Archive for March 2017

Too Snarky   3 comments

It happened again.

One of my Facebook friends made a snarky comment about a political process, and their friends piled on with even more snarky comments. Aggressive, spiteful words were used, like “hate,” “cruel” and “horrid.” What prompted the ire? A misstatement of what happened in DC today (they took facts and skewed them due to their personal beliefs). They took that misstatement and used it to justify an outpouring of snark.

So, I removed the friend from my Facebook feed. I’m doing my best to be on a snark-free diet.

What caused this tirade? It doesn’t matter. In this bifurcated political system, both sides think they can say ANYTHING about the other side, because the other side is (insert hurtful words here). Many people think that they MUST say hurtful things about the other side, because to do otherwise would be accepting the other position.

They are wrong.

I don’t care what side you’re on; we’re all in this together. Calling the other side (insert hurtful words here) will not help anyone, nor will it help the country find common ground on the very important issues we are confronted with today.

What would you rather do … build bridges, or burn it all down?

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The Use And Abuse Of Facebook

I’m Exhausted

Posted March 31, 2017 by henrymowry in Living Life

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Oh, Give Me A Home….   1 comment

North Dakota Native Prairie. Photo by Rick Bohn / USFWS. Posted on Flickr by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, 3/24/17.

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Posted March 30, 2017 by henrymowry in Photography

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The Beauty of Tuolumne Meadows   Leave a comment

Tuolumne Meadows in California’s Yosemite National Park. Tweeted by the US Department of the Interior, 3/22/17.

Posted March 29, 2017 by henrymowry in California, National Parks

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The Board Chronicles: AV Home Show 2017   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.

Going into this event, I knew 2 things:

  1. I love local.
  2. Mrs M hates Home & Garden shows.

She’s got a bad taste in her mouth after a frustrating Home & Garden experience last year – she even passed up a trip to Fresno a couple of weeks ago to do that Home & Garden Show. The Fresno H&G turned out to be a good show for me … not to mention a bachelor weekend in Fresno. Apparently, Mrs M endorses that.

With the AV Home Show, however, she gets to spend the weekend with the Granddaughters. That’s a winner, regardless of the event results. She’s in.

This is the 29th Annual AV Home Show in Lancaster. Will it meet Mrs M’s expectations, or mine?

New Ideas

  • The show talked about an open presentation in their vendor materials – nothing above 36″ in the front 5′ of the booth. That’s common in pipe & drape environments, but not so much in open craft fair environments. I opted to not use our canopies, so we went with our 6 tables at the event & no sides or backdrop. No signage, either. The booth felt naked.
  • The only way the canopies would have worked would be to either take off their tops and just leave the bones … or use the canopies as is and use our lights to better display our stuff. The neon-like lights in our building were pretty garish. The light was very blue, which washed out a lot of color in the boards. However, I decided it wasn’t worth it to put our lights up.
  • Note to self: negative thoughts are a bad thing.
  • Come to find out, this was the 29th Annual AV Home Show … but the first time that they’ve added a craft fair to the event. That was a surprise. First time events are seldom great. Unfortunately.

Observations

  • The craft fair building was located perhaps 100 yards from the two main buildings that housed the Home Show. There were a few outdoor exhibits to walk by while you were going to the craft fair … but not many. And since there was limited signage that announced the craft fair and pointed the way, some people came to the Home Show & had no idea that we were there (which I confirmed by talking to actual attendees). There were 2 or 3 portable signs, but if you missed those … you missed it.
  • I knew this event was going off the rails when our craft fair had booths for Damsel in Defense, LuLaRoe and a few vendors offering unbranded imported merchandise. Though most of the vendors were showing handmade goods, more than a few were not. I really don’t like it when I have to sign a 15 page contract, provide insurance and jump through multiple hoops to be a part of a “craft fair” … and I’m not.
  • Friday was a waste of my time. Only 5 hours for the event, but sales were a puny $131.
  • Saturday was worse.
  • This was our 2nd event with a major pet adoption presence near us, and it was again an irritant. One common rule for all events is that you’re not allowed to solicit outside of your booth: you can’t wander the aisles harassing customers. The volunteers showcasing the dogs weren’t harassing customers … but the dogs were. Volunteers actually sat in the aisles holding dogs. Aisles were clogged. Since the dog cages were located right next to the entrance (mistake!), the entrances were clogged as the dogs were taken on walks.
  • The first vendor to leave early & load out on Sunday was in the booth directly adjacent to the pet adoption chaos.
  • I like dogs. I support pet adoptions. I have always had pets. But when pet adoptions from an organization that doesn’t pay for their space interfere with the “craft fair” that I’ve paid money to be a part of, I get a bit less enthusiastic. And, for the record, a “craft fair” has nothing to do with pet adoptions. Just sayin’.
  • 50% of the vendors broke the 4th wall of their booths and extended their displays into the aisle. Most of these infractions were minor, but it bugs me when vendors don’t follow the rules that are there for the common good. Some just think they’re more special than that … about 50% at this event, come to find out. When people take unfair advantage of the public space, I’m irked.
  • Not to mention when event producers don’t enforce their own rules.
  • Breakdown could not begin before the event closing at 5pm Sunday, per the rules. The cages & such for the animals, though, were broken down beginning at 3pm Sunday – with a truck parked right beside the entrance for their gear. This was a very visible sign that the event was over, and traffic fell precipitously and predictably at that point.
  • The event was OOTW.

One. Of. The. Worst.

  • Requests were for a board with metal handles, a banana holder, a paper plate holder, really big juice grooves, and, to complete my bad weekend, the # 1 request was for … chess boards.

The Food

Saturday Breakfast: Bagel & cream cheese. Toasted, of course.

Saturday Lunch: A hot dog & fries. The only reasonable choice, it seems. Oh, and the cheapest one, as well.

Saturday Snack: Nope.

Saturday Dinner: No motivation = no good food.

Sunday Breakfast: See Saturday.

Sunday Lunch: See Saturday.

Sunday Snack: See Saturday.

Sunday Dinner: Brisket at the Southern Smoke BBQ & Brew in Newhall. This is a delightful place.

The Facts

  • Total miles driven: 116
  • Booth cost: $200
  • Food cost: $151
  • Travel cost: $0
  • Total sales: $473
  • Net Revenue (does not include product cost): $122
  • # of people we met during the event from the producer: 0
  • Visits in our booth by a promoter’s representative: 1
  • Saturday alarm: 6:15a
  • Sunday alarm: 6:15a
  • # transactions: 20
  • # soap & lotion vendors: There were at least 5 vendors offering soap; a couple offering lotion. None had the complete presentation & varied group of products offered by Mrs M, IMHO.
  • # woodworking vendors: There was a turner and a scroll saw artist. Several wooden sign makers, of course. And me.
  • Edge grain vs. end grain: 3:1
  • Returning next year? No. Hell no.

Boards sold: 4

Small Boards: 2

Magic Bottle Opener: 1

Small Surfboard: 1

Big Critters … And A Magpie   Leave a comment

The Fire In Horsetail Fall   Leave a comment

 

 

Every February a rare phenomenon makes Horsetail Fall in California’s Yosemite National Park glow like fire. The sun has to hit the water just right, clouds can’t get in the way, and the photographer’s position must be in the right place at the right time. Photo taken Saturday, 2/11/17 by Ray Lee. Tweeted by the US Department of the Interior 2/13/17.

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Yosemite National Park

A Double Rainbow And The Half Dome

Fire!

Low Fog & Bright Stars

Right Place, Right Time

Sentinel Dome’s View

Stoneman Meadow

Sunrise + Milky Way

The Serenity Of Yosemite

Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center

Upper Cathedral Lake

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite In The Snow

 

Posted March 26, 2017 by henrymowry in California, National Parks

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Sky Light 3   1 comment

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Sky Light 2 (May 30, 2016)

Sky Light 1 (March 21, 2016)

Sunset   Leave a comment

Big Ones   1 comment

I love making big cutting boards.

I make them for 2 reasons:

  1. They are really good – essential – kitchen tools. They are made to be of use.
  2. I find pretty when I make them

Like all good things, they do not come quickly nor cheaply. When I’m making then out of quality hardwoods (which is always), then my costs are significant. I have to go through a lot of wood to choose the pieces that belong in these cutting boards. Not every board makes the grade.

Some of these boards required over 30 minutes just in the sanding & smoothing process. That’s a lot of sandpaper, at 60 cents a sheet, yaknowhatImean?

Another interesting aspect of these large cutting boards is that I don’t make them in large quantities. I only keep a few on hand, and then make more as the need arises. At our last event, I sold 3 large cutting boards (very unusual!), so it was good that I had this batch in the shop and very close to the finish line. However, of these 4 boards, 1 is already sold … so I’m really just keeping my inventory even.

I have to make more large cutting boards in the near future to get ready for our Spring Fling.

Another odd thing is that I show large cutting boards at every event, but I often sell more custom pieces than I sell the actual large cutting boards on display. The first large Hickory board that I put on display sold 4 other boards before it finally sold itself. And, no, none of these boards are Hickory. That’s on my never ending to do list.

On that board that is already sold (the 4th one shown), please note the very unusual grain pattern on the Black Walnut. I take what the wood gives me, and in this case I had a large plank that allowed me to make a very unusual sweeping curve, book matched, across the face of the board. It’s the first time I’ve been able to do that, and I’m quite happy with that board. It will soon be winging its way to Florida.

These boards are intended to be generational purchases. With minimal care, they will last for decades. They are made from very good hardwood, both domestic and international. All have routed handholds and non-skid rubber feet held on with stainless steel screws. All of these boards also have juice grooves. Here are the 4 all-new designs that made it out of the shop today:

Cutting Board 17 – 424. Bubinga, Cherry, Purpleheart & Hard Maple. End Grain, Juice Groove. 17″ x 21-1/2″ x 1-1/2″.

Cutting Board 17 – 425. Cherry, Jatoba, Canarywood & Hard Maple. End Grain, Juice Groove. 16″ x 21″ x 1-1/2″.

Cutting Board 17 – 423. Cherry, Hard Maple & Purpleheart. End Grain, Juice Groove. 16″ x 21-1/2″ x 1-1/2″.

Cutting Board 17 – 422. Black Walnut & Cherry. End Grain, Juice Groove. 18″ x 20″ x 1-1/2″. Commissioned Piece.

ICU   Leave a comment

White Tailed Jackrabbit on Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS. Posted on Flickr by the US Department of the Interior,
3/13/17.

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