Archive for October 2015

Staycation: Large Cutting Board, Part 2   Leave a comment

My videographer complained that yesterday’s installment had too much of a cliff hanger (cliff hanger? on making a CUTTING BOARD? Ri-iiight).

Here’s a somewhat longer installment that explains many more steps to make this large end grain cutting board.

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Staycation: Large Cutting Board, Part 1

Posted October 31, 2015 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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Staycation: Large Cutting Board, Part 1   1 comment

A little time to play in the shop can be a dangerous thing.

Because Mrs M came to visit and brought her smartphone Droid video camera.

Enjoy!

Posted October 30, 2015 by henrymowry in Woodworking

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Haystack Falls   3 comments

Talk about an epic view! This pic was taken from Haystack Falls at Glacier National Park in Montana. Haystack Falls is a popular turnout on the park’s Going To The Sun Road. Posted on the US Department of the Interior blog, 10/19/15.

Talk about an epic view! This picture was taken from Haystack Falls at Glacier National Park in Montana. Haystack Falls is a popular turnout on the park’s Going To The Sun Road. Posted on the US Department of the Interior blog, 10/19/15.

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Glacier National Park

Grinnell Formation

Grinnell Lake

Ninaistako

St Mary Falls

Two Medicine Lake

Which Is Prettier?

The Board Chronicles: TAS Sisterhood Holiday Boutique   Leave a comment

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.

This event organizer found us at the Taste of Encino, and it fit into our calendar … this annual holiday boutique is staged at the Temple Ahavat Shalom as a fundraiser by the TAS Sisterhood. If fit into the calendar neatly, so I committed … and then I learned what the event cost. Ooops. My fault.

Tables were $50 for the first one, and $45 for the second one. So, $95 for our 2 tables.

And then there was a central cashier: we’re not allowed to accept any payments. They do that for us. And they take 20%.

Oh, and we are to give a $25 raffle prize as well. So the cost of this event is $95 + 20% of sales + a raffle prize.

My fault. I would have never done this event if I had understood that originally.

But it did fit into our calendar.

Would we make our goal of $1,000 in sales this weekend? Given the paucity of success on Saturday, we had a steep hill to climb on Sunday: we need $651 to make our goal of $1,000.

New Ideas

  • Our location was way less than ideal. We got two 6′ tables, and I got a chair on one end in the traffic pattern of the hallway. I was bumping legs with everybody when I was sitting. When I was standing, people were taking my chair. Like the kid with the bloody nose. Like the senior citizen looking for a break. I was the only vendor with a setup like this; it was a bad thing.
  • Used our folding wagon to load into the temple. Worked like a charm. Perhaps I should reconsider my desire for a better rolling cart.
  • Since there was a central cashier, I added tax to most transactions – an effective price increase of 9%. I didn’t do that on my two biggest transactions, though, as I couldn’t do the tax calculation in my head fast enough to satisfy myself.

Observations

  • The organizer told me three times how I had a good location, because my hallway location was on the way to the cashier. “Everyone has to walk by your booth.” That was true. And then they sat in my chair.
  • Overheard: “You’re shvitzing like I am.”
  • Loved the 30 something lady that bought 3x cheese boards for herself and 2 friends. Clearly, I need more boards at $35. That price works.
  • On the other hand, the 50 something lady that bought the BDB as a gift to herself worked even better, with revenue of $225 for that large cutting board.
  • Not one customer objected to being charged sales tax. Hmmmm.
  • Very nice community event. This Temple is 24 miles from our house, and all of the buyers were members of the Temple. I love local events.
  • I hate central cashier events. I’m set up to take cash, so why wouldn’t I? As far as I’m concerned, central cashier events mean that the organizers both a) don’t have the confidence to charge appropriately for their space and b) don’t trust me to pay them the right percentage. Since they don’t trust me, I don’t believe I should trust them either. Therefore, I hate central cashier events. Like this one.
  • We did make our goal for the weekend, by the skin of our teeth. This event was *very* expensive, however, with an actual cost of $262 for 2x 6′ tables. Given total sales (including sales tax), our revenues were just above 3x our booth cost. That’s a minimal standard of success according to some crafters. Minimal. Given that, there’s probably no reason to come back to this event next year. But we did make our goal!
  • Final note: these numbers assume that the central cashier will pay us the same revenues that I’m showing on the collected receipts for the event. The promise from the TAS Sisterhood is that I’ll have a check within 30 days. That’s another reason I don’t like central cashier events: they keep your money, and what they pay you is a mystery until they actually pay you.

The Food

Sunday Breakfast: “Free” bagel & coffee from the TAS men. But I hate coffee. And with the cost of the booth, there was nothing free here, believe me.

Sunday Lunch: Booth service was offered by some teenage girls. I got a 4″ submarine sandwich, turkey with my selected toppings, with a cookie and a soda for $4. Nice price, but not enough food for this vendor.

Sunday Snack: nope

Sunday Dinner: We went out to our new favorite local Mexican restaurant: Weliks. I had a chicken burrito, but it wasn’t as good as the Chicken Mole I had last time. Nice crepes, though.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 48
  • Booth cost: $95 + 20% of $837 = $262
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Total sales: $877.68 (which includes the collected sales tax)
  • # containers of product taken: 16
  • # boards available: 62
  • Sunday alarm: 6a
  • # transactions: 11
  • # soap & lotion vendors: just us
  • # woodworking vendors: one other, a turner
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 6:3

Boards sold: 9

Small boards: 4

Cheese boards: 2

Large cutting board: 1

Large surfboard: 1

Custom order: 1

The Board Chronicles: Vasquez High Holiday Boutique   Leave a comment

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.

One way you find new events is to meet their event coordinators at your current events. At the Agua Dulce Country Fair, we met the coordinator for a self-described Holiday Boutique at nearby Vasquez High School in Acton. The event was to run 2 – 8pm last Saturday, so it allowed me to to help set up the Saturday morning event for the elder Mrs M before I went to Acton to run this event.

Very bright & bubbly event coordinator greeted me, and she pointed me to the booth space. Now we just had to find out … would we meet our modest goal of $350 in sales?

New Ideas

  • We’ve been here before. Well, not really. Never been to the Home of the Mustangs before. But then, neither have they. The event was in the courtyard of the new gym, which is currently under construction and will be the site of the event next year. Allegedly.
  • Single booth set-up with lights. This is exactly like the set-up we did for the Farmer’s Markets last March. Not a new idea, but we haven’t done it in a while. What’s new? After too many large one day events, we’re not traveling so heavy. I loved this cut down set-up for a 6 hour event.

Observations

  • Actual thoughts:
    • Common Wisdom, “Don’t do first-time events.”
    • I thought, “But it fits on our calendar so well!”
  • When we set up, other vendors envy our DIY weights. We get weight envy.
  • Weights are essential in Acton, where wind. Blows. We had 20 MPH gusts throughout set-up. When the event organizers are making the rounds with free sandbags, you know they’re concerned – and prepared!
  • Overheard:
    • She said: “Juniors & Freshman are like a thing this year, huh?”
    • He said: “Yeah, it sure seems like it.”
  • When it gets dark, other vendors envy our spectacular lights. We get light envy.
  • This wasn’t a vendor event, really. It was a high school Halloween carnival/fund raiser. Booths run by cheerleaders, sports teams & other groups of students trying to raise funds to pay for their program. Did we make our goal? No way.
  • During the load out, I broke our folding 2-wheel cart. Ooops. I guess it wasn’t made to transport 100 pounds of DIY weights. We don’t get cart envy, that’s for sure.
  • If you’ll forgive the sports analogy, this event was strike 2. We’re nowhere near our goal of $1,000 in sales this weekend. Will our Sunday event get it done? Tune in tomorrow!

The Food

Saturday Lunch: a protein bar I got from Mrs M … and a bag of Chex mix. High living.

Saturday Snack: nope

Saturday Dinner: Izzy’s Tacos was there, just as they were at the Agua Dulce Country Fair. One taco & and half of a Chicken Quesadilla on a homemade tortilla. Again, high living. But tasty.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 86
  • Booth cost: 10% of sales
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Total sales: $183
  • # containers of product taken: 11
  • # boards available: 52
  • Saturday alarm: 6a
  • # transactions: 9
  • # soap & lotion vendors: just us
  • # woodworking vendors: just us
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 2:0

Boards sold: 2

Cutting Board: 1

Cheese Board: 1

The Board Chronicles: Emblem Charity Holiday Boutique   Leave a comment

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.

The women’s group associated with the Elks Club is called Emblem, and Emblem/Elks Club of Canyon Country hosts a holiday boutique in their lodge. I did this event last year, and it was one of our first small, table-top events. I was home before 4pm, and thought I’d found a great idea. Of course we planned on returning when it fit into our calendar perfectly.

Speaking of the calendar, we have 3 events scheduled for this weekend. I was to help Mrs M set up this event, and then she would run it while I went to event # 2 on Saturday. Sunday, we had our third event. Our goal was to have sales over $1,000 between the 3 events.

The Emblem Charity Holiday Boutique is a low impact, low expectations event. Last year we had sales of $360, and it was great doing a local event that I could do and still be home by 4pm.

This year, we’ll be returning to the Elks Lodge for the third time. We did the Holiday Boutique in 2014, of course, and we also did their Car Show in June of this year. Sales there were $501, so I was confident we could surpass our goal of $350 at this event.

New Ideas

  • Last year, we did boards only at this event. We added a 2nd table for Mrs M’s lotions this year.
  • Last year, Mrs M stayed home and I did this event solo. This year, I helped her set up and then left for my event.
  • Mrs M stacked the boards on the table for the boards, and thought that led to more customer involvement with the boards as the customers played Jenga with them.
  • Vendors got free coffee, much to Mrs M’s delight. Good thing she did this event: I would not have cared.

Observations

  • One customer told Mrs M that I was not getting enough credit, since every board tag shows the company name first: Mrs M’s Handmade. Mr M’s Woodshop is also identified on the tag, but that gets 2nd billing. This customer thought Mrs M was taking advantage.
  • Hmmmmmmm.
  • For the record, he didn’t feel he should show support by buying something.
  • Since the summer season of outdoor events is over, we now get to do indoor events … with indoor plumbing. Life is good.
  • We were set up right by the main door, with the boards on the path from the main door, and the lotions perpendicular to that, on the path to the bar. (The tables were in an “L” shape.) Mrs M observes that most women were there to shop, and didn’t walk by her table. Most men were there to drink, and they didn’t buy lotion on the way to the bar.
  • Most of our sales were to the volunteers running the event. With total sales less than half of last year … we were disappointed. We certainly did not make our goal here.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs & part of a cinnamon roll

Saturday Lunch: from the snack bar – chicken salad on a croissant

Saturday Snack: $2 cookie from a vendor

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 24
  • Booth cost: $70
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Total sales: $166
  • # containers of product taken: 9
  • # boards available: 39
  • Saturday alarm: 6a
  • # transactions: 8
  • # soap & lotion vendors: just us
  • # woodworking vendors: just us
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 1:1

Boards sold: 2

Small board: 1

Cheese board: 1

Boneyard Beach   Leave a comment

Established in 1932 as a migratory bird refuge, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a 22-mile segment of the southeast Atlantic coast. The South Carolina refuge consists of 66,287 acres of barrier islands, salt marshes, intricate coastal waterways, long sandy beaches and maritime forest. It’s a great place for birds to live and people to visit. Photo of sunset at Boneyard Beach by Ben Sumrell. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 10/21/15.

Established in 1932 as a migratory bird refuge, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge encompasses a 22-mile segment of the southeast Atlantic coast. The South Carolina refuge consists of 66,287 acres of barrier islands, salt marshes, intricate coastal waterways, long sandy beaches and maritime forest. It’s a great place for birds to live and people to visit. Photo of sunset at Boneyard Beach by Ben Sumrell. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 10/21/15.

Posted October 25, 2015 by henrymowry in Photography

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Critters   Leave a comment

From The Shop: Pig Musings   Leave a comment

Cutting Board Ends 1First glue up of the day: a pig. Back in the pig business.

Can’t glue up the pig because the boards need to be smoothed. Can’t do that because the drum sander needs the dust collector, which is full. So, I have to empty the dust collector first thing in the morning. Wow, and the bag is overfull. Total mess. Yuck.

Dust. Everywhere.

Is it bad to see daylight through the welds that hold my dust collector together?

Dust cleaned up, sort of. I need a new broom.

And a dust collector, for the record.

Back to business. Dust collector on, drum sander on. First board through … and the conveyor belt jams. Must be replaced … so I have to tear down the drum sander.

You see why I hate the pig business.

Welcome to the beginning of Day One of the Staycation, 2015 version.

 

 

Posted October 23, 2015 by henrymowry in Woodworking

How To Fill Your Cheese Board   3 comments

Surfboard Cheese PlatterHere are my 5 favorite cheeses to serve on a cheese plate (and you only need 5 on a big board):

  1. Cheddar. It’s the classic. I prefer sharp; Colby just seems bland to me. Sorry, not my style: I’m a purist. And if you only have processed “cheese food” singles available? Go back to the store. You’re not serious about having cheese yet.
  2. Camembert. My love of this cheese started when I was the Lion in “Reynard The Fox,” a children’s play at the University of Missouri. I had to eat a chunk of Camembert that I found hidden on stage in every performance (and the props guy just LOVED to give me a BIG piece that I had to wolf down before my next line!), I’ve loved this cheese. After I recovered from the whole stage experience of having to wolf it down on cue, of course.
  3. Smoked Gouda. I didn’t appreciate this cheese until we started using it for some of our homemade pizzas, and now I can’t get enough. Smoked is much better than regular Gouda, I believe, but you’ll have to try them both to know!
  4. Swiss. You need a hard, nutty cheese on every cheese board, and Swiss is always my favorite. Many options here. After all, when a cheese is named after a country, you can bet there are many variations available!
  5. Cheese and WineA soft spreadable cheese. Go crazy. Try something different, like a new goat cheese blend, or even (shudder) something with herbs mixed in. Have some fun and talk to your cheesemonger about what’s good. Try something new.

Great substitutes:

  • Havarti
  • Brie

Honorable Mention:

  • Muenster. It’s my favorite sliced cheese for sandwiches … but it just doesn’t seem right on a cheese board, even when I put it on a cracker with ham. Sorry, Muenster, you are off the board.

Dinner On A SurfboardNot for me:

  • Monterey Jack. Too bland; I don’t see the point.
  • Pepper Jack. Horrible combination. Pass.

When you’re going for style points:

  1. Three or four different kinds of crackers. No Ritz or Triscuits for me. Milton’s are essential. Don’t go for heavily flavored crackers (the cheese is the star here).
  2. Summer sausage is the most common meat to serve on a cheese platter, for good reason. Don’t be afraid to add sliced ham or other deli meats … rolled & cut to size for your crackers.
  3. Some raw nuts: walnuts or pecans for me. Not salted, and not almonds, if you please.
  4. Kalamata olives! Other pickles are OK, but if you don’t have olives, you’re not trying hard enough. If you have garlic stuffed olives, I know you belong in Velda’s kitchen.
  5. Grapes, apples – of course. Citris? No.
  6. A sweet fruit spread or topping can be a nice counter point as well. Just don’t go too crazy. 5 cheeses, 4 crackers, 3 meats, nuts, olives … isn’t that enough?

Surfboard Cheese

More

The Practical Historian: The Cheese Is Old And Moldy

LA Times: Cheese Really Is Crack

Bon Appetit: Build The Cheese Plate Of Your Dreams….

The Ultimate Cheese Chart

9 Charts That Will Help You Pair Wine And Cheese Perfectly

13 Helpful Diagrams For People Who Only Care About Cheese

 

 

 

 

Posted October 23, 2015 by henrymowry in Living Life

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