beautiful Kenai Fjords National Park. Photo by Michael McRuiz. Tweeted by the US Department of the Interior, 5/8/15.

Posted May 20, 2015 by henrymowry in National Parks

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The Board Chronicles: California Strawberry Festival   4 comments

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

California Strawberry FestivalAt last, we can see the end of our 6 weeks of spring events. We actually scheduled 7 events in 6 weeks … it was to be our big push before summer. Our spring fling.

The first 5 weeks surpassed our expectations, and we had already achieved our goals for the events in total. Week 6 was to be a bonus.

A poor one, it turns out.

We had hoped that this nearby, celebrated community event would get us to record numbers in its 32nd annual iteration. Alas, ’twas not to be.

Sales throughout the event were down from expectations. I talked to several veteran vendors, who described their results as down from last year … which was significantly down from the prior year. No joy here.

New Ideas

  • Because Velda had to go work at her “job,” I was teamed with the other Mrs. M for this weekend. We have fun at our rare events that we get to do without the other M. Plus, she drove their truck on Sunday so I got a very rare day as a passenger.
  • This is a gated event. Patrons paid for entrance, and paid for parking unless they took the free shuttle from the outlying free parking lots.

Observations

  • You never know if you’re getting a good booth position or not. We were almost at one end of the long line of Arts & Crafts vendors set up on Rose Avenue. We were one booth away from the Purple entrance gate … near the Red Gate, and on the opposite end from the Blue gate. Good? Bad? No clue. Our talkative neighbor whose family business is outfitting women of all ages with toe rings (please note the rare juxtaposition of “family business” and “toe rings” in the same sentence) said we were in an excellent spot.
  • Genuine huge attendance at this show, averaging 66,000 for the last 5 years. If only they had brought their wallets…. Actually, they may have brought their wallets, but they came to eat, primarily. And since the food lines had more in common with “Waiting for Godot” than they had any right to, it may be that people spent too much time in line, got frustrated and went home. Hungry in most cases, I believe.
  • “Handmade” is required to be an arts & crafts vendor at this show, and I believe they policed that policy better than any show we’ve been a part of. However, with the poor results we generated, I’m now wondering if that’s a good thing.
  • Conclusion to the previous point: I need to be more focused on buyers than sellers. Say what you will about the quality of the sellers, it was the quality of the buyers that frustrated me.

The Food

Saturday Lunch: 2 chocolate covered strawberries and a hot pretzel. I’m doing it wrong. Again.

Saturday Snack: Watching Alley drink a strawberry-flavored beer.

Sunday Snack: I had two nutrition bars that Alley brought, thinking that might be a better lunch than yesterday.

Sunday Lunch: Today, Alley found a food vendor with less than 30 families in line, so she brought me a Thai chicken skewer. Definitely did it right today.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 306
  • Booth cost: $425
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 2
  • Total sales: $1,235
  • # containers of product taken: 15
  • # boards available: 63
  • Saturday alarm: 5:30am
  • Sunday alarm: 7:00am
  • # transactions: 62 – 53 for lotion and 9 for boards.
  • # soap & lotion vendors: three other vendors, all focused on soap. Thank goodness!
  • # woodworking vendors: a lot! Three made simple wooden signs (so they were more painters than woodworkers, really). One made redwood picnic sets. Two made children’s toys. One made children’s chalk/dry erase board art boxes. There was a turner selling wooden pens and bottle stoppers. There was a guy selling wooden neckties (huh?). Oh, and one guy made cutting boards out of corian. I feel sorry for his customers….
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 8-1/2 : 2-1/2 (because the Honey Locust & Hard Maple board was part end grain and part edge grain. I’m creative like that. Occasionally.)

Boards sold: 11

Cutting Boards: 2

Engraved Boards: 2

Cheese Boards: 2

Small Board: 2

Sous Chef Board: 2

Bread Board: 1

Women At Work: Cutoff Work   Leave a comment

  Women in industry. Tool production. Arms for the love of America! The capable young woman whose strong hands guide this cutoff machine is one of a Midwest drill and tool factory's many women employees. Almost 1,000 women have recently been employed in this comparatively new plant; sole men workers, other than foreman, are those in the heat treating department. Republic Drill and Tool Company, Chicago, Illinois. Photo by the Office of War Information, August 1942.


Women in industry. Tool production. Arms for the love of America! The capable young woman whose strong hands guide this cutoff machine is one of a Midwest drill and tool factory’s many women employees. Almost 1,000 women have recently been employed in this comparatively new plant; sole men workers, other than foreman, are those in the heat treating department. Republic Drill and Tool Company, Chicago, Illinois. Photo by the Office of War Information, August 1942.

Posted May 18, 2015 by henrymowry in Photography

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The Glowing Sky   Leave a comment

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Pretty Colors In The Sky

Northern Lights

 

Last Light   1 comment

Posted May 16, 2015 by henrymowry in Photography

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Rainbow Light   Leave a comment

First Light   Leave a comment

The Cat In The Cactus   1 comment

Where’s the best place to look for wildlife when visiting America’s public lands? Sometimes you have to look where you least expect. Case in point: This pic of bobcat hiding in a cactus at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/6/15.

Where’s the best place to look for wildlife when visiting America’s public lands? Sometimes you have to look where you least expect. Case in point: This pic of bobcat hiding in a cactus at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 5/6/15.

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Keeping It Wild

Meet The Kittens

Bobcat vs. Shark

Posted May 13, 2015 by henrymowry in Photography

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The Board Chronicles: Simi Valley Street Fair   4 comments

The Board Chronicles is an ongoing series of articles about the adventures of Mrs M’s Handmade as a vendor at community festivals & craft fairs. Mrs M’s subsidiary, Mr M’s Woodshop, has been approved to create this chronicle for the good of vendorkind.

ShowImage.aspxBest. Day. Ever.

I had very low expectations going to the Simi Valley Street Fair. After all, it had rained Friday.

For those of you not in Southern California, let me translate that for you.

The weather was HORRIBLE on Friday. There was a BIG storm! Stay Inside! No telling what Saturday will bring!

Much as we need the rain, Angelenos don’t react well to wet weather. It’s like, wet. Desert dwellers avoid stuff like that.

Happily, the weather was perfect on Saturday. The crowd came to the Street Fair (after carefully peeking their heads out early on Saturday to make sure they wouldn’t get wet. It was a late crowd.). The results: best one day event we’ve I’ve ever done.

About that: Velda was still a bit under the weather, so I was again a solo act on Saturday. I’ll just let the results speak for themselves.

New Ideas

  • The Street Fair event had a mandatory pre-event meeting vendors were required to attend. It was a waste of my time … but I did learn that it’s important to wear comfortable shoes to the event. Oh, and to know who’s working your booth. And it’s important, I was told, to know what your key points are when talking to customers.
  • I hate it when people think I’m stupid. And I really hate it when they think I’m that stupid.
  • First event I’ve done where all gear was delivered to your booth by volunteers driving carts towing little trailers. Apparently, it’s too dangerous to let vendors drive their own gear in their own transportation to their booths. It worked, but geez. Really?
  • Local events work for us. Chamber of Commerce events work for us. Community events work for us. In the craft fair community, all of those things are sometimes rejected as “bad” events by some vendors. You simply have to find your own way; you can’t always follow the herd.

Observations

  • The weather impacted some vendors: my neighbor to the left and two neighbors to the right were no shows. I was an island. I was a lonely, lonely man.
  • Another woodworker, a turner, was also there. He had lots of pens and bottle stoppers, and a few peppermills. Didn’t meet him; no clue how he did. I do know, though, that his wife let him sleep late and she’s the one that set up the booth for him. Just sayin’.
  • If half of the people that tell me I’m making Christmas presents for them follow through, then I may not be sleeping in November.
  • One of the engraved board examples that I have is of a last name on a maple board. Last week, I (incredibly) sold the “Mowry” version of this board. This week, I had a new one made saying “Rodriguez.” Yup, sold it, first day.
  • This “hobby” began to feel a lot like “work” today. A couple of people complimented me on creating a business out of my hobby … I corrected them. This is not a business, as I do not get paid. It’s strictly for fun at this point. Though today, not so much.
  • I went to bed before 10pm. Still a long day.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: McDonald’s # 4, drive thru at 4:55am. That’s too early for breakfast.

Saturday Lunch: no time.

Saturday Snack: warm, sugar coated almonds. Yum.

Saturday Dinner: Pho Sure, # S5. I did stay awake through dinner, and aside from getting some much-needed nourishment, that was my main accomplishment.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 128
  • Booth cost: $150
  • # of people I met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Total sales: $1,454
  • # containers of product taken: 16
  • # boards available: 72
  • Saturday alarm: 4:30am
  • # transactions: 47 – 35 for lotion, 12 for boards
  • # soap & lotion vendors: no clue … did not see any
  • # woodworking vendors: one turner was there for sure
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 12:1

Boards sold: 13

Engraved Boards: 4

Cutting Boards: 4

Cheese Boards: 2

Sous Chef Boards: 2

Small Board: 1

Simi Valley Street Fair 01

Simi Valley Street Fair, 2015. The truck in back of me was setting up a long, tall pinewood derby track. Extreme sports come to a Southern California Cub Scout invention.

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