Archive for July 2016

How Do You Feel?   Leave a comment

Looking up:

Looking back:

 

Seeing Utah   2 comments

Sunset, Finally   Leave a comment

The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, but Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska doesn't pay much attention. The last time the sun set in Bettles was on June 2, when it dipped below the horizon for a little over 20 minutes. Today, July 10, sees the first setting sun in 38 days, when the sun will once again drop below the horizon briefly before rising again. No wonder it’s called the land of the midnight sun. Photo by National Park Service. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 7/2/16.

The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, but Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska doesn’t pay much attention. The last time the sun set in Bettles was on June 2, when it dipped below the horizon for a little over 20 minutes. Today, July 10, the Park sees the first setting sun in 38 days, when the sun will once again drop below the horizon briefly before rising again. No wonder it’s called the land of the midnight sun. Photo by National Park Service. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 7/2/16.

More

Gates of the Arctic National Park

Alaskan Beauty

Share The Road   Leave a comment

Denali NP 44 - bear

Traffic in Denali National Park in Alaska can sometimes look like this – a bear ambling along a winding road surrounded by incredible vistas of mountains and wildflowers. The park’s one ribbon of road runs through low-elevation taiga forest to high alpine tundra and snowy mountains, culminating in North America’s tallest peak – Denali – at 20,310 feet. Photo courtesy of Jacob W. Frank. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 6/23/16.

More

Denali National Park

Cold

Northern Lights

Posted July 9, 2016 by henrymowry in National Parks

Tagged with , , ,

Wall Mount Surfer Thermometer   Leave a comment

OK, perhaps you’re intrigued by the title. You wonder if I’m making thermometers now?

Nope.

This is a story about media in our society.

Yesterday, this blog’s traffic blew up. The number one search used to find MowryJournal.com: “Wall Mount Surfer Thermometer.” And, as you probably know, that has nothing to do with what I do. At all.

I make things that do wall mount. And, I make things shaped like surfboards. But surfers? Thermometers?

Nope.

However, somehow, someway, some of my photography made it into Google Images yesterday … when you search for “Wall Mount Surfer Thermometer,” you see several of my Magic Bottle Openers fairly quickly. This is the most popular image that I shot:

Magic Bottle Opener 16 - 027. Cherry, Black Walnut, Hard Maple, Yellowheart & Goncalo Alves.

Magic Bottle Opener 16 – 027. Cherry, Black Walnut, Hard Maple, Yellowheart & Goncalo Alves.

The weird part (as if this isn’t odd enough) is that the most popular image in yesterday’s blog wasn’t a Magic Bottle Opener as seen in the most popular search … it was a cheese board:

Cheese Board 15 - 058. Hard Maple, Yellowheart & Cherry. 8" x 11" x 3/4".

Cheese Board 15 – 058. Hard Maple, Yellowheart & Cherry. 8″ x 11″ x 3/4″.

And, for the record, this isn’t my prettiest effort.

Why did traffic for that image blow up yesterday? No idea. The only search that garnered significant views yesterday was “Wall Mount Surfer Thermometer,” and that search didn’t yield any images for cheese boards from any maker, including me.

So how did an image of a cheese board have huge, unprecedented traffic, when the only search delivering an unusual number of people to the site was “Wall Street Surfer Thermometer?” No clue.

In our society today, much of our information gathering is driven by online search. Advertising in this “medium” has absolutely exploded … ending the virtual monopoly that Yellow Pages had on “searching for information” just a few years ago. Today, I don’t even keep the Yellow Pages when somebody places them on my front step. They go straight to recycling.

Revenues from search has made Google into the $75 billion corporation that it is today. And with all of that success … they still point information seekers here when all they want is to know how hot it is, surfer style.

Posted July 8, 2016 by henrymowry in Media

Tagged with , , ,

It’s Really Big   3 comments

Photo of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona by W. Tyson Joye, National Park Service. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 6/19/16.

Photo of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona by W. Tyson Joye, National Park Service. Posted on Tumblr by the US Department of the Interior, 6/19/16.

More

Grand Canyon National Park

A Grand Sunset

Above The Rainbow

Bright Angel Trail

Inversion

Posted July 7, 2016 by henrymowry in National Parks

Tagged with ,

The Bear Cams Are Up!   2 comments

Mom's teaching the youngster how to fish at Brookes Falls. Katmai National Park, from the explore.org. Shot from the live webcam on 7/6/16.

Mom’s teaching the youngster how to fish at Brooks Falls. Katmai National Park, from the explore.org. Shot from the live webcam on 7/6/16.

The bear cams are back up at Katmai National Park overlooking Brooks Falls; watch the bears go fishing here.

For info on more webcams sponsored by explore.org, go here.

Posted July 6, 2016 by henrymowry in National Parks

Tagged with , , ,

The Board Chronicles: 4th of July Street Fair 2016   3 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.

july4street-fair-logoWe did this event last year, and were amazed at the constant flow of strollers decked out in red, white & blue rolling past our booth. We had a lot of fun. And, we got busy. Very busy.

We got ‘whelmed.

So, of course, we were all in for the 41st annual Fourth of July Street Fair in downtown Ventura.

And since this beach community had a forecast temperature of about 20* cooler than Santa Clarita on this day, it seemed like a good idea to participate in this event from just about every perspective!

New Ideas

  • Mrs M joined in the patriotic fervor, and bought some red, white & blue decorations to liven up the booth a bit.
  • Lots of new soap for this event … including ‘Merica, which is, of course, red, white & blue.
  • I made a new dedicated crate to display the small & medium surfboards … so I now have 4 crate display pieces. Apparently, I have to building something to fill up the trailer.
  • After discussing our experience with a 5:15am departure last year, we agreed that a 5am departure was better for this year … and then agreed that a little before 5am would be preferable. And we departed before 5am.
  • Are you getting this? Velda was early and we left before 5am. I’m thinking that “New Ideas” is not an appropriate heading for this virtually unprecedented reality.

Shocker

  • Velda was early for a 5am departure. Early. Velda.

Observations

  • Expectations will kill you. Every time.
  • My expectations were low, honest. I expected to do better than last year’s sales total of $1,526 … so I thought we would probably do $2,000. We had soap going for us. New display for Mrs M. 2nd year legacy at the event. And since our average per event is nearly $2,000 this year, the number seemed reasonable.
  • “Reasonable.”
  • We had our first walker this morning at 8:30am … and we were set up. This event has a 10am “official” start that has no meaning whatsoever.
  • In spite of the early walker, our first sale wasn’t until 9:55am … still before the official start, but only barely.
  • She said it to a stranger in her booth, who commented on our side-by-side booths: “We’re not friends. We’re husband & wife.”
  • I had nothing to add to that. I mean, would you?
  • My 2 most common words spoken today were “Thank you.” That’s what I said to every single person who said something like “Your boards are beautiful” … as they walked out of the booth with empty hands. Lots and lots of lookers today; not so many shoppers.
  • An early shopper liked my work (and bought something!) and recommended I check out a woodworker/artist from New York named Ariel Alasko. She encouraged me to create art pieces for next year.
  • “Art.”
  • We had one good rush at about 12noon … 6 parties in our 2 booths, and people waiting to buy something. Good times. But … that never happened again.
  • This event felt very odd today. We had about an hour around 1pm with loads of traffic, and not one sale. For an hour. That’s really unusual for midday during a (scheduled) 7 hour event.
  • Most unusual episode today was when we met Reno, the loyal dog for a lady wearing a “Veteran” cap while riding on her scooter through the event. She’d cruised into the booth and bought a cheese board, and then introduced us to Reno. She put a dog treat in her mouth, and then told Reno to come get it. She assured us Reno didn’t bite her.
  • Thank goodness.
  • Vindication is sweet. Sold 2 clipboards today. I need to make more. Honest. But then, I also need to make more cheese boards. And bears. And pigs. And wine bottle holders. And sous chef boards. And and and….
  • This event allows people to begin set up at 4am … 6 hours before the official opening. In the evening, however, you are instructed to stay open until 5pm … and then be off the street by 6:30pm. Craziness!
  • I went to get the trailer at about 5:30pm, when we were largely packed up (Trish, the city employee, had told me to go get my car at 5:10pm, when there were still many pedestrians on the street. That makes 2 events in a row where organizers told me to ignore the pedestrians, ignore the “get packed up first” rule and drive in. I mean, ignore the rules? That’s not me.
  • When I came back, Velda had corralled two event “volunteers” to help us load out quickly, and we were on the road by 6:10pm. Amazing how fast you can be with good help that have strong backs!
  • Requests today were for cribbage boards (2), chess pieces, name tags just like the one I was wearing, surfboard bottle openers (2), an American flag made out of wood that didn’t cost $400, and coasters. I could help none of them.
  • In the end, we beat last year’s number, but just barely. It’s so amazing that last year’s event was our

Best. Day. Ever.

This year, doing slightly better was a true disappointment. It wasn’t close to our best day ever at this point! Doing better than last year isn’t good enough … yet we heard from other vendors that were down as much as 25% from prior year. We should be happy with incremental growth, don’chathink?

The Food

Monday Breakfast: JITB # 23 … but what alternatives are there for drive thru at 5am on a holiday?

Monday Lunch: A ham sandwich from home

Monday Snack: Bad chocolate chip cookies. Don’t blame me; I didn’t buy them.

Monday Dinner: Grand Panda for Walnut Shrimp & Chicken Asparagus. And egg rolls, of course. Yum.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 104
  • Booth cost: $385
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 1
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 2
  • Total sales: $1,590
  • # containers of product taken: all of them
  • # boards available: 139
  • Monday alarm: none needed
  • # transactions: 45, down nominally from last year
  • # soap & lotion vendors: at least 3 others. One was doing the natural thing; one was doing the melt & pour thing. Don’t know about anyone else, and we only saw about 1/2 of the vendors. Or less.
  • # woodworking vendors: One toy maker was our very nice neighbor; not sure of anyone else.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 19:2
  • Returning next year? Maybe

Boards sold: 21

Cheese boards: 7

Magic Bottle Openers: 6

Clipboards: 2

Small board: 1

Cutting Board: 1

Large Cutting Board: 1

Large Cheese & Cracker Server AKA Surfboard: 1

Small Surfboard: 1

Medium Surfboard: 1

Heading West   1 comment

Mr-Ms-Logo---LargeWhen you live in Los Angeles, it might seem that there’s not much west except ocean … but then, LA’s a big place. And I don’t really live in LA, for that matter.

I live in Santa Clarita, AKA Valencia, and the trailer got loaded yesterday for our 5am departure for downtown Ventura, about an hour due west. What’s there? The 41st annual 4th of July Street Fair … which has hundreds of vendors offering a wide array of goodies for the holiday celebrants that make this big city-sponsored event an annual tradition.

Mrs M’s Handmade was there last year, and it was one of the first events that we got ‘whelmed at. Are we going back? You bet.

After our Spring Fling, my inventory had shrunk perilously low, so I finished 28 boards this week to make sure I had the goods for this year’s event.

Here are 22 Magic Bottle Openers and 6 Sous Chef boards that should ensure I have plenty of both for the teeming masses that await in Ventura.

Oh, and I have 4 clipboards still in inventory, just in case those 2 ladies come back looking for clipboards again this year! I am so hoping that happens, just so I can look at Velda and tell her that I need to make more clipboards. Maybe then she’ll start to believe that I need to make more.

Velda, beginning to believe me about something she disagrees with? You can tell I’m an eternal optimist, right?

 

Celebrating California   Leave a comment

Posted July 3, 2016 by henrymowry in California

Tagged with , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: